Categories
Musings

2020 Knitting Goals Round Up

As most knitters can tell you, it’s really easy to get carried away with projects, to get side tracked with new yarn and new cast ons. It’s possible to do a lot of knitting and feel like you accomplished nothing! So for 2020 I set some knitting goals to keep me on track.

At the beginning of 2020, I wrote out my knitting goals for the year. It was actually one of my first posts on this knitting blog! Of course when I wrote this blog I had no idea the turn that 2020 would take… But despite being thrown for a loop by a global pandemic and seemingly endless months of lockdown – I made some good progress on my knitting goals!

Knitting goal 1: Colours

The colours that I wanted to knit with this year were one of my goals. This was because in 2019 I felt like a lot of my projects were really dark neutrals – there was A LOT of navy blue in 2019.

I wanted to use more bright colours because I really love bright pinks and teals and greens, but have never really brought them into my wardrobe.

I think I did pretty well with this goal. Here are some of my colourful projects from 2020.

Overlander Shawl

This was my Christmas Eve Cast on in 2019, but I didn’t finish it until mid-February. I absolutely love the colours I used a mini set from Holy Press Fibres for the contrast colours. The main colour is Mushroom on Artfil Belle which is a fingering sock yarn, and one of my favourites. I love the contrast of the bright colours and this gorgeous tonal great.

Sonya Tee

To say I am proud of this project would be an understatement! It was my most complicated stranded colourwork project (at the time I knit it – that title has possibly been claimed by my For Fox Sake).

I knit this in beautiful Sweet Georgia Yarns. I was hesitant about this colour combination, but I’m so glad I took the leap. and paired Magician and Peachy together.

This pattern was on my Ravelry queue for ages, I had a really hard time choosing colours. I knew I wanted to use Magician as the main colour, and I bought that yarn first while I made up my mind about the second colour.

I actually used a colour wheel to pick this contrast colour. I highly recommend using a colour wheel if you’re like me and bad at coming up with combinations. I think I almost used a creamy white instead of this peach!!

Pink Elefante

I am OBSESSED with this cute little elephant. I knit this one up for my best friend’s daughter (elephants are kind of our thing) and I am most certainly going to make one for myself!

Skywalker Socks

When I bought the yarn for my Sonya Tee I also picked up the beautiful sock yarn from Sweet Georgia with these socks by Tracie Millar in mind!

This variegated colour suits these socks so well.

Okay just ooooone more!

City Limits Sweater

I used a Hawthorne fade set from Knit Picks for this sweater and it took me a few tries to figure out the colours and the pace of the fade. I’m not 100% happy with the fit of this sweater, it’s too tight and too big in all the wrong places, and I ran out of yarn so the sleeves are an awkward length. But I love the colours!

And I used this light neutral colour for my Simone Pullover, which is totally out of my comfort zone and I loved how it turned out!

These last two sweaters are my biggest fails towards goal number 3…stashbusting…two new sweater quantities definitely weren’t in the plans for 2020…OH WELL!

You can read all the details for these projects on my Ravelry projects page.

Knitting goal 2: Scrappy projects

I have my Coziest Memories blanket to use up my fingering weight scraps. But one of my goals for 2020 was to knit some scrappy knitting projects that weren’t for fingering weight.

My success towards this goal has been so-so…

I knit the My Little Secret Crop by Jessie Maed Designs at the beginning of lockdown in March, actually I knit two of them. This was a really good project for scraps, but as I used fingering weight held together it didn’t quite meet my requirement of scrappy knitting projects that weren’t fingering weight.

My first My Little Secret Crop was also my first time fading and I loved how it turned out.

For my second My Little Secret Crop I used Nomadic Yarns self striping yarn held with some speckled Hawthorne fingering and it Love the way it turned out. This was a serious game of yarn chicken, by the end I had just a bit of the striping yarn left over.

I knit the Falling For You cowl by Leslie Alcock. It’s worsted weight and you just need a bit of each colour. It’s designed to be 4 colour blocks and that’s how I knit it, but for my next one I want to do smaller stripes of many colours and that will be perfect for using up worsted weight scraps.

