Beyond the Blanket

It’s been nice to see some coverage of knitting over at Huffington Post recently. One of the articles details things you should be making for your home that aren’t blankets. (Not that there’s anything wrong with blankets!) I also appreciated the quick knitting history link included in the article.

The article reminded me of some crocheted home decor I’ve seen at national retailers lately. All three of these examples feature really nice neutral tones that could go with a lot of different decorating styles. In any case, I enjoyed the inspiration!

It looks like the Kayla Crochet Mirror from Company Kids might actually include some knit swatches, too.

The Lainie Crochet Pillow from Home Decorators Collection combines a rustic element (jute fabric) with elegant crocheted trim.

Pottery Barn’s Crochet Bath Accessories (almost out of stock as of this writing) feature a unique fiber choice.

Pausing to Note Progress

Too often, I focus my attention on the finished product – not on what I learned while in the process of creating something. That applies to a lot of areas of life, but in the interest of staying on topic, I’ll take a moment to pause and take note of what I’ve learned so far while working on my current project.

Shawl Progress

Using the right tool for the job.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve already seen that I’m in the process of making the Monica shawl. It’s a gorgeous (free) pattern that’s knit with lace-weight yarn. I went through three different needle sizes when I was starting out, and got way too far into the project before I finally conceded that it wasn’t working.

None of the needles I tried at first (Boye Needlemaster and Knit Picks Caspian) were bad in and of themselves – they just weren’t right for this pattern. Luckily, my new set of interchangeable Addi Click needles (LOVE!!!) arrived while I was in the midst of frogging this for the umpteenth time. I chose a larger needle size, and never looked back. Note that the needles pictured are from my first attempts and are not the ones that I ended up using.

Shawl in Progress

New knitting skills.

I also picked up a few new technical knitting skills with this pattern – a win in my book, even if it was hard-earned because of all the failed attempts.

  • Comfortably (somewhat) reading lace charts
  • Knitted-on borders
  • Estonian knitting nupps – I used the crochet hook method in the video below, and it was so much easier!

Happy knitting!

 

Victorian Romantic Pineapples Centerpiece

With Christmas far in the rearview mirror… Valentine’s Day, you’re up. :) Here’s a sweet centerpiece project that I completed last year. The Romantic Pineapples Doily is a lovely textured project by Jo Ann Maxwell. (And currently available for free!)

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

My thread of choice was Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. As with most shades of Curio, I found this thread to be darker in person than it appeared on screen. In the case of this project, that was a good thing. I will say that I’m ready for some new color options, pretty please.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 5

The pattern includes large openings, so there’s no chance to hide uneven stitches within dense fabric.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Reviewing these photos now, I definitely could have spent more time on the blocking – or at least straightened it up a bit for the photo shoot!

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Cluster stitches add texture to the piece. I especially like the ones that outline the pineapples. Just be sure to count carefully. Not that I, er, discovered that by experience. Ahem.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 2

The stitch pattern that makes up the hearts (and adds the “Romantic” element) are simple yet clever. Again, I think a bit more blocking is needed here to smooth out the top curves of the shape.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

It’s a lovely pattern, and one that I’ve actually made twice so far. I’ll share pics of my second one in a later post!

Hourglass Cowl

When I think about it, it’s kind of surprising how infrequently I wear things I’ve made. This project is an exception, though – I’ve put it in regular wardrobe rotation lately. I love the size, the colors, the pattern and the drape.

The Hourglass Cowl (free pattern on Ravelry) is really like two projects in one. The “front” of the piece has a curvy hourglass design…

Hourglass Cowl

…with a ribbed edging. I used Boutique Unforgettable yarn in Echo. I have to say, the chain craft store brands have really been “upping their game” in the past few years when it comes to premium acrylic options. The Unforgettable line has become one of my favorites.

Hourglass Cowl

The Hourglass pattern is definitely gorgeous enough on its own. It’s knit in the round, so there’s no need to worry about seaming. But wait, there’s more! ;)

Hourglass Cowl

The reverse side knits up as a basket weave pattern. I can’t decide which side I like better.

Hourglass Cowl

Here’s a closer look at the basket weave pattern, and the yarn. In manufacturer photos, the yarn often looks brighter than it actually is. As you can see, it’s actually a pretty muted color palette.

Hourglass Cowl

Here’s a side-by-side look at the cowl’s dual personalities to give you a sense of scale. I really think this was the best possible yarn choice for this project. It’s one of those patterns that you’ll want to make over and over!

Hourglass Cowl

Yarn & Heritage

Fiber crafts are rewarding for many reasons, but at times it’s really remarkable to consider how participating in the activities is part of our heritage. One of my other hobbies is genealogy, so I may be more invested in the concept than most. :)

I can trace quite a few branches of my family back to the 1700s (and much earlier in some cases). I’m so grateful for the work of the many generations before who painstakingly recorded the vital records of these branches (especially since other branches remain a mystery despite years of my own research). These genealogies also come with some family anecdotes, and I found a listing in one of my ancestors’ wills today that directly relates to my favorite hobbies:

[Name] spun the yarn for this coverlet in 1784 when their oldest child was an infant … This coverlet has been in use for every winter for 69 years. In 1858 I knit this fringe and sewed it on, as the old fringe was nearly gone.

Amazing. I wonder if anything I’ve made will last that long – here’s hoping! Of course, I have a more recent family connection in that I learned how to crochet from my grandma. It’s very cool to know that creating projects out of yarn goes way further back in the family.

Knitting Project