It’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdone!

I’m so freaking stoked about this!  THE BLANKET IS DONE!!

This is fantastic for 3 reasons:

  1. I’m only about a month late!
  2. I’m DONE and get to start new projects!
  3. It turned out so good!

I mean, look at this bad boy:IMG_1902Glamour shot!IMG_1895I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.  It’s warm and squishy and the colors are freaking gorgeous (and really hard to capture.  The black has undertones of green and navy and ash gray, and the yellow is golden with touches of copper.  So gorgeous). IMG_1859It was actually a really simple pattern (which I have plans of writing up for y’all), just a lot of knitting.  I love that kind of pattern- simple enough for anyone to work up, but with a real impact when it’s done.  Honestly, the hardest part was finding a space big enough (and away from the baby and the dog) to block the dang thing!IMG_1890_adjusted

Phew! Now I think it’s time to make something little.

A New Season, a New Sweater and a New Silhouette

I am *this* close to finishing my brother’s wedding blanket (and only about a month late… so not too bad), which means it’s time for me to start planning my next project.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. I want to make something for myself.  Just about all my knitting for the last year or so has been for work, or for someone else (mostly the kid, so I can’t complain too much).  And, while I like knitting for other people, I feel like it’s time for me to do a little selfish knitting.
  2. I think I want a new sweater.  And not just the same plain pullover I’ve made myself thirty-seven times.  I love a nice plain pullover, but I’m feeling an itch to try something new. Right now I’m thinking about doing some color-work.
  3. I don’t want to design it.  I want to follow someone else’s pattern.  I don’t want to figure out charts or do a whole bunch of math.  I just want to sit down with a tried-and-true pattern and just go to town. I might not even make a swatch. (I know… heresy.)
  4. I want this sweater to be a little trendier and girlier than I usually go.  My usual style is basic, almost unisex, straight-ahead.  I want to do something a little more interesting and fashionable.
  5. And, if this pattern could take less than thirteen years, that would be appreciated.

So, after a long troll through Ravelry, I’ve come up with some ideas, and I need your input to decide what to do. (Though, fair warning, I might decide to do a completely different project and come back here next week with a half-knitted squid or something).

I think I like the idea of making a sweater with a cropped-yet-oversized silhouette.  It seems like it would be flattering.  Or maybe not?  I’m not sure.  It’s very different from what I usually wear, but maybe that’s the point?

This sweater could be knit with long sleeves or without, to make a sleeveless summer sweater.  But maybe it’s too simple?  Other than the silhouette, it’s not that different from my usual knits.  Lots and lots of stockinette.

Aqua by Trin-Annelieaqua_015.jpg

This sweater has a very similar shape- real boxy and simple, but I like the ribbing detail across the shoulder and the color-work at the bottom.

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Speaking of color-work, I’ve been ogling everyone’s Soldotnas.  And I do mean everyone,  there have been more than 2000 of them added to Ravelry.  I really like the color-work yoke (and I do like a yoked sweater), but for some reason the combination of the yoke and the cropped length seems a little less flattering to me than the boxier dropped-shoulder sweaters. But maybe I’m just crazy?

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Or, I could just go along with the cool kids and make myself a Shifty.  I love the color-work/mosaic-knit fabric, and I have an idea for what yarn I’d substitute. (Spincycle is lovely, but I don’t want my sweater to cost three thousand dollars.) I just wonder if this sweater is a little too close to my usual sweater, if I’m trying to make something new.

Shifty by Andrea MowryIMG_1227_medium2

I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking as I finish up the last few rows of that dang wedding blanket.

And no matter what I pick, I guess I’m going to have to get myself some high-waisted jeans or a couple linen dresses to go with my new cropped sweater.

Which sweater do you like best?

Off my needles

Woo!  I finished!

God, it feels good to finish a project.  It’s been a while.  I’ve been working on that dang wedding blanket for my (now married) brother for what feels like a decade, and before that, I was working on a sweater for my husband that I ended up setting aside because I am an insane person who decided that knitting a full-on men’s sweater on US3’s was a good idea.

So, it’s been a minute since I was able to weave in that last end, break out the blocking boards and say “I’m officially done!”

And I’m here to say, “I’m officially done!”  With this baby sweater.IMG_1840

I mean, look at this kid.  He’s looking dapper in his little tweed sweater that’s still a bit big for him, which is great- it should be just about perfect in the fall.  (Don’t mind the fat lip.  He’s trying really hard to learn how to walk, and had a little run-in with gravity the other day.  It looks worse than it is.)

I really enjoyed this pattern- Flax Light is real simple, and a nice quick project that used up a couple leftover skeins of Knit Picks Provinicial Tweed. (It’s marketed as a worsted, but knits up like a sport or a DK, so it was pretty perfect for this pattern.) I love that Tin Can Knits grades all their sweaters from baby to big adult, which means that I can make more Flaxes for the kiddo as he grows up. (And maybe matching ones for my husband and I?  Though, that might be a little much, even for me.)IMG_1823

One thing that was odd, though, was the lack of a front/back in this pattern.  No short rows at the back of the neck or stitches bound off at the front.   It’s the second time I knitted a sweater for the kid that didn’t have a specific front/back.  I wonder if it’s a baby-sweater thing, or something that I just haven’t run into until recently.

Have you finished anything lately?

Not So Magic

I’m cruising along with my little Flax Light.  (It’s a refreshing change from gigantic sweaters and blankets, but it’s a little sad that it’s so much bigger than the kiddo’s other sweaters… Slow down, little dude!)

I worked up the ribbed hem and bound off the body while watching last week’s episode of The Bachelorette.  (Not the show I’m proudest of, but you gotta have something silly to watch from time to time.)  The sweater is turning out so cute!  I love the little shoulders and the neat little hem.  And this color is going to be so flattering on the kid.IMG_1798I still had a half-hour left of my show, so I decided to grab some DPNs and get to work on the sleeves.  But horror of horrors, apparently I don’t have any US6 DPNs.  I’ve got 3 sets of 5’s, 2 sets of 7’s, and just about any other size I could want, but not a 6 in sight.  How does this happen?  I’ve been knitting for more than two thirds of my life. Why don’t I have any 6’s?

But, no fear, I can rally.  I’m a knitter and knitters are nothing if not resourceful.  I pulled out one of my long US6 circulars to start doing magic loop.  Sure, I wasn’t a fan of it years ago when I tried it last, but maybe I’ve matured as a knitter.  Maybe I’m open to other ways of knitting.  Maybe it’s after 9 and JoAnn’s is closed and I have no other choice.IMG_1808Well, I made it about a half an inch before giving up.  Good God, magic loop is annoying.  The more power to you, if that’s what works for you.  I’m glad there are different techniques for different people, but this one is definitely not for me.  I don’t know why, but there is something that just drives me up the wall about wrangling that big old cable, and futzing with moving my stitches back and forth.  Maybe there’s some “flow” thing that I’m just not getting, but at least for now, nope.  Magic loop is definitely not for me.

I guess I’m taking a trip to the craft store this afternoon.

Are there any techniques that you just can’t stand?  Have you ever tried something new  and “noped” right out of there?

New Pattern (s)! Dishcloth Madness!

OK, maybe not madness, per se, but I’ve somehow fallen behind on telling you about my new patterns.  (I know… heresy!)

I’ve got two brand-new, free patterns with Knit Picks that I’d like to share with you.  Technically, they call for Knit Picks’ Dishie yarn, but really, you could use whatever dishcloth cotton you’ve got laying around. (Though, Dishie is actually really nice for washcloths.)

Pattern the first!

It’s the Twined Dishcloth!  Super classy, super classic.  This bad boy would look great in just about anyone’s kitchen.  It’s a great way to practice cables, and/or reading a chart. I love using dishcloths as a low-pressure way to practice new stitches.  I might not want to try a new technique as part of a big old sweater that might not turn out.  But, a dishcloth is going to be useful, even if it doesn’t turn out how I imagine it in my head.Twined Dishcloth

And second, it’s the Mitered Quarters Dishcloth.  Is it mitered? No.  Is it divided into quarters? No.  Am I bad at naming things? Yes.

But, despite the dumb name, it’s a cute little dishcloth- very modern and sleek (or as sleek as a dishcloth ever is).  If the Twined dishcloth is a great way to try working cables, this guy is a great way to try working short rows.  You cast on on the long side of the green section, then work short rows all the way to the tip of the light gray section, then work longer and longer rows until you get to the bottom of the blue section and bind off.  (Trust me, it makes sense once you’re doing it.)  And, it’s a great way to use up those little balls of yarn that are too big to throw away, but too small to really do anything with.Mitered Quarters Dishcloth

I love when I realize that I have a pattern coming out- sharing my patterns with you all is the best, and even better when I suddenly have two to share! I hope you enjoy them, too!

Do you ever make dishcloths?  What’s your favorite dishcloth pattern?

Wedding Bells!

My brother got married yesterday!

(OK, full disclosure, he gets married next Sunday as I write this, but yesterday as it’s published.  I didn’t think that writing a blog post mid-ceremony was a great way of being a wedding guest.)

I’m sure it was an amazing party and a beautiful ceremony.  I’m sure the kiddo only ruined it a little bit.

I’m so excited to see my new sister-in-law and meet her extended family.  I’m so glad she’s joining our family and look forward to having her join us on all our reunions and holidays over the years.  She’s a delight!

And, yes, before you ask, the blanket is still unfinished.  Don’t worry, y’all will be the first to see it when it’s done.  (Don’t judge.)

Anyway, let’s celebrate love! And marriage! And my brother and his WIFE! (That sounds weird, but I like it.)  You know how we celebrate around here- by looking at knitting patterns that we’ll never have time to actually work up.

Though, if time is an issue, I could always just make this teeny little pair.

Tiny Bride and Groom by Anna Hrachovectinybridegroom_medium2

But it’s a wedding!  A time of celebration! Excess! Exuberant over-reaching!  I gotta make a whole cake!

Wedding Cake by Alan Dart3421661182_b

Or, I could just go totally twee and adorable, and knit up some super cute little critters. (I mean, really.  Look at those tiny little flowers!!)

Wedding Mice by Amanda Berry

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Congrats to my brother! And welcome to the family, Sister-in-Law!  We’re so excited to have you!

Are you going to any weddings this summer?

Doing the Splits

It’s been nice, giving myself a break from all my “big” knitting.  I’ve given up on finishing my brother’s wedding blanket before his wedding next weekend (unless my kid suddenly decides he doesn’t need my attention, there’s no way I’m getting it done in the next 7 days), and I’m between work knitting assignments.

Which means I’ve been leisurely knitting away at my fun little Flax Light for the kiddo.

And I just passed my favorite part of a top-down sweater- the “split for sleeves” part.

It’s a simple little phrase, barely even a sentence, but it’s so fun.  (Especially when I’m just following a pattern and I don’t have to do any math!)  It’s that point where your project turns from a weird funnel-thing into an honest-to-goodness sweater.  It’s like magic.  (And it doesn’t hurt that suddenly you reduce your stitch count by a good third or more, which means the next section starts going really quickly.)

And I know it’s silly, but I love picking scrap yarn to hold my sleeve stitches.  I like a yarn that contrasts but still “goes.”  I kind of love this yellow scrap yarn with the red- the it really picks up the little yellow tweedy nupps from the red yarn.  It’s to the point where I’m half-considering adding a yellow stripe to this sweater, 90s-style.IMG_1793.JPG

What’s your favorite part of a sweater?  Casting on? Binding off? Sleeve island?

Short and Sweet

Over the years I’ve gone through phases- for a while I was a shawl knitter, then I was a sock knitter.  Now, I’m a sweater knitter.  Every once in a while I bang out a hat or a pair of mitts, but mostly, I knit sweaters.

Which is great! I’m always warm, my family is warm (sometimes too warm), and I have a big pile of hand-knit sweaters that I really love.  I’m a happy camper.

But the problem with being a sweater knitter is that everything I make takes forever.  (Especially when I’m knitting sweaters as my “fun” knitting to break up the monotony of blanket knitting.)  I’ve been feeling a little down about my knitting lately- less excited about the projects that are on my needles and more tempted to just scroll through Facebook on my phone in the evenings.  So, what’s a sweater knitter to do, when she wants a fun, quick, project that she can finish in a couple days?

A baby sweater, that’s what.  (OK, really, it’s a toddler sweater, but still.)

I had some Provincial Tweed in Candy Apple leftover from my Hurricane Ridge prototype.  It’s subtly shiny, has a deep, rich color, and is machine washable(!!!), so it’s perfect for a little sweater for my little guy.  I love him in red- it’s so flattering on him, with his bright blue eyes and pink cheeks.  Plus, I have 2 and a half skeins- just enough for a baby sweater!

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So, I dug around on Ravelry for about five minutes, until I saw a pattern that I’d been meaning to try for a while- Tin Can Knits’ Flax Light.  It’s so cute, and such a practical little sweater for a toddler (or anyone, really… I might end up making one for everyone in the family).  It’s a simple, top-down raglan with nice garter detailing up the sleeves.  Such a great everyday sweater!

SC-flaxlight-07aI’m not even bothering to make a swatch.  I figure I’ve picked a size that’s big enough that the kid will grow into it eventually, even if my gauge is way off.  Talk about low-stress knitting!

Well, I’m off to cast on, while I still have a few minutes before naptime is over.

What do you do for a “fun” project?

Summer Knitting

I don’t know what the weather’s like by you guys, but here in Seattle, it’s getting frustrating.  It’s 70 and sunny for a day or two, a week at most, just long enough for me to start getting used to the summeryness of it all and pull out my shorts, then, bam!  Back to 50 and rainy for two weeks.

It’s ridiculous, but it’s making my fingers itch to work on something light and fun.  (I also might be itching to start a new project because I’m still working on the BLANKET THAT NEVER ENDS.  I just timed myself and it takes me about 20 minutes to knit a row.  I haven’t had the heart to figure out how many rows I’ve knit/how many I have left to knit.  Talk about a labor of love.)

Even though I’ve never been a fan of warm-weather knits (I mean, really, if you’re going to wear a sweater, just wear a sweater.  You don’t need a wooly tank top.  Honestly.), I’ve been dreaming of a lightweight, knitted tee. (I know, who am I?)

This is the one that got me started.  It’s just gorgeous.  That lace, the flattering shape.  I mean come on.  There’s one knit in a beautiful slubby silk on display at my LYS, and I’m tempted to walk off with it every time I visit.  (Though, who am I kidding, I’d be too nervous to wear a silk hand-knit tee.)

Tegna by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with m3 preset

And this cute little tee is all sleek and streamlined, with classy little details, like everything from Purl Soho.

Lovely Lightweight Tee by Purl Soholovely-lightweight-tee-600-2-1_medium2

I love the stripes on this guy, the saddle(ish) shoulders, and the flattering silhouette.  I really think I could wear this on the regular.

At the Seaside (Not Only in the Summer) by Fraulein Stadtisch

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Have your knitting plans turned to warmer-weather projects?  What do you like to work on when the temperatures go up?

Pattern: Phinney Ridge Socks

Woo! New pattern day!

And this is a good one- it’s socks!

Introducing, my newest (and current favorite) socks: Phinney Ridge Socks!

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Look at them in all their stripey goodness!

They’re fairly simple top-down socks with stripes from cuff to toe with an interesting slipped-stitch pattern along the tops.  (The slipped stitches make them look much more interesting/difficult than they actually are, which is something I always look for in a pattern.)

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These guys use a skein of solid black, and a pack of contrasting mini-skeins, but they’d be a great way to use that special hand-dyed variegated yarn you brought back from your last trip to New York, or maybe a really great ombre-dyed skein that you bought on impulse three years ago and haven’t figure out how to use yet.

If you’re looking for other patterns for your fancy-pants sock yarn, you should check out the rest of this Knit Picks collection! Outrageous Insteps is all about using those special skeins of sock yarn.

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I really like these chevron-textured socks!

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And the crazy slipped stitch pattern on these bad boys is super cool! I’ve never tried slipped stitches like this before!

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And these socks‘ little one-stitch cables on the striped background- perfection!

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I can’t wait to dig into my yarn stash and find something really special to try on some of these patterns.

Do you have any particularly special skeins you’re looking for a pattern for?