Jan 5, 2017

Christmas Knitting 2016 Shawl & Sweater

Christmas knitting happened on my knitting machine this year! :)
I made a big triangular shawl for my grandma and a black oversized sweater for myself.

But before I start, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy new year for you and your families!! I hope you've enjoyed the holidays. 

This is my first blog post this year and I would like to show you two of my latest machine knitting adventures.

The first one is a big triangular shawl that I made for my grandma for Christmas. I gifted her a hand knitted one two years ago. She loved it so much, and my mom always said she wears it a lot. So, I thought this year she should have a new one.
I wanted to try and make a triangular shawl on my knitting machine for some time. This was the perfect opportunity to actually do it!
The shawl consists of two triangles that have alternating wide stripes of stockinette and a slip stitch pattern. Down the middle of the shawl they're seamed and then I added a garter border by hand to it. (I really need a transfer carriage for my machine soon, because I absolutely love garter stitch!)

For this project I used Drops 100% alpaca yarn, a fingering yarn. The color is called aqua grey mix (7323). At first I wasn't sure about the color, it was either this one or the yellow green (7233).
I didn't have many problems when knitting the shawl, everything went relatively smooth. So it really was a wonderful and relaxing knit.

The best part was adding the border by hand though. It was shortly after the new season of Gilmore Girls came out on Netflix. So, in the spirit of Christmas and because I really needed a little break, I took a day off and binge watched the new season while sitting in front of the fire place and knitting the garter border onto grandmas shawl. I can tell you: I was in relaxing heaven!! And I still have this relaxing and deeply warm feeling when I think about the shawl. I hope my grandma can feel this love and joy that I felt when knitting the shawl when she wears it.

In my opinion so far, projects that combine machine knitting and hand knitting are just the best... they have the advantages of both in their process of knitting: the pace and the satisfaction of creating big and wonderful items of machine knitting and the sensuality and deep relaxation that only hand knitting can provide. And the finished objects have that in them I think.

The shawl came out absolutely amazing, better than I had hoped. With a size of about 175cm x 75cm and the wonderful softness of the alpaca yarn (Oh alpaca, I love you! You just never disappoint.) it created a lovely layer of pure coziness. I wrapped myself up in it as soon as it was finished and dry after blocking. It felt wonderful, like getting a big hug. And I definately made the right color choice too! I love the color in the finished shawl!
And my grandma loved it too! She loves triangular shawls and this one made her nearly speechless! So quickly she opened the ribbon I had attached and wrapped herself up in this big and cozy shawl, I had a big smile on my face. She said, she'll wear everytime when she's sitting on her armchair and is reading. It was so wonderful to see her this happy :)
(also, she LOVED the color! Yes! Like I said, I was a little unsure about it...)
Later she said she's so happy, that I got the knitting and crafting from her. She's the one that first taught me to knit. She also knitted a lot for  my mom and her sisters when they were children from the wool of their own sheep and angora bunnies. I think it's amazing and heart warming, I am proud to continue keeping this tradition alive.

You can also find this project on Ravelry (there are also more pictures).

I thought about making another shawl for myself, using the second cone of the merino-silk blend yarn that I have from Be Mine cardigan. It's a pink/brownish tone, matching the pink/violett color of the cardigan. I bought the two cones with the idea in mind of making a cardigan with a matching scarf or shawl. I think this will be it! (now I just need some more spare time, haha ;) )

I am really pleased with this design. I also could imagine writing a hand knit pattern for it. It would be a rather easy and relaxing knit I think. We'll see about that :)

But let's have a look at my second project: I also made a sweater for myself for Christmas.
For this sweater I re-calculated a 100% acrylic sweater I bought some time ago for very little money because I liked the design. But I totally disliked the material, so I decided to make my own version on the knitting machine using a very nice and soft aplaca and wool blend yarn. I'm using the new Drops Flora in black. A very nice yarn! Just perfect for this project! I love this fibre combo, it brings out the best of both.

So, while calculating I made some small changes:
- I made the body a bit longer (it was kind of a cropped sweater that I had bought),
- I made the sleeves as long and as wide as I wanted them to be (so, both longer and wider than the original that had fitted sleeves)
- and I switched the round neck for a big and wide double faced turtle neck to get a more cowl-like feeling.

Although the calculating took some time, I didn't have much trouble while knitting. The yarn knitted so nicely in my knitting machine, who would have thought?! I had never used this kind of yarn in the machine before, so I was pleasantly surprised.

And I am very very happy with the result! It's such a great sweater! So comfortable and nice to wear! It's soft, it's warm (the collar really does add a lovely kind of warmth) and I made it myself! That's just something different, as you probably know. 

My new favorite sweater and just the perfect new basic sweater to wear with everything if I just can’t make up my mind or if I don’t want to or if I don’t have time to.
And I am absolutely in LOVE with this big collar! Best decision EVER!

Funny fact: In the end, this project used about 1650m of yarn. So, it's got the forth place in the ranking of my projects that use the most yarn (according to Ravelry).

For more pictures and all the (k)nitty-gritty infos, you can also have a look at this project on Ravelry.

Those were my Christmas projects for this year. I'm excited about what the new year will bring.

To a new and wonderful blogging year! Hope you'll continue to share the journey with me! :)

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