Recent Knits

Just a short post today to share some of the knitting projects I’ve finished (sort of) recently. It’s the last week of classes for me, and I feel totally drained but I am determined to keep posting!

The first project is this Constellate Hat, which I started when my friend Abby asked if I’d be interested in doing a knit-along with her. I actually don’t knit a ton of hats, mostly because I find them kind of boring, but the stitch pattern on this pattern was really intriguing to me. And I’m glad she suggested making this pattern because:

  1. It was, indeed, an interesting stitch pattern to learn
  2. The pattern itself was written in an unusual style that was sort of frustrating at times but also kind of fascinating.
  3. I got to use a yarn that I love but has been sitting in my stash neglected for a very long time.
  4. I had been feeling very bored with knitting and so it was refreshing to take up a kind of impulsive project that was outside of the range of what I had been working on.
  5. It was fun and motivating to work on something with someone else.
  6. I ended up with a great hat.

I have not actually worn this hat because it is spring, and I am stubbornly refusing to wear anything other than a light jacket even though it is literally snowing outside as I write this. But I am excited to pull it back out in the fall.

The second project was an easy baby sweater for our new niece, Genevieve. I’ve made this pattern, The Playdate cardigan, a couple of times before—once for Jude and once for my nephew, Forrest. It’s a nice, easy way to showcase a great skein of fingering weight yarn, which was precisely what I wanted to do with this particular project. I’d had this skein of MadTosh Twist Light in my stash for years but couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it. I think I originally bought it for socks, but it didn’t feel like the way I wanted to showcase the color. I think this baby sweater is a much better way to show off the fun little speckles of color. When it was finished, I went a little bananas and bought three different colors of buttons so I could really belabor the choice, but I think it was worth it in the end. The purple buttons really bring it together.

Right now, I’m working on the second sleeve of a Glenmore Aran for myself that isn’t worth photographing at the moment because I’m using black yarn and so it just looks like a mass of black. But I imagine that I’ll finish that up just in time to pack it away until October. Unless it keeps snowing.

Project Details:

Hat

Pattern – Constellate Hat by Hunter Hammerson

Yarn – Manos del Uruguay Fino in Peacock Plume

Size – This is a flexible pattern written for a range of sizes and gauges. My gauge was 7 sts/inch and I cast on 136 stitches.

Baby Sweater

Pattern – Playdate Cardigan by Tin Can Knits

Yarn – MadTosh Twist Light in Cosmic Silver

Size – 6-12 months

Emmen for Aidan

I knit this hat up on kind of a whim. Aidan hasn’t asked for a new hat and already has a few good hats to choose from. I wasn’t even itching to use up a skein of yarn I already had in my stash. I was just so taken with the Emmen pattern that I bought it right after it was published and ordered some yarn to knit it up.

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Aidan really likes green but the only green hat I’ve made for him is a bit tight. I looked at a lot of different worsted weight yarns, but couldn’t find a solid green that was quite what I wanted so I ended up going with Malabrigo Rios in Aguas. I know that the offset rib in the pattern would have shown up better in a solid, but I’m happy with the way that the ribbing works with the tonal changes in the yarn.

Emmen Hat in Malabrigo Rios in Aguas

I don’t knit hats very often—partly because I don’t like to wear hats and partly because I get a bit frustrated trying to get the fit right. This hat, like many of the hats I make, seems like it’s just a touch too long? Incidentally, it would probably be easier to figure out my ideal hat length if, you know, I knit more hats.

Emmen Hat

But I also realized recently that I avoid hats and other projects with a similar circumference because I hate my 16” circular needles. All of the small-circumference circular needles I have were cheaply acquired when I was a broke student and are thus made from bamboo (ugh) or plastic (triple ugh). I just can’t deal with the dull points and the drag on the yarn. Luckily, it finally occurred to me that I now have the means to buy new needles that I won’t hate working with. So now I have a nice pair of US 7 nickel-plated 16″ circulars and suddenly the idea of making a hat seems a lot less repulsive. Maybe I’ll finally figure out that hat length issue after all?

Baby Knits, Part II: Hats

I don’t typically knit a lot of hats–they aren’t one of my favorite projects, I don’t really like wearing them, and where we currently live, I can get away without needing one for almost the entire winter anyway. But a baby needs hats and so I went on a little hat-knitting bender recently. Making these turned out to be really fun, likely because they were so fast. I think I made each one of these in about an evening’s worth of knitting time.

Newborn Hat

Magic Coffee Baby Hat

This one is just a simple, newborn-sized hat for the hospital. I used some of the leftovers from the Maddie Hoodies I made my twin nephews before they were born, so the yarn is Berroco Weekend DK in Swimming Hole, Seedling, and Daisy. I used the Magic Coffee Baby Hat as a guideline for making the hat, although I had to make adjustments since the pattern is written for a worsted weight yarn and Weekend DK knits up more like a sport-weight. I ended up casting on for the number of stitches called for the in the 2-9 months size, knitting to the length recommended for the newborn size, and then switching back to the 2-9 mos size instructions once again for the crown decreases. I also just tied my i-cord into a little umbilical knot rather than create the loop shown in the original pattern.

