Tag Archive | handmade gifts

Socks, Hats, Dogs.

Remember how I finished two baby blankets for a friend with twins, and they just needed to be blocked? Well, they were washed and laid out to dry last weekend and looked great. Then I woke up Monday morning and spotted this in my craft room:

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Naughty pupper! But still cute. Thankfully, he didn’t damage it at all, just left some dirty spots so that I need to rewash it. And now I know to close my craft room door when things are blocking on the floor!

After finishing all my WIPs recently, I got to cast on a couple of new projects. The first is a sock, of course, since one must have a sock on the needles. I chose The Theory of Relativity socks and my new Cherry Tree Hill amethyst sock yarn, but pulled out a bit of leftover hot pink for contrasting bits. I have to pay attention to the pattern, but so far I love how it’s turning out.

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I’m just a little scared of the size. The pattern strongly recommends casting on more stitches because the pattern isn’t as stretchy as most, so I went with the size I needed per their measurements, but it seems like a lot! I really hope they don’t come out too big.

My other new WIP is a hat, which I’m loving because I haven’t done a hat in so long! This one is a donation for a silent auction. At first I thought I’d do this Zig Zag Chevron hat. I love how it looks and thought it would be a good way to try colorwork. HA! It did not go well and I hated every moment of the attempt. I do know that if I spent more time feeling comfortable with English style, it would be easier, and I could watch videos and blah blah blah. Bottom line, I didn’t like it enough to spend that much time on it yet. I’ll learn how to do colorwork someday, and that’s enough for me.

I still wanted to do two colors, though, and I still wanted to do something other than basic stripes. I decided to do my own thing based on a cowl I’ve made and loved called the Twinkly Lights cowl. This is what I’ve got so far:

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Just decreases and a big pompom left to do. Then I’ll make a pair of matching fingerless gloves to go with it, and hope someone likes the set enough to bid on it. And with it being a long weekend, plus jury duty on Tuesday, I should have time to make good progress.

Oh! And today we’re going to look at puppers! All the shelters are running specials to make room for dogs coming up from Texas (they’re bringing up dogs that were already in shelters, leaving room in the Texas shelters for dogs displaced by Harvey in hopes that they’ll be reclaimed by owners). That’s a good time to adopt a third dog, right? Haha! Yes, I’m probably crazy. But I’m okay with it, if it means I get to have lots of dogs!

Finishing Everything

This has been a very productive week, friends. I decided I needed to make a big push to finish the second baby blanket, as it is nearing fall and the babies are two months old now. I finished it Thursday and it is currently being prepped for blocking. Here it is unblocked:

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This one made for easy, mindless knitting, which also made for boring knitting. Nevertheless, it is lovely and should be nice and cozy for the little boy who will be receiving it. Now I’m only hoping that the two blankets are roughly the same size after they are blocked. We shall see. This pattern is the Garter Rib Baby Blanket and the yarn is KnitPicks Swish Worsted Brights in Razzleberry.

With the blanket done, I could turn back to socks, and I quickly finished the second sock I had on my needles.

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I ran out of the blue and only had the gray with me to finish the toe, so the second sock had the contrast toe as well (which is what I’d intended in the beginning anyway). So they don’t match that way, but they’re the same size! Almost exactly! I believe that’s the first time I’ve done that with socks. These are Blueberry Waffle Socks  in KnitPicks Stroll Glimmer in Peacock and Chrome. I quite like this yarn; it’s lovely and soft and sparkly.

Well, finishing those two things felt so good, I decided to keep finishing. I had my Harvest cardigan that had been sitting around for four months, waiting only for sleeves. Again, fall is coming. Wouldn’t I rather have a cardigan to wear than one to stare at? Yes. Yes, I would. I started knitting sleeves, and discovered that sleeves are also very boring to knit. But I had a little movie marathon and knit around and around and around and finally by 6:30, I had a complete cardigan! YAYYYYY! Sadly, I also had approximately twenty million ends to weave in. Still, I conquered those in time to have the husband take a photo before daylight was gone.

