Inspiration: Knit Skirts

I’m a traditionalist, especially when it comes to knitting.  Sweaters are fine. Hats are great.  Mittens and gloves are a-OK.  Leggings are questionable, and vests are to be tolerated at best.  And skirts are right out.  Why would you knit a skirt?!  It would be so bulky… And it couldn’t possibly wear well over time-  it would pill and sag like nobody’s business.  (And no one wants a pill-y, saggy skirt.)

Well.

OK.  I’ve been tempted.

The weather is turning cool and autumnal, I’ve got apple cider in the fridge, and I’ve broken out my scarves for the first time in months.  It’s delightful.

And, I was thinking how nice it would be to have a little knit skirt.  Nothing too fancy, but something cute that I can wear with leggings and boots.  I’ve even got a big bag of charcoal gray worsted weight in my closet, waiting for me to find a project for it.

Hmmm.  I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to look at a few patterns.

I like the simplicity of this one, but I think it would be pretty tedious to knit.  Let’s find something more fun!

Simple Straight Skirt by Churchmouse Yarns and Teassimple-straight-skirt4_medium21I love the cables on this one.  It seems so archetectural.   But is it too fancy?

Dickson by Norah Gaughanngv13_dickson_lg_medium21I love the simple cable/seed stitch detailing.  The cable positioning is really flattering.

Bryn Mawr Skirt by Nancy Eisemanclsoe-up2-sweater-skirt_medium1
I like the use of ribbing and cables on this one.  Even though it’s super-thickly cabled, the elasticity of the ribbing should keep it fairly flattering. (And, while it’s real short, that could easily be fixed.)

The Bum Cosy, by Shireen Nadirdscf1908_medium21Choices, choices!  Maybe I’ll have to design one that combines my favorite parts of all four skirts…  Which one would you choose?

Project Tea Cozy: In The Belly of The Beast?

Last week I did my first try at writing up the Tea Cozy pattern.

This week I did a bunch of knitting (and proofreading)!

Remember that math I did last week?  I determined that I needed about 120 sts around the belly of the pot.  I could just cast on 120 sts, but I want the ribbing at the bottom  to be a little tighter.  I think it’ll look better that way.

I figured if I want to increase about 1 st per 8, that should give me the result I’m looking for- just a little tighter, without any weird puckering.  So, a little more math, a bit of estimation, and I’ll cast on 106 sts.

I worked a p2 (k2p2) rib for a generous half inch (5 rows), then worked an increase row to get me up to 120 sts.

Then it was colorwork time!  img_3348Hoo boy, did I underestimate the amount of ends I would be generating!  So many stripes, so many color changes.  Oops!  At least it looks pretty.

Also, I want to bring your attention to a detail I’m really proud of.  Look at the edge of the handle hole (I really need a better word for that):img_3370See the brown edge?  I made a little mini-skein of brown for each side, and used intarsia to work a few stitches of garter stitch to keep the ends from curling.  I think it makes the tea cozy look really professional.

Now I just have to figure out how I want to make the hole for the spout…  Hmm.

Treat. Yo. Self.

This is silly, but I’ve never had a nice shawl pin.

I’ve made some out of wire, and I even made a couple out of clay, when I was working in a ceramics studio (but those broke almost immediately).  And, honestly, if I needed one, I’d grab a pencil or a DPN.  I’ve bought them for other people, and I always admire them when I’m at a yarn store with a good selection.

Anyway, a few weeks ago my husband and I went on a little day trip to visit some friends on Bainbridge Island.  It’s one of my favorite things to do- I love riding the ferry across the sound and spending the day in delightful little shops, drinking coffee and visiting brew pubs.

And, there’s a super fancy yarn store on the island, Churchmouse Yarns and Teas (even the name is fancy).  I love visiting there, even though I always feel like I’m not fancy enough to be there.  But that’s how I roll- super casual.

I was at the checkout (getting some yarn that will become someone’s Christmas present- ssh, it’s a surprise!), and I saw a little glass full of silvery shawl pins in the shape of twigs.  How adorable!

I decided to take the advice of two of my favorite characters from Parks and Rec, and one of the shawl pins made it into my shopping bag.

treat-yo-self1Now, I am the proud owner of a JUL Bronze Twig Shawl Pin.  It’s adorable and shiny, and makes me feel very fancy.  It’s perfect for my Stranger Cardigan and Campside Cardi, since they don’t have buttons.img_3539Do you have a favorite too-fancy store?  What was your latest “Treat Yo Self” purchase?

Pattern: Mini Knapsack

I made another pattern, you guys!  It’s a silly little one, and I kind of love it.

Say hello to the Mini Knapsack!img_3239This tiny backpack is totally functional (if you’re about a foot tall).  It has straps, a flap to keep the rain off your tiny books and a drawstring that keeps the whole thing closed.

img_3214 It’s about the right size for an American Girl Doll, or something a little smaller.img_3243It works up pretty quickly in fingering-weight yarn (I used KnitPicks’ Palette, since I had some in the right colors), a perfect gift for a favorite school-aged doll-enthusiast.

Want the pattern? Get it here: Mini Knapsack Pattern

Project Tea Cozy: Let’s Begin

I’ve got the gauge, I’ve got the stitch pattern, and I’ve got the design in my head.  It’s time to start getting this pattern on paper.

I’ll start by measuring my teapot.  19″ around the fattest part, which, with some math, can give me my stitch count.

img_3316Then I’ll sketch out my design, adding in notes about all the details- where the increases will be, what stitch pattern to use, etc.  I’m going to make this tea pot like a modified hat.  So, I’ll start from the bottom and work up, but I’m going to knit flat (until I make it to the “crown”).  That will make it easy to make the big hole for the handle; I’ll just sew up an inch or so at the hem, and voila!  Tea cozy.  (Or at least that’s the plan.)img_3331Then, starting with the cast on at the bottom, I write a first draft of the pattern, knowing that a bunch of it will be wrong.  But that’s OK, that’s what first drafts are for!img_3337Then, I finalized the stitch pattern…

Oh.  Except…

I totally used up most of the yarn I was planning on using (I got excited about another project and used up almost all the red and yellow and blue… oops!)img_3323Well, I’ve got lots of neutrals, so I guess this teapot will be more neutral than bright and colorful.  Ooh!  I can use neutrals for the stripes and colors for the dots.  That should look cute!img_3342OK, now that everything’s set up and beautiful, it’s time to start knitting!  (And time to start figuring out where all my mistakes are!)

Drawing Day

It’s my favorite day of the month!  Drawing Day!

Last week (OK, last Monday and the Friday before that) I posted not one but two giveaways of KnitPick’s newest pattern collections, On the Go Knits and Knits for Everybody.  Quite a few of you entered the giveaway, and now it’s time for the drawing.

First off, On the Go Knits!330141Let’s head over to Random.org for a random drawing….hats-drawingAnd, number 9 wins it!  Amanda!  That’s you! Woo!

And now over to Knits for Everybody.  (This is too exciting- two drawings, in one day! Unheard of!)330131And the random number generator says:socks-drawingCommenter number 3!  You’re the big winner!  Audrey, that’s you!

I’ll be emailing you two today so we can arrange getting your books to you.  If you don’t see my email, let me know (sometimes they end up in the spam folder).

Congrats ladies!  And if you weren’t the lucky one this time, head on over to KnitPicks and pick up copies of the books for yourself (they’re really great- and on sale right now!).

New Library!

This is very exciting (at least for me).

I’ve re-done my pattern library for the first time since I started the blog three years ago.  Instead of the terrible single column list of patterns, I now have multiple pages!  Three columns!  Standardized photo sizes!  I’m very pleased with myself.

Check it out!  If you hover over “Pattern Library” at the top of the page, you’ll see a drop-down list with all the pattern categories. (Fancy!)dropdownOr, if you click through, you can visit the Pattern Library Main Page.  So many patterns! (I guess I’ve been busy the last few years.)mainmenuSo, please, take a minute to check out the new-and-improved pattern library (and tell me if you see any problems-I’m sure I messed it up somewhere).   It was a shockingly large amount of work to get to look the way I wanted it.  And, a big ol’ thank you to my husband for helping me with formatting- I certainly wouldn’t have figured out how to do columns on my own.

And!  Don’t forget to sign up for both of my giveaways!  I’ll be doing the drawing on Monday, so you’ve just got through the weekend!

Project Tea Cozy: The Swatch

Woo! It’s tea cozy time!  (Almost.)

I know no one likes swatching, me included.  (And, if I’m being honest, I rarely make a swatch if I’m following someone else’s pattern.)  But, when you’re designing a pattern making a swatch is an absolute necessity.

So I pulled out my favorite colors and made one great big swatch with three different patterns, to see which I liked best.

The first pattern was a wide stripe-and-polka dot combo.  I like it, but I think it’s a bit big for a tea cozy- after all my teapot is a little on the small side.img_3299Then, I thought, “Maybe something fancier-something more Fair Isle-y.”  I like this diamond pattern quite a bit.img_3312But, again, I think it might be too big.  So I worked up a scaled-down version of the first pattern.  Narrow stripes with teeny polka dots.  Sure, I’ll have to deal with a million little ends, but I think I like the result best.img_3304So, I’ve got my swatch and decided on my pattern.  I measured the gauge, and made sure to write it down in my book.

img_3344I’ve taken my measurements and have a plan in my head.  Next time, we’ll get down into the nitty-gritty of math.

Don’t forget!  I’ve got 2 (count ’em!) giveaways going on as we speak.  Comment here for a chance to win a copy of On the Go Knits, or here for a chance to win Knits for Everybody!

What?! More Patterns?

That’s right, knitters!  I’ve got another brand-spanking-new pattern, just for you!

(Actually it’s kind of 4 patterns in one!  I know!  Crazy!)

Last week, Knit Picks published another great collection, Knits for Everybody.  It’s such a smart book- I know I’ll be keeping my copy close at hand.330131Knits for Everybody is a collection of four super simple patterns (hats, sweaters, socks and mittens), useful staples that everyone can use (and make customize, if that’s how you roll).  But here’s the awesome part:  They are literally for everybody.  The sweater sizes go from a 3-month-old baby all the way up to a Men’s XXL.  The hats fit everyone from a preemie to a big-headed adult (like me).  And, my socks go from a 4″ foot circumference all the way up to a 10.5″ circumference.330131071My sock pattern is a super simple knitted sock with a heel flap in literally every size.  But here’s the cool part:  You can follow the directions to knit from the top down (my favorite), or from the toe up (my second favorite), and end up with virtually the same sock.  That way you can use whichever method feels right for you.330131081And, I’ve provided two slightly different variations: Socks (knit in sock weight, with a long ribbed cuff) and Slippers (knit in super-squishy worsted with a shorter cuff).

Of course, you can jazz up these socks and slippers whatever way you like.  Add stripes? Yes.  Change the ribbing? Why not!  Work some cables? Sure!  You can customize these socks (or any other pattern in the book) with no problem for socks that are truly your own!330131091Want to win a copy of Knits for Everybody?  Tell me which pattern you would make, and who it would be for. Socks for your auntie?  A hat for your nephew? A sweater just for you?

Patterns: Hats!

Guys!  I’ve got two (count ’em, two!) new patterns in Knit Picks’ new pattern book, On the Go Knits.  It’s a collection of projects perfect for running/hiking/working in the garden.  Everything is worked in high-contrast colors of machine-washable yarn.  This book is full of some really pretty (and practical) patterns, and I know I’ll be knitting up a few of them.330141The best part? I’ve got two hats in this collection!

The Collapsible Cap is a super comfy beanie, worked with wide ribbing all the way up to the crown.  It’s worked in super-soft Swish Worsted, which might be my favorite kind of yarn for hats.  And, because of all the ribbing, it fits just about anyone.  And, when you take it off it collapses in on itself, making it perfect for stashing in your pocket when it gets too warm. (My husband and I fight over the Collapsible Cap I made him.  It’s really great.)330141011My other pattern is one I’m really proud of-  It’s the Pocket Hat.  (OK, I didn’t do a great job naming this one, but the hat itself is great.)

From the outside, the hat is a cute two-tone cap knit in sock-weight yarn with a wide ribbed band and a little section of color work around the middle.  Cute, right?330141031But, look inside, and you’ll find a secret pocket!  Fastened with a button, it’s the perfect hiding spot for a few bucks (so you can stop by the coffee shop on your way back from your run), your drivers license (just in case), or your a key (so you can get back into your house).330141041I’m so happy with these patterns, and I know you will be, too!

Want to win a copy of On the Go Knits? Comment below with the activity you’d do while wearing something from this collection!  Would you go running with the In Motion Vest?  Take a hike with the Arrow Gloves?  Practice yoga with the Yogini Socks?  Inquiring minds need to know!

(Also- More exciting news is on its way!  So come back on Monday!)