But what about December birthdays?

I prepared a ridiculous schedule for Christmas gift-knitting (which will probably have to get pared down a little), but I forgot all about December birthdays. I imagine those who have birthdays in the weeks before or after Christmas get a little slighted, so I try really hard not to neglect Sagittarius and Capricorn friends.

It happens that one of these birthdays is tomorrow, December 7th, and I want to have a gift to give this person when I see her on the 8th. I didn’t even think about it until a few days ago, so I quickly looked around my stash and found this sparkly green yarn. When I thought about the project for which I’d intended this yarn, I realized it would make a perfect gift. How serendipitous!

The gift I’m knitting should be a fast one, and I hope to post photos and a little pattern soon.

Gift Knitting

This year I’ve decided to replace my usual flurry of selfish knitting with handmade Christmas gifts.

I’ve made a rather ambitious schedule for myself, and while this is mostly a to-do list, it may inspire you in your own gift-knitting as well:

– for DAD – slip-stitch socks, Cobblestone Pullover, finish Oiled Wool gloves from last year
– for MOM – Baby Cables and Big Ones Too, Odessa hat (yay shiny beads!)
– for my BROTHER – oiled wool Broad Street Mitts, finish his birthday hat
– for a FRIEND – matching hat and fingerless glove set

I may also be able to tack on:

– for my GRANDMOTHER – tabi socks
– for an AUNT – lace picture mats (may do something else instead)
– for our DACHSHUND – a custom-sized cabled dog sweater (kind of a gift for my mom)
– for our KITTIES – catnip-filled mice

For the rest of my family and friends, I think I’m going to go with batches of these cookies, which are insanely delicious, or some other baked treat.

What are your gift plans?

FO – Cropped Raglan Sweater for Elise

I am very glad to have finished Elise’s cropped raglan sweater today.

I took photos before blocking, but I think you can see I’m pretty happy with it.

Pattern: Cropped Raglan Sweater (Ravelry link), free pattern from Lion Brand
Size: Large (41″)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Worsted 10-ply worsted weight, color #8067 Sea Spray (dye lot 3740), 60% Pima cotton 40% Modal; I used just under eight 50-gram balls, totaling approximately 400 grams/14.08 oz or 600 yards/552 meters.
Needles: Knit Picks Options interchangeable circular needles, in US size 7 (4.5 mm) and 8 (5.0 mm)
Recipient: my aunt Elise
Modifications: none

Started: February 1, 2008
Finished: June 27, 2008

The usual disclaimers apply, in that I started this months ago and put it down for a long time, then finished it this week.

My aunt lives in Hawaii and works in an air-conditioned hospital. She mentioned how her shoulders and upper arms often freeze at work, so I wanted to make her something light and appropriate to the tropics, but substantial enough to keep her warm. I also wanted a soft and easy-care yarn, and I knew she adored this cotton/modal blend when she was admiring my grandmother’s shawl.

One of the most interesting aspects of this project for me is that I’ve made this pattern before, a little more than a year ago, and in acrylic. I really enjoyed knitting it in cotton and seeing the way it was intended to drape. As much as I love my first version, I found the cotton to be swoon-worthy in wonderful ways.

There were several technical differences this time around as well. Apart from general speed and confidence, now that I know how to seam, I knit the sleeves flat rather than in the round on DPNs, which I found made them go a lot more quickly.

As I only just learned how to properly pick up and knit stitches last week, it was quite a different experience doing the front band ribbing. I picked up 2 stitches for every 3 rows, which gave me about 74 stitches when the pattern called for 94. I feel like if I had picked up more stitches (as I’d done in my acrylic version), the ribbing would sag in the heavy cotton.

I used a stretchier bind-off on the arm and waist ribbing to make for a more comfortable fit. I learned this bind-off from toe-up sock knitting and figured it would work as well for upper arms and to give the waist some stretch. I wanted this sweater to be easy to pull on and off, fitting with the easygoing drape of the cotton. I worried that this bind-off made it flare slightly, but I can happily say that all evened out with blocking.

I think this is a great pattern. Because it’s such a versatile design, I find I wear mine all the time, over girly dresses or casual tees. I chose this soft greenish blue color because I think it’s beautifully subtle. I hope it will function almost as a neutral with the rest of my aunt’s vibrant wardrobe, making it easy to coordinate and enjoyable to wear. I also thought it would look great against her lovely tan complexion and blue eyes.

I am completely thrilled with the yarn. It is so nice to use and makes for a decadent finished project. I got to see how well it held up with my grandmother’s shawl, so I know that my aunt’s sweater will look great for a long time too.

My only concern is that this sweater may be a touch too big for my aunt. I tried it on myself to compare it with last summer’s version, and it’s slightly looser and more drapey all over. I think it’ll be okay, if a bit more casual in feel than mine was. I really hope she likes it! I’ll try to get photos of her wearing it when I give it to her for her birthday this weekend.

(By the way, for any Cure fans out there, I can’t look at this project without thinking of “A Letter to Elise,” but yknow, a sweater for Elise. Heh.)

Previous Entries on this Project:
So close
WIP it Out
About those resolutions…

So close

I have so, so many things I want to talk about. I’ll start with this.

I just sewed the second seam, and now I must weave in the ends and block it. Kind of in the nick of time, as it’s a birthday gift for this Sunday, and I’m leaving to visit its recipient (and my family) tomorrow.

Whew. More soon.

Aloha again

I am back from Hawaii, and I am thrilled to say my grandmother loves her shawl.

She kept stroking it and admiring it, saying how soft and lovely it is. I told her how I think of her every time I see that color and she said “Yes! It is so me!” It suits her wonderfully, and she kept saying she feels so elegant in it.

She wore it often while we were there, and she had it on her bed or draped over her chair when she didn’t. Whenever she had it on, she told me how perfect it was, and she showed it off to family and friends. My aunt washed it once, and I was relieved to see it held up perfectly – the lace didn’t even need to be reshaped.

It is incredibly gratifying to see how visibly happy someone is in a hand-knit. I’m definitely inspired to make more gifts, and I hope every recipient is as pleased as my gram.