I always have at least one ball of yarn in my purse. I knit during my lunch break at work, when I'm in a doctor's waiting room, waiting for water to boil when making dinner, watching Halt and Catch Fire at night, and any other time I'm sitting still. When I had an hour long Chicago traffic commute, I would sometimes get a row in if an accident completely stopped traffic. At the same time, I was finishing my MS in Statistics, and knitting as I watched my online courses. If I got stuck on a problem in Python, the rhythmic clicking would help clear my head. The hard part was stopping after only a few rows.
I know I'm not the only knitter to think about doing it in meetings, but after the heated discussion on the Ask a Manager advice site a few months ago, I know I can't pull it off. I just bring a notepad and stick to doodling when I need to occupy my hands at work.
My boyfriend is incredibly patient, and will try anything once. I love these qualities about him, and they make him the perfect guinea pig for men's patterns.
Because he loves the outdoors, even in winter, I thought I'd make him a warm head and neck cozy. The free Lion Brand pattern was cool, because I'd never seen anything that hugs your neck like this in stores, and it had been originally designed for soldiers deployed in cold climates.
Unfortunately, I decided to go rogue and improvise so I wouldn't have to sew anything together at the end. I thought I'd be fine if I just tried it on his head a lot as I progressed. Well... it fits too loosely around the neck and has so much material around his face that it really, truly looks like a baby bonnet.
To Scott's credit, he received the bonnet warmly and even wore it once. It now lives in the back of his car, lying in wait for a subzero day or impromptu costume party. In return for his kindness, I'm not going to post a pic of him wearing the bonnet. Here he is just doing what he loves best.
With the office closed this week and the weather hitting single digit lows, the conditions are perfect to work on the cocoon cardigan my mom requested. She wanted off-white, but it took me a while to decide on the yarn. I couldn't decide if I wanted it to be warm and bulky or cottony and light. She lives in Georgia, and I'll be working on this in Jan & Feb, so by the time it's done it may be warm again there.
I've made socks, scarves, and blankets for my family, but never apparel before. She's the only one in my family that is willing to hand wash things, but I searched wool-acrylic blends anyway just to make it easy on her. She taught me to crochet, so she deserves a big project like this. For her, I'd even be willing to make it entirely out of superfine sock yarn, but I decided to go with the worsted-weight Lion Brand Wool-Ease in natural heather. (The color is described as a heathered cream but I see a cold beige. The upside is that makes a nice daily-wear neutral.)
This yarn is the right weight for Spoons and Hooks granny square pattern I settled on. The pattern recommended 1000-1200 yards, so I bought 6 skeins of the yarn at 197 yds each.
This pattern was written out simply and allows for easy modifications. Really you can use any stitch if you can crochet it in a square. You could even knit a square, if you're in the mood, and still come up with a nice cocoon result. At 5'6", Mom is just a little taller than me and the model they used, so I plan to stop at 35" or 36" inches.
My sister and I had a Christmas movie marathon on Monday, so I got a lot of rounds in. It's coming along fast!
Most of my stash is sock yarn, because I love the durability of the nylon and superwash wool. Sock yarns often come variegated or striped, which keeps it interesting if you're the type of knitter who can't stand slowing down to weave in different colors. I don't mind the thinness of a DK or fingering yarn and spending a few months on a project. On the other hand, sometimes I get tired of making socks and having a work in progress for too long.
The answer was the popular Reyna shawl by Noora Laivola. It has been around since June 2015, and is a staple on blogs and forums. I'm a big fan of her open attitude to sharing the design, and the flexible way the pattern is written. You can easily adjust the pattern to the yardage you do have, and you don't really have to follow the chart she included. When I was first starting the shawl, I was careful to mark each row on the pdf. As I went along, I realized I could just count the number of WS rows. I also saw that if I was off, the shawl would still look great. Rare is the pattern that is so forgiving.
To be honest, I'm not a very diligent blocker, either. I hand washed the shawl, rolled it up in a towl and squeezed, then laid it on a sweater rack in the sun. You might gasp at the idea of fading, but it dried within an hour because of the open weave. Besides, I used the Chroma Twist in Red Velvet, which has a little bit of a fade characteristic and will look nice even as it ages.
I gave the final piece to my friend when she returned from Australia. I'll be making this pattern again, probably using 2-skeins for a bigger shawl next time. It's a nice portable, easy to remember pattern. I also like the way fingering weight yarn drapes when knit on larger needles, and will try this with some other simple patterns. Maybe a handbag with a cloth lining or a loose summer coverup?