Tag Archives: garter stitch

One down

One project done, and several to go!

I’ll be honest, I thought I’d be through more projects by now (since we’re about halfway through the Olympics), but I guess my powers of estimation (and powers of sitting comfortably on the couch) are less than perfect these days.

Anyway, I finished the baby blanket, and it turned out great!It’s just about a yard square, insanely soft and squishy.  It used up a bunch of my old sock yarn stash, which is great, but I still have plenty of yarn left (maybe even enough to make another blanket?).I wove in my ends and trimmed all the tails on Saturday, and then got right onto the next project.  My hand-spun party scarf!

It’s been sitting on a shelf for probably three or four years at this point, so I forgot what size needles I had been using (apparently I had stolen the needles out of the project at some point over the years).  I ended up ripping out the whole thing, which sent my allergies going (so much dust!).  But, after finding the Kleenex, I got down to business.  I cast on 30 sts, and just went to town knitting.  So far I’ve got a little over two feet of knitting done, and I’m loving how it’s turning out.  It’s kind of fun making completely brainless projects for once- so much garter stitch!!Now I just have to keep going and not run out of steam!

How are your Ravellenic Games projects coming along?

Sick Days and Sock Yarn

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a rough couple days at my house.  I’ve come down with the plague, or as my doctor put it “just” a cold.  I’ve been a coughing, sniffling mess.  My house feels full of Kleenex and I’ve been drinking water like it’s going out of style.  It’s the worst!

I haven’t had the brain power to do any planning on my Ravellenic Games knitting, so I guess we’ll all be surprised with what I decide to do, come Friday morning.

I haven’t been able to muster the energy (or the brain power) for doing anything more than simple knitting-and only knitting.  No purling, no shaping, no counting.  I don’t want to leave the house to get more yarn (because I don’t want to spread this plague to anyone else), so into the stash I went.  And lucky for me, I found a ton of single skeins, half-skeins, and tiny balls of sock yarn.  I have a vague memory of going crazy a couple years back and getting 20 or so skeins of Knit Picks Stroll during one of their sales.  I’ve been slowly working through it, but there’s still quite a bit leftover, and not really enough of any one color to make a full pair of socks.

So I said, “Hey, let’s make a blanket with this!  But a baby blanket, because I’m not insane enough to try knitting a great big blanket with sock yarn.  And I should hold the yarn double and knit it with big needles so that it’ll go fast.”

And, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I’ve cast on a bunch of stitches (I didn’t count, but it’s about a yard’s worth of stitches- I’m sick! Give me a break!) with some nice big US10s, and I’ve been knitting back and forth, watching crummy daytime TV for the last couple days.  And whenever I get bored of a color, or when a skein runs out, I switch that strand for a different color.  So far, I gotta say, I like how it looks!Plus, it’s crazy simple, and I’m cruising through really quickly.  It’s going to be a really nice, cozy blanket!

What do you like working on when you’re feeling under the weather?

Back to the Beginning

Sometime you’ve just got to go back to your roots.  You’ve gotta eat a bowl of Kraft Macaroni Dinner, or watch the Princess Bride for the thousandth time, or dig out that old, cozy sweater your high school friend let you “steal” from their closet.  There’s just something so meditative and lovely about going back and doing something comfortable once in a while.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m always trying new things, new food, new knitting techniques.  But sometimes it’s so nice to return to something easy, simple and comfortable.

And, I just so happened to have a gigantic skein of Hazel Knits the Big Squeeze in Electric Slide.  I got it at last fall’s Knit Fit, here in Seattle.  It’s gigantic, squishy, and hand-dyed in the most gorgeous shades of electric purple and hot pink.  You know I’m more of a browns, grays, greens, and blues lady, but sometimes I just have to go super bright and girly, and this is one of those times.

I hemmed and hawed about what to do with this skein when I first got it, eventually settling on “just leave the skein out on my desk so I can look at it.”  But I’m a knitter, not (just) a yarn buyer, and I needed something fun and easy to work on.

So, with such big, gorgeous, striking yarn, why not go old-school?  Why not remake everyone’s first project- something I haven’t made in 20 years?  Why try to fancy-up such an already-fancy skein of yarn?

