Tag Archives: knitting

Holiday Check-In

Hi guys!  How’s your holiday season shaping up?  We’ve got less than a week until Haunnukah begins, about two weeks until my brother’s birthday, and just under three weeks until Christmas.  (What?  You don’t celebrate my brother’s birthday, too?!)

How is your gift preparation going?  Are you furiously knitting away, or are you already planning on wrapping up a half-finished scarf for your mom this year?  I’m keeping it super low-key this year, and the few gifts I’m knitting for people have already been finished.  Actually, I’m mostly just diving into my Finished Object Stash for knitted gifts this year.

It’s lucky that I decided to take it easy on my knitting this year, though, because it turns out I have a new work knitting project that’s due just after the new year.  So, I’ve definitely got my hands full this winter.While I don’t have a lot of specifically Christmas-themed knitting, I do have a TON of baking I still have to do yet.  And, unfortunately, you can’t really get your baking done that early.  So, I guess I’ll have my hands full (and covered in butter and flour) from next week through Christmas.

I think I’m OK with that- there’s nothing more festive than spending the day (or the week) filling up your house with a half-dozen types of Christmas cookies.

How’s your holiday to-do-list going?

Christmas Balls Are Go!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

What? It’s not Christmas yet?  But I’m drinking my morning coffee with egg nog instead of milk, and I may have just eaten a sugar cookie (breakfast of champions!), and my house is festive as all get out!  It certainly feels like Christmas around here.

We decorated last weekend.  Our front yard is full of twinkling lights (though some of our strands of lights are starting to get a little sad- I think we’re going to need to buy new ones for next year).  We’ve hung the stockings by the chimney with care, and we put up out (not quite straight) Christmas tree.

Usually I’m a “let’s use every single ornament we’ve ever come across” kind of tree decorator.  It’s usually packed to the gills, with almost every branch holding at least an ornament or two.  But this year we switched it up…

And used my Christmas Balls!I managed to finish 24 balls (I still have a handful that haven’t been filled yet), which turned out to be just enough to decorate the front of the tree!  I love how bold and cheerful they turned out.They look great, and (bonus!) I don’t have to worry about the dog pulling down the tree and breaking everything.I couldn’t be happier with how they’ve turned out.  Now I just have to make the other 30-ish balls, to finish out the book.  Maybe by next year, I’ll have them all finished?

(I tried to get a nice picture of Ollie in front of the tree, but he didn’t want to cooperate.  So, here’s the best one.)Have you decorated for the holidays yet?  What

Go Baby Sweater!

I gotta say, there’s something really, really satisfying about making baby sweaters (especially worsted-weight ones).  They just go so fast!

I feel like I’ve barely had any time to work on it, but my Baby Sophisticate is already almost complete!I’ve already finished the body, the button band/collar combo, and one of the sleeves!  It’s a little longer than I expected, but I think that’s OK–it’ll just be extra-cozy.  I still have to decide on which buttons to use, or if I “need” to go shopping for more, but that’s not a problem.

It’s been great to be able to work on a sweater that doesn’t take 45 minutes to knit across (*cough* Papaya Sweater *cough*).  I mean, look at this tiny sleeve! It’s just over 20 stitches around.  It’s so small I can use safety pins as stitch holders!The only problem I can foresee is that I’m approaching the end of my skein, and I think it’s going to be a little close getting through my whole left sleeve before I run out.

But, worst case scenerio, I use a little bit of green to make the cuff (I used the same yarn to make a sweater for my husband years ago, and managed to order way more than I needed- lucky me!).

Have you ever made baby clothes before?

One-Month Warning!

It’s coming!

Get ready!

I hope you’ve already gotten a jump on your knitting.  Because:

You’ve got one month until Christmas!Good luck!

(OK, really you have a month plus one day, but still…)

Inspiration: Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy early Thanksgiving, everyone!  If you’re in the US, you’re probably already prepping for the big meal tomorrow.  (I know I am!) My whole family is coming into town first thing tomorrow, and my husband and I are doing the whole spread- turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, pie, the works.  (I’m actually roasting some pumpkin for the pie and making some candied pecans right now… my house smells very good this morning.)

I’m actually vegetarian, so I don’t really care about the turkey (that’s my husband’s thing, but I’ve been told he makes a mean turkey).  For me, the whole point of Thanksgiving dinner is the sides.  So, let’s talk about my favorite sides (with some knitting, because that’s what I do).

Stuffing might be my favorite savory side.  I use the same recipe that my dad used when I was a kid, it’s full of sage and thyme, apple bits and big, juicy raisins.  So good!  The first time I made it, I was shocked because it starts by melting a whole cup of butter, then sauteing a bunch of celery and onion, basically making butter soup.  No wonder everyone likes it!

Stuffed Mittens by TECHknitterMashed potatoes are a staple in our house- I probably make a batch of them every couple weeks (I’m from the Midwest, after all).  My usual mashed potatoes are pretty chill- un-peeled potatoes, a little butter, a little of whatever milk I have in the fridge, and salt and pepper.  For Thanksgiving, I pull out all the stops- I put in the effort to peel all the potatoes, and step up my game with sour cream and whole milk, the whole nine yards.  So creamy and tasty!

Mash Potato Socks by Verena Cohrs

One side that most people keep strictly to Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce.  I am not most people.  I’m a cranberry fiend.  The moment fresh cranberries come into season, I stock up.  I make cranberry muffins, cranberry pancakes, and generally have a bowl of home-made cranberry sauce in my fridge.  I love it on cheese sandwiches (I realize this is weird), with mashed potatoes, or just plain, eaten with a spoon.  My favorite!

Cranberry Sauce by Brittany Tyler SimmondsBut the best part of Thanksgiving might be dessert.  Specifically pumpkin pie.  I gotta say, I make a mean pumpkin pie.  I go fully from scratch- make my own crust, roast my own pumpkins (though this year I’m using Blue Hubbard Squash, because my grocery store was out of sugar pie pumpkins!  The horror!) and garnish with homemade candied pecans and bourbon whipped cream.  I mean what’s not to love?

Pumpkin-Pie by jo columbineDo you celebrate Thanksgiving?  What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods?

Knitter’s Block

You guys have all heard of writer’s block, right?  When a writer simply can’t bring themself to keep writing, or maybe they just can’t figure out what to write next.

I propose that I am currently experiencing the knitter’s version of writer’s block.  Knitter’s block.

Since I finished my super secret vampire project, I’ve been kind of at loose ends.  I’ve got a bunch of knitting I should be doing.  And, if I’m being honest, I’ve been working on it a bit.  I’ve added a couple dozen rows to my Papaya Sweater, and I’ve knit up a handful of Christmas Balls over the last couple weeks. I even added a couple inches to my last Mother Bear of the year.

But, I gotta say, I’m not terribly inspired.I’ve been thinking, and right now, it seems I have a couple options:

  1.  Keep plugging away.  Pro: I get to finish the projects I’ve started.  Con: I’m boooooored.
  2. Dig out some other half-finished project and finish it.  Pro: They’ll be finished.  Also, I’ll get back the project bags and needles that have been sequestered (in some cases) for years.  Con: There’s a reason those projects ended up in my pile of hibernating WIPS.
  3. Start a new project.  Pro: New project!  A new excuse to go yarn shopping! Con: What about all the other projects?

Or, I could just continue to ignore the problem, make myself another cup of hot cocoa, and take Ollie on a walk.Options.

What do you do when you get bored with your knitting?

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?

Papaya Sweater Update- Stockinette Upon Stockinette

I’ve been back at work with my Papaya Sweater. But I gotta tell you, it’s slow going.

