January Hat and Mittens

When I started making this set, there was snow, freezing rain, and ice.  As I finished them up, that was gone.  Yesterday it was back to the low 60’s, not really hat and mittens weather.  I’m pretty sure that we will still have at least one more blast of winter that will allow me to wear them.  If not, I’m all ready for next year…

Some details about these:

Both are made of Chroma yarn from Knitpicks.  I had never used it before and love the softness, the slight fuzziness, and the patterning of the colors.  This colorway is called U-pick, which I think is either discontinued or will be shortly.  There are still lots of other great colorways, but I liked this one because I thought it would go with both my purple coat and my brown one.  I used worsted weight for the mittens and fingering weight for the hat.

I made the mittens first:

These are from a really basic, simple pattern that I’ve had forever from Cottage Creations (they don’t  have a website, but  a lot of yarn stores seem to sell them- I love and have used many of their patterns).  These are from their “Projects for Community Knitting” booklet.  The ribbed cuff continues up into the thumb and they were really easy and are very comfortable to wear.

I then moved on to the hat:

I fell in love with this hat when I first saw it.  It is from Tangled, a web magazine dedicated to those who like to both knit and crochet.  Some of their patterns are for sale, and others like this one for the Tessellations Hat are free.  They always have a lot of fun designs.  I found this one through their blog, which can be found here or from their main web page.

I absolutely loved crocheting this.  I adore granny squares and double crocheting is my very favorite thing to do- there is a rhythm to it that isn’t there for me in any other stitch.  It may be weird to have a favorite stitch, but there it is.  I also love the way this pattern takes advantage of the slow color changes in the yarn.   Sewing it up was even fun and it was quicker to make than I thought it would be.  It’s probably sort of an eccentric hat, too, which I also like :).

 

Knitted Hat

I don’t really do resolutions for the New Year, but I do sometimes have a few ideas for new goals.  One of mine for this year is to be a little better about documenting more of the projects that I make.  We will see if it really continues, but I’m at least making a start at that now.

This is the first project I’ve completed in 2012.  It probably shouldn’t really count, as it was meant to be a Christmas gift.  As I didn’t start it until December 23rd, I knew it probably wouldn’t actually get finished until the quieter days of  January.  I gave it away yesterday, so now I can post the picture of it:

 

It’s a simple hat from one of the independent patterns at Knitpicks (found here:    http://www.knitpicks.com/patterns/Braided_Cable_Hat__D10570220.html )

I loved the construction- the cable band was knit first, and then stitches were picked up for the rest of the hat.  I’ve been mostly crocheting lately, so it was fun to knit something again and remind myself that I can still do that :).

Spiral Sox and a Pincushion

I finished these socks a couple of weeks ago and am enjoying wearing them around the house this morning, as we have had our first freeze of the season.  The pattern is the Up-Down Spiral Sox pattern from the book, Favorite Socks from Interweave Press.

The yarn is some I hand-dyed, using leftover dye from a neighborhood tie-dye party. I really liked this yarn and wanted to keep playing with the leftovers after finishing the socks.  I found a few free internet patterns for knitted pincushions and decided to use the one found here:

Pincushion Pattern

It was very quick and fun to knit.  I decided to try felting it and threw it in a nylon laundry bag with a few loads  of laundry.  When it seemed to have shrunk to my liking ( 4 laundry cycles, I think), I pushed into shape and let it dry.  Here’s the result:

I still have  a little more of this yarn, waiting for another small project to catch my eye!

Cabled Hat

I just finished knitting this cabled hat, which is one of the patterns in the book, One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant. I used hand-spun yarn that I purchased at our local Farmer’s market from a woman who not only did the spinning, but raised the sheep it came from- all about 10 miles away from me. I’ve been trying to eat more locally, and it occurred to me that I should also be knitting more locally when it’s possible. This yarn was wonderful to knit with- very soft. The pattern was fun, too. First, the cable section is knit back and forth. Then stitches are picked up along one edge and the top is knit. Finally stitches are picked up around the other edge of the cabled panel and the roll-up brim is knitted. It’s definitely a pattern I would recommend!

Cabled hat

Felted Wool Water Bottle Cover

Whenever I go out, I nearly always take along my water bottle. I don’t like it when my water bottle gets all sweaty, which always happens when I add ice and especially seems to be a problem with my stainless steel water bottles. I used to stick my water bottle in a sock which helped, but wasn’t very attractive. A couple of years ago, it occurred to me that a wool water bottle cover would be perfect. It absorbs/prevents the condensation on the bottle (which keeps everything else in my bag dry) and also keeps my water cool for hours. My most-used water bottle and cover were getting shabby, so I just finished knitting up a replacement:

water bottle cover

 

This particular cover was knit for my 18 oz. Klean Kanteen water bottle, the one I use most. The same pattern works for the 27 oz. bottle with a few more rows added on. This also fits lots of plastic water bottles, with the height adjusted to whatever is needed. I’ve found that if it’s knit for a taller bottle, it’s easy enough to roll over the top like a cuff to fit on shorter bottles.

