Learn from your Stash/A year’s recap

As this year draws to a close, I wanted to share some updates on the projects I’m working on, and highlight my favorite project of the year. Crafting played a huge part in keeping my sanity this year, and my love for it grows with each day. I hope you enjoy this final post of the year, and here’s hoping next year takes it more easy on us😅.

Favorite original pattern of the year: Slouchy Honeycomb Socks

Immediately after creating my last pattern (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elegant-stash-buster), I decided to undertake a new knitting project: socks. I had never made socks prior to this but I could already tell the heel would pose an issue for me conceptually, so I spent some time watching videos on the subject matter. Here is the result of my first sock attempt:

Ugly? Yes.

Useful? Definitely!

By using scrap yarn, and allowing myself to just follow along with a few video tutorials, I was able to let myself create this monstrosity. And in creating this monstrosity, I learned what to and not to do when knitting a sock. I made sure to take notes on what I did and my thoughts on how to improve. And after this first attempt, I went back and re-watched the videos in the sections I messed up, so that I could understand my mistakes. The results of these efforts?

Worth it.

Introducing the Honeycomb Brioche Slouchy sock, in all it’s chunky glory:

Now, some of you more practiced sock knitters may instantly find a few qualms with this sock. Allow me to explain my choices.

The yarn. Yes, the weight of this yarn is thicker than advised. It is a lean worsted weight, which gives the sock a very chunky appearance compared to its counterparts. The material of the yarn is also one that is usually inadvisable for socks: Acrylic. And for those of you who have seen my previous post on Knitting mistakes, you may recognize this yarn as Caron Simply Soft. So why?

I previously established that when I first started learning fiber arts, I was taught crochet. My first ball of yarn was a multicolored Red Heart skein, and for a long time, big box yarns were all I knew and had access to (I started crochet in middle school, and had a crappy allowance). It was not until college that I became more environmentally conscious, and learned about the effects of plastic fashion on the environment. It was also at this time that I really started to ramp up my production of crochet wear, and began to see the short lifespan such fibers gave my projects. While I am maintaining my devotion to buying as close to 100% natural fibers (that are dyed with eco-friendly ingredients), I still have a small stash of acrylic yarn left over. I am actually happy that my stash is quite small-I never was one to buy big bulks of yarn without a project in mind (I don’t judge those who do however-I just hate clutter), and because of that, I feel that has lessened my guilt over how much acrylic I bought.

S/N: I fully understand there is nearly no ethical consumption under capitalism, and my actions alone won’t stop the mass production of plastics. I however want to strive to be eco friendly wherever I can and if I have the means to control it.

I have also decided to undertake a more minimalist and appreciative lifestyle this year. No, I will not discard everything I currently have (I also believe that to be wasteful and makes the whole point of the effort void). I am, however, taking stock of what I do have, making plans for things I no longer have a use for, and learning to take care of and appreciate the things I do have. That looks like maintaining my room. Making use of old projects I made -either upcycling the material if sewn or repairing/making a new purpose for them if crocheted. Included in this new outlook of life is making a vow to either use or donate the rest of my acrylic yarns. While they are damaging to the environment, they already exist and have already been bought. While they are in my possession, why not make use of them? Since I have a fear of destroying yarns for intended projects through frogging, why not experiment with the acrylics? Thus, these socks.

Now, the experience with creating these socks was fun and frustrating. It was fun, testing out different stitches to make the slouchy section of the sock. I decided on the Honeycomb Brioche stitch because of how simultaneously cute and elegant it is, as well as the benefit of its layers providing additional warmth. It was fun keeping a pattern journal, drawing diagrams for the pattern and seeing it all come together. What was frustrating, of course, was the yarn. Look, I’m not trying to hate on Caron-I’m sure they have other yarns that are easier to work with. But Simply Soft is one of the most frustrating yarns I have worked with to date. It was extremely splitty-there were times where I would unintentionally pull on spare strands from the stitch below, and then have to either figure out where it belonged or ended up snapping it off in a fit of impatience. I also saw the quality of my work degrade before my eyes with the yarn. When I first worked up the stitch, it came off looking shiny and brand new. After some friction from turning the sock inside out, trying it on, and letting it rest alongside other projects, it is looking frayed and fuzzy. While the fuzzy look is desired in some projects, it was not wanted in this one. All of this actually affirmed my decision to only buy natural from here on out. While knitting, I also came across a YouTuber who recently made the transition away from plastic fibers as well (shout out to The Drunk Knitter!). In one of her vlogs, she shows all of her knitted sweaters, including her early ones made with acrylics, and discusses the importance of choosing the right fibers for each project (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtRNdM2ot2E). Give it a watch!

While I am not completely satisfied with the sock (materials wise), I am proud that I was able to draft up such a snazzy pattern.

My WIP’s

Another new venture I decided to undertake this year was making a sweater. I have so many clothing designs in my mind for this type of garment, but I definitely wanted to get the basics down. So for this project, I decided to follow a pattern and chose Jessie Maed’s Bubble V crop: Ravelry: Bubble V Crop pattern by Jessie Maed Designs. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while may already suspect that the journey to make this sweater was…not smooth😂.

Don’t get me wrong: Jessie’s instructions are easy to follow, and she has video tutorials for the more trickier techniques of her sweater. The issues arose because I decided to alter the stitch count of the sweater to adjust the fit. I found that the original pattern made the back a little baggy for me, and so I reduced some stitches there. If I were to do the pattern again, I would add those decreased stitches to the front, as the yarn stretches there a little. But don’t worry, I wet-swatched before I started, so I know the yarn won’t shrink on me should I gently wash it! (Speaking of yarn, the one I used for this project is from Neighborhood Fiber Co.‘s Capital Luxury Sport. I am committing to my promise to buy from Black owned retailers, and if possible, Black owned yarn brands🤗.) I learned a new technique (German short rows) and gained a greater understanding about how to shape garments. If you’re curious about how I bungled up the sweater making process, you can read about all my chaotic mishaps over on my project page: Ravelry: JaedeaRosalina’s Jaedea’s Bubble V Crop.

As of now, the sweater still isn’t finished, but I got up to creating sleeves. The sleeves are also not directly following the pattern, but the end goal will be a surprise I hope I can share next year😉. Here’s a sneak peek:

Happy End of 2020!.🎉

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