Facing Down an Old WIP

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace WrapThis project is probably one of the oldest WIPs I had sitting in the back of my closet. I started it 4 or 5 years ago, and knitted far with it. As in, it calls for 3 skeins of yarn, and I knitted through 2 before I quit working on it.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

This was one of those projects where I loved the pattern, loved the yarn, and because I loved them both so much, I wanted perfection. I’m sure you know what is coming. I made a mistake pretty early on, but didn’t notice it until I had knit several more inches. I pushed myself to just live with a mistake. Then I made more mistakes, and the whole thing just started to annoy me by the time I started the second skein.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

By the time I was finishing that skein, I was majorly irritated with myself and wishing I had just frogged it when I noticed the first mistake. But of course, being 2/3 done with it, at this point, I REALLY didn’t want to frog it, so I did what most of us do in such situations and decided to just shelve it for awhile.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

You know how it is, we always think if we put it aside for awhile, our mistakes will disappear by magic, or at least not bother us so much when we pull it back out after awhile. It turns out in this instance “awhile” was 4+ years, and when I pulled it back out over the summer, the mistakes were still there and glaringly obvious.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

Of course, there are two ways this can go when you’re in this situation: you can frog the whole thing and start over or you can frog it and repurpose the yarn for a different project. It really comes down to how passionate you feel about the pattern at hand. I decided to do the first because from the start, I loved THIS yarn with THIS pattern.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

I am happy to say that when a project has had such a long timeout, it is much less painful to just frog the whole thing and pretend you’re starting something brand new, which you almost are. When I picked it up again, I had all the excitement and drive that comes with starting a new project, and I made the most of it. The bonus to restarting is that it does go much faster the second time around. I knit the entire wrap in the course of a few months, mistake-free, and I am very happy with the results, which you can see in these photos. I hope you enjoyed reading about the process, and that you’ll be encouraged to face whatever projects have been hiding in your closet for the same reasons. It really won’t be as bad as you think! 🙂

Pattern
Yarn: Louisa Harding Amitola

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Short Row Slices

I love the shawl shape!

Awhile ago, I mentioned I am working my way through a book about short rows. This shawl is the next project from the book, and was a very fun and fairly quick knit. I chose to do it in cotton, but you could use any worsted-weight yarn you wish.

Closeup of the design details

I love how the pattern uses the short rows as a design element, and because of this, you don’t need to pick up and hide your wraps.

Back view
The shape allows for nice wrap and drape

I am thinking it would be fun to do this pattern again in a variegated or gradient yarn, but I am also very happy with the solid tomato red. Fall is not particularly cool in Los Angeles, but this color is very fall-ish while the cotton makes a cooler shawl than wool would have.

I also really love the jagged edge of this shawl – great shape when you wear it wrapped around yourself!

Missing You All – Updates, a Stash-Buster FO and General Catchup

stash buster blanket

I have been thinking I am long past due to catch up and create a post, but I just looked at the date of my last post, and wow, it’s been even longer than I thought! I hope you all had a great summer, and that it feels good to be starting fall and hopefully some new fall projects.

Mine was a summer of finishing projects, evaluating, prioritizing, and focusing on health. By the end of last school year, I was feeling unusually exhausted and drained. I was having crazy insomnia, and finding it hard to focus, with a sense of being completely scattered and frazzled ALL the time. A friend suggested I should look into adrenaline fatigue because my symptoms fit the bill. The more I read about it, the more I identified with everything people say about it. The fix is actually not that complicated – much of the solution lies in getting proper nutrition at regular intervals, getting regular exercise, keeping a routine, and getting proper rest.

As we all know, taking care of yourself requires time, and none of us ever have enough time. I decided that if I was really going to follow through on practicing my good health habits, then I would also have to prioritize everything else in life and let some things go, and say no to anything that would require me compromising good health habits.

I am happy to say that I focused on healthy eating, exercise and maintaining a good routine, and so with no pills or supplements or any such “extras”, I feel myself again. I wanted to share so you’d know why I’ve been MIA, but also to encourage anyone else who may be feeling that way to never feel guilty about slowing the pace to take care of yourself, and to start saying no if you are feeling overbooked to that point.

So, on to the fun stuff. 🙂 I am happy to say I finished a number of projects that have been languishing, unfinished, in the back of my knitting closet for too many years. The first is a yarn scraps throw I made for my living room couch.

It is adapted from this pattern, from Kristin Nicholas’s book Crafting a Colorful Home. I absolutely LOVE that book, and I hope one day my house is some version of what you see in that book.

As you can see, I had certain yarns I was trying to use up, so my version is much more color-coordinated that the one in the book. I actually love both ways of doing it, and I loved this pattern. It really is a great stash-buster, and you can pick it up and set it down as you have scraps become available. The photo above is what the back of the blanket looks like. There is no tedious weaving in of ends, and she tells you in the pattern how to tie off the ends.