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It’s too big (I was between sizes and opted for the larger one) and there’s a faint stripe from before I started alternating skeins from different dye lots, but it’s a wearable sweater. It’s warm and cozy, and full of satisfaction. I MADE that. With my own two hands! And that feels pretty damn good. Mind you, I don’t know that I’ll ever do it again, given that it took forever and wasn’t the most interesting project at times, but who knows. Never say never, right?

This yarn (Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme Splash in Plum Blanket) and I have a long history. I bought the first few skeins back in April of 2014 to make a cardigan. I cast on for a Lilas Cardigan but too soon succumbed to the boredom of endless stockinette and set it aside. I had a couple more short bouts with it before finally frogging it early last year. I decided it would become a new sweater, and I chose the Harvest cardigan by Tin Can Knits for its simplicity to make and ease to wear. I cast on over six months ago and all went smoothly for a bit, until I moved into a skein purchased after the first batch. Yes, a noticeable difference. It went in timeout while I ordered more yarn. I knew it would be a different dye lot, and I would have to alternate skeins. I couldn’t bring myself to frog all the way back, though, and I think I can leave with that pale stripe. So here it is, over three years after first trying to become a cardigan, something I can wear! I’ve learned a lot, mostly to buy a sweater quantity all at once. That whole alternating skein thing was a pain in the butt.

Whew! Three FOs in one week! That left me with three WIPs. One is another blanket, which I moved to Hibernation until it gets cooler. One is my lace Zuzu’s Petals, which I’m eager to get back to. And the last one is Miss Winkle, which I started at the end of December. 8 months ago.  I didn’t really enjoy the knitting, but it’s such a cute pattern, and the loops truly are adorable.

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But. OMG. Making those loops?? I found it really tedious. Much like short rows, I liked the look but found myself getting annoyed at having to stop my knitting groove to make these long strips that made a loop. This morning, while I was lying in bed trying to decide whether to get up, I realized I was dreading having to go back to Miss Winkle, and I remembered what the son had said last night while I was finishing my cardigan: “I think next you should make something you like to knit!” Indeed. Why should I spend my precious knitting time on something I didn’t enjoy? Further, why would I waste yarn I love as much as this? So, this morning found me frogging.

It was a relief. Quite liberating, to be honest. Now I can happily finish Zuzu, and cast on for some new lunch-time knitting, and not have to look at all those lingering WIPs any longer!

I know Start-itis is a common thing; what about Finish-itis? Do you go through that as well?

Raishan Blanket

Yesterday was rainy and cool, and I was able to spend it all indoors doing whatever I chose. And mostly I chose to knit and cuddle with puppers, especially Jack.

 

I watched Southside With You (good movie, man who played Barack was especially great) and The Green Mile (one of our favorites, but the boy watched it for the first time) and Supernatural (not my choice, the girl’s). By the end of day, I was weaving in ends!

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This project took a month and three days, but because I’m not a huge fan of making blankets, it felt like longer. Still, I’m delighted with the finished piece. The photos don’t show how neon-bright the green really is!

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Pattern is Raishan by Laura Cameron, and it was well-written, interesting, and fun to knit. Yarn is Knit Picks Swish Worsted Brights in Sour Apple. I used almost all of seven skeins after making some modifications to the pattern. You can see my Rav page here.

And now, because this is for one twin, I need to knit another baby blanket. I’m doing the same yarn in Razzleberry, a bright blue, but a different pattern. This time I’m doing a garter rib blanket, something simple enough I can take to work for lunch-time knitting, and maybe it will go faster. A girl can dream, right?

Today, the girl is at work and the boys are off getting haircuts, so I have a rare morning with the house to myself. I’m off to knit in peace and quiet!

Bonus: Baby Knits

Thanks to the holiday, I can make an extra post today and show you the wee baby knits I’m working on. This is the preemie-sized Yoda hat from last week:

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I finished a tiny rolled-brim beanie too, and it’s so very tiny that I’m a bit worried it won’t even fit his little head! But as we all know, handknits are forgivingly stretchy, so I’m remaining optimistic.

