Oaked

First Christmas Project Finished:

Pattern: Oaked by Alicia Plummer

Yarn:  Malabrigo – Merino Worsted

Colour: Cuarzo

Needles: US 4 or 3.5mm on a 16″ Circular

Knit for: Gwenyth Kramer (niece)

 

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Christmas Knitting Frenzy

Some delicious Malabrigo yarn in worsted and fingering weights.
Some delicious Malabrigo yarn in worsted and fingering weights.

Christmas knitting.  Do you cringe when you hear that, or do a million ideas fly through your mind?  

I started thinking about mine in September when I was in Portland at Powell’s Bookstore.  A place where I knew I had to keep my wits about me and not spend too much money.  It was supposed to be a no yarn trip.  I had no stores that i just had to visit.  I was really disciplined in working down my stash and was successful for several months, but then I ended up in the knitting section at Powell’s (I never said I couldn’t spend money on knitting books) and low and behold they were selling yarn, and Malabrigo yarn at that!

When I walked up to my lovely boyfriend 20 minutes later with a mountainous stack of books and 4 ‘must-have’ skeins on top, the look on his face was priceless.  He just shook his head and laughed.  He didn’t even have to ask the next question, because he knows my rule:

Rule #1 No buying yarn with out a project in mind. Unless it is sock yarn, then you can buy as much as you want.

I'm such a yarnhead for taking pictures of this.  It was too beautiful to resist.
I’m such a yarnhead for taking pictures of this.  It was too beautiful to resist.

Pretty good rule right?  I think so.  I shared my vision to knit hats for my four nieces in all the pretty colours that I had and that my sister, Breanne, would help me…meaning she would pay for half the yarn.  I knew she would be on board.  Who turns down cheap American yarn prices?  Not me, that’s who.

In the end, my sister was easy to convince, though we changed some of the projects and had to buy a couple additional skeins.  Oh well.  I finish a beautiful hat this week for my niece Gwenyth, or Gwen-nie as she calls herself.  I used the lovely light purple Malabrigo in the picture and it looks great.  Pictures to come when I get my little model to show it off at Christmas.

PS – The stash has been on a steady upswing since i cracked at Powell’s.  Isn’t there some saying about ‘how the mighty fall’?  Well it hurts, mostly my wallet, but it still hurts.

Baby Boys

My newest nephew Trent.
My newest nephew Trent.

Hello Knitters,

Isn’t it delightful when you search Ravelry and find a beautiful little girl outfit?  Maybe it’s a sweater, or a pair of booties, or a cute little dress.  There are so many options, you could knit them forever.

I had 5 friends/family members having babies this year and surely there would be a few girls.  Surely!  I pre-knit up a couple girl things to have ready.  I knew I would need some on hand and felt well prepared.  However, I was completely in denial that there might be a boy or two born in this batch.

The first baby was born in August and her name was Audrey.  So cute and perfect for that first Maile sweater I knit.  Then my sister has next and had a boy, Trent, …well there was bound to be one, but I was ill prepared.  In a panic I try to knit up one of the few cute boy sweater patterns you can find on Ravelry, the very popular Baby Sophisticate.   Sadly, I was completing the project while I was visiting Ontario where my family lives and I run out of the beautiful espresso coloured SweetGeorgia yarn as I was casting off.  I toyed with tying together every scrap piece I could find to finish it off, but there was no chance I had enough or that it wouldn’t look ridiculous.

The third baby comes along a couple weeks later and it was another boy, Jackson.  Things were starting to get desperate.  I realized I had been naive for too long, dreaming in pinks and purples.  This baby wasn’t going to get anything.  There was no time and shipping across the country is stupid expensive in Canada.  Well wishes were all I could give.

The fourth baby arrived less than a week later.  Can you guess what it was?  His name was Ezra, and he was a beautiful little baby who received some sleepers from Sears.

One of the only pictures of a baby in one of my knits.  Little Trent didn't even keep this one as it was almost too small for his head.
One of the only pictures of a baby in one of my knits.  Little Trent didn’t even keep this one as it was almost too small for his head.

While I was home with all my little girl items, I saw my cousin at a big family get together and met his daughter Alexandria, who was about 5 months old.  I had not seen them in a while, but they became the perfect recipients of my second Maile sweater (what can I say, I loved that pattern).

