Leafy Washclothes and Other Handknits

I love taking photos of my finished sewing projects, and putting them up on the blog for you all to read. I like it for the community and the interaction, but I also like it because it gives me a record of my evolution as a sewist over time. I especially like seeing which things I'm still wearing regularly, and making judgements on why I'm not wearing the others... but that's a topic for a whole separate blog post.

Today, I want to talk about knitting. I am usually pretty good at blogging finished sweaters, but the other things seem to be more easily left off the blog queue. Consider today a show-and-tell day for all the handknits I've made in the past few months but never got 'round to showing and telling you about!

This first one, I know is a bit weird, but has actually turned out to be one of the most useful things I've made in a while: Washcloths! There are quite a few knitting bloggers out there who have discovered handknit washcloths, and it's always seemed to be one of those things that's "cool for you, but I'm not too interested" - you know what I mean? Kinda like the way some of you feel about sewing your own undies. I got talked into a few balls of cotton yarn perfect for washcloths by a lovely lady in a yarn shop (she'd knit some samples, they were nice!) - but then realized the last thing I wanted in my bathroom/kitchen was a big, thick, square washcloth sitting in a soggy lump on the counter. We don't really have hanging space for things to drip-dry, so it was going to have to sit on the edge of the sink.

handknit leaf washcloths

In browsing patterns on Ravelry, I stumbled upon a little leaf-shaped washcloth, which was not only adorable but also solved my 'soggy washcloth lump' problem - They don't need to be massive, after all! It's the free "Leafy Washcloth" pattern by Megan Goodacre (you may need to be signed in to Ravelry to click that link) and the little fellas knit up so quickly! My larger washcloths are made at the size of the pattern, but I made a smaller version with fewer increases that I actually think is a better size for me. I've made six of them - the two large ones have I-cord leaf 'stems' that I've looped so I can hang them on a hook in the shower, and the little ones I use for washing my face just sit on the edge of the sink, with the extras in a basket nearby. I was completely sold on them after the first use as a face cloth - they're quick to make and machine washable! I'm not sure I'm ready for dishcloths just yet, but knitted face cloths are definitely awesome.

IMG_4623 copy.jpg

Next, an ear-warming wooly headband for Lillian. She bought the yarn on one of her trips to the south island and requested a headband-type thing that would cover her ears. I sent her a couple of options and she landed on the "Cabled Headband with Saxon Braid" pattern by Lena Mathesson. It's a $3 pattern, and only has a written pattern (not charted) which slowed me down a bit, but it was overall a quick project. It has an elastic band in the back which makes it fit a larger variety of heads, and Lill had gone back to the US by the time I finished it.

saxon braid earwarmer
elastic band earwarmer

Next, slipper-socks for Jon. A toe-up sock pattern of the "I made it up as I went" variety, knit in two mismatched balls of Noro Kureyon that I gave up trying to make symmetrical. These only took me about a week to knit - I'm really not used to socks with such big yarn! I started them during a cold snap, but it warmed up again for about a month, so he hasn't gotten much use out of them yet - I'm sure that will change soon.

hand knit slipper socks

Last, this hat. I feel this is particularly appropriate, because I bought this yarn to make a hat for Jon last year at Woolfest, and this year's Woolfest has just gone! To be fair, I did knit it in January for him to wear on our trip home, but it was still quite a gap. It's a made-up pattern in a lovely merino/silk/yak blend from NZ indie dyer Yarnfloozy which I love, but unfortunately it's possibly a tiny bit smaller than Jon usually prefers in a hat. Actually, it fits me pretty well.... He does wear it, but it's not as well-loved as the others. Although I get a "Why are you wearing my hat" every time, I steal it pretty frequently.

tiny cable hat

My WIP's at the moment seem to be running amok as well! I've got a Baltic Summer about 1/3 finished using a lovely rustic wool from Wisconsin which has been aging gracefully in my stash for the better part of four years. I bought it with socks in mind, but it's all the colors of my wardrobe so I thought a shawl would show it off better.

baltic summer wip

I also always like to have a pair of socks on the needles (The Yarn Harlot likes to say that socks don't really count as projects, and she's right... they kind of exist on their own plane) - this time in Coops Yeah! Sock which I snagged at Knit 'n Stitch ages ago for a pair of socks for Jon- but he vetoed the color so they're mine.

coops yeah socks

Then, there's the big fella. My Wedding Ring Shawl is progressing slowly and I'm very much behind, but I'm having trouble knitting her without complete quiet and 100% focus, which is just not the kind of environment I normally knit in. I'm working harder at carving out specific wedding ring shawl time, but since knitting is something that fills small gaps for me - waiting rooms, picking up Jon from uni, down time during cooking, and TV time at night - it's definitely not going as quickly as I'd like. Every time I've tried to do it in imperfect conditions, I've ended up spending more time fixing my mistakes than I spent knitting in the first place!

wedding ring shawl in progress

Lastly, Woolfest Auckland was a few weeks ago and I'd be remiss not to show off my new acquisitions. I got to talk to a lot of online friends in person (finally!) at Woolfest, so I had a blast! I came home and immediately cast on a hat for Jon with the Outlaw skein, and managed to finish it in less than a week. Compared to my other laceweight and fingering projects, that worsted yarn knit up super quick! That said, I haven't managed any 'finished' photos of it quite yet.

woolfest auckland yarn

Like I said, I knit a lot in the 'in between time' - I also think my knitting output increases in the winter because it's easier to stay curled up in bed where it's warm in the mornings and evenings, and I haven't yet worked out how to use a sewing machine from there. Wouldn't that be a trick!

Jon and I escaped Auckland this weekend - the last weekend before his next semester starts - and we had a LOT of fun! There was a lot of Stand Up Paddleboarding, and he was patient enough to take blog photos (he never does that) so I'll be able to show you the matching rashguard companion to my surf leggings soon! As it stands, I have a huge backlog of projects to catch you up on just as soon as the rain starts playing along!