The Last Knits of 2017 and Then Some

You wouldn’t know it by the snow falling outside, but it’s 2018 and the frenetic season of gift knitting is over and done. Well, not done for me. There’s still a few unfinished projects still on the needles, but they’re smaller things. Still, I am happy with what I did get finished, and it’s no small amount of knitting.

Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com

This is the second time I’ve knit the Elder Tree Shawl as a gift. One of these days I’ll make one for me. The pattern can be subtle or so so dramatic, especially if you add beads to every leaf. I used a single skein of Colinette Jitterbug which made a shawl-ette perfect for wearing tucked in to a coat. I also added beads to the picot bind off for extra sparkle.

Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com
Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com

I wasn’t sure what to make for a friend of mine, so I asked her what she wanted. She requested baby socks. Funny how well asking works. I picked up 2 skeins of Patons Kroy Socks FX, each a different color, and got to work. The charts in Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks where really helpful for getting the measurements I needed once I knew the length. As for the pattern, I used my my own basic toe-up recipe and sized it down. Both pairs came out pretty cute if you ask me, and there’s room to grow too.

Scarves, hats, shawls, and socks - 2017 saw a lot of gift knitting. | withwool.com

I tried something a little different last year and put something for myself on the gift list too, the Owl in the Thicket hat. It wasn’t a reward for finishing everything else, but a gift for myself because why not. I bought the pattern and the yarn a year ago and never made it to casting on. So I pulled out one of my favorite knitting bags and made a kit. I wound the yarn, printed the pattern, got the right needles, put the beads on my Fleegle beader, and gathered all the notions. While I didn’t actually cast on until after New Year’s Day, it was so nice to have that kit ready and waiting. I’ve finished the brim and am a few rows into the body charts. It’s been awhile since I’ve knit such a complicated chart, and I’m enjoying the change of pace. The yarn is lovely too. Why did it take me a year to get started!?

As for the stuff I didn’t finish, the first projects was a pair of socks for the Bearded One. Still working on the cable design for that one. The other is a hat which I’m halfway through designing. Plus, there’s a handful of ornaments from previous years which I haven’t started yet. At least I have a plan. Is anyone else finishing up their gift knits in January or getting on with the new 2018 knits instead?

Monogamous Knitting For The Win

A little bit of monogamous #knitting works! I knit a scarf and hat in 2.5 weeks.  | withwool.com   

I did it! Two and a half weeks of monogamous dedicated knitting turned into cabled scarf and a matching hat. It’s nice to know I can still speed my way through a project or two every now and then. Why the rush? The scarf and hat were gifts for a friend visiting over Thanksgiving and I wanted to give them to him in person. Nothing like a hard deadline to light a fire under under your butt.

A little bit of monogamous #knitting works! I knit a scarf and hat in 2.5 weeks.  | withwool.com

I spent way too long trying to pick out a pattern which is part of why I cast on at the last minute. Nothing seemed quite right, and I was just about to give up and design something myself when the Palindrome scarf popped up. Easy reversible cables? Yes, please. I knit this pattern way back when as a newish knitter and was pleased with the results then. And I’m pleased again with this latest version. The only difference this time is that I made a few mods. The scarf started and ended with 2.25” of ribbing. I added an extra cable repeat for width. Plus, cable twists happened every 8 rows for a looser cable.

I can’t leave out the yarn’s wonderful contribution either. Normally, I wouldn’t choose Ultra Alpaca for a cabled project because the alpaca/wool blend wouldn’t have the same crisp texture as a 100% wool yarn. I wasn’t worried about that in this case since the purls would be “hiding” and not acting a background for the cables. The blend created a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect. And warm. Did I mention warm? The main reason I picked a wool/alpaca blend was that it’d be worn through winters with regular snow, wind, and freezing temps.

A little bit of monogamous #knitting works! I knit a scarf and hat in 2.5 weeks.  | withwool.com

And because the weather required it, I made a matching hat. I did end up coming up with a pattern for this beauty at the last minute. My original plan was to have both the scarf and hat finished before he arrived. That didn’t quite happen. In fact, I knit most of the hat in front of him and figured out the crown decreases on a drive through the mountains.  Then I gave it to him mere moments after weaving in the ends. The look on his face was totally worth it.

