Hello! How are you doing my Friends? I hope everyone is fine, staying safe in self-isolation.
Who would have thought a year ago that this would be a common way to begin a blog entry? We live in interesting times, and I miss the good old boredom!
Here in Ireland, we entered the first stage of a 5-phase roadmap to reopening the country yesterday, and it seems that everyone assumes we’re already past the danger. I went to do my weekly grocery shopping yesterday, and I was baffled to see people without masks, gloves and approaching each other casually as if everything was already back to normal. But the 1st phase is hardly any change at all, the process is supposed to be a gradual (and slow – until August) transition into “business as usual”. Right now, some outdoor vendors and workers can reopen/ get back to work, and people from different households can meet up outdoors, but still keeping the distance. Meanwhile, all the neighbourhood kids are running around together in a large group today, and I just can’t see it ending well. I hope I’m wrong!
That’s right! After my first successful summer project, I decided to try again and knit another garment using a different shade of the same Lithuanian 3-ply Linen. This time it’s a summer cardigan designed by Ambah O’Brien, called Natsu. I’m not even sure if the word ‘cardigan’ is the best for it, it’s something between a kimono top, poncho and a summer light jacket, but whatever the name, it’s a perfect summer piece of clothing. Just have a look!
I guess challenging myself with trying to defeat my summer knits anxiety has made me bolder than usual, and I decided to give a try to my other usually avoided type of projects: made with bulky yarn.
Maybe you noticed reading my posts, that I mostly knit with thinner yarns, preferable fingering weight. Fingering or DK is my favourite, with worsted or aran weight reserved for hats (sometimes) and an occasional sweater. I’ve only tried to knit a jumper with bulky yarn once in my life, and I found it such a pain that I promptly unravelled the few centimetres I made and swapped the yarn for something lighter in my knitting group, promising myself never to do that again. It just felt so awkward! The needles were large and uncomfortable, and they felt like paddles in my hands rather than crafty accessories meant to create a garment (even though I LOVE kayaking 😉 ).
Well, since it’s time for crafty challenges and (hopefully) small victories, I dug out some bulky multicoloured wool and acrylic yarn from Ice Yarns in the shades of peach, light brown, pink and grey from my stash, and decided to give it a try.
I’ve written here several times before that I’m not that into summer knits. It’s not for the lack of trying – I’ve tried repeatedly, and I’m just not feeling it. Maybe it’s the summer yarns, mostly cotton, linen, or other plant fibre based? They are not as flexible and forgiving as wool, and very often the patterns for summer clothes call for thicker yarn, and I don’t feel comfortable in thick summer tops, even if they are made of “breathable” cotton. Of course, I could always adjust the patterns to thinner yarns, but I’m umm, let’s say not into that either.
Having tried and failed in the past, it doesn’t mean that I don’t keep trying each year as it gets warmer in the Spring! And this year, I decided to tackle two challenges at once, summer knits and linen. And feeling bold and brave, I ordered some Lithuanian linen thread on Etsy, in a variety of different pastel shades.
I mentioned here several times in the past that I’m sticking with knitting hats when it comes to knits for the Boyfriend. He never wears any scarves – neither those made by me nor any other – and he hardly ever wears the jumper I made, because it’s a thick aran weight sweater and he feels too warm in it. But he always wears the hats from me and seems to like them, or at least he’s kind enough to claim so.
Well, I’m taking it back: all it took for him to appreciate a good warm sweater was for his office to have long-term heating issues. Suddenly not only he started wearing sweaters (and got complimented on the one from me!) but also asked if I could make him another one. Well, of course, I could!
This is a post I’ve meant to write for more than a month now, and I could never find the time or mood for that, so I think it’s high time to present my Summer Carnival Bolero finally!
It’s the shortest cardigan I’ve ever owned (or knitted), and it’s a somewhat surprising addition to my wardrobe, as I’m usually more of a tunic kind of gal. But recently I’ve found myself knitting smaller and shorter sweaters, and it culminated (at least I think so, if I go any shorter, it’s not going to be a sweater anymore but… I don’t know… a cowl?) in this bolero. As it’s finally getting warmer, it’s a functional, lightweight, not too covering layer that I can wear below my spring jacket. That is, at least I could do it if I went out – my only trips are taking the rubbish out, going for short walks in the neighbourhood (we don’t have many places to walk here even though the area is rural and green, as there are mostly fenced pastures and there are no pavements. To have a proper walk we have to go by car first, a little farther than is allowed for non-essential reasons now) and rare grocery shopping, that we try to limit as much as possible. But in theory… the bolero is perfect for now 😉
At the end of the year I finished a few quick and very easy projects in warm colours, to keep our heads and hands cosy and nice during winter. Both me and the Boyfriend got new hats – his one being another mustard hat, because he lost the previous one; and mine just because I liked the pattern and I had a skein of yarn which seemed perfect for it.
For the mustard hat, I chose once again the Classic World War II Watchman Cap, a tried and tested, easy pattern, which gives a very stretchy and warm hat with a double layer over the ears. I knitted it using Drops Nepal, which is a very soft combination of wool and alpaca in aran weight. I love this pattern and the two different width of the ribbing used in it, and I think I’m going to use it many more times.
My hat was based on Joji Locatelli’s pattern, Field of Wildflowers. I found it by browsing pattern ideas for my single skein of Malabrigo Rios, and I decided to knit it, as I think the stitches make the best use of the variegated yarn and really show the colour changes.
Hello Friends, welcome in 2020! I hope you are all well and happy in this new year, and that all the days ahead will bring you happiness, many good surprises and even more great crafty projects 🙂
I’ve been sick for most of the holiday season, and generally spending a lot of my time at home, resting and trying to get better. Christmas was a quiet time for us, and so was the New Year’s Eve, which I always spend at home, as my cats get nervous with all the fireworks around and I don’t want to leave them alone at this time. To be honest, it’s also a perfect excuse to avoid going out anywhere, as I’m not the biggest time of New Year’s celebrations.
I haven’t updated the blog since before Christmas, but I kept knitting slowly whenever I felt like it, and it’s time to present my recent finished project – the Toruń Shawl. It’s a soft, squishy and beautiful shawl designed by Hanna Maciejewska and I decided to knit it with four different shades of Knit Picks Hawthorne sock yarn. The pattern is simple, and consists of four repeated sections (the last one is a little different but still uses the same elements), which are easy to memorise and can be knitted mindlessly while watching a TV show.
What does the name mean? Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland, and a very beautiful place with unique architecture, located by the Vistula river. Beside it’s gothic architecture, it’s known in Poland as a birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus and a centre of gingerbread production (the specific type of traditional Polish gingerbread is called piernik). And for knitters, it’s a place of an annual knitting meeting, which inspired this pattern.
Although I have never attended the meeting, I loved the look of the shawl and decided to knit it almost immediately after first seeing it. I haven’t changed a lot in the original colour combination, as I think that the variations of blue and white (with an addition of purple) work great with the design resembling the flow of the river.
It’s been a while since my last post and it’s almost embarrassing that I haven’t posted any photos of my newest finished jumper yet! In my defence, I’ve been away for a week and then it took ages (no really! four days!) for the sweater to dry after washing. It’s been consistently dark and gloomy so I finally decided to stop waiting, take the photos without good light and edit them to brighten them a little. And here it is: my After Midnight Sweater!
It’s another Drops pattern, from their latest fall/winter collection, knitted with DK weight yarn, with a circular yoke and some colourwork. You may notice a bit of a trend in my latest colour choices, as it’s my second sweater in similar combination of dark green and rusty shades, after the second Citrus Dream cardigan. It’s interesting how I’m drawn to certain colours for a long time and then, depending on the season/mood/who knows what?, I find myself drawn to completely different palette. Like last year I’ve been strangely obsessed with pink for a short while, even though I’d never liked pink before, only to go back to my formerly favourite fall shades.
I made a pair of fingerless gloves for my friend who lives in Dublin. I had no idea what size to choose and I picked the “one size fits all” pattern. It’s not exactly true – these gloves are definitely too big for me – but I think it’s a good average size and would indeed be right for most people. It was a very quick and easy project, and once the gloves were ready, I still had more than a half skein left (I used a skein of ruby yarn from my Wollinn festival haul).
This was a great opportunity to knit another pair, this time for myself, and here they are!
They look darker on the photo because sunny days are rarity now and the picture was taken on one of the typical dark and rainy November days. I’ve been wearing them a lot in the last week and they are perfect for this weather; they keep my hands warm and cosy. The yarn has some cashmere content (about 10%) and it’s really soft and nice.