Tag Archives: knit

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?

New Pattern: Tannenbaum Tree Skirt

It’s a very special day today.  (No, it’s not just Friday, October 13th, the spookiest day of the year)  It’s new pattern day!  And, better than that, it’s new Christmas Pattern day!

Knit Picks just published an insanely adorable collection, cram-jammed with cozy holiday patterns.

Everything in this book is stinking cute, and gives me “Cozy Christmas Cabin” vibes, which is exactly what I want when I’m gearing up for the holidays.

I think the cutest pattern might be this adorable color work Santa pillow.  I see myself spending the next couple months knitting up a handful of these bad boys.  I love how the hats of one row of Santas form he shoulders of the next row- very clever!

Santa Pillow by Kathy LewinskiAnd these stockings are just too sweet!  I love that they’re worked in bulky yarn (making them extra-big for extra presents!) and the non-traditional burgundy, navy and cream are a really nice alternative color scheme.  If I hadn’t already made my stockings, I’d be seriously considering whipping up a few of these guys for my family.  Maybe I’ll end up with a sweater featuring the reindeer and snowflakes…

Holiday Stockings by Michele Lee Bernstein

But, if I can totally toot my own horn, I think my pattern might be my favorite.  It’s the Tannenbaum Tree skirt!

It’s a creamy, cabled, cozy tree skirt knit in a single piece, featuring Christmas-tree-shaped cables all the way around.  (Trust me, it’s even cuter in person!)It’s a smallish skirt, about 30″ in diameter, so it’s perfect for a skinny tree, or a small table-top tree.  It’s worked in bulky yarn, so it works up in no time at all.  Plus (and I realize this might not be something that everyone agrees with), the cables are insanely fun to work, all complicated and twisty, but really satisfying at the end of the day.

If you want to get a copy of my pattern, head over here!

Or, if you want to get a copy of the whole Merry Knitmas book (and why wouldn’t you?), head here!

Pattern: 15th Street Wrap

What’s better than New Pattern Day?

Free Pattern Day!

Woo hoo!

I just had a gorgeous (if I say so my self), simple, cozy pattern published through Knit Picks, and available to all of you lovely folks for free!

Introducing:  The 15th Street Wrap!This wrap is essentially a massive scarf, worked in seed stitch with extra-bulky yarn. (It’s super easy and goes super fast!) I love the colorblocking- the big swathes of each color are modern and un-fussy.

I love the blues they used for the example, but this wrap would also be lovely in creamy browns, or dreamy grays.  Or, maybe you could do a neutral background (grays and whites), with a pop of bright yellow or magenta on one end!  I could spend all day putting color palettes together!This shawl would be a fantastic Chrsitmas present.  It’s massive and impressive-looking, but takes next to no time to work up.  Throw a couple movies on TV, and you’ll be making headway before you know it!

Want to work up the 15th Street Wrap?  The pattern is available here for free!

Doing the Dishes

Doing the dishes is not my most favorite chore, but I do them anyway.  I’d rather make something tasty and create a pile of dirty dishes than actually clean them up.  (But, I guess doing the dishes is part of being a grown-up… sigh.)

Anyway, I’ve got a stack of knit and crocheted dish cloths that people have given to me over the years, and they’re the best (I always use them before the store-bought ones).  I don’t know why, but handmade dish rags just seem to work better- plus, I love anything that’s related to knitting.

Unfortunately, since I’ve been using mine for years, they’re starting to get a little ratty and a little bleached out.  A couple are even starting to come apart at the edges.

So I guess it’s time to make a couple more.

This brick-patterned dishcloth is totally classic, and super cute.  I love the contrast of the garter stitch “bricks” and the slipped-stitch “mortar.”

Ballband Dishcoth by Peaches & Creme Design TeamThese interesting circular dishclots are cute, too!  I love the short-row shaping (I get bored easily, and short rows might just be the ticket to stopping myself from giving up halfway through and making another pair of socks instead).

Crazy Eights Dishcloth by Julie TarshaThese are also super adorable.  I love how basic patterns can be the most impactful.  The simple mitered garter square is just gorgeous, and the rainbow of applied I-cord at the edge is the perfect finishing touch.

Sinkmates by Lorilee BeltmanDo you use handmade dishcloths?  What’s your favorite pattern?

New Pattern: Knits for Everybody Two!

You guys!  I can tell you about a fantastic new pattern!

I’m so excited… I can’t even express it.

So, last year I was part of a really cool Knit Picks collection called “Knits for Everybody,”  where I wrote a sock pattern.  It was a fun project- simple patterns for classic projects, sized for virtually every body- from babies up to great big adults.

Well, it’s back for round two!

Introducing: Knits for Everybody Two!And this time, I’ve contributed a very nice (if I say so myself) yoked cardigan pattern.  I wear my cardigan all the time, and I even made a teeny one from sock yarn to give to my friends’ new baby (it’s even cuter than mine).  The cardigan is written out for a huge range of sizes (that took so much math!), and it can be worked in fingering or worsted weight yarn, which makes it even more versatile. If you get the book, you also will get the pattern for this crazy cute V-neck sweater.  (I’m tempted to make this guy for myself.  I love a classic pullover.)And there’s a really cute pattern for gloves!Plus, a great top-down hat pattern with brim options- or even ear flaps!I’m so happy to be included in this collection- I think it will become an indispensable part of a lot of people’s knitting libraries.

Grab a copy of the book here, or my pattern here!

Mt Rushmore Knitting

Last week, when I was talking about my love of Hermione’s Everyday Socks, I mentioned that they were probably on my Mt. Rushmore of knitting.

I’m not sure why, but that phrase got stuck in my head and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

And this happened (I’m not great at Photoshop, but it is fun):(I think Roosevelt looks particularly fetching in his PussyHat.)

What patterns (besides the Hermione socks) are really on my Mt. Rushmore?

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket is definitely up there.  I love how it’s constructed- it’s so clever and interesting.  And, it’s perfect for using up all my leftover sock yarn!If we’re going by sheer number of times I’ve worked a pattern, the Mother Bear teddy bears have got to be up there.  They’re simple, quick (ish), and are for a great cause.And, it feels a little weird to put this on here, since it’s my own pattern, but I flipping love my Socks By the Numbers pattern (though I should probably look it over again… it’s been years since I actually read it, and I’m sure it’s full of typos).  I love this simple technique for making perfectly-fitting socks in any size.  I’ve made dozens and dozens of socks using this system, and it makes me happy every time.I know you’ve got all-time favorite patterns, too.  Are they perfectly-written, interesting patterns?  Or some simple pattern you’ve knit dozens of times?