Tag Archives: knitting

Oof.

And I thought last week was wild…

Well, we’re now “Sheltering in Place,” and I haven’t been out of the house (other than daily walks with my kiddo around the block) in a couple weeks.  Social media is stressing me out, but it’s also the only way I can keep in touch with everyone, so I feel like I can’t just ignore it.  It’s not been great.  (Though, again, we’re safe and healthy, we haven’t lost our jobs, and we are in a really good place to weather this storm.)

When we first went into quarantine, I thought “Sweet!  I’ll get so much knitting done!  I”ll make a new sweater for the kid, and for me, and for my husband.  I’ll do some designing, and maybe self-publish a pattern or two.” But to be honest, I haven’t done any of that.  I have barely even picked up my needles.

IMG_2725.JPGNot to say I haven’t been productive, in other ways.  I’ve done a ton of yard work, I’ve constructed a tent in the living room from our neighbor’s bamboo, string and blankets, and I’ve built more LEGO houses, tunnels and trains than I could count. But, I haven’t really been knitting.

I think it’s the quiet, meditative, part of knitting that makes it hard for me to sit down with my needles right now.  I don’t want to be still and quiet.  I want to be out in the back yard with a saw and a pickax and a shovel.

But, I know this will pass, and soon enough I will want to pick up my needles again and finish up that pair of socks I started as a “fun” project right before this whole thing went down.  The day will come when sitting quietly on the couch with a cup of tea sounds calming, and not anxiety-provoking.  And it will probably come soon.  I just have to be OK with it taking a little time.

After all, the socks will be there waiting whenever I’m ready.

What are you doing during all this at-home time?

 

This is what we’ve been preparing for!

Y’all, the last two weeks have been wild.

We’re in Seattle, and I’ll start by saying, we’re totally fine.  (Other than a little cabin fever, of course.)  Schools are closed until late April (so the kid’s playgroups are closed), the Zoo and museums are closed and, well, everything is closed.  And (as of the time I’m writing this), we’re supposed to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people, which… is rough.

We’re taking lots of very long, very quiet walks (there are very few cars on the streets), watching movies (I can pretty much recite Frozen at this point), reading lots of books, and working in the yard.  It’s real weird.

But, if ever there was a group of people ready for mass quarantine, I think it’s knitters.  After all, what have we been accumulating our stashes for, if not this?

So, in honor (?) of the pandemic, let’s talk scrappy projects.  Just because we can’t make it to our LYS’s doesn’t mean we can’t make something beautiful.

First, the classic, the ne plus ultra, the epitome of scrap projects, the Beekeeper’s Quilt.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure that anyone has ever actually finished one of these projects, but dang, if it doesn’t look satisfying.  And what a wonderful way to burn through scraps!

the beekeeper’s quilt by tiny owl knits

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And, if we’re talking color-mixing and using up scraps, we can’t not talk about Stephen West.  This sweater asks for bulky, or DK, or sport, or worsted, or lace-weight yarn and would lend itself to using just about as many colors as you want or have.  Perfect for end-of-the-world stash-busting!

Penguono by Stephen West

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Maybe you want to go a little less wacky than Stephen West (which I get- his style isn’t necessarily for everyone).  I bet you could dig through your stash and make a gradient of sock yarn.  And, if you had a little mohair to hold with it, all the better!  I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous reverse stockinette pullover that features a beautiful gradient and an eye-catching slipped-stitch yoke.
Sorrel by Wool & Pine
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But maybe you’re not up for a whole sweater right now- I get it, you need to be in a certain head space to cast on a sweater, and we might not all be there right now.  Maybe you’re looking for nothing more than a big, squishy, cozy triangle shawl that is just this side of being a blanket.  I know I always want to retreat into a cocoon when I’m stressed, and I think this shawl might just be the most socially-acceptable to cocoon yourself up.
Nightshift by Andrea Mowry
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I hope you’re staying safe (and sane)!
What’s on your to-knit list for the next couple weeks?

