Tag Archives: knit

It’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdone!

I’m so freaking stoked about this!  THE BLANKET IS DONE!!

This is fantastic for 3 reasons:

  1. I’m only about a month late!
  2. I’m DONE and get to start new projects!
  3. It turned out so good!

I mean, look at this bad boy:IMG_1902Glamour shot!IMG_1895I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.  It’s warm and squishy and the colors are freaking gorgeous (and really hard to capture.  The black has undertones of green and navy and ash gray, and the yellow is golden with touches of copper.  So gorgeous). IMG_1859It was actually a really simple pattern (which I have plans of writing up for y’all), just a lot of knitting.  I love that kind of pattern- simple enough for anyone to work up, but with a real impact when it’s done.  Honestly, the hardest part was finding a space big enough (and away from the baby and the dog) to block the dang thing!IMG_1890_adjusted

Phew! Now I think it’s time to make something little.

A New Season, a New Sweater and a New Silhouette

I am *this* close to finishing my brother’s wedding blanket (and only about a month late… so not too bad), which means it’s time for me to start planning my next project.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. I want to make something for myself.  Just about all my knitting for the last year or so has been for work, or for someone else (mostly the kid, so I can’t complain too much).  And, while I like knitting for other people, I feel like it’s time for me to do a little selfish knitting.
  2. I think I want a new sweater.  And not just the same plain pullover I’ve made myself thirty-seven times.  I love a nice plain pullover, but I’m feeling an itch to try something new. Right now I’m thinking about doing some color-work.
  3. I don’t want to design it.  I want to follow someone else’s pattern.  I don’t want to figure out charts or do a whole bunch of math.  I just want to sit down with a tried-and-true pattern and just go to town. I might not even make a swatch. (I know… heresy.)
  4. I want this sweater to be a little trendier and girlier than I usually go.  My usual style is basic, almost unisex, straight-ahead.  I want to do something a little more interesting and fashionable.
  5. And, if this pattern could take less than thirteen years, that would be appreciated.

So, after a long troll through Ravelry, I’ve come up with some ideas, and I need your input to decide what to do. (Though, fair warning, I might decide to do a completely different project and come back here next week with a half-knitted squid or something).

I think I like the idea of making a sweater with a cropped-yet-oversized silhouette.  It seems like it would be flattering.  Or maybe not?  I’m not sure.  It’s very different from what I usually wear, but maybe that’s the point?

This sweater could be knit with long sleeves or without, to make a sleeveless summer sweater.  But maybe it’s too simple?  Other than the silhouette, it’s not that different from my usual knits.  Lots and lots of stockinette.

Aqua by Trin-Annelieaqua_015.jpg

This sweater has a very similar shape- real boxy and simple, but I like the ribbing detail across the shoulder and the color-work at the bottom.

Navelli by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with fs4 preset

Speaking of color-work, I’ve been ogling everyone’s Soldotnas.  And I do mean everyone,  there have been more than 2000 of them added to Ravelry.  I really like the color-work yoke (and I do like a yoked sweater), but for some reason the combination of the yoke and the cropped length seems a little less flattering to me than the boxier dropped-shoulder sweaters. But maybe I’m just crazy?

Soldotna Crop by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with fp1 preset

Or, I could just go along with the cool kids and make myself a Shifty.  I love the color-work/mosaic-knit fabric, and I have an idea for what yarn I’d substitute. (Spincycle is lovely, but I don’t want my sweater to cost three thousand dollars.) I just wonder if this sweater is a little too close to my usual sweater, if I’m trying to make something new.

Shifty by Andrea MowryIMG_1227_medium2

I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking as I finish up the last few rows of that dang wedding blanket.

And no matter what I pick, I guess I’m going to have to get myself some high-waisted jeans or a couple linen dresses to go with my new cropped sweater.

Which sweater do you like best?

Mom

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend (at least it is here in the US).  So, in celebration of mothers generally, I want to talk about my mother in particular, and promote her amazing business for two reasons:

  1. She’s insanely talented, and I legit think that you guys would love her work.
  2. She would never in a million years think about self-promotion, so I’m going to do it for her.  (Sorry Mom.  I know this is going to make you self-concious, but I’m going to brag about you for a little bit.)

My mom, apart from being the one who taught me how to knit, is a fantastic seamstress (sewer?) and an insanely talented illustrator.  A few years back she took early retirement, and opened up an Etsy store, Paper or Threads.

She makes bags.

Amazing knitting project bags.

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(SWEATERS!!)

But she doesn’t just make bags.  Oh no- that would be too easy.  She designs her own fabric for them.

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(SHEEP!!)

