This sweater is knit flat, even the sleeves, and then seamed together after being blocked. The first two sweaters I tried were knit in the round. One had cables, and the other had colour work. I think I have this problem where I try too much too quickly, because I get overexcited and forget that I’m still relatively new at knitting. Now I’m a little more experienced, but when I made my first sweater I could definitely have used more practice before attempting intermediate techniques.
One of the things I love about knitting is that even if you make hundreds of mistakes, all is not lost. You can reuse yarn for new projects, backtrack to fix dropped stitches or wrong stitches. And even if you don’t catch a mistake until you’ve washed your project, woven in the ends, and folded it away into your closet, it’s okay. The point of any hand-made thing is to be perfect because it was made by you, not because it’s free of errors.
When I wear hand-knit sweaters I don’t care that I accidentally knitted instead of purled a couple of stitches, and I really doubt anyone else cares either. I remember how it felt when I wore the first sweater I made. It was warm and heavy. It smelled like coffee and vanilla hand lotion and wool wash and my cats’ fur. I was proud of myself. Even though that sweater doesn’t exist anymore and its yarn is going into a new pattern, I don’t think about the mistakes I made more than I think about how excited I was that I had taught myself how to knit.
This is the Boyland sock pattern by Laine in their pattern collection 52 Weeks of Socks. I used one skein of Cascade’s 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon yarn in “Snow”, and a few tiny skeins of fingering weight yarn hand-dyed by Wild in the Woods– one and a half skeins of a blue-purple colour and half a skein of a dark green colour. The Wild in the Woods yarn was a gift, and part of a collection of sample yarn sold last year, so I am not sure which colourways the two colours I used are. I’m treasuring these wonderful hand-dyed yarns, so I used the Cascade yarn to supplement them.
I love this pattern! I chose the large size because I tend to have large feet in comparison to pattern sizes, but I definitely could have sized down. I had to cut out about 4 centimetres of the foot to avoid making cartoonishly long socks for my feet.
I’ve been practicing colourwork to figure out tension. I think I have fairly tight tension, so I discovered that I need to size up when I attempt a pattern where the colourwork sits on a part of the garment that needs to be fitted in a certain way. For example, I recently frogged the second sweater I ever finished, which had a band of colourwork across the shoulders, because it was constrictive and I couldn’t raise my arms very much. These socks were great practice. Once I’m confident with two stranded colourwork I’d love to try multiple colours, but I’m trying to pace myself.
You can see in the picture above that the colourwork near the toe is slightly different for each sock- this was unintentional, I was off by about three stitches a few rows in. But I decided to keep the mistake. It’s barely noticeable, and I kind of like having imperfect things that I made by hand. That’s one way that I’m trying to get past my need to excel at new things straightaway, by accepting small mistakes even if I could go back and fix them.
I live in British Columbia, which is a beautiful place to live, but I’ve always wanted to explore more of Canada. Prince Edward Island is a completely different environment from urban Canadian centres; it’s small and rural, a flat island that you can drive around in a day. It’s known for lighthouses and lobster.
My family and I packed a carry on bag each for our two week trip, and it was then when I learned the importance of not overpacking. I like to be prepared for things. I usually bring at least a small bag or backpack with me everywhere I go; you never know when you’ll need a book, or sunscreen, or a water bottle. So naturally I brought most of my summer clothes, enough toiletries to last a few weeks more than we were staying, and three books. By the end of our trip I had collected so much yarn that I had to divide it between mine and my mother’s suitcase, with some extra stuffed into the crevices of my backpack. I needed to sit on my bag to zip it up, but it all fit. Eventually.
I bought three skeins of 3-ply wool, the thick kind that has flecks of hay buried in its twists. Cream, navy, and light blue yarns that I thought could add to a sweater or be made into thick socks.
It was here that I told my parents to stop me buying anything more. I simply didn’t have room in my suitcase.
Two days into our travels we went for a tour at Green Gable Alpacas. Alpacas themselves are not super keen on being close to humans, but their wool is amazing. Warm and soft, I bought two more skeins, a merlot colour and a mustard colour. The owner of the farm, Janet, even gave us a spinning demonstration.
I also got a pair of hand-knitted mittens at a gift store (unfortunately I’m not sure who made them, but they are lovely.) I believe the mittens are knitted in the same light blue and cream yarn I got at the woolen mill, which I only noticed after we returned home and I unloaded.
The next place we visited was close to the end of our trip. A little store called Knit Pickers, where I got a light green wool yarn. We stopped into a couple other places as well but I’ve forgotten which ones. I know one of them had a little cat running around, making me homesick for my three cats. The PEI Fibre Trail, a map of yarn stores around the island, guided our stops.
This was a great pattern for a beginner sock knitter, although I would recommend knowing how to do cables beforehand.
I used a beautiful yellow hand-dyed yarn with specks of green and purple. It was a Christmas present from my mother that I’ve been hesitant to knit up, because I want to do it justice. But I’ve realized that yarn, though beautiful as a skein, is meant to be used. This pattern used a little less than a 100g skein for two socks.
One issue I ran into was making the decreases for the heel even. When I followed the pattern instructions for turning the heel exactly, I ended up with an uneven number of stitches on each side. So, rather than just p2tog and turn at the end of row 4, I decided to p2tog, p1, then turn. I found that in doing this, my decreases were even and didn’t slant to one side as they had before.
I enjoyed knitting these socks so much that I bought Laine’s 52 Weeks of Socks, so I would always have a pattern to use. I’m indecisive and impatient. My least favourite part of knitting is finding a pattern, I just want to cast on already!. But when I found this book I liked every pattern inside, and now I won’t have to search for another sock pattern for at least a year! I’ve just started working on the Boyland socks, the pattern for week 17, by Caitlin Hunter.
Now I just need to find some shoes that match well with knitted socks- I don’t think New Balance runners, usually my shoe of choice, work well with bright yellow hand-knit woollen socks that reach above my ankles.