Tag Archives: cowl

Inspiration: Stormy Weather

When we moved to Seattle, I knew what I signed up for.  Rain (often, but not a lot), cloudy skies (a good excuse to stay in the house and read), and cool weather (perfect for wearing sweaters).

This year, that has not been the case.

We had warm weather (in the sixties) almost all the way through September with sun (SUN!!) nearly every day.  Then the weekend before last, we had snow (SNOW!!) for several days in a row.  It didn’t really stick, but, still!  And the last three days we’ve had pouring rain and whipping winds.  (My yard is a disaster- leaves and branches everywhere!  But I figure I should wait to clean it up until the storms have passed, so I’m just sitting here looking out the window at the mess outside.) It’s like being back in the Midwest!  It’s bananas!

I guess there’s just one thing to do.  Knit.

(What, you can’t really be surprised that that’s my response?)

I love this cowl.  I know the lace pattern is supposed to be waves, but I think it looks like my big pine trees whipping back and forth in the wind.

Storm Water Cowl by Kim McBrien Evans

And this little pullover is too cute (and too cozy) for words.  It’s exactly what I’d want to wear on a stormy day if I was a cute little kid.  Ah, who am I kidding, I’d wear this today, if it was big enough!

Stormy Day Jacket by Hannah FettigAnd this shrug is so perfect- I might actually need it.  It would bring me one step closer to my goal of wearing nothing but blankets all day.

Stormy Shrug by Charm KnitsI’ll keep my fingers crossed that the weather breaks soon, but in case it doesn’t, at least I have some cute knitting to think about.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

Inspiration: Christmas

It’s October 25th… you know what that means.  2 months until Christmas!

That means you have 61 days to get all your Christmas knitting done (or at least started enough to have a good excuse when you wrap up a half-finished scarf in the wee hours of Christmas morning… not that I’ve ever done that).

Might I suggest a few patterns- a few of my free patterns?  These are some of my favorites, they’re small, simple, and fun enough (if I say so myself) to whip up a handful in the next two months.  Plus, they’re nice enough that even the pickiest gift-receiver will be happy to open them up on Christmas morning.

I love the Snowbank Spa Cloth.  It’s a super simple dish-cloth (with almost no finishing-just two ends to weave in!).  The pattern calls for fancy-pants cotton yarn to make it a “spa” cloth, but you could use any cotton you have on hand, and just rename it “dishcloth” or “washcloth” depending on how soft your yarn is.  It’s a simple repeat of knits, purls, and slipped stitches, surrounded by a nice garter stitch border, so it’s easy to work up.  Make a stack of them, or just one and wrap it up with a fancy bar of soap for a lovely gift.

Get the pattern hereI’m also a fan of the Snoqualmie Cowl.  I can’t wait for the temperature to drop enough so that I can break mine out again.  It’s worked with really bulky yarn at a massive gauge, so it works up in almost no time.  I used fancy leftover yarn from a big shawl I made years ago, but you can use whatever you have on hand- the colorblocking is perfect for using up leftover bits and bobs of your fancy bulky yarn that you couldn’t bear to throw away.

Get the pattern Snoqualmie Cowl.

If you ever need a super fast gift (for Christmas or otherwise), you’d be hard-pressed to find a simpler (or easier) project than my tiny Coffee Sweater.  Worked in the round with just enough cabling to make it interesting, this little guy knits up in an afternoon.  Use your favorite yarn, or whatever worsted-weight yarn you have laying around your craft room- it doesn’t take more than an ounce or two. If you start now, I bet you can make Coffee Sweaters for everyone on your Christmas list before Thanksgiving has passed!  Wrap up each sweater with a gift card to your favorite coffee joint- and I can’t imagine a better gift!

Get the pattern Coffee Sweater!What are your go-to patterns for gift giving?

Inspiration: All Snuggled Up

I know it’s cliched, but holy cow do I need a vacation after my vacation.  I’m still exhausted, even though it’s been almost a week since we got back.

I think it must be a combination of the following:

  1. Too much traveling- a full day of air travel to get to the Midwest followed by a full day of driving to make it up north, and the same thing in reverse to go back.  (Plus all the driving we did over the week there.  I forgot how far apart everything is in the country!)
  2. I was surprised to discover that the part of the UP we were visiting was in the Eastern Time Zone, three hours behind Seattle.  I spent the whole week trying desperately to get on local time and failing miserably.  Now I’m back here, but I think my brain is still somewhere between Eastern and Pacific time.  I’m a mess!
  3. I picked up some nasty stomach bug somewhere on my trip back home, and I can’t for the life of me shake it.  I won’t give you the details, because ew… but suffice it to say that I’ve felt better.

Basically, all I want to do is snuggle up in some cozy knits and go into hibernation.

