The volunteer position of teaching knitting, aka my ‘found’ knitting group, includes teaching basic skills. The hope is that this art will serve these ladies well in some capacity in their future. The classes are offered in semesters so the size of the group of ladies varies. And so does the skill level of the participants. With that in mind, I offer a variety of patterns,
all free from Ravelry, from very simple to a bit more complex. Complex in that some patterns may include cables, may have increase and decrease steps, or expect the knitter to read a chart. It is with great effort that I am knitting samples of these patterns so the ladies can see and feel exactly what they are embarking upon.
One lady in particular was zooming right along on her projects. She was a great knitter and expressed a desire to learn how to read charts. So, I found this muffler pattern, a hooded scarf, that I thought would serve well. One could make just the scarf or the entire muffler, has a chart to follow with simple cables and I knew I loved the pattern. So by making it, I would have this great item in my wardrobe as well as serve as the sample of this pattern.
I call the project ‘transition’ as you will see how, as the weather transitions, so does this fun piece. I knitted it in Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease, worsted weight
wanting to utilize the exact yarn the ladies knit with. (A large collection of this particular yarn was donated for this volunteer position.)
Here I am along Erie Basin Marina’s inner break wall modeling the hooded scarf as single layer.
Well, at this point, this project has been knitted twice. Not by choice, of course, but to eliminate too much shelf time, aka, not be worn. I knit to wear so if there is something about a garment that doesn’t feel right or comfortable, I know its future is doomed. I must say, the fabric that was created by this stitch was the conundrum.
The honeycomb stitch is a type of cable that is dense, especially when using Lion Brand’s fisherman wool . . held double. Not so much dense in weight as the pulled stitches create a kind of air hole behind it. Maybe, you can make this out here, but dense in body.
I am talking about a recently finished garment, my first of 2018. First due to the nature of my newly single life (adjusting/managing/accepting) but also first due to the intricacies of what was on my needles. In all fairness to the publisher of Vogue Knitting, the pattern was marked as ‘expert’ which means a high level of difficulty to knit, so I guess I was warned.
I have been very grateful for a little online thread on Ravelry set up by a fellow knitter and avid fan of Vogue Knitting, coilycurly. This knitter, to honor Vogue Knitting’s 35th anniversary, has set up what she is calling the “Anniversary Challenge”. According to the ‘rules’, contestants are to knit one project from the VK magazines, from each decade since the publication’s start, from the years ending in 7. That would be a total of four projects to fulfill the challenge and at the same time, honor the magazine for its longevity in bringing high fashion and current designers to the forefront.
Since being home in retirement, I see, touch, and feel my yarn collection much more than when I was working. In fact, I might even say I avoided looking at my yarn as it seemed to yearn for my attention. Yearning yarn of yesterday has become quite the playmate for today. Corny, but true. Sorting, organizing, thinking, wondering . . . this is what we knitters fill our minds with. I am finding these scrap remnants a fun challenge in how to incorporate them into patterns I love. Here are some recent attempts in three different ways:
This past year, I have made a conscious effort to utilize the growing stash that is forming. I don’t mean the stash of yarn waiting to be worked on with particular projects in mind, I am meaning the remnants or leftovers of yarn from already completed projects. I call the first the stash and the latter, the remnant stash. To help me think how I could utilize these scraps, I have organized them into bins according to their weight.
As space is the constant, I continue to ‘play’ with different configurations on how best to store my hand-knits and how best to organize the stash. Consequently, the look in the yarn room keeps changing as I now use one room and its closet for both. Questions I ask myself: How can I store my obsession without looking like a hoarder? How can I see my full stash when it is time for creating? How can I treat my hand-knits to the best care for longevity? Light in the room? And, so forth.
In drilling down for answers, I’ve been reading. Topics such as: How do you store hand-knits? Is there a special way to fold sweaters? What shelving and/or containers are best for breathability of natural fibers? I am asking these questions because my hand knits are my wardrobe. I am noticing that when I pull out a sweater I haven’t worn in a while, I am seeing fold marks. Do people steam out those fold marks? Is that healthy for the fibers? Is there a way to prevent what seems like permanent folds in a garment? You see, I can go on and on with questions like this.
It is typical to find me in my closet of hand knits when I am looking for something to wear. This past week was no different. I pulled out my lovely tri-color tunic I finished about six months, ago. I thought it would be the perfect layer for the weather and proceeded. With a casual, happy feeling I put on this garment, looked into a mirror, and thought, “hey, what happened?” I felt like I was swimming in it. Did you ever notice that when something doesn’t fit the way you want, it becomes highly distracting? I was uncomfortable to the point that I changed out of it knowing I needed to do some adjusting.
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.