First FO of 2015 is another Norah Gaughan cabled hat, in Patons Classic Wool. This one is more a cap, not as slouchy as Blossom. I like the hat, but I haven't worn it so it may go in the gift bin. There are only so many hats I can wear, even in rotation. With the wind chill ranging from highs of - 33 C to lows of -47 this last week, I do think I've worn a hat more days already this winter than ever before.
I used the free trial period in January for the Creativebug site to pick up the hat pattern. I cancelled my membership without subscribing though. Creativebug is set up so that you pay a $10 monthly fee which renews automatically on a credit card until you cancel, and you get access to all the classes on the site. However, I was really only interested in the few knitting ones by known designers, like Norah Gaughan and Gudrun Johnston from Shetland Trader. The offerings at the level I want were not enough to be worth $120 US per year for me. I buy two or three Craftsy courses per year, usually when they're on sale for $15 to $25. Most Creativebug classes are quite short too, in comparison to Craftsy. I would rather pay more for an in-depth course with more patterns or applications. Creativebug may be just right for some people who want to try a lot of different little craft projects, but I remain a Craftsy fan for serious learning.
My next FO was a UFO from early last year, the Meier cardigan from the cover of Metropolitan Knits. It was in a time-out while I worried about modifications I had made to narrow the shoulders. I finished one sleeve per pattern instructions and sewed it in to make sure I hadn't frigged up the armhole too much. Whew! it looked okay, so I quickly knit up the other sleeve and had a finished garment on my hands. I went to Fabricland to buy buttons, and for once the cheapest buttons on the rack were the best color match and suited me fine. Serendipity in the end.
Anne Marie and I have another friend knitting with us on Mondays now. Pat has had to take the year off, babysitting for a little granddaughter. But Diana decided that she'd like to knit again, after a long period of concentrating on stained glass as a hobby. She's making accessories for herself and her daughters, and after I helped her find a cowl pattern in Cowlgirls for a pretty mohair blend she'd chosen, I decided I should try the pattern too, the better to help her if necessary. (But it really wasn't necessary; her skills are refreshing fast.) I had some Emu Butterfly inherited from my aunt about 1989, so this is truly vintage yarn. It knit into a lovely, light, fluffy cowl, if I can just find someone who doesn't find mohair too itchy.
Stash diving, I also found the remains of an old boucle, maybe Sirdar, that was sold in huge balls so you would get a really long gradient color change. It reminded me of another cowl pattern I wanted to try, one I picked up on Ravelry, that was photographed in a similar textured yarn. Hawl is a cowl/neckwarmer with an I-cord threaded through the top so that it can also be pulled up and worn as a hat, handy if conditions change. It's designed for kids, but the teen size fits an adult.
I've seen a few of these convertible accessories, and this is a good basic pattern that you could use with your own colorwork ideas or textured stitch patterns to change it up. I'll probably knit it again out of a yarn I like better.
So January was a productive month with a completed cardigan and three items to replenish the gift bin.