She’s got big bags and little bags.  Bags with zips and bags with drawstrings.  And, I know this sounds like I’m just shilling, but I swear to god, they’re the nicest project bags I own.  They’re made from really quality cotton fabric (that feature her own original designs… I can’t emphasize that enough), and they’re all fully-lined (which means you won’t run into any annoying fraying edges to tangle up your yarn) and last for years and years.il_1588xN.1635891553_4ld8

(GNOMES!!!)

She’s got designs for everyone- from kitchy gnomes to adorable farm animals to classy all-over prints.  (I’m a big fan of the gnomes myself.)il_1588xN.1178395020_h0c8

(TREES!!)

And, if you sew, you can get yardage of her fabrics through SnapfishCapture2(SLOTHS!!)

Imagine a dress made of sloths!  Or a quilt covered in socks!Capture

(SOCKS!!!)

Fair warning- I’ve been trying to get Mom to increase her prices for a while (because she seriously undercharges for her amazing bags), so if you want to grab a bag or two (and you should),  head over to her Etsy store soon!

(ALSO! She makes kids’ clothes with her designs, too. They’re too stinking cute.  Definitely check them out.)

(Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)

It just keeps going…

I’m eyebrow deep in my brother’s wedding blanket.  And it has been a journey.

I mean, not literally- it’s gotten really big, so it’s pretty stationary.  But, emotionally, it’s been a real journey.

(I’d love to share pictures with you, but since it’s a gift, you’ll have to make do with this totally-unrepresentative schematic of my progress. Don’t worry, Charlie, your wedding blanket is not a gigantic rainbow.)

Join me, if you will, on an epic journey through this gigantic project.

Blanket

Step 1 (red): Yay! This blanket is going to be great!  I love the color(s) I picked!  The yarn is so soft! The stitch pattern is so squishy!  I can’t wait to get going!

Step 2 (purple): Second guessing sets in.  Hm.  I don’t know about this pattern.  Is it too fiddly?  Too boring? Did I miscalculate the gauge?  Is it going to be too wide? Too narrow?  Do I even know how to knit?  Should I rip out the whole thing and try something else?

Step 3 (dark blue): Smooth sailing.  You know what? This blanket is great.  I really like how it’s turning out, it’s going well and coming together faster than I expected.  I’m already a few skeins in and it’s turning out great!

Step 4 (light blue): The Slog.  It looks good, but dang it’s boring. I don’t want to keep working on it, and you can’t make me.  One or two rows a day is plenty to get this thing done by June, right??

Step 5 (green): Second guessing part 2.  Ah crap.  This is why you follow a pattern- you don’t want to be halfway through a blanket before you realize that you’re about to run out of the special hand-dyed yarn that you picked for this blanket.  Gotta scramble to figure out a new plan.  (Preferably one that doesn’t involve ripping out a month’s worth of work.)

Step 6 (yellow): I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m so close I can taste it- if only I didn’t have to do dumb things like eat, sleep, or take care of a toddler, it’d be done already.  It’s going to be amazing when it’s finished!

Step 7 (orange): Isn’t it done yet?  If I keep measuring it, one of these days it’ll magically be long enough, right?  Gotta get it done! Push push push!

I’m currently here, grinding away slowly, but not making as much progress as I’d hoped (and pretty sure that I’m going to run out of yarn before I had intended to, but still pretty much in denial):Blanket2

Y’all, it’s going to be great, but the last couple weeks of knitting have been rough.  Just gotta push through, and then never make anything with more than a single skein of yarn again.

What do you do to get yourself through a slog-y project?

Burnout (or how I learned to stop worrying and just procrastinate more)

Y’all.  Sometimes being a “professional knitter” is hard.  (Disclaimer: I know that as far as “hard jobs” go, Professional Knitter is pretty low on that list.  Just bear with me as I throw myself a little pity party.  I promise I’ll be back to myself soon.)  Sure it’s not “I’m a doctor and I hold people’s lives in my hands” hard, or “I’m a cop and I put my own life on the line to keep people safe” hard, or even “I’m a construction worker and am constantly doing backbreaking labor” hard.

I think that anyone who takes their absolute favorite hobby and tries to turn it into a real job will understand what I’m saying.  No matter how delightful your job is day-to-day, there’s always something super practical and kind of crappy that you have to deal with.  There are deadlines, paperwork, and (sometimes rude) customers, and (if you’re me) having to deal with the fallout when I say “yes” to one too many projects.  And when your job is also your hobby, you can’t be really go do your hobby to decompress.

Lately I’ve been less than in love with my knitting.  I’ve been designing and writing up two sweaters, which will be lovely when they’re done, but I’m beyond done with knitting them right now.  I even put down one of the prototypes mid-knitting, which I never do- I do my very best to be diligent with my design process.  But, I just can’t make myself pick it up again right now.

And instead of the sweaters I  should be working on, I’ve been plugging away at the wedding blanket for my brother.  It’s turning out wonderfully, but I’m realizing that I greatly miscalculated both the amount of yarn that I’m going to need for it and the amount of time that it’ll take to work up.  So, maybe this will end up being a First Anniversary blanket instead of a Wedding Blanket. Sigh…

Anyway, all of that is to say that I’m itching for a fun, simple, and above all quick project.  Something that I can bang out in an evening or during the kid’s nap time.  Something that doesn’t have a deadline or even a purpose.

Maybe something like a pile of soft knitted balls.  Why? Why not!  For anyone in particular? Maybe my kid! Maybe my dog! What yarn should I use? I donno! Whatever I have laying around!

Knit Ball Pit by Anna HrachovecIMG_7316_medium2

Or I could make a little tiny doll for my kiddo!  Does he like dolls?  No! Has he ever shown any interest in any stuffed animal? No! Are these guys too cute for me to really care? Yes!

Pretty Izzy Dolls by Esther Braithwaiteprettypinkizzydolls_medium2

Would he like them better if they were little animals instead of little people? Doubtful!  Do I find these guys even more charming? Yes!

Forest Friends Dolls by Esther BraithwaiteIMG_6929_medium2

Should I really lean into  the whole “making something for absolutely no reason except it makes me smile” thing?  Yes! Do I actually care about cats? Not particularly! Is this cat stinking adorable? Yes!

Tiny Parlor Cat by Sara Elizabeth KellnerIMG_3331__2__medium2

Don’t get me wrong, every day I’m surprised and pleased and grateful that I can say that for my job, I’m a Knitter.  It’s just one of those weeks that I’m sure everyone gets.  I’m going to go make myself another cup of coffee, dig out some scrap yarn and work up a silly little project or two.  And, once that’s done, I’m sure I’ll be back to making ridiculously gigantic projects at ridiculously tiny gauges.  Because, after all, that’s what I do.

Do you ever get burnt out on knitting? What do you do when the burnout hits?

Pattern: Hurricane Ridge Pullover

It’s been a minute since I have been able to say this, but, guys, I have a new pattern for you!!

Introducing, the Hurricane Ridge Pullover!52558220_02.jpgIt’s a super-cozy, extra-comfy, everyday sweater in the softest superwash wool you’ve ever seen.52558220_06I love this sweater, for real.  I’ve got one in a gorgeous deep red that is just a delight to wear.  It’s made with super-soft Provincial Tweed (which, despite my turbulent relationship with my last Provincial Tweed project, I love dearly).  It’s soft and warm,  and you’ll want to wear it every day.52558220_10The Hurricane Ridge Pullover is a super simple knit.  It’s worked seamlessly from the bottom up and features an asymmetrical split hem, raglan sleeves and a generous shawl collar (perfect for staying warm on cold hikes through the woods).

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(And I know, this post is kind of supposed to be a self-promotion post, but, dang if Knit Picks didn’t hit it out of the park on this collection.  It’s as if they designed a whole book of patterns just for me- so much tweed, so much texture, and so many cozy sweaters!  Definitely check it out.)

Quick and Finished!

You guys know I’m a big sweater knitter.  I love a great big, weeks- (or months-) long project that I can really sink my teeth into.  And if it’s a pattern that I’m making up as I go along, and documenting the whole thing, even better!

But sometimes, there’s nothing better than finding a great pattern and banging out a project in a little over a week.

This little cowl is one of those projects.

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It’s finished!  And it’s super cute!

It’s not perfect (the decreases are a little weird, and I don’t love how the CO edge pulls a little, compared to the super-stretchy brioche fabric), but I don’t mind.  The pattern was quick to work up, and the finished object is cute and totally wearable.  It was a super fun little knit.  I’m not going to say it was “easy”, but once I got my brain around the whole brioche thing, it was pretty straightforward.

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One thing I really love is how it’s totally reversible!  The big color-blocks on the right side are fun, but I kind of love the way the contrasting colors peek out between the bright blue ribs.  (It’s even prettier, and more glow-y in person!)

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This is definitely a piece that I intend to wear a lot in the future!

Have you finished up any fun, quick projects recently?

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

So, I’ve been trying to prune some of my stash.  I used up a bunch of that blue Provincial Tweed for my big old sweater that I finished the other day.  I knit that fair isle sweater for my kid a couple months ago, using up a lot of leftover sock yarn.  And, I’ve made a couple scarves, cowls, and other little in-between-big project projects.

Sometimes I actually use up my yarn.

Sometimes I end up with more yarn than I started with.

So, I’ve had these two little balls of purple yarn for years.  (I got them to make a baby sweater for a friend’s kid.  I think she’s in kindergarten now.  It’s been a while.)  I lost the label, and couldn’t figure out what kind of yarn it was, but I know it was superwash and baby-appropriate.  So I though, “Hey, let’s use up this yarn and make a cute little purple sweater for the boy!”  Seems like a good idea.

