You’ll never forget your first.
I started knitting ten years ago. I jumped right in making things for my friends. I like to think that I was a quick study. Probably because, before that, I learned the very basics when I was eight years old. My mom taught me garter stitch when I was in fourth grade. She did all of the casting on and binding off but she taught me the knit stitch and I made this.
It’s not very impressive. I believe it ended up being a blanket for my favorite stuffed animal. It certainly grew in places, probably due to the yarn overs placed arbitrarily throughout. It’s made from some leftover Red Heart Super Saver so it doesn’t feel particularly nice. It was something to keep me occupied when I could draw, another way to make things. It is what it is.
I’ve taught countless people to knit since this unfortunate blob happened. “You should see the first thing I ever made,” I’ve told each and every one of them with the memory of this piece still fresh in my mind. When I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom over the weekend, I found it. I knew it was still in my parents’ house somewhere. (We have a hard time parting with things.) And I’m so glad it still exists.
If I had a studio, I’d hang it on the wall. Look at how far I’ve come! Look at how much there is to learn! Look at how satisfying it is to make things with your hands!
What’s the first thing you ever knit? How did it turn out?
For Valentine’s Day, Jon and I took a little adventure upstate. My cousin got us tickets to a wine festival so we took a little weekend trip to get tipsy. It was cold up there but we made it thanks to fast food (my favorite road trip indulgence), an endless music selection, and the scenic route.
The trip was a lot of this:
But that means a lot of knitting. I generally am completely restless for long car rides (I hate flying because you can’t take a break!) and being behind the wheel makes me a little twitchy (until I decide to drive 85mph the whole way because I am in. a. hurry.) so I try to avoid road trips. But a long journey means unadulterated time with my two favorite things: needles and yarn.
I’m probably pretty sore for it now but I managed to pump out a good portion of this pair of socks.
After taking Kate Atherley’s class at VKL, I was very excited to make a pair of socks. I’ve been itching to make a pair since I learned so many awesome tips. While I know how to make a good sock, now I know how to make a great one! It’s an ankle-down sock with a square heel. I must admit that I didn’t quite nail this time around. You can see in the photo below that I went a bit too short on the foot so the heel is kind of pulling. I really wanted to make sure there was proper negative ease. Maybe this is too much.
I picked up this skein from Into the Whirled at Rhinebeck. It was nearly impossible to pick a color way but Jon really liked this one and I love how it stripes. I’m definitely looking forward to taking my new sock knitting expertise to more projects. Expect more socks soon!
Socks are my favorite road trip knits. What about you?
Faro was off my needles pretty quickly! I actually was able to put the bottom ribbing on right before I went to Vogue Knitting Live! So I a lot of people saw it unblocked (meaning super cropped and hanging weird, whatever! She needed to be worn!). I finally got a chance to block it and I could not be happier.
You’re going to be seeing me in this sweater A LOT. Absolutely, 100% Faro has jumped to the number one spot of favorite sweaters! I decided to take some photos wearing the big floppy hat that I have no occasion for. Remember my inspiration photo? I am no model but big hats!
First of all, I love the construction of this sweater. Knitting from side-to-side was really fun! There wasn’t a ton of shaping (really just the under-arm shaping) so it was really really simple (as in if you’re intimidated in any way by knitting sweaters, this is a great place to start!) but the lace/cables made this really fun to work up. The aran-weight Quince and Co Osprey made this really quick but totally satisfying. I could not imagine making this sweater with a different yarn. Also, there was no finishing necessary on the collar which is awesome. (I dread picking up collar stitches almost as much as I do seaming and weaving in ends.)
I’m completely obsessed with the stripes of cables and lace. Amy really knows how to make a handsome sweater. They play perfectly with the boatneck. And I must add that I’ve never really been a fan of boatnecks although I actually look pretty good in them. Note to self: more of that. The cropped length is really fun, too! I was afraid it was going to come out way too short (especially before I put on the ribbing) but it’s really just perfect all around. Trust the pattern!
I think I mentioned before that I went with a three-quarter sleeve instead of the half. I just added a few inches in the chart pattern before I worked the sleeve shaping. I love sweaters with cropped sleeves and I think I’m going to do this with all of the sweaters I make myself. I almost always wear them over a button down with the sleeves rolled up. This way I can roll the cuff of my button down without getting the cuff of the sweater involved in that mess.
I used to just knit sweaters that were patterns that I thought would be interesting and fun to make. This piece goes beyond that in adding functionally to my wardrobe. It’s not just a beautiful sweater, it’s a garment that I want to wear. This was the perfect place for me to step out of my comfort zone. Like I said, I don’t really wear boat necks often. I was really nervous about how that apricot color would look on me though I was drawn to it. I was scared that together it might be a little too much. But it all came together so perfectly. This is just amazing.
