Category Archives: Inspiration

Inspiration: All Snuggled Up

I know it’s cliched, but holy cow do I need a vacation after my vacation.  I’m still exhausted, even though it’s been almost a week since we got back.

I think it must be a combination of the following:

  1. Too much traveling- a full day of air travel to get to the Midwest followed by a full day of driving to make it up north, and the same thing in reverse to go back.  (Plus all the driving we did over the week there.  I forgot how far apart everything is in the country!)
  2. I was surprised to discover that the part of the UP we were visiting was in the Eastern Time Zone, three hours behind Seattle.  I spent the whole week trying desperately to get on local time and failing miserably.  Now I’m back here, but I think my brain is still somewhere between Eastern and Pacific time.  I’m a mess!
  3. I picked up some nasty stomach bug somewhere on my trip back home, and I can’t for the life of me shake it.  I won’t give you the details, because ew… but suffice it to say that I’ve felt better.

Basically, all I want to do is snuggle up in some cozy knits and go into hibernation.

Let’s play the “what Allison wishes she had in her closet” game.  (I’m too sleepy to start any new projects right now… it’s that bad!)

I know this is a men’s sweater but man, I’d totally wear this.  I love the slightly variegated/tonal yarn and the cowl-like collar.

Cosy Hubby by Marzena KolaczekSpeaking of cowls- I can’t imagine anything cozier than this ridiculous cabled cowl.

Cozy Cable Cowl by Purl SohoBut really, this is what I want to wear right now.  It’s coziness personified… It’s halfway between a cocoon and a sweater (actually, it might be closer to a cocoon than a sweater).  I love the thick textured fabric, and the thigh-length oversized silhouette.  It would take about three pounds of yarn to make a sweater of this style for someone my height, but I think it might just be worth it.

Cozy Sweater by Anna and Heidi PicklesWhat do you like to wear (or knit) when you’re feeling under the weather?

Inspiration: UP North

I’m writing this from the past (through the magic of scheduled posting…oooh!), but I am currently at a big family reunion up in the wild wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Penninsula!

If you don’t know where the UP is, its here:I bet you didn’t even know that the US went that far north!

My grandma lives all the way up there, along with an aunt and her family, so the rest of us (dozens of cousins and aunts and uncles) are all descending on a tiny town waaaay up north for this year’s family vacation.  I’ve only been to the UP once before, and it was decades ago.

From my understanding, we’ll be spending the week hiking in some National Forests.

Hiking Socks by Kerin Dimeler-LaurenceWe’ll spend time canoeing around lakes and streams, looking for interesting birds and fish.

Kejimkujik Canoe Cowl by Raven Knits DesignWe’ll tour copper mines from the 1800s.

Copper Plait by Kathy ZimmermanAnd one thing’s for certain, no matter how hard I try to avoid them, I’m definitely getting eaten by some big old mosquitoes.

Mosquito Scarf by Kim ChristensenAre you going on any fun trips this summer?

Doing the Dishes

Doing the dishes is not my most favorite chore, but I do them anyway.  I’d rather make something tasty and create a pile of dirty dishes than actually clean them up.  (But, I guess doing the dishes is part of being a grown-up… sigh.)

Anyway, I’ve got a stack of knit and crocheted dish cloths that people have given to me over the years, and they’re the best (I always use them before the store-bought ones).  I don’t know why, but handmade dish rags just seem to work better- plus, I love anything that’s related to knitting.

Unfortunately, since I’ve been using mine for years, they’re starting to get a little ratty and a little bleached out.  A couple are even starting to come apart at the edges.

So I guess it’s time to make a couple more.

This brick-patterned dishcloth is totally classic, and super cute.  I love the contrast of the garter stitch “bricks” and the slipped-stitch “mortar.”

Ballband Dishcoth by Peaches & Creme Design TeamThese interesting circular dishclots are cute, too!  I love the short-row shaping (I get bored easily, and short rows might just be the ticket to stopping myself from giving up halfway through and making another pair of socks instead).

Crazy Eights Dishcloth by Julie TarshaThese are also super adorable.  I love how basic patterns can be the most impactful.  The simple mitered garter square is just gorgeous, and the rainbow of applied I-cord at the edge is the perfect finishing touch.

