I can't remember the last time we had so much snow. Taking a walk becomes a journey through a series of Victorian Christmas cards.
In amidst this winter wonderland, allow me to introduce Exhibit B: The Icing Swirl Hat, by Ysolda Teague, made for my mum in Rowan Cocoon.
I must make a confession: with about a week to go before Christmas, I broke my stash pledge in buying this yarn. I did use up nearly all of it making this hat, though, so the yasteroid has not taken too much of a hit. The combination of a super-soft yarn and an easy yet satisfying pattern was a soothing one during a stressful train journey. I got 95% of it done in the five-odd hours between Cambridge and Edinburgh, so this really is a good last minute gift choice. I was a little worried that this had turned out too big, but my mum likes the slouch, and claims it keeps her ears nicely insulated. Thumbs up for the Icing Swirl!
Exhibit C: Turn a Square, by Jared Flood (of Brooklyn Tweed fame), made for my brother in Rowan Pure Wool Aran.
With its simple, clean design this makes an excellent (and quick) man gift. It is a basic striped beanie, with raglan-style decreases at the crown that make the stripes into a square. I made it with yarn I had left over from making a scarf for him last Christmas, so now he has a matching set! As always for ribbing, I used Ysolda's tubular cast-on. I also followed the instructions for jogless stripes, which are not entirely jogless, but look very neat nonetheless. Sorry I don't have a photo of that detail - my brother was a rather reluctant and restless model... He does, however, appear to like the hat, and reports that it kept him warm up a mountain. Thumbs up for Turn a Square!
I am really glad I took a little break from my Year of Selfish Knits; it does make me very proud to make things that people like and use. I think I have managed to work free from the figurative gift-knitting milking machine I seemed to get myself hooked up to last Christmas. I guess it's about finding a balance, and keeping the gift projects manageable and fun (it will be a very long time before I make anyone a scarf again...). I have relished starting a new thing for myself, though, of which more anon.