KCBW Day Two: Skills + 1UP

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While reading through some knitting blogs this morning I found out via Knitted Bliss that it is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week!  The idea is each day a new topic will be posted and you’re invited to do a blog post using the topic as a starting off point. While I doubt I’ll be able to keep up with the pace of a post a day, it’s definitely feasible to do a few. Today’s question which asks you to reflect on the skills you’ve acquired over the last year .

Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP

Looking back over my last years projects there has been a big change in the skills that I’ve acquired.

This time last year I was pretty fresh on the knitting scene. I’d done a few ill-fitting hats, dish clothes, a pair of fingerless mittens and my first pair of socks. Since then I’ve tackled

The Baudelaire Sweater

Which introduced me to sweater construction. I’d never made a whole garment before. Knitting pieces that required a little bit of precision in size was quite new, as was following a schematic and of course, the daunting task of seaming. I have to admit the pieces laid finished for a few months before I mustered up the courage to seam them all together. Now that it’s done, I don’t know what I was worried about! It turned out beautifully, and fits just right.

On-Hold Socks

Not to be satisfied with learning to knit socks in my first 6 months of knitting. I needed to learn more ways to knit them. Enter Toe-Up socks. I loved them. I loved being able to easily slip it over my toes to chart my progress. I loved how this pattern introduces a bit of lace into the mix. I also fell in love with knitting socks on circular needles. I felt as though I could finally relax my knitting and not worry about those pesky ladders cropping up.

Fiddlehead Mittens

This project was a big one for me. It introduced me to so many different techniques that I’d never done before. Some might say it was crazy to tackle them all at once. I say, efficient. They were my first introduction to colourwork, I tried out the magic-loop method. (Which I might just be a convert to). I wouldn’t say I perfected, but I got at least competent at stranded knitting with both hands instead of just my dominant right. At first Continental knitting seemed like the most awkward method ever. But with time I coerced my left hand to do what I wanted it to, and it certainly sped up the process! (However, I’m an English knitter at heart. No Continental for me unless there are multiple strands involved.) I also learned the I-cord cast on. I wasn’t a fan of the time it takes, but I’m so impressed by how sleek it looks.

Featherweight Cardigan

Finally, this project brought lace onto another level for me. Now there’s no fancy lace work. Just a LOT of lace weight yarn. Having done many of my projects on Worsted or Bulky yarn, this was a totally different feeling. Slow going, but I’m still liking it. Through it I’ve also been introduced to the notion of knitting garments from the top down. So far so good. As a bonus, no seams!

Goals for the next year? Read yesterday’s post on my desire to focus on the yarn.

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ZigZag in Pink

I may be a little addicted to this sock pattern. It’s my first foray into stranded socks and it’s such a treat to knit! So far I’ve made some real progress on the first sock. Here are a few updated shots.

Shot of the finished product from the source.
It was love at first sight. This is a shot of the pattern from Interweave Winter 2010. I couldn’t resist their fuzzy warmth and the contrast of the subdued grey and vibrant pink and red.

So Far So Good
My progress so far. It’s been a while since I made socks from the top down. I didn’t realize how much I do love the process of making the heel and picking up all the gusset stitches. I especially like the garter ridge framing the slip stitch heel. I think it makes for a clean-looking gusset.

Colour Confusion

It seems that I just can’t stick to one project. I currently have three  on the go, not counting the pair of socks that I have abandoned to the bottom of my knitting bag (Don’t worry Leyburn socks, you’ll be resurrected on day). The latest project is another pair of socks; Pinked by Judy Alexander.

I had a bit of an initial setback when starting out. What initially attracted me to the pattern was the striking combination of the pink and grey colour choice, so I picked up what I thought were the colours suggested in the pattern. (I know it’s okay to change it up and do what suits me, but I’m a bit of a sucker for following the “rules” at times). The yarn label for the MC (main colour) was missing, so I couldn’t verify it was in fact “Ash”. Not to be discouraged, I cast on and started knitting. Only to discover that the MC was identical to a colour in the variegation of the CC (contrast colour), causing the stripes to be lost. Not being able to deny the error any longer, I stopped knitting the socks and picked up the “right” MC.

Here’s the two versions. The top has the darker MC. The bottom is what I was expecting.
MC ??MC Ash

They yarn is mostly alpaca, so they’ll be super warm. The perfect cozy winter socks! I realize that I probably should be making some that I might be able to wear in the upcoming seasons, but I just couldn’t say no to this pattern!

ZigZag Socks

Mittens, Just in Time For Spring

I’m happy to announce that the outer shells of my Fiddlehead mittens are finished!Fiddlehead Mittens
Now I’m onto the inner lining, made with Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, which means they’re soft and luxurious. I have to say though, compared to the colourwork on the outside, the lining has little to keep me interested, other than the finished product of course. I’m trying desperately to finish them before spring is completely upon us. At this point I’m not sure what I want more, the warmth of spring, or a few extra weeks to wear these mittens! (okay, who am I kidding, I’m very ready for some springtime weather!)Fiddlehead Mittens
Inside and Outside

Have a Little Faith

With one mitten done I’ve found myself taking a few minutes to just sit back and reflect on just how cool it really is that I have created this colourful creation out of nothing but string. As a relatively new knitter I still usually encounter a new technique on every project. This one introduced me to stranded knitting, continental and the, I-cord cast on. Not to mention the ins and outs of  mitten construction in general. There were many points I had to stop and talk myself through the instructions. Especially at the thumb. But what amazed me was if I just did whatever it was the pattern was suggesting, even if it seemed strange, it always worked out.

After I finished the thumb gusset I probably spent a good ten minutes with a silly grin on my face, so pleased with the fact that I did indeed have the beginnings of a thumb, and not some strange mangled mess as I feared.

Fiddlehead

Inside
Even the inside turned out not half bad!

Just goes to show that having a little faith can yield some excellent results.

Dwindling Stores & Fiddleheads

This past weekend I made a trip home to celebrate my gram’s 75th birthday. It was a great family affair, lots of laughs and smiles. Unfortunately I made the mistake of taking some knitting home to show off. Problem being I came home a bit lighter. My Slouchy Molly Hat was usurped by my “oh so fashionable sister”. I suppose it’s a compliment to me (and most importantly the design) that it was cool enough that she’d want to wear it. I’ve since been informed that she “wore it all day yesterday and today. Got lots of compliments too!”

Unfortunately, that has led me back on the pattern hunt. (To be fair I’m not too heart broken about that, I’m usually browsing anyway, this just gives me a reason to actually choose one.) During that task I got a little distracted, thankfully by a kit that I already have.

That’s right, I’ve cast on for Fiddlehead Mittens. This is my first go at colourwork in a an actual pattern.
So far it’s going quite well.

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Now if only I could knit faster!