Friday, January 16, 2009

The gifts, they do not stop. Also, a salamander pattern, sort of.

Remember the on-the-needles stuff I showed you?

Well, I haven't touched any of it, and not (entirely) because I am lazy. Following close on the heels of Christmas is more gift-giving, in the form of birthdays and new babies. Plus there was still some Christmas stuff I hadn't finished yet . . .

First, here's a salamander I made for Jess' Magic Boy.

You know how sometimes the Yarn Harlot talks about projects that make you feel clever? This was one of those projects. I started with a picture of a salamander that's found in this area,

then amused myself trying to figure out how to do each part - How do I get the shape of the head? How do I make a curvy body? How do I do the little legs and toes? I did absolutely no counting while I made this, but in lieu of a pattern I can give you the "pithy" directions:

Start at the head, with the Eastern cast-on (or Judy's Magic Cast-on from knitty). Increase like you would for a sock toe, 2 stitches at each side every other round, stopping when the head looks big enough. Knit a few rounds until the head looks long enough, then do some decreases for the neck and increases to widen it back up for the body. At this point, if you're knitting this via Magic Loop, move the stitches around so that instead of having the top of the salamander on one needle and the bottom on the other, you have each side of the salamander on a needle. That way, as you knit the body, you can do some short-rows on one side, then the other, to get the S-shaped curve. (I also was stuffing it a little at a time as I went, and it was starting to look rather obscene hanging off my needles. I ignored my husband's raised eyebrows and knit on.) Decrease a little at a time for the tail; the last inch or so is I-cord. For each arm, pick up 8 stitches (in two sets of four, across from each other) at appropriate spots and knit a little tube (I didn't bother to stuff these). For the hand, knit back-and-forth on just 4 of the stitches for a couple of rows, increasing to 6 stitches on the first row. Do a little picot hem-turning to make three little toes, then do a couple more rows. Decrease back to 4 stitches and graft these 4 to the other 4 arm-stitches. Embroider some spots and add little seed-bead eyes. Ta-da!

Another gift I made is a Thermis for my sister's birthday. I used this handspun (lots of stuff in that post; keep scrolling), and the only mods I made to the pattern were to use both fewer stitches and fewer repeats of the thermal pattern to accomodate the thicker yarn. It came out a nice size.

I don't want to give it away.

And last but not least, I'm making EZ's February baby sweater for my sister-in-law's baby shower next month. I was very happy to find out she's having a girl so I could do the lace! Not that another BSJ wouldn't have been fun, too . . .

That gorgeous yarn is Dream in Color Classy. It's superwash, and the color is just amazing.

I'm sorry to say J's birthday will be going un-knitted-for this year. But he's really not a knitwear guy, and anything he might wear I've already made for him. I'll replace stuff as it wears out, but for his birthday I'd rather get something he'll use. I guess that's just what happens when you pick your husband before you learn how to knit. :)

The baby sweater is the last immediate gift I'll have to knit for a while, unless there's something I'm forgetting. Knowing me, that is entirely possible, but with any luck I'll be polishing off that Cobblestone soon. Or maybe even spending some time with my poor neglected wheel. Imagine that!