PLEASE VOTE! {Update: I won!}

Happy Saturday, readers! It’s pretty unusual to find me here on the weekend, so you know it has to be for good reason!

All Free Knitting is a website chockfull of free knitting patterns for all skill levels. They receive millions of views each week, and are a staple in a knitter’s online arsenal of tools. Back in October, the editor of All Free Knitting, Kathryn Abrams, reached out to me because she wanted to include my knit tie for Anne on her site (with a proper link back to Scissors & Sage). You can find that feature on All Free Knitting here.

Kathryn reached out again in March because she selected my knit tie to be a part of her latest e-book, 9 Men’s Knitting Patterns. (Click here to download it!) I couldn’t believe she wanted to feature me as one of nine patterns. The best part? I asserted that the pattern had to be introduced using inclusive language if she wanted to include me in the book.

THEN, Kathryn emailed me a few weeks ago to tell me that my tie had been hand-picked to be included in All Free Knitting’s “Top 5 Father’s Day Knitting Patterns” contest. I of course accepted the invitation! The winner is determined by the number of favorable comments they receive on All Free Knitting’s post. The winner gets a $50 Amazon gift card! If me and my tie model win, the card is going straight into our Ball jar labeled “Wedding Fund.” The contest is open until Friday, June 17th.

Readers, please take a moment to vote for Anne’s knit tie! It would be an honor to win this contest and be recognized for my knitting. Here’s how you can vote:

  1. Visit All Free Knitting’s “Top 5 Father’s Day Knitting Patterns” post.
  2. Leave a comment letting them know which of the five patterns is your favorite.

Not only will one of the knitting patterns win, but there’s something in it for you, too! All Free Knitting will choose one commenter at random to win a copy of their book, Simple Scarves Made with the Knook, and the Knook Kit.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Cozy Fall Favorites

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season, but it wasn’t until this past week that I pinpointed exactly why it’s my favorite season. For starters, I love the transition from long, hot summer days to slightly shorter, crisper fall days. Trees begin to change, and these vibrant colors are some of the best out there.

Fall is the season where we start our migration back into our homes after going out and being explorers for the summer–explorers in our gardens, towns, cities. We quiet ourselves as we embrace this change, and learn from nature just how beautiful a time of transition can really be. We indulge in simple pleasures, and refocus on what’s important. It’s our chance to turn over a new leaf.

When I write posts like this one, I tend to look outward for inspiration. This week, I thought I’d look inward. Scissors & Sage is two years old now, and I have a lot of really fun blog posts to show for my time here! Below, you’ll find a few of my favorite projects and recipes that embrace fall in all its cozy glory.

Nothing says fall like this trio: hot tea, ceramic mug, and knit coaster. Coziness is just oozing out of this picture! Learn to knit this coaster here. It’d make a beautiful gift set.

Looking to knit something wearable, instead? This cowl is a quick project with big results–perfect for fall layering.

It’s now okay to turn the oven back on. Wahoo! These mile-high coffee cake muffins are a real crowd-pleaser, and will provide a nice transition back into baking again.

Snuggle up with one of these homemade soy wax candles. They’re perfect for any room of your home.

Believe it or not, Halloween season is almost upon us. These spooky chocolate cake doughnuts are festive and pretty tasty.

It’s a perfect time to check-in with your recipe box. Mine, from Rifle Paper Co., fills me with a lot of joy. Start simmering those stews, people!

Let fall colors guide your crafting this season. These DIY leaf flowers make a beautiful centerpiece, and are a definite conversation-starter.

Felt is a great crafting material for cooler months. I made this two-pocket cell phone sleeve using gift packaging from Madewell!

There are a few more things on my mind this week:

  1. I recently discovered a company called Parachute. Have you heard of them? Their website and blog focuses on all-things sleeping. From selling luxurious bedding hand-crafted in Italy, to blogging about how to choose the right pillow, they’ve got it covered. And they cover it well.
  2. It’s time to try something new. I’ve got a few new crafting techniques and projects I’m interested in testing out soon, and I’m really excited about them. Our new apartment is the perfect blank canvas! Are you hoping to start a certain project soon?
  3. I don’t usually drink caffeine, but settling into a good book or knitting project with a chai tea latte sounds pretty excellent right about now. My favorite is Oregon Chai’s powdered mix.

What are you doing to get ready for fall? Are you excited, or are you already missing summer?

How To Knit A Tie

Over the past two years or so, I’ve really gotten back into knitting. My grandma taught me when I was much younger. We’d sit on the couch together after I got home from elementary school, and she’d patiently teach me how to knit. My grandma was a very quiet person, but we did so much together (knit, watch Nick at Nite, eat snacks after school, pick flowers from the yard). She was a wonderful teacher.

After she passed away, I let many years go by before trying to knit again. Last year, I finally finished a scarf we had been knitting together for my dad. I didn’t remember how to knit, so I turned to one woman’s YouTube channel to learn again. Knitting Tips By Judy is a wonderful resource for knitters of all levels. Her tutorials are clear and concise, two important qualities for the beginning (or returning!) knitter.

My inspiration for knitting a straight tie actually came from another knitter, Kristen McDonnell of Studio Knit. Anne occasionally wears ties to work (she’s a teacher), and so I thought that she’d really appreciate a hand-knit tie! I altered Kristen’s tutorial slightly, so let me share my process with you. I decided to jazz things up with a contrasting color on the tie’s tail.

