Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Sampler: Early Fall Knitting

Boy it's been a while since I've done one of these!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that, by my definition, September is the start of FALL, the very best season of the year. Fall is, of course, a great time for knitting anything and everything. But maybe you're overwhelmed by your options and don't know where to start. Or you're having trouble prioritizing. Or you're just not feeling inspired by your queue.

Fear not! I am here to help. Without further ado, Ten Spectacular--and FREE--Fall Knitting Projects:

 Photo courtesy of Emily Ringelman / Knitty

 Delaware is for Cables by Emily Ringelman. So cable-y. Great with a rustic yarn. Quick to knit in aran weight. And I'm in favor of building a varied hat wardrobe for fall, as you'll see.

 Photo courtesy of Andi Satterlund

 Lace Shrug, by Andi Satterlund. Perhaps a bit spring-y, but cold shoulders are a risk any time, and lace is perfect for a subtle early fall chill.

 Photo courtesy of Megan Wright

Rhapsody in Lace and Ruffles, by Megan Wright. A heavier shawl in DK weight, perfect for when the weather finally turns COLD.

 Photo courtesy of Jessa Kalani

Rikke hat, by Sarah Young. Lovely garter squishiness!

 Photo courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Clayoquot Toque, from Tin Can Knits. A free hat pattern to match the cardigan in the new Road Trip collection! Great introduction to stranded knitting.

 Photo courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Another freebie from Tin Can Knits, Barley, a squishy hat featuring a simple stockinette and garter combo and sized from Baby to Adult.

 Photo courtesy of Nancy Green / Knitty

Thisbe by Nancy Green. Love this cable and lace combo, and you can ALWAYS use more handknit socks.

Photo courtesy of Raveler verabee
Wurm by Katharina Nopp. Another squishy hat, and looks like a good candidate for handspun!

Photo courtesy of Purl Soho

Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho. A quick, cozy knit in bulky weight.

Dungarees cowl, by yours truly. The openwork is straightforward, but the lateral braids are a challenge--try something new!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sock Yarn Scarves--winner!

We had a great response to the Sock Yarn Scarves giveaway--135 comments! No one can resist the siren call of free yarn, I suppose. ;)

So, our lucky winner is Commenter #38:
And that is a Ms. Cindy Smith! Cindy, I hope you remember to check the blog this week and see that you're our big winner! Shoot me an email ( with your mailing address, and I'll get your prize out ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who entered for your thoughtful comments about this collection and the individual patterns! And a special thanks to all the new blog visitors--I hope you'll continue to visit in the coming weeks, as I have 3 more new patterns debuting in September, as well as some additional giveaways planned!

In the meantime, here's an adorable behind-the-scenes video Knit Picks put together of the Sock Yarn Scarves photo shoot--enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ollie's Story

(As I said when JJ was born, if you like hearing baby birth stories, read on; if you prefer to think storks drop little pink and blue bundles off to expectant parents around the world, just scroll down to the bottom, where I remind you to enter the Sock Yarn Scarves giveaway!)

Oliver Martin made his unexpected arrival on Friday, August 1, and the whole thing played out much like JJ's birth: I went in for my 39 week prenatal visit, my blood pressure was high so I was sent to the hospital for monitoring. Ultimately, my bp stabilized, but it turned out that I was having mild contractions, and the baby was not responding well to them--his heart rate was dropping and not recovering quickly enough. So, lucky me, I was bound for another csection.

This all happened around 3pm. The doctor first told me the procedure would be done around 7pm, but as the afternoon went on, the baby was not behaving as they hoped, and it turned into "How fast can your husband get here?" CP was, of course, at home with JJ, waiting for my sister to arrive to babysit.

Finally CP arrived and things got underway around 4pm. Oliver made his appearance at 4:39pm, weighing just 5lbs 11oz (anything under 5.5lbs is considered low birthweight, so he wasn't officially low, but definitely small for his age). They measured him at 18", but we've since been to the pediatrician where he's been 19 3/4", so clearly someone made a mistake somewhere along the way.

We finally made it to recovery and were attempting the tricky task of breastfeeding while still mostly numb from surgery when a doctor arrived to explain that Ollie had very low blood sugar and would need to be taken to the NICU. She thought they could get it back up quickly and his stay would be relatively short. So off he went, and I didn't see him again until the next morning, when I was finally allowed out of bed.

Unfortunately, getting his blood sugar up was no easy task. He had an IV for glucose, was being fed formula (and later pumped milk), at one point had a feeding tube--which he kept pulling out--and they even tried putting a line in through his little belly button, but it took nearly a week for his blood sugar to rise and then remain stable without interventions. I was discharged on Tuesday morning, so I spent the next few days living at the hospital, eating crap from the cafeteria and snack machines,  pumping milk behind a curtain, and missing my little JJ back at home. It was by no means enjoyable, but compared to the long stays of other NICU babies, I'm sure it was a piece of cake.

We were finally able to bring Ollie home on August 8, a week after he was born. We've settled in and are all working to adjust to life with a newborn. Fortunately, CP has 4 weeks of paternity leave, which will hopefully make my transition to full time mom of 2 kids under age 2 a little easier!

My knitting time is certainly at a premium right now, but fortunately I can enjoy other knitting-related things, like podcasts, blogging, and giving away yarn! Don't forget to check out the Sock Yarn Scarves giveaway--you have 1 more week to leave a comment on that post and be entered to win!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sock Yarn Scarves Giveaway!


If you like Siempre or any of the other designs from Knit Picks' new collection, Sock Yarn Scarves, you're in luck! I'm excited to share that Knit Picks has generously provided a print copy of the book for me to give away to one lucky reader!

