All right, gang, let’s talk winter Knit Along!

Voting happened, and the winner is the Catalina Beach Sweater!!

Here’s a video that has all the below information (and lots more) in it so check it out if you’re so inclined (and then scroll down to the last section – Things to Do Now):

The Catalina has eyelets, chevrons, and portions of stockinette so I don’t think it’s too advanced for most, and you can even get into a nice groove while you’re knitting it. If you’re nervous because it’s your first time making a sweater, you’re in the right place. The whole point of making your first sweater within a KAL is so you can have support and help when you need it.

If you’re very much a beginner knitter and you don’t have experience with lace or increasing or decreasing, you can still join and make a sweater. The steps aren’t really that hard, once you learn them. The hardest part will be going slowly and paying attention so that you don’t have to backtrack. I’ll give little tips and hints along the way to help make it easier as well.

Here are things you should be aware of when it comes to the Catalina KAL:

Sizing (5:54 in video)
32 (36, 40, 44) in / 81 (91, 102, 112) cm, after blocking
**Intended Ease = 4 in / 10 cm

Supplies (09:00)
Pattern – Catalina Beach Sweater (50% off until February 8th – add it to your cart for the discount to apply)
Wool and the Gang Shiny Happy Cotton, 100% prima Cotton, bulky / 12ply, 110g / 155yd, 4 (5, 6, 7) skeins (15% off with this link!)
US 10 / 6.0mm circular needles, 32in / 80cm
Optional: US 10 / 6.0mm straight needles
(or size needed to obtain gauge)
tapestry needle, scissors, measuring tape, stitch markers, blocking pins

Gauge (12:24)
With US 10 (6mm) needles, 11 sts x 20 rows = 4 x 4 in / 10 x 10 cm in stockinette st

Timeline (17:04)
The actual schedule is still TBD, but it will likely take place over one month – starting February 8, 2016.

Things to Do Now
1. Buy the pattern, the yarn, and your needles. (And any other notions you don’t have – see above).
2. Join the KAL support group. You can share pictures, ask questions, and get pretty easy access to me if you need it.
3. If you want to share your knitting progress on social media (and you want me to see it!), you can tag me on twitter or instagram with @kristincreates, #weallknithere, or #wakhkal.
4. Join the email list for the KAL!!! If you don’t join, you won’t get information about it. This is the last notice you’ll see because I’m not going to bother people that don’t want to join. So it will be business as usual in my regular facebook group and on the blog. You HAVE to join the email list. (If you voted in this round for the KAL, you’re already signed up so no worries!)

Any other questions?

It’s December!!

If you’re special, you’ve done all your holiday shopping and you’re finally able to relax with some hot chocolate while you admire your Christmas tree – or whatever decorations you put up.

That surely exists somewhere in the world, right?

My December usually resembles something out of the amazing Christmas movie, Jingle All the Way.

jingle all the way 2

This movie is somehow even more amazing now that I’m an adult.

 

Anyway, the point is, I’m here to help! If you’ve already got your gifts all ready to go, then this post probably isn’t for you (unless you’re planning for next year – go you!).

But if you’re looking for some quick and easy pattern suggestions for handmade knits, I’ve got you covered! I tried to stick to small projects and bulky yarn since it knits up faster. Some are free, some are not. Some are my patterns, some are not.

AND if you do go with my patterns, use the coupon code GETONIT for 50% off this week, ending December 10, 2015.

  1. Bow Tie. These work for everyone since who doesn’t like wearing bow ties? If I wear one, it’s in my hair.

2. Cozies. No one wants to put their fingers at risk when holding a cup of hot tea or coffee. I love stuffing a mug with treats and then wrapping a hand-knit cozy around it for gifts. Plus, some of these have pockets so you can throw in a tea bag or gift card. Perfect!

3. Slippers. There’s nothing worse than having cold toes – your loved ones will thank you profusely on chilly nights!

4. Hats. Similarly, the best way to trap your body heat when you’re out in the cold is with a hat. These are bulky knits so you can finish them in no time.

5. Headband. If you’re knitting for people like to exercise or, I don’t know, don’t want to take out their ponytail, go for a headband instead.

6. Giant Cowl. If you use super bulky yarn and giant needles, this cowl will knit up in no time – and don’t they look so luxurious?

7. Fingerless Mitts. Don’t trouble yourself with knitting each finger with delicate yarn. Go bold and fingerless.

8. Boot Cuffs. I’m not sure how these are better than socks. Maybe they keep the cold air out in the space between your boots and your calves? I don’t know, but people love them. They make great stocking stuffers!

9. Ornaments. Maybe you don’t have time to knit your loved ones a proper sweater, but these little ornaments are so darling, they won’t even mind.


Any other last minute hand-knit gifts you’re working on?

 

 

img_5919When I made my little hat collection earlier this year, I just knew the Arosa Slouchy Lace Hat would be the fan favorite. Mostly because it was my favorite, even though I love them all equally, of course.

What I didn’t expect was to be commissioned to make a matching scarf and pair of gloves.

You may have suspected that I’m not a fan of scarves, but it was also a family member asking so I didn’t want to turn her down.

After making the matching scarf and gloves, I was going to leave it at that, but then I decided that since I took the time to come up with the patterns, I might as well post them in case others wanted them as well.

Arosa Scarf

The scarf can be found on ravelry here. It’s knit with a garter stitch for the border, highlighting the lace pattern, and I even added some fringe!

 

Arosa Fingerless Gloves

The fingerless gloves are knit similarly, with garter stitch borders. It’s a much simpler design, but the lace eyelets are highlighted across the back of your hands.

Arosa Collection

If you want to make all 3 as a set, you’ll need:
3 skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick
a set of size US 15/10mm double pointed needles
a set of size US 13/9.00mm double pointed needles (for ribbing on the hat!)
a tapestry needle
scissors
blocking pins
a crochet hook (for scarf fringe – optional).

If you love the whole set, grab the bundle!

I think everyone can agree that handmade gifts are amazing, and most knitters try to get in as much knitting as they can for as many people as they can.

I know some knitters go big and try to make matching hats and scarves or socks – or even stockings!

I love my friends and family, but I don’t have time for that. I’m all about the small stocking stuffer knit gifts. And I’ve always lamented the fact that cozies seem so, well, small.

In theory, they’re perfect. Everyone drinks either coffee or tea and no one likes burned fingers so, in theory, everyone should carry cozies on them at all times, right? But for some reason, we don’t. So I always feel weird giving them out to people unless they come with other things.

So this year, I decided to fix that situation. I designed some super fun cozies (coming up in a minute), but with one change: they all have pockets. Yes, POCKETS!

They hold gift cards, business cards, tea bags, whatever small item you want to stuff in there. I’m so excited about them, and even if you don’t want to add on the pocket, I think the designs are just really fun in general.

So I came up with 5 different ideas:

  1. Lattice Lacy Coffee Cozy Lattice Lacy Gift Coffee Cozy

 

2. Crazy Octopus Coffee CozyCrazy Octopus Gift Coffee Cozy

3. Honeycomb Coffee CozyHoneycomb Gift Coffee Cozy

 

4. Silent Night Coffee Cozy Silent Night Gift Coffee Cozy

 

5. Slipped Chevron Coffee CozySlipped Chevron Gift Coffee Cozy

 

If you’ve read or listened to me chat about my own story and how I to knit, you’ll also have heard me mention that I taught myself to knit as a mindful activity.

Mindfulness and mindful meditation are pretty big buzzwords right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important.

I have wanted to do a small class on mindfulness and knitting for awhile, but I continually put it off because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to cover as much as I wanted to, and I will probably realize as soon as this is posted that I forgot something – but that just means I’ll have to do another, better video at a later point in time.

