make nine check-in: knit

Free Your Fade Shawl by Andrea Mowry

Free Your Fade Shawl by Andrea Mowry

At the end of 2017, I shared my creation inspirations for 2018 - nine patterns that I wanted to make over the course of the year. It was my first ever 'make-nine,' and I incorporated five knitting patterns and four sewing patterns. Since we just started the ninth month of the year (and I completely missed the half-way point over the summer), I thought it'd be fun to check-in to that original make-nine to see what I've made, what I've abandoned, and what has perhaps taken a front seat to other makes. I bring you the 2018 Make Nine Check-in: knitting installment. 

My 2017 self had great knitting vision for 2018. Among the patterns I wanted to knit were two sweaters, a vest and a pair of socks. Interestingly enough, I thought the vest pattern would have been the very first completed item of the make-nine because I was over 50% finished with it by the time I set my projections. 

But it wasn't the first. Nor the second.

In fact, the vest never came to be. Not far into the new year, I decided to rip the vest out completely. The yarn, a most gloriously soft alpaca, has been sitting in crimped balls at the back of my stash ever since. I have faith that I'll find the perfect project for it some day, but the vest wasn't it. 

My first completed knit item was The Weekender sweater by Andrea Mowry. I remember knitting it when there was snow on the ground and I was cuddled up with Takk, evading winter. I love the shoulder detail and the simple reverse stitch down the front middle and back middle. In hindsight, I wish I would have knit it a little longer, and perhaps a little smaller in the main body of the sweater. Mine is a little cropped and very flowy, which is not bad, but not necessarily the warmest sweater! It'll be the perfect sweater once fall arrives, which should be any week now. Can't wait to break it out. 

The Weekender by Andrea Mowry (check out that shoulder detail!)

The Weekender by Andrea Mowry (check out that shoulder detail!)

The Weekender is a nice, flowy knit.

The Weekender is a nice, flowy knit.

The only other knit pattern from my make-nine that I completed is my Free Your Fade shawl (also by Andrea Mowry - you'll see a little theme growing here). It was not only the first time I ever experimented with 'fading,' a technique where you change yarns in a way that looks blended, it was the first time I completed a shawl. 

For my Free Your Fade, I used three yarns that I'd bought on three separate occasions and locations: Junk Yarn, Eleven, from Black Mountain Yarn Shop (NC); Tempting Ewe Yarns, Muted, Looped Yarn Works (DC); Madeline Tosh, Geode, Cast Away Yarn Shop (CA). While two of my yarns didn't exactly 'fade' well - they were too far apart in the saturation department - I still loooove my shawl, it's the piece I get the most use out of. 

The other two knitting patterns on my make-nine have not been started, nor thought of much since I made the vision board! I know I still have four months left in 2018, so there's always a chance, but I've already got three different projects on my mind, so we'll have to wait and see! 

Now to disclose all the knitting patterns that I've made this year (so far) that weren't on my 'make-nine!' There are a couple of reasons I've strayed so far from the 2018 knit vision board, and they were all "firsts" for me that I didn't anticipate: I test knit four pieces, sample knit two pieces and participated in three knit-alongs. Another reason that my knit-five (of my 'make-nine') has only materialized as my 'knit-two' is that I have fallen in love with so many new patterns - both those that have been released in previous years, and those that have been released this year. I will definitely have to take all of the above considerations to mind when I create my 2019 'make-nine!'

One of my test knits - the Sunrise Garden Shawl by Christina Danaee

One of my test knits - the Sunrise Garden Shawl by Christina Danaee

As far as test knits go, I knit the Sunrise Garden Shawl by Christina Danaee (using Echoview Fiber Mill Botanically Dyed Merino); the Big Braid Shawl by PremKnits (using Lion Brand Woolease); the Glendalough Hat by Sustainablist (using Echoview Fair Isle Merino); the Just Nicole sweater by Kate Oates (using YOTH yarns Neighbor). The first two were completely fun, simply rewarding knits. The second two in the list were more involved, and they challenged me to learn new skills. They turned out beautifully, so it was well worth it! That's something I truly value about knitting - the constant learning, trying new things, becoming more proficient. And goodness knows I've got plenty of room to grow! 

