On Why Knitting Makes Me Fat

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Hazards of knitting (besides sitting on a pointy knitting needle and bleeding to death):

  1. Decide to knit BIG poncho and buy 10 skeins of Really Expensive Yarn. Surely 1300 yards (1189 meters) oughta do it. Or at least that’s what the pattern says. Buying expensive yarn = stress. Eat chocolate.

  2. Knit and knit and knit and knit. This project is taking forever, and really I should be working on a new design (or at least thinking about a new design). More stress = more eating = more chocolate…also fresh bread and soft brie cheese.

  3. FINALLY, nearly TWO MONTHS later, working on the cowl. Sure to be done any second now (this was two weeks ago, mind you). Wind and start on the Final Skein. Anticipation of success = celebratory eating = probably was wine (I don’t exactly remember, to be honest).

  4. Finish cowl. Start on hood. Have never knitted a hood before. How big can a hood possibly be? Surely smaller than a hat? HOOD TAKES FOREVER. Impatience = more eating = back to chocolate.

  5. Nearing the end of the hood. Also nearing the end of the FINAL skein. Start to ask self: now just where did I put my swatch? I might need that. Pretend not to sweat it, but actually sweat it Quite a Bit. It’s all a blur, but I assure you, LOT’s of (American) Thanksgiving leftovers were involved. LOTS. Good thing this poncho isn’t fitted.

  6. Look at remaining yarn (not much). Find swatch (Thank God). Decide an 11th skein will likely be needed. Hatch a plan to have father pick up skein from Websters when he is in Ashland (five hours from where I live) on Sunday (if needed, but probably will be needed) and deliver when he visits next week. Pray Websters still has a skein and the dye lot will be Close Enough. EVEN MORE LEFTOVERS CONSUMED. (Why did I bake THREE pies?)

  7. Knit like a maniac. I must know. Will I have enough yarn? Or not? Finish short rows on hood. Still (a little bit) of yarn left. Look at photo in pattern and debate whether or not the finish trim is REALLY needed. Possible to skip?  Or reduce? Too much fretting = finding the bag of peanut butter cups I hid from my family last week and then forgot about = more eating.

  8. Finish hood. Figure out best way to seam hood (not as easy as it was supposed to be, but it all worked out). Decide hood is too pointy, but it’s too late now. Perhaps pointy hoods are underrated. File for: Ponder Another Day. You’ve got bigger problems now. Eight rounds of 100 stitches each and just a tiny bit of yarn plus a swatch. More peanut butter cups.

  9. Knit a few rounds. OUT OF YARN. Unravel the swatch. Praise yourself from hiding it from Reed. (He loves to steal my swatches.) Knit a round. Look at remaining yarn. Gulp. Knit a round. Glance at remaining yarn. Pretend to “weigh” remaining yarn in hand. Stress nibble. Knit a round. Repeat. Realize at some point you will surely have to tink when you try to cast off and can’t bind off the final twenty stitches. Seemingly inevitable. Still, you soldier on. Benefit of chocolate = bravery.

  10. Done. All rows. DONE. Ten feet of yarn remain (a bit more than two meters). That’s all that’s left out of 1300 yards. Two pathetic yards. From my swatch. Seriously.

Why Knitting Makes Me Fat. Knit humor from Andrea @ This Knitted Life.
Ten skeins knit. Ten pounds (4.5 kg) gained. At least this poncho will hide my waistline.

Now I am going to go freak out about whether or not my poncho will grow too much after I drag it out of my bathtub. I know my family (and cat) are going to be so incredibly excited about stepping over this (GIANT!) thing all week long as it dries on the heated bathroom floor. #livingwithknitters

Stormland Poncho Pattern Release

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Hey everyone! I’ve got something fun to share! (Besides the fact that it’s Cyber Monday over at Craftsy and the Easy Pie Wedge shawl kit I have been drooling over is $18 off. HUGE SAVINGS site-wide!)

This Stormland (easy folded-style) poncho is my second (grey) poncho design this fall. The first was Stoneland, which I also love.

Stormland easy-folded style poncho knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon colorway).

Stormland is a bit heavier and SUPER cozy soft. It’s knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon), which I love because (a) it’s grey and 2016 was apparently The Year of Grey, (b) it’s respectably affordable, coming in at about $12 for 210 yards (192 meters)…a total steal!, and (c) it’s soft and actually great yarn. The price point on Malabrigo Worsted makes big projects more affordable. By comparison, the Sheltered Poncho I just finished knitting (hallelujah!) in Brooklyn’s Tweed Shelter cost me nearly twice as much.* Ouch, but Shelter is a pretty awesome yarn also with a whole different vibe and ethic going on.