Long story short, I want to knit another one of these! I don’t think I’ve ever knit a pattern more than once (with the exception of the 12 pairs of knucks I’ve made) but this one I’d gladly make again!
What do you think? When are you casting on your own Faro?
So I’ve completely lost track of things. I just have to get that out there because I keep kicking myself and I think you all have sympathetic ears. I gave myself some time off for the holidays and I just haven’t been able to get all of my plates spinning again. What a mess. I have just a pile of 2013 stuff still going on in my brain and none of it is complete. One thing at a time, though, right?
Anyway, let’s talk about stuff that is finished so I can feel a little bit accomplished, shall we? These are the only two knitted holiday gifts that I gave this year. I am pleased to announce that they were both completed on schedule. (Which doesn’t mean that they had time for proper pictures. What can you do?)
When I received three skeins of this purple Candy Skein sock yarn in a Yarnbox (Jon got me a subscription for my birthday, more on that sometime soon!), I immediately started working on a pair of socks. I figured they’d be socks that I would gift since I’m not so fond of purple and I had about 1200 yards of it. Regardless of the color, I loved working with the yarn and the dyeing looked fabulous.
Jon’s grandmother lost her husband just a few months ago and when Jon asked me to make her something extra special this year, I really wanted to do my best. Socks aren’t much when it comes to mending a broken heart but I do find that there is something to them as a gift as opposed to other pieces of knitwear. They say, I really want you to be warm and comfortable. They’re simple and often unseen so they are very personal. For her, I knit the Froot Loop socks. The cables had been calling out to me for a long time.
Of course, you can never just knit a holiday gift for one person. I knew I should knit socks for my own grandmother because she is an amazing woman who is a total badass. You hear about a lot of grandmas that are tough as nails, mine would put them to shame. I searched all over Ravelry for a pair of socks with celtic-looking cables. (This year I thought it would be best to stick to a pattern instead of improvising as I often do with socks.) She received a pair of Oden socks. I kinda wish I’d gone with green so you could really get the Irish feeling from them but purple was happening. Maybe next year, Grammy.
I think I’ve gifted socks more than any other knit. I just really love them. I’ve said it a billion times: They’re quick and portable and kind of mindless but still interesting because there’s lots to play with (color work, cables, lace, etc). And they’re just so special. I am lucky to have a wonderful grandmother who checks the seams on my sewing and recites old sayings and never takes no for an answer. Who always had jello pudding waiting for me in those fancy dishes and watched interior decorating shows with me when I was a kid. And now I am doubly blessed to have Jon’s grandmother in my life, who rattles off intricate recipes from memory for me to recreate (if I can find a pen before I forget whether she said teaspoon or tablespoon). Socks alone can’t let these two know how special they are to me.
What do you make for the women you look up to?
ps. Who’s going to be at Vogue Knitting Live this weekend? I’m working desperately to finish Faro in time on top of everything else. I think it’s possible. These events always stress me out (I’ll say it every time) but I’m really looking forward to this year’s show.
Today I have something really exciting to share with you! I can finally show you a bit of what I was working on in 2013! My first design for Knitscene magazine is out now in the Spring 2014 issue.
The Oud Tank is a sleeveless top with lace collar and underarm panels. I had so much fun challenging myself with this construction. And I think the simplicity of the front and back contrasted with a bit of lace is very much my style. I hope to see lots of different color combinations. Seeing it in black and white really gives you room to let your imaginations run wild!
Yesterday, I got my copy of the magazine in the mail and it was really exciting. I put a lot of love and thought and anxiety (do I do anything without anxiety being involved?) into this design and then I finished it and moved on to the next project. But here it is now! All of that effort and waiting has become a tangible thing!
There are a ton of other great patterns in this issue so you should pick up a copy. What do you think? Will you be knitting Oud?
This year has come and gone so quickly. I can hardly believe everything that I accomplished and the new projects on the horizon. I went back and looked at the goals I had outlined for this year while I was taking a break last week. I just wanted to make a lot of stuff. I certainly did that (though not enough, NEVER enough). My mantra back in January was that 2013 would be my year. I was going to kick ass and take names, etc. I certainly think that I succeeded.
First of all, I’ve been working harder than ever to make this blog what you see. I certainly have lots of help and support and I need it but the time and effort has paid off. I have had so much fun this year hearing from readers and making my bonds with other knitters even stronger. I love being able to reach right to you all and I can’t wait for more!
I have a lot of lovely FOs this year. I think 2013 was about tying up loose ends (sometimes literally) in order to make new beginnings.
Most importantly, though, I really got started designing. Some wonderful editors and curators believed in my work and took a gamble on me. Designing is probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever taken on. I’m really enjoying it, though, and I look forward to more! Last year I wore the Maxfield cardigan when I met my knitting crush Amy Christoffers at Rhinebeck and one year later, I greeted her while wearing my first published sweater. I don’t think I’ll ever be in the same league as Amy, it would be silly to compare myself, but it felt really cool. That kind of sums up what a crazy time I’ve had over the past twelve months.
