My Favorite Knits of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’

I’ve been binge watching period dramas all month, beginning with the popular “Bridgerton” on Netflix and then the less-steamy-but-still-captivating “Sanditon” from PBS on MASTERPIECE. They’re a perfect companion to catching up on my knitting and escaping quarantine.

The newest show I’m watching is “All Creatures Great and Small,” also from PBS on MASTERPIECE. And it’s a knitter’s dream.

I’m spotting 1930s knitted sweaters and vests left and right … and I’ve only watched the first two episodes! Not since “The Imitation Game” have I loved seeing the knits as much as the story.

Read: Decoding the Knits of ‘The Imitation Game’

It’s a reminder to me of how much effort is put into costume design. And when a show is set in the Yorkshire Dales in 1930s, you have to go all in on knit design, right?

Here are some of my favorite knits I’ve seen so far that really speak to each character’s personality. And if you want to join me in spotting these knits in each episode, you can watch the series Sundays at 9 p.m. on PBS MASTERPIECE or online.

HELEN ALDERSON

We’ll start with my favorite, Helen Alderson. She’s a local farmer’s daughter who catches James’s eye immediately after arriving. And she is a perfect example of how wardrobe design tells you so much about a character. The sweater she wears when James makes his first visit to her farm is an emerald green turtleneck with a vertical zigzag pattern. Right away it tells you that she has a lot of personality and doesn’t always follow the rules. Another sweater we see her wear is a cheery, youthful colorwork piece, which really stands out against the dreary Yorkshire weather. Both of these knits show she’s a wild card, and I can’t wait to see what else she wears.

JAMES HERRIOT

James Herriot is new to town and is trying to earn respect as a young veterinarian. He’s a by-the-book type of guy who studied hard and is determined to be a successful vet. But there’s still a young, rebellious side to him. These qualities are translated to his cable knit vests in that they don’t stand out too much but still have a youthful, busy look to them with the repetitive cables. He willing to work hard to get the job done, but hasn’t let life wear him down to wearing a plain knit vest…yet!

MRS. HALL

Mrs. Hall is the housekeeper of Skeldale House, but you can immediately tell that she also keeps veterinarian Siegfried Farnon’s life in order. She’s neat as a pin, well organized, and very welcoming. My favorite sweater that she wears displays this beautifully. It’s a basic cardigan with thick vertical ribbing separated by what appears to be either garter or seed stitch columns. This gives her a very orderly, buttoned-up appearance — everything a housekeeper is expected to be. The other blue sweater she wears almost every day is even more plain. Costume designer Ros Little said “…it’s darned and a little bit frayed, but it’s a practical garment she puts on every day.”

TRISTAN FARNON

Tristan Farnon is Siegfried’s younger brother. When he arrives, he’s stowed away on a train and dressed in white tie, which makes me think that there are so many stories we probably won’t hear about his life back at veterinarian college. He’s also a showman, so his bright fair isle vest is a perfect match for him. He’s still very young, a trickster, and yet he comes from a very traditional upbringing, all of which you can see with this vest.

I love paying attention to the costumes in TV shows and movies — they can tell you so much about the characters. Try it next time you take a break to sit and knit with your new favorite show!

Happy knitting!
-Kim

Baby Yoda-Inspired Knit Hat Pattern – Free!

The ears on this Baby Yoda “The Child” Hat make for some memorable photos of Alexander’s first Halloween!

Our son’s first Halloween is just a few days away. The holiday looks different this year, but COVID-19 won’t keep us from dressing him up in an adorable costume.

We decided to dress Alexander as Baby Yoda (well, I know it’s technically “The Child”) quite a few weeks ago. And yes, we planned. But of course, Halloween is just two days away and we’re still getting the finishing touches on his costume.

That’s part of the Halloween tradition, right? Scrambling at the last minute to get your costume ready is all part of the fun.

This Baby Yoda-inspired knitted hat ended up being too cute to keep the pattern all to myself, so I want to share it with you all here — for free!

This post may contain affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I get rewarded a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me deliver great content (including free patterns!) to you, so thank you!

It’s only written for one size right now — 3 to 6 month old babies with heads approximately 14 to 16 inches around. Hats are very stretchy though, so I’m sure you could fit a slightly older child in this pattern. Plus I designed it with a rolled brim so I can extend the length as he grows.

If your child is older, consider adding an inch or so to the length. You can always roll it up if it’s too long.

Or if you have a favorite hat pattern you prefer to make in the right size for your kiddo, you can make only the ears from this Baby Yoda Hat Pattern and attach them to that hat. Whatever works best for you!

A Note About Materials

This green yearn is from my stash, and I lost the tag to it. So unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly what I used. But I do know that it’s a Medium-4 weight and is superwash wool. You can substitute any Medium-4 weight yarn and use any fiber — wool, acrylic, bamboo, cotton, etc. Whatever you think “The Child” will like best. Brava Worsted Yarn from Knit Picks in Fig or Avocado is a great option.

The ears are, well, quite large. They will most certainly flop down. To help keep them firm I inserted some EVA foam before seaming them up. This is totally optional, but does help. If you don’t have any EVA foam, you could cut out some cardboard from a shipping or cereal box, or try stuffing them with scrap yarn. The benefit of using EVA foam or cardboard is that you can mold the shape a little to give the ears some depth.

Each ear has a piece of EVA foam inside to give it some rigidity so they don’t flop over.

To complete the costume, I wrapped Alexander in a tan flannel blanket. Tadaa! Baby Yoda, a.k.a “The Child,” is ready for Halloween.

Wrap your kiddo in a tan blanket or towel to complete this easy costume.

This hat also makes a really fun gift for any fan of Star Wars or The Mandalorian for Christmas, birthdays, or anytime.

If you make this free hat, please share on Instagram with the hashtag #BabyYodaHatKnit and tag me @KnitJulep. I’ll try to share each of your projects!

And now, the pattern instructions for my free knitted Baby Yoda-inspired hat pattern.

*** *** ***

Baby Yoda-Inspired Knit Hat Pattern

The Baby Yoda Hat pattern is sized for babies ages 3 to 6 months.

Notes

Yarn: Medium-4 Weight Yarn (I recommend Knit Picks’ Brava Worsted Yarn in Fig or Avocado.)

Needles: Size 8 16″ circular needles for the hat & set of three Size 8 double-pointed needles for the ears

Gauge: 19 stitches and 26 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch knitted in the round

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Size: Fits babies around 3 to 6 months old with a 14 to 16 inch head circumference. Hat measures approximately 15 inches around.

Instructions

Using circular needles, cast on 64 stitches.

Join in the round and place marker.

Hat Body

Knit every round until hat measures approximately 5 inches from cast on edge.

Shaping

Round 1: (K6, K2tog) repeat to marker

Round 2: Knit

Round 3: (K5, K2tog) repeat to marker

Round 4: Knit

Round 5: (K4, K2tog) repeat to marker

Round 6: Knit

Round 7: (K3, K2tog) repeat to marker

Round 8: (K2, K2tog) repeat to marker

Round 9: (K1, k2tog) repeat to marker

Round 10: (K2tog) repeat to marker

Cut yarn leaving at least a 7 inch tail for sewing. Using tapestry needle, thread through remaining stitches. Pull tightly to close. Weave in ends.

Hat Ears

Using double pointed needles, cast on 22 stitches and divide evenly among 2 needles.

Join in the round and place marker.

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: (K2, M1, K7, M1, K2) repeat to marker

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: (K2, M1, K9, M1, K2) repeat to marker

Row 5: Knit

Row 6: (K2, M1, K11, M1, K2) repeat to marker

Row 7: Knit

Row 8: (K2, M1, K13, M1, K2) repeat to marker

Row 9: Knit

Row 10: (K2, M1, K15, M1, K2) repeat to marker

Rows 11 through 14: Knit

Row 15: (K1, SSK, K15, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 16: Knit

Row 17: (K1, SSK, K13, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 18: Knit

Row 19: (K1, SSK, K11, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 20: Knit

Row 21: (K1, SSK, K9, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 22: (K1, SSK, K7, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 23 and 24: Knit

Row 25: (K1, SSK, K5, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 26: Knit

Row 27: (K1, SSK, K3, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 28 and 29: Knit

Row 30: (K1, SSK, K1, K2tog, K1) repeat to marker

Row 31: (K1, SSK, K2) repeat to marker

Row 32 through 34: Knit

Row 35: (SSK, K2tog) repeat to marker

Row 36 and 37: Knit

Cut yarn leaving at least a 10 inch tail. Using tapestry needle, thread through remaining stitches. Weave in ends.

Repeat to make the second ear.

Foam Ear Inserts (optional)

Trace the shape of your ears onto a piece of EVA foam (or cardboard). Draw another line inside the one you traced approximately a quarter inch smaller all the way around. This is the line you want to use to cut out the ear so that it is smaller than your knitted ear. Repeat this process for your second ear.

Note how the EVA foam shapes are sized slightly smaller than the knitted ears.

Insert one piece of foam (or cardboard) into one ear. Seam the open end together. Give some shape to the ears by bending them in half lengthwise a bit. Repeat for the second ear.

