Tag Archives: cozy

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?

Project Tea Cozy- Finishing Up

It’s done!  Woo! My tea pot isn’t naked any more!

I finished up the top of the tea cozy last week, working it just like the top of a hat.  This week I’ll start by working the spout opening the same way I would work the thumb on a mitten.  I transferred the 12 reserved stitches (saved on my stitch holder/safety pin) to my dpns, then picked up and knit 4 stitches in the little cast on edge.  I then worked a little 2×2 ribbed cuff around the spout and bound off.  Easy!img_3389Then I sewed up the bottom of the handle hole (I still need a better name for that), so now it fits snugly on my tea pot without me having to safety-pin it in place.img_3402But, you know what… It looks a little… sad?  Like it’s missing something.

Something like a pompom.

So I made a nice, tight 2″ pompom with bits of all 7 colors and sewed it on top.  img_3667Perfect!  It’s all finished and ready to go out on its maiden tea voyage!  I can’t wait.

And, next week, I’ll write up the pattern in a nice finished form and you can make yourself a tea cozy!

(And, don’t forget!  I’m giving away a copy of Knit Picks’ new Garter Ridge collection on Friday!)

Pattern: Carkeek Park Pullover (And a giveaway!)

It’s an incredibly rainy morning in Seattle- we’re bracing for the biggest wind storm since the 1960’s, so keep you fingers crossed that we don’t lose power!

But what could be better on a rainy day than looking at some brand-new patterns!

Maybe looking at some brand-new garter-stitch patterns?  I don’t think anything says “cozy up inside” better than a hot cup of tea and a book full of garter stitch coziness.

Introducing: Garter Ridge, a new collection by Knit Picks, featuring a pattern from yours truly.330151This is probably the sweater that I wear the most.  I love my Carkeek Park Pullover.  It’s super comfy, surprisingly warm and soft.  And, it’s knit with DK-weight yarn, so it’s not bulky (in other words, I can wear it under a jacket or, if it’s really chilly, with another sweater on top… I get cold sometimes),521262201I love the bands of multi-color garter at the hems and yoke.  It’s so fun to order lots of each color and watch how they blend together as you knit them up.  My prototype was knit in shades of green and brown, but I’d love to see Carkeek Pullovers in every color of the rainbow!52126220_31But my sweater isn’t the only gorgeous pattern in this collection!

I think I might make the Helianthus Shawl.  It’s just so pretty, and Preciosa yarn is so fluffy and warm, that you know it’ll even manage to keep me warm.330151011And that cover sweater!  I know the last thing I need is another oversized cardigan.  But I think I need the Nineveh Cardigan.  I love the weird modern shape, and the tiny sleeve detail in the contrasting color- to die for!330151071There are a ton of other gorgeous patterns in this collection.  You definitely want to get yourself a copy!

Want to try your luck and win a free copy?  Comment below with your favorite rainy-day knitting!  I’ll hold the drawing next Friday (rain or shine)!

Project Tea Cozy: The Top

All right, it’s time to close up the top!  After all, this is a tea cozy, not just a pretty rectangle with a couple weird holes.

I switched to dpns (because I didn’t have a short enough circular needle in the right size), and started working in the round.img_3373I did a few rows even, then decreased all the way around, once every 8th stitch.  I kept going, knitting one row even, then decreasing in pattern, making the decreases line up.

Once I got right to the top, I cut my yarn and passed the tail through the active stitches, the same way I would work the top of a hat.

img_3380Voila! closed up nicely!  If I wanted a smoother top (and less-obvious pleats around each set of decreases), I probably could re-knit it and decrease at a more relaxed rate, but I think I kind of like how the top turned out.

The spout is still pulling in what would be an uncomfortable way if this were a garment for a human, but I think that’ll be sorted out once I work the spout cuff, so I’m not worried.

img_3384The one thing I don’t love is that the handle hole ended up a bit too big- see that gap at the top of the handle?  I’m not a fan.

I mean, not enough to fix anything, but if I were to re-knit this pattern, I might change that.  Otherwise I’m pretty happy.

Speaking of pretty, let’s talk about my notes.  Because those are not even close to pretty anymore.  Observe:

img_3385

I don’t think there’s a line I haven’t scratched out or adjusted.  I think just about every number had to be re-calculated and each measurement ended up slightly adjusted.

But that’s how designing a new pattern goes- you’ve got to be flexible and ready to find and fix any mistakes, because there will be mistakes.

What do you think of this design so far- I’m getting close to being done!

Project Tea Cozy: In The Belly of The Beast?

Last week I did my first try at writing up the Tea Cozy pattern.

