Knits & Purls

A Look Back . . . At the Things I Knit in 2019

My one little word for 2019 was intention . . . and I decided early on in the process to bring intention to my knitting.  (You can read more about that here, if you're interested in the nitty-gritty.) Basically, I decided to: 

  • Only knit what I would actually wear or use.  
  • Stick with using yarn I already had.  
  • In colors I love.  
  • And styles that suit me.  
  • No KALs.  No mysteries. 

I wanted to avoid jumping on any knitting-bandwagons that weren't right for me . . . or committing to doing something in a given time limit . . . or chasing a shiny object that wouldn't work for me or my closet.  

I still wanted to have some fun with my knitting, though, should something unexpected and perfect show up.  I didn't want to set myself up to feel like I'd failed if some new yarn made its way into my stash.  I wanted to be intentional about my knitting -- but I also wanted to be flexible enough to be inspired!

Now, as I look back on my knitting in 2019, I declare it a success!  When I look back over my Ravelry projects for 2019, I see . . . no clunkers!  I see 6 sweaters that I love and wear (none of them ended up in the Goodwill pile, which is a big win for me).  I see a stack of dishcloths we use all the time.  I see gifts for babies and kids and curlers and dads.  And I see only 2 shawls (because, really, I have plenty of shawls and was trying to Look Away From the Shawls in 2019) -- but I use them both.  Not a dud in the bunch!  I call that a great knitting year!

(And, yeah.  I know.  There is no gray cardigan in there.  But I don't see that as a failure.  I see it as a casualty of my being "flexible enough to be inspired.")

What were my favorite knits of 2019?

My hands-down, #1 favorite project of the year was my Night Shift shawl.

IMG_6884

I used gorgeous yarn from Briar Rose -- and I had so much fun shifting those beautiful colors.  (I didn't use color-changing yarn, so all those shifts you see?  They're my doing!  My favorite projects are always the ones where I get to play with color.)  If you've been thinking about trying one of Andrea Mowry's "shifty" projects, I highly recommend you do it.  Fun.  (Like . . . really fun!)  Great instructions.  And a pretty fabulous result.

Next up, my Felix Pullover.

IMG_6213

There is a good reason so many people have knit this great sweater (or the companion Felix Cardigan).  It's quick to knit (once you get the eyelet increases straight), fits great, and works with everything in your closet.  I knit mine from (stashed) Brooklyn Tweed Shelter -- which makes it light AND warm.

And then, my Alanis sweater.

IMG_2093

This layering piece is so perfectly "my style" that I wear it constantly.  It's a quick knit from a well-written pattern by Elizabeth Smith.  I knit mine in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (again, from stash).  And . . . it has a sweet little pocket, too.

==

What to look for from me (knitting-wise) in 2020?

Well.  First up, you'll finally see that gray cardigan.  But other than that?  Who knows!  My knitting plan for 2020 . . . is to have no knitting plan. There are a few things I'm thinking about knitting this year (each of those highlighted words is a separate link, by the way), but I don't do well when I box myself into any kind of "queue" or "make nine" kind of structure.  For me, knitting is about inspiration coupled with the whims of my moods.  I'll keep my "intention" goals (top of this post) at the forefront of my project decisions (because that worked well for me), but beyond that, I commit to nothing.   

I just know . . . there will be knitting in 2020.  And that's enough for me right now.

How about YOU?  Do you like to organize your knitting plans in a structured way . . . or do your prefer to just let inspiration guide you?  What would you love to knit in 2020?

 

 

 


Warming a (Knitting) Mom's Heart

I ended up knitting a few quick gifts for Christmas for my kids and my dad -- hats and slippers.  (You can find the details on Ravelry here, here, here, and here . . . should you be so inclined.)  My kids always claim to like the things I knit them, but they all live (or lived, because Brian is now close by but didn't used to be) far away, so . . . y'know . . . I'd never know if they ACTUALLY used them, or if they were just humoring me.

So.

Imagine my delight when we were all together this year for the holidays . . . and I saw my hand knit offerings (both from this Christmas and years past) IN USE IN THE WILD!

We had a family curling outing on Christmas Day, for example . . . and out came the hats!

IMG_7510

Here's Erin and Keith in hats-by-Mom.  (Keith is sporting his brand-new Christmas Basic Chic Ribbed Beanie, and Erin is wearing her favorite Barley . . . knit back in 2014!)

IMG_7509

And look!  Here's Brian and Lauren in MORE hats-by-Mom!  (Brian has on his Christmas St. James beanie, and Lauren is wearing the Water hat I made for her last year.)

