Knitting for fun versus knitting for function

When I’m choosing yarn and projects, sometimes I face the dilemma of whether I should be knitting for fun or for function. There are certain pieces that I wear all of the time; they are staples.

The Farmhouse Shawl is one I wear ALL of the time in the winter. It is a nice, neutral color, so it goes well with pretty much everything.

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I also wear a cowl that was gifted to me by a former client (and knitter). Again, it’s plain and goes well with just about everything. It is so simple, but it is one of my major go-to cowls, even though I have others to choose from.

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I also love the couple of sweaters I’ve finished over the years, and I wear them pretty often. With something that takes as long as a sweater, I am much more mindful over wearability and color choice, but even that has taken some time to learn (really, once I knitted a Burgundy tube top).

As I continue to knit and build a wardrobe of accessories and garments, I am finding myself gravitating toward patterns that I want to knit, but I question their function and wearability. I am a pretty plain-Jane when it comes to fashion, so dark colors, solids, and neutrals are what I wear most. But my eyes, gravitate toward patterns and color, even though they might not be practical.

Take for instance, the Hudson Shawl, which I am finishing the knitted-on-border for now. It has stripes and eyelets, which are totally out of my usual comfort zone, but the pattern and product just looked so tempting! The colors are still pretty earth-toned, but I keep asking myself what I am going to wear with it (despite having plenty of plain shirts that it’ll go perfectly well with).

And then, there are hats. I love knitting hats. But a girl, her husband, and her daughter only need so many. They’re a great single skein project (especially since I am NOT a sock knitter), but I tend not to wear them during the week because hat-hair is not a good look for the office. I keep finding myself wanting to knit hats, but I have one for almost every day of the winter.

 

I don’t think I have a great solution to this dilemma, but I am curious how others balance knitting for fun and function. I am trying to be mindful not to accumulate stuff that I don’t wear, but when there is so much lovely yarn and so many lovely patters, that can be a tall task. For now, I am happy with the wardrobe I am knitting, and I’ll keep examining what gets worn and what doesn’t. With the things that don’t get worn, I am allowing myself to be okay with giving it to someone who will love it more than I do, or I am doing myself the favor of ripping it out to repurpose into something that I will love more.

Is this something you think about when you are buying yarn and patterns? Or, do you allow yourself the pure enjoyment that knitting should bring? Either way, I’d love to know what others think on this.

 

Happy knitting!

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My word for the year & making goals for 2017

As I have the past few years, I am setting out some general making plans and goals for the year. I’ve also noticed a growing trend of people choosing a word for the year, so I think I am going to jump on that bandwagon as well.

This is the first year where I have felt like choosing a word for the year, and it is the first time when I have felt like a single word fits with what my priorities are. My word for this year is going to be grow. I chose this word because it encapsulates what I’d like to focus on this year when it comes to my making, creative projects, and career goals. I want to build and grow my relationships with some of the artists and makers that I have come to know locally and on the internet. Being a major introvert, growing relationships that feel fulfilling and comfortable can be a big challenge. I want to expand my handmade business and develop some more concrete goals for how to successfully mesh my full-time career with a side passion project. Growing our homestead is also a major goal; I’d like to become a more successful gardener and continue to prepare to bring more fiber animals onto our property. Continuing to build and gain confidence in what I do and what I have to offer is another area that I hope to focus on, and it is something that I have really neglected in my career, personal life, and passion projects. I suppose my aim overall is to grow my skill set and expand my knowledge-base across my many interests: knitting, weaving, sewing, spinning, gardening, homesteading, and speech-language pathology.

Specifically, related to making my goals are to:

  • knit/spin/weave/sew from the materials that I have accumulated — making from both patterns and materials that I have in my stash is always a lofty goal
  • make items that I will actually use and wear; I’d like to knit at least four sweaters for myself, and I’d like to sew most of my summer wardrobe
  • make knit and sewn clothes for Little One
  • plant a dye garden and become more familiar with plants that can be foraged for dyes in my area to continue to develop my natural dyeing skills
  • take the time to watch and learn from the classes that I’ve queued on CreativeBugCREATIVELIVE, and Craftsy

Feel free to share your goals for the year in the comments or link to your posts. I love to hear what others are focusing on as they enter into a new year of creativity and making.

