Implications of holiday project hopping.

Normally, my knitting focuses on project not process. While thoroughly enjoy meditative moments knitting, my goal is to create wearable and home decor goods. (The word “goods” reminds me of high school, that ridiculous class whose name I forget that had the test question “_____ buys goods and services.” I answered “Money.” WRONG! The correct answer was “Credit.” I apparently missed the focus of the chapter ).

Anyway, December was quite a productive month for small knitted objects. I knit the second cuddly kitten in memory of our beloved “Gatto di lusso.”

Using Norah Gaughan’s free Berocco pattern Celestine, I created what I thought would be a new star for our holiday tree. This turned out to be a fun knit, but much better suited to topping the fern. Oh, well, try again next year? It makes a fun decoration to bat around the house… great kids’ toy?

Alanna Nelson knits holiday ornaments
I also finished another Lenveloppe, this time with garter stitch on size 8 needles with Berocco Boboli.
And, of course, there was time to take a soft and squishy ball of Cascade Epiphany into the annual Christmas hat.Tim14



In between, I imagined other possible projects to begin. “Why am I such a skittish project starter these days,”  I asked hypothetically at one of the knit classes shortly before Christmas.

“Because you’re avoiding that Master Knitter work,” one of the knitters stated emphatically.

She’s right 🙂

A couple days after Christmas, I did finally open up the box of corrections that arrived in mid August. It’s not fun, but I’m plugging through them. Then again, now that the holiday knit projects are done, isn’t it a good time of year to nest and make home improvements?

7 Scarves I’d love to Knit

As I’ve eaten my words about wearing scarves, I thought it might be interesting to organize a list of knit scarves I would love to wear! My Ravelry queue accumulates plenty of scarf eye candy.  I may plop the pattern into my queue because there’s appropriate yarn in my stash. Other times, the scarf offers an opportunity to practice a technique. On other occasions, the scarf patterns calls out names of people I know!
For winter 2014, here are  7 scarves that may fly off my needles.
Alanna Nelson knits scarves Boston

Sally Melville’s Lenveloppe

Sally Melville’s Lenveloppe charmed the Greater Boston Knitting Guild when she visited last spring. I missed Sally’s presentation, but caught the Lenveloppe bug. I’ve knit one this fall for a gift and hope to cast on another this week. In all of Sally’s wonderful design goodness, you can knit this lovely accessory (OK, so maybe it’s not a scarf) in 5 sizes with 2 stitch patterns and 4 gauges. What a perfect cure to the great yarn in your stash that isn’t quite enough for a sweater, but too much for a simple scarf.

Alanna Nelson knits mens cashmere scarves Boston

Cerus, a linen stitch scarf by Hillary Smith Callis

Almost every man needs a scarf in New England (of course, my hub claims not to need one). There must be a knit worthy man who would enjoy Cerus by Hillary Smith Callis. Linen stitch gives a lovely texture and looks great in variegated or natural color yarns. Something REALLY soft would probably work for the knit worthy guys on my holiday list (oh, my, that may only be 2 this year). Something cashmere or alpaca perhaps? This promises to be excellent knitting for those distracted mindless hours or as a traveling project.

Boston Knitter Alanna Nelson for Twilight theme scarves

Lauren McClain’s Huntress Cowl

When Lauren McClain released the Huntress Cowl last year, I immediately downloaded this dramatic piece, knowing it would entice the Twilight obsessed set. I’ll definitely make some modifications in the construction…. Lauren suggests using duct tape to give the cowl innards body. I’m using wide upholstery piping and not rope, cause  I’m that kind of textilphiliac… it’s in my stash!