I am absolutely smitten with this hat pattern. So much so that I’m writing it up with a few more sizes so I can knit at least one more for myself or as gifts. I’m all for versatility. In the meantime I’m getting on with the rest of my gift knitting and making. Since monogamous knitting has been working for me, I’m going to keep it up. Thankfully, the rest of my projects are on the small side so I won’t get bored and can power through.

The Pattern: Palindrome Scarf and a hat pattern I’m writing up
Yarn: 3 skeins Berroco Ultra Alpaca
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) circulars
Dates: November 5 - 24, 2017
Scarf details @Ravelry
Hat details @Ravelry

 

Red Scarf Update

Halfway finished knitting a scarf for the 2017 Red Scarf Project! | withwool.com

At 28” and 9 repeats, I’m about halfway finished with the Mabel’s Scarf I’m making for the Red Scarf Project. 32” and 11 repeats to go. I couldn’t resist doing the math and figuring out how many repeats I’d have to knit for a complete scarf. Counting the squares is a lot easier than breaking out the tape measure every few inches. 

Halfway finished knitting a scarf for the Red Scarf Project! | withwool.com

The yarn, Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, is new to me. Now that I’ve spent a good chunk of time knitting with it, I like it even more than when I first bought it. The yarn is soft with good stitch definition, and is turning into a cushy and warm scarf. I’m tempted to pick up a few skeins for myself once I have an idea in mind.

I’m really enjoying working on this scarf, but I’m not used to counting this much! It’s been awhile since I’ve knit a pattern with such a large repeat, and I’ve had to get cosy with a chart. Makes it hard to tote around, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried. Soon it’ll be too big to keep as purse knitting since I’m making good progress. My original plan was to knit a repeat every day, but I haven’t been able to stick to that. So the new goal is 3+ repeats a week which will still give me plenty of time to put the scarf in the mail. And work on the next batch of holiday knitting. 

Halfway finished knitting a scarf for the Red Scarf Project! | withwool.com

If you’ve been on the fence about making a scarf, there’s still plenty of time to knit a scarf for the Red Scarf Project before the December 15 deadline. You can find the requirements here. And there’s a helpful Ravelry group too. 

Knitting for the 2017 Red Scarf Project

Time to knit a scarf for the 2017 Red Scarf Project! | withwool.com

There’s a few days left in August, and I’ve already written down my holiday gift knitting list. It’s on the short side so far and the projects are mostly small stuff. Hats, a few scarfs, a pair of socks, and probably a few ornaments. Seems doable, right? Near the top of that list is a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. The project is run by Foster Care to Success which provides scholarships, coaching, care packages, and an emergency fund to help foster kids graduate from college. The Red Scarf Project sends out hand knit red and crocheted scarves as part of Valentine’s Day care package. The due date to send in the scarves is September 1st through December 15, 2017, and I’m going to mail mine off before December this year. 

I had a back of the envelope plan to knit another Melded Scarf, a pattern I designed last year for the Red Scarf Project. If you want to knit a scarf for the project too, you can download the pattern here

Time to knit a scarf for the 2017 Red Scarf Project! | withwool.com

That plan changed when I joined up last minute with Yarn Along The Rockies, a widespread yarn crawl, and stopped by Gypsy Wools. They had a lovely selection of yarn, and I loved the look and feel of Shepherd’s Wool. I bought 2 skeins of a nice garnet red because I couldn’t settle on a color combo that I liked. 

Since you can’t knit a striped scarf with just one color, I had a to find a new pattern. There was a bit of a false start with a cabled scarf that was way too narrow for my liking. Nor could I get into a rhythm with the knitting. Back to the drawing board. This time I went digging through my Ravelry queue and found Mabel’s Scarf which has been on my list since 2013! It’s been 4 years, and this isn’t always the case, but I still wanted to knit the scarf. Having a 20 page queue pays off occasionally. 

Time to knit a scarf for the 2017 Red Scarf Project! | withwool.com

I frogged the 2” of the first scarf and started over. I added a few stitches of 2x2 rib as an edge to accommodate for the finer yarn and started knitting with some Netflix for company. This scarf is definitely a winner. It’s got texture and interest. It’s cushy and soft. It’s reversible. It’s also interesting to knit, but not finicky. 

And I’m enjoying working with Shepherd’s Wool. It’s the first time I’ve used this yarn and it’s a plump 3-ply wool that love the look of. Plus, when you get a close look at it, it’s heathered with navy blue. The yarn is just as soft knitted as it is in the skein, but I wouldn’t recommend ripping it out too many times or it’ll get fuzzy.

I’m only a few inches into the scarf, but I can already tell it’s going to be my constant companion during movie and tv time. I’m already back to my old habit of knitting and watching sci-fi and horror movies. I’ll keep you updated as it grows!

Video Tutorial: Carrying Yarn Up The Side Of Your Knitting

 Learn how to work stripes and carry yarn up the side of your knitting with this video tutorial. | withwool.com

With the release of the Melded Scarf pattern, which you can find here, I decided to create a video tutorial of how to carry yarn up the side of your knitting when working short and tall stripes. Why learn how? There won’t be near as many ends to weave in at the end. Plus the yarns neatly twist together and are ready to use when you need them.

If you’d like to learn how to carry yarn up the side from step-by-step photos instead, here’s a link to that tutorial.

Learn how to work stripes and carry yarn up the side of your knitting with this video tutorial. | withwool.com

The Melded Scarf is worked in 1x1 rib with a selvedge stitch on each edge which hides the carried yarn really well. You can see blips of the carried yarn on the taller stripes, but they don’t stand out. Definitely less noticeable and less work than weaving in a bunch of ends. 

Free Pattern: The Melded Scarf

Introducing the Melded Scarf - a free scarf pattern designed for the Foster Care 2 Success’ Red Scarf Project. | withwool.com

The Melded Scarf is what happens when two colors meet in the middle and come together to make a cosy and bold striped scarf. Worked in 1x1 rib the scarf is reversible, and looks great on anyone. The Melded Scarf is also a great showcase for variegated and gradient yarns.

Check it out on Ravelry and add it to your queue!

Introducing the Melded Scarf - a free scarf pattern designed for the Foster Care 2 Success’ Red Scarf Project. | withwool.com

I originally designed this pattern for Foster Care to Success’s Red Scarf Project which collects red scarves to send college-bound foster youth for Valentine’s Day. I first read about the project several years ago when I was a college student myself.  I probably should have been studying, but I was hunched over my laptop reading knitting blogs instead. A huge part of the reason I got into college and made it through 5 grueling years was because I had the support of my parents. Without them and their support everything from buying books, to final exams, to pulling all-nighters (saw so many sunrises from my studio desk) would have been so much more difficult. And it was so nice getting notes and surprise care packages from home. It was amazing and wonderful knowing that people were cheering me on. I wanted to share that feeling and support with others, and I still do. 

If you enjoy the pattern, please consider making a scarf for the Red Scarf Project or making a donation to the Foster Care to Success program. They provide scholarships, coaching, care packages, and an emergency fund to help foster kids get through college. And, according to Charity Navigator, the majority of the money F2C receives actually goes to it’s programs and services.

Introducing the Melded Scarf - a free scarf pattern designed for the Foster Care 2 Success’ Red Scarf Project. | withwool.com

The Doctor Who Scarf Saga: Part 2

Doctor Who Scarf Update Part 2! The scarf is finally halfway done, though my gauge is very different after 7 years. | withwool.com

Sound the trumpets! My Doctor Who Scarf is finally past the halfway point, and it’s 91.5” long. Also known as 7.6’ or 2.5 yards or 2.3 meters. Now I can make a reasonable guess that the final length (before blocking) will be about 15’. And that doesn’t include tassels either. I can only imagine how the weight of all that yarn and garter stitch’s natural tendency to stretch will change that number. Good thing I want a giant, cosy scarf. 

When I started knitting this scarf of so many years ago the uneven edges really bothered me. I was still a relatively new knitter at the time, and creating a straight edge was a point of pride. I chalked it up to using different balls of yarn since some colors pulled in and others expanded at the edges. Blocking will fix this, I thought. Now, the uneven edge doesn’t really bother me because the edges on the original scarves weren’t even either. Plus, uneven edges won’t be that noticeable when I’m wearing it. 

 Doctor Who Scarf Update Part 2! The scarf is finally halfway done, though my gauge is very different after 7 years. | withwool.com

I could have titled this post “My Gauge Is Not What It Was”. A wobbly edge is one thing, but as I knit more and more of the scarf it is impossible not to notice that my gauge has changed. The part of the scarf that was tucked away in a bag for years is about 10” across. The new stripes are about 11.5” across! Same number of stitches. Same yarn. Same needles. Different gauge 7 years later, give or take a few months.

