Category Archives: FYI

Socks from Mom

I suppose it’s no surprise that my mom is excited about the upcoming addition to our family (the baby that is currently practicing some bizarre combo of karate and gymnastics in my belly).  My kid is going to be the first grandbaby on both my side of the family and my husband’s, so you know he’s already getting plenty of attention.

My mom’s a knitter, and her excitement is being expressed in a way that I think we can all relate to- she’s knitting up a storm!

And her preferred item to knit for babies is socks.  Lots and lots (and lots and lots) of socks.

She brought the baby a big box of hand-knit socks and booties over Thanksgiving, and sent more for Christmas.  She came to visit a couple weeks ago for the baby shower, and brought along even more socks!  I tell you- this baby’s going to have the toastiest feet in Seattle!

I love all the socks, because, well, hand-knit socks are the best!  but there are a couple pairs that I think are particularly lovely.

These rainbow booties are too cute!  I mean, look at that adorable drawstring!And these teensy blue slippers!  Mom thinks they won’t stay on the baby’s feet, but by God, I’m going to try to keep them on.  I mean- look at those pompoms!These white and blue gradient socks are so lovely, I wish I had a matching pair.And these boots are just gorgeous (though I think the baby will have to grow up a little bit before he can fit into them).  I love the contrasting garter stitch soles- how cozy!My mom’s definitely got some mad sock-making skills, if I say so myself.  And my baby’s definitely  a lucky little dude.

Do you have a go-to baby project?

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?

It’s Time To Call It

You’ve fought a tough battle.  You’ve spent your winter (and probably a good chunk of your fall) working on your Christmas knitting.  It’s now time to rest.

If you’re an amazing go-getter, maybe you’re already done. You can wrap up your gifts, pour yourself a nice glass of eggnog and take a nice Christmas nap, knowing that you’ve completed everything you need to do.

If you’re a human being, you’ve probably got a pile or two of half-finished projects still hanging around.In that case, I’ve got a little poem for you to use on Monday morning, explaining what’s happened.

An Apology

Rudolph has his reindeer

And Santa has his elves.

There’s only one of me, alas

Just knitting by myself.

I tried to get everything done

And bind off all my rows,

But Christmas comes just when it comes

And that’s my source of woe.

I haven’t finished up your scarf.

Your sweater has one sleeve.

I haven’t completed your present

Though it’s late on Christmas Eve.

I beg of you forgiveness.

Let me knit the last few rows.

As soon as your gift is bound off,

I’ll deliver it wrapped with a bow.

And, I’ve made it into a nice, printable format, so you can print it out tonight, wrap it up and give yourself the weekend off.

You can get the printable version here: Christmas Printable 2017

Enjoy your weekend!

Christmas Cheer

It’s almost time!  You’re almost there! You can do it!

You’ve got until Monday morning to finish all your Christmas Knitting!  That’s five whole days!

And, heck, if you don’t make it, it’s no big deal, really.  Christmas will come either way, whether your presents make it or not (isn’t that the moral of How the Grinch Stole Christmas?)  I’m a big believer in doing what you can, then letting go of the rest.    I love a good plan, I love big ideas and lofty goals, but there comes a point in every holiday season when you just have to shrug, and go “good enough.”


Go!  Knit like the wind!  Weave in ends like a champ!  Block like there’s no tomorrow!

You! Have! Got! This!

Ollie believes in you!What are you finishing up this week?  (Or are you being lazy like me, and skipping the Christmas knitting entirely?)

One-Month Warning!

It’s coming!

Get ready!

I hope you’ve already gotten a jump on your knitting.  Because:

You’ve got one month until Christmas!Good luck!

(OK, really you have a month plus one day, but still…)

Knitter’s Block

You guys have all heard of writer’s block, right?  When a writer simply can’t bring themself to keep writing, or maybe they just can’t figure out what to write next.

I propose that I am currently experiencing the knitter’s version of writer’s block.  Knitter’s block.

Since I finished my super secret vampire project, I’ve been kind of at loose ends.  I’ve got a bunch of knitting I should be doing.  And, if I’m being honest, I’ve been working on it a bit.  I’ve added a couple dozen rows to my Papaya Sweater, and I’ve knit up a handful of Christmas Balls over the last couple weeks. I even added a couple inches to my last Mother Bear of the year.

