The Knitted Frau

Adventures in knitting, and other things too.

Busy Hands

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Ahhh… so, since my last post I got married, went to Maine on my honeymoon and am currently settling into married life! It’s pretty fun. And it’s so nice that things are settling down… turns out planning a wedding is a lot of work that cuts into my knitting time. But it’s all over now (did I dream it?!), I have a lot of time on my hands and a lot of work to do, so back to blogging!

It seems like every year about this time my hands get extra busy… It is, after all, Christmas knitting season! Time to buckle down and make my needles fly.

I have, however, been pretty busy before today. 

One of my brothers (the middle one) has never gotten a hat from me. If you asked him, it’s because he’s the middle child and no one ever does anything for the middle child. Everyone ALWAYS forgets the middle child. Boo hoo. Very sad.
So, for my poor neglected brother, I designed the very first ReagaNation hat. (FYI When you come from a family of nine kids which came from two families of 9 and 6, you basically are your own nation.)

Here is is, in all it’s glory:

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And on the inside of the brim, there is this surprise!

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I had a lot of fun designing and knitting this one… all those color knitting books I have on my bookshelf paid off! I looked through a bunch of them for pattern inspiration.

The yarn I used was Berroco Vintage Chunky in Oats, Chana Dal and Pumpkin. It is a super soft & squishy wool blend that can go in the washing machine, which is great since he is currently going to ranger school. I have a feeling that thing is going to need a serious washing in about 3 weeks. I had enough yarn left over to make him a quick neck warmer, too! Ranger school gets cold, I hear.

Even before I started designing that hat, I finished my new brother-in-laws wedding stocking! The two of them turned out great. I used the same pattern that I created in Excel but switched the colors. All the yarn was Cascade 220 colors, with a few random yarns thrown in from my left-overs from different projects. Image

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Here is both of them together:

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I have two other stockings to knit for Christmas presents, and I can’t wait to start designing them!

I just got started on a pair of mittens for a Christmas present, which are coming out great! I designed the pattern for my meditation teacher. One of his oft-used sayings is “you can’t fight the waves, but you can learn to surf them.” It rings pretty darn true in life, so I used that as my inspiration for the mittens. I’m using (again) Cascade 220 colors. That yarn is perfect for fair isle with size 5 & 7 needles. I keep trying different yarns thinking they won’t be that different, but (shocker) they are. The Cascade yarns make such a light, soft, and flexible fabric. Good thing they are everywhere. But I digress. here is the first mitten:

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It’s not blocked yet, so forgive my dimpled fabric.  I just cast on for the second mitten today and can’t wait to get those puppies blocked and send them on their way! (Do I really have to wait til Christmas?)

Oh, and did I mention that somewhere in all of that flurry of knitting I knit MYSELF a hat?! It’s crazy, I know. For all the things I make, I have nothing nice for myself. Every time I start making myself something, I get the idea that it’s time to experiment on the fly. This, inevitably, means that the final product is oddly shaped, a weird size, or generally less desirable than what I give away. (Does anyone else do the same thing?) It’s all very depressing for me. Until a few days ago!

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I indulged on the Maine honeymoon and went to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, ME. My honey-buns helped me pick out some Peace Fleece yarn for myself, which was so much fun! I’m so used to shopping for other people. The next day, we were aimlessly driving around Norway, ME and stumbled upon Fiber & Vine. It is a little yarn shop that also sells really good wine. No, I didn’t make that up. Yarn AND wine in that same shop. WHAT! I was in heaven. HEAVEN.

We ended up taking home a bottle of mead, The hubbster picked out a delightful bottle of hopped mead from Maine Mead Works and some yarn for a future pair of mittens for him. I found some really cool yarn on the (really great) sale shelf by Jojoland Yarns. It is a “Rhythm” colorway in Red Blue Berry, and it matched my Peace Fleece perfectly! I used it in the pattern above the brim and love how it turned out. Luckily I bought 2 skeins so I can play with it some more!

So, yeah, I’ve been productive lately. And it feels so good! Soon I’ll have 2 stockings, at least 1 pair of mittens, and who knows what else to show you. Til then, happy knitting! And I’ll leave you with this face, from my tiny awesome nephew:Image

 

Lovies!

 

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Finished some mittens, now on to hats.

So, I’ve finally finished my purple dogwood mittens. There were a few stops and starts, some dumb mistakes made while knitting tired, and one frogging incident, but here they are!

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The pictures aren’t great but I don’t have them with me to rephotograph right now. The one on the right is blocked and the one on the left us not.

They came out a little bigger that I thought they would. I didn’t think the yarn I used was thicker than my previous mitten yarn, but apparently it was by a little bit. Oh well, someone with big hands will appreciate them I hope.

So, I’ve started my first hat of the series. I wanted to stay with the leaf theme and recreate the shape of a really great hat I made for my sister a while ago, so I took a look at the basic design I used for hers and thought about a leaf design that would look good in a circle. Vines? Repeated leaves? A leaf/flower design? LAURELS! Golden laurels, to be exact.

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I had a tiny ball of really pretty golden Madeline Tosh merino left over from a previous project that works perfectly as the leaf color. For the brown and white, I used some really wonderful alpaca I got from a local alpaca farm, Alpacalachin Farm. The yarn is dye-free and incredibly soft. Like, softer than I thought alpaca wool could be. Jen, the owner, knows her stuff. I love that she does not dye her wools. The natural alpaca colors are so wonderful. The white is creamy and radiant and the brown is so warm and inviting, like creamy coffee. I also have some darker brown and black yarn to work with from her farm and I can’t wait to use it. It just feels good to have between my fingers! It’s going to be unbelievable over your ears. Whoever buys these hats is going to be one lucky duck.

I realized with this hat how much I REALLY don’t like working with more that two colors. Messing around with three colors is just so slow and frustrating. I mean, look at the inside of this!

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Awful! But it does look so nice on the outside. I can’t wait to get it done and blocked.

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I have a really cool idea for mannequin heads to photograph my upcoming hats on, and if it works out I think I’ll post a tutorial on it. We shall see. Til then, happy knitting!