Monday, March 26, 2007

Adventures in Knitting

Well now that winter is over, my knitting is going to slow down because I'll be spending more time outside. Unlike some people, I actually look forward to winter because of all the time spent indoors -- this gives me much more time for knitting. I have knitting projects stashed all over the place: in the bedroom closet, under the living room couch, inside a hassock, downstairs next to the couch. This doesn't even cover all the yarn for future projects that still resides in cupboards and bins downstairs. Unfortunately, I start many more projects than I finish, but at least I'm never at a loss for something to do.

Here's a new project I started last week. For years I've wondered why I couldn't take a child's sweater pattern and turn it into an adult sweater by using larger needles and a heavier weight of yarn. Well, I'm doing that right now.

So far the sleeves are done and the fronts are about halfway done (I always knit both sleeves at the same time so I don't have to remember where I put the increases and then when 1 sleeve is done, they're both done!) The yarn is a 100% wool dark brown but with some dark green, red, and blue fibers woven in. It's from a company in Canada and wasn't too expensive and there's lot of yards on a ball, so I should be able to get the entire sweater out of 5 balls.

In February and March I taught some knitting classes. We had 2 sessions of two-colored (stranded) knitting; there was a lot of interest in this class so I had to do it twice because I won't have more than 4 students at a time. The pattern we learned was for this headband. It's also a good exercise in circular knitting.

The other colored knitting class I taught was intarsia. I'm not a fan of intarsia because it's a totally different (i.e., more difficult) process than stranded knitting. I have never been pleased with how any of my intarsia projects turned out. However, one of my knitting friends told me about a wonderful little booklet on intarsia that gives step-by-step information on all techniques and how to make your finished project look great by doing things correctly.

In all instances, my students left with their projects almost finished and with a greater understanding of the techniques I was teaching them. It's very gratifying to me when people really want to learn something new, even when it's a difficult technique to master. I love it when they're knitting along and someone will say, "wow, this looks really cool and I'm really enjoying it."

I also made a couple of little shawls this winter. The blue variegated one was from my page-a-day knitting calendar. The yarn was a lovely, soft wool/angora blend with a little bit of nylon. It's so soft and warm and I have to remember not to leave it lying around or Penny will claim it as her own.

The black "swallowtail" shawl is made from 100% alpaca. Someone I know from work has an alpaca farm and he sold me 2 skeins of this yarn. It's really warm and knitted up really nice, however I've never knitted with black in a lace project before and I found out that it was something I could only work on in a sunny window, during the day, in order to see the stitches. There was a lot of yardage on the skeins and I think I have enough yarn left over to make a pair of gloves.

Here are some of the hats I made this winter. The earflap hats in camouflage are for me and Rick. The pink and white one will either be for sale at the yarn store next winter or end up as a donation for a silent auction fundraiser somewhere next fall. Someday, I would like to knit up a bunch of different hats from some of the funkier patterns I have and donate them all for a special silent auction fundraiser somewhere. Maybe this summer I will see what I can create from my yarn stash . . .

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