Tag Archive | gift

A blanket for a friend

I finally finished that damn blanket that I’ve been making for, um, over four years…

Orange Sampler Afghan 1It started out as a way to use up skeins of yarn that had sat in my stash forever because there was no way I was using them to make anything I would wear. I mean, I like orange, but I don’t wear orange, generally speaking. So I decided a patchwork crocheted sampler afghan was the perfect way to get rid of… I mean, put to good use all this bulky orange yarn that had been sitting here unused and unloved for close to ten years.

So I made 11 squares.  And they sat around my craft room, waiting for the last square to be completed.  They sat around my craft room for four years.  A good portion of that time, they sat on the floor, just like this.  Waiting.

100_4674 (2)But when one of the dogs started thinking they were her personal cozy space, I picked them up off the floor and stacked them on a table. Where they waited again.

And waited.

And waited.

In January, I was in California for my annual girls’ weekend.  The husband of one of my dearest friends is suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and all the rest of the unpleasantness that goes along with cancer treatment.  And that’s when it struck me: this blanket belongs to him.  So I came home and finished the last square.

And then that blanket sat around again while I finished up rehearsals and performances for Old Love.  And started and finished a cardigan for me, because I’m a selfish bitch.  But I finally sewed the squares together last week, took a few photos, and now I’m ready to send it off.  I’m holding this blog entry until I receive word from my friend that they’ve received the package.

Peter Blanket 1

Peter Blanket 4

Peter Blanket 7

Pattern: Sampler Afghan by Darla Sims, 12 selected squares
Yarn: Rowan Plaid, colorway 154 Spicy, 7 skeins; Patons North American Shetland Chunky, colorway 03520 Russet, 7 skeins; a total of 1610 yards
Hook: Boye, size K
Size: Roughly 36 inches by 48 inches, just big enough to cover one’s lap and legs
Satisfaction with end product: I like it. It’s cozy and warm and machine washable. I hope they like it. (And yes, I washed it to get rid of any dog hair.)  Click here for the Ravelry project page.

New blog entry, with actual yarn content!

With all the rehearsals going on over the last six months, you would be forgiven for thinking that I’d forgotten how to turn yarn into usable items, much less actually complete anything.

Ha!  I haven’t!

Okay, I didn’t get much accomplished in that time, but there were a couple of things.  First, this baby blanket for a colleague who was expecting his first child was started in November and finished in January.

Mike Blanket 3

Pattern: Taylor Baby Blanket (my original design)
Yarn: Bernat Pipsqueak, in four different colorways (see Ravelry project page for details), approx 275 yards total
Needles: Addi circs, size US 15
Size: Approx 36″ x 24″
Satisfaction with end product: It’s soft and squishy and perfect for a newborn. My colleague and his wife loved it, and that’s the most important thing.

Late last summer I made this tank top.

100_4902 (2)

Pattern: S7365 Damentop mit Ajourmuster by Schachenmayr Design Team (Thankfully, it was available in English)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sunseeker Multi in Candy Cane, approx 628 yards
Needles: Addi circulars, US 5 and US 3
Size: Medium (34″/36″)
Mods: Gauge with this yarn was a little wide and tall, so I cast on for the small to get a medium, and began the armholes at row 120 instead of row 148. Did 4 rows garter stitch at bottom edge before beginning lace pattern. Also 4 rows garter stitch at neck edge and armhole edge instead of stockinette. Did not turn over arm and neck edges for a hem. 2 inch shoulder seams instead of 2 cm as called for in the pattern.
Satisfaction with end product: Made for me, and I love it. It’s cool and comfortable and looks pretty good under a jacket, so I can even wear it to work.

You can see a few more pictures on the project page.

And finally, I made this hat in February:

IMG_20180223_082110.jpg

Pattern: #24 Cabled Pompom Hat by Annabelle Speer (from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2012)
Yarn: Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate, approx 215 yards (a now defunct yarn company; this was my last skein)
Needles: Addi circs, US 7
Mods: Smaller pompom due to lack of the appropriate size pompom maker, a situation that has now been remedied
Satisfaction with end product: This was a gift for a friend who helped out the production of Old Love by sending us authentic Tim Horton’s to-go cups from Canada to use in our coffee shop scene. A small detail that the audience probably never noticed, but we did. I think the hat turned out lovely, but more importantly, my friend did too. You can see a few more pics on the Ravelry project page.

