Sunday, 19 June 2011

A half-way point

A *while* ago, I mentioned a project I was taking part in this year: knitting my way through Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac, month-by-month, as part of a knit-along based in The Knitting Parlour and on Ravelry. The months have simply flown by, some more quickly, easily or rewardingly than others, and I'm shocked to realise that we are now half way through this challenge, so I thought it would be worth spending a little time thinking over those first six projects, and taking stock.

So, in January, we made an Aran. I'm not the fastest of knitters, and I never really thought that I could knit a jumper in a month, let alone a complex cabled pattern. What I did think I could do was put together a series of cable charts to plan an aran for myself and plan the waist shaping and sleeve placement (with lots of EZ's help, of course) to design my own aran, and finish it in February. When, in the end, I did actually knit all of that in a month, I was astounded, to be honest. I love my aran cardigan, and I love that the pressure / competition of the knit-along made me grit my teeth and steek my cardigan - my first steek!

February was much more straightforward, and a project I'd been wanting to knit for a while - without the excuse of a baby to knit for. The February Baby Sweater has had quite a following in recent years, both as itself, and in its adaptations as the February Lady Sweater and Feburary Fitted Pullover. My Baby Sweater came together very simply with a remnant couple of balls of DK from my stash, and I'm very pleased with it, though less satisfied than with the projects that I've been able to adapt.

By contrast, March (A Difficult Sweater) boded well for the challenging aspects of the knit-along, requiring a little reworking of the original elements to create a pattern I liked, and a jumper I would wear. Sadly, the satisfaction of the project as challenge was undermined by a complete gauge FAIL on my part. I failed to adequately account for my tension in colourwork with travelling stitches (which is much tighter than reasonable thought would suggest), and nearly ended up with a doll's jumper. A frogging session ensued (all against the month's deadline, of course), and re-knitting began. But nothing could quite catch me up to the deadline, particularly when other (more time-necessary) knitting needed my attention. So this is what I have:

 a jumper being knit in the round, with the colourwork and travelling stitches in place, and at a point about an inch below the waist. The initial problems may have been dealt with, but there is a lot of knitting needed on this one. My plan, by the way, is to make it into a dk v-neck raglan, but without steeking (it's superwash wool). I would like to get it finished before the end of the year. We'll see.

After March came... April. A blanket knit in squares, but cunningly grafted (or Kitchenered, or woven) together so that the uninitiated might be ever confused as to which direction it had been knitted in. Excellent plan! Only I don't really like monochrome blankets, particularly if they are basically in stocking stitch. So I made it a little larger than in the book, simplified the squares a little, and finished this:

on the 8th of June. Of course, I wasn't knitting monogamously all that time, so I did manage to make the May Mittens (for which I had *much* fun playing with a page of graph paper)

and the Ganomy Hat - definitely a quick knit, since I finished it over two evenings! I did end up ripping out the point on this, and reknitting it with some ravelry directions for a flatter crown, but I don't have any pictures of that one :)

And so, with 5/6 projects finished, all prepared for winter, and having steeked, knit and designed colourwork, and knit mitres for the first time, I look forward to the second half of the year. I am, of course, getting married in that half of the year, but who would I be if I let that get in the way? After all, the wedding shawl is knit, and I've spent some of yesterday afternoon selecting lace motifs for my July Pi shawl... so what could go wrong? I'll let you know - Nether Garments may be my Nemesis!


Paula said...

I see we are kindred spirits. Seeing your EZ projects is like a memory walk for me. Love them ALL!

Felix said...

I love that you are doing the whole Almanac! What a wondrous idea. You have inspired me to whip out my own EZ almanac and get busy matching projects to months x