New Pattern: Mixed Berry Dishcloth

Just a quick little post today, but it’s an exciting one.  That is, if you get excited about new free patterns! (I know, right?!  So many new patterns lately!)

Here’s a fun new pattern for a cute little berry-colored dishcloth!  Introducing: the Mixed Berry Dishcloth!It’s a simple two-color stripe pattern, with some slipped-stitch detailing to make it a little more interesting.

Enjoy!

Winner Winner, (Spring) Chicken Dinner

It’s that time again!  Time for me to send out a copy of Knit Pick’s newest collection to one lucky reader.  (I almost wrote “listener.”  I think I’ve been spending too much time with my podcasts lately.)

Last week, I asked you to write about your favorite parts of spring to help celebrate the launch of Knit Pick’s latest spring-y collection, Flourish.  And, boy, did you come through.  So many lovely descriptions of spring- you’re all poets!  Seriously, if you’re looking for something delightful to read, just go check out those comments.  You really made my day.

Anyway, through a highly scientific and random process (also known as throwing a bunch of numbers in a bowl and picking one out at random), I have selected a winner!

Tina Fagan!  You’re the winner!  Congratulations!

I’ll send you an email in a little bit, so keep an eye out for it (and if you don’t see it, let me know), and we’ll get you hooked up with a copy of this super cute collection.

If you’re not Tina, have no fear!  You can still get a copy of Flourish from the Knit Picks website!

Chuck

I’m a big fat liar.

Sort of.

So, last week, I wrote a whole big thing about how I am a process knitter only.  I said I would never knit something simply because I want the finished project.

Well, I shouldn’t have been so insistent about that.  Because this weekend, I went looking through my Ravelry Queue, trying to find something to do between work assignments.  And I re-discovered a sweater I has been living, half-forgotten in the back of my brain for the two years since I put it in my queue.

It’s Chuck!

I first saw this sweater at a knitting convention in 2015.  A group of impossibly cool ladies were all wearing the same sweater (this one) in different colors, and each had paired it with a unique vintage skirt.  I knew immediately I needed a Chuck of my own.

I have a bunch of high-waisted dresses that I love wearing in the summer, but none of my sweaters really go with them, so I end up having to wait to wear my dresses until the weather gets really warm (June or July in Seattle).

I love the shape of this sweater- the length is perfect with a skirt or dress, and the wide ribbed hem is super flattering.  I love how the sweater is fitted through the waist, and that cable is to die for!

I also happen to have a bunch of dark-chocolate yarn just waiting in my stash for a project like this.  (It was on sale years and years ago, and I miscalculated how much I would need for a different pullover by a couple skeins, so it’s just been sitting in my closet, waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.)

Anyway, I’m very excited to get started on this project.  (Or, rather, I’m excited to have this finished sweater.)  I think I’ll cast on this afternoon!

Have you ever made a project solely because you wanted (needed) the finished object?

And, don’t forget!  You’ve got until Friday to be entered into the Flourish giveaway!

New Pattern: Gradient Scarf

Well, when it rains, it pours.  I’ve got another new pattern for you today!  And, better yet, this one’s free!

Introducing: The Gradient Scarf! (Yes, I know I’m not great at naming patterns.) It’s an asymmetrical triangular scarf, wider on one end (obviously, because it’s a triangle), and it’s knit in Knit Picks Stroll and Stroll Gradient.

Stroll Gradient is brand-new, and just lovely (I just received a couple skeins yesterday, and my fingers are itching to start kitting).  It’s a super-soft merino sock yarn dyed in one long continuous gradient.  (And, better yet, the colorways all have goofy names!  “Kale Yeah!” is my favorite, but “Hula Girl” is the one we used for the example.)The Gradient Scarf is worked in the round, starting at the narrow end.  Every few rounds, you increase a couple stitches, creating the gradually increasing triangle shape.  Then, the wide end is closed up with Kitchener Stitch (my favorite), making a super-sleek, seamless scarf.I suppose you don’t have to work this scarf with gradient yarn- it would be lovely worked in all one color, or solid stripes- but there’s something very entertaining and super satisfying in watching your yarn change colors as you knit along.

Want to knit your own Gradient Scarf?  Get the pattern here!  And pick up a ball (or two) of Stroll Gradient here!

New Pattern: Golden Gardens Pullover

That’s right, boys and girls!  It’s time for a new pattern!

It’s a lovely cotton tunic, with drop shoulders and bracelet-length sleeves, with just a touch of cabling.  It’s a perfect spring sweater (if I say so myself).

It’s the Golden Gardens Pullover!Cute, right?  And with tons of positive ease and super-soft cotton yarn, it’s crazy comfortable.   I’m particularly proud of the one-stitch cable that runs from front hem to back, and up each arm.  But wait!  That’s not all!

My pullover is part of a lovely new spring-y collection from Knit Picks.  Introducing: Flourish!

I’m not a big knit tee person, but this one is adorable.  That lace/texture combo, and that lovely shade of pink.  Too cute for words.