Look, actual knitting content!

Recent blog entries have been so focused on my participation in reading challenges that you may be forgiven if you forgot this was also a yarn crafting blog. Yes, I have been knitting as well as reading over the last couple of months.  I finished a cowl of my own design a few weeks ago, but (as usual) have yet to write up the pattern and photograph the finished item.  Someday soon.  Pinky swear.

After finishing the cowl, I started working on a Christmas stocking for a friend’s baby.  Here’s the progress so far.

davi-christmas-stocking-1

Yes, you’re right. That is indeed a crappy cell phone photo. I texted my friend with it to show her the progress, and then decided a blog entry was in order as well. And there you have it. Actual knitting content.

FO Friday: Kayson’s Blankie

100_4662-2By the time this post appears online, my family will have increased by one.  My niece expects to deliver her second son sometime between September 7 and September 14.  All new babies in my family get a special blanket made just for them, and Kayson is no exception.

Pattern:  My design, and it doesn’t have a name yet.

Yarn:  Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Caramel, a discontinued colorway; 1.1 skeins for a total of 767 yards.

Needle:  US 9; I used Addi Turbos Circular.

Size:  34″ x 24″, after a machine wash and dry.

Satisfaction with end product:  It’s soft and absorbent and can be thrown in the washer and dryer.  That’s the perfect baby blanket as far as I’m concerned.  I hope my niece likes it.

The pattern came about because I couldn’t find a blanket that I liked among all the blanket patterns that I already have.  Let me rephrase:  I couldn’t find a blanket pattern that I liked that suited this particular yarn, and I was determined to use this yarn because of its easy care.  And so I fiddled around for a while with stitch patterns and finally settled on a classic basketweave, but with a twist: the small basketweave sections that bookend the center portion of the blanket.

This time as I made the blanket, I remembered to make pattern notes.  I’ll get the pattern written up and made available eventually.  I have to figure out how to upload PDFs to Ravelry someday, don’t I?

Here are a couple more pictures of the blanket, for good measure.  Click the pic to see it larger.  And you can click that large picture up top to go to the Ravelry project page.

FO Friday Avantaknits Badge (2)Do you have a finished project to show off? Please share it with us by linking up here. You’ll be glad you did!

FO Friday: 2015 in Review, Yarn Edition

So here it is, January 1, 2016, the start of a brand new year.  As is my custom, I’ll start the new year by taking a look back at the old.  And, because today is Friday, this look back will include all the FOs that haven’t been seen yet because, um, Christmas.  In fact, let’s start with that first.  You can click on each of the pics to be taken to the Ravelry project page for all yarn and pattern details.

Two of my colleagues had babies near the end of the year.  Colleague number one received a version of what has become my go-to quickie baby blanket, the Great Granny, from the sadly defunct magazine, Crochet Today.  This one was made with acrylic worsted left over from the Tunisian Terror.

Jason's Granny 2

Colleague number two received something I called the Jets Stroller Blanket, from another Crochet Today pattern.  This was also a repeat use of the pattern: I made my mother a larger version of this blanket several years ago.  Why “Jets Stroller Blanket”?  My colleague is a huge New York Jets fan; he was expecting a baby boy, so naturally said boy will become a Jets fan (unless he suffers through a major teenage rebellion phase, but that’s years away, so let’s not worry about it); therefore, the color scheme of the blanket is the Jets’ team colors.  This is made with a chunky washable wool that feels marvelous.

Aaron's Baby Blanket 3

A young friend (the woman who was the stage manager of the play I did in May) had a birthday late in the year.  She is a big Harry Potter aficionado, so I found out her Hogwarts House and made her a Gryffindor Scarf for her birthday.  This is my own pattern because I couldn’t find one I liked that I could knit fast enough (I found out about her birthday late late late).  I haven’t decided if I’ll write it up and put it on Ravelry — there are so many other Hogwarts scarves out there already.  Regardless, she loved it, and that made me happy.  The yarn is Universal’s Uptown Worsted, which is fast becoming my preferred acrylic now that Bernat Berella 4 has been discontinued.  (I borrowed my husband’s college robes and mortarboard for the picture.  You must imagine him rolling his eyes while shooting.)

Gryffindor Scarf 3

Now let’s take a look at the Christmas gifts.  I started working on gifts early in the year — and have posted blog entries about several finished projects already — but even with that head start, I had to rush rush rush to finish the projects shown here, and a couple of them didn’t get finished until the weekend AFTER Christmas.  Oops.

First up is the Saroyan Scarf, a free pattern made using Cascade 220 Superwash in a brilliant red.  I like making these crescent scarves knit from side to side.  The knitting is more manageable when done along the short edge, not to mention the ease of casting on.

Saroyan 1

Then there’s the Gansey Cap from Vogue Fall 2015, using Cascade Longwood in Navy.  The Longwood is an Aran superwash, silky soft and perfect for people who, while not allergic to wool, may have sensitive skin and get itchy with wool worn right next to their skin.  This wool is not itchy in the least.  It may become my new 100% wool hat yarn.

Gansey Watch Cap 4

The Harald Watch Cap is an Elsebeth Lavold pattern that kept my interest the whole time I worked on it.  I had to pay close attention to all those crossing cables.  Unfortunately, the photographs turned out like crap, so you can’t really see the intricate detail in the finished hat.  The yarn is from Copper Corgi Fiber Studio and is a deep chocolate brown worsted that somehow showed up as nearly burgundy when photographed.

Harald Watch Cap 6

In another photograph fail, this striped watch cap (using Ann Budd’s Basic Hat pattern) is made from the same yarn as the Jets Stroller Blanket shown above, although you’d never guess from the picture.

Striped Watch Cap 2

I learned the braided yarn technique while making the Brim Braid Hat (an Interweave Knits pattern).  I also economized a bit by using Cascade 220 Superwash left over from previous projects.

Braided Brim Cap 1

I used Cascade Longwood again, in a bright blue, for the Vermeer Hat (free pattern if you’re a Rowan member).   The pattern also includes fingerless mitts with the same cable pattern, so you can knit a matching set if you wish.

Vermeer 4

Back to the Cascade 220 Superwash for the Windsor Hat, another free pattern from Rowan — part of their 2012 Jubilee Collection to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne.

Windsor 1

Finally, I pulled out an old old finished scarf that had never been blocked and plopped it into the gift pile.  The yarn, as best as I can remember, was Plymouth Encore, and the pattern is the Forever Scarf from Interweave Knits.

Forever in Camo 1.JPG

And that’s it for the FOs.  Well, at least the FOs that can be shared.  I actually finished a project today but it hasn’t been blocked or photographed, so we’ll save it for another blog post.

Now for the rest of the year in yarn.

Projects completed in 2015: 19 total, and every single one of them a gift for someone else.  I didn’t make one single thing for myself this year.  If I have to make a New Year’s resolution, it’s that 2016 will be the year of selfish knitting.

Techniques learned:  The braided brim technique shown on one of the caps above, which involved two colors in the same row, convinced me that, yes, I can indeed handle Fair Isle.

Yarn used:  This is the reason I use Knit Meter.  The visual representation is cool, plus it’s easier to keep track in one spot, especially since it does the math for you.

Yarn purchased:   59 skeins of lusciousness, including a couple of skeins of 100% cashmere and several more skeins of cashmere blends.  A number of yarn stores within a reasonable drive of Atlanta closed their doors and put their stock on sale at a deep discount.  My friend Alice and I went hog wild.  Plus I went on a couple of trips.  I always have to buy local yarn when on a trip.  *sigh*  I don’t even want to add up the yardage acquired.  Another friend and I were discussing our stashes recently and she figures that, if I never bought another yard, and if I knit at the rate of three sweaters or seven small projects (such as scarves and socks) per year, I have sufficient yarn to last the next 40 years.  I’m in my mid 50s, so that’s enough yarn for the rest of my life.  Personally, I think I’m good for more knitting per year than that (ahem, 19 projects this year!), so let’s call it a 20-year stash.  I’m ready for the apocalypse,or retirement, at the very least.

