Monthly Archives: January 2018

L’il Cap

My little Captain Picard Sweater is almost finished!

OK, it is “finished,” technically, but I’m unhappy with some of the final details.

See if you can figure out what I don’t like about it:Did you zero in on the pips on the collar, too?  Because that’s literally all I can look at.

(Sure, it’s a cute shape, and the color-blocking turned out great.  It’s been finished nice and neatly, blocked nicely, and the tiny black buttons up the front are perfect.  It’s a cute baby sweater, without being too obviously “Star Trek.”  But those dang gold buttons on the neck!  They’re so bad!)

It’s one of those things that I’m sure anyone else wouldn’t even really notice, but they stick out like a sore thumb to me.

In Star Trek (at least in TNG), rank is marked with little gold “pips” on the front of the collar.  More pips means a higher rank, and a Captain’s rank is shown with 4 gold pips.

I thought I had bought buttons small enough to fit on my sweater’s collar.  I was incorrect.

I managed to fit on three (Lieutenant) before reaching the shoulder.  So, I thought, maybe if I replaced the topmost black button with a gold one, it would make up for the missing collar pip. But that just made them all look uneven and weird.Sigh.  I guess I just have to go back to JoAnn’s and see if they have even tinier little gold buttons.

And I was so excited about these guys!  They seemed so perfect when they were still on the card!  Oh well…

Have you ever gotten stuck on a final detail before you were able to finish off a big project?

Why isn’t this working?

I have a question for you.

Why don’t projects progress if you ignore them?


It’s been a couple weeks since I picked up my crocheted blanket, and honest-to-goodness, it hasn’t grown at allIt’s very frustrating.

I keep it in a nice big project bag in my studio, protected and safe, yet it refuses to crochet itself.  What gives?

Why can’t it just hang out and grow on its own like a potted plant?  I’ve thought about breaking it out from time to time over the last couple weeks… shouldn’t that be enough?

Sigh.  I suppose if my “ignore it and I’m sure it’ll be finished eventually” strategy isn’t working, I’ll just have to go to plan B (“get it out and actually work on it while binge-watching Masterpiece”).  Too bad.  I had hoped that maybe I’d just invented a new, more efficient way of working on projects.

Do you have any projects that you’re trying the “leave it in the closet and maybe it’ll magically get finished” strategy with?


I’ve been working on a super secret project for quite a while now.  It’s a huge project, and it’s been taking up a lot of my time and attention.  And, frankly it’s going to be taking even more of my time and attention going forward.

I began this project this summer, and it just seems to be growing and growing on me.  I assume it’ll stop growing at some point, but for the foreseeable future, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and more and more complicated.

In short, the project I’m working on is… a baby!

There he is!  He doesn’t have a name yet, and isn’t due to be born until the beginning of April, but he’s very much making his presence known (I’m afraid of stretching out all my sweaters, so I’m down to cardigans only), and has currently wedged himself uncomfortably up in my rib cage.

(I wonder how many of you guessed something was up with all the baby sweater talk.)

So what does this little dude mean for the blog?

  1.  Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a “Mommy blog,” or an “All About Babies” blog, or anything like that (though I can’t promise that I’ll never mention the kid).  I’ll still be talking yarn and knitting, and I’ll still be designing patterns, though maybe not as frequently (I’ve been told that babies need a lot of attention).
  2. For now, nothing will change in the blog schedule, but over the next couple months, I’m planning on scaling back a bit.  Monday-Wednesday-Friday posts are a lot of work.  I’ll keep the 3-days a week through mid-February (and my 5-year blog anniversary!), then I’ll be scaling back to twice a week (so I can get to work on a little bit of a backlog, which will let me take a bit of maternity leave).  Then, when the baby’s born, I’m planning on going down to once a week (at least until I get my sea legs).  I’ll still be here, just not as much.

I’m really excited to meet my little dude!  (And really excited to see if his sweaters fit.)

Do you have any exciting projects in the works?


