Thursday, December 13, 2007

Waffles Anyone?

A few weeks ago, I decided that I would not cast on anything new for the remainder of the year so that I could force myself to finish the long-delayed Zipper Front Sweater that I'm working on and also make substantial progress on the ripple-stitch throw. Well, of course, my resolve has now weakened and last night I gave in and cast on a new project.

Now before you decide that I'm weak of will, keep in mind that I have succeeded in accomplishing my goal of making some real headway on those two larger projects. As I reported last week, the knitting is finished on the sweater and I have only construction remaining. I seamed in the first sleeve a few days ago and when I can muster up the required "umph" I'll do the other one. (I despise finishing!)

I've also made lots of progress on the throw blanket. I'm trying to put an inch on it each evening and that all adds up. Here it is as it currently stands:

It's going to grow a fair amount with blocking as well. I'm not looking forward to blocking it though. I had a thought that perhaps I could take it to a dry cleaner and just have them steam it out flat. Is that possible or just a wacky thought from a lazy finisher?

The project that broke down my willpower and caused me to instantly cast on is a new one that Anne Hanson just came out with yesterday. It's a pattern for a hat and mitts set in a waffle stitch. Here's the photo from her site:

You can buy the pattern at the KnitSpot site and it's also available in my Etsy shop.

As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to knit the hat right away. The timing is perfect. A few days ago, I threw away my husband's "go to" hat. I made the hat for him three years ago and he's worn in to death. The wear was really beginning to show, mostly in the form of stretching. It had seen its day and it was time to put it to rest.

Unfortunately, when he turned to his alternate hat, he soon found that it was really too small for him. The alternate hat is not a handknit and it's not particularly attractive. Since it was too small for him and since my favorite hat is really too large for me, we did a swap. That left me with an ugly little gray number with no shape and no style and left him with this!

Isn't that hat great?! Sandy made it (machine knit) using various shades of FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn. She sells a few of her knits in her Etsy shop and when I saw this last year, I had to have it. Sounds crazy for someone who knits to buy a knit hat, particularly one made from my own yarn, but I loved it so much that I had to have it. I didn't give much thought to the fact that my head is the size of peanut though. The hat really is too big for me, but I wear it anyway and I want it back from my thievin' husband!

I've been noodling on the right pattern to use for his new hat. I've flipped through stitch dictionaries and patterns to no avail. Every one that I've shown him has elicited the same response, "It's nice, but I'd rather just have stockinet." (Before you get too impressed that my husband knows what stockinet is, let me point out that he pronounces it "stocking net." I've given up on correcting him.)
When I saw Anne's waffle stitch hat, I knew that was the perfect answer. It's a very straightforward pattern and will be a very quick knit, yet so attractive that it screams, "KNIT ME NOW!" I'm not kidding about a quick knit either. I spent a couple of hours getting started on it last night while watching a bit of TV and I already have this to show for my efforts:

The pattern calls for a DK weight yarn and my FF Mohair/Wool DK is one of the recommended yarns. My husband, however, hates mohair or anything else that has the tiniest amount of fuzz to it. I also knew that he would be wearing this in his workshop, which means lots of flying sawdust and dirt. Machine washability is important for this one.

I thought I'd use my FF Superwash Merino Sportweight, but it's a bit lighter weight than the pattern calls for. I could have easily modified the pattern to accommodate the yarn, but I didn't have the right needle size on hand and I wanted to start immediately. My solution was to combine the sportweight together with a strand of Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn.

I'm using the Deepest Forest colorway on the Sportweight and a handpainted colorway on the sock yarn (colorway no longer carried in my shop). As you can see in the photo above the result is predominantly green with flecks of light gray popping up throughout. When you get closer up, you can see the variations of color more, with bits of mocha, charcoal and varied shades of green showing up. You can't really see the waffle stitch very well in the photos and it's not all that pronounced in person either. The pattern would have shown up better with just the Deepest Forest colorway alone, but I do like the flecked look so I'm happy enough with how it's progressing.

I'd love to sit down right now and finish this baby off, but I have lots of work to get to today. In fact, I better get my butt in gear right now and get back to it!

Great day to all!


anne said...

VERY nice! and sooo soft!

~Tonia~ said...

Look at all that knitting going on there. :)

I love the new pattern. I have the Bee Sock kit coming my way and I can't wait. She is one amazing designer.