And they wore these hats ALL the time, totally unprompted -- and not just while curling!  (And I'm pretty sure it wasn't JUST because they were humoring me.)

IMG_7511

IMG_7512

IMG_7513 2

IMG_7514

It just warms my heart!

==

That's my new grand-puppy in that last photo with Lauren.  Her name is Ferda. (Brian and Lauren are Letterkenny fans. If you watch the show, you'll get the name.)  And let me tell you . . . she is FULL of spunk and energy!  (But not a carpet-eater.)  (So far.)

==

And . . . just for fun:

IMG_2058

IMG_2059

IMG_2060


Flying Off the Needles

Little Miss I'm-Not-Knitting-for-Christmas just wants to say . . . 

IMG_6999

those Woodland Loafers just fly off the needles!  (That's a stitches-away-from-being-finished pair in all their unblocked glory there in the photo.)  (And another pair, waiting in the wings.)  (Which is really only a wound ball of yarn at this point, but I know you know what I mean.)

Seriously.  These things are fun to knit, easy (especially once you cut your teeth on the first one), and kind of magical.  If you're looking for a rather quick gift-knit, I recommend these cute little slippers.  It took me about 3.5 hours to knit the first one, but only 2.5 hours for the second.  (There is definitely a learning curve.)  (Plus movie-watching on the first one.)  I'm hoping to make good progress on the 2nd pair today -- I'm heading to Chicago and not driving.  That's hours and hours of knitting time!

If you're doing gift-knitting this year, how's it coming along?

==========

Be sure to head over to Kat's today for more Unraveled posts.


New Box of Crayons

When I was a little girl, my favorite thing in the world . . . was a new box of crayons.  (I was giddy the first time I got a Crayola box of 64 crayons -- with built-in sharpener!)  (Remember those?)

So.

It shouldn't surprise any knitters reading this . . . that I jumped feet first right into this brand new "box of crayons" . . . 

IMG_6920

Although the colors are quite off in this photo (because it's so dang dark anymore), you can see that I'm having a really good time with this.

I may even be slightly obsessed.  

Just like I used to be with a new box of Crayons!

 

 


Let It Flow

(For a soundtrack to today's post, click here.)

I know.  I know.  It's not a cardigan, and it's not gray.  But I did finish a thing . . . and it might be one of my favorite things ever.  And just in time, too.  Because winter showed up this week, and I can use all the wool I can get.

IMG_6887

(On Monday we had a snow storm.  Yesterday, it was clear.  Sunshine and blue skies even.  But then the lake effect snow machine turned on at pretty much the same time Tom and I had our one opportunity to do a knitting-photo-shoot while there was still light.  So here I am . . . in the pouring snow!)

It only took me a couple of rows to "get" why Andrea Mowry's "shifty" designs are so popular!  Oh, my -- what fun this was to knit!  All those colors.  All that texture.  And a great, satisfying end result.

I had a "yarn palette" of 7 lovely Briar Rose colors to play with -- and then . . . I just let it flow!

IMG_6884

Let it grow, let it grow. . . 
Let it blossom, let it flow.
In the sun, the rain, the snow. . . 
Love is lovely, let it grow.

IMG_6885

(Ravelry details here.)

So.  Gray cardigan next?
(Not a chance. . . )

==========

Be sure to visit Kat today for other Unraveled posts.  And head over to Bonny's to get in on the Just Mercy discussion.  (I'm not sure that she has any pastries left, but the discussion is very good!)

 


The Things We Do for Love

(Click here for the soundtrack to today's post.)
(As if you're not already humming the song. . . )

So.  
Tom is a curler.  
And curlers tend to wear kind of . . . odd . . . things when they're out on the curling ice.  

Like. . . I've watched a team who wears hand-knitted skunk hats as part of their team uniform.  And Tom told me about a unicorn team he played against once (bike helmets with affixed unicorn horns).  And, of course, there are the pants.  (Yep.  That's a link to the video of the Norwegian curling team putting on their curling pants . . . without using their hands.)  (Well worth a watch.)  (Just sayin.)

So when I saw a pattern for a knit curling hat on Ravelry, I (correctly) figured Tom would want one.  And that he would wear it while curling.

IMG_6482

The things we do for love . . . 

IMG_6485

Ravelry details here.

==========

PS . . . Tom's team curls in plain old black pants.  And I know they put them on without any fancy dance moves.  They don't wear special team-themed hats or helmets either.  But they will be dressing as the "Brews Brothers" in an upcoming tournament -- the "Beer Spiel".  (Maybe I'll get a photo for you. . . )


In Lieu of Fall Color

(For a soundtrack for today's post, click here.*)

Okay.

So . . . I've finished another sweater.

I can't really believe I've knit so many sweaters so quickly lately.  Because this is not how I usually operate.  (It helps that they've all been cropped and/or sleeveless and/or knit at a bigger-than-usual gauge.)  (Just sayin.)  

I had planned to do the backyard-photo-shoot for this sweater with a backdrop of fall color.  But that just isn't happening here yet (still very green).  So I decided to use a pumpkin as a prop . . . in lieu of fall color.

IMG_6213

But then I couldn't really figure out what to do with it.

So Tom said . . . Why don't you put it on your head?

And I did.

IMG_6219

IMG_6217

IMG_6220

There you have it!

A pumpkin on my head . . . in lieu of fall color.

(Ravelry details here.)

==========

* I linked to Eva Cassidy's version of Field of Gold.  This is one of my all-time favorite songs, and while I love Sting's original version, I find Eva Cassidy's cover to be just lovely.  And so beautifully haunting.  Enjoy.

 


Checked Your Calendars Lately?

Today . . . is September 25.  Which means in exactly 3 (very fast) months, it will be Christmas day.  And a few days less than that even for the start of Hannukah.  So.  If you're planning any holiday gift knitting, you better "get your wiggle on" (one of my mom's favorite sayings).  

And I'm here to help you!  This month, my stash give-away includes two very gift-knitty kinds of yarn!

First up . . . 

IMG_6039

Two skeins of Mountain Colors River Twist yarn in the Pine Creek colorway, worsted weight, 100% Merino wool.  Each skein is 240 yards, so there is plenty of yarn there to knit up some nice, gift-y accessories (or, of course, something for yourself).  The colors in the photo are pretty accurate -- muted tones in shades of (mostly) greens, blues, and plums.

And then I've got . . . 

IMG_6041

Two skeins of Knit Picks Capra DK in the Harbor colorway, DK weight, 85% Merino wool/15% cashmere.  Each skein is 123 yards, plenty to make a great cowl or hat.  The color in the photo is quite accurate.  (I notice there's a strand of my hair that made it's way into the photo there.  I'll make sure that doesn't come with the yarn.)

Interested in one or the other?  Or both?  Let me know in the comments before Tuesday, (gasp) October 1 at 5:00 pm Eastern time.  I'll pick names out of a hat and notify the winners by email.

==========

In knitting news, here's the current state of my Felix pullover sweater.

IMG_8230

Oh, sure.  It looks fine NOW.  But . . . well . . . there has been some unraveling.  A word (or two) of advice, should you knit a Felix for yourself.  First:  when you're on the short row shaping AND trying to establish the eyelet raglan increases?  Don't watch TV.  Second:  when you switch out to a longer cable needle to accomodate the growing number of stitches?  Make sure you've got the right size needle.  And when you wonder to yourself why it feels a bit different?  Trust that.

But I'm on track now!  (Let's just say . . . I got really good at doing those eyelet raglan increases.)

==========

How about YOU?  What are you knitting this week?


Ain't No Disco

(Click here for a soundtrack to accompany today's post.)

So.  
The not-a-gray-cardigan . . . is finished!

IMG_5942 2

Such a fast-and-furious knit for me!  Like . . . two weeks.  Two weeks of rather obsessive knitting.

Why so fast, you're wondering?
I think because . . . Color!  Pattern!  
For me, whenever there is color or patterning action in whatever I'm knitting, it all just seems to go faster.  I guess because I'm so eager to see what will happen next.  Y'know?  
(Also . . . it's cropped.)  
(And no sleeves.)  
(So there's that, too.)

But, mostly . . . it was just plain FUN.  So I couldn't put it down.

IMG_6429

All I wanna do is have some fun . . . 
I gotta feeling I'm not the only one.

All I wanna do is have some fun . . . 
I gotta feeling the party has just begun.

IMG_8823

You can see all the details on Ravelry, here.

==========

So, you're probably wondering . . . Is it gray cardigan time now???

Why . . . no.  Apparently it's not! 

I was doing a "needle amnesty" on Monday (you know . . . rounding up all the - many - loose needles laying around in my knitting bag and in other random corners of my house, then corralling them in their proper needle places) (again) (does anyone else need to to that once in a while????) . . . and I discovered that I had cast on and knit the ribbing for a Felix Pullover late last spring.  I remembered - once I found it - that I had put it away because spring was imminent, and I wasn't in the mood to knit a wool sweater right then.  

But I am now!

So.  
Still not-a-gray-cardigan. . .

==========

How about you?  What are you making this week?