Ringing In

The new year is off to an auspicious start: I’m getting lots of knitting done! I’m celebrating with some local eggnog, knitting and Netflix since everyone else is asleep. I have about half of one edge of I cord border left to do on the blanket for my father in law, and then I will turn in.

The old year wrapped up with two FOs on the last day. I added the pompoms and took pictures of my Capitals hat and Ingeborg hat.

IMG_4770

Although now that I look more closely, I realize I forgot to add the tail to the one visible p. I guess this project will extend into 2016 after all!

This was my first attempt at stranded colorwork. I think I said it best in my project notes from ravelry, so I will copy them here:

-I really don’t know how to tension yarn with stranded knitting yet. This is not shocking as it was my first attempt. If/when I do it again, I think I need to bite the bullet and try holding one color in each hand. I did them both with the right hand for this and it has some drawbacks.

-I was determined not to have puckering. I don’t. I have the opposite problem, though! I should probably have used feltable wool. I left long enough floats for most of it, but sometimes they’re so long that the stitches between them are pretty slack. I think wool would felt up a little so that the float yarn would stay in the floats and the rest would stay in the stitches. As it is, the piece’s gauge is all over the place and the pattern is sometimes a little distorted.

-Since my gauge was so much bigger than I predicted, the hat is a little on the wide side. Also, it somehow came out kind of short, too. I’m not sure how that happened, but it looked like it was heading that way so I added one or two k rows between decrease rows at the crown. I would add more if I did this pattern again. Also, I cast on fewer sts than called for and increased on the row after the ribbing, so it cinches in at the bottom a lot. Okay, probably a little too much. I’m not going to lie–it looks a little like a Mario Bros. mushroom cap.

-I only trapped a few floats–the ones that hit 7 sts long. I have no idea if I did it “right” or not, but they seem trapped, don’t show from the RS, and weren’t hard.

-For all its drawbacks, I am very happy with my first stranded colorwork project. I will gift it to my bil and let him know that someday, when I get better at it, I’ll knit him another one and make it look sleeker. I’m pretty sure he will like it as-is.

My next stranded colorwork project will be a test knit pullover with kitties on the yoke, and I’ll be starting it soon!

The Ingeborg hat is my most recently completed test knit. My three year old daughter modeled it for me today…sort of. Here are the best shots I was able to get:

Looks great until you consider that for most or all of these shots, I was begging her to look at me! Oh well, at least she’s cute.

So, my WIPs are down to just the top row of my ravelry project tab, which means I only have five. Two are test knits that need ends woven, buttons sewn and blocked. They should both be done by early next week. Another is the car blanket I mentioned at the start of the post. It still needs a pocket knitted and sewed on, ends woven in and washed. There are kind of a lot of ends. I think I’m just going to knot the little bastards and move on with my life. After all, it needs to stand up to machine washing! That will be three more WIPs done so I’m starting the year with a nearly clean slate.

I’m not huge on yearly reflection, resolutions or any of that stuff. However, I am seriously stoked that in 2015, I made 42 projects, start to finish. I have never churned out knitting that fast and that consistently. Not all of those were huge things…there were some dishcloths, a mug rug, a sweater patch and stuff like that, but some of them were pretty big. According to ravelry, their total yardage is 12,391. I made my first socks and shawls, started test knitting, cabled up a storm and learned a ton of new techniques. If you really want to know, all of these projects were started in or after June, so it’s been a very knitty six months!

Here’s hoping I’m able to keep up the pace. Knitting is playing a very important role in my life right now. It has helped keep me sane and balanced through struggles with depression, helped me deal with the aftermath of the car accident I was in in August and helped me handle not being able to go back to work. It’s looking very likely I will be able to return to work next week. This is good news, but also daunting.

I’ll be okay, right? And if not, well, there’s always knitting! Happy New Year!

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9 comments

  1. Stefanie · January 1, 2016

    Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Forty two projects? That is stellar! Look at her curls. 💟. I like how her hat matches her outfit. Good first run on stranding. I always say make sure your fabric on the right needle is laid out flat before stranding and your floats should be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula @ Spin a Yarn · January 1, 2016

    They turned out awesome! Knitting has definitely kept me sane this past year with all of its ups and downs. Happy New Year to you too and I can’t wait to see what we come up with this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Orange Smoothie · January 1, 2016

    Happy New Year! Your first stranded hat looks great! And the pink test hat is adorable (and so is your kiddo)! You’ll do fine this year and back at work…Your knitting has helped you with challenges that you were able to overcome and honestly critique. That means a lot! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. afthead · January 2, 2016

    The hat is gorgeous, and I love the color and pom pom. I hate to sound like an idiot, but what’s test knitting?

    42 projects is astounding! Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · January 2, 2016

      Thank you 🙂 The yarn is actually really old cheapo worsted wool from the depths of my stash, but I really like how it worked for this project.

      Test knitting is testing out patterns before they’re published (typically) for designers. It helps work out any bugs and check to make sure all the sizes work, etc. It’s typically compensated with a finalized copy of the pattern and sometimes with an additional pattern…or sometimes not at all. It’s a fun way to try new things out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • afthead · January 2, 2016

        Whoa. Test knitting seems very cool. Do you ever find patterns that need updates, or are they in pretty good shape when you get them? I love that test knitting is a thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • alexand knits · January 2, 2016

        You know, it runs the gamut. I’ve done about a dozen test knits so far and some have gone through multiple drafts while others went off without a hitch. I’m picky about my patterns and very detail oriented, so I pretty much always have some feedback. But, that’s why designers have their patterns tested!

        There are two main groups on ravelry for coordinating test knitting: The Testing Pool and Free Pattern Testers. They’re a good place to start if you’re interested. Many designers host tests in their own groups, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • afthead · January 2, 2016

        Ravelry is just like magic isn’t it? I swear I think I’ve navigated every corner of that site and then I learn something like this! So cool. Thanks for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. izabolinha · January 7, 2016

    There’s always knitting 😉
    Have a great 2016 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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