Sunday, April 25, 2010

Christmas Round Part 4: Sexy Welshman Edition

I'm a planner, I like to plan things. I make lists, and have rough sketches of what I'm going to be doing months in advance. I planned my Christmas knitting in September. What I hadn't planned on was a certain Welshman, who happened in October.
Exhibit 1: Welshman

Oh yeah, also I'm a redhead now.
By the time it was clear that he had joined the top ranks of my to-knit-for list, I was already behind on the rest of my Christmas knitting. It was clear to all involved that he was not going to get a knit before Christmas, except maybe a hat,
Exhibit 2: Hat

I promised him socks when he got back. This meant that I started knitting Christmas Eve (the official deadline for family gifts), and had two lonely weeks to turn something out for him.
Now, I know what you're thinking. October. How can someone possibly deserve handknits from October to December, but I don't control these things. Sometimes you just have to knit for people.

He has impeccably good taste, and generally buy whatever he wants, and a good quality version at that. The only thing I could afford that was of incredibly high quality was handknits, and that meant I had to do the knitting. He loves texture in his clothes
Exhibit 3: Texture

so he needed texture in his socks; I couldn't just give him plain socks or ribbing. I picked some socks with a neat texture, the Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey socks. Luscious Luka made them for her dad, and they were a man-approved success. I even made them in grey. Again, I generally don't follow a pattern so closely as to use the same color, but grey is just such a practical color, and it doesn't harm your vision as much as black. (Other acceptable options include navy blue or brown, and those may appear in the future.)

They are a bit tight on his feet; I didn't really take into consideration how a big man might just not have big feet lengthwise, but big feet around. This is absurd, because I had, in fact, made exactly those considerations for my dad in the last pair of socks I made before these.
I blame the yarn. It's thinner than most sock yarns, and even some lace yarns. (I still love it, I'm just going to have to massively increase my stitch count if I use it again.) I thought I would need two skeins, but these came out of one with a tiny bit left over. If I had increased the stitch count like I should have, I may have had to break into the second ones. He wears his socks tight anyway, so hopefully it's okay. I suspect he'll be getting more socks in his future.
This is us on Valentine's Day, in which he cooked for me.

In summary:
Pattern: Earl Grey by the Yarn Harlot
Yarn: Cascade Heritage, 1 skein.
Needles: US 0, two circs
Time: Two weeks of frenzied, focused knitting
Cost: $12.95 for these, but I did buy the other skein and am probably too lazy to return it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Block Party

Remember when I said I needed to block things? I wasn't kidding. This is what my front bedroom looks like now, due to two of the major offenders. My house smells like wet wool.

There are a lot of points on that shawl, and the sweater turned into an amorphous blob as soon as it hit water.
More on each of these coming soon, that is to say, once they dry and I can get reasonable pictures of them.

Christmas Roundup Part 3

Yeah, I know it's nowhere near Christmas anymore. I'm catching up, I promise.

Of course you knew I would knit something for my mom. My mom gets a hilarious percentage of things I knit. This is due to a combination of factors including, but not limited to, she is my mom, she's not too big, her tastes are easy to predict, and she's very appreciative.
So I knew when I saw this yarn, a long, long time ago, it was going to have to be a sweater from her. Remember Fringe, the yarn shop I used to work at a long time ago? Well, they moved on and went into the yarn dying business full time (you'll know them as Dream in Color). As the store was going out of business, they had massive sales, including this at about half price. I didn't know exactly what I was making yet, but I knew it would be for my mom, and there was more than a sweater's worth.

The original plan for this year's Christmas gift was a grey silk sweater, but I never found the right sweater pattern for it, and wasn't having too much designing something I liked on my own. During the search, I came across Buckland, which looks like it was made for this yarn. That's probably because it was. It rarely happens that I use a manufacturer-recommend yarn in a manufacturer-recommended pattern, but both sort of fell into my lap, and I knew it would be perfect for her.

The picture on the cover is actually the exact same yarn I used for one Mother's Day, and I include that sweater among my unmitigated knitting successes. That sweater I knit fairly quickly, and then spent ages getting the finishing just right. Not so much with this one. This one, I was in fact sewing the final seams on Christmas Eve morning, and my family exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve. It didn't even have buttons, it wasn't blocked, so maybe it wasn't even entirely done when I gave it to her. But she knew she was getting it for Christmas, as I had fit it on her (perfectly, btw) so I couldn't just hide it, buy a picture frame, and save it for Mother's Day. It was no problem, though. We blocked at her house (I taught her how to properly block a sweater) and picked out buttons at the fabric store. Here is the final version.

In summary:
Pattern: Buckland, free from Rowan
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Jeans
Needles: US 7 and 8 (this was a size up from the pattern. Go swatching!)
Time: I started this in fall, so several months.
Cost: If you wanted to make it now, it would probably cost *. I'm going to assume I paid about half price for that.