It began with wanting to knit my daughter a Christmas present. Not being a fan of surprises, I did not want to present my daughter a knitted garment she hadn’t seen. Having to start somewhere in the investigation of what to knit for her, we began with patterns I had saved over the years. Our tastes are different as are our lifestyles, so I did not think she would actually choose any one of these yet I did think these patterns would lend some inspiration. Well, I was wrong. The bear sweater by Tiny Owl Knits stopped her dead. In my queue for a few years, she fell in love with it and visualized hers to be in the colors that are seen in the pattern. I found a great visual to help with the face.
Last year, The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo brought in designer, Heather Lodinsky, to teach a skill on one of her designs. The pattern was her two-tone slip stitch cable pullover and the skill was using slip stitches in cable work. In my experience in knitting, I had not encountered slip stitches to be used for the design of a garment, only to be done along the edges of knitted pieces. So, I was quick to take on the pullover with the Guild and it led me to do a self-investigation of slip stitches, in general.
For a project that pretty much flew off the needles, it is interesting that I have so much to say about it. I have lots to say not due to any pattern issue or yarn dissatisfaction, but rather the changes I made in how I constructed it. From long tail cast on to sewing on the seam binding along the back neck, I feel these changes led to its success and will lead to the garment’s longevity.
I think I have more questions than answers after finishing this project. This will create lingering in my mind. The topic is crochet. This is definitely the most challenging project I have made in crochet as it involved gauge, fit, shaping, and color changing within a row, none of which I am sure I did correctly and none of which I’ve ever done, before. Also, technique in sewing the crochet pieces together. What I knew however is that this pattern would be a great way to use up some remnant stash with its offering of color possibilities. I have plenty of remnants from past projects of small bits of color however I knew I did not have enough of one color for the main body. Purchasing only three skeins and using those scraps, I thought this a great way to stretch yardage. I did go with the yarn used in the pattern for this main color (MC), a silver grey filatura-di-crosa- zarina-chine.
It was a hot summer. Record-breaking in fact, in our neck of the woods. Knitting is at a minimum for me during the summer due to heat, not to mention the warmth of the summer sun is a constant force of beckoning. Who doesn’t want to be outside during short summer months? On the other hand, the knitter in me is always looking to move forward with the stash and there is the cool of the evenings.
As Grandmother, I was recently invited to the DC area to babysit grandchildren while very intent parents set up house for their temporary move. (no photos because I never knew how to take care of young ones and be a photographer at the same time)
Every so often you hear from a friend from the past. This was the case the day I received a lovely message from a colleague who had retired a few years before me suggesting a get together. She thought of me in particular as, like all of us seniors who are trying to keep our bodies and minds moving, she wanted to learn something new. She must have remembered that I crocheted as her suggestion was that we meet, chat of course, and I teach her how to crochet. Perfect, I thought.
The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo is not only a friendly organization where one meets people who are passionate about knitting but the Guild is also very serious in its purpose and programming. The two ladies deemed program chairs leave no stone unturned in providing ideas for programs and seeing those ideas to fruition. It was in this way I became aware of Buffalo native and knitwear designer Heather Lodinsky and her two-tone cable method as this was the program topic at one of our monthly meetings.
Call me obsessed. Call me intense. Call me stubborn. This sweater, Renaissance designed by Teva Durham was NOT photographing to its fullest potential and it was driving me mad until I realized . . . oh, dear . . . it’s the SWEATER!! My thinking . . . What was it? The body fit perfectly, the neckline moved about in a ruffly kind of way as intended and certainly appropriate for its name sake. The sleeves . . . dramatic, as seen in the pattern. Wait. The sleeves. The sleeves. Something about the sleeves. Yes, they are long but that is the style of the pattern. Oh, wait . . . what about their width? That could be it. If I made them narrower. . . If I make the sleeves narrower, the cap to fit more snug at the top, that might give the sweater an overall better look. Wait. The sleeves. Maybe, just a little shorter. For comfort sake. Wait! How ’bout three-quarter length keeping the essence of the pattern? I notice I get excited, probably because I have a plan to resolve what seems to be ailing me about this garment.
A retirement gift, a plaque from the District where I worked, beckons me. It is as if it can talk and recall; that plaque with the Varsity letter. I hear students’ voices, excited anticipation in the air, their endless desire for learning. It speaks my tongue and reminds me about lesson planning into wee hours. It sounds with the hustle bustle of school life: hallways all abuzz, meetings with teachers and/or parents, the frustrations voiced and the sharing of successes of each day. One glance at this wall plaque of mounted school letter and personalized engraved plate, now hanging on a wall in my yarn room, does all of that every time I look at it.
First and foremost in choosing a project, that project must be wearable in my lifestyle and go with the existing pieces I have in my wardrobe. Of course, I am always looking at new trends in fashion, as I would like to think that even in retirement, I can continue on this quest of always looking fashion-forward. But, what I have realized is that not all the pieces I intended on knitting are appropriate to wear in retirement and that I need to tweak my intentions for better purpose once knitted. In an effort to get my yarn and pattern stash aligned to my lifestyle of retirement, I’ve had to do some reconsidering of patterns and re-shifting of yarns. This has encouraged me to catalog remnants into their respective weights. The more I play with my yarn, the more ideas I am getting and the more possibilities I seem to muster. While this is exciting and certainly mindful of utilizing all of the materials I have here at home, I continuously need to remind myself to have patience and that I will eventually be able to act on many of these ideas.
If you are a reader of Hollyknits, you know I’ve been talking about a wedding cape I recently made for a daughter of a friend. Also, a former student of mine! Since it is a high risk thing to knit for another, I share tips on how to do so, here. I talk about details of gift giving, here. This post, while on the same project is moving away from the event and focusing on the knitting of the cape, itself. … Cape as Finished Project / knitting notes
So, my stash is well bundled now. The ‘new’ yarns for projects continue in waiting and the scraps, which I prefer to call remnants, are bundled according to weight. I can easily pull out the same-weight remnants and mix and match to my heart’s content. This also helps me to get my creative juices flowing as somehow when I pair colors together, ideas come forth. The project that this post is about has come into existence in exactly this manner. … A study of color and elements of design