More FO Catch-up

Ooh, two posts in a single day. I’m trying to be productive, kittens! So we’re almost to the end of 2011’s knits, and you’re going to notice a theme: everything is a toy and a gift. I’ve been in small project “hell” for the last 6-8 weeks. Small projects like toys and gifts are not my favorite things to knit. There are many reasons for this. They are often putzy and low yardage projects. The tension they’re knit at makes them a bit uncomfortable to knit for large amounts of my day, so they take all the longer. I love the end product but often hate the process…if I didn’t, I definitely wouldn’t make them myself. As I’ve been working on some test knits this year, I’ve been finding some aspects about toy knitting that I enjoy, but I’ll save those thoughts for a later post.

Onto the FOs!
First up is a project that I knit twice but only took a picture of once.

Pattern: Smith by Ysolda Teague
Needles: US Size 8 and 10
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed HW
I love Ysolda’s patterns. This really isn’t a secret. That I love her Whimsical Little Knits collections isn’t one either. (I’m so excited about WLK 3, what about you? I always get the digital and printed copies because the books are so small and sweet.) Smith is an easy and pretty straight-forward pattern. And therein lies the danger: I’ve now been knitting long enough that if I think I know what is going on, I stop paying attention to and actually reading the pattern. I skim. Usually this isn’t an issue, but sometimes, it doesn’t do me any favors. Both times I knit this pattern, I actually knit the body incorrectly; the first time, I knit the mid-section spikes wrong. It turned out cute both times; when I get to it, hopefully the third time will be the charm, and I’ll have executed the pattern perfectly.
I’m still not loving the KP City Tweed. Previously I had commented that it feels a bit like cheap carpet fibers and that opinion hasn’t changed. It’s a shame because it comes in rather attractive colors; I just can’t get over the slightly plastic-y feel it has and its lack of give when working with it. From a project I’ll share later, The Boy has informed me that it’s rather itchy when close to the skin, even after soaking. It’s an OK trait for toys. I’m not sure I’d want a garment out of it or not. (And yes, I do have two sweater quantities sitting in-stash that I’m now pretty sure I’ll try to sell. I think I’ll go with a higher end tweed for those projects.)
The first of these hedgies went to the family next door; their daughter turned 2 right around Veterans’ Day. The second went in a package to my best friend of 24 years; she had a baby at the end of September, and I was a bit behind getting things knit for her. Our car accident was on Veterans’ Day, and I was unable to comfortably sit for about 2 weeks afterward. I have a difficult time knitting while standing.
Also in that package was…

Pattern: Lucy’s Owl by Rachel Gallagher-Miller
Needles: US size 10
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted and Knit Picks Swish Bulky
This is my second time knitting this pattern. I still think it’s great and that you should go check out Rachel’s pattern page on Ravelry. The two test knits I keep bringing up, they were for her. I’m always pleased with how this owl turns out, and it’s a great choice for a baby gift. I’m hoping my friend and her little girl will like it as much as I do. ♥
This picture reminds me that while my faking-it “light box” set up works great for small items, for larger ones…not so much. I really need to get on making one that I can place bigger items in. If anyone else would like to use my trick, in a room with natural indirect sunlight, I lay down white paper or fabric on the ground and do the same for the wall behind the object. I then take the photos. The true white background helps my photo editing software properly color correct and saves me a TON of work with adjustments. I’ve never gotten the hang of manually correcting color…maybe someday I will. But for now, this trick works pretty well.
And the final project of 2011 was…

Pattern: Tiny Reindeer by Anna Hrachovec
Needles: US size 1.5 and US size 4
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Cream and MadTosh sock in Twig
Reindeer ornaments. The first was knit as-written in the pattern, but it was so futzy and the stitches so tight that I could not pick up the tail stitches. After, I switched to the larger needles and held the yarn double. It worked out much better, and I’m quite pleased with the results. I kept the first reindeer for myself and gave the second two as gifts to The Boy’s teacher and her room assistant.
The pattern was pretty easy to follow, but parts of it were a bit tricky to execute. Working at that scale and with a lower quality yarn like Palette meant I had to reknit some pieces and try again because the yarn would snap from the tension. It was quite frustrating. This experience has definitely convinced me that I would not want to use Palette for a larger project, and I’ll hold out for a higher quality fingering weight Shetland wool.
And there you have it, kittens. I’m caught up with my 2011 FOs. Now, I need to play catch up for January.

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