Monthly Archives

March 2017

‘Bout Time!!! Pansyland Cowl Release!!!!

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

HeeellllooooooooOOOOOO, Spring!

AKA welcome endless days of rain and rain and rain on my delicate, little flower buds. And mud puddles. LOTS of mud puddles.

It’s such a tease.

I want to go outside, but then I stick my little toe out the door and quickly realize: actually knitting on the sofa will do just fine.

Call me when it hits 70 degrees (21 C). Then and only then, I will go outside.

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

I am so proud of the new Pansyland Cowl, not just because it is amazing (it is!) and long overdue (uh, yep), but because it is the first of (hopefully many) collaborations with indie dyers this year. This special yarn was dyed by the talented Allison Barnes. It is a SUPER squishy 4-ply merino worsted in the Alpine Pansy colorway. Allison clearly has an apt for naming colors!

This has been my favorite pattern ever to design because it felt like I was part of a TEAM. So much more fun and inspiring than working in isolation! Plus, Allison’s yarn was really a treat to work with.

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

This is also the first time I have made videos to go along with a new pattern. It was so scary and I am honestly quite bad at it. They are fairly dorky AND clunky, but I figured I would check the ol’ ego at the door and simply do my best.

The first video is a quick tutorial demonstrating how to work the main stitch pattern in this cowl. I love the texture from this stitch, and it is actually a fairly easy technique. I hope this video will give newer knitters a bit of confidence to try this stitch! You can do this! All you need is a double pointed needle.

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

The second video is an overview of the pattern itself. Still photography has it’s limits, and this video really let’s me show you the cowl, how it moves, and better explain why I love it. Please take a look and let me know what you think.*

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

The Pansyland Cowl is a tube-shaped cowl. Tall and narrow. The twist stitch gives it great texture, although really this is primarily a stockinette project (hello, Knitflix!!!).

The pattern includes an option for a tapered neckline that is achieved by working short rows. As a result, the back of the cowl is gently taller than the front. If you are not up for knitting short rows, just skip this part and cast off for a standard tube-shaped cowl. I personally love the shaped collar and feel like it makes this cowl unique and even more functional without being weird. Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

The Pansyland Cowl is now available on Ravelry for $5.00 USD.** If you aren’t ready to knit this project quite yet, please add it to your Ravelry favorites (click the little heart near the upper right corner) so you can more easily find it in the future.

Okay knitters, off I go to do my sunshine dance. Wish me luck!

*Obviously my YouTube channel is BRAND NEW, but I would love it if you would subscribe. I hope to bring you more video fun throughout the year.  Videography isn’t exactly my strongest skill, but I hope to get better! Or at least embarrass myself less.

**Subscribers: check your inboxes (spam and junk folders) for an email with a special discount code.

You Weren’t Expecting This, Were You!

Yep. It’s a tee.

After knitting four cowls this year (and a pair of socks), I got sick of going ’round and ’round and knitting the same old thing.

I was bored.

And apparently off my rocker one night when I went diving into my stash (which isn’t much of a dive because it isn’t much of a stash…) and found two skeins of Swans Island fingering that I snagged last April during my annual birthday yarn acquisition extravaganza.

Here’s how I feel about yarn: once it’s been hanging out in my closet for a year, I get anxious. I need to use it. It becomes an inexplicable compulsion.

And that’s how I ended up (finally!) casting on Riverton, even though I am still going ’round and ’round with hardly a decrease or increase in sight. At least the yarn is a different color.

I’ve used Swans Island before (when I knit up Tulipland), and I’m a big fan. You get a lot of yarn in a skein at a fair price. It’s soft, and the color palette is right up my alley. Here’s the thing I did learn about this stuff: it grows when you block it. Like, really grows (as in the way my tummy grows after I eat too many brownies).

It’s astonishing. 

Yes, I blocked my swatch to attempt to account for said growth. 

I’ve done all the math.

It should work out.

Because I hate it when I select the wrong size to knit!

Still, I know there’s trouble in my future. Swatches lie. Nothing is ever easy like it should be. And my tee so far looks suspiciously large (even though I have had my gauge independently reviewed by a qualified expert in the field).

Also: I have this sinking feeling I am going to run out of yarn.

I’ve done it again: gone and replaced my boredom with stress.

Figures. 

Books I Have Loved So Far This Year

This is the post you are going to want to read if you feel like you need to spend this weekend curled up with a good book. Maybe the weather has you stuck inside (hello, East Coast snow!), maybe you have a bit of a cold (get well soon!), or maybe you just need some time to yourself to recharge (that’s me, looking in the mirror).

