Sunday, January 29, 2012

Color Me Hatty

I've been whipping out hats left and right this month since participating in the Warm Up Winter KAL. Although that's not to say that they all haven't been needed or put to good use, but many of them hadn't been a real stretch of my skills or a challenge to complete in any time period, so I dug into Ravelry and my queue and fave's and came across a Kate Davies pattern that had caught my eye. Peerie Flooers Hat. It seemed the perfect project.I could use a new hat to wear under my ski helmet or before I put on my helmet at the ski resort and want to look cute, and this looked like fun to knit with lots of color changes, small needles needed (a personal favorite of mine to use). I dug in the stash and found I had colors that would work perfectly.

The project flew off the needles as I was excited to see each new phase of the hat emerging. I really love that about chart knitting. I'm a sucker for a good chart. Give me small yarn, size 1 or 2 needles and a intricate chart and you have one happy camper.

I only have the ends to weave in, which don't worry those followers who have seen me procrastinate in the past, I've already started and will finish it up tomorrow and take a modeled shot later in the day... promise! In the meantime, enjoy some pics of the fun project. I highly recommend it to those who want a fun fast color project. Remember Meg Swansen also says that knit hats as often as you can, there's always a head out there that needs a hat somewhere. That's why I tend not to swatch for hats, I just figure if it doesn't fit me, i have at least five other heads in my house alone, and many other friends to try, plus charities that are always looking for hats in the cold northwoods. I don't feel naughty at all about not swatching, as I know that Meg S. herself doesn't swatch either and usually considers her hats her swatches. See, I'm in good company.

Pattern: Peerie Flooers Hat by Kate Davies
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight - Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift
Needle: Size 1 Circ

10th Project for 2012
8th Project for Warm Up To Winter KAL

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed

I've obviously been on quite the hat kick lately with the Warm Up To Winter Knitalong and have been happily checking lots of hats off my to-do list for others. A lot of the projects I've been doing however have been fast and quick and that's starting to get a little old. Like really fast, a few hours fast! I feel like I've been dumbing it down. I want to do some hats for me and a couple friends. I'm liking the Jane Richmonds hats and have never knit one of hers. I have knit the Rustling Leaves Beret before, but am thinking I'd like to do another one as it's such an interesting knit. Maybe some more complex gloves or mittens. I'd really appreciate some suggestions. How about a real humdoozie?! One that really challenges me. Like a five alarm project. Please give me your best suggestions. I'm up for it.
Madison snappy 2
Pattern: Snappy Hat
Yarn: Ariosa
Needles: 10.5
No modifications
6th Project for Warm Up to Winter KAL
8th Project for 2012
Yarn: Ariosa
Needles: 10.5
No modifications, but pattern has an error on row 29, states there will be 25 stitches when there will only be 24.
7th Project for Warm Up to Winter KAL
9th Project for 2012
Yarn: Flicker
Needles: 6
No modifications
5th Project for Warm Up to Winter KAL
7th Project for 2012

In the meantime, I've whipped up another snappy hat. Madison had fallen in love with the pink one I had knit for a friends granddaughter that she modeled so I made her one. It takes just over one skein of Ariosa, so I looked on Ravelry for a pattern to make some mitts for her using the remaining yarn. I came across the Easy Peasy Eyelet Wristlets, which besides the crazy amount of typos (pearl=purl) and a couple other mistakes, were very simple. I decided to knit these using the magic loop method, which is a method that I usually detest, but thought I'd give it another whirl. Remember they say it takes 21 tries before it becomes a habit (don't know if this is actually true or just something my mum said to get me to east liver and onions, which I now actually love). Well, maybe this was try number 21 or I finally learned the correct way to do it because I didn't hate it, I actually liked it. I still wouldn't say it was my favorite method... 2 circ's is still at the top of the list, but it's yet another tool to put in the tool belt. It's always good to being open to new things.

