Tuesday, January 13, 2015

FO Round-up: Christmas Edition #1

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 ...
I made my sister, Kelly, a pair of mittens. This was my first ever mitten making experience, and aside from the cuff not being quite long enough they came out great. I used the 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.
My sister, Marisa, requested sewn headbands. I've already knitted her several to be worn in the cold, but she wanted some she could wear in any temperature. I really had no more specifics from her and I didn't want to give away what her gift would be, so I just made a variety of thicknesses in different fabrics. All of these fabrics were in my scrap bag, so this was a very efficient project. Even my elastic was from the stash. The one with the jockeys on it (she likes horses so I thought she would be amused) is reversible and has light blue on the underside. It turns out that her favorite one is the pink leopard print one, not just for the pattern but for the thickness. Now I know what she likes for next time :) I was able to make all of these in one evening, probably about 3 hours total. It was a nice project and she seemed to like them.
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.
This project is the only one that I didn't finish in time, but it was absolutely not for lack of trying! My brother specifically requested a brain hat - he had seen one on Facebook and thought it was awesome. I saw it and knew I would go crazy knitting so much i-cord, so I looked for a crocheted alternative and found the 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...
But he loved it as it was! lol He kept calling it his "George Washington Wig" (he was wearing it backwards so the pink part looked like his forehead). I've got the yarn now, but he says he may just want to keep it that way, lol. I think it's pretty funny. He may change his mind and want a brain later on, but at the moment he's happy with his weirdly curly wig.

So that's the first installment of Christmas gifts I made - stay tuned for more in the coming week!

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