If 2010 taught me anything, it was not to make grandiose plans for my knitting year. Although I really didn’t begin last year with a list of projects, I thought I’d tackle stranded knitting and try some of EZ’s shoulder and neck shapings. But that turned out to be a more ambitious plan than any list I could have come up with. So this year, I’ll just pick up where I left off and resume my UFOs. In fact, I do have a strong desire to complete the partially-finished sweaters (and socks) and come closer to project monogamy. I also experimented with having different projects for different purposes (home, travel, mindless and mindful knitting), and that doesn’t work so well for me. I have the sense that nothing is really getting accomplished, and often the travel projects turn out to need some attention, and so they take away from my regularly scheduled nightly knitting time. I might relax this constraint a bit and have one big (sweater) project on the needles along with one small project (socks or gloves—fingerless or otherwise). And in preparation for what I hope isn’t an unbearably hot summer, I will knit another shawl over the summer—probably something from Myrna Stahman’s Scarves and Shawls book or Anne Hanson’s Wing of the Moth Shawl. Stash yarn is available for either.
But for now, I’ll revel in the pleasure of having my now-blocked warm and cozy shawl available for the rest of the winter.
I suppose if I make any resolution at all, would be not to look like a dork in the modeling shots. It didn’t start out to be a bad hair day, but when I looked at Ed’s shots, I thought decapitation would show the shawl off to greatest advantage.
This is the Wool Peddler’s Shawl by Cheryl Oberle from Folk Shawls. I used the wonderful Foxhill Farm yarn that I bought at Rhinebeck this year. It is 88% wool and 12% alpaca, and the yarn is undyed and minimally processed. The original pattern calls for about 826 yards of yarn that I thought was similar—although now I’m quite sure it is not. The Foxhill Farm yarn came in 4-oz (114-g) skeins of 275 yards, and I thought I’d be cutting it too close to manage with just three. So since I bought four and had 1100 yards, I decided to make a larger shawl by increasing the garter stitch area enough for another repeat. This addition turned out to cut it very close. I have just 9 grams left.
I also hope to do more with my new sewing machine than stitch up steeks. I had some fun with it as I made my first practice project: a Scrabble tile bag for my son. I made this from some leftover French corduroy (the rest was once a jacket for me, with matching solid purple pants—in the 1970s) that I bought when Bloomingdales’ still had a fabric department. So it is truly a vintage piece, although DS couldn’t care less.
This is surprisingly challenging for such a dinky-looking project. When I started to research the construction of tile bags, mainly, I thought, to get the dimensions, I discovered that these bags cannot have internal seams. If they did, the tiles could get caught in the seams or be hidden, giving one player an unfair advantage. My first plan was to use flat-felled seams for the side seams—the kind on men’s shirts or on jeans. This is the inside, although they’re hard to see because of the black inside.
I also self-lined the circular bottom, put plackets on the outside for the drawstring, and added seam tape to hide the folded top edges.
I had to retrain myself from the habits I have for using mechanical machines to one with computer controls, but I just love how the machine works. Now that I can thread the machine, make bobbins, and shift between the programmed stitches, it is on to a bird-cage cover and some reusable made-in-the-USA shopping bags (that don’t contain lead because they too are of “vintage” fabric). I think by then, I’ll be skilled enough for an actual garment.
Happy New Year, and Happy Knitting for 2011.