Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Forget-Me-Not Hat

Back in April when the opportunity arose to create a design for a new Knit Picks yarn, I jumped at the chance without a second thought.  Never mind that I was on the brink of tourist season and I would barely have a chance to think of anything other than trains in the upcoming months, let alone pull something creative and worthwhile from my brain.  It was a great opportunity, so I snapped it up immediately!

The new yarn that I would have the chance to work with is Capra, KP's new merino/cashmere blend that is oh-so-buttery soft.  At the time, there had been an idea in my head that I quickly jotted down on paper and sent off to the wonderful KP Stacey for evaluation.  After I got the go ahead, I spent the next couple months swatching with similar yarns and sketching, waiting on the Capra to arrive on my doorstep.

In the best possible scenario, I would have had about a month to knit up the sample and work out the kinks in the pattern, once I received the yarn. that's the key phrase there:  once I received the yarn.  While KP sent out the two lovely skeins of Capra on June 22 and the yarn was scanned into my local post office on June 25 (thanks, delivery confirmation!), our wonderful post office apparently didn't think that I needed to have that package put into my box until July 6th!  

So, I had just two weeks to do everything, which can be fairly standard in the design world, but in the middle of summer when I'm working insane hours keeping tourists happy, this was not the ideal situation.

But being apart of the Capra yarn launch was totally worth it!  This yarn is is so soft and wonderful to work with.  And the great thing is, it gets softer as it's knitted up and even softer (can you believe it?!) after blocking.  I chose the color Sea Spray to work with and it's a beautiful icy light teal blue.  I can't wait to order some more of this stuff!

Back to the design...

Building on the concept of the Mayflowers sock, I decided to continue with the cables-in-bloom theme and create a hat in the same vein.

And the Forget-Me-Not hat was born!

Worked from the bottom up, this hat shows off the wonderful cables that radiate from the crown and blossom into flowers as the cables move down the cap.  Since this is a pic heavy post, I'm going to let the photos do the talking!

The Capra yarn has a very slight halo, which makes the hat all the more comfy and beautiful.  I seriously can't wait to get my hands on more of this stuff and make a Forget-Me-Not hat in my own size!

Pattern Details:  
Name: Forget-Me-Not Hat {KP link}{Rav link} by Allison Haas
Yarn:  Knit Picks Capra (2 skeins)
Needles:  Size 5 circular or dpns
Sizes available:  Women's Adult S(M,L)
Techniques Used:  Cables, Decreasing, Bottom-Up Construction, Knit flowers
Notions:  Tapestry needle, cable needle, 4 stitch markers, 12 size 6 seed beads 

Special thanks to my model, Trish...isn't she lovely?

Friday, July 30, 2010

And we have a winner...

After completely spacing the fact that I had to draw the Alluvia giveaway winner tonight (hey, it's been a long week!), we now have a very lucky winner!

There were 41 entrants (after weeding out a couple duplicate comments) and so I asked Jeff to pick a number between 1 and 41. He chose 11.  For some reason I didn't like that number (he was a little hurt that I didn't like his choice), so I decided to consult the Random Number Generator for a second opinion.

And wouldn't you know it?  It gave me 11 as well.  So, apparently, the 11th commenter was just destined to win!

The winner of the Alluvia giveaway is none other than Gail Litter (GLitter-knitter on Rav)!

Gail is my old roommate and married to one of my oldest childhood friends.  We used to knit together and obsessively watch all three seasons of Arrested Development over and over (and over) back in my early knitting days (she can attest to how far I've come!)  How I miss knitting together during the long, dark winters!

I swear this wasn't rigged...apparently since both Jeff and the RNG both picked 11, it was just meant to be!

So, Gail, you better start picking your fave flavors of Wool of the Andes!  I'll ship them right to you, just in time for some Colorado fall knitting!  Email me at with your choices...better yet, you should call me....we need to catch up!

Thanks to all for entering!  I've got some exciting things that I'll be able to share very soon in the next few weeks.  And I might even have another giveaway or two to celebrate!  Stay tuned....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

An Alluvia Giveaway!

