I’ve been having so much fun participating in the February #yarnlovechallenge on instagram! Since the challenge is now half done, I thought I’d share a roundup of my posts here. To see the rest, tune in to my instagram over at @theclosestknit!
day 1: intro/oops
Day 1 of #yarnlovechallenge! I’m Kristen, an avid knitter, runner, and amateur vegan cook. I’m also a Ph.D. candidate in Early Modern European History writing a dissertation on poor relief and social welfare in 16th-century Switzerland — so when I’m not crafting or cooking, I’m researching for my dissertation project and teaching online courses! This term I’m teaching a course on the Black Death, and I’m planning an early world history course for this summer. My oops is that I don’t have a picture of me knitting since Worldwide Knit in Public Day last June — but I’ve been growing out my pixie cut since then!
day 2: volume
For #yarnlovechallenge Day 2 (volume), here is a stack of all of the handknits in our home! The volume and color really speak to my knitting journey over the last several years. The stack includes the hat I made for my then-boyfriend for our first Christmas years ago (grey), the wedding shawl my mom knit for me (yellow), our Christmas stockings (my first colorwork project!) and various other triumphs, milestones, and learning points along the way — that light grey scarf is when I finally learned that I was twisting my stitches, for example.
day 3: soothing
Day 3 of #yarnlovechallenge is soothing, and this monochromatic baby blanket is one of my most soothing knitting projects. This is an easy baby blanket (pattern by Espace Tricot, the premier yarn shop in Montréal) that I’ve knit several versions of in easy-to-wash, soft acrylics. Acrylic yarn isn’t usually my preferred fiber, but it is when I’m knitting for new babies and new moms! This is a soothing knit because it’s *just* more complicated than stockinette to hold your attention, but simple enough to really allow you to be mindful while knitting.
day 4: snack
For day 4 of #yarnlovechallenge I’ve matched my cowl to my favorite snack: a green smoothie! I make a green smoothie almost every day, and I especially love one after a run. My go-to recipe is 1 banana + 1/2 a gala apple + 4 oz apple juice + 3 huge handfuls of baby spinach + 5 ice cubes (yields 2 servings). Pro tip: always add the greens after your other ingredients, and the ice cubes on top to help push them down!
day 5: style
Day 5 of #yarnlovechallenge is style, so here it is, my signature aesthetic! I like to think of it as “elven princess.” My preferences are usually for greens from forest to emerald, and other jewel tones, especially sapphire blue and royal purple. I almost always gravitate toward greens when knitting for myself, including my first pair of socks (worsted weight), my green cowl, and even my Knit Picks interchangeable needles in majestic!
day 6: colorwork
My first-ever colorwork for day 6 of #yarnlovechallenge — super colorful and super huge Christmas stockings! I made these stockings for myself, then-fiancé, and parents-in-law-to-be for Christmas 2016, and I’m happy to say that they all came out of storage for Christmas 2017! I loved making these colorful stockings and this project definitely inspired me to make more projects with fair isle (although I haven’t made too many since). I used the free pattern Cascade Christmas Stockings and worsted weight yarn leftover from baby blankets for these. [Follow link to ravelry project page.]
day 7: designer
One of my absolute favorite knitwear designers is Kristen TenDyke. My most favorite recent pattern by Kristen is Julie’s Sweater in the newest Knit Picks collection, Windward. It’s gorgeous! In this picture is another Knit Picks collection, Encircled, which features Kristen’s design Spanra Pullover. Kristen ran a giveaway of the book on her blog in October, and I won! I suggested a very elven color combination for the sweater’s yoke, which Kristen mocked up on her blog (see picture below). I hope to cast-on some designs by Kristen soon!
day 8: prep
Day 8 of #yarnlovechallenge is prep, and I’ve been prepping for some travel knitting! Here’s my travel bag coming together for the Carolina FiberFest KAL which I’ll be knitting next week on my way to Switzerland and France. Things I always keep in my travel bag for knitting: safety pin, yarn needle, bobby pins, pencil, mini index cards for mod notes, tape measure, stitch markers, and end caps for my interchangeable needles. Also pictures: Cookie + Kate’s cookbook Love Real Food which I’ve been using for all my cooking prep recently!
day 9: view
For the day 9 prompt of #yarnlovechallenge (view) here’s the view from my local running trail. I run or walk on this trail nearly every day — it’s my favorite place to recharge, clear my head, and find knitspiration!
day 10: novelty
My novelty item for day 10 of #yarnlovechallenge is this jumbo-weight knit hat with giant faux-fur pom I made last winter. Nothing was more on-trend last year than the thickest weight yarn (this is Knit Picks Super Tuff Puff in mint), and the novelty giant fur toppers continue to be trendy this year! The pattern I used here is Purl Soho’s Homestretch Hat.
day 11: smell
For day 11 of #yarnlovechallenge – smell – I couldn’t resist posting this yarn splurge I snagged from The Farmers Daughter Fibers last week! Four mini-skeins of DK and this gorgeous Alice-patterned project bag from 406 Creative Vibe came with a cute little lavender sachet and smelling _amazing_! And as a bonus in this pic: I just found out that Girl Scout S’mores cookies are vegan 🙂
day 12: worn
For #yarnlovechallenge day 12, worn, here’s my most-worn knit item: my Paris By Day wrap made with three skeins of Baah! La Jolla. I love this wrap and wear it all the time! (Ps: no filter so you can really see the colors of the yarn!)
Details on the pattern & yarn available on my ravelry project page.
day 13: publication
For #yarnlovechallenge day 13 – publication – I stopped by my favorite place to find a new (to me) knitting publication: my local library! I love perusing the shelves for interesting knitting books I’d likely never find on my own, and especially those on vintage-inspired knitwear. A few of the more *interesting* books I noticed today: No Sheep for You, domiKNITrix, and Knitting with Balls.
day 14: yarn love
Rounding out week 2 of #yarnlovechallenge on Valentine’s Day with the prompt yarn love — so I’m sharing the story behind this lavender handspun wool. I picked it up last fall at a small store in Carouge, on the outskirts of Geneva in Switzerland. It was spun in a nearby Alpine village, where a group of women have been spinning as a way to earn money since the early 20th century. This wool stems from those early years, and was likely spun in the 1910s. (!) How could you not love this yarn?? I bought two balls (190 grams total), which I’m hoping will be enough to work up into a wall hanging. If you’re ever in Geneva, make sure to stop by Tricolaine! I especially recommend going on a Saturday morning during the Carouge market.
There are still two more weeks of the #yarnlovechallenge! See my posts for the next fourteen days over on my instagram: @theclosestknit.