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.
Pattern: Range Shawl by Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits
Yarn: Tosh DK in Celadon and Silver Fox by Madelinetosh, Trusty in Overcoat by Plucky Knitter, CFC Merino Worsted in Cenote by Camellia Fibers Co.
I did it! I finished my first arm knit pillow. I’m very happy that it’s done, the supplies sat for so long. Until now, that pretty yarn sat on my shelf and looked at me every time I sat down to make something. I had purchased the yarn a couple of years ago, so now there’s a nice big empty spot on my shelf – score! The biggest thing that held me back from getting started was that I didn’t know how to arm knit. I thought it might be sort of easy because I do occasionally knit, but in my mind I made it much harder than it actually ended up being. Of course stumbling upon a chunky knit pillow at Target one day made me almost weep. I thought about giving the yarn away and just buying the pillow.
I ended up using all three skeins of Cascade Yarns Magnum in Ecru (purchased from Jimmy Beans Wool) and followed along with Anne Weil’s Creativebug class with my most focused attention. I watched the main parts of the class at least twice through, and I don’t think I would have finished had I not done the online class. Anne is a great instructor, you can definitely tell she’s taught many people how to arm knit! For me, once I got the basics down, I was able to knit the pillow in maybe an hour? It was hardly any time. Knitting the swatch was super helpful. And the weaving in and stitching up the last parts of the pillow took maybe a half hour more. Pretty spiffy.
My pillow ended up being perfect for a 22″ square pillow form. I just kept knitting until the size felt right. It’s something I’ll keep out during the winter because it adds so much coziness to the room.
I just looked up the link for Anne’s class and she’s got so many fun looking ones! If you’re looking for a high impact project that’s quick, too, check them out. Or her lovely book, too, Knitting Without Needles.
Lately I’ve been trying to think objectively when picking my next projects to sew or knit or make. I’ve been working this first part of the year on a couple of new patterns, YESSS!!! One will be coming out this fall and the other will be a FREE pattern coming out sort of soon I think. So just recently I’ve been able to take a better look at my personal sewing projects a bit more. Anyway, since I’m anticipating moving all my work items to my studio this fall, I’ve been trying to clear out some of the older supplies and works in progress that I can finish up before the move. I honestly really dislike this part, some projects are abandoned that I’ve simply lost interest in. I hope to sort through them and move them along to someone who might be able to use them. So all that to say I’m glad this project is done! yay!
Squish!!! Don’t you love squishy things?! I think that’s the main reason I started knitting – so I could have squishy things to wear. Earlier this year at a sewing retreat (at Stitch Supply Co.) I got all excited when I spotted this Malabrigo yarn. I knew it had to come home with me so that Natalie could make a Marian Cowl. It’s a super beginner-friendly quick knit that I immediately scooped it up and bought it. Natalie was excited, too! We had a bit of a set back when she unwrapped the whole skein and I had a minor meltdown when I thought she had cut the yarn into several pieces. Turns out she just tangled it up and I just had to sit down and wind it back into a ball. I had waited months before I even looked at it. Seriously, it seems so silly now.
Anyway, once it was in a ball we were set! Natalie cast on all the stitches which took us several times because I kept underestimating how much yarn to leave for the long tail cast-on. With yarn that chunky I really had no idea, maybe there’s some trick I’m missing. So once she got it started, I did a few rows to get things going. I figured because the beginning can feel tricky it was best to get a couple of rows in. She’s great at the knit stitch, but purling is a bit trickier for her to learn (and me to teach). So we tried a few times, but I think the thickness of the yarn made it a little difficult to figure out, especially with needles that big and her small hands. I wish I would have tried for a few more minutes, but I think we’ll try again with another yarn and project. She actually learns it so quickly!
So I ended up finishing the cowl. I really loved doing it. The yarn and color are so great and it knit up so quick! Plus after making one already (remember this one I made my mom?) and having more knitting experience under my belt, it flew off the needles. I even had visions of making more for gifts this year, we’ll see!
Pattern: Marian Cowl by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Malabrigo Rasta (I think it’s the Porrinho coloway) that I purchased at Stitch Supply Co.
p.s. she learned this face from me