comfort knitting

Winter always feels like the most difficult season. The dark and rainy days blend into one another and the mud is excessive. The kids feel cooped up and want nothing more than sunshine. I feel much the same and often find myself longing for the sunny spring days that allow us more opportunities to get outside and explore. This winter felt especially challenging. No outings to ballet, the pool or the library. No reprieve from home life. But spring is finally here and I can now see that we managed just fine. Sometimes, if the rain wasn’t coming down, we’d escape to a nearby deserted parking lot and let the kids ride bikes uninhibited while we walked alongside them and breathed the cool, fresh air. We discovered shows like The Great Pottery Throw Down that we enjoyed watching as a family, and we read an excess of books whenever time allowed.
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I didn’t knit very much this past winter. After a mad rush to knit a sweater for each of the kids in December, I set my needles down on Christmas Eve and let my hands rest for a few weeks. I spent that time going through works in progress and made a list of projects I hope to make next. Most are sweaters for myself, although I’m sure that will change as the year progresses. After little progress in January, I decided to cast on multiple projects throughout February, only to hit a wall. My creative energy was low and even more encumbered by so many projects on my needles at once.

After some thought, I frogged a few of those impulsive cast-ons, and although I want to start creating a collection of hand knit sweaters for myself this year, I’ve yet to work on any. Instead, I’m slowly knitting a beautiful, dark gray garter stitch shawl and a brightly colored throw, both with yarn that has been in my stash for years. They’re the epitome of comfort knitting. The shawl is deliciously simple. I’m using the Hidden Gems Shawl Recipe written by Lindsey of Artifacts of Appreciation. It’s a kite shaped shawl that was originally knit in her beautiful handspun yarn. Since I’ve yet to produce any usable yarn with my own spinning wheel, I decided the next best thing would be to use some luxuriously soft Aviary by Abundant Earth Fiber. It’s a blend of alpaca and merino, and in garter stitch it is supremely squishy. The knit itself is simple and easy to memorize; I can already tell this is a pattern I will return to again and again.

The blanket, although not as simple as endless garter stitch, is still a comforting knit. When I first purchased the yarn (a limited edition colorway of Wisconsin Woolen Spun), I intended to knit it into a sweater for my then six-year-old son. Once it arrived, however, the bold teal was a little too bright for his liking. The wool was soft and beautiful though, so I set it aside with the intention of knitting it into a blanket someday. It’s been sitting in my stash for years now and every time I see it, I consider setting aside my other projects to cast on, but never do. As I was organizing my stash recently, however, I decided now was finally the time to wind it up and cast-on a Woodcut Blanket by Purl Soho. Their blankets always grab my attention and this one was no different. As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with the simple but effective relief pattern and knew it’d be fun to knit while homeschooling the kids. Just enough to keep me engaged, but not complicated and attention demanding. The kids are already talking about who gets it when I’m done, but my hope is to make it large enough to keep on our couch. With three young kids who love to snuggle under blankets while they’re reading or watching movies, I’m certain it’ll be well loved.

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