This week I did a bunch of knitting (and proofreading)!

Remember that math I did last week?  I determined that I needed about 120 sts around the belly of the pot.  I could just cast on 120 sts, but I want the ribbing at the bottom  to be a little tighter.  I think it’ll look better that way.

I figured if I want to increase about 1 st per 8, that should give me the result I’m looking for- just a little tighter, without any weird puckering.  So, a little more math, a bit of estimation, and I’ll cast on 106 sts.

I worked a p2 (k2p2) rib for a generous half inch (5 rows), then worked an increase row to get me up to 120 sts.

Then it was colorwork time!  img_3348Hoo boy, did I underestimate the amount of ends I would be generating!  So many stripes, so many color changes.  Oops!  At least it looks pretty.

Also, I want to bring your attention to a detail I’m really proud of.  Look at the edge of the handle hole (I really need a better word for that):img_3370See the brown edge?  I made a little mini-skein of brown for each side, and used intarsia to work a few stitches of garter stitch to keep the ends from curling.  I think it makes the tea cozy look really professional.

Now I just have to figure out how I want to make the hole for the spout…  Hmm.

Project Tea Cozy: The Swatch

Woo! It’s tea cozy time!  (Almost.)

I know no one likes swatching, me included.  (And, if I’m being honest, I rarely make a swatch if I’m following someone else’s pattern.)  But, when you’re designing a pattern making a swatch is an absolute necessity.

So I pulled out my favorite colors and made one great big swatch with three different patterns, to see which I liked best.

The first pattern was a wide stripe-and-polka dot combo.  I like it, but I think it’s a bit big for a tea cozy- after all my teapot is a little on the small side.img_3299Then, I thought, “Maybe something fancier-something more Fair Isle-y.”  I like this diamond pattern quite a bit.img_3312But, again, I think it might be too big.  So I worked up a scaled-down version of the first pattern.  Narrow stripes with teeny polka dots.  Sure, I’ll have to deal with a million little ends, but I think I like the result best.img_3304So, I’ve got my swatch and decided on my pattern.  I measured the gauge, and made sure to write it down in my book.

img_3344I’ve taken my measurements and have a plan in my head.  Next time, we’ll get down into the nitty-gritty of math.

Don’t forget!  I’ve got 2 (count ’em!) giveaways going on as we speak.  Comment here for a chance to win a copy of On the Go Knits, or here for a chance to win Knits for Everybody!

Getting Cozy

Yesterday was a cool, rainy day.  And, I spent it with my husband and my dog, sitting on the couch and watching Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell on Netflix.  It’s very interesting, and is just oozing creativity.  I read the book years ago, in college and only have a vague memory of what it was about, so it’s been fun to get to watch it as someone “new” to the story.

It’s based in the early 1800s, in England, and there’s all sorts of magic, fairies and prophecies flying around.  It’s all very Gothic.

And they drink a lot of tea.

So, yesterday, instead of making myself a dozen individual cups of tea to get me through the marathon, I brought out my tea pot.  And it occurred to me how embarrassing it is that I have never made a tea cozy for myself!  (I know!  A knitter with a naked tea pot- how uncivilized!)

IMG_3121Anyway, this was just a long way of saying, I’m going to design and make a tea cozy.  I’ve been thinking about walking you through my design process, from idea to finished pattern, but I haven’t found the right project.  I didn’t want something as big as a sweater (because that would be boring for you guys- all that math, and all that waiting for me to knit), but something little, like socks or mittens are too easy- to make those, you just plug a design into a formula- no math at all.

So, a tea cozy it is!  It’s big enough that we can do something fun with it, but small enough that it won’t take months and months to finish.  I’m excited.

I’ve got some yarn left over from a “colorwork phase”, that I think might work well.

These dark greens (and fuchsia) are really pretty DK-weight, in a nice squishy, soft wool.IMG_3133And these are a slightly finer Sport-weight wool (a little itchier but sturdy, with great stitch definition.  And anyway, teapots don’t care about itchiness, right?).  I like these colors, too.  They’re very cheerful.IMG_3126

I think I’m leaning to the bright colors of the sport-weight.  Maybe I can do something cool with slipped stitches, or fair isle…

Right now, I’m just trying to get a feel for what I might knit up.  My next step will be to get out my sketch book and make some doodles.

Do you have any thoughts, opinions or ideas?

Zzzzz… Huh? What? I’m awake!

Oh my god, you guys.  I just had a ridiculously fun long weekend.

My in-laws came to visit (Hi, in-laws!) and we spent three days on the Olympic Peninsula.  We hiked, we picnicked, we beach-combed, and we played in the snow.

