Finished: A Monkey Bread for Mom

When I finished my Monkey Bread Hat back in 2012 (wow–was it that long ago!?), my mom almost immediately wanted one for herself. It took some time–first to find yarn she liked, then, shamefully for me to get started. And it was a chore to get past the start. I had trouble with the ribbed brim, and had to rip out and restart twice–first because it was just too tight all around, second because while the ribbing was fine, the cast one was still too tight. And this was not a nice yarn for ripping (or tinking, for that matter) back; the mohair just wants to stick together all the time. But finally I managed forward motion, even finishing before the worst of winter hit. My mom’s been wearing it ever since, but I did manage to snap a finished picture.

Monkey Bread Hat in red mink/mohair/cashmere
Pattern: Monkey Bread Hat by Anne Hanson
Yarn: The Cashmere Co-op Mink Haze, 80% Mink 15% Mohair 5% Cashmere, Colorway “Vampire” (1 skein, discontinued)
Needles: US 5 (3 75 mm)

Modifications: Ah yes. I nearly forgot–I finished this hat twice. The first time, I followed the pattern for the small size faithfully. No good – while the brim was perfect (after the third try), it was overall too short. I did a quick test row to determine how many rows I could add on with the yarn I had left and then ripped back to before the decreases. I didn’t have quite enough yarn for a full additional pattern repeat, as with the large size, so I had to take one row out of each section (in between the cables). I also didn’t want to rip more than I absolutely had to, so rather than going back to the first cable and flipping its direction so that I could just follow the charts for the rest, I had to mentally flip all the remaining charts after the first two cables. But I think it worked out perfectly fine. My mom’s very happy with her new hat, and I’m vowing to stay away from mohair for anything fitted!

Finished: Les Abeilles

Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a finished knit around here! Glancing back through past posts, I’ve really fallen behind where I used to be in knitting productivity. Thank goodness I started going to knit night; it’s been a great help in keeping me moving forward–even to finishing up those final little details like weaving in ends. The light is so good there that I don’t have the excuse of needing to wait for later (weekend daytime).
Of course, even with knit night, it’s been a looooong process to finish–finally–les Abeilles:

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I had it nearly finished over a year ago, but nearing the final stitches I realized that it was much smaller than the pattern states. Rip! The second time around, I actually checked my gauge (good), knit off-and-on, and was just about to break the yarn for the grafting of the last few stitches (at the center neck) when I realized the count was off. One too many stitches on one half of the shawl. The others at knit night tried to talk me into fudging the finish–especially as it took some time to find just where, exactly, the mistake had happened.

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Can you see it? It’s tricky. But there on the edge I had inadvertently added two rows to one repeat of the edging. Whoops!

At knit night I did fudge. Knit two together, make the count work…and didn’t break the yarn. Not just yet; switch to the other project.

I let it sit a few days and finally decided I couldn’t live with the mistake I knew about. Rip back again. At least this time, I only had to go partway. And once that decision was made, it was a quick ways to the end. I wove in the ends at knit night (Okay, I’m now saving weaving in of ends for knit night. The light’s just so bright.), and blocked the shawl the following weekend. (Turns out, the incentive of showing off a finished object at knit night gets me to block more quickly. Why didn’t I start going earlier?)

So despite all the drama, I’m very happy to have this little shawl finished. It’s still a bit smaller than the pattern size, but it was suggested that this was due to yarn variations–the pattern was knit in a slipperier yarn, which allowed the shawl to stretch more. But, I’m done, I’m happy, and now I have another little neck scarf for when the weather isn’t too cold.

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Pattern: les Abeilles by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Knitting Notions Classic Merino Bamboo, Colorway “Ironstone” (1 skein)
Needles: US 3 (3 25 mm)

For the Season

Embroidered Christmas Bell“Christmas Bells”

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Christmas Day, 1863
Published Feb. 1865 Our Young Folks

 

Written during the midst of the U.S. Civil War, yet I find that Longfellow’s poem speaks to me this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

A Seasonal Finish

When I last posted, I was optimistic–about my ability to finish projects & my dedication to regular blogging. Ha to both!

Well, mostly. I’ll post about the knitting…hiccups…at another time, but for now I wanted to share the entirely seasonal cross-stitch I DID manage to finish on time!

Cross Stitch Merry Christmas Santa with Cat and Mouse

Although this Santa isn’t quite as colorful as the first two I made, I do find the little mouse adorable–I even saved him for last. This marks the end of the cross-stitch kits–just in time to hang the trio of Santas up on the kitchen coat rack (an entirely spontaneous location that works really well). Now…what to make next?

Of Productivity and Completions

Yesterday was an unusually productive day. Unusual not just because I typically treat Sundays more of a day to relax than a day to get things done, but because I accomplished more than I often do on any individual day off. I wish I actually was this productive more often. I think it’s due to the fact that yesterday I actually had specific plans/goals rather than the more generic “I need to get things done” that usually rules my life. But I did some blog reading, some blog writing, baked some breakfast bread, read, and blocked a shawl. I didn’t really get around to looking through Ravelry for ideas for my next project. My les Abeilles is almost finished, and I’m guessing that I could have my mom’s Monkeybread Hat done in short order if I put my mind to it. And then…nothing on my knitting needles! (Although, paging down through recent posts, I’m reminded that I did have it in the back of my mind to return to the Lerwick Lace Shawl…hmm…a good possibility, but I think I’d like something else for knit night…)

I’m almost down to nothing on the cross stitch needle as well. One of my goals for the year was to finish out, finally, the various Christmas kits I’ve had around and been working on off-and-on for years. And thanks to the need for some mindless projects last winter/spring and for not-so-warm projects during the summer month, I’m down to one kit left. It looks like I’ve not yet presented the recently completed projects here, though.

