Presents for myself

So much of what I knit last year ended up being given away.  I knit my first pair of two at a time socks, and gave them to my nephew.  I knit my second pair of two at a time socks, and in December, ended up giving them to my mum (they were too tight on my calves, so I was going to rip out the legs, but they fit her perfectly).  I knit two wedding shawls, and of course gave them to their respective brides. I made my husband a Domo-kun for his birthday (ok, that’s crochet, but close enough), and one of my best friends got “red is best” socks for hers. Then, I started on the baby stuff.  Socks for a cousin (the purplish ones, further down), and a whole set of things for my new niece or nephew. Finally, for Christmas I made my husband (and I) Christmas stockings.

What all this adds up to is that of the 14 items I finished in the past year, I got to keep two (my running head band and my Christmas stocking).  Well, I had my socks for most of the year, I’ll call it two and a half.  I decided that this year I have to be a little more greedy.  It was greed that was long planned for.  It is greed that is warm.

For my birthday last year, I got gift certificates to Romni from my mother-in-law, and a book called “Weekend Knitting” from one of my girlfriends.  I was immediately drawn to a brioche hat and neck warmer set.  But I had all that other knitting to do for other people, so it was put on hold.  But I found some fabulous discounted Noro Bonbori.  I’d been thinking of doing the Noro Scarf, but thought that combining the Noro colours with a brioche pattern was just too much for me to refuse.

Then I actually looked at the pattern, and realized that Brioche is sorta slow.  I found this video.  I was immediately in love.  After the colour work I’d been doing with the Christmas stockings, I’d already gotten the hang of knitting two handed.  The most important part is to complete a knit round (by itself), and then going on to the double dutch.  I also found that instead of actually wrapping my left hand (purling) yarn, I just left it in front of the left needle (because it’s a yo anyway) and knit underneath both strands with my right hand yarn.

Anyhow, I did the neck warmer first, because it has no decreases.

Nice straight brioche stitch, and look at this colour combination.  I was in LOVE

But because it’s Noro, you never really know what colours you’ll end up with, or which colours will end up together.  My warm and fuzzy masterpiece of a neck warmer!

I think I finished it in 3 days. I’m sure I cast off while watching Saturday Night Live, or maybe whatever comes on after it.  I just had to finish it.

I then moved onto the hat, which I finished in 4 days?  5?  Either way, the decreases have to be done one strand at a time, and when they say knit 8 inches for brim, they mean it.  I did less than that.  I bound it off. I cut the tail.  The hat didn’t cover my ears.  I had to carefully remove the tail from the top 8 stitches, tie the cut off end to the ball, and rip the entire thing.  I hadn’t thought to put a life line in before starting the decreases.

So I knit it again, and this time, there was much joy, because the brim was long enough to cover my ears.

So, although I love my hat, I thought I was buying purple and green yarn, not purple and PINK yarn. This became a bit of a problem at the crown of the hat, where you can see that I was knitting pink on red.

Now, even with a hat and neck warmer, I was not satisfied.  I wanted something for my hands.  So I decided to make myself some fingerless gloves – two at a time (works surprisingly well with brioche), and still doing that two handed technique.

I wound my two balls, and used the inside strand of each to cast on, and then added the outside strand from the OPPOSITE ball for my second colour. Cause I just like to make life difficult for myself =-) This worked really well colour-wise, but not so well tangle-wise.  Each round that I knit created an additional twist between the two balls, and I couldn’t figure out how to untwist them (if that was even possible).  At one point, I had to give up, cut two strands and untangle the mess.

I made thumb holes by casting off 4 stitches (in pattern), and then casting on 4 (in pattern, including the yo’s) in the next round.  My favourite part of these is that at the finger tips, the colours are similar enough to make it clear that they match

And I always wear them as shown, so that the colours are inverted.  I like that they match, but aren’t identical.  I guess this can be said of the entire set, I had plans, but the yarn, it had its own ideas.

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