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Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Take Me to the Party – The Shawl to End All Shawls

This is the Little White Shawl version of the Little Black Dress.

Everyone needs one. I call it Take Me to the Party.

Secret #1: if you start knitting it now, it’ll be done in time for the holiday parties.

Secret #2: it glimmers. There are sequins! Because I am that adult that glances longingly at all the shimmery girls tees in Target and wishes it was more age appropriate for 40 year old women to wear sparkly clothes every day. It’s hard to tell from the still photos, but if you check out my geeky video on YouTube*, you’ll be able to see the shimmer and glitz.

Secret #3: if you can’t handle the sequins, just substitute yarn with the non-sequin variety. No one will ever know.

Take Me to the Party Shawl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

This shawl is perfectly crescent shaped and starts at the top with just a few stitches–my favorite way to start a big project. The stockinette is balanced with texture created from slipped stitches and some subtle eyelet rows. The edges are garter, so nothing will roll, fold, or generally misbehave.

Take Me to the Party Shawl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

I held two strands of yarn together, both lace weight. The first was Lang Merino Paillette (that’s where the shimmer comes from), and the second was Isager Alpaca Merino. Together, they result in a surprisingly squishy shawl that will be perfect for warming those bare shoulders left to shiver under your fancy dresses this winter.

Substituting with a single strand of fingering or DK would also work well.

Take Me to the Party Shawl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

I am a big fan of knitting with neutral colors that go with everything, like white or black. It’s hard to make such a basic decision given all the gloriously prismatic shades of yarn available these days. But here’s the thing: this shawl goes with almost anything.

Hello wardrobe essential.

Or, be a rebel and knit this in neon pink.

Take Me to the Party Shawl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

I think there’s a stereotype that knitting isn’t sexy. Sure, maybe it’s cozy. Or quirky. Or even pretty. But it’s not sexy.

Well, you know what I say: screw that.

Take Me to the Party Shawl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

As with all my patterns, Take Me to the Party has been reviewed by an independent technical editor. Instructions include measurements in both metric and English units. It can be all yours for a mere $6 USD on Ravelry. (Subscribers, check your inbox for a special coupon code to save $2.) If you aren’t in the market for a new shawl pattern quite yet, please take a moment to add it to your favorites (click the little heart in Ravelry) so you can more easily find it when the mood strikes.

Take Me to the Party Shawl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

*Obviously making YouTube videos is NOT my forte in life, but I am working on it. Kind of. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

P.S. A very special thanks to my dear and talented friend Anna. If you have a bare wall that needs fine art, check out her site here

P.P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Dispatch: Welcome Fall

These early fall days are always such a treat—still warm with rays of golden light yet cool enough to wear tunics with leggings. We enjoyed four (dirty, stinky, fun) camping trips this past summer, the last of which resulted in a record number of fish hooked in a picturesque Sonoma pond. The pond was brimming with water lilies and looked so cool and fresh, yet I was dripping with sweat from a record heat. Even the fish were hot. The sleeping bags and other miscellaneous gear now reside quietly in the garage, awaiting next summer’s itinerary into the wilds.

Meanwhile, at home, the last-minute garden actually resembles a garden and not just a patch of dirt with tiny starts. I lament, however, that slugs and other insect varieties have easily achieved the upper hand, leaving me with rows of holey kale and depressed snap peas. Apparently, I garden solely to allow the local bug population to flourish and not to feed myself or Reed, who seems keen to survive on lollipops anyway. I have been toying with the idea of foregoing the seemingly requisite victory garden, instead upending my chard and green beans to replace them with dahlias and peonies. A perennial cut flower garden may not be edible, but—seeing how no one’s eating it anyway—it will at least be beautiful in a way that requires a little gasp of joy and astonishment with each glance.

Because broccoli is overrated.
The other big news around these parts is of course Reed’s new puppy. We needed a little joy, and golly gee did we get some. Her name is Finn (Reed’s choice). Already they play together in his fort. He directs while she either ignores him my sleeping through his commands or ignores him by eating the fort. (Mom, Finny ruined my fort again. Come fix it!) Both distress him slightly, although her adorability quickly wins out and he forgives her without a grudge.

As for me, well, I’ve been in a bit of a fog this past week, still in that newborn shock of waking up every two or three hours to let the puppy out to pee. On the bright side, I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with the stars.

See: the glass is always half full.

After a month of unsuccessful starts and consolation sock knitting, I’ve finally hit a stride on a Real Project (or two). I’m trying to be better about putting down my knitting sooner in order to instead crawl into bed with a book (finally found a decent one) and prioritize sleep.

