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!

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!)