Monthly Archives: January 2012

January FO Parade

 It had to happen eventually. After knitting only hats, I’ve suddenly become extremely productive knitting everything but hats. Let’s start with the biggest project.

the essayist sweater

Pattern: Essayist Pullover by Deborah Newton. Published in Knitscene Fall issue 2010

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Eco+

Thoughts: very warm, squishy, surprisingly soft. I messed up the collar, though.

I am often influenced by pattern names, and this one was just irresistible. Back in November 2010 when I started this project, I was taking my last literature course and feeling rather nostalgic about how I would never again spend afternoons writing self-consciously pretentious essays on Jane Austen. I also loved the colour of the pattern sample, and chose Eco+ from my stash because it was a similar colour, even though the fibre content was very different. I knit maybe 10cm of the body and one sleeve before getting hand pain and when I got better, it was spring and too warm for bulky sweaters.

I wasn’t really inspired to finish it until these past few months. I wanted to be able to wear it as I spent afternoons writing my hopefully less pretentious thesis 😉

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Pattern: Roses are Red, available for purchase through Ravelry

Yarn: Araucania Ranco

Thoughts: A very old yarn gets finally used and the result is pretty, yay! Also, I won the pattern as a prize. I never win anything!

This one was an easy knit. My knitting always slows down with these triangle shawls as the rows get longer and longer, but I powered through the final pattern repeats last weekend. 

valentine socks

Pattern: None. 

Yarn: Yarn Love Marianne Dashwood, colourway “Valentine”

Thoughts: My sock mojo is BACK!

I think I’ve finally gotten back into the groove. I knit these in 8 days, which isn’t too bad since I also finished the shawl. The yarn had been waiting for some years now in my stash, and I decided that I was finally going to have Valentine socks for St. Valentine’s Day. I had forgotten how fast plain stockinette socks can be, even for my size 11 feet! Also a nice little Austen reference in the yarn name. Just perfect!

valentine socks

 

A Hat and a Half

I still have one project to report from 2011. Stricly speaking I finished it this year, but since I mostly knit it during Christmas, I think of it as my “holiday project”.

gretel

Pattern: Gretel Beret by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Katia Miski/Mirasol Miski (it’s the same yarn)

This was one of the projects I intended to knit last winter before my hands started to ache. I had bought the book Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting, in which the Gretel pattern is included -albeit in a rather, um, condensed form. There are no charts and only one size -I’m guessing this is because the pattern (with charts and multiple sizes) is also available for purchase directly from the designer. Even I was considering buying the pdf download to get charts, but in the end was too cheap for that. Instead I just drew up the chart from the written directions and repeated certain rounds to make the hat bigger.

I do not mean to imply that the pattern in the book would be useless -the crown decreses that I’ve heard so many knitters speak highly of are indeed quite clever. I’m also very enamoured with the pattern pictures -it’s because of them that I knew I just had to make this beret, and make it in red. I don’t usually like knitting intricate cables but thought that a hat knit in worsted weight yarn wouldn’t be too bad. It’s really quite a quick knit since the cables can be done without a cable needle.

After finishing Gretel, I have also knit another hat but that was such a complete failure that I won’t even post a picture here (I’m still slightly mad). To recover from the disappointment I started another hat yesterday. Even it had a rough start (the cast on was twisted) but it’s going better now.

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The name of the colourway is “She’s so sweet” and I have found that (along with the very sweet colours) very soothing. Even though I have no idea who would wear a hat like this, I’ve been happily knitting away while eating vegan marshmellows (a gift from my mom). Perfection.

2011 in Review

After a very meh New Year’s Eve (I was at work), today the year 2012 is starting to look much brighter. It’s even snowing as I write this, finally!

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The view from our living room window, slightly enhanced with iPhone apps.

I wanted to write a short review of my knitting life in the past year before moving on, so here goes:

Projects

In the past year I knit (finished) 30 hats, 5 scarves, 2 cowls, 2 sweaters and one pair of socks. The difference between 2011 and 2010 is quite obvious then -in 2010 I knit 14 pairs of socks but only 2 hats.

Even though I have given some hats away, I still have so many now that some have been used only once. Predictably, the one lonely pairs of socks has seen a lot of use. I really should knit more, but when have I ever knit something just because I should?

The project that I’m most proud is rather hard to decide. On the one hand there’s Wondertunic -it was an old UFO that I managed to save & finish, and it also fits surprisingly well. But it wasn’t my first garment nor was there anything particularly difficult. My Dam hat (from the Urbanista pattern by Woolly Wormhead) on the other hand was my first intarsia project, and I even managed to adapt it to make it fit better. I haven’t used it much, but I am rather proud of it.

Some Big Things

There are two things that obviously affected my knitting life in 2011. Firstly, I couldn’t knit at all until March due to hand pain. Once I could start knitting, small accessories seemed the best choice since I wasn’t sure whether the pain would come back and force me to leave bigger projects unfinished. 

Becoming (nearly) vegan in 2011 also had a huge influence on my knitting. Although I have continued to knit with my stash yarns (and so am still using wool), all new yarns I’ve bought have been vegan. 

Best…

New Yarn

Now this is easy -my favourite new yarn is the vegan handspun from MaidinEngland’s Etsy shop 🙂

One of the projects I mentioned in last post was knit out of her yarn. This time the picture should work: 

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The pattern: Eriikka by Suvi Heikkilä 

Book

Weekend Hats, obviously. I was super-excited about it and have knit multiple projects out of it. The best book that I haven’t knit anything from is Scandinavian Jacquard Caps from the Japanese Let’s Knit-series. I bought it from Amsterdam on my vacation.

Knitting Technique

Cable cast-on. I’m really extremely lazy and stubborn when it comes to trying something new, and usually just use the cast-on taught to me in 7th grade. Woolly Wormhead uses the cable cast-on in many of her patterns, and finally I decided to try it. It has made my cast-on edge tidier, usually it’s way too loose (yes, I am indeed the only knitter in the world who never has to worry about edges being too tight!)

Pattern

One that I haven’t knit -Escargot hat from Knitty. Fabulous!

One that I did knit -the Aquitaine shawlette. It’s free and a very clear pattern.

Although I did also use many awesome hat patterns, the necessity of nearly always adapting the pattern to fit me is a bummer. Although there is one exception, who nearly always offers multiple sizes…

Designer

Woolly Wormhead.

Knitting Tool/Accessory

HiyaHiya 40cm metal circulars. They are lightweight, reasonably priced and don’t smell like some of my Addis. I got mine from Villavyyhti. Incidentally, the opening of that store is also The Event of 2011.

So that’s that. I’m not making any resolutions for 2012, but I’m hoping to finish at least one fair isle project and to finish/otherwise get rid of some big UFOs. We’ll see. 

Happy New Year everyone!