Christmas Knitting – Post Event Wrap Up

I knit gifts for two people this year for Christmas – my husband and my son-in-law. Both were done on time, though I pulled an all-nighter and drove to our family Christmas gathering on two hours of sleep in order to complete the last one. I didn’t post these earlier because my husband had to choose buttons for his, so it was “done,” but not quite done until this afternoon.

My first project was one of Liz Lovick’s Fisherman Scarves for my SIL. It was an adventure for me in many ways, as it has an interesting construction, it’s patterned from both front and back (which caused me no end of frustration until I got my brain arranged to think correctly), and I used Colourmart yarn for the first time.

To knit this scarf, one needs to cast on and knit the patterned end, then cast on and knit the other patterned end, then on through the ribbing that goes around the neck. When that is long enough, the first end is grafted to the end of the ribbing, which turned out to be an adventure in and of itself. I’ve never grafted this long of a seam, and believe me, I was more than frustrated when I thought I had it perfect and finished, only to discover I’d managed to miss one stitch in the middle. It is NOT fun to un-graft! The challenge of the Colourmart yarns is that they are spun for industrial knitting, so they are still oiled. The 100% cashmere I used looked like pretty brown string during the knitting. However, a hot water wash and a tumble in the dryer removes the oils and allows the fiber to bloom, while it also helps even the knitting. It’s like seeing pure magic to take an “okay” project and abuse it like this, and end up with a finished project that is utterly decadent. 🙂 I was amazed to see my stitches look so even that they could have been passed off as machine knitting, too. Awesome cool yarn!

(Color more accurate in top photo, but I also wanted to show the texture, so messed with the picture.)

If you are intrigued by this fiber, remember that swatching is absolutely mandatory. It must be knit, washed, and dried in order to judge the actual gauge, but is it ever worth it! I don’t know anywhere else that it’s possible to purchase 150 grams of pure cashmere for just $35. They have a lot of other yarns, too… blends, merinos, silk, yak, cotton, angora, mohair…

And if you want fuller project details for this scarf, you can check it out on my Ravelry project page for Wendall’s Christmas Scarf.

The other gift I made turned out to be an adventure of a totally different type. The moment I saw the Hugo Hat pattern from KnitPicks, I knew I wanted to knit it for DH. Over the 3 weeks preceding Christmas, I was to second guess that decision many times. It is undoubtedly the most miserable pattern I’ve ever knitted, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier to be finished with a project than I was that one. Thankfully, it had the redeeming value of being knit with a really awesome yarn (City Tweed) and producing a super neat hat.

Perhaps this will be a little bit like childbirth – though this is something I can’t ever imagine voluntarily knitting again. The pattern was rife with errata, far more than was posted on the KnitPicks website, and the Ravelry page doesn’t even mention that there IS errata. In addition to wrong stitches on the charts, there are several bad measurements and no seam allowance suggestions for construction. If you don’t enjoy assembling small pieces, this is definitely not a great project to attempt, as there are 6 knitted segments, ribbon, elastic, two buttons, and an interfacing for the brim. This doesn’t go together without a bit of a fight either. But it’s really cute when it’s finished, and I love the stitch pattern. 🙂

One change I made is to use Amish bonnet board for the interfacing on the brim rather than the fabric interfacing. I’m pretty sure that will hold up much better over the long run, especially being manhandled, and it’s washable and won’t lose its starch, since it’s plastic. Here’s my Ravelry project page, which better details the trials and tribulations of this project.

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