Good Sport Hat

Good Sport Hat

This little hat is hard to photograph. If you look at the project pages for this pattern on Ravelry, you can see that it’s really cute when it’s being worn, but it looks a little dumb and floppy when it’s just laying flat.

Good Sport Hat

Anyway, this is a simple striped, rectangular hat with columns of slipped stitches at the sides. I think the slipped stitches are a really nice detail that make this hat distinctive while cleverly hiding the jog in the stripes. This one is also knit in Berroco Weekend DK leftovers, using Swimming Hole and Daisy once again. I knit the “small baby” size or the 0-6 months size, and I’m thinking this will be a nice lighter-weight hat for fall.

Purl Soho Garter Ear Flap Hat

Purl Soho Garter Ear Flap Hat

I’ve been wanting to knit this pattern since it was released, mostly because I’m a sucker for trying out new construction techniques. With this hat, rather than picking up stitches for the earflaps, which seems to be the most common ear flap approach, you form the earflaps with some simple short rows before knitting the body of the hat. I love the visible decreases on this hat and the little attached tassel is the cutest.  I’ll definitely be knitting this pattern again–it’s fun to knit and would make a really great gift. I’m already planning to knit the next size up when our monkey outgrows this one. This hat is the infant size, knit up in Encore Worsted in Light Gray–the same yarn I used to make the Tokyo Hoodie, which was leftover from yet a different sweater project for my twin nephews.

Serendipity Hat

Serendipity Hat

I got a single skein of super bulky yarn as a gift several years ago–the yarn was Berroco Sundae in Isle of Skye. I’m pretty sure this yarn has been discontinued now, but it’s a wool/acrylic blend spun up in one fat single with lots of color variation throughout the strand. It is a really pretty yarn and I was at a complete loss with what to do with it, so it sat in my stash until I came across the Serendipity pattern. I love the chunky garter brim on this hat and the giant pom pom. You’d think that this would be the fastest of all the hats, but knitting with a super bulky yarn is so awkward and slow (at least for me–I don’t think I’ve knit with anything heavier than a worsted weight in years). This hat seems to run a bit on the small side, and this yarn doesn’t have a lot of give, so I knit up the toddler size. If it doesn’t fit until next winter, oh well–clearly this kid is good on hats for awhile.

That’s it for baby hats (at least for the moment). So far, everything I’ve knit except the baby blanket has been made using yarn from my stash. But I just ordered a few skeins of yarn for some more baby sweater knitting. It feels like I’m knitting a crazy amount of stuff for this baby, but at least I’m trying to be practical and cover a range of sizes? Or I’m just crazy.

Knitting Gray

All of my sewing is currently on hold because I’m in the middle of an epic battle with my sewing machine. Actually, I think we battled (emphasis on the past-tense), and I lost. This loss has been a long-time coming and is the kind of thing that’s inevitable when you buy a really cheap machine from a big box store when you’re 19 and broke and have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. I’m in the process of regrouping but I have no idea when I’ll be able to get back at it. Suffice it to say that there’s no way that my January sewing plans will actually be realized by the end of January.

The offending machine, a Brother 2610, which I DO NOT recommend.

The offending machine, a Brother XL-2610, which I DO NOT recommend.

I would like to be able to say that when something goes wrong with one of my projects, I just shake it off and move on. But the truth is that I invest a little too much of my pride in the things that I make so the failures and the missteps kind of sting. I’m also stubborn, and I like to come out on top. So instead of just being an inconvenience, this sewing situation has me feeling a wee bit demoralized. In light of this whole situation, I’m trying to focus on small victories like my two latest knitting projects.

The first is a pair of socks for Aidan, served up just the way he likes them: knit top-down in a 2×2 ribbing. The yarn is KnitPicks Felici Sport (now discontinued) in the Monochrome color way, which will pair nicely with Aidan’s work wardrobe. You can click on the photo to get to my project page on Ravelry.

After I finished Aidan’s socks, I decided to make him a hat in some leftover yarn I had laying around. Aidan’s been asking me to make him a basic beanie for a long time, and I keep making him hats with earflaps and cables and color work. So here it finally is–the basic, no frills beanie knit up in a basic, no-frills charcoal gray.

I used Jared Flood’s Turn a Square pattern as a very loose guide for this pattern. My gauge was significantly different from the pattern, so I came up with my own cast on numbers, using a needle a few sizes smaller for the ribbing. I then used the schematic in the pattern as a guide for how long to make the body of the hat and then followed the pattern’s general method of decreasing for the crown. Because of the way that the crown is shaped, the hat doesn’t lay flat so I blocked it over a balloon.

Aidan seems pleased with both of his new items. (He’s even wearing the beanie as I type this!) Are they simple projects? Sure. But right now I’m taking every little victory I can get.