Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Passel of Pigs

Remember how I made all those teddy bears for the Mother Bear Project (which is still accepting bears).  I used a bunch of leftover KnitPicks Swish that I had laying around-little bits that weren’t enough for a sweater, a scarf or a even pair of mittens.

Well, after the bears, I still had little bits left- tiny little balls of yarn the size of a golf ball.  So, what’s a girl to do with amounts of worsted-weight yarn of 5 grams or less?

Make some Pigs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChichester the Pig by Helen Apocalypse is one of my favorite I’m-bored-and-want-something-quick-and-easy-to-do projects.  It has virtually no finishing, and I can blast my way through one of these tiny pigs in about a half hour.    And, they’re flipping adorable.

In worsted weight on US6 needles, the pigs work up to just under 2 inches long- think just smaller than an egg.  The pigs’ little ears and tiny trotters are all worked as bobbles- so there’s no futzing with sewing on little bitty arms and legs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd they’re a fun way to play with my collection of tiny safety eyes.  I’m a particular fan of my evil pig with the red eyes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, if you ever find yourself with a tiny bit of leftover yarn, a handful of stuffing and a half-hour of time, think of Chichester and all his little piggy buddies.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut, now what should I do now with them, now that they have taken over my desk?

What’s Old is New Again

We’re going back. Waaay back. Way back to a month after I started the blog, and the first pattern I self-published.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s the Lace-Edged Shawl! (I was pretty literal with my pattern names back then… I’m still not great at naming things, but I like to think I’ve improved a bit.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This bad boy was my first attempt at writing out a pattern… and holy cow, did that show. So many typos! So many poorly worded sentences! So much incorrect terminology!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, I’ve rewritten this and fixed a bunch of formatting stuff. It’s amazing how much my pattern-writing has improved over the last three years (if I say so myself)!

You can get the *New and Improved* pattern Lace Edged Shawl-Updated!

Me Socks- Finished!

There is something magical about brand-new hand knit socks. I bet any knitter (or knitter’s family member) would agree.

And you know what’s even better than brand-new socks? Brand-new socks for that you get to keep! I’ve got new socks, and I’m so excited!

As I said before, I used the fantastic “Diagonal Lace Socks” pattern, because I wanted to try my hand at making toe-up heel flap socks, and I thought the heel on these bad boys looked pretty good. I’ve avoided toe up socks for years- mostly out of habit, after all, I have a great system for making my own socks, so I don’t even need a pattern. But, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and try my hand at these socks.

And, you know what? They were easy!

I’ll admit, it was a bit weird making socks without picking up any stitches, and I had a little trouble trusting in the math on the heel cap. But, trust issues aside, this was a great pattern, and the finished socks are just delightful.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, it doesn’t hurt that the Hawthorne yarn I got from Knitpicks is super lovely and squishy, yet I can tell it’s going to be strong enough to last me for at least a couple years. (I will be honest, though, I thought the color looked better wound into a skein- knit up, it looks a little dingy. But it’s not like I’m going to be running around making people look at my socks and judge their dinginess. Except for now. Look at my socks!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I think it’s time to break these puppies in! I think I’ll slip them on and taking them (and the dog) on a nice long walk.

Have you made yourself anything lately?

Mystery Vacation and Vacation Knitting

Have I mentioned that I have the World’s Best Husband?  Because I do.  I really do.  (Sorry, this post isn’t going to have a lot of knitting in it… oh well!)

So, my 30th birthday was this week (yep, I’m officially a grown-up now), and instead of going out to eat or having friends over or renting out the roller rink, my husband decided to do something flipping amazing for me.  He planned a secret vacation!

All I knew going in was that we were heading out of town for about a week, and a few days before we left, he told me to pack for the beach (which was lucky, because I was 100% convinced that we were going to Portland).

I packed my bags, and made sure to bring plenty of knitting (because you never know), and we headed to the airport.

I didn’t take a picture of my face when he finally told me where we were going, but it was something like this:

7241270_f260Because we were going to Hawaii!  Kauai, specifically.  5 days of beaches, snorkeling, tropical drinks and hiking in the rain forest.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was utterly delightful.  And I didn’t even end up sunburnt! (As a super-pale Seattleite, this is a huge victory.)

