Don’t Stop Me Now!


I’ve gotten to that point in my Persistence is Key Cardigan.  The point at which I start ignoring the laundry piling up, letting the lawn grow long, and forgetting to go to the grocery store (I managed to run out of milk without noticing last night.  I had to drink my tea black this morning.  Like a heathen!)

When I start a sweater (or other big project), I begin with gusto.  But soon enough, the dreary slog of making a big item with teensy tiny needles, stitch by stitch, begins to take over and I get less and less excited.  I still will put in a few rows’ work every day, but I won’t sit for hours, knitting away.

But then, suddenly, something clicks in my brain, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I realize that if I can just put in the time, I’ll have a brand new, finished, cozy, wonderful sweater (or afghan).  And I want that finished sweater.  No.  I need that finished sweater.

The next thing I know, I’m up all hours of the night, missing meals, and letting my house fall apart around me.

And the ridiculous thing is, that I’m not even that close to finishing.  This time, the mania set in when I still had a half a sleeve, the collar, and two button bands to knit up, not to mention weaving in all my ends, sewing on buttons, and blocking the dang thing.

At least I’m making headway, and enjoying myself.   Soon (though not soon enough), I will be the proud owner of a brand new cabled sweater.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inspiration: Profssor Trelawney’s Poufs

I’m re-reading the Harry Potter books again (because I’m a grown-up and can read what I want).  And, one of my good friends is having a Harry Potter-themed Halloween party in October (because she’s an adult and can do what she wants), and I want to study up.

I’ve just reached the part where Harry, Ron and Hermione have started taking Divination classes with Professor Trelawney.   If you haven’t read the books (and, really, you should), Prof. Trelawney is the very eccentric (and possibly prophetic) teacher of Divination classes (seeing the future).  She’s a big fan of foretelling Harry’s death, and wears more scarves than Stevie Nicks.

And, she has a very cool classroom, full of low tables and little poufs for the students to sit on and practice reading their tea leaves.

Divination[1]

I don’t put much store in reading tea leaves (except when I’m feeling especially superstitious), but I do love the idea of having a bunch of poufs laying around, willy-nilly.  They seem like they’d make a room feel especially cozy.  Perfect for propping up your feet while you sit with a blanket, a cup of tea, and your dog-eared copy of Harry Potter.

Puff Daddy by Anna & Heidi Pickles3440899265_5f42b4a163_z[1]

Le Pouffe by Julie PhilipP1090228_medium2[1]

Pouffe / Footstool / Ottoman Super Chunky Cable Knit 25″ diameter x 16.5″ high by Erin Blackil_fullxfull.385187280_5b78_medium2[1]

Freedom Sand Pouf by Theresa BoyceDSCN3382_medium2[1]

Grandma, Don’t Read This Post!

I’m 99.9% sure that my grandma doesn’t have the internet any more.  I believe she got rid of it a couple months ago.

That being said, if I’m wrong: Grandma, stop reading!   Christmas spoilers are ahead!  You have been warned.

OK, it should just be us now.

Remember last January when I made a sweater for my grandfather?  Well, this summer Grandpa asked me to make a sweater for my Grandmother, too.  He asked for something similar, but blue, and well, I can’t say no to a request like that.

I’ve decided to knit up a Norwegian-inspired sweater for Grandma this year.  I’m thinking a top-down, yoked sweater (because I love making top-down, yoked sweaters).  I’ll include a Norwegian star/snowflake pattern across the shoulders.  And, because that’s basically all she wears, it’ll be a cardigan.

Something like this, but simpler, and with buttons:

IMG_3358ny_medium2[1]The next step was to pick out yarn.  I am a big fan of Knit Picks (as a naturally frugal person), so I decided to give their Biggo yarn a try.  I have worked with it before, and it is lovely, soft, super thick, warm, and washable.  (Since there’s only three months until Christmas, having a big gauge is especially important.)  Mom and I talked about colors, and we settled on Sapphire Heather (main color), Dogwood Heather, and Cobblestone Heather.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think these colors look lovely next to each other.  Unfortunately, there isn’t as much contrast between the Cobblestone and the Sapphire as I would have liked.   But, sometimes colors look different in the skein and knitted up, so I’ll need to work up a swatch to see how the colors play together when they’re knit up, just in case I need to get a different gray color.

I’m itching to get started knitting up this sweater.  I can’t wait to see how it goes.  (But unfortunately, I have to wind up all the skeins into balls, first, or I will spend the next three months fighting with big tangles of yarn.  Woe is me.

