Tag Archives: knitting

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!

Christmas Ball Update

Lately, I haven’t had much time for “fun” knitting. (“But, Allison!” You protest, “All knitting is fun!”)  I’ve been hard at work on a very cool (yet, ironically  very cozy) and very top-secret pattern.  I have to knit X amount of the pattern every day to stay on track to make my deadline at the beginning of November.  It’s not a very relaxing schedule for my knitting, but it’s what works best for me.  If I don’t give myself a daily deadline, I try to get the whole darn thing done in one sitting and I go a little crazy.

On the days when I finish my assigned knitting early, I’ve been treating myself with Arne and Carlos’ Christmas Balls.I got the book last year for Christmas, and have since then, I’ve harbored hopes that I could cover our tree with nothing but red-and-white knit bobbles.  So far, I have made a bunch (just over a dozen), but unless we get a very small tree, it’s not going to be enough.

Despite being a little disappointed with my progress, I’m still loving making these balls.  They’re the perfect in-between project. They’re interesting, and great colorwork practice.  They don’t take long to make (one ball takes me about 2 hours to knit- just enough knitting to watch a movie).  And, they’re very satisfying.  I want to make all the Christmas Balls!

I just have to finish my stupid work knitting first… sigh.

Do you have any favorite “in-between” patterns you keep going back to?

Inspiration: Pumpkin Spice

Y’all.  It’s that time of year again!  And I think you know what time I mean.

Pumpkin Spice Time.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the OG Pumpkin Spice Latte (too sweet for me), but I love all other things Pumpkin Spice.  I mean, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice?  You can’t go wrong!

I made some applesauce the other day with some Pumpkin Spice in it (very tasty), and I’ve been known to whip a batch of pumpkin pancakes and a loaf or two of pumpkin bread (with pumpkin spice, natch).  Not to mention several pumpkin pies every fall/winter.  I mean.  Can you think of a better breakfast than a slice of creamy pumpkin pie with a steaming cup of coffee?  (Of course pie is a “sometimes” breakfast, I’m not completely a monster.)

Anyway, let’s celebrate the reason for the season with some Pumpkin Spice knits!

This baby hat is too cute to be trusted.  I bet that baby is scheming to steal my pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Spice Hat by Cuie Patootees

 

This cowl is such a lovely combo of textures and colors, I can’t think of anything better.  Except maybe a Pumpkin Spice chai?

Pumpkin Spice Cowl by Agnes Kutas-KeresztesI couldn’t talk about Pumpkin Spice projects without including a coffee sleeve!  Perfect for your next Pumpkin Spice Latte. (You can’t use it for a regular drip coffee, or even a vanilla latte.  It’s particular.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes only.)

Pumpkin Spice by Evan MiddletonWhat’s your favorite part of this time of year, and why is it pumpkin-spice everything?

Papaya Sweater Update- The Pits

I’ve made it through the tricky part (as far as this sweater has a tricky part; it’s exceptionally simple).  The shoulders look great, and I made it to the arm/body split, otherwise known as the armpit.

From now on, it’s basically straight stockinette down to the extra-long hem (unless I get really antsy and try doing something fancy).

I want this sweater to be as long as I can possibly make it, so I’m going to do a couple inches (probably to the end of this skein)  on the body, then switch over and finish off the sleeves.  That way, I can work to the very last inch of the very last skein to make the rest of the body.  (We all know how well my last game of yarn chicken went… let’s hope this one works out a little better.)I really like how this sweater is turning out- I keep thinking of outfits it would be perfect with.  But, I have a while to go before I get to take this bad boy off my needles.  I just need to buckle down and turn into a real knitting machine.

Have you been working on any marathon projects lately?

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!

An Ode to Cables

Oh, cables.  I love you so.

It seems that virtually every design I’ve been working on lately is just packet to the brim with cables.  Big cables, little cables, simple cables, compound cables.  Cables going down sleeves, cables running up the fronts of sweaters.  Wide cables, narrow cables, and ones in-between.I’ve made cables with extra-fine sock yarn, and massively bulky yarn.  In soft cashmere and utilitarian wool.Cables occupy that perfect space in-between cozy/casual and fancy/embellished.  They’re sporty, yet warm.  Comfy, but classy.  They can be dressed up or dressed down (or, if it’s possible) dressed side to side.I don’t just love the finished products, either.  There’s nothing more satisfying than breaking out my cable needle and carefully forming an intricate twist.  (Even when I mess up, it’s OK.  Figuring out how the cable goes back together is half the fun!)Do you have a particular favorite technique?  Or, do you agree with me that cables are the best?

Finished Moon River

I just realized that I didn’t ever tell you guys… I finished my Moon River!

And it actually turned out pretty great!  (Massive, but pretty great, none the less.)

It’s got a good 5-foot-plus wingspan, and since it’s a half-circle, is about 2-and-a-half feet deep.  It’s light as a feather, and will be lovely and warm once winter gets here.

