One down

One project done, and several to go!

I’ll be honest, I thought I’d be through more projects by now (since we’re about halfway through the Olympics), but I guess my powers of estimation (and powers of sitting comfortably on the couch) are less than perfect these days.

Anyway, I finished the baby blanket, and it turned out great!It’s just about a yard square, insanely soft and squishy.  It used up a bunch of my old sock yarn stash, which is great, but I still have plenty of yarn left (maybe even enough to make another blanket?).I wove in my ends and trimmed all the tails on Saturday, and then got right onto the next project.  My hand-spun party scarf!

It’s been sitting on a shelf for probably three or four years at this point, so I forgot what size needles I had been using (apparently I had stolen the needles out of the project at some point over the years).  I ended up ripping out the whole thing, which sent my allergies going (so much dust!).  But, after finding the Kleenex, I got down to business.  I cast on 30 sts, and just went to town knitting.  So far I’ve got a little over two feet of knitting done, and I’m loving how it’s turning out.  It’s kind of fun making completely brainless projects for once- so much garter stitch!!Now I just have to keep going and not run out of steam!

How are your Ravellenic Games projects coming along?

Happy Birthday!

Can you believe it? I’ve been at this blog for 5 years!

That’s absolutely nuts!  I don’t really know how long I expected to keep this bad boy going, but it certainly wasn’t 5 years.  It’s been a huge learning experience for me- the patterns I write today are head and shoulders better (or at least less full of typos) than the ones I came up with in 2013.  I’ve learned a lot about my style of knitting/designing, and I think I’ve become a better writer and teacher.  You kind of have to get better when you work on the same project three days a week for 5 years!

Of course, On the Needles is going to start changing a little bit, what with the whole “baby-on-the-way” thing, at least until I get my feet under me.  Starting next week, I’m going to switch from my usual 3 posts a week to a slightly less insane twice-a-week schedule (Monday and Friday), to give me a little slack so that I can get some posts prepped so that when I have to go on parental leave, I won’t leave you blog-less.

It’s going to be crazy to see what the next 5 years has in store!  Talk about changes!

Inspiration: I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you’re having a lovely one!  Maybe you’re eating some chocolate or sipping on a mimosa.  Or maybe you’ve treated yourself to some nice flowers, or, since you’re a knitter, you’re going to go splurge on a lovely new skein of yarn.  (That’s my kind of treat!)

Love may (or may not) be in the air, but it’s definitely in these adorable mittens.  I really like mittens- they’re like fancy socks for your hands. (And you know how much I like socks.) But, I just realized I haven’t made any mittens in a really long time- maybe in over a year.  Now, this could be because we don’t have a ton of use for mittens up here in Seattle (it never really gets cold enough to require them), but I still think I should make… no need to make some fancy new mittens.  And why not make some Valentine-y ones?

These chocolate-y mittens look crazy cozy, and I love the cute, oversized cable running up the back.  They look like they might be a little over-warm for Seattle, but I might be able to convince myself that I need to make them anyway.

Hot Chocolate Mittens by knittedblissJCNothing says “Valentine’s Day like roses, and these rose-themed mittens are just beautiful.   I especially love the tiny rose on the thumb!  And it’s been a while since I went all-in on fancy color work.

Ruffles and Roses by JennyPennyBut I think these mittens (mitts, really) are more my style.  You know I love a good rainbow, and mitts are more appropriate for Seattle weather, anyway.  Plus, Can you imagine a better excuse to splurge on all those mini skeins of brightly-colored yarn?

My Rainbow Heart by Stephanie LotvenAre you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?  (And by “doing anything special,” I mean “knitting anything special.”)

Attempt 1: Baby Blanket

Woo!  And we’re off!

I’ve been cranking through my first project that I’m trying to finish during the Olympics, and I think I’m making good headway.  At this rate, I should be done in the next couple days (maybe earlier… if I actually manage to kick this cold’s butt and stay up past 8:00 for once).

