Category Archives: Inspiration

Inspiration: Headache?

Y’all.  It’s been a rough week, I’ll be honest with you.  I’ve had a headache for probably 6 of the past 7 days (Saturday was OK for some reason).  I’ve tried everything.  Painkillers, extra caffeine, removing caffeine, more sleep, less sleep, sitting quietly in the dark, going out and running errands to keep my mind off of my headache, extra hydration, hot packs and cold packs.

At most, I’ve gotten a relief for an hour or two at a time, but my headache keeps coming back.  It’s now managed to migrate from my head, down into my neck and shoulders (probably because I’ve gotten so stressed about it, I’m tensing up the muscles in my shoulders… sigh.)

This morning I’ve been sitting quietly in a semi-darkened room, knitting and listening to podcasts (because looking at screens (like the TV) seems to exacerbate my headache), drinking a Coke (because coffee sounds gross right now, but I wanted to see if caffeine might help my head this morning), and taking turns with the hot and cold packs.  It seems to be helping, and hopefully by the time I need to leave the house for work this afternoon, I’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (or at least I won’t be dragging as much as I have been the last few days).

I’ve got a bunch of cold packs left over from when I used to play roller derby, but none of them have sleeves as nice as this- I might need to make one or two to have on hand the next time my head gets the best of me.

Knitted Ice Pack Cozy by Ampy Versalles-CurtisI’ve got a heating pack that I made years ago that I filled with barley.  I like it a lot (I’ve got it on my shoulders right now).  But, it’s gotten a bit stained and worn over the years, so maybe I should crochet up a cute little pouch for it.  I like the little crocheted buttons, especially

Comfort Pack by Donna Hulka

I’m so ready for this headache to go away!  Do you have any remedies for a stubborn headache?

Inspiration: Pumpkin Spice

Y’all.  It’s that time of year again!  And I think you know what time I mean.

Pumpkin Spice Time.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the OG Pumpkin Spice Latte (too sweet for me), but I love all other things Pumpkin Spice.  I mean, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice?  You can’t go wrong!

I made some applesauce the other day with some Pumpkin Spice in it (very tasty), and I’ve been known to whip a batch of pumpkin pancakes and a loaf or two of pumpkin bread (with pumpkin spice, natch).  Not to mention several pumpkin pies every fall/winter.  I mean.  Can you think of a better breakfast than a slice of creamy pumpkin pie with a steaming cup of coffee?  (Of course pie is a “sometimes” breakfast, I’m not completely a monster.)

Anyway, let’s celebrate the reason for the season with some Pumpkin Spice knits!

This baby hat is too cute to be trusted.  I bet that baby is scheming to steal my pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Spice Hat by Cuie Patootees

 

This cowl is such a lovely combo of textures and colors, I can’t think of anything better.  Except maybe a Pumpkin Spice chai?

Pumpkin Spice Cowl by Agnes Kutas-KeresztesI couldn’t talk about Pumpkin Spice projects without including a coffee sleeve!  Perfect for your next Pumpkin Spice Latte. (You can’t use it for a regular drip coffee, or even a vanilla latte.  It’s particular.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes only.)

Pumpkin Spice by Evan MiddletonWhat’s your favorite part of this time of year, and why is it pumpkin-spice everything?

Inspiration: Trixie

I’ve been ramping up another work project, which means I’ve been spending even more time than usual on the couch, knitting like the wind.  Which, in turn, means I’ve had more time for catching up on TV shows I’ve neglected.

And this week, I’ve been catching up on Call the Midwives (because I apparently felt the need to cry all over my new knitting). The last time I watched the Midwives was over a year ago, when I caught a few scattered episodes of Season 5 when they were airing on PBS.  And, since Season 6 has just gone up on Netflix, I figured it was as good a time as any to get all caught up.

Of course there are insane knitted layettes for the newborns, adorable knit vests on the school-kids, and twee little cardigans on all the nurses, which are all lovely.

But, in Episode 1 of Season 5 (actually these sweaters show up throughout the season, but they make their appearance in Episode 1), Trixie is shown wearing a really cute sweater.  One that’s so classic, yet so modern, I kind of want one for myself.

