Category Archives: Inspiration

Just Some Hats

Hi folks! Nothing too special about today. Nope. Just a Regular Monday before a Regular Tuesday. I thought maybe we could spend this Regular Day looking at some hats, for no particular reason.

Hat number 1: Look at this one! Look at that pompom! I’m a sucker for a big ol’ pompom.

Vote Like it is 1920 by Molly Conroy

Hat number 2: Ooh, I really like the bold use of color on this bad boy. What a striking hat- red, white, and blue?!

Get Out & Vote Hat by nycraft craftivist

Hat number 3: I love the all-over stranded knitting pattern. So well-excecuted!

Please Vote by Leslie Roth

Wow! Those are some regular hats that I just really think are nifty. Nope, no ulterior motives for posting them here. No sir. **

Are there any regular old hats that you like?

** For the love of America and everything/everyone in it, if you haven’t already voted, please, please, please vote tomorrow. Voting is always important, but this year it’s insanely important. And, while I usually try to say “Vote for whichever candidate you prefer,” this year, I’m going to say “Please vote Biden/Harris.” Because, frankly, this election is literally a matter of life and death.

If you’re not sure where to go, this is a great resource.

Switchy Swatchy

OK, I totally hadn’t planned on going forward with the Helge Doppler sweater vest from last week. Sure, it was cute, and I really liked the texture, but lord knows I’ve got enough half-finished projects sitting in my studio right now.

But, well, it kind of got stuck in my head. Like a weird knitting version of an ear-worm. An eye-worm maybe? Ew. A knit-worm?

Anyway, one thing led to another and I was swatching before I knew it.

I started with US2s and some leftover Hawthorne Fingering. (I’ve since come to the decision that a kettle-dyed yarn is not right for this pattern, and that I need to go down at least one size (maybe two) to get the stitch definition I want. The swatch isn’t super clear, but bear with me.)

And just to remind you, this vest is my goal: (Again, sorry for the poor-quality picture- it was the best screenshot I could find.)

I began with the pattern I sketched out last week, and rapidly discovered that it was wildly wrong. (It’s the bottom section of this swatch.) What I thought was diamonds of stockinette and reverse stockinette clearly was not. The diamonds were super small and squished- hardly even diamonds.

So, I went back to the drawing board and tried using garter stitch instead of reverse stockinette, which looked a lot better (the top part of the above swatch). I wasn’t sure about the transition from one repeat to another, so I tried a few different varieties (you can see that each repeat is slightly different) until I landed on one that looked more or less the way I wanted it to.

I sketched up the new design, and here we are:

Now I’m off to swatch this new pattern out with finer needles and some machine-dyed sock yarn. Wish me luck.

The only question left is, “Do I want to knit a sweater (even for a 2-year-old) on US0s?” Eek!

Knitting on the TV

It’s been a minute since I’ve gotten really excited about knitting in a movie or on TV, but I think I might have found my next project. (Ha! Like I need another project.)

Ya’ll know I’ve been watching Dark on Netflix. It’s very moody and (well) dark. There’s lots of rain and nighttime scenes, and of course lots of knitwear and very good coats.

Plus, part of the story takes place in the 50s- the heyday of knitting, in my opinion. Knitting in the 50s was all vests and sweater sets worked on tiny needles with fingering weight yarn. It would drive me nuts to do it, but man, I love how the finished product looks.

Speaking of the finished product, look at this amazing sweater vest! (And don’t worry- no spoilers here, unless you consider a kid with a very good sweater vest a spoiler.)

And a close-up:

I mean, that color, that all-over texture, the 1×1 rib edging, the v-neck. It might be the perfect sweater vest. So stinking cute. I kind of want to make one for everyone in my family. Or at least for my kid. After all, making a vest for a 2-year-old on US2s is much less daunting than making one for myself. I’m thinking I could even use sock yarn to make sure it’s machine-washable and can stand up to a very busy toddler.