I also hosted a baby shower this weekend, which I'll post about later this week (I think I did a bloody good job if I do say so myself and thanks to Pinterest - thanks Earthtonesgirl for getting completely hooked on it). One of the gifts I had gotten for Baby Lucy was a chic little Black and White outfit. It needed a cute blingy black and white hat. I know that black isn't always the color you expect to see at a baby shower, but I like blingy things and luckily so does Lucy's mum. I still have to whip up some Blingy Saartje booties like I have knit before to finish the whole ensemble. Forget pastels or naturals for babies when you can have bling!

While we're talking about Madison, here is a picture she snapped of Sir Winston on my phone this afternoon using the Poster setting. Could he be any more handsome?! No, I don't think so. I'd make him a hat if I didn't know that he'd eat it within 30 second.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick as a Snap

It's the middle of January in the Northwoods and as usual that means the bitter windchill and freezing temps are in full force, currently it's -6F with a windchill of -25F. Strangely kids still play outside and we still ski, ice fish, snow shoe and cross country ski. So warm hats are a biggie. I had been asked to knit a couple of hats for two girls at Madison's Ballet School, so I wanted something quick but very cute. The colors requested for the sisters were Red and Pink, and knowing the mother I knew I was safe in going with better quality yarn. Let's be honest, the only way I was going to knit these hats was if I could knit with whatever yarn I wanted to.

I decided on some Ariosa yarn (merino/cashmere blend) and found the Snappy Hat pattern on Ravelry. The first hat (pink) took me about 2 1/2 hours and the second hat (red) took me closer to 2 hours. The difference being I was reading a book with the first one.

I asked Madison to model them for me and she fell in love with both of them and has now requested that I make her some more as her coat allows her to pick and choose whatever color suits her mood. She looks so darn cute in them that how can I resist.


Pattern: Snappy Hats (Free Pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Classic Elite Ariosa 1.1 Skeins
Started: Pink 1/18/2011 Red 1/19/2011
Finished: Pink 1/19/2011 Red 1/19/2011
Took approx 2 1/2 to 2 hours each
5th & 6th Project for 2012
3rd & 4th Project for Warm Up Winter KAL

This is a great project for quick gifts. Highly recommend!

What's your go to quick gift knit? Any suggestion for what hat or mitts I should knit next?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Norwegian Star Earflap Hat



Pattern: Norwegian Star Earflap Hat
Size: Adult
Yarn: Cascade 220 and Drops Karisma Superwash (stash diving)
Needles: Size 6 circ - 16"
Started: January 15, 2012
Finished: January 15, 2012

This is my fourth project for 2012 and my second project for the Warm Up Winter luvinthemommyhood KAL.

It was a fast and interesting knit. There are two sizes to knit - Child and Adult, and you adjust the size of your hat by your gauge. My gauge was a little larger than I thought, but I have a lot of head sizes in my house (my hubby's is enormous) so I kept knitting and enjoyed the chart knitting and how fast it whipped off the needles.

Now it's done, it does fit dh's head but as you can see from the picture on me (sorry for the sad looking picture in which I look every bit the tired and sad and pj wearing mother of four kids) its a little bit for me. I will say that in reality it looked a lot better on me than this goofy picture shows and it doesn't squish my curls - it gets points for that. I think I'm going to try felting it a little in the washer, which will probably give it more of a fulled look i think. We'll see.

I do recommend this pattern, but be smarter than me and check your gauge, but as Meg Swansen always says at Knitting Camp.... Hats are gauge swatches and there is always someone who is in need of your knitted hat. If you can't use it in your home and pass it on to those charities who might be able to put it to good use.

Love that woman.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Twists and Curls

This past weekend, Caleb was in a Curling Bonspiel (tournament) and I went to watch my son do this thing. While watching him, and in between helping in the clubhouse, I worked on my first hat for the luvinthemommyhood's Warm Up Winter Knitalong. I had decided to join in as its ski season here and I have four kids in my house who feel that they need new hats every ski season and I've got my eye on one or two myself. Plus Madison is interested in a pair of mitts and I might just have to make myself a pair too. So, this seemed the perfect motivator to getting those things crossed off on my to-do list.


Pattern: Twist Hat by Mandie Harrington (a friend from knitting camp).
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.
Size: Child 18-20"
Needles: Size 2 circs 16" then 2 circs when working the crown.

