Hand-Knit Holidays

It may not seem like it based on the silence on the blog, but things have been busy here in the past month! All the normal craziness that goes along with the holidays was multiplied by 10 this year, as I made everyone hand-knit gifts — some of which got done, and some of which are still in the works.

I made my brother a striped scarf using two variegated yarns, one a mix of leaf-green, goldenrod and tawny brown, the other a blend of deep navy and merlot. This created a dappled stripe effect that reminds me of sunlight filtering down into a cave through a canopy of leaves. The yarn is a 50-50 merino-Romney blend I bought from The Great Adirondack Yarn Co. Inc. at Rhinebeck, and the pattern is a basic 1×1 rib with two-row stripes. More info here on my Ravelry project page.

My sister got a matching hat and cowl set, but I remembered to take a photo only of the cowl. Oops. They’re both done in Crystal Palace Chunky Mochi in the colorway “Fireworks,” which is a vibrant mix of grape, salmon, flashy magenta, and pale ice-blue. The yarn is a bulky version of the Mini Mochi I used for the cowl I finished while I was at the beach in September, and I still love it for its softness and fun colors — though I’ll warn that it’s not great for grafting or sewn bind-offs, as it’s loosely spun and starts to draft apart with too much tugging.

Also, apologies for the really terrible photos here! They were taken before I came to terms with the fact that cameraphone photos taken at night are just never going to look right.

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These pirate socks, knit for my youngest brother (a.k.a. Fire King), were my first foray into stranded colorwork.  I definitely ran into some tension issues — the colorwork on the first sock I knit fit a bit tightly, so I ended up making that section way too loose on the second one. But I learned a lot while knitting them, thanks to this really helpful article on color dominance in stranded color knitting on the Tricksy Knitter blog. And I’m still pretty proud of how they turned out, especially considering they were also the first pair of socks I ever finished!

I also knit my mom a bulky cowl-neck sweater in an orchid-colored wool-mohair blend, but totally forgot to take any pictures of it — probably just because I was so glad to be finished with the thing in time to give it to her on Christmas! I was still weaving in ends on Christmas morning, but it got done.

It’s kind of a shame I didn’t get any photos, though, because that one involved some pretty intense knitting math on my part. The pattern called for bulky-weight yarn, but I had inadvertently bought super-bulky, so I decided to just convert the pattern to fit the yarn I had, based on a gauge swatch. Luckily the entire thing was in simple stockinette stitch, so it wasn’t terribly hard, though I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had to rip back a time or two after messing up the shoulder shaping.

I’m still working on a lace afghan for my grandmother and a bag for my aunt to carry her crochet supplies in, and I haven’t even begun the sweater I’d meant to give S.M. All in good time, though. Meanwhile, work on products for the upcoming Etsy shop has been chugging along — more on that later!

Hope everyone had a merry holiday season and a happy new year!

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