For now, though, check out my video below. I’m discussing what meditation is and should be, what mindfulness is and how to achieve that, and I’m tying that into knitting and how you can make your knitting into more of a mindful activity than it already is. Plus, I’m sharing two of my favorite books on meditation and mindfulness – links are below.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Mindfulness: An 8 Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

Bonus: Grab my guided meditation here.
Bonus 2: If you want to learn to knit AND knit as a mindful activity, grab my checklist for the supplies you’ll need at the store here. (And check out my knitting videos and courses above!)

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For the 6th episode of Any Stitch Will Get You There, I am so excited to introduce you to Sarah from Knit York City. I met Sarah a few years ago when I was just learning how to knit. I didn’t know who she was, and I can’t remember what we talked about, but I remember that I was incredibly frustrated with knitting, and I left the conversation feeling very empowered. Since then, I’ve watched each of her pattern releases with great excitement because I just love the designs she comes up with. Click through to see her designs here:

Sarah was kind enough to take some time and chat with me about knitting and designing. Watch the interview here:

 

headshotSarah Hurwitz lives in Brooklyn where she knits, sews, and takes pictures of the Williamsburg Bridge. She makes videos for Lion Brand Yarn’s YouTube channel. Her patterns have been featured in KnitScene and Pom Pom Quarterly.

Go say hi:

@knityorkcity on instagram, ravelry, and twitter

Usually people who love fall and winter, or at least love cuddling up in oversized sweaters and blankets and maybe even watching sports, also love to knit.

Me? I’m not a fan of cold weather, and I’d much prefer to spend my time on a beach or in a park – when it’s over 75 degrees out.

Part of the reason I resisted knitting for so long was because I hate scarves. I’m also not a fan of shawls or socks, and while I absolutely drool over a lot of the traditionally knit sweaters out there, I’m never going to wear them because it’s just not my style.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some gorgeous scarves, shawls, socks and traditional sweaters out there, just that they’re not for me.

If you want to start knitting, but don’t like a lot of the more popular items to knit, I’ve got you covered. Here are my 24 favorite patterns that don’t involve a sweaty neck, something you constantly need to hold onto and adjust (I’m looking at you, shawls!), or crazy colorwork.

  1. Who doesn’t need an apron? A lot of people skip aprons when they cook, myself included, because so many are large and stiff and just inconvenient. I love this pattern because it’s small, it has pockets, and you can use it as a dish cloth – something you can never have enough of in the kitchen. And it’s cute, too!

 

2. If you’re not the home making type, you can pretend to be with this knitted cactus garden.

 

3. If I had one of the tablet/pad contraptions, I’d definitely make this! It’s perfect for when you need to read and do something else, like knit.

 

4. Speaking of knitting items to enable your knitting, check out this adorable basket! I think I need at least 5 of these in each room for all of my spare knick-knacks with no place to go.

 

5-7. Have any children or want to knit for people who do? Knit up some baby blankets with style! You can try infusing some culture early in life with a Piet Mondrian inspired blanket, go a little crazier with an optical illusion, or go classic, complete with an adorable bunny!

 

8-12. All right, and since we’re on kids, let’s check out some cute stuff that’s maybe not just for kids! We’ve got a hot air balloon mobile, a Totoro doorstop, a mounted triceratops head, a koala curtain holder, and an adorable owl. I won’t tell if you knit some of these up for you!

 

13-16. Okay, enough knitting for other people. Let’s talk about building your wardrobe, and let’s start with sweaters. You have so many options, from the Wonder Woman inspired, to octopus wrapped, to the cozy, to the beach sweater!

 

17-19. If dresses are more your thing than sweaters, and at least that’s the case for me, then check out some of these lacy numbers.

 

20-21. And if you’re wearing your lacy dresses out in the sun, you know you need to wear sunscreen, right? And then get even more protected with a parasol or hat!

 

22. If none of that rocks your boat, you can always knit up some fancy lingerie!

 

23. If you got cold just looking at that, knit yourself some tights, girl! You’re going to need them when those Arctic winds start howling in another month or two.

