Finished objects, what’s on my needles, and a little talk about knitting for self and for charity
I got off to a somewhat slow start with knitting this year. My mistake, I think, was launching into two projects with significant challenges at the same time. It made me hesitant to pick up the needles, knowing I was probably in for some frustration. For a while, I wanted to cast on for some other project. Any other project. But I couldn’t think of anything in particular I wanted to knit.
Have you ever had that problem? Stuck with a project or two that you’re determined to finish, yet aren’t really the most satisfying for you? Did it make you reluctant to knit? Desperate to cast on something else? Or maybe even both?
Eventually I got past my frustration and reluctance and finished my two challenging projects. So now I get to show them to you all, and let you see the new projects I’m working on.
Ready to dig into a new What I’m Knitting Wednesday? Let’s do this!
Yarn and Patterns Used to Knit These Projects
(Many of the following are affiliate links for your convenience. For more information, see my Disclosure Policy.)
For the Turtle Coasters:
Darn Good Yarn’s Single-Ply Hemp Yarn in Rusted Wagon
DMC Embroidery Floss (in various colors)
Finished Objects (aka FOs): an Alpaca, Turtles, and Squares
You may remember the fluffy alpaca I was knitting with my Maker’s Mercantile yarn last time. Here she is, in all her fluffy glory.
I love the yarn and I love this pattern… but I’m not sure I love this yarn *with* this pattern. That’s just because this yarn is SO fluffy that it makes keeping track of stitches so very difficult, and it’s kind of important to keep track of stitches in this pattern. I had to do a lot of guesstimating. It seems to have worked, though, because I think this alpaca is super cute.
I might even get brave enough to make this pattern again. (My older daughter isn’t nagging me for her own alpaca yet, so I can get away with putting it off, for now.)
Second, here are the turtle coasters made with Darn Good Yarn hemp yarn.
Last time I showed off my coaster progress, I had knitted only one shell and wasn’t sure if I was going to actually make it into a turtle. As you can see, I did, and I’m thrilled with how they turned out. I think they’re adorable! I even enjoy the fact that they’re all different sizes. Like a little turtle family.
I was a little hard on Darn Good Yarn hemp yarn in my last Wednesday post, because it feels somewhat like twine. But I got used to it, and the pattern is so clever that I enjoyed watching it bloom into life. And the yarn really does soften while you knit with it. It didn’t ever become really soft, but it did become increasingly more pleasant to knit with.
Also, I decided to crochet the head, feet, and tail, rather than knit them. I tried to crochet the shell but couldn’t get the hang of it, somehow. But the appendages were easy to crochet. The knitted instructions have you knit the appendages and sew them on the turtle shell, whereas the crochet instructions just have you attach yarn to the shell and crochet the appendages outward. I found that a lot easier.
Eventually I’d like to try making scrubby dishcloths with the hemp yarn. I have lots left! I probably could make an entire second set of coasters if I wanted to.
Meanwhile, I’m really looking forward to donating these coasters to Made4Aid!
Finally, this isn’t really an FO because I still have a few squares left. But I wanted to show off a couple of the prayer shawl/afghan squares I’ve made since the beginning of the year.
As you can see, these still need to be blocked! Fortunately some steam blocking should help make these squares, well, square.
If you’re wondering how I make them, I use the simple Mitered Square pattern I shared in this article. I cast on 95 stitches and go from there.
One day I might make blanket squares another way, but for now mitering is my favorite.
On the Needles – a Blanket and Prayer Cloths
Last week I got the flu, and I realized to my chagrin that I had absolutely no blankets that are mine and mine alone. (I’ll tell you more about this in an upcoming article!) I didn’t want to take too much time away from knitting for other people, though, so I tried to find a pattern that would knit up as quickly as possible.
I found several (and, like I said, I’ll share more in an upcoming article!); my favorite, because it’s designed especially for lots of colors, was the Ziggy Lapghan.
A friend of mine gave me a bunch of yarn recently (my friends often use me to destash, OH DARN), and most of them happened to be pastel rainbow colors. So I decided to make a rainbow-striped blanket, with thin silvery gray between each color.
Here’s my progress so far.
I swear I did not get the idea for these colors from my hair.
Okay, I’m lying. Hey, it’s MY blanket.
My second big project is actually a series of smaller projects. My older daughter’s best friend has a baby sister with some significant health issues. I’m not extremely close to this family, but my heart aches for them. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.
For weeks I’ve been trying to think of something I could do for them, just to show them that I care, that I’m praying for them, and that I’m thinking of them.
Then I read this post on Money Saving Mom called “Blessing a Friend in Need without Breaking the Bank.” I read the comments as well as the post, and when I was finished I knew what I would do.
First, I’m knitting pocket prayer cloths for everyone in the family, using my pattern. I’ll send these to the family along with a note explaining what they are and why I made them. I also plan to enclose a grocery store gift card, just to help out a bit.
I’ve made these two cloths so far.
And here’s the one I am currently knitting.
I’ll need to knit 5 more cloths because it’s a 7-person family. But that’s the beauty of this pattern; these cloths knit up so quickly. It usually takes me about an hour and a half per cloth.
Balancing Self and Charity
I feel like I’m finally starting to get into a good rhythm, dividing my knitting time among projects for myself (and/or my family) and projects for others in need. This has been a long time coming. For years, I have struggled with balancing my own needs and those of others in the world. Not only in knitting but in life in general!
And I have to say that writing my eBook Knitting for Charity, One Stitch at a Time really helped me to put my knitting in perspective. As much as I love to knit for charity, I find it important to balance that with knitting for myself and my family. Knitting isn’t strictly a practical pursuit for me; it’s an expressive one as well. One of the many aspects of knitting I love is the ability to choose colors and textures to produce works of art that can I can wear.
One of the printables I included with my book is a list that helps you keep track of what you want to knit and for whom. I can tell you that I myself have found this really helpful. Now that I’ve started planning my knitting and keeping track of it on this list, I’ve found freedom to include knitting for myself and my family.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! What are you knitting? Who are you knitting for? Have you squeezed in any knitting for yourself or your family lately?