I’ve been busy, you guys!  Not doing anything terribly productive, really, and certainly not working on anything that I have a deadline for (whoops!).  But, I have been busy, knitting away.

Remember the red and black sock yarn I found in my stash last week?  Well, I just had to get knitting with it. I considered a couple projects- Trek-flavored socks.  A cowl or maybe a hat that Captain Picard would be proud of.But, really, I couldn’t help myself. I just had to make a Jean-Luc Picard baby sweater.

I couldn’t help myself!  The yarn was too perfect!I broke out my copy of Knits for Everybody Two, and cast on a tiny (3-month-sized) cardigan.  I thought about coming up with a new pattern for this sweater, but figured, hey, I’ve already done all the math, why make it harder on myself?

I’m doing the yoke, hem, cuffs, collar and button band in black, and the body and sleeves in red.  It’s not 100% show-accurate, but I think it gets the point across without having to fuss with intarsia or any fancy colorwork.  I think it looks pretty dang captain-y.  (And I think it’ll look even better once I add some gold buttons and little captain’s pips on the collar.)

It is turning out super-tiny, though.  I accidentally started using US1s, instead of US2s, and didn’t realize my mistake until I was past the point of no return.  I mean, look!  I’m using a safety pin to hold the unused sleeve stitches!I think it’s ok that it’s tiny, though.  After all, babies are pretty small.  Or, worst case scenario, it could become a sweater for a doll.

What have you been working on lately?

The Women’s March (and Pussyhats), One Year Later

I really try not to get too political on this blog.  After all, you come here for tips about weaving in ends, updates on how fast I’m making it through my latest pair of socks, and me griping about how bored I get when I pick a pattern with too much stockinette.  I get it.  You don’t want me hopping up on my soapbox every time someone in office does something I don’t like.  (Which is often- ask my husband.)

But today seems like a good day to break my politics-and-knitting-shouldn’t-mix rule.  It’s been just over a year since Trump’s inauguration, and (not really coincidentally), a year since the first Women’s March.

Last year, I got to march with my friends down in LA, where I knit and distributed a whole pile of Pussyhats.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the march this year, but you better believe I was there in spirit.  And I made sure towear my hat from last year all day (it’s the one I actually finished while marching last year).The last year has been filled with ups and downs of all varieties- issues with taxes and immigration, the widespread acknowledgment of sexual assault in, and questions of women’s healthcare.  But, there’s one story that’s been giving me a ton of hope lately.

2018 is an election year, and an important one.  Control of both the House and Senate are going to be very tightly contested (heck, the Senate is currently held by the Republicans by only 1 vote!), so this will be a situation where every vote really does matter.

And, with people starting to line up to run for office (state and local office, too- not just national), people have started noticing something amazing.

Women are stepping up to run for office in unprecedented numbers!

Now, of course, I’d never suggest you vote for a woman just because she’s a woman (the same way I’d never say you should vote for a man, just because of his gender).  But better representation of women and minorities can’t be a bad thing, right?  (Right now, only about 20% of representatives and senators are women!)

If you agree that more female representation in government is a good idea, you might want to take a peek at two groups that are helping women who want to run for election (from local office all the way up to national positions).She Should Run is a non-partisan non-profit that gives women the resources, knowledge and networking that they need to run, regardless of their ideology or party affiliation.  They encourage women to actively participate in politics and run for office, something that historically, women have been discouraged from participating in.

Emily’s List is a Democratic pro-choice group that works to give candidates the resources they need to mount successful campaigns.  In the last 15+ years, they have run hundreds of trainings for women interested in making a change in their communities and helped many campaigns become successful.  If you’re someone who thinks pro-choice issues are important, you can even go onto Emily’s List and look for your local candidates to see if they’ve been endorsed.

Anyway, I suppose it’s time for me to get off my soap box.  Don’t worry- my next post will be all about how I can’t stand working with tiny needles, or how my blanket is not growing nearly as fast as I wish it would.

