Bears in the Air (Finally!)

I’ve been a little preoccupied, lately (surprise surprise), so it’s taken me a couple weeks to realize that, even though I finished off all my bears at the end of the Olympics, I still hadn’t sent them in.

It doesn’t matter how many bears you finish, they’re not doing anyone any good, if they’re just sitting in a box in my studio.

So, I dug through my stash of old boxes (what?  Don’t you have a stash of old boxes, too?  Am I a weird hoarder?), and found one that was just the right size for me to smoosh in all of my bears.I added a little note, plus shipping and handling to help the bears get where they are needed, and slapped a big old shipping label on the top (complete with poorly-drawn teddy bear faces- there’s a reason I’m a knitter and not an illustrator).  Now, I’m off to the post office!  I feel  a little bad for repeatedly forgetting about these guys, but I’m glad they’re finally on their way!

Have you finished any charity knitting lately?

On My Sleeve

It’s happening!  I’m actually doing it!

The sun is shining a little bit brighter and the birds are singing a little bit louder!

It’s a new era!

The Papaya Sweater has half a sleeve!It’s so exciting to finally be making headway on this project- I’m actually starting to believe that I will finish it at some time in the next decade.

Unfortunately, the sleeve is a little less tapered than I initially envisioned/hoped for.  But, I can’t bring myself to rip out those precious inches of sleeve and re-knit them at a faster rate of decrease.  I’ll just let it go, and hope it’ll block out. After all, that kind of “mistake” is never something that other people notice, it’s something that only the knitter herself picks up on.

Are you making any headway on any of your projects?

Pattern: Socks for Everybody

I’ve got a heck of a surprise for you guys!

It’s big news!  Exciting news!  Guess what?!

I wrote a book!Look at that!  It’s got my name on the cover and everything!

It’s a super-comprehensive “how to knit socks” book!The book is basically one big old recipe for making socks of every possible variety.  You want to make top-down socks with cables? Covered.  Want to make toe-up socks with stripes? No problem. Are you thinking about baby socks with afterthought heels? Done.

Socks For Everybody is a big a la carte instruction book that lets you make any sized socks using any yarn you prefer with any heel/toe/cuff/design combo you want.

I’ve included tons of tutorials detailing how to get through the trickier parts of sock construction (with lots of beautiful pictures to help you on your way), making this book perfect for people who have never quite gotten up the guts to try sock knitting before.Sure, this book is great for people who are new to the amazing world of sock knitting, but it’s also great for experienced sock knitters who are looking for help with designing their own socks.  I’ve included instructions on custom-fitting socks to your feet (and your yarn), as well as tips on picking the right heel/toe combo and design elements.I think this book has the potential to become a great resource for any sock knitter- a book that you can come back to again and again, whenever you need a new, customized pattern for that next pair of socks.I’m super happy with how this book turned out, and I really hope that you guys are as excited about it as I am.

If you want your own copy of Socks for Everybody, head over to Knit Picks.  (Or, if you prefer an e-book, follow this link.)

Inspiration: Spring Showers

Seattle’s trying doggedly to turn the corner into spring over the last few weeks.  It’s been warming up (sorta), and we’ve even been having little spurts of sunny weather.  The daffodils are desperately trying to bloom, and the tulips are struggling to recover after the cold snap and snow we got a few weeks ago.  It’s just about time, too, since tomorrow is the first day of spring!  (At least according to the calendar.)

And, of course, since it’s Seattle, we’ve been having lots and lots (and lots) of spring rain.  We’ve had light drizzles, intermittent showers, and little drips.  It’s poured, we’ve lived with days of low, overcast skies, and steady drenching rain.  In other words- it’s real wet around here.

So let’s celebrate those spring showers (and hopefully the flowers that will soon follow) and look at some lovely, rainy knitting projects.

I really like how the open, drape-y front reminds me of water cascading down a mountain stream.  Plus (and this isn’t rain-related) the interesting short-row construction on the front of this sweater is super cool!

Chance of Showers by Heidi KirrmaierThis lovely lacey scarf is too cute!  The all-over lace pattern is beautiful, and reminds me of a cross between raindrops and snowdrops- perfect for this time of year!

April Showers Scarf by Purl SohoThis is another lovely spring-y cardigan.  I love a sweater with interesting details in unexpected places, and the gorgeous lace panel on the back of this cardigan is just to die for.  I could definitely see myself wearing a sweater like this some time this spring (OK, maybe a little later this spring, it’s still a little chilly).

Rocio by Joji LocatelliHow’s spring progressing in your neck of the woods?

Socks from Mom

I suppose it’s no surprise that my mom is excited about the upcoming addition to our family (the baby that is currently practicing some bizarre combo of karate and gymnastics in my belly).  My kid is going to be the first grandbaby on both my side of the family and my husband’s, so you know he’s already getting plenty of attention.

My mom’s a knitter, and her excitement is being expressed in a way that I think we can all relate to- she’s knitting up a storm!

And her preferred item to knit for babies is socks.  Lots and lots (and lots and lots) of socks.

She brought the baby a big box of hand-knit socks and booties over Thanksgiving, and sent more for Christmas.  She came to visit a couple weeks ago for the baby shower, and brought along even more socks!  I tell you- this baby’s going to have the toastiest feet in Seattle!

I love all the socks, because, well, hand-knit socks are the best!  but there are a couple pairs that I think are particularly lovely.

