Tag Archives: knitting

Grumpy Old Man

We’re firmly in the midst of the June Gloom here this week.  If you’re not from Seattle, you might not be familiar with the June Gloom.  Think of it as Indian Summer, except instead of happening in the fall, it happens in the middle of summer, and instead of having surprisingly nice weather, everything gets gray and drizzly, and it doesn’t make it out of the fifties for a couple weeks.

I forget about the June Gloom every year, and just as I start breaking out my tank tops, shorts and sun dresses, Bam! It’s sweater weather again.

Not a big deal for me (obviously, I love a good sweater).  But, my kid was born at the beginning of April, so I assumed that he wouldn’t need warm clothes until he was quite a bit bigger.  I made one sweater that currently fits him, and did an “emergency” Target run to get him a hoodie that wouldn’t swallow him whole.  But, the kid has no hats!  (And no hair!)  He just looks so chilly when we go on walks (my husband says I’m projecting, since I’m always cold, which is 100% possible).

Anyway, I whipped up a quick little hat with some super-soft gray wool to match his little old man sweater.  It’s nothing fancy, just a bottom-up hat with a little ribbing on the brim and a simple crown.  Functional, soft, and warm.I took the boy outside to hang out under our apple tree yesterday afternoon.  The sun had come out, for once, but it was still a little on the chilly side, so I decided to bundle him up.  Sweater, sweatpants (baby pants are hilarious), and… his brand-new hat.

Well, at first he didn’t quite know what to make of it.Then he tried to take it off, but his hand-control isn’t quite there yet.Then he just got mad.So, I guess we’re just not going to be putting hats on him for a while. (And don’t worry, I took this one off right away, and he was soon happily looking at the tree branches and spitting up all over his sweater.)

Of course the knitter’s kid hates hats!  Dang!

Have you ever made something for someone that absolutely hated it?

Wheee!

Sometimes you just get cranking on a project, and before you know it, you’ve finished!  (Or nearly finished).  I love those projects- I’m in the zone, my needles flying.

And, this Baby Surprise Jacket was definitely one of those projects.

I had intended to use a bunch of blue and gray yarn, but it turns out, that I didn’t have as much of those colorways as I had originally thought.  I was a little worried at first, but then I realized, I could just add more colors!  The more colors the merrier, right?  Plus, you know how much I love using up scraps from my stash.

So, instead of plain ol’ blue stripes, I ended up with a very cool (if you don’t mind me saying) blue-to-green gradient!

I finished up the knitting on the sweater yesterday, and as much as I love the gradient, I think my favorite part of this (or any) BSJ is how it folds up- it’s the most satisfying feeling ever!  You start with this weird, wobbly-looking piece of knitting, then you fold up one side…and the other…And, ta-da!  you’ve got a beautiful little baby sweater.

Sure, it still needs a little seaming along the sleeves and some buttons, plus a nice round of blocking wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s essentially finished.

I’m so happy with how this little cardigan has turned out- I think the Baby Surprise Jacket might just be my favorite sweater pattern ever.

ProcrastiKNITion

OK,  I’m “supposed to” be working on my Provincial Tweed sweater.  Or at least “supposed to” be coming up with a plan for that sweater.

Instead, my mind is a blank, and all I want to do is use up more of my sock yarn.  I want to follow a pattern (no math for me today, thank you very much).  And I want to do something quick, easy and familiar.

Well.  I guess there’s just one thing for it.

I’ve gotta break out my Elisabeth Zimmermann and make another Baby Surprise Jacket.I love this pattern.  It’s super simple, with almost zero finishing (unless you put in a bunch of stripes, which I plan on doing… oops).  It’s absolutely ingenious, to the point where I have no idea how EZ figured out how to design and write the dang thing in the first place.  It’s a great way to use up whatever bits and bobs of leftover yarn and salvaged buttons you have laying around.  And, the pattern’s style is absolutely charming.

It’s not a standardized, modern pattern, that’s for sure.  The copy that I use is a reproduced version of the original by-mail newsletter from 1968.  It’s been written on a typewriter, and amended with little drawings, diagrams and notes from Ms. Zimmermann herself.  She has includes little chivvying remarks and jokes in with her pattern instructions, and lets her personality shine through the text of her pattern.  I feel like we would have gotten along swimmingly.Anyway, all that’s to say that I’m making a Baby Surprise Jacket for the little one, using all the leftover bits of blue and gray yarn I have left in my stash after finishing off his baby blanket.  I’m really excited!

Do you have a favorite pattern you go back to time and again when you’re waiting for inspiration to strike?

Putting On My Thinking Cap

It’s been nice to be finished with my Papaya Sweater.  But it was on my needles for so long that I kind of got used to having it as my easy go-to when I had a few minutes of knitting time.  It was something that I always knew I could pick up and get to work on without thinking about what I had to do next.

Now that it’s done, I’ve actually got to put a little thought into what I’m going to do next.

I’ve already decided that I want to use the Provincial Tweed yarn that I got from Knit Picks.  It’s a beautiful colorway, it’s super soft, and I have enough for a whole sweater, so how could I say no?

I spent yesterday morning winding up all the skeins, and now I have a very satisfying bowl of yarn cakes, ready for action!And then, I spent the afternoon working up a nice-sized swatch on US8s.And, I gotta say… I was not expecting this yarn to make such lovely, silky fabric.

I’m not complaining, but I was really surprised how this yarn knit up.  I was expecting something with a little more texture, a little more stitch definition, but that doesn’t seem to be what this yarn wants to do.It’s possible that if I go down a needle size (or two or three), this yarn might get a little more backbone, but I don’t know if I want to futz with that.  It might be better to just go with the flow (or rather, go with the nice flow-y fabric that I’ve already got).

