Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Knit In Progress: Belfast Hoodie
I'm one of those knitters who likes to have at least one cardigan, one shawl, and one sock project on the needles at all times. Since suffering from RSI and carpal tunnel, I haven't been able to keep up with that knitterly game plan and had been reduced to knitting on whatever doesn't cause pain to my hands and wrists. But as of today I'm extremely happy to announce that these past few weeks my hands have been feeling SO much better and that I've been able to knit for much longer periods of time, pain free! I'm even more ecstatic to report that the past few days I've been testing out my hands (and my luck!) knitting with different yarn weights and needle sizes and think I may possibly be able to return to my usual knitting habits!! I can't even put into words the sheer happiness I am feeling because of this! Obviously I will still have to take it easy and not dive into marathon knitting sessions (yet), but the fact that I'm no longer as limited as I used to be has me beyond overjoyed.
So what's the first order of business? Getting back into my knitterly game plan, of course!! Since I already have a shawl project on the needles it's time to get a cardigan and some socks going! A while back I had gone through my Ravelry queue and weeded out all the patterns that no longer suits my style or that I honestly don't find myself knitting or wearing (like all those super bulky cardigans that look really cute on tall stick figures - the very opposite of what my body is). I rediscovered patterns that I had queued years ago and still loved, and so I made a "to-knit" list of all the patterns that I not only own but already have the yarn for in the stash.
One of those patterns was a cardigan that I had queued five years ago. I had immediately fallen in love with the style, shape, and simplicity of the design and without even blinking an eye had bought the pattern on the spot. Since I was still building up my stash back then I had promptly purchased the recommended yarn online too. Man, I was so impulsive back then!
Fast forward to now and as I read over the Belfast Hoodie pattern by Carrie Bostick Hoge, I have no idea why I waited so long to cast on! The pattern has all the features that I seem to favour in a cardigan: it's seamless, worked from the bottom up, has waist shaping, and as an added bonus has the sleeves knit up separately before being joined with the rest of the body at the yoke. I actually love picking up stitches so the button bands and even the pockets wouldn't have been a deterrent. The hood is knit continuously from the yoke and doesn't involve any form of hand sewing, so that wouldn't have impeded the decision to cast on either. Weird. Why did I wait so long to knit this?
Whatever the reason was I'm happy that I'm knitting on this cardigan now. The yarn that was recommended in the pattern and that I'm using is Lark by Quince & Co., which I've never knit with before. The yarn is absolutely lovely to knit with; it's surprisingly soft and smooth with a beautiful hand. It's also wonderfully round and not at all splitty and you can just tell that it would give fantastic, crisp stitch definition for details like cables and ribbing. My only dislike for the yarn is the colour. While I think the Peacock blue I had picked out is very pretty (and a pain to try to photograph and capture the colour properly!), I find the overall colour to be a bit...flat.
I don't know if it's because I generally knit with and am used to, hand-dyed in small batches semi-solid tonal yarns or what, but I just find the colour to be a little on the boring side and wish there was some sort of variance to it. There's no hints of another shade, no bits of lighter or darker colour, and definitely no giddiness from catching glimpses of your favourite spot(s) where the colour varies just slightly. At least there's nothing like that in my colour or dye lot. Just...the same old, same old commercially dyed colour. I hope I don't sound like I'm bashing the yarn or knitters who prefer this kind of colouring. I also hope I'm not putting anyone off from trying yarns from Quince & Co. because aside from my own personal colour preferences, the yarn itself has been delightful to work with.
As for the pattern, the knitting has been pretty straightforward; nothing major to report. I had cast on this project in the midst of my hand pain so at the time I was only able to knit for half a row at a time. The ribbing felt like it took forever to knit up. I'm glad that I've gotten much faster and now I'm past the ribbing and am knitting on the body. Since I only have ribbing and straight up stockinette to show for now, the project itself isn't really photograph-worthy or that interesting to look at.
I haven't been on Instagram much these past few weeks (it takes way too much out of my already dying phone battery), but if you want to keep up with my cardigan progress I'll most likely be more up-to-date on there than on the blog (Instagram link here, just in case you need it).
I haven't set a deadline as to when I want to get this cardigan finished, after all, we're entering the summer months here. I think I could quite possibly be the only person here on the West Coast that wants this cool, cloudy weather to stick around for a smidge longer. Not that warm weather has ever prevented me from wanting to knit anyways! Typically a cardigan takes me about a month to knit up but since I'm in no hurry I plan on taking a few breaks from this project so that I can knit up some baby gifts. As far as I know, at the moment, in the next few months there are will be six (yes, SIX!!) babies entering the world. I've already missed knitting up gifts for a few babies earlier this year, and while it's not expected to gift a hand knit item, I want to knit all the cutesy baby things! Plus, the instant gratification that comes from knitting baby items can't be beat!
So tell me, do you stop knitting during the summer? Or are you like me and keep at it regardless?