What’s Lauren Up To?
Today, I’m going to share my latest projects with you! You know me, whipping out hats, making stuff up and playing around with yarn in literally every second of my spare time. If you want to know what kind of exciting life I lead, here’s my usual schedule: wake up, grab coffee, go to work and think about knitting all day while selling yarn, go home and knit until I collapse while binge watching TV shows on Netflix. Sometimes I actually get home at 6pm and knit non-stop until 2am.
You might notice that cleaning the house and making dinner aren’t involved in my daily routine. You might also notice that I watch an extraordinary amount of television. Binge watching TV shows and knitting all day every day means I walk around seeing characters from shows and half-formed knitwear designs swirling around in my head together most of the time. I feel like I’m knitting my latest TV show obsession into whatever I’m working on. I can pick up my hand-knits and remember what I was watching while knitting them. In case you’re curious, I’ve been on a vampire TV show kick lately. The admittedly silly, sappy drama of The Vampire Diaries and True Blood have been speaking to me and permeating my knitting projects in ways that defy explanation. I also tore through Westworld the other day. I suspect that most knitters watch a lot of TV or listen to a lot of podcasts (like Jennifer).
Without further adieu, here’s my latest stuff hot off the needles. Thanks to Catherine for the quick photo shoot.
The red hat: I knit this hat with some yarn I picked up at the Thompson Community Center’s first-Saturday-of-the-month flea market ages ago. I think it’s an alpaca blend, but I’ll never know for sure at this point. I realized that I’d never knit a bright red accessory before, and there’s something appealing about a bright red accessory. When you want a punch of color, red makes a statement that’s bold but also classic. Last week at Stitch ‘n’ Spin, I’d just begun knitting the band around the brim of this hat. I was met with a bunch of skeptical looks when I pulled a weird little scrap of fabric with some pleats and a knot out of my knitting bag. I tried to describe my intention to turn it into a band that would wrap around my head, then pick up stitches along one edge and knit a hat shape from there, but sometimes words fail me and it’s an awful lot easier to show than it is to tell.
The Ginkgo sweater: This sweater is one-of-a-kind, but it was inspired by one of our newest store samples in Galway Worsted. I liked the neckline in particular. The sample sweater wasn’t quite delicate enough for my taste though, and it had way too many seams. So I went shopping for myself and picked out Berroco Ginkgo, a soft and lovely blend of wool and silk. Then I pored over my modest collection of stitch dictionaries for the perfect lace edging. I cast on enough stitches for a cardigan, all the way around (so no seams would be required), beginning with the edging I’d picked out. I sort of made it up from there – I’d like to say it went perfectly smoothly, but actually I initially knit it with arm holes that drooped down past my waist because I didn’t anticipate how much it would stretch when I blocked it, so I had to unknit some parts. In my laziness, I discovered that one need not use stitch holders or scrap yarn when dividing the front and back sections of a sweater. I just left the stitches hanging out right where they were on my circular needle while I knit back and forth across the other stitches. I experimented with picking up stitches around the sleeve hole and knitting a sleeve cap with short rows. I think there’s room for improvement in my technique, but this sweater proved to be a good learning experience for me. Also it’s pretty adorable, if I don’t say so myself.
The embroidered pair: Oh, Malabrigo Worsted… every time I use this gorgeous yarn I feel like it’s the only yarn I’ll ever need in my life. It has this buttery soft quality. It feels amazing to the touch. And it’s a feast for the eyes too – even the solid colors are actually rich, rich tonal colors. I was in between projects, so I grabbed a skein of Malabrigo Worsted from my stash and knit a simple pair of mitts. I had a lot left over, so I started knitting a matching hat. Mid-way through, I realized I’d be just short on yarn to finish the hat, so I improvised. I had a little leftover Malabrigo Worsted in a different green, and I started incorporating it into the hat slowly by stranding it – three stitches of the old yarn, then one stitch of the new yarn. Can you tell that it’s made in two different colors? But I can’t just make a simple hat. A simple hat must be embellished! Have you ever embroidered on your knitting? It isn’t hard at all! I recommend it highly! I also recommend big, furry pompoms.