Given how quickly this year is flying by, I figured it would be a good idea to get an early start on holiday knitting. I still haven't made a final decision on what I'm making for everyone in the family (that's seven people, not including those I live with), but my father-in-law was fairly easy. He's a pretty plain and very practical guy, so a cozy pair of mittens and a matching hat seemed perfect. The mittens came off the needles on Tuesday.
Pattern: Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts by Susan B. Anderson, size XL
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Targhee Worsted (100% Targhee) in Deep Unrelenting Gray, approximately 197 yards
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) Addi Turbos, magic loop
Started/Completed: October 11/October 18
Mods: shortened the length of the hand and thumb by about half an inch
I've knit this pattern before, and I'll knit it again (likely for another gift or two, in fact). It's well written and easy to follow, and I like the length of the cuff of these mittens especially. I really like this yarn for mittens, too. Targhee is a very bouncy wool, and the fabric is delightfully squishy worked at a dense gauge. The only modification I made was to shorten the overall length of the hand and thumb because they seemed incredibly long. I had the Mister try them on to be sure, as his hands are a little larger than mine, and I'm hoping they will work out okay for the recipient. I know that when I block them they will likely gain a little bit of room as well.
Almost as soon as the last end was woven in on the mittens, I cast on for the hat. The pattern I'm using is a free one, Two by Two, that is basically just a ribbed watchcap with a folded brim. That means pretty much just miles of 2x2 ribbing, which is easy to enough to do without having to pay close attention. I'm using what's left of the skein (which my scale tells me is about 214 yards); the pattern calls for about 200, but I figure if I'm short on yardage, I have a couple of swatches from the sweater I originally knit with this yarn that can be unraveled and used to finish off the crown. This isn't going going to be a very interesting knit to look at, as it's just ribbing for about nine and half inches before I start the crown decreases.
I'm using a size 5 (3.75 mm) needle for this, though I will fully admit I did not swatch. The pattern calls for a gauge of 22 stitches over four inches in ribbing, but I always have a hard time measuring gauge in ribbing because I'm never sure how much to stretch it, if at all. I was getting about five stitches per inch in stockinette on this mittens with a US 6, so I figure going down one needle size should be good enough. Plus the whole hat is ribbed, so it'll be nice and stretchy. And if it doesn't fit him, it will fit somebody -- I'll even happily keep it for myself!