Monthly Archives: April 2015

Inspiration: Divergent

I watch quite a bit of TV and more than a few movies, I admit.  But, what else am I supposed to do while I knit?  Honestly.

Sometimes those movies aren’t great (like Divergent).  But, sometimes those movies have great knitwear (coincidentally, like Divergent).

Divergent is a less-coherent cousin to the Hunger Games.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not great cinema.  If you look at it a little too closely, it kind of stops making sense.

So, in a not-so-distant future where America has become a post-apocolyptic wasteland, the last bastion of civilization is Chicago.  (Because… who knows.)  In Future Chicago, everyone has been divided up into five factions (they all have names, but I don’t remember them. In my head, they’re “The Smart Ones,” “The Bad Asses,” “The Truth-y Folks,” “The People Who Take Giving To Charity A Little Too Seriously,” and “The Fifth Group That I’ve Forgotten About.”).  When kids in Future Chicago come of age, they take a very complicated test that involves mind control and hallucinogenic drugs (because Science Fiction) which sorts them into the faction that’s right for them.  (Think: Harry Potter meets The Giver, but more complicated.)  The heroine ends up getting a result that says she could belong to any faction, and she has to go into hiding because Kate Winslet wants to kill her.  Or something.

And this all happens in the first 20 minutes of a more than 2-hour movie.

Like I said-it’s not great with the logic.  (Which is a shame.  I always root for good sci-fi with female leads.)  But, it does have some great knitwear.

Look at this sweater that the main character wears during her hallucinogen-fueled Sorting Ceremony.  From the front, it’s a light, simple pullover.

Divergent2From the back, it’s totally cool and modern.DivergentYou could totally wear a light sweater like this over jeans and a tank-top, or with a sundress.  It would be a perfect coverup for chilly summer nights, or a nice, thin layer under a denim jacket in the fall.

I’m kind of in love (and I don’t even like angora).

I couldn’t find a perfect match to the Divergent sweater, but these could come close with a few tweaks.

#102 Comfy Pullover Lite by Phoenix Bess

Mohair_Pullover_Lite__medium2[1]Spook by Sarah Hatton

2329365350_573f2e0371_z[1]Hawkmoth Pullover by Debbie O’Neill

KS_hawkmoth-pullover_medium[1]Have you seen Divergent?  What did you think?

Inspiration: Wet Puppies and Lots of Towels

Sunday was a big day for our little puppy.  We spent the morning at the dog park (which is completely hilarious.  Seriously-if you haven’t visited a dog park, what are you waiting for!)

He rolled around in the mud, got wood chips embedded in his fur and was slobbered on by the bigger dogs.  He was a very tired, and very dirty pup when he got home.

WP_20150426_005So, it was time for a bath!  Believe it or not, this little rat-dog is the same one as my ball of fluff.

V__1318A couple hours and a half-dozen towels later, Ollie is all dry, happy and fluffier than ever.  (He even smells nice!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, how does this tie into knitting?  Well, it looks like I need more towels- big, absorbent, and sturdy.  So, I’ve got to get going on knitting up some new dog towels.

French Stripe Tea Towel by Megan Delorme

101_4005_medium2[2]Dishtowel #70331AD (knit) by Lion Brand Yarn

70331ada_medium2[1]Harlekinshåndklæder by TichTach

dscf2895_medium2[1]If I work up all these towels, maybe we’ll be able to keep Ollie a little cleaner-even in the always-damp PNW.

What practical projects do you like to work on?

Design Series: Technical Beginnings

Woo!  These socks are starting to take shape in my mind!  I’ve got so many ideas!

The tally is in, and we’ve decided that the theme of our socks is (drum roll please…):

Warm and Cozy!

cozy-cabins[1]I absolutely love this theme (especially today-it’s gray and blustery outside, and all I really want to do is curl up in a nice armchair next to a fire and read a really great novel).

So, now that we have the feel decided on, it’s time to start talking about actual knitting details: what techniques are we going to use to evoke a “warm and cozy” feel in our socks?

Here are some ideas.  Keep in mind, that these are only jumping off places.  We won’t be replicating these socks specifically, instead we’ll take their ideas and tweak them to create something awesome and unique.

Option 1: Simple socks with touches of contrasting color.  Sometimes a contrasting toe or cuff can transform a sock that’s dead simple into one that’s simply beautiful!

