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Boys and Hats

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2007-goldenrodhat
2007-OCT-3-boots

I posted both of these at Flickr last week and got a few questions. Figured it's easier to answer here... So... these are rather impromptu shots of two new hats (both made over the summer). I figured I should get quick picks the first day they were worn... you never know what will happen to knitwear with little boys.

I talked about both of these hats on the CMP this summer. Matthew picked out a coat in Tahoe on Spring Break in April for the coming winter... and so when I saw this Koigu on a trip to Imagiknits with my Mom, I knew it was perfect... even though it's not normally a color I would have considered. (I wouldn't have picked the coat he picked either!)

The turquoise for Spencer's hat is Jitterbug by Collinette. It was my first time using Jitterbug, and I really liked it and loved watching the colors play out in this one, which I started on our vacation in Cannon Beach. The Jitterbug, ultimately, doesn't seem to have quite the stretch of the Koigu... so it didn't work out "exactly" as the Koigu does in this pattern. I was worried it was too short... but already he's tugged it so much... it's okay.

Some of the questions asked:

The pattern: it's mine... it's the Raphael Ropes or Ninja Ropes pattern available here. It's not a quick knit - but it's worth it. I'm going to do another (for me) and maybe slot in a different cable.

This is the second round of this same hat for each boy. (Original hats.)

As for Koigu... in SF... Imagiknits is a good source. I have a bit of a Koigu stash... I tend to pick it up wherever we go (home at the holidays, at Websters in Ashland, OR, etc.), and I've ordered my share over the years. In general... buying Koigu in person is best... you really have to see it in person.

Save-Ums and Snack...

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FLICKR-KN-saveumshat

Some mornings, ya know.... I had several things mapped out for this morning... not that they'd have all fit into my 3.5 hour window for a Monday morning, of course.... but I had options... a list... an agenda... And we all got out of the house pretty much on schedule... two cars going separate ways because Monday camp-drop-off is a bit earlier than other days... so splitting up works better. The fog was incredibly dense on our hill... and wet... sort of drippy feeling, so I offered a hat to the camper as he climbed into the other car... "No," he called back to me.

"I have your Save-Ums hat," I called, rummaging in my trunk, and knowing that both his Koigu hats are upstairs.

"Okay!" (Came the excited reply.)

And I passed over the hat. And for some reason, the excited reply, and the "yes" after the "no" made me really happy. He looks so cute in that hat. (Above photo is old... by more than a year.)

As we pulled up alongside their car at the first traffic light so that the little one could wave at them out his window, I was struck at how cute he looks in that hat... my little boy... still excited by a "save-ums"-inspired hat. That's pretty cool.

And then I went on to the co-op to drop-off the little one. He walked in proudly showing the director his newly acquired oinking-Pig flashlight... and then she turned to me... "Hello snack-mom!"

And I must have blanched.

I've never walked in on my snack day empty handed before... in the three years we've been a co-op family, this was a first. And I felt so bad... and so embarrassed.

Not the best way to begin the day. I got it taken care of, of course. Just not the way I "usually" do... no homemade pumpkin oatmeal mini muffins or, what I made last month, mini corn muffins (which were a first but were really good!). Oh well...

Major Oops!

All has become clear. In a flash of understanding and chagrin late last night as I looked at the pattern again after pausing on the second hat to contemplate the gauge and the too-loose weave of the fabric, I realized that my fatal mistake was in reading the yarn requirements line and assuming that Dale Hauk is a sport weight yarn. It doesn't really say. It calls for Dale Hauk and some sport weight yarn for the lining. Gven the gauge and the use of size 3's, my brain just read it all, lumped it together, and thought it all made sense for a sport or DK. Mistakenly assuming the hat was sport was where I got totally off track with hat #1. It all makes sense now. I'm frustrated, but at least I understand now why I ran into such sizing problems when no one else seemed to! It's back to the stash bins. But, I am sure I have similar colors - even more chocies - in worsted than I did when thinking I needed something lighter weight. Yes, I realize it was a very dumb mistake. I paid for it though. Wow.

Poor Pirate Fit

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hat hat

May 3, 2006 – 2:31 Beachside

Wow. Where did the week go. It zipped by. Just zipped. Crazy, Crazy, Crazy. (And yes, those all deserve capital “C’s”!) So, picture above. That’s been sitting in my camera for days to show. Notice anything?

The astute among you will immediately realize that the picture of the boy wearing the hat is the wrong boy. It’s my boy, yes. But the hat I wrote about initially, and the hat for which Matthew picked out colors, is being worn above by younger – and much smaller headed – brother Spencer. And it barely even fits him. Talk about frustrating!