Just Nicole by Kate Oates test knit

Just Nicole by Kate Oates test knit

My two sample knits were for Echoview: the Fidra Hat by Gudrun Johnston (using Hayley yarn) and Beginners Brioche Cowl by Lavanya Patricella (using Ranger Merino). I'm kinda sad that I didn't get completed photos of either of these before giving them to Echoview, because they were both really enjoyable. Can I just stop here for a moment to celebrate the fact that I learned two-color brioche, and I absolutely loved it?!? This opens up so many more patterns to try! (Guaranteed there will be one on my 2019 Make Nine.)

As far as the three knit-alongs go, one was 'official' in that it was moderated by a yarn company, and hundreds of people joined along, and the other two were with my friend Sami. I'm going to write a separate post about the concept of 'knit-alongs' because I think they're brilliant and engaging, but I'll just say here that regardless of if I'm one of two or one of two hundred involved, I'm game to participate. 

Knit-along Underwing Mitts by Erica Heuser

Knit-along Underwing Mitts by Erica Heuser

Wool & Honey Sweater knit-along

Wool & Honey Sweater knit-along

Sami and I knit the Tegna by Caitlin Hunter and the Underwing Mitts by Erica Heuser. The scariest but most attractive bit of the Tegna was the lacework hem, and thank goodness that's where the pattern began, because by the time I'd finished with it, it was smooth sailing. Well, sort of. I challenged myself to knit a tank version of the Tegna because I figured I'd get more summer use out of it, so I kinda played with the pattern a bit and (thankfully, luckily) succeeded.

As for the Underwing Mitts, they were actually a gift (this selfish knitter knows how to knit a gift every once in awhile!), and they have already been put to use, in Iceland, mind you. (Thank you for the AMAZING photos, Lex!!) The mitts were my second foray into colorwork, and MAN, is colorwork obsessively fun! There's just something intriguing about watching the pattern unfold row by row, and am I right in saying that it looks far more complicated than in actually is? I hope I didn't just jinx myself as I've BIG plans for a colorwork sweater in the coming months! 

The other knit-along that I participated in (it's actually still going on, but I finished my sweater this week) was for the Wool & Honey sweater by Andrea Mowry. See what I mean about the knit theme - 2018 has been the year of Mowry for me! She released Wool & Honey this year, and the honeycomb yoke drew me in immediately. The fact that I could knit it in a community with so many others sealed the deal. I won't deny the many, many challenges I encountered with this pattern, from trying something different that resulted in an EPIC FAIL, to having to rip out two skeins worth because of the enormous size it was knitting up to be, to the yarn chicken I had to play twice (lost one time, won one time). I'm not sure why, but I felt like I had to work through some serious knitting karma with this sweater. I even got stung by a bee during the process! (Not while actively knitting, but still, that bee HAD to know I was knitting a honey-themed sweater!) Needless to say, I am extremely grateful that it's off the needles and ready to wear.

How does the saying go - when one knit project closes, another one opens? How about three? Ya. I've got three projects that I want to start immediately (and the yarn for two and a half of them already ready already). Too many? But I thought three was the magic number...

The three amigos are: the Wonder Woman Wrap by Carissa Browning , the Ixchel Sweater by Catherine Clark; the Herrera by Paula Pereira. Two of these were released in Pom Pom Quarterly, and it will be my first time knitting from that mag (or any mag, actually) and the other one is just something I have to have in my wardrobe (because knitting is my superpower)!

Now, I could be safe in saying that these three will round out my 2018 knit projects, but then there are still those two from my 2018 Make Nine that I haven't gotten to yet. Will I add that sweater to the queue? Will I finally tackle learning to knit socks before the ball drops on December 31st? There's no telling. 

The only thing I do know is that it won't be long before I get to start envisioning my 2019 Make Nine. Perhaps this year, I'll gather nine for knitting and nine for sewing! Too ambitious? Probably, but there's nothing healthier than some intention-setting while shooting for the moon, right?  As Norman Vincent Peale said, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you'll land among the stars."