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?

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!

Start: MHK3 Aran Sweater

Start: MHK3 Aran Sweater

Alanna Nelson New Orleans inspired cable knitting pattern

Grapes, leaves and winding tendrils inspired a cable pattern


After weeks of brainstorming, figuring,swatching and experimenting, I finally began KNITTING my aran sweater design for the Master Knitter Level 3 program.

Inspiration: wrought iron railings in New Orleans.

Ideally, I wanted to create this motif center panel with a V neck. Then, I’d make the body in one piece… a princess line sweater. It would be easy to customize when it came time to size the pattern.  Unfortunately, my brain insisted that the cable motif would wrap around the neck and shoulders, which would probably require considerable short rows. Time is of the essence, and I’m much more of a cardi kind of gal anyway.

So the princess line sweater became a high low cardigan. This time.

I’ve grappled with my stubborn non conformity to traditional aran style.  It would have been infinitely easier to drop a few stitch patterns into a basic sweater shape with ribbed edges. But I don’t like ribbed edges these days (exception for mittens!). My aran sweater has a stretchy provisional cast on with stockinette stitch hem. I’m using rick rib for the lower edges of the sweater, and I love the lofty light effect that contrasts with the other stitch patterns.

The Master Knitter program requirements are fairly straightforward: cables, bobbles and two other stitch patterns. I’m making this more difficult than need be.

Deadline’s a looming. I spent at least 3 weeks creating the 3 dimensional leaf shapes and the cable pattern with a bunch of grapes (bobbles) tucked inside. My swatch is nearly 2 feet long, complete with V neck shaping (that doesn’t include all of the work frogged!).

The yarn? Woolpak NZ DK weight purchased with my employee discount at Sit n Knit (Thanks, Janet!).

Once I drafted the pattern, work proceeds quite well… until the first leaves.  I developed leaf patterns in 7, 9, and 11 st.  I chose 7, and now wonder if the 9 wouldn’t fit the overall scale of the sweater better.

Alanna Nelson NOLA cable knit pattern

first repeat of cable pattern

Part of me says, forge ahead, deadline looming.

Any thoughts?

On your way to the Master’s…

More than four months into Level 3 of The Knitting Guild of America’s Master Hand Knitting Program, I’ve completed reviews, reports and absorbed the contents of a lot of knitting references (thank goodness for interlibrary loans). To date, 12 of the 19 swatches are blocked, labeled and complete with swatch pages. Generally, the swatches were knit twice before they were worthy of blocking. I’ve answered the associated questions for these swatches.  Onward and upward, I tell myself.

Soon, I’ll resolve my yarn choice for the doily. Isager’s Plant Fiber sounds and feels luscious, but I’ve never knit with it. Should I spend so much on a doily which could just as easily use Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fine for 40% less expense? Design notes, swatches, measurements and yarn options ferment for my hat and sweater designs. Combination ugh and delight, my attitude about the final level of the program ranges from joyful, determined, focused to dejected and incredulous (now why am I doing this when there are so many things I’d love to knit or crochet?).

Slowing the process slightly is my learning curve on making charts using Illustrator.  The program doesn’t require anything nice computerized patterns, but it’s been a longtime goal of mine to develop a pattern template and graphic style for the patterns I write.  Makes sense that I personally consider this to be part of a Master Knitter skill set.

My nagging fear:  Not following the directions completely, which results in rework for sheer carelessness.  If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the Master Knitter Program, following directions, checking your work, letting others review your work and then checking it again perhaps has been the most valuable lesson (remember, I’ve been knitting for decades!).

This post is more brain unload than informative, inspirational or entertaining.  There are online forums and I enjoy support from 2 other local knitters who are tackling the program, but Master Knitter journey is quite solitary.

Thanks for listening.