Designers Who Hypenate Their Names

Pattern: "An Unoriginal Hat," by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (my bff in an alternate universe), available for free on her blog here
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Apricot (80% acrylic/20% wool)

Plus: I've been meaning to use up the rest of this plasticky crap for years. Yay.

Delta: I guess my row-gauge (something I never bother to measure) was off, because I ended up with a really LONG hat. It looks okay on my big 'ole head, pulled way down over my ears and eyebrows, but when my friend Temple tried it on, she used the word "conehead" and I silently thought "condom." Unsurprisingly, It was not adopted by anyone this Christmas and went right back into the "potential gift drawer."

Pattern: "Incognito" by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, available free on Knitty here
Yarn: Spud and Chloe Sweater (55% wool/45% cotton)
Colorways: Splash, Grass, and Chipmunk

Plus: I am really pleased by how this came together. I used all three tiny leftover bits from Kellan's baby blanket, and once again, I think these colors rock. Spud and Chloe knows adorable. I was worried that the stripes would fight the mustache as focal point, but the 'stache won, hands down (you duplicate stitch it with the yarn doubled for a really plump look). This pattern has so many nice touches, particularly the knitted-in turned hem. It has a tailored, rather than hand-made, charm.

Delta: The sewn-in turned hem is much tighter and less stretchy than the knitted-in one (duh), and I wish I had embroidered the mustache on the knitted end. I didn't like that the inflexible part pulls right across your mouth.

Isn't my sister beautiful? Doesn't her camera rock? Don't you wish the rest of my blog looked this fantastic? Well, get over it. You're stuck with me. ;-)

In other news, I've been working on the vocal equivalent of a marathon with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Good stuff. I get great satisfaction out of participation in ancient rituals. I love the depth of history and feminist traditions linked to knitting. I'm hungry for the mystical knowledge and instincts of motherhood. And I feel emotional and grateful to participate in the sacred rite of resurrecting Beethoven's 9th symphony.

I also got my first blog comment from a crazy person. Now, I feel like I've really made it.


Mitts by Request

Pattern: "Veyla" by Ysolda Teague, available in Whimsical Knits 2
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Wool Bam Boo (50% wool/50% bamboo)

Plus: True to form, Teague's pattern was elegant and thoughtful from beginning to end. I truly felt that I was creating a work of art. I took a risk and used a DK weight yarn in this pattern designed for a fingering weight yarn because the recipient wanted something thicker looking. It was a great deal of stress on the hands, but I hit gauge just fine.

Delta: The intended recipient, Jake's law school friend Christina, has teensy tiny midget hands, so these really needed to be modeled by HER. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to put a non-knitting male in charge of snapping the modeled picture. So this is the only shot available to me. Boo!

Pattern: "Susie's Reading Mitts" by Janelle Masters, available as a free download on Ravelry
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Stella (60% silk/20% cotton/ 20% rayon)

Plus: I was really proud of this yarn selection. The recipient, the wife of one of Jake's law school friends, has multiple allergies and particularly struggles with wool. Though I had a hunch that a nice merino wouldn't cause her any problems, I didn't want to disregard her only request. She had liked the organic cotton and bamboo in her local craft store, but I could not see the point in making COTTON mitts, especially in a state that gets a respectable amount of snow. Stella, with it's cotton-y feel and silk-insulated warmth, was the best of both worlds.

Delta: This pattern really disappointed me. Even though I achieved gauge, the smallest size seemed huge, even on my large hands, with the exception of the thumbs which were crazy tight. Since the wrist to hand transition has no shaping or ribbing, it really needs negative ease to fit. I ended up ripping out the entire first mitt and adapting the pattern to have six fewer cast-on stitches but followed the directions for the small sized thumb. That fit pretty well, but her slender wrists might have enjoyed an even snugger fit. Ah well.

Watts' Family Afghan of Everlasting Torment square #36 of 36!!!!!! I made it! I made it! Oh, God! The glory! The relief!!!!


Now I have to sew the stupid thing together.

Late Gifts

Pattern: "Sid Beanie" by Georgie Hallam, available as a free download on Ravelry
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK (80% bamboo/20% wool)
Modifications: Many! A long-time friend of my mother's expressed her admiration for this hat on Etsy, but was not crazy about the $45 price tag! (Go figure.) I did my best to improvise the whimsical crown shaping, using the above pattern as my guide on gauge/sizing.

Plus: Look at how cute and happy this fella looks! Thanks to Maria, the proud mama, for the awesome pictures. There are plans for matching mitts in the works.

Delta: I totally picked the wrong yarn. The family lives in Texas, so I wanted something not too hot and certainly machine washable. The bamboo sounded like a good fit, but I think it made the hat too slouchy, rather than springy and sproingy, and there was simply no graceful way to jog the stripes--every technique I tried showed puckering due to the bamboo's inelasticity. Of course, I was also frustrated to have to reknit the crown a few times, but that should be expected when making your own pattern.

Pattern: "Drop Stitch Scarf" by Christine Vogel, available as a free download on Ravelry
Yarn: Cloud City Fibers Sock Yarn: 100% superwash merino wool
Colorway: Daffodil

Plus: This scarf was especially meaningful to me because the yarn I used was locally procured on last summer's amazing trip to Breckenridge, Colorado with my family. It was such a relaxing, restorative week, and every interaction with this fiber, hand-dyed from 40 miles from there, brought little wisps of respite to an otherwise busy day. The pattern is simple to memorize and easy to put down at a moment's notice without losing your place.

Delta: I should have used bamboo rather than metal needles, because I frequently felt that the combination of slippery surface and intentionally dropped stitches gave me a sense of being out of control. I also stubbornly knit every single inch, holding to my premise that there's no such thing as a scarf that's too long....only too make the world's first too-long-scarf. Ah well. A few more wraps about the neck won't kill anyone.

Yes, it's a tad late for reporting on one's Christmas gifts, but I was out of town for the holidays, and January was a really hard month in the Lewis house. Things are better and calmer now, so look for a few more postings in quick succession (especially if my sister emails me the pictures of her cowl and her husband's gloves).