Stormland easy-folded style poncho knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon colorway).

Stormland further rocks because it’s mostly stockinette. Hello Gilmore Girl binge! I use a twisted (or flipped) technique to create some raised texture. It’s the same technique I use in my Twist Shawl and Twist Cowl patterns. Super easy, yielding groovy results. Different without being weird. I always like that.

Stormland easy-folded style poncho knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon colorway).

I chose to launch Stormland immediately following (American) Thanksgiving it conveniently hides evidence that I have consumed too much stuffing (and mashed potatoes…and pie…and wine…and champagne…and little bits of chocolate for emergency stress relief) when I wear it so the long bit is in the front, over my tummy. (Reed has been commenting on how much he loves my “squishy tummy” lately. NOT A GOOD SIGN!)

Stormland easy-folded style poncho knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon colorway).

Before this fall, I had NEVER worn a poncho of any sort. NEVER. I was, in fact, an anti-poncho person based on some sense of Fashion Principle (which is odd because I have no fashion sense whatsoever and have to talk myself out of wearing yoga pants to work Every. Single. Day.)

I will say this: I am a convert. It’s like wearing a shawl that you don’t have to fiddle with. When the house is chilly in the mornings before the fire gets going, I throw on a poncho and feel better right away.

Now that I own three (grey) ponchos, I wear them all the time. This means I have been stalking up on black and pink shirts to wear under them, but that’s just a technical detail.

Stormland easy-folded style poncho knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon colorway).

This is an easy folded-style poncho. Basically you knit a big rectangle, seam it together with the mattress stitch (very doable even if you haven’t tried it before…don’t freak out…you’ve got this!) and add a bit of I-cord finish (also not as hard as it sounds if you haven’t tried I-cord before).  I-cord finishes are my absolute favorite. It’s like making earl grey tea with cream and honey. Knitting projects just are not the same without I-cord.

 

 

Stormland easy-folded style poncho knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon colorway).

Stormland is available on Ravelry for $6.00 USD. (Subscribers check your inbox for 30% off coupon code!). Instructions are clearly written and have been tech edited. We all loathe finding mistakes in patterns we’ve paid for. Total waste of time.

Stormland easy-folded style poncho knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted (Polar Moon colorway).

*It also required a bit more yarn,to be fair.

Many thanks to my talented friend Anna for being such a good sport while Reed terrorized her art studio during this photo shoot. Anna and I have done a number of photo shoots together, and using her Actual Studio as a back drop was a ton of fun (minus Reed running around with wet magenta paint on a paint brush…). If you are in the market for some stunning art, check out her site here!

Winter Bucket List of Must Knits

This Knitted Life's Winter Bucket List of Must Knits (2016). Get ready to get your knit on!

Um, so, (American) Thanksgiving is this tomorrow.

Let me say that again.

Thanksgiving is TOMORROW.

I know! (I now digress into a total and utter panic over the three pies I am responsible for contributing. Three! Butter? Where’s the butter?!?!!?!?! And, why would we even bother with turkey when we can just eat pie? Seriously, people. Let’s get our priorities straight.)

For me, Thanksgiving marks the unofficial transition from Fall to Winter. It’s all too much to take. (Wine? Where’s the wine?!?!?!)

I am FINALLY getting ready to start the colorwork on Reed’s future sweater (we’ll see if I finish in time for the holidays this year or the holidays next year…) I am a little freaked out about the colorwork bits, but I figure it will all work out once I refresh myself with the colorwork class I took from Craftsy. And YouTube. There’s hope. (I think.) Once I have that baby off the needles, the world is my woolly oyster. I can’t wait.

[Speaking of Craftsy, they are having a HUGE Black Friday sale starting Thursday (NOT Friday) and continuing through Cyber Monday. This is a PERFECT time to stock up on classes and knitting kits, up to 60% off. The best part is the sale starts TONIGHT at midnight and continues through Cyber Monday. Whoot!]

In the meantime, I’ve got my Winter Bucket List all sorted.

Enjoy!

(Note photo credit for all photos are attributed to the respective designer. I share their photos here with the best of intentions for positive promotion and because they are fabulous patterns I am delighted to promote.)