If you do a larger mix of colors like Kristin shows in the book, you can knit them in whatever order you want. However, if you are doing a more limited color palette like I did, I recommend at least one high-contrast color to help break up the colors that are close together if you want to maintain the striped feel of the blanket. As for the pattern itself, you can just Netflix binge to your heart’s content. It is mostly knitting, with occasional purl rows, because each stripe is 3 rows. You need circulars because you will be moving the stitches to one end or the other when you start a new color. It doesn’t get too bulky because you knit strips of stripes, and then mattress-stitch the strips together when you’re done.

More FO’s coming soon. Happy fall to you all!

A Bonus for Charity Knitting

As any of my regular readers know, my charity crafting of choice is for Alice’s Embrace, because I have a personal connection to the cause. But this month, there is a little extra reward for getting current projects done and mailed in:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAlicesEmbrace%2Fposts%2F2110073139021990&width=500

I thought I’d share since I just finished these two blankets, and if you need a little extra boost to get some things finished and mailed in to them, this is the perfect time. The contest ends June 30.

Project Runway Fandom: Welted Coat

knitwear
My new favorite knitwear

Our knitting guild has a very nice holiday party every year, and for the 2017 party, as part of the fun, they did a fandom challenge. The challenge was to make something from start to finish in 2017 inspired by anything we were a fan of. Other than that, the challenge was wide open for creativity.

project runway knitwear
Welted Coat – designed by Irina Shabayeva, Season 6 Project Runway winner, and knit by yours truly

This Welted Coat, designed by Irina Shabayeva, had been in my queue ever since it first appeared in Vogue Knitting. I had just started knitting when that issue was published, and so I was definitely too intimidated to begin such a complex pattern. But since I am a Project Runway fan, and Irina was my favorite winner, I realized it was the perfect challenge.

welted coat by irina shabayeva
Side view – I love this coat. It hugs the body without being tight or uncomfortable.

The knitting process for this project was surprisingly fast and easy. It’s knit in worsted/aran weight yarn on size 11’s, so it goes fast. Even a relative beginner wouldn’t have too much trouble doing the knitting for this project. The challenge comes in the construction. If memory serves correct, it was a total of 12 or 13 separate pieces that are sewn together at the end. The pattern is not overly detailed about the sewing portion, nor are the schematics that helpful.

In truth, the most helpful thing in constructing the garment when I was done with the knitting was my mannequin. When I pinned the pieces together on the mannequin according to how the instructions said to sew it together, it started making more sense. But it took me two full days to do the sewing and finishing (much of which was spent just figuring it out), and I was very grateful I had extra time to myself over Thanksgiving to get it done.

knitwear garment construction
This is probably 7 separate pieces in view here. Complicated construction, but have to say, the fit is flattering when its done!

Dealing with the construction issues ended up being worth it, and I am so happy to have this coat. It goes with everything, is flattering and so comfortable to wear! During the cold months, I wore it with everything, and gives the sensation of wrapping yourself in a cocoon. I am glad I made it in a relatively neutral color, and will wear it for years to come.

my knitted coat
The coziest outfit ever – I may just live in this coat until it gets too hot to be dressed in wool and silk

FO: First Short-Row Shawl

short row knitting
Short row shawl laid flat

Last year, I started working my way through a short row book, and I have enjoyed every single pattern made out of it so far.

short row knitting, knit shawl
I wondered about the shawl shape when I was making it, and when I put it on, it all made sense.

However, I am not sure how to feel about the results of this particular shawl because the yarn didn’t knit the way I expected. The shawl pattern was alot of fun, and as you can see, it drapes beautifully.

short row knitting
Closeup of the “wings”
short row knitting
Despite the vibrant yarn ball, the lack of a dominant color makes it all “gray out”… wearing the rainbow is the new gray?

But as you can also see in the flat photos, the colors are not exciting. This yarn was given to me and has been in my stash for a long time. It is very vibrant in the ball, but knit up, is not that exciting. I think this is a classic case of the colors muddying up because of not having any one dominant shade.

I am thinking I will probably just treat this shawl as a gray shawl and wear it the way I would wear a gray accessory. I’d like to make it again in a different yarn because the pattern was so fun, and just being honest, I don’t feel like I did it justice.

But, I am curious to know what you all think – do you love it or hate it?

First Charity Mailing of 2018

Journey - Alices Embrace
Journey – Alices Embrace

As you may remember, I lost a dear friend close to this time last year to Alzheimer’s, and on the very same day, met the lovely people from Alice’s Embrace at Stitches West. Since then, I have been knitting (and crocheting) items for them, on and off throughout the year.

Journey by Alices Embrace
Love this pattern – tempted to make a full-size afghan for our house
Journey by Alices Embrace
Folded blanket ready to mail to Alices Embrace

They have a great selection of patterns for knitters and crocheters with varying levels of difficulty. So far, out of all the patterns I’ve knit, Journey has been my favorite.

If you are looking for a charity to contribute to in 2018, I highly recommend Alice’s Embrace. As an added bonus, it is alot of fun to keep an eye on their Facebook page because you never know when your item will pop up. And as before, if you’re making things, please post in my Ravelry group so I can see your items, just for fun.