Sunday, July 24, 2011

Husband Hat

Few weeks ago, at the start of summer, end of spring, my husband asked for two things of me: a knitted hat and felted slippers. He's had hats before, but has the habit of washing them until they can fit the kids, and then even more! He's also had couple of pairs of felted slippers before, but worn them through. He really loves these things and uses them a lot in the winter time.

My go-to pattern for felted slippers is from a Norwegian booklet for knitted/crochet items for Christmas presents, and I've made them about dozen times. The yarn that is required is a heavy worsted and although I have substituted it in the past, I like to use the original yarn. It's hard to come by in the US and so are any other heavy worsted yarns. I'm not inspired to use any of my leftover stash for this project so I've decided to get the yarn (Fritidsgarn) in Iceland when I visit in August. Fritidsgarn is ideal for felting and will make hard wearing slippers (even for my husband). Here is a blog post where I show unfelted slippers, probably the last pair I made for my husband.

I've been inspired lately to use my leftover stash, especially since I took over the kid's play room. I looked at my leftover worsted weight yarn, which I don't have a lot of in wool yarn, but I managed to find some colors that would look good on a hat for a grown man.

The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and it called "Kim's Hats". I used 5.5 mm needles (two circular) and started out with the man's size, but it was coming out too wide, so I started over with the woman's size. I made a garter stitch black ribbing in the bottom, then stockinette gray-black-gray stripe combo and worked the top decreases in black. I made the hat shorter than in the pattern so it comes out as a beanie. Originally, my husband was dead set on ear flaps, but he seems to like the hat quite well as it is ;)

The black yarn is left over from a hat I made for my uncle. Him and Clint were close when we lived in Iceland, and his health has deteriorated in the years since we moved away and I quite like this connection between my husband's hat and my uncle's. Unfortunately, I didn't seem to have blogged about the hat (it was a Christmas gift), but here is the Ravelry link. The two shades of gray come from a vest I knit with lopi yarn I got last time I was in Iceland (2,5 years ago!).

I think the hat looks great (especially in person, it looks a lot more bland in the photos) and the last photo shows him wearing it, with artwork we got as a wedding present (almost 10 years ago) in the background.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sock Saga - Pair number 1

Now it is getting close to the end of July, but this story begins in May. The first installment of the Saga is about the first pair of socks I made in a series of sock knitting that took place from end of May until . I have my trusty ol' Ravelry to help me remembering the details since some of this knitting took place 'long' time ago ;)

The first pairs of socks I made were for my (almost) 8 year old daughter Kamilla. I named them 'Yankee Socks' on Ravelry, since she was playing in Rookie league (baseball) and her team was called the Yankees. Serendipitously, the Yankees played in blue uniforms (T-shirts and baseball caps) and I got blue striped (light and dark blue) yarn at the library's yarn swap, and blue is her favorite color! To top it off, I knit on the socks while watching her play baseball.

At first I tried to swing it, starting from toe-up, which is my favorite way to do socks. Especially when you are not exactly following a pattern because you increase for the toe until you have enough stitches to go around the foot. It's very straight forwards. Unfortunately, it's been a while since I've knitted socks, so I was a bit rusty on the increases as well as the cast-on. I then turned to the trusted Ann Budd, who made a pattern for Interweave Knits in the Summer 2007 issue about toe-up socks starting with the Turkish cast-on (my favorite, which she calls Eastern cast-on) for an array of sizes and gauges.

My gauge was 9 stitches per inch (yebb, 9) on a size 0 needles (sturdier socks). Ann's pattern only goes to a 8 sts/inch gauge, so I had to improvise a bit on the number of cast-on stitches (20?) and the final number of stitches (56). The yarn is called 'Cascade Yarns - Sassy Stripes'.

I had the first sock more or less finished (all except the cast-off at the top) when I went on a road trip with my friend Nancy and my friend, who was visiting from Iceland, Ingibjörg. We drove from Ohio to Alabama where Nancy's aunt and her aunt's husband have an house by a lake. We had a great time visiting them and spending time at and on the lake. I couldn't get much knitting done on the way down there (I was recuperating from having being sick with a sore throat), but I finished the second sock when I was there.

The second sock was finished with about a foot length of yarn left! That was close! It means that my daughter has come to an end of an era. These are the last socks I'll knit for her out of one 50 gr. skein of sock yarn. My baby is growing up!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Craft Room

Now that my two daughters (almost 8 and just turned 6) are spending the summer in Iceland with their grandparents, I took the opportunity to turn their play room into a craft room. How selfish of me ;)

I put my leftover yarn into the toy bins:

Then I put my sewing machine on their table:

As a result of this I've been inspired to use my leftover stash and do some of the sewing projects I've wanted to do for a long time, but never made the time to do.

But first I finished up some two projects that were a one seam away from being finished.

The first is the bandana pillow. I sewed two bandana's together and stuffed them with polyfill. The problem was that I ran out of polyfill, and when I finally got more (from a dear friend), I'd put the sewing machine away. The pillow has a red bandana on one side

and blue on the other

I also fixed a pillow case I made long time ago. My husband and daughter picked out the pattern and insisted I made a pillow case out of it. How could I resist. I just had to fix it a little bit, and now it's functional again ;)

A Story of a Dress

Last time I was in Iceland, year an a half ago, I got some pink plötulopi (unspun Icelandic wool) for my daughter. I got purple for my older daughter, from which I made a vest shortly after we came back to Ohio.

However, I had a little trouble with what to do with the pink yarn for my younger daughter. I had been trying to ignore the fact that she had a slight (or not so slight) aversion to wool. It just seemed as she had a sensitive skin and it would itch her and she just wanted to take it off. I didn't loose hope and kept the pink yarn.

I even kept adding to the pink yarn, since she was growing and I came across a perfect pattern for her, And All Things Nice, by the very talented Harpa Jónsdóttir.

I never lost the hope that I would be able to use this pink plötulopi for a dress for her. And finally the time came this last winter when it seemed that she didn't mind too much to try on some woolen things ;)

I had made another clothing item for her sister, a tomten by Elizabeth Zimmermann, and it made me even more anxious to knit the dress for her from the pink wool.

So I started this at the end of April and finished knitting it at the end of May. It was actually a fairly quick knit and it helped that a big portion of the main body was knit during soccer games (AKA extra knitting time). The pattern is well written (even if it had some minor errors, that didn't slow me down any) and the dress just flowed off my needles. I made the 8 year old size (she just turned 6 in June) but with the length for the 10 year old size. The pattern is a little small to begin with, so it fits her perfectly now.

Here is a close up of the stranded color pattern:

And here are couple of pictures of her wearing it:

As you can see, she is tolerating the wool just fine. Neither complaining nor trying to pull it off ;) Yay!

More details on Ravelry.