I’m about halfway through my stash of leftover bits of Knit Picks Stroll, which is pretty satisfying.  I hate throwing away the little leftover bits of yarn at the end of a project, so this is a pretty perfect project for me.  I’m not even waiting for the end of a row before I switch yarn colors, so I’m not wasting even a little bit.  I’m holding the yarn double, and using great big needles (US10s), so the fabric is coming out super squishy and cozy.  It’s going to be a heck of a comfy blanket when it’s finished.  (I kind of wish I had made it adult-sized, I like it so much.  Though, that would have taken more yarn than I think even I have in my stash.)And, it’s turning out massive!  Or at least bigger than I had planned on.  I guess I didn’t do a great job of measuring my gauge swatch when I cast on the other day.   It’s a little under a yard wide (but I could easily block it up to that size if I wanted).  I had planned on making it rectangular, but now I’m thinking I might just leave it square.  If I do that, I’ve only got 8 or 9 inches to go!

Are you making headway on your Ravellenic knitting?

… And They’re Off!

Good morning Ravellenic Athletes!  I hope you’ve been training hard, because the next 17 days are going to be busy!

I’ve finally decided what I’m going to do (not that I waited until the 11th hour or anything).  I’ve decided to do something a little different than usual:

I’m going to see how many projects I can finish in the next two weeks.

I figure I’m not going to have a ton of knitting time coming up, so I might as well take this as an opportunity to finish up some (all?  If I’m lucky, and very fast.) of the projects that I’ve been letting languish in my WIP pile.

I’ve got my Papaya Sweater, which is really only knit down to the armpits.I’ve got an entire stack of bears that need to be stuffed, need faces, and need to be sent off to Mama Bear Headquarters.I’ve got a scarf that I’ve started and put down and restarted about a dozen times over the last three years. (I even spun the yarn for this one!  I just never got off my butt to finish the dang thing!)I’ve got the almost-finished prototype for the 15th Street Wrap– a project that I have written up as a pattern, published, and other people have knit their own versions of, before I even finished mine!I found two half-finished pairs of socks from some point in the past (I think one pair of socks might literally be from over five years ago… I really don’t remember starting them).  This might explain where all my US2 DPNs have disappeared to over the years.And of course, I’m about halfway through my sock yarn baby blanket.I don’t expect to finish everything, but it’ll be fun to try!

So, what to do first? (And when is curling on?)

What are you working on for the Ravellenic Games?

Sick Days and Sock Yarn

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a rough couple days at my house.  I’ve come down with the plague, or as my doctor put it “just” a cold.  I’ve been a coughing, sniffling mess.  My house feels full of Kleenex and I’ve been drinking water like it’s going out of style.  It’s the worst!

I haven’t had the brain power to do any planning on my Ravellenic Games knitting, so I guess we’ll all be surprised with what I decide to do, come Friday morning.

I haven’t been able to muster the energy (or the brain power) for doing anything more than simple knitting-and only knitting.  No purling, no shaping, no counting.  I don’t want to leave the house to get more yarn (because I don’t want to spread this plague to anyone else), so into the stash I went.  And lucky for me, I found a ton of single skeins, half-skeins, and tiny balls of sock yarn.  I have a vague memory of going crazy a couple years back and getting 20 or so skeins of Knit Picks Stroll during one of their sales.  I’ve been slowly working through it, but there’s still quite a bit leftover, and not really enough of any one color to make a full pair of socks.

So I said, “Hey, let’s make a blanket with this!  But a baby blanket, because I’m not insane enough to try knitting a great big blanket with sock yarn.  And I should hold the yarn double and knit it with big needles so that it’ll go fast.”

And, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I’ve cast on a bunch of stitches (I didn’t count, but it’s about a yard’s worth of stitches- I’m sick! Give me a break!) with some nice big US10s, and I’ve been knitting back and forth, watching crummy daytime TV for the last couple days.  And whenever I get bored of a color, or when a skein runs out, I switch that strand for a different color.  So far, I gotta say, I like how it looks!Plus, it’s crazy simple, and I’m cruising through really quickly.  It’s going to be a really nice, cozy blanket!

What do you like working on when you’re feeling under the weather?

The Olympics Are Coming!