After blogging about the hat after our return from LEGOLand, I quickly realized that the hat wasn’t going to fit Matthew – and that it might not even fit Spencer. I did go ahead and make it another repeat taller. That was the right move. But overall, the darn thing is just too small. And, yes, the bottom rolls, which doesn’t drive me crazy on him as much as it does when I see the hat lying around the house and pick it up and obsessively try and “uncurl” the bottom.

“What went wrong,” you ask? Or, are you not asking. Are you just tsking and muttering “gauge, gauge, gauge” in your head. Well, yes, it was a gauge thing. But, it’s strange. I know I checked early on and thought the gauge was on track. Clearly, it’s not. For me, that the row height was also significantly off was the biggest surprise. That never happens to me. I knit continental, and my row height is always wrong. This may be the first time ever that I was off even up and down and not just side to side.

Despite the fit, and despite the fact that I think my fair isle doesn’t look as “even” as I’d like, we all like the hat. Which means even M. has come around and is singing the “I want one (in pink and green, no less) tune. So, I’ve been digging around in stash. (I’m sort of committed to using stash on these hats. Not sure why.) I don’t have a ton of sport weight yarn, but I’ve come up with enough skeins that we have a number of options. (I did consider trying one in worsted weight to see if that solves the sizing issue for us, but instead I’m going to try sport again and use a 5 instead of a 3 and see if that relaxes things.)

Matthew went back and forth between navy and kiwi green, purple and kiwi green, and navy and the bright blue. (I do have more of the purple and bright blue, but despite the fact that we often dress them in matching shirts, I’m pushing for different colored hats just so it’s easy at-a-glance to see whose is whose.) He’s finally settled on purple and kiwi green, which he says will be “really scary.” The colors are great.

I’m ready to get started, but, of course, I can’t lay my hands on a circular size 5. Every other size, yes. Size 5. Nope. Sigh. It’s always something. I did cast on already because, after some debate with M., I decided to take her advice and do a hem on the hat to eliminate the roll – she suggested a ribbed option would detract from the overall look and design of the hat, and I think she’s right. So, I did the hem on a 4, and I’m ready now to switch onto 5’s to get started and see if the sizing will shape up this time.

Not being able to quickly “find” a needle I want and know I have is so frustrating – and such a waste of time. Making a needle organizer for my circulars is definitely on my list for this year. If I could figure out a design that would really work well for circulars, it would be nice. I keep them all in an accordion-style binder right now, but that ends up just being a mess. They’re all clumped in a few pockets rather than nicely separated. Maybe I should just take time and separate them (and label the pockets). Good idea, I know. Maybe while my Mom is here (in a few weeks). We’ve got plans to watch a bunch of Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven episodes I’ve been DVR-ing (she doesn’t get the WB), so maybe I can spend some non-knitting time organizing the needle mess.

In the interim, if we can squeeze it in this afternoon, I’m going to run by and try and grab a needle this afternoon before we pick big brother up and before we head out for our “night out” – our monthly ritual when M. has to go the monthly “general meeting” at the preschool. We have fun. She sits in a 4+ hour meeting.

I’ve also got to run by Kinko’s and pick up copies of the special graduation issue of the school newsletter (which gets distributed tonight). I spent a lot of time on it this month. Admittedly, since I picked up the role of newsletter editor and designer for the school mid-year, I’ve spent a “lot” of time once a month working to get the next issue out. The graduation issue is a big one though – it’s physically “bigger” as well as “bigger” in terms of its content. I worked really hard to do the special graduation pages justice, including pastiches of photos of all the kids to accompany the more yearbook style photos of the kids. Again, too, one of my essays ran in this issue, this one on the “fairies” that my boys have learned to love and chase when they spot them (bits of light) bouncing on the walls – and my reaction to both Finding Neverland and Disney’s Peter Pan. So, that special issue comes out tonight.

Puzzle Blast News
I also have to pick up additional copies of the inaugural issue of Puzzle Blast. The May issue is out! Yeah. It’s very exciting. (Those of you who checked out the free sample issue might be interested in knowing that in addition to subscribing, it’s also possible to purchase individual issues. So, if you want to just “give it a try” without committing to the cost of a full year, a single-issue option is now available.) It would be nice if the realities of the “cost” of printing and mailing wasn’t what it is. And, yes, I’ve considered just making the whole thing downloadable, but right now, it’s not where I want the newsletter to be. There’s something compelling about a printed booklet format – that arrives in the mail. We do enough visiting sites and printing things. I don’t want that to be the way Puzzle Blast works. At any rate, Issue 1.1 is in the mail to subscribers, which means a project that I first talked about with M and my Mom over dinner at Max’s Opera Café last September has finally come to fruition. I was ready to launch last fall, but there was always “something else” that I felt I had to have in place first. But, finally Issue 1 is out there, and the subscriber list is small but growing. It’s a good start!