Not because it’s a difficult pattern.  It’s super simple, relaxing knitting.  It’s great TV knitting (we’re slowly catching up on Stranger things- so good!).  I still like the color (though I’m still unsure why I purchased this tropical shade of pink-y orange-it’s so unlike my usual style).

The problem with this sweater is that it’s:

  1. Massive (Yes, I know I picked out an extra-long, extra-flowy sweater, so this one’s on me).
  2. Knit at a fairly small gauge (For a big ol’ sweater).
  3. Really big (I don’t think I can understate this).
  4. 100% stockinette (Like, that’s all it is!).
  5. Gigantic (For real, it’s just huge).

Don’t get me wrong, I like stockinette as much as the next lady.  It’s beautiful and simple, it’s easy to do and blocks up like a dream.  But, y’all, there’s so much of it.  I’m only a few inches past the armpits and I’m already daydreaming of the shoulder shaping again.  Maybe I should add a little bit of lace or some sort of texture along the fronts, or a small cable running down the “seams” under the arms.

Or (if I’m being honest) I’ll probably just keep moving right along, whining about all the stockinette, and working up a quick Christmas Ball or two when I get bored.

Anyway, I can always take a break from the body of the sweater to make up the arms, if the situation gets really dire.

What’s on your needles right now?

Vogue Knitting: The Damage

Woo!  What a weekend!

(Yes, I know it’s Wednesday.  My weekend went all the way through Monday, which is why I haven’t updated you on Vogue Knitting Live until now.)

The yarn show was amazing.  So much pretty yarn!  So many beautiful sweaters!  So many lovely people!

I visited the Knit Picks Booth and finally got to meet everyone I’ve been working with for the last couple years (we’ve been working via email and hadn’t met face-to-face yet).  And, I’m happy to report that everyone is just as lovely as I hoped.  (Although it was mega-weird for little ol’ introverted me to have people recognize my name, and pull out their WIPs of my projects!)

In fact, I had such a good time on Saturday, that I 100% forgot to take any pictures!  (I’m so bad at social media!)

I did, however drop a good bit of money on yarn, and yarn-adjacent accessories.  (I got mighty close to buying a $75 skein of alpaca, but just managed to control myself- it was just so pretty!)  Unfortunately for you guys, most of my purchases are earmarked to be Christmas gifts, and their recipients read this blog, so you won’t get to see those. (I promise, they’re super cool, though!)

Anyway, here’s my haul:Not too bad, if I say so myself!  (Sorry about the colors- it’s very overcast here (it is Seattle, after all), so I had a hell of a time taking pictures this morning.)  Two amazing skeins of sock yarn and an adorable set of buttons.

I got this skein of Country Yarns Presents Artistry, and when I showed it to my husband, and he said “Oh, it’s your colors.” Apparently my colors are teal, turquoise, blue and violet.  I can’t say he’s wrong.  This picture does not do this yarn justice- in real life it’s bright, vibrant, and very peacock-y.  I’m itching to start making some socks with it.

I’ve actually purchased Hazel Knits Artisan Sock before, and made a really lovely pair of broken rib socks in a beautiful, subtle charcoal/navy color.  I love those socks.

Unfortunately, my husband loves those socks, too.

So, I purchased this skein of electric-purple so I can have my own socks (since my husband won’t (probably) steal them).  We’ll have to see if it works.I forgot the name of the vendor that was selling these buttons- she had hundreds of resin buttons in every color in the rainbow.  Some were shiny, some were glittery, some had tiny flowers embedded inside them.  They were all beautiful.

I couldn’t pass up these little gorgeous guys.  They remind me of gumdrops or tiny hard candies.  I think they’d be fantastic on a little baby sweater, but they might end up on something for me, instead.  For now, they just look great hanging out on my desk.

I am so happy with my purchases, I can’t wait to get knitting with them!  Maybe I should put aside my Papaya Sweater again?  That thing’ll never get done at this rate!

Have you made any especially exciting purchases lately?