Hedgehog Knits

Adventures in knitting from the eastern edge of Canada.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Who doesn't love puppies?

It's finally travel day today. I'm flying home tonight to spend the holidays with my large, extended family. Hubby is going to join me in a week, since he still has an exam to write. I'm going early this year to take advantage of cheaper pre-peak-season fares. With the rates Air Canada charges, you'd think we were flying to the ends of the Earth.

So, who loves puppies?

Toy Dog, from Zoe Mellor's Animal Knits. 100% Arcylic.

I knit another one of these a while ago for my nephew's birthday. This one is for our other, littler nephew to go with his birthday sweater. This pattern was fine once I figured out the huge mistakes in it (row counts off by ten in two different pieces!). It's quick to knit, the longest part being seaming and stuffing. I think it's pretty cute.

I'm still tweaking the men's cable glove pattern, but will hopefully have it posted here soon. I ran out of the black wool that I used for the first and ended up having to special order it, which took weeks. In the meantime, I did this one, which is just slightly larger than the original.

Men's Cabled Glove (original pattern), in Briggs and Little Tuffy,
size 3.25 & 3.75 mm dpns.

My yarn finally arrived yesterday, so hopefully I can get the two left gloves done on the plane this evening. Of course, I still have half of a Crooked Cable sock to knit, and maybe one more scarf to get done before Christmas too, so look out for the flying needles!

It will probably be a few days before I post again, so happy holiday knitting everyone!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Colourful Weekend

I started out this weekend with the goal of knitting an earflap hat for my brother-in-law. I had plenty of ends of worsted weight wool to do fun stranded patterns, so I decided I'd pretty much wing it. I figured that 100 stitches on a 4.5 mm circular would do the trick. Well, I got halfway done and realized that it was going to be too small (gauge swatch? Um yeah, about that.... I didn't do one). But luckily, at around the same time, I realized that I really liked the colours, and hey, I could use a warm winter hat. Besides, I had tons of wool. So I finished it off, added a double-crochet edge (I already have enough ear flaps!), and came up with my new favourite hat:

Did you recognize the Kool Aid colours? (Purple and chartreuse.) It's very warm and fits perfectly.

Now please don't think that hubby's brother has been forgotten in all of this. The first hat was finished on Saturday morning. On to another one, this time with 110 stitches and ear flaps:

I borrowed the ear flap part from Vinter Lue, though I up-sized them a little to account for the finer yarn. The rest I made up on the fly, with reference to the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules for sizing info. It took several iterations and much frogging to get the colour pattern just right. First I put purple in but it looked a little too girly. Then I re-knit it but the top shaping came out all funny. I worked on it through two movies on Saturday night, and this is the final version after blocking. I love the little point on top. I really hope he likes it - I find him a little hard to predict sometimes.

On Sunday, I decided I needed a little something to add to a Secret Santa gift for a party that evening. It's always the last minute with me. Anyway, I looked through my finer yarn stash and decided to do another mini-stocking ornament, but hey, why not try fair isle this time?!

Cute, no?

The colour's a bit off here, but you get the idea. The top is in Jo Sharp Rare comfort Kid Mohair (leftover scraps) in garter stitch, and the rest is sock wool in stockinette. It's a 28-st sock on 1 mm dpns, with a little heel flap and everything. The recipient seemed pleased, and now several people at the party (my Guiding friends) want me to teach them to knit in January. I've never taught an adult to knit before, much less a big group, so this could get interesting!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Musings on the new Knitty

The new issue of Knitty is out! I enjoyed several of the articles, but I have to say that I had fewer than normal "oh my god, I have to knit that!" reations than the last couple of issues induced upon first sight. Which is okay, because frankly, I don't really need anymore must-knit projects on my very long list. If there was never another pattern published, I think I'd still be set for life.

I do quite like the Monkey socks, although I have become convinced after much trial and error that 72-stitch socks are the perfect size for me. (The Monkeys are the much more common 64-st variety.) I haven't looked closely enough at the pattern yet to see if I could increase it. And I might even like to knit the Emerald jacket for myself one day. Certainly, the Corazon mittens are a good basic pattern from which to play with stranded mittens. I've been itching to try small-gauge stranded mittens for a while now, especially seeing the gorgeous ones that Eunny and Rebekkah have been creating.

But first, first I must finish several Christmas gifts-in-progress (GIP's?!), and then clear out some of the WIP list. I think my New Year's resolution will be to try to finish at least one project before I start a new one. Hey, I can dream, can't I?!

