Archive for December 2013

I just need to catch my breath

December 31, 2013

Has everyone gotten their Christmas packages yet? Probably not; I know at least one went astray and might not be reunited with its recipients until the calendar flips over. Nevertheless, how can I let the year end without wrapping up what I made for the holidays?

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Pattern: Luxe Cowl by Margaux Hufnagel
Yarn: Lion Brand Martha Stewart Crafts Roving Wool (100% wool), colorways Snowdrift and Persimmon
Needles: U.S. 13 Harmony wood Options 16″ circular

I actually made two of these, the other in a winter white. This red one went to my mother-in-law Libby; the white one I hope will soon be in the hands of my niece.

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Pattern: Crocheted Square Washcloth by Stacey Trock
Yarn: Red Heart Eco-Cotton Blend (75% cotton, 25% acrylic), colorway Vanilla
Hook: Tulip Etimo 5.0mm (H)

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Pattern: Waffle Knit Dishcloth by Debbie Andriulli
Yarn: Aslan Trends Pima Clasico Cotton (100% cotton), colorway White
Needles: U.S. 6 Sunstruck straights

Libby also requested some easy-care, throw-em-in-the-wash, bleach-the-heck-out-of-em dishcloths. I dug around in the stash, found some non-colorful cotton, whipped ’em up.

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Pattern: Rikke Hat by Sarah Young
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK (70% merino, 30% silk), colorway Robot
Needles: U.S. 4 (band) and 7 (body) Harmony wood 16″ circular (half-magic-loop style)

My lovely model is lovely, but I wish I’d gotten a picture of this hat on Noel. I made it for nephew Daniel, and it is a terrific style on a fashion-forward man.

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Pattern: Astronomer by Veronica O’Neil
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted (100% merino), colorways Black and White (not sure what yarn the gray stripe is)
Needles: U.S. 8 Harmony wood Options 16″ circular (half-magic-loop style)

Boy, this turned out handsomely. I made Bowdoin College colors for nephew Sawyer, who runs cross-country there. The turned hem is a polished touch. And the yarn knit up crisp and even. A professional-looking effort, maybe my favorite of the season.

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Pattern: Mini Sweater Ornament With Cables by Emily5446
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal (in Gypsy), Knit Picks Essential Kettle-Dyed (in Spruce), Knit Picks Felici (in Arugula), Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome (in Birches, not pictured)
Needles: U.S. 1.5 & 2 Nickel fixed Options 24″ circulars

I made a handful of mini sweaters to put in random stockings. The Birches one (made of leftovers from an as-yet-unblogged Sockhead Hat) managed to hop in a stocking before I had time to photograph it. In 2014 my leftovers are all devoted to hexipuffs, so I hope they enjoyed these last gasps of freedom.

I hope your holiday of giving was as warm as mine! See you next year!

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Rising up the mountain, lighting up the valley below

December 18, 2013

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Pattern: The Proverbial Cap (rav link) by Meg Swansen (IK Fall 2010)
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Kettle Dyed (100% Peruvian highland wool), colorway Gold
Needles: US 4 (3.5mm) Harmony wood Options 16″ circular needle (magic loop)

We knitters are more in thrall to our visual sense than we would like to admit. Why do we fall in love with a pattern? Because we see it in a certain color, a certain styling, a certain environment. All that has as much to do with our enamoured state as our good judgment about whether it fits our needs or the occasion.

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One of the most senseless instances of this phenomenon is the influence of models. Take this hat. I wanted to knit a gift for my teaching assistant. I browsed hats. The magazine spread for this hat featured a model that reminded me of my teaching assistant. (You can see that photo at the Ravelry link I included with the pattern name, above.) Bam, I decided this was the hat I wanted to make.

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Besides, it looked like fun. All this beautiful texture. I didn’t quite appreciate, though I should have from the pattern’s role as a demonstration project for a pages-long explication of twisted-stitches technique, that it would be so painstaking. Twisted stitches are no problem, I thought. I’ve got those down, I thought. Well, these are twisted stitches in bewildering variety and with entirely new methods of twisting than I ever encountered before. On a good night’s knitting I got three rounds done. The hat grew so slowly. But the effect was transcendent. I persevered.

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Blocking was necessary, that was clear from Meg’s comprehensive article. I procrastinated until just a couple of days before the final exam period was over, my last chance to get the hat to its intended recipient. On the day I gave it to her, she brought her own first crocheted hat for me to see. It was beautiful. I hope she has room for two handmade hats in her life.

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Considering how beautifully she wears a hat, she should make herself a closet full of them. Or maybe become a hat model. Then she could inspire other knitters the way that Interweave model (can you see the resemblence?) inspired me.