Confession: I completed the Aran coat two weeks ago. Yes, it’s been finished for awhile now. But I have found excuses not to blog about it. I was too busy… it wasn’t blocked… I need buttons.
I think I’ve been putting it off because, well, this is the last project. I am at the end. It’s almost finished.
I have really enjoyed this project. What a journey of life it has taken me through! Part of me wishes that my life hadn’t turned upside down halfway through this project because I know I have missed journaling many of the things that I have learned from EZ. However, deep down inside I am so thankful that I had this project during those hard times last year. It helped me focus on something else other than the troubles.
I have learned a new meaning to “Knit on, with confidence and hope through all crises.”
Anyways, I’m waxing sentimental on you… so sorry.
The coat is done. And boy, was it fun.
I didn’t do the hood – I”m just not a hood person. However, I love a stand up collar on a coat to shield me from the wind. So I did that instead.
The one thing that EZ doesn’t have in the instructions in Knitting Around for the Aran coat is some decreases in the body section around the armholes after you join the sleeves. I wish I had done that. It would have helped to set the sleeves in a bit. Otherwise, the pattern is fabulous! And quite fast because of the thick yarn and fat needles.
Now I am on the hunt for some buttons. I really want leather and wooden toggles… but where can I find them? I haven’t been able to find a place yet…. perhaps I will have to settle for wool loops and wooden buttons like EZ did on hers… but I’m going to keep looking…. so I’m not done yet! =)
The bag of wool that looked like a whole sheep has turned into a lap sheep. You know, instead of a lap dog I now have a lap sheep. What a pile on my lap! I will say it has been keeping me warm as I knit away the last few nights.
It has definitely become a “house” project. One of those projects you keep by your knitting chair and don’t move because they are so big. But that also means progress is being made!
I have been mesmerized and awed by EZ’s genius as I knit away on this Aran Coat.
The cables are absolutely lovely, but terribly simple. All of them can be done without a cable needle. Talk about relaxing knitting! I don’t like fiddling with a third needle – it slows you down. Sure, sometimes you have to use one if you want to work a beautiful cable.
There is also such a lovely feeling you get as you see the progress you make. #11 needles and bulky yarn go so fast! Unbelievably fast. Which is also scary… that means I’ll be done soon with this lovely project. Oh, my…
I am…I am.
For some reason I have failed to take pictures of my Aran Coat progress. Is it because I dread this coming to an end? Perhaps… I still can’t believe this is the last project of the whole book. What a journey.
When the wool arrived in the shop I nearly jumped in the car right then and there, baby in tow. Instead, I was a good girl and waited until a more convenient day and went between John’s naps.
12 skeins of bulky weight wool looked like a 20 lb fleece. I nearly fell over when they brought the yarn out of the back room and gave it to me (I had to special order it). But then again, this is a coat.
So with my huge back of “fleece” I headed home to work on my gauge. This was a hard one. I would co and start with one gauge and then 3 inches into the coat notice that my gauge was entirely different – tighter in fact. Talk about frustration! This is one of those projects that I would most certainly recommend doing a watch cap out to check the gauge!
But… finally… at last… using a #11 needle and calculating my gauge at 3sts to the inch, I cast on!
…the perfect baby mitts.
I almost made the Jogger’s Mittens in the adult size and put in an afterthought thumb. But then I realized the Jogger Mittens would make perfect mittens for John!
They were easy to resize – I took measurements from John’s mittens, figured out my stitch gauge and did the math.
I thought lining them with bright yellow would make them fun.
I think John looks like a sweet pixie elf when he’s wearing these. He likes them too and calls them his “Mi, mi, mi” (short i sound). Soooo cute!
I’ve been knitting away… furiously… because all the yarn for the Aran coat arrived and became such a temptation!
Now I realize I have a little bit of a backlog of blogging to do.
I tell you, when I realize how hard it is to sit down at my computer and blog during the day, it hits me how much my life has changed in one year. About a year ago my baby boy was 6 months old and still taking nice long naps. Now, during the one… maybe two… short naps he takes I scurry around like a maniac trying to get a TON of stuff accomplished because… you know what I’m doing when he’s up — scurrying after him or he’s scurrying after me! =)
Most of EZ’s wonderful patterns I have been able to pick up occasionally while the little guy plays and work a few rows. But I tell you, knitting the first sideways mitt I was glued to the pattern and only worked on it after he went to bed. It is so disorientating to knit a mitten sideways.
