I’m a yarn snob. When I moved from sweater knitting to shawls and socks, I became very particular about the quality of yarns I use. No more big-box store yarn for me. For the same price as 5 skeins of Lion Brand Wool-ease, I could get enough merino wool, or merino blended with another luxury fibre, to make a lovely pair of socks, or a beautiful lace shawl. I’ve become addicted to anything hand-dyed, especially semi-solids. The exception I make to this is I don’t mind knitting with machine dyed yarn for socks.

So, I’m telling you all this as a preface because I’m going to Knit Nation this weekend! Knit Nation is an event held at Imperial College London that brings in amazing teachers and wonderful British yarn vendors for a weekend of fibre fun! Last year I went to the marketplace only and didn’t have much cash. This year, I’m taking a sock design class with Cookie A (!) and have saved up a fair bit of money to spend in the marketplace.

To say that I’ve been looking forward to this is an understatement! It’s two days away, but I have my class handouts printed, along with a schedule, a map of Imperial’s campus, and a map of the marketplace vendor layout with a plan of action drawn up. I’m planning some major stash enhancement in the form of Wollmeise, Skein Queen, Old Maiden Aunt, Nimu, and Sweet Clement. It will be one of the last times I can buy British handdyed yarns before I move back to the US and I’m planning to act accordingly.

I have no doubt that when I move back to the US, the customs people will think I’m trying to open my own yarn shop!

Helix Socks

These are from the book Brave New Knits with patterns from famous knitting bloggers/designers. To be honest, I haven’t read the blog of the designer, but these socks are so adorable I had to make them.

Pattern: Helix Socks

Yarn: Another mystery yarn from All the Fun of the Fair

Needles: US 2

Started Some time in January

Finished February 18

Mods: I had a different gauge than specified, so I cast on 66 stitches a reduced them to 65.

 

I love the look of these socks. The yarn, with its tonal qualities, really adds visual interest to the spiral pattern. I have to admit, this wasn’t the fastest pattern for me to knit (not including the break I took to knit the Scent of Lavender socks). I tend to prefer lace socks with 10-15 row repeats, whereas this sock didn’t really have what I would call a repeat. Technically there was a 5 row repeat, but really, once you got started, you just went around and around in pattern. I couldn’t trick my brain into thinking I only had one or two more repeats to go, I just had to knit until it looked okay. Overall I do love these socks, and the pattern is well written, but they weren’t the most fun socks for me to knit.

Alcea Shawl

This is the other Susanna IC pattern from KnitCircus, and it’s the one that made me buy the subscription in the first place. This pattern is gorgeous!

Pattern: Alcea

Yarn: Malabrigo Lace

Needles: US 4

Started February 10

Finished February 18

Mods: I used size 4 needles as I was struggling with the fragile malabrigo yarn on bigger needles.  Therefore, the shawl is very small.

 

Susanna IC is known for her crescent-shaped shawls, and this is one of her most beautiful. It’s a bit daunting at first because you start by casting on something like 300 stitches and work the lace edging, before moving on to stockinette shortrows to make the body. As I said, Malabrigo lace was not the best choice of yarn, I don’t think. I would like to make this shawl again and I will either use a plied laceweight yarn or I will make it in fingering weight. I just could not get the Malabrigo Lace to knit up on needles any bigger than US 4s.

Today, I have for you the first two projects I finished in February. Parts 2 and 3 will come shortly.

Scent of Lavender Socks

These socks were made for the SKA Sockdown February challenge. They are from Stephanie Van Der Linden’s book Around the World in Knitted Socks. The pattern is inspired by France.
Pattern: Scent of Lavender
Yarn: Mystery 4 ply sock yarn I picked up in a rummage sale at All the fun of the Fair. It is gorgeous yarn.
Needles: US 2
Started February 2
Finished February 8
No Mods

These are officially the fastest knit socks I’ve ever made. The pattern was so quick and intuitive. I think that the yarn shows off the pattern very well despite the slight variegations. This is a really beautiful pattern and I recommend to anyone!

Kalmia Hat

Sometime in January or early February All the fun of the Fair had a refurbishment sale, and I managed to score some amazing deals. Part of the amazing deals was this skein of Dream in color classy. I purchased a year subscription to the online magazine KnitCircus and one of the patterns in this season’s issue is this hat designed by Susanna IC.

