Saturday, July 25, 2015

Christmas in July (Or: My 2015 Stranded Knitting Project)

For the past few years, I have picked a pattern and knit a stranded knitting project each year.  You may remember seeing my Shades of Purple Beret (2014), my Winter Twilight Mitts (2013) and my Slow and Steady Selbu Modern (2012) here on the blog.

This year I was tossing around several ideas for a stranded project, and then I heard about the knitalong for Wendy Gaal's Winter Funderland Stocking and Hat. Wendy is the dyer behind Knitters Brewing Company, and she was offering kits for the pattern, so I jumped in, ordered the kit  and decided to knit the stocking. The beautiful array of colors she offered made choosing difficult, but I eventually settled on red, green, light gray and white.

Wendy provides a number of motifs in the pattern to use on the stocking, but the knitter chooses which motifs to include and in what order to knit them. At first it was daunting to think about coming up with my own combination, but once I got knitting, it was pure fun!

Here is the final result, my Spring and Summer Funderland, which will be hanging by the fireplace come Christmas.

I'm already pondering what stranded project to choose for 2016. Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Long Line of WIPs: Part Two

This post should actually be called "An Even Longer Line of FOs", but I can't have a Part One without a Part Two, so there you go. I'm planning to give you a bit of an update on some of those WIPs in this post, and then I'll share some finishes, too. All links are to my Ravelry project pages.

I have two long-term WIPs. One of them, which I cast on almost two years ago, has been hibernating for a while, and will be taken out of hibernation and, I hope, finished, sometime before the end of this year. The other one, Shades of Blue and Pink, was cast on almost exactly a year ago. It was supposed to be travel knitting on our New England trip last July, and I did work on it then, but then I didn't work on it for a long time. I have picked it up again, and I'm actually making good progress. In the photo below, you can see the tiny bit left from the second ball of yarn. I am not planning to knit the whole third ball, so I may have a finished scarf shortly.

I cast on my Summer Socks because I wanted socks with some cotton content for the cooler summer days we usually get here in the Northwest, days when it is too warm for wool socks, but lighter weight socks are still an option. The problem is that we haven't had any cooler summer days. It has been hot, sunny and very, very dry, and as a result, I haven't been much in the mood for finishing these socks.

Newer projects include My Own Hand-Dyed Shawl, which is a free pattern, Nurmilintu. The yarn is YOTH Yarns Little Brother, and as my project name implies, I dyed the yarn myself in a class I took last summer.

Another new project is my Summer Market Socks, Bonnie Sennott's latest pattern, Hulst. I am really enjoying this pretty textured sock, which has different, but related patterns on the front and back of the leg.

Finally, my Deepest Pink Cardi, which I shared with you last month, is still in the mix, but I have not yet progressed beyond chart A. That may happen very soon, however, because I just started the last repeat of that chart. The photo below was taken just an hour ago, so this is exactly what it looks like now.

As far as finished objects go, I have been surprisingly productive lately, and you can expect one more very special FO in a post all its own a little later this month. Here are the items that have recently come off the needles:

My Happy Handspan Cowl, knit from yarn spun for me by a dear friend.

An Easy Happy Birthday, Martina Behm's Easy pattern. I love how the Zauberball yarn striped!

That Red Robin is a Bit of a Tart: Helen Stewart's Red Robin shawl, which has been in my queue since it was published in 2013. The name of the project is a play on the yarn, Madelinetosh tosh merino light in the Tart colorway.

And finally, Simply Pink, the Simple Skyp sock pattern. They were simple, but maybe a bit too simple (or perhaps a bit boring). Bonnie Sennott's Hulst pattern was a nice change of pace for my brain after finishing these socks.

Well, that is the rundown of current and recently finished projects. There will be some hiking coming up soon, and as always, more knitting.