Handknit Gifts

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Each year, in late November or sometimes early December, I have this random freakout moment, where I think everyone I love needs a handknit gift.  2013 was no exception.  The only difference was that we aren’t celebrating Christmas with my family until this weekend…so I had a bit of extra time to work on some of the gifts 🙂

The other thing I decided to do this year was to make hats.  Hats are great projects because they are fast…I can make a simple hat in an evening.  I have said for awhile now that a perfect first project for a new knitter would be a hat.  Most people say scarves, but think about it – a scarf is actually rather large, and it’s quite the commitment for someone who doesn’t even know if they like a new craft.  Sure, with a hat, there’s the whole knitting in the round thing, but there are also several patterns where you can knit it flat and seam it later (case in point, the first hat I ever made).

Anyway, I digress….

Naturally, me being the overachiever I am, I couldn’t stop with just hats.  Clearly my mom and sister-in-law also needed matching cowls/eternity scarves for their hats.  That added a whole new layer of complexity and knitting time….oops.  The good news is that I did finish all of them, and the grand total was 6 hats and 2 cowls.  They are all pictured below, and the details of what they are from left to right and top to bottom can be found below the picture.  If you’d like to see larger images of each, you can visit my flickr page.

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  1. The only hat for someone who lives in a warmer climate – my father-in-law – who likes to go night fishing. Pattern is Ribbed Beanie by Woolly Wormhead. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Spunky Eclectic Falklands wool in colorway Gone Fishin’.
  2. Eternity scarf for my mom. Pattern is Soliton Cowl by Laura Chau. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn Falklands wool in Fragrant.
  3. Hat for my mom’s significant other. Pattern is Chunkeanie by Woolly Wormhead. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn Shetland wool in Turkey Attack.
  4. Hat for my mom. Pattern is Thorpe by Kristen Kapur. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn Falklands wool in Fragrant.
  5. Cowl for my sister-in-law. Pattern is Eternity Scarf by Michele Wang. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn BFL/Silk in Night Gathers.
  6. Hat for my sister-in-law. Pattern is Hurricane Hat by Andrea Guldin. Yarn is my handspun; fiber is Hello Yarn BFL/Silk in Night Gathers.
  7. Hat for my brother. Pattern is Windschief by Stephen West.  Yarn is Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool (I LOVE this yarn btw!).
  8. Hat for my niece.  Pattern is Minion Hats by Lauren Irving. Yarn is a mixture of leftovers from my stash.

Irish Soda Bread + A Sweater!

I know, it’s been forever since I blogged!!  But, things have been crazy busy with work travel, which means no blog time.  I do have stuff to write about, though! 🙂

First of all, I made Irish Soda Bread (with my own special twist), using the White Soda Bread recipe on this website.  The twist was that I added some chopped fresh rosemary, and OH MY, it was amazing!  The recipe itself couldn’t be easier.  I did use unbleached flour, and I found that I needed to add more buttermilk that it called for to get the right dough texture (it should be a very sticky dough).  I just added a tablespoon at a time until it was right.  Two days after I made it, we even sliced up some pieces, put butter and garlic on them, and put them in the broiler on low for a few minutes to heat/toast them.  SO GOOD.

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Next:  I made a sweater while we were on vacation.  I started it on the plane, and 9 days later it was knit.  I even blocked it and wore it on the plane on the way home.  The yarn was my handspun from a Hello Yarn Patchwork Kit, which just had various leftover bits of wool from different colorways.  The pattern is Driven by Veera Välimäki.  It was such a fun and easy knit!!  The sweater involves unique construction that’s super easy and also NO SEAMING.  I didn’t make many modifications…just made it slightly shorter than the pattern called for, knowing it would grow lengthwise with blocking.  My specific modifications are detailed on my ravelry project page.  This sweater took about 850 yds of worsted/aran weight yarn, which seems like a small miracle to me. Not much yardage but still a full sweater. Crazy!  I couldn’t be happier with this sweater.  The colors are divine, the fit is flattering, and it’s just super comfy!  Yay sweater!!

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