2018 knitting project round-up

I got properly into knitting in 2018. This is my 2018 project list with some reflections on each project I completed this year and what I learned. I also included the places where I purchased the yarn because projects 5-9 map out what has been a really fun exploration of lovely local UK yarn shops.

(Top left to right: Tiny Flax sweater, Age of Brass and Steam, and Textured Shawl; middle left to right: Riley tee, birthday socks, and simple slippers; bottom left to right: weaving sample, Traigh shawl, and Moondust mittens.

1. Baby sweater for my nephew

I succeeded in my goal of knitting something for a baby in time for their birth. I can see how baby garments are satisfying to knit: so quick and so cute and little!

2. Age of Brass & Steam Kerchief

I’d never knit a triangle kerchief/shawl before. This project exposed me to shawl construction using a garter tab and increasing from the top centre out to the points of the triangle. I succeeded in using up this yarn that had been sitting in my yarn basket for three years!

3. Textured Shawl

Another shawl project with a garter tab, centre-out construction, and also chosen to use up two more skeins I’ve had since 2015.

4. Riley summer sweater

My first Pom Pom project, my first summer garment, and my first time knitting with cotton (other than a dishcloth or placemat!) I was conservative with my gauge and so the garment ended up ever-so-slightly smaller than the fit of the sample size shown in the magazine, but I love it and I wore it a LOT this summer. I wrote a more detailed post about the process and the things I learned.

5. Birthday Socks!

This was my first-ever pair of socks, knitted with the fantastic Countess Ablaze sock yarn. These turned out so well on the first try, I couldn’t believe it, and I’ve worn them a ton since. I’ve found it’s tough to wear them for really long walking days, so I’m curious to continue trying different yarns and sock techniques. I’d love to make all my own socks and I now understand the small joy of ‘background socks’, as discussed by the lovely ladies of the Pomcast.

6. Girlfriend Slippers

The first thing my girlfriend asked me to knit for her! And my first pair of slippers. Always wanted to knit something with Rachel Coopey’s yarn and it has lived up to expectation. The yarn is lovely to knit with and soft. Over time, the slippers have pilled a bit, but I think this is because my girlfriend has hardly taken them off!

7. Traigh Shawl

I bought this yarn because it was just so stunningly beautiful: the bold blue colour on top of the incredible shine and lustre of the Wensleydale fleece.

I didn’t really know what to do with it, but I was excited to buy my first skeins of 100% British wool. The project I initially selected for the yarn (a textured, cabled cowl) just wasn’t working out. Although frustrating at first, this yarn-pattern mismatch caused me to really think more about how to better pair a yarn with a given pattern. I’ve since learned that Wensleydale wool has very long, strong, shiny fibres – does this mean that on its own it is not well-suited for a knitted object that requires a certain squishy texture with a lot of structure and stitch definition? Perhaps? I’m still learning. I *have* heard that Wensleydale is good in a sock yarn and I am *very* interested in giving that a go.

This is my first time making a Kate Davies pattern. I love her designs but have long been worried that they are too challenging for my skill level, so I was very excited to find this pattern that felt manageable for me. I enjoyed the hap-like construction (knitting the diamond lace panel first and then picking up stitches along the edge and increasing to create the garter section). I made some minor modifications to the pattern in order to use the two Wensleydale DK skeins, which worked out really well. It felt very fitting to knit Traigh in a British breed wool. I wrote more about the project in this post.

8. Moondust Mittens

My mom wanted mittens to match a lovely turquoise coat she has, and I wanted to make something really nice for her. I was taken (as were many knitters!) by the incredible Autumn 2018 ‘moon’ issue of Pom Pom, and thought that the Moondust Mitts would be perfect if I could find a fitting yarn. The Malabrigo Sock in ‘Eggplant’/’Aubergine’ had a lovely bit of sheen and were heavier on the grey than the purple. I’m finding myself more reluctant to buy superwash wool, but I care more that this gift is appreciated and practical (i.e. machine washable). It’s hard to resist Malabrigo yarns, and I appreciate their commitment to sustainability.

9. Flax Sweater #2

It took me a while to come round to the idea of frogging my first attempt at a Flax sweater and trying again, but I’m glad I did. The resulting sweater actually fits. It might even be a wee bit too small, but I think I can give it a proper stretch block in the future when I have blocking mats and an apartment again! I weaved the ends in on December 31, 2018, making it my final project of the year!

My Flax sweater blocking on our friends’ futon guest bed.

10. Weaving at London Loom

I tried my hand at weaving on a floor loom this fall in a 2-hour introductory lesson at the London Loom and it was great! The lovely owners got me up and running very quickly and the time flew by. I can’t believe how absorbing it is. It gave me a deeper appreciation of Anni Albers’ work, which I saw at the excellent exhibition at the Tate Modern in November. I could understand why, in her 70s, she eventually stopped weaving and switched to print-making: it is labour-intensive work!

Weaving sample from my London Loom workshop. I loved the neon colour options!

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