Now I could rip back to the old section of knitting, switch to a smaller needle, and get knitting again. I could, but I’m not. I like this looser gauge and, more importantly, I’m fairly sure I’ll still have enough yarn to finish. That’s the important part after all. I might block just that one section of the scarf to get it to match the rest though I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’ve got a bit of time to figure that out.

Doctor Who Scarf Saga: Part 1

Long Term Project: The Doctor Who Scarf

Time to finish my Doctor Who scarf! | withwool.com

One of my goals for 2017 is to focus on big projects that I’ve been putting off or have put on the back burner. One of those projects is learning how to make batts on my drum carder. Another is finally darning that mountain of well-worn socks. And then there are other projects that have spent the past few years packed up in boxes. My season 16 Doctor Who scarf is one of these. 

I don't even have to look at my Ravelry notes to know that this is my oldest work in progress. The Bearded One bought me the yarn as a Christmas present years before we got married. I cast on in February 2009 (!!) and worked on it in spurts over the next year or two. It was good company to all my required reading college reading. The Scarf was several feet long by the time I put it down to work on other more interesting projects. It is nothing but garter stitch for literally miles of yarn after all. 2.62 miles of yarn if you want to be precise about it.

Time to finish my Doctor Who scarf! | withwool.com

I wasn’t trying to break any speed knitting records when I started. I figured it would be something I’d pick up and work on whenever the mood struck. Though I didn’t think it would take 8 years. But, yarn as my witness, it will not take 9. And as it turns out, my brain and fingers are craving simple auto-pilot knitting. All I have to do is count the rows for each stripe. 

Since I pulled The Scarf out of WIP limbo a couple weeks ago, I've made good progress. Past me was super helpful and included The Scarf, the pattern - complete with detailed row count progress - an accurate row counter, and one ball of each color in the bag. Evenings with tv, movies, and audiobooks have seen the scarf grow from one third complete to not quite halfway done. And it’s already 80” long. 80” long. It already makes a pretty good blanket piled up in my lap. And I can wear it while I knit on it which is pretty cosy. I can only imagine what wearing it in its full tasseled glory will be like. Well, I’d better get back to the knitting if I going to be able to wrap up in it by next winter. 

For The Red Scarf Project

I’m knitting a cushy scarf in red and grey for the Red Scarf Project. | withwool.com

Better late than never. One of the first things to go on the holiday knitting list this year was a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. The project, run by Foster Care to Success, sends college bound foster youth red scarves as part of a Valentine’s Day care package. I first read about the project years ago when I was cooped up in my own college dorm room, so the project struck a nerve. It’s been a few years since I made a red scarf and it was time to fix that.

I found the perfect red in Yarn Fort, a ball of Patons Classic Wool in Bright Red. The problem was that I only had 1 ball which isn’t enough for a scarf.  Thankfully, the stash provided another ball of matching Classic Wool in Mercury. One problem solved. Second problem was the pattern. I couldn’t find a striped scarf pattern that I liked and fit the project criteria.  So I put on my designer hat and got to swatching…and frogging. Seriously, my design process involves a lot of swatching and a lot of frogging. How else can I can be sure that my idea will actually work? I came up with a design and an idea that I loved, and still do, but it turned out to be way more complicated than I originally thought. I kept putting off the last construction swatch. Then other holiday knitting came calling - specifically a pair of matching baby hats. Spoiler: I couldn’t find a pattern I like for those either. Rinse and repeat with the swatching and frogging. I finished the hats and a rough draft of that pattern last week, but that’s another blog post.  

So, back to the scarf. The deadline to send in the scarf is December 15 which is exactly a month from now. The time for complicated, half-written patterns passed weeks ago. Back to the drawing board. I’m keeping things simple this time which is more of a struggle for me than I’d like to admit. Going with the tried and true 1x1 rib scarf which is reversible, cushy, and good lucking. It’s also a fast knit that my fingers could do in their sleep. I’ll be changing up the stripe pattern to keep the scarf both interesting to knit and wear. Once it’s done, I’ll be sharing the pattern. That’s about 43 inches from now. Back to knitting with me and a whole lot of Netflix. 