But, I gotta say, I’m not terribly inspired.I’ve been thinking, and right now, it seems I have a couple options:

  1.  Keep plugging away.  Pro: I get to finish the projects I’ve started.  Con: I’m boooooored.
  2. Dig out some other half-finished project and finish it.  Pro: They’ll be finished.  Also, I’ll get back the project bags and needles that have been sequestered (in some cases) for years.  Con: There’s a reason those projects ended up in my pile of hibernating WIPS.
  3. Start a new project.  Pro: New project!  A new excuse to go yarn shopping! Con: What about all the other projects?

Or, I could just continue to ignore the problem, make myself another cup of hot cocoa, and take Ollie on a walk.Options.

What do you do when you get bored with your knitting?

Vogue Knitting: The Damage

Woo!  What a weekend!

(Yes, I know it’s Wednesday.  My weekend went all the way through Monday, which is why I haven’t updated you on Vogue Knitting Live until now.)

The yarn show was amazing.  So much pretty yarn!  So many beautiful sweaters!  So many lovely people!

I visited the Knit Picks Booth and finally got to meet everyone I’ve been working with for the last couple years (we’ve been working via email and hadn’t met face-to-face yet).  And, I’m happy to report that everyone is just as lovely as I hoped.  (Although it was mega-weird for little ol’ introverted me to have people recognize my name, and pull out their WIPs of my projects!)

In fact, I had such a good time on Saturday, that I 100% forgot to take any pictures!  (I’m so bad at social media!)

I did, however drop a good bit of money on yarn, and yarn-adjacent accessories.  (I got mighty close to buying a $75 skein of alpaca, but just managed to control myself- it was just so pretty!)  Unfortunately for you guys, most of my purchases are earmarked to be Christmas gifts, and their recipients read this blog, so you won’t get to see those. (I promise, they’re super cool, though!)

Anyway, here’s my haul:Not too bad, if I say so myself!  (Sorry about the colors- it’s very overcast here (it is Seattle, after all), so I had a hell of a time taking pictures this morning.)  Two amazing skeins of sock yarn and an adorable set of buttons.

I got this skein of Country Yarns Presents Artistry, and when I showed it to my husband, and he said “Oh, it’s your colors.” Apparently my colors are teal, turquoise, blue and violet.  I can’t say he’s wrong.  This picture does not do this yarn justice- in real life it’s bright, vibrant, and very peacock-y.  I’m itching to start making some socks with it.

I’ve actually purchased Hazel Knits Artisan Sock before, and made a really lovely pair of broken rib socks in a beautiful, subtle charcoal/navy color.  I love those socks.

Unfortunately, my husband loves those socks, too.

So, I purchased this skein of electric-purple so I can have my own socks (since my husband won’t (probably) steal them).  We’ll have to see if it works.I forgot the name of the vendor that was selling these buttons- she had hundreds of resin buttons in every color in the rainbow.  Some were shiny, some were glittery, some had tiny flowers embedded inside them.  They were all beautiful.

I couldn’t pass up these little gorgeous guys.  They remind me of gumdrops or tiny hard candies.  I think they’d be fantastic on a little baby sweater, but they might end up on something for me, instead.  For now, they just look great hanging out on my desk.

I am so happy with my purchases, I can’t wait to get knitting with them!  Maybe I should put aside my Papaya Sweater again?  That thing’ll never get done at this rate!

Have you made any especially exciting purchases lately?

My Poor Needles

I have a favorite pair of needles.  I bet you do, too.  They’re my go-to needles for probably half the projects I work up.  If I’m designing a pattern, or making a gift for someone that doesn’t specifically require me to dig out a different pair of needles, they’re the ones I go for.  I’ve even switched them back and forth between two different WIPs, so that I could work on two different projects at the same time.

They’re my Knit Picks Interchangeable Size US8 needles in Caspian.

They’re part of a set of interchangeables that I love to death.  It’s so convenient to have such a wide range of needles at my fingertips.  They come with extra cables in a couple lengths, so I always have the perfect needle for whatever project I’m starting.  (And the blue-green colors of the wood are so pretty, I can’t say no to them.)

