Category Archives: Knitting
Well, the last few weeks here have been quite a whirlwind! We had some houseguests, which meant we had get ready for houseguests. It’s great to have houseguests because we finally get around to cleaning the whole house all at once. There’s a brief moment when one can enjoy an entirely clean house (well, except for that closet where you shove everything to make the rest of the house look nice:) Then, there’s the super fun of having people in your house. I got the chance to try making liege waffles. Those were fun and totally tasty and gone so fast I didn’t have a chance to take a photo. But, I did have a chance to take a picture of the funnel cakes we made.
We love having guests because we can make stuff we might not make for ourselves. I mean, when else can one make 6 funnel cakes and not have any guilt?
We also get to play tourist in our local area, which, to be honest, is not hard since we haven’t lived here long. This is my favorite picture from the whole week.
These pouffy flowers at the Boston Public Garden had us scratching our heads. Such interesting plants!
We also watched the ducks and swans.
And tried our first cannolis from Mike’s Pastry in the North End. Really tasty, by the way. Totally worth the wait, which we did not have, but if we had to wait, it would have been worth it.
One highlight was a little organ music at the Old North Church. It wasn’t a concert. He was clearly practicing for a future event, but it was fun to listen to him practice in that space.
On our way to and fro, I even got a little bit of knitting time on these new socks.
They are the Head Over Heels Foothold socks, by my friend Helen. Yarn is from IndigoDragonfly.
I also had some time to order some new yarn to make a strokkur and a cabled sweater. I think I’ll wait a little while to get started on those, though. It’s been hot here and I don’t fancy a thick woolen sweater at the moment. Instead, I’ve cast on a laceweight sweater: Ivyle.
The chances that this will get finished before the summer is over are very slim, but I will try. I’ve also got a couple of shawls on the needles that I’d like to finish up. More on those next time. Summer is looking busy!
I’ve been a knitter for about 14 years now. One thing I have noticed over those years is how whatever project I am knitting somehow gets associated with whatever is going on with my life at the time. In other words, each project has memories attached to it that come to mind whenever I see or wear that knitted item. For example, there’s a pair of socks that I remember knitting one year at the beach. Every time I wear those socks, I remember back to those happy moments knitting contentedly while on vacation. There’s also a sweater that I worked on while the husband was in the hospital following a serious car accident. When I wear that sweater, I am reminded of those anxious times and feel grateful that things turned out ok. We knitters spend a lot of time with our projects and sometimes those projects become part of our lives during that time.
Two years ago, I started a sweater. Two years ago, we were also deep into house hunting for our move. Somehow, I was never able to really get into the groove of knitting that sweater. I think now that it was perhaps a reflection of how I was feeling at the time. Moving is stressful and as much as I knew it was the right thing to do at that time, it was also something I very much did not want to do. And, just as I struggled with adjusting to all the changes that the move brought to us, I really struggled with being motivated to knit that sweater.
Occasionally, I would pick it and work on it. A few times, I even managed to finish a piece of it.
This was the state of things at the beginning of May. All the pieces were finished except for the sleeves.
Sleeves don’t usually take too long for me, but I was not feeling particularly motivated to finish these. So, I did something that sometimes helps me to make some progress on a stalled project. I took it with me on a road trip and did not take any other knitting that I could do in the car.
It worked. At least, it worked for that first sleeve. The second sat around waiting for a bit until I decided that enough was enough and I cast on on that second sleeve.
A few days of dedicated knitting was all it took to get the second sleeve finished. All that was left was the sewing up.
Instead of diving into that, I found myself distracted by other things again. But, on the eve of going to the MA Fiber Festival last weekend, I wondered if I might be able to finish the sweater to wear the next day at the festival. Nothing gets a knitter motivated to finish something than the prospect of being able to wear it around a bunch of other knitters! I did not end up finishing the sweater in time, but it got me started and I did manage to finish by the end of the weekend.
It just needed a bath and rest after that. Now, two years later after I started the sweater, it is finally finished.
The sweater is really comfortable and I like it a lot. The pattern was great. It must be because every time I came back to it, I had to figure where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. And that’s sort of how I have felt on and off over the past two years. Where am I and what am I supposed to be doing? I would ask myself this often as I adjusted to our new normal here. I can’t really explain why I was so unmotivated with the sweater except that maybe it was somehow a reflection of how unsettled I have felt this past two years in this new place.
And now that it is finished, I think it is also a reflection of how I am feeling these days here; more comfortable, more settled, more at home. This is not to say that I am totally at home here because I still don’t feel like I really “belong” here. To be honest, I’ve never felt like I “belonged” anywhere but that’s a topic for some other time. I think there is always a part of us that lives in the places we leave behind, but those places also go with us and live in us.
There’s nothing magical or mystical about this sweater, but I do think it will always remind me of these last two years when my world was shifting and changing and I was struggling to figure out how to live in it. Thankfully, the sweater, just as this life, fits pretty well, looks pretty, and is really quite comfortable.
A few months ago when I was working on the Through the Loops Mystery Sock, I became quite enamored with the mosaic knitting method.
If you’re not familiar with this method, it’s pretty fun. You only knit with one color every row, passing stitches from a second color by so that you get this cool connected effect like you see above in the two color section. I really wanted to revisit this method again and found another pattern to do it with. Pucker by General Hogbuffer looked super cool and just what I wanted! It took me a few months to get to them, but was happy to finally cast on a few weeks ago.
All was sort of well for the first few inches. And then the troubles started. Firstly, the yarn I was using was beginning to annoy me. It was splitty and I was having to fix a lot of stitches, which was slowing me down and preventing me from getting a good rhythm. Then, the colors in the multi colored yarn started changing in such a way that I was having a hard time distinguishing between the two. I thought I could overlook these things once I got to the heel, though. Surely, if I just persevered, things would fall into place and it would all be ok. Somehow, I would become ok with the splittiness and the colors would pass by and look better. (I can see all you veteran knitters shaking your heads here:)
I think we all know where this was heading. Oh, I did get to the heel. In fact, I even knit the heel.
The first time, I got all the way through the gusset pickups when I noticed that I had not got the last 6 rows of the color patterning right on the leg. I would have let it pass if it were not for the fact that those wrong stitches would be front and center of the design and I could not continue and make it look like it was supposed to.
It took me a whole evening to rip it out, pick up all the stitches and knit the color pattern correctly. Then, last night, I knit the heel again. Only, when I got to the part where I needed to turn the heel (my favorite part), I discovered that I had knit the wrong number of heel stitches. Again, I could not let it go because then the pattern would not be nicely continuous. Sigh.
I ripped it out again and cried uncle. Honestly, I love the pattern, but I was really hating the yarn. I could not bear the thought of picking up those stitches and knitting the heel again. And you know what? I am always telling people that life is too short to knit with yarn or patterns that we don’t love. I want to knit with love, not anger or frustration.
I pulled out the yarn that I bought last week at the MD sheep and wool festival that I bought for Helical socks and decided they would also be perfect for this pattern. So far, I only have a couple of rows, but I am loving the yarn combination so much more already. We’ll see how it goes.
The lesson here? Knit what you love.
This week we’re on spring break and, fortuitously, we are also having some springlike weather, finally! On Saturday, opening day at our local ice cream place, it was still a bit chilly, but we went anyway because we love their ice cream!
Thankfully, the next day was much warmer and it has been a little warmer each day since. As per usual, I finished up a very warm and woolly sweater last week just as winter was gasping its last breath.
This is my new favorite sweater! It’s warm and cozy, but also light and breathable. I used Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn in the sweatshirt colorway. I love this yarn so much that I am already plotting to make more sweaters with it. Maybe one for the husband next?
He is impressed with how light it is for its size and I agree! It’s much lighter than most yarns, holds its shape wonderfully, and does not pill at all. It’s a great yarn.
I also finished up my hyacinthus armwarmers from the A Year of Techniques series of patterns. These were super fun to knit and I will definitely be using the helical stripe technique again, maybe in socks next time. In the meantime, the year has moved on to intarsia.