The thing I think I like most about this sweater is the geometric knit/purl texture. It doesn’t look particularly tricky, but when it’s worked all over the whole piece, it really packs a punch.

In fact, I like it so much I couldn’t stop myself from “sketching” it out and making up a little chart. (Empty squares are knits, dots are purls. Also, for what it’s worth, I haven’t actually swatched this out yet, so it might be wildly off. It’s just my best guess, based on obsessively looking up screenshots of this vest.)

I’m not sure if I’ve got the time/energy/follow-through right now to actually make this sweater become a reality, but man it’s fun to daydream. Maybe it’ll become a pattern?

Has any TV knitting caught your eye lately?

Inspiration: Comfort Socks

I don’t know about you, but I know that I’ve needed a little extra comfort these days.  Frankly, the only time I’ve been able to leave the house in the last 4 (5? 6? 10,000?) weeks has been to take my kid on a walk around the neighborhood.  He insists on walking, refusing the stroller or the wagon, but he’s (almost) 2, so we don’t go far.  I couldn’t tell you what Seattle is like outside of our neighborhood, but I can tell you where all the points of interest for a 2-year-old are, including:

  • The Cow Mailbox
  • The house with an owl decoy in the middle of the yard for some reason
  • All the good puddles
  • The house with the plastic dinosaurs in the yard
  • Two chicken coops
  • The “Unicorn Car” (It’s a mustang, but the kid is really into unicorns right now, and he insists on finding all the “unicorns” whenever we walk by the car.)
  • All the “Train Tracks” (The cement retaining walls that he likes to walk along.)
  • Where the mail-carrier parks his truck every morning

We have fun.

But, while I’m wandering the neighborhood with the kiddo, looking for kitty-cats to try to pet/harass, I always wish I had a little something extra comforting (and comfortable).

And, for me, that’s new knit socks.

A good pair of knit socks, fresh off the needles is one of the best things I could imagine right now.  I’ve already worn the ones I finished last week at least 3 days in a row (gross? Maybe.  Comfy? Definitely.), and I think I’m going to go to town on another pair as soon as I get myself together enough to start a new project.

I might make myself a pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder.  They’re classic- a subtle knit-purl pattern, sturdy, cozy, and utterly practical (in a good way!).  A great way to use special yarn that you really want to show off.

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Or I could use up some scraps with my old favorite, the Broken Seed Stitch Socks by Hanna Leväniemi.  Super cute, and way more complicated-looking than they actually are to work up.  If you can knit, purl, and manage 1-row stripes in the round, you’re golden!

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Or, I could really go back to the classics, and knit one of the first pairs of socks that I ever successfully finished .  Monkey Socks by Cookie A!  These were the first really nice, non-frustrating pair of socks I ever knit.  (I wore them into the ground, then made several more pairs with the same pattern.)  They’re just lacy enough to be fun, without making them delicate or more prone to wearing out.  Perfect socks, in my opinion.

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I’m not sure yet which one I want to knit, but I do know that I’d wear the heck out of any of these socks right now!

What’s your favorite comfort-knitting pattern?

This is what we’ve been preparing for!

Y’all, the last two weeks have been wild.

We’re in Seattle, and I’ll start by saying, we’re totally fine.  (Other than a little cabin fever, of course.)  Schools are closed until late April (so the kid’s playgroups are closed), the Zoo and museums are closed and, well, everything is closed.  And (as of the time I’m writing this), we’re supposed to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people, which… is rough.

We’re taking lots of very long, very quiet walks (there are very few cars on the streets), watching movies (I can pretty much recite Frozen at this point), reading lots of books, and working in the yard.  It’s real weird.

But, if ever there was a group of people ready for mass quarantine, I think it’s knitters.  After all, what have we been accumulating our stashes for, if not this?

So, in honor (?) of the pandemic, let’s talk scrappy projects.  Just because we can’t make it to our LYS’s doesn’t mean we can’t make something beautiful.

