New Favorite

I just love the feeling of making a new project and immediately knowing that that item is going to be a favorite for years. It’s been a minute since I finished a project on such a high note, and I’ve gotta say, it feels good to experience this again.

I finished my alpaca hat this week- I didn’t even wait to block it before popping it on my head and going about my day. It’s soft, warm and cozy, but still feels fancy. I made the brim super long, so I have options about how I can wear it. I can fold it up higher for warmer days, and wear it right down over my ears when it’s chilly. I love the dark, chocolate brown and the simplicity of the design. It’s an incredibly simple hat, and in its simplicity, it’s ultra-versatile.

In fact, I’m considering writing it up as a pattern. Would that be something you’d be interested in?

Of course, I still can’t take a non-awkward picture of myself to save my life, so this one will have to do.

Have you been really pleased with any of your recent projects?

Buying yarn

I have been thinking about why I’ve been so uninspired by my knitting recently, and what I can do to help turn that around in the new year. And I realized something. I haven’t bought any new yarn since Covid started- almost 3 years ago. I bought a little new yarn when I made the stocking for my little kid (before he was born, 2 years ago). And I bought an extra skein to add to my big kid’s stashbusting sweater this summer. But that’s it. And I ordered them online.

All that’s to say, I was looking at my dwindling stash and I found what I thought was enough yarn for a sweater for my little kid- 1 whole and 2 half-skeins of Berroco Vintage, which made me decide to make a Ben sweater for my little guy. It’s one of my favorite sweaters- I made one for my husband right after we got married years ago, and since then it’s “mysteriously” ended up in my wardrobe. Funny how that happens.

I did a little swatch on smaller-than-called-for needles and measured a bit of the gauge, then ripped it out- I knew I was going to need every last inch if I wanted to make my 2-year-old an entire sweater. I did a bunch of math, and sketched out a simplified, toddler-sized version of the Ben sweater.

I was just about ready to cast on, when I realized two things: 1. There’s no way I have enough yarn for even a toddler sweater- it’s less than 200g, with both colors combined. Maybe enough for a newborn sweater, but not enough for my “robust” 2-year-old. And 2. I want to buy some new yarn!

So I called over my little guy and asked him what color he wanted, to which he of course said “Geen!” (Green is literally the only color he knows, luckily he looks great in green.) And I ordered myself some new yarn! I picked out “Okra,” this cheerful heathered “geen” colorway.

Now I get to wait impatiently for the yarn to come in the mail and I get to start working on my little guy’s sweater. I’m so excited!

What’s the last yarn that you’ve bought for yourself?

Alone

You guys. I’m all alone in the house! It’s amazing. It’s so quiet. I’ve got a new knitting project and a plan to put on a TV show (that isn’t Paw Patrol).

It’s been a while since I was all alone in the house. Between me being a stay-at-home parent and my husband working from home, plus two little kids who aren’t in school yet, time alone is a rarity.

And if time alone is rare enough, time without the kids when I’m awake enough to actually work on something is rarer still. If I’m being honest, I usually pass out in front of the TV or zone out, scrolling Instagram as soon as the kids are down.

All that’s to say, it’s no wonder I haven’t been that excited about knitting for the last little bit. But today it changes! If only for a couple hours.

I’ve busted out my fanciest skein of yarn from my stash and started working on a top-down watch cap so I can use every last inch. It’s a chocolate-brown single-source alpaca that I bought more than ten years ago from a local alpaca farm, which has since gone out of business. But, if I remember correctly, the alpaca that it came from was named Electra, and she was very cute. It’s so soft, and so warm- such a luxurious yarn that I’ve never been able to bring myself to work on it. Which is a shame! Why have fancy yarn if you’re not going to use it?

Anyway, I’m going to head out. I’ve got a true crime documentary calling my name, and some coffee to drink while it’s still hot.

What do you like to knit when you’re treating yourself?

Big Mending

I guess I’m on a mending streak here. My dad was in town a few weeks ago, and he brought his favorite sweater with him. (Hi Dad!) Halfway through the visit he showed me the elbows on his sweater, and they were… disreputable. But, that’s what happens when you wear a sweater every day for years. (Even if you put leather elbow patches on it.)

Elbow 1- Bad.

Elbow 2- Very bad.

He asked me if it was fixable, and I said yes, of course! But after a little investigating I realized that even if I was very careful, the holes/runs were so big that no matter what I did, wouldn’t be invisible. But Dad said that he didn’t mind, and in fact, he asked me to use bright red yarn to fix it! I love a little bit of visible mending, so I got to work.

I used a crochet hook to fix the bigger runs (again, not perfectly- the sweater was commercially made, so I didn’t have the ability to completely match the knitted pattern), then brought in the red yarn.

I picked up stitches along the bottom edge of the holes, and started working back and forth in stockinette stitch. Every RS row, I picked up a stitch from the sweater at the beginning and end of the row (and sometimes in the middle, too), and worked a K2tog with the red and the gray yarns.

The K2togs allowed me to attach the patches as I was knitting them, so there wasn’t any sewing! And, as a bonus, it let me increase and decrease the size of the patches to pretty precisely cover the thin parts of the sweater.

Is it perfect? Not exactly. But I do love the cozy charm of a well-worn and well-patched sweater. And Dad will (hopefully!) get to keep wearing his sweater for years to come.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve mended?