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I used leftover sock yarn, the Frolicking Feet by Done Roving in color Dancing Leprechaun, and it only took about 17 grams so I’ve got enough left to make another, slightly bigger version too. That one might be for another new baby I know, one of a set of twins. But first I’m determined to make them each a blanket, because I’m crazy like that. Before they were born, I said I wouldn’t make blankets because I always get bored making blankets and take forever to finish them, and to make two would drive me batty. Then the babies came and they’re adorable of course and they deserve pretty handknit blankets. I took advantage of the Knit Picks summer sale to get some Swish Worsted and have cast on the first blanket.

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This pattern is Raishan and it’s going well so far, with a pattern that’s intricate enough to keep my interested. It won’t be a travel project, but if I keep on track in the evenings, I should be able to get both blankets done before it gets cool. I’m aiming for small blankets, ones that will fit nicely in a car seat or stroller. And hopefully if I balance it with sock knitting on my lunch breaks, I won’t completely lose interested in the blankets! Anybody else get bored with blankets?

Striped Socks

This week’s FO is my newest pair of socks, and I’m in love! This was my first adventure with self-striping sock yarn, as well as my first adventure with a contrast cuff/heel/toe. Can you say “Obsession”? OMG I get it now, like, I really really understand all those sock addicts now. I put these socks on to take photos this morning and didn’t want to take them off, ever!

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It helped that I have figured out how to make them fit the way I like. I like snug socks with negative ease, so I use size 1 needles regardless of what the pattern says. I make the foot shorter than the pattern usually calls for (about 7.5″ for my size 9 1/2 foot). I also like shorter socks, so I knit 6.25″ of cuff. I think I might do around 5″ next time.

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The pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks and I really enjoyed knitting it. It was perfect for my lunchtime knitting, given how much I like knitting ribbing. I adore the contrasting bits, even if it did mean struggling a bit with the stripe pattern and weaving in more ends.

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And I LOVED this yarn and will absolutely be getting more. It’s Aurora Fingering Weight by Tumbleweed Yarn. This colorway is called Confetti, and it was a kit with the mini-skein of purple. I bought mine at Loopy Ewe.

I immediately cast on for my next pair of socks, this time grabbing some Serenity Sock Weight from my stash in a color called Paprika. This time I’m trying a pattern called Petty Harbor and so far both yarn and pattern are delightful.

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But alas, I must now set aside the sock knitting for a short time! I need gifts for a baby shower by next Friday, for someone having TWINS. Yes. Two babies. ACK. I’m only slightly panicking and wishing I’d planned better. But I’m not going to get too crazy here; my current mental state just won’t stand for that. I’ve got fun colors of cotton in my stash so I’m going to knit as many washcloths as I can, and wrap them up with some baby soap, and call it good for now. I will have many opportunities to knit these babies hats when the weather actually calls for things like hats, and I know how much I love my knitted washcloths. Wish me luck! How many washcloths do you think I can knit in six days??

Gift Knitting

Of course I had to decide, at the last minute, to make some Christmas gifts. All along, I told myself I wasn’t going to stress over making handmade gifts. I had one gift made months ago and was enjoying my selfish knitting time. But then the urge hit me — and I really wanted to make a cowl for this specific person. I had a vague picture in my head, along with an idea of what yarn from my stash I wanted to use, and I took to Ravelry. I soon found the Twinkly Lights Cowl and knew it was perfect. I cast on immediately and was done within about three hours (spread over a couple of days).

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I loved knitting this and will definitely be making more. I really want to do a black and gray version like the original. I accidentally did only 10 rows of Color B in the middle, instead of 20, but I don’t mind. I think it came out a good height, warm without being too bulky. The yarn is Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in colors Chocolate and Extra Creme Cafe, and I used less than a skein of each. This is lovely yarn to knit with; it feels dense without being heavy, firm but still soft. It’s not luxurious the way some yarns are, like alpaca, but it’s a great everyday yarn perfect for hats and cowls. Probably mittens too, maybe I should try that!