This year, I sought out to solve my own problem when it came to having lots of super bulky scraps. I didn’t have enough of one colour to knit a whole hat so I designed this scrappy knit hat just a few days ago.

I have so many bits of super bulky yarn so I will definitely be making more of these knit hats in all sorts of colour combinations! You can find the free knitting pattern here.

Knitting goal 3: Stash busting

I had some great success with this goal. I knit 37 projects in 2020 and nearly all of them were using up yarn I already had in stash including several sweater quantities.

One of these is my Campside Cardi.

And this really cozy cardigan using Caron Latte Cakes, this yarn had been hanging around my house since 2018!

I have quite a bit of this fuzzy yarn leftover so I need to come up with something to make, I’m thinking a cozy cowl would be perfect!

And here’s how I failed:

Given I knit so many projects with yarn I had in my stash, I’m not sure I’d call it a failure, but I certainly bought more yarn this year than I wanted to…well than I planned to, because I certainly wanted to buy all of this yarn (and more)!

New yarn!

Outside of the yarn for my Simone Pullover and my City Limits, most of my new yarn came from the Great Toronto Yarn Hop – you can read about my haul from that event here.

Sweater quantity for the For Fox Sake sweater. Although in my defense…this was a pattern from my Ravely queue, so it’s a de-stash of my queue LOL.

And some sock yarn! The bubblegum pink is going to be a pair of Shag Carpet Shorites, I’ll hold the yarn double. I don’t have plans for the self striping skein yet…definitely socks though!

And I mean…how could I resist Eeyore inspired yarn from Campfiber yarns!

Yarn I didn’t use.

I also had some yarn that I really wanted to use this year as part of this goal and didn’t.

This pretty slub yarn from Hello Stella that I’m going to pair with some yarn from Legacy Fiber Artz to make a faded, slubby, Flax light.

An orange cat curled up on a comforter with a pink skein of yarn in front of it
This pretty skein from Hello Stella is one of my last yarn purchases of 2019

there’s some of the other pretty yarn I didn’t get to this year…somehow in all the knitting I did there is actually yarn I didn’t use! It’s almost unbelievable. However, I saw a moth the other day so most of it is packed up safe in vacuum bags and not fit to be photographed!

Knitting goal 4: Designing

The final goal I set was to design, and actually release, more of my knitting patterns. I have a tendency to design something and then lose the nerve to actually put it out into the world.

In 2020 I released six knitting patterns, many of them are free knitting patterns on this blog!

One of these six patterns is the Twister Mitts

Two hands wearing blue speckled knit fingerless mitts hold a mug of coffee

I’m pretty proud of my progress this year, but I did design two pairs of socks that never saw the light of day so I still have some work to do in this area.

You can check out all of my designs on Ravelry and browse the free knitting patterns on this blog.

Categories
Musings

Finally Fall

I’m so glad it’s finally Fall! Through August my knitting mojo was seriously suffering, and my motivation for pretty much anything was also suffering. I was stuck in a loop of work, plopping on the couch, going to sleep, and more work. My guess is that this is the typical COVID-19 lockdown cycle for most people! 

Doing nothing certainly can be draining. 

But the cool weather has brought me a dose of extra energy and excitement. I love Fall and if you ready my post from last week you know this and all of the reasons why!

One of the reasons I love this season is sweater weather and really just weather for knitwear in general. It’s time to pull out the shawls, hats and sweaters that have been packed up all summer long. 

As I’m getting all my knitwear ready for the season I thought it would be fun to give you a round-up of some of my favourite knit patterns for Fall. 

Hacked Hat 

A young white woman wearing glasses and a grey knit hat smiles at the camera
Put on your new hat! And don’t forget to share a photo on social media

This is one of mine, hope you don’t mind a little self-promotion (this is not the only one in the list LOL) but this had is great for Fall when you just want a simple light hat to cover up your ears on chilly days, without overheating. 

