Yet More Airport Knitting…

…but this is the last flight for the foreseeable future. I’m officially all moved out of my apartment in Reykjavík and am moving in to my new place in New York tomorrow!

It’s exciting to be moving in a new direction in life, even if it’s not what I’d expected or wanted at first. I had expected to go straight from college to masters and masters to PhD, but now having decided to take a break I’m glad I did. I’ve never not been a student, and I’m excited to live a different lifestyle for a few years.

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Project Update: Mountain Mist Sweater and Cranberry Snowflake Scarf

I’m almost done with the body of my Mountain Mist Sweater!  I actually think I may finish it in the next day or two, if I really hustle.  I would probably already be done with the whole thing, but I had to split my attention between all my holiday gift knitting, so now that those are all done I’m really flying!  I’m also helped by the fact that I’m petite, so although I like my sweaters to hit low on my hips, I don’t actually have to make the body as long as the pattern indicates.

I’m so thrilled with how it’s turning out, and it’s on track to fit like a dream.  Fit is always the part of sweater knitting that makes me nervous.  I’ve also decided to reverse repeat the mountain peak colorwork design on the sleeves, going backward from green to gray, just for some more visual interest, but if I end up having a lot of extra dark green/MC yarn left, I may just do plain sleeves.

I’ve also made tremendous progress on a scarf for my friend Michaela.  About a month ago, she asked me to make her some kind of knitted accessory (for pay!), and I decided to go for a scarf since I usually knit so many hats and mittens.  I chose a really pretty cranberry shade of Álafosslopi from Ístex and the Purl Soho Snowflake Scarf pattern.  Her favorite colors to wear are forest greens and maroons, so I thought this shade would be perfect.

This scarf pattern with the bulky weight yarn works up incredibly quickly!  Each four-row repeat adds about an inch and a half in length, which is good because it’s super long – almost six feet!  I’m more than three-quarters done, and plan to have it all finished up before Christmas.  She’s coming up to New York to visit around the new year, so I’ll give it to her then.

What have you all been working on?  Small things like socks, or big like sweaters and blankets?  I’ve been thinking of starting a Beekeeper’s Quilt, have any of you done one before?

Pie for Breakfast

I hope everyone (at least all the Americans) had an alright Thanksgiving.  It seems that it’s impossible to avoid politics talk at family gatherings nowadays so I at least hope it wasn’t too bad, and there were more laughs than arguments!

I always like hearing about what foods people make.  Obviously there’s some common favorites like turkey and cranberry sauce, but I’ve heard of some pretty fun recipes that people make.  I’m not exactly some great chef, but I am a pretty good baker and every year I make the pumpkin pie.

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I found the recipe that I use in the New York Times, and it’s available on their website.  It’s called the Garam Masala Pumpkin Tart, and it’s based on a dish that Marcus Samuelsson made for an Obama state dinner.  Basically, it’s a pretty standard pumpkin pie but instead of the traditional spices, uses garam masala!  I also use 1/3-1/2 the sweetener recommended (the recipe uses sugar, I use baking Stevia, and only about 2/3 the equivalent amount) and omit the maple syrup just because I think when it’s too sweet the spices are drowned out.  This year, I also only used two eggs per pie by accident, since I looked at the back of the pumpkin can for reference not thinking that it might be different, but it ended up being one of the best versions of the pie I’ve made!  I think it’s also worth taking the time to make some homemade whipped cream for on top!

I actually made two, one for family Thanksgiving on Thursday and one for a Friendsgiving with friends from college on Friday.  I made them both Wednesday night, kept them in the cool garage, and they tasted great all the way through Friday.  We even ate the leftovers for breakfast on Saturday morning!

I’ll get back to regularly scheduled knitting blogging soon now that things have settled down a little, but do you guys have any recipes you make every year?  Even if not for Thanksgiving but another winter holiday, I always like trying new things!

Stopping By My Favorite Shop and Yarn Thoughts

I love being back in New York for so many reasons, but especially so I can visit Purl Soho! It’s a yarn and fabric shop in Manhattan on Broome Street, and they always have gorgeous yarns and notions.

Last week, they released a new yarn within their own brand called Tussock, which is a silk and mohair lace weight blend. The moment I saw it online, I knew it’d be gorgeous knit double with a coordinating fingering weight yarn! I spent about twenty minutes in the store today trying to decide what color to buy, which colors I could find a coordinating finger weight yarn to use with, which colors would be flattering…

I mean, look at these shades! I really wanted to get the seafoamy blue-green but couldn’t find a coordinating yarn I loved, and the same with the third color on the top row, the red, which in person has a gorgeous pinky-brick-almost salon tone. And that marigold! Eventually I settled on the white, and got a skein of Purl Soho Line Weight to go with it. I’m going to knit a slouchy, ribbed hat with it.

