Tag Archive | handknit gifts

Just a hat

Yesterday was Yarn Store Day here in the U.S. and I did not celebrate the traditional way, i.e. by going to a yarn store and buying more yarn. I wanted to, don’t get me wrong! But I’d already bought yarn this month, most recently last weekend at a LYS, so my budget said I didn’t need more. (Budget lied but whatever.) Instead I celebrated in my closest little LYS, my craft room, poking through all my yarn treasures, reminding myself what perfect little pretties I already have. I picked out one gorgeous skein intending to cast on something new and fun just for me. Then I remembered that I wanted to make a baby hat for a pregnant friend. And then the SIL texted about my niece’s birthday in two weeks: she wants to collect donations in stead of gifts. So cool, right?? So cool that I decided I needed to make her a present to go along with our donation to support her generosity. Pretty multicolored skein went back in the stash…for now.

fullsizeoutput_20c2The hat was quick enough to make, using leftover Blue Sky organic cotton from my blanket. It’s KU Jayhawks colors, just FYI. I hope it is, at least. The pattern is Long-Tail Hat and it’s one of my favorite baby hats to make. And yesterday was Grace’s birthday (she’s FIVE now!) so I made her wear it for a brief moment.

fullsizeoutput_20c3She was thrilled, clearly. Anyway, gift #1 is done and now I’m on to some Rose City Rollers for the niece.

Superpower!

No, I haven’t gone to see Endgame yet–I’m waiting until the theaters aren’t going to be ridiculously crowded. But I decided that my superpower (or one of them) is keeping people warm. One of my favorite people at work asked for a shawl, saying that her office is always cold and she’s perpetually freezing. (Yes, she’ll pay me for it, and fairly too.) I ordered the perfect yarn for the perfect pattern, but it’s dyed to order so it’ll take a little while to arrive. In the meantime, I decided she needed some fingerless mitts to at least help keep her hands warm.

Her color preferences are pretty much opposite mine, so I didn’t have a lot of yarn in my stash that seemed right, but I had half a skein of Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in an orange/teal mix that would work well enough. I chose my favorite pattern, the 75 Yard Malabrigo Mitts, with some mods for fingering weight, and cast on Thursday night. It’s such a fast pattern that I bound off the second mitt this morning!

This pattern allows for a lot of thumb/finger movement, especially since I keep the top portion short enough that it doesn’t constrict the fingers. They’re just the perfect tiny mitts for handwarmers! What’s your favorite quick gift pattern?

Striped Convertible Mitts

It’s no secret that I like knitting. I’m a process knitter, which means I knit because I like the process of knitting, not necessarily because I want the end result. So when a friend asked me if I’d make her some mittens, I agreed right away. I’d be knitting anyway, why not make something a friend would enjoy wearing?

It turns out she’d bought the kit for these Line by Line Mittens to Gloves from Knit Picks, complete with five colors of Knit Picks Swish, because she wanted to learn to knit. Then she tried, and discovered she didn’t love it, and it made her hands and elbows hurt. But she still had this kit sitting there, staring at her and mocking her. (I’m imagining that last bit; that’s what it would be doing to me, anyway.) And she still wanted the mitts. They didn’t look complicated to me, even though I’d have to learn how to do the convertible top. She insisted there was no hurry, but when I finished the husband’s socks (which were supposed to be Christmas gifts but oops were not) I was happy to do something new and different, and I cast on the first mitt over the weekend.

IMG_5705

They knit up quickly, though it didn’t take long for me to realize I’d forgotten the downside to stripes: ends. Lots and lots of ends to weave in. I texted her a progress photo after the first one was done, joking that I’d let her weave in the ends, and cast on for the second mitt.

