Monday, December 30, 2013

More Gift Knits for Christmas 2013

In a recent post, I wrote about "A Couple of (Process) Gift Knits".  Before Christmas day arrived, I actually came up with one more of these.

FO Photo "Ruby Beret", November 2009

I created my "Ruby Beret" back in 2009.  On Christmas day 2013, I gifted it to our niece C.  I like to give knitted gifts whenever I am able.  I know that not everyone needs or expects one every year.  And (please forgive me) there are some people who really do not understand the value of a hand-knit gift, who also really do not ever deserve one.  But regardless, I do like to give knitted gifts to a slightly wider audience, every now and then.  So, for example, one year I gave each of my two sisters and my brother's wife a cowl.  And one year I gifted all of my (five) nieces with a hat or scarf.  This year, because one of my husband's brothers asked for a knitted gift...  in my own head it became only fair to give both of the others on my husband's much smaller side of the family (niece C and another brother-in-law) a knitted gift.

Shifting back to the point of that "Process Knit Gifts" thing, how about that tubular cast on?  It was my first.

I wrote about the cast on and included this photo in an older blog post, "A Book I Recommend".  The beret pattern is "Vine and Leaf Beret" by Angela Hahn.  It appeared on the cover of Vogue Knitting Fall 2009.  I enjoyed the process of knitting this hat, and I was happy to experience my first tubular cast on.

There also were two very quick knits this Christmas.  I would call them both "product" knits in that the knitting was all about producing quick gifts, and not about experiencing a new technique or a unique yarn.  Each of these knits took only two days.  The first is a simple cap for the younger of my husband's brothers.  No pattern.  I just made it up.

The yarn used is Bartlettyarns Fisherman's-3 ply that I had on hand, knit at a gauge of 13 stitches in 4 inches.  I got the idea to go bulky from the following project which also took only two days to knit, at a gauge of 10 stitches in 4 inches.

My very knit-worthy daughter loved this gift.  The pattern is "Cullen Cowl" by Pam Allen, the yarn Quince & Co. Puffin in the color 'clay'.  It was fun to knit, so easy and quick!

There are actually two more gifts that linger on in an IOU kind of way... But it's OK...  One is for my son, and he knows about it, and he can't really use it until the spring...  The other, well, I still owe my husband a pair of socks (Remember this sad thing?)...  But I'm thinking that he can wait...  How long do I have until Father's Day?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Holiday Reflections

On Christmas day, in the evening, 2013

Hours after dinner, most of us are still inside... a moment reflected on a window and caught by a camera...

It was after desert... (the candles are already burning low)... but before the traditional family card game of Apples to Apples.  Thirteen for dinner and ten for Apples to Apples.

In the morning we awoke to a fresh coat of snow.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Couple of (Process) Gift Knits

As I have written before, see here and here, I do not really do a lot of Christmas knitting.

I simply do a whole lot of knitting all through the year... and then just a small amount of last minute Christmas knitting with an even smaller amount of success (see above links).

This year has been no exception.  There will be two gifts that just happened to be knit because each offered up a new knitting experience.  I would call both of these knits "Process Knits".

Within the knitting community the terms "Process Knitter" and "Project Knitter" are bantered about.  The idea is that you are either process-oriented in your knitting.  (You love to knit for the experience of the knitting, and do not care if the results are useful or attractive.  You never swatch and would never rip out anything.)  Or, you are product-oriented.  (You knit because you love to make beautiful and useful objects, and you would totally re-knit anything not to your liking.)

I am of the opinion that each of us who knit fall somewhere within the scale -- most are not completely one or the other.

The first gift will go to Mr K's brother.  He is, by far, not someone for whom I would normally knit anything.  But over the last year, he has asked, not once (during his Easter visit), but twice (on Thanksgiving day), for a hand knit anything for Christmas.  Because I had completely forgotten the Easter request, and because I have been busy meeting design deadlines and dreaming of what to knit for the quick last minute gifts for those that I do normally knit for, that Thanksgiving request really threw me.

At first, I thought, why not make a hat like this one that I made for Mr K back in, I think, 2008?

The pattern is Turn a Square by Jared Flood.  The yarns are Cascade 220 and Noro Kureyon.  (I cannot tell color numbers or yard used, as it was made quite long ago.)  When I located the pattern in its print form, I also located my printed pages of the modifications that Jared Flood blogged about for the Cap Karma Hat by Smariek.