These rainbow booties are too cute!  I mean, look at that adorable drawstring!And these teensy blue slippers!  Mom thinks they won’t stay on the baby’s feet, but by God, I’m going to try to keep them on.  I mean- look at those pompoms!These white and blue gradient socks are so lovely, I wish I had a matching pair.And these boots are just gorgeous (though I think the baby will have to grow up a little bit before he can fit into them).  I love the contrasting garter stitch soles- how cozy!My mom’s definitely got some mad sock-making skills, if I say so myself.  And my baby’s definitely  a lucky little dude.

Do you have a go-to baby project?

Pips

Speaking of finishing off projects, I am really on a roll lately.

I’m still knitting on my Papaya sweater like a fiend, but I took a break yesterday to update the last little finishing touch on my Mini-Picard Sweater.

In case you forgot, I made a teeny little cardigan, inspired by my favorite Starfleet Captain, Jean-Luc Picard.  I broke out the red and black sock yarn and teensy little needles. I knit the whole thing up, blocked it and added buttons, and a row of little gold Captain’s pips on the collar.But the gold buttons I had bought were too big!  They looked awkward and funky.  They were only a quarter inch across, but they were too much for such a teeny sweater!So, I took another trip to JoAnn’s this weekend and picked up the teensiest gold buttons I could find.  And, voila! Perfection!Or at least close enough to perfect that I’m super happy with how they turned out!  Now my little sweater is fit for a tiny captain, and I couldn’t be more pleased!Have you ever made a small change that has completely changed your opinion of a finished object?

Call Me Ahab

I’ve been on a roll, trying to finish up all my UFOs before this baby shows up and takes up all my knitting time.  It’s felt really great- kind of freeing- to clear out my Ravelry WIP list (not to mention the shelves in my studio where I keep my WIPs-there’s so much more room in there!).

And, so, the time has come for me to really buckle down and get to work on the White Whale of my WIPs… The one that keeps getting away (or rather, the one that I keep intending to work on but then get bored with and do something else instead).

The infamous Papaya Sweater!I’ve been working on it all week, and I’ve managed to cruise through a skein and a half of stockinette for the body.  And, it’s looking surprisingly good!  I’ve got 10 inches of body so far, which feels like a great start.  I’m going to take a break from the body at the end of this skein, work up the arms, then use the rest of my yarn to see how long I can make the body.

I can’t say it’s terribly interesting knitting (it’s just miles of stockinette with a little bitty garter stitch border), but it’s simple and satisfying.  Plus, it’s kind of fun to see how big/long of a sweater it’s going to end up being.  I hope it gets massive!

Do you have any “White Whale” Projects in your stash?  What’s keeping you from finishing them up?

15th Street- Finished

I’m on a roll, you guys!  I’ve finished another project!  I don’t know the last time I finished so many projects in so little time.  It’s very satisfying.

My 15th Street Wrap is all wrapped up (if you’ll forgive the pun).It was a super satisfying knit, and the finished project is cozy, squishy and frankly, just kind of fun.  There’s something great about a simple project that ends up being so big and impressive.  Of course, it’s getting a little warm around here to be wearing big wool wraps, but I’m sure it’ll keep until next year.I mean, look at all that seed stitch!  You gotta love that!  (OK, maybe I didn’t love working up the seed stitch, and maybe it could do with a bit of a block, but still!)  There’s nothing cozier and more comfy than seed stitch, in my book.

Even Ollie wanted to get in on the photo shoot!  (I know he looks real grumpy in this picture, but I promise it’s just because he needs a haircut.  He’s a very happy dog with too much facial hair.)

Have you finished any projects lately?

Momentum!

Woo!  I’m feeling so good after finishing up all those projects for the Ravellenic games.  I think I might keep going!  (Plus, I don’t have any real plans for new projects, so I might as well keep finishing things off!)

Last October, I published a pattern, the 15th Street Wrap.  (It’s a free pattern, by the way!)It’s a cute (if I say so myself), oversized, cozy shawl/wrap, featuring major color-blocking and acres of seed stitch.  It’s a super simple pattern, but the finished product is very satisfying.

I started working on the pattern in May (according to my Ravelry page).  But, I got distracted halfway through, and never managed to finish my prototype!

I got through four and a half of the color-blocks, before losing steam.  And, since it was such a simple pattern, I didn’t feel the need to really finish up the prototype before I sent the manuscript to the test knitter.  Then, when she did such a good job on the sample, I really didn’t feel like I had any reason to keep knitting the shawl.

After all, I had other projects I could have been working on!

But now, buoyed by my Ravellenic Games success, I’m going to do it!  I swear!  I’m going to finish this shawl if it’s the last thing I do.  (Hopefully it won’t be the last thing I do- I’ve got lots of other projects I’d like to work on, too.)

Do you have any projects that have been hibernating a little longer than you’d really like to admit?

Three Down

It’s a little sadder today than yesterday… the Olympics are over.  No more curling, or alpine skiing, or hockey on TV.  Not even any more figure skating or biathlon.  I guess I’ve just got to go back to my usual TV diet of Law and Order and cooking shows… sigh.

But, I did get one more big project done!  My bears from last year!

A dozen bears!  They’ve been stuffed, assembled, sewn up and appliqued/embroidered (which always takes more time than I expect).  I’m pleased with how they turned out, and more than pleased with the fact that they’re finally done! They’ve been sitting staring at me, unfinished, for months.  (OK, they weren’t staring, because I hadn’t gotten it together enough to give them eyes until this weekend, but you understand.)Three big projects done during the Olympics- a nice, big baby blanket, a cozy scarf (that had been haunting me for years) and a dozen lovely bears.  Not bad for two weeks!

I think I might be on a finishing things roll.  I should probably keep this momentum going and finish something else…

How did your Ravellenic Games turn out?