Using a piece of yarn and the tapestry needle, attach the ears to each side of the hat approximately a half inch above the rolled brim.

*** *** ***

That’s it! This hat knits up pretty fast, like all baby sized knits. Just grab some green yarn from your stash and cast on.

If you make this hat, please share on Instagram with the hashtag #BabyYodaHatKnit and tag me @KnitJulep. I’ll try to share each of your projects!

Happy knitting!
– Kim

This pattern and photographs of this item are the property of Knit Julep. This pattern is for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not sell this pattern under any circumstances. The design is inspired by Baby Yoda, of which I do not have or claim any copyrights. This site displays third party ads and contains affiliate links.

Free Knitting Pattern: Afternoon Trivet

Come 3 p.m. in the afternoon, I always have a craving for a warm cup of tea and a baked treat as a quick pick-me-up. And having a cute, simple trivet or hotpad nearby makes the ritual even better.

My Afternoon Trivet is perfect for setting out my tea cup or warmed plate of muffins.

It’s a simple garter stitch hotpad worked with DK or light worsted weight cotton yarn held double. The border is an a attached I-Cord that includes a detached loop for easy hanging.

I love the simplicity of the Afternoon Trivet. The garter stitch is nice and cushy for my mugs, and the border gives it a really finished look.

I used Lion Bran Yarn’s Comfy Cotton Blend in the Chai Latte color. It was my first time using this yarn, and I loved it! It’s a Cotton/poly blend so it has good weight but is a little softer than a lot of pure cotton yarns. It washes well, and these varied colors of pinks, creams, tans and blues work so well together.

This pattern doesn’t require much yarn (approximately 200 yards of DK or light worsted weight yarn held double), so it’s a great (and quick!) stashbusting project. But I did buy and use part of two skeins when I used the Comfy Cotton Blend. I found it was easier to hold the yarn double when the strands are coming from two separate skeins. You can easily use one ball, though (and you’ll still have yarn leftover) — you’ll just have to find both the beginning and end of the strand of yarn in the skein so you can hold the yarn double. Not impossible … just something I didn’t want to bother with at the time!

I hop you enjoy this free pattern. It’s a fantastic quick project for you, and would be a great gift to send to friends and family. Or you can even pair it with some wooden spoons or a cookbook and give as part of a housewarming gift!

The full pattern for Afternoon Trivet is below, or download a PDF of the pattern on Ravelry.

Tag me @knitjulep on Instagram so I can see your Afternoon Trivets! And share your projects on Ravelry ♥

Happy knitting!
Kim
Knit Julep

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Free Pattern: Afternoon Trivet

A simple garter hotpad with I-Cord edge
By Kim Wilkerson of Knit Julep

SKILLS
Garter Stitch, Attached I-Cord

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
7.5 inches by 7.5 inches square

MATERIALS
* Yarn: Approximately 200 yards DK or light worsted weight cotton blend yarn

Note: Yarn is held double throughout the entire pattern. I used two separate skeins to make it easier to hold double, but you could use just one if you’re comfortable finding the beginning and end from a single skein and holding double.

Sample shown in Lion Brand Yarn Comfy Cotton Blend (50% cotton, 50% polyester; 392 yd [358 m / 200 g])
Color: Chai Latte

Needles: Size 9 regular needles & pair of Size 8 double-pointed needles

Notions: Tapestry needle

GAUGE
15 sts and 16 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch with yarn held double

Instructions

Part 1: Knitted Square

1. Hold yarn double and tie knot at ends to keep them together (see photo).

2. With Size 9 needles, cast on 28 stitches.

3. Slip first stitch as if to purl with yarn in back. Knit 26 stitches. Purl last stitch.

4. Repeat Step 3 until piece measures 7 inches from cast on edge (approximately 24 rows).

5. Bind off. Break yarn.

Part 2: Attached I-Cord

Note: Look for the clean bind off, purl, cast on, and slip stitch edges around your square. These will be your guide for where to insert your needle in the next steps.  I’ll refer to these as “slots.”

1. Hold yarn double and tie knot at ends to keep them together

2. With Size 8 double-pointed needles, cast on 3 stitches.

3. Knit 2 stitches. Slip third stitch purlwise with yarn in back. Do not turn work.

4. Insert left point of needle into the first “slot” on the top right edge of your knitted square from Part 1.

5. Wrap yarn around needle and pull through to pick up 1 stitch. You now have 4 stitches on the needle.

6. Pass second from left stitch over the stitch you just picked up (first from left). You now have 3 stitches on the needle. Do not turn work. Slide stitches to opposite end of needle and keep working yarn in back.

