Update: 2nd sleeve is almost finished. I forgot the smaller needles for the cuff ribbing, so I’ll finish up tomorrow evening when I get back.
Early in January I started a lace cardigan sweater, no, not the Fancy Cardigan one of the knitting disaster. I’m knitting Recoleta by the same designer, which is done in a worsted yarn – I’m using Miss Bags Yowza, which is a little finer, but it seems to be working.
It’s a top-down sweater with a shawl collar. You begin with a provisional cast on for the back collar, knit some inches in lace one way, then go back and put the stitches on the needle and go the other way for the same inches, then you pick up stitches for the front, sleeves and back on one edge and begin knitting down in a raglan style, oh, and by the way, remember to knit that big back chart for your specific size as you also continue the lace collar down the front. And you have two charts to track and you’ll be on different rows the whole time. I know some folks use software to solve problems like this – I was pretty old school with page protectors and highlight tape. It worked!
But the back is pretty cool:
It’s now the end of January and I’ve gotten this far:
So I only have a sleeve to go, and the sleeve cap is already knitted. Of course, for the first sleeve I adjusted the width because folks said the pattern had sleeves that are too narrow. Then I went according to pattern with a slow decrease, which turned out to be too slow – the sleeves were very loose and with an already loose body, it was not looking good, so I ripped out about 10 inches of sleeve and reknit to decrease faster, and now it looks good.
The deadline is that I leave town for 9 days on early Sunday morning, and this sweater is going with me one way or another, hopefully it will be knit, blocked and ready to wear. A sleeve is only like a hat and a half, and it’s mostly all stockinette, and the math is done to make it fit. Except that I am away for a couple of days starting tomorrow afternoon at a pastor retreat-like event except that they keep you busy all day so it’s not a retreat really. But somehow I managed to book a hotel that is within a block of the place we’re meeting, so it would be possible to slip away and knit for a bit, right? Because it is called a retreat.
Stay tuned for the adventure of the knitted deadline…
Long time readers of the blog will know that I’m not a KAL kind of knitter for the most part. Everynow and then I participate, as I did with this poncho pattern with the Sheeper Than Yarn gals in the Fresno area – it was a retreat project one year. Apparently I don’t have the group photo of our ponchos together:
So it is fun and not common to see another knitter with the same/similar finished item. Last month, Pam, who is in the Knitted Knockers of Silicon Valley group, wore her Leftie shawl, and so did I! The pattern is Leftie by Martina Behm.
This past Saturday as I was leaving the house, I was trying to figure out which cowl/scarf/shawl to wear, and changed it out at the last minute. And lo and behold, Pam was wearing a very similar one to mine. We twinned again with our knits!
They are not the same pattern – mine has a different way of making the holes than Pam’s, but it was quite the coincidence to be wearing the same kind of item again, and this time, we picked similar gradient yarns to use. The pattern I used was the Spindrift scarf by Lucy Neatby. I’m not sure what Pam’s pattern was.
When have you been “twinned” with a knitted thing in the wild?
Despite all the knitting that happened over the year, toward the end I began to lose my knitting mojo a bit. I knit myself a dishcloth like the ones I knit for my staff, and then, well, things mostly sat.
I made a bunch of knitted knockers (will get to 28 by the end of the week) because I really wasn’t in the mood to figure out what to knit next.
I did swatch a little for a vest for Luis – but didn’t get far.
This past weekend all of that faded. I began to hatch a couple of new things though. First, because my knitting friend Nhien is super generous, I got a skein of Knit Picks Capretta in a couple of hand-painted color ways. This yarn is super soft – it’s a super wash blend of merino and cashmere, with a touch of nylon. The color way I’ve started with is Springwater which has lovely blues, violet, and periwinkle colors:
I’m knitting the very basic CoPilot cowl (free on Ravelry), which is basically the Reyna shawl (also free on Ravelry) converted to a cowl. I tried first to use a draft pattern of my own that I had done years ago, but the yarn is too busy for it, and really I am looking for an everyday item. I love that I don’t have to do a lot of math to get this to work!
Apparently I cannot be relied upon to knit in the round – because while the initial joining was good, about a round later I twisted it up, and then didn’t discover that until about an inch was knit. By then I was not going frog it, so I twisted it back because this is cowl in variegated yarn and no one will care.
I also remembered that I had frogged the Wisteria sweater after reading that it didn’t really fit people very well. Apparently after that I had made another plan to knit the Copperplate cardigan, but when I looked at that pattern, I realized I’d be using a light worsted yarn for a pattern designed for sport weight yarn. The sweater would be way too heavy for the floaty look that the designer had in mind. So that plan got tossed (I’ll hold the pattern for another yarn someday), and I found a fun sweater by called Recoleta by Joji Locatelli which has been successfully knit in the Miss Babs Yowza several times.
