The Ballard Pullover is inspired by (ahem) Ballard, my favorite neighborhood in Seattle. Ballard was historically a very working-class neighborhood, full of Scandinavian fishermen and boat hands. But, in the last couple years it has become the newest cool neighborhood in Seattle to find fantastic tapas, a vintage records, and hand-made jewelry. I think this pullover captures that feeling: traditional comfort with a slightly modern edge. It’s an updated version of the traditional Fisherman’s Sweater.
Knit seamlessly from the bottom up, the sweater is knit in a fantastic squishy texture that looks and feels great, and make this sweater ultra-warm and cozy. Generous panels of cabling on the underarms and sides flow smoothly into the raglan shaping of the shoulders.
This quickly became my favorite sweater (which killed me, because I couldn’t show it to you guys for months!), and I’m sure it will become yours, too!
Woo! These socks are starting to take shape in my mind! I’ve got so many ideas!
The tally is in, and we’ve decided that the theme of our socks is (drum roll please…):
Warm and Cozy!
I absolutely love this theme (especially today-it’s gray and blustery outside, and all I really want to do is curl up in a nice armchair next to a fire and read a really great novel).
So, now that we have the feel decided on, it’s time to start talking about actual knitting details: what techniques are we going to use to evoke a “warm and cozy” feel in our socks?
Here are some ideas. Keep in mind, that these are only jumping off places. We won’t be replicating these socks specifically, instead we’ll take their ideas and tweak them to create something awesome and unique.
Option 1: Simple socks with touches of contrasting color. Sometimes a contrasting toe or cuff can transform a sock that’s dead simple into one that’s simply beautiful!
Option 2: All-over stripes. Thick or thin, bright or muted, stripes can be used to evoke almost any mood. Cozy, warm colors (chocolate browns, brick reds, and pine-tree greens) could combine to make the perfect socks for our theme.Option 3: Lace. We could do an all-over lace pattern, or include panels of lace up the sides of the socks. If you want the look of lace, but want something cozier, using thicker yarn makes fantastic socks to wear with winter boots. Option 4: Cables. Cables always make socks look warm and cozy, which would be perfect for our theme. But, keep in mind that they can make socks a little bulky if you plan on wearing them with shoes, and not just around the house.Option 5: All-over texture. My favorite socks all come from this category- sometimes, you just want a workhorse sock that looks good with any pair of shoes and keeps your toes warm. Simple socks knit with the seed stitch or basket weave stitches are classic and beautiful. Or we could try a more complicated pattern with slipped stitches or other interesting techniques. Option 6: Combination. Stripes and cables? Lace and textures? The sky’s the limit! If you’re itching for something more complicated than a simple sock designed with a single technique, let me know! And leave your ideas in the comments section.
It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and instead of drinking (virtual) green beer and wearing obnoxious glittery green shamrock jewelry, let’s talk about something that’s more traditionally Irish (and way less racist).
Aran Sweaters are gorgeous and so cozy. They are traditionally made on the Aran Islands, located off the west coast of Ireland. And with most traditional crafts, they live in a fog of tradition and old wives’ tales. Supposedly, they were supposedly knitted in untreated wool for fishermen by their wives. They left the lanolin on the wool to add an extra water-proofing layer. (I suppose this makes sense, but can you imagine the stink of a fishing boat full of people in unwashed wool sweaters? Ugh!)
Some people say that families (or individual knitters) each had traditional motifs that they would use on each sweater. I’m sure there’s some truth to this. Everyone has patterns they gravitate to and patterns they can’t stomach. But, as a knitter who gets bored when she has to make a second sock, I can’t imagine that someone would tie them self to making sweaters with the same pattern over and over forever.
My favorite piece of lore surrounding the Aran sweater is the idea that each motif has a symbolic meaning. I don’t know how true it is, but it’s a great thought. The traditional honeycomb pattern means “hard work”, cables mean “safety,” and diamonds mean “prosperity.” It’s like the sweater is a good luck charm for your family member to wear, which is an idea I really like.
Want to try your hand at Aran knitting? Here are a couple (more or less traditional) patterns: