Alone

You guys. I’m all alone in the house! It’s amazing. It’s so quiet. I’ve got a new knitting project and a plan to put on a TV show (that isn’t Paw Patrol).

It’s been a while since I was all alone in the house. Between me being a stay-at-home parent and my husband working from home, plus two little kids who aren’t in school yet, time alone is a rarity.

And if time alone is rare enough, time without the kids when I’m awake enough to actually work on something is rarer still. If I’m being honest, I usually pass out in front of the TV or zone out, scrolling Instagram as soon as the kids are down.

All that’s to say, it’s no wonder I haven’t been that excited about knitting for the last little bit. But today it changes! If only for a couple hours.

I’ve busted out my fanciest skein of yarn from my stash and started working on a top-down watch cap so I can use every last inch. It’s a chocolate-brown single-source alpaca that I bought more than ten years ago from a local alpaca farm, which has since gone out of business. But, if I remember correctly, the alpaca that it came from was named Electra, and she was very cute. It’s so soft, and so warm- such a luxurious yarn that I’ve never been able to bring myself to work on it. Which is a shame! Why have fancy yarn if you’re not going to use it?

Anyway, I’m going to head out. I’ve got a true crime documentary calling my name, and some coffee to drink while it’s still hot.

What do you like to knit when you’re treating yourself?

Big Mending

I guess I’m on a mending streak here. My dad was in town a few weeks ago, and he brought his favorite sweater with him. (Hi Dad!) Halfway through the visit he showed me the elbows on his sweater, and they were… disreputable. But, that’s what happens when you wear a sweater every day for years. (Even if you put leather elbow patches on it.)

Elbow 1- Bad.

Elbow 2- Very bad.

He asked me if it was fixable, and I said yes, of course! But after a little investigating I realized that even if I was very careful, the holes/runs were so big that no matter what I did, wouldn’t be invisible. But Dad said that he didn’t mind, and in fact, he asked me to use bright red yarn to fix it! I love a little bit of visible mending, so I got to work.

I used a crochet hook to fix the bigger runs (again, not perfectly- the sweater was commercially made, so I didn’t have the ability to completely match the knitted pattern), then brought in the red yarn.

I picked up stitches along the bottom edge of the holes, and started working back and forth in stockinette stitch. Every RS row, I picked up a stitch from the sweater at the beginning and end of the row (and sometimes in the middle, too), and worked a K2tog with the red and the gray yarns.

The K2togs allowed me to attach the patches as I was knitting them, so there wasn’t any sewing! And, as a bonus, it let me increase and decrease the size of the patches to pretty precisely cover the thin parts of the sweater.

Is it perfect? Not exactly. But I do love the cozy charm of a well-worn and well-patched sweater. And Dad will (hopefully!) get to keep wearing his sweater for years to come.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve mended?

Inspiration: It’s Cold Outside

It’s cold outisde, and not in a fun “Christmas Cheer” kind of way. As I write this, Seattle is in the 20s, which I realize isn’t that cold, compared to some parts of the country right now. But, we’ve had freezing rain all day, and literally every surface outside is covered in a sheet of ice. So scary!

Needless to say, I’m staying inside where the floor has traction and the air is warm enough that I can be comfortable wearing only one sweater.

But while I’m in here, I’m going to stare longingly out the window and dream about the cozy sweaters I could be making.

First, the Snowy Forest pullover by by┬áMidori Hirose. This is just gorgeous- I love the plump cables and the wildly oversized shape. It’s cozy, but still feminine, and way out of my wheelhouse. It could be a fun project to use to stretch my knitting “legs.”

And it can’t be a round up of cozy sweaters without an Icelandic yoked sweater. Levi by Sari Norlund is just to die for. I love it in the soft grayscale, but can you imagine it in wild rainbow colors?!

I know I’m a bit late to this pattern, but man, have you looked at this sweater? The Handsome Chris Pullover is gorgeous. Maybe not quite as cozy as the other two sweaters, but I think I would wear the heck out of this one. You know me- I do love a cabled sweater.

What’s your favorite sweater to reach for when you’re cold?

A Christmas Wish

I usually try to make a little printable gift or a funny card or something for you all at Christmas, but this year, I just don’t have the energy or brain cells required for something like that (not to mention my Photoshop skills are dicey at on a good day, when I’ve had plenty of sleep and more than 5 minutes to myself at any one time).

So instead, this year, I just want to wish you guys a merry Christmas (or a happy/joyous/festive whatever-it-is-you-celebrate). If there are gifts involved in your holiday, I hope you get exactly what you want and that the recipients of your gifts are grateful for the effort you put into finding the perfect gift. If there is food involved in your holiday, I hope it is delicious and that you get to take seconds of your favorite dish. I hope you have time with the people that mean the most to you, and that you get to relax and spend time by yourself. I hope your decorations are festive and that you get exactly the right amount of snow for whatever you want to do. I hope you get time to knit with a hot drink by your side, and your favorite music on the radio. I hope the next couple weeks are calm and restorative and get the next year off on the right foot.

And most of all, I hope you don’t get so tipsy while you’re knitting that you have to frog that dang sleeve again.

Happy Holidays!

-Allison

Flying off my needles

Look at this, you guys! I actually finished another project!