7. Repeat from Steps 3-6 around all 4 sides of your knitted square, inserting your needle in the next available “slot” when picking up a stitch.

When you come to the corners, do not break yarn. Just pick up the first available “slot” on the next side.

8. When you finish the fourth side, you will be at the corner where you began. Do not break yarn. Knit a regular I-Cord for 4 inches like so:

Knit 3 stitches. Do not turn work. Slide stitches to opposite end of needle and repeat, keeping yarn in back when you begin knitting the next row.

9. Bind off, leaving a 10 inch tail. Weave the tail into the starting point of your Attached I-Cord and graft the ends together as best you can, forming a loop and being careful to not twist stitches. Weave in all ends.

That’s it! Tag me @knitjulep on Instagram so I can see your Afternoon Trivets! And share your projects on Ravelry ♥

Knit Julep | Text & Photos (c) Kimberly Wilkerson 2020 | Patterns are for personal use only.

New Hat Pattern: Svea Gets Updated!



I’ve been working on an update to my Svea hat pattern I released a few years ago, and can finally cross it off my to do list!

It’s a simple colorwork hat inspired by snowy tree limbs against a winter sky. I love how the faux fur pompom at the top gives a fun snowball effect to this cozy hat! I can’t tell you how happy I am with the clean, crisp white against the sky blue. It fits my mood and personality so well.

Download the pattern on Ravelry or Etsy.

So what’s new compared to my original release of this pattern?

  • Only two colors in the pattern compared to three in the original. This makes the colorwork a bit easier, and I think it actually looks more striking with just the two colors instead of more.
  • Better fitting! The original ran a little large, which was even a bit big on me. (Have I told you I have a large head??) After wearing it over time it loosened up a bit more, so I’ve adjusted the number of cast on stitches and made it a little less slouchy.
  • Clearer instructions ❤ Who doesn’t love an easier description of how to make a pretty hat?  

I hope you enjoy knitting this hat as much as I do. It’s a great project for those looking to try colorwork for the first time, or those who want a colorwork pattern that’s easy to memorize.

Download the pattern on Ravelry or Etsy.

Happy Knitting!
– Kim

8 Must-Haves To Keep In Your Knitting Bag

Things to keep in your knitting bag

I’ve been caught too many times without the proper knitting tool.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put a work-in-progress aside because I couldn’t find a tapestry needle, stitch holder or some other tiny object that I needed to finish the piece. And then I uncover the project 5 months later, unfinished and unloved.

Recently I received the cutest small project bag, so I began taking my knitting with me to work every day. You never know when you’ll have a few extra moments to add a couple rows during a lunch break!

Knitting project bag
Here’s my little project bag. A loop to hang it off my arm, zipper on the outside, and just big enough to hold a lightweight sweater-in-progress.

Knitting somewhere other than my home was new to me, so I needed to decide what tools were essential to carry in this small bag at all times. Here’s what I find most helpful to keep with me in my knitting adventures.

8 Things To Keep In Your Knitting Bag:

1. Combo Ruler / Needle Gauge Reader
This one sits at the #1 spot for so many reasons. It’s necessary for gauge swatching, measuring your progress along with pattern instructions, and I know I can’t be the only one who often forgets what size needle she’s using on a project…

Plus it’s a combo tool, which saves sacred space in your project bag. I love my little wooden one from Revival Yarns in Athens, Ga.

2. Pencil

Bad at keeping track of where you are in a pattern? Need to keep a count of your rows? Then you need a pencil!

I’ve tried to keep my row progress in my head for too many years, and I have to say I’ve never had much success. I end up spending too long going back and recounting rows and matching up stitch charts.

And a pencil can serve as a makeshift cable needle, if needed. Another combo tool!

3. Stitch Markers

Did I say that I’ve tried to keep too many details in my head before? Because the start of a row in the round was always at the top of that list. But it’s only because I could never locate my stitch markers!

Easy solution: put a small case of them in your knitting bag.

I also love to use them to mark my starting row when I sit down to knit. At the end of my knitting time I can look down and see just how many rows I managed to get done. This can be a HUGE boost of confidence if you think you’re a slow knitter or if you’re knitting a seemingly endless scarf and feeling like you’re not making any progress. You are, I promise!

4. Small Scissors

This is on the list not so much to remind you that you need scissors, but specifically small scissors. Invest in a petite pair so they don’t take up much space in your bag.

They don’t need to cost much at all. I think mine came from the scrapbook department at a craft store and are like two pincers. They definitely wouldn’t pass security at the airport, so I’ll have to remember that when I travel. But for everyday use I love them!

