Grumpy Old Man

We’re firmly in the midst of the June Gloom here this week.  If you’re not from Seattle, you might not be familiar with the June Gloom.  Think of it as Indian Summer, except instead of happening in the fall, it happens in the middle of summer, and instead of having surprisingly nice weather, everything gets gray and drizzly, and it doesn’t make it out of the fifties for a couple weeks.

I forget about the June Gloom every year, and just as I start breaking out my tank tops, shorts and sun dresses, Bam! It’s sweater weather again.

Not a big deal for me (obviously, I love a good sweater).  But, my kid was born at the beginning of April, so I assumed that he wouldn’t need warm clothes until he was quite a bit bigger.  I made one sweater that currently fits him, and did an “emergency” Target run to get him a hoodie that wouldn’t swallow him whole.  But, the kid has no hats!  (And no hair!)  He just looks so chilly when we go on walks (my husband says I’m projecting, since I’m always cold, which is 100% possible).

Anyway, I whipped up a quick little hat with some super-soft gray wool to match his little old man sweater.  It’s nothing fancy, just a bottom-up hat with a little ribbing on the brim and a simple crown.  Functional, soft, and warm.I took the boy outside to hang out under our apple tree yesterday afternoon.  The sun had come out, for once, but it was still a little on the chilly side, so I decided to bundle him up.  Sweater, sweatpants (baby pants are hilarious), and… his brand-new hat.

Well, at first he didn’t quite know what to make of it.Then he tried to take it off, but his hand-control isn’t quite there yet.Then he just got mad.So, I guess we’re just not going to be putting hats on him for a while. (And don’t worry, I took this one off right away, and he was soon happily looking at the tree branches and spitting up all over his sweater.)

Of course the knitter’s kid hates hats!  Dang!

Have you ever made something for someone that absolutely hated it?

Button Time!

It’s my favorite part of a project!  Time to pick out buttons!

I finished up my two Baby Surprise Jackets over the weekend, sewing up their shoulder seams and leaving them out to block.  And, then I dove into my big jar o’ vintage buttons that I inherited from my Grandma, and managed to find the perfect little quarter-inch buttons for both sweaters.

The Purple BSJ ended up with opalescent pink buttons.And the green sweater ended up with shiny, cream-colored buttons.The sweaters turned out great!  I love how the gradients turned out, and they’re super soft and squooshy (that’s totally a word, right?).  I even like how the backs ended up!I’ve always thought the little mitered stripes on the back of the cuffs/arms are the cutest.  I realize that’s kind of a silly little detail to really care about.  After all, who looks at the back of the cuff when determining  if a sweater has “turned out”?  But, hey- I can like whatever I want.I particularly like the two sweaters together, they look like they should be worn by fraternal twins, or very close-in-age siblings.  (They were worked from the same yarn base, but on slightly different needles, so the pink/purple sweater is just a scootch smaller than the blue/green one.)I gotta say, that Elizabeth Zimmermann really knew her stuff- this sweater always turns out super cute!

Have you finished anything fun lately?

On A Roll

You know what?  That blue-and-green Baby Surprise Jacket was so much fun, I think I’m just going to keep going!  (And I’m still writing these posts from the past, so I’ve got nothing but time as I wait for this gigantic baby to decide to show up.  Seriously!  I’m a really fun combination right now of bored and uncomfortable, and I need something fun to keep me entertained.  I’m sure that by the time you read this, I’ll more than have my hands full, what with keeping a baby alive and happy, but for now I’ve got to keep myself occupied.)

I dove into my stash again, and this time, I found a bunch of bits and bobs of really lovely pink and purple yarn!I’ve already started chugging away, working my way through the my first couple mini-balls of rich violets and royal purples.

I’ve come down a needle size (I’m using US6s instead of US7s), and the fabric is turning out a little more sturdy than the blue-and-green sweater (which is super loose and drapey, but still lovely).  Because it’s a smaller needle, the sweater is going to end up being a little smaller, too.

I think that’s OK, though.  After all, babies tend to be pretty little, at least at first.

Have you got anything fun on your needles these days?

Wheee!

Sometimes you just get cranking on a project, and before you know it, you’ve finished!  (Or nearly finished).  I love those projects- I’m in the zone, my needles flying.