(Update: We did manage to run, and I mean run, into ImagiKnit and grab a needle. They didn't have any Addi metal circulars, which is my preference. So, I decided to go with bamboo. I ended up deciding to try a pair of Addi bamboos. They cost almost $5 more than the other bamboo brands they had. I felt a bit like I was being suckered, but I gave in to my affinity for the Addi brand -- even though the metal join sort of puts me off (at first glance) and makes me worry that it will be catch-free. Crazy, huh, the way we get about certain brands. Here's to hoping I get gauge!)

Some Pirate Knitting

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I think I’m going to have to shift my host (for this site) next week, so I’m not going to update further until I’m sure. But, quickly…

I’m working on the "We Call Them Pirates" hat in colors Matthew picked out from stash in the basement before we left on our trek to LEGOLand: dark purple and bright blue. Originally, when I saw it around, I thought it was too old for the boys. I kept seeing it, and my opinion started to waffle. I started thinking I'd make myself one, and I might. I found colors in stash for me, too. But first, his. Matthew loved the pattern when I showed it to him. His eyes got all big and round. "That is an amazing hat," he told me.

In the colors he's picked, it’s going to be really, really cute, though I’m a bit (okay, more than a bit) concerned about the roll the edge is showing. (No, I’m not doing the lining, so I probably should have done a different bottom to avoid the roll.) It’s a good knit and good practice for my fair isle skills. I use the Philosopher’s Wool technique of two-handed knitting which works great as long as you constantly keep 1/2 or “even/odd” in your head, which sometimes gets tricky when you are “also” counting the fair isle pattern itself.

Uh-oh. In pulling the URL to link to in this post, I see the designer's note about it being best to use loose carries to allow more stretch. The technique I use doesn't end up with any floats at all. I never though about that being a negative. I like it because everything is really nice and woven looking on the back, so it seems less likely a little boy will manage to snag or pull a float. I guess we'll see if it fits and has enough give when all is said and done. I got a good bit of knitting done on it last night while watching two DVR-ed episodes of Sopranos. But, I think it's looking short. I'm almost to the decrease section, and it doesn't look tall enough. I'm going to grab Matthew's Ropes hat today and compare, but I think I'll have to do another repeat of the skull pattern before decreasing.

It’s a fun knit, and I love watching the skull and crossbones takes shape, but I have to admit the project as a whole has taken longer than I thought it would (and now I need another repeat!). I tend to underestimate, I guess, when looking at hats, which seem small. (I don't underestimate any more on socks. I know they take me a while!) Pictures and a more detailed update next week!

Ninja Ropes Posted

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ropesropesropesropesropes

I mentioned Ninja Ropes in my post-Mendocino-road-trip post last week because I really had seriously considered pulling yarn to start my own – feeling, I guess, the lure of knitting on something small and accessory-like as a break from the growing shawl rows. When Jenn of KnitWit Momma wrote me telling me that she liked the “Ropes” pattern, I realized I’d never really introduced it on the site.

I did talk about it a bit when I was working on it last year. My oldest son picked out the initial colorway and the cable pattern (which he calls “ropes”). The Koigu color he picked was a great mix of acid greens, yellows, browns, and great hints of pink. The cable and rib combo sucked up yarn, however, and the first hat didn’t fit him. (It fit his younger brother, at the time. Today, it’s really too small for even the youngest, though he’s still wearing it some.) So, we moved on to another colorway for the oldest. Actually, if I remember correctly, I ordered additional skeins of the same colorway number, but it ended up being much, much different from the original (not surprisingly).

Enjoy! And if you make the pattern, please let me know. I'd love to see.

ropes

Winding Roads

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llama

We're back from a brief (but longer than we planned) road trip to Mendocino (coastal Northern CA). Here's what I learned:

  1. If you are not sure whether or not your kids are prone to carsickness, assume they are.

  2. If you think it might be a good idea to take the scenic route even though you know it might be longer and curvier, think again.

  3. If you are priding yourself on packing really lightly for an overnight, go back and add in an extra outfit for every member of the family and two for any members under two and under.

  4. If it sounds like fun to take a detour to visit a lighthouse along the way, make sure you read the sign carefully so that you realize the lighthouse is 21 miles down the road and not 2.1 miles away.

  5. Packing a handknit shawl is a good thing. Whether you wear it out as you stroll around or in over your pajamas in the evening, you'll feel "right" in your shawl. (I took my Flower Basket Shawl along, which hasn't gotten much use, and I loved having it with me. It just had the right "feel" for the getaway.)

  6. Take more LEGOs than you think you’ll need/want. If you’re taking pods, take a bunch!

  7. If it can be closed, it probably will be. (Okay, that's just our luck, probably not a rule of life!)

We had a good time, and it was nice to simply "be away" in a beautiful inn replete with their very own llamas, organic gardens, and tea trees in bloom. But, we did have quite the (carsick) trip getting there. And, the area was besieged by rains over the last three days. It poured the whole time we were there. Just poured.

I had debated about what knitting to take - and we were just going for one night. I swatched a yarn my Secret Pal gave me last year to see if I can get gauge for socks from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road. I keep wanting to make socks from that book, but the gauge always seems looser than the kinds of sock yarn I have. So, I did a swatch, but I ended up out of time and didn’t even get it measured and sorted out in the final rushed hours before we left.

I also considered taking a skein of Koigu from my coveted Koigu stash and making myself a Ninja Ropes hat (see free pattern link in list at right). I made the boys’ theirs last year, and it’s a hat I just love. They’ve worn them often, and every time I put one of them on them, I think what a pretty hat. So, while making myself one wasn’t on my original list of things to make for this year, I really do think I might have to have one sooner rather than later. It’s a great-weight basic hat--and I can't resist Koigu colors. In fact, while I have a bunch of Koigu stashed away, I'm guilty of holding onto it waiting for the perfect project, so I haven't used much of what I've bought. I do have a sweater in mind for some of it, and another Charlotte would be obvious, as well as a second set of fingerless mitts (which is on this year's list). So, I considered taking a skein and casting on my own Ninja Ropes hat, but I kept thinking “this is silly. I’m only going to be gone overnight. How much knitting will I really do? Do I need to start something new just because I’m on a trip?”

So, I talked myself out of starting something new.

Instead, I took my Shoalwater Shawl (taking a break from Kiri). It was a good choice, and it was nice to pick it back up and knock out a few rows. It’s a much denser shawl than Kiri, so I’ve actually worked far more rows on this shawl (far more) and still have a bunch to go (somewhere around 80). Given that there are 350+ stitches on the needles now, the rows are slow going, but it’s a rhythmic pattern, and each row flows along nicely. I got in a bunch of knitting (surprisingly) in between stopping the little one from opening and closing all the doors and drawers in the suite and after building a set of LEGO pod creations. I sat by the fire the first night and knitted (and wore my shawl), and it felt so peaceful.

Then we decided to stay and extra night, so there was more time to knit, and I did sort of wish I’d brought that skein of Koigu! I’m such a sentimental sap. I love having associations of “place” with my knitting. The only other time we were in Mendocino (at this same Inn), I made one of my favorite Rowan hats. It’s a bulky pink seed stitch hat from Kim Hargreaves, and I love it. Every time I wear it, I flash back on that first stay at the Inn (it’s a place that holds special significance for our family), and it’s nice. I like my knitting being tied to milestones and moments in my life. So, I sort of wish I’d had yarn with me to work on a Ninja Ropes hat for myself.

But, I didn’t.

green hat

I was glad, however, that I’d thought to take along a hat. We hadn’t planned on the winter storm (rain) and the drop in temperatures, but expecting general coolness and windiness by the coast, I’d tossed the two-tone green hat I made last December into my bag (along with my Koigu fingerless mits). I don’t think I ever showed this hat off. I used leftover yarn from my Ribby Cardi. The hat is a “bit” big (and a tad tall—I wear it folded up a little), so the gauge obviously wasn’t perfect for the pattern, but I think it turned out beautifully.

The pattern is “Make It Mosaic Hats” by Ellyn Wheeler from Creative Knitting Magazine (November 2005). Mom had the magazine when she was here last fall, and I thought it was a cool hat, and I really loved the look of the fair isle-esque diamond patterning. It’s actually a slip stitch pattern, so it’s very easy to work, and it has a wonderful Celtic resonance to it. The picture in the magazine shows up much more distinctly than mine. The two greens I used are so tonally close, I guess, that I got a very subtle effect, but I really like it.

We got back home a day later than planned, and I dutifully picked up Kiri again last night. I will finish the 10th repeat tonight. I’m not sure how to “tell” how big it really is unless I string it onto a string and lay it out. I hate to have to do that because I find it really painstaking to get a shawl back on the needles off of a string. But, I might do it just to see if it really will be big enough this way or not. I’d go for the 11th repeat, but I’d really be kicking myself later if I ended up without enough yarn left for the edging!

Ahoy, Maties!

