Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 A Knitting Retrospective

This year hasn't been the most productive for me as far as knitting goes. I put my needles down for a while this spring and didn't pick them up again for several months. Although I only have a few small finished objects for the year, KnitLit's Best of 2007 meme still seems like a good idea to review my year in knitting and think about what next year will bring.

1. Your best FO of the year
My Garter rib socks are probably my personal best of the year.

My first pair of socks ever and I love them. I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing them even though it took me about a year. They turned out really well and I've already cast on my second pair of socks.

2. best FO of the year made by a blog you link to
This is pretty tough since there are so many great bloggers out there with fabulous projects. Lolly's Aftur pullover is beautiful and I'm so amazed that she knit the entire thing in a month! Jenna's Front and Back cable sweater is another one that blew me away. Gorgeous!

3. best yarn you tried
I tried Malabrigo for the first time this year and love it. Warm and incredibly soft with gorgeous hand dyed colors, it's easy to understand why most knitters are crazy for malabrigo. While pure wool isn't necessarily the best fiber for the deep South, this stuff is so hard to resist.

4. best new book/mag/pattern of 2007

Another tough one. I think Interweave Knits is hands down the best knitting magazine out there. I have several patterns in queue that I may never get to and I'm usually pretty inspired by the magazine in general. As for books, my 2 favorites this year are Sensual Knits (see my review in my last entry) and The Knitter's Book of Yarn, a fabulous resource that I'm currently reading.

5. best new knitting technique or gadget you tried in 2007

I'd have to say magic loop. DPNs in my hands seem like a disaster waiting to happen. Magic loop was how I knit my first pair of socks and now I'm using the technique for knitting the sleeves of my first sweater.

6. top 5 inspirations--what five things inspired you the most over the past year?
Do I have to even say it? Ravelry, ravelry, ravelry oh and ravelry. This site was my inspiration for picking up my needles again. I've also been greatly inspired by some of my favorite bloggers out there.

7. designer who most amazed & inspired you throughout the year
I really love Kim Hargreaves. Her patterns are classic and elegant with a touch of style. I have a few of her pattern in my queue and can't wait to get started on them.

8. knitting resolutions for 2008--what's next for you and your blog?
In 2008 I want to knit more. I want to become a more productive knitter, while really enjoying the projects I'm working on. I want to try more colorwork techniques like fairisle and knit more garments to wear. I think I also want to share my knitting more with others. I'v never really knit for others, afraid they won't appreciate the time and care I put into it. This year I'd like to knit more gifts and am already thinking about Christmas 2008. As for my blog, I plan to update more and include more of my general life. I have some exciting things coming up in 2008 and definitely plan to include them on my blog! Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Book Review: Sensual Knits

I pre-ordered Sensual Knits a while back and have been anxiously awaiting it's arrival. I normally don't preorder knitting books; I usually have to flip through them in person and decide that there are enough patterns in it that I would actually have the skills to make and would want to take the time to knit. The gorgeous red jacket featured on the cover plus the allure of luxurious yarn made me throw caution to the wind, order the book, and pray that I would like more than just the cover project.

Sensual Knits really delivers and I'm excited about it. Compiled by Yahaira Ferreira, owner of Pure Knits, the book includes 25 designs that are absolutely gorgeous. The focus is on luxurious yarns and patterns that compliment them. It features wonderful, plush natural fibers such as alpaca, bamboo, merino, silk and cashmere. The book includes designs by some awesome designers in the blogging community such as Brooklyn Tweed, Saunshine, Olgajazzy, (who designed the chic Balloon Sleeved Jacket on the cover), Misocrafty and Tres Chic Veronique. Each pattern includes a brief bio of the designer and their web address.

The patterns are sized S/M/L (some including XXS to 3X) and include actual and finished measurements. Instructions are clear and don't appear to be too complicated; shematics are also included with each pattern. These designs are classic, feminine, and stylish. It's rare to pick up a knitting book and like every project, but I can honestly say I like EVERY project. I mean it, all 25 designs. It's really hard to pick favorites, but here's a sample of some of my favorites at the moment:

Pink Sundae

Joie de vivre Cardigan

Cleopatra Wrap

Arris Beaded Dress


Seeded Cables Cardigan

Yahaira also included a section on luxury fibers and how to care for them, a techniques section (includes magic loop, three needle bind off and the turkish cast on), and a yarn resource section where the fabulous yarns featured in the book can be purchased. I'm really impressed by the book and the designs; it's definitely a keeper and a steal for the price. If Sensual Knits isn't on your Christmas list you definitely should add it!


Monday, December 03, 2007

[Insert witty title here]

Wow, I can't believe it's December already! Where has the time gone? Weather wise, it's finally starting to get cold...well cold for New Orleans. A visitor from Chicago I met a few days ago thought it was pretty humid here for December. Guess she's never been to the deep South in August. I'm happy to see the "cold weather" and have pulled out some handmade scarves to wear.

The weather has also inspired me to knit a sweater. I cast on for the Hourglass sweater last month for NaKniSweMo. I was sure I could complete this sweater in a month. But, I changed my mind about this project a good 10 million times. There were so many things I didn't like: I loved the yarn that I initially chose (Elsebeth Lavold silky wool), but didn't like the way it knit up. I couldn't get gauge. I didn't like working with the needles I cast on with and on and on. One day while browsing in the Quarter, I wandered into a LYS, the Quarter Stitch and fell head over heels for some luscious Malabrigo in pagoda.

I know it's crazy to knit a pure wool sweater when I live in New Orleans, but the softness of the yarn and the absolutely gorgeous color drew me in. I'm loving the way this is knitting up and I absolutely love working on it.

So, I didn't meet my NaKniSweMo deadline, but now I've got a project I'm really enjoying. I'm hoping to have it done in time to wear for Christmas.

I've also cast on my second pair of socks:

Jaywalkers in Socks That Rock colorway Lapis. Love the various shades of blue, green and purple. I'm making pretty fast progress (well, fast for me!) and will be turning the heel soon.

And, I'm also still working on Flair. Right now I'm on the sleeves and still have to add the collar. I love this cardigan and can't wait to wear it, but the sleeves are taking me FOREVER! I'm not sure why since they're knit in the round and not complicated at all. But for whatever reason, I still keep putting it down. Guess I'm too distracted by my other projects. I'm vowing to get Flair done and off my needles!

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