5. Tapestry Needle

A tapestry needle may not come in handy until the end of a project, but I’ve left numerous projects unfinished with just the ends to weave in. And it takes me 3 months to finally get out a tapestry needle and weave them in.  So trust me on this one, weave in as soon as you’re done. Easy peasy.

6. Extra Knitting Needle

I like to have at least one double pointed needle of the same size (or at least close) as my work-in-progress ready in my bag. It can serve as a cable needle or an extra needle to help pick up a dropped stitch, if that happens as often to you as it does for me.

7. Stitch holder

I admit that the stitch holder is probably the least used tool in my knitting project bag (unless I’m working on a sweater where the arms are worked later). But when you need a stitch holder, nothing else will do!

The simple fact is that stuffing your beloved sweater or hat in your project bag without needle point protectors means risking some fallen stitches at some point. Now, I could’ve put needle point protectors on this list, but I honestly don’t use them. And who wants to carry more than what’s needed in their bag??  I just wrap up my project carefully and cross my fingers for a smooth unveiling when I’m ready to knit it again. And sometimes a stitch holder is needed at that unveiling…

8. Small Lotion / Balm

All of the woolen and cotton and alpaca and (yes) acrylic goodness that you’ll be working with can take a toll on your hands. Keeping a small tube of lotion or tub of balm will keep your hands happy and hydrated. The backs of my hands get really dried out in winter. And that’s especially true when I’m knitting. This tool may not be directly related to your knitting, but it’s essential to a thriving knitter. As you can see in my photo at the top of this post, I actually keep a plan scented lip balm on hand for this.

Tell me! What’s in your knitting bag? Leave a comment below. I can’t wait to hear what I need to add to my zippered pouch. P.S. That was made by my Mom!

‘Game Of Thrones’ Knits And My First MKAL

My yarn and notions are just waiting for Sunday, July 16, so I can begin the Jimmy Beans Wool “Beyond the Wall” MKAL.

It may be the final season of “Game of Thrones,” but it’s my first knit-a-long. And I admit I’m more excited about the mysterious shawl I’ll be making than what’s going to happen in Westeros.

I’m not a hardcore “Game of Thrones” fan, but I’ve enjoyed watching the drama play out. Sunday is the premiere of the final season, so I’ll be marking the end of a pop culture era with the Jimmy Beans Wool “Beyond the Wall” MKAL (mystery knit-a-long).

Here’s what’s known about the “Beyond the Wall” MKAL:

  • The project is a shawl.
  • Rachel Roden is the designer.
  • A new “clue” (section of the pattern) will be released each week for four weeks, beginning July 16.
  • The yarn is an icy blue and turquoise “Soulmate” sock yarn from Lorna’s Laces. The colorway is “Beyond the Wall,” made exclusively for this MKAL!

That leaves a lot of unanswered questions compared to what I usually know before committing to a project. But only one really matters.

What the heck will it look like?!

If you’re like me, you’re going to search for any clues that will give even just a smidgen of a hint. So here’s a look at the designer’s style.

Rachel Roden likes textured, colorful shawls.

This shawl by Roden is from a previous pop culture MKAL, the “Dragonfly” shawl from the “Outlander” series.

I love Ravelry member knittymelissa‘s blue and tan version of the “Dragonfly” MKAL shawl.

But “Outlander” takes place in 1700s Scotland, a much different style than “Game of Thrones.” Kilts, tartans and practical clothing don’t quite match the feelings evoked by dragon scales, metal armor and fur accessories seen throughout the seven kingdoms of Westeros.

Roden’s “Paper Chains” is a design I could see her leaning towards more than the heavily textured design of “Dragonfly.” Instead, this shawl feels lighter and makes me think of a feminine piece of chainmail armor. Perfect for going into one of the final battles for the Throne.

Paper Chains” by Rachel Roden uses 12 different colors, so I’m stashing this pattern away for a leftover yarn project.

But then again, the “Game of Thrones” seven kingdoms have vastly different styles, so who knows which direction Roden will take the MKAL.

I’ll just have to wait until Sunday for the first clue! In the meantime, I’ll be busy rolling my hanks of “Beyond the Wall” into colorful, squishy yarn balls.

“Game of Thrones” Knits Bonus: Non-Mystery Patterns!

Mystery patterns aren’t for everyone — trust me, this will be hard for me, too! So what other Throne-worthy patterns are out there?

Winterfell Cowl” by Fancy Tiger Crafts

Look! A white German Shepherd!

Queen of Thorns” by Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich

The 2016 Jimmy Beans Wool “Game of Thrones” MKAL!

