Sometimes projects come about in odd ways. For example, last year I bought a shirt I liked, then immediately got a stain I cannot lift up by the neckline. Fast forward to this spring, when a knitting friend and I did a yarn swap and I ended up with a pretty ball of Cotlin by Knitpicks, in whisper. I decided I wanted to make some sort of springy neck thing to wear over the shirt to cover up the stain. Of course once I found the perfect pattern, Saroyan by Liz Abanante, I realized I needed to buy more than one ball of yarn. So I bought two more balls of yarn, knitted the project, then put it on and decided I no longer liked that shirt with the stain. Or at least not with the pants I was wearing. Which might eventually mean that I need to buy new pants, but today it just meant that I wore the scarf with a different shirt. A happy ending!
I’ve never done much colorwork. It is intimidating to me to juggle multiple balls of yarn since I have a toddler who may jump in the middle of whatever I’m doing at any time. I did brave it for this hat, and fortunately it went quick enough that no children had time to get too tangled in. I didn’t use a pattern but got the motif from the Knitting Stitches Visual Encyclopedia. I should have taken a photo of the inside of the hat because that was what I was most proud of. I sewed a basic beanie out of white fleece, then knitted the hat and stitched it to the fleece beanie. Now I have an extra-warm fleece-lined hat!
It is an unfortunate truth for me that I really love wearing scarves but I do not love knitting them. I get so impatient doing the same things over and over! But I really wanted a scarf to wear with my purple coat, so I gritted my teeth and made this one this winter. It was worth it–I love this squishy, warm scarf! This pattern suggests using two self-striping yarns. One of my yarns, Chroma worsted in Avalon, self-striped but my other, Preciosa Tonal in Stormy, changes colors but not exactly in stripes. They worked well here anyway. I used the ZickZack scarf pattern but changed it a bit by doing yarn-overs (thus making eyelets or holes in the scarf) instead of knit-front-and-backs.
This is a hat I made for my daughter’s friend. I didn’t use a pattern just did a ribbed band, three rows of purl, a knit band, three more rows of purl, and then every-row decreases for the crown. I used Red Heart Boutique Treasure yarn and was unimpressed with that. Really I knew better than to buy yarn from a big-box craft store, but the color was pretty and I was weak. I gave the hat a nice soak in Eucalan before I gifted it, so I hope that took care of the itchiness. It did look cute on the recipient.
This was another gift I gave recently. We use 7 inch square flannel baggies (really kind of like tiny pillow cases) to make ice packs when my children get hurt. We slip a plastic baggie of ice into the flannel bag and hold it over the injury, and it miraculously heals 90% of real and imaginary boo-boos. I’ve made these as gifts before, and gave this one to my cousin for Christmas. I’m pretty sure it’s not fun to open a boo-boo ice pack as a gift, but hopefully it comes in handy in their home as it does in ours. Because boo-boos are going to happen anyway, right? And it’s nice to have a low-budget, no-chemical miracle cure that won’t hurt and might genuinely help too!
Daphne needed new mittens, and shouldn’t a girl who gets new mittens get a hat to go with them? I used the Little Scallops pattern for the hat, but chose unwisely because the tidy little scallops were obliterated by the identical color pooling from the variegated yarn I used on the crown. Oh well! It’s still cute enough, and she’s happy and warm. This was really cheap acrylic yarn I got on sale from KnitPicks and it’s not impressive so I’m glad I didn’t pay much for it. I thought it would be similar in quality to their Brava yarn, but instead it was rougher and duller. That said, it made pretty good mittens for a 2-year-old because it is cheerful, it washed up reasonably soft, it’s warm, it hasn’t pilled, and it launders nicely.
My son is a big guy. Born at 9 lbs 5 oz, he’s stayed at the top of the growth chart ever since. His pediatrician says he’ll be 6 feet 2 inches if he sticks to the curve he’s been on since birth; my husband says if that’s true we won’t be able to afford to feed him! One of the side-effects of his impressive growth is that he can’t wear anything I make him for more than a season. When I realized that none of his other hats came down to his ears I knitted (knooked) a wool hat and mittens for him to match his blue and orange jacket. I used basic Patons yarn. He was so excited when he found out that the item on my needles was for him that he pestered me like a fiend until I finished the hat (thankfully, only a day or two–these were quick projects and slow, cold days). When I started the mittens I hid them so he wouldn’t know to harass me, but sooner or later he noticed the telltale blue and orange. Thankfully those were quick knits too! He has endowed these mittens with magical properties and wears them around in the house all the time as part of some game his has invented, which is sweet but also a little annoying because then he can’t find them when he needs them. He also played a game with the hat that involved spinning it around and around on his hands like pizza dough and it is now so badly stretched out that it’s never going to fit properly again. But it only took a couple days, right?
Today I’m sharing a couple gifts I made before Christmas. These were mitts I knitted (knooked) for my mother. They were for her birthday in November, but as is occasionally the case with handmade gifts they were a couple weeks late. (Because nothing says, “I love you Mom!” like exactly one knitted glove, right? Oops.) Mom was gracious about the wait. I made these out of sock yarn though the pattern called for heavier. I find that my gauge in knooking is often a little large when the pattern calls for ribbing or something with a lot of stretch. But these worked up quite nicely in the sock yarn, and they’ll be warm and washable. I used the Vineyard Lace Fingerless Gloves pattern and thought it was a good one, but wasn’t sure my choice of yarn showed off the design to its best advantage.
This is a long sleeve shirt I painted. I did one for each of my two nieces, personalized with their initials. I sketched the laurel wreath design on freezer paper, then cut it out to make a stencil. To make the letters I just printed off the lettering I wanted and traced them in good light. As always, I used Martha Stewart craft paint, which works very well and knit shirts and washes quite nicely.
I’ve been trying to be a little more organized about the knitting I do for myself. My selection process for projects has mainly been choosing a project for whatever yarn catches my eye and making it, or choosing a yarn for whatever project catches my eye and then making it. This isn’t a bad method, but it leads to a lot of unrelated finished objects that may or may not actually go with anything else I own. Lately I’ve been thinking it might actually be nice to have matching sets. So last winter I made this scarf and am now out of the yarn, which was purchased on clearance. But I don’t own a hat or hand-coverings to wear with it, so if I want to wear it outside with a coat on a cold day (it’s a scarf, right?) I have to grab gloves and/or a hat that don’t go with it in any way, shape, or form, or I have to have cold ears and hands. So I found yarn in my stash that coordinates with the scarf (it’s Knitpicks’ Wool of the Andes in Calypso Heather) and set out to make a hat and mitts that I can wear with the other scarf. I wanted a kind of lacy pattern, so I chose the Cranford Mitts pattern, but the yarn is worsted weight, so I adjusted the pattern to have fewer repeats. With the mitts done I made a simple hat with the same pattern across the brim. My underwear will never match, because I’m just not that person, but at least now some of my outerwear will.
I had just enough yarn left over from my Christmas cowl to make a hat for Daphne. I made the mystery beret pattern in the smallest size and didn’t do any of the extra rows. Really, I think extra rows would have looked better but I was low on yarn. As it was, I finished the hat with about a foot of yarn left! This hat will look sweet on her this winter, and I think I may make the pattern again for myself.
What’s up with me and neck-things? I’d been working on one cowl in the house and one in the car, and they happened to come off the hook at about the same time. (Why did she say “hook?” Because I knook knitting patterns instead of knitting them. Google it!) I bought a beautiful skein of Holiday Yarns’ Super Sheep DK in Persephone at a sweet little yarn shop in Haddonfield, NJ, when I was visiting a friend in that town this summer. It was my birthday on the day I was there and the pretty shades of red spoke to me, so of course I treated myself! The photo doesn’t do it justice; it is so hard to photograph reds. I used the Qiviut Neck Muff pattern, though the wool is superwash merino. This is the second time I’ve made this pattern, and I think I left the last repeat off both times because it was big enough already, but it was a nice pattern. I like the zig-zags and it’s a quick and engaging knit. It’s my plan to wear this basically throughout the month of December. All I have to do is throw on a black or gray knit shirt (or dress, if it’s that kind of occasion) and this cowl will make me look festive because of the pretty colors.