7 days

Seven days to get my act together. Seven days until my vacation begins. Seven days until I spend hours at the airport, on airplanes, and in taxis. Seven days to figure out which audiobooks I want to “bring” with me, and which camera lenses ;). Seven days to get all my knitting ducks in a row. Or else!

As always, I’m plagued with indecision at the most inopportune moment. With CPSS and zigzag anklets happily completed, I’m currently entirely knitting-less. (The Flutter Scarf is in permanent time out – I’m not ready to deal with it yet.) Oh, the horror! I’ve written about this before – it’s a very dangerous time for me. I end up making quick, bad decisions, and casting on… everything! And then ripping out 98% of the projects.

This time around, I took a measured, rational approach. I opened the doors of my yarn stash cabinet, and took out all the yarns I wanted to knit with “in the near future.” There weren’t that many, actually!

The first yarn I yanked out was Koigu KPPM (color # 1160). Undoubtedly you’ve heard me mention this yarn before, namely as it relates to my inability to transform it into socks. Almost as if to prove that I could make it work (somehow, somewhere), I’ve been itching to use it again.

I decided to cast on the Purl Beret, using US 3 needles. (Side note: I knit the ribbing using US 0 needles, and I would recommend you do the same – otherwise it’s too loose.) The knitting was simply delightful! The yarn felt wonderful in my hands and on my needles. The fabric manages to be both nubbly and drapey at once. For the record, my gauge after blocking is somewhere in the 6 spi range – sportweight, in other words. This tension feels just right to me, which of course makes sense considering that sock gauge (8 + spi) was such a problem for me.

While the yarn and the knitting have been a positive experience, I’m having a lot of trouble making this beret fit the way I envision it should. The 3″ of straight knitting recommended in the instructions resulted in an oversized hat of sorts (i.e., too small). When I upsized the straight portion to 4.5″, the beret was too slouchy after blocking. Perhaps you can see in the photo above, I’m once again re-knitting that part of the beret, this time with a 3.75″ straight section. It must work, right? Koigu is too fantastic as this beret to not work.

Whatever the resolution of this beret saga, the little project cannot sustain me as I travel cross-country. More projects need to be cooking!

Next, I pulled out some sock yarn.

These are the two skeins of sock yarn that I’m most excited to knit up. On top: from this year’s New Hampshire Sheep & Wool festival, Paddington British Blue Faced Leicester 3-ply superwash wool, in the Ashes of Roses colorway. On the bottom: my knitaversary gift to myself, Fleece Artist Trail Socks merino/nylon blend in Peridot.

I’ve been leafing through every sock book in my library trying to find a good pattern for either of these yarns, but so far, no luck. Paddington is a bit on the thin side, and Trail Socks seems to be beautiful as stockinette only. It’s tricky! I’ve cast on the Trail Socks skein at least 6 different times already, never getting further than 2″ of knitting. Argh.

Feeling incredibly frustrated, I decided to try something else – a yarn store! One of the yarns which almost made the top 5 in my knitaversary post is Katia Jamaica. I loved, loved, loved knitting the honeymoon blanket! It was simple, peaceful, beautiful, and relaxing. No math, no stress, no notes… With another long trip coming up, I thought I would knit another!

Off I went to Mind’s Eye Yarns, my local Katia distributor. I was shocked to learn that Katia Jamaica has been discontinued! Fortunately, a similar yarn has been introduced in its place: Katia Bombay.

Bombay is mercerized and thinner than Jamaica. Otherwise, it is every bit as colorful, contains the same long stretches of color, and is also 100% cotton. The yardage is pretty good, as is the price. I got 4 skeins of colorway #2005, and expect them to knit up into a blanket similar in size to the honeymoon blanket (31.5″ along each side).

Very exciting, right? One small problem: my notes about how I knit the honeymoon blanket are so cryptic. Srsly. I’m usually very thorough about detailing my mods, but this time I can’t make sense of them, at all. I’ve been studying my pictures and my posts, trying to piece it back together. If I figure it out, I promise to write a more thorough description ;).

Last, but certainly not least, I found myself to be very inspired by the latest issue of Interweave Knits.