Three Months

(Sung to the tune of “Christmas is Coming”)

Christmas is coming

My list is getting full.

Please knit a sweater

From my bag of wool.

If you cannot knit a sweater,

A simple hat will do.

If you cannot knit a simple hat,

Then god bless you!

032ce3630d50f0a28cfbdd01681a791b[1](In case it wasn’t clear, this is my round-about way of reminding you that we have three months until Christmas.  I’ve got to get knitting!)

My Mind is a Blank Canvas… Ugh.

canvas[1]Yup.  I have come to the end of my ideas, or at least the list of ideas I keep on my computer.

I have a spreadsheet where I keep notes about the blog, and a schedule of what I’ve been writing about.  I try to keep the posts pretty balanced between techniques, tips, patterns, and “Cool stuff I found online.”

And, well, the “Cool stuff I found online” category seems to have been winning lately.

That, and my list of topic ideas has gotten frighteningly short.  So, instead of drinking a lot of coffee and putting in the actual work of coming up with new ideas, I shall extend an invitation to you guys:  What do you want to see more of?  What do you want to see less of?  Is there a topic you’re dying to learn more about?  Should I talk more about the projects I’m knitting on, or could you care less?  Do you want to learn about finishing techniques?  Or are you interested in varieties of yarn?   Did you see a pattern for a hat that you love, but can’t decipher?  Or do you want my super secret recipe for blackberry pie?  (Well, tough!  You can’t have it.  It’s secret.)

Let me know what you want to see, and we’ll get the ball (of yarn) rolling on some awesome new posts and exciting new projects, and hopefully, another 250 (mostly pretty good) posts.

250

Ahoy, me hearties!  It be a happy day indeed, for we do be arrived upon the shore of the 250th post!

Also, a hearty “Ahoy” and “Avast” to our new shipmates from allfreeknitting.com.  Be ye welcome, me hearties, and partake in our grog and good cheer upon the good ship On the Needles.

As we be upon the 250th post of our voyage, let us share the bounty of projects requiring naught but 250 yards of wool.

Jamaica Pouch by Sandra Clockedile:  She be a grand place to store your booty, plundered during our voyage.

3759785656_6a08451879_z[1]Ridge Washcloth by Hannah Maier: A fine tool for scrubbing the decks, ye bilge rat!

20140105_0016_medium2[1]Rye / Ruista ranteeseen by Hanne Katajamäki:  For those cold, foggy nights keepin’ watch from the crow’s nest.neulotut_ka_cc_88mmenikka_cc_88a_cc_88t_medium2[1](Also, happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!)

What’s On Your Needles?

The blog’s been a little thin lately, unfortunately.  I’ve been working on some really cool patterns for you guys, but unfortunately, I can’t share them with you yet.  (Actually, I signed a contract that said I have to keep them secret.  I’m really excited about this, but I realize it makes me sound a little like a tool.)  Soon enough, you’ll get to see what I’m working on.

But what I can show you is my progress on my Persistence is Key sweater.  Remember, I accidentally-on-purpose ended up with a box full of camel-colored wool, and needed a sweater pattern?IMG_2928_medium2[1]

Well, I’ve been knitting away, between other projects, getting a few rows done every day, and the sweater is growing.  It’s a top-down sweater, and I’ve gotten the shoulders and body done down to right around the belly-button.  It’s an extremely detailed pattern, a little more complicated than I usually pick out, but the sweater is coming along marvelously.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m absolutely in love with the cable that runs down the back of the sweater (even though it’s a huge pain in the butt).  And the yarn I’m using (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash) is doing a fantastic job of showing the cable at its best.

(Oh my god!  Just now, looking at the two photographs, I realized that I did the surrounding cables wrong!  See how the two surrounding cables on the yellow sweater twist in different directions?  Mine both twist in the same direction.  Shoot!  I guess I’ve got some thinking to do.  Should I let it go, and just live with the cables the way they are, or should I pull out the cable, and reknit it the other direction?  What do you think?)

So, that’s what’s on my needles.  What are you working on?  I’d love to hear about your projects.  And, if you want to send me a photo (knittingontheneedles@gmail.com), I’d love to share your knitting with everybody  else on the blog.

Inspiration: Babies!

My friends just had their first baby girl on Saturday!  I’m so happy for them, and I can’t wait to meet little (actually, she’s almost 10 pounds, so she’s not so little) Naomi.

