Design Series: Inspirations

All right, knitters!  The votes have been tallied and it looks like socks are the big winner!

When I’m working on my own designs, the next thing I decide on is the inspiration behind my project.  This isn’t anything technical; I’m not doing any math, or even picking out any stitch patterns yet.  This step simply lets me figure out what the feel of the project will be.  Once I decide on an inspiration, the rest of the design will start to fall into place.

So, here are a few options for the inspiration of our socks:

Option 1:  Fun and silly, like this little goat.

funny-animal-pictures-of-the-week-039-001[1]Option 2:  Sleek and sophisticated, like the Singapore skyline.singapore_skyline[1]Option 3: Delicate and feminine, like these forget-me-not flowers.Forget-Me-Not-[1]Option 4: Warm and cozy, like this mountain cabin.cozy-cabins[1]Option 5: Light and breezy, like this tropical beach.Tropical-Beach-2[1]Option 6: Natural and outdoorsy, like this mountain range.yellow-stone-national-park-mountains[1]Option 7: Cool and practical, like the Pacific Northwest coastline.

Rialto-Beach-Olympic-Peninsula-WA[1]Let me know what you’re into, and next week, we’ll start narrowing down the design.

Inspiration: Puppy Party!

I’ll be honest.  I haven’t had much time for knitting the last few days.  But, honestly, I’m OK with that.  I’ve been busy running around after Ollie!

So, let’s do some puppy-inspired knitting and crochet!

Ollie’s a big fan of Tug of War (and so is my husband).  I might need to make him one of these when his weasel toy finally gets torn to shreds.

Tug of War dog toy by Maz Kwok1-DSC015501_medium[1]What dog doesn’t want a bone?

Dog Bone Toy by Jessica Suzanne

2886225557_92d3d1320f_z[1]And, for that matter, I bet dogs all want a lovely turkey leg, too.

Crochet Giant Turkey Leg Dog Toy by Christine Johnson

Turkey_Leg_Dog_Toy_medium2[1]But, of course, the classic knitted item for a dog is a little sweater.  Unfortunately (fortunately?), Ollie has nice long hair, so he doesn’t need a sweater.  (He does have a little yellow rain slicker, though, because we live in Seattle.  It’s pretty much the cutest.)  If he did need a sweater, I would have to make him this one.

Dog Sweater – Signature Turtleneck by Cute Little Cuddlies

Sign_Patt_3_medium2[1]Have you ever knit anything for your pets?

Introducing: Ollie

OK, this has nothing to do with knitting, but I’m too excited not to write a post about it.

Everyone, meet Ollie!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOllie is our new puppy!  He’s a six-month-old Tibetan terrier (which is not actually a type of terrier-just a weird quirk of etymology).  His favorite activities are sleeping, snoozing, and taking naps.  He also likes sniffing things in the back yard and watching cars drive by the house.  (And, luckily, he has no interest in my yarn or knitting.  Thank goodness!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeither of us have ever had a dog before, so this is all new and exciting!  We’ve been having a lot of fun with the little guy, and are very happy he’s in our family.

Design Series-What are we making?

All right!  Judging by your reaction to my last post, I’d say that designing a garment/item together is something you want to do!  I’m excited, I think it will be fun.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I think that the easiest way for us to do this is through a series of polls.  Then, once a week or so, I’ll tally up the votes, and we’ll move forward with whatever design wins.   Sound good?

8176171268_c8f5ee53d9_bSo, first things first, what are we going to make?  I’ve got some ideas, but I want to see what y’all want to do before I say anything.

So Vote, Vote, Vote!  I’m itching to get this project rolling!

Yarn Spotlight: Preciosa

On my trip to California, I decided I needed a simple project.  One I could throw in my purse and work on in the car or at the beach.  Something that I didn’t have to worry about counting stitches, changing colors, grafting, or otherwise fiddling with.

So, Hitchhiker Scarf it is.

And, as luck would have it, a few days before we left on our trip, I received a surprise package in the mail from the lovely folks at KnitPicks (I love that this is part of my job now!).  And what was to tumble out, but a lovely, squishy skein of their newest yarn, Preciosa in Bonsai, a  glorious forest-green.

5420278Preciosa is a worsted-weight, single-ply merino yarn that is crazy soft and squishy.  It’s available in 16 semi-solid colorways.  It reminds me of Malibrigo or Manos del Uruguay, but not quite as dense.   It would be perfect for any close-to-the-skin accessories, and a cozy sweater in Preciosa would be absolutely amazing for deep winter in the Great White North.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Hitchiker, which I knit on slightly larger needles (US 10s, although the yarn calls for US 7-9s), has fantastic drape and is delightfully soft.  It feels totally luxurious.   I just wish it were cold enough in Seattle to warrant wearing a scarf.  (First world problems, right?)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat would you use Preciosa for?


Inspiration San Diego

I just got back from a trip to San Diego with my husband and his family.  We ate a lot of good food, drank a lot of good beer, and generally had too much fun.  (I’m a little crispy around the edges, even though I spent half my time applying and re-applying sunscreen.  I guess that’s what happens when you take a white girl from Seattle and put her on a beach in southern California.)