I know better than anyone else that I’m not a sweater knitter, but once in a while these gorgeous creations pull at the heart strings, you know? I remember there were two others which caught my eye back in December, too. For me, sweaters are never good travel knitting (always with the modifications, sheets and sheets of modifications), so for now I will only mention them. Probably I’ll never knit them at all, but a mention was required ;).


30 thoughts on “7 days

  1. mai

    you’re going on vacation? oh man, i’ve been away from the internet for too long! i can’t wait to see your knits IRL!

    i haven’t even seen the new IK preview. off to check it out now.

  2. Meredith

    Good luck with the beret, I hope it comes out the way you like, because you’re right, Koigu is way too nice for it not to.

    The Katia Bombay looks like it would make an awesome mitered blanket.

    Have a good vacation!

  3. Meg McG

    What about more potholders? Or a granny square pillow/purse/something else smallish? Crocheting is nice for travel because you can’t drop any stitches.

    Have fun on your trip!

  4. Cara

    If there’s anything I can do to help with the blanket – please let me know. It’s one of our most cherished gifts!!! THANK YOU AGAIN!

  5. Holly

    I agree that the Fall issue of Interweave Knits is a real winner. There are too many things I want to make including the stuff in the advertisements! I just have to slog through 7 more stripped garter stitch squares to finish an afghan for a new college freshman and off I go!

  6. Seanna Lea

    I have both the VK and the Interweave Knits, and I fell in love with so many of the sweater patterns (including the one with the cabled pockets). I just keep telling myself that the ones I wear the most are cardigans. Just make the cardigans. I’m even trying to listen to myself this time!

  7. SallyA

    I make sweaters as long as they’re for toddlers and babies. That’s it! If they start school, they’re too big for me. Oy. I actually have a question. Is the Katia Bombay soft? Thanks.

  8. earthchick

    Figuring out which knitting projects to bring on a trip is hands-down the most stressful part of packing for me. Such a hard decision!! I can’t be any help b/c I always bring a ridiculous number of options, usually including at least one big project (a sweater) and one pair of socks, and several other things. But I agree with the person above who suggested bringing a little crochet project too!

  9. margaux

    oh boy! so much fun stuff. I also have been going though the stash to see what things I can do but alas, while you’re vacation is gearing up.. mine, is almost gone! sigh. but us knitters are never deterred 😉 hee! Love the Koigu Beret. I Must work. I look forward to your mods! I also want to try making one 🙂

  10. Debra in Seattle

    I have made 3 of the purl berets. One in koigu and the other two in Shibui. All three were for tween/teenager girls and they have loved them and they look lovely.

  11. van

    Have fun packing your knitting! It’s kind of exciting and stressful to decide what to knit on vacation, isn’t it? I always bring some cheap yarn to knit dish cloths and hand towels as backup projects. Plus, they’re great for trying out different patterns/stitches.

    Have a great vacation!

  12. Lillie

    I’m sad to hear that about Jamaica. I’ve knit myself three different summer sweaters with it. I just love the motivation of knitting to the next color. But I did see that new yarn plus one other recently, and they might float my boat too.

  13. Beth

    Travel knitting can be stressful – in a good way 😉 There are always yarn shops along the way. Enjoy!!

  14. Pat

    I understand your dilemma. Before the semester starts we, the faculty, have 3 days of in-service and meetings. Many of the faculty dread it as a waste of time. I, however, am excited to select and begin an in-service project and have enlisted others at the college to do the same. For me the project has to be small, a simple enough pattern that I do not have to focus on it and can “pay attention” during the meetings. Some people bring part of a project but I always want to start something new. A week later, I will be visiting my son in Houston, so I too will need a travel project. Fun times!

  15. EoW

    I think the one-skein Koigu berets work best on people with small heads. There was a Koigu pattern for a top down hat or beret. Very popular at the LYS where I worked, but so many larger headed people ended up unhappy with the beret that we recommended they either use another pattern and a second skein or make the hat.

  16. Hannnah33

    I wish you a relaxing/refreshing vacation. You deserve it! Happy knitting. Personally I like the Bandelier Socks. My next project is socks, wish me luck.

  17. Andrea

    Try a Clapotis, they make for very nice travel knitting! Right balance between portable and easily remembered and not boring!

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