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Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

sister’s pixie hat

silly, maybe. pointy pixie hat, definitely.

I’ve knit several.  It’s just such a fun and rewarding pattern, such a fantastic hat to wear.  I have one (teal), baby J has one (soft blue), baby C has one (dark purple), and baby A also (tan).  Now my dear sweet sister-in-law has one, though it is pictured above modeled by yours truly.

Christine can face the winter looking like the happy little elfin creature she is.

Merry Late Christmas, sister!

Pattern: Pointy Ribbed Pixie Hat
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette, 100% wool, held triple
Needles: US size eight circular
Similar past project: baby’s pixie hat 

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someone’s library gloves

a pair of striped tipless man gloves

I have a dear older brother who spends hours and hours in a cold drafty library in Indiana.  He doesn’t just wander absently, meandering up and down isles of rarely-used books.  No, he actually studies.  Notre Dame gave him his own little tiny office where he does this important scholarly work.  Also, in wintertime, the library is cold.  My brother gets cold.  Stephen needed something to keep his hands warm while typing and writing and flipping through pages of dusty books.  So I knitted him a pair of library gloves.

Alyssa gave me the tweed.  I love tweed.  It’s Rowan, mostly dark green, with specks of almost every other color.  I striped the Rowan with Knit Pick’s Merlot Heather held double.  Three rounds of one color, three of another.  All 100% wool.  I combined my favorite classic mitten kitting pattern with Allison Isaacs and Sara Lucas’s tipless glove pattern (found in Holiday Knits) for this custom  perfect-for-Stephen-and-his-nerdy-needs pair o’ gloves.  How?  With US size 4 dpn and a little twist of the imagination, of course.  I think I cast on in early March and finished in late July.  My goodness, what a slow knitter I’ve become!  This was Stephen’s Christmas gift.  Christmas of 2010, I’m ashamed to say.  Now they are done and finally, he has them.  Just in time for the colors outside to change to a more autumnal spectrum.

for brother,

to keep this paws warm.

warm hands, warm heart, right?

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juniper & her knitted duck-like footwear

Out in the big world there exists so many baby bootie knitting patterns; what is a knitter to do?  What is a baby to do?  I certainly haven’t knitted each pattern, nor has Juniper tested out each bootie design (she’s only four months old, you know), but we do have experience enough, I think, to form an opinion.

Our most favorite baby booties ever were actually the first project I attempted to knit, way back in 2008.  The first project in First Knits (the book by which I learned to knit) are these lovely duck-feet booties.  Alternatively, one could call them baby clogs.  Either way, they are stinking cute and very easy to knit.  Basically two different sized squares and one I-cord are strategically sewn together to make one infant shoe.  And the best part?  They stay on baby’s feet, even on one very kicky baby’s feet.

Juniper is a kicky baby.  So much so that her nicknames is “Kicky McGee.”  She has also been called “Shrieky McGeeky,” but that’s a different nickname with a different, rather louder, story.

a favorite pink bootie and a plump baby leg

baby duck feet, see? covering ten stinking sweet tootsies.

For Juniper’s pair of pink booties (those pictured) I used Phildar’s Partner 6, which looks and feels like cotton but is actually 50% polyamid, 25% wool and 25% acrylic (making it very machine washable; a handy trait for a baby yarn).  I knitted the body of the booties using US size six needles and finished by knitting the I-cord on US size six dnps.

Besides knitting with a higher weight yarn and larger needles than the pattern originally called for, my alternations are as follows:

  • the tie (a 3 st I-cord) is knitted about twice as long as specified, so it can be half-bow tied.
  • the tie is sewn on to the heel of the bootie off-center, such that said half-bow can be tied at the ankle instead of the front of the foot.
  • the body of the foot (the larger square) is knitted in k1 p1 ribbing, allowing for stretch as the wearer’s feet grow and for a perfect fit every time.
  • the toe of the foot (the smaller square) is knitted in a seed stitch pattern because I really like ultra textured look of the seed stitch.

These alterations make for a more functional bootie that can be worn by the wee little person for a longer period of time.  Form!  Function!  Duck-foot cuteness!  My alterations came with practice, real experience and feedback from actual mothers.  You see, I’ve knitted this bootie many times over:

  • My someday baby (back in 2008), cream
  • Risha’s Hannah, purple/brown
  • Marianna’s Oliver, purple/brown with vintage buttons
  • Emily’s Braeden, green
  • Christine’s baby C, purple/brown
  • My own baby Juniper, charcoal gray
  • Jill’s Christian, tan
  • My own baby Juniper with a bigger foot, pink

I’m the mother that usually does not dress her baby girl in pink.  My Grandma said, before she met Juniper, that I probably have her in green and brown perpetually.  She was right.  I even buy blue teething toys just to break gender stereotypes.  This really drives strangers crazy.  Evidentially I have a responsibility as a new mother to make it obvious to the general public whether this baby is a girl baby or a boy baby.  Even after knitting her a pair of pink booties, you’d be surprised how people still ask if she’s a little boy.  Only very observant strangers pick up on this subtle nod to Juniper’s girlishness.

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a pair of knotty gloves

A few years ago we were shopping at the Restoration Hardware outlet in Birch Run, which I’m told is actually no longer there, and dad found a perfect navy peacoat.  Restoration Hardware peacoats are said to be authentic as they are made by Spiewak, the original peacoat manufacturer for the US Navy.  This find was significant to us because when dad was a youth, he wore his father’s WWII US Navy peacoat until it was threadbare.  I’m glad that roughly thirty years later he still had a hankering for similar sturdy wool outerwear.  With his salt and pepper beard, my father is nautical, nostalgic and very handsome all at the same time.

