Tag Archives: knit

Inspiration: Dreaming of Pullovers

My love of pullovers is well documented, even if I haven’t said it in so many words.  I’ve written a dozen sweater patterns.  Only two of them are cardigans.

I don’t really have anything against cardigans, but there’s something just so wonderful about throwing on a pullover and being totally enveloped in lovely, warm wool.  It’s the closest I will ever come to my dream of it becoming socially acceptable to wear a blanket out and about.  Especially since the weather has started turning distinctly fall-ish around here, there’s nothing I want more than to snuggle up with a big, soft pullover, a book and a mug of steaming tea.

But, since I have a little baby now, (ahem) access is the major concern with all my outfits .  So, it’s cardigans for me for the foreseeable future.  (And cardigans worked exclusively in superwash wool, because… well… baby.)

But, I can still dream, can’t I?  I can comb through Ravelry and pick out all the pullovers I would totally be wearing if only I had the time to knit them up.

I love a simple, classic silhouette on patterns like this.  There’s nothing more versatile than a perfect, plain sweater.  As long as we’re daydreaming, I’d make seven of these in seven different colors/yarns so that I could wear a different one every day for a week. Heaven.

No Frills Sweater by PetiteKnitIngen_Dikkedarer_Sweater_4_medium2But, I might get bored making seven of the same plain sweater.  I could throw a few of these into the mix.  I love the twisted stitch details at the raglan seams and the cool, understated cable/twisted stitch pattern at the bottom.  It’s just enough to make the sweater a little fancy without being fussy.

Opteka by Isabell KraemerIMG_9756_medium2But, really, I want to make this sweater.  I’ve had my eye on it for years.  I think I even picked out yarn for it a few years ago (but then used that yarn for something else).  I don’t know why it’s so appealing to me- it’s just a basic, boxy raglan sweater with nice wide stripes.  (It has pockets too, which I like in theory, but I’d probably omit.)  Maybe it’s the 90’s kid in me; I do appreciate a good striped sweater.

Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirrmaierfullsizeoutput_a137_medium2If you could magically have a new knitted wardrobe, what would you include?  Lots of pullovers? Cardigans? Ponchos?

Swatch Swatch Swatch

It’s finally happened- I’ve used up all my buffer posts.  Sure, I’ve been writing posts this summer from time to time, when I have a minute (or when the baby happens to have a really good nap), but this is the first one I’ve written that’s truly going out in the present!  Which is good, really.  It means that I can just write about what’s on my mind without worrying about the order that my posts are coming out in.

And I’d love to tell you all about what I’ve been doing…

But I can’t.

It’s the eternal knitwear designer/blogger problem.  I’m all excited about my current projects, but I have to keep them under lock and key (or at least off the internet) until they’re published, well into next year.

I gotta say, though, it’s great to be getting back in the designing game.  I took a decent-sized break around when the boy was born, but I’ve slowly been ramping up my freelance work in the last couple months.  It’s great to be able to stretch my brain again in non-nursery-rhyme-related ways.

And while I can’t show you what’s currently on my needles, I can show you what was on my needles.  My swatches.

Swatching gets a bad rap, and I get it.  Sometimes I just want to get on to the project and get knitting.  After all, that’s the whole point of knitting, right?  Making sweaters and socks!

But when I’m designing, I kind of love making swatches.  They’re fun little samples- I think of them like little sketchbook pages, but made with yarn.  IMG_0142

I used to rip out my swatches once I had determined my gauge, so I wouldn’t
“waste” that yarn on the swatch. (I’m nothing if not frugal.) But over the last few years, I’ve been keeping them.  The ones I’m particularly fond of are pinned up on cork boards in my studio, and the rest live, stacked up in my closet.  Sometimes I like to go back through them, to see if there are any ideas in there that I should bring out again.

And recently, I’ve added something to my swatches that I think will come in handy down the line.  On the backs, I’ve been stapling a little tag with the yarn, needle size, and gauge.  So, in theory, the next time I want to make something with Cascade 220 Superwash, I might already have the swatch all finished and ready to go.IMG_0148

Do  you keep your swatches?  What do you do with them?

Pattern: Georgetown Henley

What?!  Two new patterns two weeks in a row?! Crazy!

That’s right!  I’ve got another new pattern in the newest Knit Picks collection, Dapper!It’s a collection of super-gorgeous menswear.  Handsome sweaters!Snazzy accessories!And a pullover from yours truly that I’m really proud of!Introducing the Georgetown Henley!  It’s a two-color pullover with raglan shoulders and a buttoned Henley collar.  The body is worked in my favorite stranded broken seed stitch (which means the colorwork looks really intricate, but is actually a cinch to make!).  And the cuffs, hem and collar are worked in solid color, contrasting with the main body.A sweater that’s perfect for just about any man in your life (or for yourself… I’ll be honest, sometimes I steal the one I made for my husband), the Georgetown Henley is a great addition to anyone’s sweater collection!

Grab the pattern here!

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?

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?

Inspiration: The Final Countdown

Cue the 80’s glam metal, because it’s time to start counting down (almost).

December’s right around the corner and that means it’s time to break out the advent calendars!

I love a good advent calendar.  It’s the best combination of waiting (which I am very bad at.  I get very impatient), and opening presents early (which I enjoy doing quite a lot).  The past few years, I put together a beer advent calendar for my husband, where he got a new bottle of fancy holiday beer every day.  Last year, he made me a yarn advent calendar, where I got a new mini-skein of yarn every day.  It was the best!

When I was little, we had advent calendars, too.  My brother and I each had our own tiny fake tree, and we picked out small ornaments for each day. By the end of the month, we barely had a square-inch of tree visible beneath all the ornaments.  I still have a bunch of the advent calendar ornaments, though my little tree has gotten lost along the way (though, maybe it’s at my folks’ house… I should check the next time I visit).