FO: Vertigo Scarf

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

How long it took me to fall in love with the pattern: 5 seconds. 

How long it took to buy the yarn: 3 years

How long it took to knit the scarf: 4 months

How long it took to block and sew on the buttons: 3 weeks

I think it’s safe to say that this scarf has been a long time in the making. Mostly because it took me years to get the yarn even though I knew exactly what yarn and what color I wanted. I’ve got absolutely no excuse for that. The yarn would probably still be sitting on my shopping list if I hadn’t ended up winning enough store credit at Eat.Sleep.Knit to cover a couple of skeins. Plus I wanted to treat myself after not being able to knit for a month. 

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

The pattern was pretty fun to knit, and I even got used to working “purl 2 together through the back loop” several times a row. And the Malabrigo was it’s usual lovely self to work with, but I still got stuck with knitting ennui halfway through. The thought of have a big, cosy new scarf to wear through the winter got me to finish the rest of it. Binge watching tv helped too.  

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

Binding off that last row was pretty awesome. Blocking the scarf and seeing the pattern open up was even better. It went from smooshed and rippled to the large and beautiful vision I had in my head. I didn’t have as sure an idea of the buttons though, and it took some time to decide. Contrasting blue was definitely the right decision.

This scarf and cowl combo is fun and well worth the wait. FO: Vertigo Scarf | withwool.com

It may have taken me a few years but I’m just glad that I finally knit this scarf. And I’m going to wear at the first sign of cold weather because I am not waiting for snow. 

Pattern: Vertigo by Jamie Thomas

Yarn: 287 yds Malabrigo Yarn Chunky - Frank Ochre

Needles: 7.0 mm circulars

Dates: May 3 - September 15, 2016

@Ravelry

WIP Parade

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Finishing the Turtle Purl socks a couple of weeks ago has put me in the mood to finish the rest of my lingering works in progress. Add on plenty of nights spent watching movies and catching up on tv, and I’ve been a very busy knitter. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

I picked up the Vertigo scarf again thinking that it’d be nice to have a new scarf/cowl thing for the winter. Temps are still in the 80’s, but there’s going to be snow on the ground soon enough. And I will be ready. I’d probably still be working on this thing and working lots of “p2togtbl” if this weren’t knit in bulky weight yarn. I mostly work with worsted weight yarn and finer, so it’s always a pleasant surprise how fast bulky yarn knits up. 

The stitches are bound off and the ends are woven in. Blocking the scarf will be simple (and entirely necessary) which means there’s just one more difficult step before I get to wear it. Which buttons do I choose? Do I go with the earthy, neutral buttons that will blend in or the bright blue buttons that will stand out? I cannot make up my mind. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com
Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Now that Vertigo is bound off, I’m back to adding squares to my Garterlac kitchen towel. It’s not growing as quickly as the scarf, but entrelac is addicting to knit anyway. I can’t knit just one square at a time. Plus, it’s a simple project that I can pick up and put down without loosing my place so the towel is great for keeping my hands busy. I haven’t decide how long it’s going to be yet, but I don’t think that I’m far from binding off. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Here’s another pair of socks for purse knitting. I pulled the yarn out of deep stash, #coldsheep, and started a toe. I wanted to knit a slightly more involved pattern since the last two pairs were basic ribbed socks. The stitch pattern for the Escalator Socks caught my eye so I gave it a try. While I liked the pattern, it didn’t mesh well with the yarn. Plus, I like how the colors knit up in stockinette much better. Ripped back to the toe, and going with a 3x1 rib this time. I’m will knit a complicated pair of socks eventually. I hope.

A video posted by April Klich (@aprilklich) on

Knitting For Cold Sheep

The second rule of Cold Sheep: Knit and spin from the stash. No feeling guilty about the stuff you don’t like anymore either. Knitting For Cold Sheep | withwool.com

Since I went Cold Sheep in June, I’ve only had one rule: Don’t buy yarn or spinning fiber. I’ve mostly followed that rule with the exception of 88 yards of t-shirt yarn joining the stash 18 days later. I made it another 30 days before buying 6 oz of fiber to play with on my new-to-me drum carder. I don’t feel guilty about either of these purchases because, while they were impulse buys, there was a project waiting for them. I’m going to use the t-shirt yarn to make a basket. And that fiber is for my first attempt at making blended roving/batts on my new-to-me drum carder. I haven’t used the carder yet so my new bundles of goodness won’t be sitting around for long. 

