Monthly Archives: January 2014

Inspiration: Seahawks

Apparently, there’s a football game this weekend.  And apparently the Seattle Seahawks are playing.  Yay!

I actually have very little interest in Football (as did the entire city of Seattle until about two weeks ago), but since we’re playing in the Superbowl, I figured I’d jump on that bandwagon.  I’m all about jumping (and bandwagons).

If you have time before Sunday, how about making a very team-spirited Seahawks hat?  (Fun fact: The Seahawk’s mascot is named Blitz… I just looked that up.  Just for you guys.  Also, Blitz is a sea hawk, which is not actually a real bird.)

Adult Sized Seahawks Hat by Chelan Ku

seahawks_hat_2_small_best_fit[1]Or you could make a scarf from some hand-dyed Seahawks yarn.  (Fun fact: The official Seahawks Colors are College Navy, Action Green, and Wolf Gray.  I’m not even making that up.  Action Green.)

Seattle Seahawks Hand Dyed Yarn by yarnpirate

il_570xN.554593860_nkyh[1]Or, if you only care about football a tiny bit (like me), how about making a tiny football?  (Fun fact:  A standard NFL football is about 11 inches long, tip to tip.  This one is about 1 inch.)

Tiny Football by Anna Hrachovec


Don’t ever stop knitting: Joining part 3

The last two times we talked about joining, we kept it pretty simple.  We stayed nice and clean.  Easy.  This time we’re going to get our hands dirty.  It’ll be a little messy, a little icky, a little slimy.  But, boy, the finished product is going to be so worth it.  (Can you tell that this is my favorite join?)  Today we’re going to talk about (drum roll, please):

The Spit Join!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStart out by totally destroying the ends of your old yarn and your new yarn.  Unravel at least two inches of both ends.  Rip them up, make them messy.  The messier the better.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen interleave the unraveled ends together.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the more contact you have between old and new yarn, the better.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen (and this is the gross/awesome part), lick your yarn (or spit on it, or if you’re super squeamish, dribble a few drops of warm water on it).  Carefully take your damp yarn between your palms, making sure to keep the unraveled ends interleaved, and roll it back and forth.  Really put some elbow grease into it, and get some friction going.  The heat from the friction, plus the damp will actually felt the wool together, making a single, long piece of yarn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you knit up the finished yarn, the spit join totally disappears.  No ends to be seen!

Pros: Totally invisible!  No tails to weave in at the end. No worry about wrangling more than one piece of yarn while you’re knitting.  Great for double-sided knitting (like scarves), where you don’t want ends showing up anywhere.

Cons: Since this join is based on felting, it only works on felt-able fibers (wool, alpaca etc).  It’s also a little futz-y to do, and frankly, a little gross.   Probably not one to do in public, unless you’re like me and have no shame.

Through the Grapevine Socks


These are socks worth gossiping about!  Their simple structure is offset by two panels of ladylike texture on either side of the leg.  Two grapey cables run between trellises of delicate openwork, making a sock that looks intricate, but is very simple to work up.  A delight to knit, and a pleasure to wear, the grapevine will be talking about these socks for years to come!

The Through the Grapevine Socks are knit on size 2 double-point needles using Knit Picks Stroll yarn (or your favorite brand of sock-weight yarn), in women’s size Small-Medium or Medium-Large.  They are worked from the 1×1 ribbed cuff down to the toe.  The heel is made using standard heel-flap construction, and the toe is created with sets of decreases on either side of the foot and closed up with the Kitchener stitch.  If you have difficulty with sock construction, please see my pattern “Socks by the Numbers” for more information.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKnit up a pair of Through the Grapevine Socks for yourself.  The pattern is available through my Ravelry store for three dollars:

Keeping Everyone Warm

This photo showed up on the internet earlier this week, and it just made me so happy:

ottawa_scarf_1[1]Can you read the tag?  It says “I am not lost!  If you’re stuck out in the cold, take this scarf to keep warm.”