We rented a little cabin, tucked between a lake and a beautiful waterfall, and spent two nights there, between day trips across the Peninsula.    We went beach combing on Rialto Beach (along the Pacific coast). Ollie really liked that- especially the piles of stinky driftwood!WP_20160402_004And, we went up to Hurricane Ridge, where there were still feet and feet of snow on the ground!  It was just gorgeous! Ollie had never seen snow before, and I think he enjoyed it.  He rolled around in it like an idiot (an adorable idiot, of course) and tried (unsuccessfully) to catch the snow balls we tossed for him.  And he also managed to pose like a model for Doggy Vogue. (So glamorous!)WP_20160403_025Needless to say- we are completely beat.  I’m still in my PJs, and my husband could barely get out of bed this morning to get to work.  And I don’t think the dog has been awake for more than 30 minutes at a time since we got home.

All I want to do is curl up in my warmest, comfiest knitwear and read a book.  (Any recommendations?)

I’d love to wear this adorable striped, cabled, and pocketed sweater.  How cute and cozy!

Cosy… by Marion CrivelliDSCN0278_medium2[1]

And this shawl somehow manages to be both modern and very classic.

Campside by Alicia PlummerIMG_5088_medium2_medium[1]

But, really, all I want to do is cuddle up under this blanket and go to sleep.

Neat Ripple by Lucy of Attic244441709480_00f95eea23_z[1]

I can skip work today… right? Right?

What do you like doing after a big, fun, but exhausting trip?

Inspiration: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans!  (And Happy Thursday, everyone else!)

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is one of my all-time favorite things to do.  There’s something about spending hours planning, shopping and scheduling that makes the run-up to Thanksgiving especially great.  And, nothing beats spending the day chopping vegetables, stirring pots, and smelling all those wonderful Thanksgiving kitchen smells with your friends and family.  I’m drooling in anticipation already (which is a gross image, so sorry!)

When I think of Thanksgiving food, I think of home-y, cozy dishes, made with a special twist.  Food that is comforting (and comfortable), but fancied-up a little bit.  Which, incidentally, is exactly how I like my knitting, too.  Simple, comfy, and just a little fancy.

Let’s share a buffet of Thanksgiving-inspired knitwear, all worked in my favorite comfy, yet fancy fiber, alpaca.

This hat has a gorgeous, squishy texture, but is simple enough for even the pickiest of hat-wearers.

Graham by Jennifer Adams

IMG_8516_medium2[1]I just love patterns with great big swathes of interesting texture.

Big Herringbone Cowl by Purl Soho

herringbone-cowl-flat-425_medium[1]The cables, openwork, and shaping on this sweater make it seem challenging and modern, yet I think it would become an instant classic in any wardrobe.

Aurys by Svetlana Volkova

IMG_3020_medium2[1]

Inspiration: Knitting in Fall

The temperature has finally settled in the low 60s, the mushrooms are sprouting on anything that stands still for more than a minute, and the fog has descended.  It is officially fall in Seattle.  I know that makes fall sound less than fun, but I absolutely love autumn in the Pacific Northwest (maybe I’m a masochist. You be the judge).  There’s something incredibly cozy and comfortable about getting up in the morning and putting on a flannel shirt or a fluffy sweater, drinking your cup of coffee and seeing nothing but gray mist outside your window.

(Interestingly, though, it’s almost impossible to take a good photo of fog.  So, instead of making you look at the crappy ones I took, I will steal one from the internet.  But, really, this is what my street has looked like every morning this week.  Except, my street has more houses.)b0a416d5ce158c4654afa438dc27868e[1]It makes me want to curl up with a mug of hot cider, Jazz music on the radio, a fire in the fireplace, and a knitting project that uses massively bulky yarn.

We could start small(ish) with a cowl so thick and cozy you could burrow into it and practically turn into a (very warm) tortoise.

The Gathering by Kalurah

DSC_2956_medium2[1]I can only imagine how quickly this gorgeous sweater would fly off the needles.  Do you think I could finish it by this evening?  It’s supposed to drop into the 50s tonight.

The Big Cable by Justyna Lorkowska

bigC3_medium2[1]Or I could just give up on any pretext of leaving the house for the next six months and hunker down under this (perfectly named) blanket.

A Blanket For Seriously Cold People by Sylvia Bo Bilvia

6443776281_f97d115886_z[1]All this talk of super-plush projects has gotten me in a very cozy mood.  There’s only one thing I can do now… I’m off to go put on as many scarves, sweaters and slippers as I can find, and bake myself a pumpkin pie.  Happy Fall, everyone!