It’s a month and half later I’m adding another rule to my Cold Sheep: You actually have to knit and spin with the stuff you have in stash. Yarn Fort isn’t going to get any smaller if all I do is look at it and I look at it a lot. It’s a looming presence in my studio that is impossible to miss. That means I actually have to finish the projects I cast on. On the top of the WIP list is the Vertigo Scarf and the TurtlePurl Socks. Don’t worry, I’m not forcing myself to knit these things. I’m enjoying the process of knitting just as much as I want to wear them. So I’m knitting instead of playing time suck games on my phone. I’m knitting instead of aimlessly scrolling through Instagram. I’m knitting instead of looking down at my phone in general. Seems to be working too since the socks are getting closer and closer to the bind off. 

The second rule of Cold Sheep: Knit and spin from the stash. No feeling guilty about the stuff you don’t like anymore either. Knitting For Cold Sheep | withwool.com

There’s one other project on the current WIP list, this Garterlac Kitchen Towel. It’s an upsized version of the Garterlac Dishcloth with a few other mods for easy knitting. I couldn’t decide if I liked the size 7.5 rows in and promptly ignored it for a couple of months. I even stole the needles for another project. A knit the stash rule also means that I don’t have to finish WIP’s that I don’t love anymore. Garterlac ended up making the list and will be perfect for tv knitting.  

There’s one other benefit to the knit/spin the stash rule. If I’m not going to use it, I don’t have to keep it or guilt myself into working with yarn I don’t like. I haven’t gone through the stash in years and I’m sure there’s more than a few skeins that won’t make the cut. Maybe even more then I expect. I’m not looking forward to culling the stash, but I do want a 100% knit-worthy one. 

Begbie

Begbie1.jpg

Deep stash yarn and quick, repetitive knitting, by your powers combined, I have the first Christmas* gift of 2013 ready and waiting. Whoever saw this coming, it definitely wasn’t me.

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Pattern: Begbie Cowl by Jane Richmond

Yarn: Noro Kochoran - 40

Needles: US 10.5 (6.5 mm)

Dates: October 27, 2012- January 27, 2013

@Ravelry

This is not the part of the post when I write with smug satisfaction about my dedication to getting a head start on my holiday knitting. This is the part of the post when I tell you about last year’s holiday gift knitting that just wasn’t given away. Every year, the fiber guild I belong to has a big party and a gift exchange in December. Last year’s exchange was scarves. I decided to start early and cast on in October. Multiple episodes of Twin Peaks later, I had a bound off scarf that just needed a good block to be finished. Then said scarf sat in a box until January because I went out of town instead of going to the party. Oh well, it’s blocked and ready to be gifted now. 

Begbie3.jpg

This scarf has been much improved by blocking. The stitches are even and lay quite flat. I was also able to stretch it out and make it a bit longer. Even better, all the angora in the yarn bloomed and created this beautiful (and I’m assuming warm) halo. 

All finished, this beauty gets to hang out in a box waiting for just the right occasion or just the right person. Might have to wait until Christmas or just next week. Either one is just fine.  

* or Birthday/Mother’s Day/Solstice/Flag Day/Random Gift Exchange gift

The Lacy One

Before 2012 gets any further along, here’s something else I knit as a Christmas present. It’s another Baktus but lacy. Not quite as addictive as the first but still great and a fun knit. We haven’t had much of a winter this year so I don’t know how useful it’s been. Seriously, plants are blooming and I keep hearing tree frogs at night. Someone needs to tell them it’s January.

LBaktus1.jpg

Pattern: Lacy Baktus by Terhi Montonen

Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering Silk 55 in Mardi Gras

Full details @Ravelry

LBaktus2.jpg

Baktus

I’m blaming this whole thing on BrokeKnits. Baktus probably would have remained a half forgotten pattern in my Ravelry queue if I hadn’t seen her version. Plus, I needed an autopilot pattern as a break from more complicated projects. Turned out to be good travel knitting too even though I did need to rip back a few grams due to insufficient measuring. Eventually, I’ll be making the lacy version.