Lately my mind has been turning to thoughts of fall...mostly because it feels like fall has already come to Southeast Alaska! We had a very warm May, which served as our "summer", and then there was termination dust (aka SNOW) on the peaks by mid-June. Ever since, it's been rainy, cold, gray, and very very windy.

I am absolutely giddy about this! I'm watching the fireweed blooms slowly travel up the stalk, meaning they are moving closer and closer to the time when they will turn to cotton and summer will soon be forgotten, as the saying goes.

I just love living in a cold weather climate, mostly because it means that I get to work with wool year round without getting sweaty and itchy!

So, to celebrate this wonderful fall weather in July, I've decided to do another giveaway. The real fall will be here before we know it, and wouldn't you like to have a great fall accessory ready to use when it gets here?!

Here are the giveaway details:

1. What am I giving away?

A copy of the Alluvia Felted Tote pattern and 8 skeins of Wool of the Andes Worsted in the colors of your choice! You could go with muted tones or vibrant shades...the possibilities are endless!

2. How can you enter?

Just leave a comment on this post letting me know what your favorite shade of Wool of the Andes is!

3.  Is there a deadline to enter?

Yep, you must leave a comment by Friday July 30 at 8 PM Alaska Time. I'll use the random number generator to choose the lucky winner and will announce it soon after that!

4.  Can I enter more than once?

Yes, if you'd like a second chance to enter, just blog about my giveaway on your blog and then leave a comment letting me know that you did so!

Good luck, everyone! Looking forward to hearing your favorite shade of WotA...mine's a tie between Firecracker Heather and Tidepool Heather!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Do you ever have a project or design that lurks around for what seems like forever?  And then just when you think you will never finish it, somewhere in the depths you find the strength to power through and just get it done?  Well, then you know how I feel about Alluvia. (Rav it)
I began this bag about a year and a half ago.  It was my first ever design submission and, with hindsight being 20/20, I can see now why it was not at first accepted to any publications.  The colors I initially used were all wrong (I went stash diving and worked up the oddest color combinations of Cascade 220 ever) and the submission itself...well, let's just say a five year old could have done a better job.

But with that first rejection came a fresh perspective on the design and over the next few months, a better (and actually a little bigger) version took shape and morphed into the beautiful pattern I present to you today!

I was so excited for this design to be apart of the Knit Picks IDP, because it meant that I could choose any shades of Wool of the Andes that I wanted!  But, it turns out, I got shy about choosing the colors (too much pressure!), so Stacey at KP (who is so wonderful, by the way) picked them out for me.  And she couldn't have done a better job!

She thought working from the bottom to the top and going from darkest to lightest would be a cool concept and I say I have to agree.

She sent along the black and then the various shades of purple for me to use.  But I thought it needed something extra, so I threw in the red from my own stash, just for fun!

Named for the interesting ridges that form in the sand at the mouths of glaciers, the Alluvia Felted Tote is the perfect accessory for fall! 

{Shown here unfelted...don't you love the colors?!}

Worked in the round from the bottom up, this tote utilizes an exaggerated pleat stitch that forms the folds of material that become the felted ruffles. With so many shades of Wool of the Andes Worsted from which to choose, the possibilities are endless to create a colorful and unique accessory!


Pattern:  Alluvia Felted Tote (Knit Picks link, Rav link)
Suggested Yarn:  Wool of the Andes Worsted  (Shown in (from the bottom up) Coal, Cobblestone Heather, Black Cherry Heather, Claret Heather, Amethyst Heather, Lullaby, and Iris Heather)
Needles:  32" size 8 circulars and size 8 dpns
Techniques Used:  Working in the round; Magic Loop; i-cord, decreasing, felting

I'm so glad that this design is finally available!  I've loved watching the transition it has undergone and I'm actually glad that the first version of it was would never have morphed into the unique piece it is today!

Please do not hesitate to ask if you'd like to know more details about this pattern.  Happy knitting, everyone!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mayflowers Sock

Okay, so I've finally gotten my act together and finalized the pattern for Mayflowers, my sock design entry in the Socks Revived Design Contest.

