It sank in on Thursday that three friends of mine were having a joint birthday party on Saturday evening and we had nothing to give them. Instead of running out and purchasing some novelty talking hamsters or somesuch, I had this bright idea that I was going to knit three presents in three days.

So without further ado, here’s how I spent my knitting time in the 72 hours from Thursday night to Saturday night:

Thursday night: Cast on for Giftblitz ’07 Gift #1: Steve’s Lopi Hat. Knit stockinette in the round all through knit night, then went home and knit for a few more hours while reading in bed. Finished around midnight and went to sleep.

Pattern: the Garter-Brim variation of Kim’s Hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Size: Women’s; 3.5 sts/inch/5 rows/inch, approx 23″ around, 9.5″ deep.
Yarn used: Reynolds Lopi in Earth Red, approximately 1 skein
Needles used: Size 9 Denises, 16″
Started: 10/11/07
Finished: 10/11/07, for a total of about 5-6 hrs knitting
Mods: My gauge was off, so the women’s size made a large, roomy hat. I knit garter stitch for about 2″, then knit to about 7″ before starting crown decreases. I left out two of the plain knit rounds between decrease rounds, and k2tog’d all around the last round so I had 10 sts left when I drew the top closed.
Notes: I think the Kim’s Hat pattern as written might make an excessively deep hat for most people. If/when I make it again, I’ll be careful about how long I make it before beginning crown decreases.
Verdict: Despite Steve’s man-sized cabeza, I think the hat was still a bit too big for him, but he seemed to like it. This yarn is rather itchy, but I am very fond of the colors–the way they go from deeply saturated, almost shining deep red to a pale, almost silvery pink.

Friday: At lunchtime, I cast on for a Bainbridge Scarf for Jeanne, using the partial red Knitpicks Cotlin skein Leigh gave me to try out, and white kitchen cotton for edgings. I knit for a while, then picked it up again after work while watching seasons 2 and 3 of Firefly and finished around 10 PM Friday night–total knitting time probably 5 hours.

Pattern: Bainbridge Scarf
Size: Finished dimensions ended up being about 5″ by 26″, with 7″ ties.
Yarn used: Knitpicks Cotlin in Moroccan Red, perhaps 3/4 of a skein, Lily Sugar ‘n’ Cream in white, much less than 1 skein
Needles used: Size 6 Denises, 16″
Started: 10/12/07
Finished: 10/12/07
Mods: I cast on only 130 sts to compensate for the differing gauge with the slightly larger needles, and knit about 4-5 rows of white yarn at the beginning and end of the piece to create a contrast color edging.
Notes: This is such a cute pattern! I want to make one of these for myself, perhaps using one skein of some cuddly and expensive solid-colored yarn. I would probably make the circumference a bit smaller, though the extra folded-over length seems like it would be good for tucking into the neck of a jacket. I am kind of undecided about the Cotlin. It seemed nice to knit with at first, but all this red fuzz came off the yarn and got all over my hands and my face and made me sneeze. I thought perhaps it was cat hair on the yarn, until I rubbed my hands together and giant red lintballs stuck together with sweat came off my palms.
Verdict: It looked very cute on Jeanne! I sort of wished in retrospect I’d chosen a different contrast color. Red and white has too many other meanings attached to it. I started out thinking of Dr. Seuss, then, as I was knitting, my thoughts progressed to IU’s school colors, cream and crimson, then, when I was about 3/4 of the way through, the words “Santa Claus” slowly, horrifyingly, made their way into my mind, and it was a great effort to try and see the cute and modern color combination I had envisioned originally.

Friday night: After finishing Jeanne’s scarf, I cast on for a basketweave neckwarmer for Charlie. That was it for knitting that evening, since I headed out for some drinks after that, but it was a productive day anyway.

Saturday: I finished Charlie’s neckwarmer in the afternoon, after this cool encounter at the farmer’s market. I stopped by to fondle the handspun bulky yarn at the Schacht Fleece Farm stall, and as I was talking to the woman there she said she had read my blog! They looked up their farm name the other day and of course, since I’d blogged about the open house farm visit (as did Elliphantom and chemgrrl) my site came up.

Pattern: My own. In a fit of creativity, I’m calling it the Giftblitz Basketweave Neckwarmer (click for pattern instructions).
Size: One size fits all!
Yarn used: Knitpicks Cadena in Mist Gray, approximately 1/2 skein (~55 yards)
Needles used: Size 11 Denises
Started: 10/12/07
Finished: 10/13/07, probably about 3-4 hours of knitting
Notes: A super-quick, easy, and thrifty gift. The Cadena is squishy and nice, but I think many people would find it a bit itchy against the neck. I didn’t have time to block it; I bet some Eucalan would help tame the itchies.
Verdict: I think this was the most popular gift I gave. Rahul requested one too, once they saw that it could be pulled up around the face for biking in the cold in addition to pushed down around the neck to keep it warm, and Charlie’s girlfriend Carol immediately stole it and wore it for the rest of the evening like a headband, Calorimetry-style.

Off-topic notes on Firefly, since I was watching it while knitting. I love Buffy, and started getting into Joss Whedon’s other work only after I ran out of Buffy episodes to watch. I think Angel and Firefly are definitely inferior to Buffy, but I grew to enjoy them both–Angel came first, as a natural progression. I watched the whole series over this last summer. (The puppet episode was one of my favorite of the series. Brilliant!)

I watched Serenity at some point, probably when I found the DVD at the library, and found it disjointed and hard to follow. It seemed really obvious to me that it was a continuation of a TV series rather than a movie that could stand well on its own. I think I’d really like to go back and re-watch it, though, after finishing the rest of Firefly.

I was totally underwhelmed when I watched Disc 1 of Firefly–completely bored throughout the pilot, and thinking the whole way through of how baffling Whedon fanboys/girls were, to build up a cult following around this show. I thought grimly, though, of how terrible Buffy Season 1 was compared to, say, Season 5, and soldiered on through the rest of the disc. By Disc 2, I was finding myself really liking the characters, settings, and stories, though the forced affectation of “gorram” still makes my skin crawl.

Some of my favorite scenes so far include the “Too much hair!” sequence, Kaylee’s throwaway line, “He makes everyone cry, he’s like a monster!” and the scene between Mal and Inara at the end of “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” And by the time “Out of Gas” rolled around, it was deeply heart-warming and satisfying to see everyone’s backstories.

The Chinese is abysmal. I think the only intelligible word I’ve heard so far out of anyone’s mouth is “go-se,” which I am thinking is probably “dog shit.” I can’t figure out anything else they’re saying. It’s not just that I don’t know the words they’re using; I have no idea what syllables and tones they’re trying to produce. Just a minor complaint. I appreciate the integration of Chinese into this space western. I was going to say into a sci-fi movie in general, but then I started thinking of Blade Runner (look at that insane metal suitcase box set!) and Naboo and decided that Exotic Asian is already totally an old motif in futuristic sci-fi. Let’s see some more Exotic South American or Exotic East African or something.

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