Monthly Archives: June 2016


Warning! Warning! Alert! Alert!

51G8hWAw6mL[1]This is your 6-month warning.  Christmas is in 6 months.  Begin your plans now.  (Or wait until mid-November, like I usually do.)Beautiful-Christmas-Tree-christmas-27617948-1024-768[1]That is all.  You have been warned.

And Then You Win Some

I know you were all waiting with bated breath over the weekend-  Will Allison’s socks turn out?  Or will she be cursed to forever have lopsided footwear?

Well, I have an update for you.

But first, look at my artsy picture of my socks as they were blocking over the weekend.  I call this picture “Morning Sunlight with Wet Socks.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(OK, maybe I’ve had too much coffee this morning… or not enough.  One or the other.)

Once they were dry I took them down, and they looked OK.  Maybe a little lopsided, but not too bad.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know it’s silly, and something that I should have gotten over so long ago- after all I’ve been knitting since I was a little kid.  But, I can never get over how pretty blocked fabric looks.  Especially socks.  All those precise little stitches.  Aren’t they just beautiful?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anyway, enough stalling.  Long story short, the socks came out fine.  They’re almost the same size- one is still a smidge big, but no one other than me would notice (or care).  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIsn’t it funny how your gauge can change over time.  I used the same needles and the same yarn (I know because they were all packed away nicely waiting for me in a little project bag).  I did the same number of rows and stitches, and for whatever reason I was way more relaxed for the second sock.   Sigh.

I guess it’s just another reason to avoid Second Sock Syndrome, I suppose.

Has your gauge ever led you astray?

You Win Some, You Lose Some.

And sometimes you end up with mismatched socks.

If my Ravelry page is correct, I started these socks in January, but I think I probably started them earlier- probably over Christmas.

I finished one right away, then did the toe of the second one…. then…. nothing.  I stashed these socks away  “just in case,” then promptly forgot about them.  So, when I was packing for my trip, I decided to bring them along.  After all, a sock-in-progress fits in my purse, so they’re great for traveling.   The pattern was super simple (just stockinette with a single row of purls around the toe and ribbed cuff), so they wouldn’t take away from looking out the window.  And they were almost done, so they’d go pretty fast!  Win-win-win.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey turned out pretty cute!  Nothing fancy, but they’re a pretty color, and they look ok.

Except if you try to measure them against each other.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne sock is fully a half-inch shorter than the other one.  I swear I measured- I even counted rows!  But, something must have happened to change my gauge between when I started these socks six months ago and when I finished them last week.  Blergh.

I don’t think I’ll try to re-knit them, or rip them out… they’re not fancy enough for me to really be bothered, and they aren’t going to be a gift.  I think I’ll try blocking them out, and hopefully that’ll fix the problem.  After all, blocking hides a multitude of sins.

Have you ever ended up with significantly different socks? What did you do?

Big Head

I think I made the world’s longest hat.

No joke.  It’s really big.

It’s an Antler Hat from tincanknits.  I thought I followed the pattern, but something happened.

The hat on the right is a normal, long-ish beanie that I made for my husband.  The hat on the right is the one I just knit up. It’s like twice the size!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven if I fold up the brim, it’s so long!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI look like a silly gnome when I wear it.WP_20160612_15_18_04_ProI need to rip out the crown and take out a couple pattern repeats.  After all, the pattern is absolutely gorgeous, and looks great in my Tosh DK.  It’s just too long.  Look at that great cable!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI feel like I’ve been on a streak of not-quite-correctly finished knitting projects.  Oh well, it just means I have more knitting to do!

Coffee and Scraps

Imagine this:  You’re in the back seat of a minivan, somewhere on the Ohio Turnpike.  You thought you brought enough knitting for the day, but your project has gone faster than expected (yay), leaving you with three more hours of driving, and nothing else to knit (boo).  You’ve got plenty more yarn, but it’s tucked away in your suitcase, which is buried in the trunk, under everyone else’s luggage.

What’s a girl to do?

Just keep knitting.

