Cormorant

About a month ago, I finished my second sweater of my knitting career. It’s the Cormorant from Norah Gaughan’s Flyaway pattern book. As I said in my previous post, it was an  intimidating pattern for me to start, as I’m still fairly new to knitting and my confidence isn’t always there. But I like a challenge, and I really liked the sweater, so after successfully completing the Osprey scarf, I decided I could handle the Cormorant (my project notes are on Ravelry).

Cormorant

I’m pretty darn proud of myself. There are a few small mistakes, but nothing terribly obvious. And my shoulder seaming looks much better than my last attempt. No bumps or puckers this time. I still need to find a button for it, but until then I think the shawl pin works nicely.

It was a nice pattern to knit. I used Wool of the Andes for the main body and Palette for the ruffle. Both yarns are available from Knitpicks. I’ve been knitting on a budget lately, so Knitpicks is my usual go to place for inexpensive but nice yarns.

Some knitters on Ravelry commented about the amount of stockinette stitch on the sleeves being boring. I actually didn’t have a problem with that. The ruffle was where I got frustrated. There were so many stitches on the needle, my knitting felt like it was going nowhere. While I was knitting it, I kept thinking of those birds you see flying into the wind on super windy days, flapping with all their might and not getting anywhere; I was knitting for hours but not seeing much progress. Eventually the ruffle was finished and I think the end result was worth it.

Cormorant

The sleeves are extra long, which might bother some, but I love them that way. I’m always cold, so I end up pulling the cuffs of my sweaters and knit tops down over my hands to keep warm. With this sweater I don’t have to pull, the sleeves already cover my hands. The back neck extension is a little tall. It doesn’t bother me too much as I have a long neck, but I don’t like how it makes the collar lay. It tends to bunch and slouch after I’ve been wearing it for awhile. I don’t know if there is any way to help it keep straight and tall – probably not.

Cormorant

I gained some more confidence in my knitting with this project. And I definitely feel better about seaming and picking up stitches now that I’ve finished this sweater.

Right now I have couple of small projects in my knitting bag – a cowl and some washcloths. After this sweater, I wanted some immediate gratification knitting before I tackled a larger project again.

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A Scarf For The Birds

My sewing machine has been feeling very neglected lately. I’ve been smitten with my knitting needles. The warm, shiny metal and the clickety-clack sound they make as the yarn wraps around lulls me into an hypnotic trance every time. My sewing machine has meditative qualities also, but it’s so much more work to sew than it is to knit. I have to drag out crates of fabric, cut patterns, and clean up all the scraps. And the ironing……I really hate to iron lately.

Knitting is portable. I only need a ball of yarn and my needles. I can knit anywhere I want. I can knit and watch movies. I can knit in the car while I wait for the kids to finish whatever activity they are participating in. I’ve even caught myself sleep-knitting more and more lately; closing my eyes for just a few seconds while my fingers continue to knit by feel. I inevitably wake up a few minutes later, mid-stitch, and on a good day, no dropped stitches. More often than not though, I spend the next 15 minutes cursing as I attempt to pick up all the stitches I dropped while a snored away – in a cute fashion, of course.

I also needed some new sweaters, so knitting seemed more practical this season than sewing. I found a pattern book, Norah Gaughan Flyaway Vol 5, last spring while on a yarn field-trip with a good friend. The sweater on the front caught my eye. I’ve only knit one sweater so far, and I haven’t been knitting long, so I wasn’t feeling too confident about my skills. The sweater also looked a little challenging, so the pattern book went into my binder while I knit perceived safer patterns. I would take the book out from time-to-time and admire the sweaters in it, but back into the binder it would go. With the colder weather approaching, I decided it was time to try. I was not quite ready for the sweater challenge. I decided instead to start with an easier pattern a little further along in the book. I chose the Osprey pattern – a unique, ruffly scarf pattern named after one of my favorite birds.

Osprey

I love it! It’s my new favorite scarf. I used the Berroco yarn suggested with the pattern for the red, but for some reason I didn’t buy enough yardage of the Alpaca Ultra Fine for the ruffles. I didn’t feel like making the trek to the yarn shop for more yarn. Instead, I unraveled my unsuccessful shrug from last summer (that I never extended into a scarf) and used that yarn for two of the ruffles, and the red for the other two. So it has alternating black and red ruffles. I like it and think it turned out pretty. The yarn is nice and soft and has a nice drape.

Osprey

It’s versatile. It looks great with a leather jacket, a sweater, or blouse. And the way the flounces drape around the back, it adds a little extra warmth on cool days. It was an easy knit, although I struggled with the Flounces after the second one, but not because they were difficult. The repetition was boring, and I was ready to move onto something else.

Osprey

I did end up knitting the sweater on the cover. I’ll share that in the next post.

I should be back to sewing soon. I’ve been pinning sewing patterns and fashion ideas again on Pinterest, so it won’t be long before my sewing machine is once again getting the attention is deserves.