bee in my bonnet

Hurrah, the adult bonnet is done! And here I am looking like a babushka wearing it:
Ok, not the most flattering picture; but you're supposed to be looking at the bonnet!
This was a pretty easy pattern; it starts out as a simple ribbed scarf; unfortunately I made a mistake at the end and didn't do enough repeats of the last few rows, so the flared end looks a big stunted. Were I a better knitter, I could undo the bind off and fix it . . . but alas, I'm not. I also wound up with almost a full skein of yarn left over at the end; had I known that, I would definitely have made the scarf longer (this is a running theme on ravelry for this project. Heed the warning: make your scarf longer!).
The bonnet itself was relatively easy as well. Picking up the initial stitches was no problem; you knit these in stockinette to form the back panel. But then, once that's done, you pick up stitches (86 of them!) around all 3 sides for the hood (38 on each side, 10 at the top). This was trickier; I had trouble spacing out the 38 stitches over 7 inches, and though it's easy to pull them out and try again, the edge stitches get looser, so ultimately the seam isn't as smooth or pretty.
The most difficult part of the whole deal was really sewing the hood to the scarf; I'm still not as skilled as I would like to be in sewing pieces together, so while it's not physically difficult, my seams just never look as nice as I would like.
I ultimately deem this project a great success: the hood fits, the scarf is long enough for a simple wrap around the neck, there are no unsightly bulges, dangling threads or other telltale signs of novice knitting, and I will definitely be wearing this one in public. Now I just have to wait for it to get cold--nearing the end of the October and it was 80 degrees yesterday. Damn global warming. The reason I am so excited about this project is that, while I adore hats, they always smush your hair, so you get into a work and your choices are: a.) take hat off and look like an unwashed hippie with matted hair or b.) leave hat on and deal with 437 people asking you why you're wearing the hat in the office. I think the bonnet may eliminate this problem: it's loose enough that it won't smush your hair, but will still keep your head plenty warm.
Brea Bag is in much the same condition as you last saw it, but I will finish it this weekend! I cast on for a scarf for my sister and it's super easy, mindless knitting, so that means I can also cast on for another (or 2 more!) more difficult projects. I need to get started on hubby's sweater if I actually want it done before the New Year arrives. I've also signed up for yet another knitting project (yes!): I joined a Ravelry group (Helping Hands for Homeless Animals) that's knitting items to donate to animals shelters. I've picked my shelter, the Howard County Cat Club, so now I've just got to come up with some items to knit! I should probably start small, perhaps with the cat toys in Stich N Bitch Nation.
And don't worry, swap buddy, I haven't forgotten about you. I've settled on a "theme" for your gift, and I think it's a good one, so now I just need to pick the actual item.