FOs, WIPs, and plans

So here we are, a little over two weeks into the new year, and so far things are going well. Work is nice, no drama has exploded in my personal life, and I've been pretty productive knitting-wise.
I've even got a FO already!

I got to meet my little brother's girlfriend when I was home for the holidays. I pretty much expected her to be a sweet girl, based on comments from my Nani and parents, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that she (like me!) is a great big Harry Potter nerd. We talked a bit about the series, and our favorite characters, and when I found out that her fave is Hermione, I knew I had to make her this hat. Still need to mail it off to her, but I think it'll be a great surprise to get in the mail. I'm looking forward to hearing her reaction to it.
The hat was a quick and easy knit. The pattern actually calls for a DK weight yarn, but I used worsted instead since I do tend to knit a bit tighter than average and I figured it wouldn't affect the finished hat overmuch. The end result is a pretty dense fabric that is very warm. I used Cascade 220 superwash in the colorway Ridge Rock.
In keeping with my New Years resolutions I used up the leftovers from Jon's scarf. Unfortunately, as with most well-intentioned things, it didn't work out quite as planned. I ran out of yarn just shy of the end and had to go buy a second ball to finish it off. So now I've got more grey yarn in the stash than when I started. I'll probably make another hat out of it or something. We'll see.
And speaking of New Years resolutions, I'm working on a lovely blanket for Jason. He liked the zigzag throw blanket for the sofa so much that I'm making him a larger one. Using Lion Brand Homespun (awful, splitty stuff, but it does make a soft squishy blanket -- plus, hey, it's cheap!) for it. I'm crocheting stripes, then will use whatever leftovers that aren't enough to make a full stripe as a border. It's working up pretty quick, and is mindless. Perfect for tv crafting.
Of course, the minute I laid it out on the floor to get a picture, all the cats instantly gravitated to it. Like furry little moths drawn to a warm and fuzzy flame. So, sorry, Jason. It looks like I'm not actually making the blanket for you.

And then just seconds after obligingly lining up for a nice picture, Yarneater (background) tried to make off with the remains of the skein, Kleptocat (center) began a valiant effort at eating the safety pins securing the pieces together for easy sewing, and Nuisance (foreground) flipped out for no discernable reason and rolled over while holding fast to the corner with his claws, thus turning himself into a kitty burrito. The blanket is recovering from this ordeal in its plastic WIP tub.
I've also got a project in the works for me, though it's not going at all as planned. I've been doing quite a lot of crafting for other people. First Christmas knitting, which was followed by the Hermione Hat and the epic stripy catnip blanket. I wanted something for ME. So, I browsed through Rav for a hat pattern, busted out that one lone skein of Lamb's Pride Bulky I've had sitting in the stash forever, and started knitting. What could go wrong? said I. Bulky yarn works up quick and the pattern is easy!
The pattern is indeed easy. However, the designer didn't list a gauge. Meh, I thought to myself, I knit a bit tighter than average so I'll just go up a needle size and it'll be fine! After the first pattern repeat, I thought it was looking a bit small, so I put it on a circ and tried it on. Damned thing wouldn't even fit over my head. Ripped it, increased the number of cast-on stitches and added an extra purl stitch on either side of the cabled columns. That should be fine, right? Yeah. I got up to the decreases and decided that I should probably try it on again just to be on the safe side. Well, it fits. Mostly. But it's pretty snug. Almost uncomfortably so. After some hemming and hawing, I just ripped it out a second time. What's the point of knitting a hat if it's something I won't end up wearing because I don't like the end result?
Quickie project has now taken me three days and a load of frustration. I'm going to reknit it AGAIN because I WANT THIS HAT DAMNIT. I'm probably going to add another cable column instead of more purl stitches, but need to sit down and work the math on it to make sure that I'm not going to be knitting this frigging thing a fourth time. I am irritated that I have to do this. The point of using a pattern to knit something is so I don't have to do the math myself, and all of this could have been avoided if the designer had just taken two frigging seconds to sit down with a ruler and her finished hat, and say "I got X number of stitches to the inch" on her pattern. Because the only way she could have gotten an adult-sized hat out of the numbers she posted is if she's an abnormally loose knitter, which would have also been nice to know.
In the meantime, I'm setting this aside because I can't look at the yarn without wanting to hurl it across the room. Probably later this week I'll go back to it.
I'm also doing one of those yearly challenges that pop up on Rav. Last year I kept seeing the 10 in 2010 shawlette challenge, and wanted to get in on that but didn't find out about it until late spring, by which point it was too late because I'm not that crazy all the time. Well, this year I joined up with the 11 Sweaters in 2011, because I need more sweaters. Of course, I haven't started knitting any sweaters yet, but hey, it's only the third week of the year, I've still got time. I have lots of plans for sweaters, so that's something, yeah?
I'm also planning on doing 52 books in 52 weeks this year. I've always wanted to do it, but back in college I was going through a book to a book and a half per day so 52 books in a year wasn't even remotely a challenge to me, so I never bothered. And then after graduating, I pretty much stopped reading at all (for shame!) so I didn't do it then. Well, this is the year, and I'm actually on track with that so far, so I think I'm going to post them on here just to keep myself motivated. But in separate posts. Yep.