Friday, 5 January 2018

Knit to the End of the Year and Turn. . .

2017 will be a hard year to beat.  I had two absolutely marvellous and unforgettable trips to Shetland and the Hebrides, with lots of lovely weekends away to parts of the UK that were new to me. And this really was the year that I had loads of fun with my knitting.  Back in January, I decided my word for the year would be colour - I really wanted to cast on more colourwork and to really think about picking colours that would work well together.  Looking back at my projects, I'm really happy and also surprised at what I came up with.

It started with my Lausavisa jumper, designed by Karie Westermann.  This is one of my favourite knits of the year and I wear this a lot. I definitely need more yoked sweaters in my closet.

I played with colour, not just on yokes but sleeves, the body and even as a single contrast row. 

My Kildalton cardigan, designed by Kate Davies was my most complicated knit of 2017 and continued the trend of knitting a lot of blue, which I hadn't really registered until I brought all these photos together.  

And here are the rest of the tops I knit. I was really chuffed to get to my goal of twelve garments in one year. I got so many comments on my teal Carpino, designed by Carol Feller (second on the top row ), saying that the colour really suited me, so maybe I need to further explore the blue family.  Mind you, I'd also really like more reds in my wardrobe too.  And then purple is this year's  Pantone colour . . 

My favourite knit of the year - and the most colourful - was my Next Year in Lerwick sweater (bottom right), designed by Tori Seierstad.  I learned so much from this project, and while I may be reluctant to embark on another with quite so many colours (and thus ends to weave in), it has cemented a love of fair isle for me.

I also knit quite a few cowls and shawls, again experimenting with how different coloured yarns could be combined, whether through intarsia as in my Harewood Hap by Bristol Ivy, inspired by Mondrian, or my Marled Magic Shawl by Stephen West, which taught me tons about mixing yarns together for texture and shading, or my Strandwanderer by Lea Viktoria which cleverly made the most of a variegated yarn.

With every project you gain in knowledge and confidence and I'm excited to see where my knitting takes me in 2018.

It's already off to a colourful start.  I subscribed to Kate Davies' West Highland Way yarn club at the end of last year. She has developed her own line of 4ply yarn, called Milarrochy Tweed and there are twelve patterns to come over the next few weeks, using both Milarrochy and Buachaille, and Cumulus, a wispy silk/mohair blend - I'm very curious to see what she comes up with for that!  As part of the yarn club, we received a 25g ball of each of the twelve Milarrochy colours.   Those 1200 metres whispered "sweater quantity" to me and I was quite impatient to start knitting with this gorgeous yarn. I searched around Kate's previous patterns and settled on the Stevenson Sweater, which I had actually been wanting to make before my Shetland trip, but just never got around to it.

I've managed to use all twelve of the colours (sorry, the light isn't great in this photo and thus the vibrancy of all these shades doesn't really come through).  You can read all about Kate's development of the yarn in these posts on her blog, here and here, and the inspiration behind her palette here.

It's fascinating reading and the yarn is lovely to knit with. With a little care, as it is only a 1ply,  it spit-splices successfully and so I don't have too many ends to weave in. I should be able to finish this over the weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing how the yarn blocks and blooms.

I have two words that I will be chanting to myself throughout 2018 -  especially at wool shows. They are STASH and WIPs.  I have far too many of both and really need to make a dent in the former and get the latter off the needles.   I did get as far as listing and organizing the lot over the holidays, so there is really no excuse - I just need some self-discipline!

Let's see where this year takes us. . .

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