Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Still Knitting

I knew some time had passed since I last shared any projects, but I hadn’t realized that it’s been more than a year.

The sad thing is, I haven’t made much in that time.

In this COVID‑era world, the effort I put toward my day job is about the extent of my creative energy. I’m still learning new things, but I’m not spending anywhere near as much of my free time reading or making.

Knitting Socks

Those socks that I wrote about in November 2020? I finished them at the end of May in 2021.

I made another pair of knit socks from June to November 2021. And I just finished the pair that I’ve been working on since November 2021:

Top view of feet in a pair of hand knit wool socks in a mix of blues, greys, greens and pops of golden yellow.

This is the pattern Goldengrove Socks by Mindy Soucek, from the book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol Sulcoski. The yarn is Miss Babs Putnam in the colorway Believable.

Close of of the heel and toe on a pair of hand knit wool socks.

It’s a little difficult to make out the stitch pattern against the mix of colors in the yarn, especially in a photo. But it’s noticeable enough that it adds that extra touch of visual interest to the socks. They’re warm and comfortable, and I’m happy with the result.

And Knitting Sweaters

I also have a few sweaters on the needles in varying states of completion. One is a light top in a lace weight cotton/silk blend. Another is a pullover with a colorwork neckline in fingering weight Merino yarn. And the third, the yarn for which just arrived today, will be a baby gift. I’m pretty excited about that one — and it’s small enough that there's a good chance I’ll finish it before my excitement wanes.

And that means there’s a good chance that I’ll post about it!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Welcome to 2021

I don’t think I need to point out to anyone that 2020 has been a challenging year. The pandemic’s effects have been felt through every aspect of our lives — job insecurity, a lockdown, inability to visit family, grocery scarcity, trying to manage our own anxieties while supporting our children through theirs ...

Grid of nine most-liked photos from Instagram: 3 pairs of socks, 2 tops, a knit headband, EPP templates, 3 EPP flower blocks, and a stack of sixteen-patch quilt blocks.
The top nine 2020 photos from my Instagram feed.

The change is evident in the projects I worked on this year. The list appears to be much shorter than in past years, but the effort was perhaps greater.

Sewing

  • 8 hand-stitched flower blocks for The Hexagon Project
  • 1 quilted table runner
  • 100 sixteen-patch blocks, each 4.5 inches (about 11.4 cm) unfinished
  • 16 masks


Knitting

  • 2 tops
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 headband
  • 1 table runner


Making those masks took a lot out of me emotionally. I couldn’t disconnect from the reason they needed to be made. I have supplies waiting to make more and have been putting it off for weeks.

Sewing the sixteen-patch blocks offered a soothing mindless repetition. I was able to lose myself in color and contrast and short straight seams for a while each time I pulled out the pre-cut scraps. I’ve been testing layouts, creating larger blocks from four like-colored blocks, but have yet to settle on a plan.

Knitting the socks was similarly a relaxing escape, with three of the five pairs made from scraps that again allowed me to focus on the interplay of color and contrast.

I don’t have any set goals for 2021. With the pandemic still a major consideration, I don’t even want to attempt to guess how this year might progress. My hope is that we’re on the upswing, and I wish you all the best in this new year.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Books and Knitting

When we receive gift cards for Christmas, we usually don’t use them right away. We’ve just received other gifts and aren’t feeling the need or want to buy anything new, so they tend to sit until the spring.

This spring, we were distracted by the pandemic — so much so that we forgot about our gift cards until we were beginning preparations for this Christmas. Yes, we added to the shipping backlog by ordering belated gifts for ourselves even as we ordered new gifts for others.

Between my gift card shopping and the gifts that were given to me this year, I had four knitting books to read this winter.

A stack of four knitting books with two skeins of sock yarn on top and a small packet of stitch markers to the side.
  • “Socks from the Toe Up” by Wendy D. Johnson is a book of patterns and techniques for knitting socks from the toe up. I knit a lot of socks, but my sock pattern collection is almost entirely top-down. Toe-up offers different design opportunities and challenges, and it is a useful technique when unsure about yarn quantity — there’s no need to guess how long to knit the leg since it can be knit until the yarn runs out.
  • “100 Knits” is a collection of 100 popular patterns from the editors at Interweave. The projects span a wide range of wearables, and there are only a handful that I didn’t want to add to my to-knit list right away.
  • “Selbu Mittens” by Anne Bårdsgård provides an interesting history of Norwegian mitten knitting from the Selbu region, along with 35 patterns and hundreds of charts. I enjoyed learning fine details about requirements for mitten proportions and pattern placement. While the mitten construction is virtually unchanged between patterns, the two-color knitting varies in complexity and all of the patterns call for an Experienced skill level. I think a less experienced knitter could focus first on creating simple one-color mittens, then gradually add in rows of color as their comfort level with the technique grows.
  • “Socks from Around Norway” by Nina Granlund Sæther includes more Norwegian knitting history and patterns. The sock patterns are insprired by traditional designs with a more modern aesthetic. There is a greater variety of skill level suggested for these patterns than in the mitten book, and not all of the socks are knit with multiple colors.

I enjoyed reading all of these books, and I’m looking forward to expending my skills as I try the various patterns. Happily, I also received two skeins of sock yarn and a set of stitch markers for Christmas this year. All are from Miss Babs; the yarns are Putnam in the colorways Dark Andromeda and Believable.

Now, what to make first?