During the final days before the election, my empty hands itched during the final campaign efforts. Late at night there was a bit of time to start the holiday knitting for family and friends. This year I started with a focus on mittens – with and without fingers.
For the family of an old friend, I finished a quartet of mittens and mitts: red Fetching fingerless mitts for the oldest teenager, a pair of Berry Hill fingerless mittens (JoJoland Rhythm, worsted) for the middle daughter, and a pair of Target Wave mittens (Norah Gaughan’ pattern, from Knitting Nature, in fairly traded Ejido 160) for the youngest (boy).
For their father, a set of “buddy” mittens (Jojoland Rhythm and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes) to warm the daily walk to school with his little one … one for Dad (Basic Men’s Mitten, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes), one for son (Afghans for Afghans Basic Mittens, Child’s L), and one to share (inspired by Paarhandschuh and Lovers’ Mitten).
For the niece-lets, yellow Nalu Mitts (a Ravelry download by Leila Raabe, in Araucania Nature Wool Multy), pink scrunched mitts (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi) and rose cabled Kyla mitts (pattern by Monika Steinbauer, in Jojoland Melody Superwash, doubled). The knitted ruching is pretty much the stitch described in Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns (“Welting Fantastic“, pp. 168-169, Fig.s 178 A and B).
For their mother, a pair of Genmaicha fingerless mitts. My sister and I share a love of Japanese design, film and literature. Genmaicha (“brown rice tea”) is the Japanese name for green tea combined with roasted brown rice (source). So though I rarely purchase patterns, the delicate cables on this pattern by Kirsten Kapur tempted me as a gift for my sweet sister. (This was a much less ambitious project than the Clapotis I made for her 40th birthday). This skein of Jojoland’s Melody superwash fingering comes pretty close to the real deal.
Other handwarmers in progress include a pair of herringbone fingerless mitts (Queensland Collection Rustic Wool DK). I started great guns on these, but since they require close concentration (and I decided to modify the size without a chart), I’ve had to set them aside until the holidays are over. There’s also the “slashed doublet” mitts I’m making for myself (finally!) – a pair of Koigu PPPM mitts to coordinate with my scarf.
With so many delicate mitts flying off the needles for the family females, I realized that it’s been too long since I knit for all the men. So for the men in the family it’s been hats all around. It seems I’ve been on something of a cable crusade. For one, I tried the Camille cabled hat by Mary Joy Gumayagay (another Ravelry download). This is an especially interesting pattern, for its unusual construction (knit vertically front to back from the middle, then in the round from the provisional cast-on).
My husband’s a pretty hairy guy, but knitting for his increasingly bald pate has been a challenge; everything itches. After three unsuccessful attempts in the past decade, I’d sworn off trying again. But then I stumbled across Sublime Yarns Cashmere Merino Silk Aran … The combination of cushy cables in Jared Flood’s latest pattern, Habitat (aka Brooklyn Tweed; in) and this sublimely soft and lofty mix of merino, silk and cashmere appear to be keeping my “Prince and the Pea” sublimely warm and comfortable.
Finally, there were my sons. They chose cabled patterns (bold cabled earflap for the younger, simple cabled beanie for the elder) and the yarns – wbut changed their minds as the hats took shape (lucky for me they live nearby and stop in often). In the end, the younger got an earflap-free urbane Karma Cap (Cap Karma Hat by SmarieK, in Handspun Bulky from Handpaintedyarn.com ) – the cables are nearly invisible (he’s so cool, his cables barely undulate in the urban jungle), and the elder went for a simple, cable-free flapped helmet (Thorpe by Kirsten Kapu, modified – I departed from Brooklyn Tweed’s modifications for the crown. Instead, I made my decreases by a k2tog in the cables (3 times every 4th row, in pattern, then every other row to thefinal close).
Overdue on a birthday gift for one of the nieces, I let her choose a hat to match her (Nalu) mitts. She selected Rose Red by Ysolda Teague, and
ultra-soft yarn (Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, a mix that includes angora and alpaca) – I’m only concerned the stuff will melt in the snow.
And somehow, with all else going on, I managed to (finally) finish my other sister’s shawl – a Storm Water Shawl
(Mystical Creation Yarns Rayon Boucle), begun last March for her April birthday.
A productive month. The election won, and the holiday knitting nearly completed.
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