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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sky Birds

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I've spent the last hour reading TECHknitter's blog and lamenting my inability to knit while at work. I'm not sure why reading knitting blogs and watching TV shows online pass as "work" while knitting looks like I'm a bad employee, but it does. The fact that I do web coding probably accounts for some of it—my job involves staring at a computer screen, after all. I'm just plagued by being quick at my work, which means I finish my assignments before new ones are created for me. This leads to a lot of down time in which I would truly prefer to be knitting, but instead find various distractions online to keep me busy.

I try not to blog from work because, well, it's just a little too obvious when my posts appear between 9am and 6pm. But I guess I'm letting my guard down. If my boss sees this, I suppose she'll just have to find something for me to work on.

For now, I wanted to unveil a secret project: Sky Birds!

Sky Birds Hat

I made this hat as a special order for my brother's birthday. He wanted a super-warm, machine washable hat to keep him warm in the wilderness. My brother is a wildlife biologist who has a soft spot for raptors. He spends most of his days getting paid to count and identify hawks and falcons and eagles that fly over his head. His body and, thus, head is often in cold, remote places and needs adequate warmth. And since he's a mountain man, he can't mess with fussy fibers that require flat-drying. The birds don't wait for flat-drying. He takes some really awesome pictures of said birds. Case in point:

Adult Male Cooper's Hawk

(Photo by Jeff. All rights reserved and whatnot.)

It took me a while to come up with the design for the hat. I knew I wanted it to have birds in silhouette, but coming up with the right number of birds in the right shape was harder than expected. I realized that to acheive the warmth Jeff wanted, I should double-knit the hat. Of course, the benefit of doing so is that the hat is then reversible.

Sky Birds Hat in Profile

I then ordered some Swish DK in Coal and Skyborne (perfect color name, I couldn't pass it up). (The Swish is such a soft superwash wool, I would definitely recommend it for other projects.) I then charted the project to the right gauge and figured out the length of the hat and how the decreases should be spaced. Anyway, I thought I had patterned the pattern perfectly, until it came out just a smidge too short. Ripping out the double-knitting was out of the question, so the easiest answer was to add earflaps. I had to pick up stitches while maintaining the double-knit fabric, which required more brain-power than usual. Spatial reasoning is not my strongest suit. But the mental gymnastics paid off and the earflaps look almost seamless.

Two more pics:

Sky Birds Hat

Sky Birds Hat

(Excuse the extra fluff on the hat. I hadn't washed it yet, and black yarn just picks up all the stray fibers—whether woolen or feline—that linger around the house.)

And the happy customer:

Happy Customer

I've been told his fellow birders are insanely jealous of the hat and have put in orders for their own Sky Birds, but for now, Jeff's is one of a kind.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Box of Goodness

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Don't you just love it when something like this arrives at your door?

Box of Goodness

That's one enormous box of yarn. My roommate and I placed a huge order through WEBS last week and had been waiting rather impatiently for it to arrive. It only took a week to get here, but we were getting antsy to start our new projects.

I'm going to be using the stone blue Berkshire Bulky to make Starsky, while my roommate is making Urban Aran for her boyfriend out of the green Berkshire. And, yes, she knows knitting a sweater for the boyfriend is bad luck. She doesn't care. She throws caution to the wind.

Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky

The stone blue is a little greyer in real life than it looked on my computer screen, which is a good thing in my opinion. Seeing as Starsky will probably be big and bulky, I don't need it to be a neon color.

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