Easy Pie Wedge Shawl

Craftsy’s new Easy Pie Wedge Shawl Kit by Lorna Miser knit in Lorna’s Laces Solemate looks like a ton of fun. I love the simplicity balanced with a bit of complexity. I see a lot of garter which screams Knitflix binge (my favorite!). Pie Wedge Shawl Knitting Kit from Craftsy in Lorna's Laces Solemate.

Lesley

I know this is carryover from my Fall Bucket List, but I am still DETERMINED to knit Lesley by Hannah Fettig. This pattern can be bought individually on Ravelry, but I TRULY recommend buying the whole stinking book (Everyday Knits) because it rocks. My favorite knitting book ever. ‘Nough said. So far, I have only knit Rosemont (which I honestly could wear every.single.day but typically wear every other day). I remained determined to knit the entire book.

Lesley by Hannah Fettig.

Hollows Shawl

I think absolutely everything about Mandarine’s Hollows Shawl is so incredibly well executed, from design to style to photography. Melody is my latest (of many) knit-crushes. I really wish my own brain could come up with such a masterpiece.Mandarine's Hollows Shawl

Botanic Hat

I have some color complimenting Malabrigo Worsted scraps leftover from my soon-to-be released poncho and my Valentine’s mitts (plus a vibrant turquoise color) that I want to whip up into some kids hats for Reed and his buddies. I think I am going to resize Stephen West’s Botanic Hat. I have yet to knit a Stephen West pattern, so this should be a fun and simple way to commence (I hope). This pattern has been around for a bit, so I bet many of you already know about this one. I am really hoping to get these done for the holidays at the end of December, but we’ll see…

The Botanic Hat by Stephen West

Winter is such a prime knitting season for so many of us. I have aspirations of being Super Productive. Happy woolly vibes going on over here!

I hope to see you at the Yarn Along this week. I am engulfed in Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. Let’s just say it’s striking a chord.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for being you!

On Knitting With Young Children

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(Alternative title: On Knitting Despite Having Young Kids.)

Knitting with kids isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s often hard. Like the time Reed raced through the house with my pricey skein of delicate Woolfolk, which was still attached to my cowl, criss crossing yarn around the dining room chairs in a wool web of hell, cackling the entire time, so proud of himself.

Um. Not cool.
Luckily kids are so cute, such that the impulse to lock them in a closet and leave them there for a few hours (usually) passes in a matter of moments. I had planned to write this post on my quarterly winter-inspired bucket list, but I kept thinking about this photo Reed and I snapped together a few hours ago. My fingers flipped to my phone, again and again. Looking at this snapshot and smiling. Thinking how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go. And, just like that, the winter bucket list was out the window. At least until next week.

I first started my foray into obsessive knitting when Reed was a young infant. At the time, it seemed like a doable venture because he slept most of the day. (Note he did not sleep most of the night, but that is a blurry recollection for a different day.)

When Reed slept, I knit. I didn’t do the dishes or shower. No cooking. I (mostly) saved that stuff for when he was awake and made do as best I could. When he was a baby, Reed took several naps a day, which meant I enjoyed several determined and purposeful knitting sessions each day as well.

Blissful. Productive. As it should be.

Then I went back to work (part-time). Result: less knitting time.

Soon thereafter, Reed transitioned to only two naps each day. Result: even less knitting time.

Soon we were down to one nap a day. Result: two hours of knitting time daily, at best. Some aches even wine cannot dull.

And now, for the most part, no naps. The bulk of my knitting time comes in the evenings after Reed is asleep. I hunker down in front of the TV and catch up on the computer bits and work on my knitting.

The reality is Reed always come first. I make sure we always have plenty of time to snuggle, read books, cover the house with glitter, bicker, and generally just be Parent and Child. I often wish I could have just one entire day to KNIT all day long, but that doesn’t happen and probably won’t for YEARS. That said, I do have a handful of other tricks I fit in throughout the day that suffice to sneak in extra rows. These extra rows add up.

Follow Your Child’s Lead

As Reed has gotten older (he’ll be four next month!), he’s embarked on stints of independent play, both inside and outside. If I notice Reed is playing independently, I will take a break from whatever I am doing (cleaning, laundry, cooking…) and sit down and knit, even if it’s just for ten minutes. I think socks are particularly handy for these little bits of time when I am not sure if I will have enough time to finish one row or ten rows. If I happen to have a bigger project that’s pretty basic (like my Stoneland Poncho), I’ll go with that as well.

Cartoon Time = Knitting Time

Reed doesn’t watch cartoons every day, but he does get to watch a show or two most days. If I can swing it, I always make a point to join him with my knitting. Sometimes I am stuck whipping up dinner during a cartoon or on a conference call for work, so I don’t always get to make this happen. But I do try.

Your Child is Your Helper

Now and again, Reed likes to “help” me knit. Usually he offers and I make an effort to take him up on it. Sometimes this means he’ll hold my skein and “give” me yarn as I need it. He is also particularly fond of winding skeins on the swift, although this requires a bit of extra patience on my part. (Did I mention I am the least patient person alive?) Other times, he comes up with a designated project that I am instructed to knit for his benefit, such as Lion’s recent wardrobe of sweaters. If I am knitting a Reed Assignment, I am allowed to knit it as he supervises, frequently querying as to my progress and estimated time to completion. Reed often asks me to teach him to knit, but I don’t think he’s quite there yet. I’ve promised him (five thousand times) that of course I can’t wait to teach him when he is ready.

Sans Child? Knit

The True Secret to knitting with young children is to knit whenever you are not with your kids. Unless I am at work, I am almost always with  Reed. There have been times I am not with Reed, and I am always try to knit during these rare windows. Quarterly girls night out? I take my knitting. Grandma’s in town and occupying the Little Terror? I take up my knitting and watch them giggle and plot mischievous acts, pretending not to hear. Occasional slow day at work and Reed’s still in preschool? Coffee shop (or bloody mary at the bar…) and knit!

I know these days with my young son are fleeting. As they say, the days are long but the years go by quickly (or something like that). I wouldn’t wish away my days with Reed for anything, not even knitting. I know they’re zooming by, and soon enough, he’ll be in school or playing sports. Sleep overs. Friends. My free time will expand and with it, time for knitting or just for me. This must be so bittersweet for mother’s everywhere: to simultaneously rejoice in getting yourself back at the expense of feeling less significant to your child.

I am sure knitting will help ease my pain.

 

Ari’s Wish (Finally, Redemption!)

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Hi!

My name is Ari.

I live down the road from Reed, so he likes to play with my big brother a lot. I don’t mind. I find it fascinating to watch them run around like monkeys, screeching and making all kinds of racket. (Auntie Andrea seems less enthused about all the messes they make.) Reed’s okay, I guess. He really seems enthralled by me (young love, I know), although he always smiles like he’s really happy and calls me his “Little Moose.” I am not sure that is a good thing. For now, it works. Sometimes he tries to pick me up and carry me around by my neck when I cry if left behind (apparently he’s still learning the proper way to carry a baby…). I tell him NO THANKS, I’d rather crawl.

Ari's Wish baby hat pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Once my mom had to go to the dentist and Auntie Andrea foolishly offered to look after me and my brother while my mom enjoyed her one hour of peace and quiet getting her cavity filled. Auntie told my mom to drop us off at her office and assumed she would just keep on working while I napped peacefully in my car seat and my brother watched cartoons on the Ipad.

Ha ha ha ha.

Boy was she amiss on that one. I woke up as soon as my mom walked out the door (like the VERY second).

I screamed the ENTIRE time my mom was gone. And I’ve got some lungs, let me tell you.

Auntie had to evacuate her office before her coworkers through a clot at as a result of the PHENOMENAL amount of noise I was generating from my itty bitty lungs, hauling little ol’ wailing me out the door STAT. We walked around the block at least ten times before I lost count.

On the bright side, my mom had a nice little break at the dentist’s office. I overheard them mumble something about motherhood and how it’s never easy. Hmmm.

Ari's Wish baby hat pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Auntie told me to tell you she FINALLY finished up that baby hat she was reworking. You know, the one she screwed up the first time. (Yes, the one she was going to finish two months ago. She said something along the lines of slow and steady, or maybe it was just slow.)

She’s trying to make all right in the world, at least in the knit-universe. She said to say she reworked the pattern and had it reviewed by a tech editor. This time, it should work. If you subscribe to her blog, you just received a coupon code to download the pattern from Ravelry for FREE. Because she’s sorry and is trying to atone for her earlier knitting sins.

If you aren’t a subscriber and did not receive the coupon code but REALLY WANT this pattern (because it is awesome…seriously, look how cute I am! Eep!), you can find it on Ravelry here for a mere $4.00 USD.