Naomi’s hobbies include sleeping, eating, and pooping.  She enjoys spending time with her family, and is looking forward to when she can sit up on her own.  Her long-term goals include learning to walk, and learning how to read.

Naomi is currently exploring her career options.  Of course, a proper command of English is a required for most of these career paths, but she figures she’ll have that sorted out within a year or two.

Naomi is considering a career in aviation (as soon as her legs are long enough to reach the pedals, of course).

Aviatrix hat by Justine Turner

12_11_19_9653_edited-1_medium2[1]Birds are a lifelong passion of Naomi’s, so she’s been seriously thinking about following a career in ornithology.  (Of course, a lifelong passion is only a few days long right now, but still.)

owlet by Kate Davies

doris2_medium2[1]And, once she gets a handle on the whole “standing up” thing, Naomi is looking forward to pursuing track and field.  She expects to qualify for the 2032 Olympics.

Crochet Baby Converse by Suzanne Resaul

shoes_005_medium2[1]Congratulations to Naomi on being born!  I’m so excited to see what amazing things you do!

Inspiration: Aurora Borealis

Supposedly, there’s a big solar flare happening right now.  And, supposedly, that means that we will be able to see the Northern Lights tonight.  It seems that somehow a solar flare leads to the Northern Lights showing up.  How that happens, as a non-astronomy-inclined person, is a big mystery to me.  (My husband has tried to explain it to me… I can’t make heads or tails of it.)

016[1]I’ve heard before that we were supposed to see the northern lights from the PNW, but I’ve still never seen them.  Maybe they show up after I go to bed.  Maybe you have to go out of town to see them.  Maybe the Aurora Borealis is actually a myth, like unicorns, wizards, or the Loch Ness Monster.

aurora-borealis-wallpaper[1]I read one article that said that you’ll see them better if you use your camera to take a long-exposure photo of the sky.  That just sounds like ghost-hunter-type behavior, to me.  “I swear, if you just point your camera over here for a few minutes, you’re bound to pick up something.  So what if you can’t see it now?”

aurora-borealis-northern-lights_1280x1024_159-standard[1]I might be a little pessimistic about my chances of actually seeing the Aurora Borealis tonight, but that doesn’t mean I won’t look for it, and it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s beautiful.

In fact, I think I’ll celebrate the Northern Lights by looking at some beautiful projects, filled with luminous, shifting colors, just like (hopefully) the sky tonight.

Revontuli -huivi/Northern Lights by AnneM

1503583993_9aa8397e28_z[1]knit/lab Colorwork Crescent by Kieran FoleyColourwork_mystery-7_medium2[1]

Paintbox Log Cabin Blanket by Katherine Keyes1532025337_64dd0cea32_z[1]

Inspiration: Knitting the Sky

My friend Jenny visited me last weekend.  We have known each other for years (since college).  Actually, we met through the Knitting Illini, our university’s student-run knitting club.  (I’m still trying to find a knitting club as fun and welcoming as that one, but that’s a whole other story.)

Anyway, Jenny pulled out her needles and several shades of blue and gray yarn.  She whipped up a couple little garter stitch squares and put her knitting back in her bag.  I was curious what she was making, and she said she was “Knitting the Sky.”  I had never heard this concept before, and had her explain.

Apparently, Knitting the Sky is the idea that you put aside a few minutes each day to look at the sky and then pick a yarn color closest to the color of the sky to make an afghan square, or a few rows of garter stitch to add to a scarf.

As far as I can tell (and correct me if I’m wrong), the first person to do this was Leafcutter Designs.  They sell a kit (yarn plus directions) to make a Sky Scarf.  It’s a simple garter-stitch scarf, but the subtly shifting grays and blues make the scarf look almost like it’s made with hand-painted yarn.

sky-scarf-kit-3 Gorgeous, right?

But Jenny is an overachiever (in the best possible way), so instead of just making a sky scarf, she’s making a sky afghan, like this one.

Finished+Sky+Blanket+4How beautiful is that!  Who could have imagined that wrapping up in cloudy and rainy days could be so cozy?

And, imagine extending the idea of using a color to represent a day in other projects.  How about a striped cardigan that shows your mood each day for an entire year?  Or what about a pair of mittens that represent what you ate for breakfast for a month?  OK, I’m getting silly now.  But, the point still stands.

This is a fantastic idea, and a great way to get some knitting in while getting more in touch with the world around you.  Too bad that if I was to make a sky scarf it would end up being a uniform Seattle-gray.x354