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WiP Wednesday: Sweater projects


This week has been a big transition week in our household. Little One started the summer program at her new school, so we are adjusting to new schedules. For the summer, I will be mostly off on Thursdays and Fridays, so I’m hoping for lots of knitting time. 

Project updates: 

My husband’s sweater is FINALLY finished. It needs another good blocking now that I’ve seamed it, so I’m waiting for a sunny day where it can dry outside. I have a marvelous craft room, but stuff just doesn’t dry out well in there. 

I am making my way through the Audrey Cardigan for my boss. I’m part-way through the first sleeve, so hopefully it’ll be done at the end of the weekend. I think my favorite this about this sweater is that there is no button band. After the 6 inch button band on my husband’s sweater, I don’t want to see a button band for a little while. 

I’m also making my way through a Featherweight cardigan for myself. I’ve knit most of it in the car, actually. It doesn’t require much shaping, so it is an easy on-the-go knit. Right now, I am working on the bottom ribbing. Sleeves and a button band, and then it will also be done. 

I’m looking forward to putting these into my StashDash totals and then starting on a few more things. 

Sewing: On my list

I’m accumulating a long list of sewing projects that I want to tackle. Building my handmade wardrobe is becoming more enjoyable as I’ve started to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the process. I’ve also started to realize how imperfect factory made clothing is too – when you look closely, nothing is perfect. All that said, here are a few things that are high on my list. 

Schoolhouse Tunic – I got some plaid fabric when the Hancock Fabrics went out of business, and I think this would look cute in that. 


Wiksten Tank – I haven’t quite decided what fabric to sew this in, but it’s high on my list for summer. 

Blanc Tee – I could see this becoming a wardrobe staple. I bought the expansion pack to go with the free pattern, so I am excited to try a few variations. 

This version of the Scout Tee by The Craft Sessions also looks like a great basic top, so I’m also anxious to get started on this one. 


I’m also planning on another Sailor Top and Fen by Fancy Tiger Crafts. 

Are there any sewing projects high on your lists? I’d love more ideas! 

Sewing: Sailor Top

   
I’m feeling pretty excited about this shirt! After my last experience with the Lou Box top, I decided to try something a little more fitted. I subscribe to Creative Bug, and the Sailor Top project fit the bill.

 After taking my measurements and looking at the finished  dimensions, I decided on the medium. I was on the fence, but tried to remind myself that often make things too big. The instructions were great, and I made sure to try to pace myself through it and not rush. There are a few mistakes, but it is wearable. Overall, I am pretty happy! 

 
  

WiP Wednesday: Sleeves & Planning New Projects

I am getting close to finishing the second sleeve on my husband’s sweater! That, of course, means I’m starting to plan my next big projects. The sweater pieces will need blocking, then it’s onto seaming and the button band. But, it’s never to early to plan, right? 

I have a few sweater quantities of yarn that I somewhat recently accumulated. I just ordered a few skeins of Quince & Co. for a Featherweight Cardigan. I am super excited to work with the Quince & Co. yarn! I am also looking forward to knitting a lightweight sweater that will be good for spring and fall. 

   
 
I am also looking at making the Rosemont Cardigan, which is also by Hannah Fettig. I have a chocolate brown yarn that I got from KnitPicks that will work well for it. 

  
Lastly, I am going to start on another Audrey Cardigan. This one will be for my boss, who sweet-talked me into making one for her. I made one for myself a while back, and it was an easy, quick project (for a sweater), so I’m not at all dreading the thought of making another. 

