Friday, January 22, 2016

All Downton, All the Time

Exciting...one shawl checked off my list already! My Dotted Rays shawl is finished but not blocked. It only took 8 days to knit, that's a record for me, I think!

I'm excited to move on to the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit Along shawl! It is oh so lovely already. And the interesting part is that it will not be a circular shawl. What the what?

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In other (but related...you'll see why) news, we are in full-on planning mode for our summer trip to London and Paris. Dates are set, apartments are booked, flights are being purchased, lists of places to see are being compiled.

In addition to that, I'm planning for another very important part of traveling: creative outlets. Last time we were in London, I found myself on flickr slamming as many quilt pictures as possible in the short amount of internet time we had. I was starved for inspiration! My hands felt empty! I wasn't creating anything except memories and while memories are super important, creating real things is important too. It's a very huge part of who I am. And to be deprived of that for two weeks felt like a punishment, not a vacation!

So, how to remedy the situation this time around? First, I'm planning to visit a few places that will inspire me. On the list so far: fabric shopping at Liberty of London and a visit to the fashion galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum (which were closed the last time we were in London).

To address the need to physically create things, I'm planning a knitting project to take along. I can imagine the airports, planes and evenings where it would be so nice to knit a few rows and relax. And at the end of two weeks, I'll (hopefully) have a finished item that will remind me of my trip.

But what should I make? My first thought was a shawl, one skein, crescent shaped. Something not too complicated but still pretty. Maybe a bit of lace or texture? Something light and summery. Something that would remind me of my trip to these lovely cities. Maybe something that I could wear the next time I visit?

I've been searching through Ravelry and I think I've decided on the Parasol shawl. It fits all my requirements and I just really like it. I'm planning to choose a skein of yarn from my stash, something neutral and soft.

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I have another creative trick up my sleeve but I'll save that for another post. I also have some quilting posts in the works. Until then, thought, it's going to be all Downton, all knitting around here. I hope you don't mind.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016: A Little Bit of a Plan

I've been thinking a bit more about my goals for this year. I have six (possibly seven) quilts that I most definitely want to make. These are gifts but they're also quilts I've wanted to make and give away for quite some time. It will take a huge weight off my shoulders to finish these. Two will be finished for gifting in February, four or five will be for the holidays this year.

For knitting, I have three shawls that I'd really love to make (Dotted Rays, Firebolt and the Downton Abbey MKAL 2016) and one wip I'd like to finish in time for fall (Follow Your Arrow II). Four shawls this year, that's totally do-able. One will for sure be for me and I might give the other three away depending on how much/little I fall in love with them.

First up in 2016, I frogged this:

happy half moon

and turned it into this:

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Sorry for the bad picture, my needles are too short to stretch the whole thing out right now.)

I had wanted to show off this beautiful yarn by making a plain garter stitch shawl. But it turns out that my original idea was just too boring for this yarn. Now I'm knitting the Dotted Rays pattern by Stephen West. He's what I'd call an extreme knitter and his patterns and colors are WILD! And the more I thought about this yarn, I just knew that one of his patterns would be a great match.

I'm slowly going through my stash and my Ravelry library and pairing up patterns I'd like to make with yarn I already have (seems like an obvious plan but I only just thought of it...this whole "being deliberate" thing is just so foreign to me!). One combo that I'm particularly excited about is the Firebolt shawl worked up in a mint green-to-grey ombre yarn. It'll be my first time working with laceweight AND ombre...exciting!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Knitting is Fun!

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Oh my, how I LOVE knitting! I started a few projects this year and finished five. Not too bad! My favorite of the bunch was the Edith's Secret shawl that I gave to my friend Jen. It was from the Downton Abbey 2015 mystery knit along. As I worked on this throughout the year, I kept thinking that Jen would like it. So, I finished it up and set it aside for her Christmas gift this year.

I REALLY loved working on this shawl. I mean, the entire thing was just FUN. And as I knit, I realized that all my knitting projects should be fun. They should be pretty things made with pretty yarn. Yes, there will be some utilitarian things that I'll want to make and they might not be super pretty or super fun. But those kinds of projects shouldn't be all I think about when I knit. I want to have mostly good knitting thoughts, fun knitting thoughts.

So, this year my knitting goal is twofold: knit pretty things and try to use yarn in my stash. In order to actually do this, I have to start searching for patterns that will match stash yarn. I found a great pairing just today which I'll show you in a bit.

I also joined the Downton Abbey 2016 knit along which I will be starting shortly as well. I actually didn't have enough of any one color in my stash to do this knit along so I bought yarn. I don't feel bad because I really do want to join in on the final Downton Abbey knit along fun. It's the last season! Oh dear! Yarn should be arriving shortly and then I'm going to get started.

Such fun!!