Monday, December 30, 2013

Warmly outfitting the Vikings in your life with style and distinction

A pattern I've had my eye on for a long time, but never got around to making, was the Dwarven Battle Bonnet and Dwarven Battle Bonnet 2 by Sally Pointer of Wales. These are super fun to make and wear, not to mention being immensely practical, essentially balaclavas with style and whimsy. I never imagined my husband would be interested, but I'd never shown the pattern to him until he mentioned the bike ride across Manhattan was getting kinda nippy now that winter was closing in. To my surprise, he was very excited for me to make him one. Then when I mentioned it to my SIL she said that my nephew would really want one as well. Fortunately it is a very fun pattern that I was more than happy to make a second time, and both of them came out quite well.

My husband has a giant head, so I actually had to make his a larger size than provided for in the pattern. I added a bunch of stitches and kind of winged the eye and mouth holes to go along with the increased number of sts. Here it is in progress:

It turned out the eye holes were too large the way I knit them, and I ended up later crocheting around the outer edges to fill in some of the space. He wanted it knit with black hair and beard (despite clearly having a brown beard as you can see).

Ultimately, I think it came out well, and he was delighted with it.

My nephew is a normal sized ten year old, so I made the child's size for him and it fit him fine, with room to grow.

Here he and my husband are together on Christmas Eve, posing together with their matching helmets.

One for my niece is on the way. She has requested blue tips on the hair and beard!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The black hat that fell flat

I have made a number of felted items over the years. Some have come out wonderfully! I love the process. I love washing a giant and shapeless loosely knit item and watching it turn into a tight piece of fabric with a solid shape and structure. Felting can hide many ills, including dropped stitches, and it results in a fabric that doesn't fray or unravel. It's a hopeful process in that regard; a lot of the time, a piece that looks all wrong tightens up and becomes a great object.

But I was sadly disappointed in the black felted hat!

Due to my choice of yarn, after felting mine ended up REALLY fuzzy. Like, pimp hat fuzzy. My husband said he would have to get me a cane, a fur coat, and a pair of platform shoes.

I used his beard trimmer to cut off the fuzz, but I still wasn't crazy about the surface even after that.

The fatal problem: The top of it puckers where it decreases. I think this is because it decreases too fast. It has you doing 8 decrs per round with no plain round between, and I think that’s why the puckers happen.

I tried to pull these out when felting but was only partly successful. Not only did they not pull out, they only increased when I felted it a second time (because it was still way too big after the first felting). Because of this I didn’t even want to waste the ribbon to decorate it (you can see I was planning on a nice brown one. But I just couldn't get past the pucker).

They can't all be winners.