We had 31 entries for our “Best Projects of 2020” Show and Tell at the February 2021 meeting! Here is a roundup of all of the projects.
What I’m most proud of in 2020 is finishing 17 projects, most of which were from my unfinished pile and had been sitting around for a long time. My favorite is the Kirigami sweater, which I started in March 2018 in a class with Gretchen at the Yarnery. I especially love the fit of this sweater and the textured neckline. The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in the color Cobbler.
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kirigami-2
Project Page: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/FroggyGirl72/kirigami
My best project I made in 2020 is the cardigan “Daisy,” by Debbie Bliss. I particularly like the Western look of the pattern, and it is also very comfortable to wear. I used Loops and Threads Woolike, with 2 strands held together. I was also able to use yarn leftover from a previous project in the designs, another bonus!
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/daisy-102
I am proud of these because it took me a long time to finish, and because I altered the pattern to include a thumb gusset (the original pattern did not). This was a test knit for the designer, and after checking the pattern for errors/clarity, I asked if I could alter my mitts to include the gusset thumb so that they would fit my hand better – permission was granted. I had to putz with it a bit, trying not to break up the honeycomb pattern on the hand while adding the gusset. Since I was branching out, I was not under time constraints to complete my mitts within the testing period. Of course, lots of other things got in the way and these were set aside several times. Finally finished and turned out as I had hoped.
My first (and so far only) double knit project. Pitter Pat scarf pattern by Lisa Hannan Fox. Yarn is Big Bad Wool Weepaca and Cascade 220 Superwash.
I dipped my toe into designing by hacking the basic Flax pattern and adding a complex cable on the front and a simple one along the sleeves from Norah Gaughan’s amazing cable sourcebook. Made just in time for her 3rd birthday and fits great! The yarn is Valley Yarns Northfield, color #32 Honey Gold.
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flax
I am most proud of taking up the Guild’s challenge to support BIPOC designers and dyers. Among several designs I bought and knit is the Peaceful People Hat. The yarns are Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Worsted and Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted.
Inspired by Shelly Kang’s blankie, I cast this on in January 2016 and finished it in July 2020. With nowhere to go I was out of excuses and so finally got it done! Using the domino knitting technique learned from Susanna Hansson at Minnesota Knitters’ Days 2014 with leftover sock yarn. Includes 720 squares.
Project Page: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/soxanne/crazy-quilt
I came up with the design while exploring how to knit cables a different color from the background. It turned out that the theme for The Knitters Guild Association’s annual design contest for 2020 was Honoring Our Hands. So, I entered these mittens – and won 1st Place! The yarn is Knit Picks Pallette. The colors remind me of a box of Fanny Farmer chocolate mints.
My granddaughter in her knit pants. She loves them. Not the most difficult, but a fun knit. She told her mother she “looked like a princess” when wearing them.
20 colorwork ornaments that I worked on in between projects all year. I had decided to make one for each of my and my husband’s parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews. Super rewarding, but never again…too much pressure with the Christmas deadline (including sending them out)! I used Rauma Strikkegarn.
It was a hard choice, but I will nominate my Damselfly Cap designed by Alice Starmore. It is knit using Alice Starmore Hebridean 2 Ply yarn. I have gotten so many compliments on this hat, including from non-knitters – even men.
This pattern was Indian Slip-On No. 13A. from a digitized Corticelli book published in 1922. No information on row gauge or finished size, but pattern was dependent on working exact number of rows to make the pattern. Uncertain about the yarn called for and its qualities, because it was used for many patterns in the book with a wide range of gauges. I had to add an additional section in the body to make it long enough (and rearrange the motifs). Sweater knit in one piece, starting at the bottom of the back. Learned to crochet in order to make the collar and cuffs. More than 500 ends to weave in! I loved the slashed sleeves, which is one of the reasons I knit this. This is part of my long term project to knit a sweater from each decade of the 20th century (unlikely I will wear it much at all!) Yarn used was Berroco Vintage worsted weight.
The hat and mittens were made for my granddaughter. I used cascade 220 worsted in color – cerise and white. The pattern was Snowman Hat and mitten set that I changed the mitten design.
