Pattern Spotlight: Pussyhat Project

You guys know I try not to get too political on this blog (though I seem to be less good at being apolitical lately).  But sometimes there’s something political that comes up that I simply can’t ignore.

And when that something political also happens to involve knitting, well… I can’t help myself.

So you all know what’s happening on Friday (Hint: someone new’s moving into the White House), but you might not know what’s happening on Saturday.

It’s the Women’s March on Washington (and, really, across the country-  take a look, I bet there’s going to be a March near you this weekend).  The March is in support of women’s rights, as well as inclusivity for all minorities- African Americans, Muslim Amerians, LGBTQ+ Americans and everyone else.  It’s going to be an amazing event, and I can’t wait to take part.

And, one of the grassroots symbols of this event is this goofy knit pink hat, the Pussyhat (like pussycat, get it?).  pussyhatprojectcoverIt’s a simple hat, but it means a lot.  First, it’s taking some very “feminine” things (the color pink, the act of hand-knitting) that have been underestimated and devalued, and turns them into a strong political statement.  Second, the hats are a visual marker of just how many women (and men) believe that women’s rights are important- I’ve already seen people around town wearing their Pussyhats.  More than 100,000 people have pledged to make hats already, and yarn stores across the country are running out of pink yarn!  And third, these hats are all handmade, all worked with care, thought, and love, by people who believe in the power of women and that we all (women, men, people of color, etc.) have an important role to play in this country.  And, in my mind, at least, that’s a powerful statement.86c0bfde-6956-4e87-957e-63787f2444d4I’ve already made three hats, but I plan to work up as many as I can in the time before Saturday.  I’ll keep one for myself, but I’ll give away the others to anyone who wants them.  They’re a small gesture, but they’re a great reminder of what we’re all fighting for- equality, respect, and the right to live our lives the way that is best for us.

If you’re interested in making a hat (or two or three), you can find the official instructions here.  Or, if you prefer to knit in the round (like me), here’s what I did:

Pussyhat In The Round

One size fits most adults

Materials:

  • US8 12-16″ cable needle
  • about 50g worsted weight yarn (pink)
  • Yarn needle

CO 80, and prepare to work in the round.  (K2, P2) around for 2 to 3 inches.  Then, K all sts until the hat measures about 8.5 inches from the CO edge.  Cut the yarn, leaving a very generous tail, and use the tail to sew up the top of the hat with the Kitchener stitch.  Weave in ends and block if desired.

What?! More Patterns?

That’s right, knitters!  Surprise!  Another pattern- and it’s one I’m super proud of!

Introducing: The Laura Shawl!521622201It’s a gorgeous (if I say so myself) cabled wrap, almost six feet long and two feet wide.  It looks great wrapped around your shoulders, or cozied up under your chin.  And, frankly, it’s big enough to act as a lap blanket when you go out to eat, and they set you too close to a drafty window.

The Laura Shawl is knit in gorgeous tweedy wool that works great with cables.  Four wide panels of complex cables are interspersed with some knit/purl texture, and the whole bad boy is finished with thick fringe on either end, just to make it feel extra-luxurious.

52162220_21The best part?  It’s part of another beautiful book from Knit Picks, the Woodsmoke Cable Collection.331101This book is absolutely breathtaking.  It’s chock full of 16 lushly cabled patterns- sweaters, blankets, scarves and hats.

I mean, look at these:331101111Really, I want to work up all of these for myself.  (Or maybe have someone else do it so I don’t have to wait?)331101151What’s that? You want a copy?  Buy yourself a copy here!

Or, comment below with a description of your most complicated cable project for a chance to win a free copy!  (The winner will be named next Friday, so stay tuned!)

New Pattern: Gradient Hat and Scarf

How does that old saying go?  “A new year, a new pattern?”  That sounds right… yeah.

Well, however that saying goes (and whether or not it’s actually a saying), I’ve got a new pattern for you!

It’s the middle of January, and it’s real cold, so what could be better than a super-squishy, extra warm, nice and thick hat-and-scarf combo?

Nothing.  That’s what.

Introducing: the Gradient Scarf and Hat.52178220_5_medium1This bad boy is made from worsted-weight merino, held TRIPLE, so you know it’s going to keep you warm.  Both the hat and scarf are worked all over in broken rib, one of my favorite stitches.  The fabric is soft, squishy and totally comfy.   Plus, there’s a mean pompom on top of the hat.  You gotta love a pompom. I mean, look at it:52178220_15_medium21And, that’s not all!  This pattern is one of eight in Knit Picks’ new book Quick and Cozy: Bulky Knit Accessories.  Patterns like this adorable red cowl from the cover:75279d1And these gorgeous colorwork mittens:75279d1051You can order a copy of the book here!  Or, if you’re feeling lucky, comment below with your favorite thing to knit in January to be entered to win your very own copy of Quick and Cozy!  (The winner will be announced next Wednesday!)