Except that I apparently have no idea how much yarn a baby sweater takes.

You’ll notice that I ran out of purple  just about halfway through the sweater. (I knit it bottom-up, so it’s easy to see where I ran into trouble.)IMG_1226.JPGI also kind of guessed on the size, so it’s very, very big on the boy.  Of course, he’ll grow into it, but I was kind of hoping he’d be able to wear it now, when it’s cold out, instead of in 6 months when it’s a million degrees out. (Well, 80.  We live in Seattle after all.)  Oh well.img_1205And, I ended up having to buy a whole big skein of sock yarn to finish the top part of the sweater.  Because, of course, I didn’t have any yarn that matched that particular shade of purple in my stash.  So now I have 3/4 of a skein of sock yarn to add to my stash. So much for paring down my collection.img_1230At least the kid seems to like his new sweater!img_1200How do you use up your yarn?  Or do you just keep buying it, like I seem to be doing?

T’was the week before Christmas

If you’re still knitting gifts for Christmas, good on you.  But I’m afraid that I have some unwelcome news.

You have just about a week before Christmas is officially here.

I’ve got faith in you that you can make it- you’re a knitter, after all, and knitters Get. It. Done.

But, if you’re a knitter who has to make a lot of gifts in a short amount of time, well, might I recommend one (or two… they’re small) of these little patterns.  They all take less than 50 yards of yarn, which means they should work up pretty quickly.

Plus, they’re totally cute!

I love these tiny, adorable long-johns (complete with butt-flap).  They look a little bit fiddly, but, man, they’re cute.  They’d make a really sweet little Christmas ornament (especially if you bent a bit of wire into a teeny-tiny hanger).

Little Long Johns by Susan B. Anderson
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If your recipient is more of a “classy Christmas” type of person and less of a “butt-flaps are funny” type of person, I think these little wreaths are just darling. (Ugh… they’re so fancy that they turned me into a person who says things are “just darling.”  That’s real fancy.)

Holiday Wreath Ornament by The Big String
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And these little guys are just straight-up cute.  They’re somewhere between Dr. Seuss and the kind of window displays you might see at a really nice department store in New York.  I kind of want a tree covered in trees.  How cute would that be?

Wee Three Trees, by Tricia GilbertOtober_Still_Life111052_medium2

If you’re still working on your Christmas knitting, good luck!  You’ve got this!  If you’re done (or just not bothering, like me), congratulations!  Sit back and have a cup of hot cocoa.

Are you making any gifts this year?

Not Shopping

I’ve always taken a weird kind of backwards pride in my stash.  It’s not impressively large, or full of any really fancy or special yarn.  In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite.  I’ve always been proud that it’s pretty well under control.  I try only to buy yarn that I plan on using for a specific project, and I try not to start any new projects until I finish my current ones (within reason… I’m no superhero).

But, I was cleaning out the closet in my studio a few weeks ago, and, well, I realized that my stash isn’t as under control as I thought it was.

I’ve got quite a lot of yarn.

Like, sweater-amounts of yarn.  (Well, baby sweater amounts of yarn, at least.)

Which has made me decide to start on a using-up-stashed-yarn quest.

I began with two skeins of a gigantic mystery yarn.  And I mean gigantic.  It was almost more roving than yarn, crunchy, itchy, bright blue wool.  I pulled out some US19s (really, they’re more like vampire-hunting stakes than knitting needles), and whipped up a quick garter stitch bowl with short rows.  I love how it turned out, but I’m never working with such a big gauge again- such a pain!IMG_1001I’ve also been blowing through a big moss-stitch scarf.  I usually hate scarves (not sure why, when I’ll happily make a shawl or a sweater, or even a gigantic garter stitch blanket), but I’m enjoying this one.  And I think I’ll have enough yarn left over to make a matching hat!  Leftovers on top of leftovers!IMG_0985I’ve already picked out my next projects!  I’m going to make a Zagged Cowl from the green yarn. (I made one years ago when I wrote the pattern, but I can’t find the danged thing for the life of me.  Luckily, I’ve got another skein ready to go!)  The blue on the left, plus the mini skeins are all Madeline Tosh Light- I think they’ll become some kind of color-work, maybe a hat?  I’ve had the mini-skeins hanging on my bulletin board for years, waiting for inspiration to strike, and I think the time might be right to get to work on them.  And, the mystery purple fingering weight on the right- I think that will be a baby sweater, maybe in combination with some other little odds and ends of mystery yarn from my stash.IMG_1009It feels great to be using up yarn (and making room for more!).

Have you ever gone “shopping” in your stash?  What did you find?  What did you make with it.