Lady Catelyn” by Avril Lang

I love this cabled yoke.

Dragon Wing Cowl” by Jessie Rayot

Really interesting braided cables in this pattern.

Dire Wolf” by Noël Margaret

Everyone needs their own dire wolf.

Wolf Headress” by Louise Walker

Or maybe everyone needs their own headdress so they can look like a dire wolf.

Danni’s Mitts” by Donna Carruth

Perfect for Daenerys Targaryen. (Don’t think I typed that on my own. Bless copy + paste.)

Join me in the Jimmy Beans Wool “Beyond the Wall” MKAL, or go rogue and choose one of the fun patterns above to knit during the final season of “Game of Thrones.”

Follow me on Instagram to track my progress, and tag @knitjulep to show me what you’re knitting during this final season!

Yarn: A Film With Fiber Friends

Last week I invited my crocheting friend Brittanny of Loops and Bounds Co. to join me at a local screening of the film “YARN” in Atlanta. It was a morning filled with fiber friends, free giveaways and a really great film.

YarnPoster.png

The Atlanta Knitting Guild hosted the screening at a local movie theater, and they went all out to make sure everyone had a great time. Thanks for such a fun experience!

I’ve never seen so many people excited to talk about and watch a movie about yarn. There were beautiful handknit scarves and sweaters everywhere I looked. And the patterns were unlike many that I’ve seen, like this one called “Fox Paws.”

“YARN” is a movie from Una Lorenzen, Heather Millard and Thordur Jonsson. It follows four artists who are redefining knitting, crochet and traditional views of how use yarn.

Take a look at the trailer for the film:

I loved everything about this film. The colors, the artistic effects, the narration, the artists … everything.

It starts with narration from writer Barbara Kingsolver about the joy of yarn, knitting, and all it encompasses.

And in spite of their various natures, all these strings can be lured to sit down together and play a fiber concerto whole in the cloth.       – Barbara Kingsolver

The animation of yarn strings dancing across the screen paired with these words from Kingsolver was absolutely my favorite part about the entire film. I could watch those scenes every day.

But the artists featured in the film were the focus, and the filmmakers told their stories in beautiful ways.

yarn4

Tinna Þórudóttir Þorvaldsdóttir appeared first on screen in Iceland. She’s a yarnbomber, and throughout the film you follow her from windy, sheep-filled Iceland to Spain and then to Cuba. Her perspective on women and knitting is inspiring.

yarn2

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam is a textile artist from Japan who began crocheting playground sculptures for children in the ’70s. “YARN” followed her to one of her installations at an Italian museum where kids could swing, climb and jump within her crocheted structure.

yarn3

Tilde Björfors and Cirkus Cirkör looked at yarn as more of a metaphor for life’s entanglements and struggles. The acrobats in the performance had really interesting perspectives on how they portray those ideas in the show — and the acrobatics were just plain cool to watch 🙂

yarn1

OLEK is a crochet artist taking her own path into the art world. Her scenes had the most laughter and reaction from the movie screening crowd because she was just so fun to watch. She crocheted entire body suits for friends and set them free into the city streets, covered an entire locomotive in yarn, and crafted a mermaid tail for a swimmer and took it straight to the ocean.

And because Atlanta Knitting Guild is so amazing, check out the stash of free patterns and yarn I came away with!

yarnfilmloot_edited

I love this mohair pattern book that was included, but alas, looks like I need to learn German to read any of the patterns.

GermanPattern_edited.jpg

This Saturday morning was one that knitters and crocheters dream about — a chance to spend time with other yarn lovers, meet up with new fiber friends (hi, Brittanny!), and get to know my local knitting guild. I’m really interested in learning more about the guild, and I wouldn’t have really known about them without this fun experience.

You can stream “YARN” online a few different ways, or see if it’s coming to a theater near you.

And you can read Barbara Kingsolver’s incredible essay here.

YARN film stills via facebook.com/yarnthemovie.

Knitting Challenge: Arm Knitting

The 2017 Knitting Challenge is officially underway!

This post is belated, but on the last weekend of January I decided to tackle an item off my Knitting Challenge list — arm knitting.

Arm knitting really started showing up in magazines and all over Pinterest last year or so. It’s easy for non-knitters to pick up since no needles are involved, and it only takes 45 minutes or so to make a project as big as a blanket.

But I never tried it — or it’s cousin, finger knitting — because I thought it wouldn’t be as fun or satisfying as traditional knitting.

How very wrong I was.

I am officially an arm knitting evangelist.