Trixie is a new devotee of “Keep-Fit” a proto-Zumba organization that she’s joined during her post-rock-bottom/post-break-up self-improvement phase.  It’s really a lovely few scenes, actually.  It could have been handled very poorly- a bunch of young ladies doing silly Jazzercise routines in neck-to-toe black leotards.  But Trixie gets to give a couple of really heartfelt speeches about the importance of her new community, and its ideals of self-empowerment, and women’s rights.  (It actually reminded me a lot of the things that the women on my roller derby team used to talk about.)

But we’re not here to talk about women’s empowerment (though I could do that all day if you want).  We’re here to talk about sweaters.

Everyone in the class wears long, black leotards, except the instructor, who gets to wear a totally cute, cropped, tie-front cardigan.

Trixie’s instructor has hers in a lovely periwinkle blue.And when Trixie starts teaching, she gets hers in a fiery scarlet (naturally).(I’m now looking more closely at these sweaters, and it actually looks like they might be made of sweatshirt jersey, not knit, but we’ll just pretend, shall we?)

I love the criss-cross front, and the super flattering 3/4 length sleeves and cropped length that hit right at the natural waist.  I don’t think I want to go flouncing about in a leotard like the ladies in the Keep Fit class, but I do think I want one of the instructors’ sweaters.

I love this one, with the subtle all-over mistake ribbing and twill ties.

Penny by Debbie BlissAnd this one might be most like Trixie’s- the length is right, and the three-quarter sleeves.  I like the little picot edges on the cuffs, but I might change them to a simple ribbing, I’m not really a “ruffles” kind of gal.

Yoga Wrap Sweater WR1705 by Lisa GetryThis one is just too sweet for words.  It’s not really as practical as Trixie’s (what with the short sleeves and the deeper V-neck), but I love the style of this one.  The textured sleeves, the lovely soft color and the feminine shaping that isn’t too girly.  Man… this one’s a contender for sure.

Gardenia by Martin StoreyIf I had more time, I’d definitely get one of these bad boys on my needles as soon as possible.  As it is, I still might… Work can wait when there are cute sweaters to be made!

Have you spotted any cute sweaters on TV lately?

Inspiration: Autumnal Equinox

It’s officially Fall!  Happy Autumnal Equinox, everybody!  It’s now officially the best time of the year!!  It’s time for cool, drizzly days, steaming cups of hot cider, and cozy afternoons knitting on the couch and listening to old records.  The Autumn Rain has started here in Seattle, and I’m looking forward to everything getting green again.

(What, I’m the only one who prefers cold and rainy over sunny and hot?  Well, I’m a knitter, it’s in my DNA.)

Autumn is the time of year I like to start hibernating, making my house as cozy as possible.  It’s all about warm soups and comfy blankets (until the day after Thanksgiving, at which point my house turns into a Magical Christmas Extravaganza).

If I didn’t have a million things to do, I’d make myself this fantastic fall afghan.  I have a similar one that my Mother-in-Law (Hi Kris!) made me years ago.  I keep it in my studio, and it’s perfect for when my old house gets a little too drafty.  But this one’s lovely color scheme would be perfect for autumn!

Autumn Waves Throw by Mary MaximOr maybe I should make this blanket?  I can’t get over how gorgeous this crazy-oversized lace pattern is.  I bet it would work up in no time!

Autumn Lace / Winter Lace / Mayfield Afghan by Lion Brand YarnI don’t think you can have too many blankets (just ask my husband), but you can’t be truly comfy without a few pillows in the mix.  And my current throw pillows are getting a little bit… disreputable (dog hair just gets everywhere).   Maybe I should bust out a couple cute new throw pillows?  Maybe ones like this:

Autumn Equinox Pillow by Maria O’KeefeWhat do your thoughts turn to in the fall?

Inspiration: Back to School

I’m excited- it’s that time of year again!  The weather has (begun) to cool down- we even got a couple rain showers a few days back.  I’m sure the pumpkin spice everything is right around the corner (I’m not even mad- cinnamon  is delicious).  And, in Seattle, it’s Back to School Time!

Actually, the kids were back in school last week.  My job always starts a week or two into the semester, which means that I go back to school this week!

I love teaching summer camps, but I think I like the school year better.  I get to spend more time with each class, which means I get to know my kids better, and get to see them develop fully as sewers.  And, the hours aren’t as crazy- I love hanging out with my students, but an 8 or 9 hour day without a substantial break is not ideal.