It’s So Fuzzy!

Oooh, y’all!  This sweater is going to be amazing!

I flew through the yoke (that lace panel was fun!), and I’m cruising through the body (I’m still not sure if I want it to be cropped or not… but I’ve got a couple inches before I have to decide).  IMG_2720.JPG

I’ve gotta say, the neckline looks wild (it looks wide enough to be a waistband!).  But, I’m trusting the pattern.  It has you pick up the provisional cast-on and work the neckline ribbing with much smaller needles, which should make the sweater look more like a sweater and less like a caftan.  Fingers crossed that it turns out the way I’m hoping it will.

But I kinda don’t care how the finished sweater looks, because I just can’t get over how fuzzy and soft and glow-y this fabric is.  I wish you could reach through the computer and pet this yarn.  The combo of the heavy/drapey fingering weight bamboo and the fluffy silk/merino is just a delight.  Honestly, the reason that I haven’t already finished this sweater is that I keep pausing my knitting to pet it.  It’s really becoming a problem.

What is the project that you’re most excited about right now?

New, fun, and fuzzy!

As you know, I’ve been trying to make a point of using up my stash yarns this year.  (With mixed results- my Stonecroft Shawl is still sitting next to my computer, waiting to be frogged and re-knit, and I’ve managed to actually make more yarn… but still.)

I’ve mentioned that I have three skeins of a really nice merino-bamboo blend that have been in my stash for literally years- they might even have gone through a couple moves with me.  The yarn is lovely- soft, lightly shiny, with a beautiful drape.  But, despite the colorway being named “Peacock,” they’re kind of a denim-blue, with gray undertones.  It’s a nice enough color, but not something to inspire me to pick them up and knit something big.

Well.  I have decided what I want to do with this yarn.  If I don’t like the blue on it’s own, why not add something really crazy?  Something that’s beyond out-there (for me, anyway).  How about something hand-dyed, silky (literally) and fuzzy?

And why not jump on the bandwagon and make something completely out of my wheelhouse?  Lace! (Why not?) 3/4 sleeves! (Sure!) Cropped! (Of course!) Girly! (OK!)

That’s right, I’m making a Love Note!TCK-lovenote-01a.jpg

It’s a sweater I’ve had my eye on for a while- it’s so cute, and it looks like it would knit up in about fifteen minutes.  And I like the idea of holding a fingering-weight and a mohair/lace-weight together (so not what I usually do, but it looks fun).  And what a better way to use up my blue yarn?  Might as well have fun while stash-busting.

So I hit up my local yarn store and bought the second-brightest yarn they had.  (I almost bought a legit rainbow-colored one, but then I chickened out.)  It’s Knitted Wit Fairy Floss in Rock Candy Teal (real peacock colors!).

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I wound them up and worked up a swatch, and… it’s so good!  I love how the Fairy Floss wakes up the Classic Merino Bamboo, and the Classic Merino Bamboo tones down the craziness of the Fairy Floss.  It’s the perfect odd-couple of yarn!

Plus, this lace pattern is super cute!

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This sweater’s going to be interesting, I can already tell.  Either I’m going to love it and never take it off, or I’m going to wear it once and find a friend to give it to.  

But, either way, it’s going to be a fun knit!

Do you ever start projects outside your wheelhouse?

7 and counting

It’s funny.  Had you asked me 7 years ago if I’d still be writing patterns and blogging, I probably would have laughed at you.  Heck, had you asked me two years ago (with the kid just around the corner) if I’d still be writing today, I’d be kinda skeptical.  But, here we are- still cruising along. IMG_2674

I know that knitting is definitely one of those things that I will always do, in one way or another.  It’s my favorite way to get my creative juices flowing.  It lets me express myself and clothe my family (and myself).  It gives me something to do with my hands while I’m binging the next Netflix show (by the way, Next in Fashion is a delight).  It’s so much a part of me that I don’t know what I would do with myself if I (for some reason) was not able to knit.

