Progress Report: Volute

I’m writing to you today from my mother’s kitchen in Santa Rosa, CA. As I sit here, she’s putting together a wonderful breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, savory buns, sausage, eggs, coffee, and mimosas. It’s raining outside – that beautiful California rain that envelops the world and turns its green – and there are loved ones chattering away in the living room. I’m in heaven! A family wedding has brought me home for the weekend, and it honestly couldn’t be at a more perfect time. Finals are coming at the end of the month, and its going to be an absolute slog to make it there. Coming home for a few days is exactly the treat I need to help make it through. After all, what is more healing then a few days at home?

Like any knitter, I always bring a project with me when I go on a trip. This is a three day visit, so I only needed to bring one thing with me. I chose Volute, my incredible mohair experience, as my project for this trip, and I truly don’t think I could have picked better.

Volute has been on my mind for about a year now. This time last year I was working at a knitting shop here in Sonoma county, and we were hosting a Shibui trunk show just after Stitches West that Volute was a part of. As soon as I saw it, I knew it belonged in my closet. The floaty mohair is absolute perfection – the way the fabric drapes reminds me of flowing water. It’s an excellent layering piece for spring and summer, providing just enough warmth to keep bare shoulders happy without being stifling. And the color! I don’t usually do this, but I’m knitting my Volute in the same colorway as the sample. Ash is a dark grey that gives Volute the perfect touch of witchiness. Seriously, over a black dress, with a moonstone necklace, and a crescent moon crown, Volute is going to be packing a pretty magical punch.

However, while all of my Volute-wanting factored into bringing it on my trip (actual knitting time means it will get done faster!), my main reason for bringing it is that its all stockinette stitch. Volute is basically a large stockinette rectangle that gets strategically seamed together to become a cardigan. Now, I know that some of you are going to be instantly put off by that. Who wants to knit miles and miles of stockinette, and in mohair no less! But let me tell you, it has been such a joyful, meditative experience for me, I’ll be sad when its finally finished. The power of stockinette is that it slows down your brain. It lets you just focus on making the stitches, and feeling the yarn that’s in your hands. I can (and have) gone stretches of time just knitting in silence, completely absorbed in the repetitive knits and purls.

Which is exactly why Volute came with me on my trip. This is a bit of a whirlwind visit, so I’m not necessarily going to be able to focus on any of my projects that require more concentration. But this trip is also a breather from classes, and studying, and the mad dash to the end of the semester. I wanted to bring a knitting project that would be just as relaxing as sitting in the kitchen watching my mother make cinnamon rolls. With its endless amounts of stockinette, Volute was precisely the project to help me unwind, and calm down my mind. So often, stockinette stitch is overlooked, written off as being too boring. But there’s a lot of power in its meditative qualities that can be ideal for relaxation.

What about you? What’s your favorite thing to knit to hel


Progress Report: March ’16

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Ah, March! There is so much to love about the third month of the year! Spring is just around the corner, flowers are blooming, the air is warming, birds are starting to sing. The beginning of any month is a great time to take stock, but to me, the start of March always feels like an especially ripe time for self-reflection. So, in that spirit, I am using the start of this month to begin a new series called Progress Report, in which I’m going to take the time to check in with myself about projects that I currently have in progress. By taking the time at the beginning of each month to do a check in, I’m hoping to encourage myself to finish the projects that I have started, really zero-in on the sorts of projects that I like to do, and keep track of what I have done for future record. And with that, let’s dive into March!

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Leonie: Last month, I started yet another Leonie. I made 3 of these last summer, and with spring already looming large in Northern California, I felt compelled to start something out of anything other than wool. This is one of the very few patterns that I have made multiple times, and I imagine I will make it many times more. It is super easy to wear, and provides opportunities for lots of fun yarn combos! This particular version is combining Habu Cotton Gima, and Shibui Twig.

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Vianne: I started this a couple of weeks ago as part of a project I undertook at the beginning of the year to shore up the sweater holes in my wardrobe. Along with two pullovers and another cardigan, I started on Vianne to create something I found myself reaching for, but not finding. I’m super excited to have this one off the needles!

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Ashland: I cast on my Ashland last fall, out of love of colorwork, and the desire to tackle some of the new techniques (steeking) that this project presented. I stopped working on it when I needed to wind a new skein of yarn that I never actually got around to winding. Since then, I have acquired a swift and ball-winder set-up of my very own, so its time to pick this cutie back up!

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Top-Down for Ed: Out of all the projects in this month’s Progress Report, this is absolutely the piece that has been in development for the longest amount of time. I started this as a present for my boyfriend’s 21st birthday, and he will be turning 23 next month. I have had some up’s and down’s with the piece! If I’m being honest, the biggest challenge that I have run into with this sweater is lack of interest. Maybe its selfish, but I always have a harder time getting excited about things I’m knitting for other people. Outside of that, this sweater is being knit on MadelineTosh Merino Light on size 3’s, so it has been slow-going. On top of this, there was a set-back last October when, almost ready to bind off, Ed and I decided that the fit wasn’t quite right, meaning I would have to rip back most of the body. However, I am determined to get this one finished! Ed has been incredibly patient with me through this process, and he is so excited to wear it.

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Nell: I got the pattern and fabric for this in January, and am finally sitting down today to cut out the pieces for my Nell shirt. This will be my first ever, grown-up sewing project. I must admit, I have been putting it off because I am massively intimidated by the machine. As a knitter, I am much more comfortable with doing things with my hands, and giving control over to the sewing machine is rather frightening for me. But sewing has been something I’ve been meaning to conquer for years now, and I am ready to dive in!

I’m looking forward to seeing where I am with all of these next month!