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I first caught sight of this hat when SequinK was making it. (I'm still convinced she'll have to make one for her baby, too.) Then, I noticed Mommio has plans to make it. I ran into it at And She Knits, Too. And I think I bumped it a few other times because I clearly remember going out to download the pattern multiple times without realizing I'd already done so. Each time, I thought it was a great hat but maybe a bit too mature for the boys (right now).

But, now I'm rethinking that. I was hasty.

After seeing Rock Chick's version at Purl Jam, I don't know that I can resist making one for myself and then for the boys, too, no doubt. I can totally envision this in black and baby pink (for me, not the boys). Yep, you heard me. Black and baby pink!

Cute Hat

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Isn't this an adorable hat? It's actually not for Spencer but for our preschool teacher who is expecting a Christmas baby. Unfortunately, the hat turned out bigger than expected (which is why it fits Spencer). But, that's not necessarily an awful thing. Kids heads grow quickly. The pattern was a lot of fun. It's got several sections of different stitch patterning, including the section of bobbles, so it was a nice knit, and with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (Superwash), it is super soft, and the colorway is great.

Pattern: Fruit Roll-Up Hat
Source: Twilight's Dream (also sells on ebay)
Needles: 8 (US) circular/dpns
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted
Colorway: Daffodil

Save-Ums Success

saveums hat

Anyone who knows us knows we love the world of the Rescue Heroes(TM). Well, that love of shows that emphasize working as a team to solve problems (which is different than the world of good guys versus bad guys) means we also love the Save-Ums. It's a relatively new show that airs on both Discovery Kids and The Learning Channel. We've been watching it for months - or, I should say, we tape the new episodes. At any rate, we think it's a great show. "No problem is too big or too small" and "Small is powerful," are two of their mottos. After we'd been watching them for a while, Matthew and I noticed the cool hat that "Custard" (a sort of round-headed purple Save-Um) wears. I felt sure I could make Matthew his own Save-Ums hat. I let the idea brew in the back of my mind for a long time while I worked on other projects. Then, I dug around in the basement finding the right mix of colors in my stash. The yarns sat out upstairs for another long spell. Periodically, Matthew would ask, "Is my hat done?" I'd have to laugh since I hadn't started the hat still.

Feeling guilty, I started really thinking through how I'd make it. Specifically, I wanted to figure out the best way to address the center panel (where the flames appear). I was planning to make a traditional rounded hat that decreases through the crown even though the hat Custard actually wears looks almost like it has two small ears that stand up at the top and is seamed right across the top. I'd worked out a plan for making the intarsia section separate from the rest of the body and then sewing it together while still decreasing the crown when M convinced me that if I just made a square non-shaped hat, it would have the look of Custard's. She was totally right.

I think it turned out great. He loves it - though he wasn't into modeling for me on the day of this photo. It's been warm here, so we haven't had a good day to wear it yet. But, I'm really proud of how it turned out.

I do hate intarsia though. That has to be said. It's just not my cup of tea. But at least in this case, it was a small and controlled amount. As I untangled the small balls of yarn more than once, I couldn't help but think of Sasha Kagan and Jo Sharp sweaters that I've also admired but would totally never be able to stand making with all that intarsia!

We noticed recently that another character, Noodle, also wears a hat when he gets in one of the vehicles to go on a mission. Instead of flame in the center, his has the Save-Ums exclamation point logo. Seems perfect for the little brother to have an almost matching Save-Ums hat.

Pattern: Save-Ums Hat
Designer: Original
Yarn: Various Stash (gold, blue, red, and white)
Needles: 7's

Too Big or Too Small

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I cant believe its June 1 today. Time to flip the calendar over and start marking off school days in one color, swimming days in another, music days in another. Already there are notes on many days for doctors appointments, hair cuts, and then the week when my mom will be here and were heading to LEGOLand. (Yeah!) Ive never been much of a calendar person, but suddenly this year the tides of time have swung a different direction, and Im caught up in a calendar tailspin, and we lead relatively calm and decidedly not overscheduled lives.

I feel like Ive been knitting in spits and spurts, but I have nothing to show for it. First Id started a pair of socks from Knitting on the Road in purple Lornas Laces. They were looking really pretty but seemed way too small. So I frogged those. I was going to start a pair from Lucy Neatbys Cool Socks book the other day in the car in between dropping Matthew off at school and taking Spencer to music. Having made Megans New Years socks from Lornas Laces, I knew my gauge with the yarn, but I didnt know my ankle measurement, so I couldnt even figure out what I needed to cast on. I happened to have Knitting on the Road with me in the bag that day, too, and the Conwy socks call for Lornas, so with a mental shrug, I figured what the hay. The book is full of great socks, and those are cool and pretty, too, with their cabled legs.