I’ve had these needles for a few years now, and use them almost exclusively.  I love knitting with wooden needles, and only ever use circulars any more (straight needles drive me up the wall), so they’re perfect for me.

In fact, I think I might have used my US8’s a little too much.After more than three years of nearly constant use, and especially after I just finished my massive vampire project (3+ hours of complicated knitting every day for over a month), my favorite needles are starting to show a little wear. I don’t know if you can really see it in the picture, but the tips are not as smooth as they used to be, and the finish is beginning to wear off.  But, after so many years of faithful service, I can’t really blame them.  They’re still usable, but they aren’t quite as smooth as they used to be.

It’s funny.  I’ve lost needles, broken needles, and my dog has eaten (or at least chewed up) needles, but I’ve never actually worn out needles like this.  I feel like I need to frame them, or play taps as I lay them to rest at the bottom of my stash.  Or I could try refinishing the tips (though with my dismal knowledge of woodworking, that would probably turn into a fiasco).

Whatever I end up doing with them, they have served me well, knitting (probably) miles of yarn into dozens and dozens of projects.

(But, honestly, I’ll probably keep using them, because I’m cheap enough to not want to buy new needles, and they’re still not that bad.)

Do you have a favorite pair of needles?

Vogue Knitting Live!

I’m so excited for this weekend, guys!  Vogue Knitting Live is coming to the PNW, and I get to go!  I’m driving across the lake with one of my best friends, and we’re going to spend the day petting yarn, talking knitting, and buying altogether too much yarn.

It’s going to be great!Now, when I go to a knitting show like this, I usually go in with no plan at all.  Maybe I’ll have a vague budget (“Allison, don’t spend more than a hundred bucks… unless you find something really pretty”), or maybe I’ll have a vague idea (“Let’s get a bunch of sock yarn this weekend”).  But, inevitably I end up going way above and beyond what I intend… not that that’s a bad thing.

When I buy a special skein of yarn at a yarn show, or even at a lys, I try to imagine what it might become- I generally try to think about how much I’ll need if I want to make a pair of socks (~100g), or a shawl or scarf (two or three skeins).  That way I won’t get halfway through a project in a couple months, and run out of no-longer-available yarn.  But that’s really my entire thought process.

My friend, however, has been planning out some patterns that she specifically wants yarn for.  She’s been sending me some very cute patterns that she’s planning on making with her Vogue Knitting yarn.  I love her foresight (as a very Type-A person, I love a good plan), but that seems like a lot of work.  I don’t see myself sitting down and coming up with a list of patterns before tomorrow, but that might be a good idea.  Maybe this evening I’ll make myself a cup of hot cocoa and go on a Ravelry bender (before going to bed early, so I have plenty of energy for shopping tomorrow!).

What’s your yarn-show strategy?

Christmas Knitting

I’m feeling much better today (thanks for all the advice!), and hopefully I’ll keep up the streak of no-headaches for a while.

It’s cool (40s and 50s) and rainy outside, and the leaves are all changing.  So, obviously it’s the time for me to start making my Christmas plans!What?  You’re not a total Type-A planner like me?  Crazy!

Usually, I plan out Christmas gifts (and really, Christmas Knitting) super early- like, over the summer early.  But, I’ve decided to do something truly shocking this year.

I’m. Not. Knitting. Anything.

I swear!

(OK, I am making one small gift because it was specifically requested, and I made a promise.)

Every year I spend months knitting at top speed to make it to December 25th- I make sweaters, I make socks, I make mittens and hats and stockings.  And, they totally stress me out.

This year, I’ve got a bunch of work knitting that’s keeping me busy, and really, I just want to sit back, relax, drink some peppermint cocoa and enjoy the holiday season.  (And maybe selfishly make myself a few dozen more Christmas Balls.)That’s not to say that no one will be getting knit gifts.  You remember my stash of finished objects, right?  There’s nothing to say that someone won’t be receiving a nice scarf that I worked up in March, or a pair of socks from January.  I’ve got people in mind for a bunch of my finished projects, and I’m sure they’ll be excited to get them.  And, for people that aren’t getting anything knitted… well, that’s what shopping is for!

I’m just excited that I’m not going to have to worry about knitting my fingers to the bone, racing the clock (and Santa) to get everything done before Christmas!

Do you have any big plans for your holiday/Christmas knitting?