Thursday, November 27, 2014

busy little elf

I've been a busy little elf with the gift knitting lately. Somehow my knitting productivity has increased dramatically -- I credit the decreased sunlight and chilly temperatures. Cuddling up with a cat, some tea, and my knitting seems like the perfect activity.

yarn: plucky knitter merino cashmere nylon fingering, 
Tracy Lord Haven, 1 skein
needles: US 5 Clover bamboo circs

Brilliant pattern -- very easy lace, it made for perfect travel knitting while we were in Door County last month. You're essentially just knitting a scarf, then seaming the ends together. Next time I would use a provisional cast-on, then work a three-needle bind-off. The yarn is soft and squooshy, and I love the color. This is a birthday gift for my mother-in-law, though I'd really like to keep it for myself. Confessions of a selfish knitter!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the mad hatter strikes again

Erik is sporting a new handknit hat these days. It is going to fit his large head (ninety-fifth percentile!) for approximately five minutes, so I'm not waiting for Christmas for him to wear it.  Stranded colorwork is my knitting bĂȘte noire, so I'm glad to finally make some progress.
pattern: sheep may safely graze, by caoua coffee, adapted for a hat
yarn: patons classic wool merino, leaf green, 1/2 skein
knitpicks swish worsted, grey, 1/4 skein
needles: US 4 + US 7 circs + DPNs

I was inspired by blanchn's beautiful adaptation of a sock pattern. I love bighorn sheep! I folowed blanchn's notes and cast on 72 stitches, using US 4 needles for the 1x1 ribbing, then I switched to size 7 since I wanted a larger hat. The ribbing's a little tight -- I'd use US 5 next time. I followed her notes other than that, and it turned out super cute. I wish I had used cream yarn for the sheep for more contrast, but Erik hasn't complained.

Lots of hats off the needles lately! I've already blogged about the Saint Anthony cable hats and the Milanese lace topper, but new to the collection are Barnwood, Magnolia, and Betsy.

Magnolia (above) and Betsy (below) are essentially the same stitch pattern -- a nice lace pattern that has an almost cabled look. Magnolia is a free pattern for worsted weight yarn, whereas you have to pay for Betsy, which is written for chunky yarn. The crown decreases are very different. I ran out of yarn on Magnolia and had to do some improvising on the decreases, so it's not quite as pretty as it could have been. The perils of stashbusting! The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Bobby Blue.

I had plenty of yarn for Betsy (more of the lovely Orange Flower Twist HW yarn that I also used for two Saint Anthony cable hats), so I followed the pattern as written. Barnwood still needs to be blocked, so full details another time.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

the mercury is falling...

and the handknits are emerging! I've been knitting like a fiend as of late. Not only have I been using yarn from the stash, I've been rocking the free hat patterns.
I've made a couple of these Saint Anthony Cable Hats in the past month or so. Erik's sporting an adult-sized hat with the brim rolled up. Honestly, I was hoping to wear it for a modeled shot, but it ended up being a chilly morning at the park. Handknits to the rescue!

pattern: Saint Anthony Cable Hat, by Heideh Sarfehjoo (free!)
yarn: Orange Flower Twist HW, petrol, .6 skein
needles: US 8 and 10 bamboo circs and DPNs

I liked the pattern so much that I made a second one right away. The first hat I worked per the directions. With the second one, I used size 8 needles for the first 7 rows, then went up to size 10. I wanted the hat to be just a touch longer, so I added an extra row of ribbing to each pattern repeat. Worked like a charm. The yarn is a dream to knit -- soft, squishy, beautiful colors. Naturally, it has been discontinued. Sigh!
Goofing off at the playground. I'm wearing not only my Aidez cardigan, but also another new hat.

pattern: milanese lace topper, by tante ehm (free!)
yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers, 9452 summer sky heather, .6 skein
needles: US 4 and US 7 bamboo circs + DPNs

This color must speak to me, since it's the same hue as my Aidez (which is knit from Eco Wool). The pattern was fun and easy. I squirreled up the decreases at the top a bit with an extra stitch somewhere, but it looks just fine nevertheless. I suspect that the designer was using British needle sizing, so I used US size 4 for the ribbing and switched to US 7 needles for the rest of it. I continued the 1x1 ribbing for the first 14 rows, since I didn't like how the stockinette section rolled on so many versions on Ravelry.