This reminded me that I actually made a modified Cap Karma around the same time as my Turn a Square from some leftover yarn of my mother's.

The yarn is Brown Sheep Co's Lamb's Pride worsted in the color blueblood red.  When I finished this hat, I offer it up to all who lived in this house at the time... when no one claimed it, it went into a mud room drawer with all the odds and ends mittens, hats, ski goggles and such... to my knowledge, it has never been worn. 

I hand-washed the hat.  It is a little tall and a bit bright, but I am going to give it to my brother-in-law.  He did say anything.  (I'll let you know if he likes it.)

That hat is truly a "process" knit.  I only decided to knit it because I saw the modifications on Jared's brooklyntweed blog, and I wanted the experience of working them.

I will be gifting my sister, who loves everything that I have ever knit for her, another "process" knit.  This one is totally 2013.  Back in January I was in New York for Vogue Knitting Live.  I had always wanted to try working with stainless steel yarn, and one of the venders at the market was Habu Textiles who are known for their unique tactile yarns including several that include metal.  It was a great opportunity to see the yarns in person.  I have already shared my Hakusa scarf here.  It was finished this summer, after which I made a smaller one that I named Hasuka Junior which I will keep for myself.

The 'materials' for the shawl/scarf were Habu Textiles A-20/21 1/20 silk stainless steel (69% silk, 31% stainless steel) and N-75 2/48 Fine Merino (%100 merino).

I just wrote a note to my sister about the project and tucked it in the box under the scarf.  (I'll let you know if she likes it.)

I consider both of the Hasukas to be "process" knits.  They were made because I wanted the experience of working with a truly metallic yarn.  (Honestly, except for the first few rows, where there was not much to hold onto, and the metallic yarn was used singularly, it was not very different than any other knitting.)  What is cool, though, is that the edging is so very "scrunchable".

If you are also preparing for the upcoming holidays, I hope that you are able to go about it with a light and happy heart... no worries, please!  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The house of...

For about a week now I have been thinking (but only in my own head) that this "Kern household" is really the "Carolyn Kern House of Design".  A bit of a stretch, but all of these things have happened this week:

I finished my work on a super secret project for a design to be used by a very famous (to the online knitting community) yarn company.  That yarn was amazing!... It was such a fun knit!... I will share it with you when the time is right.

A nice little cube of a box came in the mail.  Inside of it was probably about three times the yarn that I will need to make another super secret project that will appear in a widely distributed print magazine next year.

I think the idea that, as soon as one goes out, the next one is already here, has gone to my head (but it's OK, because mostly I keep it to myself).

Just yesterday, I received one of those polite emails with the words, "thank you", "we had so many great submissions", "can't use them all", "don't have room for yours" and "hope to work with you in the future".  It is true that rejection letters are just a part of the whole process.


This house is also a family home with Christmas coming... I have a lot of work ahead me!  Today there was some shopping and there will be sugar cookie baking.  For various reasons, we will not begin to decorate until next weekend... there is still a wreath with autumn leaves on my front door.  I will be cooking two rather elaborate traditional dinners.  (I always do.  It is one thing that I take in stride.  One step at a time, and really worth all the work.)  There is a lot more gift shopping, and all of the gift wrapping, as well as one very special birthday coming up soon!

Whew!  I can do this though, just one day at a time, and every day with some knitting in it :-)

I like to include at least one photograph in my posts.  Here is my latest  (non-secret) FO, Tartan Mitts made in Titus yarn by Baa Ram Ewe, project name: Sir Titus Tartan.

I will be giving them to my daughter for Christmas.  (They are not a surprise.)  I am keeping the red ones for myself!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Midweek Meditation - Kandinsky style

"There is no must in art because art is free.”  
                                                                         ~ Wassily Kandinsky

When I think of Kandinsky, this work, Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913, is what comes to my mind.  It is one of my favorites.

"I applied streaks and blobs of colours onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could...."

"Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul."            
                                                              ~Wassily Kandinsky,
                                                           Russian painter and art theorist.

Kandinsky is credited with painting the first purely abstract works.

On White II, 1923

Composition X, 1939

"Music was important to the birth of abstract art, since music is abstract by nature—it does not try to represent the exterior world, but expresses in an immediate way the inner feelings of the soul...

In addition to painting, Kandinsky was an art theorist; his influence on the history of Western art stems perhaps more from his theoretical works than from his paintings."
                                                            December, 3, 2013

 Photo credits: