I made a promise to try to push myself to learn new techniques and skills this year. First up...stranded colorwork knitting. For some reason, stranded colorwork always seemed really hard and kind of scary. I posted a picture of my yarn stash on Instagram last week along with a caption about my resolution to learn colorwork, and a few people commented that I should try YouTube. I was unsure that I could learn via video but it was surprisingly easy! I watched a few videos and then gave it a shot. I had to get the hang of holding two strands at a time, which was the most challenging part. I picked the Schuyler hat for my first pattern. I found it via Fringe Association and I'm so glad I did. This is such a beautiful, wearable pattern. I'm thinking of lining it with fleece, which would make it the perfect winter hat! Of course everyone in the house is fighting over it, so I already have a second colorwork hat on my needles. And you know two more will have to come soon after! At this rate I'll be ripping through my stash in no time...which can only mean one thing... yarn shopping is in my future!
This great wide blogging world is such an amazing place. Every now and then you meet a blogger that you really connect with, and it is exciting to watch their lives unfold through their words and pictures. Erin of Reading My Tea Leaves is one of those people. We’ve only met once, years ago, but we’ve maintained an online friendship and I’d like to think that we’ve supported each other and cheered each other on through the years. She recently gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Faye, and to celebrate I made a little summer dress and knitted wrap. I was so excited to send them along their merry way a few weeks ago, and I was absolutely tickled when Erin posted pictures of her Fourth of July weekend- and there was Faye, looking resplendent in her little dress. It’s worth noting for all you knitters out there that the wrap, Petite Artichaut, is quite a beautiful, though challenging knit. There are hardly two rows alike, so it really demands your attention, but it is amazing to watch it come together- like a tiny piece of origami. The result is a delicate, heirloom-worthy knit.
We’re in Michigan now for the month, and I can’t wait to share some of the beauty with you. Last year I wrote an in-depth guide to “My Michigan” and if you’re going to be in the area, you should check it out! I hope you had a beautiful long weekend celebrating our great country…isn’t it nice to be in the swing of summer now!?
*there’s little Faye, by the seashore, in her dress (iphone pics courtesy of Erin)
Remember when I was lusting after this gorgeous springy cardigan? I decided to knit mine in the very same yarn the designer used, and I have to say- the yarn is really the most amazing thing about this knit. Not that I don’t like the cardigan, but it just wasn’t quite as flattering as I was hoping for and the band which runs along the outer edge was so fidgety. I had to re-do it three times, and although I still don’t love how it falls, I decided to let it go. Who knows what my problem with this cardigan is- it might be the way it fits my body, or it might be an issue with my gauge (however I didn’t let my lack of enthusiasm for the sweater hold me back from taking pictures- the setting here in the DR is too good to pass up- so please indulge me! besides, it is not everyday that I have a willing photographer- thanks mom!).
Here’s the thing that I struggle with when it comes to knitting- I am essentially a tomboy at heart. I love nothing more than throwing on jeans and my favorite perfectly worn gray t-shirt. Occasionally I glam things up with a dress (always in jersey or cotton!), and if I’m feeling extra stylish I’ll top it off with my favorite old jean jacket and a pair of earrings. I don’t wear any fussy clothes, never have, never will. And I realized upon completing this cardigan that I don’t wear cardigans. Doh.
So far out of all the things I have knit, the Antler sweater is really the only one that fits my style. I tried knitting some shawls but I’ll be honest, they never get worn. I do wear the hats that I knit, so there’s that. But I am having a tough time figuring out what kind of knitted item I would actually wear- another sweater, a knitted tee (already cast on, so here’s hoping)? Who knows. You end up spending quite a bit on yarn, so I feel it is important to knit something that will 1) fit nicely and 2) be stylish enough to wear without feeling like a grandma.
“Well why not knit for your boys?” I get asked all the time. I’ll tell you why. They never wear anything I make them. Their style preferences tend toward the cotton side of things- mainly the same soft, worn pair of cotton Gap sweatpants and a t-shirt. They are completely hopeless when it comes to hand knits. And they are stubborn- they won’t wear anything that they don’t want to wear- not even to make their mom happy. Luckily my friend has a baby girl that I can knit for…so there’s that!
In the future, before I get pulled into a knit simply because it looks so cute on the model, I’m going to think about what I really need to add to my wardrobe. I do think the tee that I’m starting will be an adorable addition to my summer wardrobe, but from there, I’m not sure. I’m deciding how I’d feel about knitting the same Antler sweater again in a different color combination, but honestly, isn’t part of the fun exploring new patterns? My goal this year is to learn colorwork, so perhaps I will attempt some cool Icelandic sweater or something of the sort. Any favorite projects that might suit a tomboy like myself, send them my way!
It's finished, and just in time to wear for the next month or so while the weather remains near freezing. You guys....my first real sweater, with short rows and shaping, and all that good stuff. I think I might be a "real" knitter now! I fiercely love this sweater. It's slouchy yet fitted, stylish and sexy- which is not easy to achieve with hand knits! The fit is darn near perfect, and considering I am a disaster when it comes to gauging, this is a true miracle. I stayed up way too late for a few nights in a row finishing this beauty, and I payed the price each morning. Funny story- one morning, after getting up at around 6:30 with the boys, I fell fast asleep inside the couch fort we had built in the basement playroom. While I was sleeping (for all of five minutes), Vijay and Vik moved several couch pillows over to the stairs in order to "trap" me in the basement (Vijay's words, not mine). They then proceeded to find a chocolate bar in the pantry and make their way up to my studio, where I found them eating chocolate and hanging out amidst my yarn and fabric stashes. I couldn't stop laughing at the irony- I thought I was supposed to be the one eating chocolate and hiding away in my studio. So much for that....!
I've never really thought of myself as a shawl person. I tend to be a bit tomboy-ish in my style, although I have been known to rotate through the same three cotton dresses for an entire summer (ahem!). But when I saw my friend knitting the Mara Shawl, and I saw how it was styled (worn in the front, almost like a big bandana), I though I would give it a go.
I used a gorgeous Madelinetosh yarn, in an interesting, not-quite-what-I-expected color (one of the downfalls of ordering yarn online). The color is growing on me, as is the concept of wearing a shawl. I think I'll always be a bit more inclined to throw on a scarf or pashmina, but this is a fun option for the right outfit. Thanks to the cool nights of Northern Michigan, I was able to get quite a bit of knitting done during our month away. I have several more projects on my needles (I love having many projects going at once, a different one for each of my moods!), but now that we are back in Rhode Island, it's just too hot for wool. Not that I would wish away this last beautiful month of summer for anything, let alone knitting!
This sweater has been in the works for some time now. It was supposed to be a Christmas present for my truck-obsessed toddler, but obviously that didn't happen! The delay was due to the fact that I needed to learn a knitting technique called intarsia. It took me forever to carve out the time to take a private lesson.
I go through extreme phases with my crafting- this winter, I couldn't put down the knitting needles. Now that we are on the verge of spring, I can feel my enthusiasm for knitting waning. Perhaps I'll get going on the sewing projects I have building up in my new studio space! One thing I won't be doing anytime soon- knitting Vijay another sweater.
He wore it once (for these photos), and I had to bribe him into it with a cookie. He refuses to wear it again, and every time I pull it out of the drawer he runs from the room yelling, "NO woo-woo." Which is his way of saying, "No fire engine." Do you think he knows how badly I want him to wear it, and he just wants to toy with my emotions? Is a 2 year-old capable of thinking along those lines? *sigh* I guess I'll just have to wait until sweet Vik is big enough, and I'll make him wear it. Surely he won't put up such a fight, right?