Yes, we are halfway through the month of January in the new year, and here I am still talking about what I accomplished in the last year, like that high school quarterback whose glory days you have to hear about every time you go to get your car serviced, because there’s that guy who peaked in his senior year and now he’s changing the oil in your Toyota Matrix. I mean, I don’t personally know that guy. I don’t have any friends who played sports. And I didn’t have any friends in high school. And I quite frequently forget to get my oil changed!
But because I am a busy lady with stuff and things to do and who is living her best life and every day is a glory day (right? right!) I am just now getting around to gathering up all of the projects I finished last year. It makes me feel like I have been productive, like I have been industrious, like all the time I spent watching things like Broadchurch and Jordskott weren’t hours totally wasted, because I was also creating something beautiful! Just let me have this, ok?
These are the Froot Loop socks by Kristi Geraci from the Spring Issue of Knitty, 2008. I have knit them up several times now, and they are one of my favorite sock patterns. I think the yarn is from knitpicks. I believe they now reside with a Russian poet.
The Blue Dahlia shawl by Andrea Jurgrau, which you can find in her book New Vintage Lace: Knits Inspired By the Past. I thought this was going to be a major challenge, but nce I got the hang of the pattern, I daresay I enjoyed it; I ran into a snag and panicked, but rejoiced when I realized there is some errata, and it was not, actually, my fault. Yarn is a steely grey from knitpicks, and the shawl now lives with a creator of jewels and magic.
I guess it took me three months to knit up these socks? They are the Rib and Cable Socks by Nancy Bush from Interweave Knits, Fall 2005. I didn’t really love the heel and the toes in this pattern so I just used the instructions from Charade, instead. There may be some tiny differences, between the two–one of the cuffs is slightly longer, one of the toes is shorter. I’ve nicknamed them the wabi-sabi socks, because for whatever little flaws they have, I still think they are perfect, and they currently warm the tootsies of a dear friend of mine, a jeweler and artisan who has elevated jewelry–and friendship–to an art form.
In August I went through a phase where I wanted to do something with my funky-colored sock yarns other than make socks. Reyna by Noora Laivola was an excellent pattern for this! A pattern designed specifically to work with the variegation of colors, instead of getting obscured underneath the color changes, it is supposed to work with a single skein of sock yarn, but due to some miscalculations on my part, it took a bit of a second skein of the same color way that I just happened to have on hand. Reyna flew off to sweet friend who is a sculptor of curious critters and is one of the most generous souls that I know. (Top photo by said friend.)
In August I also knit another pair of socks, using the Charade pattern, by Sandra Park. I have knit this pattern countless times, it is one of my favorites, and my go-to for whenever I get new sock yarn without a specific idea in mind. These were gifted, along with the shawl immediately above, to the same person.
The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower Yarn was a lovely, mindless knit and I have quite forgotten who I sent it to! I hope they are enjoying it, where ever it ended up.
This is…an unfortunate photo of the second version of the Reyna shawl that I knit. I finished it in a hotel room, and gave it a bit of a soak and lay it on a towel to dry. I shared a photo and someone pointed out that it looks like a slightly rounded bottom, wearing a pair of undies! I’ve nicknames this version the “secret butts shawl”. It was knit up in some old hand painted lace in lovely earthy tones, and gifted to a perfumer who already owns the sister shawl–a piece I knit ages ago, with the same yarn. It was my first ever fancy shawl! I am so pleased that this wonderful person now owns both.
Eir by Caitlin Ffrench was among the hurricane knits I busied myself with while we were waiting out a violent storm in late summer of this year. It was a lovely, mindless triangle shawl project, with an interesting border that I really love. Knit up in knitpicks city tweed, it now lives in TX with lovely friend who makes gorgeous jeweled creations. (The top photo is hers.)
Siren’s Song by Caitlin Ffrench (you’ll notice that a Caitlin Ffrench obsession has begun) was knit up in Knitting Fever Painted Desert yarn and was another really nice pattern that kept my interest but also allowed me to watch a lot of teevee at the same time. I gave this to a wild, wise, bohemian spirit out west who shared some poignant insight with me several years ago when my mother died and I have never forgotten her words or their impact on me at the time.
It’s strange how sometimes you will make something and already have someone in mind to be on the receiving end for it. And in extra-special sometimes, you were right to think so! I completed the Elk Tooth shawl by Caitlin Ffrench and upon sharing it on instagram, a friend immediately commented upon it. The funny thing is, the pattern, the name, the yarn–it all had me thinking of her as I was knitting it! And so of course it had to go home to this person, a far away friend that I would love to spend time with in real life because I think we would get on splendidly. The bottom photo was taken by this very friend.
Sometimes people ask me if I sell my knits. I do not. I knit because I enjoy knitting, and I give my finished knits away because I enjoy giving. Selling the product of an activity I enjoy lessens the enjoyment of it for me, somehow. Also, I do not write my own patterns–everything I knit is from a pattern that someone else’s work and creativity has gone into–and I am not sure of the ethics or legalities involved in that. However! I do trade my work! This particular knit, Mabon, by Caitlin Ffrench, was traded away and you may very well see the other side of the trade showing up on Unquiet Things here soon!
These two altar cloths were each knit up in the span of a day, another wonderfully satisfying little pattern by Caitlin Ffrench. I sent these to a longtime friend and purveyor of enchanted & esoteric perfumes, and hopefully they are sitting around in her laboratory, witnessing all kinds of sorcerous stinkery!
Ostara by Caitlin Ffrench called for a much bulkier yarn and larger needles, but I knit it up with lace weight and sizes twos, just to see how it would come out. It doesn’t work for my purposes, but it’s beautiful, nonetheless, and a fairly simple, engaging pattern. In the meantime, I am knitting up several different version of this pattern–different yarn, needles, pattern modifications–so I’ll get the perfect shawl eventually! Subsequent versions of this shawl are all headed off to the same very special version, for a very special event, and I am hoping one will work. If not, that’s okay. I kind of foisted the idea on them anyway, and they don’t have to use it for this express purpose! They can use it for whatever. I just wanted to make something special for someone dear to me. This first test version, however, lives with an artist and photographer and amazingly creative mind who I admire tremendously. She snapped this bottom photo of the shawl for me– and this, too, is a small piece of art that blows my mind.
I closed out the year by knitting up another version of that Steam and Brass kerchief, simple stitches whilst watching Dark on netflix (which was excellent and you should watch it now if you have not already!) This was a trade with an incredible artist for which I received a most exquisite photo in exchange.
And that’s it! If you’re curious though, here are some things I plan on tackling in 2018: