Monkey see monkey do

What is it that attracts us to a particular knitting project? That makes a project trend in the top 20 on Ravelry, or has thousands of favourites and just as many folks who have not only added it to their queue but actually knit the project?

I'm not talking just about adding a project to our favourites because we like it, or think it's cute, or it might be flattering on us. But that feeling that grabs us until it is overwhelming and there's nothing we can do but cast on and work our way through to completion.

Or is that just me? Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying I feel like that with every single project I knit. But there are some projects that definitely push the envelope, challenge me, and mean more to me as a result. 

Like my latest finish. I know you're only here for the photos so let's just get to it, shall we?

Pattern:  Sleepy Monkey Blanket  by Mary Ann Stephens Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Yardage (for the Pre-Process Stashdown 2013): approximately 1,445 yards   Click the photo to go to my Ravelry project notes

Pattern: Sleepy Monkey Blanket by Mary Ann Stephens
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Yardage (for the Pre-Process Stashdown 2013): approximately 1,445 yards

Click the photo to go to my Ravelry project notes

Most of these photos were taken around Carnaby Street earlier this week. I love the cobblestones and brightly painted buildings and the quiet expectation in the air as the street was slowly coming to life before the shops were due to open.

See what I mean about the colours of Carnaby Street?

See what I mean about the colours of Carnaby Street?

I first saw the Sleepy Monkey Blanket at a book reading by the Yarn Harlot and was captivated by the monkeys and the colourwork - something I hadn't really done a lot of up until then although I'd learned the basics with a Fiddleheads Mittens class (really must finish those!).

After obsessing over finding the pattern,  stalking projects on Ravelry until I was pretty sure I'd found the knitter of the blanket and her colour combo, and then reading the pattern instructions, I recognised that this was going to be an opportunity to learn a few new skills: stranded colourwork, and steeks. (Which were no big deal, btw. Glenna C does an excellent class at The Purple Purl.).

It's kind of funny, but I've come to realise that the projects where I learn something new, that are crazy and challenging and push me as a knitter are the ones that I enjoy the most. There's so much to learn as a knitter and I constantly feel like I'm just scratching the surface.

Thoughtful details make for a perfect finish.

Thoughtful details make for a perfect finish.

The details on this project are fantastic. Designer Mary Ann Stephens is clearly a genius (with patience bordering on masochism) for the amount of planning and thought that has gone into the construction of this blanket. The front and back panels are worked separately and then joined for the border. Not only is this practical for keeping little fingers and toes from getting tangled in the colourwork floats, but it adds more cushiness and warmth to the blanket. Ditto for the border, although with each side picked up and knit separately before joining both sides again and finishing with the garter ridge outer border, it did become a bit of a marathon knitting at the end.

Couldn't resist using this festive red door as a backdrop for the blankie!

Couldn't resist using this festive red door as a backdrop for the blankie!

Now it's time to pack it up, get it in the mail, and hope it makes it across the pond in time for the baby shower. While I'm doing that I'll be thinking about what new challenges I can take on next. More colourwork? Cables? I'm open to suggestions!

Weekend WIPs

It's been a pretty good weekend here. I had a knitting class yesterday (learning steeks! eek!) and my little dude was at a playdate. Today I'm reciprocating for my girlfriend and her daughter is here. Its our turn to have our playroom destroyed but it sounds like the kids are having a terrific time.

With the kids amusing themselves, it's given me time to get my project pages on Ravelry updated, start the laundry and see if I can't organize my craft room a little more. With Christmas knitting and then New Year start-itis plus actual work-work and filing and stuff that never finished getting sorted when I first finished the mom cave - my personal space has been overwhelmed. Thankfully, my DH and I landed on an awesome spot together for making things a little more organized around here. I'm looking forward to it. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here's what I've been working on:

Chevron Baby Blanket from Purl Soho knit in Blue Sky Alpacas organic worsted cotton.

Honey Cowl - free pattern from Madelinetosh. Knit in Viola Silky DK in graphite.

It's too cold to go outside today. I think I'm going to put another load in the washing machine and settle in with my knitting while watching the kids play. You?