Knitting

Staying warm until winter is really over

With spring-like temperatures, the need for wool beanies greatly diminishes although, since this is Minnesota, the weather can quickly snap from balmy to blustery.  In a December Year of Projects post, I reported the forthcoming Selwyn Beanie was in my project queue.  While I waited for the pattern drop from designer Marie Greene, my early winter evening TV knitting was the matching cowl, dubbed Selwyn Petit as it was a smaller (cables only) version of the original Selwyn knit in heather gray.  The Petit cowl and beanie uses a vibrant sunflower heather yarn from Kelbourne Woolens.  Good for shooing away the winter blues. With cowls and beanies complete, now the challenge is determining the lucky recipients.

Knitting

A Year of Projects – part 2

At the beginning of this holiday month, I joined the Ravelry group, A Year of Projects, mid-way through its July – June year.  After years of managing an organization with a fiscal year of those same months, work that included lots of grant applications to secure Federal and state funds, I had planned to treat December as just another month and, once again, do the real work in June.  But we all know 2020 has been anything but normal and I have been inspired by my fellow writers’ December summaries.  Here is an update on that earlier list

  • I frogged the first Hortensia Mitt back to the cuff as I did not like the long strands of yarn on the inside which will surely catch.  These await time and more practice with locked floats.
  • After a yarn delay, my Project Peace 2020 KAL shawl is 12 rows from completion.  Currently at 455 stitches (having started with three), each row takes considerable time (made less tedious by a good audio book) as I work towards a final stitch count of 483.  Still with a goal to complete in December.
  • A second delayed shipment stalled my work on the River of Dreams bedrunner but that is underway again and an easy knit during evening TV viewing, sometimes even with subtitles.
  • I did complete one project in December, the Knit Camp cowl, Selwyn!  There is a forthcoming pattern for a hat-to-match which will make a very nice set.

I am deep into swatching and measuring for a new sweater, Fiadh, which the pre-release notes describe as “A textured Irish Aran cardigan with cables, double moss stitch and a shawl collar.”  The pattern drops on Monday, January 4 and, unlike earlier projects, my authentic heather gray Donegal Tweed yarn is already in hand.  The teases reveal an intricate cable design incorporating four different styles covering the sweater’s front panels, back and sleeves, plus decorative bobbles bordering the ribbed button band.  Happy New Year and happy knitting!

Selwyn – A Knit Camp cowl KAL
Knitting

Streek

When you begin knitting and, even after years of experience, there is a dread of dropped stitches unraveling your hard work.  After a decade of projects (145 complete or in-progress currently listed on my Ravelry page) I am finally comfortable picking up dropped stockinette stitches or correcting a mistake in knit-n-purl ribbing.  However, the intricate subtleties of stitch structure still elude me and, if the mistake occurs in a well-loved cable project or (heaven forbid) on lace work, I frog back.  So you can imagine my trepidation when the August theme for Knit Camp was:  Streeking. 

Not familiar with that word?  Neither was I.  The primary definition of this transitive verb is to stretch or to extend, coming from 12th century Middle English, chiefly Scotland.  As a modern day knitting technique, steeking is a multi-step process that involves preparing, cutting, and finishing the streeked item.  And yes, I did say “cutting” as in taking a sharp scissors to a perfectly good item and cutting something knit in the round and making it flat.  Right?!?  And I wanted to do this why?

Having committed to a fun year of Knit Camp with Marie Greene and approximately 1,000 other intrepid knitters, I thought why pay for classes and then skip the work.  So I knit the Soundtrack Cowl, a variation on my Soundtrack Sweater, crocheted two steeked columns, added extra back-stitched reinforcement since my HiKoo Sueño is superwash, cut a specifically planned purl column (yikes!), added a decorative binding on each side to seal the raw edges, picked up left and right side stitches to add a Knit 2 – Purl 2 ribbed button band and, finally, added eight remainder buttons.  While I am satisfied with the finished project, I am pretty sure streeking will not become my new go-to knitting technique.

Knitting

Stitches out of order

A recent review of my Ravelry project page confirms what I already knew – – I like cables.  River Cowl was finished just today and features a subtle cable pattern that draws the eye from top to bottom.

River Cowl

While 1/1 cables usually are not my favorite construction element (I prefer a more robust design), I was intrigued by the subtle shifting of just one stitch either to the front or the back used to create the River Cowl.  I discovered pattern designer, Tamara Moot, and I share a love of Dr. Who and River Song (the inspiration of this design) is a favorite character for both of us.  Moot shares:

These elegant yet simple cables evoke River Song with the added bonus that the stitch pattern closely resembles the symbol for water or river found in the Southwest desert petroglyphs.

Cables are created by knitting groups of stitches out of order.  Stitches held in the back result in a right leaning twisted column and, if held to the front, the twist will lean to the left.  The larger the number of stitches shifted, the larger the fold in the resulting fabric.

Each of my three Building Block Shawls (2013-2014) had at least two squares or panels with cables.  Churchmouse’s Following Seas Cabled Scarf and Reversible Cable Scarf have been go-to patterns for me. Between these two, I have gifted a combo of seven scarves.  All the while knitting a creative collection of cabled cowls, hats, fingerless mitts, two sweaters and even a pair of mystery knit-a-long socks.

My project queue holds an intricate Celtic Cable scarf and a shawl that incorporates a beautiful Irish Saxon Braid border.  So many patterns, much yarn, so little time…