My boyfriend surprised me with this Ohhio merino yarn for my birthday in December. It was giant, it was soft, and we had 4kg to work with.

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Do you SEE how big this one ball is?? That’s a regular size coaster and candle on the right for reference.

I didn’t do much research about how to arm knit until the moment I was ready to begin. I figured it couldn’t be that difficult since I know how to knit.

But actually, when you’re used to knitting on a small scale and all of a sudden the yarn is almost as thick as your wrist, it’s a little hard to catch on to! I felt like a character in “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids,” and it was a little hard to adjust my brain and muscle memory at first.

But Ohhio has a great gif-filled tutorial that I just kept watching over and over. And soon I had my arms laden with wool.

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That’s my upper arm on the left and fingers poking out on the right.  

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My furry friend really wanted in on the merino fun.

Before I knew it, the two GIANT balls of merino yarn were turning into a wonderfully chunky blanket.

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Each stitch is not perfect on my blanket, but I shaped it a bit at the end to even out some of the most lopsided stitches.

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I made the Medium blanket size in the tutorial and it is perfect for laying at the foot of my queen bed. It comes about halfway up the mattress.

This project was so much fun, and I was sad when it ended so quickly! I imagined it taking at least a weekend because knitting a blanket this big with regular yarn can take months.

I’m really inspired to find other arm knitting (and finger knitting) projects. My Pinterest board is gathering a few ideas, and the blog Flax & Twine is filled with unique projects, like baskets and pet beds.

But while I’m dreaming up my next arm knitting project, here are my five tips and takeaways for when you try to make this blanket for yourself.

Arm Knitting Tips & Takeaways:

  • Don’t keep the loops on your arms too tight. You’re making the loops at your wrists, but eventually those loops have to fit all the way on your upper arm. And, well, my upper arms aren’t quite the same size as my wrists 🙂
  • Try sitting instead of standing. This much yarn gets heavy to hold on your arm. Find a space to sit where you have lots of room to let it lay instead of hang, even if it’s the floor.
  • Have a friend there with you! When you get all the loops on your arms, you can’t exactly bend your arms or stand up to go get the second ball of yarn. You’re going to feel like the Michelin Man. It helps to have someone there who can unravel the ball as you go and make sure the second one is there waiting for you.
  • Make sure you have enough free time to make your project in one sitting. Arm knitting goes by really fast once you get into the rhythm of the “knitting.” But you can’t exactly close up your half-completed project in a bag and leave the needles on until you’re ready to work on it again tomorrow. It’s just easier to do it all at once. This blanket took me about one hour or so.
  • If you have kids or pets, consider a different yarn than this merino. It’s basically loose roving so if you rub on it much, tufts of yarn are going to rub off. Mine has been perfectly fine over the last few weeks, but I’m mostly leaving it untouched on my bed. It’s also not machine washable. Ohhio is, however, coming out with a new machine washable extra chunky yarn.

I’m glad I chose arm knitting as my first challenge to cross off my 2017 Knitting Challenge list. It was fun, relatively easy, and I now have a super warm merino wool blanket to keep me warm for the rest of the winter.

I’m not sure which challenge I’ll be choosing next, but looks like I better get started soon since February is halfway over now!

Looking for more arm knitting inspiration? Check out my Arm Knitting Pinterest Board here.

Missed the original 2017 Knitting Challenge post? Catch up on all my goals here.

New Pattern: Two Hearts Handwarmers

We’re just about a week away from Valentine’s Day, so it’s time to kick those knitting needles into high gear.

Yesterday I talked about a fun craft project you can make with some pompoms and floral wire (no knitting experience required!). My sister and I had a great time making those.

Check out the Valentine’s Day Pompom Wreath instructions here >

But now I can finally share this heart-themed knitting pattern I’ve been working on!

Meet the Two Hearts Handwarmers:

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These fingerless mitts bring out one of my favorite things about a simple, little ol’ knitting stitch: the v’s of each stitch look like tiny hearts if you look closely.

I made a few swatches and came up with this vertical pairing of two “hearts.” I love the way they look like a perfect accessory for Valentine’s Day, but the pattern is also subtle so they can be worn year round.

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Keeping this as a fast, easy pattern was top of mind for me as I was designing the warmers. I rarely plan far in advance for smaller holidays like Valentine’s Day, but I always get inspired to do a ton of last-minute crafts.

The Two Hearts Handwarmers are knit flat then seamed up the sides (with a space left open for your thumb to peek through). I love doing colorwork in the round so I don’t have to purl at all, but I promise the two-sided colorwork here is still easy.

