Monthly Archives: December 2016

Christmas Post-Mortem: Another sweater

Guess what?!

I made another sweater.

I know, I’m a masochist.  (Or, maybe I really like making sweaters.)

This one was for my dad.  He’s a pretty classy guy- he wears a suit to work and if you see him in a sweater, it’s more likely he’d wear a thin, understated merino one from Nordstrom than something I’d knit (I do lean toward cables and bright colors, after all).

But he hasn’t gotten a sweater from me yet!  We can’t let that stand!

So, I got a big pile of Knit Picks’ Swish in Cobblestone, and broke out the “Knits for Everybody” book.  (I love a top-down raglan.)  I started making the sweater just as written- all stockinette all the time- but the smallish gauge and the simple pattern made me feel like I was knitting at a glacial pace.

So, I decided to add a little interest.

Stripes were out (Dad’s not a stripes guy), but I thought I could do a little texture.  I didn’t want to add any cables, since those can mess up your gauge, and I had already started knitting.

A little poking around on Ravelry, and I found Flaxsc-flax-08_medium1I liked the garter band down the sleeves (garter is my favorite).  So, I carefully ripped back a few stitches at either shoulder and re-knit them in garter.  And, because I love to embellish, I added garter panels down both sides of the body, too.img_4407The sweater turned out pretty well, and (I think) pretty classy, which is not something I usually strive for.

(Ollie thinks so, too)

img_4398Have you ever “fancied up” a pattern as you were working on it?  How did that go?

Christmas Post-Mortem: A sweater

Hey guys, guess what.

I made a sweater!

(Surprise!… I guess.  I make a lot of sweaters.)

This one was made for my father-in-law.

Last spring, he asked me to make him a sweater, and I have trouble saying no (or maybe I just like having an excuse to make another sweater).  So, I asked him exactly what he wanted.  After all, if I’m going to put all the work into a project like this, I wanted the finished project to be something he’d wear, after all.  We talked about cables vs. stripes, crew necks vs. V-necks, yoked sweaters vs. raglans.  We talked about ease and fit.

And then my husband brought out a sweater I had made for him years and years ago.  It was a Ben sweater, knit in forest-green Berroco Vintage.

My father-in-law took one look at that sweater and said, “That.  That’s the sweater I want.  Except… can I have it in gray?”

So, I knit up another Ben, this time in gray.img_3860I love the cable/texture pattern.  It’s a fun, easy knit that packs a big punch.  And it’s crazy warm, perfect for Northern Illinois winters.img_3854Unfortunately, I forgot to take a big “finished project” picture before I wrapped it up, but needless to say, it’s a pretty great sweater.

Have you ever re-knit a pattern for multiple people?

Christmas Post-Mortem: A hat

Christmas is done!  Hope you had a nice weekend.  We played lots of board games, and ate lots of cookies.  A pretty great time, if I say so myself.

But here’s the fun part!  Now I get to show off the gifts I’ve been working on over the last few months!

Let’s start with this cool hat I made for my brother-in-law!img_4099I knit with a very cool “intarsia in the round” technique that I learned at this year’s Knit Fit.  Basically, you cast on and do the brim just like normal (in the round).  Then, as you knit the top (multi-colored) part of the hat, you use really long short rows and wrap-and-turns to work the intarsia without messing up the order of your yarn.  So, you’re effectively knitting back and forth at the same time you are creating a tube that looks like it was knit in the round.  Super clever!

And, it’s got this cool top (which looks better when it’s worn):img_4102It’s dead simple to make.  You knit all the way to the top of the hat without any shaping (making it extra-long), then you seam the top to make the whole thing flat, then take the corners and sew them together.

Cool, right?

What did you make for Christmas?

It’s Time

I’m all about pulling an all-nighter to finish a last-minute project before it’s due.  (After all, I once did the edging on an afghan in the car as we drove to my friend’s wedding.  It was finished about a half hour before the reception.  That was a stressful day.)

But, sometimes you just have to throw up your hands, pour yourself a glass of eggnog and say “uncle.”  And, I think the day before Christmas Eve counts as one of those times.

You’ve given it your all, and it’s not like you will never finish Aunt Sally’s hat or Grandpa Joe’s socks.  You’ll just finish them in January.  No biggie.

So, wrap up your WIPs, needles and all, and print out these tags that I’ve made just for you:

Christmas Gift Coloring Page

Break out your colored pencils or markers (or glitter glue, I’m not going to limit you), and decorate the tag to show your recipient how amazing their sweater is going to be… when it’s finished.

img_4413Then get yourself that second cup of eggnog and take a break in front of the tree.  You’ve earned it!

And, of course, Merry Christmas!

Give me a K!

Give me an N!

Give me an I!

Give me a T!

What’s that spell?


What are we going to do?


img_4420I’ve got my pom-poms out, and I’m cheering you on (sure, they’re not cheerleader pompoms, but you get the idea)!  You can do it!  You’ve got 4 days left (5, if you do your gift exchange in the evening) for your Christmas knitting!  And you’ve got this!img_4433Knit! Purl! Yarn over!  Drink that extra cup of coffee so you can stay up to “just finish this section.”  Your boss won’t mind if you’re a little late for work, I’m sure they’d understand you just had to get to the cuff.  And, remember that red lights and grocery store lines are really just wasted time, unless you bring your knitting with you.

