So, my exam is finished, and the only looming deadline is this paper that my supervisor wants to get out within the next month or so. That means that I really don't have any excuse not to post the pictures of my Christmas crafting. I think I'll do it in two parts, mostly because I have a lot of pictures, and I'll start with my parents' gifts.
For my mommy, I crocheted the Comfi Cardi (Ravelry link) from Crochet Me by Kim Werker, which, by the way, is a gorgeous book. It's a fun pattern, with a minimum amount of seaming, something I always appreciate, and all crocheted in one piece. The ribbing really brings the whole thing together. I wasn't overly pleased that it involved weaving in 64 ends, a result of the arm shaping, which had a lot of cutting the yarn and rejoining. I can't help wondering if there would be a better way to do it that wouldn't involve as much rejoining, but I couldn't think of one at the time. Here's the cardi, pre-seaming.
I had some trouble getting gauge as well. It's really strange, actually. Usually I have super tight gauge when I crochet, and I often have to go up a hook size or two. This time, I actually had to go down from a 4mm to a 3.5mm hook to get something close to gauge. It must be something about the stitch pattern (which is lovely) that makes me crochet super loose... that or Robyn Chachula is an even tighter crocheter than I am. At any rate, my final swatch was just about the right size, maybe a little big, but I made the extra-small size to compensate (I would have made the small size otherwise).
The yarn I used was Telemark from KnitPicks, a sport-weight yarn made of 100% peruvian wool, in the gorgeous colorway "Mineral Heather". I thought at first it would be too scratchy, but after soaking the sweater in a bit of Eucalan, it softened up a lot. Oh, and another thing I liked about this pattern was that I used almost exactly the amount of yarn it called for. I only have half a ball left. However, when I crocheted that Icelandic turtleneck, I had two and a half balls left, which was a little annoying since I bought it online. Anyway, enough about the pattern, here are some pictures of mommy being all pretty in her new sweater!
For my daddy, I knit socks! And not just any socks... I started with the Lucky Socks pattern from Son of Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller, and then added this guitar chart instead of the lucky dice. Yay! Guitar socks! My dad is a professional guitarist, so I thought they were appropriate.
The construction of these socks seemed to me far from traditional. They start off on straight needles to make the intarsia easier, and then the two sides are joined together and knitting continues in the round. Then, instead of making the heel as you go, it's added in afterwards. It's actually much easier to construct a sock this way (well, the afterthought heel, at any rate), which was surprising. The only regret I have is that the intarsia guitar didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. I was pulling the yarn too tight, and the design puckers a bit. If I ever do anything like this again, I'll have to make sure that the back strands are super loose.
I was worried that the leg would be too tight and that the foot would be too long. The puckered guitar didn't give the upper part of the sock any stretch, and the fact that I purl tighter than I knit made the knitting in that part slight smaller gauge than the part where I was knitting in the round. Also, I though I had miscalculated the length of foot for my dad's shoe size, so I was expecting the socks to be hanging over his toes. Fortunately, I hadn't miscalculated too much and my dad has very slender ankles, so they fit just right!
I used the KnitPicks Palette yarn, which is very nice to use, if not a little sticky. It's also 100% peruvian wool, but not itchy at all. I love the range of colours this yarn comes in, though I suppose the ones I used for my dad's socks, cream, ash and black, were a little subdued.
Anyway, that's all for now. Next up, my little brother's present and Stevie's present!