I keep hearing people say that summer is “over”. Presumably because Labor Day is coming up this weekend and, indeed, here in the US, that is the unofficial mark of the end of summer.
Labor Day weekend is usually the last weekend kids have before they go back to school. It’s usually the last bar-b-que or road trip, the last hurrah of summer, but let’s not be hasty here. Technically summer doesn’t end until September 22nd and I need every bit of summer I can get. Not just because I want to spend time outside, sitting in a deck chair, knitting and drinking Shandys (although I do want to continue doing that, make no mistake) but also because I’m not quite finished with my summer knitting.
I ordered some knitpicks cotlin just for this and I was so excited. I loved the way the colors looked together and the fabric was soft and drapey and then one day………………… I held my work up for the Hubs to take a gander and what do you think he said?
“It’s nice. I looks just like the one you’re wearing”
So…in spite of my original happiness with the project, I ripped it out. I spent the next one hundred days trying to figure out what to do with the yarn that would not include it’s being added to my already overwhelmed stash bins.
Then I moved on. I made a cute little crochet top called the “Summer Road Trip Top” by Kraftling. I used some cotton dk yarn in white that had been in my stash for a good long while. I figured something open and lacy and easy for summer.
This pattern fit the bill to a T. Once you get the hang of the stitch pattern it’s really just worked in two rectangles and then connected at the shoulders by continuing the stitch pattern for a couple of more inches. That’s not to say I didn’t make any mistakes but the ones I caught were easy to conceal or repair and I’m pretty darn happy with the outcome. Plus it didn’t take much time to come together and I used up some stash yarn-double YAY!
Riding high on the success of my “road-trip” I headed back to my stash bin and came out with some “Haze” by Queensland Collection. This is a cotton/corn fiber blend that my mom bought me for my birthday a few years ago. It’s one of those yarns you like so much you hate to actually use it but, when Chiaki Hayashi of Chiaki Knit released a new cardigan pattern called “Relax” I thought it might just be the perfect project for my coveted yarn.
I love the easy, modern look of this cardigan. And the idea of something with simple lines and easy drape seemed perfect for a yarn that had a lot going on color-wise. Alas, it was not to be. The original “Relax” is knit in a bamboo (Be Sweet Bamboo) yarn which has a lot of give. It’s notorious for growing and Ms. Hayashi used that factor to her advantage in this design. My yarn, being almost half cotton, was much more stable than the bamboo. The unfortunate result being that I was getting the proper gauge in the knitting but no “growth” in the completed project. This was compounded by the fact that I probably chose a size too small in the first place given that I wanted a relaxed cardi with lots of ease.
Looking at a designers image on a computer screen makes it difficult sometimes to determine how much ease is built into the pattern and how much is the size the model is wearing. In any case this was another project destined for the frog pond. This yarn will be repurposed into something else at some point and I’m going to a big yarn sale next weekend in search of some good bamboo so I can make another “Relax”.
This pattern, by the way, was written very well and easy to follow and I really like Ms. Hayashi’s other patterns, particularly the Taki cardigan and the March Nautical Fair Isle hat, both of which are on my knitting “to-do” list.
After the “Relax” incident, which I did not find relaxing btw, I set my eyes on Norah Gaughan’s volume 12 from Berroco yarns. I started with Pause in captiva but had my eyes on several other designs as well. (I’m in love with Trifle and trying to decide if I should bother attempting it this late in the season).
I almost never use the recommended yarn for a particular project and, to be honest, I’m not sure why because, if you look at my finished “Pause” (below) you’ll see that it came out pretty darn well. In fact, I’m so pleased with the outcome I might try this more often.
I’ve also been working on a couple of scarves over the summer. I have to admit, I’m not a big scarf knitter. I prefer garments like sweaters, T’s and tunics but every once in a while I get the urge to do a scarf. Such was the case with Kieran Foley’s Merlin. (I actually love all of his designs but, I’m not a big lace knitter either and it’s possible that I’m a little intimidated. Not likely, but possible.)
(I feel obligated to inform you all that Kieran Foley’s webshop, Knit/lab (link above) as well as his Ravelry shop (link HERE) apparently give you a 25% discount when you purchase three patterns or more. Seriously? I don’t even really knit lace or scarves and I own two of his patterns, so if you happen to like knitting these things you’re going to find a lot more than three. Check out this notice.)
I started this scarf back in May with the idea I’d be giving it to my sister-in-law who happens to look really beautiful in that blue color (that’s Juniper moon farm’s “Findley Dappled” by the way). I’m only about half way finished with it but, thankfully, her birthday isn’t until October so, I figure, if I don’t get further distracted, I might actually be able to finish in time!
By the end of June I was getting a little knit-weary and decided I needed a project I couldn’t screw up or get overwhelmed by. I stumbled across the “double striped cowl” by Joy McMillan of Goddess knits while trolling around the internet one day. It’s a free Ravelry download and, since I have a membership in one of her sock yarn clubs ,and I knit about as many socks as scarves, I have a huge stash of beautiful, hand-dyed, sock yarn. I figured this would be the perfect project and it’d make a great Christmas gift for my BFF since she’s always been crazy for stripes. Killing two birds with one stone, perfect!
This is really just a long tube of knitting and, while you’d think all that knit stitch would get boring, it really didn’t, or not often anyway. The color changes in the hand dyed yarn kept me interested and it was great for sitting on the deck talking with the Hubs or watching TV. It’s been waiting for me to kitchner its ends together for about two months now so I figure, what’s another week or two? I have until Christmas to finish this one.
…..and lastly I started Sarah Punderson’s “Drop Stitch Cardigan” (ravelry link) just a week ago or so. I’m using a Habu yarn called “viscose sizing” which has great texture and drape but is about as easy to wind into a ball as a piece of wet spaghetti. Never mind that though, I really couldn’t care less as the result is amazing. I’m using this with two strands held together and I’m knitting the size large so it, hopefully, won’t end up like my “relax” cardigan.
I’m currently in love with anything that looks a bit weathered. It might be that I live in Detroit, where everything looks a bit weathered, or it might be that I’m only two weeks away from my 49th birthday and feeling a bit weathered myself, either way feel seems to be speaking to me lately. The drop stitches mixed with this funky yarn give it an oddly beautiful look. Like an older woman who’s not afraid of showing a laugh line or a crinkly eye. I’m sure such a person exists, even if I haven’t met her.
That’s the big catch up. I have lots of knitting planned for the fall so stay tuned.