Category Archives: Inspiration

Inspiration: Oscars

The Academy Awards were last night.  And, instead of watching them, my husband and I watched old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (because we are nerds).  But, from what I’ve heard, the show was full of excitement.  So, here follows my zero-research (except for what my friends texted me while they were watching) report on “What Happened at the Oscars,” as explained by fiber arts projects.

  1.  The Oscars happened last night.  Lots of people got awards for being in movies.  When they won, they got to take home a little trophy.

Academy Award/Oscar Statuette by Susan J. S. Walkupdscf0261_medium212.  Apparently some Batman/Joker movie won an Oscar.  People seemed pretty upset about that for some reason.

Joker Amigurumi by Clare Heesh2014-04-01_17-11-08_medium213.  All the ladies attending the award show wore gowns.  (This one I actually did do some research on, because I like looking at pretty dresses.)  They were all very fancy, and almost no one wore anything with color.  So much beige, white, and black.

Chrysanthemum Gown by Chi Krnetaed__18__medium214.  I guess there was some mix-up with the Best Picture Winner? I think they called the wrong movie, then realized it was a mistake halfway through their acceptance speech and made the not-winners give the award over to the actual winner.  This seems so unlikely that I don’t know if I 100% believe that it happened.  I could look it up and confirm.  But then, what’s the point of doing a zero-research post, if I end up having to do research.

Mismatch by Jenn Morganredandbluesocks02_medium21Did you watch the Oscars?  Were they more enjoyable than I’m giving them credit for?

Inspiration: Hometowns

I’m about to admit something very embarrassing.

In fact, maybe don’t read the rest of this post.

Especially you, Mom and Dad.

Are you gone?

OK.  Hello. My name is Allison, and I love watching The Bachelor.bachelor-2017-nick-viall-promo-pics1I know, I know.  It’s not a great show.  But, it is also kind of really great.  It’s escapism, and these days, Lord knows I need some escapism.  It’s fun to watch beautiful people interacting under such weird circumstances.  It almost feels like watching sports (or what I imagine watching sports would be like if I watched them), you can pick apart every “move” the contestants make, try to infer what’s going to happen next, and cheer when your favorite people get “points.”

I’m even in a Bachelor Fantasy League (I’m winning for now, but it all could change at any moment!), and listen to a Bachelor Podcast (Rose Buddies– which is an absolute delight that you should listen to, even if you don’t watch the show).

Tonight’s episode is the very important “Hometowns” episode, where the last four contestants take the Bachelor home to meet their parents.  It’s always suuuuper awkward, but in the best way possible.

I’m not sure who’s going to make it through this episode, but let’s talk about the remaining contestants (I accidentally typed “characters”… oops!), and assign them sweaters (because this is a knitting blog after all).  (And, I suppose I should mention the Bachelor himself.  After all,  Nick is ostensibly who the show is about, but I really couldn’t care less about him- he has all the personality of a wet paper bag. Anyway- back to the ladies.)

Meet Raven!  She’s an adorable, super cool, super confident and sweet lady from a tiny town in Arkansas.  She owns a little fashion boutique and I really want her to be my friend.

ravenI bet you’d be able to find a sweater like this one in her shop.  It’s a little funky, a little comfy, and totally trendy.  Raven would probably wear it with killer boots and a cool, attention-getting necklace.

Boxy by Joji Locatelliboxy_01_medium21Rachel is a lawyer from Dallas. She’s super smart and capable, and was just announced as next season’s Bachelorette.  (So I guess she doesn’t “win” this season, but that’s A-OK by me, because she’s too good for Nick.)rachelI’d knit this sweater for her- it’s like the fun cousin of a blazer.  Actually, I kind of want this one for myself.

Walk the Cumbria Way by Jutta von Hinterm Stein0___0_walk-the-cumbria-way-hinterm-stein_medium21And, if the last two contestants were too good for Nick, Vanessa certainly is.  She’s amazing.  She’s a tri-lingual, Canadian special-needs teacher.  She’s tough, but sweet (and calls out the Bachelor when he does something crappy-which is rare on this show).  My money is on her for the “win,”  but she’s not actually on my team, so I have mixed loyalties.vanessaHer style is effortless, comfortable, and undeniably chic.  I think she’d rock a simple cardigan like this- actually, I think I might have seen her wear one very similar in the last couple episodes.