(Ravelry link to purchase)

The idea of cables breaking out of their routine and blossoming into flowers has been in my mind for awhile now.  And I'm so grateful for the process of moving the concept from my mind to the page to a living and breathing creation.  It was truly challenging but, in the end, it turned out way better than I ever could have expected.

Here are some more shots of the work...makes you want to grab your size 1's and get to knitting, doesn't it?  Such a cozy sock knit in the Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine...the Pea Soup Mix is to die for!  Such lovely shades of green wrapped up in a single skein.

I hope you'll love knitting Mayflowers as much as I've enjoyed creating it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tagish Mitts

Wow, I have no idea where the last week went!  I had planned to introduce this pattern last week, but I seem to have blinked and about 8 days disappeared.

This is the third and last pattern that went live on Knit Picks on April 1.  The Tagish Mitts (Rav it) were created to be a complementary accessory to the Tagish Cowl, or they can be perfect on their own.

This is a super simple project that can most definitely be finished in an evening or two.  Perfect for a last minute gift!


Pattern:  Tagish Mitts (Knit Picks link)
Yarn used:  Knit Picks Swish Bulky in Merlot Heather, 1 hank
Notions:  Tapestry needle, three 1/2 in buttons
Thanks to my test knitter, Allison H (yes, another Allison H lives in my tiny little town!)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tagish Cowl

As promised, here is another of the patterns that were released yesterday in Knit Picks Independent Design Program.  I give you Tagish Cowl. (Rav it here)

I've been admiring this lovely shade of Swish Bulky for awhile now, and searching for the perfect cowl pattern to create with it.  But that cowl pattern never surfaced, so I took it upon myself to make one of my own!

As discussed in yesterday's post regarding the Taiya Scarf, I've been on a bit of an all-things-brioche kick lately.  I just love how the stitch is so light and airy.  And having it wrapped around your neck is a little piece of heaven.

I knew that I wanted to incorporate buttons somehow, and in the prototype of this pattern I had initially had 7 buttons/buttonholes all the way down the closure.  But that seems a little bit much, plus it had already been done, so decided to cut out a few buttons and make it an asymmetrical closure instead.

The top of one end of the cowl is buttoned to the bottom of the other end.  This created less bulk around the neck and I also like how on one side the cowl flips over at the top and on the other side it flips up on the bottom.  A cute little detail that keeps things interesting!

Tagish Cowl via Knit Picks IDP
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Bulky in Garnet Heather
Needles:  Size 9 and 10 straights

This is such a quick knit...great for last minute gifts or just some mindless movie knitting!  I hope you'll check it out.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Taiya Scarf

Thanks so much for the overwhelming response to my giveaway!  It's been inspiring to read all of the comments...makes me wish spring in Alaska would get here already!

Well, I thought I had another week to get my blogging act together before my new patterns went live in the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program, but *surprise* they went live today!

I'm so excited to debut Taiya Scarf (Rav it), Tagish Mitts (Rav it), and Tagish Cowl (Rav it).  These are the stealth projects I've been working on these last few weeks.  I'm so glad to finally be able to reveal them to you!

I'm going to profile each of them over the next couple days, and today I'll start with Taiya Scarf.

I've been on a bit of a brioche kick lately (in this case, I used a variant of brioche, Fisherman's Rib) and I was hoping to combine my love of that squishy soft stitch with my obsession of lace knit in bulky weight yarn.  And this is how Taiya Scarf was born.

As I draw inspiration from my Alaskan environment on a daily basis, I found it was only fitting that I name my patterns after locations or places here in the North that inspire me.  The mighty Taiya River flows just east of my Alaskan town and every summer there are vast amounts of wild irises that bloom at the mouth of the river where it meets the sea.  When I was working on this scarf, the purple hue of the yarn reminded me of the color of the irises, hence the name.

I love the fact that the squishiness of the Fisherman's Rib is the part that wraps around the neck.  It's like wearing a cloud!  And the diamond lace at either end of the scarf keeps things interesting.  