So for a while I’ve wanted to knit dad a pair of wool gloves to accompany his peacoat.  Life gets busy and my knitting queue is ever-growing but finally I found a piece of time to knit gloves for dad.  When I was last home in September, I had him trace his hand on a used envelope.  Lucky for me, my first attempt at custom-fitting gloves was a success; I doubted that just by measuring a traced hand I’d be able to knit the finger lengths correctly.  But it worked!  Dad’s birthday was on the third of this month and from what I understand, he likes his birthday gloves very much.  They are currently housed in the pockets of the navy peacoat, hanging in the front closet.  My folks live in Michigan, so the cold will probably last long enough for him to wear them a number of times before the season changes.

On Ravelry, the most popular glove pattern (actually the 96th most popular pattern of them all) is the Knotty Glove.  The cable design is somewhat Celtic, but if you squint and tilt your head at just the right angle, you see these gloves are very nautical indeed.  Besides the custom finger lengths, I made a few changes to this pattern.  In order to fit dad’s large carpenter-man hands, I knitted with US size 3 dpn instead of 1.5 as the pattern recommended.  Also, I didn’t knit the cuff as long as was specified; for a more masculine look, I knit only for one and a half inches before starting the knotty cable pattern.  Lastly, I changed the cable pattern so the right and left hand designs were mirrored instead of repeated.

cable detail: mirrored knots

after ages of fingerless gloves and mitts, a pair of gloves with fingertips

I used Fibra Natura Shepard’s Own yarn, 100% undyed lightweight wool which I very much recommend.  It’s a very woolly wool, no fussiness, bells or whistles.  I have about six skeins of the same fiber in a slightly darker color which I’ll be transforming into a sweater for myself sometime in the hopefully near future.

Dad’s fingers and hands will stay warm and dry inside his new knotty gloves.  This makes me wonder if my grandfather’s fingers and hands were warm and dry throughout the war.  But maybe he didn’t really need gloves, as he served in the Southwest Pacific.  If he did, though, I’m sure Grandma would have supplied him with a lovely pair.

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mismatched mittens

In late fall, a few dear friends took me on a surprise “pamper the mama-to-be” date which included a tasty lunch out and a trip to our new yarn store downtown.  Any outing involving a yarn store is a fabulous one in my book, but this one was extra great because it 1) was a surprise 2) included food and 3) was time spent with very sweet friends.  They treated me to any yarn of my heart’s desire (!) and I found Plymouth’s new Mushishi (95% wool, 5% silk) simply delightful.  All kinds of grays, a few light tans, flecks of white and some lovely deep blacks all in one skein.  Heavenly.

I’m not one to usually knit with multi-color yarn, I mostly prefer solids, tweeds and heathers, but Mushishi was just so fun to knit up.  Every few inches of yarn kept me guessing and with the random color variation, I had no idea how my end projects would look.  I loved the suspense.  So far with this one skein, I’ve knitted two pairs of mismatched mittens.   And I have yarn leftover for another small project.

Way. Too. Fun.

As always, I used my favorite mitten pattern which can be found for free here and knitted on US size 4 double-pointed needles.  For the right-hand mitten of the second pair, I used two different balls of yarn from the same skein and created a subtle striped pattern by changing yarn every other round.  And for each pair, I added a twisted tie and tassel for good luck, charm, and practicality.  Wool mittens on a cold winter day, what could possibly be better?

mismatched mittens knitted for my very own self

and mismatched mittens knitted for a friend

the twisted tie and tassel

Thank you, Lynsey and Stefanie, for this amazing yarn!  May you always have warm fingers and warm toes for as long as you face these harsh[ish] Virginia winters.

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For my sister-in-law, Alyssa, I knit these love-r-ly fingerless mitts.   The tan yarn is from a farmer’s market in Illinois, the green from Knit Picks (Palette in Edamame); both are 100% wool.  And the pattern, like most of my other fingerless mitts, is Smariek’s Regina.  I like giving  wool gifts at Christmastime and on other winter holidays.  It truly warms my heart.

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ryan’s acorn hat

I knitted this hat in September and waited two whole months to give it to Ryan for his birthday, which falls in November.  He’s been wearing it all winter, keeping his head, forehead and ears all snug and cozy, and only recently did I get a few photos to share.

Also, he has kind of looked like an acorn all winter, which makes me giggle inside.  He wears it well.  You may have noticed that I have a slight obsession with pointy hats.  I think Ryan is quite lucky this one’s style is more woodsy than elfin.

Ryan, his hat, and our Christmas wreath

view of cables, earflap and little acorn tip

Pattern: 18 Seconds to Sunrise (free on Ravelry)

Yarn: Blizzard by Reynolds Yarns, 65% alpaca, 35% acrylic

Needles: US 11 dnp

My modifications include the following:

  • cast on 72 stitches (we tend to have biggish sized heads in this family)
  • changed all purl sections to 2 stitches instead of 4
  • cabled every seventh row instead of every sixth
  • began decreasing on round 22 after third cable round
  • continued cable design on both earflaps
  • created a pointy top (like an acorn!) by repeating the last few rounds until I was satisfied with the top.

My sister-in-law used this same pattern to make my brother’s Christmas present this year.  His fabulous hat can be viewed on her website, here.  Yeah Christine!

Please note the Christmas wreath on our door in the pictures above.  Ryan brought it home one day before Juniper was born; I was delighted.  It has juniper branches and berries in it and I think that’s just wonderful.  It’s still on our door and may be there until May.

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