Christmas 2014: Knitted Gifts

I’ve split my handmade Christmas gifts into a few posts (all with equally dodgy photos taken too late at night before my mad wrapping session).
This post involves my new-found love of knitting multiple strands of DK yarn.

Owl Mittens

Owl Mittens | Pattern . Paint . PanThis was the first ‘complicated’ pattern I knitted last winter/spring, and I love mine so decided to knit each of my sisters and my mum a pair as part of their presents. I love that they are almost just extensions to your jumper/cardigan sleeve and so are totally acceptable to wear inside and out! Plus the owl is cute and the pattern is just the right level of complicated. I used 2 strands of DK yarn instead of what the pattern states. The first pair (blue) was knitted on 4mm needles and ended up a little tight for my (fat) hands (but still fine for smaller women’s hands) so for the subsequent 4 pairs, I switched to 4mm for the rib and 5mm for the rest. I also added 2 extra rows of ribbing to the top end of all the pairs. The only other change (which had no effect on the result) was where I put the stitch marker on the right hand glove, but that’s just personal preference. The bonus is that these hardly take any wool when using DK, so there’s plenty left for me to make more for myself in each of the colours I used!

Cowl 

Cowl | Pattern . Paint . PanThis was a ridiculously simple knit while rewatching old seasons of Scandal. The most tedious part was splitting the 2 balls of yarn so I could knit with 4 strands of DK (buying 4 balls would have been way too easy!). I added 3 sparkly buttons to match in with the headband flower and owl eyes, and tacked the two sides of the ‘v’ together. I didn’t write down how many I cast on but it’s just garter stitch with stockinette stitch accents, knitted until it was long enough to wrap around my neck and overlap.

Headband

Beaded Headband | Pattern . Paint . PanA moss stitch (totally my favourite stitch ever) headband, knitted flat with 2 strands of DK until it was long enough to wrap around my head and then seamed. I drew out the flower on matching felt and then hand sewed various beads and sequins on before hot gluing a felt back to cover the stitches. It’s attached by brooch pin to the headband.

Cowl, headband and mitten set | Pattern . Paint . Pan

Minecraft Hat & Mittens

Minecraft Hat & Mittens | Pattern . Paint . PanThis set is my first attempt at writing a pattern that involves more than knitting a square/rectangle. I used the internet for help with how many stitches to cast on and then spent too long on OpenOffice Calc figuring out the rest of the pattern. I decided to forgo any research into how to knit with two different colours of wool, so I’m not sure if how I did it is an actual method or just my own way. Basically, I just twisted the colour I wasn’t using behind the colour I was inbetween each stitch so the back was all neat and didn’t have loose loops of the colour not being used.

Minecraft Mittens | Pattern . Paint . PanAnyway, these are the mittens from the outside and inside, knitted using 2 strands each of green and black DK yarn and 3mm needles for the rib and 3.75mm needles for the rest. It is knitted flat and then seamed. The fit is good (for an 8 year old) and I’m happy with how they turned out.

The hat is less of a success as it needs more width and length. I ended up knitting another ribbed band and sewing it onto the bottom (hiding the seam with a folded up brim) to add length. But it fits him at a squeeze and perhaps wear and some aggressive tumble drying might stretch it out a little. It was also knitted flat and seamed, using double strands of DK on 5mm needles.

If anyone is interested, I can put my pattern up (plus alterations for the hat).

Fox Hat

Owl Hat | Pattern . Paint . PanThis is another made up pattern that needs some tweeking design-wise but the size is fine. It’s knitted flat as a long rectangle from back to front and then seamed at both sides, with the square corners forming ears when the hat is worn. Basically, after casting on, K1P1 rib and lots of stockinette, I put the 5 stitches at either end onto stitch holders and worked decreases (k2tog and k2tog tbl) with the remaining middle stitches to create the nose. I then transferred the held stitches to my needles and used white yarn to K5, cast on 32, K5, then moss stitched for 12cm before switching back to orange wool and K1P1 ribbing. After seaming the sides, I tacked the white and orange together at the top of the nose and added buttons. If I did it again, I’d make the nose wider, it’s a bit evil looking now!

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Knitting Work in Progress

Divi hoodie knitting WIP | Pattern . Paint . PanMy sister’s mother in law is an amazing knitter and kindly gave both my sister and I a selection of Pony bamboo knitting needles, Rowan Cocoon yarn and the Sarah Hatton Knits – 10 simple, cosy projects book at Christmas.

My previous knitting experience consisted of a pair of garter stitch legwarmers circa 2007 that ended up different widths and lengths because I didn’t count my stitches and got bored on the second piece. Suffice to say, I didn’t remember any of the very little I’d taught myself back then, and this time round I couldn’t wrap my head around the difference between knit and purl, quite possibly because I was taking multitasking to the extreme:17Anyway, back in Cornwall I enlisted the help of my Nan and got it all sorted in my head. Tip for complete beginners: take the time to knit swatches of just knit stitch and then just purl stitch before you try to combine the two in stockinette or rib etc. It’s so much easier if the hand movement and needle position for each stitch has been engrained into your brain a bit.

I worked through various wrist warmers, hats and the Gap-tastic cowl seen in my MMM14 post, culminating in these owl mittens, and then I decided the next progression was actual, proper clothing instead of accessories, and found the Divi hoodie pattern on Ravelry. To be honest, it was so long ago (February) that I can’t remember my reasoning for choosing it, but it has a pretty simple 4 row repeat (and only 1 row of those is anything other than straight knit or purl) and I decided a jumper should be easier than a cardigan (based on my vast experience!).Divi hoodie knitting WIP | Pattern . Paint . Pan

The yarn is some really cheap acrylic stuff from Trago Mills (and is a much lighter gray than in the photos), which definitely doesn’t feel anywhere near as nice as the Rowan but I didn’t want to spend loads on something I wasn’t sure I could or would finish.

Cleverly I didn’t do a gauge, but just chose to knit the large, which is meant to give a knitted measurement of 44 inches at the chest, which is way bigger than I need. However, looking at the size of what I’ve done so far, it’s definitely no where near that big, so the finished jumper won’t be as baggy as it is in the model’s pictures.

It was progressing pretty well considering I’m not exactly a fast knitter, but then I didn’t touch it for months, which is the reason I’m writing this WIP post.¬† I’ve now finished the back and started the front piece, so I don’t think the end of summer is too unrealistic as a target finish date.

I’m thinking now I probably should have looked for a pattern with a knit-a-long or at least more online info/help, as there are parts where I am completely at a loss. Luckily my Nan has been deciphering the secret knitting codes, but she hasn’t knitted much since I was a child and says these newfangled patterns aren’t like the old ones, so there could be some botch jobs in places!