Friday, February 3, 2017

Dull Knitting

I've been doing more to improve my knitting than simply using up older stashed yarn. I have been trying to produce practical sweaters that I will wear often. Here's a catch-up listing of those, as proof that my knitting projects are not all brightly colored. As always, complete details are in my Ravelry projects. Most of these were knit in 2016.

Lifesavers Cardigan pattern, Tanis Blue Label yarn
I never thought I'd knit a sweater with fingering weight yarn, even though I bought it in Canada for that purpose.  Once I finished it, I found I like it. It is just warm enough and very comfortable.
Portage cardigan pattern, Zara yarn
This superwash yarn makes a heavier sweater.  It doesn't have buttons, so is wearable despite the weight.
Wanderling pattern, Elsa Wool fingering weight yarn
This is a fabulous yarn for a sweater, soft, warm, light and lovely to knit.  The pattern is cute, but the cables pull in, affecting the fit in the shoulders.  That's a small defect, though.  I love wearing this sweater.

Lightweight Raglan pattern, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine yarn
Lovely pattern, good in this yarn, but would probably be better in a less elastic blend.  It is a practical sweater, simple and comfortable except for a small itchy spot in the front of the neck.  I can loosen the neckline a little--I tightened it up by shifting the stitches at the welt--or put in a facing in a softer yarn.
Yoke sweater of my own design using cvm yarn from local mill
This wool is very itchy, making it a challenge to design a sweater that I can wear comfortably.  I think it is a success but will know for sure after next winter. 

Gehry pattern, Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn
This sweater wasn't quite done when I took this photo, but it is completed now.  I have worn it, but wish I'd knit a smaller size.  The yarn is nice and light, but too itchy for me.

Truss pattern, Cascade Cloud yarn
This pattern is not as flattering as I thought it might be and the yarn is heavy. Still, it is a comfortable weight and goes with all my black and gray, as well as blue jeans.

Definitely Susan pattern, Madeline DK yarn, the single spun
Gosh, I love this.  It took me a couple of years to get around to knitting the scarf.  I'm so glad I finally made it because it makes the sweater a lot more fun to wear.  The yarn is superwash but the sweater is so small that it isn't heavy.  Or maybe the Tosh Merino DK is just a lighter spun yarn.

There they are, the sweater output brought up to speed.  I'm glad I listed them, as it points to an issue I've been ignoring for years.  I can't wear most wool comfortably.  I tried to buy more rustic yarn last year, but I found them more itchy than the superwash yarns I've bought in the past.  Since I'm tired of working with the way superwash stretches out of shape, I've concluded that I should explore (shock) acrylic or acrylic blends as well as confining my purchases to alpaca, merino, cormo, or other soft yarns.  Now that I've knitted up a backlog of sweater yarn and explored some of the new options, I can make my purchasing more practical, as I've done with my choice of colors and patterns. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Meaning of My 2016 Knitting

In 2016, a lot of my personal items were damaged by a flood.  This was a difficult time for me, emotionally and physically.  Of course, I kept knitting through the trashing, sorting, treating, cleaning, repairing and restoring that was required.  That I kept knitting, finishing up current projects and starting new ones didn't surprise me.  What surprised me was that I suddenly looked at my stash with new eyes. 

I had a few hanks of yarn that I had chosen for color.  These hanks were pleasant in appearance but overly bright and clashing when knitted up.  Suddenly, during the period immediately after seeing a lot of my personal items looking particularly dirty and soggy, these bright colors called to me.  Something I was never going to knit seemed like the ideal thing to knit.  That was how I discovered that knitting with yarn that is bright and maybe not so beautiful can be helpful in crisis.

Of course, I was reasonable, choosing patterns for accessories that might mix into a wardrobe of neutrals and limiting myself to two projects.  There was a Carlisle scarf with a central color of chartreuse sock yarn.  I found enough sock yarn in my stash to complete the scarf.

Then there was a variegated sport-weight bfl that was a riot of green, yellow, and brown.  I bought some lovely black Anzula Cricket to use with it and produced a Marley shawl that is appalling on the wrong side.

However, the right side is moderated by the black.  Since I only wear such large shawls at home on chilly days, I find the bright colors cheerful on a gloomy day.  The yarn itself is lovely--very soft and comfortable.  If I tire of the colors, I could always dye it black.

I worried while I was knitting these projects that I was wasting my effort.  Now that they are completed, I am happy with them.  I am also happy that they took these yarns out of my stash.

Although these are only two projects, they were crucial in my destashing plan. They took it from a mere reduction of the quantity to more nearly a complete clearing of stashed yarn.  I suddenly became more determined to eliminate my stash.