Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Knitting 2007

I realize that I haven't been updating lately, but I have two very good reasons. Really.

First is that I've been doing a lot of knitting. As in, most of my holiday gift knitting. Last year, I was smart enough to start knitting in September, so that when NaNoWriMo came along (not that I'd actually planned that far in advance, but never mind) I had time to do both. This year, I wasn't nearly as smart, and found myself starting my holiday knitting over Thanksgiving.

Of course, there is a difference between this year's knitting and last year's. Last year, I made several pairs of socks, a lace scarf, and a Clapotis. This year? Hats. Lots of hats.

The good news is that my family seems to appreciate knitted hats. And I happen to think that they make good gifts because they're the kind of thing that the recipient will actually wear, especially considering that all the people for whom I knitted hats this year will be going to Wyoming to ski right after the holidays. So, I knitted all of them using a basic 2 x 2 ribbed watchcap formula. I make them fairly long, usually 11 to 12 inches of ribbing, so that they can be folded up around the ears for extra warmth. I then decrease fairly rapidly for the crown, and voila! A nice gift.

The other reason for not posting is that many of the people who will be receiving said gifts read this blog. And, okay, now they might have some idea that they might, perhaps, be getting a hat this year, but at this point it's not much of a secret, considering how much frantic hat knitting I was doing at Thanksgiving. Still, I won't be posting the pictures until afterwards, because I want to leave some mystery about the color and so on.

The good news is that I am, in fact, done. I finished the last hat on Friday, so any other knitting that I get done will be a bonus. And the first thing on my bonus knitting list is a sweater for my daughter. I have been a crappy knitting mommy because I haven't yet made her one at any point in the last five years, but I really, really wanted her to have a nice wool sweater for her first skiing experience.

I'm using a pattern from Cabin Fever's Top Down For Toddlers, and I now feel doubly guilty for not having done one before because it's so easy. I started it on Friday, knitted a lot on Saturday, and now (Monday) have 10 of the 13 body inches done. I'm working it at a slightly larger gauge than the one called for (5 stitches to the inch instead of 5.5), which means that I'm working the pattern for a size smaller than what I actually need, which means that I'm doing a wee bit less knitting than I might otherwise have to.

I have also made a serendipitous discovery, which is more or less what inspired me to make a post today. I had 16-inch and 32-inch 3.75mm needles, but the body of the sweater is only 28 inches around. Not wanting to have to stretch the body around my 32-inch needles, I bought a pair of 24-inch needles. The only 24-inch Addi needles available were Addi lace needles, and I figured it wouldn't make much difference.

I was wrong.

The Addi lace needles were the best thing I could have ever bought for this project.

The sweater is cabled, and for years now I've been working my cables without a cable needle. Instead, I slip stitches from my working needles and pick them back up to rearrange the stitches. This means that I do a lot of delicate maneuvering with my needles, slipping the needles into stitches out of working order, dropping stitches and picking them back up, etc. The lace tips are amazingly good for this. They're pointy and tapered, perfect for slipping into stitches and picking up newly-dropped ones.

I also love working with the brass. For years, I've only used nickel-plated needles because anything else feels like I'm knitting with sandpaper, but the brass has been a pleasant surprise. It's not quite as slick as the nickel, but it's still well within my parameters for fast and fun knitting. The real joy, though, is the smooth-oiled feel to the way the needles rub together. It's made knitting with them a genuine pleasure.

The only drawback is that I can't hold the needles as close to the tips as I normally do, seeing as the tips are significantly longer, but that's been a very minor adjustment. Overall, I've been quite impressed with the Addi lace, and I think I'll have to look into investing in a few pairs for my actual lace knitting.

Yeah, probably should have asked for a Patternworks gift certificate for Christmas...

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Blogger Cathelou said...

Whew! I'm glad I waited until after Christmas to read about my hat--which I love, BTW.

Your sister

12:36 PM  

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