It’s the third of this hat I’ve whipped up in the last couple weeks, and this one is for my 2-year-old for his stocking. The kids dyed their yarn (with a lot of help) a while ago, and I just love how it turned out. This one is such a cheerful, bright blue- I know it’s going to be a favorite for a long time.

And the weirdest thing is that everyone in my family basically wears the same size hat now. Sure, the hats are a little snug on me and my husband, and a little large on the kids (especially the little one), but they essentially fit on all four of us… er… 5 of us.

Poor Ollie… he puts up with a lot. But he does look dapper in a hat.

What’s the last pattern you worked multiple times?

Like an Elf

OK, y’all. I got one done! And it didn’t even take all that long. (In hours of work time, anyway. In days/weeks of calendar time, that’s a different story.)

It turned out super cute, even though the top is a little different from the one I made myself- I’m not sure exactly what happened there, but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t use a pattern… or notes…

I think the big kid is going to like it!

But here’s the big question: it’s only a couple short weeks until Christmas- will I have time to make a second for the little kid? Or will they get a nice “New Year’s Hat” instead? Fingers crossed.

When’s the last time you had to race against the calendar to get a project done?

When it rains

You guys, we must be having bad luck lately. Or maybe a mouse, or worse yet, moths. *Shudder.* Now my husband has a hole right in the middle of his sweater!

(I don’t really think we have mice or moths… I think we just have two very active children and we’re always hauling them (and their stuff) all over the place, so we’re not as gentle on our things as maybe we should be.)

If I didn’t know better, I’d say this sweater got snipped by scissors. It’s not in a thinned-out patch, it’s just right on the belly. And there’s no obvious pull in the knitting, so I don’t think it got caught on a loose nail or anything. It’s a mystery!

But, luckily for me, that makes it pretty easy to fix, especially because I found some almost-identical garnet-red yarn in my stash. It’s not the original yarn (that’s long gone), but it’s close enough to not matter.

A little duplicate stitch and voila! Picture perfect. (It’s even less noticeable in person!)

Fingers crossed that this mend actually works.

What have you mended lately?

A little more mending

You know how I was so proud of the visible mending I did the other day on my favorite sweater?

I was totally patting myself on the back, pleased with how well it turned out and how much I liked the little red patch. I even was thinking that I should add some decorative bits of visible mending on parts of the sweater that don’t strictly need mending yet. You know, for aesthetic reasons.

Well, in a real Icarus moment, I went to further admire my handiwork yesterday, and I realized that… I hadn’t actually fixed the cuff. It turns out that I had only patched up part of the thinned-out section. Sigh.

Oh well, I guess it’s an opportunity for me to get a little more color introduced to the sweater, albeit not for “aesthetic” reasons. Ah well.

I picked up the dropped stitches with a little sapphire-blue wool, reinforced the cuff edge with some fairly random stitches and then locked the whole thing down with a little blanket stitch.

It’s not as tidy as the red patch was, but I was pressed for time and this should hold well enough. Fingers crossed that I’ve got all the loose ends this time around. But, if I don’t, well, then I guess I’ll just keep adding colors.

Have you ever had to go back and re-mend something right after you thought you fixed it?

For the Children

OK, so you know how I finished my hat for myself last week? And I was so proud of myself/of my hat? Well, my children have fully stolen it. And I don’t know if they have weirdly large heads, or if that’s just how kids are made (I know I certainly don’t have a small head), but my hat fits both of them pretty perfectly… even the 2-year-old.

So this is kind of a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that I have to go back to my old, sun-faded hat while the children fight over my new “Rainbow hat.” But the good news is that I don’t have to figure out a new pattern for their Christmas hats!

Because the yarn they dyed the other day was the same base as my “rainbow yarn”, I don’t even have to re-do the math. So great!

So I’m already diving in, because Christmas is closer than I’d like to admit, and I have a feeling that the one-week timeline for my hat isn’t likely to be repeated.

And, I’ve got to say, it’s cool seeing the kids’ yarns getting knit up- I actually really like this color combo! I didn’t think it was going to look that good, but I’m really enjoying it! Now, can I get both hats done in a month? Time will tell.

Are you doing any Christmas Knitting?

Like the Wind!

WOW! Y’all! Guess what?

I KNIT A HAT AND I DID IT IN A RESONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME. I think it only took a week… maybe two? I don’t remember exactly when I started it. And sure, I had a lot more time on my hands this week because my kids got sick and fully passed out on the couch, watching Paw Patrol for 3 days, but still. (They recovered just in time for Daylight Saving’s Time to mess them up again… So fun!)

I made a hat and I’m so pleased with it!

It’s roughly based on Jason’s Cashmere Hat, a free pattern by Melissa Thomson, but worked in Knit Picks Muse that I had in my stash. It’s a super-cozy hand-painted single ply yarn. I didn’t have quite enough to make a fold-over brim, but it’s still pretty cute.

I just love the colors in this yarn. It falls somewhere between autumn reds and jewel-tone purples. Plus, there are little speckles of emerald greens, sapphire blues and coppery-browns. It was so fun to see the colors as I knit it up!

And, as happy as I am with the hat, I still can’t manage to take a non-awkward photo of myself. You’d think the I’d have figured it out by now… I’ve only been doing this blog for 9+ years…

Have you worked up anything satisfying lately?