Ari's Wish baby hat pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Auntie also wanted me to pass on some basics about this pattern. She says it’s knit up in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (Logwood colorway) because she LOVES that yarn and usually has enough laying around to suffice for a baby hat. The hat has the CUTEST faux-picot brim. You have to seam the brim for the faux-picot business, but it’s small and whips up lickity split. Plus, the brim doesn’t fold or roll, which Auntie can’t handle. And seriously, it’s so cute. Don’t I look like a little flower?

I thought so too.

Auntie says the pattern includes two sizes for brand new babies all the way up to a year or so.

Did I mention I turn one in less than a month? I’m not sure what I want for my birthday yet. So hard to decide.

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Auntie’s doing some sort of Yarn Along business today, and she’s about to start reading Carl Hiaasen’s new novel, Razor Girl*. Auntie says she LOVES Carl and reads ALL of his books. They make her laugh.

*Affiliate link. Thank you for the support!

Sheltered Poncho In-Progress

I feel like I’ve been working on this poncho (Sheltered by Andrea Mowry) for a long time.

This is probably because I HAVE been working on this poncho for a long time. I’ve been knitting my long-coveted poncho (with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter) almost exclusively for nearly two months. All my design work has been set aside as I treat myself to a (substantial) knitting vacation*.

It’s been marvelous although perhaps nonstrategic on my part.

Although eight skeins in, I’m excited to move on to my next project (Knitting Vacation, Part 2) and starting to wonder just what I will do if this (magnificent) thing doesn’t fit. There’s nothing like knitting up more than 1,000 yards/meters of exquisite (expensive) yarn only to discover you really screwed up and selected the wrong size.

Because I’ve never done that before…

I can already tell this finish poncho is going to be SUBSTANTIAL and am slightly concerned I may feel like I am wearing the fleece of an entire sheep when I eventually put this thing on.

I guess that’s why they call a poncho a poncho.

The pattern itself is fabulous, although I’ve been humbled by it. After knitting for nearly two decades, it’s forced me to realize I don’t know how to knit.

At least I don’t know how to twist stitches.

I won’t drag you down with the technical details except to say I’ve swatched and swatched and swatched and just can’t figure it out. I can quickly twist stitches no problem when knitting in the round, but, For the Life of Me, I CANNOT efficiently twist stitches when knitting back and forth.

I can knit stitches that twist to the right one row but twist to the left the next row.

And I can knit stitches that twist every other row.

I can also knit stitches that simply do not twist.

I CANNOT knit stitches that just twist every row in the same direction all the time without first picking up the stitch, flipping it over to twist it, and then knitting the darn thing. Takes forever. Sadly I have had this problem before, and it has taken me a long time to even begin to understand what in the hek is going on.

I think, but am not positive, this is because I might be a Combination Knitter.

That’s right. I don’t even know if I am or if I am not a Combination Knitter.

But I suspect I am.

This is when I wish I had a lifelong technical knitting expert super-geek living next door that can help me with this stuff. Knitting alone in the middle of nowhere with only the company of YouTube has it’s drawbacks. Nothing can replace the company of other knitters and the ol’ fashioned knitting guild. Nothing.

YouTube doesn’t really give you much when you search for why is my knitting screwed up, am I or aren’t I a combination knitter, and how to twist stitches with combination knitting (even if maybe you are not a combination knitter?*!?!???).

Trust me, I’ve tried.

How can something so easy and straightforward be so…well, difficult?

Nevertheless, I have plodded on, albeit slowly (I’d probably be long done by now if I were just working in speedy stockinette). I’ve enjoyed the slowness of it all, taking my time. Not rushing. Very unlike me but pleasant all the same.

I hope to finish the front today. The back is already done. Then there’s some seaming and cowl/hood, which I hope is knit in straight stockinette and not twisted stockinette.

Time to go read my pattern and check. Gulp.

*I believe it’s essential to knit patterns designed by others to continually learn new skills and approaches to knitting and generally broaden one’s knitterly horizons. And, to remain humble and grateful for the talent and artistry of others.

Lion’s Sweater

Reminder! All of my patterns are 30% off this week only with the code TKL30.  

Reed takes his stuffed lion everywhere. Like, EVERYWHERE, everywhere. Earlier this year, we arrived at our weekend campsite to discover Lion was missing. Reed was so sad. But, we all got to celebrate a few days later when we arrived home and I came upon Lion smack dab in the middle of the green bean patch! Hurray. A quick run through the washing machine, and all was set right in the world.

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This is actually Lion Ver. 3, which is why he presently looks extra fluffy and soft. Version 1 was inadvertently left in a hotel room in Hawaii a couple years ago before being replaced with a body double.