First, the classic, the ne plus ultra, the epitome of scrap projects, the Beekeeper’s Quilt.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure that anyone has ever actually finished one of these projects, but dang, if it doesn’t look satisfying.  And what a wonderful way to burn through scraps!

the beekeeper’s quilt by tiny owl knits

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And, if we’re talking color-mixing and using up scraps, we can’t not talk about Stephen West.  This sweater asks for bulky, or DK, or sport, or worsted, or lace-weight yarn and would lend itself to using just about as many colors as you want or have.  Perfect for end-of-the-world stash-busting!

Penguono by Stephen West

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Maybe you want to go a little less wacky than Stephen West (which I get- his style isn’t necessarily for everyone).  I bet you could dig through your stash and make a gradient of sock yarn.  And, if you had a little mohair to hold with it, all the better!  I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous reverse stockinette pullover that features a beautiful gradient and an eye-catching slipped-stitch yoke.
Sorrel by Wool & Pine
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But maybe you’re not up for a whole sweater right now- I get it, you need to be in a certain head space to cast on a sweater, and we might not all be there right now.  Maybe you’re looking for nothing more than a big, squishy, cozy triangle shawl that is just this side of being a blanket.  I know I always want to retreat into a cocoon when I’m stressed, and I think this shawl might just be the most socially-acceptable to cocoon yourself up.
Nightshift by Andrea Mowry
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I hope you’re staying safe (and sane)!
What’s on your to-knit list for the next couple weeks?

Inspiration: His Dark Materials

I always get nervous when they make a movie or TV show from my favorite books.  I mean, I get excited, too, because yay!  They’re making a new version of The Golden Compass!  But also, oh no!  They’re making a new version of The Golden Compass…  there’s no way it’ll be as good as the book.

Well, I’m very pleased to inform you that while HBO’s new His Dark Materials isn’t exactly a word-for word retelling of the book, it’s really really good!

(Here’s where I tell you to go read the books, if you haven’t read them already.  They’re so stinking good… Though, I probably haven’t read them since high school, so I should probably get them out of the library again.)

Anyway, the girl they have playing Lyra, Dafne Keen, is insanely talented, and a total bad ass (pardon my French).  She’s feisty and fierce and exactly the kind of 11-year-old that I want to be when I grow up.

And, she wears some pretty killer knitwear (after all, she’s running around in the arctic tundra! You’ve gotta bundle up while fighting for the fate of all mankind while riding an armored polar bear).His-Dark-Materials-1208770

We’ll start simple.  The mustard-yellow scarf.  It’s a nice, long (but substantial) scarf with a simple rib pattern.  Something like this Mistake Rib Scarf from Purl Soho.

mistake-rib-scarf-mm-600-6-294x441_medium2And her gloves!  Did you see her gloves?  All that fine color work?  To die for!  I don’t think I’d ever have the patience for all those little ends, but man, I’d love a pair like these Bright Gloves by Lesley Smith Designs.IMG_20190325_122756226_medium2

But the thing that really sets off the outfit is her fantastic, cozy hat.  I’ve been watching that hat since it showed up on screen a few weeks ago, and I’m still not 100% sure if it’s knit or crocheted.  I think it’s crocheted, which would make sense, crochet creates a much denser (and warmer) fabric, which would be great for the extreme conditions Lyra faces in the North.  It’s not exactly the same, but this Common People Hat by Martin Up North has the same vibe as Lyra’s.IMG_E6300_medium2

Long story short, give it a watch (and a read), if for no other reason than for the woolens.

Sheep in a Jeep!

As a stay at home parent, I spend a lot of my day reading kids books.  And, since my kid’s one and a half, and getting into the “Again! Again!” phase, I’ve been reading the same books over and over again.  Sometimes it’s an absolute chore (I’m looking at you, Follow that Truck!), but sometimes it’s great.  Especially when the book has a nice story, fun rhymes and detailed pictures.  Enter: Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy  Shaw.IMG_1973.JPGIt’s a delightful book about sheep who are remarkably bad at driving.  In 26 pages, they manage to 1. stall out their Jeep on the top of a hill,  2. get their Jeep stuck in a mud puddle, and 3. crash their Jeep against a tree.  It’s all very dramatic.

