Friday, April 26, 2013

A Winner and a Baby Hat

Wow--you guys are all about winning, aren't you? I wish I could send all of you a free book but that's not in the budget. So instead let's all give a big round of applause to the winner Jannoknits! Tippecanoe has made his pronouncement and no one can defy him. Just look at him, he can't be swayed!
 Since you're here you might as well look at what is basically the cutest baby hat I have every made. I made it for a good friend's new baby boy and feel that I have discovered my new go-to baby pattern, which is to say that if you're preggo, I'm making this for you.

The Specs
Pattern:Alfalfa Baby Hat by Kate Gagnon
Yarn: Cascade 220 in 'Turquoise Heather', .45 of a skein
Needles: size 4
Mods: I did this on smaller than recommended needles in order to get a size fit for a newborn.

There is something, dare I say, sculptural about this hat? It's just such a perfect shape. So easy and FAST....I'm pretty sure I was doped up on Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Remedy while making this and it took less than 4 hours, so that should give you an indication of how non-complicated the pattern is.

Once again Cascade 220 proves to be a workhorse yarn. OMG--is there anything this yarn CAN'T do? I've knit it on everything from a size 4-size 8 and have always been thrilled with the results. And the colors--seriously. Above you see depicted the famous Cascade 200 wall at Natural Stitches. Just tell me that it doesn't make you weak at the knees!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Knit to Flatter

As the most math-phobic knitter on the damn planet I have to say that I am blown away by the acumen for knitting arithmetic displayed in Amy Herzog's brand-new Knit to Flatter. You guys, she has gotten her abacus and tape measure out and breaks it down for you in this book!

If you know anything about Amy, you know that she one of the most passionate knitters and designers you will ever meet. Her absolute love for the craft as well as meticulous attention to fit shine through in this book. That someone would take the time and research a series of precepts and modifications that will help other knitters knit sweaters that will fit them perfectly is really quite amazing. I mean, I'm such a selfish knitter that if I were going to try to figure the whole body proportion thing I would just do it for myself and just leave the rest of you lot to work it out on your own. But Amy didn't do that! She's nice like that!

Knit to Flatter contains page after page of absolutely luscious sweaters. You know that thing where you buy a knitting book and there are maybe like 2/20 of the sweaters that you might actually wear? Yeah that's not the case here. You are basically getting this book and then wanting to knit almost everything in it.  That being said, I have narrowed it down to two that will be MINE ALL MINE once I check out of Hatville (more updates coming soon, I promise!).

First up for me will definitely be Delish Cardigan. Delish, right? Everything about this cardigan is so appealing to me: the stitch pattern, the plain hem + narrow v-neck, the open cardigan design--I love all of it. Of course the fact that the sweater pictured is done in Hand Maiden Lady Godiva isn't hurting anything either. This is a sweater I can see making and wearing.

I am also extremely drawn to Stoker because ZOMG comfy cowl alert! I hope you can see the perfection that is this sweater. I am obsessed with the simplicity of this sweater. It's a stockinette cowl-,but with expert shaping. And it fits perfectly. This pattern is pictured in Valley Yarns Stockbridge which an alpaca wool blend that has a nice price AND is soft as all get out.

There is no doubt in mind that you are bound to fall in love with more than a few of these sweaters and the techniques that bring them into being. As luck would have it, I have a copy of Knit to Flatter to give away, so just leave a comment below indicating your interest and I will use my random number generator (i.e. I my cat Tippecanoe points to a piece of paper with your name on it), and I'll send it off straight away! I'll close the whole thing down by Weds., so you best hurry!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cavalcade of Hats

There was a time on this here ol' blog that I would never have dreamed of posting six projects at once. Blow my blogging wad on six-at-a-time? Heaven forbid! But since I have a big time back log of projects to try like hell to remember the details of talk about, here is your cavalcade of hats!

First up: Empire hat, or What Gavroche Might Wear on the Barricades

Specs: Empire Hat by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Briar Rose "Fourth of July" in unknown mystery only-they-know colorway
Needles: size 8
Size: Adult

This is the second one of these that I've made and I just love it! I think that seeing 'Les Mis' on Xmess day put the idea for this hat back in my brain. Doesn't it just scream Victor Hugo's 19th century Paris? Aux armes! The pattern recommends a size 7 needle, but I knew from the experience of having a Gargantuan ( French lit is my life, yo) head that size 8s would be more appropriate--and they were!

