Tag Archives: knit

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.

img_4645

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”?

Pattern: Rippling Diamonds!

Guys! I’ve got another free pattern!

It’s a fantastic (if I say so myself) dishcloth.

The Rippling Diamonds Dishcloth is crazy simple- it’s literally only knits and purls.  No slipped stitches, no yarn overs, no shaping of any kind.  Its carefully charted pattern of knit and purl bumps make an interestingly-textured washcloth that’s fun (and easy!) to work up.  (And, bonus!  The pattern is totally reversible, so it looks just as cool from both sides!)55883220Head over to Knit Picks’ website and download a free copy of the pattern.  I’m really proud of it!

Pattern Spotlight: Pussyhat Project

You guys know I try not to get too political on this blog (though I seem to be less good at being apolitical lately).  But sometimes there’s something political that comes up that I simply can’t ignore.

And when that something political also happens to involve knitting, well… I can’t help myself.

So you all know what’s happening on Friday (Hint: someone new’s moving into the White House), but you might not know what’s happening on Saturday.

It’s the Women’s March on Washington (and, really, across the country-  take a look, I bet there’s going to be a March near you this weekend).  The March is in support of women’s rights, as well as inclusivity for all minorities- African Americans, Muslim Amerians, LGBTQ+ Americans and everyone else.  It’s going to be an amazing event, and I can’t wait to take part.

And, one of the grassroots symbols of this event is this goofy knit pink hat, the Pussyhat (like pussycat, get it?).  pussyhatprojectcoverIt’s a simple hat, but it means a lot.  First, it’s taking some very “feminine” things (the color pink, the act of hand-knitting) that have been underestimated and devalued, and turns them into a strong political statement.  Second, the hats are a visual marker of just how many women (and men) believe that women’s rights are important- I’ve already seen people around town wearing their Pussyhats.  More than 100,000 people have pledged to make hats already, and yarn stores across the country are running out of pink yarn!  And third, these hats are all handmade, all worked with care, thought, and love, by people who believe in the power of women and that we all (women, men, people of color, etc.) have an important role to play in this country.  And, in my mind, at least, that’s a powerful statement.86c0bfde-6956-4e87-957e-63787f2444d4I’ve already made three hats, but I plan to work up as many as I can in the time before Saturday.  I’ll keep one for myself, but I’ll give away the others to anyone who wants them.  They’re a small gesture, but they’re a great reminder of what we’re all fighting for- equality, respect, and the right to live our lives the way that is best for us.

If you’re interested in making a hat (or two or three), you can find the official instructions here.  Or, if you prefer to knit in the round (like me), here’s what I did:

Pussyhat In The Round

One size fits most adults

Materials:

  • US8 12-16″ cable needle
  • about 50g worsted weight yarn (pink)
  • Yarn needle

CO 80, and prepare to work in the round.  (K2, P2) around for 2 to 3 inches.  Then, K all sts until the hat measures about 8.5 inches from the CO edge.  Cut the yarn, leaving a very generous tail, and use the tail to sew up the top of the hat with the Kitchener stitch.  Weave in ends and block if desired.

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year (yesterday), everybody!

Hope you’re all having a nice, hangover-free morning.  Did you make your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

No, not the “Loose 10 pounds,” “Watch less TV,” and “Eat fewer sweets” kind of resolutions.  Those are boring.

I want to know about your knitting/crafting resolutions!

Here’s mine:

  1. I want to spend more time knitting just for fun.  I have a tendency to take on too many assignments (design work, gifts for other people… you know, “work knitting”), and I prioritize that over the knitting I do just for fun.  I don’t want to burn myself out, so I need to make sure I’m still having fun. (And maybe I’ll throw in a couple non-knitting craft projects, too!)IMG_0652
  2.  I want to keep making my bears!  I love their stupid little faces, and they’re the perfect in-between project.  I did 11 this year, let’s see if I can do 12 next year-one each month.img_3934
  3.  I want to spend more time sketching.  If get an idea, I want to make a point of writing it down and making sure I keep it.  I sketch out some of my ideas, but not all of them.  I think it’s a good idea that I just don’t follow through on enough.  IMG_3268

Do you have any knitting/crafting resolutions for this year?  Are you going to tackle that beautiful shawl that you’ve had your eye on?  Are you finally going to learn lace knitting?  Or, are you resolved to simply sit down every day and knit?

Christmas Post-Mortem: A sweater

Hey guys, guess what.

I made a sweater!

(Surprise!… I guess.  I make a lot of sweaters.)

This one was made for my father-in-law.

Last spring, he asked me to make him a sweater, and I have trouble saying no (or maybe I just like having an excuse to make another sweater).  So, I asked him exactly what he wanted.  After all, if I’m going to put all the work into a project like this, I wanted the finished project to be something he’d wear, after all.  We talked about cables vs. stripes, crew necks vs. V-necks, yoked sweaters vs. raglans.  We talked about ease and fit.

And then my husband brought out a sweater I had made for him years and years ago.  It was a Ben sweater, knit in forest-green Berroco Vintage.

