SNOWPOCALYPSE 2019

We’ve had a crazy mild winter this year- 40s and 50s, and more often sunny than not.  It almost felt like we forgot to have winter.

Well.  We remembered.

And decided to have an entire season’s-worth of winter all in one weekend.IMG_1270.JPGIt started snowing Friday around lunchtime, and kept on going all through the night, until we ended up with knee-deep (or at least calf-deep) snow blanketing the city.  We hit 9 inches on our back deck on Saturday morning!IMG_1280I know that as a transplant from the Midwest I’m supposed to go on and on about how “back in my day we’d drive in three feet of snow, uphill both ways, with our eyes closed, just for fun.”  But, I gotta say, I kind of love the Seattle way of dealing with snow.  Here, we don’t tough it out, we don’t fight it, we don’t shovel or salt or plow.  We just stock up on food when there’s snow in the forecast, call out from work and hunker down.  This morning, I’m fully embracing my inner Seattleite and enjoying the snow through the window, cozy with my knitting and a cup of tea.  Maybe we’ll go outside and make a snowman later, or maybe we’ll just stay inside until the snow melts.  IMG_1284Is there snow where you are?  What do you do when the snow hits?

Oops

I may have made a mistake.

OK, not really a mistake.

I may have over-committed myself.  Which, when you’re a Type-A overachiever like me, is nothing new.

I’m no stranger to “accidentally-on-purpose” signing up for just one too many activities, and making one too many entries on my to-do list.  And, well, I did it again.

I can’t give you too many details, because it’s all very secret, but I’m currently working on not one, but two new designs.

They’re both lovely (if I say so myself), but they’re both due mid-Februrary, and they both require a lot of prototyping.

(And one is knit on US3s.  Who designs a sweater on US3s?! Honestly?!  Oh… Right…)

IMG_1268Anyway, the kid is napping right now, so I’m going to take advantage of the quiet and hop back on the couch and get in a little speed-knitting.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!  It’s going to be a busy couple weeks!

Have you ever over-committed with your crafting?  What happened?

Quick and Finished!

You guys know I’m a big sweater knitter.  I love a great big, weeks- (or months-) long project that I can really sink my teeth into.  And if it’s a pattern that I’m making up as I go along, and documenting the whole thing, even better!

But sometimes, there’s nothing better than finding a great pattern and banging out a project in a little over a week.

This little cowl is one of those projects.

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It’s finished!  And it’s super cute!

It’s not perfect (the decreases are a little weird, and I don’t love how the CO edge pulls a little, compared to the super-stretchy brioche fabric), but I don’t mind.  The pattern was quick to work up, and the finished object is cute and totally wearable.  It was a super fun little knit.  I’m not going to say it was “easy”, but once I got my brain around the whole brioche thing, it was pretty straightforward.

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One thing I really love is how it’s totally reversible!  The big color-blocks on the right side are fun, but I kind of love the way the contrasting colors peek out between the bright blue ribs.  (It’s even prettier, and more glow-y in person!)

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This is definitely a piece that I intend to wear a lot in the future!

Have you finished up any fun, quick projects recently?

A Little Something New

It’s been a while since I tried something truly new in knitting.  I’ll try a new cable or stitch pattern, but even the most complicated stitch pattern still just uses a combination of the same handful of stitches.  And I’m not afraid to try a new pattern or come up with a new design, but it’s all really just putting the same stitches in different order.  I’m not complaining, I love my usual knitting, but none of that is really a new skill.

So I decided to try something that’s truly new to me.  Brioche!  (This isn’t a tutorial about brioche knitting- I’m not even finished with my first piece, so I’m very much not an expert!) Brioche is super cool! It’s knitting, but its stitches are just different enough from regular knits and purls that it’s a little tricky.  It took me a few evenings to really get the feel of it.  The finished product ends up with a sort-of two-color ribbing, and is seriously fluffy.  It’s kind of magical.

I browsed Ravelry and found the Fingering Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella.  It looked simple enough and like something I’d actually wear.  (These days with a very grabby kid, long scarves and shawls aren’t terribly practical, but my neck is still cold!)fingerbandanacowl01I pulled out those mini-skeins of Tosh Merino Light, fired up Google to look for instructions, and after a few false starts, I was cruising along. img_1234I love how the royal blue peeks through to the outside of the cowl, and I love how squishy the fabric is!img_1236(Though I might actually like the “inside” better.  The color-blocking is a little more subtle, just peeking through between the ribs of blue.)img_1240I’ve still got a way to go before I perfect my brioche knitting though, my gauge is a little bit all-over the place and my decreases are a weird and sloppy (though I might be able to block them out a bit).  At least I have a reason to keep practicing!img_1247Have you tried any new techniques lately?  What were they? How did it go?