Using seed stitch for a tie is ideal because it holds its shape well and is reversible — meaning it looks the same on the front and back of the work. I find seed stitch to be an attractive stitch for all kinds of knitwear, even though some knitters find it tedious to switch between knit and purl every stitch.

Hand-Knit Straight Tie

Materials:

  • Two skeins of wool yarn in different colors (Use yarn that is meant for size US 8 needles)
  • Size US 5 straight needles
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors

How to Knit the Tie:

  1. Cast on 11 stitches using the color for the front of the tie
  2. Seed stitch for 21 inches
  3. Decrease to 9 stitches by knitting 2 together on both ends of the work
  4. Seed stitch for 1 inch
  5. Decrease to 7 stitches by purling 2 together on both ends of the work
  6. Seed stitch for 10 inches
  7. Switch yarn colors and continue seed stitch for another 22-24 inches
  8. Cast off and weave in ends

How to Knit the Keeper Loop:

  1. Cast on 11 stitches using the color for the front of the tie
  2. Seed stitch for 1 inch
  3. Cast off, but do not weave in ends
  4. Use yarn tails and the tapestry needle to sew the keeper loop to the back of the tie, approximately 7 inches from the bottom of the tie

Now that you’ve finished knitting your tie, it is important to block it. This will relax the yarn fibers, and help the tie sit flat against the torso. You can block the tie every few times it is worn in order to help maintain its shape. What’s great is that blocking can be done for all kinds of projects. Here’s how I do it.

Steam Block Your Work

Materials:

  • Ironing board and iron
  • Hand towel
  • T-pins

How-To:

  1. Soak the hand towel in water, and then gently squeeze out any excess water.
  2. Place your work flat on the ironing board, and lay the wet towel over your work. Stamp the hot iron over the wet towel, and you will start to see steam rise from the towel. Continue this process over the entire towel for about 1-2 minutes. Note that the towel and your work will both be incredibly hot.
  3. Remove the towel, and use t-pins to hold your work in place. These pins can go directly into the ironing board. Ensure that the yarn is not being pulled too far, but rather just enough to force your work into the desired shape.
  4. Once your work is bone dry, remove the t-pins. You’re done!

How To Knit A Toddler’s Hat

When children are involved, it’s hard to contain your inner DIYer. Am I right? The options are limitless! Anne and I recently met our friends’ near-two-year-old, and I was inspired to bring along something knit for her. She opened the gift, said, “Hat!” on repeat, and flung it over her curly hair. She wore it to bed. I was happy as a clam.

When it came to actually knitting the pom-pom hat, I was a bit stumped as to the size it should be. I followed this size chart that proved to work quite well. Ultimately, I erred on the loose side so that she could grow into it in future seasons.

This project is easy and quick to knit up. If you’re new to knitting, or want to trying working in the round, I would give this project a try! (Find my adult version here.) I include video links to several of the steps below because they do a great job of clearly demonstrating how each step is completed.

Toddler’s Pom-Pom Hat

The Materials:

  • 1 skein of yarn
  • Contrasting color yarn for the pom-pom
  • Size US 8 circular needles (16″)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors

How-To:

  1. Cast on 75 stitches
  2. Knit 3 / purl 2 (repeat this until the hat rim is one and a half inches tall)
  3. Stockinette stitch until the hat is 8 inches tall
  4. Decrease on circular needles until too few stitches are left to knit (learn how here)
  5. Close hat (learn how here)
  6. Set your finished hat aside and make your pom-pom (learn how here)
  7. Attach and secure the pom-pom to your hat using a tapestry needle (skip to 12:05 and learn how here)
  8. Weave in any ends of yarn

This hat would make a great gift for any child. It is sure to be something they come back to for a few seasons to come!

How To Knit A Basketweave Scarf

In December, my dad shared his hand-carved wooden buttons on Scissors & Sage.  I was so excited to use a button for a knitting project, so I quickly got to work!  I’ve been meaning to share this scarf for a few weeks now.  At long last, here it is!  It knit up quickly, as it’s big yarn and a relatively short scarf.  I used the basketweave stitch for my first time, and really like how soft and thick it makes the yarn feel.  Below is the tutorial.

The Materials:

  • 1 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn (I chose the Starlight color)
  • Size US 13 straight needles
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors
  • White thread
  • Sewing needle
  • 1 oblong button for closure

How To Knit The Scarf:

  1. Cast on 15 stitches
  2. Knit 3 / purl 3 / knit 3 / purl 3 / knit 3 *repeat this for 7 more rows
  3. Purl 3 / knit 3 / purl 3 / knit 3 / purl 3 *repeat this for 7 more rows
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the scarf reaches approximately 30-32 inches long
  5. Cast off 15 stitches
  6. Weave in ends with a tapestry needle

How To Add A Button:

  1. Place the scarf around your neck to determine where you’d like the button closure to be.
  2. Sew the oblong button onto one end of the scarf.  (If using a round button, sew it onto the scarf so that the scarf is permanently closed.  You won’t be able to feed a round button through your stitches, but you can simply pull the scarf down over your head.)
  3. Feed the oblong button through the other end of the scarf at a point where four boxes meet.  (The stitches are bigger here and can accommodate the button more easily.)

Here’s an impromptu picture of me wearing the scarf.  I find it to be incredibly cozy.  It’s almost a hybrid scarf/neck warmer!

MATERIALS FROM: Jo-Ann Fabric