Sunday, January 23, 2011

Head coverings

I finished my "Earpaper" tonight!


Random observation: I think my hair looks great in that photo! And I can't figure out why. I didn't do anything different ... just my regular cheapo Suave shampoo/conditioner and kids' detangler. But it looks nice and chocolate-y brown and smooth and silky ... I love it!

I finished the knitting yesterday, washed it, then soaked it in a tea/coffee mixture for 10-15 minutes to tone down the pink. I blocked it (flat) overnight then sewed the ends together and wove in the yarn ends today. I like my earwarmer almost as much as my hair in that photo! Well, okay, maybe not that much, because my hair and I have a well-documented love-hate relationship so it's pretty exciting to have a good hair day moment. But I do like the earwarmer.

As usual, there's a few other photos, and more information, on Ravelry.

Then I immediately cast on for my brother's Viking hat. Yay, FINALLY I get to start my OWL! Haha. Assuming I don't get seduced sidetracked by other projects, this should go pretty quickly. It's a fairly basic hat with a bottom hem, except for the horns and beard, which are knit separately and sewn on later. I'm improvising the design, but I've got it pretty well figured out already. I'm trying to keep good notes on what I've done so that I can write up a full pattern later. I know you're interested in it, Jessica, and maybe a few other people will be too. I'm thinking about offering it as a free PDF-format pattern if it turns out well ... what do you think?

Oh, and by the way, here's all the yarn and needles I'll be using for my OWL projects, along with swatches of each yarn:
From left to right, top to bottom, you have my Caron Simply Soft Eco yarn in Natural plus a swatch of that (done on size 4 needles) for the Viking hat horns (first column); Red Heart Super Saver in Cafe, for the Viking Hat beard, with the aforementioned size 4 Knitpicks circs, plus a swatch of that yarn (also done on the same size 4 needles) and the Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Bamboo Ewe yarn and swatch (yep, on size 4s) in Mercury for the body of the Viking Hat (second column); Road to China Light/Silken Jewels in Blue Tourmaline and a swatch (I really put those size 4s to work ...) for Mom's Hermione Hearts Ron hat as well as Knitpicks Andean Silk in Cinnamon with matching swatch (you guessed it, 4s) for my own Robin's Egg Blue hat (third column); and my size 3 dpns, the Patons Kroy sock yarn in Mercury, the completed gamer glove, embroidery floss in various colors and my Kroy swatch (hah, fooled you, this was done on 3s!) for Luke's Gamer Hat (fourth column).

I don't know how I managed to make the same set of size 4 circular needles work for all those different yarns, most of which are worsted weight and therefore shouldn't work well on 4s to begin with, but I did. The Road to China is sport weight, so it was no problem, and the Bamboo Ewe and Andean Silk both felt like light worsted and gave me a good, soft, drapey-but-not-too-loose fabric on the 4s. (The bamboo and silk probably contributed a lot to that drapiness. Both yarns feel amazing in the swatch.) I regularly knit Simply Soft on 5s, and since the horns will be stuffed with polyfill, the slightly smaller/denser gauge worked well for that. The Red Heart Super Saver is the only thing I even considered using a different needle for. Red Heart feels like a heavy worsted to me (it's actually listed as an aran weight, in fact), and since it isn't particularly soft, the gauge swatch feels pretty dense and a little stiff. But after considering the alternative, I decided to go ahead and use the 4s. After all, the beard on this hat isn't purely decorative. It also protects the bottom half of the face from the elements. A loose, floppy beard just wouldn't do as well. The fabric produced on 4s should still be loose enough to curve around the face with the hat but dense and stiff and heavy enough to stay there, even in the wind, and actually block the cold somewhat.

One last random observation: my cat is laying in the armchair, snoring quite loudly. Oh the joy of having pets. But she's so cute!

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