The yarn is a dream for sure. I bought this at Rhinebeck 2011 with my girl Babs and Earthchick and have only just now gotten around to finding a good project for it. Imagine that! What should that tell you? Wait, don't answer that... The only down side to this yarn was that it comes in such a giant skein that you are bound to muff up the winding, especially if you have a naughty kitten in the house. This is exactly what happened to me, and it was a major CATastrophe that required three evenings of hand winding and pet shaming.

Verdict: A great hat to wear to a failed revolution!

Next we have: Peerie Flooers, or Fair Isle Frolic!

Specs: Peerie Flooers by Kate Davies
Yarn: Rowan Fine Tweed in the colors called for, see my project page for the deets.
Needles: size three

As you might know, I basically make every tam pattern that Kate designs. I mean she could make a Motorhead tam and I would be completely on it, and I hate Motorhead! There is something about Fair Isle knitting that engages my brain and hands in the most pleasurable combination imaginable. I think it is my most favorite knitting of all the knittings. And Kate's designs are peerless!

When this pattern came out, I believe it was one of the first ones to use Rowan Fine Tweed and you had better believe that I was all over it. Sadly about seven minutes after ordering it, Rowan recalled the yarn due to breakage issues (!), so I had to sit tight for a while. When it did finally arrive I was just thrilled by the colors. So bright! Not dowdy! This made for a truly cheerful knit.

Verdict: Kate is the Boss of my Applesauce!
Ensuite--> Clancy, or A Hat for Nutty Socialites Everywhere!
Specs: Clancy by Craig Rosenfeld
Yarn: Tosh Merino DK in 'Grey Gardens', .65 of a skein
Needles: size 7

I was in Philly for a conference last month and neglected to bring knitting to work on during the ZZzzzZZzZZzzzz plenary session, so you best believe I ditched the cold salad lunch for a nip out to Loop. Saved! The sometimes surly ladies there were ├╝ber helpful and suggested not only this pattern but also the Grey Gardens colorway which it turns out was a special, limited edition THING and I got it without realizing that it was the object of much desire. Because you know that if I had known it was a thing I would have expended many hours and dollars on obtaining in. So--score!

The pattern produces a nice slouchy knit, but I must say that even for my big head this hat is a titch too big. It feels somewhat pancake-y, or like having a placenta on your head that could blow away at any time. I do some light felting is in order!

Verdict: Go down a needle size or prepare fry this thing up and eat it, hippie style!

And next we have--> Irving hat, or Just a Really Great Hat
Pecs: Irving Hat by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Shelter in Plume, one skein
Needles: size 8

Per Melissa's norm, this pattern is easy, clear and has a pleasing leaf pattern. I first saw it posted in the Plucky Knitter Facebook group featuring one oh the PK yarns (which at some point we will talk about because OMFG), but because there is a long wait (as in 3-5 weeks) and you have to be at your computer when the update goes down (I'm getting too old for this shit btw), I opted to do it in the yarn that I actually already owned. Yes, the Shelter. And it is a perfectly adequate sub, but alas is a totally different vibe that TPK.  But I love this hat because it is quite vibrant and fits perfectly!

Verdict-->Irving Hat, It's no Slouch!

 This brings us to--> Irving Number 2!

Specs: Irving by Jared Flood
Yarn: Shelter in Faded Quilt, one skein
Needles: Sizes 5 and 8

Another Irving! Hey, it's a winning name for Jewish grandpas AND handknits, ok? This one was a super fast knit that I did on a whim for a colleague. Because this person is a very sweet but super ultra shy reserved guy that I am working on a project with (meaning that he hasn't seen the full rollout of me), I felt that he would be weirded out if I asked him "Hey can you wear this hat you didn't ask me to knit for you and let me take your picture and post it on the Internet?" but luckily that's where grad students come in. You can ask them to do anything and they'll do it because they're nice like that! The pattern is a winner if you're in the mood to get some cables going, and believe me, Jared knows from cables. I think I knit this hat in two days. A cinch!

Verdict-->A Fun, Fast Gift that Rivals Irving #1!

Lastly-->Sea Beanie!

Specs: Sea Beanie by Elena Nodel
Yarn: Tosh Merino DK in Stovepipe
Needles: Size 6

This was a fast and furious knit as the recipient (this time my #1 guypal at work who absolutely refused I mean REFUSED to let me take his picture in it) was leaving for France in only a few days. Sometimes I work best under pressure, because this beanie is a real gem. I mean we are talking stitch definition for days and a fetching combo of ribs and cables. My only minor complaint is that the hat seems wider than it is long, if that makes sense. This hat is also being modeled by a grad student. Aren't I abusive?

Verdict-->Check it out, it's See Worthy!