There has been a lot of secret knitting of late. Holiday gifts, birthday gifts, all sorts of gifts I don't want people to see ahead of time. But now that my sister's birthday package has arrived, I can share at least some of them.
A while ago, I knit an Odessa as an SP gift, and I really liked it. I liked knitting it, and I liked the finished result. Because I have to be able to take my knitting on the train, I decided that it was also the perfect gift for my sister's upcoming birthday, with a few modifications.
For one thing, I left off the beads. Don't get me wrong, I love the beaded version, but I was going for a different look, more everyday item that would go with thick mittens than delicate beaded hat. So instead of the DK weight the pattern calls for, I went with DB Cashmerino Aran, which is soft and cushy and simply wonderful. I wanted something that was really going to keep my sister's ears warm.
Unfortunately, the spiral on top of the head was difficult to photograph, but the stitch definition is lovely.
The biggest risk I took, however, was not with stitch definition. Even though I picked a thicker yarn, I decided to use the needle sizes called for in the pattern. I wanted to knit at a tighter-than-called-for gauge for this yarn to achieve a nice, dense fabric. It worked, and I was so happy the hat didn't turn come out enormous!
Pattern: Odessa (for link, see above)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in color 300001 (They probably dunk this stuff in catnip to achieve this wonderful off-white; Morgana goes positively berserk when I'm working with this yarn!)
Needles: US #4 and #6 Addi Turbos, knit pretty tightly on purpose
Modifications: No beads and aran weight instead of DK. In spite of the thicker yarn, I knit the 5.5" called for in the pattern before starting my decreases. I wanted a hat that would keep my sister's forehead warm and cover her ears. Warm ears are important.
And, speaking of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, here is a picture of the Fetchings I am knitting out of the same yarn. I went down two needle sizes, and they are still loose. My wrists are tiny (not even 5 inches), my hands are small, and this glove is wobbly instead of stretchy on me. Also, I don't think the picot castoff works for me on this particular project. The glove has more of a sturdy look, and the picots are elegant/playful in a very feminine way that, to me at least, doesn't go with the rest of the glove. I think I'll either cast off in pattern or use EZ's sewn castoff the next time around. I'll also leave out 10 stitches -- if I go down another needle size, I'll be knitting on 3s.
Now, about the Incident. If you look closely (click on the picture), you'll see that some stitches aren't quite even, and that some ends have worked themselves loose. That's not because I'm a sloppy knitter. I was lying on the bed reading when I saw the cats run in. Merlin had something in his mouth, and on closer inspection, turned out to be my Fetching. Mr. Batty, attracted by the horrified sounds coming from the bedroom, ran over and rescued it. The kittens are so lucky they're cute!
This is what keeps them from continuing their existence as a pair of fuzzy slippers. They are so adorable. As for the Fetchings, I'll try felting them a little when both are done. We'll see if the 33% microfiber will be enough to prevent this from happening.