Why not make a garter-stitch scarf?img_4667This yarn is crazy, I mean, just look at it- the yarn is as big around as a pencil!img_4650But, the color is what sold me on this yarn when I first saw it, and it’s still what makes me so happy every time I pick it up.  Just look at the magnificent dye-job.  I love it to death.

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I wonder if I could dye my hair that color…

Do you ever go “back to basics” with your knitting projects?  What are your favorite “old favorites”?

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)!

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)!

Blackout!

This Sunday we were attacked by the biggest wind storm I’ve seen since I moved here 5 years ago- maybe ever (which is saying something, coming from Illinois, where gales of wind rip across the state, since there’s nothing taller than a stalk of corn to stop them).  Trees were torn up, power lines were downed, they even had to close the 520 bridge because the waves on Lake Washington were so big, they were splashing up onto the bridge and causing dangerous conditions.

Our neighborhood lost power at about 2:00 in the afternoon.  And we didn’t get it back until the middle of the night- almost 12 hours later.

We didn’t feel safe driving anywhere, since the roads were littered with debris, and we didn’t want to leave the house, in case something went wrong (our house is surrounded by very big, very old trees- charming in sunny weather, scary in a wind storm).  So, we stayed in and watched the neighbor’s 3-story-tall pine trees whip back and forth like blades of grass.  It was kind of terrifying, but also really cool.

So, what did we do for 12 hours of powerlessness?

We played cards, listened to the music on our phones (until the batteries got too low), read books, and (of course) knit.

I continued working on a sweater design that I had already started (you’ll see it soon, but not today).  But, if I’d had time to plan my blackout knitting, I probably would have picked out patterns like these:

I would start with something super fiddly and technical.  After all, with no TV to distract me, I could really throw myself into a pattern like this gorgeous (and futzy) Fair Isle hat.

Electric Snow Fair Isle Hat by Don Godec4127721009_cc9c8f6a81_z[1]Then, when the sun started to go down, I would switch over to a pattern that used super bulky yarn.  With lowered visibility, big yarn is a must, and this hat’s simple design would be perfect for knitting in the dark.  Have you ever tried to knit by candlelight?  It’s not easy.  Trust me.

The Vermonter by Abi Gregoriovermonter2_medium2[1]

And, of course, no power means no heat (at least in my house).  So I would need as many blankets as possible!  This garter-stitch one would be perfect- squishy and warm!

Buncha Squares Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne2188346768_0ffdfd92b9_z[1]

Luckily our power’s back on now and we’re all back to normal (though it still feels luxurious every time I can open the fridge without worrying about the food spoiling).  But next time, I’ll be prepared!

Have you ever had a blackout in your neighborhood?  What did you do to keep yourself busy?

Pattern Spotlight: Baktus

I might have been late to the Hitchhiker party, but I’ve been a member of the Baktus fan club for years.

This super simple long, skinny, triangular shawl/scarf is one of my favorite patters for several reasons:

1.  Garter stitch.  Love.

2.  It’s crazy versatile.  I’ve made Baktuses (Bakti?) from everything from bulky yarn down to fingering weight yarn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3.  It looks great worked in those pretty hand-spun skeins you have in your stash that you can’t figure out what to do with (You know, the ones you couldn’t leave at the yarn store, but you have no idea what to use them for.)4357513044_2288fc815f_z[1]4.  The Baktus uses only as much yarn as you happen to have.  If you have three skeins of bulky, it’ll use that much.  If you have one skein of lace-weight, that’ll work, too.  (No weird little leftovers to fuss with!)  Actually, the pattern has you weigh your yarn at the beginning.  You begin the pattern by increasing, then when you have exactly half your yarn left, you decrease, for perfect results every time!

3592484405_e3fa9a5775_z[1]5.  The Baktus scarf is really and truly unisex, and super cool.  P1100072rav_medium2[1]6.  People have used the idea of the Baktus and came up with their own (gorgeous) versions.  Want lace?  Add cool geometric edging?  Or leaf edging?  Maybe you prefer crochet?

5717416916_2d555e0368_z[1]Baktus might be the perfect project.

Have you ever made a Baktus scarf?

Pattern Spotlight: Hitchhiker

I’ve finally jumped on the bandwagon.  And, I kind of love it.