BlueSand Cardigan by La Maison Rililieblausand_jacke-42_copy_copy_medium21Then, we come to Corinne.  Corinne is this season’s “villain,” but she’s kind of amazing.  She says she’s the 24-year-old owner of a “Multi-million-dollar business,” but really she’s a model/Instagrammer who goes by the nickname “Corn” and has a nanny.  She’s pretty immature (which is what gets her into trouble on the show), but I’m sure she’s less of a villain in real life.  She’s just a privileged weirdo who’s a little self-absorbed and self-conscious, which comes out as being pushy and unpleasant.  But, I like the girl, nonetheless (and she’s earned my fantasy team about a bajillion points, which is something I really like).cornAnd for my dear Corn, I’d have to make her a super cute sundress/bikini cover-up.  Everyone on this show spends about 3/4 of their time in swim suits, and Corn spends even more time in them than anyone else.  I think she’d totally wear this super cute tunic- though she would have to be careful of weird crochet tan lines.

Beach Tunic by Annelies Baes (Vicarno)white_beach_tunic_medium21Now you know my deep, dark secret.  So what’s yours?  What’s your secret guilty pleasure?

Snow Day Knitting

It’s a Snow Day!

There’s three inches of snow on the ground, the roads are slushy, buses are on limited routes (my husband’s bus has been totally canceled, so he’s staying home too!) and school has been canceled!

It’s a real, honest-to-goodness snow day.img_4542Seattle really does snow the best way, It’s here for a day or two, everyone has fun, takes walks, builds snowmen, then it all melts and we go back to normal.  None of this Midwestern snow-that-sticks-around-gray-and-frozen-until-mid-March nonsense.

I know all this Seattle snow is probably one of the signs of the apocalypse, but today I’m enjoying it.  I already took the dog on a walk, I’ve got a hot cup of coffee and I’m thinking about breaking out a movie and some knitting (surprise!).  Ollie loves the snow, but doesn’t love how his fur creates little snowballs all around his feet.  I love that though, it looks like he has little pompoms in his fur.   Adorable!img_4536I’ve got some socks I’m probably going to go work on after this, but if I had planned for more snow-day-appropriate knitting projects, I might have picked one of these:

I love the little frolicking deer in this snowy forest!  It reminds me of cross-country skiing in West Virginia as a kid.

Snow Roe Deer Beanie by Sandra Jagersnow_roe_deer_beanie0_medium1This snowflake shawl is almost too pretty for words (but I bet it would take quite a few snow days to complete.

 Snow Queen Shawl by Janine Le Crasyarma_medium21And, nothing says “Scandinavian snow day” quite like red-and-white color work mittens.  I think I might need these.

Snow Ghost Mittens by Aimee Alexandercontrast_medium21How’s the weather by you?  Have you had any snow days this winter?

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

It’s the first of the month!  Time for rabbits!

What? You don’t do that in your house?

OK, well, that doesn’t surprise me, because it’s a really weird superstition.  Supposedly, whoever is the first to say “Rabbit” or “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit” on the first of the month is supposed to have good luck.  (Or, if you’re super competitive, like my husband and I, the first one to text/say/leave a note saying “Rabbit” gets to “win” for that month.)

I’m not sure where we picked up this habit, but we’ve been doing it for years.  It wasn’t from when we were kids (because when I was a kid, my brother and I would to do “A pinch and a punch for the first of the month,” until our mom had to ban it because we kept trying to beat each other up).  According to Wikipedia, it’s a British superstition from around the turn of the century, but that doesn’t shed much light on where I picked it up.

Anyway, let’s try to get extra-good luck by starting off this month talking about rabbit-themed patterns!

I love these wee little rabbits- look at their adorable little ears!  How cute!

Dutch Rabbits by Rachel Borello Carrollimg_8726_medium21And this blanket is unbelievably sweet (and probably lucky, too)!