Version 2 disappeared in Target last month. Tears were shed by all. Replacement lions are becoming harder to come by on the Internet.

If I were smart, I’d buy a dozen of these little guys. Just in case. If only there were a dozen to be found…

Last weekend, Reed asked me to knit Lion a sweater. (This is after he was browsing the back cover of the WEBS catalog and hit me up to knit one of the little stuffed toy kits they were featuring…Also, am I the only one who receives WEBS catalogs in triplicate?)

How can I say no to knitting Lion a sweater?

And, who doesn’t love a little boy who reads yarn catalogs?

Seriously.

Before I knew it, we were diving through my yarn basket, searching for the right color for Lion. (This was also a good chance for mom to do a little yarn basket organization.) Reed initially opted for a sparkly Caribbean blue, but I persuaded him to go for a scrap of alpaca left over from one of his first hats. We’ll make Lion a sparkly sweater next time, I informed.

He humored me and enthusiastically demanded I cast on immediately. Apparently there was no time to waste.

I hopped right on my assignment as Reed hovered at my feet. This kid just cannot sit still. I was three rows in when I heard the first plea. Mom, are you done with Lion’s sweater yet?

As it turns out, the lack of patience is a genetic trait passed from Mother to Son.

Six rows in: Mom, is Lion’s sweater done now?

No. Not done yet.

Of course I didn’t have enough blue for the sleeves and had to resort to some random bits of brown and green to finish up this tiny sweater. Reed didn’t seem to mind. He grew all the more impatient as I fussed to join the colors.

Fiddling with the first sleeve: Mom, Lion is cold!

I had one sleeve on before Reed snatched Lion and the partially complete sweater and dashed into his room, content with the in-progress wardrobe for his little pet. I hadn’t woven in the ends yet and spent the next several days discovering Lion dangling around the house from his loose ends in various unusual locations. Just hanging out, wrapped around a drawer nob.

I kept asking Reed if I could finish Lion’s sweater. Or at least fix it. The first sleeve holes were too tight and it was difficult to get Lion in and out of his sweater.

I was persistent, but Reed declined. Instead he focused his attention on my yarn basket and selecting wool suitable for Lion’s Second Sweater.

Yes. That’s right. I have been directed to knit EVEN MORE SWEATERS for Lion. Lion, as it seems, is destined for an entire wardrobe more robust than my own. I know this because Reed has provided very clear instructions that I am to provide him with a drawer specifically designated for holding all of Lion’s future sweaters. AN ENTIRE DRAWER. For the Lion and his sweaters.

Will I ever get back to my own knitting again?

I the meantime, I did sneak Lion out of Reed’s clutches the other night, as he slumbered, peacefully dreaming about whatever it is almost four-year-olds dream about (Halloween candy, most likely). I tinked back to enlarge the sleeve holes and decided on brown sleeves for both arms, with a green neckline. With ends woven and satisfied with my motherly pursuits, I tucked Lion and his newly finished sweater back into Reed’s arms.

Then I finally started knitting on my own project. Phew.

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I hope to see you over at the Yarn Along today. I just started The Royal We.*  I am loving my brain break so far.  

*Affiliate links. Thank you for your support! 

**If you are a newer reader and  a Ravelry user, please note I have a Ravelry group here. Stop on by and join the fun! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest if you just can’t get enough.

Super Duper Holiday-Whooper Sale!!!

Holiday knitting pattern sale over at This Knitted Life.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news (good news?), but Christmas is in seven weeks.

I KNOW.

I knew there was a reason I have been feeling so old lately.

And, Hanukkah starts right around Christmas Eve.

Yep.

You do Kwanzaa? Whelp, you’re screwed too. That’s the day after Christmas.

[I will pause now while you go hunt down your bottle of vodka/chamomile tea, to take the edge off.]

My own holiday knitting list is fairly minor this year. I learned my lesson last year when I tried to knit the entire family socks.

Bad idea.

Lots of skinny yarn and tiny needles. Need I say more? Just the thought of all that marathon, stressed-out speed knitting sends me into K-PTSD.

(The K is for Knitting. In case you were wondering.)

Never again.

But, if you are more determined than I…or more sensible in your holiday gifting project selection…then this is your lucky week.

This week only, all of my patterns are 30% off to the Regular World of Knitters with the Ravelry Code TKL30 and 50% off for subscribers. (Subscribers, check you inboxes for that special code.)

