So when I mentioned two weeks ago that I probably wouldn’t get on to talking about crafty plans for 2015 until February or so, I thought I was making an outrageous joke. But I guess I was being serious, because here it is mid-January, and I still have projects from 2014 to show you! My excuses for being so behind are all good. Since I last wrote, I have traveled from Georgia to Alabama to Michigan to Georgia and back to Michigan again. There were some Big Events in there – throwing a 90th birthday party for my mother-in-law, writing my doctoral project proposal (and getting it approved – woohoo!) – as well as just regular stuff like work and mothering and life.
But now, onward! Or actually, backwards! Let’s go back to November, shall we? Yes, we shall.
For such a small project, this effort has quite a length backstory. Last Thanksgiving (in 2013), my Old Man’s daughter asked if I would make her a set like the one I made my niece last year. At the time, I wasn’t able to make her one before mitt+hat weather was over. The smart thing would have been to go ahead and make the set even once the season was up, and then just hang on to it until the next gift-giving opportunity. But that’s not how I do. How I do is to wait until the last minute and then try to knit like the wind.
So in November this year, a few days before her birthday, in the middle of preparing to host Thanksgiving, I cast on for the hat. I banged the hat out pretty fast, and then I got going on the mitts. The first mitt went great, and I began to think I would have both mitts done in time for her actual birthday. But then disaster struck – I ran out of yarn! And I only had one skein of this yarn in this color (Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Worsted – I have it in lots of other colors, but only this one skein of pink).
This set is supposed to be doable in just one skein. I designed the mitts last year specifically to only use half a skein of the Stonehedge, specifically to go with the Butterfly Hat, which also only requires half a skein of Stonehedge. So why did I not have enough yarn for the second mitt? I finally realized my mistake – I had accidentally knit the hat in needles two sizes up from what I meant to. Whoops! The hat came out fine, but it ate more yarn than I wanted it to. And no matter how fast I knit that second mitt, I couldn’t outknit the yarn!
So I had to give the set only partly finished. And on Thanksgiving night, after the meal was eaten and the dishes were cleared, I sat down to finish the set. I decided to cannabilize yarn from the cuff of the first mitt to make the second mitt, which should have been a fairly straightforward situation. But somehow I dragged it out all night. I ran into some problems – difficulty unpicking the cuff from the cast on, difficulty making the mitts an equal length when i was just knitting by feel at this point (i.e., just trying to fudge the length based on how much yarn I had, without knowing how much yarn each bit of mitt would use), making the thumb from one knit differently than the thumb on the other mitt (I still don’t know how I did that). Bascially, just a bunch of ridiculous issues with a little bit of addle-brained stupidity thrown in for good measure. And I became completely unhinged by this second mitt. I could not let it go, though family members (including the recipient) encouraged me to just wait, get more yarn after Thanksgiving, and finish up later. Apparently, I like to keep my process as wild and edgy as possible, so instead I pushed through. At around 3:00 in the morning, after having cooked and served Thanksgiving dinner a few hours earlier, I finally cast off for the second mitt (as well as for the first, because, as I mentioned, I had to undo the cast-on and take yarn out of it, and then bind it off).
Have you ever let a project get under your skin like that?
At any rate, I got them done, and the recipient likes them, and all’s well that ends well.
So there ya go. More than you thought was possible to say about a hat and a pair of mitts.