Apparently a bunch of these scarves showed up all over Ottawa on Monday, draped around sculptures in preparation for a cold snap that put their temperatures well below zero.

You know I love yarn bombing in general, and giving away knit projects to strangers, but this is just the best thing I’ve ever seen.  It’s such a sweet gesture, and a great way to send warm and fuzzy thoughts (literally) out into the world.

On Wednesday, the group behind the scarves came out and started talking to the newspaper.  It turns out that they were a group of University of Ottawa students who  decided on their own to do the random act of kindness.  Because they’re awesome.

9414011[1]So, here’s to you, ladies!  Thank you for being so sweet and thoughtful!

And the next time we have a cold snap around here (although that’s super rare), I just might follow their examples.

Don’t ever stop knitting: Joining part 2

As with everything in knitting (and I suppose, in life), having options is always a good thing.  Don’t like knitting English style?  Try continental.  Think wool is itchy?  Try acrylic.  Don’t care for aluminum needles?  Try wooden ones.

Last week we did a join where we held the new yarn double with the old yarn.  I have since learned that this is called an Overlap Join.  (Learning new things every day…)

Today, we’ll do another kind of join, sometimes called a Back Join, and sometimes called a Russian Join.  Whatever you call it, it’s pretty neat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEssentially, you fold both the new and old yarns creating two 4-6 inch loops.  Then, hook the too loops around one another, like in the picture above.  And, holding the yarn carefully, you knit with the looped yarn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee how you get a couple stitches of doubled-up old yarn, and a couple stitches of doubled-up new yarn?  When you knit a couple more rows, you’ll see nothing but a clean transition from old yarn to new yarn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPros: Easy (although slightly trickier than the Overlap Join).  If you are careful to knit at least three stitches on either side of the join with the yarn held double, there’s no weaving-in of ends.   If you’re trying to do some sort of cool avant-garde color-work where you want crisp color definition, but don’t care exactly where the color changes go, this would be the join to use.

Cons: Doubled yarn is slightly thicker than single yarn (obviously), so if consistency is a priority, this might not be the join for you.  Yarn ends will poke out the back of the knitting, so if you need a perfect double-sided join, you’ll want to try something else.


Inspiration: Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Also, happy Allison’s birthday!

When I was a kid, it was extra exciting when my birthday landed on MLK day, because it meant that I got a day off school especially for my birthday.  As a grown-up, it’s less exciting since my routine doesn’t really change.

But, it’s still my birthday, so let’s have some birthday cake!

Birthday Cake Cowl by Christina WallIMG_3205_medium2[1]

tiny rainbow cake slice by Trish Young

rainbow_cake_2_medium[1]Cupcake Mittens by SpillyJane


An Apology

Dear Acrylic Yarn,

I would like to offer you a heartfelt apology.  I know I have been less than charitable about you in the past, and would like to clear the air between us.

Please understand that I meant no personal insult by my comments.  I was blinded by my own prejudice.  I have scoffed at yarn lacking natural fibers.  I have laughed at Red Heart Super Saver and rolled my eyes at Caron Simply Soft.  I have never given you, Acrylic Yarn, the time of day.

This last week and a half that we’ve spent together has been wonderful.  I picked you up out of desperation- the Ice Storm was coming, and I didn’t have enough sock yarn to keep me entertained while I was stuck inside.  You were the only yarn I could find within walking distance, and I was desperate.  It was with trepidation that I purchased you, after all, could yarn that cost only $5.99 per pound really be worth it?  Could I really make a worthwhile sweater out of acrylic?

I should never have questioned you.  You are softer than wool, and are knitting up into a lovely dense fabric.  Because you come in such large quantities, I haven’t had to worry about joining in new skeins of yarn.  And, my sweater is going to be wonderfully cozy and warm, and totally washable.

Thank you, Acrylic Yarn, for giving me a second chance.  Thank you for showing me my mistakes, and please forgive my ignorance.  I now know better than to be so judgmental against you.

My sincerest apologies,


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(The yarn I’m using is Loops & Threads Impeccable, from Michael’s, in Clear Blue and Chocolate.)

Don’t ever stop knitting: Joining part 1

From the first time you make a project bigger than a washcloth, you realize that yarn is finite (which is sad).  When you get to the end of your yarn, you have to join another skein to keep knitting.  It’s annoying, and if you don’t do it right, it will ruin your beautiful scarf/hat/sweater/sock.

Some people just tie the old yarn to the new yarn.  I think that looks terrible.  And, it leaves you with a icky bumpy knot in the middle of your knitting.  No bueno.

Yes, tying on a new ball of yarn is easy, but there are such better options. So, over the next couple weeks I’m going to do a series of posts about joining, with pros, cons, and how-tos.

Let’s jump right in and get started!  Here’s one of my favorite super basic joining techniques.  I’ll call it Holding the Yarn Double, because I don’t think it actually has a name.  That’s how basic it is.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll you do is hold the new yarn (orange in this picture, but usually you’d just use the same color yarn.  I’m using two colors here so you can see what I’m doing) next to the the old yarn (gray).  Then, using both strands, you’ll knit a few stitches (three or four is usually plenty).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALeave an inch or two of tail from both the new and the old yarn.  Once you’ve knit a couple stitches with both strands, drop the old yarn and continue knitting like normal with the new yarn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPros: Super easy.  Almost invisible (especially in stockinet and ribbing).  No weaving in of ends when you’re done with your project (just trim the ends to 1-1.5 inches when you’re done).

Cons: The joining stitches are thicker than your regular stitches, so if you’re doing any sort of openwork it can slightly mess up the look of your project (but only on a couple stitches, so as long as you put the join in a hidden spot, like an armpit or close to an edge, you won’t really notice it).  You are left with ends peeking out the back side of the project.  If you’re doing something which has two public sides (like a scarf), this might not be the joining technique for you.  If you’re making something with an obvious back side (like a sweater), this isn’t a problem.

Pattern-The Little Knit Doll

Now that everyone’s back from their Christmas (or New Year’s, or Winter Solstice, or Snowpocalypse 2014) breaks, I wanted to post my newest pattern again, so that everyone can have a chance to see it (and ooh and aah).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis sweet little doll is looking for a home. Do you know a little girl or boy who will give her one? The little knit doll and accompanying doll-sized printable storybook are perfect for little kids. Complete with style-able hair and a removable dress, the Little Knit Doll is just as ready to play house as she is to go adventuring with her friends.

The Little Knit Doll’s construction is very simple. She is knit in the round with minimal sewing. All shaping is done with simple increases and decreases, except for the feet, which are worked like tiny socks. Luxurious long hair is applied with a crochet hook, which makes her hair fully style-able. Her embroidered face makes her safe for children of all ages. Her adorable green dress is also knit in the round with virtually no finishing.

The pattern for the Little Knit Doll is available through Ravelry:

The Little Knit Doll


Knitting Lessons

I finally made it back to Seattle late (late late) last night, and I still have to unpack (and clean the house, and put away the Christmas decorations), so I don’t have time for a long, complicated post.

Instead, I have exciting news! Do you live in the Seattle area?  Do you want to learn to knit?  Are you having trouble with a particularly tricky pattern? Can’t make your sock’s heel turn?


Then you’re in luck!  I am available to help with all your knitting conundrums!

Starting this spring, I will be giving private knitting lessons and group classes in the Seattle area.   I am happy to take you through a pre-designed course of lessons, or to help you with a new technique or tricky pattern you just can’t figure out.  Let me know what you want to do, and we’ll tailor a lesson just for you.  Individual lessons are $20 an hour, and groups of three or more are $15 per person.

Grab your yarn and needles, and a friend or two, and we’ll make it a party!

If you’re interested, please email me at

Happy Knitting!