Let’s play the “what Allison wishes she had in her closet” game.  (I’m too sleepy to start any new projects right now… it’s that bad!)

I know this is a men’s sweater but man, I’d totally wear this.  I love the slightly variegated/tonal yarn and the cowl-like collar.

Cosy Hubby by Marzena KolaczekSpeaking of cowls- I can’t imagine anything cozier than this ridiculous cabled cowl.

Cozy Cable Cowl by Purl SohoBut really, this is what I want to wear right now.  It’s coziness personified… It’s halfway between a cocoon and a sweater (actually, it might be closer to a cocoon than a sweater).  I love the thick textured fabric, and the thigh-length oversized silhouette.  It would take about three pounds of yarn to make a sweater of this style for someone my height, but I think it might just be worth it.

Cozy Sweater by Anna and Heidi PicklesWhat do you like to wear (or knit) when you’re feeling under the weather?

Knitting Big

I spent my Sunday at a little local yarn festival, Knit Fit.  It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, browsing through the little marketplace, squeezing the yarn and admiring all the gorgeous colors (and wishing you had infinite money and infinite time so that you take home and use all the yarn).

Of course, I had to treat myself to a little (big) souvenir.  It’s a wheel of The Big Squeeze from Hazel Knits in the colorway “Electric Slide.”img_3861 It’s 135 yards of slightly-felted oversized single ply merino softness in the most gorgeous shades of violet, purple and fuchsia.  I’ve salivated over the Big Squeeze before, but didn’t know what to make with it.  But then I saw this gorgeous color… and it was all over.

So now I have to decide what it’ll become.  It’s soft enough that I want something I can wear against my skin, but I don’t care for super-bulky hats, and mittens are kind of impractical in this climate.  I’m thinking it’ll make a big cowl, or maybe an oversized lace scarf.

I like this cabled cowl.  I love how it twists and turns and looks like it’s been very artistically rumpled.

Rainbow Twist by Thao Nguyenphoto_medium1And I like the openwork on this cowl.  There’s something really satisfying about lacework at such a gigantic gauge.  Maybe I’ll do something like this.

Spidey’s Spiral Cowl by Abi Gregoriospiralcowl_medium21And this one is just beautiful in its simplicity.  Sometimes you just need a big tube of ribbing in a beautiful color.

Castle Leoch Ribbed Cowl by Karen Clementscastleleochribbedcowl1_medium21What would you do with a big skein of oversized yarn?

Patern: Zagged Cowl

Surprise!  A fun new FREE pattern!

Let me introduce you to my newest pattern, the Zagged Cowl.55942220_21It’s knit with Knit Picks’ newest yarn, Woderfluff.  It’s super soft and light and cozy, yet surprisingly strong (because it’s not actually spun- it’s a teeny tube of nylon filled with baby alpaca and merino).  (But really, you could use any bulky yarn.)

The Zagged Cowl is worked in the round with no shaping, just garter stitch and an impressive-looking oversized cable up one side.  The pattern only uses one skein, and works up on big (US 10.5) needles, so it knits up super fast.  Talk about a great holiday gift!55942220_31Head on over to Knit Picks to pick up a free copy of this pattern (and maybe a skein or two of Wonderfluff)!

Inspiration: On the road again

I’m on the road again.  Somewhere between the Shell gas station and the Wendy’s on the side of the freeway.  I’m having a great time hanging out with my extended family and I’m getting tons of time for knitting. Win-win!

I can’t stop at any yarn stores (which is probably good, since my suitcase is already full), but all the hours in the car have made me think about all the other road trip knitting I could be doing.

This beanie is just too perfect for words, after all it’s a “Road Trip Hat.”  I love the interesting, minimalist use of cables  I could see this becoming a favorite for years and years.

Road Trip Hat by Emily Williams

Roadtrip-cover-rev-600px_medium[1]Of course, my perennial favorite, the Hitchhiker Shawl, would be perfect for knitting on a road trip.  A simple, easily memorized pattern and acres and acres of garter.  I can’t think of a more perfect pattern to work on while staring out the window, watching the scenery go by.

Hitchhiker by Martina BehmCIMG7885And, if you’re looking for something a little more practical… maybe a pair of driving gloves?  You could wear them to keep your hands warm while the A/C is blasting.

Men’s Driving Gloves or Fingerless Gloves by Tara Smolinski

IMG_0163_medium2[1]But, really, if you want the perfect road trip project, it doesn’t get any better than this adorable road cowl.  Cute!

Road Trip Cowl by Ping Woodvalleypat550.550.zoom.1_medium[1]What do you work on when you go on a road trip?

Pattern: Snoqualmie Cowl

New pattern day!  I’m excited about this one. (Though, I suppose I’m always excited about a new pattern.)

