I now have a rhythm to my sweater. I’ve come to terms with the likelihood that I will probably not finish my sweater by March 18th, the last KAL meeting. As much as I would have loved to have finished a sweater in a month, a lot of things are going on, and sometimes while I wish all I could do is knit… that’s not the case.
Why I Missed Week’s Knit Along
This past week I didn’t go to the KAL. My mom had a procedure so of course I visited her in the hospital. We’re very close and I recently taught her how to knit. So, I decided we’d have our own knit along. She’s a good student and very determined to finish her scarf. She has been working on it for a while, it’s her first project: a simple scarf. She has gotten “crafty” as I like to call it, increased some stitches, done some yarn overs, as every beginner does, but no matter what, I’m very proud of her.
Learning From My Student
One of the things I love about how she has taken on knitting is that she has made it fun. When she makes a mistake, she doesn’t get upset or frustrated. For instance, when she purls instead of knits, or when she twists her stitches, she simply says “Oh, I have been wanting to do that for a while.” She embraces her mistakes as design elements. I think that’s something us knitters and crocheters forget. It’s not the end of the world if it’s not perfect, you have made it by hand and with love, there have to be some design elements (that’s what I now like to call mistakes).
Avoiding the UFO
I was afraid I might be procrastinating but the time I spent instead of going to the KAL was really important to me. Still, I have to finish and I cannot let this sweater become another UFO. The encouragement of all of you reading this and the need to keep up with a group are spurring me on. I’m off to knit!
Here in the marketing department at Lion Brand, we talk a lot about knitting and crocheting and yarn and magic loops and swatches and yarn weights (we know our DK from our super bulky) and and and … bottom line is that we’re all experts in one way or another when it comes yarn. We can talk about it all day — and we do! You may however be surprised to know that we’re also fairly well-rounded with an excess of interests, hobbies and obsessions that go beyond the hooks and needles.
We thought you might enjoy a peek into our inner worlds. Have fun and please share some of your own personal interests outside of knitting and crocheting in the comments below.
Zoe: I’ve been playing Destiny, a futuristic first-person shooter from the creators of Halo. My Warlock alter ego finally acquired the elusive Gjallarhorn and is well on the way to becoming legend. With so many minions of darkness to destroy, it’s tough choosing between needles and controller!
Sarah: Sunday mornings, I’m curling up with a cup of tea and a Rehab Addict marathon on HGTV. My favorite weekend breakfast sandwich: Spread half an avocado onto a toasted everything bagel and top with three slices of bacon (I cook my bacon in the oven like Ina’s recipe to avoid a greasy kitchen). During the week, instead of knitting on the subway, I like to listen to podcasts. My favorite at the moment is 99 Percent Invisible which is a podcast about design. It covers things that you wouldn’t expect like the origins of the sports mascot, buildings that once housed Pizza Huts, and the way airports are laid out to get you to buy food. I love learning these fun facts!
Shira: Being a single lady in the city and Brand ambassador for Lion brand Yarn, my social life has definitely taken off. I no longer have time for one of my favorite things to do … hang out with my two cats Psy and Thai and catch up some really good TV like the New Girl, or another one we love Scandal. If I try to knit while I watch TV, the kitties try to help, but their version of “help” is not really helping so watching TV is like a mini-vacation from my Yarn life.
Petrina: I’m trying to brighten up my apartment more and find myself getting into gardening. Recently my in-laws gave me some paperwhites as a gift and I planted them a few weeks ago so they’re just starting to bloom now – just in time for spring!
Brandyce: I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, and since it’s so cold here in the northeast, soups have definitely been a favorite of mine. I recently came across this Butternut Squash Quinoa and Kale Stew recipe from Love and Lemons, and it was great! I also added Mushrooms for some extra texture – and think it could taste even better with maybe some bacon pieces or chorizo. I will definitely be making more of this soup; it’s so hearty and flavorful.
Ilana: To relax and stay in shape, I do yoga regularly. Even though I don’t really enjoy most exercise, yoga gives me an immediate feeling of relaxation by the end of the class. I started practicing about six years ago because I felt stiff when I woke up in the morning. Doing yoga regularly solved that problem and makes me more mindful of my physical health so I’m not as likely to fall into bad habits.
Danielle: Sad that the new Modest Mouse will be released later than expected, I at least found comfort in an engrossing little ebook called, “Crocheting with Kurt Cobain“. Kind of, sort of, not really about Kurt Cobain or crocheting, it’s about a deceased law student who’s stuck between heaven and earth and must somehow atone for her wrong-doings before she can get entrance to heaven. I couldn’t put it down … I’m also excited about all the amazing shows coming to New York City this year – Björk, Yoko Ono, Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, to name a small few! It’s a good time to visit if you can work it into your travel plans.