Pattern:  Taiya Scarf (Knit Picks link)
Yarn:  Knit Picks Cadena, 3 hanks in Blackberry
Needles:  Size 11 straights
Model:  My good friend, Trish.  The best model/friend/spin drive companion a girl could ask for.

Stay tuned over the next couple days where I'll be showing off the Tagish Cowl and the Tagish Mitts!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An old (but recently discovered!) FO: Foliage

As I was digging through a bunch of knitting stuff the other day, I happened upon a hat I completed a couple years ago.  It was so nice to see it after such a long time!  I don't know that I ever wore it at all.  It somehow got sucked into the knitting void without ever seeing the light of day!
It's Foliage by Emily Mooney from the Fall 2007 Knitty (Rav it).  I can't remember many details, but I do believe I used Knit Picks Risata sock yarn in Marionberry held double throughout.  I'm pretty sure I used a little over a skein.  

It's so sproingy and comfy...and the yarn is stretchy enough that it fits comfortably over my big head.

As usual, I take my blog photos right after work to catch the nice light.  Well, that, and I do it when I'm alone so that I don't have to hear the incessant teasing I would hear if Jeff were home.  He thinks its weird I take so many photos of yarn and yarn-related things.  I think he buys way too many power tools.  We agree to disagree on these points. ;)

However, the one bad thing about trying to take pictures while I'm here by myself is that I always struggle with taking decent shots of myself modeling FOs.  I do have a tripod and a remote control for my camera, but I find it very difficult to get the good angles I want when I'm in front of the lens.  Add in the fact that my house has such poor lighting and you see why I hardly ever have any decent photos of myself on here.

Until today.   I figured out that if I crouch down just right in our downstairs bathroom that I can take advantage of the natural light coming through the window while balancing my camera on the toilet.  Certainly not ideal, but it sort of worked! 

Apparently taking toilet pictures is very serious business. This is my the-camera-went-off-before-I-was-ready look. No smiles just yet.

Okay, here we go. I finally got a smile out at just the right moment before the shutter snapped. And then a split second after that I had to lunge for my camera as it toppled ever-so-precariously near the edge of the back of the toilet.

That was a close call.  Note to self: Shut toilet lid before next photo session. That really should go without saying, but I thought I'd throw that out there. ;)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My First Handspun!

I initially thought it would take me forever to get through those 4 oz. of beautiful fiber that I blogged about yesterday.  But then the obsessive side of me came out and I had it all spun by the end of the night last night!

Before I got too far in, I decided to search on YouTube for a tutorial on drop spinning.  There were several choices, but the one I found most helpful was from Megan LaCore, from The Art of Megan.  I watched it once all the way through (it's about 10 minutes long) and then once more as I was learning how to do everything.  

And that's all it took to get me rolling.  I was so excited to see the yarn taking shape.  I was even more excited that I could do it as I was sitting watching tv.  (I get a little stir crazy when I have to do things without any distractions in the background. Blame it on my ADD.)

I was just spinning along, not paying attention to how much fiber I had used.  When I went to reach for another piece, I couldn't find any.  I didn't even realize I had gone through the entire amount!

I then unwound the yarn from the spindle onto the back of a chair (following the instructions from another one of Megan's videos) and then soaked it to set the twist.  Then I hung it up to dry overnight.

This morning I was so excited to wake up and see how it turned out.  (Not as excited as a child on Christmas morning, but almost...)  I was a little bit disappointed to see that I had waaayyyy overspun it.  It was crimpy and I knew that I would not be able to use it.

So, I set out to see if I could salvage it.  I went through the entire skein and pulled out the extra twist.  I just went along and spread the twist down the yarn.  Luckily, there were some parts that I had underspun, so it worked itself out.  The yarn was still slightly damp, so that helped out a lot too.  I did have to cut the yarn once, as it had become so twisted upon itself that it had gotten really tangled.  But I just tied it together and continued on my merry way.  

