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The one thing that Dan requested from me this Christmas was a thick knit hat with a fleece lining inside. A seemingly simple request, so I started on this one quite early. I had picked up some un-dyed yarn from our local sheep at last spring's woolopolooza, and it seemed like the perfect thing. Two skeins ended up being enough a matching set of boys hats. Indeed, a third hat came out of the lot too - a casualty from my habit of always knitting the first Harvey hat too small. That one went to our friend baby Noah, since it's too much for me to keep two identical hats of different sizes in the house, even if we do have another baby on the way.

harvey and dan in their new christmas hats

harvey dada hattey?

You may notice a row of black stitches on the bottom of Dan's hat. That's holding the fleece lining in place, the key detail in Dan's initial request. In theory it seemed like a cinch to sew a fleece layer to a knit cap. In practice it's not something I'd willingly do again outside of a special Christmas request. I had wanted to use the grey hat yarn as thread, but it refused to go through the thick fleece. The next best choice was black thread which matched the liner, but my OCD over making messy sewing stitches over the nice neat knitted ones made the last step of this project stretch to almost three hours, about half as long as it took me to knit the whole dang hat! Also, the knit and fleece stretch differently, which means I had to set up the spacing with about a zillion pins. All surmountable hurdles in theory, but not the thing you want to be dealing with at 10pm two days before Christmas. Anyway, I think it came out looking pretty good, although that Drumlin sheep wool pulls together like crazy. I was expecting more stretch with wearing, but after two days Dan says it's still a bit tight. I just might have to wet block the thing over a bowling ball this week.

I made some other hats for this year's holiday season. Here's one for my mom featuring a cute little knit leaf. I also make one for my Dad and one for our sister Nelly, although I didn't snap good pictures of these. Oh well, such is life.

beth in her chanukah hat

elegant for an elegant lady

The other big knitting project I completed this season was a vest for my brother. You'll notice the resemblance to the vest I made for Dan last year on his birthday.

jake in his chanukah vest

pass the chopped liver, man!

It's a fantastically simple pattern, and a good semi-big knitting project for boys. It's not as mind-numbing as a sweater since there are no sleeves, but it certainly makes me feel more accomplished than a hat. I'll always think of this vest as the sandbox vest, since I knit most of the base while sitting next to Harvey in the sandbox this summer. That's the key to getting in six knit gifts by Christmas - starting in July.

So those are the things I knitted this year. Resolutions for the new year include working through my stash of odds-and-ends (baby mittens anyone?) and trying out my first carrying-color pattern for Dan's birthday. Which is less than three months away! For a sweater with sleeves! Eek! Better get knitting!

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