Winter Knitting

For various reasons, our little mobile home has become even more cluttered over the last few months. And since we are about to start construction on our new house, I’m not exactly motivated to organize any of it. The result is that my crafting area has disappeared under piles of stuff, my sewing machine is put aside, and there just isn’t any room left for sewing or quilting.

Winter brings more evenings at home and inside, more watching of shows and movies, and more immediate need for warm woolies, so lately I’ve focused on knitting for my crafting fix. Here are some of my recent projects:

I took a Craftsy course on stranded knitting and steeking. Steeking is when you make something in the round and then cut it to make a flat piece of fabric. I’m still not exactly sure what the point of that is, but to be fair I haven’t finished the class yet so I suppose I might still find out. The first part of the course was about stranded knitting, or knitting with multiple strands of yarn in different colours. The first project was a tablet cover, and each section uses two colours of yarn. Thankfully, I already knew how to knit both continental and European style, so I took to it pretty quickly. I quite enjoyed it, and I love all the patterns you can make. Here is my project:

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I gave this to a friend for Christmas as I don’t have a tablet (and because I wanted to give her something handmade and useful).

I also took a course on bias knitting. This turned out to be pretty simple and not really worthy of an entire course (although if you are interested in designing your own patterns I think it would be useful). I skipped over the first project, a simple tube cowl, as it looked pretty boring. Instead, I made a scarf with a pretty ripple edge. I wish I had used a brighter colour, as the pattern itself is pretty but not very striking. And unfortunately the ripple isn’t very obvious when worn. The yarn, however, is lovely soft and warm so I’ve kept the scarf for myself. Here it is laid out for blocking:

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Speaking of blocking, I took a Craftsy class in blocking and it has really changed my knitting for the better. I had not really done much blocking before: nobody had showed me how to do it, although it seemed pretty straightforward, and I guess I didn’t appreciate what a difference it could make to my projects. After taking the course I was eager to give it a go, and I blocked the tablet case above, the scarf above, and a bolero cardigan I made last spring (which I never wore because I thought it didn’t look very good on me). Now I will block everything I knit, and I’m so happy with how my projects turned out! Here is a photo of the finished bolero cardigan:

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Here is a link to the class project page where you can see the “before” shots of this cardigan.

That cardigan, by the way, was made as part of my favourite Craftsy knitting course, The Perfect Fit Seamless Crazy Lace Cardigan (which you can find on this page). From my review of that class:

“I have been knitting for almost 15 years, and in that time I’ve attempted several sweaters only to end up frogging them because they fit horribly, despite all my attempts at measuring correctly. With this course, I finally have a technique for creating cardigans that truly are a perfect fit!”

Lest this post turn into a commercial for Craftsy, Here is a project I made from a pattern I got on Ravelry. This Fisherman’s Wife cowl turned out really nice, and I made one for both my mother and a friend, both of whom are very cold in the winter! This is knit on large needles and worked up very quickly. It looks great (especially after blocking!), and is very warm when made with a lovely yarn. I think I will keep this one handy for gifts in the future.

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I also knit up the Illyria Hat, which it turns out was designed by the instructor for the bias knitting class on Craftsy. I liked the tree design, but the yarn I used was dark and the tree doesn’t stand out well. I may knit another one in a lighter colour at some point.

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My current project is a pair of socks for my dear husband. I have so many of my own now, and it’s nice to make them for someone else. Thankfully, my aunt from New Zealand came for a visit this past summer and brought me a fair amount of sock yarn, so I had some just waiting for this project. I’ve completed the first one already and began the second pair last night, so he should have them soon.

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I’ve been hankering after a poncho, so that might be my next project. I recently bought one from Costco and while I love the look, it is pretty thin and made from mostly acrylic yarn. I want a warmer one in a nicer wool, although given the size of the garment I’ll probably have to settle for a wool blend so I don’t end up spending a fortune on it!

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