I finished my gloves earlier than I had expected, but I had a little extra yarn.  Not even enough to make a third glove, much less any other garment.  But, it was enough to make a coffee sleeve!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI already had the gauge (after all, I was using the same yarn and same needles as I had used on my gloves), and I could guess at the proper dimensions for a coffee sleeve.  And, since this stitch pattern is super stretchy (it was the same one I used for the gloves), I didn’t have to worry about being perfect.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt worked like a charm!  Now I’ve got a lovely matching coffee sleeve to go with my new gloves.  I think I just might start making coffee sleeves with all my leftover scraps!

Have you ever been in a similar situation?  What did you do to keep yourself occupied?

Inspiration: Father’s Day Monkeys

Hey guys, Father’s Day is on Sunday.  (So go get your dad a card if you haven’t gotten one in the mail already!)

In my family, for some reason (I can’t remember when this started), we always get my dad Father’s Day cards with a monkeys on them.  Any monkey is OK, but you get bonus points if it is wearing clothes, smoking a pipe, or riding a tricycle (and bonus bonus points if it’s doing all three).

At this point, I don’t even know if my dad likes monkey cards (or even monkeys).  I suppose it doesn’t really matter, since we’ve been doing it so long that it’s become an ongoing gag.

So in honor of Father’s Day, let’s look at some monkey patterns.

(Hoo boy! There are some ugly monkey-themed patterns on Ravelry.  I’m not going to post them here, because that would be mean.  But, if you want a chuckle, head on over and look for yourself.)

There is the classic Cookie A pattern, Monkey Socks.  I love these socks, but, other than the name, I don’t think they have much to do with monkeys.  Also, they’re a little girly to be a proper Father’s Day-themed pattern.

Monkey Socks by Cookie Amonkey_2_medium2[1]There are a million monkey amigurumi patterns on Ravelry, but I think this one might be the cutest.  Look at that little face, those tiny hands, that adorable bendy tail.  I love looking at this little guy, but I think I might go crazy if I tried to make him-  all those ends… shudder!

Chinese New Year Monkey by Stephanie Jessica LauL1037384_logo_medium2[1]If that monkey was too cute, this monkey is not.  At all.  And, while that sounds terrible, I mean it in the best way possible.  I love this basket!  I love that the monkey’s eyes point in different directions, and that he looks like he’s trying really hard to remember where he left his house keys.  The big dumb ears are amazing, and the fact that the photographer put a big bunch of bananas in the basket couldn’t be more perfect.  I know it sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but I really do love this monkey basket.  And, if I thought my dad would like to have a monkey basket, I would totally be working on it right now.

monkey basket bag by Cheryl L. CambrasScreen_Shot_2016-02-14_at_3.30.20_PM_medium[1]Do you have any traditions around Father’s Day in your family?

Cheap Trick

On my Epic Road Trip, I spent a day with my in-laws, visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.71ed32[1]I’ll be honest, I was kind of “meh” on the idea of stopping by, after all I’m not a huge fan of classic rock.  But, I really enjoyed myself!  I saw Michael Jackson’s rhinestone glove, the Supremes’ pink sequin-and-feather dresses, and the white guitar that Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock.  There was a fantastic exhibit about the history of rock (starting with blues and jazz through modern day) and a cool display talking about the intersection of politics and music.  I’d definitely recommend stopping for a day (or at lest an afternoon), if you’re driving through Ohio.

“But Allison,” you ask.  “Why are you talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on a knitting blog?”

Well, reader.  I’ll tell you.

One of the newest inductees to the Hall of Fame is the band Cheap[1]And in the display about the new inductees, was one of the outfits that Rick Nielsen, the guitarist wore at a bunch of his shows.WP_20160607_10_32_04_ProIt’s hard to see in such a small picture, but that cardigan… it’s knit.  Black and white checkers at a tiny gauge (I think it’s double knit, but I couldn’t get close enough to really examine it).  And the two big black squares on the front are giant pockets with “Cheap Trick” worked over and over again in white.  Can you imagine knitting something like that… it’s such a small gauge, and would be such a pain to knit!.  (And can you imagine performing on stage under all those hot lights in a wool cardigan?  Ugh!)

According to the plaque, Rick Nielsen designed the sweater and someone named Sally Walton knit it up.    It might not be my style, but it’s a pretty impressive piece of knitting.  Imagine one of your finished objects ending up in a museum!