For two months, two little girl items remained sitting on my window sill where I keep my yarn.  So soft and feminine but without a little body to keep warm.  Until this week!  Another friend from back in Ontario had a baby girl, Megan.  From the pictures I have seen she is a teeny, tiny, bundle of preciousness, who will one day grow perfectly into the Baby Frock by Hannah Fettig that I knit up months ago.

Lessons to take away from this:

1. Be prepared with boy items (obviously).

2. Tell friends to stop getting it on so much.  I can’t keep up with all their baby making success.

3. Continue to knit every cute girl thing I find, because there will always be more girls.

Time to Ribbit

As a knitter, we all know those projects that you start with enthusiasm and excitement.  You spend a hour at the yarn shop picking just the right fibre and then another hour hemming and hawing over the colour choice.  Some of us even read the pattern over before we start, circling the size you are following or starring special instructions not to be missed (something I need to do more often).  We cast on with little pitter-patters of excitement in our heart, dreaming of how good we will look when we walk out on the town wearing our new item.

And then it happens, perhaps you hit a particularly hard instruction, you scour Ravelry for advice, only to realize that no one else in the world has had the problem you have.  Or perhaps the colour combination you chose would be better suited for your pet.  Maybe you were like me, an ambitiously new knitter, who bit off more than you could chew.

I started the Delancey Cardigan after falling head over heals with how hip and trendy it looked.  I loved the chevrons and the tuxedo like neck fold.  Having only been a knitter for 1 year, it would be my first sweater and I was up for the challenge.  I ordered yarn from Knit Picks (thankfully not the most expensive option) and was thrown when they arrived, looking different than the online image I remembered.  Blasted non-retina screen!  I cast on with slightly deflated gusto, but I was still determined to make the sweater…until I got to the arms.  I was not used to starting a sleeve from the body, actually, I was not used to knitting sleeves period.  My first several rounds were hideous, but I didn’t want to rip it out, it took me a good hour just to figure out how to start.  I figured I could just fix the holes later.  Well, later never came.  My frustration with making sleeves with using DPN’s (I would later learn about the magic loop) got the best of me and I set it aside for the next year and a half.

The cardigan has been sitting in the corner mocking me for my lack of commitment and every time my eyes wonder to it I feel a sense of guilt.  Why don’t I just get rid of it?  Rip it out.  Frog that project!  Well the time has come.  I’m not even going to bother frogging it, it is just going in the garbage.  Too rash?  I hope not.  I imagine this weight being lifted from my shoulders as I hear the garbage truck rumble off into the distance.  

Now what to do with those ridiculously difficult mittens I started last year…

Epic

Because isn’t your first post supposed to be?  

I read a lot of knitting blogs, some for the content, many for the images of things the blogger loves or is working on.  I am drawn by the way community is created online.  Where physical friends, who share your great passions, can be lacking in your own community, one can find a never ending supply online.  I love to celebrate the success of other bloggers when they release a pattern, book, or just finish a project that they have been challenged by.

So what brought me to start my own blog?  Several years ago, I was inspired by the host of The Amazing Race, Phil Keoghan, who said he has a bucket list that he purposefully tries to complete.  While a life long list of items was a bit daunting, I decided that I would challenge myself to do ten new things a year.  Since then I have seen a baby born, bungy jumped, taken a cooking class, run several marathons and traveled to new destinations.  In 2011, I planned on making my first knitting pattern, but only being in my second year of knitting, it felt overwhelming and I pushed it off. However, it stayed in the back of my mind, nagging me.  This year, I have seen some wonderful knitwear designers have great success, specifically Jane Richmond.  She is an amazing designer who creates simple, everyday designs that I find so appealing, but I have a hard time finding on sites like Ravelry.  It finally gave me the idea of what I need to design.  Design what is missing! Simple fun patterns for the modern woman.  It happens that about this time, I also started a mini-adiction to Malabrigo’s Rasta and felt like it was the perfect format to make something that fit this description.  

How do you get started though?  I enrolled in a class through the amazing Knit City event held in October in Vancouver, and designer Liz Abinante, of Feministy, taught a great class on pattern design and the process of getting your design out and available to people.  So here I am.  I’m creating a spring board for my ideas and an environment to reach out to other knitters for community.  I have two patterns in the works using Rasta that I plan to release in January. And even if my sisters and I are the only ones who knit them, I’ll still be proud of accomplishing something new.

So raise your needles, then knit a row. Here’s to an epic beginning!