So, after months of not knitting, I went to Knit City – a local event for knitters, dyers and weavers that makes shopping for yarn the rest of the year seem very lackluster. I went with an actual list of yarns I needed to make patterns I had picked out before getting there. That is not my usual strategy. Normally I let myself get caught up in the excitement and awe, and buy whatever inspires me most – which is usually yarn that is beautiful but the wrong yardage for whatever it is I decide I want to knit when I get home. I have a dresser full of beautiful yarn that doesn’t quite fit the bill. Although this new strategy isn’t as much fun as the no-holds-barred kind of shopping I have done in the past, it is definitely smarter.
I finally sat down with a skein of some of the beautiful yarn I found and knit my first baby sweater! I decided on the very popular Newborn Vertebrae. My baby will be born in January, so a newborn knit seemed like the best place to start. I love how practical the design is for babies, and it will work with the baby clothes that were gifted to us as well.
I finished the Newborn Vertebrae in less than a week, and immediately cast on the Baby Fiddlehead Pattern. The pattern is very vintage inspired, and I decided to go with a soft green as well (115 Jadeite from Coop Knits – Socks Yeah!). It reminds me of vintage green milk glass. I love it! The Fiddlehead pattern is a seamed sweater, so I’ll get to practice piecing my knitting together. I’m so happy to have started knitting again.
So much is happening! Er, I should maybe say “not happening”. Though, I tried. Kind of. I thought that once I was expecting my own child I would be so inspired to knit that the projects would just cascade off my needles. I didn’t know that I would be so tired and that all non-essential activities would be off the table. I slept, and I went to work. My wonderful man made me dinner before I crawled into bed at 7:00 pm, and that is how I spent the first 3 months of my pregnancy. Now that I have been more awake for the last two months I have been able to do a little more than just exist.
Instead of starting a bootie pattern, or a baby sweater, I was somehow more inspired to knit decor pumpkins. My motivation to knit is usually based around a desire to make a hand made item that would replace something normally bought at a store. At the very least, a bit useful. Knitting decorations seems so unlike me, but I’m having fun and that’s just as valuable as usefulness. I found a free stuffed pumpkin pattern on Pinterest and off I went. It felt so festive to be at home knitting pumpkins this weekend. Working on seasonal crafts always reminds me of my own mother too.
UPDATE: Knit City totally inspired me, and I have a baby knit on the way!
Friends, I still haven’t knit anything. What kind of knitting blogger am I?? It’s embarrassing. Meanwhile, Cassy from Knit The Hell Out has knit three sweaters, two shawls and a pair of socks. I’m jealous of that kind of productivity.
Part of the reason I may take longer than the average knitter is my knitting style. I am a “thrower” (Like Taiga Hillard on Instragram!) but all those knitters who can “pick” or employ the “continental” style must be able to knit circles around me. I find trying to learn a new knitting style much like trying to type differently. It’s so hard to change a learned behavior. My other excuse is that I do not currently have living room furniture – but that is a whole other story. I just don’t have a place to sit besides the dining room table. I guess I didn’t realize how much I liked the noise of the television or radio to keep me company while I knit. I have borrowed a more comfortable chair for the dining table recently and I think I could attempt sitting there with a good podcast on.
Lately I have been inspired by knit collections of a sort. Like the #minmemademay tag on Instagram, this vintage knitting needle collection, this snap of floral hand knits, and Ella Gordon’s documented knitwear collection (so cool!).
Anyways, here are some snaps of what I have been doing instead of knitting.
A road trip to Hope BC (and I will go back to check out the Othello Tunnels next time):
Fixing up our basement suite:
There was more, but I didn’t take pictures of it.😀
I haven’t knitted a stitch in two weeks. I have been elbow deep in a refresh of our basement suite for Airbnb, and it’s been kinda intense. I think I may have even toned some muscles in the effort. Non-couch spare time activities can really pack a punch. I have gone from exhaustion to productivity master in that short time.
We’ve learned a little while plodding away but there are a few things that stood out and I’d recommend to someone else trying to quickly set up an apartment.
Painting the ceiling – Instantly the space looked brighter and more fresh. We did this step first and used Sico paint for the ceiling and walls and it’s amazing stuff. The primer is built in, and we didn’t even need a second coat. Fast and beautiful (…just like me. j/k).
Vinyl tile stickers – I bought mine from the TheWallStickerComp on Etsy, but there are other options online. I was able to cover up some hideous tiles that looked like they were from a 1983 clearance bin and it was an instant improvement. A renter’s dream. They won’t fool anyone close up, but they do make an eye sore less noticeable.
Amazon Prime – I placed so many order for home goods and they arrived quickly and at a good price. Buying online saved me so much time. I could buy appliances during my lunch hour and trash bins between meetings. [If you like this sort of thing you may like the 9-5 discount offered at shoeme.ca as well. ;-)]
It also helps to have parents who want to roll up their sleeves and have some expertise, so I am extremely thankful for their generous assistance.