I had been planning on making some sort of  cabled pullover, something like this one (except maybe a little less fancy).  But, I don’t think that’s going to work with the texture of the Provincial Tweed yarn.Instead, I’m now thinking I might need to make something a little looser and drapier.  (And something that possibly looks a lot more like my Papaya Sweater than I had originally intended for this yarn.)  I might try a cardigan like this, or design something myself.I’ve got to put my thinking cap on for a bit and see if I can’t figure out what I should do.  (Or, in true Allison fashion, I could leave the yarn to percolate in my studio for the next six months or so before I ever actually knit anything with it.)

What would you do in this situation?

FINISHED!!!!

I did it!  I kind of didn’t think I ever would, but I’ve proved myself wrong!

I finished the Papaya Sweater!  It only took me six and a half months, but I did it!

Now, before I show you the “finished” pictures, I want to show you this:This is literally all the yarn that was leftover from the original 11 skeins.  I managed to call it perfectly.  I finished binding off, and had about 4 feet of yarn left (plus little bits and bobs from the other parts of the sweater), so I didn’t even have to really play yarn chicken.  So satisfying!

Anyway, you want to see the finished sweater!

It turned out really great!  It’s blocked up nice and drapey and comfy.  The sleeves are the perfect length, and the fabric is a nice medium-thickness, not so thin that it will have trouble keeping me warm, and not so thick that I’ll start sweating the moment I put it on. It’s going to be a perfect transitional piece, which is exactly what you want for Seattle.  Not too warm and not too cold.

(FYI, I’m writing this from the past, so I’m super duper pregnant in these pictures… hopefully as you are reading his, I will be less pregnant.  Fingers crossed!)

Anyway, here she is in all her papaya-y glory:I even love the big plain back- it ended up being a really flattering length on me (not that I really planned it that way- I just stopped knitting when I was about to run out of yarn).  It’s not fancy, but I can see myself wearing it for a really long time.I like that it’s open, without any fastenings, but I could totally see fancying it up with a shawl pin, or maybe adding a button or something, if I decide I need to be able to close it up.Whoo!  It feels great to be done with such a big project!

But, now, I guess I have to figure out what to do next.

Have you finished anything lately?

She Could Go All The Waaaaaay!

It’s happening, guys!  I think it’s really happening!

I think I might be able to finish my Papaya Sweater!

It’s got sleeves now!Sure, they’re not the slim, fitted sleeves that I had originally envisioned, but that’s OK.  Frankly, there’s no way at this point that I’m going to go back and rip out all that work.  There are worse things than a sweater having slightly oversized sleeves.  And, if I’m being honest, they’re not really “oversized” they’re just not closely fitted.  They’re definitely one of those “mistakes” that only the knitter herself will notice.  (And now, you’ll notice too, since I told you about them.  Oops.)I’ve even got the body to about 13 inches long!  That’s about waist-length on me, so I know I’m getting close!  I’ve got two and a half balls of yarn left, and each ball of yarn adds 3-ish inches of sweater, so I should (assuming I did my estimating/math right) end up with a 20-inch-ish long body on this sweater, which sounds perfect and cozy!Now I just need to find a new TV show to binge-watch as I finish off this bad boy!

Have you made any headway on your big projects lately?

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?

Pattern: Socks for Everybody

I’ve got a heck of a surprise for you guys!

It’s big news!  Exciting news!  Guess what?!

I wrote a book!Look at that!  It’s got my name on the cover and everything!

It’s a super-comprehensive “how to knit socks” book!The book is basically one big old recipe for making socks of every possible variety.  You want to make top-down socks with cables? Covered.  Want to make toe-up socks with stripes? No problem. Are you thinking about baby socks with afterthought heels? Done.

Socks For Everybody is a big a la carte instruction book that lets you make any sized socks using any yarn you prefer with any heel/toe/cuff/design combo you want.

I’ve included tons of tutorials detailing how to get through the trickier parts of sock construction (with lots of beautiful pictures to help you on your way), making this book perfect for people who have never quite gotten up the guts to try sock knitting before.Sure, this book is great for people who are new to the amazing world of sock knitting, but it’s also great for experienced sock knitters who are looking for help with designing their own socks.  I’ve included instructions on custom-fitting socks to your feet (and your yarn), as well as tips on picking the right heel/toe combo and design elements.I think this book has the potential to become a great resource for any sock knitter- a book that you can come back to again and again, whenever you need a new, customized pattern for that next pair of socks.I’m super happy with how this book turned out, and I really hope that you guys are as excited about it as I am.

If you want your own copy of Socks for Everybody, head over to Knit Picks.  (Or, if you prefer an e-book, follow this link.)

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?

Pips

Speaking of finishing off projects, I am really on a roll lately.

I’m still knitting on my Papaya sweater like a fiend, but I took a break yesterday to update the last little finishing touch on my Mini-Picard Sweater.

In case you forgot, I made a teeny little cardigan, inspired by my favorite Starfleet Captain, Jean-Luc Picard.  I broke out the red and black sock yarn and teensy little needles. I knit the whole thing up, blocked it and added buttons, and a row of little gold Captain’s pips on the collar.But the gold buttons I had bought were too big!  They looked awkward and funky.  They were only a quarter inch across, but they were too much for such a teeny sweater!So, I took another trip to JoAnn’s this weekend and picked up the teensiest gold buttons I could find.  And, voila! Perfection!Or at least close enough to perfect that I’m super happy with how they turned out!  Now my little sweater is fit for a tiny captain, and I couldn’t be more pleased!Have you ever made a small change that has completely changed your opinion of a finished object?