I was a busy little knitter and designer this year, publishing six new patterns so far this year. I’ve linked to my six most recent patterns below, but my entire catalog is here.

If you DO decide to go deep into the realm of Determined Holiday Knitter and you need a little moral support, you know where to find me. I’ve got you covered.

YOU CAN DO THIS.

Sleep is overrated.

Chocolate is underrated.

Go for it.

In the meantime, happy holiday knitting.

Remember, you’re code is TKL30. Go big! Knit on! What is there to loose? This sale lasts for one week only. There’s no time to doddle.

Knit always,

Andrea

Linto Creek Cowl

The Linto Creek Cowl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Metamorphosis Cowl

Metamorphosis Cowl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Rainland Shawlette

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Stoneland Poncho

Stoneland Poncho by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Trintara Hat

Trintara Hat by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Tulipland Summer Scarf

Tulipland by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Knitting on a Plane

If I had my druthers between being a Traveler and being a non-Traveler, I’d choose traveler.

I like going places, even if I have been there before but especially if I’m going someplace new. I don’t always get to travel. It’s a pricey affair these days and time is scarce.

Someday.

I spent quite a bit of time in airports and on planes this past week, and I managed to finish up these simple stockinette socks. No pattern. I just cast on a went for it. (I don’t know if it’s possible to get those Crazy Zauberballs to match, but I wasn’t going to waste my time trying.)

Boring ol' stockinette airplane socks over at This Knitted Life.

At some point as I knit away on one of my flights, it struck me how far I’d come with my plane knitting since its first occurrence. I remember it well. It was January 1998. My friend’s mom had just retaught me the basics of knitting, long since forgotten since my grandma’s first lessons years earlier during childhood. I was in college and about to embark on a long flight from Oregon to New York City, followed by a second long flight to Oaxaca, Mexico for a language course.

I was crisscrossing North America with my cheap yarn.

I stayed up most of the night before that first flight, in front of my childhood fireplace, fiddling with the stitches. Casting on. Knitting a few rows. Scrapping the whole thing in frustration. Starting over.

Again and again I did this. I just couldn’t put it down.

(This was so long ago that I hadn’t yet discovered problems like this could easily be resolved with a good glass of wine.)

Somehow on my first flight, I recall putting aside my mistake-ridden knitting long enough to grab a bit of sleep before again picking up my yarn (surely acrylic? I don’t even recall the color…brown, I think) for another long stint of frustrated, ugly stitching in a haze of exhaustion and sleeplessness.

And that’s how I got to Oaxaca. One imperfect stitch after another.

That was nearly 20 years ago, and I still love to knit on planes. I glance at all the other passengers, watching movies and playing games on their devices*. They’re just killing time, and I guess I am too. Although I am spending my time more pleasantly immersed in a hobby of mine, making something. Or at least that’s what I like to think. I want to whisper to my plane-mates: learn to knit…you’d be happier for it! I feel kind of bad they’re missing out.

Boring ol' stockinette airplane socks over at This Knitted Life.

It was later on that same trip to Oaxaca that I REALLY was taught knitting again by my Oaxacan buddy. She taught me in Spanish, and for years afterward I thought of knitting in punto or derecho before again learning the art in English. It was just the first of my many knitting adventures in Mexico.

Boring ol' stockinette airplane socks over at This Knitted Life.

These socks have already brightened my greying days. I love their colors. I only wish I somehow could have crossed paths with the Yarn Harlot, who I later realized was in the San Francisco airport the same day I was. Granted, I was dashing through between flights in an overly dramatic Hold My Flight!  fashion with mere moments to spare. But you never know. I would have asked her to sign my sock.

Some flights are worth missing.

*I need not remind you there was no such thing as a device in 1998. You either brought a paper back or the early version of a laptop, or you were mindnumbingly bored out of your mind.

I hope to see you over at the Yarn Along today. I’m currently absorbed in Today Will Be Differentand have enjoyed it greatly so far.

*Affiliate links. Thank you for your support! 

**If you are a newer reader and  a Ravelry user, please note I have a Ravelry group here. Stop on by and join the fun! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest if you just can’t get enough.

8 Must-See Absolutely Free Sock Knitting Patterns

Eight free and totally killer must see sock knitting patterns curated by This Knitted Life

I have had socks on my brain this week. I don’t know what this says about me. Maybe that my feet are cold?

