Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Improv knitting for my Make Nine stash-buster wrap

It's looking promising for a 9-for-9 completion rate for Make Nine 2020. This post documents the completion of my eighth finish—a yarn stash-buster knitting project. This is my Improv Garter Stitch wrap.

Knit wrap in garter stitch.

This making process spanned nearly the full year. It was started in January with a rough sketch and the "weave in the ends" step happened November 22, 2020. 

Garter Stitch wrap. Knit improvisationally with random stripes.
Finished size: 59" x 24"

Project parameters
For this Make Nine project, I wanted an easy, relaxing knit. Something that I could pick up at any time and just enjoy the knitting process—no challenging pattern to follow, no stitch counting, no repeated motifs to track. 

I chose "good ol' garter stitch." Garter stitch makes a stable, reversible fabric with no fuss. To use up stash leftover bits and balls of yarn, I incorporated randomly-placed stripes—to add interest to the design and the knitting. Below is a sketch/road map I did to determine an approximate size. After swatching (4 stitches per inch on size 5 needles), I had an idea for the number of stitches to cast on.

Wrap diagram.

To allow for the stripes to go in different directions, I used the log cabin technique to pick up stitches and knit in another direction. A little bit "Mondrian" with the dark outlines and boxes of color and a nod to a Hudson Bay blanket's stripes.

Here is the remainder of the ball when I decided to call it "finished."

The bind-off with just a wee bit of yarn remaining.

Make Nine 2020 stash-buster knit wrap.

Project stats

Yarn: Fibra Natura Heaven [Universal Yarn] from my yarn stash. Main color: chili pepper. 
Fiber Content: 50% Merino wool/50% silk. It has a light, springy feel but is quite warm.
Gauge: 4 sts/in on size 5 circular needle
Finished size: 24" x 59"; which was pretty close to the diagram.

Stan Leigh wanted to check it out while I was photographing.

I've been wearing this wrap a lot since it's been finished. I like the color, the weight and feel, and overall I'm very pleased with the end result. 

The silk fiber content makes this wrap light weight and drapey, but the wool makes it warm. Turns out it was a great yarn choice for a wrap!

Improv knit wrap is complete.

I'm sure another knit project will be on my Make Nine project list next year.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Did you "Shop Small" this weekend?

I hope so! I supported small indie pattern designers through the 2020 Gift Along and took advantage of the giftalong2020 coupon code to purchase a handful of knit and crochet patterns. 

Shop Small 2020. Small Business support.

Scrolling through the offerings of 250 participating pattern designers on Ravelry, I found an inspiring selection of projects—small to large, easy to a bit more challenging, decorative and functional, and a few with new-to-me techniques or interesting construction concepts.

My pattern picks:
  • Brioche Starter Cowl
  • Modern Zebra striped shawl
  • The Beeswax Hat: knit in-the-round with mini-cables
  • colorwork: Ice Time fingerless mitts and the Fir Sprucing Up dishcloth
  • bulky yarn Rasta Bucket
  • mandala crochet: Sakura Cabled Mandala and Spanish Mandala Pillow
  • small, scrap buster projects: Here we Gnome Again and Scintillation stars from Hunter Hammersen of Pantsville Press.
  • Deep Feelings and Deschutes River top-down raglan cardigans
  • Tucked Away sweater with a saddle shoulder yoke
I'll be searching the yarn stash for appropriate pairings and a few of these may be slated for next year's Make Nine Challenge.

Gift Along 2020 discount and give-aways

The 25% off pattern coupon—giftalong2020—is good through Monday, November 30. Take advantage and support these small business, independent pattern designers.

And if you are so motivated, there are other ways to participate in the Gift Along that encourage completing the projects by year-end (for gift-giving) and winning prizes. 

It's a win-win.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Have yourself a happy little Thanksgiving stitch time

Do you have any fabric with turkeys? or cornucopia? maybe a pilgrim or two? or any motif that reads "Thanksgiving"? I don't... unless it's buried deep in the stash somewhere. 

A Thanksgiving hexie (of sorts). The mushroom print from Dew & Moss
[Art Gallery Fabrics] is fussy cut for the outside triangles.

So here's my Thanksgiving-ish English paper pieced (EPP) hexie to wish all a safe Thanksgiving holiday.

Small-scale prints for selective cutting
While I was masked-up and working in West Virginia last week, I picked up a handful of fat quarters at Stitch Morgantown. It was a conscious choice of small-scale prints to use in EPP hexagon blocks. More selective cutting—or fussy cutting—is in my near future.

Fat quarters of small scale prints. Fabric collections from
Art Gallery Fabrics, Paintbrush Studio and FIGO Fabrics.

Truth be told, this former boarding school student and current road warrior is quite keen on not having to travel for a some big Thanksgiving shindig. Instead, we decided to support a local small business restaurant and ordered a Thanksgiving meal to-go. The addition of two tried-and-true favorite recipes—a corn casserole and a squash pie—were made at home. And, after traveling the past several weeks under the stress and precautions of the pandemic, I am embracing the quiet time—by staying put—at home. Don't have to dress up... or mask up... or do make-up... it sounds perfect.

The new fat quarters are calling and the plan is to add to my November collection of EPP blocks.

11 hexies for November.

I also have my last Make Nine 2020 project to get underway and I'm enrolled in a virtual workshop hosted by Selvedge Magazine about hand stitched clothing. 

Stitching is in store for me this Thanksgiving. Hope you, too, are doing something you enjoy.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

It's a new day for the USA!

November 7, 2020: to commemorate yesterday's presidential election news, I abandoned piecing the hexagon blocks I'd previously prepared... to make these. 

Election 2020 patriotic hexagons.

Whatever red, white or blue fabrics near the top of the stash pile were pulled for cutting and assembly.

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris hexagon block.

President-Elect Joe Biden hexagon block.

Some units were thead basted... then I turned to the glue stick to expedite the basting process as we awaited the President-elect and Vice President-Elect televised speeches.

Hexagon block backs show thread and glue basting.

It's a new day for the USA.

Kantha stitched and hand embroidered Flag Girl.
Shall we name her Kamala?

birds on navy—Small Things Pets from Lewis and Irene
tonal red blender—Suede from P&B Textiles
flowers on red—Alexander Henry Fabrics
small flags—unknown, from my stash

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