Let’s Do This- Again!

It’s two months until Christmas (sorry to keep mentioning it), and there’s something I want to do.   Let’s do another (very informal) Mother Bear drive!

Last year I made and sent a half-dozen bears for the Mother Bear Project.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you missed it or forgot, the Mother Bear Project collects hand-made (knit or crocheted) teddy bears and delivers them to children living in emerging nations whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS.  It’s a great foundation with a simple message that I think all knitters can understand: sending comfort and love through the gift of something handmade.

(Plus, the bears are crazy cute, easy to make, and a great way to use up leftover bits of yarn.)sizeI’ve made 7 more bears since last Christmas, and I’d like to make another 3 before I send them to Mother Bear HQ this Christmas (to make a round 10).

Will you join me on this bear-making adventure?  Will you pledge to make a bear (or 2 or 3)?  Even one bear can make a big difference in these kids’ lives and let them know someone is thinking about them.

How many bears will you make?

Fall is… Falling?

It’s the end of October already, and fall is in full swing around here.  The leaves have all turned, and are shockingly beautiful this year.  I don’t know if it’s because of the warm, sunny weather we had all summer, or the strange number of downpours earlier this fall, but something happened and the trees are every shade of red and yellow (and purple and orange and everything in-between).

And, since Christmas is right around the corner (eep!), let’s not get bogged down in big knitting projects- no sweaters or afghans.  Let’s just look at adorable leaf patterns.

I love the texture of these leaves- The designer says they’re maple leaves, but they look more like sugar gum leaves to me.  Either way, they’re super cute.

Maple Leaves Applique Crochet Pattern, by GoldenLucyCrafts

img_9371-1_-_copy__2__medium21These oak leaves are great, too.  And so perfect!

Oak Leaves by In the Yarn Gardenoakleaves_rainbow_intheyarngarden_medium21These look like maple leaves.  Just adorable.

Fall Leaves by Michelle @ The Painted Hingefall_leaves_free_crochet_pattern-11_medium21Which is your favorite?  I can’t decide!  If I had time, I’d totally make a big pile of these and attach them to a great fall wreath, or maybe overlap them and sew them into a big afghan.  How cool would that be?

How’s fall treating you in your neck of the woods?

Garter Ridge Winner!

It’s giveaway day!  Always a favorite (or at least my favorites).

Let’s get right down to it.  I’m giving away a free copy of Knit Picks’ newest collection, Garter Ridge, featuring a pattern from yours truly.  It’s a whole book full of understated, squishy, gorgeous, garter-stitch loveliness.330151And, so many of you responded, I’m just going to scroll down the page and land on someone at random (“The Price Is Right”-style).

Drum roll please!

And the winner is: Knitonepugtwo!

I’ll be sending out your email some time today, so keep an eye out for it to come through (sometimes they end up in the spam folder).

If you’re not the lucky one today, hop over to Knit Picks’ website to buy your own copy.

Project Tea Cozy- Finishing Up

It’s done!  Woo! My tea pot isn’t naked any more!

I finished up the top of the tea cozy last week, working it just like the top of a hat.  This week I’ll start by working the spout opening the same way I would work the thumb on a mitten.  I transferred the 12 reserved stitches (saved on my stitch holder/safety pin) to my dpns, then picked up and knit 4 stitches in the little cast on edge.  I then worked a little 2×2 ribbed cuff around the spout and bound off.  Easy!img_3389Then I sewed up the bottom of the handle hole (I still need a better name for that), so now it fits snugly on my tea pot without me having to safety-pin it in place.img_3402But, you know what… It looks a little… sad?  Like it’s missing something.

Something like a pompom.

So I made a nice, tight 2″ pompom with bits of all 7 colors and sewed it on top.  img_3667Perfect!  It’s all finished and ready to go out on its maiden tea voyage!  I can’t wait.

And, next week, I’ll write up the pattern in a nice finished form and you can make yourself a tea cozy!

(And, don’t forget!  I’m giving away a copy of Knit Picks’ new Garter Ridge collection on Friday!)

Dress Up Time!

I finished my dollimg_3647She’s got little crocheted ears and a dopey smile (I was trying for a non-dopey smile, but this was the closest I could get).  She’s super cute, and sits on my desk.  She just needs a name… any recommendations?

