Today, I can safely unveil the project I was racing to complete last week:
It's a baby hat! I feel like a baby-hat machine these days. This is not exactly a bad thing, as baby hats have the two qualities that provide almost instant gratification to knitters everywhere: 1) they're cute 2) they work up quickly.
Hey, as long as a project can deliver that time and time again, who am I to complain?
Pink Stripes Baby Hat
Pattern: I grabbed the basic pattern from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and to it I added a simple horizontal stripe pattern, and a simple picot row above the rolled hem. I slipped threaded a ribbon through the picot row and tied a bow.
Yarn: GGH Goa that I picked up at Seaport Yarns.
Needles: US8s circulars, and finished with DPNs. I knit the hat in the round.
Time to complete: Two days, with lots of subway knitting time.
Would I knit this again: Sure! This knit kept me happy.
Notions: About a half yard of 1/4-inch grosgrain ribbon.
Now, I know that we're working on mid January here, but I haven't had time to share much with you about Christmas, or my after-Christmas European jaunt. Because I think that post after post of just me blabbing on and on about things that happened weeks ago would get boooooring, I'll tack on these posts after current information about the knitting project du jour. So, without further ado:
This was the Christmas that Kate discovered yarn. She first discovered that it's a lot of fun to run across the room carrying my ball of working yarn. I guess that it wasn't so smart to leave my knitting bag withing Kate's reach. This was quickly substituted with some spare Claudia Handpainted that I had with me. Can you see it there in her hand? Even all decked out in her Christmas finery (white cardigan hand-knit by none other than KG--that's Knitting Grandma to new blog readers), she had to carry some yarn with her. I hear that this yarn also went to bed with her.
Hey, what can I say? It's probably in her blood.
Somehow the day got away from me yesterday, and I neglected to post:
It's Kate's finished hat-and-mittens set, all ready for gifting.
Kate's Orange Hat and Mittens
Pattern (for both): from Anne Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.
Needles: US10.5 DPNs for the ribbing, and US11 DPNs for the remainder.
Did I like the yarn? Yes? Yes. I'm going with yes. The bulky yarn consists of many strands of a thin two-ply thread which are themselves plied together (Spinners? Am I explaining this correctly?) It was a wee splitty. Nothing, however, that I could not handle.
What would I do differently next time? I would jog the needles more when knitting the hat, to eliminate the slight ladder that formed at the join.
This project was a close call. I'm in Christmas denial this year, and I don't know why. I've got the Christmas carols blasting on the iPod (thanks Virginia for the rockinest Christmas mix of the year), my shopping is done (and so is my wrapping), and you can't walk two steps around here without bumping into some holiday thing. For some reason, however, the mere fact that in less than a week I'll be jingle-belling it with the Kate-ster hasn't yet registered.
Perhaps the reason is that early on Christmas Day I've got to high-tail it to JFK and get on a flight to Germany. I'll be spending a few days with Sven's parents (along with Sven, of course) and then we're off to do more visiting. And lucky for me Sven's family lives in places like Cologne and Prague, and skis near places like Innsbruck. Yup, it'll be a Subway Knitter European Tour. I'll be gone for the better part of ten days. I haven't really done one iota of packing for this trip, and as of some time tomorrow I've got to leave with everything I'll need for the next two weeks packed into a little suitcase.
It's not true, I guess, that I haven't done anything. I've made a list of Things To Not Forget. Look:
To talk about Christmas shopping.
Too funny! Thanks, Amber, for pointing me towards it. I even think that I see my stop. Too bad that it's sold out (and no, I didn't buy it).
Okay, break over. Back to Kate's hat. As you might have expected, fixing the decreases took little time. The only part of this hat that makes me less than happy is the slight ladder that developed on the left-hand side. That was my join. In hindsight I should have moved my needles around a bit more as I was knitting. Oh well.
In fact, it took so little time that I had extra time (thanks to a longish subway ride to get my hair cut) to knit one mitten:
I'm starting to feel better about this.
Holy guac! What's going on with that hat? It's like a cross between a beret and a little elfin magic.
For about a second I thought that I could keep that wacky shaping. It is cute in its own way. But stupid cute's not what I'm going for here. I want a little ooh-la-la on Kate's head this year. "Ooh-la-la" on a one-year old is cute in a way that "What's up with that crazy hat someone is making her wear?" is not cute. After all, if she's getting a French coat (oh yes, nothing but the best for our girl Kate), she needs a little beret to go with it. Non?
What went wrong? There's obviously too many rows for the hat to lie flat. I'm using the tam pattern from Ann Budd's book. Those patterns are pretty basic as basic goes, and I couldn't believe that I had messed that up. At first I thought that there was a mistake in the instructions. Perhaps Ann didn't test knit every gauge. Then I realized that there's some confusion (for me, at least) when it comes to following the instructions. Which instructions to follow? The shaping instructions in the pattern body say to decrease six stitches every other row. This works fine for the basic shaping. But I want something different (of course! Me? Follow a pattern as written? How long have you been reading here?): a swirling decrease pattern given as a modification. To my reading, the main pattern indicated that one should decrease (SSK) one stitch at each marker every other row, and the swirling decrease will result.
As the photo shows above, that's sooooooooooooo not the case. In my confusion, I reread the modifications section. Those instructions indicated that one should decrease one stitch at each marker EVERY row. Ah ha! That would work.
Let me distract you from my knitting disaster with a picture of my neighborhood:
It's the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch at Grand Army Plaza, all decked out for Christmas.
This was the scene that greeted me:
Kate's hat, and it's nowhere near completed. Christmas is slightly more than a week away, but I think that the hat needs to be done, blocked, and wrapped before I leave for my parents' house this weekend. It's just bad form to be knitting Kate's gift in front of her.
And if you recall, there's not just a hat to be knit, but a pair of mittens, too. A pair of mittens! I had better get cracking.