Find the free pattern here

Coffee Shop Wrap

This cozy shawl by Two of Wands is perfect for cuddling up in on a cool day. I knit mine with a Caron Big Cake and let the yarn do all the striping for me!

I keep mine at work, which means I haven’t seen it in a while and don’t have any recent pictures. Oh well!

You can find this pattern for free (amazing!) here or you can buy a downloadable version from Two of Wands. 

Halloween Heart Sweater

This sweater is designed by Meghan Regan of Bad Wolf Girl Studios.

Full disclosure – I haven’t knit this, but it’s been on my “want to knit” list for forever! I really thought 2020 would be the year I knit this for Halloween, but sadly I don’t think it’s going to happen. 

This sweater is so perfect for Fall because it’s got all things Halloween in the colourwork yoke, and Halloween is one of the reasons that Fall is so great. 

You can see the pattern here on Ravelry.

Twister Mitts

Fingerless mitts are so versatile, you can wear them when you’re out and about or even inside if your hands get chilly like mine. They’re perfect for chilly offices or other workplaces because you can still have full use of your fingers for typing or other tasks. 

A white woman holds her hand on her chest showing knit fingerless mitts
These mitts have been my favourite accessory for the transition from Winter to Spring.

This is another Knits of Steele original. I’ve already worn these a few times, without even leaving home. My home office while I’m working from home is in our our bedroom and it’s been a bit chilly. I’ve kept my Twister Mitts in my desk drawer and pull them out if my hands ever get cold. 

Find the pattern here on Ravelry.

Trickster Hat

It’s another one of my designs, but I couldn’t resist including it here because it’s one of my favourites.

Young white woman wearing an orange knit hat poses in front of trees with yellow leaves
Let’s be friends!

This is one of my first knit designs and I still love it so much. The squishy faux cables are great for Fall and who can resist a giant pom pom?!

It hasn’t been quite cold enough here in Toronto yet to need a hat this heavy, but the time is coming to take this knit out of the closet. 

I think this hat is especially great for Fall because of the colour I knit my sample in, Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Spice

This is just a quick look at some of my fave knitting patterns for Fall. There are so many more than would fit in one post! What are your favourites?

Categories
Musings

Why Fall is the Best Season

Happy first day of Fall friends 🙂

If you’re here, you are probably a fan of the cozy life like me, you’re probably a knitter and Fall is probably your favourite season. Am I right?

If I am right, then you don’t need any convincing you can probably skip this one! Or enjoy my round up of all the best Fall things. But if you do need some convincing here is the official Knits of Steele list of proof that Fall is the best season. 

I did consider calling this post “The Official Knits of Steele List of Reasons Fall is the Best Season” but it seemed a little long for blog writing best practice…

The Weather

Listen, I’m a summer baby born in August and even I hate the heat! But freezing Winter, it’s not terrible but all that snow and slush…it gets a person down after a while. Spring is just a bit too wet and mushy with all the melt, and let’s face it no one likes finding all the trash that’s been hidden under snow for months, thawed out dog poop anyone? No thanks!

But Fall? Fall weather is just right, I’m like Goldilocks looking through the bear’s house, but with the seasons. And Fall is my version of Baby Bear’s bed. It’s just cool enough to cozy up in a sweater and a hat and blankets but it’s warm enough that you don’t need to bundle up until you resemble the abominable snowman. 

The leaves….of course

Ok so of course everyone’s favourite thing about Fall is the leaves and the colours. I’m just going to gloss on over this one because we all know it – but it had to be on the list. 

Thanksgiving 

I mean, a holiday dedicated to eating! Jk we all know the real meaning of Thanksgiving which is to be thankful and get together with family and then eating. But there is nothing like a nice turkey, (I mean I hate turkey, but I know I’ll get hate messages if I say ham so…) some creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans and of course everyone’s favourite – pie! Gotta have both apple and pumpkin of course. 

Halloween

I love love love Halloween! I’m not much of a horror movie fan but for Halloween I’ll watch a couple. And a whole holiday about candy – count me in! 