Whitwell Tee by Kate HeppellBut, I think this cardigan might be my favorite from the collection (other than mine, of course).  It’s so light and feminine, and I love the way the lace wraps from the back of the sweater, all the way around the front.

Spring Thaw Cardigan by Kephren PritchettWant to win a free copy of Flourish?  Comment below and tell me about your favorite part of spring (I love it when the cherry tree outside my studio window starts to bloom).  I’ll hold a drawing next Friday!

Bears, But Not Too Many

So, I made some resolutions at the beginning of the year, and I’m not doing a great job following up on them, if I’m honest.

My three goals were:

-Do more knitting “just for fun.”

-Knit at least 1 bear per month.

-Sketch more.

My sketch book has only a couple more pages filled in than it did in January, I’ve been knitting almost exclusively for work (which means I’m getting more design work- Yay!  But, I can’t show you guys my WIPs- Boo!).  And, my bear collection is a little pitiful.I know!  Only a bear and a half, and it’s already approaching the end of March!  And neither one is stuffed! (And most of that half-bear was knit this morning when I realized how behind I was.)

I suppose it’s not a big deal, after all it’s just a goal, not a real deadline, and it’s just something I’m doing on my own.  But, still.  It’s the principle!

I just finished knitting another project for work, so I have a little time “off.”  I guess I know what I’m doing this week!

Are you still making Mother Bears?  What goals do you set for yourself, and do you do a good job keeping up with them?

PvP Knitting

Every week (well, three times a week), I write about knitting.  What I’m knitting, what I’d like to knit, what I’ve finished knitting.  But I never really talk about why I knit.

I know, I know, it seems obvious, right?  I knit because I love to knit.  Simple.  Heck, that’s why we’re all here!  We all love knitting!

But, what is it about knitting that draws us in?  Why do we do what we do?

The common wisdom is that there are two kinds of knitters: Product Knitters and Process Knitters.  And, while the common wisdom is often wrong, I think there’s definitely something to this one.

Product Knitters are in it for the finished product (hence the very creative name).  They see a gorgeous new sweater pop up on Ravelry, and they have to have it.  They work toward a goal.  If they want a new pair of socks, then by god, they’ll have a new pair of socks (even if they hate knitting socks).I can respect that kind of goal-oriented knitting.  I know I feel that urge from time to time (mostly when my old hand-knits start wearing out).

But, if I’m being honest, I’m more of a Process Knitter.

Process Knitters knit for the sake of knitting.  They knit because they love the feel of yarn sliding through their fingers and enjoy the act of making each stitch, one after another.  They see a new pattern and think “Wow, I’d really love to knit that,” not, “Wow, I’d really love to wear that.”  (Which explains some of the sweaters I’ve made and almost never worn… oops!)

Of course, every knitter has a little Process Knitter in them, and a little Product Knitter.  And, I’m sure there are people that knit for other reasons, too.  But no matter where you fall on the Process vs. Product spectrum, we all love what we do.

What do you think about the whole Process Knitter vs. Product Knitter taxonomy?  Is there anything to it?  Which are you?

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?

Marking Stitches

So, I sat down to write this post about an hour ago.  Then I decided to check Facebook, where I discovered that someone had posted videos of the Crufts dog show from last weekend.  Needless to say,  I got rather distracted watching the agility trials, and an hour later, I’m just getting started writing.  So it goes.

(This has nothing to do with knitting, or this blog, but you have to watch this video- It’s amazing!)

Right?!

Now you’ll be sucked down a dog show YouTube rabbit hole, and I’m not even a bit sorry.

Aaaaaanyway, let’s talk stitch markers.

I’m taking a metalworking/jewelry class at the local community college, where I’m learning jewelry soldering.  I made some rings, earrings, and even a little box.  I’m halfway through a necklace that’s made of lots of pieces of sea glass set in silver.  It’s so fun to learn a new skill!

But, I think my favorite pieces (or at least the pieces I’m getting the most use out of) are my little stitch markers.  (My teacher was confused as to why I was making so many little jump rings, and wanted me to turn them into a chain.  I tried to explain what a stitch marker was, but she remains unconvinced.  She is clearly not a knitter.)

(Also, this picture turned out pretty cool- It looks like my stitch markers are just floating in spaaaaace!)

They’re square copper wire, plated with silver and twisted to make the cool spiral design.  Then, I formed them into little circles using a special jig and a tiny saw, and soldered them shut.  Super simple, especially compared to some of the projects people are making in my class, but really satisfying and oh so practical.

I like these little guys because they’re seamless (and therefore can’t snag), they’re low-profile (so they don’t get in the way), and they don’t have any charms or beads on them (which, while pretty, can get annoying if you’re making a project where you need dozens of stitch markers).

I’ve got one class left before the end of the quarter, and I’m half-inclined to just spend the three hours making more stitch markers, instead of finishing my big final project.

Do you have favorite stitch markers?

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.