Sinkmates by Lorilee BeltmanDo you use handmade dishcloths?  What’s your favorite pattern?

Inspiration: Jughead

So, this is a post I never expected to be writing.

It’s a little embarrassing, talking about the dumb TV shows I watch.  Stuff that I only watch when nobody else is around.  I’d love for you guys to think of me as someone with impeccable taste, who only takes in thoughtful feminist TV shows and interesting foreign indie films. (Then I remember I wrote about the Bachelor last season, so I guess the “I watch only good TV” ship has sailed.)

Anyway, Riverdale has shown up on my Netflix, and instead of re-watching Parks and Rec for the umpteenth time, I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s… not good. But dang, if it isn’t compelling.

So far (and I’m only 2 episodes in, mind you), there’s murder, catty cheerleaders, a love triangle, a secret affair, and gorgeous 20-something actors pretending to bee teenagers.

It’s a lot.

Now, I never read Archie Comics growing up, so I could be wrong.  Maybe all this stuff is in the comic books.  But, my impression is that someone thought, “Hey, people liked Archie Comics back in the day.  But, these days everyone wants a dark and gritty reboot.  I know!  A dark and gritty Archie reboot! It can’t fail! It’ll be ratings gold!”

Like I said, it’s not “good” TV, but it’s certainly entertaining.

Anyway, the reason I’ve brought it up here is that Jughead wears a knit cap!I always thought his hat in the comics was a little weird (or at least what I saw of it when I was a kid while waiting in line to buy groceries with my mom) .  Was it a crown?  Was it a hat?  Why did he wear it?  Why didn’t his friends call him out on wearing a weird crown/hat?  Did they call him out on it, but he ignored their advice and kept wearing it?  Where did the design come from in the first place?  I had a lot of questions as a kid.

Anyway, the costume director for the show did a good job making a goofy-looking crown hat look kind of cool. (I even kind of want one now.)

And, it looks like a bunch of knitters seem to have had the same thought!  (If you search on Ravelry for “Jughead” almost a dozen patterns show up.)

There are hats with slightly more subtle crowns:

Jughead hat 7 points by Karen KopperThere are hats knit in worsted wool:

Jughead’s Hat by Alecia SoloveoffThere are even crocheted hats:

Jughead Hat Crochet Pattern by Roxie McCaraWould you wear a Jughead hat?

But, for real though, why is this a hat?  Do you guys know where the design comes from?  I want to know, but I don’t really want to do any research.

Snips and Scraps

I’ve been making a lot of socks lately, which means I’ve been ending up with a lot of little balls of scrap yarn.   You know, the 10 or 20 grams of sock yarn that’s left over after you’ve finished your socks.  It’s not enough to make another pair (or anything else really), but it’s enough that you can’t bear to throw it away. When I have leftover bits of worsted yarn, they go into my Mother Bear stash, but when it’s sock yarn… I just kind of hold onto it “just in case.”

So, let’s take a look at some gorgeous pattern ideas about what to do with those last little bits of sock yarn.

I love this simple blanket- it’s nothing more complicated than a mitered stockinette square, but the combination of all those sumptuous colors of leftover sock yarn… gorgeous!

Giant Square Scrap Blanket by Laura PetersOf course, this quilt is the new standard “using up all my lovely bits of yarn” pattern.  I’ve seen lots of knitters making the little hexipuffs, but I’ve never actually seen a finished one in person.  Maybe that’s a sign that I need to make one for myself. (Or maybe it’s a warning that if I start it, I’ll never finish it.  It could go either way, really.)

the beekeeper’s quilt by tiny owl knits

I really love this blanket, too.  I love the seashell pattern, and the fact that it’s all knit in a single piece- no seaming!  I imagine the short rows might get a bit tiring after a while, but the finished product is so pretty, they might be worth it.

Seashell Scrap Yarn Blanket by Charan Sachar

What do you do with your scrap yarn?  Do you have a go-to scrap yarn project?

Inspiration: Wonder Woman!

You guys!  I watched Wonder Woman this weekend, and holy cow!  It’s so good!  Back in high school, I used to be 100% in any time they made a movie about someone with superpowers (superhero movies were new and exciting then).  But the last decade or so has so over-saturated the market with too many crappy superhero movies where overly-muscled dudes in spandex level cities in an attempt to show how they’re stronger/better/right-er than their arch nemesis.

Enter Wonder Woman!

I mean, look at her!  She’s amazing!  She fights her way across no man’s land between WWI trenches with a freaking sword! She speaks hundreds of languages!  She fights to end war!  Her whole thing is saving people!  I’m pretty stoked about her.

And, there’s her aunt, Antiope, played by Robin Wright (Princess Buttercup!  The Princess Bride was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and it’s awesome to see Princess Buttercup do some fighting).  She’s a totally bad-ass general.  At one point she flips off the back of a horse while shooting three Nazis simultaneously with the three arrows she had nocked in her bow.  So good!

But it’s not just the good guys that are kick-butt women.  The bad guy, Dr. Poison is a totally creepy mad scientist lady!  She’s got a super icky mask (because she melted the bottom half of her face in a lab accident), and a penchant for inventing chemical weapons.

Of course, there are men in the movie, too, but it’s just amazing to see women headlining a superhero movie- and totally kicking butt!

So, let’s tie this to something knitting-related (this is a knitting blog after all).

This tiny Wonder Woman will save the day using her cuteness!

Wonder Woman Amigurumi by Clare Heesh

I love this classic Wonder Woman-style hat!

Great Hera! by Jensen Reyes

And this sweater would be perfect for days when you need to feel your most Wonder-full!

Wonder Woman Jumper by Kirsty Lothian

Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? If not, what are you waiting for!  (Just be aware, you’re going to go around kicking things and sword fighting after you see it.)

Inspiration: Silicon Valley

Sometimes I search out knitting;  I go to the library and look through books.  I spend hours scrolling through Ravelry or visiting yarn shops.  I’m not complaining, obviously, I think it’s fun, interesting, and a pretty pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

But, sometimes knitting just jumps out of the weirdest places, without any warning.  For example, I was catching up on last week’s episode of Silicon Valley (episode 36, “The Keenan Vortex”), and BAM! Knitting!

Jared, my favorite character, the dorky business manager with a heart of gold, was rocking some great knitwear this week.  (There was a whole subplot where there was a cold snap, so everyone was getting out their winter gear, but Jared’s was my favorite.  Everyone else had boring ski jackets on.  Why wear a ski jacket when you can wear an amazing wool sweater?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

He starts out slow, with a simple ribbed-scarf-and-pea-coat combo.  Classic.I need a nice simple scarf- maybe I should follow Jared’s lead and knit up one of these.

Fisherman’s Rib Muffler in Three Gauges by Churchmouse Yarns and TeasThen he stepped up his game with a mustard sweater vest. Now, I’m not usually a fan of a sweater vest, but if I really wanted to stay true to the Jared spirit, I’d knit up one of these bad boys.

Nathan by Jones & VandermeerBut the best knitwear is definitely saved for last- Jared comes out of nowhere with this amazing cabled gansey turtleneck.  The guys on the show tease him for it, but I gotta say- I love anyone who can unironically rock a cabled sweater.  Those are my people.It’s not as great as Jared’s sweater, but this one’s pretty good, too.

59-6 Sweater by DROPS DesignHave your favorite TV characters ever shown up in knitwear?

Inspiration: Ukulele

For my thirtieth birthday, I decided to splurge and get myself a birthday present.  And what did I pick out?  Something practical?  Something yarn-related? Something that I knew I’d use?

Of course not.  Instead, I got myself a ukulele!  A baritone ukulele, actually (which sounds like a guitar, but is small and easy to play, like a uke).

I’ve been slowly teaching myself how to play over the last year and a bit.  I’ve learned a couple handfulls of chords, and I know a few songs (unfortunately, I’m a fairly terrible singer, so singing where anyone other than my dog can hear me is right out).  When my dad visits, he brings his bass and we play together.  And over the last couple months, I’ve been playing with a ukulele group in Seattle (It’s me and a bunch of old hippies/baby boomers.  We meet in a park once a week and play old standards…  it’s silly, but pretty fun).

I’m not going to be going professional with my ukulele playing, but I’m having a great time learning a new skill- I’ve never really played a stringed instrument before (I tried to learn guitar in high school… it went… poorly).  And, I think it’ll make a good excuse to visit Hawaii again.

In celebration of my new hobby, let’s look at ukulele inspired knits!

I stole the strap from my old guitar to put on my ukulele, but I really like the idea of making a strap myself.  I think it should be in a cute, tropical color!

Ukulele Strap by Lise GrayYou guys know I love tiny things, so of course I’d love a tiny ukulele (which are tiny to begin with, so a mini one must be super tiny)!

Melee Ukulele or Guitar by Mad Crochet ScientistIt gets a little chilly, playing in the park in the evenings, even in June.  So maybe I should make myself a Hawaiian-themed blanket to keep me cozy when I’m playing with my uke group.

Hawaiian Flowers by Sarah London

Have you been learning any new skills lately?  Do you play any instruments?

Inspiration: In the Shade

Phew!  It’s getting hot out here!

It’s been bouncing between the upper-60s and the mid-80s here in Seattle lately.  It’s been sunny and clear and dry.  I’ve had the windows open and the furnace turned off for over a week.  And, I’m down to only wearing sweaters first thing in the morning.  That means only one thing:  Summer’s just about here.

It’s hot, and I’ve become a total PNW weenie about the heat.  It gets over 70 degrees, and I start to whine, over 75 and I stop going outside if I can avoid it.  (The version of me that lived in Austin for three years is disgusted with current me… that version wouldn’t even think of breaking out the shorts until it was approaching 100.  That version of me was a little bit dumb, I think.)

Ollie totally agrees.  He’s been spending his days sunning himself out on the deck until he starts to pant too much, then trots inside and to sprawl out on the cool tile floor and drink from the toilet, even though he has a nice big bowl of fresh water… you’ve got to keep an eye on him.  He’s crafty (and a little gross).  He’s not a fan of hot weather either.But, as hot as it is in the sun, it’s actually been kind of nice in the shade.   If only there was a way to take the shade with you…

Oh wait!  There is!

We Seattleites might refuse to carry umbrellas with us when it rains, but we could totally carry umbrellas with us to keep the sun from our pale, pale skin.

I like the simplicity of this one, it would definitely provide plenty of protection from the sun.

Victoria by Kelly GriffithThis one is too cute for words- don’t you just love the stripes?

17S/Parasol by michiyoAnd this one is just gorgeous!  Unfortunately I think all that lace would take me until the end of summer before I finished.  But then I could have it for next summer…

Schattenspiele/R by Christine NöllerOr, I suppose Ollie and I could just drink some water, stay in the shade and stop being weenies about the heat.

What do you do to keep cool in the summer?

Inspiration: Procrastiknitting

I finished my BIG SECRET PROJECT the other day (I’ve got it blocking right now, and I keep checking on it every couple hours… it continues to be damp, much to my chagrin).

I’ve got two other big projects waiting in the queue, so I really should get straight to work on them.  Buuuuut…..

I don’t wanna.

I just want to make something fun and cute and silly.  (And, since I really should be working on other projects, something small.)

So, let’s look at some little-bitty cute projects that I could work on while totally not procrastinating!

I love this teeny tiny kitty.  I don’t know what I’d do with him, but I think I might need to make him.

Tiny Window Cat by Sara Elizabeth KellnerAnd, I love this tiny earbud pouch.  I’m always getting my headphones tangled up with my purse knitting, and maybe this would help keep them under control.  Or maybe it would just be another thing to get lost in my purse.  Either way, it’s cute!

Earbud Pouch by Mary KeenanOr, I could just go all-in on the cute, tiny, silliness.  I could do the whole Christmas in May thing, and knit up some little Christmas Elves.  I mean, how cute are they?!

Jolly Wee Elf by Churchmouse Yarns and TeasHave you ever “procrastiknitted” before?  What did you make?