Sunday, December 30, 2007

FO: A Matched Set

What started as a simple desire to provide a little warmth and softness for a neighbor who'd been ill for quite some time blossomed into a pair of somewhat stripey mittens with a matching hat to boot.

FO: Gloria's Mittens
I hadn't seen Gloria for a couple of months. I'd heard she was getting treated for some sort of cancer but that's all I knew. What a great surprise to see her in early December! She was out walking around the neighborhood - a bit paler and thinner, but out and about nonetheless. I noticed she was wearing mittens and decided at that point to make her another pair.

We chatted for a bit about what she'd been going through for the past few months, when she revealed that the treatment made her hair fall out. "It's just hair," she said. "It'll grow back." In the meantime, I wanted to make something soft and warm for her head too.

FO: Gloria's Hat FO: Gloria's Hat - band detail
Details
Both hat and gloves were made from Jaeger Chamonix, a lovely discontinued cabled yarn made with wool and angora. I have a couple of colors in stash that I was saving for something special at some unspecified future date. No time like now, eh? The accent yarn you might recognize as the leftovers from Jack's hoodie: Fearless Fibers wool and mohair blend.

I originally intended to do a hemmed picot edge but I like the casual air of the rolled brim and grosgrain ribbon through eyelet instead. The variegated band above the eyelet is a simple pattern of stockinette, then 3 rows of knit and purl stitches. The crown decrease features the same simple knit, purl texture.

FO: Gloria's Hat - top detail
The somewhat stripey mittens were based on Ann Budd's "The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns." Nothing fancy. Just a little mix of 1-2-3 rows of striping after the ribbing at the wrist, then reverse the yarns after knitting the palm. Finish the top with every other row decrease until 8 stitches remain. Draw yarn through and anchor, then you've got a finished mitten.

Epilogue
I actually finished and delivered the mittens on Christmas Day. Gloria expressed gratitude and surprise that I even had the strength to go shopping for the mittens. Imagine her face when I revealed that I'd knit them. She was so shocked that she had no time to think when I asked if she'd like a matching hat. What could she say but, "Yeah, sure!"

Three days later, hat was born. It also became the last finished object for 2007. Boy, I can't wait to see what fabulousness 2008 has in store. It could get juicy!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FO: Pink Diamond Scarf

I never talked about it but I've been working on this scarf / wrap thing all along. You see, I didn't want the Felted Foliage hat to out into the world without a partner, so I made a diamond-shaped scarf to keep it company using a very simple stockinette pattern.

Materials and Pattern:
400 yards worsted weight Malabrigo (color shown is Little Lovely)
Size 13 US needles

Cast on 3 stitches.
Knit into front and back (kfb) of first and last stitch of each right side (RS) row.
Purl each wrong side (WS) row.
Continue the RS increases until your knitted fabric is 34" wide. Purl back, then begin decrease.

On RS, slip slip knit (ssk) the first 2 stitches then knit to last 2 stitches, knitting them together (k2tog).
Purl each wrong side (WS) row.
Continue the RS decreases until your knitted fabric is 64" long and 3 stitches remain.
Purl back, then bind off (BO) remaining stitches.

Since the beginning and ending stitches are doubled or halved, there is only minimal curling of the edges of this pretty wrap.

Pink scarf for Foliage hat
Pink scarf for Foliage hat
All that's left on the holiday knitting list is a neckwarmer (50% complete), a scarf (just getting started) and two pairs of socks. Depending on how things go in December, the socks may or may not make it in time, however I remain hopeful.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jack Is Three

Jack, wearing birthday hoodie
Although he can't quite get the fingers right just yet, Jack is three years old. He was a perfect little gentleman for taking time out from opening presents to model his birthday hoodie for me. It's not as roomy as I would have liked, but Jack's mom assures me that he'll be able to wear it next year as well. If not, his baby sister will.

Cheers, little dude! Thanks for being such a good sport. Jack really did go out of his way because, at 3, he could care less about clothes. All he wanted was to get back to opening birthday presents with his cousins.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

FO: Jack's Hoodie

Thank goodness! For a moment, I wasn't sure I'd be ready for the birthday boy's grand entrance to his third year this weekend. I just hope my take on this Lion Brand hoodie (registration required) is large enough to see Jack well into his fearsome fours.

FO: Jack's Hoodie
Hoodie in Fearless Fibers worsted weight wool and mohair - "Stormy Night"
Modifications
The pattern as written calls for each piece to be knit separately. Since there is no shaping whatsoever for this sweater, I modified it to be knit in the round to minimize seaming. I followed the pattern primarily for sizing only.

The body of the sweater was knit from the bottom up. After casting on the total number (back + front) stitches in the contrasting color and knitting the (k1, p1) border, I switched to the main color and continued in stockinette. Once I reached the armholes, I let the "front" stitches rest while continuing to knit the "back" flat, slipping the first stitch on each row purlwise.

With the back at the desired measurement, I resumed knitting the resting stitches to the neck, then did the bind off and shoulder seaming per pattern.

The sleeves received the same knit-in-the-round treatment. I began by picking up the slipped edge stitches around each armhole. Next, I marked the underside of the sleeve then placed one paired decreases (ssk, k2tog) on either side of the marker after 4 knit rounds. I did these paired decreases only four times.

FO: Jack's Hoodie - cuff detail
I continued to knit the sleeve to the specified pattern length minus 1.5 inches. Next, I picked up stitches in the contrasting edge color and did the (k1, p1) ribbing, mimicking the border on the bottom of the sweater. Lather, rinse, repeat for sleeve number two.

FO: Jack's Hoodie - neck detail
With the exception of the knitted i-cord and crossover tacking, the hood was done as per pattern.

That makes three finished items now. Now I'm left with a couple of pairs of socks, a simple black scarf and a neckwarmer of my own design. At this rate, I just may have a snowball's chance of actually meeting my holiday knitting quota.

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