Fear not. I have you covered.

I’ve been accumulating my book list for the past several months with lofty intentions of writing this post ages ago. As always, I am behind.

So here goes.

First, the knitting books.

Like her last stunner, Home & Away, Hannah Fettig’s latest work Texture does not disappoint. The patterns are lovely. The photography is so moody and swoony. It’s all just downright dreamy and makes the casual knitwear piece feel unusually sexy. My knitting library is startling slim, but both titles now adorn it’s (quarter) shelf. Although Texture now bestows custom blue artwork/marker smudges contributed by my mini assistant. I’m currently flipping through this book over and over, trying to decide which sweater to knit first (just as soon as I finish Lesley from her last book!)

I also couldn’t help but notice the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible (in English!!!!!!!) will be released in September, so I might have accidentally put that baby on pre-order.

Now, for the fiction…Most of these I read, although I did listen to the audiobook versions of a couple (which I will note). I enjoyed all of these books, some more than others. Lucky Boy was my absolute favorite if you have to pick just one for this weekend.

At present, my current read is Sheltering RainI was browsing aimlessly on Amazon for my next book and settled on this one. I’m well into it now and am pleased. I’ve read other books from this author and vaguely remember liking them. (Please do send book recommendations in the comments to spare me future wasted hours haphazardly browsing for my next book!)

Small Admissions was an audiobook listen when we were in Panama. It was light and well narrated, and I definitely passed many a knitting hour while Reed was napping listening to this book, working on my cowl, and sipping passionfruit daiquiris. I miss my vacation already!

Lucky Boy was the hands-down absolute best novel I have read in a LONG TIME. It was intelligent and tugged at my heartstrings. I devoured this when we were in Panama and even set my knitting aside to read this book. I just couldn’t put it down. I wanted everyone to be a winner, but life is never that way. It’s realness was startling.

I picked This Must Be the Place because the description touted it was for people who loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette (which I also LOVED). It was a good book, but Bernadette was better. I found the main female character to be somewhat fascinating.

I can’t pass up a good light read when I am in the mood to turn everything off and relax. My Not So Perfect Life lightened my evenings with quite a few chuckles.

I first saw Mosquitoland on Karen’s blog, and was sold by both the cover and the title. So superficial, I know. It was a bit overly quirky at times, but, as a whole, there was a good story to tell.

The Hopefuls  was another audiobook I started in Panama and just couldn’t stop listening to until the very end. I found I identified with the characters and their passionate drive to manifest change, yet was sometimes irritated by their seemingly rich-people problems. Still, it had me hooked from the start.

Please do share your favorite books from the past few months!

Read well, knit often, and laugh like there’s no tomorrow,

Andrea

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Surviving the Pom Pom

Reed has asked so many crazy adorable questions lately. I know I am biased, but my kid might be a genius.

Reed recently learned how to use the Google Voice app on the cell phone to search for interesting videos. He’s been asking the phone a litany of standard kid questions.

Reed will ask:

Show me a video of the sun.

And the phone promptly shows him videos of the sun. Or whatever. It is fun to look through his search history each evening, curious as to what Reed has researched that day. It’s all just too cute and modern at the same time.

This morning I heard Reed ask the phone this:

Show me a video of making yarn in a factory.

Yep. He’s a smart one.

Although apparently he hasn’t met a hand spinner yet.

Last week on the way to pre-school, Reed asked me the following questions in under thirty minutes:

  1. Why do clouds float?
  2. How do solar panels work? (This required that I detour past my office en route to pre-school to show him the solar panels on the roof.)
  3. Do we live in the world? (I answered yes.)
  4. If we live in the world, and the world is spinning, then we are spinning too? (I also answered yes.)
  5. Why doesn’t it feel like we are spinning?

A couple of days ago, he provided further evidence of his brilliance (assuming one disregards his ineptitude toward cleaning up after himself and lack of ability to blow his own nose without smearing snot everywhere), by asking:

What is in other planets?

They have been learning about the solar system in pre-school. Tuition money well spent, indeed!

I finished this hat at the end of December, but procrastinated a full two months before making the requisite pom pom to attach to the top.

I had my reasons.

Mostly they were fear-based.

I hadn’t made a pom pom before, and I thought it would be hard.

Not to mention, I had lived the prior 37 years of my life decidedly anti-pom pom as a sort of moral position, and it took me a while to digest my new insatiable NEED to make a pom pom and stick it on the top of Reed’s hat.