I can’t find anyone to link to for an FO Friday round-up.  If I thought I had enough self-discipline to manage such an undertaking, I’d start one myself.  If next week is the same, I’ll investigate further.  Perhaps an automated post with a “Mr. Linky” set-up might work.

Stay tuned, please.  A project planning post is forthcoming in the next day or two, as is a post about the year in books.

Oh, yeah, and Happy New Year!

FO Friday: Sigh of Relief Edition

It’s done.  It’s finally finally finally done.  The Tunisian Terror will terrify no more.

Mom's Tunisian 29

I’ve been absent from this blog for a couple of months, at least, frantically working on this blanket and a few other must-finish gifts.  Today’s post will feature only  the Tunisian Terror.

Anyone who has followed this blog over the last couple of years has seen numerous posts about this project.  A quick recap for any latecomers:  At Christmas 2013, my mother was thumbing through my afghan books and came across a blanket she had to have, the Take-Along Sampler Afghan by Ruth Ellen Klug. “Make me this,” she said.  I gulped, but I love my mother so naturally I said, “Of course.”  In March 2014, we went to the yarn store near her house and ordered the yarn.  I received it in April 2014, taught myself Tunisian Simple Stitch, and set to work.   In April 2015, I finished crocheting the last of the squares — or potholders, as my husband called them — and started the decorative cross-stitching.  In August 2015, I finished the cross-stitching and started weaving in all the colored ends.  In September, I began sewing the squares into strips and the strips to each other.  I sewed on the last strip Tuesday night, did a one-row single crochet border around the whole thing Wednesday night while cooking a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner, and started weaving in the ends of all the black yarn.  At 11:30 pm, my head hurt, my eyes burned, and I could hardly keep from nodding off. I gave up and went to bed.

Yesterday morning, we got in the car to go to Alabama for dinner with the family.  Spouse drove.  I had the blanket in my lap and wove in countless ends as the miles and the pine trees rolled by.  We were less than 10 miles from our destination when the last end was woven in and clipped off.  The blanket was a crumpled mess, but it was done.

I handed it to my mother as we walked in the door.  “Mom, it’s done, but it needs to be washed and dried.”  She laundered it.  I took the above photo while it was still warm from the dryer.

  • Pattern:  Take-Along Sampler Afghan by Ruth Ellen Klug. Link to my Ravelry project page.
  • Yarn:  Uptown Worsted by Universal, 21 colors, approximate 3,700 yards total.  A lovely yarn for an acrylic, smooth and fairly soft right out of the skein.  Based on the pattern amounts — which unfortunately gave ounces rather than yards as the unit of measurement — I bought four skeins of black and one skein of each of the other colors. The black was insufficient and I dipped into stash to make up the difference, using about another 400 yards (best guess) to finish embroidery and borders. Additionally, I ran out of the Electric Blue during the cross-stitching, and substituted Little Boy Blue or Royal Blue on several squares. Further shortages during cross-stitching: I ran out of Sage and Baby Green. I substituted from stash for Sage but replaced Baby Green with the Sage substitute or another color altogether, depending on the square. Therefore the yardage shown on the project page for Sage is a best guess.
  • Hook:  Tunisian hook, size H.  Standard Boye hook, size G
  • Satisfaction with end product:  I sincerely doubt I will ever make this pattern again.  It’s just too involved.  As much as I hate to admit it, I started to resent making it before I was halfway through, and I didn’t give this pattern all the meticulous care it required.  The tension from square to square is uneven because of the amount of time that passed while making them.  This means no two squares are exactly the same size, and some of them are considerably different.  That problem could have been remedied by blocking, but I didn’t do that.  Blocking 63 individual squares to identical measurements was beyond the scope of my energy.  Because the squares were not blocked to size before I sewed them together, the blanket is a little rumply in spots.  Despite all that, it’s still very pretty.  My mother loves it, and that’s what really matters.