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

So, I’ve been trying to prune some of my stash.  I used up a bunch of that blue Provincial Tweed for my big old sweater that I finished the other day.  I knit that fair isle sweater for my kid a couple months ago, using up a lot of leftover sock yarn.  And, I’ve made a couple scarves, cowls, and other little in-between-big project projects.

Sometimes I actually use up my yarn.

Sometimes I end up with more yarn than I started with.

So, I’ve had these two little balls of purple yarn for years.  (I got them to make a baby sweater for a friend’s kid.  I think she’s in kindergarten now.  It’s been a while.)  I lost the label, and couldn’t figure out what kind of yarn it was, but I know it was superwash and baby-appropriate.  So I though, “Hey, let’s use up this yarn and make a cute little purple sweater for the boy!”  Seems like a good idea.

Except that I apparently have no idea how much yarn a baby sweater takes.

You’ll notice that I ran out of purple  just about halfway through the sweater. (I knit it bottom-up, so it’s easy to see where I ran into trouble.)IMG_1226.JPGI also kind of guessed on the size, so it’s very, very big on the boy.  Of course, he’ll grow into it, but I was kind of hoping he’d be able to wear it now, when it’s cold out, instead of in 6 months when it’s a million degrees out. (Well, 80.  We live in Seattle after all.)  Oh well.img_1205And, I ended up having to buy a whole big skein of sock yarn to finish the top part of the sweater.  Because, of course, I didn’t have any yarn that matched that particular shade of purple in my stash.  So now I have 3/4 of a skein of sock yarn to add to my stash. So much for paring down my collection.img_1230At least the kid seems to like his new sweater!img_1200How do you use up your yarn?  Or do you just keep buying it, like I seem to be doing?

Ding dong!

The witch is dead!

Or, I should say, The Sweater is Finished!

It’s been over 9 months since I started this bad boy, and it. has. languished.  I’d pick it up every few weeks, work a couple rows (complaining the whole time), then put it down and somehow be shocked (shocked!) when the sweater wasn’t any bigger when I went to pick it up again the next time.

I freaking hated this thing by the time I got to the end of it.

So, it’s surprising that when I finally finished it (just before Christmas), I absolutely loved how it turned out!

IMG_1141.JPGIt might be my favorite sweater right now.  (I’ve worn it basically every day since I finished it, and didn’t even bother blocking it because I didn’t want to wait for it to dry).

It’s a super simple sweater, no fancy shaping, just a regular old Ann Budd top-down set-in-sleeve sweater with a crew neck and lots of extra length.  But, it fits like a glove, and the Knit Picks Provincial Tweed is crazy soft.IMG_1158It’s super comfy, and (despite the unflattering angle on the above photo), looks pretty nice, if I say so myself.  I couldn’t be happier (or more surprised) with how nicely the finished sweater is.

Have you ever finished something, only to be pleasantly surprised by how it turned out?

Pattern: Nordic Dishcloth

Guess what?  Christmas might be over, but the gifts keep coming.  I’ve got a new (free!) pattern for you!

It’s a lovely, squishy, heavy-duty, cabled, dishcloth!

Hello, there, handsome:

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It’s the Nordic Dishcloth.  It’s a knit-all-in-one-piece dishcloth featuring a nice, simple garter-stitch border around a generous panel of reversible cabling.  The cables make this dishcloth nice and thick, perfect for even the stickiest kitchen messes.

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Want the pattern?  Head on over to Knit Picks to download your free copy.

Permission

It’s Christmas Eve.  You should be listening to carols, nibbling on cookies and generally relaxing while soaking in the Christmas-y vibes.  But, if you’re like most knitters (me included- I decided a couple days ago that I had plenty of time to knit just one present, because I’m a little bit of an idiot), you’re probably stressing yourself out, trying to power through that last few inches of scarf or finish up the ribbing on that sweater.

I’m here to give you permission to stop.