What’s the most surprising knitting you’ve come across?

Home Again, Home Again


(What? I’m the only one who says that?)

I’m back home, and I’m exhausted.

It was great to see our families (both mine and my husband’s), and I had a fabulous time.  We played cards, ate lots of great food, and explored Pennsylvania, Cleveland and Chicago.  All in a week!  A real whirlwind tour.

And, of course, I did a ton of knitting.  You can’t expect me to spend all that time in cars, airplanes and the Chicago L and not get out my knitting.  I’ll tell you about everything I worked on (I can finish a surprising amount of knitting when I’m cooped up in the back of a minivan for 12 hours) over the next couple weeks.  But, I want to start with what might have been my favorite project.

You remember this brightly-colored beauty (the one on the right)?  It’s Knitted Wit Victory DK in Fairy Garden… Swoon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, a few hours of work (and approximately 1 million ends to weave in later… no wonder I’ve never made gloves before… what a pain!), I’ve got my own crazy-lady riding gloves  (Also known as the Ringwood Gloves from Rebecca Blair- a very well-written pattern!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love them!  And I love that their coloring is just slightly different.  It’s hand-painted yarn, after all.

I also love the very cool, but surprisingly simple stitch pattern.  It’s two rows of stockinette, and one of k1p1 rib.  Easy!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe gloves are dense and squishy and lovely, and I can’t wait for the weather to get cool enough to wear them.

Now I just have to find buttons for the cuffs… I’m thinking little, white shell buttons, or maybe faux pearls.  I’ll have to go through my big button jar and see what I have.

What kind of buttons would you use?

Taking pictures

I think I’m approaching the end of an era.  It’s been a good long run- probably about 5 years.  But, I think my camera is on its last legs.  It’s a sad day.

My camera’s nothing fancy- just a little silver point-and-shoot.  A refurbished Olympus that I got for cheap, off of a deal-of-the-day website.  It’s worked well for years.

91eCSgUhEcS._SL1500_It even takes pretty good pictures, under certain conditions.  With good lighting (ie, a sunny day), I can take decent close-ups.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, if I’m patient enough, I can even take slightly less close-up shots, if it’s not windy out and I’m willing to take 20 or 30 pictures before I get a good one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy camera has worked well enough; and frankly it still works.  Except the battery doesn’t keep a charge for more than 15 minutes.  And I’d like to have some more control of focus and color and exposure.

The problem is, I know nothing about cameras (I got really excited when I found out what the “macro” button was for).  So I was hoping someone out there in internet land could have some advice for me.

Do you know anything about cameras? I know DSLR’s are fancy, but are they worth it?  Would it be worthwhile to take a photography class?  Where would you even find a photography class?  Are there any websites that would be good for a novice like me?  I don’t even know where to start!

Inspiration: On the road again

I’m on the road again.  Somewhere between the Shell gas station and the Wendy’s on the side of the freeway.  I’m having a great time hanging out with my extended family and I’m getting tons of time for knitting. Win-win!

I can’t stop at any yarn stores (which is probably good, since my suitcase is already full), but all the hours in the car have made me think about all the other road trip knitting I could be doing.

This beanie is just too perfect for words, after all it’s a “Road Trip Hat.”  I love the interesting, minimalist use of cables  I could see this becoming a favorite for years and years.

Road Trip Hat by Emily Williams

Roadtrip-cover-rev-600px_medium[1]Of course, my perennial favorite, the Hitchhiker Shawl, would be perfect for knitting on a road trip.  A simple, easily memorized pattern and acres and acres of garter.  I can’t think of a more perfect pattern to work on while staring out the window, watching the scenery go by.

Hitchhiker by Martina BehmCIMG7885And, if you’re looking for something a little more practical… maybe a pair of driving gloves?  You could wear them to keep your hands warm while the A/C is blasting.

Men’s Driving Gloves or Fingerless Gloves by Tara Smolinski

IMG_0163_medium2[1]But, really, if you want the perfect road trip project, it doesn’t get any better than this adorable road cowl.  Cute!

Road Trip Cowl by Ping Woodvalleypat550.550.zoom.1_medium[1]What do you work on when you go on a road trip?