Pattern: Kalmia
Yarn: Dream In Color Classy in Giant Peach
Needles: US 10.5
Started February 11
Finished February 12
No Mods

I took the project with me on a lifegroup trip to our friend Macey’s house for a sleepover. I decided to make the hat for Macey as a thank you for letting us come and take over her house. I knitted on it the entire evening as we chatted and watched TV. It was really a very quick knit. I finished the remaining rows the next day as I watched rugby with some of my guy friends. They thought this was entertaining and I got many requests for knitted beanies. I must apologize for the dark photos; I only got one chance to photograph it (early in the morning) and now Macey has it. One day I will get better pictures of it.

2011- 1st Quarter FOs

I have been knitting away in 2011 and I have a lot of FOs to show you! I have been feeling very productive and have had a lot of babysitting evenings to work on projects. This post will contain my projects for January. I will do a post for February shortly.

Crystalline Socks

These were made for the SKA sockdown January challenge (slipped stitches). I love this stitch pattern and had to go through a few different sock patterns to find one that was intuitive. Also, most of the patterns I tried were toe-up, which I don’t really enjoy knitting. These were a quick and easy pair of socks.

Pattern: Crystalline Socks
Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet (a Christmas gift from Julia!)
Needles: US 2
Started January 1
Finished January 15th
No mods
Ravelry Project page here

I really enjoy working with this yarn. This is the third time that I’ve used it and I think the bright pink and green were a good combination for the pattern. Overall a success

Haruni Shawl

This was my first shawl of 2011, and it was made for my friend Lil for her birthday. I’ve wanted to make the Haruni shawl since about this time last year when it was published by a member of the 10 shawls in 2010 group.

Pattern: Haruni
Yarn: YarnAddict 100% Superwash Merino
Needles: US 6
Started January 15
Finished January 23
Mods: Only knit 10 body repeats instead of 12 as I wasn’t sure how far my yarn would go.
Ravelry Project Page Here

I really enjoyed this pattern. It was a very quick knit, and was a perfect combination with this yarn. I haven’t officially committed to the 11 shawls in 2011 challenge (i.e. I’m making the shawls, but I won’t be upset if I don’t make 11 this year) but I seem to have been re-gripped by the shawl bug. Anyway, Lil loves her new shawl/scarf and It’s the perfect color for her.

So, life got hectic last year. Between starting a new job, keeping up with catering work, taking on more responsibility at church, and volunteering with some new projects, it’s a wonder I got any knitting done at all. But, I want to start blogging again more regularly and I have to start somewhere.

10 Shawls in 2010

I did manage to finish all 10 shawls. It was a bit down to the wire, though as my 10th shawl was finished on the 26th December. In order they were Aeolian Shawl, Shetland Triangle Shawl, Bitterroot, Eliina, Annis, Dover Castle Shawl, Cleite, Ishbel, Seraphim Shawl, and the Swallowtail Shawl. I’ve held on to the Aeolian, Shetland Triangle, Bitterroot, Dover Castle, Cleite, and Ishbel Shawls. Annis and the Swallowtail Shawl went to my mum. Seraphim I made for my mom to give one of her friends who has admired my work. Eliina was a sample shawl for Nimu yarns. Of the ones I’ve kept, I only wear the Shetland Triangle, Cleite, and Ishbel frequently.



Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Customize a collage

11 Shawls in 2011

I wasn’t planning to continue with the group into 2011, because I thought maybe I had had enough shawl knitting. And yet, one of my first projects of 2011 is a shawl. I am making the Haruni shawl in Yarn Addict merino for my good friend Lil for her birthday. I have several others that I want to make this year as well. I don’t know if I will be as committed to shawls as I was in 2010, but I figure I will contribute any shawls I have made to the group, and if it’s fewer than 11, so be it.

Sock knitting

I have really been bitten by the sock knitting bug. At the start of 2010, I said I wanted to knit 10 pairs of socks in 2010. That did not happen. I ended up knitting 6 pairs of socks, which isn’t too bad I think. Towards the end of the year, I started trying to do some of the SKA Sockdown 4 challenges. I don’t know if I will do the Sockdown every month, mostly because sometimes what I want to knit in a given month does not conform to the challenge guidelines.

I am ordering Cookie A.’s new book Knit.Sock.Love and a few other sock books because I want to really knit socks this year. Lots of them. I’ve already finished one pair this year and I’m very keen to knit many more. 11 pairs this year, if not more.

