Birthday Presents!

The Birthday Girl has now seen photos of her presents, so I can finally share them with you! She loves them, thankfully. I’m always a little worried when I make things for people…

I bought 4 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in the Amor Intenso colorway, in a destash on ravelry. I got a great deal for some gorgeous yarn. Unfortunately, it is pure Merino wool and subject to felting. Since I’m not a hand wash, lay flat to dry kind of person, I knew this lovely yarn wouldn’t be used to make things for myself.

My sister is probably the most knitworthy person that I know. She takes such good care of things. She doesn’t mind hand washing stuff. And she’s also a yarn lover, herself. So, she appreciates the effort that goes into hand knitting or crocheting things. I knew that the yarn would be made into things for her.

Because she and I have differing tastes, I had to show her the yarn (to make sure she liked it). I also had to ask her what she wanted me to make and I asked for some pattern suggestions. I know, I know, it takes all the surprise out of the gifts… But, I wanted her to have things that she would like and enjoy using.

She suggested that I make her a hat, or some fingerless mitts, or a hooded scarf. She sent me two pattern suggestions: one for a crocheted hat and one for a crocheted hooded scarf. Unfortunately, both patterns were poorly written – so, I had to scratch those off the list. But, I did have a good idea of the style that she was looking for, which was helpful.

She enjoys crocheting, but she really isn’t into knitting. She knows how to knit, but she really doesn’t enjoy it. So, I wanted to make her at least one thing that was hand knit. After much research and several false starts (going through patterns that weren’t well written – many that I paid for!), I finally settled on three patterns – one for a crocheted hat, one for knit fingerless mitts and one for a knit scarf.

The first thing I made was the Combination Summer Hat. It is mostly crocheted and free. I modified the pattern to make it a little bit longer than the pattern called for. My sister has dreadlocks and I wanted to be sure that this would cover them well. As you can see, it has a k1p1 rib band. The stretchy ribbing helps keep it securely on the head.

Combination Summer Hat 1 Combination Summer Hat 2

The body of this hat was crocheted with a 6.5mm (K) hook. I then knit 9 rounds of k1p1 rib with a 5.5mm knook. I intended to do 10+ rounds of rib. But, by the time I got to the 9th round, I had lost my will to live and decided to quit while I was ahead. This hat took less than a skein of yarn. The color in this photo is wrong. There really isn’t any purple in this yarn – it’s more of a burgundy. Very difficult yarn to photograph. This hat took me a few hours to make. I finished it in an evening.

The next thing I made was a pair of fingerless mitts. Again, I went through a few patterns before I found one that was both simple and well-written. I settled on the Doppelbock Mitts pattern. This pattern set me back 5 bucks, but it was totally worth it to me. The pattern is very easy to memorize and I think it would be easy to customize. I made them to pattern, but it’s so simple, if you want to make them larger (or smaller) that would be easily accomplished. As an aside, I absolutely LOVE the texture of this fabric. It is a slip-stitch pattern that reminds me of the eye-of-partridge. And I’m not sure if it’s just the yarn, or the pattern, or a combination of the two, but these mitts are very thick and squishy.

Dopplebock Mitts 1 Dopplebock Mitts 4

The color is a little better in these pictures, but not much… Still too purple. Anyhoo… These are made bottom-up, so you’re starting from the cuff. I used a 4.5mm knook for the cuff and body and the ribbing at the fingers was made with a 4mm knook. In hindsight, I wish that I had used the 4mm knook for the bottom cuff, too. Lesson learned. I used less than a skein of yarn for the pair. Again, these didn’t take long to make. It took me a day to make one, so two days for the pair. But it was a fun knit, not boring at all.

Again, much research went into the scarf pattern. The pattern that she sent me was pretty holey and I just didn’t think that would be very good. We get pretty cold here and I thought that a solid fabric would be best. I took away about half the mesh from her hat (the pattern she chose was pretty much all mesh) and figured I could probably get away with taking the mesh from her scarf, as well. I wanted a solid fabric, but it needed to have some texture… Plain stockinette, or garter, or ribbing, wasn’t going to do.

I finally settled on the Surco Scarf pattern. Here’s the pattern page on ravelry, if you’re interested. This pattern was free and with – essentially – only two rows, it’s super easy. I really like the texture and the fact that it lays completely flat.

Surco Scarf 2 Resized Surco Scarf 4 Resized

The color in these photos are the closest yet. Again, this was really easy to do. But, it’s more-or-less k2p1 rib. Which, after a while, becomes emotionally painful for me to make. After making the hat and the mitts, I had two full skeins and two partial skeins of yarn leftover. I had initially intended to use it all up on the scarf. After I got the first full skein knit up, I had some slight inklings of doubt. I then finished one of the partial skeins and realized that there was no way it was going to happen. I was so bored that I actually started crocheting a sweater. I decided that I would finish up the other partial skein of yarn and call it good. That’s what I did. It’s long enough to wrap twice around the neck. And I left the final yarn tail long, just in case she decides that she wants to make it a long cowl and sew the ends together. I made this using a 4.5mm knook. It took me a bit over 16 hours to make.

I decided that I would also gift to her the final full skein of yarn that I have left. I really have no use for it, myself, and I think she will enjoy using it to make herself something. I am going to go see her this weekend and give them to her then.

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