And, we (OK, I) did a little fashion show this morning!  I didn’t want to start on the doll before the class last weekend, so instead, I made a bunch of clothes while I was waiting.

love this little ensemble.  The cardigan is made with vintage mother-of-pearl buttons from my grandmother’s button collection, and I think this skirt is my favorite garment. (I kind of want one for myself).  It’s covered with bugs!img_3650The next outfit features an oversized color-worked turtleneck and slightly-too-short wide-leg trousers. (Unfortunately, the turtleneck on this one is almost impossible to get over my doll’s head- Oops! Next time, I’ll make the neck with larger needles.)img_3589This more fitted sweater has the same problem as the yellow turtleneck (or maybe my doll just has a really big head?), but I really like the touches of Fair Isle around the edges.  I might even make myself something similar (but with a big enough neckhole).img_3604I’ve got a big bag of yarn in every color of the rainbow (except yellow, because I already used it up- oops!).  I think I’ll be making my doll a whole wardrobe! And, since she’s finished now, I can actually make clothes that fit her.  Exciting!

What should I make next?  What should I call my doll?

And don’t forget!  I’m holding a giveaway for the newest Knit Picks collection, Garter Ridge on Friday!  Comment here to sign up!

Pattern: Carkeek Park Pullover (And a giveaway!)

It’s an incredibly rainy morning in Seattle- we’re bracing for the biggest wind storm since the 1960’s, so keep you fingers crossed that we don’t lose power!

But what could be better on a rainy day than looking at some brand-new patterns!

Maybe looking at some brand-new garter-stitch patterns?  I don’t think anything says “cozy up inside” better than a hot cup of tea and a book full of garter stitch coziness.

Introducing: Garter Ridge, a new collection by Knit Picks, featuring a pattern from yours truly.330151This is probably the sweater that I wear the most.  I love my Carkeek Park Pullover.  It’s super comfy, surprisingly warm and soft.  And, it’s knit with DK-weight yarn, so it’s not bulky (in other words, I can wear it under a jacket or, if it’s really chilly, with another sweater on top… I get cold sometimes),521262201I love the bands of multi-color garter at the hems and yoke.  It’s so fun to order lots of each color and watch how they blend together as you knit them up.  My prototype was knit in shades of green and brown, but I’d love to see Carkeek Pullovers in every color of the rainbow!52126220_31But my sweater isn’t the only gorgeous pattern in this collection!

I think I might make the Helianthus Shawl.  It’s just so pretty, and Preciosa yarn is so fluffy and warm, that you know it’ll even manage to keep me warm.330151011And that cover sweater!  I know the last thing I need is another oversized cardigan.  But I think I need the Nineveh Cardigan.  I love the weird modern shape, and the tiny sleeve detail in the contrasting color- to die for!330151071There are a ton of other gorgeous patterns in this collection.  You definitely want to get yourself a copy!

Want to try your luck and win a free copy?  Comment below with your favorite rainy-day knitting!  I’ll hold the drawing next Friday (rain or shine)!

Dolls with Arne and Carlos

Last weekend, I did something really cool.

I got to meet Arne and Carlos!

(Of course I didn’t get any pictures, because… introvert.)

Arne and Carlos were in town for the Nordic Knitting Conference, and my mom and I spent Saturday in their Knitted Dolls class, where they walked us through their ridiculously cute doll pattern.img_3561They were fantastic teachers, and really nice people who took time to talk to everyone in the class.   They even signed everyone’s books!  (If you read Norwegian, let me know what this says… based on my high-school German and context clues, I think it says something about knitting, but I’m not sure.)img_3564The dolls are worked from their toes up, and I managed to almost get my legs finished in class.img_3583And, I’ve been working on the rest of my doll since then.  She’s still missing most of her head (which is a little creepy), but she’s coming along well.  I ended up making her super girly, but that’s OK.  I love her little blue top and stripey tights.  And who doesn’t love a pair of bright red shoes?

img_3574I’ve got a big pile of yarn in almost every color of the rainbow for this project.  So my next step is to decide what color to use for her hair (do I want her to be blonde?  Red-head? Or maybe she should have purple hair?).  And, of course, I need to make some clothes for my not-so-little dolly!img_3557This pattern is so much fun!  It’s not as fast as I thought it would be- my doll is probably going to be close to 18″ tall- but I am having a great time knitting her up.  And the clothes!  Who doesn’t like knitting miniature sweaters in every color of the rainbow?

Have you ever knit an Arne and Carlos pattern?  What did you make?

Project Tea Cozy: The Top

All right, it’s time to close up the top!  After all, this is a tea cozy, not just a pretty rectangle with a couple weird holes.

I switched to dpns (because I didn’t have a short enough circular needle in the right size), and started working in the round.img_3373I did a few rows even, then decreased all the way around, once every 8th stitch.  I kept going, knitting one row even, then decreasing in pattern, making the decreases line up.

