Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bird on a Wire Hat

Bird on a Wire Hat (Ravel it!), modeled by the lovely McKey from America's Next Top Model, in Vogue Knitting's Fall 2009 issue. I was getting sick of the white covers in their 2009 issues, but some of the hats in Fall 2009 made up for the cover-blahs. Some of them were a bit crazy (too BIG, too TALL), but what are you going to do? Designers are designers.

Size and gauge-wise, this pattern was spot on. I worked it in Malabrigo sock and enjoyed the subtle variations in the colors. When we were in Naples, Florida for Thanksgiving, I dragged my sister to the local yarn shop so that she could pick out her yarn. (She has a yarn-phobia, no joke, it can be anxiety-attack-inducing!) She made it through the store just fine. As long as I wound up the hanks into skeins, it was more of a solid object instead of a stringy nightmare, so she could pet her options and feel what she was getting into. The blend in this yarn made it nice and smooth, instead of the itchy wool she was expecting.

So hopefully I've made a double-knitting fingering-weight hat that will last for a while. Lord knows it took long enough to make, as far as beanies go.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter gifts for work friends

You might be asking yourself, "Why is that dog wearing a hat? It does not look very pleased to be doing so." In fact, Dizzy was thrilled to wear this Kent's Beret, but she is a very subtle pup. At least when it come to fashion.
At least the human recipient, who delights in black clothing and black hats especially, looks a little happier to be modeling it. Or maybe smugger. It's hard to tell sometimes. This free pattern by Kent Turman, available on his blog is super. It calls for Cascade 220, so you know exactly what you're looking for when searching your stash for an appropriate yarn. In this case, I used an old ball of black Lion Wool.

I no longer believe in black yarn. It's a belief I hold on principal: it's too hard to knit with black yarn because it is so dark and even if you make something really great with it, no one can see it because it just sucks in all the light. Shawls might be an exception to this, but really, why not do a great burgundy or evergreen or navy or sapphire if you're going to all the trouble of knitting a shawl. It will probably be worn over dark clothing anyways, so punch it up a little! But I digress...

And gosh, I wish I had made the sweater she's wearing here, because doesn't the mitten complement it nicely? These mittens were special request from a work friend. I taught her how to knit (since we have time to at our jobs; isn't that great!?) this past fall, and while she's still progressing through her first scarf, she asked me to make her some mittens if I had time. Some red red red mittens, in fact! These Harvest Mittens come from my favorite issue of Vogue Knitting, from Fall 2008 there are two great sections in that issue: cardigans and mittens. This pair took just under one skein of Malabrigo worsted. I have big hands, and they were a bit snug on me, but fit the tiny-handed recipient perfectly. Big smiles all around.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Christmas Gift-a-thon: Hats

As promised, here are the hats that I gave away for Christmas. Some of them, like all of my Zeebees (Ravel it!), really deserve their own post. But since I'm already playing catchup, they just won't get one. Plenty of people love this pattern, plenty of people have blogged about it (sixty bloggers, by last count on Ravelry). At least I'm still showing you my finished items!

These are shown in the order I made them. The main color on all three is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted. This free customizable pattern from Shmeebot is great for stash-busting. I have only been knitting for six years and have been working on a reduced budget for most of that time. So I rarely found myself with extra yarn after a project was finished. Recently, though, I combined the worsted wool in my mom's stash with my Christmas leftovers. It was a pretty impressive pile. Thus the unusual color combinations in these three Zeebees:

This color combination was described by family as very Nana-esque. I guess navy and red was something she would have worked with. My grandma was the queen of bits and stripes, since her main project in the last 20 years of her knitting life was making children's mittens for charity. She would work up a big basket of them through the year and give them away for the holiday season. Maybe that's what I should do with the hats that don't have a home yet...

This one was fun. I found just enough blue and grey tidbits to make the following stripe pattern in rows all the way around: 12 MC, 4 CC, 4 MC, 2 CC, 2 MC, 2 CC. Each sequence was done in a new blue or gray for a pretty effect all the way around. The base color is black, which happens to match her coat, but what I really liked about it was that using some lighter blues made the background look almost navy. It was a very ninja backdrop to the stripes. The picture doesn't quite show the hat off in the way I planned, but doesn't she look nice in it?