And look how pretty you can make the wrong side when you only have two colors to manage:

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As the designing of the pattern was coming to a close, I started thinking about what to call these fun little handwarmers. Well, there’s the obvious “two hearts in the pattern” inspiration for the name Two Hearts Handwarmers, but there’s also this song from Katie Herzig. Give it a play, and I think you’ll see why I hear it every time I look at these handwarmers:

(Two hearts are so much better than one, right?!)

I mentioned one of the things I love about the pattern here is that it’s subtle. It doesn’t scream “HEARTS! LOVE! VALENTINE’S DAY!” like a lot of other themed accessories can.

So I’m looking forward to making these in other color combinations for other times of the year. Here are some color pairings I’m thinking of for my second set:

The yarns above are Knit Picks Brava Worsted in  colorways (starting with top row, left to right) Almond, Clarity, Dove Heather, Blush, Persimmon and Fig.

The Two Hearts Handwarmers knitting pattern is available in both my Ravelry and Etsy shops.

P.S. If you’re looking for a fun Valentine’s hat project, check out my Be Mine Valentine’s Hat pattern on Ravelry. It’s a FREE download!

Valentine’s Day Pompom Wreath: Free Craft Project!

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Valentine’s Day has always been a day for making fun, cute crafts with my sister. There’s been everything from tissue paper flowers to heart shaped cookies over the years. If you pass through the room during these crafting days, you’re most likely to hear only the words “How cute!””Look at this!” and “Aww, I love that!” over and over.

So why make this year any different? The tradition continues! And we’re crafting a bit earlier than normal so you can make one of your own by Valentine’s Day.

The idea for this super simple Valentine’s Day project came to me right as I was climbing into bed one night. I was doing some cleaning earlier that day and found a bag of unused faux flowers and floral wire. (At some point it was supposed to be a flower crown but, well, I never made it.) I wondered what else I could use the floral wire for, and so the 2017 Valentine’s Day craft idea started to form.

What if I took that floral wire, shaped it into a heart and strung red, white and pink pompoms onto it for Valentine’s Day? So simple! Plus it’s easy for both knitters and non-knitters (but my knitting friends will especially love how they can use up leftover balls of yarn in this project).

To do this craft, just gather up some floral wire, yarn and a pompom maker.

Oh, and put on the tea kettle. Because what’s a good old fashioned crafting day without some tea?

Check out the instructions below to make your own Valentine’s Day Pompom Wreath.

Valentine’s Day Pompom Wreath

Free Valentine’s Day Craft Project

Materials

  • Floral wire
  • Various Valentine’s color yarn (pink, red and/or white)
  • Pompom maker (any size you’d like; we used the 1 5/8 in. size)
  • Scissors

Crafting Time

Approx. 1 hour

Instructions

  1. Cut 18 in. of floral wire for a heart approx. 7 in. tall. If the wire is thin like ours was, cut 2 lengths and twist them together to make the heart frame sturdier. It’ll get weighed down some as the pompoms go on.
  2. Using your hands, carefully bend the floral wire into a heart shape. The ends of the wire should be positioned at the point where the two curves at the top of the heart meet. Leave the ends disconnected for now — we’ll join them together at the end of the craft!20170204_145834
  3. Start making your pompoms! Choose one color, alternating colors or three colors at random. Maybe even try making a two-color or color-dipped pompom.20170204_1646232

    You can try a different size pompom maker than we used as well. Mix it up and use multiple sizes on one heart, if you’d like. This step is entirely up to you. Just keep it fun and let it reflect your personality! That’s the only rule here.

  4. After you’ve made a handful of pompoms, start stringing them onto the wire right through the center of the ‘pom. Position the first one at the bottom point of the heart. Continue to fill both sides of the wire heart with your pompoms until there’s no space left.20170204_162242.jpg
  5. Carefully secure the wire ends by twisting the two together. Adjust the pompoms to cover up the twist.20170204_162326

That’s it! Congrats on your new craft!

If you want to change things up and make some different versions of your Valentine’s Day Pompom Wreath, try these ideas:

  • Cut a longer length of wire for a bigger heart, or do a smaller one with less wire.
  • Vary your pompoms by size and color, as mentioned in Step 3.
  • Tie a fun ribbon on to help hang it.

Check out my sister’s and mine side-by-side. Hers is the fun multicolored one. Mine reminds me of a fluffy bunny tail with that white pompom at the bottom.

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And that’s our 2017 Valentine’s Day craft project! We had a fun time making these in one afternoon, and hope you have a great time doing the same.

P.S. Knitter Friends, stay tuned for a brand new Valentine’s Day special pattern release. It’s a fast, fun project that there’s still time to do before the special day!