Alanna Nelson loves Twist Collective knit patterns in mosaic stitch

Courant by Barbara Benson

An opportunity to play with color and stitch pattern in one piece? Oh, yeah, bring it on! Barbara Benson brings it with Courant, from the fall 2014 Twist Collective. I do not own a great color combo of fingering yarn in my stash, but it gives me the opportunity to shop the latest color ways in Paula from Dirty Water Dyeworks. Then again, I still have a cushion in Paula that’s been on the needles for months (oh, yeah, I forgot about that…)

Alanna Nelson knits variegated sock yarn

Kieran Foley’s Camino Bubbles

I love how this scarf looks and it looks simple to knit. Camino Bubbles by Kieran Foley would look lovely in a solid color, I’m sure. But who can resist this marvelous eye candy of electric color fun?  Alas, there is no variegated yarn that will produce such dramatic effects in my stash. Rainbow doesn’t call my name in a skein or ball? Do I need to buy more yarn? This scarf may stick in the queue a while longer. Remember? Yarn/fabric are like Fritos… there will always be more.

Alanna Nelson knits blue, white Munich scarves

Lokken by Megi Burci

One of my lovely ones gave me a ball of sock weight yarns in blue and white. She thought I diamond motif scarf replicating the Munich flag would be great. I started playing with mitered squares, then I cast on Miss Winkle, frogging that, too. Then I discovered Lokken by Megi Burci. This looks like easy knitting, but the pattern needs to be nearby!

Alanna Nelson knits top down cowls

Hydrocarbon by Agness Kaku

For bulky yarn velocity, Hydrocarbon looks fabulous in photos and real life. I’d love to knit one of these, but there’s currently no bulky yarn in the stash!  Eek.

What am I doing writing about knitting when I need to get knitting?

7 Sweaters I’d love to knit: Fall 2014

The last garter stitch rows (nearly 600 stitches each) of my Traveling Thorn are nearly over… thank goodness! It’s given me plenty of time to consider which sweaters I’d like to cast on next. How fast can I knit? So here’s my list of
7 Great Sweaters to Knit

Alanna Nelson knits sweaters from Rowan patterns

Hell’s Kitchen by Josh Bennett

My daughter has a fabulous friend for whom I am very grateful. He’s truly knit worthy. I think he’d look great in Josh Bennet’s Hell’s Kitchen.

If I knit it in Rowan Revive, which is a recycled cotton and silk yarn, it would be ready for next spring without problem. Not sure of which color way I’d choose, although he’d look great in the same colors as the photo.

Alanna Nelson knits Joji Locatelli patterns

Window to my soul by Joji Locatelli

Don’t ask me how I came across this fingering weight short sleeve cardi designed by Joji Locatelli. Window to my soul works from the top down and combines some fun smocking stitch with brainless stockinette. It could transition from a concentration sweater to traveling project without much issue. I’ll knit this along with Doreen, using Prism Saki. Can’t wait to start swatching this!

Alanna Nelson steeks knit Icelandic sweaters

Ragga Eiríksdóttir’s Iðunn

Ever since I heard Ragga Eiríksdóttir speak at the Slater Mill Knitter’s Guild, I’ve wanted to steek this lovely pattern. Unlike many knitters, I’m not afraid to cut my knitting. Isn’t that one of the wonderful things about knitting? If there’s a mistake, you just rip it out and start over. The stitches don’t disintegrate just by cutting them. It’s OK, really.

Once I learned that I could get Icelandic yarn grown in Massachusetts, the project somehow morphed into something somewhat unattainable. I could just cast on in worsted weight yarn, but….

Lace cardigans knit by Alanna Nelson

Meryl Streep Chevron Lace Cardi by Ann Weaver

Fiber is like Fritos… there always will be more. This mantra has often helped me resist unfocused stash building. However, it didn’t work when some Rowan Soft Lux shimmered in a close out bin nearly 7 years ago. Finally I’ve found a pattern with appropriate yardage and style. Ann Weaver creates a lot of beautiful knitwear patterns and the Meryl Streep Chevron Lace Cardi is no exception. Time to bust that yarn out of the stash.

