There’s nothing like casting on a new project. This is why I always have more than 1 on the needles at any point. Actually, a few weeks ago, I realized that I had finished a pair of socks, a sweater, and a hat within a few days of each other and I was down to ONE PROJECT ON THE NEEDLES OMG NO. I immediately cast on socks that I had waiting and got on the ole internet to order yarn for a cardigan. The cardigan planning had been in the works for weeks already at that point, so it wasn’t an impulse buy. If you were worried about my spending habits.
It obviously goes the fastest to get your project done if you’re only working on one thing at a time, but I just can’t. I get sick of the color, sick of the yarn size, sick of the needle size, bored of the pattern, or dread transitioning to the next step in the pattern. Let me say though that I almost never abandon a project. None of these reasons that make me want to do something else mean I don’t like the project anymore, I just need variety.
When I taught myself how to knit, I had been crocheting for 2 years already. But I knew knitting was where I wanted to end up. I REALLY wanted to make my own clothes. Like actual clothes that look like you bought them at the store, not a janky-looking crocheted sweater-like object that awww did your grandma make that, omg so sweet. (This isn’t to say that there aren’t lovely crochet garments, I’ve made some before, but generally clothes from stores are knitted and I’m dumb enough to try to make my own crochet sweater pattern and it would have looked like someone put a granny-square afghan in a blender and gently draped it over my shoulders and patted me on the head.) After I made my first hand-knit sweater, I couldn’t get a wardrobe full of sweaters fast enough.
So this is where I am now.
- I always have a sweater on the needles or I am planning my next sweater either for myself or my husband or son. Or for a test knit. Or a gift. I really like sweaters.
- I really like having socks on the needles. Especially if they’re just stockinette, sometimes they are the best palate cleanser from something frustrating, or the best procrastination tool. And hey maybe one day I’ll be fast enough or prepared enough to knit socks for gifts in advance of the occasion – yet another use!
- I have a lot of design ideas, so I’m challenging myself to have something on the needles that I’m creating a pattern for. This is a new endeavor and can be frustrating or much slower to knit the thing than write the pattern, so it’s nice to have the other projects to gravitate to when something about the design du jour is annoying me.
- And I’m always open to a little project. Winter came JUST LIKE NED STARK SAID IT WOULD and I was unprepared. My nearly 2-year-old kiddo was without mittens except for the big-ass ones you use to build a snowman, so I took a day to make him a pair. And I had leftover yarn from my husband’s sweater, so I used that and another partial skein to make him a quick colorwork hat. These less-than-a-week long projects are nice to get that delicious finished object satisfaction in a hurry.
So, variety is the spice of my knitting life apparently. How bout you?
For some reason, when you’re a knitter, everyone thinks that “you could totally sell things” that you’ve knit. It’s mostly well-meaning, and if you’re an Obliger like me, you feel compelled to actually do it. So I did it. I started my Etsy shop to sell baby hats. I went with baby hats because 1) I have/had a baby and 2) they’re one of the few things that you can actually profit from when you factor in materials needed and time it takes to knit it.
So, I embarked on making simple baby hats that were generic but unique. In doing so, I came up with a recipe for different sizes that I liked along with a method to put simple stripes in if desired. To make my own life easier, I wrote my pattern recipe down for all the sizes I offer in my Etsy shop, and thus my first published pattern was born! It’s a free pattern called Jogless-Join Stripes Baby Hat and it’s available on my Ravelry shop. Go download it if’n it interests you!
One of the things about my knitting that is unique is my rule about superwash yarn – I choose not to use it when I can. Let me preface this by saying I do have a proficient understanding of chemistry – I was a biochem major in college, so the use of the word “chemicals” is probably not going to appear without a qualifier. I’m definitely not an expert on the subject of superwash wool, though. Ashley at Woolful has a wonderful blog post that goes much more into depth than I am going to here.
To sum it up, superwash wool is when wool is descaled and coated in a type of plastic so that the fibers don’t felt and shrink when agitated a lot, as in the washing machine and dryer. In general, when I’m concerned about the toxicity or processing of a product, I am not concerned about the end product being a dangerous substance. This used to be my main concern when being more careful about unnatural chemicals in my home, products and environment. Generally, the most damaging part of using man-made chemicals to create or adulterate an item is in the manufacturing process. And mostly I’m concerned about the environment – plastic taking the Earth’s lifetime to degrade, degrading plastics leeching substances into the soil, the chemicals being released into the environment polluting the soil and water harming flora and fauna from the microscopic level up to big-ass birds and trees, and the carbon emissions of powering the manufacturing. This probably isn’t an exhaustive list.
Anywho, what I’m trying to say is that when I can, I choose wool that has not had the mainstream superwash treatment. I don’t mind hand washing my hand-knits. It makes me nervous to even put superwash items in the washing machine. I do make some concessions so I don’t go crazy, though (like letting myself buy whatever sock yarn I want because FUN and using superwash for non-knitter gifts). There are definitely plenty of companies that offer yarn that is the least amount processed as possible, so I don’t struggle with locating yarn to knit with. That being said, there are tons of indie dyers who have amazingly beautiful handpainted yarn, which is hard to resist.
Although it’s a small part at the moment, I hope to affect the environment positively an eensy bit with my knitting!
Hi I’m Larissa and this is my first blog post. I’m an avid knitter and an aspiring everything-er in the knitting community. Commun-knit-y. There are big plans for the future of Fuzzzy Green Fibers! For now I’ll be sharing my ramblings about the things I’m working on :).