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

Knitter Aboard

Last week, I was a little bored (OK, a lot bored).  My friends had all left after our long weekend at PAX, my husband was at work, and I was sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs.  My day job is on a little break right now, between the end of summer and the beginning of the fall semester, so I have lots of time to sit around and watch TV.

Maybe too much time to sit around and watch TV.

So, I picked myself up off the couch and said, “Enough!” I decided to have a day down on the water, and the easiest way to do that here is to go for a ride on the ferry.   I know this isn’t something that everyone can do (I lived in the Illinois for most of my life… I understand “landlocked”), but if you have a chance to get away from your usual venue with a cup of coffee and a skein or two of yarn, I highly recommend it.  (If the ferry isn’t an option for you, try a train, bus, or just going down to a favorite park or local coffee shop.)WP_20140905_002There’s something refreshing about getting away from your house (and your dirty laundry, and the floors that need vacuuming) .  It always opens up my mind for fresh ideas, and makes my projects seem even more fun than usual.  (Getting away from a speedy internet connection doesn’t hurt, either.)

WP_20140905_008Expanding my horizons (literally) always helps me get out of a rut.  And, there’s no better place for people-watching than public transportation.  You never know what you’ll see that might inspire your next project.

WP_20140905_002So, get out there!  Explore the world, and enjoy some knitting on the water (or on the road, or on the rails).

Stellar’s Jay Cardigan: That’s All She Wrote

It’s the end of an era!  The project has been finished and I am just a little bit cozier than I was before. (And just in time for it to start feeling distinctly fall-ish around here.)

I finished my Stellar’s Jay Cardigan.  I added my zipper, and, when my extra yarn arrived, finished up the missing arm and grafted it in place.  I blocked it out and pretty much haven’t taken it off since.

The Knit Picks Swish Worsted is so fluffy, cozy and soft.  And, it’s machine washable, so I don’t worry about wearing it all the time.  The only problem with the yarn is that it’s so soft that it’s already starting to pill in the armpits, but that’s not a huge problem, I can just remove the pills as they come up.

I couldn’t be happier with how this sweater has turned out!

10613109_10204684791023698_4021516135016481273_n(Sorry for the slightly weird photo.  I just spent fifteen minutes trying to take a decent selfie of the sweater.  Let’s just say that there are simply days when photos shouldn’t/won’t happen.  Instead, here’s a snapshot that a friend of ours took of my husband and me.  Maybe if the photography gods smile on me later, I’ll add a more traditional sweater photo later.)

Yoshi at PAX

Remember Yoshi’s Wooly World?

yoshiwoollyworld[1]The game still isn’t out yet, but that doesn’t mean that Yoshi doesn’t have fans yet.

thCADYLBZRI mean, look at him!  He’s so cozy and cute!

On Saturday at PAX (the annual game convention here in Seattle), I bumped into a new friend dressed up as Wooly Yoshi in a costume she created herself:

yoshiSuper cute!  She even had balls of yarn that followed her around (see them tied to her ankle?), and a big crocheted egg.   How amazing is it that she designed, crocheted and modeled this costume all day!  Big props to her.

If you are interested in seeing her other costumes, look her up on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SmallRiniLady), visit her crafting blog (www.craftersindisguise.com) or buy some of her costume accessories from etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/threelace).

Pattern: Sailor Jane

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

September in Seattle means fog rolling in and waving goodbye to the sun until next Spring. But, it also means breaking out your favorite squishy, cozy woolens and curling up with hot apple cider. This scarf is the perfect accessory to keep the winter drizzle at bay and protect against the chilly winds that come off the Puget Sound.

Sailor Jane is knit on the bias, starting from one corner and finishing at the one opposite. A thick cable, reminiscent of nautical sweaters works its way continuously around the entire border, framing a pane of thick and cozy garter stitch. It’s a remarkably quick knit, worked in bulky yarn, the scarf is finished in no time. And, the suggested undyed superwash merino makes the scarf both cozy and virtually indestructible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGet the pattern for free here:

Sailor Jane