Caleb curling 2 - tiege bonspiel

Caleb Throwing a Rock

Caleb curling 4 - tiege bonspiel

Caleb Sweeping

Caleb curling 5 - tiege bonspiel

The Winners!!!!!! after three days of matches and some sore arms, legs and muscles.

Caleb's rink (team) did go on to win the Men's Bonspiel. What a clever boy. Which made my freezing my rear end off at the rink, worthwhile. A hat and a win. Double wins.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Sweetness

I've been meaning to post these pics for a few days now, but just not got around to it. I finally took down the tree and cleaned up the Christmas Dec's around the house and feel like I'm getting back into the groove. However, I did manage to take a modeled picture of the Honey Cowl as requested. Please note, I am usually the least photogenic knitter. I usually enlist the help of one of my boys to help snap a picture for me which requires multiple shots to find one half decent one, and lots of stroking my pathetically sad and deflated ego, but they're good sports and help out their mum anyway.

Here are the modeled shots of the Honey Cowl. I know I said this last time, but I love this cowl. I have worn it quite a few times since finishing it and every time I do I have gotten compliments.



In my humble experience, one Honey Cowl is Madelinetosh is just not enough so I headed straight to the Black Purl and grabbed another skein of yarn and this time knit myself the smaller sized cowl with one skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light held double in the colorway Mare. I had it knit in two days and loved every minute of it.



Carrie had asked me if Madelinetosh was worth all the hype. In response I would definitely say that with my limited experience it is well worth every penny. It truly is divine. Such beautifully dyed colorways and feel to the yarn. If you do not have some, go buy some right now. .............................................................No seriously, I'll wait.

The Honey Cowl 2 was made started Jan 8, 2012
completed project: Jan 10, 2012
Pattern Cowl: Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh (free on Ravelry)
Needles: Size 8 circular
This is my second start to finish completed projected in 2012!!! I've been working on some of my wip's

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sweet as Honey

Because this is a New Year and I am now known as a Finisher of things and not just a Starter! (Cough, Cough! Well, at least for the last seven days that is - oh ye of little faith) I would like to show you my latest finished project - The Honey Cowl.

I love, love, love, this project. It's pretty mindless knitting, which is usually not my fave, but it's perfect for drs. waiting rooms and movie knitting and it's done before you know it then. The yarn is so beautiful that I loved the feel of it gliding between my fingers and the stitch pattern brings the colorway to life. It knits up into such a squishy and inviting cowl that I was eager to knit it so that I could start wearing it and, let's be honest, start getting the compliments.

Pattern: Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh
Yarn: Madelinetosh tosh merino light - 2 skeins - double stranded
Needles: Size 8 circ

I loved it so much that I've already wound some yarn to make the smaller version of the cowl in a different colorway. It's the perfect mindless project to have on hand. I highly recommend it. I'm sure I'll have it knit up soon, because as I mentioned before....I'm a finisher these days! ;)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Public Service Announcement

This is a Public Service Announcement. As of 10:40am CST today, I have an official Teenage driver free to roam the streets ALONE. You might want to update your wills, kiss your loved ones one last time before leaving the home, say a prayer for yourself, say a prayer for Caleb, say a prayer for me who will be left to ponder what he is up to in the big bad world. I will be left to be at home knitting to calm my anxieties....

On the other hand, Whoopeee!!!!!! I have another driver in the house. Someone who needs to earn lots of driving time privileges from me, so that means I have someone to hand off pick ups and drop offs to and from ballet, curling, soccer, orchestra, piano, skiing, skiing club, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, sledding, scouts, chamber orchestra, choir, pop/jazz choir, football, swimming, youth night at church, play dates etc. of the younger kids. Excuse me while I break into song "FREEDOM! FREEDOM!"

I think there's an upside to this whole thing.

Although you really might want to drive carefully out there and watch out for a goldish looking Jeep. He tends to take wide turns and he's awfully cute. Just sayin!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Turning into a Mad Hatter

In the last few months of 2011 I really did get a little hat crazy. I'm slowly posting all of them one by one on Ravelry as I get the chance. I had forgotten just how much I liked wearing hats. Now, you're hard pressed you find me without one.

