Monthly Archives: March 2017

New Pattern: Golden Gardens Pullover

That’s right, boys and girls!  It’s time for a new pattern!

It’s a lovely cotton tunic, with drop shoulders and bracelet-length sleeves, with just a touch of cabling.  It’s a perfect spring sweater (if I say so myself).

It’s the Golden Gardens Pullover!Cute, right?  And with tons of positive ease and super-soft cotton yarn, it’s crazy comfortable.   I’m particularly proud of the one-stitch cable that runs from front hem to back, and up each arm.  But wait!  That’s not all!

My pullover is part of a lovely new spring-y collection from Knit Picks.  Introducing: Flourish!

I’m not a big knit tee person, but this one is adorable.  That lace/texture combo, and that lovely shade of pink.  Too cute for words.

Whitwell Tee by Kate HeppellBut, I think this cardigan might be my favorite from the collection (other than mine, of course).  It’s so light and feminine, and I love the way the lace wraps from the back of the sweater, all the way around the front.

Spring Thaw Cardigan by Kephren PritchettWant to win a free copy of Flourish?  Comment below and tell me about your favorite part of spring (I love it when the cherry tree outside my studio window starts to bloom).  I’ll hold a drawing next Friday!

Bears, But Not Too Many

So, I made some resolutions at the beginning of the year, and I’m not doing a great job following up on them, if I’m honest.

My three goals were:

-Do more knitting “just for fun.”

-Knit at least 1 bear per month.

-Sketch more.

My sketch book has only a couple more pages filled in than it did in January, I’ve been knitting almost exclusively for work (which means I’m getting more design work- Yay!  But, I can’t show you guys my WIPs- Boo!).  And, my bear collection is a little pitiful.I know!  Only a bear and a half, and it’s already approaching the end of March!  And neither one is stuffed! (And most of that half-bear was knit this morning when I realized how behind I was.)

I suppose it’s not a big deal, after all it’s just a goal, not a real deadline, and it’s just something I’m doing on my own.  But, still.  It’s the principle!

I just finished knitting another project for work, so I have a little time “off.”  I guess I know what I’m doing this week!

Are you still making Mother Bears?  What goals do you set for yourself, and do you do a good job keeping up with them?

PvP Knitting

Every week (well, three times a week), I write about knitting.  What I’m knitting, what I’d like to knit, what I’ve finished knitting.  But I never really talk about why I knit.

I know, I know, it seems obvious, right?  I knit because I love to knit.  Simple.  Heck, that’s why we’re all here!  We all love knitting!

But, what is it about knitting that draws us in?  Why do we do what we do?

The common wisdom is that there are two kinds of knitters: Product Knitters and Process Knitters.  And, while the common wisdom is often wrong, I think there’s definitely something to this one.

Product Knitters are in it for the finished product (hence the very creative name).  They see a gorgeous new sweater pop up on Ravelry, and they have to have it.  They work toward a goal.  If they want a new pair of socks, then by god, they’ll have a new pair of socks (even if they hate knitting socks).I can respect that kind of goal-oriented knitting.  I know I feel that urge from time to time (mostly when my old hand-knits start wearing out).

But, if I’m being honest, I’m more of a Process Knitter.

Process Knitters knit for the sake of knitting.  They knit because they love the feel of yarn sliding through their fingers and enjoy the act of making each stitch, one after another.  They see a new pattern and think “Wow, I’d really love to knit that,” not, “Wow, I’d really love to wear that.”  (Which explains some of the sweaters I’ve made and almost never worn… oops!)

Of course, every knitter has a little Process Knitter in them, and a little Product Knitter.  And, I’m sure there are people that knit for other reasons, too.  But no matter where you fall on the Process vs. Product spectrum, we all love what we do.

What do you think about the whole Process Knitter vs. Product Knitter taxonomy?  Is there anything to it?  Which are you?

Inspiration: St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Have you all drank your green beer and eaten your corned beef yet?   No?  Well, what are you waiting for?!  (Though, to be honest, it’s far too early for beer for me, and I’ve never actually drank a green one, even in college.  Also, I’m vegetarian, so no corned beef for me.  But, maybe I’ll make some Irish soda bread for dinner.  Yes, that sounds good.  Irish soda bread and a beer around 6:00 tonight.)

I’m not really sure how to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, really.  I’m not Catholic, so I won’t be going to mass.  I’m not a big drinker, so I’m not going on a bender.  And, I’m only part Irish, anyway (maybe- my family history is fairly muddled, but my maiden name was kind of Irish).

What I am, though, is a knitter.  And if you thought I was going to let a day like this pass by without talking about Irish sweaters (Aran jumpers, in particular), you were wildly mistaken.

Aran jumpers are simply gorgeous, and they’ve been on my knitting bucket list for years.  Originating from the Aran Islands (just off the coast of Ireland), Aran jumpers are the old-school version of an all-weather coat.  They are traditionally made with untreated wool, so the yarn retains all that good lanolin, making the sweaters perfect for wearing in the rain (something that happens a lot on the Aran Islands), or while fishing on the ocean.  Supposedly, each family has a favorite Aran pattern- specific cables that everyone in the family wears, something like each clan having its own tartan.  I’m pretty sure that’s a myth, but I love the idea anyway.

Of course, these days, people use Aran cables to decorate anything, not just sweaters.

This shawl may be simple, but you can definitely see the Aran jumper influence with that gorgeous braided cable along the bottom.

Celtic Myths by Asita KrebsThis designer took the opposite approach, and crammed every square inch with cables!  I can only imagine how cuddly and warm this blanket must be.  (Can you spot the same braided cable in this project, too?)

Celtic Aran Afghan by Sharondipity DesignsI just love this sweater.  It’s a modern take on the Aran jumper, oversized and cozy, but still undeniably Aran.  And, there’s that cable again, running right up the front!

Katla by Lars Rains

Do you have plans for St. Patrick’s Day?  Have you ever knit up an Aran sweater?

Marking Stitches

So, I sat down to write this post about an hour ago.  Then I decided to check Facebook, where I discovered that someone had posted videos of the Crufts dog show from last weekend.  Needless to say,  I got rather distracted watching the agility trials, and an hour later, I’m just getting started writing.  So it goes.

(This has nothing to do with knitting, or this blog, but you have to watch this video- It’s amazing!)

Right?!

Now you’ll be sucked down a dog show YouTube rabbit hole, and I’m not even a bit sorry.

Aaaaaanyway, let’s talk stitch markers.

I’m taking a metalworking/jewelry class at the local community college, where I’m learning jewelry soldering.  I made some rings, earrings, and even a little box.  I’m halfway through a necklace that’s made of lots of pieces of sea glass set in silver.  It’s so fun to learn a new skill!

But, I think my favorite pieces (or at least the pieces I’m getting the most use out of) are my little stitch markers.  (My teacher was confused as to why I was making so many little jump rings, and wanted me to turn them into a chain.  I tried to explain what a stitch marker was, but she remains unconvinced.  She is clearly not a knitter.)

(Also, this picture turned out pretty cool- It looks like my stitch markers are just floating in spaaaaace!)

They’re square copper wire, plated with silver and twisted to make the cool spiral design.  Then, I formed them into little circles using a special jig and a tiny saw, and soldered them shut.  Super simple, especially compared to some of the projects people are making in my class, but really satisfying and oh so practical.

I like these little guys because they’re seamless (and therefore can’t snag), they’re low-profile (so they don’t get in the way), and they don’t have any charms or beads on them (which, while pretty, can get annoying if you’re making a project where you need dozens of stitch markers).

I’ve got one class left before the end of the quarter, and I’m half-inclined to just spend the three hours making more stitch markers, instead of finishing my big final project.

Do you have favorite stitch markers?

Inspiration: Daylight Savings Time

Happy Monday Morning, everyone.  It’s a particularly early one today.

Oof.

It’s the first Monday of Daylight Savings Time, which is one of the stupider things we do.

We lost an hour last night.  And, now, even though it’s technically 9:00, it feels much earlier.

I could have been sleeping that extra hour!  Or I could have watched two extra episodes of Bob’s Burgers!  Or I could have knit up one of these super-quick projects.

So many lost opportunities.

I could have crocheted this gorgeous, chunky-textured cowl.

one hour textured cowl by Claire BorchardtOr I could have made these comfy-looking slippers.  (Which I could totally use! My slippers are starting to fall apart!)

1 hour Slippers by Mel PatonOr I could knit this adorable cabled cowl.  (I question the “one-hour-ness” of this pattern, but since I wasn’t able to knit for that lost hour last night we’ll never know.)

1 Hour Cowl by Stefanie JapelWhat would you have done with your lost hour if we didn’t have to deal with daylight savings?  Also, can you bring me some coffee? I’m sleepy.

Purse Socks

Last weekend, my brother and his girlfriend came to visit us up here in the Pacific Northwest.  It was my brother’s first time visiting us in years, and his girlfriend’s first time in Seattle ever!  So, we spent Saturday being tourists.  We visited Pike Place Market and the Gum Wall.  We ate piroshkis and drank cocktails made with local ginger beer.  We did a lot of driving.

Sure, the driving part is never fun, but when you’re showing guests around your city, you always end up driving a lot. And, that’s where your purse knitting comes in handy (unless you’re the one driving the car.  In that case, please don’t drive and knit).According to my Ravelry page, I started these bad boys back in January.  They’re going slowly, but that’s OK.  I keep one sock in my purse at all times, so whenever I have a little down time, I can break it out and knit a few rows.  I’ve worked on these socks in the car, waiting for food to be delivered at a restaurant, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and when I get to work before my shift starts.