Apple picking 

Fall is harvest season and a trip to the farm to pick apples is perfect! Put on some leggings and plaid and a nice knit hat and get some cute pics on the hay wagon. Pick some juicy apples and grab an apple pie on the way out – what’s not to love!?

There is so much more that makes Fall the best but this is my roundup of favourites. If this hasn’t convinced you I’m not sure what will – you’re a lost cause at this point!

Extra motivation

I don’t know if it’s the reminders of being a student going back to school, but September and the cool weather always make me feel extra motivated. 

For example my blog! I haven’t had much inspiration for the last month or so, but now I’m feeling really motivated to write blog posts and I’ve already pre-written a few for the coming weeks. So if you missed my regular updates don’t worry there is more Knits of Steele content coming your way in the months ahead.

Knitwear

I saved the best for last!

For knitters like me, #sweaterweather is obviously a huge reason why Fall is the best. But in addition to sweaters it’s also time to pull out hats, scarves, wool socks and amazing shawls.

Packing up my sweaters for the season at the end of Spring is like saying goodbye to old friends, but pulling them out again in Fall…it’s like a reunion! As soon as there’s a bit of chill in the air you’ll find me reaching for a knit sweater, even if it is still a bit too warm. 

I’m always the person to get weird looks on the train for wearing a hat before it’s even dropped into single digits…at least I was in pre-COVID times when I rode the train to work. 

What do you love about Fall? Or what’s your favourite season? Let me know in the comments!

Categories
Musings

My Great Toronto Yarn Hop 2020 (virtual) Haul

The Great Toronto Yarn Hop is an annual event that takes fibre artists on a tour of Toronto’s yarn stores. In a usual year, you buy a ticket to be part of a certain tour group and take the TTC around the city to a handful of stores – each group is a different tour route. And at the end everyone congregates at a restaurant to socialize.

I always want to attend, but I never have because I feel a little shy about not knowing anyone. This year The Great Toronto Yarn Hop went virtual, which was the perfect opportunity to dip my toes in!

I bought my “passport” ticket and some extra raffle tickets and eagerly awaiting the event. This year passport had one week to shop from the participating stores and take advantage of the discounts they were offering.

This event was so great because I’ve only ever visited one local yarn store before even though we have so many here in Toronto. It was a great opportunity to get to know them, at least through their online sites.

Now that you know all about the event, we’ll get to the reason we’re here. My Yarn Hop Haul. It’s pretty modest I didn’t want to go overboard, especially because I’m supposed to be stashing down this year. So, I made just three purchases.

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

#1

I have had my eye on this Cocoknits stitch marker set for ages! I knew that The Purple Purl carried them so I fully intended to order them for my birthday. But The Great Toronto Yarn Hop came along and so I got my birthday gift early!

I put these to use right away on my current WIP the Simone Pullover I’ve been using one for my beginning of round and I LOVE the little spiral ones for progress keepers and to track measurements.

#2

A sweater’s quantity of Berroco Vintage DK from Knit-o-matic. This yarn is for the For Fox Sake sweater by Maxim Cyr. It’s been on my queue since it came out!

This was one of the sweaters I had in mind when I put doing more colourwork, and more colourful knitting, on my 2020 goals list. I knew I wanted to do a purple body on this sweater, but I was initially thinking a darker plum colour. But this fuchsia caught my eye.

It’s definitely outside of my comfort zone, but I can’t wait to see how it works up.

#3

This purchase is a two-in-one I ordered two skeins of sock yarns from The Knitting Loft!

I knew that I wanted to add some self-striping to my stash so I picked up this Biscotte Yarns skein of Bis-sock in the colourway Lighthouse. I love it!! This is definitely going to be a pair of a socks with a fun contrasting heel.

I also grabbed this hot pink skein of Artfil Belle sock yarn, this colour is called Bubblegum.

If you don’t know I absolutely love pink, especially hot pink. I have been wanted to knit a pair of hot pink Shag Carpet Shorties, so I’m going to hold this double to make them.

That’s it for my purchases, I showed a lot of self-restraint – LOL!

