A year ago I made a crochet lace shawl, using Exquisite Lace from the West Yorkshire Spinners. It’s a marvelous Falkland wool enriched with mulberry silk, and I’ve been looking for the right pattern to use another skein I’d bought last year, in light mint green. I’ve hesitated between many different shawls and scarves, but in the end I chose a Drops Design pattern called First Frost, because: 1) I liked it, 2) it required just under 800 metres which is exactly the length of 1 skein.
This pattern is rather simple – yes, it’s lace so it requires some attention and focus, but it’s also very repetitive so it’s easy to memorize each row after a brief check in the diagram. I’ve been knitting it while working (whenever I didn’t have to type), one row at a time, and it went much faster that it might seem. The yarn is very thin, but the needles used (3,5 mm) are larger than I’m using now for a fingering weight project, since lace looks better when it’s a little more loose and airy (after obligatory blocking of course!).
Woollinn 2019 has come and gone, and as much as I was going to take tons of photos and post a nice write up of the festival, guess what? I managed to take exactly 0 pictures! I don’t even have an excuse, I was just busy and also a little overwhelmed with everything, and I just haven’t thought to take out my phone and take some photos. So the best I can do is try to describe everything now, and send you to check the #woollinn hashtag on Instagram to get a visual idea of all the yarny goodness.
I wanted to write a new post a few times over the last two weeks, but I just really wasn’t in the headspace for that. Between my travel to Brussels and now, a lot has been going on, and I think that my “knitting” reflected that! It’s been chaotic, with some failed attempts (summer knits of course, right?) and inability to focus on anything, and with one broken knitting needle (because of TENSION! Can you believe that stress )
So I thought it would be the best to break this post down into points and just write a little about everything. Buckle up!
Summer knits: me 2:0
After all the failed summer projects from last year, it seems that things are not improving this year at all. I started and almost finished (see the photo above) the Purl Soho design Notched Hem Top. I had perfect yarn (linen with bamboo from Ice Yarns), I loved the pattern, it was simple and should be a blast – and yet I managed to ruin it completely. Just look at the armholes. I don’t even know how to comment on that! Just how did I manage to knit one armhole so big, and another one much smaller, is a big mystery and I don’t have an answer to it. I was so disgusted with myself when I realised what I’d done, that I just unraveled the whole thing. Maybe next year I will come up with a better idea for this yarn.
Then I tried to knit few different tops (I don’t even remember all the patterns right now) with another, cotton based summer yarn. That’s about as much as I went before ripping it all out each time:
I don’t know why, I’m just not feeling it at all. But I really want to make something with this silver cotton yarn, so I’m not giving up hope that the next I try to use it, it’s actually going to work out.
If this shawl looks familiar, it’s because I’ve already knitted it before, not too long ago. In fact, now that I’ve checked the previous post, I’d finished it less than a month before the second version.
My first Kindness Shawl 2018 KAL was made for a friend. At least in theory… because at the time of my annual meeting in Brussels I decided to take it with me. It was just a perfect match for my spring coat, better than anything in my wardrobe, and I knew I had another skein of identical yarn, so I decided just to keep the first version and re-knit it again after return. I actually took the yarn and needles with me, but the whole Brussels stay was so busy that I was in the hotel only to shower and catch some sleep – no time for anything else (seriously, 12 hours long work meetings, evening socializing because, after all, I only see my co-workers twice a year, and that Belgian beer is just too good!)! So I started knitting it as soon as I returned to Dublin.
This strangely looking WIP is not an amigurumi octopus (pentapus?) in the making. It is, in fact, a cardigan, designed in an interesting way, with sleeves, back piece and both front pieces knitted separately and then joined together at the yoke. The yoke itself is what drove me to this Paisley Cardigan pattern by Sarah Hutton in the first place – I just really like the contrasting, cabled detail that adds a twist to the plain, simple sweater.
The cardigan is a part of patterns collection designed for the beautiful aran weight yarn from the West Yorkshire Spinners, The Croft Shetland Colours. When I first saw it on their Instagram account, I knew I wanted to knit it, and exactly in the same colours as the original. I love that two contrasting, neutral colours are used together, and work so well. I thought it would be a great way to be able to wear this cardigan both with cooler and warmer shades. And I just needed a reason to buy some of this yarn and try it out!
The title of this post is my reply to a friend who received my Aphrodite shawl for her birthday and told me that she loves shawls, even though she might already own an impressive collection, so if I like knitting them, she is more than happy to receive them 😉 Which suits me just right, as I have a lot of shawl patterns in my queue, own some shawl pattern books, and in general, love knitting and crocheting them. But I feel guilty when I think of making so many shawls just for myself, so her confession is a very welcome excuse to knit more!
However, my most recent knit – based on the Kindness KAL Shawl pattern by Jaala Spiro – was made for another friend. I wanted to knit something special for her as a thank you gift, for inviting me to take part in a project we’ve been working on together with her research team (she’s in academia and I used to work in research, so since they needed someone with specific skills, she asked me to join them) for the last several months, outside of my normal job. That really helped me find a new focus in my work, exactly at the time when I needed it most (and to refresh my CV a little which I really needed, too). Beside that, she’s just always been a great friend, so did I really need more to knit something for her? I also knew right from the start that I wanted it to be a shawl, with at least some lace elements, or maybe fully lacy.
It’s official: my new favourite sweater is ready! In fact, it’s been ready for over a week now, I’ve just been lazy to update the blog and post some photos, so it’s high time to write about it.
I was super enthusiastic about the pullover in my previous post, and I still am. It turned out just as I hoped for: very soft and squishy, with a comfortable, relaxed fit. This yarn apparently stretches a little after blocking (I haven’t washed or blocked it yet as I don’t think I’m going to wear it anytime soon, it’s too warm), so I guess it will be even more relaxed once I decide to do it.
It might be Spring already(and surprisingly, even the weather seems to confirm it these days!), but I have a lot of beautiful wool yarn in my stash and many sweaters lined up in my knitting queue. Sweaters and shawls. I need to refresh my wardrobe when it comes to sweaters anyways, and I guess if I do it now, it means I’ll be prepared when it gets colder again in the Fall, right?
After completing my large crochet project last month, I decided it was time to knit something for a change. Plus all the colour changing yarn bought for the bedspread has inspired me to knit a shawl… or maybe a few of them. So my first spring knit of the year is a light, garter stitch- based shawl with lace that I made with the yarn bought to crochet the border of my Sophie’s Dream.
Yay! My super-colourful Sophie’s Dream bedspread is ready: all the squares are finished, bordered with navy blue yarn, joined and then the blanket is again bordered with 1 row of single crochets and popcorn stitches, and another row of single crochets. It’s colourful, large enough to cover the duvet, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a very visible, contrasting accent in out mostly white bedroom and I love it so much that I almost considered banning the cats from entering the bedroom for a while 😉 Alright, who am I kidding… they rule the house so it was just a passing thought.
Adding the border around all the squares really made the colours pop and was such a great finishing touch. I then hesitated whether I wanted another border around the whole blanket at all, but I decided to add it in the end. If you look at the original pattern linked at the beginning of the post, you can see that the border suggested by the designer includes contrasting stitches. I like this option, it really works well with all the colourful squares, but since I didn’t have enough contrasting yarn left, I decided to stick to the navy blue, and I think it looks just fine too.