Bunny Blanket by Martin Storeybunny_20blanket_20255x340_medium1This little bunny is just full of personality- I think he looks like he’s plotting some mischief.

Boy bunny with a piebald patch by Julie Williamsboy_bunnyetsy_medium21Do you have a silly first-of-the-month superstition?

Inspiration: Feminists

Some day, this blog will go back to being a silly knitting-only blog where we just talk about patterns and yarn.  But today is not that day!  I’m still all riled up about the election, and still energized by the March.  So, today let’s look at knitting patterns inspired by three totally amazing feminists.

First up is Susan B. Anthony, suffragette, abolitionist, and OG badass.  From the time she was a teenager, Anthony was involved in what today we’d call “grass roots activism.”  She collected anti-slavery petitions for the American Anti-Slavery Society.  And, when she wasn’t allowed to join other political groups because she was female, she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (another amazing early feminist), founded their own groups like the Women’s Loyal National League (an abolitionist group), and the New York Women’s State Temperance Society so they could keep fighting.  Then, in the late 1860s, they founded the American Equal Rights Association, which campaigned for equal rights for everyone (including women and African Americans!), and went on to found more activist groups, working for women’s suffrage.  She didn’t just talk about suffrage, either!  In 1872, as an act of civil disobedience, she voted in her hometown and was arrested and convicted at trial.  Unfortunately, she didn’t survive to see the 19th amendment passed (that’s the one that gives women the right to vote), but she is still remembered by women across the country every time they get to vote.220px-susan_b_anthony_c1855Next time you go vote, ladies, remember Susan B. Anthony, and maybe bring along this very cute bag.

Vote Tote by Deb Richeyeco5_vote_tote_op_medium1So, you know how most families these days have two, maybe three kids?  Not seventeen, like they used to have back in the 1800s?  You can thank Margaret Sanger for that!  She was a nurse and birth control activist who did amazing work in the early part of the 20th century.  When Sanger started work as a nurse, the best form of legal birth control available was basically crossing your fingers and wishing really hard.  She was prosecuted several times for distributing information about family planning, and once had to flee to England to avoid arrest.  She founded the first birth control clinic in the US in 1916, and worked tirelessly to give every woman access to safe birth control (so they wouldn’t have to depend on dangerous back-alley abortions).  In 1921, she founded the American Birth Control League which later changed its name to become Planned Parenthood (heard of it?), which she lead until 1959.220px-margaretsanger-underwood-locCelebrate your access to safe and effective healthcare by knitting up a very cute little nurse doll!

Red Cross Nurse Doll by Joanna Marshallred_cross_nurse___florence_nightingale__6__medium21And, finally, this tough lady needs no introduction these days.  Hillary Clinton has led a life full of political activism, from when she was a young lawyer working for children and family rights, all the way through the 2016 presidential election (and, I’m sure she’ll keep working!). When she was First Lady, she used her position to help fight for healthcare reform and gender equality.  She served as the first female senator to New York- even getting re-elected!  Then, she teamed up with former election opponent, Barack Obama, working as his Secretary of State.  And, of course, in 2016, she won the majority of the popular vote for president.  Talk about a powerful feminist!hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropMake yourself a blazer, just like Secretary Clinton wears!

108-27 Jacket with structured pattern by DROPS design

a-168-2_medium21Who are your favorite feminists?

Inspiration: Chicken Run

I don’t know what you’ve been doing since the holidays, but we’ve been hanging out at home, eating the last of the Christmas cookies and watching old favorite movies.  (If you were wondering, What About Bob? and Galaxy Quest are still delightful.  And, after watching Die Hard, I discovered that apparently I have a fear of elevator shafts. Who knew?)

Do you remember Chicken Run?  It was one of my favorites when I was a kid, but my husband had never seen it!  We had to fix that.chicken-runAnd, it totally holds up!  I mean, it’s claymation chickens doing The Great Escape, how could it not be great?  It’s exciting!  Sweet!  Full of knitting!