Inspiration: Chicken Run

I don’t know what you’ve been doing since the holidays, but we’ve been hanging out at home, eating the last of the Christmas cookies and watching old favorite movies.  (If you were wondering, What About Bob? and Galaxy Quest are still delightful.  And, after watching Die Hard, I discovered that apparently I have a fear of elevator shafts. Who knew?)

Do you remember Chicken Run?  It was one of my favorites when I was a kid, but my husband had never seen it!  We had to fix that.chicken-runAnd, it totally holds up!  I mean, it’s claymation chickens doing The Great Escape, how could it not be great?  It’s exciting!  Sweet!  Full of knitting!

What’s that?  You don’t believe me?  You don’t think that chickens knit?  Well, let me prove you wrong.

Chickens wear sneaky balaclavas (and not-so-sneaky balaclavas) when they are sneaking around, making secret escape plans.balaclavasAdd a pompom to this one, and you could make an adorable chicken-balaclava for your favorite kid.

Elf Pixie Ribbed Balaclava by Agnese Iskrovail_570xn-857359661_hovs_small1Ginger, the heroine of the movie and chicken escape mastermind, always wears a very cute little green hat.  It’s a rolled-brim beanie with two little I-cord nubbins on top.gingerI’d totally rock a Ginger Hat, too!

Ginger’s Hat by Becky Veverka37215300_8b600e4c0a_m1And, of course, the lovable (and loveably daffy) Babs is a character that every knitter can identify with.  With her constantly clicking needles and ever-present knitting, she might be one of the most accurate depictions of knitters I’ve seen on TV.  She’s always got something on her needles, especially when she’s trying to hold it together in the face of certain death.  (I don’t face certain death often, but if I did, I’d totally want my knitting with me.)babsMake yourself a flock of tiny chickens in honor of Babs, Ginger and the rest of the gang.

#29 Tiny Chickens by Anna HrachovecPIRATES- Amanda Vines BLAZERS U6-Rick BarrettHave you seen Chicken Run lately?  What old favorite movies do you love to revisit?

Bears in the Air!

It’s time.

(OK, actually I had meant to take these guys to the post office before Christmas… but the post office at Christmas should be avoided at all costs, so I procrastinated like a champ.)

It’s time for my bears to get all packed up and head up north, then to be sent out to all the corners of the world to meet up with their kids.

I’ve managed to finish 11 bears this year, all with leftover yarn and sweet little (grumpy) faces made out of felt.  I’ve tied the little tags onto their wrists, and they’re packed up snug to fly to Mother Bear HQ in Minnesota.img_4480Once they get there, I’ll keep my eye out on their photo gallery to see if I can spot these little guys when they finally get where they’re going.img_4493Now I have to find another box and start making more bears for next year!

What to do? What to do?

My lovely husband is very good at Christmas.  This year, he made me a personalized advent calendar, full of beautiful yarn and tiny bottles of booze (peppermint schnapps for my hot cocoa?  Don’t mind if I do!)

For four days, I received Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails in blue, copper, green and purple (otherwise known as Costeau, Glazed Pecan, Jade and Flashdance).  img_4510Have you ever knit with Madeline Tosh?  Their yarn bases are all lovely, but the colors are what make their yarns sing.  I mean look at these totally gorgeous, saturated semi-solid colorways- they practically glow!  I’ve got a full-sized skein of Tosh Merino Light in an intense cobalt blue that I haven’t been able to bring myself to use- it’s too beautiful.img_4518But, here’s the issue:  Unicorn tails are itty bitty.  Each skein is only about 50 yards long, which makes them a great “tester” size, but if you want to make a project with them, it’ll take a little planning.  I’ve got 4 skeins, so I’ve got 200 yards of fingering weight wool in 4 different colors.  What  can I make with this yarn?  Or, do I need to go buy more (oh darn)?

Obviously it’ll be something striped, or at least something with blocks of color.  Maybe some mittens?  A headband? Maybe a hat, if I’m careful?

What would you do with these little guys?

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year (yesterday), everybody!

Hope you’re all having a nice, hangover-free morning.  Did you make your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

No, not the “Loose 10 pounds,” “Watch less TV,” and “Eat fewer sweets” kind of resolutions.  Those are boring.

I want to know about your knitting/crafting resolutions!

Here’s mine:

  1. I want to spend more time knitting just for fun.  I have a tendency to take on too many assignments (design work, gifts for other people… you know, “work knitting”), and I prioritize that over the knitting I do just for fun.  I don’t want to burn myself out, so I need to make sure I’m still having fun. (And maybe I’ll throw in a couple non-knitting craft projects, too!)IMG_0652
  2.  I want to keep making my bears!  I love their stupid little faces, and they’re the perfect in-between project.  I did 11 this year, let’s see if I can do 12 next year-one each month.img_3934
  3.  I want to spend more time sketching.  If get an idea, I want to make a point of writing it down and making sure I keep it.  I sketch out some of my ideas, but not all of them.  I think it’s a good idea that I just don’t follow through on enough.  IMG_3268

Do you have any knitting/crafting resolutions for this year?  Are you going to tackle that beautiful shawl that you’ve had your eye on?  Are you finally going to learn lace knitting?  Or, are you resolved to simply sit down every day and knit?

Christmas Post-Mortem: Another sweater

Guess what?!

I made another sweater.

I know, I’m a masochist.  (Or, maybe I really like making sweaters.)

This one was for my dad.  He’s a pretty classy guy- he wears a suit to work and if you see him in a sweater, it’s more likely he’d wear a thin, understated merino one from Nordstrom than something I’d knit (I do lean toward cables and bright colors, after all).

But he hasn’t gotten a sweater from me yet!  We can’t let that stand!

So, I got a big pile of Knit Picks’ Swish in Cobblestone, and broke out the “Knits for Everybody” book.  (I love a top-down raglan.)  I started making the sweater just as written- all stockinette all the time- but the smallish gauge and the simple pattern made me feel like I was knitting at a glacial pace.

So, I decided to add a little interest.

Stripes were out (Dad’s not a stripes guy), but I thought I could do a little texture.  I didn’t want to add any cables, since those can mess up your gauge, and I had already started knitting.

A little poking around on Ravelry, and I found Flaxsc-flax-08_medium1I liked the garter band down the sleeves (garter is my favorite).  So, I carefully ripped back a few stitches at either shoulder and re-knit them in garter.  And, because I love to embellish, I added garter panels down both sides of the body, too.img_4407The sweater turned out pretty well, and (I think) pretty classy, which is not something I usually strive for.

(Ollie thinks so, too)

img_4398Have you ever “fancied up” a pattern as you were working on it?  How did that go?

Christmas Post-Mortem: A sweater

Hey guys, guess what.

I made a sweater!

(Surprise!… I guess.  I make a lot of sweaters.)

This one was made for my father-in-law.

Last spring, he asked me to make him a sweater, and I have trouble saying no (or maybe I just like having an excuse to make another sweater).  So, I asked him exactly what he wanted.  After all, if I’m going to put all the work into a project like this, I wanted the finished project to be something he’d wear, after all.  We talked about cables vs. stripes, crew necks vs. V-necks, yoked sweaters vs. raglans.  We talked about ease and fit.

And then my husband brought out a sweater I had made for him years and years ago.  It was a Ben sweater, knit in forest-green Berroco Vintage.

My father-in-law took one look at that sweater and said, “That.  That’s the sweater I want.  Except… can I have it in gray?”

So, I knit up another Ben, this time in gray.img_3860I love the cable/texture pattern.  It’s a fun, easy knit that packs a big punch.  And it’s crazy warm, perfect for Northern Illinois winters.img_3854Unfortunately, I forgot to take a big “finished project” picture before I wrapped it up, but needless to say, it’s a pretty great sweater.

Have you ever re-knit a pattern for multiple people?

Christmas Post-Mortem: A hat

Christmas is done!  Hope you had a nice weekend.  We played lots of board games, and ate lots of cookies.  A pretty great time, if I say so myself.

But here’s the fun part!  Now I get to show off the gifts I’ve been working on over the last few months!

Let’s start with this cool hat I made for my brother-in-law!img_4099I knit with a very cool “intarsia in the round” technique that I learned at this year’s Knit Fit.  Basically, you cast on and do the brim just like normal (in the round).  Then, as you knit the top (multi-colored) part of the hat, you use really long short rows and wrap-and-turns to work the intarsia without messing up the order of your yarn.  So, you’re effectively knitting back and forth at the same time you are creating a tube that looks like it was knit in the round.  Super clever!

And, it’s got this cool top (which looks better when it’s worn):img_4102It’s dead simple to make.  You knit all the way to the top of the hat without any shaping (making it extra-long), then you seam the top to make the whole thing flat, then take the corners and sew them together.

Cool, right?

What did you make for Christmas?