FO: Playful Stripes Cardigan

This post actually started last spring, and I never finished it. And the story actually starts in summer 2015, when I visited my LYS and picked up a lovely color palette of stripe-y goodness for this cardigan. While knitting it during the winter (2015 and into 2016), BK requested the addition of green. And now, many months later, I present to you a finished Playful Stripes Cardigan!

I have loved this pattern for quite a while. I also have Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf, and this pattern is featured on Annie in the book, and for some time, I’ve felt BK should have all the sweaters in this book. Now she has this one, and the Wee Wildflower, which I finished a long time ago (but forgot to blog). Both Wildflowers and Playful Stripes were knit with Venezia Sport, a yummy blend that includes silk, which is wonderful against the skin, though a bit splitty when knitting. The contrast stripes on this one are primarily Cascade 220 Sport, but the green I bought later is HiKoo.

The only thing I was not over the moon about with this sweater was the button band. I had to add quite a bit of length to this sweater for it to even begin to fit my tall daughter, and even though I picked up more stitches along the button band than the pattern called for, it still wasn’t enough for the length I knitted. Therefore, it stretched out near the bottom (which is sort of visible in the photo below) and resulted in a very bizarre curve.

But – don’t look at that part! Look at the pretty stripes!

Version 2

Yes, it’s headless because I don’t share full pictures of my kiddo. This is at an Easter egg hunt in 2016, just days after I finished the cardigan.

I didn’t have any time for re-knitting, as my goal was for this to be an Easter sweater in 2016. I made it – with just about 4 days to spare, and it debuted at a Saturday Easter Egg hunt, which was very chilly.

Easter, however, was sunny, glorious and very warm… and sadly, there was no sweater wearing.

I didn’t take exact notes on my modifications, but I know I added A LOT of length to this, and just kind of kept measuring against BK as I went. I also lengthened the sleeves, and I thought they would be miles long, but they are JUST RIGHT.

The buttons are from my stash, and I bought them at a yarn show when BK was a tiny infant (like maybe less than 2 months old?) and they have been marinating in the stash and waiting for the perfect project. This was it!

After letting her wear this for the majority of 2016, I decided I couldn’t live with the wonky button band. There was no way I could keep the three bottom buttons of the sweater closed because of the way the band curved in and it was irritating to follow her around trying to re-button the bottom ones all day. I also started thinking about what I would think when we went to pull this out of our “keepers” box one day and how I would be so sad about this beautiful sweater I made, because I would be too ashamed to put it on a future granddaughter because of the crazy button band.

So a few weeks ago, I ripped both sides of the button band out. Then I reknit one side, and it was still crazy. So I ripped it out again. I gave it a firm blocking, and then reknit both button bands again. So one sweater, 5 button bands. 😛

However, I am so much happier with it now that I can’t believe I waited a year to re-knit the button band! And luckily, it still fits her really well, so she will get wear out of the new-and-improved version.

FO: Baby Pirate Hat

My cousin is expecting her first baby in June, and though I don’t think she’s super familiar with handknit gifts, I couldn’t resist the urge to make her something.

And then, I was flipping through 60 Quick Knits for Babies and saw the Pirate Hat. I knew right away that it was perfect. For one, it had skulls on it (she has a chair with skulls on it in her house!). I knew it would look nice in black and grey, which aside from having Cascade 220 Superwash in those colors in my stash, also matches the baby’s nursery colors. There was also the added bonus that a hat was small enough to be manageable for me, and something the baby is less likely to be sick on (though nothing is impossible!), which means little handknit care required from a tired new momma.

So I cast on!

Shortly after taking this Instagram photo of my knitting, I realized that my hat did not look like the picture. Why is that? Because the picture is seed stitch and my hat is 1×1 ribbing! Imagine that. IMG_2951

So anyway… I thought about leaving it and moving on, but then I realized that the ear flaps had a seed stitch border… so tinking it was. I tinked back 5 rows and picked up the seed stitch, and we were off to the races again!

I have to say that I’ve pretty much decided colorwork is my jam. I love it so much! I love working from the charts, I love working in the round, I love watching the pattern develop… it is just crazy addictive for me. Every time I do a colorwork project, I think that everything I knit should be like this. I JUST LOVE IT.

So this tiny hat (sized for 6 months only in the pattern) almost flew off my needles. I could not get enough of it. I took lots of pictures of it and put it on Instagram. I was so pleased with myself and my hat that I could not get over it.

Then, I made pom poms. That wasn’t so bad, but I really winged it and just wrapped the yarn around my fingers and sort of improvised it. It worked well enough. I thought a lot about the Mason Dixon post about pom poms and trimmed more than I thought I should. It was good advice.

And then it was over. And I was a little sad. Such a fun, addictive, bite-sized project. It was SO MUCH FUN to make. I hope the baby can feel my good vibes every time he wears it. I know BK was feeling the good vibes when she (sort of – while continuing to try to play) modeled it for me. Look at those curls!!!

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FO: Reindeer wish you a happy new year!

I LOVE reindeer. Just love them. They are the main theme of my holiday decor, to be honest. I think it stems from my obsession with the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie. It is tied for my favorite Christmas movie (original Miracle on 34th Street is the other). And nothing says Christmas quite like Santa’s support staff. 🙂

So even though I had a couple of projects on the needles that I planned to take to England when we went in mid-December (a Playful Stripes cardigan and Adrift fingerless mitts), my plans changed rapidly the day before we left when Ravelry displayed Donder and Blitzen in my pattern highlights. Reindeer, hearts, colorwork – I was already on board. I knew immediately that I had just what I wanted in my stash already, and it happened to be very similar to an already completed project. I had grey left over from my somewhat ill-fated Wildflower cardigan in Cascade Venezia, and some pink that I had been hoarding dyed by my good friend Mary Ann from A Good Yarn a few years ago.

I cast on in JFK airport during our layover, and powered through the ribbing. Then I attempted (and failed miserably) to sleep on the plane. Once I hit the colorwork at my in-laws house, I thought I was going so fast, I should have packed a few other projects. That progress slowed down significantly during the week, as we had activities of some sort nearly all day. So on the plane ride home, I didn’t watch any movies and just buckled down on this sucker. I wanted it done before Christmas, and we were flying on December 21. And I finished it! Boom!

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Then we got home, and it was nearly tropical. I didn’t even get to wear it before Christmas. 😦

But I’ve worn it once since then. Even though I would normally celebrate this strangely warm weather, having a lovely finished hat I can’t wear is making me a bit irritated. I guess you can’t have it all!

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These are unblocked shots, because honestly, if I wait to block it before taking pictures, the pictures will never get done! So here it is. I LOVE IT.

I love it so much I’ve started another one for BK. Though I’ve made so many foolish errors on the colorwork it’s unbelievable, so progress has been slow. I would like to blame it on the few mods I’ve made to the chart to make the hat more shallow for her little head, but that’s not been the real issue. I just need to focus! Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with a wee coordinating one!

And happy new year! Wishing everyone a fantastic 2016, filled with joy and fun!

 

FO: Penguin Pillow

I know, I know, I said I don’t do Christmas knitting and yet here I am with my second knitted Christmas gift. This one was for BK, so it is a special one.

Mr Snips has a Penguin Pillow that I made him last year for Christmas. I briefly flirted with the idea of making the same for BK and giving it a different colored scarf, but I found the first one so tedious to knit that I didn’t fancy going down that road again.

When I found this Winslow pattern on Ravelry, I knew this was meant to be BK’s version of a Penguin Pillow.

I immediately had a color scheme in my mind, all readily available in my stash (how convenient! Despite having a good-sized stash, this almost never happens). I had 4 skeins of some lovely green (Cascade 220 Superwash) that I had bought to make a Sweet Pea sweater, back before I even knew whether I was having a girl or boy. Once I knew I was having a girl, I made other plans, partially so I didn’t have to knit all the bobbles on that pattern. I also had some cream left over from the sheep hat I made BK. And finally, I had one very special purple skein that was from my Three Irish Girls yarn club subscription a couple of years back. Not only did these colors call to me for being lovely, they also match BK’s room very well! I think that, though they are not traditional penguin colors, the pastel color scheme can grow with her. Besides, I really like purple and green for a Christmas theme!

So off I went. I elected to do the back first, because I thought it would be so boring that I really should trudge through that part first. I wanted to feel like I had the “fun” part left with the colorwork. I sailed through the back in about a week, mainly during mindless TV watching time.

Then I got to the “fun” side. First of all, I didn’t check my gauge before I started. I mean, it’s a pillow covering, it’s not like it’s high fashion. But my row gauge was apparently WAY off, and after knitting the suggested 30 rows, I realized I was at least 1/4” over the length I needed before I was to start the penguin chart.

