Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Montera Hat

Pattern: Montera Hat
Designer: Pam Allen
Materials: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flammé
Amount: (1.5) 50g ball
Needles: US7 and US10 16" circular Addi Turbo
Cost: $10.00/ball approx. $20.00
Size: one size
Start Date: Dec. 3, 2009
Finish Date: Dec. 9, 2009
Ravelry Project Link

This was a fun hat to knit. A little like the Koolhaas pattern; but easier since you don't have to hold stitches. That's not to say I didn't screw up the pattern several times anyway. Some of the rows are more confusing than others, but there are detailed instructions as well as a chart.

The yarn was pretty luxurious for what I usually use. No mail order this time. It's a 10 ply aran weight, 50% Peruvian Wool, 30% Super Fine Alpaca, and 20% Silk. It has a thick and thin consistency (I don't know what this is called), which makes it very forgiving and I like the way the leaves ended up looking kind of rounded instead of triangle shape like the pattern picture. On the other hand, the yarn is a bit heavy so it doesn't sit fluffy on the head. Even though I only used about a ball and a half, the project ended up costing about $20 as it was $10 per ball. But I wanted something really nice.

I made this for my sister who is undergoing chemo right now. She hasn't lost all her hair by any means. I think it's serving more as a lose hair catcher and just to lift up her spirits. I was so excited to give it to her that I forgot to take pictures, so I recently had my niece bring it over to model it for me. Unfortunately, it was so cold, that she had a hard time posing without looking like she was freezing to death. You can even see individual little snowflakes in her hair.

TIP: One thing about the pattern that I did wrong or that just wasn't specified was that on the vein of the leaf pattern, when knitting up the looped over increased stitch from the previous row, you should twist the stitch on the left side of the vein center in the opposite direction as the one on the right side. I didn't do this in the first few rows and I ended up with this bumpy stitch running next to the center vein of the leaf. I decided the texture of the yarn would make it so it wasn't too obvious and I kept going and just changed the way I knit it on the subsequent rows which look much better.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Pajama Pants for Christmas

I only managed to churn out two out of four pajama pants by Christmas Eve, but even that was enough to surprise myself.  I don't have a small enough pajama pant pattern for my little guy that is just two years old and I wasn't up to the task of drawing one out again this year.  I tried in vain to find a free toddler pajama pant pattern online and finally had to go to my nearest Walmart on Christmas Eve to get one.  I hate paying full price for a pattern --I'm quite frugal when it comes to certain things.  I usually only buy them when they're on sale for $1.99 so even the special Walmart price of $7-8 seemed steep for a pajama pattern, but I actually managed to find a cute one that I'll be able to re-use for both kids for quite a few years, it's New Look 6861 size 3-8.  It was less than $4.  I still had to size down the smallest size but it was fairly simple to do.  I  like this one over the miriad of other pajama patterns because although the pants are usually pretty much the same, this one has a cute boys and girls top with a collar and option of short or long sleeve which hopefully I'll have more time to make next time.


If you look closely at the Christmas tree lights in the background, you might be able to tell they're shaped like little flowers.  I saw this tutorial on this filter effect on kevin and amanda  blog.  Her picture of her little dog is SOOOOOooooo cute, I had to try it.  I like the hearts much better but the flower punch was all I could find in my regular mode of non-preparation-I-have-ten-minutes-to-give-this-a-try.  Also, in my current mode of I-must-take-all-pictures-from-a-comfortable-non-moving-position-on-the-couch due to my big pregnancy belly, the bokeh on the lights is a little puny. But, I was just happy I got it to work after the fourth or so try.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Scrumptious Fabrics

I finally got around to using my $20 credit at Quilthome for the link of the week winner.  They also had a 25% coupon on Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane fabric line.  I remembered, only too late, about my last Christmas resolution to begin a new family tradition of making pajamas for everyone.  I figured it was probably a bit too late, but I was so happy to get my delivery yesterday that I may actually be able to make a couple pajama pants at least for the little ones.  I also got some extra fabric for some future projects.  I'm thinking another Emmeline apron for a February birthday, a cute smock for monkey pants, and maybe an Amy Butler pattern down the line for Mother's Day. The fabric on top is an Amy Butler print from  Midwest Modern line I think.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yummy Yarns

For one of my last Christmas gift projects I needed a color of yarn I couldn't get from the Knit Picks selection of merino wool so I was forced to get off the couch and make a trip to the yarn store. There aren't any yarn stores too close to where I live so I wasn't really looking forward to this. Not to mention, going to the yarn store kind of makes me feel overwhelmed, like I don't know what the hell I'm doing there. My mind starts to get lost in all the candy like qualities of the yarns, picking out ones that I like, trying to think of what I could make with them, how much I would need, is it even the right weight, and soon my brains gets overloaded and I feel like leaving and coming back when I know what I'm doing. Of course, that never happens, the going there, knowing what I'm doing part.

Cascade 220 Pastaza
This time, all I needed was a pleasant duck egg blue/aqua type color in merino wool DK. That seemed like something I might be able to handle. Never the less, I ended up dragging monkey pants with me to three different stores in the valley after making a series of wrong turns to find the first two. Like I said, I don't make it to the local stores too often and by the time I go back, that store no longer exists and I have to try to find a new one.

Anyway, I didn't find exactly what I needed. The Ella Rae worsted weight wool was the closest and also the last store I went to. So I ended up with these three yummy yarns and apparently a slight obsession for aqua.

Cascade 220 Heathers
They even wound this one up into a ball for me. Cool!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cigar Gloves

Pattern: Cigar Gloves free pattern from Knitty.com
Designer: Keri Cadd
Materials: Knit Picks City Tweed DK
Amount: (1) 50g ball Orca' plus a tiny bit more to finish the pinky and thumb
Needles: US4 bamboo DPNs
Cost: $3.99/ball
Size: Small -changed length for medium
Start Date: Nov. 10, 2009
Finish Date: Dec. 20, 2009

These knit up pretty quickly, specially compared to the fingerless mittens I finished a little while ago that are double sided. I just didn't get around to finishing them until last night. I made these for a Christmas gift so I don't have any pictures of them on male hands for which they are meant. My husband kept eyeing them and wanting to try them on --and he does not get excited about knitwear by any means-- but I didn't want him to model them because his hands are much to big and I made these a small size for my brother.

If you stick to the instructions for the small size, then you should be able to knit these just from one ball of the KP City Tweed DK. I did run into a little confusion with the stitch count at one point, I'm not sure if it's a typo for the small size instructions or some weird thing I did wrong. In the Thumb Gusset section, I ended up with 54 instead of 52 stitches. I was too lazy to investigate, so I just worked around it and ended up with the right amounts for each finger.

Once again, I really liked this tweed yarn for these gloves. The 55% Merino wool, 25% superfine alpaca, 20% Donegal tweed combination makes them nice and soft and the little tweed specs gives the plain stockinette stitch a little more interest. The partially fingerless thing definitely seem to give them a man appeal, if my husband is any indication, and he doesn't smoke cigars.