But… once the first one was done and put together, a light bulb went off in my head and I knit the second one without looking at the book.
All I can say is – Elizabeth Zimmermann is amazingly brilliant! This is a great mitten! If you haven’t knit the sideways mitts before – knit them.
I will say, I made several modifications on the advice of Anne. I used a light worsted/heavy DK and a #4 needle. Yes, these mittens are knit TIGHTLY. Remember how much garter stitch stretches? Also, I knit the cuffs in a 1×1 rib – love how snug they are around my wrists.
I will definitely be making these for Lil John… They are fantastically warm!
The deed has been done…
All the yarn for the Aran coat has been ordered from my LYS, Stitches & Scones.
In some ways I can’t believe it… the yarn for the last project in this saga has been ordered. I have bittersweet feelings about it. On the one hand I feel like it’s been quite an accomplishment… on the other hand I don’t want the adventure of Elizabeth Zimmermann, the friendship that I’ve found with all of you to end…
Ah, well, I’m getting ahead of myself. I still have the sideways mittens to knit and the joggers mittens…
off I go…
My dear husband has just run out to our local Starbucks to get us a treat before we begin another night of study. As you might remember from the beginning of this project, JK’s studying for his MA in history and I’m studying Elizabeth Zimmermann. Hopefully our coffee treat will fortify us against the drowsiness that seems to be setting in.
I am quite pleased to report that I have finished the Norwegian Mittens. They were quite the trial. Not because they were stranded two color mittens … but because of my life right now. Try working on stranded color work while your 16 month boy is toddling around eager to get into everything and anything.
You are constantly putting down your knitting and picking it back up. I could never get the into rythmn that I love about colorwork. I was sooooo frustrated. Finally I gave up and relegated these mittens to evening knitting.
Even so, these mittens are full of mistakes. If I had to submit them for a final exam I would come close to failing.
Do you see the glaring mistake in the picture above? In the thumb I changed which hand carried my colors. Isn’t it interesting how one hand is dominate? In colorwork my left hand is dominate and I must always carry the color that I want to be the dominate color in the left hand. Many people never realize this and have colorwork that doesn’t pop but sinks in and gets lost.
The second thumb I made sure was absolutely perfect.
So these beautiful mittens are finished. Which is a good thing because my world is covered in snow. These mittens will definitely come in handy pulling Little John in his sled.
Well, I had better run and get to studying! =) The next project is the sideways mittens -for some reason I’m dreading them. Anyone made them before?
One year ago, at the stroke of midnight, I began this crazy quest of knitting my way through Knitting Around. I was blissfully optimistic to think I could knit everything in a year. Well, I could have if life hadn’t gotten in the way.
I’m sitting here tonight, a glass of sherry in hand, the fire is almost out. The mitered mitten in my lap is halfway done. I have learned a lot this year – a lot about life (how you can, indeed, make your way through tough times) – and a lot about knitting (how simple things can be turned to exquisite things by one or two small details). But I find myself shaking my head at my blissfully naive self – that self that was so excited to start a new year 12 months ago. I am on the precipice of a new year in 45 minutes and I find myself a bit wary, a bit leery of starting, a bit afraid of what the new year holds.
But, as Elizabeth Zimmermann said, “Knit on, with confidence and hope…”
So here I go… knitting on, with confidence and perhaps just a mustard seed of hope.
The snow is falling, snow upon snow. It is as if the earth is decorating itself and getting ready for Christmas.
I was reading EZ’s December entry in her Knitter’s Almanac and savored her words:
“The human heart hankers after stability and tradition. The feeling and atmosphere of Christmases past, the anticipation of those to come, and the magic presence of Christmas now should all blend and blur, giving the distraught soul something to hang on to…”
Isn’t that lovely?
Ah, EZ, you knew what was good - that which is simple.
I’m knitting away on the next project in Knitting Around. The Norwegian Mittens. So far I have knit the cuff. I keep thinking of last minute gifts that need to be knit. Also, baking and cleaning and visiting with friends have been getting in the way. But I realize that is the spirit of EZ, isn’t it?
I have also begun to realize that I am not going to make my 1 year deadline. Perhaps if life did not throw me such curve balls as it did this past year, I would have made it. But, that is life and so I will accept the fact that I will not make the deadline… and keep knitting!
Knit with pleasure, my friends!