What’s that?  You don’t believe me?  You don’t think that chickens knit?  Well, let me prove you wrong.

Chickens wear sneaky balaclavas (and not-so-sneaky balaclavas) when they are sneaking around, making secret escape plans.balaclavasAdd a pompom to this one, and you could make an adorable chicken-balaclava for your favorite kid.

Elf Pixie Ribbed Balaclava by Agnese Iskrovail_570xn-857359661_hovs_small1Ginger, the heroine of the movie and chicken escape mastermind, always wears a very cute little green hat.  It’s a rolled-brim beanie with two little I-cord nubbins on top.gingerI’d totally rock a Ginger Hat, too!

Ginger’s Hat by Becky Veverka37215300_8b600e4c0a_m1And, of course, the lovable (and loveably daffy) Babs is a character that every knitter can identify with.  With her constantly clicking needles and ever-present knitting, she might be one of the most accurate depictions of knitters I’ve seen on TV.  She’s always got something on her needles, especially when she’s trying to hold it together in the face of certain death.  (I don’t face certain death often, but if I did, I’d totally want my knitting with me.)babsMake yourself a flock of tiny chickens in honor of Babs, Ginger and the rest of the gang.

#29 Tiny Chickens by Anna HrachovecPIRATES- Amanda Vines BLAZERS U6-Rick BarrettHave you seen Chicken Run lately?  What old favorite movies do you love to revisit?

Inspiration: The Crown

I’ve been hard at work on Christmas gifts, so I’ve been watching more TV than usual.  (I’ve got one gift left to finish- and it feels like it’s taking forever!)

Lucky for me, I just got to spend 10 hours with the excellent new Netflix show, The Crown.  I love a good costume drama, and this is a good costume drama.  It follows Queen Elizabeth from just before her ascension through to the late 50s (I believe, I’m not great with dates).  It’s a very interesting view into the life of the young queen, her advisors, and her political opponents.  It’s a family drama, a political thriller, and kind of a coming-of-age story, all in one.  And, of course the costumes are gorgeous- the dresses, the jewels, the ridiculous military garb Prince Philip wears.  It’s all amazing.

Of course Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip don’t wear knitted jumpers to attend to matters of state, but when she’s at home, dealing with the day-to-day of “Queening,” you’d better believe Elizabeth rocks a cardigan (I bet they’re all cashmere, too).

She’s got somber ones for supervising work around the house.

crown-2And collared ones for meeting with her advisors.crown-1But they all look quite lovely with a big silk skirt with lots of petticoats.crown-3Want to let your inner Queen Elizabeth shine?  Try one of these royally cute cardi’s:

I love the touch of cables on this one, though the Queen would not approve of the short shorts.

Chimera Cardigan by Amy Herzogchimera-2_medium21I love the texture on this cardigan, but I think the Queen would think the big flower was a little “common.”  I bet she’d decorate the sweater with a gold-and-diamond brooch from her personal jewelry collection.

Christina by Kim Hargreavesp1020535-1_medium21I love the little fake peplum at the bottom of this sweater. It might be a little “much” for the queen, though.  She’s got very refined tastes.

Myra by Kim Hargreavesmyra_-_alpca_dk_medium21Have you watched The Crown?  It’s so good, right?

Inspiration:Terrace House

OK, I’ve got a confession to make.

You all know I like TV, and as someone who knits professionally (HA! That sounds funny), I probably watch more than I should.  And, most of the time, I try to limit my TV to stuff that’s a little bit wholesome- something with some cultural or educational value.  You know: BBC dramas, documentaries, cooking shows (and, yes, some Law and Order).

But I have a soft spot for some reality TV.  RuPaul’s Drag Race is my favorite, and I just began watching Project Runway again.  I’ve started watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette family of products.  They’re just such perfect ridiculous, escapist nonsense (especially these days when I need some escapism).

But we’re between seasons of the Bachelor, so what’s a girl to do?

One of my favorite podcasts of all time, Rose Buddies (a Bachelor fan podcast, and the reason I’ve started watching the show), suggested that I start watching Terrace House on Netflix.

And it’s magical.

