Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Purls of Wisdom

The silver lining of these last few weeks was spending time with family, especially Mary Ann, my mother-in-law.  In addition to being an all-around lovely human being, she is the patron saint of knitting.  I've mentioned before that knitting is my craft nemesis.  I have crocheting down, but knitting only beguiled and frustrated me.  No more.  I think I have finally started on the road to successful knitting.

I chose First Fingerless Mittens for my first project.  I picked this pattern because it is worked flat and then simply sewn up with a hole for the thumb.  I liked that it is all knitted (no purling), though knitting on both sides created a garter stitch pattern.  I knitted the first mitten twice because I wasn't satisfied with the quality when I finished it the first time.  I added a scalloped crochet trim along the top edge to disguise some unevenness on the first mitten.  Once I had worked the bugs out, the second mitten was completed almost instantly.  I used Bamboo Ewe Yarn from Debbie Stoller from my yarn stash.  It is 45% wool and 55% viscose from bamboo, so it has the workability of wool with the softness of bamboo.  The mittens are warm and not itchy.
My first ever knitting project!
 Key to my success this time around was the fact that I chose a very, very simple first pattern.    Other times I've tried knitting I either didn't have a pattern in mind or I chose a beginning pattern that still used a variety of techniques and stitches.  For this pattern I only had to cast on 38 stitches, so the rows didn't take long to complete, and there were only knit stitches, so I only had to remember how to do the same thing over and over.

For my second project I chose the InstaCowl to practice purling and working in the round.  My final product didn't turn out looking much like the sample photos, but I was mostly just working on technique.  It was another quick, frustration-free project, and I finished it in just a few hours.  I used Homespun Yarn from Lion Brand Yarn from my yarn stash because it is bulky to work up quickly and its texture hides a multitude of new-knitter mistakes.  I'm going to give this cowl to Chenille.  It is warm and soft and wonderfully cuddly.

The length of my finished cowl is more like an infinity scarf, so it is quite versatile.

I'm now working on my third knitting project.  I chose this Ribbed Lace Bolero because it uses knit two, purl two ribbing.  I'm currently working on the ribbing, and I haven't yet decided whether I will knit the body of the shrug in lace or stockinette stitch.  I am using more Bamboo Ewe Yarn from Debbie Stoller from my yarn stash for the bolero.

I also had time to complete an adorable crocheted cowl.  I purchased this beautiful Lace Sequin Yarn from Patons a while ago, and I brought it along while I was spending time waiting the past few weeks.  I chose this mesh cowl pattern because it used just one skein of the yarn and it was an incredibly simple pattern to make.  I could work on it without frustration even when I was stressed and tired.

This yarn is an acrylic/mohair/wool blend with sequins, and it's wonderful.  Most sparkly yarns feel like sandpaper to wear, and this one is still soft and lovely.  Until next time, happy crafting!

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