As always, my to-do list always exceeds the amount of available time. I think I’ll save the entire world each weekend yet only manage to cross a few things off the list. This must be why The Tortoise and the Hair is such a relatable story.

Slowly but surely.I do have a couple of shawl patterns ready to release soon, so keep your eyes out for them. I am particularly proud of the results, and the photography was a lot of fun too.

I’m trying to work more on nesting—unpacking the last of the boxes that clutter places they really shouldn’t. Accepting. Finding places for things. Lighting candles when Reed isn’t awake to knock them over and burn the house down.

I need to walk more (ideally with my knitting), especially before the fall weather turns permanently drippy and it’s too cold for my hands to comfortably knit. It’s hard to find the time. Puppy’s still a bit too young to be out in the world for beach walks and such, so I still have to go it alone.

Soon enough, she’ll be at my side, provided she quits nipping at my hand knit socks.

Harrumph.

While we’ve been keeping busy (too busy, perhaps) with trips and potlucks, it’s nice just to be home. In the yard. Soaking up sun. Pulling weeds. Embracing the litany of home repairs calling my name with an appreciative enthusiasm.

Now that the sun is setting at a decent hour, I look forward to putting Reed in his jammies and driving out to the beach to watch those last rays dip beyond the horizon, on their way to tomorrow.

If I’m lucky, he’ll fall asleep on the way home.

P.S. In the mood for fall knitting? Check out my Fall Bucket List here, or try knitting my new Bayland Cowl–perfect for fall. 

P.P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Because the Tunic is Where it’s At

Or rather, because leggings are where it’s at.

I’ll admit, I was anti-legging for a very long time. I didn’t feel comfortable wearing tight black pants. I didn’t think it was flattering (maybe it really isn’t flattering).

I didn’t have the right tops to wear with said leggings.

It just wasn’t me.

It was All Wrong.

Until…my jeans got too tight (uh, hello brownies!) and I realized how COMFORTABLE leggings can be. There is something to be said for that elastic waistband. And, well, elastic EVERYTHING.

It’s divine. Flattering or not.

I must insert my disclaimer here: I am NOT a fashion expert. I have no sense of style WHATSOEVER and would wear my pajamas to work, the grocery store, and pretty much everywhere if it was remotely acceptable. I don’t follow trends. I rarely buy clothes, and when I do, I shop at Target. Although I did just discover TJ Maxx, but that’s another story (So far, I’ve limited myself to the home goods section).

Fashion sense or no, I know this: leggings require tunics. In my opinion. I need that magic length that isn’t too short…isn’t too long. Lands mid-thigh. Avoids the I’m-wearing-a-gunny-sack look.

I know. It’s a lot to ask for.

Unless you’re size four, in which case you can wear your leggings with whatever you want. And then I hate you. Except if you’re my friend and then I just pretend you aren’t skinny even if you are because I can be generous that way.

Now that it’s officially Fall (pause for simultaneous nostalgia and hysteria…), it’s time to bust out the tunic-legging combo. Or dress/tunic-legging combo. It all kind of blends together sometimes.

I haven’t knit a tunic on purpose yet, although my Waterlily did come out more like a tunic. I added too much length. Best. Mistake. Ever.

(Tunic knitting secret: pick a sweater pattern and add extra length.)

I truly believe Ravelry should add a separate “Tunic” category under sweaters or tops, because tunics are actually a bit tricky to find on their platform.

All the same, this is what I came up with. I like them. I think you just might like them too. They’re simple but contemporary. Plus, I think they’ll work with leggings just fine.

Still Light by Veera Välimäki

Ease by Alicia Plummer

Ujo by ANKESTRiCK

Tuva by Shellie Anderson

Is there another tunic pattern that you know of and love? If so, please share in the comments!

P.S. All photo credits revert to the designers. Designers’ photos are shared here for positive promotional purposes only.

P.S. S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

It’s All In a Pair of Socks

A new pair of socks from Andrea @ This Knitted Life

Yarn from Long Dog Yarns‘ sock kit in Jawbreaker (main color) and Midnight Affair (trim).

This is what I love about knitting: you can endure a few weeks where everything is just far enough askew from normal as to inhibit Regular Knitting and still end up with a pair of socks.

You can be too exhausted to work out the math for a new design or learn a new technique and still knit socks.

Your child, who is supposed to go to bed at 7:00, can instead go to bed at 8:30 (impeding that rare final hour of reasonable brain function), and you can still progress on a sock for that single precious hour of Adult Time.

The yarn you ordered for a new project can be All Wrong, leaving you in an insufferable conundrum as to what-to-do, but you can always fall back to the sock.

You can be social–go camping and visit with friends–and still knit a sock, even from the confines of your tent.

