Sunday, December 02, 2007

Secret Knitting... and another Incident

There has been a lot of secret knitting of late. Holiday gifts, birthday gifts, all sorts of gifts I don't want people to see ahead of time. But now that my sister's birthday package has arrived, I can share at least some of them.

A while ago, I knit an Odessa as an SP gift, and I really liked it. I liked knitting it, and I liked the finished result. Because I have to be able to take my knitting on the train, I decided that it was also the perfect gift for my sister's upcoming birthday, with a few modifications.

For one thing, I left off the beads. Don't get me wrong, I love the beaded version, but I was going for a different look, more everyday item that would go with thick mittens than delicate beaded hat. So instead of the DK weight the pattern calls for, I went with DB Cashmerino Aran, which is soft and cushy and simply wonderful. I wanted something that was really going to keep my sister's ears warm.

Unfortunately, the spiral on top of the head was difficult to photograph, but the stitch definition is lovely.
The biggest risk I took, however, was not with stitch definition. Even though I picked a thicker yarn, I decided to use the needle sizes called for in the pattern. I wanted to knit at a tighter-than-called-for gauge for this yarn to achieve a nice, dense fabric. It worked, and I was so happy the hat didn't turn come out enormous!

Pattern: Odessa (for link, see above)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in color 300001 (They probably dunk this stuff in catnip to achieve this wonderful off-white; Morgana goes positively berserk when I'm working with this yarn!)
Needles: US #4 and #6 Addi Turbos, knit pretty tightly on purpose
Modifications: No beads and aran weight instead of DK. In spite of the thicker yarn, I knit the 5.5" called for in the pattern before starting my decreases. I wanted a hat that would keep my sister's forehead warm and cover her ears. Warm ears are important.

And, speaking of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, here is a picture of the Fetchings I am knitting out of the same yarn. I went down two needle sizes, and they are still loose. My wrists are tiny (not even 5 inches), my hands are small, and this glove is wobbly instead of stretchy on me. Also, I don't think the picot castoff works for me on this particular project. The glove has more of a sturdy look, and the picots are elegant/playful in a very feminine way that, to me at least, doesn't go with the rest of the glove. I think I'll either cast off in pattern or use EZ's sewn castoff the next time around. I'll also leave out 10 stitches -- if I go down another needle size, I'll be knitting on 3s.

Now, about the Incident. If you look closely (click on the picture), you'll see that some stitches aren't quite even, and that some ends have worked themselves loose. That's not because I'm a sloppy knitter. I was lying on the bed reading when I saw the cats run in. Merlin had something in his mouth, and on closer inspection, turned out to be my Fetching. Mr. Batty, attracted by the horrified sounds coming from the bedroom, ran over and rescued it. The kittens are so lucky they're cute!

This is what keeps them from continuing their existence as a pair of fuzzy slippers. They are so adorable. As for the Fetchings, I'll try felting them a little when both are done. We'll see if the 33% microfiber will be enough to prevent this from happening.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps their paws were cold and they wanted mittens of their own?

Conkers McBonkers has a pash on alpaca fibre at the moment and is attempting to steal at any opportunity.


Rebel said...

That hat looks great! I'm sure it will be nice and warm.

Those kittens...they are lucky they're cute (looks like they're practicing for the sleeping olympics). They don't get the yarn chewing from Sally though - she's happy sleeping next to me while I knit, and generally leaves the yarn alone.

weezalana said...

They love your knitting so much, they just want to eat it up! ;)

Lovely job on the Odessa!

IrishgirlieKnits said...

The Odessa is gorgeous! Great job. I like the idea of it knitted up in a thicker yarn. So warm.

Darn those fetchings. Bummer. Hope the washing makes them fit a bit better.

Sue, aka seiding said...

Naughty Merlin, but how could you stay mad at those little bundles of cute?

I wear the hat you made me all the time! It fits perfectly, and keeps me warm without messing my hair up too much. I love it. :)

LadyLungDoc said...

Bad news for you - I tried to slightly felt some mitts I knit out of baby cashmerino and they are TOTALLY superwash. I imagine the aran is as well.

Bezzie said...

Your Odessa top photgraphed beautifully! I like it!

cpurl17 said...

I think God made kitties look so cute when they sleep so we wouldn't stangle them for chewing up our handknits!

The Odessia is sooooo pretty! Perfect for a snow princess!

Bonnie said...

Merlin and Morgana are VERY lucky they are so cute. They may not always be good for your knitting, but they make a great subject for your blog!

sharon said...

The Fetching is gorgeous - I frogged mine because of the picots and I didn't have enough yarn. I plan on making another pair, but extending it longer at both top and bottom. My gurls learned pretty quick not to touch Mum's knitting. And even with a houseful of kids on and off all weekend, no knitting was harmed!

Bobbi said...

The hat looks great! I'm sure it will be super warm!

Teresa said...

HA! What cute kitties. I have to warn you, my cat was like that until he was 3 years old. Then he just got fat and lazy. At least they grow up quicker than children. :D

They're gorgeous! I love the fetching mittens. I made a pair for my mother, but I wasn't happy with them, I used an overly patterned yarn and you couldn't really see the cables or ribbing. The hat looks great. I've been tempted to make one for myself. One day. Hopefully. :D

knottygnome said...

odessa is a really fun pattern, isn't it? both gifts look great.

sgeddes said...

the at came out great. I think it was a good decision to go with out the beads! She'll love it.

Maureen said...

Love the hat! It looks great!!

Dipsy Doodle said...

Oy! Cats and knitting - I can sing a loud song about this too ;( But hey, perhaps this was a sign for you to knit them little mitts for their paws too? ;)
I love the Fetchings though, they look fantastic, as does your Odessa - I like the version you did, without beads, a lot better than the original one, and the yarn you were using looks ever so soft and warm - a perfect gift!

jacque said...

Love your Odessa sans beads. Good call.
Been trying to reach you---news---must be wonky email---hope to hear from you soon)

LadyJayde said...

I regularly threaten my cats with turning them into a catskin hood or mittens. Then they do something cute and I forget why I was mad. *sigh*

I have been pretty lucky that they don't go for my knitting too much. They only seem to like to chew on the strand going from the ball to the needles (I suspect the moving gets their attention).

Mary, Mary... said...

Those kitties have excellent taste (buds).