Something to keep in mind when looking at the time span this project took: I work a full-time job.  When you factor in the commute to downtown Atlanta, I put in about a 10-hour work day five days a week.  Plus the care and upkeep of house and spouse.  Then add trying to keep my acting chops sharp? Hah!  It’s a wonder this project didn’t take longer.  Of course, another factor in the time span was the time I spent making other things while this blanket was in progress.  Periodically I grew wholeheartedly sick of the whole thing and had to set it aside until my enthusiasm returned.

Normally, I’d link to a couple of FO Friday roundups, but I can’t find any of the usual suspects, no doubt because of the holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and a joyous holiday season to come.  I’ll do my best to get back here a little more frequently.  I have several other finished projects to show off, and Christmas gifts still on the hooks and needles.  Stay tuned.

FO Friday: Weekend with the Swan Princess Shawl

Weekend Shawl 6I finished up this beauty Monday evening.

Pattern:  Le Weekend Shawlette by Jan Henry.  Click here for my Ravelry project page.   The pattern is a bottom-up short row crescent, and very easy to follow, although I made a few modifications.  After all the short rows were done as written, I didn’t really like the look of the edges, so I picked up the slipped stitches along the edges (11 stitches each) and continued the short rows until all stitches were knitted (200 total on needle).  To mitigate the stockinette roll at the top, I added an eyelet row (K2tog, YO), then two rows of garter stitch before binding off.

Weekend Shawl 9Yarn:  Miss Babs Cosmic Sock, 304 yards, colorway Swan Princess – hence, the name of the shawl.  The colorway was a limited edition “Babette” and is no longer available.  The yarn is spectacular with a gorgeous color spectrum and a smooth hand.  It had some minor bleeding when soaked for a wet block, but a dash of vinegar in the sink fixed that little issue.

Needles:  Addi Turbo 32″ circular, size 7 for the body, size 9 for the bindoff.

Size:  After blocking and relaxing, 65 inches wide, 12 inches deep.

Satisfaction with end result:  I love this so much I’m tempted to keep it myself rather than put it in the gift pile.

Weekend Shawl 8One more picture to show off here, but you can see several others on my Ravelry project page.

This post is part of Freshly Finished Fridays, a link round-up normally hosted by HardKnitLife, but she seems to be a little late posting the linkup.  Regardless, Shadow’s KnitKnacks stepped into the breach.  Click the badge to be taken to the roundup.  Add your link and read a few others!

Freshly Finished Friday

FO Friday: The Gallatin Scarf

Today’s featured finished project was completed so quickly it didn’t even get its own Work In Progress Wednesday blog entry!

Gallatin 4Pattern:  Gallatin Scarf by Kris Basta (click here for my Ravelry project page)

Yarn:  Kudo by Plymouth, colorway #45 Cream Blue Gray. It’s too bad this yarn is discontinued. It’s surprisingly warm, given that it contains no wool, making it the perfect choice for people with wool allergies.

Needles:  Addi Turbo circs, US 10, with a 29-inch cable.  The pattern calls for US 10.5, but I didn’t like the look of the lace with that large a needle.  Dropping down a needle size made the scarf somewhat smaller, but not enough that it made a difference in wearability.

Size:  68 inches wide by 9 inches deep, unblocked

Gallatin 2Satisfaction with end product:  Very pleased.  I didn’t block this scarf because I liked the rustic look it has unblocked.  Even without blocking, the scarf is plenty long enough to wrap around the neck twice, or wear kerchief style as shown on the model (um, that would be yours truly). I love how Kudo’s long color repeats worked out to accentuate the striping effect created by the alternating stockinette/reverse stockinette above the lace edging.

The long cable was a little unwieldy at the beginning, considering the pattern starts off by casting on just four stitches.  If I make this again, which is a possibility, I’ll use a shorter cable at the start and switch to a longer cable midway through.

Freshly Finished Friday

Also, this makes one more Christmas gift down, once I figure out the appropriate giftee.  🙂

This post is part of the Freshly Finished Friday round-up hosted by HardKnitLife.  Click the badge to see who else has finished items to show off this week.

