Thursday, November 26, 2015

Selfish Gift Knitting

Do you know who doesn't need more knitted anything? Me. Do you know who wants more knitting everything? Me!

This time of year, when the weather turns colder (at least in my neck of the woods), everyone starts thinking about ways to keep warm and that's when a knitter is most popular. At least, most popular amongst non-knitters for knitterly reasons. Whatever - you know what I mean.

Of course I love to knit gifts for family and friends. And really, anyone who asks for something usually gets it eventually. But then there's always the projects you just want to keep for yourself -- the pattern is so pretty or the yarn so perfect that you don't really want to give it away. I've been adding a lot of these types of patterns to my to-knit-when-not-swatching list. I blame this year's Indie Gift Along for enabling my addiction.

Currently on my needles is Collingwood in Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-ply wool. I love this yarn. It's so wool-y! And the color is a perfect bright pink with hints of red. The pattern, by Carolyn Macpherson from The Next Beautiful Thing, is well-written and instructions easy to follow with both charts and written directions if you hate charts. I think it would also really well with some of those kettle-dyed yarns with some color variation because the cables are more textural.

 Texture is super important to me when I'm knitting. I find that I'm very drawn to patterns and projects with interesting textures or combinations of textures. Sure, I love colorwork and stripes and such; they are definitely in my wheelhouse. But texture is the best for me.

I think this is a product of when I re-discovered knitting about 10 years ago. Like a lot of people, I learned to knit when I was a kid. I've told that story many times. But then I got older, school and friends got in the way, knitting mainly fell by the wayside. Sure, I'd pick up needles and yarn once in a while but never really made anything. And then a yarn shop opened in town, a friend asked me to teach her how to knit and I fell back in love with the craft.

Right at the height of the fun fur, crazy, novelty yarn scarf craze. Everyone was combining a plain yarn with a crazy yarn and garter-stitching on big needles all these scarves. Maybe it's because I'm a dude, maybe it's because none of my friends or family wanted a scarf like that, I have still never made a novelty yarn scarf. (I well say, though, novelty yarn is super fun in a project like felted hedgehogs. Go make them NOW!)

Maybe it was a little revolt against  novelty yarn, but I focused mainly on texture -- the art in the stitches. And finding the right combination of yarn and texture is really fun.

Before you think I'm anti-plain knitting let me just say that garter stitch, stockinette and reverse stockinette are all equally important to knitting and are perfectly wonderful textures in their own rights. I would never discount any of them.

I've been browsing the Indie Design Gift-A-Long sale bundle for the past week and I've put together a list of patterns that are going on my to-knit list. Some are heavy texture, some are color and one is even crochet! Gotta show some love to the hookers!

All of these patterns are on sale for 25% off until November 27, 2015 at midnight EST.

copyright Amy van de Laar

Designer: Amy van de Laar

Look at this texture! In worsted weight yarn, this would be simply amazing! It's going so high on my list right!

copyright Dana Gervais

Designer: Dana Gervais

I know, plain green socks, right? Maybe. But look at the opportunity for embellishment and creativity. I haven't done much (any) embroidery and maybe a daisy stitch isn't for me, but I would imagine it's very easy to substitute a lot of other embroidery stitches!

copyright 10 Hours or Less

Designer: 10 Hours or Less

And this is where everything I said about texture-texture-texture goes out the window, but only because I cannot resist chevrons. I also really believe that crochet is perfectly suited to blankets since it's generally a more sturdy fabric and not subject to as much stretching out like a knitted blanket. 

copyright Lee Meredith

Designer: Lee Meredith

First, it's the colors - grey and yellow - that catch my eye. (What was my theory about texture again?) But also the interesting construction with the varied texture being worked in a bias stripe across a rectangle. So maybe this is more texture than color? The grey/yellow combo does mute together somewhat.

copyright Stitch Definition/Jen Lucas

Designer: Jen Lucas

The more patterns I list, the more I believe myself when I say I love texture. I may have to rethink everything. But then again, these mittens, though contrasting colors, are more of an all-over pattern that highlights the smoothness of stockinette and the beauty of the play between knits and purls in the corrugated ribbing.

copyright Fiona Hamilton-MacLaren

Designer: Fiona Hamilton-MacLaren

Here the rustic nature of garter stitch is given a sophisticated turn with the stripes and bias construction. And I truly don't believe anyone can have too many hats. When you wear great hats, people will remember your great hats. So you should definitely have a wide variety to pull from. 
So what's on your needles or your wishlist? I'm always looking for new inspiration. Let me know in the comments or find me on social media!