So while everyone else is worried about pencils and notebooks, this time of year means three things to me.

1. I get to start schlepping my sewing machines around again.  This is the only part of my job that’s less than delightful- There’s nothing more tiring at the end of a long shift than having to load up 10 big old sewing machines onto a cart, drag them out to the car and unload them into the trunk, knowing that I’ll have to get them out again tomorrow.  I wish I could carry little amigurumi sewing machines like this one.  They would be so much easier to manage, though I suppose they wouldn’t work quite as well as the Pfaffs.

Sewing Machine by Sky Magenta2.  Back to School means pins.  So many pins.  Pins on the floor. Pins in projects.  Pins loose in the car.  Pins stuck in my sweater.  Pins that kids found on the floor from the week before.  Pins poking kids fingers.  Pins being used to conduct tiny sword fights.  Pins everywhere.  (And, unfortunately not a ton of pins in pincushions or pin boxes, no matter how many times I try to remind my kids.)  Maybe if I made everyone a pin cushion this cute, they’d actually use it?  (Wishful thinking, I suppose, though they are super sweet.)

Pincushions by Nicki Trench3. And, with the weather turning gray-er and more damp, and with the fact that it’s getting darker earlier and earlier, it’s the time of year to start drinking more coffee.  (Ha!  As if I ever really stopped.)  I love bringing a coffee or cup of tea with me to work- I’m basically talking nonstop for three hours, which is (if I’m being honest) too much talking, so it’s nice to have something to sip on in the three seconds of quiet I get during a class.  Plus, a little caffeine before hanging out with a dozen 7-year-olds never hurt anyone.

Coffee Cozies: Twisted Cable Version by Jennifer BurtI am so ready to go back to school!  Are you?

Inspiration: Games!

I’m so excited, guys!  It’s vacation time!

Every year, for the last 5 or 6 years (I’ve lost count), a big group of friends from college (plus some spouses, siblings, and childhood friends) and I have been getting together around Labor Day weekend for good food, good beer, and lots and lots of board games and video games.  It started as a yearly visit to Seattle’s big gaming convention, PAX, but starting last year, we now go on a real vacation!  Last year was Yellowstone, and this year is Tybee Island, Georgia (yay, beach!)

It’s always a blast- everyone lives so far apart these days that it’s great to make a point to get together each year.

And we always get to play a bunch of great games.

Carcassone was one of the first “cool” board games I remember playing, starting in high school (OK, “Cool” might not be the right word, but it’s certainly better than Monopoly.)  The little “Meeple” pieces included with the game are totally iconic… maybe I should make a set of these coasters to keep our games dry while we play.

Meeple Coasters by Ambie ValdesSometimes we even have a “quick” game of D&D (or something similar).  Usually that starts after I go to bed, though… I need my beauty sleep, and everybody else drinks way too much Diet Coke.

I love these dice bags- the Hobbit-inspired monograms are a perfect detail!

Good, Good Dice Bags by Jinger RoyAnd, while we’ve never played checkers at one of our get-togethers, I bet if I brought a set that was this cute, I could find someone to play a round or two.

Sheepy Draughts… and a Wolf Too by Aurelie ColasDo you like playing board games?  What’s your favorite?

Inspiration: Eclipse

Are you guys excited for the eclipse today!?  If you’re in the US, I’m sure you’ve heard all about it!  Unfortunately, Seattle is not 100% in the path of the eclipse.  And, unfortunately, I have to work this morning.  But STILL!  It’s going to be so cool!  (I really hope the school I’m teaching at has a plan to all go out and watch it.  It’s a fancy-pants school, so I bet they have eclipse glasses for everyone (or at least I hope so!).)

Well, whatever happens this morning, I want to celebrate the event the only way I know how: With yarn.

I don’t think I have time to make this hat, but man!  I wish I had started it last week.

Solar Eclipse Knit Hat by Heidi Arjes

I wish that I could drive down to see the total eclipse in Oregon.  If I could, I’d make this coaster on the way.

Solar Eclipse Totality Coaster by Kathy KellyBut I think the best we can expect in Seattle is something like this (which is still pretty dang cool.

Solar Eclipse Coasters by Tamara AdamsWill you be watching the eclipse today?  How complete is it by you?

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?