While I admit, a simple pair of vanilla socks wasn’t my planned knitting outcome* from the past few weeks, I will take them. They are pretty and bright. Plus they make me smile.

And no, I did not follow my own advice. (Do I ever?) I did not take these socks on a single walk. I was pretty much horizontal on the sofa for nearly every stitch.

So there, world.

Now, will someone please hand me a brownie?

*Planned knitting outcomes = one shawl, one child’s size poncho, one hat, and basically seventeen sweaters. Perhaps not realistic, but hey, AIM HIGH!

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Yep. Another Fall Bucket List of Must Knits – 2017

Oh my goodness! It has been RAINING this week. I seriously did not see THAT coming and was perhaps overconfident that I would be basking in afternoon sun for the rest of the year. Apparently I forgot that I live on the southern edge of what might technically be defined as the Pacific Northwest. You know, that place where it RAINS all the time.

Humph.

All the same, I have taken it as a sign that I must Pull It Together and release my Fall 2017 bucket list of must knits. My Fall 2016 Bucket List was a big hit, so I hope you like this one, too!

Brioche Shawls and Scarfs

I still haven’t learned brioche, but this new Sprouting Brioche Shawl by Lavanya Patricella looks pretty amazing! I think it’s that contrasting orange edge that I just can’t stop staring at.

I happened upon the Brioche Untangled Scarf  that was just released by Black Crow Knits via Instagram. It honestly might be a more realistic starting place for my future as a brioche-capable knitter, plus it is the coolest scarf design I have seen in a Long Time, although I might have to skip the tassels. Not me.

Pullovers and Tees

I spent an inappropriate amount of time the other morning trying to decide which pullover to knit next, after my spectacular success with Lesley. I have it narrowed down to Friday Anew (sport weight) or Holiday (fingering weight). I’m tempted to go with the heavier weight, just so I hypothetically finish sooner. What do you think???

Designer Helga Isager caught my eye on Pinterest last month in a Very Big Way. I love the Ivory Tee she published earlier this year. Very refined. My LYS carried the Isager yarn brand for a hot minute earlier this year (but no longer), and I LOVED the color palette. The Isager yarn choices remind me of the Quince and Co. colorways, which are of course drool-worthy. I even used the Isager Alpaca-Merino blend for my upcoming white shawl release (stay tuned). I picked white (oh, the irony) in the end,  but there were some REALLY AWESOME color choices there. Definitely a high quality brand.

Cowls

I would be remiss if I didn’t include my recently released Bayland Cowl in my bucket list this year because it is a true ode to fall. I mean, look at those colors. ‘Nough said.

Bayland Cowl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life

I admit I am a little sad that summer has slipped away. I had a not-so-secret hope of spending at least one more day knitting by the river, but apparently the uber-thick forest fire smoke followed by an ongoing drizzle have set me on a new path. So I am moving on. Fall, it is.

Photo credits revert back to the designers. I am sharing their images here for positive promotional purposes only. And…If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Lesley Pullover is Off the Needles

Lesley Pullover by Hannah Fettig. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

This just goes to show that if you keep a pattern in your queue for two years and add it to a zillion and one bucket lists, eventually you might actually knit the darn thing.

Furthermore, it MIGHT actually fit.

How ’bout that.

I am pleased to hereby announced that Lesley by Hannah Fettig is complete. I even survived my little bout with Second Sleeve Syndrome. I look forward to wearing this knit All. Winter. Long. and staying nice and toasty. And pretty, too.

I basically knit the pattern as written, only adding a bit of overall length. I think it could use a few more short rows in the front (as is, it’s tricky to tell the front from the back…) and the sleeves could be looser. My friend and I both knit this pattern this summer and agree the sleeves are too restrictive.

I used the Shell colorway from Quinco & Co.’s Osprey base on Size 10 (6 mm) needles. It was a quick knit and very fulfilling in the “I’m actually accomplishing something” regard.

This pattern is available individually on Ravelry here, but I HIGHLY recommend buying the whole darn book, Home & Away, which is one of my favorites. It’s less than $20 USD these days. I also used my copy to knit up a Rosemont cardigan last year, which I wear A LOT.

Now, I wonder what else I set out to do two years ago that I can accomplish next? Possibly washing the windows…

P.S. Have you discovered my Facebook page

My Favorite New Knit for Fall: Bayland Cowl

I’ll be honest. I am devastated that summer is coming to end. I truly am. I love the heat. The sun. The swimming. All the light that never seems to end.

And then there’s fall. Which has its own positive attributes. Pretty leaves. Pumpkin scented candles. Golden tinted light.