I’ve never been more determined to finish something I’m knitting in my whole life! I feel as though I am in the Knit-Along Olympics, competing against myself. It’s not really a competition, but this week when I showed up with my ribbing, and everyone else had their back portion done and they were either finished or half way done with the front part of the sweater, I realized I needed to pick up my game. The group is spurring me on. I’m knitting like a fiend, trying to catch up to these ultra-fast ladies.
So I have run into a few hiccups.
As I was knitting, doing my increases every sixteen rows, I looked at my fabric and saw there was a big gaping hole in the back panel! I had dropped a stitch and it was ten rows back. How was I going to fix this? Will I have to rip it out?! How will I know where I was? I started to sweat. What to do …
I went through my collection of crochet hooks, and I’m going to be honest, I’ve never been so thankful for a crochet hook in my life! I took some calming breaths and saved the stitch, bringing it back up to the needle.
My next challenge? Counting rows …
I’m scared to find out what happens if I mess up the counting. Ann, the KAL instructor, had suggested I get a row counter, but what do you do about traveling? How do you know it won’t get pushed? That’s all I need, to think I’m on row 16 but I’ve really done 25 rows. Then what happens? I travel all the time with my knitting, how does one count rows while traveling on a subway?!
I am on a mission to finish my front and back panels this week because I cannot wait to start the side panels and sleeves of my sweater. The good news is that I love knitting with Heartland®. It can only get better from here right?
Did you know that many of Lion Brand®‘s yarns are American-made? Some of them — Homespun®, Homespun® Thick and Quick®, Quickie, Country® and Spinnables — are all related because they’re all made in the same mill in New Hampshire. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these yarns being created first hand – it’s magical!
When I first walked into the mill, I could envision what it looked like 135 years ago – the same. Even though the mill is so old, it still works, making lots of yarn each day. To make it run, there are many employees from the town. That’s one of the most wonderful things about the mill — it supports hundreds of families!
I am so passionate about yarn and claim I have yarn for veins, so watching the whole process come to life was very exciting! I had the opportunity to see how the different colors come together to create a popular Homespun® color, Tudor, along with finding out how the dying process works. There were barrels of Quickie getting ready to be put into skeins. Near the Quickie were barrels of different colors of unspun yarn, used for Spinnables. It took a lot to hold myself from jumping in!
It’s official: I’m making my first sweater.
I’ve worked at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City for two years and now that I am the Brand Ambassador for the company I thought I would take on a knitting fear: making my own sweater. I’ve been a knitter for a good portion of my life and I have yet to conquer knitting a sweater. How is it that I have knitted plenty of socks and not a sweater? This makes no sense to me, so I am going to rectify the situation.
Every Wednesday night, from February 11th – March 18th, I’m taking part in a Knit-Along at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City. In an ideal situation, I’d finish my sweater by the 18th of March, but this is my first sweater so give I’ll give myself a little slack. The pattern I’m following is The Essential Fall Pullover made with Heartland®. I decided to get a little creative and instead of doing the three colors that the pattern calls for, I will be doing two. I’ll be using Black Canyon for the front and back, and for the side panels and sleeves I’m going to be using Biscayne. I chose Black Canyon as the main color for the sweater because, like many people who live in NYC, black is a prominent color in my wardrobe. On the other hand, I’m also trying to get a little more colorful, so I decided to incorporate Biscayne for the sleeves and side panels. It will give it a nice “pop” and allow me to dress it down and up!
Since I worked in the studio for two years, I had the chance to really get to know my co-workers, and I got to see how talented and creative they truly are. Ann, who is the instructor for the KAL, is a machine knitter and teaches machine knitting at the studio, but she also is so creative when it comes to knitting garments. When I found out that Ann would be the instructor for the KAL, I was sold, it would guarantee that for at least once a week for the next month, I would get to see her. Her creativity is infectious and it inspired me to take this sweater making to another level.
For the first meeting she showed up with sketches (that she had made) of what her sweater would look like with the colors she chose. She also suggested going to Pinterest for color inspiration. I thought that was a really clever idea and plan on using that for other projects as well!
As you can see I started the ribbing for the back of my sweater. But the main reason for writing this is because I need your support in completing this project. There have been so many times that I have wanted to make a sweater and I’ve second guessed myself even though I know I have the skills.
So, I Need You – You Wise Knitters And Crocheters – Give Me Your Best Sweater Advice And Support!
Before I really get into the nitty-gritty of the back portion of the sweater – do you have any good tips for me as I embark on this journey? What did your first sweater look like? Is there something you are too nervous to make because it’s just overwhelming?