IMG_2698_medium2[1]Option 2:  All-over stripes.  Thick or thin, bright or muted, stripes can be used to evoke almost any mood.  Cozy, warm colors (chocolate browns, brick reds, and pine-tree greens) could combine to make the perfect socks for our theme.DSC02936_medium2[1]4445452408_b2e51aebc1_z[1]Option 3: Lace.  We could do an all-over lace pattern, or include panels of lace up the sides of the socks.  If you want the look of lace, but want something cozier, using thicker yarn makes fantastic socks to wear with winter boots. hedera_1_medium2[1]Option 4: Cables.  Cables always make socks look warm and cozy, which would be perfect for our theme.  But, keep in mind that they can make socks a little bulky if you plan on wearing them with shoes, and not just around the house. DSC_2774_medium2[1]Option 5: All-over texture.  My favorite socks all come from this category- sometimes, you just want a workhorse sock that looks good with any pair of shoes and keeps your toes warm.  Simple socks knit with the seed stitch or basket weave stitches are classic and beautiful.  Or we could try a more complicated pattern with slipped stitches or other interesting techniques.3704532404_227f070d7a_z[1] Option 6: Combination.  Stripes and cables?  Lace and textures?  The sky’s the limit!  If you’re itching for something more complicated than a simple sock designed with a single technique, let me know!  And leave your ideas in the comments section.

Inspiration: Mermaid, mermaid, mermaid

A couple weeks ago, someone posted a link on my Facebook page.  People do that from time to time, as I’m sure they do to you, too.  Once people know you’re a knitter, anything vaguely knitting-related gets posted to your wall.  Often they’re something I’ve seen before or something I have no interest in.

But this time, the projects blew my mind.1962699_10153195383503330_642696267624178778_n[1]Mermaid blankets!

Can you think of anything better for a kid to snuggle up into while reading their favorite book or watching The Little Mermaid for the millionth time?  I know about three dozen kids that would lose their minds if they saw this.

I suppose, technically they’re not blankets; they’re more like cocoons.  But still.

So, of course I had to go searching Ravelry for mermaid blanket patterns.

Maybe your Barbie needs a mermaid blanket?

Mermaid Tail for Dolls by Ansley Bleu

2844392201_5643108549_z[1]Or maybe your baby.  (Although I wouldn’t leave them alone in a mermaid tail.  That seems like a strangling hazard.  But maybe I’m paranoid.)

Merikelpoinen by Emma Tavi

vxc_medium2[1]Of course kids would love this super-snugly mermaid tail blanket.

Mermaid Tail Blanket by Creative Crochet by Becky

IMG_8561_medium2[1]But, if we’re being honest, we (I) all really just want to make grown-up sized ones for ourselves.

Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket by Angie Hartley

IMG_0446_medium2[1]And now I have this song stuck in my head.


Husband Sweater: The Hood

I admit, it’s been a while since I updated you on the sweater situation (almost a month-eek!).  I’ve been busy with some dog stuff, some quilting, and generally catching up with other projects around the house (I even tried my hand at some very simple woodworking- I made a slightly wobbly window seat for the dog!).

But, I’m back on track with my husband’s sweater, and have the hood all finished!


I actually went off-pattern for this hood, because if you remember, the one outlined by the pattern was a little, well, big:

uploadedImage_medium2[1]Instead, I based the shape of the hood off of my husband’s favorite hoodie.  I measured the height of the hood from the neck to the crown.  This was the total height of my finished hood.  Then, I measured the hood from the neck to the start of the head-shaped curve.  This was how far I would knit before starting my decreases.

The hood ended up looking like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI picked up stitches from the neck, and knit even (in pattern) for about 8 inches.  Then, I marked the center back of the hood and started decreasing on either side of the mark.  At first I decreased every fourth round, then every other round, then right at the top of the head, I decreased every round.  Finally, I grafted the hood together  at the top of the head to make a seamless-looking hood that fits my husband (almost) perfectly.


Next, I’ll start working on the button band, once I get up the energy to pick up all those stitches!

Have you ever changed a part of a pattern?  What did you change and why?


Design Series: Inspirations

All right, knitters!  The votes have been tallied and it looks like socks are the big winner!

When I’m working on my own designs, the next thing I decide on is the inspiration behind my project.  This isn’t anything technical; I’m not doing any math, or even picking out any stitch patterns yet.  This step simply lets me figure out what the feel of the project will be.  Once I decide on an inspiration, the rest of the design will start to fall into place.