I just wanted a pair cast on that I could work on in off moments, something easy to pick up when working on my Must Have wasnt possible. I started them and worked on the ribbing in the car. I then picked them up late the other night only to find that the stitch pattern is really complicated. Not in terms of understanding it, but in terms of physically doing it. Its not easy knitting. I was having a heck of a time doing what was necessary, and you have to do the tough stitches every other row and like every two stitches all the way around.

Since that clearly wasnt providing the restful knit I was hoping, I grabbed a skein of Regia Jubilee that Id started and frogged last fall and cast on the other night figuring Id do something basic since thats a heavily self-patterning yarn. But, I always overthink and rebel against basic, so instead of a simple 2 x 2 or even 2 x 3 rib, I started doing seed panels separated by close rib panels. I worked on it again last night and just felt like I wasnt liking how it looked. So, I ripped that out last night, too, before falling asleep.

So, no socks in the works yet, although I havent actually frogged the Conwy ones. I want to give that pattern a shot in daylight to see if its really as tough (for me) as it seemed the other night.

My other failed attempts have been for a Bottoms Up Bucket Hat. First, I was going to make Spencer one to give the pattern a try. I cast it on and frogged it after maybe 10 rows because it just looked huge. I then cast on (using a different yarn) for myself using an Addi 6. Again, it looked huge. But, its the brim. It will logically be bigger than the hat and draw in when you get past the brim. It drew in but not enough. When I was switching over to the 7s, after doing all the decreases and dropping to one yarn, there was a moment when I had parts of it on each circular and could see how bit it was.

Think toilet seat cover. Think steering wheel cover. Think shoulder shrug.

All of those things would be closer to the reality than a hat.

I have photos of the hat's demise, but they are too depressing to even show. After pulling it off the needles, I laid it on the floor by a measuring tape. Please don't choke on your laughter when I say it measured out at 58 inches.

And, yes, Megan and I both modeled it as a shrug or the start of a poncho or something similar.

What on earth went wrong? I dont know. (Okay, I didn't swatch.) The only thing I can figure is that with the cotton, my knitting was just too loose on the metal circular. It didn't feel overly loose. The finished product doesn't look really loose. But, I do tend to use bamboo more these days, except for socks, for which I do use Addis always.

I knew Id read many complaints from bloggers about working with the doubled cotton for the brim. My mom, too, had said shed had trouble with the double stranded section hurting her hands. I didnt really have that trouble. Guess that should have been my first warning that something was wrong.

I should just give up on this hat and call it a wrap. But its like a record stuck in my head now. I think I have to make it. Unfortunately, I dont have the right needles in bamboo. I need a 16 6 and 7. Or, I might even need to drop to a 16 5 and do the body of the hat in a 6. (If youre thinking I should swatch, youre right.)

With all the needles I have (and I feel like I have a TON of circular needles), I couldn't put my hands on these sizes/lengths over the weekend. So, I need to run to a yarn store. I am strange, I guess. I hate to go in just to buy needles. I feel sort of like an interloper. But, I also want Bryspun needles in sizes 2 and 7 for projects I have planned, so a needle run seems inevitable. [Update: Needles ordered!]

I did pick up my Must Have a few times and am working steadily up the back. I havent given it the attention its needed though, for sure, although Im still hoping for completion by June 23 since Im hoping to start two new projects the week of Moms visit.

Ninja Knitting

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No photos, but I'm stealing a quick minute to update since I've been out of the posting loop for too many days. I have been doing some blog hopping and did catch all three episodes of the Knitcast on my iPod. I found that I really enjoyed that. I'm a reader, but I've never been a book-on-tape listener. I just sort of zone out and suddenly realize I have no idea what I've been listening to. But for some reason, I really liked having the knitcasts to listen to. I sat and knitted and listened to them and halfway paid attention to whatever M had on TV the other night.

(No. I haven't found my iPod charger or the firewire cable, both of which I did have with me in KY in January. But, the USB cable works for now - and charges it, too. So, maybe I'll stumble over the others soon. I'm sure I brought them home and stashed them somewhere safe in the flurry of things going on at the time. I REALLY need those little RFID tags from Brookstone that you put on things and then can press a button later to locate the items when you can't find them!)

So, I haven't been knitting a ton, but I have been working on a new design for the boys in Koigu. Matthew picked out the color from my stash. It's one that I wasn't sure I liked in the skein. I'd ordered it sight unseen and didn't love it in person. But he instantly bonded with it, and once I started working with it, I fell in love. It's a wondeful blend of limes, browns, and some pinkish tones thrown in. Very Nina Turtle. Very celtic in some way. Very postmodern. Very cool.