And, of course, there are so many cool projects on the horizon. A lot more designing is happening! Am I doing this? I think I’m doing this, yes. Plenty of projects are happening that I can actually share with you right now and I have some cool ideas for keeping things fun and interesting in the new year. I don’t like to make resolutions but I do plan on making 2014 a killer year with BIG THINGS happening. (I’ll leave it cryptic, I’d hate to jinx myself.)
Thank you all, lovelies, for sticking with me through this fun year. I hope that you’ll stay on for the ride. 2014 is going to be fun. Happy New Year! I wish I could be popping a bottle with you all.
ps. 2012 in FOs
When Meredith at One Sheepish Girl was looking for guest bloggers while she prepares her book (!!!), I raised my hand really high and went “Oo oo oo pick me!” I absolutely love her blog and adorable style.
I wrote up a really fun pattern for a Plant Cozy to share with her readers. You should go check it out (along with the rest of her blog) here!
Do you dress up your plants?
The samples are shown with contrasting shoulders (Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere and Lion Brand Alpine Wool) and in monotone (Unplanned Peacock Studio Superwash Merino Bulky and Unplanned Peacock Studio Superwash Merino Bulky both in Onyx). Like I’ve said before, it’s super extra fierce! It can be worn punky with a black skirt, fishnets, and boots or just spice up a pair of jeans with cute flats for an easy brunch look. I was inspired by those furry vests that never seem to go out of style, faux fur throws that decorate every Scandinavian-style living room, and diva shoulder details. I paired that with a contrasting, conservative diamond pattern to make straightforward menswear meet bold surprises. Go big or go home!
As far as construction, you couldn’t ask for a breezier knit. The sweater is knit flat in six pieces. The shoulder pads are attached before sleeves are set in. Voila!
I have to thank Allyson for embracing the craziness of this design! I love her wild style and so admire her for making Holla Knits all about patterns that are unconventional and downright fun.
Want to knit this serious sweater yourself? Just leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of The Crash! A winner will be drawn on Friday 9/27!
ps. Double your odds! Check out Unplanned Peacock‘s blog for another chance to win a copy of the pattern!
I’m really excited today, guys. After lots of hard work and waiting and recently some rough times, I can finally share something cool with you! Today I can reveal to you my pattern for the Holla Knits Fall/Winter collection!
There she is!
The pattern is called The Crash and it’s probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever designed. Allyson’s funky style and the bold looks of past Holla Knits collections really inspired me to go crazy and design something really daring. It’s a cool look that can be punky or dressed down but it’s wearable. I had fun mixing masculine lines with vintage textures.
Right now I’m totally teasing you because the collection does not come out until Monday. I just couldn’t keep it to myself anymore. Make sure that you STAY TUNED! I’ll have all of the details on 9/16! In the mean time, hop on the Holla Knits blog to see the other designs from the collection!
Which HK pattern is your favorite?
You’ll have to excuse my few days of absence. Last week was one of those weeks where all you want to do is hide from life on the couch with a big cup of tea and some really good knitting, when you want to give hugs to everyone you know. When you’re feeling pain and sorrow, nothing can snap you out of it like a good sock. Of course, those rough weeks are also the ones that keep you too busy to sleep let alone get some stitching in. The end of summer has been hectic for my family and I was hoping that it would begin to settle down after Labor Day weekend. I was wrong, I’ll leave it at that.
I still feel dizzy with all of the work that I left unfinished over the past few days, there’s just so much to catch up on, and of course, there are plenty of deadlines looming. But I’m excited to say that I’ll be filling up my month with lots of great projects. It’s going to be a heck of a ride and as much as I stress, I love the feeling of importance that comes from one too many commitments.
Anyway, where did we leave off?
I finished the first sock just before the holiday weekend and immediately cast on for the second. I had so much time in the car and having a drink that by the end of Labor Day weekend, I’d already turned the heel and was working my way towards the foot. It all happened so fast. It was like an inverse second sock syndrome. The second sock just kind of happened like magic.
I finally turned to my knitting Friday night, just exhausted and drained, and was so happily surprised that I had just a few more inches to go before my sock was complete.
Together, they are so soft and comfy. These are definitely my new favorite sock and I look forward to purchasing more yarn from Jill to make a second pair. Maybe those will be gifted. Maybe.
Knitting, my friend’s mother (a fellow knitter) told me in college, is something that control freaks love to do. We love being able to preside over every inch, manage the perfect fit, and obsess over tiny stitches. Sometimes when life becomes that blur, when things happen that we can’t change, when we are thrown those proverbial curveballs, it is huge therapy just to sit down with needles, to make something as perfect as we need them to be, and to feel that peace that comes with completing a pair of socks.
Did you finish your socks? Don’t forget to post photos! Judging starts tomorrow!