Anyway, on read-through 1,325, I noticed that one of the sheep has a knitting bag with her, and it goes flying when the car crashes.  She’s got 5 colors of yarn, and a half-finished… something.  Maybe it’s the beginning of a sweater or a scarf, or maybe it’s just a swatch.  Either way, it was super cute colorwork.  IMG_1977I noticed reddish ribbing on the bottom, then a row of… maybe blue and white circles, before a row of white triangles and red circles… and maybe some green on top with black dots? It wasn’t too clear, but I had a little time in my knitting schedule and some of the kid’s crayons to try to chart it out, so away I went.IMG_1981But halfway, through, I realized the red, white and green shapes weren’t just shapes… they were turnips!  (Or maybe radishes? It’s hard to tell the difference.)

I went back through the book to see if I could find another picture of the knitting.  And, wouldn’t you believe it- right on the back, clear as day, there was another view.  And now that I know they’re radishes, I can’t not see them.  Obviously- a row of radishes and a row of green dots.  How didn’t I see it before?IMG_1980Now that I was this far, I had to keep going- And another swatch later, I’ve got a very cute little radish design.  I’d change the colors so the contrast is there, but it’s a good start.IMG_1985Now I’ve just got to decide what to use this for.  Right now, I’m thinking a little pullover for the kiddo.  Maybe with a light blue background “above ground” and a nice chocolate brown heather for the dirt.  I think I might stagger the dots and the radishes,  and the leaves still need a little work, but I like where it’s going.

This whole Sheep in a Jeep project is getting a little out of hand (but maybe that’s fitting, considering the source material…).

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve gotten knitting inspiration from?

A New Season, a New Sweater and a New Silhouette

I am *this* close to finishing my brother’s wedding blanket (and only about a month late… so not too bad), which means it’s time for me to start planning my next project.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. I want to make something for myself.  Just about all my knitting for the last year or so has been for work, or for someone else (mostly the kid, so I can’t complain too much).  And, while I like knitting for other people, I feel like it’s time for me to do a little selfish knitting.
  2. I think I want a new sweater.  And not just the same plain pullover I’ve made myself thirty-seven times.  I love a nice plain pullover, but I’m feeling an itch to try something new. Right now I’m thinking about doing some color-work.
  3. I don’t want to design it.  I want to follow someone else’s pattern.  I don’t want to figure out charts or do a whole bunch of math.  I just want to sit down with a tried-and-true pattern and just go to town. I might not even make a swatch. (I know… heresy.)
  4. I want this sweater to be a little trendier and girlier than I usually go.  My usual style is basic, almost unisex, straight-ahead.  I want to do something a little more interesting and fashionable.
  5. And, if this pattern could take less than thirteen years, that would be appreciated.

So, after a long troll through Ravelry, I’ve come up with some ideas, and I need your input to decide what to do. (Though, fair warning, I might decide to do a completely different project and come back here next week with a half-knitted squid or something).

I think I like the idea of making a sweater with a cropped-yet-oversized silhouette.  It seems like it would be flattering.  Or maybe not?  I’m not sure.  It’s very different from what I usually wear, but maybe that’s the point?

This sweater could be knit with long sleeves or without, to make a sleeveless summer sweater.  But maybe it’s too simple?  Other than the silhouette, it’s not that different from my usual knits.  Lots and lots of stockinette.

Aqua by Trin-Annelieaqua_015.jpg

This sweater has a very similar shape- real boxy and simple, but I like the ribbing detail across the shoulder and the color-work at the bottom.

Navelli by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with fs4 preset

Speaking of color-work, I’ve been ogling everyone’s Soldotnas.  And I do mean everyone,  there have been more than 2000 of them added to Ravelry.  I really like the color-work yoke (and I do like a yoked sweater), but for some reason the combination of the yoke and the cropped length seems a little less flattering to me than the boxier dropped-shoulder sweaters. But maybe I’m just crazy?

