Sunday, March 9, 2014

Knitted Presents for ALL

In my family, February and March are filled with holidays and birthdays!  I struggle every year to do something fun and new and different, so naturally, they've come to expect it.  Now that I'm a pretty regular knitter, requests have begun rolling in!  A headband with a bow for one person, fingerless gloves for another.  My brother requested Dr. Who themed something and an awesome sweater vest.  I knew I had my work cut out for me, and my first stop had to be ravelry!

I started with the gloves, and found a fantastic pattern that I knew my family member would adore:

Button Flap Fingerless Mittens

With a small adjustment of course: adding individual finger separations, but maintaining this same overall design.  So I searched for fingerless gloves, none in particular, and combined the two patterns.  I followed the steps all the way to the thumb hole, and then following the same basic stockinette stitch pattern (in the round of course), I added an extended, covered, but ultimately open-ended thumb.  Then, I did the same thing when I got to the fingers opening.  I will tell you that knitting individual fingerless holes is a pain in the ass, but the end product looked pretty good, in my opinion ;)

Ultimately, I think these ended up looking too bulky for my
taste, but it was exactly what she wanted.  I used a multi-
colored grey/black wool yarn that I picked up for pretty
cheap at Walmart (Lion Brand, I think!)

The next job was the headband.  Now... unfortunately, I don't remember where I found the pattern :( But it was pretty easy and there seem to be an abundance of patterns very similar to this on ravelry and all over the internet.  I'm still new at blogging about my knitting, so I have adjustments to make, but I will make more of an effort from here on out to track every step in my process!!  Here is a pic of the end result (pardon my chubby face and the crappy cell phone quality)!

The next undertaking was the vest.  I spent a very long time finding just the right pattern and style for my brother, but thanks to my tried and true friend (pssst... that means ravelry), I did find something that was both challenging and looked great!

HERE is the direct link to the pattern, because it takes some searching to find this exact one.  That being said, the original creator is Japanese so there are a few little inconsistencies and confusions.  And note that this is done almost entirely by chart so this would really help you learn how to read one, if you're up for the task!  Hopefully I can enlighten here and help you out somewhat:

First - I hardly ever use the yarn and size that a pattern says.  I kinda just do my own thing and gauge as I go along to make sure that everything is working fine.  I'm a rebel, what can I say.
Second - an "armscye"? If looking at the front of the vest, it's the area that starts at the armpit and curves inward up to the top of the shoulder.
Third - the "strip" that goes from the waist, up the chest, around the shoulders, and down the other side which houses the buttons and buttonholes... that's done after everything else has been knitted.  You will be picking up stitches along the edges of your work and knitting onto what you've already completed.  That took me some real figuring out to understand that.
Fourth - I didn't really follow the decreases because they are massively confusing (to me) in the way they are written.  Instead, I looked at the overall stitch numbers and decreased as evenly as I could.  For example:  looking at the back panel.

Hopefully this helps in some way with knitting the vest!  If you have any questions, please ask and I'll do my best to help.  I certainly am not perfect and learn something new everyday.  In any case, I eventually managed to get a completed product, and this is the end result:

Detailed rib pattern :D

This was most definitely the most challenging thing I have done to date.  It could've just been the way the pattern was worded, or it could've been because it's difficult... I dunno.  Ravelry rates it right in the middle on the difficulty scale - do with that what you will.  You may be able to tell from these pictures, but this could definitely use a "blocking."  The front bottom has stretched a bit, because I am a novice blocker and the wearer has tugged at it because it didn't lay correctly.  The best way I've found to do this is with a blocking board.  Other people say not to waste the time/money, but I ordered a cardboard one from amazon for like $10 and I think it'll last me for a while!  I also bought up some T-pins and I repurposed an old febreeze bottle, filled it with water, and that's how I "wet" my completed project after it's been stretched on the board.

Last, but certainly not least, were the requested Dr. Who socks!  I actually saw THIS pattern and fell in love immediately.  I basically just followed the pattern and ended up with a fabulous and vibrant pair of socks that are adored by their owner!!

I hope you've enjoyed checking out my latest ventures.  I hope to have some new projects completed and ready for sharing here very soon!  I think my next post's theme is going to be: hats!

**I do want to say reallll quick - I don't "advertise" for anyone.  I truly adore ravelry because the majority of the stuff they have is free and great!  That is all :)

Until next time...

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