All in all, it’s about $40 worth of yarn, which got me thinking about my yarn buying habits. I’m realizing that 95% of the time, when knitting for myself, I stick with very affordable (but still good quality!) yarns like Ístex and KnitPicks, but at the same time I’m always longing for mid-range yarns like those at Purl Soho. I only ever seem to buy more luxurious yarns to knit for other people. Even today, I kept feeling guilty about buying a $19 skein of yarn and thinking “well, maybe I can knit something for my mom with it” even though I really wanted it for myself.

I suppose it’s good that I’m relatively frugal with my purchases, and the yarns I do buy are still good quality and enjoyable, but I think I need to realize that it’s okay to splurge every now and then. It’s always harder to buy nice things for myself because it feels frivolous, but if I want it and can afford it and know I’ll use it, I really shouldn’t have a problem with it.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this or why I’m writing about it, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about. I think a lot of knitters are like this, to be honest, and I’ve seen a lot of people who only really buy fancy yarns to make gifts for other people. We have a much easier time indulging other people than ourselves. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go back and get a few more skeins of Tussock.

Airport Knitting!

On mitten 2 of 2 – these are going spectacularly quickly!

It’s always so stressful putting projects on the needles through airport security, even though I know this particular set has successfully been through this airport security before. I think I’ve heard too many horror stories of people losing projects or having to take them off the needles before!

Project Update: January Mittens

Today I knit one of the January Mittens, which I’m hoping to give to my mom for Christmas!  I was afraid I wouldn’t get them done in time but I finished one mitten in just about two days, so I’ll definitely get them done, especially if I take them on the plane with me on Monday!

 

(Sorry for the weird lighting, I’m taking these pictures at about 1AM on my bedsheets, plus it still desperately needs its twin to be knit and then to be blocked!)

This is a very pretty pattern, very simple in shape but graphic in the colorwork.  My only criticism is that it is a very narrow mitten, even after sizing up the needles.  It mentions this on the pattern page as well, so I would definitely keep this in mind and think about sizing up at least one full needle size.  Otherwise, I’m very happy with them!  They look very sophisticated for my mom, who usually wears just black and white and always looks very minimalistic-chic.

Project Update: Mountain Mist Sweater

Last Saturday, I cast on for a Mountain Mist sweater by Tin Can Knits, which was released with the Strange Brew collection. I’ve already made a few smaller projects out of the collection (an Anthology hat, a Fleet hat) but took some time to chose a sweater to do.  If you’re interested in colorwork, I highly recommend picking this collection up.  For $22, you get eight sweater patterns, three hat patterns, a cowl pattern, plus an incredible yoked sweater recipe and a colorwork hat/cowl recipe.  Totally more than worth the cost!

The Mountain Mist sweater caught my eye because it’s graphic and modern looking. I decided to knit it in Ístex Léttlopi because it’s the most widely available worsted yarn here in Reykjavík (well, at least within walking distance), but also because I wouldn’t want to have spent a whole season here without making one!

This sweater has a main color (MC) and three contrasting colors (CC1, CC2, CC3).  The first contrasting color is around the neck, the second and third are for the smaller “mountains,” and the main color is the third row of “mountains” and the sweater body.  At first, I picked a light gray for CC1, a light heather lilac for CC2, a medium bottle green for CC3, and a dark heather green for MC.  I knit up the yoke but it quickly became apparent that there wasn’t enough depth contrast between the gray and the lilac.  Side by side, they were very hard to tell apart.  Additionally, the color story didn’t make sense and the lilac didn’t look good with the bottle green.  I wish I had taken photos of the yoke at this point to show what I mean but I hadn’t.

So, I went back to the yarn store and got a medium-dark green somewhat in between the two I already had, and re-knit the yoke with the gray as CC1, the medium bottle green as CC2, the medium-dark green as CC2, and the dark forest green as MC.  This is the combination that can be seen in my Instagram story above, and the shades are 0054, 1405, 9423, and 1707.

What’s interesting about my final color choices is that, like between the gray and the lilac, there’s not a ton of depth contrast between the first and second and then the second and third greens, but because there’s a high amount of contrast between the greens and the gray, the top mountain peaks are still obvious.  There’s enough contrast between the greens so that, in certain lights, the mountains are visible, but in other lights it looks like a cool gradient.

Ideally, I’d like to have more contrast between all three to emphasize the mountain pattern, but I really like the gradient effect I got with these colors.  Most of the lighter greens at the store were yellow- or brown-based, while the other two greens I already had were both more blue-based, so none of them would have looked the way I wanted.  I would have settled for a light greenish-blue, but most of the blues were more gray-toned.  Overall, I’m really enjoying what’s happening with this sweater.

I’ve gotten past separating for the underarms and am onto the body.  That’s the other thing that’s great about Léttlopi, it knits up so fast!  The recommended needle for the sweater is a US 8, but I got perfect row and stitch gauge with a US 9, which is so rare for me.  I’m hoping to have this sweater done in time to wear it on Christmas!

What are you guys working on?  Holiday gifts, or something for yourself?