New Pattern: Riverbed Hat

This one’s been cooking for a while, and I’m so excited to share it with you! I just love how it turned out!

Introducing: the Riverbed Hat!

It’s a slightly-slouchy, super-cabled, extra-cozy hat, perfect for sipping hot cocoa after a day of apple-picking. The Riverbed Hat is just fancy enough to be a great gift, and gender-neutral enough to be appreciated by everybody in your family. This hat is worked in the round from the bottom up and the cable pattern is fully- charted.

The Riverbed Hat is part of the newest Knit Picks collection, Bakeoven Knits, which features beautiful textural patterns and lots of cables worked in their new High Desert yarn. This yarn is 100% American-grown and spun and really just lovely. I was lucky enough to get a couple skeins to try out a while ago, and it’s really become one of my favorite yarns. It’s squishy and springy and has just enough variation in width to give real depth and character to even the simplest knits.

So head over to Knit Picks and grab yourself a copy of my pattern, or the whole book, or you could really treat yourself and pick out some yarn, too!

Keeping it Chill

I’m keeping the pressure off, and I’m making headway… slowly. In the last week (when previous versions of me would have already finished an entire pair of socks), I’ve turned a single heel.

That’s right. I have taken a whole week to make a heel on a sock. Something I’ve done a million times and usually will take me no more than an episode (or maybe two) of whatever crime documentary I’m watching. I can’t even say I was using that time to make the sock leg longer, because, I didn’t add any length at all to the leg since the last time I told you about it. I could probably count the number of times I’ve made socks this short on one hand.

But, you know what, I’m kind of digging this length. It’s cute! I like the zig-zag pattern, too. I think it could be nice as an embellishment on the top of a long sock, or even a repeating pattern down the length of a sock. Who knows, maybe this’ll end up as a self-published pattern with options on the length. It’s been a minute since I’ve written up a pattern just for myself.

And, after all that grumping about how slow this sock is going, I just want to pause for a second and say: I love a slip-stitch heel. It’s so cute. It’s sturdy and attractive. I’ve seen people checkerboard the slips, which is nice enough, but I really like the faux-ribbing that happens when you stack them up. It’s definitely my favorite sock heel.

Are you working on anything currently?

The Lowest of Low Pressure

The last few weeks have been rough, but I think I’m slowly getting back in the saddle.

I considered a few very cute little toys to make, and thought about making some Barbie clothes. (Do I own a Barbie? No. Has my kid ever shown even the slightest interest in dolls? No. Do I want to make Barbie clothes anyway? Kinda.) I almost picked up something from my “To Be Knit” pile, but decided against it, since that’s what I’m “supposed” to be doing.

But, instead of trying something new, I knew I needed something easy, comforting and quick. And when I need a project that’s easy, comforting and quick, I can’t help but break out my sock yarn.

I found a mostly-full skein of this nice tonal sky blue. Is it enough for a pair of socks? Eh. Probably not. But whatever. I’ve got more of this yarn in different colors, so I might end up with fraternal twin socks, and that’s fine. This project is all about being the lowest of low-pressure knits.

I cast on my usual 60 sts, worked a 1×1 rib for… a while. Then did my best guess at replicating an old favorite pair of socks I made years ago. When I was a few rows in, it became clear that I was not even close to replicating those socks, so I kinda… just kept going. I added a second zig-zag row and had planned to keep the leg going to my usual calf-length, but… I kinda don’t want to.

I think the leg on this sock might be done. Or maybe I’ll add another couple rows of stockinette. Like I said before, these are low-pressure socks.

I’ll keep working on these, a few rows (or a few stitches) at a time, until I get back in my groove. It’s slow-going, but I can tell I’m starting to get my momentum back.

What do you like to work on when you’ve lost your knitting mojo?

Stress Knitting… or not

Hi Folks. It’s been a minute.

Well, it’s been a minute for me. Last time I wrote a post, I had a sizeable backlog/buffer of posts, but I’ve fully burned through them. I’m now coming to you in real time, or near enough, anyway.

And, I gotta tell you, it’s been a wild month+. First, my (vaccinated! Yay!) in-laws came for their first visit since well before my (6-month-old) baby was born. Then, a few weeks later, my (also vaccinated!) parents came to visit, too! Both visits were lovely, and it was so fun seeing my kids get to interact with their grandparents in person for the first time in ages. But, having gone so long without visitors, suddenly having so many people in my house was tiring for this introvert.