It’s the Great British Bake Off of dumb reality TV.

Six men and women are given a fancy house in Tokyo and a big SUV, and they… just do stuff.  But, where in an American show all the contestants would get super drunk and cause all sorts of trouble right off the bat, the contestants on this show are so freaking polite and nice.  It’s a delight (if you’re into that sort of thing, and if you don’t mind reading subtitles).

But the best part is that they have a panel of six hosts (judges?) that pipes up from time to time during the show, offering play-by-play commentary.  I’m sure they’re all famous Japanese people (except for the 14-year-old boy whose presence is never explained), but I don’t recognize them.  And, the last episode I watched (Episode 11), two of the hosts were sporting some pretty great knitwear.bothSerious sweaters.

They’re even better close-up:graybrownThey’re not hand-knit; you can see where they were cut and seamed back together in the factory.  But, I love a good, classic Icelandic sweater (even when they’re on a Japanese TV show).

Want your own Serious Sweater?  Try one of these:

Asymptote (Men’s Pullover) by Lars RainsAudKnits snowflake scraves

Veturlidi by Liennea Ornstein9722624247_5b117d7d1f_z1Fosslaug by Linnea Ornsteinimg_2554_medium21What’s your guilty pleasure TV?  Have you watched Terrace House?

Knitting Big

I spent my Sunday at a little local yarn festival, Knit Fit.  It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, browsing through the little marketplace, squeezing the yarn and admiring all the gorgeous colors (and wishing you had infinite money and infinite time so that you take home and use all the yarn).

Of course, I had to treat myself to a little (big) souvenir.  It’s a wheel of The Big Squeeze from Hazel Knits in the colorway “Electric Slide.”img_3861 It’s 135 yards of slightly-felted oversized single ply merino softness in the most gorgeous shades of violet, purple and fuchsia.  I’ve salivated over the Big Squeeze before, but didn’t know what to make with it.  But then I saw this gorgeous color… and it was all over.

So now I have to decide what it’ll become.  It’s soft enough that I want something I can wear against my skin, but I don’t care for super-bulky hats, and mittens are kind of impractical in this climate.  I’m thinking it’ll make a big cowl, or maybe an oversized lace scarf.

I like this cabled cowl.  I love how it twists and turns and looks like it’s been very artistically rumpled.

Rainbow Twist by Thao Nguyenphoto_medium1And I like the openwork on this cowl.  There’s something really satisfying about lacework at such a gigantic gauge.  Maybe I’ll do something like this.

Spidey’s Spiral Cowl by Abi Gregoriospiralcowl_medium21And this one is just beautiful in its simplicity.  Sometimes you just need a big tube of ribbing in a beautiful color.

Castle Leoch Ribbed Cowl by Karen Clementscastleleochribbedcowl1_medium21What would you do with a big skein of oversized yarn?

Inspiration: Kid Pumpkins

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I’ve got something very cool to share with you.  It’s a pumpkin!wp_20161025_16_28_16_proAnd it was made (with almost no help) by one of the 7-year-olds in my after-school knitting class (we’ll call her “Raven,” since that’s a suitably Halloween-y name).  Sure, it’s a little knobbly, but I’d like to think it looks “homegrown.”  Raven made a big square(-ish shape… she’s a big fan of the “accidental yarn over”) of garter stitch with pumpkin-orange yarn.  She worked so hard on it- spending the last 4 weeks of class chugging away on her knitting.  Then she sewed the cast-on and bound-off edges together to make a tube, and closed up the top.  After stuffing the pumpkin with fiberfill, Raven closed up the bottom.  I showed her how to make big stitches around the pumpkin to form the “seams,” and then she knit a little green stem and sewed it into place all by herself.

How awesome is that?!  It looks even cuter from this angle:wp_20161025_16_28_22_proWant to make your own?  Follow the procedure that Raven used, or try one of these adorable (but slightly more complicated) patterns:

Pumpkin Patch by Marie Mayhewpumpkin_patch-1_medium21Chic Little Pumpkins by Rachel Borello Carrollimg_0651_medium21Hope you have a great Halloween!