It might be a little late in the year to put together an advent calendar, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try!

I like this one because it includes a very cute little tree!

Christmas Tree Advent Calendar #294 by ShiFio’s PatternsThis one looks even simpler- maybe you could get it knit up by the end of the weekend, if you really put your mind to it? I particularly love the teeny tiny balls!

Advent Tree Wall Hanging by Roxanna JuneBut if you felt like getting really fancy, I kind of love this garland!  I like that each day is a totally unique ornament, and I love that they hang from all those little buttons.  If I had a million hours of free time, you’d better bet that I’d be all over this project!

Advent Garland by Frankie BrownDo you have an advent calendar tradition in your family?

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?

Tutorial: Closing Up

As you guys all know, I’ve been going to town on some Christmas Balls. (I think my last count stood above 20, but I could be wrong.  There’s so many it’s getting hard to keep track of them all these days.)

Knitting these bad boys is fun and (fairly) easy, though some of the colorwork is a little bit challenging to knit up without making the balls pucker too much.  The finishing isn’t too bad, either, just a little bit of a pain when you have to repeat it so many times.  You stuff the balls, weave in all the ends, close up the top and the bottom, and add a loop to hang  the balls from. Easy, right?

Well, closing up the top of the balls is easy enough- you just pass your tail through the remaining active loops and pull, just like the top of a hat.

But the bottom is a different matter- one that took me a couple tries to figure out how to do neatly.

Because you cast on at the bottom of the ball, you have a big old hole down there, waiting for you.  And, there’s no obvious way to get rid of that hole, since you can’t just pull a string and have it disappear (believe me, I tried).

Here’s what I’ve been doing, and I think it works pretty well.

So, you see the long-tail cast-on edge? There are little slanted “stitches” all the way around the edge.  I use a yarn needle to carefully pass my needle through those stitches, counter-clockwise, starting right next to the spot where my tail yarn comes out of the ball.And I keep going…Until I get all the way around the hole.Then, I pull the tail snug,And voila!  A lovely finished ball bottom that looks just as good as the top!  You could use this technique on top-down hats, fingers-to-cuffs mittens, or really any time you need to close up an opening created by a long-tail cast on.

Now, all I’ve got to do is repeat this on the rest of my Christmas Balls. Oof.

Do you have any favorite techniques you’ve been using lately?

Vampire Knitting

I’ve been attacked by a knitted vampire.

(Vampire Doll by Tatyana Korobkova)

No, my vampire is nothing so cute or sweet or quick to knit up.  My knitting vampire is a monster.  It’s gray and massive and covered in cables.  (Yes, I know I love cables, but everyone has their limit. And I might be reaching mine. Y’all, it’s so many cables.)

It’s a pattern I’m working on that’s going to be published next fall… so, sorry, you’ll have to stick around until next year before I’m allowed to show it to you.  Such a bummer!

This project is taking up all my time- I have to work on it at least three hours every day to stay on schedule to get the finished project sent out by the due date.  It’s taking all my knitting energy- at best, after I finish my day’s worth of vampire knitting, I can add a few rows to one of my Christmas Balls, or maybe an inch or two to my next Mother Bear, before I give in, lay down on the couch and zone out in front of the TV.  And, it’s eaten up all my knitting imagination.  Usually I break out my sketch book or a favorite stitch dictionary every few days, and come up with a plan for a new shawl or sweater.  These ideas usually don’t go anywhere, but it’s nice to be able to kind of constantly brainstorm.  This vampire project has sucked up all my creative juices.  I am now only a husk- a husk that only thinks about gray cables.

Now, of course, I’ll be done soon enough, one way or the other (it’s got to be done by the beginning of November).  And after that I’ll be back to normal, flitting from project to project like usual.   But, right now, I’ve got no choice but to slog through the last quarter of my pattern.

Ugh.

Have you ever had to deal with vampire knitting?  How did it go?

Inspiration: Headache?

Y’all.  It’s been a rough week, I’ll be honest with you.  I’ve had a headache for probably 6 of the past 7 days (Saturday was OK for some reason).  I’ve tried everything.  Painkillers, extra caffeine, removing caffeine, more sleep, less sleep, sitting quietly in the dark, going out and running errands to keep my mind off of my headache, extra hydration, hot packs and cold packs.

At most, I’ve gotten a relief for an hour or two at a time, but my headache keeps coming back.  It’s now managed to migrate from my head, down into my neck and shoulders (probably because I’ve gotten so stressed about it, I’m tensing up the muscles in my shoulders… sigh.)

This morning I’ve been sitting quietly in a semi-darkened room, knitting and listening to podcasts (because looking at screens (like the TV) seems to exacerbate my headache), drinking a Coke (because coffee sounds gross right now, but I wanted to see if caffeine might help my head this morning), and taking turns with the hot and cold packs.  It seems to be helping, and hopefully by the time I need to leave the house for work this afternoon, I’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (or at least I won’t be dragging as much as I have been the last few days).

I’ve got a bunch of cold packs left over from when I used to play roller derby, but none of them have sleeves as nice as this- I might need to make one or two to have on hand the next time my head gets the best of me.

Knitted Ice Pack Cozy by Ampy Versalles-CurtisI’ve got a heating pack that I made years ago that I filled with barley.  I like it a lot (I’ve got it on my shoulders right now).  But, it’s gotten a bit stained and worn over the years, so maybe I should crochet up a cute little pouch for it.  I like the little crocheted buttons, especially

Comfort Pack by Donna Hulka

I’m so ready for this headache to go away!  Do you have any remedies for a stubborn headache?