Happy Easter from the Red Baron and her trusty Bunny Rabbit!

It’s Easter Sunday, which means I get to indulge in lots of things that are usually forbidden: swedish pancakes, champagne in the morning, deviled easter eggs, a BBC marathon and knitting. Pretty much everything I want in life, so thanks Jesus. peepsAnd there’s nothing like dyed easter eggs and marshmallow peeps as a gorgeous spring pallette for inspiration, even if all the yarn I own is black, gray, white or tan. Come to think of it, that’s consistent with my wardrobe too.

Speaking of the tan yarn, I started and then abandoned a capelet a few years ago, but kept the pricey yarn. The pattern haunts me from the back of the yarn closet, but the yarn is a really lovely Filatura di Crosa, which I think is part of the Takhi Stacy Charles empire. What to do with this yarn? And so much yarn…enough yarn to make a “capelet”, which sounds small but is something that Gandalf would find cozy. Let’s start with something small, and adorable, and huggable, and spring-like.

Lucky for me, a lovely friend from work gave birth to a sweet girl named Wesley (what a great name!) a few weeks ago. She (both mom and daughter) are small, adorable, huggable and spring-like. So I made baby Wes a small, adorable, huggable and spring-like toy: a floppy eared bunny from Joelle Hoverson’s More Last Minute Knitted Gifts. These patterns (there’s an elephant and a bear too) are modeled on vintage toy patterns, and are fairly uncomplicated designs. It’s also pred_baron_and_bunnyretty fun to play with stuffing, and it was an interesting challenge to tackle. I made one version about a year ago for baby Ryan, but this yarn is much finer, making some of the sewing and increases and decreases a bit more tricky. Still, all in all a fun Easter pattern for a small, adorable and huggable creature in springtime. Ryan the mom even sent me a photo of Wesley, who looks ready for adventure dressed as the Red Baron! With bunny rabbit beside her, she’ll be ready for anything. Squee!

 


Cover story: Hi (pointy elf) Hat

I’ll refrain from mentioning the Tyler the Creator song, and also the Fred Astaire song, because I don’t like either of them. But I do like the hi hat, and I made a high hat. More impormorelastminute copytantly, I made a pattern that is on the COVER of a pattern book! The pattern was done in pink, and on this adorable child on the front cover, it’s super cute. I found similar yarn to hand jive, which is yarn that’s thick and thin in different spots – the only other pattern I’ve sepointy_elf_hatsen that calls for this yarn is Ysolda Teague’s Urchin pattern, which is also a good one. But I made mine – two different ones in slightly different sizes for my nephew (Griffin, age 8 and Thea, age 3).

Of course I neglected to actually bring these to Christmas, and they’re still sitting here in our apartment. As I look at these, in a nice creamy white, soft, unusual yarn, I am proud…and then scared. Jesus, are these big wizard hats? They look a little Saurumon, but wait – maybe they’re Gandalf? Ok…ok…Gandalf the Good, Gandalf the Gray. Whew, catastrophe averted.

gandalfz


The Year of Living Dangerously Super Bulky – 2011 in Review

Emma, 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow“Badly done, Emma!” I have been a poor blogger these many months, but since it is the end of the year, and the last time I updated this blog was roughly a year ago, it seems good to recap the knittings etc.

A new job, with global responsibilities (and thus long plane flights – so far no one has restricted knitting needles, even the Ukraine) has taken a bite out of knitting, but oddly enough, not as much as the last job. If I could find a one-word theme for knitting in 2011, it was “chunky”. Pretty much goes for me too, but mostly on the yarn side.

Why do I like this yarn? It’s intensely satisfying to knit up – so fast, so easy, I actually don’t mind knitting with big needles (all the way up to 19). It’s usually on the softer side, it’s cozy, and I don’t see it as being more expensive per gram or hank or anything (although I don’t do much math when it comes to purchasing). The downside: everything I knit sucks as a finished product, exceptions being scarves, some kinds of hats, and blankets. I would like to graduate beyond that, but if I had a second theme for 2011, it would be the unraveling of finished projects that never went anywhere, that is, projects I either never wore myself or didn’t think worthy to gift to another person. Even now, looking at the posts from 2010 here, I have been in love with super bulky yarn for a long time. First was buying Twinkle‘s books and then her yarn, and I did graduate a bit to bulk/super bulky in Lion Brand Yarn after they opened a cool NYC showroom. I highly recommend shopping there, by the by.

My 2012 knitting resolution: divorce yourself from super bulky! Be not tempted by the quick and easy path! To the dark side! Sorry, it’s Christmastime and my darling husband is out, so I’m watching Star Wars while knitting and drinking.  And, as Jane Austen said, “I am afraid that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.”

In no particular order, the next couple of posts will feature highlights of my Chunky year. And thus, my path to learning finished objects that are *not* chunky begins…you must unlearn what you have learned:


Stash Bustin’

twinkle's weekend knits bookIt’s technically spring (although you wouldn’t know it from the NYC weather we’ve been enjoying), and with a little hint of a temperature close to 50 degrees, I have a hankering for a spring cleanup. This also means spring cleanup of my yarn, which is a Sargasso Sea of crap that I hide behind our couch in the den. It’s like a scene from a horror movie when people come over and accidentally peek behind the couch.  I can’t even post a photo – this is a family blog.

So, in addition to taking stock of current yarn and tossing some crap I can’t remember purchasing, let alone remembering why I purchased it, I took a look at some old finished projects I abhor and never wear. One was a huge sweater from Twinkle’s Weekend Knits, a great book with lovely items made for tiny, skinny women. Every time I don a super bulky sweater made with yarn of the same, the effect is sausage-like. So, I undid an old sweater made from a couple of hanks of Twinkle’s super bulky and figured I’d knit up some accessories right quick. That is a huge benefit of bulky yarn – for people without patience, it’s a godsend.

So, with hanks of Twinkle’s Soft Chunky (bulky weight) in Icy Blue and Kelly Green (which doesn’t appear available on the Classic Elite yarns website, oddly), I made two hats and a cowl, I guess it’s a cowl?

broccoli shroom hat

Broccoli Shroom Hat

The first hat was from a pattern in Knitty called the Shroom hat, ostensibly due to the close comparison to a mushroom. They were careful to men

tion a particular kind of bulky yarn, but I threw caution to the wind and used Twinkle. The result is pretty cute, but the bright green made it seem more broccoli than mushroom. Either way, if you don’t think specifically about broccoli, it’s an okay/wearable hat.

Second up, on Ravelry I saw a cool cowl made with bulky yarn in a nice acid greeny/yellow, called the wham bam thank you ma’am neckwarmer, I believe because it’s made quite quickly. I made it with the icy blue chunky yarn. It’s warm, bodering on hot, when you’re wearing it but hey, it does get cold around here sometimes. I bet it’s probably

chunky cowl

Chunky cowl in icy blue

pretty good for skiing. It’s currently being modeled on my cupcake plate! One problem to solve for the future, I didn’t do a great job of hiding the knots where I needed to join pieces of yarn together. Hmm.

Lastly, I just threw together yet another version of the Urchin hat from Twinkle’s Weekend Knits. It’s cute and floppy, but beret-like so it looks fairly polished for work. The green is a nice bold energetic color and I think it works. I wore a version I made in a very light gray for most of this past winter. And now, I’ve gotten rid of all my green and a big portion of the blue. A small victory in stash busting.

urchin beret

Urchin beret in kelly green