I think the last time I talked about this project, I was crying about losing at yarn chicken.  Well, I ripped back a significant portion, and re-knit it (a couple times actually… it was very frustrating), and eventually figured out that the only way I was going to make it to the end was if I changed the bind off I was doing.

I had been doing a 2-stitch picot edge, which made lovely, elegant points, but used up a ton of yarn.  I had to change to a less yarn-intensive bind off.  So I ripped back a couple feet (it’s a massive shawl, and I didn’t want to rip back the whole thing), and re-bound-off with a 1-stitch picot edge.You can see where I changed my bind-off technique here.  It looks a little silly if you look too closely, but I figure that once I have it on, no one will notice.

Long story short, I managed to make it to the end… but just barely.That’s literally all the yarn that was leftover… one, maybe one and a half inches.

But, I managed to weave in all the ends  and get the shawl blocked, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.

Now I just have to decide how I’m going to wear this massive thing!

Inspiration: Autumnal Equinox

It’s officially Fall!  Happy Autumnal Equinox, everybody!  It’s now officially the best time of the year!!  It’s time for cool, drizzly days, steaming cups of hot cider, and cozy afternoons knitting on the couch and listening to old records.  The Autumn Rain has started here in Seattle, and I’m looking forward to everything getting green again.

(What, I’m the only one who prefers cold and rainy over sunny and hot?  Well, I’m a knitter, it’s in my DNA.)

Autumn is the time of year I like to start hibernating, making my house as cozy as possible.  It’s all about warm soups and comfy blankets (until the day after Thanksgiving, at which point my house turns into a Magical Christmas Extravaganza).

If I didn’t have a million things to do, I’d make myself this fantastic fall afghan.  I have a similar one that my Mother-in-Law (Hi Kris!) made me years ago.  I keep it in my studio, and it’s perfect for when my old house gets a little too drafty.  But this one’s lovely color scheme would be perfect for autumn!

Autumn Waves Throw by Mary MaximOr maybe I should make this blanket?  I can’t get over how gorgeous this crazy-oversized lace pattern is.  I bet it would work up in no time!

Autumn Lace / Winter Lace / Mayfield Afghan by Lion Brand YarnI don’t think you can have too many blankets (just ask my husband), but you can’t be truly comfy without a few pillows in the mix.  And my current throw pillows are getting a little bit… disreputable (dog hair just gets everywhere).   Maybe I should bust out a couple cute new throw pillows?  Maybe ones like this:

Autumn Equinox Pillow by Maria O’KeefeWhat do your thoughts turn to in the fall?

Mother Bear Update

So, I’m not doing a great job with my New Year’s Resolution to complete one mother bear every month this year.  So far my MO has been to do nothing with my bears for a good three or four months, then panic and knit up a bunch of bears in a weekend.

And this month has been no different.

I spent last weekend sewing up the half-dozen bears I had knit and stuffed back in June, and the first half of this week has been focused on knitting up three more bear bodies (I still owe an arm and a half to finish my September bear).

None of my bears have faces yet, but that’s OK.  I’m currently planning on doing all the faces in one fell swoop over the holidays.  That seems like a nice Chrismassy activity- sewing faces onto charity teddy bears while listening to Christmas carols and munching on gingerbread.  It feels very much like something out of a book from the 1940s.

Have you been making any Mother Bears?  Or are you busy doing other charity knitting?

The Island of Forgotten Projects

I’m proud of my little stash of finished projects.  It’s satisfying to see them all folded neatly, ready to be gifted at the next holiday.

But, I have a second stash.  A secret stash.  A shameful stash. A stash that lives in the bookcase next to my desk (I started keeping everything there in the hopes that having to look at it every day would spur myself into doing something to take care of it…  It has not worked yet).

It’s my stash of unfinished projects.

I’m not even going to show you everything, because it’s that embarrassing.

There are several pairs of socks- I decided halfway down the brown sock’s cuff that I didn’t love knitting the pattern.  (I actually really like how the pattern’s turning out, it’s just a pain in the butt to do), and the black/pink socks were being knit at an insanely tight gauge… I don’t know why I decided to start a pair of socks on 0’s!  I never knit with anything smaller than 2s! Not my smartest moment.

Then there’s the box overflowing with my Mama Bears.  Which are in turn overflowing with stuffing because I realized that I don’t have any of the right colors of yarn to finish sewing them up!  (I’ll probably just use some other scraps I have laying around, but there’s a part of my brain that thinks that if I just let the bears hang out in the corner for a little longer, they’ll magically grow extra yarn.  Yeah… that’s how that works.)There are even some projects that are so old, I’m pretty sure I started them before I moved to the new house… almost four years ago.  This scarf, for instance.  I started it as a way to use some pretty fun-fetti-colored yarn I spun.  But, then I decided the scarf was turning out too narrow.  So now it lives in a project bag on a shelf among the other half-forgotten projects.Look!  I even stole the needles from this project… that’s how little confidence I had in myself to finish this project.  Sigh…I know I’m not the only one with a shameful WIP stash.  Make me feel better!  Tell me what you’re totally going to finish… (some day)