Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nothing says "I love you" like a handknit hedgehog

GPG and I celebrated Valentine's Day over the weekend, since Valentine's Day fell inconveniently in the middle of the week this year. We tromped around a local park in the morning on Saturday and went to our favorite sushi restaurant for dinner.

We also exchanged gifts. GPG was the lucky recipient of not one, not two, but THREE handknitted items this Valentine's Day. (This is mostly because I had intended to give him some of these gifts for Christmas last year, but didn't finish them in time. Er, I mean, this is because I love him THREE times as much as last year. Right?)

He was very tickled by this hedgehog, which some of you may recognize as a Crafty Alien pattern:

We have a thing for hedgehogs. Don't ask me why.

Pattern: Crafty Alien's hedgehog
Yarn: Brown Sheep worsted for the body; Wool-Ease worsted for the spines
Needles: US 10
Recipient: GPG

This was a fiddly item to make. The spines in particular were a total pain the neck. I also have zero embroidery and applique skills, so I sort of made things up as I went along, and was helped by the fact that the yarn I used for the body is somewhat dark, so it's hard to see mistakes or less than perfect stitching.

I actually bought the entire hedgehog kit, but used my own yarn and saved the yarn that came in the kit to make another hedgehog. But, having made the first one, I am now putting the kit deep into the stash. It won't be knit up for . . . well, a while.

I also made GPG an orange hat--the same exact kind as the one I made for the Chairman's birthday present. He's modeling it in this picture while taking pictures of the hedgehog for me.

The last time we went skiing, we talked about how hard it was for us to find each other on a slope once we'd start skiing down it. We both have dark ski jackets and dark ski pants, like everyone else out there, so it's hard to distinguish each other from the rest of the skiing population. We decided that we needed some orange hats.

The lighting doesn't really do justice to the brightness of the orange. It is seriously traffic-cone orange. I just need to make myself one, and then we'll be all set to go skiing! (Which, unfortunately, won't be for a long time.)

Pattern: Fig and Plum's Cashmere Ribbed Hat, larger size
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8, again from the stash
Needles: generic 16" circular US 8, plus Brittany Birch US 8 DPNs
Recipient: GPG

The "biggest" gift, though, in terms of knitting, was a pair of gray socks:

I made GPG socks for Christmas last year out of some black Knit Picks Essential sock yarn. He liked them a lot, but rarely wore them because the woolen yarn made his feet too hot most of the time. I wanted to make him socks that he would actually wear, so I bought some custom-order cotton sock yarn from Carolyn at Greenwood Fiberworks (who, unfortunately, appears not to be dyeing up her signature cotton sock yarn anymore).

Knitting these socks was a mighty struggle. I had intended for them to be Christmas presents, but that obviously didn't work out, and for a while I feared I might have to give them to GPG as a birthday present (in July). It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the gauge for this sock yarn is MINUSCULE. Like, twice as fine as regular sock yarn. The yarn stretches, of course, so technically the number of cast-on stitches (78) was not extraordinary. But the row gauge was absolutely impossible, I think primarily because the yarn is fine, and it becomes especially fine when it stretches as you're knitting it.

So these socks have been on the needles since November, really. Progress was really, really slow. I had three full days of meetings for my journal at school just before Valentine's Day and hoped to make a lot of progress, but even with such concentrated knitting I was still up until 2 a.m. the night before I saw GPG this weekend, trying to finish. During those meetings, I knit the entire time, but I had no more than a centimeter to show for each day's efforts! (In contrast, I'm now knitting a sock out of regular woolen sock yarn, and I'm almost done with it after 3 days of much less knitting time.) Eventually I sucked it up and barreled on through because 1) I was going to give GPG socks for Valentine's Day, dammit! and 2) I knew that if I finished these socks, the rest of the destashing would go MUCH faster.

The socks are a bit mottled because they'd been in his shoes earlier that day. He has worn them and likes them! And they don't make his feet too hot!

Pattern: My own. Standard cuff-down sock pattern with a K4, P2 rib, 78 sts around.
Yarn: Greenwood Fiberworks cotton-lycra sock yarn
Needles: Addi Turbo US1, magic loop for one sock, the other on two circulars
Recipient: GPG

I have some more of this yarn--probably enough for a pair of socks for me--but, like the hedgehog kit, this yarn is going deep into the stash, not to be knit for a while. It's really comfy yarn--very soft and snug-fitting--but I want to work on other things before I get bogged down with this yarn again.

Anyway, GPG loved the socks, so that's what counts. But I hope I haven't raised the bar for next year's Valentine's Day . . .!


Blogger knittingphilistine said...

Beautiful boy knits!! I'll have to keep that hat in mind for my boy...

And *thank you* for the kind words about my soap!!

2/22/2007 9:23 AM  

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