Front view of Winslow

Well, no turning back, I said to myself. Forge on, Christmas is very near. I can make adjustments on the other side of the penguin if needed.

So I made the penguin. And sometime during that, I realized that this thing is honking huge and why does it need to be an 18” pillow, couldn’t I have adjusted and made it a 14”? And after measuring, yes I could have, but it was too late in the game to make that change.

I also realized that intarsia is messy. I had never done intarsia, just fair isle, and I found the mess of bobbins and small bits of yarn for the eyes and everything to be totally tedious and tangled. I was also trying to knit from both sides of the purple yarn to make sure I didn’t waste any of it, because I had plans to knit BK a hat with the leftovers – the color was too lush to spend on just a penguin! And into the deep abyss of twisted yarn I went. It was horrible.

When I finally came out the other side and got to go down to one strand of green, I nearly cried with happiness. To adjust for my size miscalculation, I only knit 20 rows of the suggested 32 of green after I finished the penguin. Yes, I know this makes it uneven, but he’s charted on purpose to be a little uneven, so what’s a bit more?

Back view of Winslow pillow

Little fingers love these flower buttons!

 

I finished this project on Christmas Eve Eve (that would be the 23rd), and wrapped it as quickly as I could to have it done and dusted.

But the best part is that BK’s reaction was absolutely the best one a 19-month-old could give me. She hugged it, brought it to me, sat down and snuggled with me and the pillow and said “Thank you, Mommy” three times like her little heart was just full of gratitude. She then gleefully suggested we put it on the couch – which is hands down her favorite place in our house. I nearly cried with happiness. That lovely moment was worth all the horrid mess, and I would do it again in an instant.

FO: Gramps Cardigan

When I found out one of our friends was having a little boy, I had a little dig through the baby patterns I tagged on Ravelry before I found out Baby Knitsnips was a girl (I didn’t let a little thing like that stop me – I tagged ALL the baby patterns! :-)). And the project that really stood out at me was the Gramps Cardigan. I loved everything about it. I loved all the cables, I loved the shawl collar, and I loved the old man sweater buttons. Perfection.

So I purchased some HiKoo Simplicity at my LYS, because I like the way it felt, it was washable, and I liked it was both wool and acrylic. Plus, the light grey color I chose was lush.

I started the sweater before heading off to England on our family trip. I worked on the sleeves throughout our time in England, and was able to put it all together once we got home. Working on it in both countries was really important to me, because I was giving it to another British/American couple, and I wanted it to have a connection to both countries for them.

Gramps Cardigan - front view

I think it turned out really beautifully. There’s really nothing I would change about it.

Back of the Gramps Cardigan

The back has a nice wide ribbing to it, so I think it will fit him for a while, since it’ll have plenty of stretch. I made a 12 month size, even though he was born at the beginning of August, because I think it’s always better to err on the bigger side! He may even get two years of use out of it depending on how quickly he grows.

Front view of Gramps Cardigan

I didn’t really make any adjustments to the pattern – just knit it as instructed. I found the old man buttons at Hobby Lobby, and they were exactly what I was looking for.

I met the sweet little recipient about a week and a half ago, when he was only one week old. He is so sweet, tiny, and in that very newborn stage where he mostly sleeps and lets anyone hold him. And I think the sweater will suit him well.

Now, to wait for cooler weather so he can rock his cardigan. 🙂

FO: Hermione’s Godric’s Hollow Hat

This hat. Oh my. This was perhaps the irritating/frustrating hat project ever.

When I saw this hat in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, I adored it. I wanted one. I don’t know how the costume people did it, but every Harry Potter movie has made me covet at least one knitted item. And this was it for 7.1.

Hermione's hat from the movie

I scoured Ravelry for someone who had figured it out. There are a few patterns, but I wasn’t convinced that any of them were really right. The one that seemed the most right out of all the wrongs was this one. I started it.

I hated the suggested Alternate Cable Cast-On. I’m pretty sure I screwed it up in several places, because the knit/purl match-up wasn’t really right once I started knitting.

Then I hated the Daisy Stitch. I had chosen a really luxurious yarn, Scrumptious DK/Worsted, that is 55% merino and 45% silk. It was the right color and had a bit of a soft halo like Hermione’s appears to have. But what felt like butter in the skein turned into a very split-tastic knitting experience. I was knitting on nice metal needles, but they were really not pointy enough for the numerous k3tog and such. If I had the right cable length, I think the stiletto Signature needles may have helped a little, but I wasn’t going to purchase some just for this hat. My hands had horrible cramps after working just one or two rows from the effort of forcing so many k3tog. I had little yarn pieces sticking out from where the yarn had split and I hadn’t quite caught it all in the stitch.

