Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recap of the month of loooove

February 17 (a Tuesday) was my anniversary. My parents were on vacation in Australia at the time, and so were obviously unavailable to babysit that evening as they usually do so we could go out to dinner, so we brought the restaurant dinner home. DH ordered takeout from our fave local Indian restaurant, and we all had a mighty fine meal of it (except for DD2, who isn't quite ready yet to eat everything the rest of us do).

And there were presents!

Garmisch for DH
Usually I always have a pair of socks on the needles, ready to give to DH for the next special occasion. However, there's been a bit of a paucity of sock projects in my life lately, so I was kind of taken aback in the week leading up to my anniversary at how quickly it was coming up, and how pathetically un-ready I was for it. (Sorry, honey!)

However, all was certainly not lost, because it suddenly occurred to me that I really wanted to make my husband a hat. I have made him a hat before, but it's extremely plain, isn't quite long enough, and isn't as warm as it could be since it's made out of acrylic, not wool. So I went Ravelry-hunting and stash-diving for a good pattern and yarn combination.

It didn't take me long to hit upon Libby Grant's Garmisch pattern. It's really lovely and, obviously important for this project, man-appropriate. (Actually, after checking Libby's designer page on Ravelry to get that link to her blog, I had to "favourite" her as a designer, she does good stuff.)

At first, I started out with some stash yarn; I had a skein of something called "Jaeger Nature Garn", which is a chunky weight of pure wool, fairly soft, in a natural brownish-grey colour. Good stuff. The pattern called for worsted, though, so I went down a needle size and used the instructions for the small size instead of the large. It was all working so beautifully, when...

...I realized I was totally going to run out of yarn. Pah.

At this point (late Saturday/early Sunday, I forget which, exactly), I was seriously running out of time. The gift was to be presented Tuesday night, and I didn't think I'd have the luxury of doing anything much on it on Monday because it was a holiday and DH was home all day. I did have tons of some nice dark blue worsted wool in my stash, but I wanted to save all of it for an adult-size sweater.

So I rounded up the kids and headed off to the yarn shop about 15 minutes before it was to close for the day!

I'd decided I wanted to use Cascade 220. Not only was I guaranteed to have enough yardage, not only had I heard great things about it and hadn't used it yet, not only was it very affordable, but DH is using it in his current scarf design project (in grey), and it seemed so wonderfully squooshy, and he was always going on about how lovely it was. So it seemed a great choice. I had in mind a nice, dark blue.

Unfortunately, although the shop has lots of different blues available (actually, they have loads of the colours available), none of them were what I was looking for. Most of the blues were too light-coloured, and the dark one was so inky that it was closer to black. I had plucked a gorgeous dark green off the rack and was about to ask my older daughter her opinion when - DUH! - it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I should get the same colour that he's making his scarf out of? Y'know, so he can actually match?

(Sometimes it takes my brain a while to get the obvious.)

Well, the pattern of the hat is not the same as the pattern of the scarf, but they both use cables, so they're still going to go very well together.

Anyway, I grabbed a skein of the grey, a 4.5mm circular (I was having a hard time finding 4.5mms anywhere in my house...and it seems like I'm not alone in that), and got out of there. I had just enough time to cast on and do a row or two before we had to go pick up DH from work.

And as it turned out, I ended up having lots of time to knit it on Monday, sneaking rows in here and there. Then DD1 and I went up to my room and played with her pony toys for about an hour and a half while DD2 napped, during which I made excellent progress on the hat. The upshot of all the "sneaky knitting" was that by the time I'd put the girls to bed, the thing was completely done except for the making up, which just involved doing a 3-needle bind-off at the top (I hate the hole made by simply running the yarn through the final stitches and pulling them closed...and I knew a pom-pom to conceal the hole would be utterly unacceptable to my husband) and weaving in the ends; both of which I was able to do in the living room while my husband was futzing around in the kitchen. Hee hee!


hat with bottom folded up

He loves it. I mean, really, really loves it. He says it is the most comfortable hat he's ever had (!!!), that it's very warm, and then whenever he puts it on, it feels like a hug for his head, which is just about the sweetest thing I've ever heard.

I am, however, considering ripping it all back and redoing it on 4mms because it's a bit too loose. But DH says he likes it that way, so maybe I won't.

For my part, DH gave me some yarn. He got me two skeins of the Fabel sock yarn I'm so jazzed about, but in the reddish-orange colourway I already used for socks for me. So I exchanged it for two of a blue/green/purple-ish colourway that I'd already bought one ball of previously to make something for DD2 out of. Now I probably have enough to do a cardigan or something for her, so that'll be a lot of fun.

Fjalar for moi
Huge stides have been made on this thing. I finished both sleeves (which took slightly less than 3 balls of the yarn).

This gave me the measurements for how deep the armscyes needed to be. From there, I was able to continue work on the body. I'd finished the back, the right front, and was pretty far up the left front when the ball I was using ran out. Okay, no problem, I knew I had at least one more ball. Right? Hello?

Couldn't find it. Looked all over the house. In desperation, I turned the body of the sweater inside-out and started counting up how many old-ball-to-new-ball-transition ends there were so I could figure out how many balls I'd already used up. Time and again (you can bet I recounted a whole lotta times), I kept coming up with the figure of having used up just nine balls. And I was given a pack of ten. Somewhere on this earth was my tenth ball. (At this point I had regretfully let go of the idea of knitting a sweater for DD1 out of the leftover yarn; although June - the owner of my local yarn store - bought some for the shop in the same colourway, so I'll probably buy some more and do the kid's sweater.)

I was pretty despairing about ever finding ball #10, until June commented on how weird it was that I'd lost it, since I always use the same knitting bag. That rang a bell, because I actually had used a different knitting bag once a few months previously. When I got home from the SnB, I checked the bag, and - tadah! - there it was. June's a GENIUS.

And that is how I came to have an almost-finished body:

Just a few more rows and then I can start sewing it up. Woohoo!

Baby fisherman's sweater for not-sure-which-baby
A very dear friend of mine recently had a baby boy. It's been a long time since I've seen him or his wife, and hadn't actually heard that the baby was coming until a few weeks before he did, so I didn't really have time to make anything. However, I have been assured by said friend that this is no problem, and there is lots of time because they have scads of clothes and blankets and things. Also, his wife is an avid knitter. So I've got time.

But what I'm thinking of making is a baby fisherman's sweater that I designed a few years ago for my then-boss. This time, though, I'm being good and doing swatches and taking very organized notes about the process, so that when I'm done, I can write up the pattern, complete with all the sizes I want to have. Obviously, this is taking a while, but then again, I've been told not to rush this gift, so I gots time.

On the other hand, my boss has announced that she's pregnant, due this summer, so this sweater might end up being for her baby instead. I'm just not sure.

I'm using Naturally Magic Garden's Classic 8 Ply yarn, which is a 100% New Zealand wool DK weight yarn. It's beautifully soft, absolutely gorgeous stuff, and I'm using an off-white which looks terrific with the cables. (I unfortunately won't be showing pictures of it because I do plan on using the pattern as part of a collection which will hopefully turn into a book someday.) At the moment I'm working on the 3-month size and am pretty happy with it, just a bit concerned that it's not quite wide enough. We'll see.

1 comment:

Carrie K said...

Your DH's hat is perfect. And it matches his yarn! Excellent. I love Cascade 220. Cables pop so nicely on it (ditto Silky Wool).

Yay for genius friends and finding that elusive last ball! And anniversaries. :)