Swatching went well,
so last night I cast-on for the lace collar, and by the third cast-on, I finally figured out how to knit it! Here’s half of the collar before I pulled out crochet provisional cast-on.
Onward and upward on two projects.
Next up: more serious swatching for the baby vest!
For a number of years, I have spent a lot of time planning the Christmas knitting – as in gifts for family and friends to be given at Christmas. Some years there is a theme – like socks or hats – and at others, it’s individual for each person. Some years, I started knitting for Christmas in August because I am a pastor and leaving things to December would be a really bad idea. Other times it’s been later.
This year, I knit for many in the friend/family network during the year. There were baby shower gifts, and birthday sweaters and cowls, and when I got to the fall, I realized that most folks had already gotten a knitted thing this year. And I mostly bailed on the Christmas knitting.
But not completely. I have a couple of friends, Nhien and Curtiss, who are completely knit worthy (as in sending photos wearing the knitted item, lovely handwritten thank you notes). Nhien is a knitter, and Curtiss is a muggle who appreciates the socks I knit for him.
For Nhien, I made a shawl to replace one that had gotten eaten by the moths. It’s Wilhemina’s shawlette (from the fabulous book What Would Madame DeFarge Knit). The original was in a now discontinued color from , and the color was pretty cool, so I made a lace-weight version in ShiBui Lunar, which is a merino/silk blend. I did a couple of more repeats to make the shawl big enough, and love how it came out:
For Curtiss, I knit him his annual pair of knitted socks – this out of some vacation yarn I got at The Swift Stitch in Santa Cruz. The yarn is Candy Skein Yummy Fingering Sock and truly a lovely yarn, The pattern was mostly a toe-up ribbed sock but I added a small Twisted stitch cable on each side of the foot running up the leg.
And finally I knit some dishcloths again – only six this year – and I verged on burning out on them. These were for the staff at my church:
In mid-December, I went to an event where the Knitmore Girls were hanging out. They offer a truly fun way of knitting in the holiday period – they call it the Grinch-along, which means you don’t knit anything for the upcoming Christmas after December 1st. That sounds good, although I’ve never followed it. But Jasmin and I chatted and I told her about knitting things for people through the year, and she loved the idea of taking this further by making a calendar so that you just follow that and not stress at the holidays.
It’s too far away for next year to make any predictions, but I have enjoyed making-the-things through the year instead of giving everything all at once!
So, tell me, What is your Christmas knitting approach?
As another knitting year has been completed at Casa del Revknits, so it’s time for the annual counting of the knitted things.
For the past couple of years, my knitting quantity has increased. In 2016, I knit 12,640 yards, in 2017 my knitting yardage was up to 15,050, and this past year, 2018, I knit 18,935 yards. That’s an increase of almost 50% over two years!
There were some surprises as I reviewed last year’s knitting. I forgot that I knit so many sweaters, 6 of them (2 for the new baby Luis) and I didn’t remember all the baby charity hats that I knit.
Of course, the knitted knockers were the most for any category – 101, then followed by hats and dishcloths. A couple of new items made it into the list – Stuffed Toys – with a couple – the Dolores Van Hoofen kit and a bunny!
The largest single item was the Baby Blanket that I knit for the new baby in the family (1,367 yards – big!),
and the small bracelets for the knitting class were the smallest – I didn’t even count them into the mix for yards.
My going-in goal for the year is to knit myself more sweaters – I knit a short sleeve cardigan and a shell (that magically now fits me because I gain weight – yay?), and would like to freshen up my sweater mojo. I also want to use some yarn that I bought in 2016 in Paris in the Montmartre – will have to make plans soon. Finally, I want to do some colorwork knitting for the new baby, and I’m already swatching. So fun!
When I moved to Fresno back in 2015, I learned about a charity knitting group called Knitted Knockers – and I immediately was captivated by the notion of knitters providing free, lightweight breast prostheses to women who had breast cancer surgery.
I started by knitting a few here and there (Izzie, as usual, in charge of quality control!,
and then when I moved to San Jose, it turns out that my new knitting group is my monthly Knitted Knockers group here in Silicon Valley. They are lovely group and I really enjoy getting together with them.
This year, as fall progressed, I realized that I had been knitting a lot of knockers over the months, and I set my self a goal – to knit at least 100 knockers. Well, last month, I made my goal – 101 knockers!
I’m also beginning to help with social media work for our mighty group. We tried to publicize Knitted Knockers for Breast Cancer Awareness Month by sending out press releases, but that is old school and not working. So, you can join our Facebook page, follow us on MeetUp and get alerts on our monthly meetings, or follow our brand new Instagram feed where we offer encouragement, inspiration, and knitterly beauties.
Here’s one taste of our Instagram feed:
I’ve knit a few more knockers already, but I don’t count them until I turn them in (which will be next year), so here’s to some in the bank knockers!