Inspiration: It’s Cold Outside

It’s cold outisde, and not in a fun “Christmas Cheer” kind of way. As I write this, Seattle is in the 20s, which I realize isn’t that cold, compared to some parts of the country right now. But, we’ve had freezing rain all day, and literally every surface outside is covered in a sheet of ice. So scary!

Needless to say, I’m staying inside where the floor has traction and the air is warm enough that I can be comfortable wearing only one sweater.

But while I’m in here, I’m going to stare longingly out the window and dream about the cozy sweaters I could be making.

First, the Snowy Forest pullover by by┬áMidori Hirose. This is just gorgeous- I love the plump cables and the wildly oversized shape. It’s cozy, but still feminine, and way out of my wheelhouse. It could be a fun project to use to stretch my knitting “legs.”

And it can’t be a round up of cozy sweaters without an Icelandic yoked sweater. Levi by Sari Norlund is just to die for. I love it in the soft grayscale, but can you imagine it in wild rainbow colors?!

I know I’m a bit late to this pattern, but man, have you looked at this sweater? The Handsome Chris Pullover is gorgeous. Maybe not quite as cozy as the other two sweaters, but I think I would wear the heck out of this one. You know me- I do love a cabled sweater.

What’s your favorite sweater to reach for when you’re cold?

A Christmas Wish

I usually try to make a little printable gift or a funny card or something for you all at Christmas, but this year, I just don’t have the energy or brain cells required for something like that (not to mention my Photoshop skills are dicey at on a good day, when I’ve had plenty of sleep and more than 5 minutes to myself at any one time).

So instead, this year, I just want to wish you guys a merry Christmas (or a happy/joyous/festive whatever-it-is-you-celebrate). If there are gifts involved in your holiday, I hope you get exactly what you want and that the recipients of your gifts are grateful for the effort you put into finding the perfect gift. If there is food involved in your holiday, I hope it is delicious and that you get to take seconds of your favorite dish. I hope you have time with the people that mean the most to you, and that you get to relax and spend time by yourself. I hope your decorations are festive and that you get exactly the right amount of snow for whatever you want to do. I hope you get time to knit with a hot drink by your side, and your favorite music on the radio. I hope the next couple weeks are calm and restorative and get the next year off on the right foot.

And most of all, I hope you don’t get so tipsy while you’re knitting that you have to frog that dang sleeve again.

Happy Holidays!

-Allison

Flying off my needles

Look at this, you guys! I actually finished another project!

It’s the third of this hat I’ve whipped up in the last couple weeks, and this one is for my 2-year-old for his stocking. The kids dyed their yarn (with a lot of help) a while ago, and I just love how it turned out. This one is such a cheerful, bright blue- I know it’s going to be a favorite for a long time.

And the weirdest thing is that everyone in my family basically wears the same size hat now. Sure, the hats are a little snug on me and my husband, and a little large on the kids (especially the little one), but they essentially fit on all four of us… er… 5 of us.

Poor Ollie… he puts up with a lot. But he does look dapper in a hat.

What’s the last pattern you worked multiple times?

Like an Elf

OK, y’all. I got one done! And it didn’t even take all that long. (In hours of work time, anyway. In days/weeks of calendar time, that’s a different story.)

It turned out super cute, even though the top is a little different from the one I made myself- I’m not sure exactly what happened there, but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t use a pattern… or notes…

I think the big kid is going to like it!

But here’s the big question: it’s only a couple short weeks until Christmas- will I have time to make a second for the little kid? Or will they get a nice “New Year’s Hat” instead? Fingers crossed.

When’s the last time you had to race against the calendar to get a project done?

When it rains

You guys, we must be having bad luck lately. Or maybe a mouse, or worse yet, moths. *Shudder.* Now my husband has a hole right in the middle of his sweater!

(I don’t really think we have mice or moths… I think we just have two very active children and we’re always hauling them (and their stuff) all over the place, so we’re not as gentle on our things as maybe we should be.)

If I didn’t know better, I’d say this sweater got snipped by scissors. It’s not in a thinned-out patch, it’s just right on the belly. And there’s no obvious pull in the knitting, so I don’t think it got caught on a loose nail or anything. It’s a mystery!

But, luckily for me, that makes it pretty easy to fix, especially because I found some almost-identical garnet-red yarn in my stash. It’s not the original yarn (that’s long gone), but it’s close enough to not matter.

A little duplicate stitch and voila! Picture perfect. (It’s even less noticeable in person!)

Fingers crossed that this mend actually works.

What have you mended lately?

A little more mending

You know how I was so proud of the visible mending I did the other day on my favorite sweater?

I was totally patting myself on the back, pleased with how well it turned out and how much I liked the little red patch. I even was thinking that I should add some decorative bits of visible mending on parts of the sweater that don’t strictly need mending yet. You know, for aesthetic reasons.

Well, in a real Icarus moment, I went to further admire my handiwork yesterday, and I realized that… I hadn’t actually fixed the cuff. It turns out that I had only patched up part of the thinned-out section. Sigh.

Oh well, I guess it’s an opportunity for me to get a little more color introduced to the sweater, albeit not for “aesthetic” reasons. Ah well.

I picked up the dropped stitches with a little sapphire-blue wool, reinforced the cuff edge with some fairly random stitches and then locked the whole thing down with a little blanket stitch.

It’s not as tidy as the red patch was, but I was pressed for time and this should hold well enough. Fingers crossed that I’ve got all the loose ends this time around. But, if I don’t, well, then I guess I’ll just keep adding colors.

Have you ever had to go back and re-mend something right after you thought you fixed it?