Alanna Nelson finds Vermont Spinnery yarns for the Redfern Cardigan

Redfern Cardigan by Ramona Gaynor

When the Autumn 2014 copy of Interweave Knits arrived at Sit and Knit, I snatched it up immediately for the cover design. Marvelous, cozy, casual and so textured. And that yarn! Once I learned that it was Malabrigo Rios, two skeins alternating, I said, oh maybe not. But what about in Vermont Spinnery’s Weekend Wool? I could drive over Thanksgiving weekend for the Putney Craft Tour.

Alanna Nelson knits cable sweater

Norah Gaughn Lempster pullover

Sage Yarns in Falmouth is hosting Norah Gaughan in December, 2014. One of the classes she’ll teach is starting the Lempster sweater. OOO, I have not seen this yet. Another worsted weight sweater, I know. There’s not even any yarn in the stash for this. But wouldn’t it make a nice knit along?

Alanna Nelson nature inspired knits

Helene Rush Greenery from Twist Collective

Is it the photography? Is it the mitered squares and use of color? Is it because I love being on the water?

All I know is that I’d love to knit Greenery by Hélène Rush. The Twist Collective always has the best photography. I have some fab Martha’s Vineyard fiber farm yarns (yes, back from the days when the farm was in Massachusetts!) that would be fabulous for this sweater… except they are worsted weight yarns and the pattern calls for sport weight. I’ll mull this over while knitting the other sweaters, right?

So it looks like I’ll be knitting a lot this winter! In between commission work and corrections on my Master Knitter portfolio, I’d better hope for a lot of snow days!

Traveling Thorn

Summer travels deserve a portable knitting project… one that fits tidily into a bag, isn’t too demanding and keeps you busy for the long haul. Thanks to the Common Cod Fiber Guild Knit a Long (KAL), my traveling project for summer 2014 is Bristol Ivy’s Thorn.

Alanna Nelson knits Bristol Ivy Thorn

Thorn, an asymmetrical wrap designed by Bristol Ivy

Let me be honest: When the Cod announced the KAL, I surveyed my stash and found no good fingering weight yarn in 1000 yard quantities that fit the bill. Either they were earmarked for other projects or too variegated for a delightful result. So I thought I’d pass. Then one day in early July, a most appealing shank of lace weight silk from Claudia Hand Painted Yarns began calling my name at In Stitches.

Claudia Hand Paints Silk Lace

With 1100 yards in one skein, I could complete Thorn

Alanna Nelson knits CCFGThornKAL

Thorn sails into Rhode Island Sound

By the time I wound that shank, it was nearly time for our sail down to Block Island. I rigged a color mesh yarn bag from Walker with a lanyard and a foam base, downloaded the pattern and cast on.

Alanna Nelson knits, sails.

Sea worthy knitting!

Technically, Thorn is not a difficult pattern. It does, however, require one to count. I have learned that I do not always count correctly. Counting incorrectly means a lot of ripping or reverse knitting. Did you catch that I chose a finer yarn than the pattern uses? Oh, yes, knitting on size US 1 needles means those stitches are just that tinier when you reverse knit.

Learning from others in the KAL, I did place a nice bright green thread as a traveling marker. I often watch it shrink… the last big mistakes discovered a good 54 rows later. Sigh.

On weekend sails, car trips, any time I thought the light would be good enough, Thorn travels along. Sailing friends have watched it grow.

Alanna Nelson knits on Boston Harbor weekend sails

Thorn sailing out of Boston

Having finished section B2 this morning near Montreal, perhaps I’m in a Thorn -y groove?

Alanna Nelson knits Thorn

Thorn, Section B2 finished near Montreal

At this point, I cannot recommend Thorn in lace weight yarn as a great traveling project. Off to check the hash tag #CCFGThornKAL to see what other yarns people are using.

What makes a good traveling project for you?

Last Stitch!

Last Stitch!

Tada! Blocked, sewn and buttons, with a photo shoot planned for Monday, the last stitches of Dovuto have come together. It fits just fine, although remind me to put 5 buttonholes in the pattern if I ever publish it.

Alanna Nelson knitwear designs Boston
I am so ready to knit something different… oh yes, I have commission work waiting in the studio! And there’s the hat pattern, so back to work!