Something Green

 

I’m going through what you might call a Green Phase right now, where every single project I’m working on (well, the ones I’m interested in working on) are some shade of green. I don’t know why, but I seem to gravitate towards colours in blocks like that… a few months ago, I was all over blue projects, and prior to that I was obsessed with reds. At some point, I notice that everything is all the same colour, so I switch to the next colour obsession until I get sick of it, and repeat.

In the last week, I’ve completed two green projects and I have two more on the go. My Xanti, if all goes to plan, will be finished today, which is exciting even despite the fact that the days of bundling up are over until the fall (not that I’m complaining!). The most exciting news, though, is that I’ve actually finished a sewing project! I’m going to try to snap some good pictures this weekend, because, though there are a ton of mistakes, I’m feeling pretty good about having finished something that is actually wearable. And, boy, is it wearable. I’m going to wear the hell out if it, I tell you!

So, that’s my brief update for now. More finished project posts soon!

Long Overdue

Readers, I owe you an apology. In my last few posts I’ve complained about being in a creative slump, but I suppose I should finally admit that I wasn’t being entirely truthful. I can think of a few reasons I felt that I was in a slump: winter was particularly long and hard this year; I feel like I’m making the best creative progress when I’m working on large projects, like sweaters; I need new clothes and I’m too cheap to buy them, so I’m feeling panicky about having failed so spectacularly at sweater making recently. But it hasn’t been nearly as dire as I made it seem. I realized yesterday that I’ve knit seven pairs of socks since the beginning of the year (Wanna see? Check out my ravelry page. Also, it’s perhaps a good sign that I feel comfortable enough sharing my ravelry page?). I also started and finished the adorable cardigan pictured above, which was no small feat.

I made this for my pal LeeAnne…. well, more accurately, for LeeAnne’s new baby boy. LeeAnne and I work together and, despite never having met in person (we work in different offices), she’s definitely one of my favorite people in the company. When I learned that she was pregnant, I saw the perfect opportunity to make the Pomander Baby Cardigan, a pattern I’d been hoarding for months.

Let me just get one thing out there: I am extremely pleased with how this turned out. The cable and seed stitch yoke is beautiful and interesting, and I learned a number of new techniques in the making of this: how to read a flat chart with a pattern on the wrong side, how to make a round yoke cardigan, how to do an icord cast off. These are all useful skills and I am a better knitter for knowing them. But readers, make no mistake, this little cardigan took me ages to finish, and the process wasn’t always very fun. This sweater is knit from the bottom up, which isn’t so unusual, but instead of knitting the sleeves separately and attaching them at the yoke, the pattern has you provisionally casting on sleeve stitches that are later picked up and knitted like you might do with a basic top-down raglan sweater. If you happen to be asking yourself right now, “if it’s like a top-down raglan, then what the hell is she complaining about?”, I humbly submit that unpicking a provisional cast on is a special kind of knitting hell for me. By the time I finished unpicking the provisional cast on and making the sleeves, I definitely wasn’t in a hurry to attach the buttons. And so it languished on my dining room table far longer than it should have.

In any case, that’s all in the past. As you can see, the buttons have been secured and the result is a mighty fine looking baby sweater. I’ve even managed to get it in the mail and off to its intended recipient, which Canada Post tells me has been delivered, so I no longer risk spoiling the surprise with my blog post.

Specs:

Pattern: Pomander Baby Cardigan by Sarah Pope

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Pearlescent (yes, I’ve been using an awful lot of Knit Picks lately… I’m being a good girl and knitting my way through stashed yarn)

Modifications: none

Fellow knitters: what knitting experiences have both helped you grow and tried your patience at the same time?

On Socks and Slumps

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When I first started knitting, I was very skeptical about socks. More specifically, I was confused by their popularity in the knitting community.  Socks are just about the least exciting garment a person could make, I thought at the time. They’re also among the most expensive compared to other garments: 1 skein of good sock yarn runs about $25 and only makes one pair, but you can make a whole sweater with two skeins of sock yarn and slightly larger needles, and a $50 sweater seems like a way better investment than $25 socks. Money considerations aside, I’ve also been a person who has hated wearing socks for the majority of my life. My socks were always replete with holes after just a few wears, and they’ve always felt rather suffocating next to my skin. 

While nothing can really change the price of hand knit socks, I’ve come to the conclusion that wool socks are different than those other crappy socks that have caused so much discomfort in the past. Wool socks are luxurious. They are uncannily warm or cool whenever you need them to be, and I find them so comfortable now that I’m able to wear them through the night and wake up to find them still on my feet the next morning. I have come to love socks for these reasons, and because of the way they boost my ego. Few things have made me feel more clever than learning how to turn a heel to make perfect fitting socks, and knitting two socks to be as close to exactly alike as possible is something that I get better and better at doing with each pair that I make. So, I hope you’ll forgive me my lack of modesty when I brag about the socks pictured above. These are Light Rye, modified from a pattern by Tin Can Knits and made with Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted in the Constellation colourway. Because the original pattern is written for worsted weight yarn and I wanted to used fingering weight, I cast on more stitches (72, to be exact) to fit a large man’s foot. I think my garter stitch pannel in the front is wider than what the original pattern calls for, but I don’t really mind. In total, these socks took 5 days to make. If I didn’t have a job to go to, they might have been done in 3.

Obviously, I am not a large man, and these socks are not for me. My sock knitting appetite has been whetted, though, so I definitely am making some socks for myself.

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Allow me to introduce my first pair of Cookie A‘s wildly popular Monkey socks, knit in self-striping Drops Fabel. These are my first patterned socks since I made that fancy pair for Margaret, and I completely understand why knitters love this pattern so much (there are 17919 pairs and counting on Ravelry!). The repeats are short and very easy to memorize, making these the perfect travel knitting project: easy, but not too brainless. It’s my first time using Drops Fabel and, so far, I really like this yarn. I can see that marled self-striping yarn might not have been the best choice for a moderately busy pattern, but I love the colours, and the yarn seems sturdy enough that it would survive the washing machine (P.S. any knitters out there able to comment on this yarn’s machine washability?).

My absolute favorite thing about socks right now is that they’re giving me the confidence to try another sweater soon. I mean, if I can do a fancy pattern and turn a heel like a boss, surely I can find my way back to making lovely sweaters that fit the way I want them to, right? So, I’m thinking that Xanti looks like a challenge I’m nearly ready to undertake. There’s plenty of stockinette to balance out the cable and lace details, and I already have some great yarn in a hard-to-photograph bottle green colour that I’ve been saving for the right pattern. It feels great to be getting excited about sweaters again!

Though this might be the end of my sweater slump, I’m still not done with socks! I’ve picked out the next yarn I’ll be trying out, but I haven’t settled on a pattern yet. Any of you seasoned sock knitters have any pattern recommendations that will make the best use of my beautiful yarn?

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