Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pictures of the Day

I'm working on a flyer for a knitting event we're having at church. I thought I'd post a few of the photos I took this evening.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Good Bit of Knitting

It started at the ski shop around 4:30pm Friday. As Zack and I were waiting on his rental equipment for his ski trip the next morning, we looked around the shop. Zack spotted and fell in love with a Burton black, white and gray "hand knit" ear flap hat. Acrylic? $30? No. I explained as calmly as I could that no son of mine is going to wear a $30 acrylic, store bought, mass produced hat. So what if it was a Burton. Let the argument begin. I was not going to back down.

I could already hear the whispering. The poor child. You know his mother knits. He was forced to buy a hat. Have you seen her yarn stash?

My parting argument was a disgusted "I could knit that in a night" under my breath. He one-upped me with his parting comment, "would you?"

"Um....Ok. Sure! But we'll have to go to the yarn shop." (No black in my stash. Besides spinning yarn and knitting a hat in one night would be showing off. Ha!)

It was probably the quickest amount of time I've ever spent in a yarn shop. Three skiens of Lamb's Pride Bulky in black, gray and cream. One skein of Malabrigo in an acid yellow color (in my rush to wind into a center-pull ball, I lost the label.) I probably had the white and gray in my stash, but I didn't have the time to dig. What if I couldn't find it and the yarn shop was no longer open? You understand.

Side note...and a very important side note. Because I'm sure some of you (who I knit with on Wednesdays) are harking back to my comment about not buying any yarn until Stitches South. Let me be perfectly clear that this is the FIRST time my 14 year old son, my one and only child to whom I gave birth and nursed, the nearly 6-footer I now have to look up to in order to hug, has EVER asked me to knit something for him.

I didn't have a pattern. No need. I would wing it. Ear flaps and all.

A quick swatch with the yarn doubled on size 13 needles yielded a gauge of about 2.5 stitches per inch. Zack's head is 23". That works to roughly 57 stitches. I made a quick chart for the zig-zag color work and started the ear flaps.

Here's the pattern. It's not terribly detailed because I was making it up as I went along. If you have knit hats before this should make sense.

Zack's One Night Hat
Double the Lamb's Pride through out, triple the malabrigo.
Ear flaps - make two. Cast on 4 stitches on circular needle. Row 1 - purl. Row 2 - k1 make one (m1), k2, k1 m1. Row 3- p1 m1 p4 p1 m1. Row 4 - k1 m1 k6 k1 m1 (10 stitches). Rows 5, 7 - purl. Rows 6, 8 - knit. Row 9 - k1 m1 k8 k1 m1. Row 10 - p1 m1 p10 p1 m1 (14 stitches). Cut the yarn, slide the flap over and make the 2nd flap.

Cast on 10 stitches between the ear flaps for the back of the hat and 18 for the front of the hat. Join, being careful to not twist the stitches. Knit in the round until the hat is long enough, about 6 inches or so. I try it on periodically. The pattern is a simple 8 stitch, 4 row zig zag. Decrease is simple, k7, k2tog for the first round. k6, k2tog for second round, and so on until there are 8 stitches remaining. Cut the yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches. Single crochet around the hat but don't double the yarn. Attach yarn to flaps and braid or twist to create the dangly things. Voila!

I started the calculations for the design at 6:30pm and finished with a light blocking at 1:30am.

The best part? He wore it all weekend, and his friend, Henry, wants one too!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold Enough For Mohair

I am a southerner by transplant. I grew up in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Places where wool sweaters are not just nice to have, they are necessary. When I moved from the shores of Lake Superior to middle Tennessee I refused to give up or alter my passion for sweaters. Big heavy wool sweaters. I love them and I always have. Sweaters are comforting, warm, beautiful. So much beauty coupled with function. Wool sweaters are the perfect garment...but not necessarily in Tennessee.

About 10 years ago, when I started knitting again, I decided to take a class on how to knit a sweater. I had knit a few sweaters in college, but I had little time for those pesky details--gauge, yarn type, drape, fit. It was time to learn how to knit a sweater well. So I signed up for the class. I poured through the knitting booklets at the yarn shop, selected a lovely cabled pullover and then picked out the yarn. Smokey gray mohair. The class was wonderful but I didn't finish the sweater by the end of the class. It took about a year and a panicked call to the yarn manufacturer in the UK before I completed it. But I did finish it. It's gorgeous! Soft, textured, well finished. Mohair.

I'm wearing the sweater, and I'm warm, and I'm happy. It's been two years since it's been COLD ENOUGH for me to wear this stinkin' sweater. I've worn the sweater maybe 5 times. Not only is a mohair sweater like a personal oven, this sweater is heavily cabled, which makes it even thicker. Cripes! What was I thinking? My head must have been up my butt still in Michigan when I picked out the yarn.

I was looking through knitting patterns today. There's this lovely Dale of Norway fair isle blue and green?...maybe an alpaca blend? I really don't need to be looking at sweater patterns when it's 6 degrees outside.