*tap* *tap* *tap* Is this thing on?
Howdy, my knitting friends! Thank you so much for sticking with me while I was on an unexpected hiatus for several weeks. I’ve got some interesting non-knitting things to share that explain by absence, and then I’ll get into some knitting discussion. If this is your first time visiting the Knitting Daddy blog, I offer you a hearty welcome and I do hope you add this blog to your regular list of blogs that you visit. If you’re a returning visitor, thank you so much for coming back and I hope that I continue to provide content that you enjoy coming back to read. This week, I’m going to talk about my latest big knitting project — a top for Blueberry, knit out of linen. But first, let’s catch up with some housekeeping.
What I’ve Been Up To Lately
It’s been almost a month since I posted, and that post was really just a teaser. Let me tell you, it’s been a hectic month! Let’s hit some highlights:
- I interviewed for, was offered, accepted, and started a new job. This is very exciting! My old job was great, and I’m going to especially miss the knitting and crafting friendships I fostered in the crafting group I started there. The upside is that my commute changed from a ~35 minute drive to a quick, 1.7 mile drive (or bicycle ride, or even walk) downtown. This means more time at home in the evenings with my family, which is absolutely priceless.
- We confirmed that both of our HVAC units need to be replaced. This is no surprise, and the timing for HVAC replacement is never good. But this is a particularly tough time with my job transition, my wife’s school studies, and the general business we have going on in the Knitting Daddy household. I’m thankful that my wife is taking the lead on investigating and arranging for new HVAC units. This breakdown has also meant that we’ve had to spend a considerable amount of time and energy cleaning out our basement so that the installers will be able to get to all of the duct work. There’s still a lot of cleaning to do, but we’ve made good progress.
- I went to San Diego for four days last week, in conjunction with the work I do serving on the Executive Board for Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC). FSNCC is an amazing organization serving the needs of families with children who have special needs or who were born prematurely. I have a feeling you’ll hear more about them next week, related to a knitting project I’m about to head up. The conference I went to in San Diego was the Symposium for Leaders in Healthcare Quality, and focused on patient and family engagement in healthcare. It was amazing, and my head is still spinning from everything that I learned and the contacts that I made. Good, good stuff.
- Probably some other stuff, but really, I don’t remember — I’m just dealing with things as the come at me!
So it’s been busy. It looks like things are settling down, and for that, I’m thankful. I’m definitely looking forward to establishing a new routine for things, where most of what I do is focused around where I live.
I set up an Instagram account: Knitting Daddy. We recently got new phones, and Instagram works for me now on my phone. I’m still finding my Instagram legs, but I’ll try to post some pictures — especially in-progress pictures — of my knitting there. I’ll also try to keep it clear of non-knitting photos, so if you follow me on Instagram, you can rest assured that I’ll only be bringing you knitting goodness with my pictures.
Recently In Podcasts
I kept up with my podcast listening during all of this time. Part of that was made easier by flying from the East Coast to the West Coast and back — lots of travel time to listen to the iPod. I listened to so many podcasts — 37 episodes total! I’m not going to take the time to review them all individually here. Instead, I will list what I’ve been listening to as a reminder for some of the great knitting podcasts out there: 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Curious Handmade (6 episodes!), Ewe University (2 episodes!), Fiber Hooligan (6 episodes!), Knit 1 Geek 2 (2 episodes!), Knitcircus, Knitting Pipeline (3 episodes!), Knitmore Girls (7 episodes!), KnottyGirls Knitcast (2 episodes!), TwinSet Designs (2 episodes!), Yarn Thing with Marly Bird (new podcast to me! 2 episodes!), and Yarniacs (3 episodes!). I am sorely behind on CraftLit, where I hope to catch up soon.
It will be interesting to see if/how I’m able to keep up with my podcast listening like I used to. Most of my listening time comes on my commute, which used to be ~35 minutes each way, now it’s less than 10 minutes. We’ll see what happens.
Recently On My Needles
My needles have been relatively quiet the past few weeks. But I did manage to get a decent amount of knitting done while on the plane, and a little bit of knitting here and there every now and then.
I don’t have any pictures of it yet, but I did start The Fox & The Hen by Susan B. Anderson as part of the IBK Topsy-Turvy KAL. I have most of the hen complete (it needs wings and a face) and I have my yarn for the fox, but I haven’t started him yet. I’m definitely not going to have this finished by the end of the month, but that’s OK, because it’s a no-pressure KAL.
I knitted several dish cloths/wash cloths. And I gave them all away. One was for an IBK mini-swap, and I was lucky enough to have been matched with my friend Bee, who is part of the crafting group at my old job. The swap organizer didn’t realize we worked together, and randomness assigned her to me. It was very funny. Even though I could have simply handed her the swap gift, I ran it through the postal service anyway.
The other two cloths I sent for the July IBK charity knitting project.
I’ve also been working on another pair of socks for myself. I have finished one of the socks at this point. I got a lot of it knitted while in San Diego (or in transit). It’s very soft, cozy yarn. I think I like how it’s coming out, but I’m a little weirded out by the pattern difference in the leg vs. in the foot. They’re both 72 stitches in circumference. I wonder if my gauge changed when I hit the heel flap, or if the yarn is doing it. I’ll go ahead and knit up the 2nd sock and see what happens, then I’ll take some detailed measurements. It’s fun, and I need to hurry up and cast on for the 2nd sock before the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome sets in.
Knitting With Linen
Let’s focus our attention to the main feature of this week’s post: knitting with linen. I’ve been hearing about Kestrel from Quince&Co. for a while on many of the podcasts I follow. I’ve been wanting to try it ever since I heard about it. I’ve never knit with linen before, and it sounded like a lot of fun — and a great material for summertime knitting. While visiting one of my favorite local yarn shops that stocks Quince yarn, I noticed they had Kestrel in stock, so I couldn’t resist purchasing a few skeins and finding a pattern to knit up.
I decided on Sweet Pleat by Hanna Fettig. One of the selling points for that pattern was that I knew it would be a fairly quick knit since it was a garment for Blueberry. Baby and toddler knits are so much quicker than adult knits for garments! It also didn’t use a lot of yardage, so I knew that it would be enough knitting to let me know if I liked working with linen, or if it simply wasn’t for me.
I love working with linen.
Kestrel has a unique construction where the yarn is a ribbon, a tube, of woven linen. It lies flat, and provides an interesting texture when it is knitted up. Since it’s
cotton linen (thanks for the catch and correction, Debbie!), it’s machine washable, can go in the dryer, and can be ironed. With Sweet Pleat, the fact that it can be ironed works well to straighten out the rolled edge that the stockinette creates at the base of the garment. It looks cute rolled up, too, so you don’t have to iron it if you don’t want to.
The garment itself knit up with very little difficulty. The pleat at the top is a cool design feature, and Hannah’s video tutorials were invaluable for getting the technique right.
It fit Blueberry perfectly, and she enjoyed wearing it as she ran around the yard the first day I put it on her. I love watching her wear it, and I’m not concerned that she’ll “mess it up” if it gets dirty, or wet, or whatever. The linen construction is strong, it breathes easily, and since it can be tossed in the washer to clean it up, I think it’s the perfect hand-knit top for running around on a hot summer day.
I already want to knit her another one. Probably not this year, but maybe for next year.
Have you knit with linen before? What did you think? I’ve got most of a skein of Kestrel left over, and I’m open to suggestions on what to use it for — do you have any ideas for me? Leave a comment and let me know!
Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!