Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Crafting FOs, Pt 2

Hello again! As a change of pace, I'm going to share some finished objects with you on a day that is NOT Friday. I think I want to move away from doing too many day-of-the-week scheduled posts - better to write when I have something to say, and publish when its done.

On this lovely weekend, we are experiencing the lowest temperatures I've ever felt as part of the latest blizzard. It was 0* F on Thursday night. NO DEGREES. Last night (Friday), the low dipped to -1* F. I'm glad I have lots of wooly knitwear to keep me warm!

Last Friday I shared the jewelry-making Christmas crafts I gifted this year. Today, it's time to share the knits. Last year I attempted to knit something for each member of my family (counting in-laws), and closest friends. I got close but ran out of steam, so a few people got switched to sewn gifts instead to give my hands a rest. So this year, trying to keep things much lower key, I thought I'd knit just for those who didn't get something knitted last year. Now, I can be sure that all of my loved ones have a handknit of some kind to snuggle up with on cold days like these. Here they are!

Brambles Beret

Check out that stitch definition!

This is the Brambles Beret, from Knitty Deep Fall 2010 (Funny, I just realized that the first sweater I knit came from the same issue. I guess it was a good one!), knit for my lovely mother-in-law. Among other things, she is the only one on that side of the family who doesn't make fun of my knitting, at all, even in jest. Earlier in the year she had hinted that she didn't have any hats, so if I ever felt like knitting one, she would love it. I thought she was deserving of a really special hat. I hope she is able to put it to good use!

This was fun and quick to knit. I decided to splurge and bought some Malabrigo Rios (color "Bobby Blue"), and it is every bit as delicious as people say it is. The dye job is spectacular - absolutely no pooling, a true kettle-dye effect. Beautiful! The Rios base is quite squishy, as well, which made it a joy to knit with. I would LOVE to make a whole sweater out of this, but I think the price tag might kill me. If you have any accessories or baby patterns in you queue, I highly recommend this yarn. Did I mention it's machine washable?

Full details on my project page here.

Felicity Mitts take #3

There is a funny story behind these mitts. Felicity is a free pattern, and I made a pair for myself out of some Cascade Heritage Silk Paints while on a business trip (great travel knitting project). The pattern as written is lacy and feminine:

Well, I finished my pair, and wore them over to my parent's house. My brother Max (he's in high school) looked at them, asked if he could try them on, and, being a Really Cool Guy, began mocking "oooohh, so pretty!" and flouncing around the room. At least, that's what he intended to do. But once he got one on his hand, he suddenly turned serious and said "oh - these are actually really nice. These would be so useful! I like that my fingers are free and they're still warm! Could you make me some?" Total change of tune. So I took out the lace, added a colorwork pattern, and made him a pair for his birthday.

My brother loves them. Success! But then, my husband's youngest brother @theActualDaleFishman, guest blogger extraordinaire, saw these mitts, and started not-quite-hinting that he wanted some too. "Hey, Amanda, you know those gloves you made for Max...well, for Christmas...if you wanted to make me some...*wink wink*..." This started in May and continued for the whole rest of the year. Not all that subtle. So of course I had to make him some, and they were a huge hit as well. I don't think he's taken them off since Christmas.

Now the only question is, who's next?

Yak Hat

My husband has an unusual fascination with various odd and interesting creatures: blue whales, turkeys, cephalopods, llamas & alpacas... he gets the propensity for it it from his father. My father-in-law's favorite creature is the beaver: nature's engineer. To help explain the level of obsession, here's a photo of part of Al's beaver collection:

Don't forget the tastefully arranged nature scene, including a real piece of beaver-chewed wood!

Here's MMB (Micro-Muffiny Beaver) modeling my and Andrew's wedding bands, which Al made for us to match my engagement ring:

Some people like to say that they obsess over something, but these two take things seriously.

Anyway, Andrew and his dad started getting into yaks some time this year. I'm not sure where it started, but it turned into a Really Big Deal. Like, "I wonder if we could actually own a yak and keep it in our yard?" (asked in all seriousness by both of them). Apparently they make great companion animals, if you start them young. They're loyal and friendly, and can even be good with children. Plus, how cool would it be to be able to say "Yeah, I have a pet Yak"? I got to go to Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool festival this year, saw Bijou Basin Ranch - purveyors of fine Tibetan Yak products - on their vendor list, and put two and two together: I had to make my father-in-law a yak hat. So I snagged some Tibetan Dream (85% yak down, 15% nylon for strength) at the festival and got to work.

I couldn't find any good-looking hat patterns for this weight of yarn that weren't girly or weird, so I made one up. The brim is worked side-to-side in a smocked pattern, then grafted shut, and stitches are picked up from the brim to make the crown. It is pleasantly smooshy and nice and thick around the ears. The yak yarn knitted and blocked quite nicely, but the real treat was when I put it on for the first time. This stuff is WARM. It had better be, if it keeps yaks insulated against Tibetan winters!

Here's my father-in-law, braving our single-digit temperatures yesterday morning:

I laugh at the cold!

Raveled here.

Riconada Mitts

Finally, I knew I wanted to knit for my other brother-in-law, Charlie. This presented a bit of a challenge, because while he does hunt and do all sorts of outdoorsy things, he is also an accountant and a bit of a snappy dresser. I like versatility, so I wanted to find something I could make that would fit in both worlds. I also had more yak yarn left over from the hat, and wanted to use it for him. Thankfully, one of the very few patterns in the Ravelry database that actually call for Tibetan Dream was perfect for the job: the Riconada Mitts.

(Sorry the photo is so high-contrast; I'm still getting the hang of my camera & editing tools). I'm quite happy with how these turned out! They are very warm, and I think they do walk the line between classy and utilitarian/useful. The combination of yak and merino/silk is very warm, and (Bonus!) the colors make these look like Creepers from Minecraft. Win-win.

Raveled here.

Wrapping Up

Have a great weekend, everyone! That's all for today. I still have a few more Christmas FOs to post, so stay tuned, and watch out, they may not be on Fridays anymore. 


No comments:

Post a Comment