Cross stictch snowman on navy aida - finished

This first is the bigger accomplishment – although the physical size of the snowman is not very big, all things considered, there are many details and shadings in the pattern. The trickiest part was the use of blending filament–those fine strands often want to fly away. The most frustrating part happened when I began the backstiching to outline the characters, specifically in the dark brown. It was only then that I realized how inferior the embroidery floss included with the kit actually is–it kept breaking as I was stitching. I finally gave up on the dark brown included in the kit and substituted something similar from my own stash of floss. Otherwise, I enjoyed the stitching but am very happy to have it done. Now I just need to frame it up in time for the holidays!

Santa Ornament - Nice List

This Santa was much quicker – and oh so cheerful! He’s the second I’ve finished in a group of three; the third is the last kit I have left–and is already about half-way finished. I should have a nice little trio of Santas ready to hang out together decorating a shelf edge or some such come Christmas! (Which somehow seems wrong–I’m never this prepared for the holidays!)

In Search of the Next Thing

I had this dreadful thought yesterday – I have no idea what the “next” project is going to be!

Now, based on my recent project completion rate, and that I’m currently in the middle of two knitting projects, plus the miscellany, you mightn’t think this would be a problem. However. It has the potential.

Despite my absence around here of late (how is it mid-September? – I’m quite sure it must be only July!) I have been working on things. And, more to the point of my next-project panic, I’ve actually started (well, okay, just once so far, but I have plans) to go to a Wednesday night knitting group. Which means I must have knitting for Wednesdays!

This week–and until it’s finished, but once I conquer the problem of the too-tight cast-on, it will fly–the knitting will be the monkey bread hat for my mom. I’ve started and ripped out twice, plagued not by gauge so much as the cast on. Well, the first attempt was also slightly too small of gauge, but the second attempt would have been perfect (I went up one needle size), but the cast-on was tighter than the ribbed brim. All these years of knitting too loose, and now I can’t manage a cast-on!

les Abeilles in progress

The other knitting still in process is my Les Abeilles. Also attempt two. I had a moment of panic this week, where it seemed that it was still too small, even though I had gone up a needle size. But the lace edging measures the correct depth, and I did a quick gauge “square” in the middle of my knitting and I’m dead on, so it may just be my mind playing tricks on me. Regardless, I decided that whatever size it comes out I will use, so full steam ahead. The blocking will tell in the end.

But as far as actual on-the-needles knitting, that’s it. And no plans for what’s ahead. It looks like I may have to spend some quality time with my Ravelry “favorites” this week. (I don’t really keep a “queue” as I did for a while and it became both ridiculous and inaccurate.) And maybe a stash dive. That usually proves inspirational!

Taking Stock

So I’ve been poking around my project basket lately, and realized that I really needed to take stock of what was/wasn’t in it. And what I should really be trying to finish up.

The first two projects aren’t so much in my basket as they are adjacent to it. I’ve been working on the cross-stitch snowman forever, but it’s down to some backstich (mostly on the tree) and French knots. The Santa with a cat is a newer project, but I’ve had the kit as long as I’ve had the snowman kit. So it’s time to be done! Although I cross-stiched quite a bit this winter, I stopped to save them for when it’s too hot to knit. Which might include today–not that it’s so terribly hot, but it IS very humid.

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In the category, “isn’t this done already?,” there’s my Aeolian. Which is done. Exept for blocking. I’ve been on a roll of washing and blocking shawls lately, and I think I have enough room to block this if I double it, so there shouldn’t be any reason I can’t be completely finished with it by the times it’s cool enough to wear it.

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The sweater, Ondulé, whose seaming I’m avoiding. (And I need buttons. I’ve looked locally, but haven’t found anything yet.) There’s another sweater pattern I’d like to knit–and I even have the perfect yarn–but I think perhaps I should actually finish this first. Ahem. I just need to plan to sit down and do this some Saturday.

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So…I was almost finished with my Les Abeilles back in November. I was slightly concerned I might not have enough yarn, as I don’t have as much as the pattern calls for, but I made it to the last row with plenty yardage to spare. Too much! I could tell, just spreading it out a bit that it was going to be as small as the smallest pattern size, even though I knit the middle. Shoulda checked the gauge. Oops!

Les Abeilles - starting to unravel

So it looks like this now, after I ripped and restarted. I’m through the first chart. I’ll still have the yardage concern, so I’m going to add a lifeline in before I start the next section–if I run out, I’ll change the decrease rate in the gartar stitch portion. I’m not worried about finishing, as this has been my go-to project when I’ve been looking for something that doesn’t require any thinking lately.

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Then there’s this: my Girasole, finished several years back–and hurt. I don’t know what happened; likely I snagged it on something and tore the fragile cashmere. I have plenty of yarn so I can repair it, but it will take some thought to work out. So I’ve been avoiding it. For over a year. So, again, something to just plan to do some weekend. Before I want to wear it again next fall!

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Finally, something new! This is another Monkey Bread hat, this time for my mom. I think I need to restart, as the brim seems too tight. (Not sure if it’s just the cast on, or if I should go up a needle size as well. Regardless, I really want to get it finished for my mom by next winter. There’s no reason I can’t as long as I stick with it.

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But otherwise – nothing new! No new lace, and I’d like to have another project on the needles. I don’t know what yet–but I think perhaps that’s okay as I really should finish off some of these first. After all, I don’t have any good excuses not to!