Goals for 2011

I’m setting bigger goals for this year.
I want to design something. I got the Vogue Lace Stitchionary for Christmas and it has filled me with ideas. I cannot wait to see what happens.
I want to get my number of projects on Ravelry up to 100. Right now (end of January) I have 60 projects, so 40 more to go.
I want to learn colorwork. There are so many beautiful projects on Ravelry that incorporate colorwork, but my project page is noticeably devoid of multicoloured pieces.
Make a sweater. I didn’t make 1 sweater in 2010 and there are so many fantastic sweater patterns out there. Also, I have lots of sweater quantities of yarn that are just hanging out. There is no better way to decrease a stash than knitting sweaters.

Yarn Acquisitions

I received an email from All The Fun Of The Fair earlier this week explaining that they’re closing the store for refurbishment shortly and they were trying to get rid of as much stock as possible, so there were some great bargains to be had. I stopped by yesterday, thinking that some of the yarns I’ve been wanting to try, like Dream In Color Smooshy, would be on sale for £10 and I could get a skein or two. But no, all of the really nice yarn was being sold for £5/skein!!! I got 4 skeins of Skein Queen Crush (normally £13), a skein of DIC Smooshy and DIC Classy (both normally £14) for £5 each!!! I am now set for yarn for a little while. The DIC are both in the Giant Peach colorway, two of the SQ are in Magenta, one is in Limeade, and one is in Lavendar. Needless to say they are all gorgeous and I am very inspired by them. There is just so much knitting to be done and so little time to do it.

I will now try to limit my yarn acquisitions until Knit Nation in July, when I will save my pennies for a yarn extravaganza.

Ok, it’s time for me to get back into blogging. I’ve been out of commission for some time now. Life has been super hectic since my last post, and I’ve had some bad knitting luck, so there hasn’t really been much to blog about. First of all, I FINALLY got a job! I’m so, so happy to be employed. I’m doing some administrative work, and the job has some serious perks. They give me a free lunch every day; and not just any lunch, but a buffet lunch, complete with salad bar, cheese board, and usually five different cakes to choose from for dessert, plus fruit. I really need to be careful or else I am going to get gigantic. I also get an unbelievable amount of holiday; 27 days annually, but I have 30 days from when I started in February until next March 31. That’s six weeks of holiday! Unbelievable.

Anyway, on to the knitting. I’ve had some bad knitting luck due to a broken needle incident. I’m pretty convinced that breaking a needle gives you 5 years knitting bad luck. But I am recovering quickly. This shawl was meant to be my ravelympics project, but due to the needle breaking incident, it took much, much longer to finish.

Bitterroot by Rosemary Hill

Nimu Dollywaggon in Coral; 530 yds

US 4 needles

February 12- March 31

I really love this shawl. It wasn’t the smoothest project for me, but the finished product is gorgeous. This yarn was only okay to work with. It took some pretty severe blocking to get it to be pretty in this pattern. But it is such a beautiful color and the finished product is so soft. By the way, Clare from Nimu yarns has a new website for her shop. You should definitely go check it out. I highly recommend the Torva or Helvellyn yarns, they are both amazingly soft and have nice yardage in the skein.

Well, that’s all for now. There’s much more knitting being done nowadays, so you can expect more frequent posting.

xx

My second shawl for the 10 shawls in 2010 challenge is finished! I made the famous Shetland Triangle Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Shawl (rav link) by Evelyn A. Clark

Yarn: Cascade 220, aprox. 350 yds.

Mods: I knitted 7 repeats of the body chart

Start/End date: Jan 11- Jan 22

This is a very quick and easy knit, particularly in worsted weight yarn. The most beautiful part about the pattern, in my opinion, are the undulating lines. These lines are what made me want to knit the pattern in the first place, but I must admit, when I was knitting the shawl I doubted that they were there. The texutre of the knitted fabric during the actual knitting process, is not ideal. It is wavy and the individual lines are lost. But through the magical powers of blocking, this shawl bloomed into something that is stunning.

The yarn I used for this shawl is now in its third iteration, its first being a vest, and its second being my lace ribbon scarf. I have decided this year, that if I have made something that I don’t wear and can’t gift, I’m going to reuse the yarn. I basically never wore my lace ribbon scarf, and I thought this jade color would be stunning as a shetland triangle, so I turned it into something I would wear. Be on the lookout over the next year for FOs using familiar looking yarn.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.