He also picked the cable pattern I'm using. It's a super basic one, but he liked the "ropes."

So, I was making his version of the design first, but because of the change in tension with the cables, it ended up being Spencer-sized. That threw me a bit, and then I ran into some other issues with the sizing. But, I think I'm on track now in charting the design, and I'm ready to start the second one. I'm going to make a few adjustments this time, though, so it's sort of like a new project and a new pattern.

Still awaiting the Must Have Cardi pattern in the mail...

Ringing in 2005

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Well, we're home! I add an exclamation point because it's nice to be home. It was sad leaving my mom's. It always is. And we had a fabulous time there with her. It was a wonderful Christmas even though there was some unexpected in-fighting. Still, overall, we had a great time. We love being at mom's and with mom. It's always nice to be home though, too.... back to our twin coffee pots (so that I can drink decaf), our super-powerful water flow in the shower, and other little things that make home home. Of course, we leave behind other niceties at mom's and ones even around town like a drive-through drop-off at the local library (something we really need here in SF where you have to walk your books in), every fast food restaurant you could want within a few minutes driving distance (we routinely drive about 20 minutes to get to Wendy's from our SF house), a Wal-Mart just down the road, an ophthalmologist that came in at night when called... there are things to be said for small-time living, for sure.

I've got tons of things I need to blog (including all the wonderful knit-stuff I unwrapped), but the New Year leaves me feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially since we just got home yesterday (and then had a power outage for several hours last night), so you'll get things in bits and pieces for a few days.

I did want to show a few pictures to get the New Year rolling...

Mom really liked her Charlotte's Web, and I think it looks beautiful on her. The colors are just right for her, as you can see from these photos.

gramma in shawl gramma in shawl

She would have looked great in a red and purple one, too, (had I been able to find the yarns when I was looking) to go with her Red Hat Club stuff, but I love the look of the teal. It's peaceful and tranquil and wise.

I mentioned before Christmas that I was working on helping mom (Gramma) finish the candy cane hats. I made hat #3 and did corkscrews for the tops of all three hats. Those took forever, but they really were easy to make and very cute once done. (The pattern for the corkscrew is in the Handy Book of Patterns.)

Here are pics of the boys in the hats. We never did get a photo of all three boys at once. The first photo shows Spencer and Matthew (with Megan). The second shows Matthew and cousin Alex (five months older than Matthew).

boys in hats boys in hats


On the plane home yesterday, I made a list of all the things (I could remember) that I knitted in 2004. It was a surprisingly long list, especially for a year in which a new baby arrived. I need to set up a gallery of finished objects, so this list is the foundation upon which I'll do that (when I get the chance). Still, even without photos, it's a list that stands as a testament to work completed.

  • Spencer's baby Koigu hat (started while in the hospital post-cesarean)
  • Spencer's red variegated hat (from Handy Book of Patterns)
  • Yukon fur-fringed hat (based on a LYS store sample)
  • Alchemy baby cable hat (original design)
  • Three rainbow hats from The Purl Stitch for Matthew, Megan, and me
  • Matching rainbow seed-stitch scarf for Matthew
  • Green Big Wool baby cable hat
  • Purple Cascade Skye cardigan (original design)
  • Love Bug vest for Matthew (original design)
  • Love Bug vest for Spencer (original design)
  • Mom's Charlotte's Web
  • Pink Eros scarf w/ ruffled ends
  • Red stained glass fringed Eros scarf for Megan
  • Chili Pepper Fluff scarf
  • Making Waves socks (part of 6 Sox KnitAlong)
  • Cloverleaf socks (part of 6 Sox KnitAlong)
  • Fluted Banister socks (part of 6 Sox KnitAlong)
  • Broad Ripple socks for Megan
  • Splash scarf for sister-in-law
  • Fiber Trends fur trimmed felted tote (which I love)
  • Gauntlets for Megan
  • Gauntlets for me
  • Touch Me scarf
  • Jo Sharp Oriole vest
  • Child's poncho (for school auction)

(Entries shown in red were made as gifts. It wasn't a gift-heavy year.)

Even though most of this list is accessories, I don't think I've ever finished so many things in a year before. I think the blogging community has been really, really good for me, and I'm looking forward to a really productive and blogworthy and bloggable and blogful(l) 2005! Cheers.

spencer new year

Candy cane hats

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We made it. Actually, it was a smooth and uneventful day of travel. We're lucky to have really good young travelers. Matthew popped out of bed at 4 a.m. bright-eyed, perky, and ready to go.

He sat in the living room while we got the last things ready.