Did you make it to the Women’s March this year?  Are you planning on voting in the November election (or are you running!)?

Captain’s Red

I’m not doing anything as formalized as New Years Resolutions this year, but I do have some vague goals I’m going to try to follow this year.  I’m going to try finishing up some WIPs that have been sitting around my office for too long, I’m going to try learning some new techniques, and I’m going to use up more of my stash.


Me and every other knitter.

But, I suppose it can’t hurt to give it a go.

I went spelunking through my stash of sock yarn (it’s started overflowing its box lately, and I’ve been meaning to clear it out).  I found a bunch of small skeins (and even more half-skeins) of sock yarn, left over from projects over the years. Not enough to make a pair of socks in any single color, and generally I dislike making socks with too many stripes or blocks of colors.  (I get really peeved when I have to weave in lots of ends.)

But I did find a couple half-skeins of Knit Picks Stroll in Black and an almost-full ball of Firecracker Heather.And you know what’s tomato red and black, right?

(What’s that? You don’t?  You’re not a big old nerd halfway through Star Trek: The Next Generation?)

It’s Captain Picard’s uniform!The red yarn was almost perfectly the right color of “Command Red”!

Now I just have to decide- is this yarn going to be a pair of Command Red socks, or maybe a Command Red hat, or maybe even a tiny Command Red sweater for a baby nerd?  Choices, choices.

Have you dug through your stash lately?  Find anything good?

Inspiration: Tropical Chickens

Oof!  You guys!  I’m beat!  I had altogether too much fun last week.

I just got back from a week-long trip to Kaua’i with my family to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.  It was so much fun!  Swimming and snorkeling almost every day, delicious food, gorgeous scenery and getting to spend time with some of my favorite people.  It couldn’t have been better!

One of my favorite things about Kaua’i is… a little silly.  You’d think it was the natural splendor, or maybe the crystal-clear water.  But if I’m really being honest… it’s the chickens.Twenty or thirty years ago a bunch of local chickens escaped from their local chicken farms and managed to establish a breeding population.  Now, every inch of the island is covered in the most beautiful, colorful, shiny chickens. They’re like pigeons in the city, only pretty.  And not gross.  And kind of funny, because they’re chickens.

Let’s celebrate the Hawaiian chickens with some chicken-themed patterns.

I think the only thing cuter than an island chicken is a tiny, knit island chicken.

Tiny Chickens by Anna HrachovecThis hat is absolutely hilarious!  I love the crocheted mohawk (I’m sure there’s a more accurate word for this, but I’m coming up blank) and the cute little beak.

Rooster Hat by Shawn TorresAnd these mittens are just glorious!  The blue-and-white colorwork is gorgeous, and the chickens are so sassy and full of themselves.  Too bad it never gets cold enough to wear mittens in Hawaii!

Rooster Mittens by Natalia Moreva

What was your favorite part of your last vacation?

On My… Hook

I figured out what my next project is!  Yay!

It’s a simple, stripey, crochet blanket.  I haven’t crocheted in a long time, and I haven’t made a blanket in years, so I figured it was about time.

I love crocheting blankets, even more than knitting them.  Crochet goes so much faster than knitting, is much thicker (in other words, cozier) than knitting, and you don’t have to worry about it rolling up on you like stockinette.  It’s really the best thing for blanket-making.

I picked three shades of gray (OK, two shades of gray, plus black), along with a lovely medium blue for a pop of color.  (Jo-Ann’s was having a pretty good sale on Lion Brand Wool Ease, so I stocked up.  It might not be the fanciest yarn, but it’s soft, warm, and sturdy- perfect for blankets.)  I cast on about 5 feet of stitches (I didn’t even bother counting- another thing I like about crochet- it’s so easy to improvise!), and started working in a simple V-stitch.  I’ve made a handful of V-stitch blankets before.  They always look good, work up quickly and stay looking nice for years.  I’m kind of winging the stripe pattern, but I think I like how it’s turning out.  I just hope I got enough yarn!  (Though, if I end up having to go back to Jo-Ann’s, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world…)

Do you ever dabble in crochet?