IMG_5704

With the basic mitts done, it was time to figure out the convertible tops. I took a break long enough to weave in a crap-ton of ends (yes, she would have happily done it herself, but I needed the break, and it was satisfying to see the neat and tidy mitts). Then I counted down the rows to where I was supposed to pick up 24 stitches. But I’d never picked up stitches in the middle before; I’d always picked up from an edge. So that took a few tries before I found a method that worked and looked acceptable. Not sure if it’s the “right” way, but eh, who cares about that, right? Getting the stitches all set up for that convertible top was kind of a hassle, to be honest, but once I got the first couple of rows done, it was smooth sailing, and by the middle of the Golden Globes last night, I had a complete mitten!

I’ll do the last mitten top tonight so that I can give her the mittens tomorrow, and then I’ll give the pattern back and never knit it again. I didn’t really care for how it was written. The thumb gusset was set up on both sides of the beginning-of-round marker, so I was fiddling with color changes and increases within a few stitches. I prefer it when the gusset is closer to the middle of the round, especially if there are color changes. Still, these are awfully cute, and it does feel good to do something nice for someone else sometimes!

Someone wants a hat!

I finally finished this pair of socks. I started them over six weeks ago, which is a really long time for me. But these got set aside for some gift knitting, so at least there’s a good reason. Still, it was a relief when I wove in that last end and called them done. They don’t quite match exactly, but I’m telling myself I’m okay with it.

IMG_5503So it has a longer section of gray at the toe, what’s the big deal, right? This way I didn’t have to get into the second skein of purple for two inches. The important thing is that the socks are soft and cozy, and they’re the same size. That’s pretty good!

With the socks done, I could move on to new projects without guilt. A friend asked for a hat for her husband, and I was delighted. I do love making hats, and I’ve overwhelmed the rest of my people with hats, so it’s a treat to have someone who actually wants me to make a hat! Within two days I’d whipped up this simple red and white striped hat, which could be considered festive but is secretly Huskers colors.

IMG_5502And that was so much fun that I decided not to stop there. Ask for one hat, get two, apparently! I pulled these out this morning and cast on with the navy already. IMG_5504(These are Seahawks colors, just in case you’re like me and don’t follow any sportsball stuff.) I’m improvising my own pattern again; casting on 88 with size 6 for the ribbing, then switching to 8s for the body. I’m doing a different stripe pattern; hopefully it comes out like I see it in my head.

I’ll close with two bits of good news: a while back I made pombe yeast hats for two new people in the lab at work, and they received them on Monday. Both of them seemed to be genuinely delighted, and they both wore them around most of the day at work yesterday. That really made my day; I work with such awesome people.

Finally, Grace is doing so much better. She’s clearly got more energy, isn’t sleeping as much during the day. She was even playing outside with Duncan this morning, which she hasn’t done in a few weeks. Her appetite is back and she wants to eat everything…except the kibble we’ve been feeding them for ages. But that’s fine, we’ll look for a different food at the store today and hopefully find something tasty that won’t break the bank. Feeding three big dogs gets expensive! We’re being pretty generous with her, giving her some chicken when we cook it, and extra treats here and there, so that she’ll gain back some of the weight she lost. It’s such a relief to not be so worried about her!

That’s all for now. We’re all taking a vacation day today and in a bit we’re going out for a Family Fun Day, at least as soon as I can get everyone motivated to get out of bed and shower. There’s probably a visit to a bookstore in my future, a trip downtown to see some Christmas lights, maybe a lovely dinner out. Here’s hoping your holidays are equally delightful!

Knitting Gone Wrong

I found out recently that one of my nephews was in need of mittens. I’d made him a pair a couple of years ago, but somehow one got lost, and plus he’s grown since then. Aunt Knitter to the rescue! He has a winter birthday and a pair of mittens would be a lovely gift. He is currently infatuated with Lightning McQueen so that was my inspiration. I had just the right colors of Knit Picks Brava Worsted in my stash, I chose Tin Can Knits’ World’s Simplest Mittens, and cast on. How could I go wrong?? (*dun dun DUN* This is called foreshadowing.)

Wow, the first mitten went fast! Just a couple of hours over two nights and I had a finished mitt. I thought it looked kind of big, and the proportions seemed a little off, but the length measurement matched the pattern specifications, so off I went onto the second mitten.