My new Bayland Cowl reminds me of fall. It’s not just the seasonal colorway–it’s the thickness from the worsted weight. It’s about preparation for cool mornings. Hikes through the redwood forest.  Walks around the bay at dusk. Layers.It’s been an adjustment moving back to the coast this past year. It’s so, well, coastal. The weather is different. The light is different. Everything just smells different. It’s cold when it should be hot.

And there’s water and wind everywhere.

And boats.

So many boats.

Did I mention my house is covered in beach sand?

I guess things could be worse.

This cowl is all about the bay. That unique ecosystem that bridges the gap between the Pacific and inland rivers. It makes me thinks of mudflats and salt marsh. Oysters and salmon. Egrets everywhere.

The Bayland Cowl is knit in the round with worsted weight yarn. Wear it long or loop it for warmth. The stitch pattern is easy–it’s all a balance of knits and purls with some slipped stitches thrown in the mix.

Easy peasy.

I worked up this cowl in Spincycle Independence. It was my first time working with their yarn, and I really loved the handspun look of the their yarn, even though it’s not actually hand spun. Plus, the company has an awesome ethic that I couldn’t’ support more.

The Bayland Cowl is available on Ravelry for $6 USD. As with all my contemporary patterns, the design has been reviewed by a tech editor. It has also been test knit by a remarkable group of volunteers, to whom I am indebted.

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Coming Soon — A Quick Update from Mwah.

I know I’ve been a little in and out this summer, more so than I would prefer. What can I say–LIFE has been happening. Like any mother, woman, maker, human, I always aspire to achieve more than perhaps is realistic given the current State of Things.

I sat down today to write my seasonal bucket list for fall, as I so love to do. But I found myself scanning Ravelry endlessly, flipping through patterns I had favorited the past few months, and generally trying to find some cohesive theme that would just feel serendipitous.

Nothing clicked.

The patterns were all marvelous. It was just me.

So.

Fall bucket list postponed to next week.

Instead I am sharing with you what I have planned for the upcoming quarter over here in my little corner of the Internet. I’ve been busy designing and updating patterns all year and have some marvelous releases planned for the next couple of months. I am trying to pace pattern releases so they launch once a month. Otherwise, I assume it’s hard for knitters to keep up.

Here’s your sneak peak!

Bayland Cowl

Expect this fall number to be released in the next week or so. (Top secret: it’s already actually on Ravelry here, as the test knitters upload their photos…) I actually developed this design at the beginning of the year, but have been saving it because it screamed FALL to me. This one knits up quick in worsted weight. More details soon! If you are feeling that Fall Itch and secretly lighting all those pumpkin spice candles when no one is looking, this one is for you.

Little White Sparkly Shawl

I just sent this pattern off to my tech editor this morning! I love this shawl. It has a sequin strand in the mix for a bit of shimmer (but not over the top). I already know I am wearing this one to the office holiday party this year.

This is my favorite kind of shawl: easy, textured, and crescent shaped. Not too busy, but not boring. I aiming for a late-September release for this one.

Twist Shawl-Finally Updated!

I tried to update my Twist Shawl earlier this summer but still fell flat on adjusting the shaping. I cannot tell you how incredibly pleased I am to announce this second updated version is shaped PERFECTLY. (Do you hear the angels harking? I do.) As soon as this baby is back from the tech editor, everyone who has already purchased the pattern will automatically get an updated version through Ravelry.

Ta da!

The new Twist Shawl is a perfect crescent shape and has that signature twist texture.

I swoon. And I couldn’t be prouder.

Next Up

I have this awkward lull right now between projects and have absolutely nothing of substance on my needles.

I know. It’s shocking.

I’ve been working on a pair of socks and trying not to track my yarn shipment via Fed X every five minutes.

It’s a challenge.

I’ve had a request to drum up a kid’s poncho, so I hope to tackle that next. I also have ambitions to develop some video tutorials for two of my hat patterns to help folks out that are finding the lateral braid tricky. Beyond that, my mind is just one big creative jumble.

And…I have some big plans hatching for a This Knitted Life Facebook group, so do stay tuned for that soon. If only a knitting business was just about, well, knitting.

What do you plan to knit this fall?

P.S. Have you discovered my Facebook page, in case you need minor injections of snark between blog posts. Just saying.

Dispatch: Summer

Given it’s mid-August yet I have spent many a day wearing socks and a sweatshirt, it’s a bit difficult for me to identify with ‘summer’ at the moment. Here on the edge of the Pacific, it’s the season that isn’t (although we have had some PHENOMENALLY GORGEOUS days). I honestly haven’t seen the sun in a week. My neighbors call this Fog-Ust.