I’m probably the last knitter to make a Hitchhiker shawl.  (There are 17,685 projects up on Ravelry, and I’m pretty sure it’s been in the top 50 or so patterns for the last couple years.)

CIMG7885The Hitchhiker is a triangular (ish) shawl/scarf knit in garter stitch, which is my absolute favorite.  Garter is great for scarves, since it lays nice and flat.  Plus, it’s super warm and squishy.  (And it’s great for knitting while you read or watch TV, since you don’t have to worry about following complicated stitch patterns.)

The shawl is a long, skinny triangle, with a sawtooth border along one side, which is worked as you knit.  You begin at one point of the triangle, and just keep going until you run out of yarn, or get bored.  And the simple 8-row repeat is super easy to memorize, so it’s almost mindless (but still just interesting enough to be fun).20150112_122126_medium2[1]This project is super versatile.  You can use whatever yarn you have on hand, and whichever needles you like best.  The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, but this would make an epic deep-winter scarf in worsted or bulky, and if you were to use teeny tiny needles and lace-weight yarn, you could make something lovely and delicate.

IMG_1979_medium2[1]I made mine with a skein of Knit Picks’ Stroll Tonal Sock Yarn in Thunderhead.  (I bought it to get the $50 free shipping, because free. Don’t judge me.  You know you’ve done it, too.)  It turned out lovely.  The sock yarn is wonderful and soft, and the hand-painted, monochromatic colors of the yarn looks great in a garter stitch.  (Sorry for the terrible picture.  The shawl was adopted out before I had time to find my real camera for a decent photo.)

WP_20150102_014I love how this shawl looks with semi-solids and self-striping yarn.  It’s so easy, and the results are spectacular.

DSC06485_medium2[2]Have you made a Hitchhiker?

Inspiration: Knitting the Sky

My friend Jenny visited me last weekend.  We have known each other for years (since college).  Actually, we met through the Knitting Illini, our university’s student-run knitting club.  (I’m still trying to find a knitting club as fun and welcoming as that one, but that’s a whole other story.)

Anyway, Jenny pulled out her needles and several shades of blue and gray yarn.  She whipped up a couple little garter stitch squares and put her knitting back in her bag.  I was curious what she was making, and she said she was “Knitting the Sky.”  I had never heard this concept before, and had her explain.

Apparently, Knitting the Sky is the idea that you put aside a few minutes each day to look at the sky and then pick a yarn color closest to the color of the sky to make an afghan square, or a few rows of garter stitch to add to a scarf.

As far as I can tell (and correct me if I’m wrong), the first person to do this was Leafcutter Designs.  They sell a kit (yarn plus directions) to make a Sky Scarf.  It’s a simple garter-stitch scarf, but the subtly shifting grays and blues make the scarf look almost like it’s made with hand-painted yarn.

sky-scarf-kit-3 Gorgeous, right?

But Jenny is an overachiever (in the best possible way), so instead of just making a sky scarf, she’s making a sky afghan, like this one.

Finished+Sky+Blanket+4How beautiful is that!  Who could have imagined that wrapping up in cloudy and rainy days could be so cozy?

And, imagine extending the idea of using a color to represent a day in other projects.  How about a striped cardigan that shows your mood each day for an entire year?  Or what about a pair of mittens that represent what you ate for breakfast for a month?  OK, I’m getting silly now.  But, the point still stands.

This is a fantastic idea, and a great way to get some knitting in while getting more in touch with the world around you.  Too bad that if I was to make a sky scarf it would end up being a uniform Seattle-gray.x354

Pattern: Sailor Jane

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September in Seattle means fog rolling in and waving goodbye to the sun until next Spring. But, it also means breaking out your favorite squishy, cozy woolens and curling up with hot apple cider. This scarf is the perfect accessory to keep the winter drizzle at bay and protect against the chilly winds that come off the Puget Sound.

Sailor Jane is knit on the bias, starting from one corner and finishing at the one opposite. A thick cable, reminiscent of nautical sweaters works its way continuously around the entire border, framing a pane of thick and cozy garter stitch. It’s a remarkably quick knit, worked in bulky yarn, the scarf is finished in no time. And, the suggested undyed superwash merino makes the scarf both cozy and virtually indestructible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGet the pattern for free here:

Sailor Jane