Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Day After Thankgiving

Jellyroll is helping me knit.

An elderly friend asked me to help her with a hat she was knitting (La Parisienne beret) and she had gone so far astray I decided I had to knit the hat first myself to see what the pattern was supposed to be doing. It will serve for my Secret Santa gift to take to my office holiday party.

And here's the beret, after I steam blocked it over a dinner plate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good things come to those who wait

I do actually knit, but certainly not often enough to be any kind of respectable kal friend (sorry, HEB).

As you may recall, I embarked on knitting the Droplet Hat from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature quite some time ago. I finally finished the hat and would prefer to not think about how long it took me to finish. I suppose that finishing it (ever) is what matters most.

This hat is definitely the most difficult project I have tackled to date, which is probably more of a reflection of the relatively basic patterns I've knit previously than a suggestion that this is an inherently difficult pattern. The most obvious benefit of this challenging pattern is the end product: a hat that I absolutely adore! The other great benefit is that it forced me to learn a lot as I took my first crack at many maneuvers like sewing a seam, making bobbles, and all kinds of stitches (K1-f/b, K1-tbl, p2sso, ssk). If there is a downside to all of that learning, it is that all of the mistakes and tearing out that followed definitely slowed me down. Fortunately, I was determined to get past the mistakes and have a droplet hat of my own!

I actually finished knitting the hat about a month ago, but since the hat is knit flat, it was still useless minus the seam (unless, of course, wearing a hat held together by safety pins is your idea of comfort and style). I definitely drug my feet on the seam. I'd never sewn a seam and I feared a novice seam would ruin an otherwise cute hat (that was painful enough to finish knitting in the first place). HEB pointed me in the direction of some great and easy directions on seaming in Stitch 'N Bitch, and she pointed out that a seam would be easy enough to tear out and re-do if I didn't like it. Surely, then, I tackled the seam right away, right? Not quite.

I drug my feet some more. The hat sat flat on my coffee table for a few more weeks, as the weather here was relatively mild and certainly didn't necessitate a hat, but with the words blustery and snow finally creeping into the forecast, I decided I really had to finish the hat. I put the entire seam in tonight. This is the seam in progress. The process was definitely not as bad as I thought it would be, and while I don't think the final seam is perfect, I think it is good enough to call it done. That said, allow me to show off my new favorite winter accessory:

The FINISHED droplet hat!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

used to be much harder

Recently, the project that has been the most compelling is also the project that has been the most frustrating. I'm designing the pattern and it's still in the swatching stage. Unfortunately, for the life of me, I can't figure out how to translate what's in my mind into yarn. Below, you can see the backside of one of many attempts to do so.
I didn't want to recreate the wheel, so I've trolled Ravelry and scoured pattern books to find a stitch that works, but no luck yet. I took a break from being absurdly frustrated to work on an absurdly simple one.
Suddenly, I have a new most compelling knit.

What have I been doing?

I have had the sense this fall that I haven't been doing much knitting.  But maybe it's because I've been knitting things that were not on my knitting to do lists. 

These mitts are a perfect example.  When ysolda's pattern came out, I knew I had to make them, and I even knew that I wanted to use my plucky KAL yarn.  It turns out this was a decision made in knitting heaven, because this yarn turned out even more marvelously than anticipated.  It's hard to capture in photos, but it's totally glowy! 

The wrist band is knit straight, and then you pick up stitches along the edge and knit the hand.  This design (like so many of Ysolda's, really) has a fantastic combination of simplicity and sweet little details. 

I especially loved how the buttons along the wrist section curve a bit, so they aren't in a straight line.  

The other little knit that I can share is a iPod cover I improvised for my iPod.  I promised that I would make it a new cover if it started working again, and as it did, I kept my word.

The button is a glowy green that matches this super special yarn (what's it called, Old Books or something?) perfectly. Yay super special, happy yarn!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

third time's the...

So far, I've knit three Brooklyn Tweed designs for Christmas gifts. Two of them were delightful, inspiring knits. The kind of knits that you don't want to put down and that you're a little sad to finish. For both of those, I picked out the yarn that I plan to use the second time that I knit the pattern before I finished the first version. (I've even started in on one of those repeaters.)

And then there was this one.I think that the best thing that I can say is that, now that it's done, I no longer hate it. And I think that the recipient will really enjoy it. (Or at least will wear it. The recipient might not be the type to rhapsodize over handknits.) But it felt like punishment to have to knit it. Maybe if I can talk myself into knitting another, I'll take a page from Wamps's book and cut down the repeats. That might help. Or maybe I'll just resign myself to not being a fangirl for this pattern.

For both this post and the prior post, I am pretty darn sure that the recipients do not read the blog. From here on out, I'll need to be more obscure for the remaining gift knitting season.