I bought the yarn for the Easy Folded Poncho back in November, but several projects for kids, my Etsy shop, etc. got ahead of this in line. Since it’s a warm garment made from luscious 100% Alpaca from Juniper Moon Farms, AND it has a generous cowl neck, I wanted to finish it while the weather was still cold so I could appreciate its warmth. Well, Mother Nature has cooperated and it’s still below freezing here in NJ. I finished the poncho, including knitting and blocking the cowl, earlier this week, and am now ready to wear it into NYC for dinner and a show tonight!
Since this project included 50 inches of stockinette, I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to try a bunch of different needles. Here is a quick synopsis of my thoughts on each (all were size 6 and none seemed to change the gauge of my work):
- Signature Needles–I ordered the 5″ stiletto tips. These were my absolute favorite (and the most expensive!). I love them so much that I ordered another pair in size 7 and hope to start collecting them in different sizes. These are truly the Rolls Royce of knitting needles!
- HiyaHiya Sharps–Love these as well. Nice, sharp tips, very light and flexible cord that would be amazing for Magic Looping. As these are at a much better price point than the Signatures, I may think about getting a full set.
- KnitPicks Caspians–I have three KnitPicks Interchangeable sets already, but I fell in love with these green wood tips and green cord when I saw them online. The tips are sharp and work as well if not better than my other KnitPicks needles. Again, I might ponder a full set, just because!
- Knitter’s Pride Karbonz–While these are great needles–perhaps a lower-priced version of Signatures–they didn’t seem worth the price for me vs. any of the others I tried. I will try them on another project and see if I change my mind and want to add these to my collection in greater quantity. The one plus of these over Signatures is that the cords work for any Knitter’s Pride needles, as well as for KnitPicks needles, so you get a very nice, high quality needle without having to invest in separate cords like you do with the Signatures.
Finally, I ordered one set of DyakCraft Darn Pretty wood needles, but alas, after several weeks, they still have not arrived. If I like them when they eventually get here, I think my best bet is to buy a set from someone on Ravelry, rather than wait the year for my own set. But then again, I have so many needles that I COULD wait….will decide when my sample arrives–hopefully within the next few weeks.
Now that I’ve worn the poncho, I’m ready for spring!
I know there is that superstition that a girl shouldn’t knit a sweater for her boyfriend before they’re officially a couple, but I don’t think it applies to 1)the girl’s mother knitting for the boyfriend and 2) a scarf rather than a sweater! At least I hope not, because I just finished a gorgeous scarf for my daughter’s boyfriend, which I will add to a package of gifts she left for me to send to him while she is studying abroad in Europe this semester.
I am so happy with this scarf. The pattern is Christian’s Scarf by Agnes Kutas-Keresztes. There is a matching hat pattern on Ravelry also (both are free!). This was a wonderful, rhythmic pattern that was fun, easy and looks fantastic–no curling, just the right amount of texture. The Cascade 220 Superwash that I used was the perfect yarn–softened up with soaking (and a little spin through the dryer after blocking), very durable and just the right weight. My daughter chose the very rich, not quite black shade called Jet. I definitely want to make this scarf again. Can’t wait to see how the boyfriend likes it–I will mail it in a few weeks.
Another very successful part of this project was the use of the Inspinity Premium Blocking wires. I bought these a few years ago and they are fantastic. The set comes with a number of different lengths; they are very flexible (almost like threading a needle in and out of the rows and produce a beautiful result. I highly recommend them!
It’s been unusually cold here in NJ as well as throughout the US, as I don’t have to tell most of you. I was struck the other night, when I mustered all of my motivation to walk out the door in sub-10-degree-weather and a foot of snow and drive to my book group meeting. When I walked in, our hostess asked me to take my boots off at the door, and when I walked into the meeting, where some of my fellow readers are also knitters, I was greeted with admiration about the number of hand-knits I wore and carried:
- a hand-knit, mohair sweater (knit pre-Ravelry, so no photos or links!)
