Anya first. She went from this...
...to this in the space of a week.
It's not even that she needed a new hat or neck warmer so desperately, but between the rehearsals and performances (I spent a week in the Orlando area to do a couple of gigs with a singer) and trips to the beach, I managed to squeeze in a trip to a small yarn shop, The Black Sheep. The owner was incredibly nice and gave Anya a little present, and even though I need more yarn like another hole in the head, I didn't want to leave empty-handed so I let Anya pick out a skein of something to maker her a hat and neck warmer. She chose a delicious skein of Malabrigo Rios in the green/teal colorway you see here, declared it "not scratchy" enough for her neck, and sat patiently while the shop owner wound it for me.
My intent was to knit the neck warmer on our flight home, but of course it didn't get done by the time we landed. The hat was done in less than 24 hours, most of it knit during a long meeting I had to go to Monday night. I didn't use a pattern for either of these, just a 1x1 garter rib tube for the neck warmer, and a 2x2 rib with a four-point decrease for the hat. I'm happy with the result.
Up next, Daniel.
He loved the first pair of Girdwood mittens I made for him, and wore them so much this winter they were completely ragged within a few weeks. I used Knitpicks wool for that first pair, and I think it's partly a case of getting what you pay for, though Daniel puts mittens through a lot, so that might have happened regardless of yarn choice. The hat has held up just fine so far, though it obviously doesn't see as much hard wear as the mittens. He was pretty upset to lose one, despite its ragged appearance (he claims they were warmer when they got all felted anyway, and he's certainly got a point there...), so I promised him a new pair straight away.
I didn't want to make them exactly the same, and I thought an alpaca blend might be warmer than pure wool, so I found some odd skeins of Ultra Alpaca for the next pair. The dark color looks very gray in the picture, but it's really more of a heathery denim blue. I thought the contrast would be greater than it turned out to be, and I don't think I'd put these two colors together again in this type of color work. They will suffice, though, and Daniel was happy to have a new pair of mittens to wear to school Tuesday morning, though I only finished the thumbs in the nick of time and didn't have a chance to hide the ends until he got home that afternoon. He didn't seem to mind the strings dangling from his wrist, fortunately!