Even though I’ve been knitting for gosh, eight years now. I still don’t have a huge knitting skillset, and I’m okay with that. Every now and then I try a new pattern and pick up a new skill here and there. So when she released the Reunion Cardigan I immediately felt like it was something I could work on and probably finish! So I started it last summer, maybe in June or July I think? And sure enough, I finished it just a month or two ago. Of course I couldn’t find buttons that I wanted to use, so it sat and waited. But I found some! And then we took some pictures! And now I can wear it!
I had only tried one knitted garment prior to this one. I never really wore it, but I loved the color. I’m really happy I stuck with this one. Brienne wrote a fabulous pattern and it was well planned out and felt very approachable by this newbie garment knitter.
I think my button band turned out okay. I still am not sure I did the pick-up ratio correctly, but I don’t even care. It’s a cardigan with two sleeves and it has buttons and buttonholes — so that works for me!
Only a couple customizations for me, I knit the body a few inches longer and did a full-length sleeve. I’m happy with the result! Next I’m planning on finishing my second pair of knit socks. I can’t wait to wear them and show them to you here!
Hand knit socks, using My First Toe Up Sock pattern by Susan B. Anderson
I hope your August is going well. It’s been such a difficult year, hasn’t it?! It’s been a challenging one to navigate as a family and as a small business. I think part of why knitting has jumped back on my queue is because of the uncertainty of everything. I’ve been wanting to knit socks for a very long time and just never made the commitment to myself to get started. I had gotten a skein of sock yarn from my local knitting shop a couple of years ago and it just sat in a drawer.
Well, I finally dug up the motivation to just start! It’s tough to be a beginner at anything, but it is a very very good reminder for me. I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself an advanced sewist, even though I’ve been sewing almost daily for more than 12 years now (and had been sewing many years before that!). But knitting has been a skill that intrigues me so much. And although I’ve got a few years of knitting under my belt, it’s been infrequent and gets pushed aside for whatever life throws at us. Socks always seemed much more difficult than my usual cowl or mitten. So, my family and I got to go camping for a few days in June and I wound my skein and grabbed a pattern (after so.much.research.) and was determined. I think I cast on one hundred times! Seriously, I messed up royally over and over again. Even though it was frustrating I just kept at it! I needed to figure it out and I knew eventually things would click. And they did!
My first sock took me over a month to complete. My second sock took a week and half I think? Even though there are many flaws, I am so happy with how these turned out. They’re socks after all! They look like a sock and can be worn so I call that a win! I gave them to my youngest daughter (because they fit her!) and promptly went shopping for a second skein of sock yarn. I’m excited to learn even more on my next pair.
I hope that if you’re new to sewing, that you stick with things. I know there’s a huge learning curve, but even if you can grab a friend and work through things together I think it can give you such a feeling of accomplishment. And I think we all need to feel that in times like these!
So, believe it or not, I do knit from time to time. It’s been a long time since I’ve finished anything though. I did manage a pair of mittens at the end of 2017, but other than that, no time for knitting in 2018 until right before Christmas. I figured it was the perfect time to pick up a project that I had started months before, my Range Shawl. I checked back on my Instagram and I had picked out the yarn for the Range Shawl pattern back in 2016. It was a lofty goal for me back then anyway, but there were quite a few obstacles I needed to jump before working on this project in earnest.
Once I felt that most of the studio stuff was taken care of, I felt a bit of time in the evenings open up. Especially in winter it was where I had time to sit down and work on this shawl. I hadn’t ever made a shawl before. In fact, I hadn’t knit anything flat before either. The big leap for me though was learning brioche. It seemed pretty insurmountable to me with only having a few years and a handful of finished knit projects under my belt. I was determined though, ever since the pattern was released I’ve been dying to make it. So I sat down one Saturday with a winter storm and tried and tried figuring it out! My friend Jeni recommended this video which really helped get a visual on things. The pattern is so clearly written though, too. I look back now and think that it was so much easier than what I had built it up to be. So once I got one brioche section under my belt it felt really great! I did have quite a few times where I made mistakes and had to go back and try and fix. I kept using life lines after each section which was necessary for me!
This was a great project to start learning brioche! Because the shawl is worked corner-t0-corner it helped me by knowing there was only a small section to work on at first. Of course I could have tried using some scrap yarn and practiced, but I jumped right in. I will say though that for the two color brioche it is much easier to see what you’re doing when you have yarns that have more contrast. My first section of brioche didn’t have as much contrast so it was a bit harder to learn that way. I do love the way the colors transition though.
I ran out of my one color of yarn, but luckily it was enough to do one repeat in the tweed section. I don’t think it’s too noticeable and I really could care less that it doesn’t follow the pattern exactly. I ended up doing an extra repeat of the other tweed section instead.
I feel so excited and proud about finishing this shawl! It feels like such a big accomplishment in my knitting. It took me from the end of December until the end of February to knit, just a bit of time each night with a few longer spurts in between.