It hurts.

But, in true Me fashion, all is not lost. The sun is always shining. Somewhere. I’ve taken my weekly gallivant into the sun, to simmer in the heat, and knit by the river or similar body of water. Reed and I have gone camping twice now, with a third trip planned later this week. I don’t know if he’ll always remember these adventures from his young years, but I do hope our excursions to the wild side shape his sense of adventure for his life to come.

I try to make the most of my free time with Reed. We’ve been blueberry picking, discovered a new love for sushi (as long as we leave off the avocado), practiced our reading and writing, and spent endless hours simply snuggling. Our living room is cluttered with no less than thirty library books at the moment, as Reed is the proud owner of his first library card. I let him pick out his own books, so our selection is pretty random. This week, it’s all non-fiction jungle animals. (I never knew lemurs ONLY live on Madagascar!)

As for my new (old) home, I’ve made slow and steady progress. But mostly slow, to be honest. I still have a few boxes to unpack and many pictures to hang. Settling in isn’t easy, and the house has yet to feel like home. Dirt seems to accumulate faster than I can keep up. My filing needs, well, to be filed. The windows are still filthy.

Ah, life.

I have made a wee bit of progress on the garden. I even just planted another batch of peas and lettuce this past weekend. The pumpkins, planted late in mid-July, finally seem to be gaining ground and may even produce a pumpkin or two before the end of October. Even if they are still green, I will be happy. I have found gardening on the coast to be so much easier without the unforgiving heat requiring hours of daily watering. I now remember why I was such an avid gardener when I lived her last: it’s just so much easier. Aside from the daily war with slugs and snails.

My seasonal inspiration to Reflect is often synchronized with wrapping up large projects, and this is no exception. After more than a month of hard knitting, I have two shawls off the needles and my sweater is not far behind. For some reason, my projects seem to start and stop in waves. All at once.

I think I need a better work flow.

I always seem to get a little jumbled up when projects end. I have ideas for new projects. But no yarn.

Time to go shopping ASAP!

I’ve been making these little to-do lists every month. Kind of like a bucket list but more Down to Business. As I look back on my lists from the last few months, they all look pretty similar. So many tasks have been rolled over and over, still incomplete (um, window washing!). There’s just not enough time! I try not to drown in the overwhelming feeling that I am Getting Nowhere, that life is Passing Me By, or that these summer days are not unfolding as I had hoped.

Instead, I’ve come to realize I’ll get there. Eventually. Perhaps not all at once. Or on the path that I had envisioned. Everything doesn’t need to happen all at once. Or maybe even at all.

The important thing is to remember it is summer and, hot or cold, savor the light. The long days. The blooming flowers. My child.

It’s all there.

All About How I Wash My Knits

Because we are all secretly dying to know how everyone else does their laundry.

I’ll be honest. I’m pretty low-tech when it comes to blocking and hand washing my knits. As far as blocking goes, until recently, I’ve just soaked my finished knits in plain ol’ water.

Boring.

Last winter, when I knit up my poncho, the pattern recommended adding essential oil to the soak. I thought this was brilliant and have being doing this regularly since. (In general, I have become an essential oil devotee of late, having recently purchased this handy diffuser. I have lavender or eucalyptus going At. All. Times. and am looking forward to splurging on new scents soon!)

I try to avoid washing my hand knits by simply keeping them clean and un-stinky, to the greatest extent possible. I wear my tops to work, come home, and take them off right away (before Reed gets me all sticky). Sadly this doesn’t always work, and I did have to wash my new Riverton tee last month. I have a tiny bit of Woolite left from a bottle I purchased over a decade ago (shows how often I hand wash my clothing…) and used that. The color bled like crazy!

Moving forward into modern times…

Graced by a lovely care package of Eucalan delicate wash, I decided to up my blocking game with my latest shawl design. I received a large bottle of Wrapture (the jasmine scent) and a handful of samples of their other delicious scents.

(Between the jasmine soak and my lavender essential oils, my house smells SO GOOD right now.)

Anyway, welcome to my kitchen…

I almost always soak my knits in the kitchen sink. It’s a good excuse to catch up on dishes and tidy up a bit. I fill up the basin with cold water, add my new wool wash (eep!), and soak away.

Now that I have proper wool wash, I feel like such an adult. I hope that isn’t too pathetic given the fact that I am nearing 40! What can I say. Some of our late bloomers.

I am so excited my sparkly white shawl is finally off the needles! It’s done with its jasmine soak and happily drying in the knitting room.

Wrapture, indeed.

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

P.P.S. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. I will receive a VERY SMALL percentage of your purchase. Thank you for your support!

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