I’ve done a lot of sample knitting for Knotions but these socks were a pretty unique challenge. The designer hadn’t knit up more than a swatch and here was a set of five mini skeins, not a fade or anything, that I had to work with. The editor of Knotions gave me free rein so I had to visualize what colors would work and in what sequence. She expected that I would end up with mismatched socks, but I didn’t. 🙂 These socks have literally everything and the kitchen sink in them. You start with a corrugated rib, then elongated stitches, then stranded colorwork, a two color eye of partridge heel, and a foot with a little bit of texture. But because of my limited yarn I had to do a fade with the amber and wheat colors. All in all, a mad challenge and I’m pretty proud of these tiny works of art. 🙂
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/carved-wood
This was the most advanced lace project I’d tackled yet. The pattern was written for people familiar with advanced lace patterns and didn’t have very detailed instructions. I spent a lot of time prepping, studying, and seeking advice to understand it. Even then I frogged a good chunk of it several times before getting it right. This was a big step forward for me in terms of my understanding of lace patterns and lace knitting. I used is Ella Rae Lace Merino in colorway Multy. I ran out just as I started the border, so I finished the border with Stitch Together Stitch Smooth Sock yarn in Silvertongue. I’m actually really happy with how the last minute substitution turned out.
This is “Oliver Pig” by Susan B Anderson. I again used Barrett Wool wool. This is a favorite because I made it for a friend and she gave it to her niece – who lives it. This was so fun to make. As I knit- it was coming alive as a whimsical toy. When I posted photos on Instagram, to my surprise , Susan B Anderson liked it and sent comments!! Kind of fun.
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/oliver-pig
I knit these for my granddaughters. The yarn is Bernat Softee Chunky. The best part is that when my granddaughter wore it to school she told people all day that her grandma made it for her. It’s a warm hug from me on a cold day.
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/azel-pullover
The Danish Nattrøjer Socks to Knit by Mimi Seyferth in Piecework Summer 2019 seized my interest right away. I loved the quilt-esque pattern. During the Great Guild Getaway of 2019, I dyed sock yarn with Sam of Lavender Lune and decided to use it for this pattern. I started them in 2019, but got sidetracked. I picked them up back up in mid-2020 and finished them. Then I submitted a photo of them to Piecework and they kindly published a photo of them in their “from the post” section in the Spring 2021 issue. I did make modifications for fit. I knit them toe up instead with my own selection of toe and heel. I also abbreviated the chart a few stitches on either side to fit them to me.
This is a picture of my Quiznos portrait puppet. Quinos is a Barbados Blackbelly sheep and is part of the Save ‘Em 2 Save ‘Em project. This project supports and encourages the use of fiber from legacy breeds. Barbados Blackbelly is a hair sheep. The hair from Quiznos was spun by me and knit free form into a puppet to commemorate both him and my efforts. After I had completed him, I read that the fiber from hair sheep is supposed to be too difficult to spin. Good thing I didn’t know this before I started!
When I was a child, my grandma knit me a Norwegian winter bonnet – the red and white one in photo. I loved to wear it. When my granddaughter was born 2 years ago, I found my old hat, charted it out, and then knit it up in 2 shades of blue this past fall, and mailed it to her (she lives in NYC) before it got cold outside. I used smaller needles and Plymouth DK merino superwash yarn to get a smaller size. (I think my grandma used worsted weight acrylic.) It was so fun to be able to replicate this pattern from about 60 years ago, and so fun to see pictures of little Thea wearing it! If I knit this again, I would make it a few rows deeper. It was also a challenge since it was knit flat, and I had never done fair isle on a flat piece before.
I am most proud of my Neural Knitworks sweater. It’s knit in Valley Yarns Huntington fingering weight merino wool. I designed it with the help of a neural network trained on old punchcard patterns. A colleague of mine trained the neural network model, and the model generated each of the colorwork patterns. These patterns generated by the algorithm were all over the place — from symmetric and very geometric to pretty amorphous. I tried to pick several pattern designs from each end of the spectrum. I then designed the cardigan with minimal shaping to take advantage of the rectangular patterns. I love that this project combines so many aspects of my life, my love of pattern spotting, model building, and knitting, to create a useful garment. Bonus points in that I’ve worn it at least weekly since I cast off.