The pattern is pretty simple:

With worsted weight wool, cast on 40 stitches- I usually use size 10 or 10-1/2 needles. Divide onto 3 double point needles Purl the first round and then knit around until desired length is reached. For this water bottle, this was about 9 inches- about two inches more than the finished height I wanted. I probably could have gone a few more rows as the wool shrunk a bit more than I expected, but I was able to stretch it out to the length I wanted.

When desired length is reached, begin decreases for the bottom as follows:

Round1-(knit 6, knit 2 together) all the way around (35 stitches).

Round 2 and all even rounds- knit

Round 3- (Knit 3, knit 2 together) all the way around

Round 5- (Knit 2, knit 2 together) around

Round7- (Knit1, knit 2 together) around

Round 9- Knit 2 together around.

Break yarn and pull tail through remaining 7 stitches.  Weave in loose ends.

 

To felt the cover, I just throw it into a nylon bag with whatever else I happen to be washing for as many loads as necessary to get to the point of shrinkage that I like. This cover took 4 trips through the washing machine. I then pulled it into shape on my water bottle and let it dry. It can be pulled and shaped quite a bit when it’s wet.

I use up all sorts of odds and ends of yarn with these, creating stripes or different designs. For this cover, I held a strand of lace-weight merino yarn along with the worsted to add a little color.

Finished Socks and My Front Yard

I spent much of last week being a “theatre mom.” That means that I hung out with all of the kids who were not on stage at any particular moment. That gave me lots of small-project knitting time. Here is a pair of finished socks, which I’m sure won’t be worn until October or November. It’s way too hot to even think about wearing any socks right now, much less wool ones!green socks

These socks were knit from a free pattern found here:

Horcrux Sock Pattern

Here are some pictures of my front yard, taken earlier this evening. The sunflowers are getting quite tall- in the second picture you can see that some of them are reaching nearly to the second story of our house. You can also see a bit of our puppy, Felix.

house

sunflowers

Finished Knitting

I finished up two knitting projects today. The first is a simple pair of booties for a gift. They’re knit from the Fiber Trends baby basics pattern, which is my fall-back quick-gift pattern. The yarn was originally white(wool) with little colored flecks (acrylic) and seemed a little too boring, so I overdyed it orange.

Booties

The second project is a market bag I’ll use at the Farmer’s market. It’s knit from a free pattern from Knitpicks, found here:

Summer Bag Pattern

Rather than their suggested yarn, I used 6 different colors of some hemp-wool blend yarn that I had dyed for assorted other projects (I do my part to support their business, though!). I ran out of colorful yarn and had to make the handles out of undyed yarn. I thought about dying it, but decided I just wanted to finish it now. I can always pull it out and dye it later, although it’s fairly unlikely that I’ll ever get around to that :).

market bag

Babies and Bears Sweater

I’m attending a baby shower tomorrow and just finished sewing the buttons on the sweater that will be my gift.  It’s knit from the Cottage Creations Babies and Bears Sweater pattern, which is a fun sweater to knit.  I love watching how it all comes together as it’s knit.  I used Cascade 220 superwash yarn, which I hadn’t used before and really liked.

Here’s the sweater front:

sweater front

Here’s the back:

sweater back

Knitted Heart Dishcloth

I love knitting dishcloths, and have found that they are the perfect quick take-along project.  On Tuesday, I attended a talk by Diane Rehm of NPR and the seating was general admision.  Because I wanted a good seat, I left early and had lots of nice knitting time before the program (which, by the way,  I loved!) began.  I worked a bit more yesterday and finished this up this afternoon.

Heart Cloth

The yarn is leftover from some I hand-dyed  that I used to knit a prop baby sweater for a play my daughter was in last summer.  The pattern is from http://smariek.blogspot.com/ where there are lots of great dischloth patterns I’d like to knit and also some hat patterns I’d like to try.

Finished Pinwheel Sweater

I have been working on knitting the Pinwheel Sweater from Elann.com off and on since last fall. I finally finished weaving in all of the ends last night. I still need to block it and figure out what I’m going to use as a front closure, but otherwise, it’s finished.

Here it is all spread out on the floor:

Sweater

Here’s how it will look as worn:

The front:

sweater front

The back:

sweater back

Here is the link to the free pattern:

http://www.elann.com/ShowFreePattern.asp?Id=138024

I can’t wait to wear it!

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