Day 8, 9, & 10

I’m cheating a bit. Saturday was my birthday, so I’m answering these prompts a little late. Self-care comes first and I did not want to stress out on my birthday weekend.

Day 8: What’s your most challenging project?

I would have to say “the next one”. I’m constantly looking to make new projects and use techniques that are out of my comfort zone.

One of my previous “most challenging projects” was the Bayside Pullover by Hannah Fettig. I did a gradient stripe with Fair Isle colorwork between the stripes to smooth the transitions. In order to make sure that I used even last yard I could and that the stripes were all even across the body and sleeves, I knit the body and both sleeves all at the same time. Yarn management was a hassle, but I did it. It took from February to September of 2012 to get through this project.

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What I run into now, however, is that the sweater doesn’t fit very well and the neck is much higher than a normal neckline I would wear. So, this project will now be an upcoming “most challenging project”, as well. I’m planning on steeking it and putting in a button band to make it into a cardigan. I’ve never done a steeking project, so this will be and interesting experience.

Day 9: What fiber or yarn do you love working with?

In regards to fiber, I, like many, am absolutely in love with knitting superwash wool. I am particularly fond of blends. I used to think that a 100% wool was better, every time, no exceptions. Then I started doing more research and found that a superwash merino/nylon blend makes for more durable socks and it wasn’t just to cut costs on production. Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blends are super luxurious feeling without needing a lot of luxury fiber.

After starting to use my projects more and more, I want them to last. For this reason, I intend to research and use different breeds of sheep wool and other fibers so that I can be sure I’ll be able to continue using the projects I pour so many hours into for years to come.

I have developed a love for a specific yarn, recently. Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock Yarn has been steadily making its way into my stash. I have been using it for stronger heels and toes on socks, as contrasting edges on scarves, and have plans to use it for many other purposes. It’s a 75/25 Superwash Merino/Nylon blend that comes in a large selection of colors. Both soft and durable, I have a feeling I’ll be seeing more of it.

Day 10: Do you have a favorite pattern or designer?

I have a few each of both favorite patterns and designers.

Starting with designers, my top three are Stephen West, Caitlin ffrench, and Sylvia McFadden.

I love Stephen West’s innovative designs that teach you new techniques as you make them. I also love how the colors you choose can give you something completely different from anyone else who makes the patterns. Yes, his samples are knit in wild colors, but you can make something really trendy and sophisticated by changing to a more toned down neutral palette.

Caitlin ffrench has a great vibe. I’m just drawn to her projects, even though I haven’t made many. Whimsical and witchy, she rocks neutrals and naturals. Some are very ethereal, others are very cute and make a statement. Eventually, I’d like to try out her eco-dying techniques on a shawl.

Sylvia McFadden also uses a lovely neutral palette, but she brings crisp detail to delicate designs by using very functional yarns. Part of what draws me to her designs are the rustic no-frills materials that make my mountain loving heart sing. Yes, there is lace, but that lace is made of a strong wool and you could probably go foraging in the woods without worrying about a snag ruining your project. Those fine lines are knit with durability that brings strength to feminine design that is not often seen.

As far as actual patterns, I have quite a few that I like, but I’ve recently knit up the Rose City Rollers socks by Mara Catherine Bryner. You can read all about my love for these in the Day 2 post.
Okay, that gets me caught up. I’m leaving for VRLA later this week, but I should still be able to stay on track for posts. Thank you for your patience!

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