I hope that everyone had a fun Christmas this year :) I know I'm a bit late in reporting on all my finished projects, but it's been that crazy time of year. I'm happy to report that I finished almost all the items I originally planned to make up - pretty awesome! I guess I made a good choice in starting my projects in October, lol. The above photo is my immediate family on Christmas Eve - see where I get it from?
Instead of doing an FO post for each item, I've decided to break them up into groups, so you can expect to see several of these posts for the next week. So, here goes ...Fastest Mittens pattern by PetitBeurre Knits, a free pattern on Ravelry. I didn't specifically pick this pattern because they were "fastest" - they were just the shape I wanted at the time. Originally I had planned on making these those mittens where you can hold your child's hand and both of your hands stay covered, but right when I was making the kid mittens my sister saw the toddler sized one and said, "Why would you make my kid mittens? We live in Florida!" - you can see why I decided not to proceed, right? lol I was afraid she would think this was a pointless gift, but the mittens were already made. She did like them though, so there's that. I used SMC Northern Worsted Wool in Lilac for these (from my stash) and this yarn worked up really nicely. I test drove the first mitten while walking the dog one night and I can attest that they are nice and warm. The pattern was very simple, but it if you use it yourself I would be careful of the distance between the ribbing and the thumb hole. I was worried at the time that it was too short, and it did end up being too short - I should have trusted my instincts. It doesn't make them unwearable or anything, just something I will pay attention to next time around.
This was another project that I loved at first and then got really worried that the recipient would not like it. My sister, Shannon, lives in Japan so she is really the only family member that could use any truly warm accessories (it actually snows in Tokyo). Also when I planned this hat, she was told she would have to move to Minot, North Dakota - talk about cause for lots of wooly items! I've always loved the Escargot pattern, a free cloche hat on Knitty, but I never wear hats myself so I hadn't made it yet. I thought she might like the design too, so I whipped it up for her. It's a crazy pattern! You cast on the brim of the hat as well as the length you need for the spiral and knit back and forth (not in the round) for quite a while. You cause the spiral to curl over on itself as you knit with well placed decreases, then you join and knit the rest of the hat in the round. I finished the actual knitting of this in just a few days while watching tv, but then I procrastinated the blocking and sewing the spiral down for a month of two, lol. I was really happy with it when it was finished, but sadly it ended up a bit big (womp womp). She still likes the hat though, and it's a style that really doesn't have to be tight so I think it will still get worn. I used all wool for this hat in preparation for Minot (which now is not happening) - the gray is Lion Brand Lion Wool in Pearl Gray and the purple variegated is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Alpine Pearl. Both of these yarns came from a thrift store (I know, right?!), so this was a very economical project.Brainy Maniac pattern in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Crochet Today magazine - which I happened to have :) I will confess I procrastinated this thinking it would be a very quick project since it was crocheted, so I didn't start until a few days before Christmas. I finished the actual beanie in a few hours - it's just single crochet, totally easy. Then you have to start the ruffles for the brain ... the pattern shows you the strange squiggle that you need to make your stitches in to give that "brain quadrant" look - it took some playing around, but I got there in the end. Then you just single crochet along that line you made - when you reach the end, you sc 2 in each stitch all the way back again - then you sc 2 in each stitch again for the third row - then you sc 2 in each stitch AGAIN for the fourth row. The line looks more brainy with each round, but holy cow does that end up being a lot of stitches! As I was finishing the final row on the left frontal lobe (I already had the right one made) ... I ran out of yarn! I used Vanna'c Choice in Dusty Rose for the beanie and in Linen for the "brains" - I had 1.6 skeins of the Linen in my stash, so I figured it would be no problem to make it up with what I had. I was definitely wrong. I still am in amazement at how much yarn it took for the ruffles AND I HADN'T DONE THE BACK HALF YET! It was crazy. I gave it to him as is and promised to finish later on...
So that's the first installment of Christmas gifts I made - stay tuned for more in the coming week!