Friday, January 17, 2014

What's on the Needles?

I currently have several projects started since I have always been one to enjoy juggling more than one fiber arts project at a time. This allows me to follow my interests on any given day and actually helps me to finish projects more quickly. That seems counter-intuitive, but it really works. I keep one or two simple knits on the needles, which can be carried around to the kids' activities. I am known for knitting at volleyball matches, basketball matches, or while waiting to pick up kids from practice. Since I can knit without looking, as long a the pattern is a simple knit and purl pattern.  Most of these simple items are sweaters, scarves, cowls, or socks. The times in my life as a crafter when I have neglected starting a new project right after ending another one have been the times when my progress really seemed to stall; I had the fewest FOs in those years.

However, I also enjoy knitting more complicated Aran patterns (thus the name of this blog), colorwork patterns, and lace patterns. These are all reserved for my night-time knitting or on those rare occasions when I can knit during the day (my favorite but least frequent type of knitting). These styles of knitting all take concentrations, which keeps me highly engaged, but it also means they don't make the best carry-around knitting.

Lately, I have also had a crochet project going. Currently, it is the afghan, I showed in an earlier blog entry.

Of the items, I am currently knitting, my favorite one is a pullover that I am making for my hubby using Lisa Lloyd's excellent pattern, Kearsarge.  I had been eying this pattern for a long time, ever since Lisa asked me to do some test knitting for A Fine Fleece when she was designing and writing for the book. I admired this design immediately for its unconventional pairing of mistake rib on the sleeves with basket weave on the body. This pairing makes for a handsome sweater that I knew would be perfect for a man. When I finally got around to showing it to my husband, I was so glad that he liked it as much as I did. Here is the back of the sweater so far.

One of my favorite aspects of Lisa Lloyd's designs is the careful attention she pays to the details of the sweater to make it easy for the knitter to seam her sweaters and to provide an attractive feature to the sweater. Notice her smart use of selvedge stitches along the armhole edge before the decreases (she also pays attention to using SSK and K2 tog in an order that provides an appealing slant to the decrease).

My only slight concern at this point is that I notice a little bit of waffling along the seam edge that seems to occur when a purl stitch is decreased with a knit stitch. I am not overly concerned about this at this point since gentle wet blocking will do a world of good to the sweater since it is made of 100% wool (Paton's Classic Wool in Dark Grey Mix, which I got on a great 40% off sale). I am really enjoying making this sweater so far, and I can't wait to see what it looks like when it is finished.

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