Some KAL Love…

I love knit-a-longs. I love the challenges they offer, the opportunity they provide for engaging with the broader knitting community, and the oh-so-helpful deadlines that mean I actually get things finished in a timely manner. This year, I decided to actually get myself in gear to participate in two annual KALs who’s hashtags I’ve been admiring for some time, Andi Satterlund’s Outfit-a-Long, and Karen Templer’s Fringe and Friends KAL.

This year’s OAL just concluded, and I am very excited to say that I finished on time. This was a big deal for me, because it was the first time I had sewn a garment. I’ve been wanting to branch out, and start learning to sew for some time, but due to time constraints, lack of space, and my own fixation with having someone around to actually teach me, I hadn’t been able to get going. By deciding to participate in this year’s OAL, I was making a promise to myself to stop putting it off, and actually get sewing. I chose the Zinnia Skirt by Colette Patterns, since I had already purchased the pattern in the spring. I was also lucky enough to have a friend who is a talented seamstress offer to help me put it together. We took two days, and about twelve total hours, to put my skirt together, and it was such an amazing feeling to slip into that skirt, pull of the zipper, and have it fit like a dream!

And of course, the knitting was fun too! Zinone, the knit pattern Andi had designed for this year’s OAL, was one that I had been wanting to knit since seeing her teaser pics for it earlier this year, and it certainly did not disappoint. I’m not much of a lace knitter, so doing the lace back, and shoulder details was a bit of a challenge for me. It isn’t often I find myself having to go back several full rows to fix a mistake, but when I was getting started on the lace section of this piece, I felt like all I was doing was frogging and re-knitting. However, it was all worth it for the finished garment! Seriously, if you like to knit summer tops, this one has to go on your list. Not is it immensely adorable (seriously, how cute is a cropped, lace back top?), but knit out of Quince and Co. Sparrow, it is practically weightless, making it ideal for oppressively hot summer days.

I had a blast participating in this year’s OAL, and am so glad that I rose to the challenge of learning to sew. I had let that keep me from participating in last year’s, and know that when the 2017 OAL rolls around, I will be eager and able to join right in.

 

With the OAL behind me, I’ve now got my eyes on this year’s Fringe and Friends KAL. Karen Templer always manages to come up with such exciting subjects for her annual KALs, and this year is no different. The challenge this year is so knit a top-down sweater without a pattern, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what people come up with, and to get started on my own.

To be perfectly honest with you all, when I first saw that a free form top-down sweater was the subject of this year’s F&FKAL, I almost thought about sitting it out. After all, I have already knit several top-downs, using either my own design or heavily modifying someone else’s, so I couldn’t really see what knitting another one would do for me. Then, in a moment of clarity, I had a vision of the sweater I wanted to knit. Snuggly, grey, long, with deep pockets, and a vertical brioche band, the exact sweater that I have been wanting in my wardrobe, but haven’t been able to find a pattern for, and I realized the genius of a top-down KAL. The best part about creating a handmade wardrobe is the freedom it gives you in creating clothing that perfectly suits you. What better way to knit a sweater that fits perfectly into your wardrobe than to design one yourself? This KAL gives us all a chance to flex our muscles as designers, and to really think about the sort of sweaters we want to add to our closets.

Does anyone else have a favorite KAL, one that you did in the past or an annual that you try to do every year? Is there a KAL that you’ve been wanting to try, but haven’t been able to yet? Share in the comments below! I’d love to hear your KAL stories.

Also, as a small side note, I have recently moved to Portland, OR. So if anyone has any recommendations-food, drink, activities, stores, ect., let me know!

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2 thoughts on “Some KAL Love…

  1. Hi! I wanted to say (a) hello, from one knitter/lawyer to another, because there aren’t that many of us (I know you’re still in school but close enough), (b) I just found your blog via Slow Fashion October stuff and am really enjoying it, and (c) I have a few recommendations for Portland! I have never lived there but I live in Oakland and visit pretty often. My dad lived there for a while, my boyfriend went to Reed and still has lots of friends there, and now Bay Area friends who are looking for more affordable homes are moving there, so I’ve had lots of reasons to visit.

    So I don’t have a ton of amazing secret recommendations because I’m not a local, but, if you drink alcohol, for a splurge I recommend the Multnomah County Whiskey Library. The whiskeys are expensive so I definitely set aside some $$ when I go, and the faux old-worldiness of the place (it looks like a 1900s gentlemen’s lounge of some sort) could potentially seem a little pretentious, but I find it a really excellent place for the kind of evening when you want to just chill out, talk a lot with your date or friend, taste some amazing things, and escape reality. I always stick to the interesting U.S.-produced whiskeys but there’s lots of stuff to try.

    A little shop I love browsing, also expensive (sorry all my picks are pricey–since I’m on vacation while I’m there I’m less good at everyday & cheaper spots) is Lille Boutique. It’s lingerie and I think the owner has just made the shop beautiful and pleasant to browse in. Even if you don’t wear frilly lingerie, I think anyone who likes textiles and garment sewing could spend a nice half-hour poking around in there.

    I’ve never visited Bolt Fabric in person, but contacted them by email to special order something once and they were So Helpful, so I’d definitely check them out if you haven’t found a go-to fabric store yet.

    I never do enough outdoor stuff while I’m there but last time I was up I went to the Rhododendron Garden for the first time and it was a beautiful place to take a walk.

    For a little weekend getaway, I have loved going to Astoria a few times over the years. We go for the Fisher Poet’s Festival (my dad is a commercial fisherman and sometime writer). But I think it would be nice anytime. There are hotel rooms in town that are relatively affordable, and maybe also AirBnB options. It’s a walkable town full of history, with lots of cozy spots for coffee and food between your wanderings.

    Sorry that ran long–good luck in law school (it already sounds like you like it better than I did, yay!) and thanks for your thoughtful and inspiring posts.

    Like

    • Hello! So exciting to talk to another knitter/lawyer! I’ve met a few here in Portland, which keeps me hopeful for my future. Especially when they assure me that I’ll have a good budget for yarn! Thank you for your recommendations! We’re still very much exploring the area here. Portland is so much larger than where I’m from, I don’t see how I’ll ever be done exploring the area. My boyfriend is a huge fan of whiskey, so we’re definitely putting the Multnomah County Whiskey Library on our list. Anything old timey is good in my book. I will definitely be checking out Bolt Fabric (I’ve heard that Fabric Depot has a lot of choices, but that its mostly quilting fabric, so I’m on the hunt for a clothing fabric shop). And I really want to make it out to Astoria! My parents used to go occasionally, and I’ve only ever heard good things!

      Thanks for checking out my blog, and for taking the time to reply!

      Like

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