Howdy, knitters! It’s been a busy month and I’m so glad to be back behind the keyboard at the Knitting Daddy blog to give y’all an update on what I’ve been doing lately. As always, I extend a hearty welcome to any new readers, and a welcome back to my returning friends. I’m glad you’re reading my blog, and I hope you enjoy it. As always, feel free to get in touch with your thoughts. I love interacting with all of you. You can comment on any of my blog posts or use the contact information at the bottom to get in touch.
This week, I’m going to tell you about the awesome shall I recently knitted, Drawing Nigh by Susan B. Anderson. It really is a beauty, and I had so much fun knitting it. I’ve been quiet about it on the blog because it was a birthday present for my wife. The present’s been delivered now, so I can write about it. We’ll get to that in a bit — first, let’s take a look at the other things that have been going on in my knitting world lately.
Recently In Podcasts
It’s been a month since I updated the blog. In that month, I’ve listened to hours of podcasts. Too many to detail here. Additionally, changing my podcast workflow away from iTunes and to Downcast (which I love!) means it’s more difficult for me to keep track of what podcasts I’ve listened to since the last time I updated the blog. I’m sure I’ll figure a system out, but it’ll take some experimenting. As always, everything that’s been coming across my earbuds has been highly enjoyable.
I do want to take the opportunity to spotlight a few podcasts in particular that are noteworthy in the past month. In the most recent episode of knit.fm, one of my favorite knitting podcasts, Pam and Hannah announced a “goodbye for now.” Life happens, right? For Pan and Hannah, life happening meant that being able to keep up with the podcast at this point was just something that wasn’t going to happen. I’m glad they were able to let us know about the podcast suspension instead of just drifting away, and I’m looking forward to a time where the stars line back up and knit.fm can be reborn. This is seriously one of the best knitting podcasts out there — full of deep, deep, deep educational information, while remaining accessible to any knitter. I’ve saved every episode so I can go back and listen to them over again. It’s that good.
For the most part, I don’t watch video podcasts. That is starting to change as I explore the YouTube features on the new TV we got for Christmas. Combined with my friend Nina giving me a shout-out on her new This Old Knit video podcast, I’m starting to dabble in watching some video podcasts. My main podcast fix will always be the audio ones, but it is nice to be able to see some of my knitting friends on my TV, too, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for more video podcasts from time to time.
Finally, I want to give a shout-out to Marly Bird’s Yarn Thing podcast. She is faithfully putting out 2 episodes a week, and it’s always a thrill to hear who she’s going to be talking with next. In a recent episode, she chatted with Marie Segares of Underground Crafter. It’s one of the best episodes of Yarn Thing I’ve heard — the two of them were dropping truth bombs all over the place about what it’s like to be a designer in the fiber industry. They shared some great advice on how we, as consumers, can support the designers we love and I recommend you all go listen and follow their advice. This interview led me to discover Marie’s Creative Yarn Entrepreneur podcast, and I’m addicted to it. I’ve downloaded the entire back catalog and am working my way through the entire run.
Recently On Ravelry
A little more about this in a bit, but I’ve started toying with designing my own knitting patterns. To help support that, I’ve created a new group on Ravelry that I’d love for all of you to join: Knitting Daddy Designs. Things are a little slow now, but I think they’ll pick up a bit once I get a couple of designs out there.
Recently On My Needles
Of course, my needles have been busy. They always are, aren’t they? I don’t have a huge number of projects on which to report, but the projects on which I’ve been working have been really, really exciting.
I knitted another sweater for Blueberry! While I’m still waiting for her to grow big enough to wear the first sweater I knitted for her (about 2 years ago!), I figured I’d knit her something that she can wear now. When I first started knitting, several of my friends suggested that “In Threes” was a great pattern to knit, so I queued it. And ignored it for quite a while. I’m sorry I waited so long to knit it — it’s a fun pattern and I’m excited that Blueberry will have a nice hand-knit to wear throughout the spring. I knitted it a little large, so it should last her a while.
Lately, I’ve been itching to do some design work. I’ve been finding inspiration for colorwork in the elevator at my office (which is decorated with an art deco motif) and in the rugs in our living room. I’ve sketched out several colorwork motifs, and managed to knit one up as a hat for myself. I think I should have made the ribbing longer so it could fold over on itself and have a longer brim. And I should have knit a bit more after the colorwork before the decreases. Or not, it’s pretty cool how it is, too. I’ll probably poke at the design a bit more and see about writing it up as a pattern. I really enjoyed knitting it, and it’s great to wear. Even with a short folded brim and a fairly shallow crown, it makes for a tight-fitting bowler(ish) hat.Too bad it’s starting to get too warm to enjoy wearing it.
Ravelry Project Page: Yeah, I don’t have a project page for it yet.
Pattern: Yeah, I haven’t named it yet, either by Greg Cohoon (that’s me!)
