The first is the Milanese Lace Topper hat. This is a free pattern on ravelry. My sister bought the yarn and picked the pattern for herself. It was a quick, easy knit that I was pretty happy with. I did modify the pattern to do ribbing for the band instead of just stockinette. I did this for two reasons: to avoid the brim curling and because my sister has a big head. This made it a bit stretchier and fit better. I was really happy with the pattern. The only thing I would do differently next time is maybe do one more repeat of the pattern. The hat seemed a little short, but otherwise I loved it. It was complicated enough to hold my interest, but easy enough to be a quick FO.
The next thing I cast-off was the Anthro-Tastic headband. This is another free ravelry pattern! My mom was getting ready to travel to Europe to visit the Christmas markets for work. As I'm sure you can imagine, it's pretty cold in Switzerland and Germany in December. She asked if I could knit her some ear warmers. She didn't want to wear a hat, but wanted something that would help keep her warm. The yarn I used was Loops & Threads Charisma in the colorway Northern Lights. I couldn't be happier with how this turned out. I gave the pattern five stars for being so brilliantly simple and gorgeous. I finished this in just over a day! I think the colors just look so beautiful with my mom's blonde hair, and I want to make another one of these for myself! This would be a great project for someone who wants to try their hand at cables and wants to get a feel for them.
After finishing the Amanda Hat, I decided to use my leftover yarn to make a matching pair of mittens for the baby. His family lives in Colorado, so I figured the more winter-wear the better. Susan B. Anderson's Baby Mitts pattern is a super easy, quick pattern. They were designed to be made using three different colors, but as I was at a convention and this was the only yarn I had, I stuck with it. I finished these in a matter of hours. I attached the tail ends of both mittens together. This way, Mama can have an easier time keeping them together and not losing one.
Like all knitters, I have a pretty big stash. I have carefully cultivated it over the years, and even recently purged a bunch of acrylic yarn that I had stashed when I first started knitting. As an effort to start to get through even more of the skeins I have, I've started doing what I call "Stash-Down 2016". The idea is to knit through as much of my stash as possible. I am not allowed to buy any new yarn (gifts don't count, and neither does the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival). I get a skein of yarn from my stash, find a pattern for it, and do it. It feels pretty satisfying to be going through some of the skeins I've had for years and finally using them! This headband was my first project of Stash-Down. I used the Bernat Satin Ombres yarn in the colorway Peacock. The pattern is called Calorimetry and I am obsessed. I finished it in just one day! This was also the first time I've made anything with a button! I do need to work on my button sewing skills, but other than that I am pretty happy with it. As soon as I cast-off, my wife decided that this was hers. She has been wearing it on cold days ever since!
The last project I've done is also part of Stash-Down. I had a lot of the Bernat Satin left after finishing the Calorimetry, so I decided to try my hand at a dog sweater! This is modeled by the beautiful Olive! She's a jug - half Jack Russell and half Pug. She loves being buried under blankets and shivers if she's not. I used the pattern Pug Dog Sweater in size Medium. I had the same problem with this one that I did with the Owlie in that I got antsy with just knitting stockinette and didn't make the body quite as long as it should've been. Olive doesn't seem to mind, though!
Writing all of my recent projects out like that seems so impressive! Next time, I'll fill you in on what I'm working on now.