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November Project Review

I’m trying to make this at least a monthly thing – we will see if this keeps up through the winter. This month’s review is a bit different though, because there was no pattern.

Two years ago, I bought some bulky yarn from Youghiogheny Yarns in the “Autumnal Woods” colorway with the goal of knitting a hat for myself. Of course, there is lots of yarn, and lots of projects, and the yarn fell to the back of a bin after a while. In getting ready for our big family Disney trip though, I needed something simple to work on during the plane ride – especially since I would be sitting with my very active 3 year old, and figured focus wasn’t going to be in ample supply.

I searched all over Ravelry for a pattern that matched what I wanted, but I couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. Isn’t that the hardest part, having a visualization, but nothing exists that matches it?

So, I set out to knit the hat I wanted. Overall, a hat isn’t too terribly difficult, so I wasn’t too worried about this mental pattern being a challenge. For this hat, I cast on 58 stitches, and did 8 rows in a 2×2 ribbing, before going into a seed stitch, with one 5×5 cable. (ta-da! You have a free hat pattern!). This was cast on while sitting in the airport and waiting for our flight, and was great entertainment! It also fit great in a small project bag, which helped with trying to limit the size of our travel items.

knitting at galaxy's edge
hat project while waiting at star wars galaxy’s edge
handknit with project bag
knitting at the airport

 

This hat went so fast, and I LOVED working with the yarn. I knit until it “felt” like it was tall enough, then started my crown shaping to close the top. I wove in the ends, wore the hat for a week…and realized it was NOT long enough. So last week I ripped out all the decrease rounds, knit another eight-ish rounds, THEN started the crown shaping. THIS was definitely long enough, and I love how this hat fits and feels! It’s not a slouchy hat, and not overly stretchy because of the seed stitch.

All that’s left is to make a pom for the top with the remaining yarn, then a nice photo shoot!

bb8 knitting project
knitting at disney world waiting for bb8

This month, I’m working on my husband’s long overdue Christmas stocking. I highly doubt it will be completed by Christmas Day, but it’s worth a shot. What holiday knitting are you working on?

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October Project Review

One of the things I would like to start doing, is a review of the patterns and yarns I am working on. This month, I am reviewing Willings Alley Shawl, designed by Erika Flory, knit in June Pryce Fiber Arts Watch Hill Sparkle, colorway “Babylon Nights.”

Both creators are vendors at Knitters’ Day Out in Harrisburg, and every year I drool over their offerings. This year, Cheryl actually had the shawl knit up in a different colorway, and as soon as I saw it, I knew that was something I needed to knit. Let’s ignore the fact that I have a sock and sweater on the needles already…

First, a review of the pattern: Erika’s patterns are always so straightforward and easy to follow. I downloaded this, and after getting through the set-up and maybe 2 repeats, I didn’t even need to look at the pattern. It was simple to memorize, but creates a beautiful fabric. My ONLY complaint is more of a personal issue – there was a lot of yarn left over when I got to the end, and even after adding 3 extra garter ridges, I felt I had barely entered the last color change. I could have ripped back and done another pattern repeat, but I’m also lazy.

The pattern creates an asymmetrical shawl, with a length of about 72″ once blocked. It wraps around so easily – really no complaints about the shape or size.

willings alley, knit in Watch Hill Sparkle

The Yarn: OK. WHO could resist a gradient like that?! I’ll be honest, I fell in love with the colors first, but couldn’t figure out WHAT I would knit with 760 yards, until I saw the sample of Erika’s shawl. The yarn is a merino/nylon blend with stellina sparkles throughout. Not my usual color choice, but it was so vibrant I just had to use it. Knitting with this yarn was a dream. It was so soft, a huge contrast from the donegal tweed I’m using for my sweater. I seriously never wanted this knit to end, because the yarn was just such a pleasure. The color changes were so subtle, that it actually took me until about 1/3 of the way through the shawl to realize I HAD changed colors, and that’s what I love. A subtle shifting as you move – no harsh lines or abrupt changes.

willings alley, knit in Watch Hill Sparkle

Overall, this project was simple, straightforward, and a DREAM in this yarn. I would knit one of these every month if I could. Which, by the way, was an added bonus. I cast on September 28th, and even with only evening knitting (and not every evening, because hello exhausting kids!) I was casting off on October 29th. A GREAT quick-fix if you need a finished object to keep you motivated.

Now, to figure out what to knit next….(Don’t say my sweater. or sock. I’m in denial and need something FUN!)