But, I always thought that knitting would be “just” a hobby.  Something I did for fun, on the weekends, and while waiting in boring meetings.  I never thought it would become the thing that I defined my professional life by.  It’s been a wild ride.

Anyway, thank you for following with me on this crazy 7-year-long project.  It’s probably (definitely) the longest I’ve worked on a single thing, and while it’s nice to see the follows and the likes on my posts, the satisfaction I get from seeing my body of work is even better.

It’s been 7 years, I’ve written (almost) 900 posts, published 88 patterns (with a few more in the works),  been featured in 25 collections, 1 magazine, and I’ve written my own sock book (which just got re-printed, by the way!).  I’m not usually comfortable tooting my own horn, but after 7 years, well… Toot toot!

Good news/bad news

So, I’ve got good news and bad news about my shawl.

Good news: I’ve made it almost to the end.  I finally decided to stop adding repeats and start the border.  It’s a nice size, and I love how the pattern looks all worked up in this yarn.  I think it’s going to look even more fabulous when I’ve blocked it out.IMG_2611

Other good news: The border is looking good.  I love the way the faux-cable ends so crisply and the border takes over.

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Still more good news: I really enjoyed the stretchy bind-off the pattern calls for.  It looks a bit messy now, but I think it’ll block up like a dream.  I’m going to keep it in mind for future projects.

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And here’s the bad news:  I totally lost at yarn chicken.  And, since this is the only skein I have of this yarn, I can’t just grab a couple yards of yarn from somewhere else.  So I’ve got two options:  undo the bind-off and the last couple rows and re-knit an even narrower border. (The border is already more narrow than called for in the pattern because I procrastinated starting the border in the first place.)  Or, I can rip all the way back to the body of the shawl, remove the last faux-cable repeat, and start the whole border earlier, make it wider and (hopefully) not run out of yarn before I’m ready.  I’m not super stoked about either choice.

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What would you do?

Triangles

It’s been a while since I did a triangle shawl, and I forgot one very important thing about them.

They’re triangles.

I realize this seems obvious; it’s right there in the name.  But it’s one thing to pick out a project and another to actually knit it up.

The thing about triangles is that they start out skinny, then get wider and wider as you go.  (Again, very obvious.)  So, when I started this shawl two weeks ago, it was a breeze!  I flew through the first 5 charts!  It was knitting up so fast, and I was having such fun with the project.  IMG_2585

Then, the inherent triangle-ness took over and the rows slowly became longer and longer, and the shawl started feeling like it was slowing down.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like it.  It’s a very satisfying pattern, and the contrasting lace panels are fun to work.  But it’s getting to be slow going.IMG_2590

Also, I’ve been trying to see how many repeats I can do before I have to start the wide band of edging.  I’ve got more yarn than the Small size calls for, but less than the Large, so it’s kind of a guessing game.  I swear I’ve said “OK, I’ll work one more repeat, then I’ll start the edging” maybe 6 times at this point.  I really like this yarn and want to use every last bit, but I also have very little interest in losing yarn chicken and having to rip it out again.

Maybe I’ll do one more repeat, then I’ll start the edging…

A New Project Emerges!

I’m so ready for this one, folks!

I showed you my stash yarn last week, and have decided to go ahead and start knitting with some of it.  Specifically, this skein of Local Color Fiber Studio Whole Flock.  It’s deliciously crunchy-looking (and a little crunchy-feeling, despite the angora, but in a good way).IMG_2519 It’s something I’ve been looking for an appropriate pattern for since last winter.  In fact, I was almost to the point where I was going to say “screw it!” and just turn it into a simple garter scarf (boring!).

Since it’s so rustic-looking, I decited to pair it with a kind of feminine, lacy pattern.  But I didn’t want the pattern to be too fru-fru, since that’s not really my style.  So, I poked around on Ravelry for a while, and found this lovely triangular shawl.

It’s the Stone Croft Shawl by Judy Marples!DSC_0051.jpgIt’s a fairly geometric shawl, with a wide band of the “netting” that runs along two sides of the triangle, and a pretty column of faux-cable lace in the middle.  The perfect balance of pretty and femme, without tipping over into “girly.”  And, since the shawl is knit from one point, out to the wide end, I think I’ll be able to use every last scrap of my special yarn (or at least that’s the goal right now).

I’ve already got a few inches under my belt, and I can’t wait to see how it looks all finished up.  I bet this yarn is going to block really well- I’m excited!IMG_2563

Have you started anything new lately?

New Year, Old Yarn

I’m not doing any new year’s resolutions this year.  Not for any real reason; mostly because I never can think of a really good resolution.  But, I have been thinking of working on getting my stash down.

I mean, I often (almost always) knit from my stash, but I’ve still managed to end up with a surprising amount of yarn, just sitting there in my studio.  Sure, a lot of it is single skeins, but I’ve got surprisingly large amounts of several yarns, and even some pretty special single skeins.

It seems a shame to leave them just sitting there.

But here’s the issue- I’m completely out of ideas for patterns that I might use for these yarns.  Here’s hoping that one of you have a magical idea to help me use up some of this yarn.

First, I’ve got 360 yards of a super special, sport weight wool-angora blend from Local Color Fiber Studio.  It’s glorious and soft, but looks really crunchy and natural.  I’ve had it for a year or so, and get it out every time I’m looking for a new project.  I still haven’t found just the right pattern for it.  I’m this close to just making a garter triangle scarf, and calling it a day.IMG_2519.JPG

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve got 5 and a half skeins of super soft, super chunky Knit Picks Swish Bulky.  It’s leftover from a sweater I designed earlier this year (keep an eye out!), and I don’t think it’s enough to make a second full-sized sweater.  It’s such a pretty green, though, I really want to use it for something.

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I’ve also got a full sweater quantity of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted, a nice wooly workhorse yarn, in sapphire blue.  I’m currently working on a design in the same yarn, so I could just re-knit the same pattern again in blue, but I think I’d like to do something a little more interesting instead.

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Continuing on the Knit Picks jag, I’ve got a giant bag of Hawthorne, my favorite sock yarn from KP.  This is a tricky one, though.  I’ve got about 10 different colors (that don’t necessarily go together), a handful of full skeins, and a bunch of partial skeins.  I’m currently thinking I might use it to crochet an afghan, but that’s really just because I can’t figure out what else to do with it (apart from knitting one thousand socks).

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I also found these three beautiful, peacock blue skeins of Knitting Notions Classic Merino Bamboo, a sport weight wool-rayon blend that is beautiful and shiny, but almost impossible to photograph.  Between the three skeins, I’ve got almost 1500 yards, which has got to be enough to make something wonderful, but I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it since I was gifted it several years ago.  Will 2020 be the year of the Peacock yarn?  Time will tell.

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Have you done a deep dive into your stash lately? Find anything good?

And, seriously, if you have any ideas for my yarn, I’d love to hear them!

Pattern: Kells Wrap

I ended 2019 with a pattern, and I’m starting 2020 with one, too!

This one’s a little bigger, though, and a little more complex.

It’s a giant, cozy, wrap, every inch covered with intricate cables!  Introducing: the Kells Wrap!52761220_02.jpg

This bad boy is what you will reach for when you really just want to wander around town, wrapped up in a blanket.  It’s thick, it’s cozy and it’s (if I say so myself) really beautiful.

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I’ll be honest, it’s not for the faint of heart, or the first-time cable knitter, but it’s not so complex that it’s impossible to make.  The design was inspired by the illustrations in the Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript, and one of Ireland’s national treasures).  It’s complex, but it repeats  in an orderly way, so once you’ve worked a couple repeats, you should be able to more or less memorize the design.

If you’re looking for this and other cabled treats, head over and pick up Knit Picks’ new collection, Entwined!

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Or you can get just my pattern here!