And while sunbathing and swimming isn’t terribly conducive to knitting, I did get most of the way through my Diagonal Lace socks (two 6-hour-one-way flights) help with that!  I’ve just got a little bit of cuff, some finishing and a quick blocking, and they’ll be done!

Yay vacation!  Yay socks!

Presents, Presents for my Birthday!

It’s my birthday!  And someone around here needs to get a present!

Let’s do a drawing!

Last week, my mom generously offered up one of her beautiful yarn-themed 2016 calendar tea towels to a lucky winner.il_570xN.865351455_2ena[1]It’s time to find out who that winner is!  Let’s head on over to Random.org.

RandomorgAnd, 8 people commented on the post, so, let’s plug that in and, here we go:

8Commenter #1! Jean Valerga, you’re the winner!

I’ll send you an email this morning and we’ll get the shipping details all sorted out!

 

Drumroll, Please!

It’s time for a drawing!

Last week I showed you the newest collection from KnitPicks, Petite Presents, and offered up a drawing!32768

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, get ready because now it’s time to do the giveaway!

14 people responded to my post, so I headed over to Random.org.RandomorgAnd clicked on the number generator:RandomAnd Commenter Number 10!  You’re the big winner!  (That’s Chickie Brewer, if you’re wondering.)  Chickie, I’ll be emailing you with details so that I can get your copy of Petite Presents to you as soon as possible!  That way, you can start working on your Mini Kitty Poufs with your granddaughter!32768124[1]

(And don’t forget, I’m still giving away a Knitting-themed tea towel designed by my mother!  Sign up here to put your name in the drawing before Wednesday!)

WHAT!? MORE PATTERNS?

Yes, my friends, it’s true!  More Patterns!  Beautiful ones (if I say so myself)!  And, better than that, free ones!

These patterns are Ultimate.  The Ultimate Knit and Crochet Palette Blankets!

The whole idea was to make two blankets that:

  1. Looked similar, even though one is knit and one is crocheted.
  2. Use every single color of Palette yarn.
  3. Are awesome.

I think I’ve delivered (if I say so myself).

The Ultimate Crochet Palette Blanket is based on a blanket my Great-Grandmother Anna left to one of my various second-cousins, but this one has more colors.  I think she would approve.

55756220_11Cats like it.55756220_16It’s pretty close up.55757220_2And it’s pretty from far away.55757220_23The Ultimate Knit Palette Blanket is perfect for those early-morning strolls in the greenhouse.55757220_7It’s a fun experiment with an insane number of nupps and bobbles.55756220_3But it’s also is a fantastically beautiful finished product.55756220_22Of course, you don’t have to get the whole 150 colors of Palette Yarn to make a beautiful blanket.  You could split the collection with a few friends and have enough for everyone to knit up a blanket of their own.  Or, since the pattern is essentially for one square, you’ve got lots of room for creativity.  You could pick your favorite jewel tones, or just use shades of gray.  You could make an afghan with your school colors, or just use the colors you’ve got laying around in your stash.  Or, of course, you could make the pattern as it’s photographed- it is really pretty.

Get the Crochet pattern here!

And get the Knit Pattern here!

(And don’t forget to sign up for the giveaways!  Petite PatternsCalendar Tea Towel!)

A New Year’s Giveaway!

In celebration of Knit for Yourself Month, let’s do a giveaway!  After all, a giveaway is really just a present for yourself, right?

I’ve talked about my mom’s amazing graphic design talent before.  She’s the artist of the family, and designs amazing fabrics (which you can buy by the yard here), and then uses her fabric to make gorgeous little project bags, baskets and other lovely products (which you can buy here).