Once I got right to the top, I cut my yarn and passed the tail through the active stitches, the same way I would work the top of a hat.

img_3380Voila! closed up nicely!  If I wanted a smoother top (and less-obvious pleats around each set of decreases), I probably could re-knit it and decrease at a more relaxed rate, but I think I kind of like how the top turned out.

The spout is still pulling in what would be an uncomfortable way if this were a garment for a human, but I think that’ll be sorted out once I work the spout cuff, so I’m not worried.

img_3384The one thing I don’t love is that the handle hole ended up a bit too big- see that gap at the top of the handle?  I’m not a fan.

I mean, not enough to fix anything, but if I were to re-knit this pattern, I might change that.  Otherwise I’m pretty happy.

Speaking of pretty, let’s talk about my notes.  Because those are not even close to pretty anymore.  Observe:


I don’t think there’s a line I haven’t scratched out or adjusted.  I think just about every number had to be re-calculated and each measurement ended up slightly adjusted.

But that’s how designing a new pattern goes- you’ve got to be flexible and ready to find and fix any mistakes, because there will be mistakes.

What do you think of this design so far- I’m getting close to being done!

Inspiration: Tree Skirts

OK, I’m going to share a little peek into how my brain works.  I usually try to keep the weird, free-association-y part of my brain a little under wraps, but here we are.

Last week I talked about how I’ve been dreaming of a cozy knit skirt. And yesterday I talked about how Christmas is 81 days away (actually, now it’s 79 days away!  Eek!).

Skirt + Christmas = tree skirt.

It’s a bit of a stretch, logic-wise, but hey, that’s what I’m thinking about today.

So, let’s talk tree skirts.

For the last 10 years (or whatever it’s been since I left home after high school), I’ve always had a little fake tree.  At first it was a 2-foot tall plastic guy that I could fit in my dorm room.  Then I moved to an apartment, and I got a waist-high silver tinsel tree (it looked especially gaudy with multi-colored lights.  It was the best.  My roommates hated it). Then I got to grad school, and had a more grown-up apartment, with room for a full-size tree, so I got one for $10 from JoAnn’s After-Christmas Sale.  I really scored, since we’re still using that tree years later (though it is beginning to get a little threadbare… it might need to retire soon).

I’ve never had a tree skirt- I just shoved presents down there to hide the foot of the tree.  Or, if I felt fancy, I’d grab a blanket (white, if I could find it), and kind of mushed it around the bottom of the tree to look like snow.  It wasn’t fancy, but it worked well enough.

But, last Christmas, my mom embroidered me a gorgeous felt tree skirt, just like the one she made when I was a kid.  It’s covered in all dozens of little appliques, beads and sequins.  I’m so excited to get out the Christmas tree this year so that I can use my new tree skirt.  (I’ll show you pictures when I get it out from storage- if I dug it out right now, I think my husband would get worried.)

Anyway, with tree skirts on the brain, let’s look at some pretty knit and crochet ones, and wonder why I never thought to make one for myself…

I like the use of granny squares to make a star in this skirt, and the combo of ivory and cranberry red is gorgeous.

Christmas Tree Skirt Pattern by Kara Gunza

crochet_tree_skirt-1-3_medium1Here’s another classy star-shaped skirt.  The use of graduated chevrons is very clever, and by changing the colors or stripe pattern you could come up with some really beautiful variations.

Christmas Tree Skirt by Donna Mason-Svaraskirt2_medium21Or if you wanted to go really classy, this lace-y skirt is just gorgeous.  You could make it in ivory for a real antique look.

7-Hour Tree Skirt by Katherine Eng6148_1_medium1But who says Christmas is a classy holiday?!  Not me!  I may have graduated to a tree-colored tree, but I still have that silver tinsel tree with the bright, multi-colored lights.  Christmas should be tacky and fun, in the best possible way.  And, this multi-colored tree skirt is just the ticket.

Granny Tree Skirt by Ann Regislw3208_project_medium21What’s your favorite Christmas style?  What do you celebrate this time of year?


Christmas Is Coming

Oops!  I totally spaced, you guys.  I was going to give you a 100-day warning about Christmas, but… I forgot.

So this is your warning.

81 days until Christmas.christmas-bmo[1]I’m so sorry.  I know it’s early- Halloween isn’t eve here yet.  But, we’re knitters, and Christmas Knitting is our Superbowl- you can never prepare for it too much.  So get out your Christmas giving lists, dig through your stash, and start trolling Ravelry for good gift ideas.

Good luck!