FO Friday: Very Orange Hoodie

I finished the big orange hoodie!!

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Project: Very Orange Hoodie

Pattern: Hooded Guernsey, highly modified

Designer: Debbie Bliss

Available: in Family Knits, among other sources

Yarn: CEY Duchess

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Astute readers may recognize this hoodie as one of my “Finish It or Frog It” projects from January.  See the orange bit in the upper left?  Now it’s a sweater, yay!

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I bought two bags of unlabelled Duchess from the back wall at Hub Mills — a great yarn shop (yes, I work them and am justifiably biased) that often has great finds along the back wall.  Off-label and discontinued CEY yarns can often be had for a song! And let’s be honest kids — I wouldn’t normally make a kid’s hoodie out of a cashmere blend yarn, right?

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Let’s get on to the mods …

First of all, the pattern calls for DK yarn and only goes up to size 4.  I actually made the size 4 for Eli a few years ago, following the pattern more or less exactly.  When he asked for a new sweater, he wanted the same one, only in orange.  Since bright orange can be tricky to find, I bought the bulky-weight Duchess anyway, knowing I’d have to alter the pattern.

I did a bunch of math to figure out how big the finished size 10-ish sweater should be, and how many stitches I’d need with the Duchess (I got 7 sts/2 in), and went to work.  One major change I made was to work the body and sleeves in the round.  I also worked the inside of the kangaroo pocket from picked-up stitches, to avoid sewing later on.  I did use 3-needle bind-off for the shoulders, to give it a bit of structure.  I worked the hood from a “Judy’s magic cast on” center, again to avoid a seam.

To prove that even seasoned knitters can make dorky mistakes, I carefully sewed in the hood …. facing backwards.  Ugh.  Picked it out and sewed it in correctly and was finally done! Eli is pleased, but considers it a bit TOO large — I made a classic mom error and knit with next fall in mind.  But, at least I have a good chance of having it fit him in the next cold season.

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Tips and Tricks: Penance Knitting

Almost every knitter I’ve ever talked to has a project that they love, but can’t bring themselves to work on.  Sometimes it’s because there is a long stretch of “boring” knitting, like the endless stockinette in my Arctic Faery Ring Cardigan.  First there was the skirt (ENDLESS), which I powered through because at least there was decreasing every so often, plus cables to look forward to.  I did the sleeves two-at-a-time to avoid SSS (Second Sleeve Syndrome), but stalled out on the hood.  Seriously — I had the entire body done, the sleeves done and set in, but I couldn’t get myself to work on the hood. It was killing me.

1241 Arctic Faery Ring

Conversely, the other end of the spectrum of knitting difficulty can stall a knitter just as bad as doldrum knitting. I have a certain blanket that has languished since July because the border is tricky and requires my full attention. I can’t quit halfway through a repeat without paying (and paying) later on.  I don’t dare pick it up unless I know I have enough time and attention to finish a full repeat.  So my pretty, soft lap blanket sits with two borders done, and two still waiting.

0471 Yggdrasil blanket

The cardigan and the blanket both suffered further, because they were both for ME — no deadline, nobody waiting, no guilt to spur me on.  And, in the end, guilt is KEY for finishing this type of project.  I call the work “penance knitting” for a reason.  My technique is simple: I choose a very appealing project with pretty yarn and a fun pattern, and set it in front of myself.  Then, I require myself to knit a certain number of rows of my penance project, before I allow myself to work on the reward project.

I hate to say it, but right now my penance knitting project is my third (yes, third) Harry Potter scarf.  It seems like it’s taking forever, which is kind of true … because I keep looking at it and groaning.  Time to bump it up in the priority queue and get it done!  Here are the first two scarves, to further inspire and castigate me :).

9896 J models Harry Potter scarf

0381 HP Hufflepuff scarf

What project do you have, languishing in mostly-done state on the needles, that could be finished with a little penance knitting?

Ravelry Monday: Pansies, Alassë Míriel Hooded Cowl, and Grecian Goddess Socks

Happy Monday! Time to look back at the previous week’s recently added knitting patterns on Ravelry and pick a few favorites.

First pick: “Pansies” by Rebekkah Dickson (FREE!)

My favorite flowers are pansies, so I’m always on the lookout for good patterns (heck, good anything) that include pansies.  These are far and away the best knitted pansies I’ve seen — true to the flower, without being fussy.  The petals are knit flat, then sewn in place.  The pansy “monkey face” in added in post-production with duplicate stitch.  I can see myself adding pansies to a lot of upcoming projects … all I need is a little purple/blue/burgundy and yellow/white yarn, any weight will do.  Whee!

Second Pick: “Alassë Míriel Hooded Cowl” by The Jane Victoria ($5.00)

Can I just say, WOW, what an ingenious garment! Part cowl, part hood, part shoulder cozy… I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and I LOVE it already.

Third Pick: “Grecian Goddess Socks” by Katie Franceschi ($5.95)

I’m a sock lover, it’s true.  I just washed (nearly) all my hand-made socks, and stopped counting at pair 24.  I’m in the middle of a sock-a-long as we speak (where is clue #3, people?), and eagerly awaiting my first 2011 Rockin’ Sock Club shipment. But these socks call to me too! Alas, there are other things on my needles, so these faux lace-up socks will have to wait in my queue.

Alassë Míriel Hooded Cowl