This is not my first time doing intarsia, but I have not always been happy with how my intarsia projects turn out. My edges always seem a bit wonky. This one is giving me lots of practice in the technique, so that is good, though I am not sure how well it will translate to other, more complicated patterns. This project is a gentle introduction to intarsia, but one that is proving just as interesting to knit as the helical mitts. It’s not a traveling project, though. With multiple balls of yarn going at the same time on every row, it takes quite a bit of vigilance to not end up with a tangle.
And for those moments when I want a bit more mindless knitting, I’ve started a Find Your Fade shawl. This pattern caught my eye several months ago as a good one to use up odd bits of leftovers. It’s a really popular pattern at the moment and I can see why. It’s one of those compelling knits because it is not complicated, but at the same time, it’s kind of a mystery how your colors will all look together. So you just keep knitting one more row to see what it looks like or to get to the next section.
I’ve got a whole bunch of leftover fingering weight yarns plus one full skein of a lovely indigo blue that I am using up and it is such an awesome feeling to do that! Some of my yarn balls are smaller than the pattern writer calls for, but the pattern is easy to adapt to account for that. There have been a couple of close calls where I almost ran out of one color before I got to the end of a row. I wonder if it would matter if I changed colors in the middle of a row?
The finished size of this shawl is quite big–over 100 inches! Soon, it will be hard to take a picture of the whole thing. I’m just hoping it all comes together and looks good. So far, I think it is blending fairly well, though I am not sure about those streaks of green. There was a little more pooling happening there than I would have liked. It’s just a little bit, so hopefully it won’t stick out like a sore thumb later.
I’ve also been doing a bit of baking, but I think I better save that for next time!
It’s supposed to be almost spring here, but it doesn’t feel like it. Many of us around here were fooled a couple of weeks ago when local highs reached 60 for several days in a row. All the snow melted and I actually started thinking about casting on some fingering weight sweater projects. However, as we all know, weather is fickle, and we’re back to sub-freezing temperatures during the day now and, once again, there is snow blanketing everything. The bushes are literally flattened by the change in weather.
The end of February meant also the end of the Through the Loops mystery sock knit along I mentioned last time. To my surprise, I was actually able to keep up and get them finished on time. This might be the first time I’ve ever done this as I am notorious for being easily bored and distracted, especially with socks.
I tried knitting both socks at the same time with this pair and was rewarded with a completed pair of socks at the end of the knit along. Maybe this is the cure to Second Sock Syndrome? It worked for me this time, anyway.
As for the Snowmelt shawl, this one got finished mostly because it was super easy knitting. There was a little lace, but it was easy to follow and watch telly at the same time. While knitting, I was a little unsure of how the multicolored yarn was going to look in the finished project, but despite my insecurity, I pressed on. It turns out that I needn’t have worried. There’s a little pooling, but it’s broken up pretty well with the pattern.
I cast on this project during our first Nor’easter in New England in early February. It seemed fitting to block it while a second Nor’easter shook the house this past week.
For a brief moment, when both of these two knit alongs were nearing completion, I wondered what I was going to knit next. Then, A Year of Techniques was brought to my attention (sorry there’s no link right now, but I will add it later when their server is back on) and I knew exactly what I was going to knit next: Hyacinthus Armwarmers.
If you have never done Helical striping, I urge you to try it. Here’s a link to a video. There’s also some info in there on how to get all the patterns that go with the knit along.
It took me about a week to finish the first set of mitts and I immediately cast on another, which says a lot about the compelling nature of the pattern and technique, since I almost never knit the same pattern twice in a row. Plus, I had enough yarn leftover to make another set, so why not?
The return of the cold weather also drove me back to my old sweater project, Chartreuse. I almost gave it up for the season when the temps were warm and I was dreaming of greenery all around me. It did not seem likely that I would be able to finish it before the cold weather was gone for good. I should have known better than to indulge in those daydreams. So, I have picked it up again and after about a week’s worth of steady attention, it actually looks like a sweater now.
The chances that I will actually be able to finish this and wear it before the weather turns warm is pretty high now, I think. As long as I don’t get distracted by something else…