This collection includes 7 beautiful scarf, cowl, and stole designs, all knit in fingering weight yarn.

Estivate, by Teresa Gregorio of Canary Knits, is my personal favorite.

The Bees and Honeybees Stole, from Stephanie Tallent at Sunset Cat Designs, is just beautiful.

The texture on the Ridgeline Trail cowl , by Angela Modzelewski, is fantastic.

The mix of lace and ribbing on the Ridge and Arrow infinity scarf, by Courtney Spainhower of Pink Brutus Knits, is so unique.

Try your hand at some unique colorwork with the Gradient Waves cowl by Hope Vickman.

Or go for a quick, lacy project with the Everlasting Cowl, by Robin Allen from A Texas Girl Knits.

(Queue up or show some love for any or all of these patterns here on Ravelry!)

But wait! There's more! To sweeten the deal, they're throwing in 2 skeins of Stroll Glimmer in Runway so you can knit your very own Siempre!

This is a great collection for fall, and will arrive right at your door, just in time for cooler weather (unless you live in Maryland; then you know that cool weather is, inexplicably, here right now. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just . . . confused.)

So, how do you enter? Just leave a comment below telling me which pattern you'll knit first (I won't hold it against you if it's not mine!). I'll keep this giveaway running until Monday, August 25, and then announce a winner by the end of the month!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wittle Wednesdays: Ollie's Hat

When you have a baby, the hospital gives you a rather terrible newborn hat that's all stretch and no structure. It falls off baby's head after about 30 seconds, and you spend most of your hospital stay putting it back on. 

Why don't they just keep things warm enough that baby doesn't need a hat? I don't know. One of the great mysteries of life, I guess. 

Knowing we would be given another of these useless hats, before Ollie was born, I set out to knit him an alternative hat. I wanted something newborn-sized (about a 14" head circumference), done in fingering weight, simple and quick, but not plain stockinette.  I searched and searched Ravelry and came up short.

So of course I wound up just putting something together myself.

This little hat knits up so quickly, even in fingering weight, and the chevron pattern is easy to memorize, as are the crown decreases. It's a great way to use up leftover sock yarn, works well with variegated, self-striping or solid color yarn, and best of all, in Ollie's honor, this is a freebie. Check out the pattern below.


And if you have some extra time (who doesn't?!?), consider knitting up a couple for your local NICU (using a soft, non-allergenic yarn). They play host to so many tiny babies and exhausted moms and dads who will certainly appreciate your generosity. Ollie's NICU stay was relatively short, but I'll always be thankful for the support and encouragement we received while he was there.



Size: newborn; approx. 14" head circumference
Gauge: 7.5st/in in st st
Needles: US size 3 DPNs, or long circular for magic loop
Yarn: Approx. 50yds fingering weight

kfb: knit into the front and back of the same stitch
s2kp: slip 2 sts as if to knit; k1, then pass both slipped sts over and off the needle

CO 104 sts; place marker and join to work in the round.

Rnd 1: (k2, p2) to end.

Work Rnd 1 5 times total, or until brim is approx. 1/2".

Next rnd: Knit, increasing 1 st. 105 sts.

Chevron pattern:

Rnd 1: *Kfb, k5, s2kp, k5, kfb; rep from * to end.
Rnd 2: Knit.

Rep rnds 1 and 2 until hat is approximately 3".

Crown decreases:

Rnd 1: *K6, s2kp, k6; rep from * to end.
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: *K5, s2kp, k5; rep from * to end.
Rnd 4: Knit.
Rnd 5: *K4, s2kp, k4; rep from * to end.
Rnd 6: Knit.
Rnd 7: *K3, s2kp, k3; rep from * to end.
Rnd 8: Knit.
Rnd 9: *K2, s2kp, k2; rep from * to end.
Rnd 10: Knit.
Rnd 11: *K1, s2kp, k1; rep from * to end.
Rnd 12: S2kp around. 7 sts rem.

Cut yarn, pass through remaining stitches, pull tight to close and fasten off. Weave in ends. Put on squirmy new baby.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pattern Debut: Siempre


A new Knit Picks collection, Sock Yarn Scarves, debuted on Thursday, and it features my latest design, Siempre!

Siempre is an infinity scarf knit in fingering weight yarn--and Knit Picks has some beautiful ones to choose from. The yarn used in the book is Stroll Glimmer, which, as you can see, has a hint of shimmer. (I used a sunny yellow to knit up my sample, and as soon as things get settled around here, I'll dig it up to share.) It requires a single 100g skein of sock yarn to create this versatile fall accessory--wear it long like a necklace, or double loop it for warmth.


The scarf features complementary lace and cable patterns, and a slip stitch edge for a smooth finish.
It's knit flat from a provisional cast on, with the ends grafted together for a seamless look.

The individual pattern is available for download for just $4.99, or buy the whole collection: the ebook with 7 patterns is just $9.99. If you'd like a print edition (and who wouldn't?), that's available too, for $14.99.

I'd personally go for the ebook as the best deal, because it includes 7 beautiful designs perfect for fall--especially Estivate and the Bees and Honeybees Stole!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

And Then There Were Four

We welcomed Oliver Martin into our lives on August 1! Despite being born at 39 weeks, he weighed just 5lbs 11 oz, and was 18" long--a peanut. Unfortunately some issues with low blood sugar have kept him in the NICU. We're hoping to bring him home tomorrow--fingers crossed! I'll be sure to share his whole story with you all as soon as I can.

In the meantime, check out the new collection Knit Picks released today, Sock Yarn Scarves, featuring my latest design, Siempre, an infinity scarf perfect for fall!