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Now I’m waiting on winter to arrive so I can wear the thing without melting. September is just around the corner and the thermometer is still reading 100 degrees. It’ll probably be a long wait but I know the truth. Winter is coming.

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The yarn - Mountain Colors Bearfoot - is from the deep stash. I bought it years and years ago when I’d only been knitting for a few months. It was supposed to be a celebration for finishing another semester. It was also the first skein of yarn I paid more than $20 for. So, it holds a special place in my knitter’s heart. I’m glad I finally found a good match for it even though it took a few attempts. Maybe that’s is why I was more thrilled than disappointed when it turned the water chartreuse during a bath.  Dried, the colors haven’t faded so I’m still happy.

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Still Knitting

There are 21 days until Christmas and I have a feeling that I'll be furiously knitting through all of them. My list includes monsters, a blanket, washcloths, hats, fingerless mitts, a scarf, and a bunch of Christmas ornaments. I tried starting early*, in September, but there was no urgency, no looming deadline and I kept putting stuff off. Now, things are starting to get hairy but I have a plan: urgent monogamous knitting. This is isn't how I usually do things but I actually seem to be finishing stuff. Who would have guessed?

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The first project to get this treatment was the Circle Stripe Scarf (@ravelry) out of the book One More Skein by Leigh Radford. It's going to charity so I can't exactly give them a half finished scarf and an IOU. So, I put the scarf at the top of my list an only knit it for a few days. I managed to finish with time to spare and was even able to block it too.

I've since moved on to my next project, a very late pair of birthday socks, which I hope to finish this weekend. No rest for the wicked after all. If things keep going this well, I'm going to keep up the monogamous knitting until I finish up all of my gift knitting...or, at least, until Christmas. 

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*I even had a spreadsheet.

Bobbilicious

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Rayski Scarf by Jane Ellison (Ravelry)

Noro Iro - 85

US 10.5 (6.5mm) needles

May 19 - July 14, 2010

public page @ravelry

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This scarf is no stranger to the knit night at my favorite LYS . In fact, it is so frequent a visitor that it got a nickname: Bobbilicious. It's all bobbles all the time and I love it. I also love the fact that I didn't have to knit any real bobbles or I would never have finished (or started). 

Despite how complicated the scarf looks, the knitting was pretty easy. I read a few books while working the first few feet and the last few feet got me through the after effects of a root canal. I have to love the scarf just for that. The yarn helped too. Even the knots and the vegetable matter didn't detract from its colorful goodness. I'm looking forward toward pulling the scarf out in the Fall when the color will be a welcome sight and when wrapping one's self in wool will actually be comfortable.

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Mojo-Jojo

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Rayski Scarf by Jane Ellison | ravelry |

I managed to get a lot of stuff done and out of the way when my knitting mojo disappeared. My swollen ankle didn't slow me down too much. Eventually, the ankle started feeling better and the mojo worked its way back to normal levels.

Mostly, it was the Rayski scarf and all of its bobbles that returned the mojo. I never thought that bobbles would have that effect on me. Anyway, not only is the pattern simple and easily memorized, the yarn is almost addicting. It's the famous and infamous Noro Iro. The colors are lovely and the yarn has a rustic quality that I quite like. Unfortunately, I had to deal with Noro's infamous qualities as well. Every skein has had a knot but at least the color sequence is intact. The one upside is that it allows me a bit more control over the colors even if I do have more ends to weave in. Ends aside, I'm looking forward to knitting the rest of the scarf and wearing it many months from now.

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October Overdrive

Single Skein September was a lot of fun and very productive. I managed to get a good chunk of my gift knitting done: however, October doesn't mean that I can slack off. Overdrive is a great adjective for this month since I'm trying to finish up a modified version of this giant scarf. Originally, it was supposed to be a Christmas present in 2008. I really missed the mark on that one but I think I can knit the last 4' in the next few weeks. Maybe.

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Besides from being really late and really large, there's something else about this scarf.  With one exception, I have been knitting this scarf every time I've watched Hellraiser . Since Halloween is approaching, I intend to continue this trend and I'll probably watch a few of the sequels too. It'll be a good start to my own personal horror marathon I'll be having this month. Any suggestions for scary movies I can knit along with?

Also in my collection of horror is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, the book Hellraiser is based on. I'll have to read that too this month...once I finish that scarf.