Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Slip, sliding away...

The time before Christmas is slip sliding away, faster than a speeding bullet! Although it seems that I have been knitting 24 hours a day, I don't seem to have made much progress. I enviously follow other knitting bloggers who seem to rack up finished sweaters, lace shawls, pairs of socks and afghans while I have struggled to finish a few hats. What do they do that I don't??
Actually, I've made three more hats of which I don't have photos. You see, I got this great idea for Christmas. I would make everyone patterned tams. I found a great pattern by a local knitter, Amy Anderson. I purchased lots of Cascade 220 and limited quantities of Noro, Mountain Colors, etc. and I cast on. My enthusiasm waned when both daughters proclaimed that they would never wear tams and those hats better not be for them. Don't you know, mom, that tams are not stylish! And, who ever looked good in a tam anyway.

At this point I changed course. I decided to knit hats, mittens and scarves that I WANTED TO KNIT. I have no specific recipients in mind. Rather, I will put all intems into one large wrapped box and people can select an item. Or not. They can reject all the items. I don't care. I will donate the remainders to Dulaan or the local homeless shelter. I will photograph all of hats for my scrapbook. If some of my family members end up with no Christmas present from me, tough for them! I'll give them a gift certificate to Wal-Mart!!! Ha! Ha! That will teach them!!!

Here's a hat I experimented with. It is a take off on a watch hat from Charlene Schurch's book Hat's On! I removed the ribbed "cuff" and substituted applied I-cord (in honor of the Elizabeth Zimmerman collection I had just seen!) While knitting the color pattern I thought, "What if I switched the foreground and background colors?" So, I did. Can you see? the effect wasn't quite as exciting as I thought it might be, but it's interesting--I guess.

I also decided to make my dad some mittens. The colors in this photo aren't true to life--in reality the colors are black, loden green, and a loden green/black twist--all Cascade 220. This is a pattern from Mostly Mittens, also by Charlene Schurch. My dad has wide hands, so I used worsted weight yarn rather than sport weight. Turns out, the mittens are 15" tall!!!! I think I'll felt them so that my dad's hands stay really, really warm! He is diabetic and has poor circulation. He also cut off the tips of two fingers 20 years ago while using his table saw. Felting the mittens for extra warmth will be just the thing!
My hat/mitten/scarf projects were interrupted by the birth of a baby in my husband's department. The mother is the only female professor in his (science) department, so I thought I'd make the baby a little sweater--the Elizabeth Zimmerman baby surprise sweater. I used Baby Ull and some decorative thread with little balls of fluff. the thread is not elastic at all and it was difficult to knit with--had to work at each stitch when holding the thread with the Baby Ull. !! I used applied I-cord for the edge. After washing and blocking it, I realized the neck opening is too tight. So, I will need to remove the I-cord from the neck and figure out something quick to enlarge the neck. Under all those folds of fat around baby necks, aren't the necks scrawny??

My Christmas knitting was also delayed by family crises, necessitating knitting. As you may recall, my 45 year old brother suffered a debilitating stroke in mid September. I finished his Aran sweater in time for his departure from the hospital but, his wife told me, he has not even tried it on. Don't know what's going on there. I've been walking his dog every day and transporting him to various appointments and work. He's not said anything. Oh well. He did comment that he is cold all the time. So, I knit him a warm grey wool scarf. It's very unexciting---although I used the brioche stitch for the first time. Maybe he will like the scarf. I'm sure that life is so overwhelming for him right now that the last thing he needs is to think about is trying on the aran sweater.

One of my sisters had neck surgery two weeks ago. She lives in colorado. She had some of the vertabrae fused and will be wearing a stiff brace for a while. So I knit her a multidirectional scarf using a space dyed LaGran mohair and a solid color of alpaca. I alternated the strands every other row in alternating triangles of the scarf to stretch the mohair. It turned out beautifully, I assure you, but somehow it got shipped to Denver before a photo was taken. I love this scarf pattern and have made it several times, always, it seems, with yarn that I need to stretch! Alternating rows of solid and multicolored mohair works beautifully.

Meanwhile, while not knitting, I have been slowly working on end of the semester assignments for my graduate courses. Which reminds me, I better get back to Digital Libraries!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, a bit belatedly, and happy knitting!

10 comments:

betty said...

wow! you have knit a lot! and i think your hats are awesome! it's sad we don't get to use hats much in Barcelona...

Lorette said...

Love the hats in the box idea for Christmas! Until I get a full-time staff of knitting gnomes, I'm giving up on the knitted presents.

Anonymous said...

Gail, they are incredible! Do as you think. My mum and sister accepts all my knitting presents, I have threatened them...

;)

HPNY Knits said...

I love the tams and hats. very nice. the kids all like the "beanie" hats, even my 4 year old.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog when I searched for "Amy Anderson". I LOVE the hats! I met Amy a few years ago and have been looking for a source for her patterns. Could you tell me the name of the pattern and where to purchase it?

Thanks,
Marty

gail said...

Marty, I can't email you. I hope you read this comment. Amy Anderson is from madison, WI and she sells her patterns at the Sow's Ear, a yarn shop in Verona; at Lakeside Fibers, a yarn shop in Madison and at the Knitting Tree, another yarn shop in Madison. None of these places display the patterns on the web, unfortunately. Some of her patterns are available from Blackberry Ridge, a yarn mill outside of Madison. They have a website and sell patterns via the internet on their site. The pattern I used is called a Tam Tutorial. She has a modified tam pattern called something like Flying Saucer!

Suzanne said...

YES I am in Library School! thanks for the comment. (im leaving a comment since I dod not see an email.) And I am glad to have one of my "jobs" closed out for awhile; between paid work, school and kid sitting I am stretched!

Your tams are GORGEOUS--the patterning stuff really makes them special. I think tams are super fashionable this year--google the Olsen Twins, they have been wearing slouchy tam/berets for awhile now.

Mary said...

What beautiful things you've knit! :-)

Siow Chin said...

Your tams are fantastic, Gail! Last night, I started knitting a navy blue hat for my husband who's going to Beijing next week. The darkest navy is all he wanted but I'm throwing in some cables, not sure if he'll wear it eventually but I'd thought, I'll give it to charity otherwise. Yours look exquisite!

Dave said...

I really like the effect of the Noro being the design and the plain background -- thanks so much for suggesting it. I think I'll be seeing another one in my very near future. (And I'll lmuch prefer the colours you chose as well!)