I’ve been perusing Etsy and other sites for sock yarn when I have no time or business doing so. I’ve even sourced Size 1 (2.25 mm) needles with trial intentions of letting go of my Size 2 (2.75 mm) technique and seeing what comes my way.

Daring, I know.

It’s getting wild and woolly over here.

I’m sharing some free sock knitting patterns today. I’ve downloaded and read all of these patterns, and they pass the Respectable Pattern test. I feel confident sharing them here. All photo credits go to the designers (photos are linked back to the pattern’s Ravelry page).

Enjoy!

Strands of Gold by Linda Garland

This is a new pattern, just published on Ravelry last month. I want to knit this pattern because it’s toe up (which I haven’t tried yet) AND includes a short row heel, so there’s no need to pick up stitches (my least favorite part of sock knitting). Well done, Linda. This pattern’s in my queue for sure!

Photo credit to Linda Garland

Photo credit to Linda Garland

Miss Lemons by Heidi Alander

Miss Lemons is another newer sock pattern, published in May 2016. This pattern calls for top down construction with a grafted toe over a 60-stitch circumference. I think this will be perfect for my new Size 1 needles. I’ve been favoring 52 stitches on Size 2 needles, and this will be a good transition, mathematically. The base stitch is lacy but nothing too impossible. And I love this lemon yellow color! My soul warms just looking at these socks.

miss-lemon

Photo Credit to Heidi Alander

Buttonjar’s Basic Sock by Julie Cashin

Julie’s sock pattern is also newer, published on Ravelry in June 2016. This pattern also calls for casting on 60 stitches with top down construction and a grafted toe. This is a simple pattern, which I favor for speedy socks. The upper sock is ribbed, but the foot is all stockinette.

Photo credit to Julie Cashin

Photo credit to Julie Cashin

Vanilla with Sprinkles by Jenna Krupar

Jenna has written up a very basic sock recipe. Her pattern is also top down with a grafted toe. My favorite part is that the pattern includes cast on options for small, medium and large sizes (52-60 stitches), so you don’t have to do any math regardless of your size requirements! I think all the Super Duper gorgeous and fun sock yarn available these days makes simple all-stockinette socks more than satisfying. Knit on! This would be a perfect starter sock pattern for the new sock knitter.

Photo credit to Jenna Krupar

Photo credit to Jenna Krupar

Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder

I know Hermione’s is a staple sock pattern favored by many. I’ve only knit it once for my Man Socks. The pattern calls for 64 stitches on size 1 needles with top down construction and a grafted toe. I used size 2 needles with Madelinetosh Tosh Sock and found the socks were suitable for big feet.

Photo credit to Erica Lueder

Photo credit to Erica Lueder

Blueberry Waffle Socks by Sandy Turner

I’ve knit this pattern four times! It was my staple for a long time. I like it because the math is based on casting on 52 stitches, which fits me well. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, but I used fingering weight sock yarn with perfect results.  The design is based on top down construction with a grafted toe.

Photo credit to Sandy Turner

Photo credit to Sandy Turner

A Nice Ribbed Sock by Glenna C.

I would be remiss not to mention this pattern because I used it for my first ever pair of socks, inspired by Glenna and her lovely blog. The design is based on a 64-stitch circumference and also includes top down construction and a grafted toe. I had to convert the math to 52 stitches to fit my feet, but that wasn’t the end of the world. I would recommend using this pattern (without adjustment) for man socks or big feet socks.

Photo credit to Glenna C.

Photo credit to Glenna C.

Pixel Stitch Socks by Purl Soho

I’ve had this pattern on my radar for far too long now. THESE SOCKS ARE GORGEOUS. This design is a bit unusual (for me) in that it calls for toe up with a provisional cast on that is grafted in the end. The pattern provides math for three difference sizes  (thank you!), the smallest of which is 60 st circumference. Two different skeins of yarn are required, but the outcome is oh so pretty! This pattern also includes a short row heel, which has a lot of appeal to me. I hate picking up stitches. Purl Soho always comes up with cool, appealing patterns, and this sock pattern is no exception.

Photo credit to Purl Soho

Photo credit to Purl Soho

I look forward to seeing you at the Yarn Along. I started reading Today Will Be Different* the other night and CANNOT put it down. This novel is written by Maria Semple, who also wrote Where Did You Go Bernadette*, my favorite book (so far) this past year. 

*Affiliate links. Thank you for your support! 

**If you are a newer reader and  a Ravelry user, please note I have a Ravelry group here. Stop on by and join the fun! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest if you just can’t get enough.

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