January: a month of knitting

I’m back!  As promised!  This year I decided to embark on a Year of Making and I am already one month down.  Can you believe it’s February?  I am planning on blogging once a month to share some of the things I worked on throughout the month.  But honestly, if you follow me on Instagram, most of the pictures will be familiar.  I’m mostly documenting my projects there.  I aim to post a #yearofmaking pic every day, but I know there will be days I miss.

Anyways, about once a year I get sucked back into knitting.  And I usually make one thing and then put down the needles until the following winter.  Well January was kind of the month of knitting for me.  It just feels seasonally appropriate and all the knitters are posting their gorgeous hand knit creations on Instagram and it all looks so lovely and warm and delicate and perfect.  Last year I wanted to make the Schwimmen hat but I had already made one beanie and then gotten distracted by something else.  I had bought the yarn and everything but never got around to it.  So that’s the first project I picked up at the start of January.  It’s my big finish for this month, though it’s not the only thing I did, it’s definitely the one I feel most proud of.

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I’m not much of a knitter, so this lace design was a huge challenge for me.  It wasn’t the kind of project you can just zone out and methodically knit while relaxing to a TV show.  I had to count and use markers and look up stitches on YouTube and check off each round I completed so I didn’t lose track.  I made a ton of mistakes too.  The first one I noticed was a little petrifying.  I couldn’t go back the rows to fix it and I couldn’t rip it out because I was afraid I’d never be able to pick back up all the stitches.  I think I put it down for a few days not knowing what to do.  But finally I pushed on and just accepted the mistake, added a stitch to fix the count and it was freeing!  Every mistake that came up after that I just shrugged my shoulders and moved forward.  It’s definitely a forgiving pattern in that sense – I doubt anyone will notice the mistakes unless they are an experienced knitter and staring at my head trying to find the mistakes, right?

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So I finished it recently and it’s currently being blocked on a balloon (I’ve never blocked anything before)! I’m excited to wear it AND I’m excited to make more beanies!  In fact, I finished another beanie last month.  It’s the Northwoods Hat from The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar.  And not only did I knit this hat, but I actually dyed the yarn first and then knit it!

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It was part of The Modern Natural Dyer Work-along hosted by A Verb For Keeping Warm.  I got the kit from Hideko for Christmas which is awesome because it came with all the materials I needed for the project, pre-measured and ready to go.  I won’t walk through the process because the book does it so well and the ladies of AVFKW have been doing it throughout the month on their blog, IG and Periscope (my newest obsession) and I talk about it a bunch in my IG posts, but let’s just say it was quite a lengthy process!  There were many steps, but it was totally doable, fun and I definitely want to do it again!

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I used madder extract to dye my yarn red and I wrapped and tightly tied string around the yarn every 3-5 inches to get those white/undyed spots.  I like the way it knit up with little flecks randomly scattered throughout.  The knitting pattern is really simple and because the yarn is bulky, it was a super fast knit.  I think I finished it in a day and a half!

Also in the knitting realm, I asked awhile back on IG about teaching kids how to knit because my 5 year old had been asking.  Some people suggested starting with a knitting loom, so I bought a set to try.  Unfortunately, the 5 year old doesn’t quite have the patience to do more than one round at a time and hasn’t finished a hat yet.  I tested out the two small sizes and made a hat that fits a baby doll and a hat that fits a baby (I was hoping it would fit my petite 2 year old, but it’s too small)!

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I’ve really enjoyed knitting this month and I think I might actually continue!  I want to make the Diode hat that Jen posted about.  And I might even try a sweater for one of my kids.  Do you know of any cute and simple patterns?  And then maybe one day I’ll make a sweater for me!

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Besides knitting and natural dyeing, I did a little bit of drawing and watercolor painting this last month, and I hope to continue to practice more of both throughout the year.  I love the videos and challenges they have on Creativebug.  It makes a whole lot of new crafts really accessible!  It also makes me want to do EVERYTHING.

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In January, I also did some arts and crafts with the kids and at work and I baked a cake and made dinners. 🙂  It is interesting to see just how much making I do regularly.  Sometimes I have to make the effort to squeeze it in at the end of the day, and other times I make 5 things in a day without really trying.  The one thing I DIDN’T do practically any of this month was sewing!  But I’m pretty sure that’ll change in February.

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Thanks for all of you who left encouraging comments on my last post.  And thanks for coming along with me on my year of making.  I decided to use the hashtag #cheriesyearofmaking (original, I know!) on IG to document my year.  If you have any ideas for crafts or projects you think I should try – let me know!  And please also share what you’re planning on working on this year or this month!  Happy making 🙂

 

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