I had to process.

It all worked out. I resolved my inner philosophical dilemma on the fine art of pom poms and other accessory attachments. I borrowed the pom pom maker from my favorite knitting friend. I watched the You Tube tutorial. I made the pom pom.

It took under twenty minutes and left me loving pom poms.

I am now trying to ignore that inner hunger to make strings and strings of pom pom garlands with my heap of scrap yarn taking up way too much space in the hall closet.

Because who doesn’t need strings and strings of pom pom garlands collecting dust in their house?

I KNEW you’d understand.

P.S. Many thanks to Julie @ Knitted Bliss for featuring Reed’s hat on her Mod Monday series earlier this week. We were both so flattered!

Tune Ups

One of my goals for the year is to update and triple check my earliest patterns to make sure they are ABSOLUTELY perfect. No mistakes.

Because I don’t have enough to do.

I took my original Twist Cowl pattern with me to Panama, figuring it would be a good travel knit.

It was.

I used the same yarn (Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light), tightened up the gauge, added some length, and developed a double sided option with no “wrong side.”

Once the photo shoot (with an actual human being) is complete, the updated pattern will be uploaded to Ravelry and automatically distributed to everyone who purchased the original pattern.

Thankfully, unlike when I reworked my baby hat pattern, I didn’t come across any glaring errors in the original version and all was generally well.

At least I have that going for my ego.

All the same, the updated version received a good scrub from my tech editor, just to be sure.

I love Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light and have used it often over the past several years. There are so many colors to choose from! My local yarn shops don’t carry Mad Tosh (sad!), but I do purchase it online as needed. I will say I did a thorough internet search of my favorite places to buy yarn online with free shipping (Websters, based in Ashland, OR, which is nearly local, and Yarn.com) but found Jimmy Bean’s Wools (which I don’t usually use) BY FAR had the MOST SUBSTANTIAL selection of Mad Tosh Merino Light colorways. Impressive and overwhelming all at once.

Just saying, in case you’re also in the market…

Given I am banned from using grey this year (oh, the pain!), I thinking I am turning to pale pinks as my new go to quasi-neutral (okay, not at all neutral) addiction.

This cowl is one of my favorites because it so so simple (mostly stockinette) with some interesting but not too busy stitch texture thrown in the mix.

(Speaking of texture, did you know Hannah Fettig’s newest book Texture hit Amazon? Or check your LYS to shop local. $24 well spent!)

I designed the original Twist Cowl almost exactly two years ago when we last vacation (Hawaii) and nearly no one had discovered this quirky knitting space. Apparently I had yet to discover Lightroom because those early photos aren’t exactly impressive. Nonetheless, here we are, two years later, together. Polishing things up a bit and aiming for the stars.

Because we all have a little sparkle going on in that wool.

Knitley Road: Paving the Pathway to Heaven with Wool Love

This is what I’m doing today.

Also on the list: paying bills, several loads of laundry, too many loads of dishes, oodles of cooking, minor amounts of cleaning, also sadly minor amounts of parenting, modest consumption of cookies, and major consumption of wine (is it 4:00 yet????). (Aw, the perils of the modern housewife.)

But this is the best.

I’ve been staring at this yarn for a few weeks now. And, let me tell you, it’s been staring right back.

It has eyes! Very soulful indeed.

It’s a rustic wool fingering from my indie dyer partner Knitley Road, hailing from Edmonton, Canada. I guess I’ve had a thing with Edmonton lately. …Never been but the yarn dyers up that way are FANTASTIC. Seriously.

To be honest, I can’t decide: cowl or shawl???

These are the hard choices in life.

No wonder I’m so stressed.

I do know this: there will be a swatch before I sleep.

I hope.

This yarn just screams SPRING to me. This was also how I felt about the fresh, bright blossoms on our apricot and nectarine trees until it started SNOWING on them this morning. Spring is always such a tease!  It is literally snowing on my hyacinths and budding lilacs and hydrangeas. It pains me so.

I dashed into the grocery store last night (under the cloak of sweat pants and my hood up) to grab nothing other than double brownie fudge ice cream (gasp! hey, a mom’s got to survive!!!) and almost drowned in Easter candy despite the hard fact that this now sugar-laden holiday is more than a month away. Even the Easter bunny would have been shocked.

I’ve been pondering whether or not to knit Reed another Easter stuffie, but then I reread my torrid saga from last year and remembered HEK NO. The PTSD is insurmountable.

Lucky for me, swatching up this spring sparkle will soothe my nerves.

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