We spent the week beach combing, (attempting to) body surf, and generally being beach bums.  And as nice as the weather was in the daytime (70s and 80s-sorry everyone in the Great White North!), the evenings got quite chilly.  You need a sweater at night in San Diego.

Luckily, I specialize in sweaters.  Let’s take a look at some beach-appropriate sweaters that I will definitely be knitting before my next trip south.

This light pullover would be perfect for wearing on your morning walk, sipping coffee and examining the beach for treasures that washed up overnight.

San Diego Pullover by Kimberly K. McAlindin

tcb_197_medium2[1]This sweater should be worn while sipping margaritas and eating guacamole at an outdoor cafe overlooking the ocean.

California Dreamin’ by Ilga LejaCalifornia_Dreamin__Main_Image_medium2[1]

And this is the sweater I want to wear while sitting around a campfire on the beach, listening to the waves and looking at the stars.

driftwood by Isabell Kraemer

DSCN0355_medium2[1]What knitwear do you like to pack when you travel?

Idea Day

Hi everyone!

Happy Idea Day!  It’s the most magical day of the year!

What’s that? You haven’t heard of Idea Day?   It’s the best holiday ever (that I just made up)!

How do you celebrate Idea Day?  First you drink the traditional Idea Coffee and eat the traditional Idea Chocolates while wearing the traditional Idea[1]After coffee, we’ll trim the traditional Idea Tree, and sing the traditional Idea Carols.

simple-tree-hi[1]Then, you send me your ideas for topics for me to cover!  Interested in a specific technique?  Have a favorite yarn-loving TV character that I’ve ignored?  Having trouble reading a pattern?  Let me know, and we can celebrate Idea Day together by writing blog posts!

Or, do you have a story, tutorial, or essay that you want to write yourself?  Let me know, and we can give Guest Posting a try!

I’d love to see your Ideas!

Happy Idea Day!

On the Noodles

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m done with that whole knitting thing.  I guess it was just a fad after all.  Ah well.

Now I’m onto bigger and better things!  Things that I can eat!  Welcome to my new blog- On the Noodles!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the Noodles is your one-stop-shop for everything related to pasta, and the sauces you put on top of it.

And without further ado, let’s get to the first-ever On the Noodles Recipe!

Allison’s Super-Easy Chunky Tomato Sauce


2 Tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 C chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 large can diced tomatoes (with juice)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPour the oil into a large pot and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the garlic smells yummy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the can of tomatoes (juice and all).  Stir to combine.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.  If you want your sauce slightly spicy, add a half-teaspoon of red pepper flakes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReduce heat to low and simmer until you get hungry (at least 15 minutes). If too much liquid cooks off, add a little water.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe over noodles, with grated Parmesan cheese.


(And happy April Fool’s!  Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled knitting on Friday.)

Let’s Design Something Together

I have an idea.  Dangerous, I know.  But I think this will be fun.

I’d like to design a new pattern, and I’d like you guys to all come along through the journey.  Does that sound like fun?  I’ll take you through my design process, from idea creation to the finished pattern.notebook-with-pencil[1]Where do we start?  What are we going to make?  Sometimes a design element will pop into my head first (a particularly cool cable, or a pretty lace pattern), but usually I decide on a project type first.

So.  What shall we make?  Socks? A hat?  A scarf?  Or something for the home?  A pot holder or a washcloth?

What do you want to see?  Do you have any ideas of your own?

Once we have a project picked out, we’ll work together to design the item together.  This will be fun!  I’m excited!

Doctor Who and the Knitter Who Wouldn’t Stop

I just found out something amazing.

You know Doctor Who, right?  (One of the longest-running scripted television show in history.  It’s a classic story of a time traveling alien and his friends run around the universe causing trouble and trying to save the day.)

Anyway, back in the 70s, the Doctor looked like this:

fourth-doctor-tom-baker-2[1]You see that scarf?  That epic 20-foot-long monstrosity?

I always assumed that it was a deliberately-planned costuming decision.  You know, something to make the Doctor look fun and quirky.  But I just learned the real reason, and it’s so much better than I could have imagined.

The costume designer for the show, James Acheson (who was not a knitter),  picked out the yarn colors for the scarf, but didn’t know how much yarn went into a normal-sized scarf.  He gave the yarn to a local knitter (with the extremely British name of Begonia Pope) with vague instructions to make a striped scarf.

Apparently, she took him at his word and used all the yarn.  And, instead of stopping at a regular 5- or 6-foot-long scarf, she kept going, until it ended up more than twenty-feet long.

After some understandable surprise, the cast and crew decided they liked the scarf, and the rest is history.

Want to make your own Doctor Who Scarf?  Load up on lots (and lots and lots) of wool and get to work!

Doctor Who Scarf – Season 12 by Chris Brimelow

3288926774_2084f8846b_z[1]Do you have any favorite pop-culture knitting?