- hand-knit socks
- a hand-knit cowl and matching mitts from one of my favorite cold-weather yarns, Misti Alpaca Chunky
- and I carried a hand-knit, felted bag, which contained my current WIP, a beautiful men’s scarf for my daughter’s boyfriend
It struck me that, although I hate the cold, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to wear so many of my knits at once and to know that they are the best antidote to being cold. My husband and daughter have been wearing their hand-knit socks every day during this cold spell, and my son, braving his first winter at college in Michigan, is grateful for the bulky scarf and hat I made him.
I even made a sale of a warm, bulky hat in my Etsy shop! This makes me want to drop everything and knit 24/7 (so does the fact that I don’t want to go outside!) This makes me even more determined to do something to make knitting more of a part of my life–and find a work solution that will allow me to devote more time to this craft that I love so much. I hope 2014 will be the year that I finally make it happen.
Stay warm, everyone!
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted–I’ve been enjoying time with my children who are home from college, and have been putting regularly scheduled knitting projects on hold to make them some warm slippers to take back to school. Their friends are next. I really take a lot of pleasure in knitting for my kids and their friends–they appreciate the items and I feel like I’m enveloping them in love and warmth.
In perusing my Ravelry projects page, it looks like I completed 16 projects in 2013–including an afghan for my son to take to college, several scarves and cowls, and a sweater for my daughter. I also knit several projects that were sold in my Etsy shop, although I would have liked the number of projects sold to be higher than it was.
For 2014, I am committed to taking some Craftsy classes and hopefully the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors program so I can begin to realize my goal of incorporating knitting into my next career stage. I had hoped to take the leap in 2013, and to devote more time to preparing over the holidays, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m not giving up–I’ll use this forum to keep me on goal and I’m committed to reporting to you, my readers, about my progress. Help me stay motivated to realize my dream if you can!
Wishing a Happy, Healthy, productive and peaceful new year to all.
Have been working hard on many fronts–my “day job,” my personal knitting (I’m participating in the 2 KnitLit Chicks Poncho Comeback KAL; I’m making the Easy Folded Poncho pattern with the that I bought a few weeks ago. Using luscious Juniper Moon Farm Herriott (100% alpaca). I’ve had several “false starts” until I think I arrived at the dimensions that will fit my small frame and the seed stitch edging that will keep me from going crazy with severely rolling edges.
Then, just got several new orders in my Etsy shop from a dear friend. I’m hoping this will be the start of a busy holiday season and maybe my “new direction” will be able to begin. Stay tuned.
Yesterday I finished the Garland Cowl, which was the winner in a long inner decision-making process regarding what I should make with my one skein of the luscious and soft Tess Designer Yarn’s Cultivated Silk and Wool, in a beautiful blue-green. I had a moment of panic when the cowl, even when fully blocked, was about 31″ long — this after the pattern said it should be 60″ long! The good news is that after that good blocking, the cowl hanks about to my waist when not doubled around my neck, and I am able to double it if I wish. I think I’ll wear it to work tomorrow!
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with dear friends yesterday. We’ll be sorry to see them go when they move across country soon, but we know we will stay in touch.
Prior to the day(s) of cooking, preparation and finally eating, I had completed a knitting project for each of my children. Thankfully, both of them flew home without delay during a nasty Nor’easter and on the busiest travel week of the year. They modeled their knitwear yesterday before we sat down to eat and both seemed genuinely happy with their finished object.
I’m pleased with my daughter’s sweater, the Estelle Pullover–she tried it on Tuesday night and I made some notations about where it needed to be slightly bigger; I then blocked it and it fits PERFECTLY. My son’s scarf, the Textured Triple Stripe Scarf from 60 Quick Knits, is long, particularly since I knit it in bulky instead of worsted and didn’t do my calculations exactly right–but he likes the warmth of it looped around his neck and it looks great on him.
Wish I had them home longer, but in general, life is very good today!