Soldotna Crop by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with fp1 preset

Or, I could just go along with the cool kids and make myself a Shifty.  I love the color-work/mosaic-knit fabric, and I have an idea for what yarn I’d substitute. (Spincycle is lovely, but I don’t want my sweater to cost three thousand dollars.) I just wonder if this sweater is a little too close to my usual sweater, if I’m trying to make something new.

Shifty by Andrea MowryIMG_1227_medium2

I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking as I finish up the last few rows of that dang wedding blanket.

And no matter what I pick, I guess I’m going to have to get myself some high-waisted jeans or a couple linen dresses to go with my new cropped sweater.

Which sweater do you like best?

Wedding Bells!

My brother got married yesterday!

(OK, full disclosure, he gets married next Sunday as I write this, but yesterday as it’s published.  I didn’t think that writing a blog post mid-ceremony was a great way of being a wedding guest.)

I’m sure it was an amazing party and a beautiful ceremony.  I’m sure the kiddo only ruined it a little bit.

I’m so excited to see my new sister-in-law and meet her extended family.  I’m so glad she’s joining our family and look forward to having her join us on all our reunions and holidays over the years.  She’s a delight!

And, yes, before you ask, the blanket is still unfinished.  Don’t worry, y’all will be the first to see it when it’s done.  (Don’t judge.)

Anyway, let’s celebrate love! And marriage! And my brother and his WIFE! (That sounds weird, but I like it.)  You know how we celebrate around here- by looking at knitting patterns that we’ll never have time to actually work up.

Though, if time is an issue, I could always just make this teeny little pair.

Tiny Bride and Groom by Anna Hrachovectinybridegroom_medium2

But it’s a wedding!  A time of celebration! Excess! Exuberant over-reaching!  I gotta make a whole cake!

Wedding Cake by Alan Dart3421661182_b

Or, I could just go totally twee and adorable, and knit up some super cute little critters. (I mean, really.  Look at those tiny little flowers!!)

Wedding Mice by Amanda Berry

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Congrats to my brother! And welcome to the family, Sister-in-Law!  We’re so excited to have you!

Are you going to any weddings this summer?

Summer Knitting

I don’t know what the weather’s like by you guys, but here in Seattle, it’s getting frustrating.  It’s 70 and sunny for a day or two, a week at most, just long enough for me to start getting used to the summeryness of it all and pull out my shorts, then, bam!  Back to 50 and rainy for two weeks.

It’s ridiculous, but it’s making my fingers itch to work on something light and fun.  (I also might be itching to start a new project because I’m still working on the BLANKET THAT NEVER ENDS.  I just timed myself and it takes me about 20 minutes to knit a row.  I haven’t had the heart to figure out how many rows I’ve knit/how many I have left to knit.  Talk about a labor of love.)

Even though I’ve never been a fan of warm-weather knits (I mean, really, if you’re going to wear a sweater, just wear a sweater.  You don’t need a wooly tank top.  Honestly.), I’ve been dreaming of a lightweight, knitted tee. (I know, who am I?)

This is the one that got me started.  It’s just gorgeous.  That lace, the flattering shape.  I mean come on.  There’s one knit in a beautiful slubby silk on display at my LYS, and I’m tempted to walk off with it every time I visit.  (Though, who am I kidding, I’d be too nervous to wear a silk hand-knit tee.)

Tegna by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with m3 preset

And this cute little tee is all sleek and streamlined, with classy little details, like everything from Purl Soho.

Lovely Lightweight Tee by Purl Soholovely-lightweight-tee-600-2-1_medium2

I love the stripes on this guy, the saddle(ish) shoulders, and the flattering silhouette.  I really think I could wear this on the regular.

At the Seaside (Not Only in the Summer) by Fraulein Stadtisch

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Have your knitting plans turned to warmer-weather projects?  What do you like to work on when the temperatures go up?