After a couple hours, I had gotten all the kinks out and the yarn looked much better.  I was going to soak it again, but the yarn was laying flat on its own with no crimps, so I'm going to forgo that extra step.  It doesn't have to be perfect!  I'll have plenty more chances to get it right.

Okay, enough chit chat.  You're here to see the yarn, right?  Well, here are a couple photos of the finished product.  I couldn't get the light just right, so the color is slightly off, but it's the best I can do with the daylight I'm working with right now.

I stupidly forgot to measure out about how much yardage I had produced, so I have no idea how much is there.  But I love it!  It reminds me a lot of Noro Iro, with the same twist and bulky weight.  Of course, there are sections where it got too thin and other sections where it's too bulky, but overall I think I did fairly well for a first try.  

I think I'll be making a hat for myself out of it.  I hope there'll be enough...otherwise, some lucky person with a smaller noggin than my own will be gifted with a very special FO.

I'm off to get my Maplewing Shawl in order for the Adventures in Lace KAL that begins tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Adventures in Lace KAL

Thanks to all the kind notes and comments regarding my uninspiredness.  I think it's just a case of the mid-winter ho-hums.  I took an evening off from knitting last night (it was bowling night) and today I feel much better about things.

One thing I am getting excited about is for the Adventures in Lace KAL, organized by my blogfriend, Kate, of Lazy Kate Creates.  It starts in February and I'm excited at the prospects of what pattern I'll choose.  I've been meaning to write about it before now, but I'm a bit blog-illiterate and couldn't figure out how to add the KAL button to my sidebar.  (I still haven't figured it out, but I'm working on it. ;) )

ETA:  Check out my sidebar. I grew some brain cells and figured it out. Well, it was actually a simple Google search.  Who knew?

I'm currently torn between using my Maplewing Shawl (yipes! I did not realize that I cast on for this way back in September.) and choosing a new and exciting project.

On one hand, having the Maplewing be my KAL project, I'll be sure to steadily work on it and maybe-possibly-there's-a-chance-but-it's-a-shot-in-the-dark it might get finished before I turn 40. (um, that's in 9 years for all of you keeping track.)

OR, I could choose something that's not in my pile of UFOs!  Before cold-sheeping it beginning the first of the year, I put in a last order at Webs and got a delicious hank of Madeline Tosh Prairie in the Clematis colorway.  I'm dying to use it and so I think this just might be the perfect situation.

I am in lurve with Haruni by Emily Ross (Rav it) or one of Anne Hanson's amazing designs, such as the Twinings Stole, the Autumn Arbor Stole, or the Birnam Wood Wrap?

Decisions, decisions....which would you choose?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pretty Little Thing....Gifted!

Remember Pretty Little Thing?  Well, I absolutely loved how it turned out and the yarn is so buttery soft I want to knit a duvet cover out of it (not really).  BUT, even though I added in a couple extra repeats so that it would fit around my huge cranium, it was still a bit to snug for my taste.

So, I decided to gift it to my sister for Christmas!  The entire time I was knitting it I was thinking about her anyway and thought it would suit her, so it's only fitting that it actually end up in her possession.

I so carefully packed for my trip to Ohio that I nearly forgot that I had stashed it in a small dark corner of my carry-on.  But, after being brushed off a bit, it rebounded just fine and I gave it to her on my last day there.

Doesn't she look thrilled?  (I would be if I had been gifted a cashmere cowl, but maybe that's just me...)

And a close up...

Today I'm dreading my first day back at work in over three weeks.  On one hand, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle a new year with a new attitude.  But it's going to be a fight to not slip back into old grooves.  Hmmmm, I think I'll knit a little more to take my mind off it.  ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cold Sheep in 2010

I'd be lying if I said that recently I began to realize the immense size of my stash.  I've actually known about the enormity for quite some time, but only in the last month or so did I finally make myself face the fact that I have more yarn than is humanly possible to knit in a lifetime.  Some of you may think I'm exaggerating, but it's absolutely true.