And, this Baby Surprise Jacket was definitely one of those projects.

I had intended to use a bunch of blue and gray yarn, but it turns out, that I didn’t have as much of those colorways as I had originally thought.  I was a little worried at first, but then I realized, I could just add more colors!  The more colors the merrier, right?  Plus, you know how much I love using up scraps from my stash.

So, instead of plain ol’ blue stripes, I ended up with a very cool (if you don’t mind me saying) blue-to-green gradient!

I finished up the knitting on the sweater yesterday, and as much as I love the gradient, I think my favorite part of this (or any) BSJ is how it folds up- it’s the most satisfying feeling ever!  You start with this weird, wobbly-looking piece of knitting, then you fold up one side…and the other…And, ta-da!  you’ve got a beautiful little baby sweater.

Sure, it still needs a little seaming along the sleeves and some buttons, plus a nice round of blocking wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s essentially finished.

I’m so happy with how this little cardigan has turned out- I think the Baby Surprise Jacket might just be my favorite sweater pattern ever.

ProcrastiKNITion

OK,  I’m “supposed to” be working on my Provincial Tweed sweater.  Or at least “supposed to” be coming up with a plan for that sweater.

Instead, my mind is a blank, and all I want to do is use up more of my sock yarn.  I want to follow a pattern (no math for me today, thank you very much).  And I want to do something quick, easy and familiar.

Well.  I guess there’s just one thing for it.

I’ve gotta break out my Elisabeth Zimmermann and make another Baby Surprise Jacket.I love this pattern.  It’s super simple, with almost zero finishing (unless you put in a bunch of stripes, which I plan on doing… oops).  It’s absolutely ingenious, to the point where I have no idea how EZ figured out how to design and write the dang thing in the first place.  It’s a great way to use up whatever bits and bobs of leftover yarn and salvaged buttons you have laying around.  And, the pattern’s style is absolutely charming.

It’s not a standardized, modern pattern, that’s for sure.  The copy that I use is a reproduced version of the original by-mail newsletter from 1968.  It’s been written on a typewriter, and amended with little drawings, diagrams and notes from Ms. Zimmermann herself.  She has includes little chivvying remarks and jokes in with her pattern instructions, and lets her personality shine through the text of her pattern.  I feel like we would have gotten along swimmingly.Anyway, all that’s to say that I’m making a Baby Surprise Jacket for the little one, using all the leftover bits of blue and gray yarn I have left in my stash after finishing off his baby blanket.  I’m really excited!

Do you have a favorite pattern you go back to time and again when you’re waiting for inspiration to strike?

Putting On My Thinking Cap

It’s been nice to be finished with my Papaya Sweater.  But it was on my needles for so long that I kind of got used to having it as my easy go-to when I had a few minutes of knitting time.  It was something that I always knew I could pick up and get to work on without thinking about what I had to do next.

Now that it’s done, I’ve actually got to put a little thought into what I’m going to do next.

I’ve already decided that I want to use the Provincial Tweed yarn that I got from Knit Picks.  It’s a beautiful colorway, it’s super soft, and I have enough for a whole sweater, so how could I say no?

I spent yesterday morning winding up all the skeins, and now I have a very satisfying bowl of yarn cakes, ready for action!And then, I spent the afternoon working up a nice-sized swatch on US8s.And, I gotta say… I was not expecting this yarn to make such lovely, silky fabric.

I’m not complaining, but I was really surprised how this yarn knit up.  I was expecting something with a little more texture, a little more stitch definition, but that doesn’t seem to be what this yarn wants to do.It’s possible that if I go down a needle size (or two or three), this yarn might get a little more backbone, but I don’t know if I want to futz with that.  It might be better to just go with the flow (or rather, go with the nice flow-y fabric that I’ve already got).

I had been planning on making some sort of  cabled pullover, something like this one (except maybe a little less fancy).  But, I don’t think that’s going to work with the texture of the Provincial Tweed yarn.Instead, I’m now thinking I might need to make something a little looser and drapier.  (And something that possibly looks a lot more like my Papaya Sweater than I had originally intended for this yarn.)  I might try a cardigan like this, or design something myself.I’ve got to put my thinking cap on for a bit and see if I can’t figure out what I should do.  (Or, in true Allison fashion, I could leave the yarn to percolate in my studio for the next six months or so before I ever actually knit anything with it.)

What would you do in this situation?

Pattern: Puget Sound Socks

New pattern today!  (OK, really, a new pattern last Wednesday, but still!)

Introducing my new favorite socks, the Puget Sound Socks!

They’re a super cute, semi-girly (or at least girly compared to my usual designs), calf-length socks knit up in super-fancy Capretta (a gorgeous merino-cashmere blend from Knit Picks).  They feature an asymmetrical design and mirror-image lace panels from cuff to toe.  A pretty good design, if I say so myself.But here’s the exciting part:  my Puget Sound Socks have been published in the newest sock collection from Knit Picks, Splendid Soles, which features some fancy-as-freinds designs.  Cables, knee socks, insane details- they’re all there!  And they’re just gorgeous!

I mean, look at these cables!

And this texture!And these are insanely impressive!And I honestly don’t even  know how these were designed!  So impressive!Want Splendid Soles for yourself?  Head over to Knit Picks and pick up a copy!

 

FO

So, have you been up to anything exciting lately?  Cool!

Oh, me?  Not that much.

Just hanging out with this dude.Everybody!  Say hi to my son!  He’s pretty much the best.He’s a huge, healthy, and hungry baby boy, born on April 14th.  He was just over 9 pounds at birth, and surprisingly tall and skinny- over 20″ (he takes after his dad’s family in his body type, but his face looks just like the babies in my family).  He’s a big fan of staying up all night, drinking lots of milk, and riding in the baby carrier when his dad and I go for walks.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be a big fan of hats and is currently too small for the sweaters I’ve made for him, so his appreciation of knitwear is a bit limited so far.  Though, he does like his garter stitch blanket, especially on car rides.I’ve still got a bunch of posts in the chamber, ready to go.  So, you’ll still be hearing from me “from the past” for the next couple months, but I wanted to stop in and give you an update while I recuperate and the boy learns that nighttime is for sleeping.

Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll manage to find some time to get a little knitting done, too.  Who knows- miracles can happen!

See you soon!

Rub-a-Dub-Dub

I’m probably the last person in the developed world to make this discovery, but have you guys ever used a lingerie bag for your laundry?

I just got a couple of these bad boys to help with the baby’s clothes (a friend recommended using them to wash baby socks and other stupidly tiny things that you need to wash, but don’t want to lose).  And, it occurred to me that they might be great for washing hand-knits too.The whole idea of lingerie bags is that they protect your dedicates from being over-agitated in the washing machine, keeping them looking like new.  And, since agitation is what makes knitwear felt, this seems like a perfect alternative to hand-washing.

My (and my husband’s) stash of socks is starting to look a little bit ratty and felted.  And, while I knit socks with only super-wash yarn, there’s a limit to how many hundreds of times that you can wear and machine-wash a pair without them starting to get a little worn-out and sad.

It’s past the point of no return for some of my current socks, but I’m going to try using the lingerie bags to wash any new socks from now on.  It’ll be a long experiment, but I think it’ll work out well.  Ask me in a couple of years, and I’ll give you an update!

Do you use lingerie bags for your washing?  Am I an idiot for never using them before?

800

Pardon my French, but holy balls, you guys!  This is my 800th post!

That’s a lot of posts.

That’s a lot of photos and a lot of knitting.  A lot of patterns (both my patterns and other peoples’ patterns), and even a bookI know I say it every time that I reach a milestone of one sort or another, but holy cow, you guys!  Thank you!  It’s insane to me that I’ve been at this for so long, and that people like what I’m saying enough to continue to follow along.

But here’s the thing.  I’m writing this from the past, in preparation for my maternity leave.  I still have my brain more-or-less in tact, and have been (usually) getting enough sleep, and I still have trouble coming up with new ideas for posts from time to time.

So, is there anything that you want to see?   More patterns?  Different patterns?  New tutorials?  More pictures of my dog? (That one’s easy.)Holler at your girl and let me know!  And let’s do another 800 posts! Woo!