From the start, I questioned myself. It said to cast on 28 stitches. That number seemed wrong. I didn’t remember casting on that number the first time. But oh well, I’m getting old, I’d slept since then, whatever. I kept going. This mitten went even faster than the first; I finished all but the thumb in one night. Woohoo! Yay me, right?

HAHA. No. I held the first mitten up to the second. The second mitten was MUCH smaller. Not really shorter, but the body was a lot narrower. I counted stitches and discovered I’d cast on 32 stitches the first time. No wonder 28 didn’t sound familiar! Somehow my eyes had landed on the stitch count for the child size in DK weight the first time, and the second time I actually did it correctly. Sigh. At least I have one mostly-finished mitten in the right size. I spent the rest of my knitting time last night frogging the first mitten so I could reuse the yarn. Waste not, want not, right? And I’m grateful that it’s small, so I have time to get it finished before the birthday party this weekend! #mustknitquickly

img_5311

This is the “bad” mitten

Have you ever had a disaster trying to make two things the same size?

More Socks

Sometimes being a knitter comes in handy in unusual ways! We did Senior Photos for the girl over the weekend, and for one photo she needed a conductor’s baton. We didn’t have one of those, but guess what? A 14″ straight knitting needle fits the bill in a pinch! Fortunately we were close enough to home for me to go fetch one, since I didn’t have one on hand. All the other photos went smoothly and I can’t wait to see the official photos.

img_5173

I managed to fit in a bit of knitting as we drove between locations, and during the kids’ concert on Sunday, so I made good progress on one of my socks. This will be a plain vanilla sock, my first Felici sock, and so far I’m pretty happy with it.I’m trying the baby circs again, and while I still don’t love them for socks, I am getting more used to them, and I can tolerate them when I need so many socks on the needles.

img_5176

This pair is another gift, and my first sock with Knit Picks Chroma. I love the colors in the Chroma, but the yarn isn’t as nice for me as the Felici. It’s fuzzier, more sticky, so when I have to tink, it’s a bit tricky. (Haha! I made a little rhyme!) I probably should have done a plain sock for these too, but I have a vision in my head, and I really want them to be Strutting Peacock socks. And once I get into the rhythm of the pattern, it’ll be fine.

img_5180

I have one more set of sock needles available; I just need to decide what pair to cast on, and who they’ll be for!

Gift Knitting

I had SO much knitting time this weekend! We spent the entire day Saturday (I’m talking about nine hours) at a local high school for District Band auditions (the girl made it into the band for the 4th year, and earned 2nd chair flute!). Thankfully, I knew what I was getting into and planned accordingly by taking three knitting projects with me. The first got done quickly: the second half of a bobble hat. The bobbles had already been done so it was just knitting in the round and then decreasing. Piece of cake, Bobble Hat done!

fullsizeoutput_d70

I took a short break to rest my hands and stretch before moving on to Bobble Hat 2. These will be Christmas gifts, so there wasn’t a rush, but it’s always better to get things done early, right? By early afternoon, I was finishing Bobble Hat 2.

fullsizeoutput_d71

These aren’t my favorite hats. I hate making the bobbles. I don’t think they’re that cute. And yet they grew on me, and I confess I kind of like them. At least once they’re done. If you want more details, you can see the Ravelry page here.

IMG_4975

My hats were done but the waiting wasn’t, so I turned to my last knitting option, and cast on for a fingerless glove in blue. These will be another gift for a friend, and I’ve done this pattern so often that it’s almost second nature. This glove practically flew off the needles.

fullsizeoutput_d73

The pattern is 75 Yard Malabrigo Fingerless Mitts and I used Mochi Plus in a beautiful sapphire blue. My only modification to the pattern was to go down a needle size, to make them for women’s hands instead of men’s. I should be able to knock out the second glove quickly…if I can resist casting on one of the other four projects I’ve got waiting for me!