These socks are perfect for piecemeal knitting- the pattern is super simple, there are no stitch markers to wrangle, no cable needles to lose, and no colorwork to worry about.  The overall pattern is just knits and purls, and there’s really very little shaping (just the usual heel and toe shaping that I could do in my sleep).  It’s a pattern I can keep in my head, without having to keep referring to a chart or a book, and it’s a nice dark color (so it won’t get grimy-looking from living in my purse for months).

I love my purse socks, and I’m excited for when they’re finished (though that’ll probably be in June, at the rate I’m going).  Maybe we should play tourist more often- I’d get more knitting in!

Do you keep purse knitting?  What’s your favorite “in a pinch” project?

International Women’s Day and A Day Without A Woman

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!  Especially all you amazing ladies out there!

Today is a day  to appreciate everything women have done in history, as well as everything they do day-to-day to make the world a better place.  It’s a day to acknowledge our mothers and grandmothers (Happy Women’s Day, Mom!  And, Happy Women’s Day, Mother-in-Law!), and how they raised us to be strong, independent women.  And it’s a day to remember the amazing women who have changed history; the Harriet Tubmans, the Hillary Clintons, the Margaret Sangers, the Sally Rides, and the Malala Yousafzais of the world.

While women’s rights and opportunities have come a long way (We can have our own credit card!  We can work outside the home!  We can go to college!), we still need to keep fighting for our rights.  Women are still paid less than men for equal work, and women (especially mothers, women of color, and LGBTQ women) are often discriminated against when applying for jobs.  Women make up the majority of the minimum-wage workforce, and yet are still expected to be the primary caregivers of their families.

So, I’m writing this (sorry if you were hoping for some knitting- that’ll be back soon), to support International Women’s Day and the Day Without A Woman strike.  It’s important that we, as women and allies, keep talking about issues of gender inequality.  It’s important that we call out injustice when we see it.  It’s important that we work to make positive change, to achieve gender equality in the workplace and out.

So, today, give your representative a call, talk to your boss about equal pay, or just wear red in solidarity with the women fighting for their rights.  We’ve come a long way, but we’re not done yet.

Late-night Knitting

I go a little crazy every time I get close to finishing a project, especially a big project.  I get a little obsessed, and I kind of lose touch with the passage of time.

It’s not ideal, but it happens.  And, it happened to me last night.  I was finishing up a sweater (a super secret sweater you’ll see later), and I had about six inches of sleeve left to knit.  I sat down to work on it for a few hours, thinking I could power through before it got too late.  I kept measuring it, counting my stitches and rows,  convincing myself that I was almost done.

Until the clock hit 11, and my husband reminded me it was past my bedtime.

After a little whining on my part and cajoling on his, I went to sleep, my last cuff mere rows from completion.It’s probably good he made me go to bed- when I get to this point in a project, if I’m left to my own devices, I stay up as late as necessary to finish.  (I remember once accidentally staying up until 5 in the morning on a week night, just so I could finish a dress I was sewing.  That wasn’t a great idea.)

Anyway, my knitting was still waiting for me this morning.  And after a cup of tea and a little breakfast, I’ve finished my sweater.  Now, it’s off to be blocked!Do you ever lose track of time while working on a project?

Prime-Time Knitting

If you’ve learned anything about me, you know this:

  1. I love knitting.
  2. I love TV.
  3. I love knitting while watching TV (or watching TV while knitting).

What can I say? I’m a woman of simple tastes.

Of course, while I’m knitting, I like to match my projects with the show I’m watching.

I like re-watching old favorites.  Law and Order is always in the rotation- it’s the comforting chicken soup of TV shows (and reruns are almost always playing on some channel).  It’s so formulaic (in the best possible way), you can jump in whenever, or only pay half-attention.9d6ba87cfb1a492fc92923a892f30e661When I’m watching something like Law and Order, I can save most of my brainpower for knitting complex patterns, like these cabled socks.

Fife by Kate Gilbertfife_z_500_medium21A new favorite is Orphan Black.  It’s absolutely crazy, complicated, tense show about clones, conspiracies and peril.  I’ve spent the last week binge-watching the first three seasons, and I’m absolutely riveted.  orphanblacklsjdff1When I’m watching something as crazy as this show, I have to keep my attention on the TV, so I want something simple to knit, like this lovely blanket.

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne511421163_d23641bcae_z1One of my most favorite shows, The Great British Bake Off is right in-between Law and Order and Orphan Black, in terms of how much attention it requires.  It’s tense enough that I get glued to my TV, but also, it’s just baking. (Really impressive baking.)great-british-bake-off1When I’m watching GBBO, I like to work on something comforting, yet slightly complicated.  Something interesting, fun, and satisfying.   Something like this tea cozy (I think Mary would approve):

Chocolate Cake Tea Cosy by fourchette2089133310_4ecb12fd99_z1What’s your favorite TV show/knitting combination?