Monday, November 18, 2013

New Textural Knit Projects



This is Sundara Aran Silky Merino yarn in "Autumn Leaves". It's the ultimate in a luxury yarn with 50% merino and 50% silk in the blend.  The pattern is called "Autumn Blush" by Joji Locatelli

I have been thinking a lot about what shape the next phase of my artistic life should take. I have come to accept that I need to focus more on one, or maybe two things. That leaves me in a bit of a quandary. What do I not do? I have decided that sewing and knitting are my "have-to-dos", so I am not sure where that will leave mixed media. I know that I will continue to do some but maybe not as much.  I can't "do it all" anymore as much as I would like to think that I can. I posed some 'choice' questions at the bottom of this post if anyone cares to help me with their answers!

My friend, Sarah, recently teased me that she had a difficult time locating anything 'quilt-y' on my blog, and she said that she had to go back a ways to find any quilts. She wrote a blushingly complimentary post about me when I did my give-away post for her new DVD. I have to admit that she is right, which led me, in part, to my ruminations about the future. I have, you see, become very addicted to knitting. My knitting addiction, I should mention, is a direct result of Sarah's influence. I did not know how to knit until she moved from where I live to Maine and I was more or less forced into teaching myself to knit. 
I started both of these projects in the last month, and the knitting has become obsessive. 
I'm  close to finishing both of these luscious shawls.

This shawl is a project that I had wanted to knit for some time, and I finally started it on 12 November. I'm a bit more than half way through now. Sundara graciously dyed up some more of this color.  This pattern calls for  Sundara Aran Silky Merino blend, as noted above. It's what was specified in the pattern, and I fell in love with it just as it was pictured, which is somewhat unusual for since I generally like to mix it up and seldom use the specified yarn in a pattern. 

My LYS, Island Wools, is where I generally prefer to spend my knitting dollars. Julie at Island Wools carries Madeline Tosh and Malabrigo which are two of my most favorite yarn brands, so I have little need to wander to far afield when the lust for a new skein hits. These projects, however, called for new yarn experiences.
The textures in this pattern are a delight to knit and the yarn just makes it that much more special. I love the feel of the yarn and the developing pattern as I knit, and often just run my hands over the shawls lush surface. I have not quite finished the shawl yet, and so these images are not of a blocked and finished product, but it will be awesome when it's done . I just could not wait to share it ! This project has given me the chance to brush up on my short row theory and the double moss stitch. Divine. I swoon over this shawl!
The next project is the very first mystery anything that I have ever done. I never much liked making mystery quilts. Generally I found myself disappointed in the resulting quilts.

I have been equally hesitant to do a mystery knit, but I knew Jen Lucas' book, Sock Yarn Shawls, so I figured that I would, most likely, like the finished project. I hedged my bets, and it was a good bet! You can find more of Jen Lucas's patterns on Ravelry of course! This pattern will be for sale soon
Another yarn that I had heard a lot about was Wollmeise Merino Superwash. It's not too easy to find here in the US( it's made in Germany), but Ravlry users were a Godsend and I was able to buy a skein from a fellow Raveler. This color, which is one of the best greens I've seen, is called Spinaci, and I want to buy another just to have on hand. It provides wonderful stitch definition, and I think that it really shows up well in this pattern. I have not quite figured out all of the ins and outs of Wollmeise brand yarns, and which types are what, but I like it well enough to want another few skeins in my stash - maybe just of this type since it suits the things that I like to knit so well.

This is also not a finished project yet, so it has not been properly clocked, but I think it's obvious how nice the patterning is, and I am eager to get the last clue next week so that I can finish it! The first clue came out on November first, and I have been anxious to get the next one with every passing week. The final clue is published on 22 November.

One thing that I have found about myself is that I like to knit with really nice yarn. If I don't like the yarn, or the color of the yarn, I don't enjoy the knitting quite as well. I have been trying to knit out of my color box and have been enjoying knitting with colors that I might not have chosen in the past (that means blues and purples and a few brighter colors).

I also am finding a true delight in my sewing and quilting again and have been spending many hours making gifts for the holidays. It feels so good to return to thread and cloth. I have not missed any of the 18 bags of fabric that I donated earlier this year during my sift, sort and divest phase, but I am thoroughly enjoying the cloth that I kept (along with a few recent additions of course)!

My knitting and yarn stash is smaller than some perhaps, but I now will wait until I can get the yarns I want so that I can enjoy every minute of the making. I love to feel the stitches develop under my fingers, I love the juxtaposition of yarn with stitch, and I love running my hands along the surface of my projects. I guess that means that when I gift a knit it comes with a lot of my soul knit into it. I hope that the people to whom I have given my knits love them and use them well. That's what they are made for, a little extra warmth, literally as well as figuratively, on a cold day.

Sarah is right, there are more knits and mixed media things on my blog now, but I have found a lot of pleasure and growth in them. One thing that I know is that  I will never stop knitting now - it's one of life's great pleasures!

Have you ever had to choose between committing to one thing over another ? (in terms of art making)

How did you make your choices?

Do you have any favorite knit patterns? Any shawls, gloves, hats or scarves that I should know about?What are your favorite things about knitting? (if you knit that is) Do you prefer wood to metal needles? Do you prefer one weight of yarn over another?



3 comments:

  1. Sorry, I had to leave for a bit to get a cloth so as to wipe the drool off my key board! LOL! That yarn is gorgeous!!! I love the pattern. It looks like it would be warm, for one and secondly, the variety of patterns would keep me interested. I think the reason I quit knitting/crocheting was that I didn't like the feel of acrylic yarns or the wools of the 70's & 80's. They all had a harsh, scratchy feel to them. I recently used some Malabrigo and was in love. I haven't decided on the wood/metal question on needles. I think it depends on the yarn. I tend to use wooden and would love some Lantern Moon exotic wood needles. They feel so smooth and I love wood. I scour Ravelry for patterns. There is a LYS, but they tend to carry Debbie Bliss and other popular brands. I wait for trips to Everett and the shop in Mill Creek.
    As to the later questions, I think I am in a similar space. I don't have the room or energy for all the things I think I want to explore. But, I also find that what I learn in one discipline transfers to others. Playing with mixed media, loosens me up when I move to cloth, and knitting/crochet/hand stitching, relaxes me at night. I am hoping to hone in on what really excites me in the coming year. I want to find something gives me energy. Dyeing and surface design does, but that is limited to the warmer months. I need to fill that hole for the rest of the year. Wishing you a wonderful week and a week filled with inspiration and fun.

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  2. I am in the same spot. i want to do it all, but realize, based on time and dollars, I need to focus on just an area or two. For me it is photography, writing and quilting (sewing). Knitting and cross stitch will have to be side lines.

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  3. Picture me sitting here grinning like the Cheshire Cat! (with a gentle chuckle)

    For me it is cloth, first foremost and always. Then I fit in reading and yarn and art when I can. The art --taking drawing classes-- is always in support of being better with the cloth. And yeah. My house needs a really good dusting and vacuuming! That always comes nearly last.....sigh....

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