FO Friday, and Happy WordPress Anniversary to me

Five years ago today I established this blog, or so WordPress says.  Has it really been that long?  I had no idea.  I moved over here from Vox, which at that time was a going-out-of-business blog platform and not a vibrant and flourishing news site.  So, yay, and happy WordPress anniversary to me.  As an anniversary gift, I present to you another blog entry.  🙂

I finished a book and a scarf this week.

The book was Seveneves by Neal Stephenson: hard SF at its finest, but easily accessible for non-scientists and non-mathematicians like me.  The moon is destroyed and Earth is running out of time.  How will the human race survive this extinction event?  Read it and find out.  Even if you don’t care for science fiction itself, this is so well-written and moving, the humanity of the story might win you over.  Click the book cover to read the full non-spoilery review.

Chinook 8Now, the scarf. You saw this first on last week’s WIP Wednesday. Because I, um, have been avoiding sewing up the Tunisian Terror, this scarf-cum-shawlette got lots of attention.

PatternChinook Scarf by Ali Green.  Very well-written pattern, really easy to follow.

Yarn: Cozette by Knit One Crochet Two, 257 yards of a 275-yard skein.  Colorway: Sea Glass.

Needles: Addi Turbo Clicks with a short cable, US size 7.

Size:  64 inches wide, 14 inches deep

Chinook 12Satisfaction with end product:  I think it’s grand.  The scarf is ultra-lightweight because of the high silk content of the yarn, plus it has a lovely drape.  I love the knitted-in I-cord edging along the top, which made a sturdy and even straight edge to support the rest of the design. The icy color will coordinate well with many outfits.  It should make a nice transitional piece or year-round accessory.  It’s intended as a gift.  Now I just have to figure out who it belongs to.

Chinook 11Because I don’t know when to quit, here are a couple more photos.  As always, click any of the photos to see them full size.

Chinook 6Freshly Finished FridayThis blog entry is part of the Freshly Finished Friday round-up hosted by HardKnitLife.  Click that badge to see what other folks have finished this week and add your link to the list.  Also linked with Gracey’s Goodies, so check that out too.

WIP Wednesday: The end of the Tunisian Terror is in sight

Remember the Tunisian Terror?  The blanket I started for my mother in April 2014?  I finished all the crocheting in April of this year and then started the embellishments.  Behold!  All the cross-stitching is done!

Mom's Tunisian 28

Here it is laid out in the order in which it will be assembled.  Now all that remains is the sewing together of the squares.  One row is sewn, eight rows remain to be sewn, and then comes stitching the rows to each other and putting a border on it.  Stitching the squares together doesn’t really take long: I can do one row in an evening of TV watching, but truthfully, I’m so sick of looking at this thing that the blanket is lucky if I even pick up one row in a week.

Aarons Baby 1 Chinook 1Also in progress, two new projects — first, a baby blanket, the tried-and-true giant granny square of many colors for a colleague who is expecting a boy.  All the leftover yarn from the Tunisian Terror is coming in handy for this one.  I have another colleague also expecting a baby, but gender is unknown at this point, so that blanket will wait a bit.  Also, I started another Christmas gift, the Chinook scarf, out of the drapy-est silk and cotton blend you ever felt, in a color called Sea Glass.

In book news, I just finished A Sudden Light by Garth Stein and started Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.  Review pending of the Garth Stein book but it will be a favorable one.  I’m less than 100 pages into the Stephenson and completely enthralled.

100_4341 (2)Bonus picture:  Here’s Phoebe, who keeps me company when I’m here in my craft room writing or winding yarn or planning projects or simply goofing around on Facebook.  She’s getting older these days and doesn’t have any teeth left, but she’s still a good dog.  Aren’t you, sweetie?  Of course you are.

This post is part of Stitch-Along Wednesday.  Click on that badge below to see what other folks have been up to this week.  Also, go check out Shadow’s Knit Knacks Link-up post and add your link at the bottom.

Stitch Along Wednesday

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