Yarn Used: Berroco Vintage™ in the a blue and a red colorway
A hat for my big head isn’t the only thing I’ve been designing lately. I’m smack-dab in the middle of designing a pattern for preemie hats out of sock yarn. I became a knitter as a direct result of an encounter we had with preemie hats in the NICU after my daughter was born, and I’ve always had a soft spot for knitting hats for the NICU. I’m excited to be able to give back to the preemie hat knitting community by designing a sweet little hat. I’ve worked with my contacts at the hospital to ensure that the hats are appropriately sized. I have several friends test knitting the pattern — and providing wonderful feedback. I hope to be able to tie things up with these hats and release the pattern in the next few weeks. I’m really excited about this. Stay tuned!
The last thing to talk about on my needles recently is the subject of the main portion of this post. It’s the Drawing Nigh shawl by Susan B. Anderson that I knitted for my wife’s birthday.
Drawing Nigh is a stunning shawl designed by Susan B. Anderson. Without giving away any of the secret sauce in the pattern, the way the gradient is achieved is by blending 5 different colors together as you go. A friend of mine gifted me the pattern around the first of the year, and I determined to knit it for my wife’s birthday.
I had a lot of fun knitting it up in secret, and hoped that I’d be able to finish it before her birthday arrived. Almost all of the knitting on this happened during my lunch break at work or after my wife went to bed. As is the case with shawls that are built by increasing from the center, it started out going very quickly, with the rows just flying off the needle. Of course, the more I knitted, the longer each row became, and it took longer to complete a row. The knitting on it is rather addictive, though — it’s designed in such a way that you just want to get to the next interesting piece of the pattern: either the next set of lace repeats, or the next portion where you blend in another color to create the gradient.
I started this project by visiting one of my favorite yarn shops: Warm ‘n Fuzzy. They are the only shop in NC that carries Quince and Co. yarn, and I really wanted to look at the yarn in person when I got it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the colors the pattern called for, so I knew I was going to be on an adventure choosing an alternate palette. I gathered hanks in a variety of colors and laid them out on the couch in the store. I moved this one here, that one there, set the other one aside because it just wasn’t going to work at all, etc. Finally, I had it narrowed down to what I thought would work, in a progression that I thought would work. I asked Rebecca, the shop owner, to double-check my choices — I *really* don’t trust myself that much when it comes to color — and she agreed that I made some good choices. The pattern is knitted in Finch, and I chose 103 Frost for Color A, 139 Belize for Color B, 106 Birds Egg for Color C, 108 Delft for Color D, and 104 Storm for Color E. That was the hardest part about knitting the project.
Once I started knitting, it was hard to put down. It was especially hard to keep it a secret. One of the things that made knitting this even more fun was that Susan was hosting a shawl knit-along in her Ravelry group, so there were lots of other people knitting her shawl designs and we were all sharing our progress with each other and cheering each other on. That kind of camaraderie is what I love about my internet knitting friends. I gave updates as I was going, and everyone seemed to enjoy watching the shawl grow.
I got the final bit of knitting completed at the car dealership while my car was getting inspected, oil change, etc. It was the most intense game of yarn chicken I’ve ever played. I was really, really, really starting to worry that I would run out of yarn before completing the bind off. In the end, I made it. I had just a few yards of yarn left — the remains didn’t even measure a gram! You better believe there was a big sigh of relief when I was done.
My final challenge was blocking it in secret. At the very last-minute, I got a gift handed to me in the form of my wife and I going out-of-town for the weekend. She got a 1-day head start on me and left Thursday, leaving me to go to work Friday and head out after work. I used that Thursday night to pin the shawl out and aggressively block it. I let it stay on the boards all weekend, and managed to get back home about 30 minutes before my wife did, which was enough time to pull it off the boards and put everything away and keep it hidden. Her birthday was the next weekend, and the gift was well-received.
A few weeks later, I brought it to Warm ‘n Fuzzy to let Rebecca see how it turned out in person. Everyone in the shop “oohed” and “ahhed” over it, which really made me feel good about it. One of the customers was actually looking at the pattern and I think that looking at my FO convinced her to buy the pattern.
I’m absolutely thrilled with the way it came out. There’s a good chance it is the shawl that I will be entering in the county and state fairs this year. Although Susan just published another beautiful shawl that is a contender if I knit it up before the fall. And I’ve had my eye on a Helen Stewart design for a while, too. They both incorporate beads, which seems to be something the judges at the fair enjoy in a shawl.
Susan had a huge turn-out in her shawl knit-along, and I was happy to participate. I hope she does it again — perhaps making it an annual event. She made a post on her blog — Shawl Success — with a wrap-up of the knit-along, and I am honored that she chose my shawl as one of the ones to highlight!
If you’re looking to knit a shawl that will come out stunning, I highly recommend Drawing Nigh. Look through all the FOs on Ravelry and you’ll see how beautiful a shawl it is. It is a lot of fun to knit and looks great. I would totally knit it again and experiment with a different color palette.
How about you? What are some of your favorite shawls to knit? How do you knit in secret for presents? Join the conversation and leave a comment about some of your shawl adventures.
Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!