Though most of the country is covered in snow, and I'm sure it is ideal knitting time, our house is getting hot enough in the afternoon to make you sweat! Not exactly motivation to pick up wool. But I've been able to get several small projects out the door despite the not so conducive temperature.
My bow tie wearing husband requested a knit necktie like his brother's. I took to heart the lessons I learned from the first knit necktie I made: a.) it takes a lot longer than you would think to knit a long skinny strip, but b.) what really take a long time is sewing down the ribbon backing! No, I kid, (but those things are true and should be taken into account if you are planning on knitting a necktie.) I did the actual knitting for this project over Christmas break, and then stuffed it in a bag, with the already purchased ribbon backing, dreading giving up the knitting time to sew on the backing. The perfect opportunity presented itself when we hung out with friends on the only cozy rainy Saturday we've had all winter. I was able to sew on the backing ribbon without thinking too much about what I was doing or how long it was taking due to the good company. This tie did go faster than the last tie because the yarn was a little heavier weight, a discontinued Knit Picks sport weight, and so, because of the heavier weight yarn, fewer stitches were required to get the same width.
One of my co-workers, who works in rare book preservation, and her husband, who is a sculptor, built a tree-house dollhouse for their granddaughter. I haven't seen pictures yet, but she described it to me, and asked if I would make some animal dolls for it, specifically a black cat doll. My co-worker's granddaughter has a pet black cat named Chubby that she loves very much, and my co-worker had attempted to find a black cat doll, but hadn't had any luck. I asked her about what size, she said "egg sized." I'm always happy to make requests, and mostly with this kind of project, I just want to make sure that I'm spending my time making something that the person will like. I first went to Ravelry and searched for tiny cat, tiny bear, etc, to get a good sense of the patterns already available. I settled on this cute little bear pattern, which was only slightly annoying for having to seam up the back of the body and the back of the head. I did i-cord legs and tail, and adjusted the ears and eyes to give them a more cat-like appearance. Though the legs aren't hinged, the tail provides ballast, so that the cat does sit up. My co-worker relayed that her granddaughter recognized this little version of Chubby right way, so, mission accomplished!
A UFO is knitting speak for an Un-Finished Object. I'm not sure, however, if that label can be applied if the project never got started to begin with. I had this beautiful madelintosh yarn sitting around since February 2013 to make a cowl for myself. It was one of those projects where I saw the sample and just had to make it. I started the project as Christmas knitting on planes and by the fire, etc. It was a simple to memorize stitch pattern, only one yarn used at a time, and just going around in a loop. I worked on it off and on, not really sure how wide I was going to make it. I started noticing that most cowl patterns were 7 1/2 inches wide. I finally measured the cowl that was just hanging out and realized i was only 1 1/2 inches away from being done. So I finished it in on sitting. But then, I just wasn't right for me! And it really was one of those "not right" situations where you just know it isn't getting better. I know I picked out green yarn because I don't wear that much green, but, I still don't wear that much green! So I sent it off to a friend and it has found a happy home.
Finally, birthday socks for my sweet Valentine of a mother. These were a fun pattern, definitely improved by using the Felici yarn from Knitpicks with it's wide stripes. It's a great yarn for socks, very soft, and excellent for esoteric patterns. These socks are started at the cuff, then knit the entire back, and then pick up stitches in a U shape around the opening and just knit back and forth, decreasing, until a final long graft closes up the front. I know that probably sounds like garble, but trust me, picking up the stitches evenly was the only annoying part. I even got the color repeats to basically match up!