 

24. Okay, I suppose this wouldn’t be a proper knitting list if it didn’t include something to go around your neck. This fox stole is so cute though!

Faux Fox Stole by Louise Walker

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For the 5th episode of Any Stitch Will Get You There, I’m chatting with Dianna from Paper Tiger. Dianna was a full time knitting designer out of Seattle, but she recently moved to Norway for grad school! If you’ve seen any of her designs before, you can tell her designs are heavily influenced by Scandinavian designs. Click through to see some of her amazing work here:

Dianna took some out of her schedule to chat with me about her love of colorwork and Scandinavian knitting, getting back to knitting as a stress relief, and moving to Norway! Watch the interview below:

You can find Dianna around the internet – go check out her designs, some pictures from Norway, and say hello!

http://paper-tiger.net/
http://www.ravelry.com/designers/dianna-walla
https://twitter.com/cakeandvikings/
https://instagram.com/cakeandvikings/

 

headshotDianna is a knitwear designer, writer, and illustrator based in Trom
sø, Norway whose work has appeared in Pom Pom Quarterly, Knitscene Magazine, Interweave Knits, and Brooklyn
Tweed’s Wool People series. She’s a lifelong learner and a perpetual optimist. When she’s not knitting, you can find her doing linguistics homework or blogging at paper-tiger.net.


 

If you’re knitting some cables or lace or colorwork – or if you’re a beginner knitter – you’re familiar with ripping out your work because somehow it doesn’t look like what it’s supposed to look like.

While I think ripping out your work can be therapeutic at times, and while it can certainly help you learn to focus, it can also be wildly frustrating.

Here’s a simple way to insert a lifeline into your work when you’re knitting so that you can save your spot if you do have to rip it out.

So for the last week, I allowed voting on my newest hat designs for the 2015 fall Knit Along and I am so excited to announce that voting is over and we have a winner!!

IMG_5919m

Supply list:
Arosa Slouchy Hat pattern
Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick
US size 15 (10.0mm) double pointed needles
US size 13 (9.0mm) double pointed needles
tapestry needle
scissors
stitch markers (optional)

Details
This KAL is over! If you’re interested in purchasing this course, please click here. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next KAL!
If you voted for your favorite hat, you’re already on the email list. Otherwise, you HAVE to sign up here to participate. I’m NOT going to post daily updates here on the blog – they will be emailed each morning over the course of 7 days, starting September 28, 2015.

Click Here to Join

So each day you’ll get an email from me letting you know which section of the pattern we’ll be completing that day. You’ll get these instructions in both written and video form. Additionally, I’ll have tutorials in the videos for those who are interested each day.

If you follow along with me, you’ll have a finished hat at the end of 7 days. If you get behind, you’ll have an additional 7 days to catch up via the videos.

After 14 days, I’m taking the videos down and listing them as video course here on my website.

The video course is available! Click here for more details and to purchase.

Support
I know questions sometimes come up, and I know sometimes you just really want to share what you’re working on (I don’t know why family members and significant others don’t always care about your knitting – what we do is amazing!) so I have options for you:

1. A facebook group specifically for those who are in the KAL. It’s a closed group so only people in there can see your pictures and questions so feel free to share and ask away! I’ll be in the group frequently answering questions and giving encouragement. Join here.

2. I have a general #weallknithere hashtag, but I created #wakhkal specifically for this project. I’ll be checking both instagram and twitter for projects.

Hey newbies!
A few people mentioned in the survey that they were totally new to knitting. Go grab your supplies, check out my videos here, and spend the next week practicing casting on stitches and knit stitches. I’ll go slow in the tutorial, but it helps a lot to have a grasp of the basics before you begin learning other skills.

Anything else?
Let me know if you have any other questions! And don’t forget to sign up to be on the email list if you want to participate – again, this is a special email list and you have to sign up here. I’m not posting daily updates here on the blog. Email only.

As usual, all this information is in video form: