Monthly Archives: May 2015

Husband Sweater: The Sleeves

I think it’s high time that this dang sweater stops looking like a muscle shirt when my husband tries it on.  Don’t you agree?

The only problem is that he’s not a fan of the fairly over-sized sleeves that the original pattern calls for.  Ugh.  Nothing is ever simple.

So, it’s time to get out my scratch paper (or rather, the back of the pattern), my calculator and start figuring out what I need to do.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK.  Before I even have to start doing math I know a few things:

1.  I have 82 stitches (about 20 inches) at the top of the sleeve, set aside from when I split the body for sleeves.

2.  I need to get down to about 40 stitches (about 10 inches) at the top of the cuff.

3.  My sleeve needs to be about 15 inches (about 105 rows) from where I’ll pick up my stitches to the top of the cuff.  (I based this on my husband’s arm length, and the length of the sleeves of his favorite sweater.)

Now it’s math time.

If I need to go from 82 to 40 stitches, I need to do 42 decreases somewhere on the sleeve.

(82 sts at the shoulder-40 sts at the cuff=42 decreases)

I’ll do two decreases per decrease row, so I’ll need to do 21 decrease rows.

(42 decreases/2 decreases per row=21 decrease rows)

And, I want to space those decreases out evenly over 105 rows, so I’ll work a decrease row every 5th row.

(105 rows/21 decrease rows=5 rows per decrease row)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo that means, I’ll knit four rows evenly (while still making sure the stripe pattern matches up with the body), then I’ll work a decrease row (knitting all stitches, except for working two decreases at the underarm).  Easy!

Hopefully, this’ll look good.  It’s a more extreme decrease than I usually use for sleeves, but it might work.  Luckily, I’ll be able to finish one sleeve, have the husband try it on, and get his approval for the next sleeve (or, heaven forbid, find out I have to redo the sleeve!  Cross your fingers for me).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you ever had to rejigger part of a pattern?  How did it turn out for you?

Design Series: Let’s go!

Guys.  It’s time.  Finally!

It’s time to cast on for our socks!

Just to recap, we decided to make simple, warm and cozy socks with a basic design.  We picked light gray and indigo blue for the colors, and we wanted them to be regular socks, not slipper socks.

Luckily, I had some lovely indigo blue and light gray sock yarn in my stash!

Knit Picks Stroll Sock yarn in Sapphire Heather and Dove Heather, about one skein of each.  (Which should hopefully be enough to make it through a whole pair of socks!)

24590[1] 25023[1]Pretty, right?  Of course, you’re more than welcome to use any color (or brand of yarn) that makes you happy, but I’ll be using this yarn.

Since we’re going for a nice warm and cozy design, I thought that using a lovely, squishy 2×2 rib would look really good.  (Not to mention that ribbed socks are super comfy.)

I’m going to be working this design in four sizes: Women’s Small (Medium, Large, Extra Large). (Don’t feel bad if you have to use the Extra-Large Size.  That’s the size I have to make for myself.  I have big man-feet.)

So, let’s start!

  • Materials:
  • 5 US2 double-pointed needles
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors
  • 1 skein each, Gray (MC) and Blue (CC) sock yarn, such as Knit Picks Stroll Sock in Dove Heather and Indigo Heather.


  • Using MC, cast on 48 (52, 56, 60) stitches using your favorite method.  Distribute the stitches evenly across 4 needles (12 (13, 14, 15) sts per needle) and join to work in the round.
  • Work around in a K2P2 rib for 15 rounds.  Break yarn and join CC.
  • Continue in ribbing for 10 rounds.  Break yarn and join MC.
  • Continue in ribbing for 10 rounds.  Break yarn and join CC.
  • Continue in ribbing for 10 rounds.  Break yarn and join MC.
  • Continue in ribbing for 30 rounds.
  • Work 1 round, knitting all stitches.
  • Knit 36 ( 39, 42, 45).  Break yarn and get ready to make the heel flap!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext time, we’ll turn the heel!  Woo Hoo!

Inspiration: Talavera Tile

Before I moved to Seattle, I lived for a few years in Texas.  I love Seattle, but Texas was super fun, too (in a barbecue and rednecks kind of way).  I know this makes me kind of dorky, but one of the things I liked most about living down there was seeing the traditional Mexican/Southwestern influences mixed in with all the modern buildings.  And, my favorite part of that were the amazing talavera tiles everywhere.  (If I ever have to do a remodel on our house, I’m definitely going to suggest adding in some talavera tiles, even if they don’t really “go” in Seattle.)

til086[1]1411768119-Nine-Tile-View[1] til047[1]Totally gorgeous, right?  (By the way, these tiles are all available for sale here.  Not that I’ve been window shopping or anything.)

I love the vivid colors, the delicate details, and the fantastic organic patterns.

I wonder if I could translate that into knitting?  Of course I can!

This gorgeous sweater would look fantastic in creamy-white, burnt umber and forest green.

Oranje by Ann Weaver

oranjeBACK_medium2[1]And this hat is the absolute cutest!  Look at those earflaps!

Talavera Ear Flap Hat by Elizabeth Murphy

IMG_0855_medium[1]And this gorgeous hat already looks like it’s been tiled!

The Inga Hat by Sheila Macdonald

Inga_medium2[1]I guess I’ll just have to get my talavera fix through my knitting for now…  oh well…


I’ve gotten a few questions recently about blocking.  And it is kind of mysterious, so I understand the confusion.  It actually took me several years of serious knitting before I started regularly blocking my projects.  And let me tell you, it was amazing how much nicer my projects looked once I started blocking them.



Think of blocking like adding a squeeze of lemon or a dusting of powdered sugar to your project.  It’s a flourishing touch that turns a good project into a great one.  Sure, your sweater will fit, even unblocked, but it will be so much better if you do.  Blocking makes your stitches more even, straightens out any little pulls and makes your knitting look more professional.  And (and this is a huge bonus), it lets you cheat a little bit on the size of your finished project.  Did the scarf turn out a little too small?  Are your sweater’s sleeves a little too long? Blocking can fix (or at least kind of fix) it.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll talk about how I block (of course there are as many ways to block projects as there are knitters),  what you need to block a project, and what blocking can do for you.

Stay tuned!


Pattern Spotlight: Human Beans Sweater

Just when I thought that my Human Beans couldn’t get any cuter, the folks over at Knit Picks had to go and do this:sweater_girl1[1]I mean, seriously?  How cute is that?  A tiny, pink cabled sweater on a tiny doll with red shoes, sitting on a tiny wicker chair.  Honestly.

They modified this free pattern, changing the shoulders slightly, since the Human Beans don’t really have shoulders.


This pretty pink sweater was worked up for a middle-sized doll, but you could totally modify it for the larger or smaller dolls, simply by changing the gauge.

sweater_girl2[1]Thanks, Knit Picks folks!  You’ve totally made my day with this ridiculous little sweater.

Husband Sweater: Button (er- Zipper) Band

I feel like it’s been a hot minute since I gave you an update on the sweater I’m working on for my husband.  Oof- actually it’s been almost a month.  (Sorry, husband!  Hopefully I’ll have it finished by August at this rate!)

Anyway, this time, I knit up the button band (or rather, the zipper band).  Instead of using the pattern, I used my own standard button band (mostly because I lost my paper copy of the pattern).


My button bands actually start when I’m knitting up the sweater body.  I always slip the first stitch of each row.  This creates a nice, neat edge that makes it easy to pick up stitches evenly all the way around.  And I’ve found that picking up one stitch for every two rows makes a button band with just the right tension.  This way, you don’t even have to count, except for making sure you have an even number of stitches to make your ribbing come out right.


I worked the button band on this sweater for about an inch, in a 2×2 rib.  This is a little narrower than my usual button bands, but that’s because I’ll be using a zipper, not buttons.  If you use buttons, the button bands will overlap, so you’ll need a wider band.  If you use a zipper, the bands don’t overlap, so you need a narrower one.

Next up-I’ll start working on the sleeves!

And The Winner Is…

Woo!  Hello new folks!  And hello not-so-new folks!  Thanks for entering the  drawing for a copy of “Cute, Cuter, Cutest: Knit Toys to Love in 3 Sizes.”  I loved reading about your favorite childhood toys.  Such sweet stories and lovely memories!  If you haven’t read everyone’s comments on last Friday’s post, you should definitely take a look.

But, enough sentimentality!  You’re all here for the giveaway!32673[1]More than fifty people entered, but only one can win.  I wrote down everyone’s names, and picked one at random.

*Drum roll*

And, Jan!  You’re the big winner!  Congratulations!  I’ll be emailing you later this afternoon.

32673101[1]And, if you’re not Jan, you still want the book, right? (Of course you do.  Because it’s stupidly cute.)  Head on over to Knit Picks and pick up a copy for yourself.

Design Series: Halfway there!

We’re almost there, guys!   I’m itching to go buy yarn and cast on!

If you’re just joining us now, we’ve been designing a knitting pattern together.  We decided to make socks, and we wanted them to be warm and cozy.  And, last week, we decided to make them with a simple gray and indigo-blue pattern.

This week, I have two questions for you.

First, do you want the socks to be made at a standard sock-yarn gauge, or should they be slipper socks, worked at a larger (DK or Worsted) gauge?

And, of course, what do you you want our simple stripes to look like?  here are 4 variations to choose from.

Design Project Socks

Vote!  Quick!  I really want to go visit the yarn store and start knitting on these socks!


(And, don’t forget to enter your name into the drawing for a copy of “Cute, Cuter, Cutest!”  You’ve got until Friday before I pick a winner!)

350 (yards)

It’s my 350th post!  That means I’ve written almost enough posts for you to read one every day for a year (if you wanted to go back and re-read them, I suppose.  Though why would you?).  I’ve got some awesome things planned for the next few months, and I can’t wait to show them to you (hopefully I’ll have time to realize all my ideas.  That’s always the problem.  Too many ideas and not enough time).

I’ve even got three free patterns churning around in various stages of not-quite-finished yet.  In the meantime, here are three awesome patterns from Ravelry that use about 350 yards of yarn (See what I did there?).

In the next couple weeks, I should have a very cool shawl/scarf pattern (not this one) finished up.  I just need to take some pictures and do some formatting on the final pattern.

TGV (High Speed Knitting) by Susan Ashcroft

rainbow_10_medium2[1]I’m working on baby sweater for a friend that’s expecting.  Once she gets her present, I’ll be posting the pattern I designed for her.  It’s not as fancy as this one, but still pretty cute.  (And, sorry to be vague.  I think she reads the blog.)

Latte Baby Coat by Lisa Chemery

DSC_0414_medium2[1]And, this one you know about.  We’re getting dangerously close to casting on our Design Series Socks.  I can’t wait!  (But, I suppose these are cute, too.)

Simple Garter Stitch Slippers by handepande

DSC_6605_medium2[1]Thanks for being patient!  I am excited about these upcoming projects (and other ideas bouncing through my head.  Soon, guys!  Soon!

(And don’t forget to enter your name into the drawing for a copy of Cute, Cuter, Cutest! I’ll be picking a winner on Friday!)

Pattern: Human Beans (And a giveaway!)

Hello Knitters!  I’ve got exciting news!

Another of my patterns was just published in the newest KnitPicks toys collection!

I love tiny things, and this collection really scratched that itch.  All the patterns come in Large, Medium, and Itty-Bitty.  So, of course the book is called Cute, Cuter, Cutest: Knit Toys to Love in 3 Sizes!

32673[1]There are some fantastic patterns in the book.  I love the raccoons, especially.  And the dinosaurs are too freaking cute!  (I mean, come on.  Who doesn’t like multi-colored dinosaurs?)

32673103[1]But, I have to toot my own horn a bit, here.  I am just in love with my little Human Beans!

32673101[1]They’re a family of fully-customizable little dolls in three sizes.  The pattern gives instructions on making any outfit you like- long sleeves, short sleeves, pants, skirts, or shorts.  And the tops can be stripey or decorated with a heart or star emblem.  I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out!

32673102[1]Do you want a copy of Cute, Cuter, Cutest: Knit Toys to Love in 3 Sizes? (Yes, you do.)  Post below and tell me about your favorite childhood toy to enter a drawing for a free copy of the book!  (I’ll pick a winner next Friday, so don’t wait!)