Monday, February 19, 2007

I wrote a pattern!

My cousin, Wendy, was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before Christmas. She recently had a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery and will be undergoing chemotherapy soon. She has had a wonderful attitude throughout the entire ordeal and I am in awe of her for it. Her family and friends have been incredibly supportive and I want to do my part, too.

I knit hats only occaisionally. The last one I knit was for Peanut, a cute little pink number. I decided that, since Wendy will be losing her hair, I would knit her a couple of awesome hats. They will be lovely and feminine because I think that losing one's hair must not detrimental to one's femininity. The only problem I forsaw was that I wanted to use very high-quality yarn that is, of course, expensive. So I asked my mom and my sister to donate the money, I asked Auntie, Wendy's mom, for color recommendations, and I'm the one making the hats.

I found two wonderful yarns: Louisa Herding Grace, a lovely silk-woll blend in cream, and a grey baby cashmerino by Debbie Bliss, which is a blend of merino wool, cashmere, and microfibre. The silky stuff is luxurious and decadent and I wanted a hat that wasn't too simple, but wasn't too complicated either. And I wanted to knit in these pretty goldish beads I got at Joann Fabric and Crafts. I couldn't find a pattern that I was happy with, so I wrote my own. It has cables, which is something I had never done before but turned out to be frighteningly easy. The hat is gorgeous and here's the pattern for it:

Wendy Hat with Cables and Beads, copyright 2007 by Courtney U

Gauge: 23” head circ. @ 6 sts/in = 138 sts
Pattern: four stitch cable
Place bead: bring yarn and bead to front, sl 1 purlwise, bring yarn to back, leaving bead at front
pm: place marker
C4F: sl 2 onto cable needle and hold at front, k2, then k2 from cable needle

Thread beads onto yarn before casting on
CO 130, pm every 10
1: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat around to 1st marker
2: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat around to 1st marker
3: cable: *k2, p2, C4F, p2* repeat around until 1st marker
4: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat around to 1st marker, placing bead after every marker
Repeat rows 1-4 four times or until the desired number of twists are achieved.
For all rows after cables are done: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat until hat measure 5.5 in. from bottom. Remove all markers except first.

1: *k2, p2tog, k4, p2tog* repeat to first marker
2: *k2, p1, k2tog, k2, p1* repeat to first marker
3: *k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog* repeat to first marker. All sts after this row will be knit
4: *k11, k2tog, pm* repeat to first marker
Knit every stitch, knitting 2 together before every marker until 7 or so stitches are left on needles. Thread yarn through remaining stitches and tie off. Weave in ends and the hat is done!

I'm very proud of this pattern. It's not perfect and it probably has a few kinks that need to be worked out, but it's mine and I'm happy with it. Next up: the grey cashmerino hat. I'm going to knit a simple rolled-bottom hat and make some knitted flowers to attatch to it. This the the hat that matches Wendy's business suits, so it will be professional with a touch of girly embellishment.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

It's February!

Ah, February. I like this month, especially this year. For starters, it means that the shock of the new year has worn off and I'm mostly used to writing 2007 on my checks. And since I have a wonderful husband, Valentine's Day will be nice. I was never one to lament the lack of a relationship if I was single on February 14th, so it's not like I'm grateful to be attatched or anything, but Trin and I do get extra mushy.

Second, this is my birthday month. I'll be 25 on the 27th. I'm not sure what to make of this birthday. On the one hand, I'm halfway to 30. My youth, such as it is, is slowly but surely passing. But I think of my parents who are in their fifties and I don't worry that 30 is bad at all. Goodness knows Mom and Dad still have plenty of youth left to last for a while. But I'm quite satisfied with how my life is right now. I have a loving husband who is a wonderful father to our little girl, who is the cutest baby on the planet. We own our own home, have an affectionate (if a little headstrong) cat, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and life is in general just fine. Trin's still looking for a job, but I have every confidence that he'll get one. We have our health, as do most of our loved ones. So 25 doesn't really faze me much.

Another wonderful thing about this month is that at the end of it, or just after, the book I've been waiting for for six months is coming out. Lover Revealed, the fourth installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward, is officially releasing on March 6th, but I'm thinking I might be able to find it early at Wal-Mart. I found the third book, Lover Awakened, over a week early. Maybe I'll even find it on my birthday! Oh, what a present that would be. As soon as that book is in my hands, I'm ignoring everyone (except Peanut) and reading until I can't see straight. Then I'll rest for a few hours and read it again. I suppose I'll let Trin read it after I've read it twice; any more and he might start to complain.

And when February is over, along with the coming of Lover Revealed is the coming of slightly warmer temperatures. March is hardly ever as frigid as February. Today it was in the -20s--that's just inhuman. My sister called me and told me her husband described people who live in this weather as insane. Needless to say, I did not argue. Seriously, I haven't left the house in days. I have stuff to do, but it's to damn cold and there's no way I'm taking Peanut outside.

So I'm here, patiently waiting for the end of the month. Well, mostly patiently. Sometimes when I think about the wait for the book, I get twitchy. But time flies, so I'm trying not to think about it.