Knitting the brioche, finishing the thing (January in review)

In the land of knitting, there seems to exists a Great Divide: that between process knitters and product knitters. Those who revel in all the glorious colors of yarn, the zen-like rhythm of the needles, the making of each little stitch – and those who just want to Get Shit Done. I myself fall into the second camp.

Considering my personality, it’s no wonder. I always want to know ‘where things are headed’. When I was in my twenties I used to say I loved spontaneity and surprises, because I thought that was the cool thing to say. I was lying. I hate surprises. What I want is to make a plan and stick to it and cross it off my list. And then feel accomplished and eat a snack. In the same vein, I want to make a plan for what I’m knitting and then knit it and feel accomplished.
And eat a snack.

This approach to crafting has its advantages, some of which are apparent in my January projects.

Learning brioche

People often ask how I learn new things so fast (not to toot my own horn, but…I kinda do). The answer is not any kind of exceptional ability. It’s sheer tenacity. When something I want to make contains a new technique, I simply jump in and learn it. Not because I enjoy doing things that are hard, but because doing things that are hard means I end up with beautiful knitwear. In this case, a very versatile brioche cowl:

knitting two-colored brioche cowl

The idea came from a friend who asked for an orange-and-black cowl to match his motorcycle (yes, really). For this project I used Rico Baby Classic DK in color numbers 18 and 99. It was knitted on a 5mm (US 8) circular needle in order to get a loose structure. I learned the brioche by watching this excellent tutorial by Mina Philipps of The Knitting Expat.

I’m happy to report he loves it! Annnd I was kind of sad to part with my cowl-hat-facebeard-neckroll. I might have to make myself another one now…

Knitting through Maeve Madder

Another advantage of being a tenacious product knitter, is being able to finish tough projects. I know how to close, y’all. Or, more appropriately, how to bind off.

On Christmas Eve 2016, I cast on a much anticipated project: the Maeve Madder Shrug by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I had such high hopes. This was going to be for me. It was going to be amazing. It was going to change my life.
And the end product IS kind of amazing:

knitting maeve madder shrug

What I did not anticipate is that a high collared, long sleeved shrug means stockinette. FEET and FEET of stockinette. Followed by YARDS of garter stitch, over more than 200 stitches. Yeah.

But hey, luckily I’m a product knitter! Which means I pushed through, and now I own this gorgeous shrug that feels like a cloud of cotton candy giving you a hug all day long. In a non-sticky way. It’s pretty great.
I knit this out of Katia Cotton Merino in color number 102 (I used 8 skeins) on 4mm/5mm (US 6/8) circular needles. I already knew how to do stockinette and garter, but I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Netflix, ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’ in particular.

Annnd that’s where I’ll end this! I made a bunch of other things this month, too, but most of them are gifts so I can’t show them yet:).

I’m noticing this post is only singing the praises of product knitting. But I’m curious about process knitting, too! Are you a process knitter? What are the benefits of process knitting for you? I imagine something about living in the moment and catching butterflies and appreciating the beauty of the here and now. I might be totally off, though. After all, I only appreciate one kind of moment: the moment immediately after I Got Shit Done.

😉

Till next time!