I also started a new scarf this week. For a brief moment, I thought it could be a gift, but then I came to my senses when I realized that A) Christmas was six days away and B) this is a SCARF. Now, this will be a shorter scarf, but still. A scarf. And my knitting time is still hampered by this crazy job thing. Anyway, I made a scarf for my husband a couple of years ago and we all love it and occasionally steal it. The pattern is Quickie Cowl (only I modify it to make a scarf) and it’s knit with CEY Chalet and it’s just so cozy and warm. It finally occurred to me that I could make another one, since I have more of that yarn in the stash. In fact, I have two skeins of a gorgeous deep teal and a skein of light gray to coordinate. I decided to use the same pattern since we like it so much but noticed I’d used a smaller needle than recommended the first time around, so I went up a needle size and cast on.

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It’s YUMMY. And gorgeous. I adore this yarn, truly. It’s so warm and never makes me itch. I’ll probably ignore all my other WIPs and knit on this exclusively!! (hahahaha!)

Hope you’re all ready for the holidays coming up! I know I’m not!

So Many FOs!

I have SO MANY finished objects to share, it’s ridiculous. And just so you don’t hate me, keep mind that some of them I finished a while ago and couldn’t share at the time, and some of them were simple travel knitting, and some of them were super quick crochet hats. So, now that we’ve agreed not to judge or compare, let’s take a peek, shall we?

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First up: Messy Bun Hats! Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon, but it was by request. The bottom two are for two of my nieces, and the top two are for a friend’s nieces. I used this pattern as a basis but modified a bit, mostly by picking up stitches for a knitted brim instead of crochet. These hats are incredibly fast to make.

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This scarf is for a coworker, and it was also super quick to make. I used Susan B. Anderson’s Leaf pattern and one skein of Bernat Roving and got one cute scarf. Hopefully the blocking keeps it from curling too much.

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This is another cowl with Cascade Yarns’ Spuntaneous yarn and I think it’s stunning. Plus, big yarn + big needles = fast project! Pattern is New Years Cowl.

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This little kitty just needed whiskers, so that was a fast finish too. I dabbed some glue on them and now they’re drying, so hopefully they’ll stick out nicely and my nephew will be pleased. He’s one of my favorite people to knit for; he just loves everything so much.

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Okay, this one was not a fast finish. I started this in February 2015 and finally forced myself to finish it. It’s not perfect, not exactly what I thought it would be, but it’s done, and once I’ve taken a break from looking at it, I might even be able to wear it. Pattern is Purl Soho’s Gradient Cowl and I used 8 colors of KnitPicks Palette.

All right, are you ready for the last reveal?? It’s my favorite, I think. So, I work in a lab that studies yeast, and a while back my boss asked me to make pombe yeast hats for the team. She didn’t have any other requests or ideas beyond that, so I asked what it looked like. (I’m the non-scientist admin person; I don’t actually play with the yeast.) Tetrads, she said, like four peas in a pod. I went hunting, asked my Knitting SIL for advice, and eventually stumbled on bobbles. Bobbles ended up being perfect.

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I started with this pattern, but it was mostly for the general look. I kind of made up my own stitch counts, and changed the bobble pattern to be groups of four. But guess what? Bobbles are horrible. I mean, they’re not that hard, but good grief they’re fiddly and interrupt the rhythm of knitting and they were a pain in my butt. I don’t think I’ll be doing much more bobble-knitting in the future. Still, I persevered and everybody got their own color, and I think they were pleased. At least some of them were. Some of them might not be hat people, and that’s okay. It was a fun project.

And after all that, I’m down to only four WIPs on my needles. I didn’t commit to very much gift-knitting so I don’t have any projects that I *need* to finish. I mean, I really should pick up one of my WIPs, but I’m also feeling kind of desperate to cast on something new, something else with bulky yarn. What’s your favorite quick bulky-yarn project?