Tag Archive | handknit gifts

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween! But my kids are older so I don’t have to go out in the cold to trick-or-treat, and I don’t have to answer the door over and over while listening to my dogs bark. As cute as my kids were when they were little, I confess I don’t miss the chaos of Halloween. Instead, I’ll leave my porch light off and just keep knitting like it’s a normal night. I’ve got another bottle sweater on my needles, but today I wanted to show off my latest FO, my Not So Lacy Lace Scarf.

fullsizeoutput_2412After blocking, it was 72″, and at first I was afraid that was too long, but now I think it’s perfect. Plenty of length to wrap around however you want!

fullsizeoutput_2417Sorry for the less than stellar photos; it’s been a little chilly and I’ve been too lazy to get outside for a proper photo shoot.

The yarn is Schachenmayr Fashion Soft Mix, a nylon/alpaca/wool mix and it’s super lightweight and soft and fluffy! It’s a gift, and I really hope they aren’t sensitive to alpaca or wool.  I haven’t made a scarf in a long time, and I was afraid it would drag on forever, but I finished this in a week! Once I memorized the 4-row repeat, it was fast and fun.

Hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!

I get knocked down, but I get up again

A couple of days ago the girl sent me a snapchat asking if I was okay, because I hadn’t blogged in like three weeks. I confess, I teared up a bit because it was really perceptive and sweet and I miss her. As I told her, the answer is yes. But also no. And all the gray area in between. One of our dogs, Grace, got really sick last weekend and she’s still not quite 100% so I’ve been worried about her, plus a little stressed about how much we spent on vet bills because of it. Work hasn’t been what I want it to be lately, and I’m at the point in my life where I think about things like what are my long-term goals, how can I have multiple, competing goals, how do I want to spend the rest of my working life, is it okay to do something that fulfills you even if it’s not “A CAREER”? And I haven’t found any answers yet. I’m knitting, but I haven’t felt the call to write about it lately. Every time I think about it, it seems like a lot of work, so I don’t bother. But, here I am, doing the thing, because maybe if I push myself a little bit, I can get back in the groove.

My most recent FO is a hat commission I just finished this morning. It’s not quite done because it needs a pompom, but I’m debating between pink, silver or both. What do you think? It’s for a 10yo girl, if that makes a difference.

img_5840I used Caron Simply Soft Party Sparkle. I do like their acrylics, and I do love some sparkle! The pattern is Zayo Bayo Hat, which says it was written for 4-7yo kids, so I bumped up the stitch count by a few stitches.

Over the last few weeks, I also finished the Cersei hat for my former boss’s birthday, and I cast on for a new cowl for myself and a scarf for a friend’s birthday coming up. Plus I’ve been working on my Spring Rain shawl and my Boxy (not that much on the Boxy, to be honest). Oh, and I cast on a new pair of socks for a nephew, but I haven’t gotten a photo of those yet.

The Spring Rain shawl has its own little story, so I’ll share that soon. It will be a tale of why one should use lifelines when knitting lace shawls!

Happy weekend, friends. Hope it’s a good one for you!

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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.

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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.

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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

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This is the “bad” mitten

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