Knitting Fail: A Lesson in Yarn Choice!

I've knit my husband 2 sweaters successfully since I started knitting... one I finished a few weeks ago, and one back in 2010. If you have taken classes with me you may have heard about the first sweater I ever knit him.... no one has ever seen it, and while cleaning out the studio the other day (to make room for more yarn) I found it balled up in a bin of shame.

I've decided it's time to "let it go" (I'm practicing KonMari at its finest... this sweater does not bring me joy) but before I do I had to tell the sweater's story in all its glory so none of you make the mistake I did!

So, what did I do wrong? So many things, but really it came down to yarn choice.

It was like 2006, I was just learning to knit and I wanted to make Joelle Hoverson's Men's Zipped Raglan from Last Minute Gifts... it didn't look hard and I was pretty sure I could figure it out! So, I went to the yarn store and found the softest damn bulky weight yarn I could find... cause men don't like itchy yarn, right? So I settled on some Clekheaton and bought everything the yarn store had in the murkiest manliest olive green possible.

And then I started knitting.... did I do a gauge swatch? I think so? But I definitely did not understand anything about the properties of superwash wool.... or men's sweaters.... or installing zippers... or... (fill in the blank).

Needless to say, I just kept knitting, and didn't stop until it was done...
Come on... look at these sleeves?

And the zipper?
What the hell was I thinking? Why did I keep knitting? Why did I both to install the zipper? Weave in all the ends?
Did I think that would magically fix it? I don't think these questions will ever be answered. If only I had known the trick about hanging weights from the ends of my wet swatch while it dried... or maybe if I had already met Clara and taken her Craftsy class about yarn choice.

I'll never make a mistake like this again. Superwash wool has it's place, but not in a man's loosely knit ribbed sweater.... ummmm... NO! Maybe one day I'll reknit the sweater (I do like the pattern) in a yarn with a bit more memory that isn't quite so heavy. Then again, maybe not...

So, tell me about your worst knitting fail! Bonus points if you can show us a photo! (just include a link, I don't think my blog is fancy enough to allow you to post a photo) If you use social media use the hashtag #knittingfail with your photo!


Finally Fino Pattern Release!

Soooooo... last week I got an email asking me if I was going to ever release Fino Necklace as an individual pattern. I had designed Fino as the last kit in a club I did with Patternworks in 2013, and just never got around to reformatting and releasing the pattern. Well, Marie did me a favor, because when her e-mail came I was in the mood to make something with rainbows! See?
With in a half an hour I had whipped up a long i-cord in some Lemonade Shop Mighty Sock I had leftover from swatching for Elixir (on my nifty I-cord machine). I went stash diving for rainbow colored sparkly beads.... and a new version of Fino was born!
It was a grey day.... and I clearly needed some rainbow therapy!
The sun came out this morning... and we got some great shots of my new necklace!

And I've decided to give my Rainbow Fino to one of you!
(I'm sure one of you is in the mood for a little rainbow therapy too!)

Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Feb 27th. I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's post! (Ready for a Mystery Knit-A-Long anyone???)

If you want to make your own Fino (and of course I think you should, they are SO satisfying to make) the updated pattern is now available here.


Recap: Knitting for Munich!!!

Hello Dear Knitters!

This blog post has been a long time in the writing. Frankly, you all took my breath away with the fierce power of your needles at a great time of need. I am happy to announce that within three short months you knit and I shipped over 1,000 hats/mittens/scarves/cowls and socks to warm the Syrian refugees as they entered their first winter in Germany.

As Andrea in Miesbach received all our knitted pieces it took her a bit of time to come up with a plan for distribution... but she got lucky the day her boss came into her office and saw a box of hats and asked what they were for! When she explained, he quickly sprung into action and helped her get the word out about the project.... since that day in November Knitting for Munich has gotten press in papers, TV, and radio around Germany. What a thrill to see all your work being appreciated and worn!

On a personal note, as an American, I have been underwhelmed by the response of our public to the Syrian crisis. You knitters restored hope for me, and helped remind me that the "loud" voices are not necessarily the majority. You let your needles do the talking, and I couldn't be more proud! 

Rosy Bijou did an excellent job of cataloging the press Knitting for Munich received AND translating whenever possible! Thankyou for taking the time to do this Kerry... since my German skills are pretty much non-existent having a resource like you created is FANTASTIC!

If you want to maybe see one of your items being gifted I would suggest watching this RTL video or this excellent ARD show. They are both so well shot that you'll understand the story even if you don't speak a word of German : )!

The need for knitted items is far from over, and I'm happy to say that European knitters have found out about our effort and have put their needles to work. So, if you are based in Europe, head over to Andrea's group on Ravelry to find out more about donating. It isn't financially feasible to keep shipping over seas, and with our 1,000 items sent we have managed to gift every refugee in Andrea's county of Miesbach a lovingly knitted item, which was our goal!

If you are on this side of the pond and want to continue to use your needles for good I've found a few projects that are well established and could use donations:
25000 Tuques (Canada)
1000 Stitches for Syria (Canada)
Kind Canada (Canada)
Knit Your Bit (US)
Hats and More for Worn Torn Syria (US)

A ginormous, huge, completely awe-struck THANK YOU from myself and the Knitting for Munich team!
Laura, Andrea, Jennifer, Kelly and Bella

p.s. the lack of photos in the post is distressing to my image driven sensibilities, but I don't want to single out any one or two knitters by highlighting their contribution and not showing others. We did this as a team! GO TEAM!
(but if you want to see photos, just scroll through my Ravelry group, Andrea's Ravelry group, and the links on Kelly's page)


Knit Iceland with Laura Nelkin!!!

September 10 - 16, 2016
update: The trip is SOLD OUT.
if you want to hear about future trips please sign up for my mailing list.
Unique, distinct, mysterious, legendary - Iceland remains a well-kept travel secret and a mecca for knitters. Iceland is synonymous with knitting and wool is everywhere (even the grocery stores and gas stations). Knitting is as much a necessity in the cold dark winters as it is a labor of love. Join Laura Nelkin, knitwear designer, instructor, and passionate traveler to discover the magic that is Iceland in September. Dive deeply into Iceland's knitting tradition, its unique landscape, and experience its geothermal activity at the hot springs with Laura and a group of avid friendly knitters. This is a dream trip and I hope you'll join in!
Day 1: Travel to Reykjavik

Day 2: Group breakfast, tour of Reykjavik (to get our bearings), visit to Hand Knitter's Guild, check in at hotel and group dinner.

Day 3: Golden Circle Tour: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, Strokur (active Geysir), and ├×ingborg Wool Center (heirloom wool and craft center that is AMAZING!)

Day 4: Istex Factory Tour and Alafoss Outlet Shop (need I say more? The home of Lopi!!!)

Day 5: Saga Trails, Tour a Local Sheep farm; visit the natural dye studio of fiber artist Gudrun Bjarnadottir

Day 6: Free Day in Rekjavik, possible visits with Ragga Eiriksdottir (to learn about Lopi sweaters) and Helene Magnusson (to learn about Icelandic lace). Farewell banquet in the evening.

Day 7: Visit to Blue Lagoon (can you say geothermal hot spring resort?), and then home!

Laura visited Iceland with her family in 2012, you can read about her adventures and see photos here and here.

The Tour Includes :
  • Five nights in superior hotel rooms (double occupancy) at the Center Hotel Arnarhvoll (single supplement $400/extra)
  • Private motor coach for group excursions with full time English speaking tour guide/manager
  • Knitting designer and passionate traveler Laura Nelkin will escort the group and provide informal instruction
  • Breakfast daily, welcome dinner and farewell banquet
  • Entrance to all museums and attractions per itinerary
  • Gratuities for guide/driver
  • Extensive pre-departure material
  • Limited group size
VERY Detailed Itinerary available upon request.