Category Archives: Inspiration

*Yawn*

Good morning, everyone.  Did you sleep well?

No?  Me neither.  I don’t now if it’s the springtime pollen in the air, or something I’ve eaten, or that I have something on my mind, but I’ve been having a tough time sleeping the last few days.  Or, I should be more precise, I’m having a tough time getting out of bed in the morning.

All I want to do right now is close all the shades, snuggle back under the covers, and sleep for about three more hours.  Somehow, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that, what with work, housework, and one small dog that’s really looking forward to going on a walk.

Instead of going back to sleep, let’s look at adorable knit sleep aids, and dream of dreaming.

I always have cold feet, and my current slippers are getting a bit disreputable, so maybe I should knit up a pair of these thrummed slippers to wear before bed, while sipping my Sleepytime Tea.

Cadeautje by Ysolda TeagueThen I could prop myself up with this adorable sheep pillow while I read a chapter or two of my current novel before bed.

Bobble Sheep Pillow in Super Soft Merino by Purl SohoAnd then I’d snuggle under my pile of blankets, and go to sleep.  I can always use one more blanket, and this one looks so soft and pretty, I know I’d get really good sleep under it.

Garter Squish by Stephen WestAll this sleep-talk is making me, well, sleepy.  I’d better go make some coffee *yawn*, or I’ll just end up back… zzzzz…..

Spring Break! (Woooo!)

Happy Spring Break, you guys!  The Seattle schools are off this week for spring break, which means my sewing classes are off, too.

So what’s a girl to do with a whole week of spring break all to herself?  Should I go to the beach?  Should I sun myself and drink tropical drinks by the pool?

Of course not!  I live in Seattle where my spring break consists of knitting, drinking coffee and (maybe) a little yard work if the sun comes out.

Yesterday was lovely and sunny, but the day before was crazy!  Pouring rain, sun, hail, and crazy wind.  That was some of the weirdest weather I’d seen here in years.  We even had “sun-showers,” where it was simultaneously pouring and super sunny.

Sparkling Rain by Christelle NihoulOf course, spring really has hit here- The daffodils are going crazy, the cherry trees are clouds of pink and white, and the tulips are getting ready to explode.

Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson JohnenSpring break in Seattle is also a time for goats.

That’s right.  Goats.  (Especially baby ones.)

(I spent the afternoon yesterday at one of my favorite local breweries, sipping tasty beer and saying high to a whole herd of baby goats from the Puget Sound Goat Rescue!  They were tiny (smaller than my dog), and so stinking cute.  Seattle is the best!  Where else would you get to pet baby goats on a Tuesday afternoon?)

Goats of Inversnaid Gauntlets by Kate DaviesDo you get a spring break?  What do you do when you get a break in your neck of the woods?

Inspiration: Daffodils!

It’s officially, 100%, completely, totally springtime here in the Pacific Northwest.  That means two things:

  1.  I’ve started taking allergy medication again, yet still spend every morning sneezing and sniffling.
  2.  Daffodils!


The daffodils are blooming, and I’m so excited!  We planted a big bag of bulbs in the fall, and I wasn’t sure if they’d come up this year, so I was just thrilled when they started peeking through the dirt about a month ago.  They’re really going to town now, our yard if full of the cheerful little guys. (Full disclosure, the photo is our neighbors’ yard, because they have even more daffodils than us, and it makes for a much more impressive picture.  #goals)  I’ve filled our house with cut flowers (which is delightful, but is probably what’s making me sneeze all over the place).

If you love daffodils as much as I do (and if you’re more logical about your allergies than I am), maybe you’ll want to get cracking on some daffodil-themed knitting.

This adorably accurate daffodil is too cute for words!  Can you imagine making a whole bouquet of these bad boys?

Daffodils by Jessica GoddardAnd this shawl is so beautiful!  I love the honeycomb-ish pattern she used to fill the big petals.

Daffodil Design by Marianne KinzelBut, I think this little lady takes the cake.  She’s a tiny fairy wearing a daffodil as a dress!  Have you ever seen anything more darling?  (And, I say that as someone who’s never called anyone or anything “darling” in her life.)

Daffodil Flower Fairy by Lorna PearmanAre the Daffodils blooming in your neck of the woods?

Inspiration: St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Have you all drank your green beer and eaten your corned beef yet?   No?  Well, what are you waiting for?!  (Though, to be honest, it’s far too early for beer for me, and I’ve never actually drank a green one, even in college.  Also, I’m vegetarian, so no corned beef for me.  But, maybe I’ll make some Irish soda bread for dinner.  Yes, that sounds good.  Irish soda bread and a beer around 6:00 tonight.)

I’m not really sure how to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, really.  I’m not Catholic, so I won’t be going to mass.  I’m not a big drinker, so I’m not going on a bender.  And, I’m only part Irish, anyway (maybe- my family history is fairly muddled, but my maiden name was kind of Irish).

What I am, though, is a knitter.  And if you thought I was going to let a day like this pass by without talking about Irish sweaters (Aran jumpers, in particular), you were wildly mistaken.

Aran jumpers are simply gorgeous, and they’ve been on my knitting bucket list for years.  Originating from the Aran Islands (just off the coast of Ireland), Aran jumpers are the old-school version of an all-weather coat.  They are traditionally made with untreated wool, so the yarn retains all that good lanolin, making the sweaters perfect for wearing in the rain (something that happens a lot on the Aran Islands), or while fishing on the ocean.  Supposedly, each family has a favorite Aran pattern- specific cables that everyone in the family wears, something like each clan having its own tartan.  I’m pretty sure that’s a myth, but I love the idea anyway.

Of course, these days, people use Aran cables to decorate anything, not just sweaters.

This shawl may be simple, but you can definitely see the Aran jumper influence with that gorgeous braided cable along the bottom.

Celtic Myths by Asita KrebsThis designer took the opposite approach, and crammed every square inch with cables!  I can only imagine how cuddly and warm this blanket must be.  (Can you spot the same braided cable in this project, too?)

Celtic Aran Afghan by Sharondipity DesignsI just love this sweater.  It’s a modern take on the Aran jumper, oversized and cozy, but still undeniably Aran.  And, there’s that cable again, running right up the front!

Katla by Lars Rains

Do you have plans for St. Patrick’s Day?  Have you ever knit up an Aran sweater?

Inspiration: Daylight Savings Time

Happy Monday Morning, everyone.  It’s a particularly early one today.

Oof.

It’s the first Monday of Daylight Savings Time, which is one of the stupider things we do.

We lost an hour last night.  And, now, even though it’s technically 9:00, it feels much earlier.

I could have been sleeping that extra hour!  Or I could have watched two extra episodes of Bob’s Burgers!  Or I could have knit up one of these super-quick projects.

So many lost opportunities.

I could have crocheted this gorgeous, chunky-textured cowl.

one hour textured cowl by Claire BorchardtOr I could have made these comfy-looking slippers.  (Which I could totally use! My slippers are starting to fall apart!)

1 hour Slippers by Mel PatonOr I could knit this adorable cabled cowl.  (I question the “one-hour-ness” of this pattern, but since I wasn’t able to knit for that lost hour last night we’ll never know.)

1 Hour Cowl by Stefanie JapelWhat would you have done with your lost hour if we didn’t have to deal with daylight savings?  Also, can you bring me some coffee? I’m sleepy.

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?