Practical projects and crafts

Category: Knitting (Page 2 of 2)

Knitting Projects for Spring

I’ve actually finished a few knitting projects lately.  The first is my shawl. I’ve been working on it for a little less than a year.  It’s the first lace weight project I’ve ever attempted and it’s surprisingly comfortable.  It weighs almost nothing, but wearing it gives a nice comfortable warm feeling.  So even though it may have been an epic experience finishing it, I’m pretty pleased with it.



I’ve also finished one of my basic sweaters.  The first one was in “Bluebird” and it turned out great, and makes for a fun comfortable sweater.  I’m adjusting some of the measurements a little for the second version (in “Grass”) and making the sleeves a little longer but I’m overall very happy with it.  It was an interesting project since the pattern is based entirely on your own measurements and preferences.  I think my gauge was a little off since I used a bulky yarn instead of an aran. (I did swatch, but based on how it turned out, I think it was still not exactly right.)  But it’s still a comfortable sweater so I don’t really mind.  And anyway, having sleeves that are slightly short is useful when washing dishes or on bread baking days!


Another recent knitting improvement has been a gift from Patrick.  The basket is just big enough to hold my yarn, measuring tape and current project.  It also keeps my ball of yarn from rolling away when I’m knitting.  This is a bigger issue than you’d think given that I have two cats!  It also keeps my projects neat and organized and keeps them from picking up too much cat related fuzz.  If I set them down somewhere I often come back to find them claimed by one or more cats.  The sweaters actually took less yarn than I thought so I’m going to use the extra skeins to make a blue and green striped sweater.


Next up will be a teal cardigan that ends at my natural waist that I can wear with my dresses this spring, and a fun purple shawl for summer.  I’ve also got some sewing to do too.  I’ve made two new pairs of PJs for Patrick, since while seersucker is comfortable it wears faster than some other fabrics.  One of them had some polyester in it so we’ll see if that makes it more durable.  I have fabric to make myself some new PJs too.  I picked colors I thought would be good for spring and fall, one is blue with white flowers and the other is navy with red and white sailboats. I’m going to be using my favorite combination of Sewaholic’s Tofinos and Kwik Sew 3553.  I think I’ll do long pants and short sleeves to make them transitional.  I also got some plaid seersucker to make a second pair of summer PJs.

Loki for one has been enjoying all the craft time lately since it means that the papasan chair belongs to him!



The Trials of Knitting

The hard part about knitting is that you need to be patient.  In some ways this is a great learning tool for life in general.  After all, you can certainly impulse buy yarn, but even if you do, you aren’t going to get a beautiful hand knit shawl or hat out of it today.  Part of the challenge and awesomeness of knitting is that you have to wait, watching your project grow each time you work on it.


Some projects take no time at all.  This fall I knit myself a hat using Tin Can Knit’s Apple Pie pattern.  I cast on September 26 and five days later I had a warm fuzzy hat with a double brim.  For knitting that is practically instant gratification!  It’s a smaller size (only needed 1 skein of Malabrigo worsted weight) and the yarn is a heavier weight, also it was a fun but the pattern had a pretty straightforward repeat that was easy to memorize.

By comparison, some projects take a lot of patience.  A good example of this is the movie night blanket.  I started this in December, and estimated that it would take about 18 balls of yarn to get the size I wanted.  The plan was that it would be an enjoyable knit since the pattern was interesting enough to be fun, but not so complicated that I couldn’t focus on other things like watching a movie or reading.  The other plan was that since it was winter, if I was knitting a blanket I could use it and work on it at the same time!  Given how cold it’s been lately this has turned out awesome.  Even the cats think so!


The hard part though is the further I got, the more I wanted my blanket to be done.  There was definitely some strong motivation when I got down to the last couple of balls of yarn!  I think this is a good part of knitting though, if I wanted my blanket I needed to knit my blanket, there wasn’t anyway I was going to get it sooner.  I think of it as the anti-impulse-buy.  And it’s a good thing to have something like that around, it’s easy to get into the way of thinking that stuff is easy to get.  E-books are instant gratification (and a major challenge for some of us who really love books…at least they don’t take up any space?), Amazon is happy to ship things in only 2 days or even the same day in some cases….  With shopping sometimes the impulse is that if you set up the order or go buy the thing you’ve got everything all sorted out and taken care of.  At least that’s how it feels to me, but then when it arrives or you get back home and you actually need to use it/store it/make something with it, it’s back to the real world.  There aren’t magic solutions, and knitting is a great, and fun, reminder of that.  If you want something awesome you need to build up the skill, the careful plans and do the work and fix mistakes and so on.  Gardening is similar, the seed catalog may promise that their seeds will provide immense numbers of tomatoes with heavenly flavors, but first you need to grow them!

