Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Xmas knitting: continued...

I suppose it wouldn't surprise anyone if I said that I was still working on my Christmas knitting, would it?


I thought not.

I did, however, finish the vast majority of what I'd set out to do. I knit a hat for my father-in-law, a cup cozy for my brother-in-law's lady friend, and finally finally FINALLY finished J-L's damn hat. And there were a lot of socks involved. Lots and lots of socks.

Because I'm kind of an idiot, I completely neglected to snap pictures of all of these things before I gifted them away. So, some were taken after the fact, and one was not taken at all. I don't know why I always forget to do this... Sigh.

So, first the hat. Plain top-down stockinette with a 2x2 ribbed brim. I used Jason as a model and knit it long enough to cover the ears. I knit it up in Malabrigo Rios in the Azul Profundo colorway, which is lovely without being girly. It was my first time working with Rios, and I definitely see what some people meant when they said it was "limp," especially when compared to the un-superwash-treated worsted. But it did knit up into a soft, firm fabric that looks like it will hold up better than the single-ply worsted. It wasn't quite as deliciously squooshy to knit with as the Twist, but still a pleasure. I will certainly be using it again!

Next up is the cup cozy. Brother-in-law's girlfriend had added a cup cozy from Etsy to her Christmas wishlist. The cozy had the little thumbs up thing from Facebook on it, along with the words "like this" embroidered onto a white felt background. The cozy itself was single-crocheted from blue yarn.

I took one look at that thing and said to myself "What the hell!? Charging $20 for that thing?!? It looks like a five year old did the embroidery!" The cozy itself, while much more neatly constructed, was flawed as well. It was basically a crocheted cup with a slit in one side for a mug handle to go through. I felt that having a crocheted bottom would make a mug wobbly and unstable, and it would only work on a certain-sized mug. So I made a knit version that could be used either with a mug or a to-go cup.

It's secured with two buttons. I wish I'd gotten a pic of the back of it because I'm rather proud of my solution to convert it between to-go cup and mug. For a to-go cup it simply secures with two buttons. For the mug, I knit up two short tabs, each with a button on one end and a button hole on the other, that can be used to make the cozy wider and to fit around the handle. I'm really quite pleased with the end result, and she really seemed to like it.

My other great big knitting conquest was J-L's hat. I hate this thing. I hated it from start to finish. I hated every stitch, every color change, every stupid bit of knotted fringe. I had an enormous tangled pile of yarn, I had issues getting the fringe even, I ran out of yarn, I now have a crap ton of yarn left over that I want to burn because my brain associates it with the nightmare that was knitting this awful thing.

But J-L loves it. I mean, loves it. And that makes every painful minutes spent fighting that thing worth it.

And lastly we have the ongoing sock invasion. I got it into my head to knit socks for Mom and Nani. And not just one pair for each, no, I wanted to knit TWO pairs for each! Of course I didn't finish. I had one pair each of the purple completed by Christmas Eve when we exchanged gifts, and one pair of the blue done by the time I left Tampa. I've got one and a half blue socks left to knit, and then they'll be mailed to their new home. Both Mom and Nani loved them, and the aran weight yarn makes them go pretty quick at only 3-4 hours per sock.

And just like that, the year is nearly over. Of course I'll put together my annual New Year's post (the one time of year my blogging is consistent!) on Friday. I'm eager to see how much knitting I've done as compared to last year. And also the annual tradition of making resolutions that I'll break in the coming months. :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

blargh, christmas

Things have been pretty hectic around here in Yarnia. The last two Christmases were studies in knitting hell. So this year I said to myself, I've learned from my mistakes! I'm not going to knit anything for Christmas this year! Store-bought gifts are definitely the way to go! I love knitting for other people, really I do, but I'm awful at knitting on a deadline. It's stressful and hectic and it makes me feel like crap when I'm not able to finish on time because A) I drastically underestimated how long something would take, or B) something goes terribly horribly wrong causing me to take much longer, or C) all of the above.

Which is why, of course, here I am with less than a week to go until Christmas, frantically knitting away despite the fact that there is No Way in Hell that I am going to finish in time. I've prioritized which projects absolutely must be finished by Christmas, and which I've got a bit of wiggle room with and if I finish them a little late it won't be so bad. My mom and grandmother are getting two pairs of socks each (I made this brilliant decision on the 9th of December. yes, I'm absolutely off my rocker) and I've finished two pairs so far. So if I'm a little late with the other two pairs it won't be the end of the world. The other parts I won't go into detail on because I'm not sure who else does and doesn't follow my blog.

In other happier FO-news, I've gotten some great things taken care of. I've finally finished J-L's hat. That awful evil intarsia beast I've been complaining about on and off for the last year? Yeah. Done. Well, nearly done. I've just got to add braided tassels to the earflaps and felt the whole mess. I'll be posting finished pictures in a blog post of its own with probably a documentation of the whole sad tale.

I've also finished Jon's mitts and scarf. Still haven't presented them to him, because life keeps getting in the way. Namely, my work schedule and his finicky car. But they came out quite nice, and I'm very pleased.

I've also completed Abby's shawlette. I used the pattern Spring Thaw, and Malabrigo sock in the colorway Abril. Lovely yarn, lovely pattern. I did have some trouble starting it. The charts only show half of the shawl, and I didn't realize this at first, then couldn't figure out why the written instructions and charts didn't match up. Two froggings later, it finally clicked. The pattern was quite easily memorizable, and the yarn is a dream. I'm so in love with the color that I want to make myself something with it. Someday, after I downsize my stash quite a bit more...

Abby seems to love it. She's worn it several times since I gave it to her, which pleases me to no end. The best part of knitting for other people is seeing them use and enjoy what I make.

And that's probably why I'm sitting here, half-finished Christmas gift beside me. The thought of it being used and loved is what keeps me going.