I got so angry with it all, that I put the hat away for several months (I started in August!). I flirted with the idea of making my own pattern based on a stitch pattern I had used before. I even cast on a swatch to see how it would go, but got frightened of having to figure out an elegant way to decrease it all at the top and scrapped that too. (I’ve never designed any knitting patterns before!)

I pulled the 2″ or so of hat I had done out of the bottom of my knitting bag in the new year with the intention of ripping it back and maybe starting a different version of the Hermione hat. I thought I should try a sample row or two to see if I hated it as much as I remembered. And even though the daisy stitch was still difficult with the needle/yarn/pattern combo, I could do it without the cramps. I decided to soldier on. So, very slowly, I put on a row or two at a time.

I paused again before the decreases, wondering if I should make it longer than the suggested 6″ before decreasing. I went to 6.5″ and then started decreasing. I finally finished it in early March.

I put it on, and it is tight. Not too tight to wear, but there is certainly no give to it. And it doesn’t fit like Hermione’s. I’m a little disappointed in it, I must confess. The yarn is lush and nice to wear. The hat looks fine on. My husband says it’s a nice hat and looks good on me and that there is nothing wrong with it. But my inner voice says, “This is not really the Hermione hat.”

Hermione's Godric's Hollow Hat

I am glad I did 6.5″ before decreasing, or it would not fit on my head. And while I did block it, I blocked it flat – not over a plate as the pattern suggested, saying it would make it more Hermione-esque. I don’t think it would have helped much.

I will wear this hat, and maybe even like it if I can put aside the memories of knitting it. But I will continue my search for the perfect Hermione hat. So if you happen to be a gifted hat designer, please create a pattern and let me know!

FO: Hitchhiker

I actually finished Hitchhiker quite some time ago – back in July.

Finishing it up, however, was so traumatic, I have only now been able to write about it.

The pattern said to knit until you have 6 grams left. Normally, I get a little nervous and never knit for as long as I’m meant to, end up with extra yarn left over, and scold myself for not trusting there would be enough. This inevitably leaves me with tiny bits of yarn left over that are far too small to be used in any other projects.

This time, I decided I would use every last inch of this Crock-O-Dye yarn, which is a lovely mix of superwash merino, nylon and silk. And besides, this is Hitchhiker, and it’s meant to have 42 points!

I could see that it was going to be a tight squeeze. Once I started to get apprehensive about running out of yarn, I starting running lifelines at the end of each repeat. I knit until I weighed it and the scale obligingly told me I had 6 grams left – just what the pattern said! – I was magic and on my way.

6 grams of yarn left to finish my Hitchhiker

I started knitting away at the last point. I started binding off. I got increasingly nervous. And then this happened. reaching the end of my yarn on HitchhikerI was knitting outside on our back patio, so I tried to keep the swearing to a minimum to spare the nearby children.

Then I remembered that I had encountered a bad spot in the yarn near the beginning and had to cut the yarn and start over. I wove in the ends where I had made the spit, and then took the leftover ends and spliced them desperately to the end of the yarn I was using to bind off. creatively adding ends to my HitchhikerAnd then I was left with four – FOUR – stinking stitches that I still could not bind off.

I was beside myself – I had believed the pattern, I had taken a risk I would not normally take, I believed those lying kitchen scales, I had spent a beautiful summer evening feeling completely on edge, and I was left here. Four stitches short.

But then, there was always that lifeline! But what would I do with that leftover six grams? No, I had come too far. Something else had to be done.

I went into the stash room and looked at my little basket full of odds and ends. I keep small scraps of different weight yarns to use for waste yarn, and there happened to be a fairly decent length of yarn left from my Clapotis. Sure, it didn’t match exactly, but I could cut out a blue piece and try to make it work.

And so I did. And I don’t think anyone would really ever notice. Even if they did, and unwisely said so out loud, they would regret it.

I think it’s beautiful, even though it’s only 39 points – not 42.Finishing HitchhikerIt’s a great light piece to wear when it’s just a little chilly. It has really been starting to feel like fall, so it’s already had one outing. Wearing Hitchhiker