I don’t want this to come off as sounding like making things is a great burden and too tough, instead I’m saying the making part of the process is part of the joy.  Yes, my blanket was two and a half months of furious knitting in order to reach completion, but part of the reason I was knitting so quickly was because I was excited about my blanket and enjoying what I was doing.  And now that it’s done it’s twice as awesome because I was able to make it exactly the way I wanted it.  And now that it’s here there’s awesomeness to be had in hanging out on the coach in a big pile of people and cats and watching terrible monster movies.  Making things, it’s a worthwhile and excellent thing!  And I think, part of what makes life happy.


Next Up Knitting Plans!

So, once the  goals have been established, the next step is planning!  January is the start of the new year, and therefore for me it’s also been the start of all my new plans.  Given that I try to split my time between work and a bunch of different hobbies and projects having an outline of things I want to make helps with organizing everything.

ShawlPattern Shawl

Summer ShawlLamira in a variegated green in Knit Picks Shadow is still going! I think I’m about two thirds done so far, so hopefully it will be done by this summer. This will be a light airy shawl. So far it’s been fun to knit, but it’s the sort of project you need to focus on.

Movie Night BlanketPattern Blanket

Movie Night BlanketAbrigado in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Silver. I really want to have a big, warm, fuzzy afghan for the sofa and I think this one will do it. It looks nice on both sides and I will do an extra pattern repeat and make it longer to get the size I want. I’m going with Wool of the Andes because it will wear well, and I’m doing regular wool since I don’t think Superwash is actually all that much easier to deal with.

Sweater Pattern Blue Yarn Green Yarn

Everyday SweatersMy Favorite Sweater in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky. I’m doing two of these since I think they’ll be nice warm everyday sweaters and they should knit up quickly. I’m going to do one in Bluebird and one in Grass, which will be nice happy bright colors for winter.  The pattern is customized based on your measurements so I’m hoping to get sweaters with a good fit.  I’m also hoping that since it will be knit in a bulky yarn that it will go quickly!


Winter SweaterFeather Nest Raglan in Cascade 220 in Silver. This one is a nice silver grey. The pattern looks easy to follow and will make it a little fancier than the other two.  I think the more detailed pattern will fit will with the light blue color.  Also, it looks similar to the pattern on the blanket I’m knitting so hopefully experience will make it go faster.

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Lace ShawlNadira in Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Midnight. It will be a pretty almost black navy color with a lot of drape. I think it will also be really soft and warm.  I haven’t knit with alpaca before so this will be an interesting learning curve.  I’m hoping it goes well, and since it’s a lace weight shawl I hope it won’t mater that the yarn is not as robust.

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Spring ShawlSummer Flies in a deep purple in Wool of the Andes. This is a “for fun” shawl to wear with my sun dresses in spring.  The last time I knit a smaller shawl it ended up being too small (I’m not sure how to wear it).  But Summer Flies looks like a happy medium in that it should be small enough for warmer weather and faster to knit, but it’s big enough to look like a shawl.

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Aran SweaterTelluride in Wool of the Andes in Spruce. This is a deep green with a little blue in it (it’s a Christmas Tree green).  I think the pattern looks like fun.  There will be seaming which I’m not happy about, but I like the pattern, and it’s one I already own, so I’d like to give it a shot.

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Holiday ShawlEdwina Shawl in Knit Picks Gloss Lace in Port. This is a jewel tone red and a pretty lacy shawl that I think would be fun to wear around the holidays. The Gloss Lace has a nice shine to it that fits well.  I really like the pattern on this shawl and I think it would look beautiful (and be warm!) to wear it in winter when it’s cold and dark.

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Dresses CardiganMiette Cardigan in Wool of the Andes in Baltic Heather. The problem with normal length cardigans is they tend to look odd when worn with my dresses that sit at my natural waist, so I want to make a more cropped cardigan to wear with my sun dresses in spring and fall. It’s also a good way to use up yarn!  I discovered last spring (when I wanted to wear my new dress to see the cherry blossoms) that I don’t have any cardigans short enough to look right on a dress that sits at my natural waist.  This will also be a good way to use yarn that I don’t have quite enough of to finish a larger cardigan.

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Holiday Cardigan – This would be the Hopper Cardigan from New American Knits in Wool of the Andes in Garnet Heather. I want to make myself an awesome wool dress for Christmas 2015 in navy and pale blue. I think this cardigan (and/or the Edwina shawl!) would look great with that.  I really love this color, and I haven’t used any of the patterns from New American Knits yet, so this will be a great way to fix that.


Favorite Color Shawl – This will be a shawl using the Road to China – Silken Jewels Light in Topaz Kristen gave me for Christmas. The yarn is beautiful and really soft, so I’m not brave enough to make a sweater out of it. I think a shawl will be beautiful and not subjected to as much wear and tear as a sweater. Currently I’m thinking this will be the Margarethe Lace Shawl, though I haven’t decided for sure.


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