When I visited her over Christmas, I got to drool over her newest projects, a fabulous fabric basket:il_570xN.892993440_t1by[1]A beautiful zippered cosmetics case/sock WIP bag (I took one of these home with me.  It’s decorated with octopi.  It’s adorable.):il_570xN.883634046_5afq[1]And an adorable yarn-themed tea towel/wall hanging:

il_570xN.865351455_2ena[1]It’s printed on a really lovely cotton/linen blend, and Mom’s finished the edges really nicely (I don’t know how her hems always turn out so nice and straight.  I just don’t have the patience for that).il_570xN.865351611_8ed1[1]And here’s the best part:  You could be the lucky one to take home a tea towel of your own!

Just reply below with your favorite item from Mom’s Store, to enter, and we’ll pick a winner at random on January 18th!

(Or, if you don’t want to bother with the whole “entering a contest” thing, just pop over to Mom’s store, PaperorThreads, and treat yourself!)

(And!  Don’t forget the Petite Presents Giveaway, too!  So many Giveaways!)

Me Socks!

On Monday, I talked about using January as Knit for Yourself Month.  And, usually I end up ignoring my own advice.  But this time, I totally didn’t!

I’m going to make my first-ever pair of toe-up, heel-flap socks in some lovely yarn that’s been hiding in my stash.

What’s that?  You’re asking how these could be my first pair of toe-up, heel-flap socks when I constantly have at least one pair of socks on my needles.

Well, I exclusively do top-down socks.  I know it’s kind of silly to get in such a rut, but top-down are the socks I learned how to make back in college, and they’re where I’m comfortable.  And, well, when it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  To be fair, I experimented with toe-up socks with afterthought heels, and some with short-row heels, but that was years ago.  And anyway, I’ve never attempted a heel flap in a toe-up sock.

So, after finding the pattern in my queue on Monday, I downloaded the “Diagonal Lace Socks” pattern off Ravelry and looked it over. 2006685477_2221a6e6f6_z[1]

It didn’t look too bad, except that the designer expected me to knit a pair of socks for my size 10 feet with a set of US0 needles.  That wasn’t going to happen.  I loose patience with tiny needles, and rarely go below a US2.  But, for this I was willing to compromise.  I pulled out my US1’s and decided to make the “medium” size, instead of the “large,” and cross my fingers that the difference in gauge would make up for the few stitches difference.

Then I dug through my stash and found a skein of Hawthorne Speckle Handpaint that Knitpicks sent to me, in Cosmic Speckle.  (I think this colorway is unfortunately discontinued, but they’ve got lots of other gorgeous colors.  I highly recommend this yarn- it somehow manages to feel both crispy and fluffy at the same time; it would make a great pair of cabled socks.  I don’t know how they do it!)

26871_medium[1]So, now I’m off to find a good video of Judy’s Magic Cast On, and start my new socks!

Does anyone have any tips for toe-up socks?

(And, don’t forget to enter the Petite Presents Book Giveaway!)

New Pattern! And a Giveaway!

Hey, guys!  Remember when I kept complaining about not being able to share all my secret projects with you before Chritstmas?  Well, it’s about time that I start telling you what’s going on.

A brand-new pattern that I designed was just published in the newest KnitPicks collection, Petite Presents!  This collection is all about small projects that you can make with less then 150 grams of yarn (often much less).

32768Exciting!

My pattern is the tiny (and cheerful) Juliet Bag, named after one of my sewing students, who is also tiny (and very cheerful).51989220_3[1]The Juliet Bag is knit in the round, from the top down, and uses only a few yards of each color- so it’s a perfect project for using up leftover scraps of sock yarn.  And, the simple colorwork is a great way to get your Fair Isle toes wet without jumping straight into the deep end of a big sweater or something.

51989220_2[1]But, I think my favorite part of the Juliet Bag is the drawstring.  It’s a continuous I-cord that is threaded through a series of eyelets at the top of the bag.  I don’t know why, but I think it’s really cute (and it’s quite functional).

Speaking of really cute, look at these other adorable projects that are also included in the collection:

These Mini Kitty Poufs are not-so-mini (They’re just the right size to be utterly huggable).

32768124[1]And the beautiful Merrifield Hat plays with color and texture in a gorgeous way.32768104[1]Want to win your own copy of Petite Presents?  Just comment below with your favorite pattern from the collection, and I’ll do a drawing on January 18th!