A couple of months ago I decided to approach the downtown library around the corner to teach knitting to teens. I had felt as though I needed to be sharing some skills back into the community, and fortunately for me, the teen center at the library said yes.
I created a four-session class for Beginning Knitting (based on Susan B. Anderson’s lovely book Kidz Knitting Workshop) with these three projects:
And today was the debut class. I was totally prepared for zero interest, but I had four teen knitters who all hung in there to learn the knit stitch and how to cast off to make a bracelet/scrunchy. One knitter said as he learned the stitch, “this is so relaxing.” Awww. One librarian thought it was a great success because some of my students have trouble focusing on reading and math. This was different!
And see these two faces?
Next week we make the bunny. So fun!
This year, I’ve decided not to put together a large-ish knitting list for Christmas – with many projects that need to have started in August if I was really going to accomplish them in time. Perhaps it is just a change of pace that I need, perhaps the fact that the people I love have received a whole bunch of knitted things from me, so that I am spending more time asking what they would like to receive, and tailoring things more.
Whatever the reason, I’ve spent a fair time this summer on knitted gifts for folks – and had fun doing it.
I haven’t talked about this one for my cousin-like-a-sister – and luckily, this fit Marie well! It’s Morning Sky.
Unfortunately for me, I made one for myself that does not fit – it’s too big, and I’m working on losing a little weight, so it most definitely is a miss. I think I’m going to frog the whole thing and try either another shell or the same one on a size of different needle.
Jeff’s Retirement Socks
My good friend Jeff retired after almost 40 years in Christian ministry, and what else can a knitter give a guy like that except some amazing socks. He got the yarn and the pattern (Marpleridge by Kate Atherley) at his retirement party, and since he showed no inclination to knit them, I’ve done that for him:
Sheri’s Fingerless Mittens
There’s a new person on my knit worthy list – Sheri is my little cousin’s mother-in-law and a delightful, creative, strong woman. She keeps us entertained, and was totally there for the family in the middle of my cousin Dennis’ hard year with cancer.
For her birthday, she got to pick the accessory of her choice – and she chose fingerless mittens because she has a cold office. After giving her a few choices of patterns, she chose the ones that I had knit for my cousin – Beaded Fingerless Mitts from one of those “One Skein” books. Despite the name, I didn’t use beads on either pair. . Winter colors are her best choice, so I knit her a pair out of Madelinetosh’s Tosh Sock in the Tart colorway. They’ve arrived and hopefully already being put to use!
August birthdays always seem to sneak up on me. It was true for my brother while he was alive – August 1st, and apparently I still have trouble with Rachel’s on August 14th. But the good news for her is that I hadn’t knit for her in a while, so she requested a cowl because shawls are a pain to keep on.
The blue-greens are in her color wheelhouse, so I ordered up some Madelinetosh DK in the Translation color way, and knit a slightly larger Honey Cowl for her. If you knit this pattern, do check out the helix stripes modification, which hides the round changes nicely. From a knitting point of view, this kinda felt like an endless knit, but the recipient loves it so it’s a knitting win!
How about you – what are your plans (or not) for holiday gift knitting?
Long-time readers of Revknits know that I change jobs about every couple of years. Sometimes I move along with that, and about a year ago I moved to San Jose from Fresno.
Each time I move, I have a whole host of new providers to find – hairdresser, doctors, auto mechanic, etc. The priority of who I find first changes each time. With this last move, I decided to reconnect with my former primary physician, even though she’s about 50 miles away (I’m not sick and needing to see her often), but I had to find a gastroenterologist quickly. On the other hand, i just found an optometrist and dentist.
And of course, finding my knitting people is very important. Having been introduced to Knitted Knockers in Fresno, I was thrilled to find a local Santa Clara group, and went early on to a monthly gathering. They are very welcoming, but it has been a challenge to attend consistently with my schedule. I’ve only made it about every 3 months, but again, they are lovely. Other groups also seem to meet monthly, except for a group charges a fee to attend (??).
This past Saturday I was tired from seeing a show the night before, but pushed myself to go, and I finally feel like I belong. They know my name, we’re now friended on Ravelry, we’ve traded knitting patterns and I shared my latest knitting disaster, after which a knitter, who had gotten intimidated by my Ravelry projects, looked at me and said, “That is so good to hear.” Yep, we are the knitting sister and brotherhood sharing our challenges and our successes.
So I guess I’m going to help the group do some publicity for Knitted Knockers in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Belonging also means helping the group!
I’m also setting up a meeting at a local library to see if I can set up a class to teach teens to knit. I think it would be really fun! My current thought is to use Susan B. Anderson’s book Kids’ Knitting Workshop – it is really clear and has great beginner projects.
Because sometimes it’s not about finding knitting people, it’s about making more of them!