I don’t know about you, but this has been the hardest April I can remember. In fact, I dont think I’ve ever experienced such a difficult start to the year. In December I got a promotion at work. I was in a job I didn’t like, and now I have a job that I enjoy a lot. But the job comes with more responsibility, and with responsibility comes stress. Cue knitting to save my sanity.
A few months ago I finally bought the Knitter’s Almanac. I walked through Elizabeth Zimmermann’s fabulous “unventions” and sage advice, and decided that now was the time to cast on a Pi Shawl. Sometimes you start something and you’re not sure why, but it just seems like the right thing for the time. This shawl is what my brain and my heart have needed over the last few months. I sit down to work on it and it helps me to slow down and stop worrying. The yarns are beautiful and make this knitting a very tactile experience.
Earlier this month I got a call that my grandma was very ill and might not make it for much longer. I bought a plane ticket, packed a bag, and went to be with her. This shawl was such a comfort as I travelled and sat in waiting rooms. I showed it to her and she thought it was so beautiful. And then as she started to recover I knit on it in joy, so pleased that I was not knitting in mourning.
So often in my knitting I try to be smart. The easy solution or the obvious solution are not good enough, I have to do it the hard way. But sometimes I need something easy so that my brain can stop working on overdrive. That is what this shawl is for me.
My husband commented the other day that we had run out of washcloths. *Gasp* how could this be? I immediately cast on for a washcloth with the half-ball of Peaches and Creme that I had in my stash and ran to the store for more.
Then I commenced washcloth knitting hard-core. Ok, hardcore may be a bit of a stretch, but I had a goal to prevent the Washpocalypse!
The first washcloth was the simplest garter stitch square. Cast on 50 stitches, knit 50 garter ridges (100 rows) bind off. Pure zen.
I like a generous washcloth, but this one was a little too big. The next one was log cabin, and I aimed for a 40 stitch/row square.
This was oh so satisfying! I really wasn’t sure about the log cabin pattern until I picked up the 4th log, and then I truly began to love it. I see more of these in my future.
The 3rd washcloth is the Ballband Dishcloth from the first Mason Dixon Knitting book. I’ve been meaning to knit this for quite a long time. It was such a fun knit! I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on! Stripes, with slipped stitches. Instant colourwork!
I think I’ve begun to amend the problem (it turns out doing the laundry also helps with the washcloth situation), so I think I’ll take washcloths off the “must make now” list for the time being. But I still have a few balls of dishcloth cotton in my stash. You know, just in case.
What is your favourite washcloth pattern/recipe?
I don’t want to alarm you, but it is February now and Valentines Day is creeping up on us. There are a lot of people who don’t like Valentine’s Day because they think we should express our love every day and not just on a Holiday. I completely agree. We should express our love to the people that matter to us every day. But why not take a holiday that’s focused on love and use that as an excuse to do something extra special? Go out to dinner. See a movie or a show. Do something nicer than you normally would. Every relationship needs those times when you do more than usual.
Now, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t bring yarn into this discussion (that is why you read my blog…right?). Hunter Hammersen recently released a pattern for the most adorable heart stuffy. The genius of her design is that you can use any yarn and needles you like. If you haven’t made a heart yet, stop what you are doing, get the pattern, and knit one right now! They only take a few hours to knit, and they are so sweet! And the pattern is 10% off with the code SMITTEN through February 14th. Hunter is running a knit along right now, and it is so wonderful to see all sorts of hearts popping up, and especially to see all the people making multiple hearts.
My heart was a great stashbuster. I used aran weight yarn, so it turned out quite large. The cream background yarn was the cable plied BFL from this month’s breed study. The pink is a sample of Miss Babs, and the purple was a handspun sport weight yarn held doubled. I used all the pink up, and had only a few yards left over of my handspun yarns, so I used them to stuff the heart along with some poly-fill and a lavender sachet.
What is your favourite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
My husband was looking for a washcloth the other day. Apparently he was having trouble finding one, because he told me we need more (We used to have piles and piles of washcloths. I don’t know what happened to them…). Instantly I went into knitter mode. Must. Find. the Cotton. Yarn!!
It turns out I had precisely 1 ball of washcloth cotton, and it was only a partial. What a pity. I just had to go buy more yarn. That really broke my heart.
I am really loving the simplicity of garter stitch right now. I have so many plans and projects and thoughts in my head that I need to just slow down and knit one stitch after another. Since I have lots of colours now, maybe I will join the Fringe Association LogAlong bandwagon. Everyone keeps saying how fun and addicting log cabin is. And I do need washcloths….
I love garments with interesting constructions. I think it’s fascinating how many ways people can come up with to do the same thing. I have been knitting the Squircle socks by General Hogbuffer with Knit Picks Felici in Mint Chip. Whoo, is this an interesting construction! Let’s take a look and compare classic sock construction with this sock construction.
This is a regular sock construction. You cast on a number of stitches (64 in my case), join in the round, and knit your leg. The heel flap is worked on half the stitches, then you turn the heel with short rows and/or decreases, pick up stitches along both sides of the heel flap, and decrease for the gusset. The foot is worked even, and the toes are made with decreases every other row.
And this is how the Squircle sock is constructed. You can see how this sock starts just like a normal sock. Everything changes, though, when you knit the thinnest heel flap ever! You then pick up a million stitches and start double gusset decreases while increasing for the heel! Once you’ve finished the heel increases you finish decreasing as for a normal gusset. The foot and toe are done much in the same way as a normal sock, but the toe decreases are graduated instead of being every other row for the whole toe.
One sock down, and one to go.
What is your favourite sock construction?
I feel like a junkie. There are needles all over the place. My yarn storage is a mess. I have so many half-finished projects. But all I want is the next high, the next quick project, the next finished thing.
I am a Project Knitter. I knit (and spin, and sew, and weave…) for the stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the process of crafting. There have been so many times when I went to knitting as a balm for my soul, to soothe and ground me. But there have also been many times when I just wanted a project to be done. I want instant gratification. When a shiny new idea hits me, I want to cast on immediately. I find the yarn and the pattern, and for a while everything is good. But then the project doesn’t get done right away. Maybe I’m busy and don’t have a lot of time to knit. Maybe I decide to read a book. Maybe (gasp) I’m knitting something else. And without realizing it, I put the project down for a week or a month or a year. After a while, I have a small mountain of unfinished things. And they weigh on me, because somewhere in the back of my head I know I need to work on them. Something has to be done.
I am very bad at keeping New Year’s resolutions, but one of my goals this year will be to finish up these lurking projects. The nice thing is they’re already half finished. And think of all the needles I will free up! But all I want to do right now is cast on something new.
What do you do when you have a bad case of startitis?
P.S. The coupon code for my newest pattern is still running. Get the Ribless Hat on Ravelry for 18% off until January 18 with the code HOORAY18
Friends, I am so excited to tell you about my newest pattern, the Ribless Hat.
This hat started when a dear friend gave me a beautiful skein of yarn. It wasn’t something I would have bought for myself, but when I really looked at it I realized how lovely it was. I knit on this hat through a move and a job change, and once it was finished it became my go-to hat. It is stylish and easy to wear and just the tiniest bit slouchy.
And (this part is key) it doesn’t have any ribbing.
To celebrate the release of the Ribless Hat, I am offering you a discount. Use the code HOORAY18 to receive 18% off the regular price until January 18. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.