The holidays are behind us. New Years resolutions are set. It’s time to take care of ourselves. It’s time for some selfish knitting.
This whole idea of self knitting is one that I’m very comfortable with. As a knitter I always have been. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I really took to knitting when it became something for me. The act of knitting was very much a way to take care of myself, so keeping the finished objects was also. Plus, I knew that no one appreciated what went into that hand knit piece as well as I did, so I was easily convinced that I was best suited to keep that not-quite-perfect hand-knit item.
We have a customer who is a pretty prolific knitter, and she reminds us regularly that she never makes anything for herself. I’m pretty sure I say this out loud most times I see her – but if not I’m always thinking it – is: “You are such an awesome knitter! Keep some of that awesome knitting for yourself! This way you have a little, constant reminder of how awesome you are!”
On the flip side, a new addition to our Beginner’s Learn to Knit class came in to our second session with a new ball of yarn. She explained that she started the first project thinking that she’d give it to her son, but really, she wanted something for herself in a different color. I did a little happy dance. She gets it!
I just finished my first selfish knitting project of the year: a Nagi pullover knit up in Pure Bliss Falkland Aran. Nagi is a very simple, seamed raglan pullover. I wanted to use Falkland Aran because it is so soft – not to mention organic wool, made from happy little sheep raised in the Falkland Islands whose best friends are all penguins. I chose a shade of bright red that is sure to make me feel a little more sassy than normal when I wear it. My Nagi was made with a different gauge than the pattern calls for, and I did this on purpose to use the yarn I want with the pattern I want, with measurements that suit me perfectly. How wonderfully selfish does that sound?
I asked around the shop, to see what the other Wool & Grace gals had in mind when they were in the mood for some selfish knitting. I asked Kathryn first, and she gave me the clearest and most direct answer. Baah La Jolla. This buttery smooth yarn is a fingering weight, super-wash wool with a ton of twist. It rolls off the needles easily. The beautiful hand-dyed quality of this yarn makes even the simplest pieces into something special and unique. As Kathryn put it, she would make a Hitchhiker in La Jolla any day. That is a great place to start! One skein of La Jolla will knit up the ever-popular Hitchhiker shawl, and is a wonderful project for advanced beginners and seasoned knitters like Kathryn. I happen to think La Jolla is great for lightweight sweaters and myself have made Holiday (a simple top-down v-neck from Eri) and a pair of socks with this lovely yarn. It’s remarkably resilient and can turn into just about anything. Check out La Jolla for a big commitment project like Find Your Fade or Starting Point. You won’t get tired of working with this wonderful yarn.
Sarah admitted with hesitation that she likes Loft from Brooklyn Tweed for her selfish knitting yarn. With reservations she said “some people think it’s scratchy” but she made a great point that it holds up to pilling better than some of its softer equivalents. I happen to agree with Sarah that Loft is a very indulgent yarn. It’s softness comes with blocking and wear, and it gets softer and better the more you love it. Another point Sarah made about loving this yarn is that it’s light enough that the sweaters end up being three-season sweaters – so we get to love them a lot.
Sarah has been doing some incredible color-work lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she had her eye on something like Leila Raabe’s Stasis in mind. This circular yoke sweater uses two-colors of yarn for its stranded color-work pattern, and is a good project for color-work newbies. Ashland by Julie Hoover is another stunning color-work piece that let’s Loft’s qualities sing. Perch is a lace, triangular shawl pattern by Gundrun Johnston. It’s worked up on a US7 needle (to give Loft an airy quality) and has a modern aesthetic despite that it’s a traditional shawl.
Meanwhile, Lori mentioned Blue Sky’s Baby Alpaca as one of her favorites. She just worked up a pair of Newfoundland Mitts using this soft and cozy yarn and that has amped up her appreciation for this yarn all over again. Baby Alpaca has been around forever and something we never get tired of. Each skein is irresistibly soft to the touch, and it has a ton of bounce to it, so it’s a delight to knit. The Weldon Alpaca Wrap continues to be a favorite sample at the shop and just so happens to be a wonderful selfish-knitting project for new knitters. Putting it on feels like a nice warm hug. I’ve made one of my own, and I can vouch for the fact that knitting it also feels like a nice warm hug. The Tapered Cowl from Churchmouse is another soothing and simple knit that is transformed by this yarn’s supple quality and is also wonderful for all levels of knitters.
I love Baby Alpaca because it straddles the line between a sport and dk-weight yarn. It knits beautifully into hats, mittens, scarves, wraps, cowls and sweaters. It’s easy on the hands and is satisfying to knit, especially for our new knitters. (Yes, I admit it. It’s a gateway-yarn). It holds up nicely in color-work, with lace and cables. It really can do it all.
I’m feeling filled up with all of my own self-care and selfish knitting, so I’ll be spending the long holiday weekend knitting up some good vibes for some of the awesome people in my life. More on that later!
If there’s one thing that I urge you to do in your selfish knitting, it’s to take time on it and enjoy it. Please don’t just bang out a Vermonter and call it a day. You deserve to spend more time on yourself – so pick a project that you can linger over. If there’s not enough inspiration here for your own selfish knitting, stop by to see us, and we’ll help you find something that is just right and just for you.