Speaking of Christmas gifts, it seems that every blog I read mentions secret Christmas gift knitting that can't be shown yet. I'm new to the knit-blogoshpere, so I'm looking forward to what I imagine as an enormous blog show-and-tell on Boxing Day, with everyone posting their long-withheld FO pics, many a happy face posing in front of the tree, adorned with a new toque. A big reveal like at the end of an episode of What Not to Wear or something. I haven't "come out" to my family about this blog yet, and I think it's highly unlikely that anyone would find it by accident. So I have been happily posting FO pics of their gifts, a luxury that I will probably not enjoy in future. Lets face it - without gift pictures, I wouldn't really have much content to post these last few weeks, now would I? But I am looking forward to showing off my blog, especially to my aunt and dh's grandmother, who are very talented knitters. I'm counting on their help in my Newfoundland mitten research. I can't believe I'm heading home in just one week!

And now I believe I have begun to ramble, so it's time that I got back to my knitting. Crooked Cable sock #1 turned out beautifully, and #2 is now under way. Photos to come soon!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Socks, and more socks

I finished the first pair of gift socks last night:

Pembrokeshire Pathways in Regia Silk on size 2.75 mm dpns.

I pretty much followed the pattern on this one, and they worked out nicely. They're a little lacey for my liking (but they're not for me), and they are very stretchy, so they should fit just about anyone. I like this yarn, and will probably use it again.

One good pair of socks leads to another. I spent a lot of time in doctor's office waiting rooms today, and on cross-town buses to get to said waiting rooms. And thus, in one day that would have been otherwise wasted, I managed to get the heel turned on a sock that I just started last night. The pattern is Crooked Cable Socks by sockbug (free to download here). I modified it a little to add the cuff - the original had a rolled top. The yarn is Lang Jawoll, and I'm knitting on 2 size 2.5 mm circulars. This is the first time I've used extra re-inforcing yarn for a heel (a spool of it comes with every skein of this yarn), and though I thought at first it might be too bulky, I actually like it. The heel is a really strong, dense fabric and will surely wear well.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fun with FD&C Red #6

I was browsing through the many fun yarns from the
big box of happiness last week and found this skein again. Now I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to knit with this particular colour, except maybe to knit dolls (it's even more flesh-coloured in person). Remebering my earlier plans to try dying it, I went out to browse the Kool-Aid offerings at my local supermarket. I've been wanting to try Kool-Aid dying for a while now, since all the cool kids in blog-land have been doing it and it looks like so much fun.

I think this is the first time in many years that I actually wished that I had a microwave. The microwave method does sound like the easiest way to do this, especially to do varigated colour. But that hardly seems like a reason to buy an appliance that would take up a lot of space in our tiny apartment kitchen, and would get very little use. So I went for the big-pot-on-the-stove method.

I didn't really buy enough Kool-aid for a 4 oz skein- I didn't think that I wanted dark colours, so I only bought one ice blue, and one grape. I followed the instructions I found on the Knit Picks website, but the minute I put the yarn in the pot, the dye was all sucked up, and unevenly distributed at that. I pulled it out and decided that I didn't like the result. Very splotchy and kind of grey. Figuring I didn't have much to lose at this point, I added the package of grape to the pot, and threw the yarn back in. Like magic, it turned into this gorgeous, sort of handpainted-looking purple and pink pastel mix. I love it!

Here's a swatch (although it looks a little pinker than it should in this photo).

I think I might save it for a baby sweater - it's only a small amount, and a wee cardigan in this would be adorable for a little girl. Not that there are any little girls in my life right now (just two nephews), but I seem to be at that age where everyone around me is having babies, and I tend to keep a stack of shower gifts ready in advance. Lets face it, I just love knitting small things.

So, with that under my belt, it was on to Kool-aid experiment number two. Since the purple turned out so nicely the first time, I thought I'd try for a slightly darker shade. The yarn is some vintage Red Heart worsted wool, about 3 oz of yarn to 2 packages of grape crystals, and then an extra 1 oz skein dyed with 3 packages of the "Magic Switchin' Secret" flavour - It's in a blue package, the crystals are orange, but they turn green in solution. Evidently, the yarn came out a bright lime green/chartreuse.

I've got a funky fair isle ear flap hat planned for someone special on my Christmas list, so I think I may try to work bits of these into that yet-to-be designed project. I consider it pretty good timing that the December issue of Canadian Living, which I picked up yesterday, has a pattern for just such a hat. I may use that as a starting point.

And speaking of Christmas, I'm off to do some top-secret shopping. I can't believe how fast the time is flying these days. I'm heading home for Christmas in just two weeks. Let's hope that I manage to get the knitting done a little earlier than last year - I was hiding at my in-laws seaming a sweater for my mom on Christmas Eve!