And then, the baby got a couple weird diagnoses that, while not unexpected, we had been hoping against. He’ll be fine in the long run; we caught everything early, have good insurance and even untreated, nothing is life-threatening. But it’s been really hard having to go through the whole diagnosis-and-treatment thing with such a little guy. He’s handling everything well, but it’s been tough to have to watch him go through.

AND THEN, the entire west coast was basically cooked for the last week. We’re in Seattle, and we’re one of the “lucky ones,” which means we have a sad little window air conditioner and a basement. It got up to 102 degrees in our back yard. Our upstairs was in the low 90s every afternoon for 4 days. Trying to keep 2 kids safe, fed, hydrated and sleeping on schedule under those conditions is stressful to say the least.

So, all that’s to say, I haven’t really been in the knitting mood lately. I’ve been making some progress on the wedding blanket, which I still like a lot, but for some reason I haven’t been feeling real inspired to have a gigantic wool blanket on my lap. It’s a true mystery.

I’m thinking I might do something simple and familiar- maybe socks? Or something fun and silly- a stuffed animal for one of the kids? Or I might change medium entirely and try busting out the sewing machine. Not sure yet. But, I’m letting myself take the time I need to get back to my knitting. After all, knitting’s not a race, and it’ll still be there whenever I’m ready for it.

What do you do when you’re too stressed out to knit?

H.O.T.

You know what my favorite thing to do is? Knit. You know what I’ve not been feeling like doing? Knit.

It’s hot. Like, hot hot. As I type this, my backyard thermometer says it’s 90 degrees. This is Seattle, so we are not prepared for this. We don’t have air conditioning. And it’s supposed to get even hotter over the next few days.

We’re pretty much melting. Nobody’s sleeping. It’s rough.

We’re hiding in the shade in the morning, hoping for a breeze, and sneaking away to the basement in the afternoon when even the shade is too much to take.

I did manage to get a few minutes of knitting time to myself out on the back porch this morning before the sun got too hot, which was lovely. But I gotta say, there’s nothing that’s less-compatible with 90+ temperatures than a big, cozy, warm, wool blanket.

Needless to say, this isn’t getting done before the wedding. Oh well. Maybe it’ll be a first anniversary gift?

What do you do when it gets too hot for knitting?

In Love

OK, I know this is just the honeymoon period.

I know I’m only 1.5 skeins into a 12 skein project.

I know I will inevitably hate myself for starting this knit.

But, man, I love how this blanket is turning out. I love the feel of the eco wool yarn. I love the way the little lace “petals” grow and shrink as I knit them. I love how complicated the cable crosses are. (I actually use 2 cable needles for some of them. There’s probably an easier way to do them, but I can’t figure it out.) It’s a nice width, and I’m pretty sure my math will turn out to be right, and it’ll be the perfect size for a nice sofa throw.

In fact, I love this blanket so much, I’m going go grab my knitting and take advantage of the fact that both of the kids are sleeping (which I’m sure I’ve jinxed by typing that out).

What projects are you loving right now?

In which I do a bunch of math

If you’re a mathphobe, be warned. There’s gonna be a lot of math in this one.

Because I’ve got a pile of yarn and a plan. But not too much of a plan, because obviously that wouldn’t be fun.

So, I’m making a blanket- with a largeish gauge (I’m using US9s) in a lace pattern that I found… somewhere on the internet at some point in the past. I know that’s not great, and I would love to cite the original designer, but I literally have no information, except that it was a charted Japanese stitch pattern, probably from a stitch dictionary. Which one? I have no idea. (If you recognize it, please let me know and I’ll happily share the source.)

Anyway, I worked up a decent-sized swatch, I know I’m going to do this all-over lace pattern with a simple garter border, and I have a big pile of yarn. But how many repeats to cast on?

I could just guess, but that never ends well. Either I end up with a weirdly small blanket or I run out of yarn halfway through a king-size monstrosity. I’m aiming for a nice throw blanket this time. Big enough that the newlyweds can snuggle underneath it, but not so big that they will be celebrating their silver anniversary before it’s done.

I grabbed some tools. A pad and pen (I’m still old-school when it comes to math), a tape measure and my trusty kitchen scale.

First, I weighed the swatch: 30 grams. (I’ve got 12 skeins of 100 grams each, so 1200 grams of wool to work with.)

Then I measured the swatch. The whole blocked swatch was about 7.5x 9 inches, or 67 square inches.

So if 30g=67 square inches, I can do a little math to figure out that I can use my 1200g to work about 2680 square inches.

Then the next question is, If I have 2680 square inches to play with, how wide should the blanket be? In my head, the blanket is about 50 inches square… ish.

So I divided 2680 by 50, leaving me with 53.6. So, if I cast on 50″ across, I’ll have enough yarn for a 53″ long blanket.

Each repeat is about 3″ across, plus an inch and a half for each border, so dividing it out, that will give me 16.16. But, of course I can’t do part of a repeat, so I’ll round down to 16.

So to get my stitch count, I’ve got 6 stitches for the edges, plus 14 x 16 (14 stitches per repeat, 16 repeats), which gives me 230 stitches.

So now I’m off to cast on and cross my fingers that I did my math right!

Something New!

I’ve been on a real “knitting from my stash” kick over the last year. According to my notes in Ravelry, I’ve knit about 20 projects from stashed yarn since quarantine began. I’ve really made the best of a bad situation, and I’ve made some things that I’m really proud of. (Also some things that I’m not proud of, but at least I used up yarn.)

Which is all well and good.

But there’s nothing like getting a big order of brand new yarn in the mail.

And, y’all. What an order!

First, I ordered a big (big!) pile of Simply Wool Bulky in Wilbur. (It’s called Bulky, but really it’s more of a generous worsted or Aran.) It’s a lovely undyed old-school wool, in a nice grayish-tan color that goes with just about anything. This is going to be a big throw blanket with an all-over lace pattern for one of my oldest friends’ wedding this summer. (I don’t think she reads the blog, but if you’re reading this and you’re an old friend of mine and you’re getting married this summer… forget what you just read!) It doesn’t look like we’ll be able to get out there for the wedding, between the baby and the whole “flying on planes during a pandemic” thing, but I want to be there in spirit, so a big blanket it is! (Stay tuned for more details/progress reports. Hopefully.)

And the rest of the yarn is my favorite Provinical Tweed in Salsa Verde and Caramel to make a pair of Weasley-inspired sweaters for a friend’s two little boys. I love this yarn for kids’ clothes. It’s super soft and washes like a dream. They’re going to be so cute!

I’m glad I got the materials for two different projects- it’ll be nice to have a big, satisfying project as well as a couple quick little knits to switch between.

I’ve gotta say, it’s exciting to have a pile of brand new yarn waiting for me!

So Sew Buttons

It turns out that I’m not great at technology. (A surprise to nobody.) I set up a cute little poll so that you guys could help me decide which buttons to use on my little brown stash sweater.

Against all odds, I managed to get the poll to go live. But, in true Allison fashion, I couldn’t figure out how to access the results except by voting myself, which skewed the results. Then, I wanted to check again. And again. I tried to vote for every button, to keep the results un-tampered-with, but I honestly don’t know what I did.

Anyway, long story short: I picked the blue buttons.

They’re cute, but they didn’t pop quite enough, so I decided to try something fun. Instead of matching my sewing thread to the button color or the sweater color, I went with bright red! It turned out so cute, I can’t stand it.

Too bad it’s way too warm my big kid to agree to wear a wooly sweater like this. Maybe the little one will be willing to try it on next year.

What’s your favorite finishing touch to add to a project?

New Pattern: Tiptoe Socks

That’s right! Not one, but two patterns in as many weeks!

And this one is maybe my silliest yet. Tiptoe Socks!

I mean, come on. Stupid little ankle socks with stupid little pompom bunny tails. They’re the best. (I mean “stupid” in the best way possible, but come on, what adult needs socks with puffy pompoms? Me, I suppose. But still.)

These li’l guys are your basic top-down ankle socks with some simple-but effective stripe/colorblocking detail, and a reinforced heel. But, of course, the best part is that ding dang pompom. You can use a store-bought pompom or make your own with leftover yarn. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

This pattern is part of Knit Picks’ newest collection of socks, Rockin’ Socks. If you’re a fan of colorful and cheerful socks, this book is definitely worth checking out.

So go pick up a copy of my Tiptoe Socks, and cheer yourself up!