Lots of us are heading outside this summer, whether it’s on vacation, to the ball fields to watch our loved ones play softball or baseball or over to Washington Park on Wednesday evenings to listen to our municipal band play. This calls for portable projects! These handy-to-carry-with-you projects have the added bonus of not overheating your lap while you work on them.
First in line for the portable project parade are mittens. I know from experience that you can whip out the cuff of a child’s mitten while waiting for all sorts of things. You can knit plain ones or patterned ones, whatever suits your abilities and style. We have several books to help you with your mitten knitting, and single patterns in the binders as well – the felted mitten pattern from fiber trends makes a truly toasty mitten.
If you aren’t sure you can knit a mitten in the round, or better yet, you’re teaching a child to knit a mitten, try this delightful little book by Robin Hansen – Sunny’s Mittens. Sunny has worn a hole in her mitten, and her grandmother teaches her to knit a new pair of felted ones for herself – she doesn’t even have know how to purl to do it! This book has the pattern itself in the back of the book and is a wonderful book for all ages! The author has several other mitten books that I highly recommend, including the mitten-shaped book and a book called Favorite Mittens. My family has been wearing her designs on our hands for many years now.
What are you going to knit these mittens in? Brown Sheep yarn’s Lamb’s Pride is my favorite mitten yarn. It is a warm, soft, feltable wool and mohair blend that comes in a rainbow of colors. Why not pick some bright spring or summer colors to make your mittens in, so that when it is cold and snowy, you can remember a warm day when the lilacs were blooming?
Hats are another great portable project. We have some fun books with hats patterns in them, whether you want to knit a simple watch-cap or toque, or want to make a funky tam.
And yarns? Noro Kureyon’s wonderful color variations make a great hat. If you want something a little more understated, try the Shannon tweed by Tahki.
If you’re thinking of an even simpler portable project, try a scarf – you can make these as simple or complicated as you like and there are so many yarns to choose from.
For soft scarf, try my favorite yarn, Baby Alpaca by Plymouth.
Or if you want to play with color, try one of our new handpainted yarns, Magallanes by Arucania. It’s 100% wool and the colors are beautiful.
And then there is my favorite portable project - you know what’s coming, don’t you, from your resident sock addict? – SOCKS! We even have a sock pattern book called Knitting on the Road – Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter, a wonderful book by Nancy Bush, full of all sorts of sock patterns.
A sock kit is quick and easy. Just grab your pattern, a ball or two of sock yarn (and we have lots to choose from) and your favorite skinny needles, and knit away. The whole thing fits nicely in all sorts of bags, and if you’re making a sock you know the pattern for, it will fit in a purse or jacket pocket!
By the end of the summer, you can have your whole family outfitted with new knitwear for winter, from head to toe, by working on your portable projects!
By the way, the Albany County Fair is coming up at the end of July, and it’s not just for the 4-H kids. They have an open category that anyone can enter projects in. It’s been looking pretty sparse in that section for the last few years, so let’s get together and show Albany County what its knitters and crocheters can do. Lori will have entry forms down at the shop starting sometime this week, so come by and get a form and enter your handwork in the Albany County Fair!