This is a cream hat with a purple chunk and red inset. The other side is just cream. I feel like this should be someone's high school colors - it's just the right mascot purple! It hasn't quite found a home yet, but I'm sure it will.

The above hat was not intended to be child-sized. And I DID check for Errata on the Interweave website. There were none. What kind of crazy hat only has 2" of working straight before starting decreases? The Fresco Herringbone Hat from Interweave Knits Winter 2008, apparently. I love the candy cane coloring using garnet and cream in Knit Picks Palette yarns. All in all, this hat turned out well, but obviously some modifications would be necessary if I ever used it again.
A classic Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern for a classic guy. This Swatchcap can be found in EZ's Knitter's Almanac. It continues to surprise me that my maternal predecessors did not read Zimmerman. She so embodies my grandma's style of knitting. In any case, it appears that she only left my grandpa one had and he has been hurting for a new wool one. Mission accomplished, tradition loop completed.

Oh Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed! You are the best! This simple Turn a Square Hat, a classy, simple pattern found on his blog provided an interesting way to use up tidbits. Since a lot of my Christmas-gift-yarns coordinated, I had fun choosing what to use to emulate the Noro yarn called for in the pattern. If this reminds you of the second Zeebee above, it's no wonder. I used this hat as the inspiration for the striping on that one. The background here was navy, in case you were wondering. Most of the stripes were on the black-grey-white scale.

Saving the best for last, here, I think. This double-thick hat is also known as EZ's Very Warm Cap and is worked both ways out from the middle (using a provisional cast-on). It is also a hat in the Knitter's Almanac. Ravelry had some lovely variations that people had worked with Norwegian stars, so I charted up my own based on the measurements I wanted, and voila! The other side is the opposite and the hat is reversible. It must be noted, though, that a double-thick worsted hat with some stranded work is a pretty THICK HAT and would only be necessary for the coldest of winter days. Or the longest of dog-walks. I guess that expands the usable dates.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Gift-a-thon: Mittens and Gloves

Wow. After gathering photos, I have decided to split this into two posts: one for Christmas hats, and one for mittens. Let's take mittens and gloves first, shall we?

You will find below all of the Christmas mittens given to various family members in 2009.
Some of them have already been blogged, but now hats have heads in them and mittens have hands! I think this makes said accessories feel much happier in life and look much better in photos. This pairing should also make the aforementioned appendages happier. I know the gator mittens have been featured in daily life, Facebook photos, and a friends' reality tv/home video "show."

Only minimal pattern information is included. May be expanded later, but... probably not!
One of the things I like most about this series of pictures is the different ways in which people interpret "let me take a picture of you wearing your new mittens/gloves/hat!"
Because kneeling on the ground made sense to her... These are Brooklyn Flood's Almeara Gloves, done in Knit Picks City Tweed DK. A lovely gray colorway.
But going up three stairs and demonstrating the chomping action of the Gator gloves made sense to her. These are See You Later, Gator Gloves from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. I really like that book. I haven't loved all of the patterns in it, but when I was first starting to knit, it was an exciting and thorough introduction to modern knitting. Very not-your-grandma's-knitting.

Oh, and these particular Gators are made in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted. Grass and red, with scrap yarn for the white teeth, and 14mm googly eyes. When buying the googly eyes, I really struggled with size, but ended up with these because they're not big enough to mess with your mittens or look like muppets, but suit the size of the puppet/mitten well.

These Herringbone Mittens are a free download from Elliphantom Knits and are great. I especially liked the thumbs and cuffs. Once again, these are in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. And an afterthought modification was added: photographer's shutter finger. I did single crochet around a hole worked in the afterthought method, and she loves it! In fact, I'm working on a special request for next year's gift.

Finally, a pair of mittens worked from leftover Christmas yarn. Why yes, it's from Knit Picks, too, how did you guess? These are leftovers from the projects in Palette. The yellow is called Turmeric, and I just love it. It's rich but vintage with the cream. Don't ask me how a color can be vintage, it just is. They match up perfectly with my reddish-brown leather jacket. It's the kind of look that aviator glasses would complete the look. I made up a pattern for these. Should have made the thumbs a bit wider, but nobody's perfect.

A post on hats is forthcoming!