This shawl is called Egyptian Crescent by Kieran Foley. The yarn is Seda Encantada by Dibadu 100% silk. The colors are red, yellow and blue. The shawl is knitted with 2 strands and because the colors are varied it gives a subtle effect. My husband and I returned from a trip to Egypt on March 9 right before the lockdown so when Kieran released this shawl I had to knit it in honor of our trip and this year. The pattern included stacked stitches, beading and as a bonus, slippery yarn.
My Best of 2020 is a collaboration with my 20yr old daughter, Sydney. Sydney was the knitter and I was Tech support and cheerleader. We knit The Winterfell Sweater which was written for super chunky yarn. Sydney picked Cascade 128, a bulky yarn (10sts/4in vs pattern 7sts/4in). This is MY ‘best of’ because of our partnership, my re-design resulting in a perfect fitting sweater, and my young-adult wanted to spend time with me.
I’ve attached a photo of the hat, cowl, and mitten set that I knit using handspun made from batts I prepared way back in 2019. This wasn’t a technically challenging project, but it felt great to get back to knitting with my handspun after a long hiatus. Bright colors were exactly what I needed as winter set in! Knit with handspun and Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Worsted (colorway: Thermal Spring)
Hat and Cowl: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/anthology-2
Project Page Mittens: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/ParksAnew/double-stuff-mittens
Project Page Cowl: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/ParksAnew/anthology-3
My favorite project from 2020 is the Hudson Valley Cardigan designed by Patty Lyons. The yarn is Rowan Cotton Cashmere. I am relatively new to knitting. This is my second piece of clothing. It is my favorite because I learned so much about knitting, especially knitting cables without a cable needle.
I was inspired to knit some hats for our 2021 service partners, so I pulled out this pattern that I designed a bunch of years ago. I had always intended to write up the pattern, but never got around to it – until now! I am proud that I am now able to share it.
Yarn: Sample was knit in a yarn that has been discontinued; Suggested yarn Malabrigo Chunky.
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/my-mountain-hat
The pattern is free with the coupon code “MINNESOTA”.
The pattern is Hogwarts socks knitted in Knitpicks stroll. It was a Christmas present for my daughter who is a huge Harry Potter fan.
This is a photo of the Nighthawk Skull Cap from Shetland Wool Adventures Journal. I knit this in December as a donation to the upcoming Textile Center auction “Fiber For All” – a goal to improve my colorwork tension and get ready to cast on a Marie Walling sweater in 2021!
This prayer shawl was made for a dear friend in Tennessee. She was diagnosed with oral cancer shortly after we moved from Chattanooga to MN. As a going away gift, she had given me the Bernat Pop! yarn. I decided to use her gift to create this shawl. Separated each color from the Pop! skein and used them for decreasing color stripes. Love the way this shawl hugs the shoulders, making it the perfect long distance hug of support. Yarns used: MC-Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids, colorway Natural and CC: Bernat Pop! colorway, Full Spectrum
Hue Shift…the eight year afghan
I purchased the Hue Shift kit from Knit Picks with some birthday money in the fall of 2012. I knit the first quadrant of 25 squares pretty quickly, and really enjoyed knitting mitered squares. But then it became my oldest WIP. I’d pick it up every so often. Squares were added. Quadrants were finished, but I didn’t do a good job of sewing in the ends as I went the longer I worked on it. I moved homes with this afghan twice. At the beginning of 2020 I had a new determination to finish it once and for all. I sewed in all the ends; spent a few afternoons seaming it together; and then had to face picking up 250-270 stitches per side (in black yarn no less!) to finish the border. In April as everything was shut down, I crocheted 49 hearts out of the scraps and hung them in my front windows. But the afghan still wasn’t finished. I couldn’t let this WIP move into 2021, so I knit the final border, wove in the final ends, and finally finished the eight year afghan!
This is my Endräkt cardigan, designed by Ivar Asplund and knitted out of Cascade Ecological Wool. I started it in April and finished it on June 14, the day before I went into labor with my son Ira. I didn’t block it until September but I’ve worn it almost every day since. I’m proud that I spent the last days of my pregnancy making a really beautiful sweater for myself, proud that I used stash yarn for an impulse project and it worked out, and proud that I have made something that I could throw on and wear easily while caring for a little baby. I recently washed it for the first time (yikes) and can say that it held up amazingly well to all that my life has thrown at it.
Pattern Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/endrakt
Project Page: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/shira-b/endrakt