A Sweater By Any Other Name

I’ve never been great at naming things.  When we adopted our dog, his previous owners had already named him “Ollie,” so we just said, “Sure!  That’s a fine name.  We’ll keep it.”  It’s an known fact among my friends that when I have to name a character for a video game or a D&D campaign, it’s always terrible.  And whenever I put my toe back in the Fiction Writing Pond, I’m never happy with my characters’ names.

Same goes for naming my patterns.  At first, I tried to name my patterns something clever.  Then I tried naming them with practical descriptions.  Then I gave up on that and started just using random girls’ names (which every other designer has already done).  Just try finding a girls name that hasn’t already been used for a piece of knitwear.  I dare you.

Anyway, long story short, I hit upon the idea of naming my designs after places in and around Seattle that I like visiting.  Lucky for me, Seattle has about a million neighborhoods (I’ve lived here since 2010, and I’m still discovering new neighborhoods, there are so many).  And if you start including parks and neighboring towns/cities, well… I could keep designing for years and not run out of names.

You might remember the Ballard Pullover from a few years ago. 

Ballard is a historically Norwegian neighborhood that’s rapidly changing from a cute working-class neighborhood to a super-hipster area, full of bars and resturants.  I love spending a Saturday down in Ballard, hopping from micro-brewery to micro-brewery, with stops for coffee, tapas and board games.  The Carkeek Pullover is another of my favorites.Carkeek Park is a great place for a nice walk with the dog.  It’s got miles of wooded trails (in the middle of the city!), and a nice little beach that looks out on the Puget Sound.  On a clear day you can see the Olympic mountains.  The beach is a great place to look for sea glass, and if you’re really lucky, you might even spot a seal or two playing in the water.My newest sweater is named after a tiny town to the north of Seattle, Snohomish.Snohomish is a really tiny town- it actually reminds me of where I went to high school.  It’s rural and sleepy, but close enough to a big town to not feel 100% like you’re in the country.  It’s nestled in the foothills of the Cascades (gorgeous!).  They have a really great paved hiking/biking trail that I love to visit with my roller skates.  Nothing better than skating down a nicely paved country road on a clear day with the mountains all around!There might be a more logical way to name my sweaters, but at least I have some sort of a method to my madness.

Do you give your projects names?  What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve named?

Inspiration: Is it just me, or is it cold out there?

It’s been dang cold here in Seattle lately.  (Yes, I know it’s January, when it’s supposed to be cold, but still.)  We even got a bunch of snow over Christmas!  It’s been in the 30s in the mornings!  I’ve been wearing my wool coat along with my big cabled sweaters!

(OK, I’m not really complaining- I love getting to wear extra-cozy sweaters and having an excuse to drink hot cocoa.)

But, it’s the time of year when people start working on their year-long temperature scarves and blankets.  Have you heard of this?  Every year I think “Great idea!  I’ll do that next year.”

The idea is that you start a simple project (usually a scarf or afghan, but I suppose you could do this with any project) on January 1st (or 10th, and then you play catch-up).  Every day you knit or crochet a single row or a single square (depending on your design), and then you repeat it every day through the entire year.  But the trick is that each row’s color is determined by the temperature outside that day.  So, if it was super cold, maybe you use a teal yarn.  But if today is in the 60s, you use lime green.  (Or whatever you decide your system is going to be.)

It’s a cute idea!  Simple, fun, and attractive to people like me who like starting long-term projects.

Some people have made cute ribbed scarves.

My Year in Temperatures Scarf by Kristen CooperAnd some people have made gorgeous afghans!

Temperature Gauge Afghan by Nancy StengelI don’t think I’ll be participating this time around, but maybe I’ll get my act together and make one next year.

Have you made any long-term projects like this?