My father-in-law took one look at that sweater and said, “That.  That’s the sweater I want.  Except… can I have it in gray?”

So, I knit up another Ben, this time in gray.img_3860I love the cable/texture pattern.  It’s a fun, easy knit that packs a big punch.  And it’s crazy warm, perfect for Northern Illinois winters.img_3854Unfortunately, I forgot to take a big “finished project” picture before I wrapped it up, but needless to say, it’s a pretty great sweater.

Have you ever re-knit a pattern for multiple people?

Christmas Post-Mortem: A hat

Christmas is done!  Hope you had a nice weekend.  We played lots of board games, and ate lots of cookies.  A pretty great time, if I say so myself.

But here’s the fun part!  Now I get to show off the gifts I’ve been working on over the last few months!

Let’s start with this cool hat I made for my brother-in-law!img_4099I knit with a very cool “intarsia in the round” technique that I learned at this year’s Knit Fit.  Basically, you cast on and do the brim just like normal (in the round).  Then, as you knit the top (multi-colored) part of the hat, you use really long short rows and wrap-and-turns to work the intarsia without messing up the order of your yarn.  So, you’re effectively knitting back and forth at the same time you are creating a tube that looks like it was knit in the round.  Super clever!

And, it’s got this cool top (which looks better when it’s worn):img_4102It’s dead simple to make.  You knit all the way to the top of the hat without any shaping (making it extra-long), then you seam the top to make the whole thing flat, then take the corners and sew them together.

Cool, right?

What did you make for Christmas?

Pattern: Two-Tone Mitts!

I’ve got an early Christmas Present for you!  A super cute (if I say so myself) and super quick pattern for those last few people still waiting for gifts.

Two-Tone Mitts!img_4346These simple fingerless mitts are shockingly fast to knit up, really cute, and surprisingly flattering.  The minimalist design means that they look just as good on men and women, young or old.  Knit up a pair in your dad’s favorite team colors.  Or make some for your niece’s new school.  Or maybe you have an aunt who loves a particular shade of blue.img_4362These mitts are surprisingly thick and warm, knit with Knit Picks’ Swish, and they’re machine washable (important for gloves- or at least important for my gloves. I always manage to spill my coffee everywhere).  But, if you don’t have Swish in your stash, any firm worsted or DK weight yarn should do the trick.

Want to knit up a pair for yourself?  Grab the pattern for free here:

Two-Tone Mitts

Pattern: Bunny and Bear

Last week, I told you about the kids I teach in my knitting class.  They are all doing an amazing job, and they all like making different things.  Some want to make tiny little projects they can finish in a day, some want to spend weeks working on a single item.  Some only want to make garments for themselves, and some make garments for their stuffed animals.

But all kids love a new stuffed animal. (Or “stuffie” as my students say.  Is that a regional thing?  Or is it a generational thing.  I never called them “stuffies” when I was a kid.”

So, I designed a pattern for two new stuffies, a bear and a bunny, that is easy enough for even an early beginner knitter.  img_3474These two little guys are totally adorable (if I say so myself), and are made without any shaping, purling or other “complicated” knitting.  If you can knit garter stitch, you can make yourself a new little friend.  And, I’ve included step-by-step instructions, including pictures!img_3442But, I think my favorite part of this pair is their tiny little tails!  (The bunny has a teeny pompom and the bear has an even tinier little nubbin.  Adorable!)img_3489Are you a very beginning knitter looking to make something more fun than a potholder or a scarf?  Do you have a kid itching to take up needles and yarn?  Give these two a try!

bunny-and-bear

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!)

Dolls with Arne and Carlos

Last weekend, I did something really cool.

I got to meet Arne and Carlos!

(Of course I didn’t get any pictures, because… introvert.)

Arne and Carlos were in town for the Nordic Knitting Conference, and my mom and I spent Saturday in their Knitted Dolls class, where they walked us through their ridiculously cute doll pattern.img_3561They were fantastic teachers, and really nice people who took time to talk to everyone in the class.   They even signed everyone’s books!  (If you read Norwegian, let me know what this says… based on my high-school German and context clues, I think it says something about knitting, but I’m not sure.)img_3564The dolls are worked from their toes up, and I managed to almost get my legs finished in class.img_3583And, I’ve been working on the rest of my doll since then.  She’s still missing most of her head (which is a little creepy), but she’s coming along well.  I ended up making her super girly, but that’s OK.  I love her little blue top and stripey tights.  And who doesn’t love a pair of bright red shoes?

img_3574I’ve got a big pile of yarn in almost every color of the rainbow for this project.  So my next step is to decide what color to use for her hair (do I want her to be blonde?  Red-head? Or maybe she should have purple hair?).  And, of course, I need to make some clothes for my not-so-little dolly!img_3557This pattern is so much fun!  It’s not as fast as I thought it would be- my doll is probably going to be close to 18″ tall- but I am having a great time knitting her up.  And the clothes!  Who doesn’t like knitting miniature sweaters in every color of the rainbow?

Have you ever knit an Arne and Carlos pattern?  What did you make?