I am sure some small projects will sneak in amidst these big ones, but these are the main things in the lineup. I also have some sewing projects in the queue, but that might be another post for another time…

Sewing: Lessons learned from the Lou Box Top 

I was super inspired to sew a Lou Box Top after seeing one on the The Craft Sessions site. I had some fabric that has been in my stash for a while, so I decided to give it a try. I had tried seeing this too back in September, but it wasn’t a successful venture (I was distracted so I made a mistake in pattern assembly, and it was all downhill from there), so I went with some fabric that I wasn’t particularly attached to. It is a simple project, and it came together easily. Overall, it is a good beginner project. I was happy with my technique overall. Unfortunately, I don’t think it suits me as much as I had hoped. Here are some things, positive and negative, that I learned during the process:

  • I am relatively short, so I don’t think the boxy shape did me any favors. By now, I should know that something with “box” in the title is probably not a great bet. But, inspiration and a pretty picture got the best of me. Early in my knitting, I fell prey to this often, and I need to remind myself to take those lessons and apply them to sewing. It is totally wearable, but not particularly flattering. 
  • I chose the medium/large size, but I think I probably should’ve gone down I size since there is a bit of ease. I think having it more form-fitting than it is designed to be would’ve been better for my figure
  • I added length, and that was successful. On my first attempt long ago, it was short and even more unattractive 
  • I was happy with the neckline and finishing. 

In all, it was neither a huge success nor a huge failure. I have my eye on a few things that will hopefully suit me a little more. 

WiP Wednesday: Spinning, sweater, sewing and mitts

  
I’ve had some project ADD lately, so I have a lot in progress. I am so excited about all of it though! 

I’ve been spinning some Cormo and Corriedale. Last night, I started plying the black Corriedale and the grey Cormo together. I am pretty happy with the result. I need to skein it up and set the twist still. 

My husband’s sweater is coming together. The back and one front are finished. I’ve just started on the right front. Two sleeves and he button band to go! I’m enjoying it, but it is a lot of stockinette. 

I’m starting to prep to do some sewing. This weekend, my plan is to make the Lou Box top. The last time I tried this pattern, I taped pieces incorrectly and it was too short for my taste. I am going to remind myself to slow down and make sure that I don’t rush. 

In the car, I’ve been working on the Maine Mitts from the Swoon book. I have one mitt just about finished (it needs the thumb) and the second is in progress. 

My projects are really getting me through what has been a weird week. Early this week, it was the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. There are a lot of emotions bubbling to the surface, so it has really helped to have projects to keep me busy. 
I am looking forward to the weekend and digging into a few of these projects more. 

Wearing: Antrorse Sweater

I finished my Antrorse Sweater a few months ago. It took me forever to find buttons that I liked, so it went unworn for a little while. I finally found some great black buttons with anchors on them at a local yarn store (Whidbey Isle Yarns, Gifts, and Teas). 

It is a great quick knit by Shannon Cook.  I knit it up in Cascade Eco. The generous skeins and reasonable price make it a good yarn for this sweater. So far, after a few wears and washes, it is wearing pretty well. There are a few pills forming, but it’s manageable. The yarn is soft enough for next-to-skin wear, so it’s sort of the price you pay. I love that it is a little longer. The neckline and center panel also make it really unique. 

I wore it out today and got multiple nice comments on it! Is there anything better than compliments on your handknits? 

 

2016 Sweater List

Until 2015, most of my sweater efforts had been a bit disappointing. I was choosing the wrong yarns, the wrong patterns, and not taking my time. But, last year, I got hit by the sweater bug. In total, I think I almost made it through six sweaters. I ended up with several sweaters for me and Little One that I was pretty happy with! 

Here are the sweaters on my list for 2016: 

Slade – for my husband who has yet to have a sweater knit for him. It is in progress.   
Caribou by Tin Can Knits.  I have a nice tweedy yarn in stash for this. I love the horizontal cable on this sweater.  
Li-Li by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I’ve knit Little One a couple of cardigans, but I think she’ll be ready for another pullover. I think I’m going to wait on this one until next fall though; the kid is growing like a weed.    Forest Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge. What can I say? I am a bit obsessed with Carrie Bostick Hoge. I want to knit pretty much everything in all of her collections.  I just got my yarn for this sweater in the mail today!  

Morning Mist by Annie Rowden. I am hoping this will be a spring/summer knit.   

It seems like a lot, but all of my sweater efforts last year took place between June and December. I am poised to get almost six more months of sweater knitting in this year. 

I’d love to know what sweaters others have on their lists. The more inspiration, the better!