It’s a super simple cabled cowl in the most luxurious yarn have left in your stash.  (I don’t know about you, but I have a bunch of little balls of bulky wool and alpaca that I can’t bring myself to throw away.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACovered in tons of simple cables, the Snoqualmie Cowl looks way more complicated than it is.  It’s a great way to practice cable knitting and play with colors.  And because it’s knit in super-thick yarn on great big needles, it works up in about fifteen minutes (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it does go really fast)!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you want to give this cowl a shot, grab a copy of the free pattern here:

Snoqualmie Cowl

Inspiration: All at Sea

So! My soda saga keeps going.  I sat down to start prising off the keys from my keyboard (to get the dried soda out from underneath them.  (A task I’ve done on many other laptop keyboards without problems, I might add.  (And don’t give me that look.  Like you’ve never spilled anything on a keyboard.))

And do you know what was the first thing I did?  I broke one of my keys.  I bet you will be able to figure it out- it’s a letter that I haven’t typed in this entire post (other than the pattern names), and it’s a letter that is useful when talking about knitwear.

Hint 1: It’s the first letter of this lovely knit garment- a loose and lovely sweater split down the front (it’s not a pullover, it’s a ________).

caramel by Isabell KraemerP1060509_medium2[1]Hint 2:  This final outerwear layer isn’t a sweater, it’s a big, bulky __________.

Big Old Coat by Joji Locatelli5H2A9740_medium2[1]Hint 3:  And this bright and happy tube of knitting isn’t a shawl or a wrap, it’s a ________.

3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli003_medium2[1]Did you figure out what letter is missing from my keyboard?  It’s the one that follows B in the alphabet.  It also turns out to be a very useful letter when talking about shades and hues of yarn (_olors) and various knitted garments (_ardigans, _oats, and _owls).  Sigh.

Unfortunately, without this letter, if I work up any of these patterns I won’t be able to write about them on my blog!  Oh no!

(Or, I suppose I might go visit the laptop store and see if they are able to fix my keyboard…  But that would make a lot of sense.  Ugh!)

 

(OK, real talk time.  I’m being a little dramatic. I actually can use the ‘c’ key, but only about half the time. But it is frustrating, because I know exactly what happened (I broke off a tiny little piece of plastic).  And, once I make it to the computer store, I bet they’ll be able to fix it.  Keep your fingers crossed!)

Inspiration: Lopez Island

This weekend, my husband, my pup and I went on an impromptu trip up to the islands, and it was amazing!

We visited Lopez Island, which sounds like it should be in the Carribean, off the coast of Mexico, but is actually a tiny farming and fishing community in the Straight of Juan de Fuca, north of the Olympic Peninsula and just south of Canada.

11855703_10105373881011190_512339032138616691_n[1]We took the ferry early Saturday morning and got thoroughly windblown.

11892211_10105373886694800_5031709288030769796_n[1]But I think Ollie enjoyed himself.  So many new smells for him to sniff!  He’s actually still recovering.

11899871_10105373918605850_8950944109210116740_n[1]We hiked along beaches and clambered over rocks.  We saw seals and schools of tiny silver fish and jumping Pink Salmon.

It was a lovely break from the city.  Cool, overcast and perfect PNW weather.

It makes me want to get out my needles and make some island-appropriate gear for when I move up to the islands.   Which definitely is going to happen.  Someday.

Island Wools Swirl Hat by Julie Packard

swirlhat_medium2[1]Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho6235518543_46ba4d5d58_z[1]Fiona Coat by Justyna Lorkowska

Swans Island yarn Fair Isle hand knits

Where is your favorite place to visit on a day trip?

Help me! I think I have a problem!

And that problem is that I’m now obsessed with lace shawls.  I can’t stop looking at patterns.  I’ve even gone digging through my stash and found a bunch of yarn I could use .

Sock yarn!

I’ve been collecting sock yarn over the years, and I have a big box of it next to my desk.  Sometimes I open it up and dig around in it just for fun.  But now I think I want to make a lace shawl with some of my sock yarn (despite having absolutely zero time for “fun” knitting right now.)

So here’s your task: talk me out of knitting one of these shawls.

I love the garter stitch body on this one, with the big openwork edge and the chunky braided cable.  Gorgeous and elegant!  Look at those huge eyelets along the edge!  So pretty!

French Cancan by Mademoiselle C

DSC_8833_medium2[1]I love this one, too.  It’s not exactly lace-y, but it is completely beautiful.  And I could use up a bunch of little skeins of leftover yarn to make the gradient stripes!

Song of the Sea by Louise Zass-Bangham

DSC_6050_-_Version_2_medium[1]And how great would this one look with a soft gray garter stitch panel and deep burgundy or forest green for the lace edging?  *Drool.*

Henslowe by Beth Kling

IMG_1366Or, of course, I could (should) just keep on working on the projects I’ve already committed to.  But where’s the fun in that?