When I read about knitters who say that their stash has gotten out of control when it's overflowing the basket sitting beside their knitting chair, I want to laugh/cry/hang my head in sheepish embarrassment.  Because I only wish that that was the extent of my stash.

Truth is, the once small basket beside my knitting chair has turned into two large overflowing baskets, a three drawer container for my needles/notions, and a bookshelf for my most-perused knitting books.  I also have yarn stuffed into a couple baskets on a shelf in my dining room; yarn hiding in my car; yarn randomly laying around kitchen/bathroom/pantry;  6 large rubbermaid containers in our spare room;  and 5 large rubbermaid containers in our bedroom.  Oh, and I have 3 boxes of yarn in my office at work, because I'm just too darned scared to walk through the door with it in fear of being committed to an insane asylum. could say I have a yarn problem.  I've always enjoyed buying new yarn, but until the last year I felt my stash was manageable.  But over the last year I've really become unhappy with certain aspects of my life and have used yarn and knitting as a crutch.  Work pisses me off?  Buy some yarn.  Someone makes me so angry I want to scream?  Buy some yarn.  You get the idea.  Some people turn to drinking or drugs to cope with things that they just can't handle.  I buy yarn and knit.  To some that may be a harmless hobby.  But I know myself too well to know that I'm only using it to cover up things I haven't wanted to deal with.

So, in 2010 I will not be buying any new yarn*.  Going cold sheep, as the phrase may be.  I have more than enough amazing yarn to last throughout the year.  And I might even be putting some up for sale, so that I can cut my stash down even more.  I even joined the Stash Knit Down group on Ravelry to help me stay the course.

Now, you may have noticed the * above.  That asterisk denotes the fact that there might at some point be new yarn coming into my stash.  I have set up an incentive plan for myself to achieve some of the goals I have set for the new year.  Each day I will get so many points for doing certain tasks I have created for myself.  At the end of the month I will add up the points I have received and that corresponds to a certain incentive level and amount of money.  I have decided that I can spend that money however I want, which includes buying yarn.

So, you see, I might actually be buying some yarn in 2010, but I'm going to have to work hard to do it.  If anyone is interested in my incentive plan, just email me and I'd be happy to share more info.

Okay, so, I have publicly declared my intentions.  That makes it official, right?  Wish me luck...I'm going to need it!

Let's go stash diving...Who's with me?  

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year...and a contest!

Greetings from windy (and cold!) Skagway!

To ring in a new year and a new decade, I thought I would start things off on the right foot by having a little giveaway!

Like me, I'm sure many of you have thought of things that you'd like to accomplish this year, things you'd like to do more of, things you'd like to do less of.  Basically, a new year means a clean slate to many of us and it's a great time to better oneself in whatever way seems fit.

Something I'm going to be concentrating on this year is designing.  I've got about 6 or 7 partially finished designs that I hope to have done within the next couple months.  My goal this year to is be published either in print or online.  I know that I don't have a lot of control as to whether or not a publication chooses my designs, but what I can control is focusing on finishing something.  Anything, really.  I have confidence that my ideas are on the right track.  I just need a little sticktoitiveness to see my design through to a finished product.

Okay, so that's what I'll be working on.  What will your focus be in 2010?

Leave me a comment regarding your #1 new year's resolution and you'll be entered to win a 250 gram hank of Kangaroo Dyer's Merino/Alpaca/Silk yarn in the Caliph's Sunset colorway.  That's 620 yards of yummy goodness!

I LOVE this yarn and had grand dreams of making a shawlette or large cowl out of it, but I seem to have accumulated a lot of yarn in 2009 with very similar color schemes and there's no possibly way I will ever use it all.  So, I thought I would share it with one of you!

If you'd like to enter more than once, just post a link to my contest on your blog and you'll be entered twice!  Just leave a separate comment with a link to the post letting me know that you did so.

ETA:  Thanks to those who let me know I did not post a deadline!  Contest will close January 8th at midnight Alaska Time.  I'll notify the winner on January 9th.

Good luck and here's to a prosperous 2010!

ETA:  JuliaA, you're the lucky winner!  Thanks to everyone for entering!