Friday, December 27, 2019

FOs that aren't technically knitting


The last year I've really been trying to challenge myself to explore things other than knitting. I'd followed Sarah K. Benning's embroidery for a while but never thought to try it myself. If you follow me on instagram, you'd have seen a kit of hers I tried back in May.

Embroidery turned out to be a much more meditative experience for me than knitting. I found it required a lot more concentration, but in a way that was really calming. Since her kit, I've purchased a few more of her patterns. The one above is her ocean pattern -- she only releases them a couple times a year now so I make sure to scoop some up when I can. 


She's also the only artist whose newsletter I subscribe to. In her newsletter she shared a free pattern for this little gingko leaf. I stitched this up for my friend for whom it has special meaning for.

I've also tried to engage a bit more in the fiber artist community on instagram and in real life. I've become more conscious of making sure I'm not inadvertently buying stolen intellectual property by buying directly from the artist.


Does anyone remember my Laminaria Shawl from 2012? To be honest I didn't until I was cleaning out my knitting basket at my parents' house. I'm still honestly super proud of this lace project, but I just never wore it (and don't really know when you wear lace shawls outside of formal events). 

I have just moved into a new apartment with my partner and we had a lot of bare walls. In my old apartment, the walls were pretty crappy -- I once tried to hang a picture up with a command hook and took off about a 4x4in section of drywall. Our new apartment has wall that will not be easily destroyed, so I can finally decorate.

When I found my shawl I thought, why not just frame it an hang it? I had no idea how to frame textile so I visited The Framer's Workshop in Brookline, MA. It's a great space where they teach you how to frame whatever it is you bring in. I learned A LOT and also got to spend 3ish hours chatting with some amazing local artists.

The whole experience really helped me to think about what I do not as "just knitting" but rather maybe real art. 

It now hangs in our living room!


Finally, for Christmas this year I asked my partner for an artist's workshop. Returning to Boston has been great in expanding the amount of access I have to all these different creative places and opportunities. I did a wrapped rainbows workshop with 1010 Studio at  JP Knit and Stitch a couple of weekends ago. It was so much fun to learn how to make these beautiful pieces of wall art by Mandi Smethells. This one currently also hangs in our living room. I plan to make another for my niece :) 


Friday, December 20, 2019

FO(s) Friday: No Frills and Omemee Toque

Needles: US Size 5 and 6
Two finished objects to write about this Friday! The first is my No Frills sweater which was a long time in the making. It took me almost a year to the day from when I got the yarn to when I finished this sweater.

I made a lot of odd mistakes early on that I only realized when I picked it up to finish it after the summer. I have no idea why I did the neck band in US size 5 instead of 3. I think I would like this sweater more if I had used a size 3. 


The size of this sweater got away from me a bit. If I were to knit this again (and I have the yarn ready if I choose to do so) I would knit the size XS instead of S.

I was TERRIFIED to block this but successfully did it last week. I barely touched it after I soaked it and it didn't stretch at all. Instead, the stitches evened out nicely.

The major mod I did was to make it (even more) cropped and do a bell-like sleeve. This was mostly driven by the fact that it was already a big oversized. I decided to embrace that and really go for that ~lewk~

I do think I'm turning a corner a bit and starting to knit things more my style. This sweater has already been worn out in public twice.


Yarn: Ancient Arts Fibre Big Squeeze in "Pieces of Eight"
Needles: US Size 8 and 10

Speaking of knitting things that are more my style, THIS HAT. I love it! I knit hats and never wear them. I buy hats and never wear them. Will I wear this hat?? I think so.



I bought this yarn in Toronto at Yarns Untangled. It was perfect for this hat -- I bought one skein and one skein was the perfect yardage. It's super warm, NOT itchy, and doesn't make my face look weird. The designer, Tara-Lynn Morrison, has a beautiful aesthetic to all her designs. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

An Update from the Past 6 Months!

It's been a busy 6 months that included a cross-country drive, conferences, moving, starting a new job and so many other things! I'm sad I let my blog lapse, but I've revamped all the photos on the sidebar and it's back up and running.

This post will be a summary of the three (and only 4! I had hoped to have more) projects I've completed since May.




Pattern: Find Your Fade
Yarn: The Fibre Fox Merino Sock in Fog, Cotton Candy, and Freyja
Needles: US Size 4
Project Page


First up is my Find Your Fade shawl. This pattern was very fun to knit and it was clear that was the case when I completed a fingering-weight project on size 4 needles way quicker than I would have expected.

I modified the pattern to use only three colors and to reduce the size (some of the project pages of others' show huge -- and extremely beautiful -- shawls). Notes can be found on my project page!


I don't wear it quite as much as I thought. I think the colors lend themselves more toward late winter than late fall. This winter will be a test!


Pattern: Ripple Bralette
Yarn: The Fibre Fox Merino Sock in Fog and Freyja
Needles: US Size 2 and 4
Project Page


I jumped on the ripple bralette train pretty quickly. So many props to Jessie Mae for making a design that is so easy to knit and looks AMAZING on everyone. I finished this project during the cross country road trip and finished just in time to take photos in Badlands National Park.



I lengthened it to make a tank top rather than a bralette. The yarn is alternated each row for the marled effect and was a great way to use up my leftover yarn from the Find Your Fade shawl. It's not so comfortable right next to the skin, however. I might make an actual bralette soon with a yarn that's a little softer.


Yarn: Loops & Threads Woolike in White
Needles: US Size 2 and 4

Next is this sweetest bonnet I knit for my niece's baptism. I can't believe this pattern was free! I love love love the scalloped edge around the face. The yarn I used was perfect for this project and extremely soft so I knew it would by itchy for her.


Pattern: Halfpipe Hat
Yarn: Loops & Threads Woolike for the pompom, an unknown chunky yarn for the rest!
Needles:US Size 11

Finally, just today I finished this quick knit for my niece for Christmas. After many projects on small needles and thin yarn, this was a great project to mix it up. It was also a great way for me to use up some of my stash.

I think part of the reason I did not get quite as much knitting done as I thought in the last 6 months is that I picked up a new hobby: embroidery. I really, really enjoy it and find it pretty meditative. While I knit I can watch TV or chat, however embroidery really requires my full attention (in a good way!). I'll share some of those projects soon. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

FO: Carol's Mittens


Pattern: Nagu Selbu
Yarn: Adriafil Sierra Andina in Light Gray and White
Needles: US Size 1 (magic loop method)



These mitten are just so perfect. Sitting down and knitting a pair of fair isle mittens has always been something I've wanted to do but set aside for other projects. When my dissertation advisor told me she would be retiring this year, I knew this was the perfect project to give to her. These mitten took some time to knit (especially as I tend to be a little slow when it comes to colorwork), but the end result is just what a I wanted: something unique, long-lasting, and beautiful. My advisor has given so much of her time to helping me through my program, it felt like the least I could do.



The (free!) pattern is extra special given the story behind it. The pattern comes from the designer's Norwegian mother-in-law's paternal grandmother's hand knit mittens. It's always such a treat when two things I really love: history and knitting, come together. 


Saturday, May 4, 2019

WIP: Finding My 3-Color Fade


Pattern: Find Your Fade
Fog,  Freyja, and Cotton Candy
Needle: US Size 3


I was recently in Oxford, UK for a conference and luckily stayed in an AirBnB right next to the Oxford Yarn Store. It was my first time presenting my work at a conference, so as a reward to myself I purchased some locally-dyed, super gorgeous yarn to attempt a 3-color Find Your Fade Shawl. 
(And when I wasn't at the yarn store or at the conference, I was exploring the sites around Oxford, including the scene of a Harry Potter movie :) . )



So many people have knit beautiful versions of the shawl, but a lot have expressed just how HUGE it is. There's a lot to be said for having a scarf that basically functions as a blanket, but for this time, I'm hoping to get a more easily-wearable shawl. 

My current plan is to just omit sections 5 and 6 of the pattern and do the first color melt at section 7. However I've also seen that some people have also reduced the number of lace repeats. I figured I'd get to the end of section 4 and actually sit down and do the math to make sure it comes out right. 


I've also decided the gif-ing my knitting progress is absolutely something I should always do. 

FO: First (Complete) Pair of Socks


Yarn: Schoppel Wolle Zauerball Crazy in "Mars Experiment"
Needle: US Size 2 (Circular)

I've only knit socks once (more correctly, I've only knit *one* sock once and gave up knitting the second). I tend to make them too big and unfortunately that happened again with this pair. I made this pair for my boyfriend for his birthday and while I succeeded in making them in his favorite colors, they grew sooooo much during blocking. While they may not be an everyday sock, he will hopefully get some use out of them when it's super cold out. 

I used to have a problem where every hat I knit also somehow came out too large. Hopefully with a bit more practice I can also get my knit socks down to size. 

The pattern itself is great. I knit the medium size, though I should have knit the small. The Zauerball Crazy line of self striping yarn can give either very symmetrical or very non-symmetrical results with socks -- I got pretty lucky this time! 


Saturday, February 16, 2019

FO: Marte Vest


Pattern: Marte
Size knit: 40"
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Loft in 'Faded Quilt' (4.25 skeins)
Needles: US Size 3, 4, 5, 6
Ravelry Project Page



I had always wanted to try out Brooklyn Tweed's patterns and yarn, and when I saw a call for test knitters for their Winter '19 collection, I jumped at the chance. This test knit was a bit of a challenge, but I'm glad for it as I tend to knit very simple patterns. The cables took me a while to get used to and unfortunately, Loft kept breaking on me at very stressful moments (i.e., mid-bind off). This yarn is quite expensive so I was a little surprised. 

I was hoping with blocking the yarn would toughen up, and it feels like it did. The fabric got much softer but also actually felt sturdier. 


I wish I had knit one size down -- it's a bit wide on me. Lesson learned (for the 500th time): block your swatch. 

I made a couple of modifications to the sweater. I only seamed the sides down to the start of the ribbing. I also chose not to sew the turtleneck down, though I may end up doing that. I bound off the turtleneck using Jeny's stretchy bind off and it's not quite as neat-looking as I would like. 



Another milestone reached this week is that I successfully defended my dissertation prospectus :) I am now officially a PhD candidate, not just a student.