Category: throwbackthursday

TBT: Citron Shawl

TBT: Citron Shawl

Pattern: Citron by Hilary Smith Callis

Yarn: my handspun

Needles: US 5 (3.75mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: December 15, 2009

Completed: December 19, 2009

I remember distinctly when this pattern came out. I was immediately obsessed and cast on the very next day. Mine was one of the first completed projects, done 5 days after it was released. I was excited to use a beloved skein of handspun, and I loved the look of the finished project. And in the 8 years since then it has mostly sat in a drawer.

This one is easy to post-mortem, I know exactly the mistakes I made.

1. I made a poor yarn substitution. I think the skein I used suits the pattern well in terms of color and hand. But it is 25% smaller than the suggested yarn and ultimately this shawl is just too small. It’s a half circle shape and there isn’t enough fabric to keep it wrapped around me.

2. I don’t enjoy wearing shawls. I think this is a particularly hard shape to wear, but I just never feel right with this on. It takes up a ton of attention to manage and I prefer an effortless accessory.

This is another one I should let go of, despite how pretty I think it is. I want to have room in my drawer for pieces that will really get worn.

Have you ever rushed to complete a FO only? Was it magical or did it fall flat? Let me know!

TBT: Vivian Sweater

TBT: Vivian Sweater

Pattern: Vivian by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Rowan Cocoon in Crag

Needles: US 8 (5.0mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: October 27, 2009

Completed: November 26, 2009

Vivian was not my first sweater project, but it is my oldest sweater project that remains in my wardrobe. Looking at my notes, I can see how much effort I put into customizing the fit for myself and it really paid off. I shortened the body and sleeves, knit larger sleeves than body, and substituted a collar for a hood. That plus a pattern in a silhouette I like to wear and yarn in a flattering neutral have made this sweater one I reach for year after year. The only modification I would make in hindsight is to include some increases and/or short rows as I knit the neck ribbing, so it would lay flat in the back (a personal pet peeve in knitting patterns).

While I can tell by looking at the pictures that the sweater has aged, I am pleased by how well it has held up. Rowan Cocoon is a single made up of 20% mohair. As it has pilled more of the mohair has loosened and the sweater appears more grey than 7 years ago. It also looks like the torso and sleeves may be slightly longer. It deserves some time with the Gleener and then should be all set to stay in my closet for a long time.

Fun fact: this photo was the one they used in the Ravelry blog post announcing my employment. I got a message saying that this photo looked like I was trying to impress the guys and was inappropriate.

TBT: Robot Mittens

TBT: Robot Mittens

Pattern: Love Bytes (Robot Mittens) by Grace Schnebly

Yarn: Cascade 220

Needles: Uhh, I forgot to note this

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: November 17, 2009

Completed: November 22, 2009

My favorite kind of colorwork to knit is stranded mittens. It is a perfect place for patterns you wouldn’t wear on a garment. The shape is ideal for colorwork patterns. They’re so quick and satisfying! Yet sadly I live in a climate where it is only mitten weather a dozen days a year.

These mittens have held up well over 7 years, probably because they’re worn rarely. As I write this I realize it’s probably time to pass them along. They’re adorable, but they are too big for me, and I have another pair of mittens I prefer on the rare occasion I need them.

What FOs have you recently let go of?

TBT: Handspun Thorpe

TBT: Handspun Thorpe

Pattern: Thorpe by Kirsten Kapur

Yarn: my handspun

Needles: US 10 (6.5mm) & US 11 (.80mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: October 18, 2009

Completed: October 23, 2009

It is time for another knitwear Throwback Thursday, featuring my Handspun Thorpe. Eight years later I still remember spinning this yarn. It was beautiful merino roving, so fluffy and soft and delightful. I spun and plied it in a single day. I wanted to knit it into something that would reflect that character and Thorpe’s simple shaping and textures were perfect.

I probably should have given this hat away years ago. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have actually worn it. It is comfy and soft but it makes me feel so goofy that I always end up changing to a different hat before I leave the house. It is a really nice FO that just isn’t really me. It reflects the struggle I have with my handspun – the yarn that is fun to spin does not lead to the projects I want to wear. After reading Yarnitecture I have been trying to spin more mindfully as a practice, which I hope will also pay off in producing yarn that I will be more eager to knit for myself.

Do you have any lovely FOs that you keep even though they aren’t really your style? Tell me about them below!

TBT: Burren Cowl

TBT: Burren Cowl

Pattern: Beech Wood by Ilga Leja

Yarn: my handspun

Needles: US 7 (4.5mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: August 10, 2009

Completed: August 15, 2009

This month’s Throwback Thursday brings us to my Burren Cowl. It’s a garter-based cowl pattern made in my third ever skein of handspun. I named it for the limestone flats of Ireland called The Burren due to the texture and the fact that I took my FO shots there. The cowl has held up beautifully – I didn’t wash or de-pill it for the updated photoshoot and it looks as good as in the original photos.

I have made a lot of cowls out of handspun, but this is one of the few that I’ve held onto for myself due to the wonderful combination of yarn and pattern. I didn’t realize it at a the time, but garter stitch lace is exactly the sort of squishy, bumpy background that works wonderfully for early handspun. Any unevenness adds to the charm, and garter stitch brings the springiness that beginner yarn can be lacking.

I don’t tend to wear cowls much, but in the days after this photo shoot I definitely reached for this one more. They can be a nice splash of color, but in my climate I don’t often wish for a warmer neck, and I tend to wear delicate necklaces that get lost under a knitted item. I probably already own a lifetime supply of cowls. They’re fun to make so I will probably keep falling for their siren call and then finding them new homes.

Do you have any kinds of items you keep knitting even though you don’t really use or wear them? Any special knits you associate with a trip? Let me know in the comments!

TBT: My First Socks

TBT: My First Socks

Pattern: Lifestyle Toe Up Socks by Charisa Martin Cairn

Yarn: Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothsocks

Needles: US 1 (2.25mm)

Dates Worked: May 30 – June 20 2009

Ravelry Link: here!

A new feature I’ll be doing on the blog this year is Throwback Thursday. I would love to have an entirely handmade wardrobe, and to do so I need to make the clothes I will actually wear. What better way to see what works than to look back at my making history? So each month I’ll be reviewing one of my early projects – I want to see how they’ve held up, whether they’ve gotten much use, and what I would do differently if I made them today. I’ll only be reviewing projects I still own, and I am a brutal closet cleaner, so this is a good snapshot of what is really useful to me in a homemade item. 

First up is my first pair of socks. My first FO was in October 2007, but these socks from 2009 are the oldest homemade item I still own. I finished 33 projects in that interim that I got rid of – clearly my tastes have changed since them. But stripey socks? Stripey knee socks? I don’t think those will ever go out of style for me.

These socks get quite a bit of wear when it’s sock weather down here. The calf shaping isn’t perfect but they stay up and are comfy. They’ve held up pretty well for nearly 8 year old socks. You can see in the above picture that one heel is close to giving out. They also took an accidental trip through the washing machine which left them very lightly felted and made a little hole in one calf. Comparing my original picture to more recent ones, I can see that the light stripes have faded a lot. If I were to make these today I would do use a different sock pattern to better fit my foot, probably from one of the sock books I read last year, and I would do more sophisticated calf increases.

Overall, I would say these were a great success. They have had a long, useful life and still look pretty good. I no longer have the original yarn so I’ll have to find something else to darn them with when that heel eventually blows. Now that I work from home socks are one of the homemade items I wear the most, so a full sock drawer is a good investment for me.

I would love to hear about the earliest knit of yours that you still own. Is it still in your wardrobe rotation?