Goodness it has been a long time since I did any update on what I've been knitting. This year has been so involved with knitting things that I couldn't share, that I've got out of the habit. Happily now, all of those projects are out in the wild, so I can do something of a progress update.
This year, more than ever before, I've been struck by the link between how I'm feeling and what I'm knitting. There have been projects that I've just needed to get on with, but there have been others that I've picked up and put down depending on how things have been going in life generally. When there is a lot going on in my life - either work or family but sometimes both together - I tend to reach for projects that are simple. It's so obvious, but when my bandwidth is stretched during the day, there isn't much left by the time I flop in front of the telly for an hour before bed. On those days I've found comfort in the soothing rhythm of plain socks, or the garter stitch stripes of a Wood Warbler cowl. I've knitted 2 cowls now - the first on needles that were rather too small, although I like the effect of the firmer fabric. The second (see below) I made in two bright, green colourways (Tea Ceremony and In the Meadow), with the shot of shocking pink at the start. The shaping in the cowl is pretty straightforward, and there's enough of it without changing that I could just chug through it. It was great mindless knitting for tired evenings. So great, that I'm already eyeing up another - perhaps in two shades of blue Gradient (Beyond the horizon and Stone washed)?
The other simple project that I've picked up and put down is my Hyacinthus armwarmers. I cast on a pair to work on at EYF back in March, but in the rush of other more pressing deadlines, they have been neglected for a few months. Last week I picked them up again, and knitting round and round in circles has been perfect! I'm making progress, and hope to have them finished before I leave for Shetland on Sunday. Gratifyingly these have a home to go to already, as they have been requested by one of the kids. One who has never shown any interest previously! So it was extra special to have them described as "really nice", and I've been hurried along too, so they must really be wanted.
When things have calmed down a bit, it has been nice to do some work on projects that require a bit more thought. So on holiday, I cast on for a Briochevron Wrap by Stephen West. It's a pattern I've been looking forward to making for absolutely ages. I sourced the yarn for it much earlier in the year, and I had been petting it for some time, just waiting for the right moment to dive in to my first proper brioche project. I was hoping that the time and space we had on holiday would allow me to make some good progress on it, but unfortunately it was one of those two steps forward one step back situations...
On the contrast colour side the problem isn't so obvious...
...but on the main colour side, I can't help but see the point where I increased instead of decreasing. It interrupts the otherwise lovely flow of the chevron pattern. There's nothing wrong with the instructions, and I have markers set up to remind me what to do. But I think I was rather burnt out, and I just couldn't help but make errors. Indeed this was my second attempt at the pattern. The first time round I completely omitted all of the increases at the end of the row. I have left this marinating in a project bag since we returned from the Lake District. I completely adore the pattern and the yarn, so I'm just trying to decide whether to frog it for the second time and hope that it's third time lucky, or whether to carry on, and see the imperfections as a nice reminder that it's handmade. I'm generally something of a perfectionist about my knitting. But this year I have had to develop a more pragmatic approach, so perhaps I should just get on with it...
While we were away, I distracted myself from my brioche mistakes by working on my Little Tern blanket. The knit/purl body pattern somehow seemed easier to keep on top of than the brioche in the wrap. I knitted on it everywhere, but mostly in the car and at the onsite disco in the evenings. Anything to keep me from having to participate in the "entertainment"!
Poor Pinglewin has been so close to finished for MONTHS! He just needs a second arm in his hoody and a beak and I think that's pretty much it. He will be joining me in Shetland next week, and hopefully I can complete him. I don't think he requires too much thought, he has just been on the back-burner.
The last of my WIPs (works in progress) is my Alonzo socks. Ravelry tells me that I cast them on back in October last year. Ouf! That's how busy things have been. :) Alonzo isn't a crazily complicated pattern, and it's well within my normal skill-set, but I haven't worked on them for a good while. Hopefully once I've tidied up a couple of those projects that are nearly done, I will have some calm space and time to get my teeth back into these. I love everything about them, so it would be great to get back to working on them very soon!
Finally, I thought it would be fun to pile up the projects I've made from A Year of Techniques so far... My Brambling shawl isn't here as it is at home, where it gets worn a lot! I don't think I can give any of these away until I've completed my whole set. I've not actually got many of the projects left to knit, but I'd like to knit them in the correct months if possible. The knitalong threads are definitely more fun when you're all working away together. But don't worry if you're a bit "behind" with any of them, as the threads will stay open indefinitely, and there are always helpful folk around to lend a hand if you're stuck or confused. If you'd like to know more about any of the projects I have posted today, just click on the image and it will take you to my Ravelry project pages where you can find all the details of yarn, pattern, designer and so on. If you're reading on the blog post updater email, you will need to click through to the web page for this post to get the image links to work.
I think that's enough of a round up for today! I'm looking forward to having a bit more time for regular blog posts now that the book is out in the world.
If you haven't had a look around our online shop recently, please do hop over to the shop and take a browse. We're adding new products all the time, but just this week we've popped in the new shades of Socks Yeah! 4ply, some J&S Shetland Heritage and the brilliant 2018 Strickplaner from Martina Behm (a diary-bullet-journal-knitting-planner). Our copies of the 2017 Wool Week Annual are on their way, so I shall do a proper post about my design once they land here and we've got them in the shop. :)
As always, thank you so much for all your support! And I hope that your knitting is currently more soothing than challenging!