Thursday, March 5, 2009

Weasley Hats...

Love is in the air...
Love is not always joyful and full of hearts and flowers. Sometimes it
is the love that is lost that speaks loudest...

The February 2009 Craft Challenge at Harry Potter Crafts on Yahoo groups:

"Craft one item that represents your favourite relationship in the
world of Harry Potter. This relationship can be romantic(couples)
or platonic(friends)."

When the poll was posted on creative writing as a craft, I pulled up my trusty word processor and quickly wrote this story. I had had the idea in my mind for quite a while to make a Weasley hat, and this story explains the beginnings of this hat.

So, in memory of Fred Weasley, and for the love of his mother, here is
my challenge...

"Weasley Hats"

Molly Weasley pulled the jumper from the box on the sofa. It was the
last box of Fred's things that she had promised George she would go
over, and either discard or donate to the Poor Wizards Fund.
She laid it out on the arm of her chair, and smoothed out the wrinkles.
The large letter "F" that she had carefully worked in soft wool yarn,
the softly turned collar, the reinforced patches that she had sewn on
the elbows... She lifted it to her face, feeling the soft scratchiness
of the wool, and the smell of...
She still had days when she almost forgot that he was gone. Days when
she saw George and called him Fred. She held the jumper to her heart,
and remembered the day Fred had chided her for calling him Fred, when
she should know he was George, then laughed when she corrected herself
and called him George.
"Only joking, I am Fred!" She had laughed, too, in spite of herself.
The two of them were always making her laugh.
Molly pulled out her scissors and began cutting away at the jumper's
seams. She separated each piece and laid it aside, until it was
reduced to a pile of parts. Two sleeves, a front and a back. She
unraveled the yarn slowly and lovingly, setting each finished ball
into the knitting basket that sat on the floor by her chair.
She took the first ball into her hands and selected a set of knitting
needles. She usually set the needles to knitting by themselves, but
today she wanted the feel of them, of the yarn, running through her
fingers, as if she were touching Fred, George, Percy, Ron, Charlie,
Bill, Ginny, and Arthur.
She worked on through the afternoon, stitch by stitch, and from time
to time a tear fell slowly down her cheek and landed on the wool. It
was deepening into evening when Arthur appeared in the fireplace,
tired and sagging after a busy day at the Ministry.
"Molly?" He stepped out of the fire and stood beside her chair. She
laid down her needles and reached up to touch his cheek.
"Arthur. Is it that late already?"
"Yes, dear," he said, smiling gently. "I hope you don't mind, but I
just want a sandwich and a cup of tea. I'll make them myself, you keep
"Oh, all right, dear."
She went back to her knitting and continued into the night. One by one
she laid the finished pieces on the table by the sofa.
Hats, with softly turned brims, and letters on each one. Eight of them.
Part of Fred, one for each of them.

She washed and blocked them on the kitchen table. Then, when they were
dry, she wrapped each one in tissue paper and tied a strand of
leftover yarn around them.
She would not wait till Christmas to deliver them. She apparated to
each of her children's homes and to Hogwarts (Ginny was in her seventh
year) to give them each her gifts.
The Weasley family wore the hats for many years, before they tucked
them, one by one, into safe places. They would take them out every
now and then, and remember Fred, and the love of a mother who took her
sadness and knitted it into love.

For all those who asked for the pattern...

The pattern is amazingly simple.
Yarn is Vanna's choice in desired colors. On size six circular needles, check gauge, it should be 7st=2in. Size is for approximately 22-25 in head. Cast on circular needle 76 st, join and work stockinette stitch, in the round, for 10 rows. On 11th row, let bottom edge of work curl up, and catch the back of the first row stitch, then the 10th row st, and knit these two together. Repeat this around, and this forms the rolled brim of the hat. Continue to work stockinette st in the round for about 9 in. On last row, k2tog all st around, then cut yarn with about 12 inches from last st. Draw the yarn with a yarn needle through all stitches, and gather tightly, and secure yarn by knotting and sewing end in. Weave beginning yarn end into brim to hide. With scrap yarn, work duplicate st initial on front.

BTW- I used yarn from a sweater that my dog refused to wear, so this hat was recycled like Molly's hats!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Catching up...

I have been a bad girl again...
Well, I have made new socks...

The Second Task
Light green weed stretched ahead of him as far as he could see, two feet deep, like a meadow of very overgrown grass. Harry was staring unblinkingly ahead of him, trying to discern shapes through the gloom...
Chapter 26, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J K Rowling
The next in my series of Harry Potter themed sock patterns.
The yarn is Crystal Palace's Panda Cotton, in Seascape. I like how the colors knit up like the ripples of sun on the water, it works well with the pattern.

Handsome Devil Socks
From Six Sox Knitalong
Made with black alpaca (unknown brand) and Lion brand Sock-Ease in Taffy

The Hogwarts High Inquisitor
He thought she looked just like a large, pale toad...Even the little black velvet bow perched on top of her short curly hair put him in mind of a large fly she was about to catch on a long sticky tongue.
Chapter 8 "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" by J K Rowling
Another of my Harry Potter inspired sock patterns. The yarn is Lion Brand Sock-Ease in Cotton candy. The pattern is adapted from the pattern of the sweater the dreadful Umbridge wears in the first classroom scene from the movie.

I have also been dying yarn for socks.
I used Knit Picks' sock dye blank, and used my favorite dye, Kool-Aid.
A dye blank is a strip of sock yarn, knitted double stranded, and then dyed in any way you wish. I made dots of blue and several shades of green, then filled in the spaces in between with yellow. It is recommended that you soak the yarn for 30 minutes before dying, in order for the dye to get to every part of the yarn, but I did not, so the dye did not get into every nook and cranny, and so there are some spots where the yarn is speckled with white. I like it!

The yarn is then wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a crock pot to steam for about 45 min. It is then left in the unplugged crock pot until it is just lukewarm. I unwrapped it and rinsed out the remaining liquid (which was clear) in lukewarm tap water.

I squeezed out the excess water, rolled it in a towel to further dry it, then laid it out on a towel overnight to dry completely.

Then I started knitting. I did not want to hide the beautiful colors with a busy pattern, so I used a plain stockinette stitch pattern. The colors, I think, are beautiful! There is some wrinkly texture, because of the curliness of the previously knitted yarn, but I have been told this disappears when it is washed and blocked.
These socks remind me of the colors of newly budded trees with the sun and sky peeking through. Oh, I can't wait for spring...

I'm a Ravenclaw!