pompom

And sometimes, magic happens!

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For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to make a project using some of the handspun yarns I have. I’ve been spinning for a couple years now and during this time I’ve made several yummy handspun additions to my stash.

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I must confess though that aside from my unsuccessful BlueSand Cardigan attempt currently wasting away in the slumber pile, I had yet to finish a project using any of those gorgeous handspuns, and I thought it was such a shame! But earlier this week, inspiration stroke as I was going through my friend’s activity feed on Ravelry, and noticed someone had made an Arika Cowl. The pattern immediately piqued my interest because I thought it would be a perfect match for my Cheshire Cat purple handspun; it was the right yarn weight and yardage combined with a fun and unusual construction for a cowl, with an amazing fringe as a bonus.

I got so excited that I immediately bought the pattern and cast-on on Monday. Tuesday, the body was done, and I still had a full skein left so I thought I could make a matching hat. Since I had decided at that point to make the cowl with buttons instead of a seam, I quickly went around the pattern database looking for a hat pattern with a button in about the same yarn weight, and found the (free!) Moss Stitch Hat pattern from Erin Anton. Just perfect!

And following this streak of sudden inspiration, magic happened…

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Repetition kills… Creativity

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Last Christmas I made a white pompom version of the Star Anise hat for my brother’s girlfriend Virginie, and my step mom Carole was so enthralled with it that she asked me to make her the SAME hat in the SAME color. Hm.

Now I must say I love making knit garments for my loved ones, but never have I been asked to make the EXACT same thing twice (in a row!). As much as I wanted to please her, after receiving that request I just couldn’t bring myself to start anything and kept dreaming of hundreds of hats or patterns or projects that have been on my mind for a while, and how much fun they would be to try.

So after a little pondering, I decided to follow my heart and cast on a hat – not a Star Anise hat, and certainly not white – I opted for a soft pink, slightly slouchy version of the Tiima hat by the lovely Lilja Palmgren. And you know what? I’m in love.

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To make it more personal, I changed the border a bit from the original pattern, ditched the (time consuming) beads and the ribbon and added a pompom. I used Jade Sapphire’s Silk/Cashmere 2-ply yarn in color “Pinksicle” and I LOVED every stitch of it. It is perfectly soft, fluffy & yummy, the only downside is that it’s a very fragile yarn that tends to break easily – so be careful when working with it.

The hat turned out much bigger and slouchier than I was expecting looking at the pattern pictures (this is partly my fault for using larger needles for the main body), but as it turns out, I LOVE this version – and most importantly, my step mother does, too.

I think sometimes, people think they know what they want but their decision is only based on partial knowledge – because they simply don’t know what ELSE is out there, and how much better for them something else would be.

I chose a white Star Anise hat for Virginie because I thought it would be perfect for her, and I chose a pink Tiima hat for Carole because I knew it would fit her perfectly – and I think it’s good once in a while to take a guess and follow your instinct, because sometimes that’s the best way to find THE present that your loved ones will go crazy for.

Autumn Rain

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Fall has finally rolled around, and with it sometimes comes cold and rainy days but also, when weather permits, beautiful, bright and colorful days full of autumn spirit and love. Fortunately for us on the east coast, we have been blessed this year with the latter, and we have been taking full advantage of it the last couple weekends by driving around Vermont to see the colors and enjoying outdoor activities.

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While the view is spectacular, the rather cold temperature has prompted me to rummage through my box winter accessories, and I was rather disappointed to realize I did not have a hand knit hat that matched my (very bright orange) spring coat. To fix this problem, I decided to make myself a new hat using a basic pattern and a neutral color that would match all my coats. I set my mind on the pattern Wurm, by Katharina Nopp, that I slightly modified to suit my taste (larger horizontal stripes, a 1×1 rib double edge and an added pompom). If you are interested in replicating this hat, please visit my project page for detailed information on the mods I did. 🙂

The yarn I used is a wonderfully soft and lush merino/cashmere/nylon fingering weight yarn from Zen Yarn Garden called Serenity 20. I must say that I truly enjoyed knitting with this yarn and certainly will use it again, I really think it’s one of those luxuries you simply can’t get enough of. And what to say about the colors? Simply wonderful! If you have never tried this yarn, I strongly recommend you try it at least once, I’m sure you will never regret it.

Ashes hat

While I’m still pecking away at my Bluesand Cardigan, I can’t say that I have made much progress since I last shared it with you a month and a half ago. A good part of the reason why it’s been such a long process is that I ran out of the main color and wasn’t into the idea of ordering a new skein, so I tried as best as I could to adjust the design to fit the yarn I had. After trying a few things though, I realized I was just not happy with how this was turning out and I finally resigned myself to frog my unsuccessful attempts and order a new skein of the MC.

At first I was a little upset about it, but after giving it much thought, I came to the conclusion that knitting is an investment both in time and money, and I need to be 100% satisfied with the final product to make it worthwhile. What I mean is that I prefer spending more time fixing a cardigan to make sure I will love it and wear it than half ass a cardigan that will end up collecting dust at the bottom of my closet.