I believe in you!

Bears (Almost) in the Air

I’ve got bears coming out of my ears over here!

I spent the weekend finishing up about one million bears.  (OK, it was 4 bears, and I’m not totally done yet.  A few of them still need faces.)

I  was up to my elbows in stuffing, and my couch is covered in little bits of leftover yarn from weaving in all those ends.img_4455That’s the problem with knitting up a bunch of bears at once to “finish later.”  It seems like a great idea as the bears pile up.  But, then you have to spend six hours stuffing and seaming, which I do not love doing.

And this morning I’m putting on faces.  Cute little faces with bits of felt and embroidery floss.  I’m dozens of bears in, and I still can’t figure out how to make a non-grumpy bear.  Oh well, what can you do?  They’re still pretty cute.img_4438When these guys are finished, I think my bear box will be full and ready to send off.  I’ll be sad to see them go, but happy knowing they’re going to be well appreciated.

Have you been making any bears? I’d love to see yours, too!

Pattern: Two-Tone Mitts!

I’ve got an early Christmas Present for you!  A super cute (if I say so myself) and super quick pattern for those last few people still waiting for gifts.

Two-Tone Mitts!img_4346These simple fingerless mitts are shockingly fast to knit up, really cute, and surprisingly flattering.  The minimalist design means that they look just as good on men and women, young or old.  Knit up a pair in your dad’s favorite team colors.  Or make some for your niece’s new school.  Or maybe you have an aunt who loves a particular shade of blue.img_4362These mitts are surprisingly thick and warm, knit with Knit Picks’ Swish, and they’re machine washable (important for gloves- or at least important for my gloves. I always manage to spill my coffee everywhere).  But, if you don’t have Swish in your stash, any firm worsted or DK weight yarn should do the trick.

Want to knit up a pair for yourself?  Grab the pattern for free here:

Two-Tone Mitts


Hi everybody!  Guess what today is!

It’s my 600th post!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrazy, right?!  It’s been three and a half (almost four) years of posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.  I’ve surprised myself that I’m still going all this time later!  And I’m that I still have things to say!  (If you were to estimate that each post is about 200 words, that’s 120,000 words total!  That’s the length of a nice long novel!  Who’d have thought that there was that much to discuss around knitting?)

I want to thank you guys for reading along, and hanging out with me on the internet- it really means a lot to me to see people reading my work, knitting my patterns and commenting on my posts.  Not to be too sappy, but “You like me, you really like me!”

We’re just about done with holiday knitting, so soon, we’ll be able to get back to some good old-fashioned selfish knitting.  So, then the question is- what are we going to work on?  I’ve got some ideas, but let me know if you have some, too!  Did you get any yarn for Christmas that you just can’t wait to use?  Is there a pattern you love with a technique you can’t quite grasp?  I’m here to help, just ask!

Christmas Bears


My goal was to finish my Christmas knitting this weekend, and after a weekend-long knitting marathon, I did just that.  Barely.  I may have been up on Sunday night until 11:00 weaving in ends and blocking.  And the last piece of knitting might still be quite damp, and sitting in front of a heater with a fan blowing on it (behind closed doors so that Ollie won’t decide to take a nap on it).  But, other than that- everything is done!

And that means one thing:

It’s bear time again!

My goal was to make at least 10 bears this winter, and I’ve been so busy with presents for my family, my bears have been neglected until now- I think I have 8 or so in my bear box in the closet. (What? You don’t have a bear box in your closet?)  So, I’ve got to get cranking.

Luckily, since I just finished up my Christmas knitting, I’ve got lots of half-skeins of yarn laying around, perfect for making bears.  And, sure, you could use whatever worsted weight yarn you have at hand, but I like using Knit Pick’s Swish Worsted.  It’s pretty inexpensive (especially if you wait for one of Knit Pick’s big sales), it comes in a ton of colors, it’s lovely and soft, yet is surprisingly strong and washable.  Also, I happen to have a bunch hanging out in my stash.

This morning I got on a roll, and I worked up this grey bear (with a pink top and purple pants) from the top of his head, almost to the leg split.  (That’s why this post is up a little later than usual- I got distracted.  Also, the couch was very comfy.) img_4381

How have your bears been coming along?  Have you been using up your leftover Christmas yarn, too?

Dear Christmas Knitting,

img_3557Dear Christmas Knitting,

Hi.  It’s me.  We’ve been spending a lot of time together lately, and I think I need to get some things off my chest.

When we started, almost six months ago, everything was great.  We got along great.  It felt like we had all the time in the world.  Everything was easy, fun, even.  I enjoyed spending time with you, and planning the projects for everyone on my list.

But then, something happened over the course of months.  It was a slow change.  Instead of looking forward to spending an hour or two with you every evening, you became a chore.  I’m sorry if I sound harsh, but that’s what happened.  You know it, and I know it.

And now, this close to Christmas, we’ve been spending every free moment together, working hard to make our deadline.  I’ve been feeling the crunch as the due date looms closer.  Of course I’ll stick with you to the finish, but then… I think we might be done.

I don’t think we’ll be doing this again next year.  I think I might just go shopping for Christmas gifts, or possibly some nice gift cards.    Sure, I’ve said this before, but this year I mean it.  For real.  I promise.


Oh, who am I kidding. I’ll see you next year.