"When is the rocket ship coming?" he asked us.

It took us a minute, after all it was early, and I'd opted for no coffee. But we're moms of a nearly-four boy. We followed the thought path as if he'd laid railroad tracks (to the moon) right before us.

In the days leading up to the trip, we'd talked over the sequence of events for the day. Shuttle, plane, rental car...

Somehow that morning the association of shuttle to rocket ship was stronger in his head than the image of the big blue van we always take to the airport!

Things got even more confusing when I was explaining that the plane was taxi-ing to the runway for takeoff.

So, after taking a rocket ship to the airport and flying a taxi to KY, we drove the last leg in.

Today we woke to beautiful fluffy snow and bitter cold. No accumulation, but very pretty. Very cold.

Since we arrived, I've been working on finishing up the third and final red and white striped hat mom was making (for the three grandsons). How did I get roped into it? I'm not really sure. I recall wheedling. I recall cajoling.

Since I (gasp) didn't bring an active knitting project, I agreed to finish (well, make really, as she only had about an inch started) the final hat.

In anticipation of new projects to come, I made the tough decision not to bring knitting to start. Instead I brought a needlepoint belt I designed for Matthew. I really just have the background to do. He just recently started expressing an interest in wearing a belt (we have a few, and he's always shunned them, but he was infatuated with one the other day while shopping). I'm not sure he's really ready, but he could be close, so I thought I'd work on it pre-Christmas.

Instead I've been stuck with a 4x4 rib in candy cane self-striping sock yarn.

I finished last night. Just need to draw the needle through the remaining 8, tuck some ends, and do tassels for this one and for my nephew's. When I was here in Oct., mom wanted me to make pom-poms for the tops. I'm not a pom-pom fan, so I just made a length of i-cord, attached it and knotted it for Matthew's. When the nephew saw Matthew's tassel the other day during an impromptu modeling session, he decided he really wanted one, too.

I do want to be able to tell them apart easily, I'm going to try a corkscrew tassel for one them.

They're Guinevere-esque

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All I can say is wow. The Koigu I'm using for my gauntlets is awesome. I had high hopes for it when I picked it up a few years ago. I don't think it was last year. No, last year at the annual after-Christmas sale at a local yarn store near my mom's, we had caught a felting bug and all three of us bought wool, fuzzy yarns for trim, and needles to make Fiber Trends felted totes. So maybe it was the year before when I picked up two skeins of this unbelievable Koigu colorway.

This year, it has been simmering. I have brought it out several times, trying to decide how to use it. Socks? A hat? Gauntlets?

Unrolled, it was so pretty I knew it had to be something special. Something I would wear frequently. Something people would see.

Gauntlets won out, probably largely because I don't have a pair yet.

I'm using the same modified pattern I used to make M's, but I started things off with baby cables instead of a standard rib.

Here are some in-progress shots - top of hand, underside, and a close-up. I'm still working on gauntlet #1.

guantlets guantlets guantlets

(The photos are disappointing. The first two I took in the kitchen this morning with the lights on. So, the color doesn't seem true. Too warm. The third one I took the other day in another room. You can see how different they look. When they're done, I'll get a good outside photo that captures the true color range.)

Watching the colors unfold has been amazing. The palette is so rich and deep. It almost glows. There is a good bit more green in it than I expected, but the green is balanced by purple and red and even some oranges and yellows. The result is so lush and intensely colored that it has royal overtones.

I have a strong fascination with Arthurian legend, and years ago, I would always be tempted by something if M. deemed it 'very Guinevere-esque.'

We don't do that so much anymore. But I did recently buy a Holly Yashi necklace in greens and purples and blues that struck me as very Guinevere-esque, so maybe the concept has cycled back into my life. (Come to think of it, I had a very strong celtic/Scottish period about a year after Matthew was born, too.)

These are perfect.


Mittens in 05?
I'm toying with the idea of an extended 'mitten along' in 2005, a la the 6 Sox. Anyone interested? It could be a lot of fun. The idea is still brewing...

Hat sighting
We were in Borders the other night, and the young woman working in the children's section ran into us as she rounded an aisle.

"What great hats you all have!" she said.

Spencer was wearing his new red hat. Matthew had on his rainbow hat. I had on my favorite Kim Hargreaves Rowan Big Wool hat.

Pausing to give each of our toppers the once over, she again said how neat they were and asked if someone had made them. I said I had, and she said how much she liked them, especially Matthew's rainbow hat which she termed cute and then quickly amended to 'cool' obviously fearing he might react to the 'cute' word. (He didn't/doesn't.)

It was nice to be noticed. Made my night. That's the great thing about hats though - they're hard to miss!

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