So, here are a few options for the inspiration of our socks:

Option 1:  Fun and silly, like this little goat.

funny-animal-pictures-of-the-week-039-001[1]Option 2:  Sleek and sophisticated, like the Singapore skyline.singapore_skyline[1]Option 3: Delicate and feminine, like these forget-me-not flowers.Forget-Me-Not-[1]Option 4: Warm and cozy, like this mountain cabin.cozy-cabins[1]Option 5: Light and breezy, like this tropical beach.Tropical-Beach-2[1]Option 6: Natural and outdoorsy, like this mountain range.yellow-stone-national-park-mountains[1]Option 7: Cool and practical, like the Pacific Northwest coastline.

Rialto-Beach-Olympic-Peninsula-WA[1]Let me know what you’re into, and next week, we’ll start narrowing down the design.

Inspiration: Puppy Party!

I’ll be honest.  I haven’t had much time for knitting the last few days.  But, honestly, I’m OK with that.  I’ve been busy running around after Ollie!

So, let’s do some puppy-inspired knitting and crochet!

Ollie’s a big fan of Tug of War (and so is my husband).  I might need to make him one of these when his weasel toy finally gets torn to shreds.

Tug of War dog toy by Maz Kwok1-DSC015501_medium[1]What dog doesn’t want a bone?

Dog Bone Toy by Jessica Suzanne

2886225557_92d3d1320f_z[1]And, for that matter, I bet dogs all want a lovely turkey leg, too.

Crochet Giant Turkey Leg Dog Toy by Christine Johnson

Turkey_Leg_Dog_Toy_medium2[1]But, of course, the classic knitted item for a dog is a little sweater.  Unfortunately (fortunately?), Ollie has nice long hair, so he doesn’t need a sweater.  (He does have a little yellow rain slicker, though, because we live in Seattle.  It’s pretty much the cutest.)  If he did need a sweater, I would have to make him this one.

Dog Sweater – Signature Turtleneck by Cute Little Cuddlies

Sign_Patt_3_medium2[1]Have you ever knit anything for your pets?

Introducing: Ollie

OK, this has nothing to do with knitting, but I’m too excited not to write a post about it.

Everyone, meet Ollie!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOllie is our new puppy!  He’s a six-month-old Tibetan terrier (which is not actually a type of terrier-just a weird quirk of etymology).  His favorite activities are sleeping, snoozing, and taking naps.  He also likes sniffing things in the back yard and watching cars drive by the house.  (And, luckily, he has no interest in my yarn or knitting.  Thank goodness!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeither of us have ever had a dog before, so this is all new and exciting!  We’ve been having a lot of fun with the little guy, and are very happy he’s in our family.

Design Series-What are we making?

All right!  Judging by your reaction to my last post, I’d say that designing a garment/item together is something you want to do!  I’m excited, I think it will be fun.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I think that the easiest way for us to do this is through a series of polls.  Then, once a week or so, I’ll tally up the votes, and we’ll move forward with whatever design wins.   Sound good?

8176171268_c8f5ee53d9_bSo, first things first, what are we going to make?  I’ve got some ideas, but I want to see what y’all want to do before I say anything.

So Vote, Vote, Vote!  I’m itching to get this project rolling!

Yarn Spotlight: Preciosa

On my trip to California, I decided I needed a simple project.  One I could throw in my purse and work on in the car or at the beach.  Something that I didn’t have to worry about counting stitches, changing colors, grafting, or otherwise fiddling with.

So, Hitchhiker Scarf it is.

And, as luck would have it, a few days before we left on our trip, I received a surprise package in the mail from the lovely folks at KnitPicks (I love that this is part of my job now!).  And what was to tumble out, but a lovely, squishy skein of their newest yarn, Preciosa in Bonsai, a  glorious forest-green.

5420278Preciosa is a worsted-weight, single-ply merino yarn that is crazy soft and squishy.  It’s available in 16 semi-solid colorways.  It reminds me of Malibrigo or Manos del Uruguay, but not quite as dense.   It would be perfect for any close-to-the-skin accessories, and a cozy sweater in Preciosa would be absolutely amazing for deep winter in the Great White North.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Hitchiker, which I knit on slightly larger needles (US 10s, although the yarn calls for US 7-9s), has fantastic drape and is delightfully soft.  It feels totally luxurious.   I just wish it were cold enough in Seattle to warrant wearing a scarf.  (First world problems, right?)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat would you use Preciosa for?