Monthly Archives: March 2015

Let’s Design Something Together

I have an idea.  Dangerous, I know.  But I think this will be fun.

I’d like to design a new pattern, and I’d like you guys to all come along through the journey.  Does that sound like fun?  I’ll take you through my design process, from idea creation to the finished pattern.notebook-with-pencil[1]Where do we start?  What are we going to make?  Sometimes a design element will pop into my head first (a particularly cool cable, or a pretty lace pattern), but usually I decide on a project type first.

So.  What shall we make?  Socks? A hat?  A scarf?  Or something for the home?  A pot holder or a washcloth?

What do you want to see?  Do you have any ideas of your own?

Once we have a project picked out, we’ll work together to design the item together.  This will be fun!  I’m excited!

Doctor Who and the Knitter Who Wouldn’t Stop

I just found out something amazing.

You know Doctor Who, right?  (One of the longest-running scripted television show in history.  It’s a classic story of a time traveling alien and his friends run around the universe causing trouble and trying to save the day.)

Anyway, back in the 70s, the Doctor looked like this:

fourth-doctor-tom-baker-2[1]You see that scarf?  That epic 20-foot-long monstrosity?

I always assumed that it was a deliberately-planned costuming decision.  You know, something to make the Doctor look fun and quirky.  But I just learned the real reason, and it’s so much better than I could have imagined.

The costume designer for the show, James Acheson (who was not a knitter),  picked out the yarn colors for the scarf, but didn’t know how much yarn went into a normal-sized scarf.  He gave the yarn to a local knitter (with the extremely British name of Begonia Pope) with vague instructions to make a striped scarf.

Apparently, she took him at his word and used all the yarn.  And, instead of stopping at a regular 5- or 6-foot-long scarf, she kept going, until it ended up more than twenty-feet long.

After some understandable surprise, the cast and crew decided they liked the scarf, and the rest is history.

Want to make your own Doctor Who Scarf?  Load up on lots (and lots and lots) of wool and get to work!

Doctor Who Scarf – Season 12 by Chris Brimelow

3288926774_2084f8846b_z[1]Do you have any favorite pop-culture knitting?

Husband Sweater: The Hem!

Woo!  I finally made it through the body of my Husband sweater!  Phew!  That was a slog, I tell you what.  The combination of cotton yarn and acres of stockinette at a slightly-smaller-than-usual gauge made the body seem like it took for-ev-er.  (I suppose the fact that I kept getting bored and making gnomes didn’t help it go faster, either.)

As I mentioned before, I decreased very slightly down the torso, to make the sweater a little bit fitted.  And, the row before I worked the ribbing, I used a trick I learned from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  I decreased every 10th stitch ([k8, k2tog] across).  It seems like a lot of stitches to get rid of at the end.  But, it’s actually the perfect amount to decrease to make a nice, tight-fitting hem, instead of one that flips and curls away from the body.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, I’m on to the hood.  Which I might need to modify, too.  The hoods on all the projects on Ravelry are a little Assassin’s Creed-y.

uploadedImage_medium2[1]But, a big hood isn’t a big deal, I suppose. Most of the time it’ll be just hanging down my husband’s shoulders, anyway.  I’ll have to think about it, and how much effort I want to put into changing the hood.

Have you ever made a hooded sweater?  How did it turn out?

Inspiration: Houdini

I love a good miniseries, and a bio-pic miniseries is even better.  So, when the new(ish) Houdini miniseries showed up on Netflix, I was super excited.

The show is really fun (although, I still haven’t finished Part 2).  It was entertaining, well-acted, and very interesting.  Apparently, some of the story is heavily embellished, but it still is a good show, assuming you aren’t looking for a documentary.

But, of course, the star of the show is Houdini’s amazing knit swim suit.

ms07[1]Can you imagine wearing a knit swim suit?  It would get so saggy and droopy and uncomfortable.  Much less a swim suit that covers you all the way to your knees.  It’d almost be more uncomfortable than the straitjackets and chains he wore in his act.

Want to make a full-coverage swimsuit for yourself (although-why would you?)  Try one of these patterns:

This pattern is actually vintage-it was published in the 1930s!

Knit yourself this smart swim suit by Australian Women’s Weekly

Saturday_23_September_1939_medium2[1]This pattern is from the late 40s-and is actually kind of attractive, as far as knit swimsuits go.

Going Swimming by Patons UK

image_medium2[1]Maybe you want a more modern knitted swimsuit (if that’s a thing).  Try this one, based on one from 1932, but rewritten in 2008.

The Call of the Sea by Susan Crawford

_CoverBack_MirandaSmile-b_medium[1]Would you ever wear a knitted swim suit?

More Linen Stitch!

I’m kind of in love with the linen stitch.  It’s haunting my dreams and dancing through my head.  I may have a problem.  It’s so fiddly and such slow going, but I absolutely love how it looks.

And, even though it takes a while to work up, it’s a really simple pattern-so easy to memorize!

Cast on an even number of stitches and follow these 2 rows:

RS rows: (K1, bring yarn to front, slip 1, bring yarn to back) repeat to end.

WS rows: (P1, bring yarn to back , slip 1, bring yarn to front) repeat to end.

Easy!  Let’s do it together.

On the right side, start with the yarn in back.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKnit 1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABring the yarn to the front, between your two needles.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlip 1 stitch from the left needle to the right.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABring the yarn back to the back, and do the whole thing again (and again and again).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce you finish your row, flip your knitting to work back and forth.  Start this row with your yarn in front.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPurl 1.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABring the yarn back, between your needles.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlip 1 stitch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABring the yarn in front again, and keep repeating until you reach the end.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a while, your right side will start to look like this (which people say looks like woven fabric.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but it does look cool.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd your wrong side will look all cool and bumpy and textured.  I almost like it more than the right side.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve made these samples using a different, random color each row, but the linen stitch looks great in one color, knit with variegated yarn or using two or three repeating colors.  The linen stitch is a great way to play with color mixing!

Have you ever used the linen stitch before?  What did you make with it?

I’m a Knitting Goldfish

You know how they say that goldfish have three-minute memories?  I kind of feel like I have developed the attention span of a goldfish.  I’ll knit a row or two, and then get completely bored and start looking around for something else to do.

130952-847x567r1-Ordinary-goldfish[1]It’s very frustrating.

Usually, give me my knitting, a cup of tea and Netflix on the TV, and I’m a happy camper for a good couple hours.  But not this week.  Maybe I’ve had too much caffeine.  Or not enough.  Maybe the planets are out of alignment.  Or a spell cast by an evil sorceress.  Or maybe it’s just the result of the wicked cold I’ve been fighting off the last two weeks.

Whatever it is.  I don’t like it.

Do you have any tips on how to fight my goldfishitude (which is totally a word)?  What do you do when you feel like this?

Linen Stitch!

Lately, I’ve been feeling some knitting wanderlust.   You know that feeling- when you’re just not content working on any of the projects on your needles.  I’ll do a couple rows on my husband’s sweater.  A few stitches on a pair of socks that have been languishing since December.  I’ll make something tiny and silly.

But, sometimes you just need to go digging through your stash of patterns and leftover yarn and start something new.

linen_JJF_0108_medium[1]I found my copy of this pattern (the Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas).  It’s been on my to-knit list for years.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the beautiful multi-hued yarn it calls for.  But, I do have a bunch of little scraps of pretty Patton’s worsted wool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far so good!  I love the way the colors get blended together. It’s funny, how such disparate colors end up looking so nice together (there’s no logical reason that neon green and bright orange should look good together).

And, I have totally fallen in love with the linen stitch.  For whatever reason, this stitch is scratching my knitting itch.  I love anything that uses slipped stitches, and changing color every row keeps me entertained.

Want to try the linen stitch yourself?  Think about one of these fabulous patterns:

This over-sized cowl lives somewhere between cozy and classy.  I love it!

honey cowl by Antonia Shankland


I don’t think I’d actually wear this jacket, but I’d love to make it.  It looks like so much fun!

Linen Stitch Jacket by Doreen L. Marquart

039_medium2[1]This little draw-string bag is so cute!  I bet you could find a million things to do with it!  And, what a great way to use up little bits of leftover yarn.

Little Linen Stitch Bag by Cindy Walker



Linen_Stitch_Bag_medium2[1]What would you use the linen stitch for?

Husband Sweater: The Picard Maneuver

In case it hasn’t been perfectly clear in the last two years of blog posts, I am a big nerd.  My husband is also a big nerd.  A big exciting night with friends usually includes home-brew beer and a rousing game of Settlers of Catan.  I’ve read through the Harry Potter books  so many times that I can practically recite them.  And, even though it’s nearly 30 years old, you’ll still find us curled up on the couch watching Star Trek: TNG whenever it comes on.

So, when my husband asked me to be sure that his new sweater is long enough that he doesn’t have to preform the “Picard Maneuver,” I knew exactly what he meant.

What?  You’re not a weirdo nerd, too?  You don’t know what the Picard Maneuver is?  Let me explain.  Captain Picard, Starfleet officer and coolest bald man in the known universe, always keeps his ship and his uniform neat and tidy.  So, whenever he sat down, stood up, or otherwise mussed up his uniform, he would always tug down his uniform top to make it lay nicely.  For example:

Thus, the “Picard Maneuver.”

My husband has a couple sweaters he has to use the Picard Maneuver on.  You can understand why he is worried about the length of his new sweater.

I’ve decided not to measure the sweater.  I know, crazy.  Instead, I’m going to keep knitting and trying it on him until it is the absolute perfect length.  I’m hanging it up for a couple days to let the yarn sag naturally, especially since it’s cotton, which tends to droop more than wool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis weekend, I plan on knitting the rest of the waistband, based on how long it ends up looking on my husband.  Hopefully, all this elaborate hanging up, trying on, and re-trying on will make the Picard Maneuver unnecessary.

Do you have any clothes you have to do the Picard Maneuver on?  How do you prevent it?

Inspiration: Wood

5 years ago this week, my husband and I threw an awesome party in a city park in Austin.  It was pretty great.  There was a swing band, a margarita machine, a taco bar and peacocks running around (because why not?).

Oh, and we got married.

26018_10100112108749980_1067908_nIt was probably one of the best days of my life.  We had friends and family come in from across the country (and overseas) and we had the best time ever.  It was a great big fun party, and the best part was that I was married to my best friend at the end of it.

(Ew, gross.  Sorry.  I figured I should say something sappy for my fifth anniversary, since that’s kind of a big deal.  But who wants to hear this stuff? No one…  Let’s talk about yarn instead.)

The traditional gift for fifth anniversaries is wood.  (Who says it’s traditional?  I don’t know.  Someone on the internet.)  But, since I’m me, and wool isn’t the traditional gift until the 7th anniversary, let’s use some creative license and look at wood-inspired knitting patterns.

I love the complicated-looking cables on this hat.  Very cool.

Wood Hollow Hat by Kirsten Kapur4160940108_f5785d7ea0_z[1]The last thing I need to make myself is another over-sized pullover, but this one is so pretty, I might have to make an exception.  The subtle tree-branch cables are gorgeous!

Wood Pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge

DSC_0900_medium2[1]This gorgeous blanket would be fantastic over the back of a leather wing-back chair beside a fireplace in a cabin high up in the Cascades.  Or, on my Ikea couch, next to my TV.  One or the other.

Wooded Trail Throw by Michael del Vecchio

Uptown_DK_Mtn_Ridge_Knits_Wooded_Trail_Throw_Ravelry_medium2[1]Happy Anniversary, Tristan!  I love you!  Here’s to many more happy years together!  (Sorry, everyone. I’m done with the mushy stuff. Promise!)

Are you married?  How long?  What was your last “traditional” anniversary present?

Pattern Spotlight: Mini Mochis

I love my job.  Working with little kids is the greatest, and my students are so smart and goofy and interesting.  I could hang out with them all day.

Except for one thing.

They are little germ factories.

I’ve been sick more days in the last year than in the last five years combined.  And I 100% blame my students.  One of them literally sneezed directly into my face two weeks ago, and another put both her fingers up her nose mid-sentence as we talked about her sewing project. Working with kids a glamorous job.  That’s for sure.

Long story short, I spent the weekend holed up on my couch, drinking mint tea, going through boxes of Kleenex and binge-watching Parks and Rec on Netflix (which is a totally amazing show that I had somehow forgotten about).

I was half-drunk on Dayquil, and couldn’t muster the concentration to work on my husband’s sweater for more than a half a row, so I decided to do something fun, goofy, and above all else, simple.

So, I got out my sock needles, scrounged up a box of leftover yarn bits, and pulled up the MochiMochi Land website.

MochiMochi Land is the ridiculous (and awesome) brainchild of Anna Hrachovec, who spends her time designing tiny, goofy knitting patterns and making amazingly detailed art installations.  She’s basically my hero.

She has dozens of tiny patterns available on her website.

My personal favorites include:


snowmenBunnies!  (These are free!)

tinybabybunnies2[1]And gnomes!

untitledThey’re perfect sick-day knitting.  They’re small enough you can completely finish one in a single sitting.  They’re so adorable that you can’t help but smile when you see them.  And, they have no discernible purpose (other than to make you feel better).

Hopefully, I’ll feel better soon.  But if I don’t, at least I’ve got my tiny knitted minions to keep me company!

What do you work on when you don’t feel like working on anything?