Thursday, December 25, 2008

Last Minute Knit Gifts

So I decided Friday (12/19) that I wanted to make a few knitted gifts for Christmas this year. Nevermind that it was 5 days before the holiday, a weekend was approaching, I have 3 kids under 12 years old, they are on Christmas break, and NOTHING is yet wrapped. As if I need more stress, right? Since this was a gift for a man, I thought I would make slippers. So I found a pattern that said it took one hour to make 1 slipper. I know that I am not the fastest knitter, so I figured two hours. After 6 hours,, the first ONE was done and it was not all that cute. I frogged it (knitting term for ripping it out) and was again at a loss.

Saturday I decided I would do a hat. I thought I could do a hat easily, so I spent most of the day making a hat, only to find out that it was NOT as easy as I thought and there was a hole about halfway up. It was frustrating, but again, I frogged it and started over.

This time, I looked online for a free knitting pattern for a hat and could not find just a basic hat. I took a little bit from here and there and made one up. I started the hat Sunday morning and finished it Sunday night, but I knit a LOT during that day. After the hat was done, I decided that, for my father-in-law, I wanted to also do a matching scarf. I wanted it to be reversible, so I went with a 2 x 2 rib pattern throughout. I am not quite done yet. (lucky for me, we are not going there until 1/2/09, so I have a few days, although I would like to be done before Christmas just so that I can relax)

But the hat turned out great, and since I could not find anything quite this basic anywhere, I am putting the pattern out there for all to see and use.

Seriously Last-Minute Gift Hat

Size 8 16” circular needle and a set of size 8 DPN
Any worsted weight yarn (I used a very large skein of Lion Brand acrylic that I had)

CO 92 stitches. (I made this a multiple of 4 because I wanted the first few inches to be a 2 x 2 rib and so I wanted it to be even all the way around.) Place marker. Join in the round, being careful not to twist stitches.

Knit is a K2, P2 pattern throughout until the hat measures 2” from the CO edge. At that point, knit stockinette (using circular needles, that is knit every row) until the piece measures 8” from the cast-on edge.

Begin to decrease: (switch to DPN when it gets hard to keep stitches on the circular needle. I think I was at row 10 below.)
Row 1: *K9,K2tog* repeat between stars for entire row
Row 2: Knit entire row
Row 3: *K8, K2tog” repeat between stars for entire row
Row 4: Knit entire row
Row 5: *K7, K2tog” repeat between stars for entire row
Row 6: Knit entire row
Row 7: *K6, K2tog” repeat between stars for entire row
Row 9: Knit entire row
Row 10: *K5, K2tog” repeat between stars for entire row
Row 11: Knit entire row
Row 12: *K4, K2tog” repeat between stars for entire row
Row 13: Knit entire row
Row 14: *K3, K2tog” repeat between stars for entire row
Row 15: Knit entire row
Row 16: *K2, K2tog” repeat between stars for entire row
Row 17: Knit entire row
Row 18: K2tog throughout.

Cut yarn, leaving a decent-sized tail and draw it through remaining stitches with a tapestry needle. I think I had 10 stitches left when I did this. If you have more than 10 stitches left, repeat rows 17 and 18 until you have less than 10. Bring the yarn to the underside of the hat and tie it in a knot there.

As for the scarf, everyone has a favorite pattern, I think. Here is the one I used:

Seriously Last-Minute Gift Scarf

I used size 8 needles so it would match the hat. I did the whole scarf in a 2 x 2 rib to match the brim of the hat, so I cast-on 32 stitches, wanting it to be a multiple of 4 so I could start each row with 2 knits (less to have to remember that way!)

I started it on large metal needles, but that turned out to be too slippery, so I switches to the circular I used for the hat, which was bamboo. That totally would have worked. I did think that there was not enough “extra” space for my own personal benefit in that needles, though, and I had a larger circular in the right size (which was a fluke and almost NEVER happens) so I switched to a 29” circular needle in bamboo. Again, this was just my own preference, but it works quite well and gives me lots of space to put the stitches when I need to put it down (which is a lot with three young kids…)

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