When I get back to normal speed I’ll post progress on the Dewdrop baby blanket I have plans to cast on.
At the time I am typing this I am a pattern repeat and a border away from finishing the Mountain Chickadee blanket. This project coincided with cherry blossom season, and our ancient cheery tree exploded in white blossoms at the same time, so I took the pictures next to the tree. I am not that experienced with lace knitting, but this has been the easiest pattern to memorize and knit thus far. At any given point it was easy to see where I was in the pattern so I could correct stitches as needed before getting to the end of the row and realizing things were not matching up. For me the easy patterns with high impact are the most fun to knit. I added a few repeats to the length, so I created an extended version of the second smallest size in the pattern (in case you notice how long the rectangle really is).
All of my projects this year have been dictated by my yarn stash. I have purchased a fair amount of yarn in the last few years and have been committed to knitting my stash before buying new yarn. Knitters can be placed in two yarn strategy camps – the “yarn stashers” and the “buy-yarn-as-you-goers”. I am trying to become the kind of knitter who buys the yarn needed for a project at the time the project begins. I see the potential in every ball of yarn and it’s so exciting to bring the yarn home and imagine the completed project, but at this point my stash feels like a giant to-do list. Each completed project makes me feel more satisfied.
The amount of half started projects has diminished too. I have two projects I started and haven’t completed, but I’ve made plans to pick those up. I started a list of WIPs last summer and from that list all that remains is the Lucy Hat. I tried to start where I left off but then tore it all back again. The other WIP yet unmentioned was a lace weight wrap I began with a skein of Americo’s Abrazos in a slate blue. The comments in Ravelry echoed my own feelings about the project; that it was a beautiful yarn, but the knitting was incredibly boring. When I gave it half a thought, it was no surprise that lace weight stockinette stitch would be some drudgery and after spending more hours than I like to recall on untangling the skein in the first place I needed to do more with it than knit a rectangle. I decided to try and find a lace weight singlet/ tank top pattern instead. The yarn is so soft and light that I think it’s better suited for a summer garment. I decided to attempt the Quince & Co Azalea tank without the lace border as the textured yarn wouldn’t work well, but the shape is lovely. I’m making the small size so I should have enough yardage. Hopefully what I imagine translates to the needles. I’ll probably pick this back up in summer to knit since the yarn itself will becomfortable to knit with, but I bought the patten yesterday. Is that organized, or a bit horder-ish? 😉
I just realized I photographed the Mountain Chickadee upside down, but I still think it’s pretty.
The elf hat requested by a friend is now completed. I love how the texture turned out. The random but complementary stripes reminded me of the Mindless Knitting, TV Watching, Scrap User-Upper Afghan blanket project from MaggieLoux on Ravelry I have admired for years. Since my scrap pile would not amount to a blanket I am thinking I might try pillow covers with the same technique. Knitting stripes in the round with multiple yarn types and sizes forced me to embrace imperfection. Even with efforts to prevent the jog at the join the stripes came out a bit lopsided, but I think the overlapping textures soften that imperfection to be less noticeable.
I just started a lace baby blanket called Mountain Chickadee which I find very beautiful. I’m only a few repeats in and I would recommend this pattern to anyone who wants a beginner lace pattern, or someone like me who loves the instant gratification of fast projects. I’ve been knitting while watching Happy Valley on Netflix, which is my newest favourite. The synergy of a good knitting project and good TV creates something greater than it’s parts and I’ve been lost in a positive feedback loop all weekend.
My blog posts have mostly been updates on completed projects and the occasional pattern-matcher post, but I’d like to add a weekly work-in-progress post to the repetoir. I decided a few weeks ago to make that commitment but due to Vancouver weather taking a picture with natural light was impossible. So much rain! The sun sets at about 6:00 pm this time of the year, so by the time I am home from work it already looks like zero dark thirty.
This week I am working on a hat a friend requested an embarissingly long time ago. I’m working from this pattern but I added 20 stitches to the cast-on count to hopefully create the loose brim she wants. I will be adding some length and switching the pompom for an optional tassle. I find chosing the stripe colours to be immensely satisfying. The only down side to stripe knitting is the constant weaving in of ends (so many ends!). My main stripe colour was a gorgeous tweed I used for berets a few years ago, but when I ran out I used a colour matched acrylic.
I am also in the midst of sewing a few curtains (which if you remember from a few years ago, sewing is a bit of a challenge for me). I think I have three sets of curtains to hem and three to create. Just writing that made me think of taking up smoking again. Or maybe I should drink. Let the powers that be send me patience and sewing machine understanding.
Another side project I am working on is trying to come up with enough art to fill our basement suite. We have a closet of frames and mismatched prints that I will be organizing, but I am also going to DIY some art as well. I bought doweling for some wall hanging ideas which I am very excited about, and I also had an idea to try some striping on a canvas. I primed the canvas when we painted our laundry room a couple weeks ago, and my plan is to keep adding varied stripes of colour in matte and glossy paints until it’s visually interesting.