[and yes, I mean the christmas holidays. not groundhog day. or valentine's. maybe presidents'? very funny. I've been a blogging slacker, I know.]
the holidays come with a fair amount of sitting-around time (sandwiched in between all the hustling and travel). those moments when the grandparents are occupied with the kids--and vice versa--or when lunch has been eaten and cleaned and all you have to do until dinner is digest. or, for that matter, the back-and-forth car rides themselves.
and this year, I achieved an unprecedented combination of preplanning and procrastination, which led to the contruction of all my planned gift knits after we'd left home to travel to Florida. Though I'd been plotting gift knits at least since Halloween, nothing was done. So I managed to pack a big bag of assorted yarns, all my needles, and a few patterns I'd been eyeing--then hit the road.
The mitts up top there are a modified version of Manuele Ducret's Clapomitaines [ravelry link], made for my older sister. They use the dropstitch pattern made famous by the Clapotis wrap, but in a nifty in-the-round format.
I think the sizing on the pattern is a bit off--my gauge seemed accurate, but I could tell as I was knitting them up that they would be way too big if I unravelled all of the ladders. Luckily, the nature of the drop stitch rows is to provide built in size adjustments, so I just chose to unravel only two--the ones running down the backs of the hands. All the style, with no lost warmth in the palms. Remember to mirror the thumb placement if you do this!
I would also recommend anyone considering the pattern AVOID loosely spun, roving-ish wools--the yarn here is Ella Rae's Jaspe Wool, colorway 07, and the unravelling was pretty fussy (though not impossible) because of the yarn's tendency to stick to itself.
Speaking of the yarn, it's pretty bold, right? But look what happened when I paired it with a soft white-and-grey heather for a version of Jared Flood's Turn a Square, knit on larger needles for a slouchier fit:
Surprising, right? I think the effect is much more understated when the heather breaks up the reds and oranges. And I love how the variagating landed.
Here are some action shots on me, pre-gifting. This was one of those that was super hard to give away:
and here are the two together. You can really see what I mean about the subduing effect of the heather:
Another one I whipped up over the holiday was this hat. In contrast to the one above, this is probably the ugliest thing I have ever knitted:
The yarns are two different colorways of Wool-Ease Chunky, (Willow and Grass), each of which looks a lovely green on its own. I was hoping for a tone-on-tone effect, but somehow the two colors ended up washing each other out in a big way. I think the lesson here is to be careful about combining similar colors with disparate undertones--the greyish green and the yellowy green don't have enough contrast to be interesting, but the tension of bright and dull is enough to give me a headache. Maybe a third color in the mix would have helped?
I think it's interesting, too, how different the hat appears in natural light vs. incandescent:
Some artist explain all this to me! I'm fascinated, but I don't know how to make sense of it all. I think some of my biggest crafting heroes are the people who can combine color in effortless but unexpected ways. The Joelle Hoversons and Blair Peters of the world. At any rate, I'm a learn-by-trying (and failing) kind of gal, so I'm happy to have had a bit of each this time.