Last week I did some revamps to JTM Writes as well as my professional site, and I realized that I never talk about knitting on the blog! Whoops! I share on IG/Twitter quite regularly but for some reason I’ve never thought to share my knitting in this space, so I’m fixed that starting now.
My Knitting Journey
Knitting was always one of those things that I wanted to learn to do, and I decided to take a class when I moved back in MN in 2010. I signed up for a class through parks & rec, and I picked it up instantly. My first few projects were lots of potholders and a few scarves as well. And then I just…stopped. I think it’s because I was bored with what I was doing, but I was intimidated to try things that I perceived as more difficult, like hats, cables, clothing, etc. I attempted to take a sweater class and immediately felt like a freshman in a senior class (and to be honest I didn’t have the skills for that project yet), so I put my needles down.
My love of knitting was reignited when my friend Jen asked me to take a knitting class with her. We signed up for a mosaic knitting class hosted at StevenBe and taught by the fabulous Nancy Wynn. Nancy is an excellent teacher and the ladies in the knitting group, while older, were so sweet and welcoming to us. In that class I learned so much - how to cable cast-on, how to read a chart, how to do specific increases/decreases. Once I finished that project, I was hungry to do more. So I did another mosaic project. I did a few baby blankets. I did a bunch of cowls. And then I decided that if I was gonna do this knitting thing, I needed to tackle the things that I thought were “too hard”.
So, I started with hats. For some reason I thought knitting in the round was really hard - maybe it was the double pointed needles? After making two of the worst hats ever seen, I had success with the Copycat CC Beanie and the Purlsoho Classic Cuffed Hat patterns. Next up? A baby sweater and dress for Phi. The dress featured several different techniques like repeats, yarnovers, decreases, and different types of stitches. The sweater was really fun and taught me a lot, like how to pick up stitches and how to do a three-needle bind-off.
Since I started knitting again my goal has been to learn new techniques and get better at the things I know how to do. I love the look of colorwork including Fair Isle, so I learned how to knit continental so that I can keep a strand in each hand (in case it’s not obvious, I’m an English knitter). Over the past year, I’ve learned magic loop and how to do thumb gussets. I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve learned how to do both toe-up and cuff-down socks, and I learned how to do a heel flap and turn.
My First Test Knit
So test knitting is just what it sounds like - it’s where people try out a new knitting pattern for the designer. This serves a few purposes - to make sure that the pattern as written yields the desired item; to edit & make sure instructions aren’t left out; and to build a collection of samples that designers share when they promote their design. Test knitting always looked like such fun, but until recently I didn’t think I had the skills or the knitting speed to do it.
Since 2019 is my “year of doing shit that scares me” I decided that I was going to start applying for test knits. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled and then I found a call for a test knit for a shawl designed by @knitatude. I applied and was accepted, yay! I test knit the Forever Shawl and it was probably the best thing I could have test knit, for my first time. The shawl called for techniques I already knew like the garter tab cast-on and yarnover increases. The finished shawl is huge and and so cozy!
I started the year with a general idea of what I wanted to learn/master but of course I keep finding other cute projects that are calling my name!
Right now I have two projects on my needles: the Peek-A-Boo tee and the Afternoon in Lisbon shawl. I actually started the tee last year but I put it down because I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear it right away, so I figured it could wait. Basically it’s two identical panels that you seam together. I did panel 1 last year and I’m about halfway through panel 2. The Afternoon in Lisbon shawl is a gorgeous mosaic shawl but it’s done in sock weight yarn :-( I don’t often knit with yarn that light, and it feels like it’s taking FOREVER. I work on it sporadically.
Once my tee is finished, I’m going probably going to do the Reverb shawl. I actually made one of them last year, in shades of gray but sadly I lost my shawl when we were at the Auto Show. So this gives me an opportunity to do a new one in a new color gradient - this time I’m going for shades of red to bring some color to my wardrobe.
I still plan to do Flax sweaters for my family at some point this year - I probably should get to work on those huh?
Connect with me!
If you’re a fellow knitter, I’d love to connect with you! You can find me on Ravelry as Jubilance1922. Also be sure to follow me on Instagram: @Jubilance1922. I post a lot of my finished pieces on my feed, and I share my works in progress (WIPs) in my IG stories.