Here are a couple more that I knit during October and November. Note that Winston is involved in the pictures. He just had a haircut. Usually he looks like a big ole' puffball, but he had gotten a little matted and had to go for the Jason Statham haircut on his body. He thinks he's pretty hot stuff now and struts around the house quite proud of himself. As I was taking pictures of the hats he managed to snag the Brambles Beret for a closer inspection, I managed to blind him with the flash while Declan stole the hat before someone lost a finger or the hat lost some stitches. He really needs to learn to look with his eyes and not his teeth, but I guess I should be glad that he has an appreciation for the knitted arts.



Rustling Leaves Beret from Coastal Knits by Alana Dakos. Sunday Knits Eden 3ply.





Brambles Beret by Amanda Muscha. Cascade 220.

Any good hat pattern suggestions? I'm due for a new hat.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Being Selfish

Don't be completely fooled by the goals I mentioned previously posted, I have no intentions of ONLY knitting for others. I am not that nice of a person. I love knitting and I know from the number of completely knitted items that are sitting in my closet that only need sewing together that I love the process, but I DO love the finished product for me too. Saying that, this year I have set a couple of goals for myself that involve the finishing up of those projects that are languishing in the depths of my closet. I know there are at least seven ten twelve oh heck! lots of projects that are completely done with the exception of some finishing. Really, 98% done! It's so sad. To quote one of the knitters at camp last year when I showed three shawls I had had knit for over a year but never blocked and woven in ends "It makes my heart hurt!" There is no excuse. I really need to use this blog for some accountability, so I will try in the next week or so to gather together the mound of wip's and post their sad carcasses here for all to see. Then over the next few weeks and months I will strive to bring the life to them that they deserve and make them "happy!".

In addition to finishing wip's for me, I have quite the growing list of projects that I'm eager to knit this year and can't wait to get cracking on them. I'm currently working away on a Honey Cowl in some Madelinetosh Merino Light in Georgia O'Keefe colorway that I'm in love with. I should be done with it soon and then I've got another cowl to knit for someone and will then allow myself the joy of starting my next big project. I'm excited to tell you about it, but for now it will wait. Let's just say... it will be 'incredibly awesomeness' (to quote my little Ethan)!


Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Beginnings

Starting as I mean to continue I thought I'd write a quick post.

Although I've been off the blogging and ravelry radar for the past few months, it doesn't mean I haven't been busy with sticks and string. Although this past year was the toughest in my near forty years, yet again it has been proved to me that the gift of knitting that my wonderful Nanny Taylor gave to me provides me with so much more than just woolen goods to keep away the cold Wisconsin winters. It has truly given me so much this year, stitch after stitch pushing me on. The past few months I knit item after item for others with a stronger desire than ever to show them how much I appreciated them and their continued support. It felt so good to see how much they appreciated each gift and to see them time and time again wearing the items I had made for them. I knit a hat and a cowl for a fundraiser for my daughter's ballet theater group and was so excited to see the response and the battle taking place on the silent auction for the items and the amount they raised for the event. It was nice to see others valuing a knitters work.

As I start the New Year, I have set some goals for myself. I don't like to call them resolutions as those never seem to last, so I trick myself by calling them 'goals'. My main goal related to knitting is to continue to knit more for others and show my love for them by my love of knitting as I feel inspired. I had a appointment with one of my doctors on Friday and she loves bright and colorful clogs. She has been a lifesafer in the past few months and I kept finding myself thinking about how I really wanted to knit her some beautiful fun colorful socks. I have a doctor's appointment with a different doctor tomorrow and one of her receptionists just had a baby. She has been such a bright smile and kind voice throughout this past year and I'm taking in a baby sweater and angora saartje booties to give to her. As I knit them, I thought of her and how her smiling face sometimes helped me from wanting to run the other direction when I walked into the office and how she would chat to me and relax me before my appointments. I have a friend struggling with colon cancer at the moment and my mind is ticking over what knitted good she is in need of.

Here is just a very few of the items that have come off the needles in the past month or two.






As the year progressed I hope to share with you many items that I have knit for others, knitting love and appreciation into each stitch.

Tomorrow I'll post about more goals for the New Year and how I'm working on those.