I did look at all of the participating stores, so these three purchases are just the beginning! I took note of all the yarns and notions that I would go back and purchase later. I really loved participating in this event, especially because it was an opportunity to support our local Toronto yarn shops during this challenging time.

Categories
Musings

Knitting Goals 2020 Check-in

I can’t believe that we’re already in July of 2020! I wanted to take this opportunity halfway through the year to post an update on the knitting goals that I posted about earlier in January. I’ve made some good progress, but there are definitely areas where I need to step it up.

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

I didn’t include this in my January blog, but I just passed a knitting milestone for 2020!

At the beginning of the year, I set my project goal at 23 projects. In 2019 I completed 22 projects, so 23 was a one project increase. Well, halfway through the year and I’ve completed 25 projects. WOW!

I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have any plans for a few months. I still have quite a few projects in the queue for 2020 so who knows how many I will end up completing. 

Here is an update on the goals I wrote about earlier this year:

Colours

One of the goals I set was around colours, specifically doing more colourwork projects and using more bright colours in my knitting. I love bright pinks and teals, but I have tended to lean towards a lot of navy blue in my knit wardrobe. 

I recently completed my Sonya Tee which is the most complicated colourwork project that I have done so far and I love how it turned out. 

I purchased the blue/purple colour which is Magician from Sweet Georgia back in 2018 and then it took me a while to choose a contrast colour. I have a terrible time choosing contrasting colours and I was going to use a neutral like a grey colour, but I wanted something that was going to be a bit more dramatic. 

So I used a colour wheel and picked orange as a contrast colour and then found this beautiful soft orange called Peachy which is also from Sweet Georgia. I will definitely use a colour wheel next time I’m having trouble picking colours!

I also recently finished my Campside Cardi in this pomegranate red which is a colour that is way outside of my comfort zone, this is one of only two red items in my closet!

And I haven’t just been using bright colours I’ve been reaching into some lighter coloured neutrals as well. I’ve just started swatching for my Simone Pullover and I’m using a taupe-y grey colour which is a colour I have never used before. 

Scrappy Projects

Another one of my goals was to knit more scrappy projects to use up the bits and pieces I have leftover from other projects. 

I have a Coziest Memories Blanket that I started in August of 2019 to use up leftovers from socks. But I wanted something a bit more because I only use about half a 100g skein to make socks so that leaves quite a bit leftover for scrappy knitting. 

Near the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown Jessie Mae launched a free KAL for the My Little Secret Crop. I finished two of these using leftover fingering weight held double. 

For the first one I did a marled fade starting with two yarns held double, fading into the second colour held double and then fading into a third colour at the top. 

The second one I used some leftover self-striping sock yarn from Nomadic Yarns held double with another fingering weight yarn. I love the way this one turned out and the striping became almost a variegated colour over the full circumference of the top.

I cleaned up my yarn and realized that I have quite a bit of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick scraps. So I’ve been brainstorming ways to use these up, you may have seen my Free Scrappy Knit Coasters Pattern. Stay tuned for more patterns and ideas for using up super bulky scraps. 

Stashbusting

This is one of the most challenging goals that I set – not buying yarn!! And I think I did pretty good, but not perfect. 

I’ve used up a lot of scraps in the projects I mentioned above and I stashed down in about 11 projects this year and I have purchased two sweater quantities of yarn and some other single skeins here and there. 

I still have quite a few projects to knit from stash before I go too wild buying more yarn!

Designing and Pattern Releases

I’m doing pretty well on this goal, between paid-for and free patterns I’ve released five patterns in 2020. You can view all my designs here on Ravelry.

I have two sock designs in the works, one of which I’ve been sitting on for about a month trying to build the confidence to send it out for testing! I am hoping to get out these sock patterns this Summer, I’m planning to seek a tech editor to make sure that my sock formatting is up to snuff. 

Here’s a sneak peek at the two designs:

I have quite a few ideas floating around so stay tuned as the colder weather comes because I’ll likely have a couple of patterns out this Fall!