You’re allowed to put your knitting down if it’s stressing you out.  You’re allowed to help your grandma make cookies or drink a cup of mulled wine with your uncle.  You can go play bingo with your nieces and nephews or make a snowman with your siblings.

Don’t hole yourself up, hiding as you finish your last few gifts.  Your family will understand if they don’t get a totally finished gift on Christmas morning. (There’s no shame in wrapping a half-finished project, still on the needles.)

And if they give you trouble, just hand them this permission slip from the big man himself.  It’ll totally get you out of any trouble you might find yourself in.Permission slip

Print yourself off a Permission Slip, and go find yourself a plate of cookies and a glass of eggnog.  Relax, and have yourself a Merry Christmas (or just a really nice Tuesday, if you’re not a Christmas person).

T’was the week before Christmas

If you’re still knitting gifts for Christmas, good on you.  But I’m afraid that I have some unwelcome news.

You have just about a week before Christmas is officially here.

I’ve got faith in you that you can make it- you’re a knitter, after all, and knitters Get. It. Done.

But, if you’re a knitter who has to make a lot of gifts in a short amount of time, well, might I recommend one (or two… they’re small) of these little patterns.  They all take less than 50 yards of yarn, which means they should work up pretty quickly.

Plus, they’re totally cute!

I love these tiny, adorable long-johns (complete with butt-flap).  They look a little bit fiddly, but, man, they’re cute.  They’d make a really sweet little Christmas ornament (especially if you bent a bit of wire into a teeny-tiny hanger).

Little Long Johns by Susan B. Anderson
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If your recipient is more of a “classy Christmas” type of person and less of a “butt-flaps are funny” type of person, I think these little wreaths are just darling. (Ugh… they’re so fancy that they turned me into a person who says things are “just darling.”  That’s real fancy.)

Holiday Wreath Ornament by The Big String
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And these little guys are just straight-up cute.  They’re somewhere between Dr. Seuss and the kind of window displays you might see at a really nice department store in New York.  I kind of want a tree covered in trees.  How cute would that be?

Wee Three Trees, by Tricia GilbertOtober_Still_Life111052_medium2

If you’re still working on your Christmas knitting, good luck!  You’ve got this!  If you’re done (or just not bothering, like me), congratulations!  Sit back and have a cup of hot cocoa.

Are you making any gifts this year?

Not Shopping

I’ve always taken a weird kind of backwards pride in my stash.  It’s not impressively large, or full of any really fancy or special yarn.  In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite.  I’ve always been proud that it’s pretty well under control.  I try only to buy yarn that I plan on using for a specific project, and I try not to start any new projects until I finish my current ones (within reason… I’m no superhero).

But, I was cleaning out the closet in my studio a few weeks ago, and, well, I realized that my stash isn’t as under control as I thought it was.

I’ve got quite a lot of yarn.

Like, sweater-amounts of yarn.  (Well, baby sweater amounts of yarn, at least.)

Which has made me decide to start on a using-up-stashed-yarn quest.

I began with two skeins of a gigantic mystery yarn.  And I mean gigantic.  It was almost more roving than yarn, crunchy, itchy, bright blue wool.  I pulled out some US19s (really, they’re more like vampire-hunting stakes than knitting needles), and whipped up a quick garter stitch bowl with short rows.  I love how it turned out, but I’m never working with such a big gauge again- such a pain!IMG_1001I’ve also been blowing through a big moss-stitch scarf.  I usually hate scarves (not sure why, when I’ll happily make a shawl or a sweater, or even a gigantic garter stitch blanket), but I’m enjoying this one.  And I think I’ll have enough yarn left over to make a matching hat!  Leftovers on top of leftovers!IMG_0985I’ve already picked out my next projects!  I’m going to make a Zagged Cowl from the green yarn. (I made one years ago when I wrote the pattern, but I can’t find the danged thing for the life of me.  Luckily, I’ve got another skein ready to go!)  The blue on the left, plus the mini skeins are all Madeline Tosh Light- I think they’ll become some kind of color-work, maybe a hat?  I’ve had the mini-skeins hanging on my bulletin board for years, waiting for inspiration to strike, and I think the time might be right to get to work on them.  And, the mystery purple fingering weight on the right- I think that will be a baby sweater, maybe in combination with some other little odds and ends of mystery yarn from my stash.IMG_1009It feels great to be using up yarn (and making room for more!).

Have you ever gone “shopping” in your stash?  What did you find?  What did you make with it.