Opening Ceremonies are on Friday, and I’m not even a little bit prepared!I’ve participated in the Ravellenic Games for at least as long as I’ve been running this blog (and I think once or twice before that).  So, this isn’t like it’s my first rodeo.

Usually by this point, I’ve got a plan, or at least have a bunch of yarn ordered.  Last time, I made a nice gray cardigan, and the time before that I designed one of my very first sweaters with a pretty clever slipped-stitch yoke (if I say so myself).  This year, I have no idea what I’m going to do!

If you’re not familiar with the Ravellenic Games, a quick overview:Every time the Olympics are held, thousands of knitters across the world all cast on at once (usually, during the opening ceremony- though this year it’ll be 3:00 in the morning in Washington when the opening ceremony starts, so I think I’ll wait until a little later in the day to cast on), and spend the next two weeks watching athletes do athletic things and knitting away as fast as they can.  Knitters can organize themselves into teams, compete in different “events” (Sweater Skeleton,  Bag Biathlon, etc.) and spend the Olympics challenging their knitting skills.

It’s a fun way to crank out some quick knitting!

But this year I’ve completely dropped the ball!  The Opening Ceremony is on Friday, and I don’t have any idea of what I want to do!  I don’t really even have time to order yarn!

I know I’ve got some fancy-pants lace yarn, but a big lace shawl might be a little too much for a two-week project.  Or I could try to plow through some of my WIPS- I keep meaning to work on that Papaya sweater, but that seems a bit like cheating, since it’s already a quarter of the way done.  Or I could go to my LYS and see if they have any inspirational yarn in stock.

What’s a forgetful Olympic knitter to do?

Are you participating in the Ravellenic Games?   What are you making?

Six More Weeks

When I was a kid, I was very convinced that the whole “Punxsutawney Phil” thing was very important.  That groundhog knew things.Now, of course, I realize it’s a little silly to get your weather forecast from a rodent, but there’s still a part of me that wants to rely on Phil’s prognostication.

And, since he saw his shadow this morning, that part of me wants to get ready for another 6 weeks of cold weather.

These cozy-looking mittens would be perfect for wearing during the extended winter.  Plus, they come in every size imaginable- perfect for the whole family!

The World’s Simplest Mittens by tincanknitsAnd these adorable hats look crazy cozy with their ear flaps and insulating garter stitch.  Plus, they have a tassel! Everyone loves tassels!

Garter Ear Flap Hat by Purl SohoAnd there’s nothing better on a cold winters’ night than snuggling up under a half-finished afghan with a cup of cocoa for an evening of crochet.

Neat Ripple by Lucky of Attic24Do you believe in Punxsutawney Phil’s predictive powers?  Or are you just using his premonitions as an excuse to start some new projects?

L’il Cap

My little Captain Picard Sweater is almost finished!

OK, it is “finished,” technically, but I’m unhappy with some of the final details.

See if you can figure out what I don’t like about it:Did you zero in on the pips on the collar, too?  Because that’s literally all I can look at.

(Sure, it’s a cute shape, and the color-blocking turned out great.  It’s been finished nice and neatly, blocked nicely, and the tiny black buttons up the front are perfect.  It’s a cute baby sweater, without being too obviously “Star Trek.”  But those dang gold buttons on the neck!  They’re so bad!)

It’s one of those things that I’m sure anyone else wouldn’t even really notice, but they stick out like a sore thumb to me.

In Star Trek (at least in TNG), rank is marked with little gold “pips” on the front of the collar.  More pips means a higher rank, and a Captain’s rank is shown with 4 gold pips.

I thought I had bought buttons small enough to fit on my sweater’s collar.  I was incorrect.

I managed to fit on three (Lieutenant) before reaching the shoulder.  So, I thought, maybe if I replaced the topmost black button with a gold one, it would make up for the missing collar pip. But that just made them all look uneven and weird.Sigh.  I guess I just have to go back to JoAnn’s and see if they have even tinier little gold buttons.

And I was so excited about these guys!  They seemed so perfect when they were still on the card!  Oh well…

Have you ever gotten stuck on a final detail before you were able to finish off a big project?

Why isn’t this working?

I have a question for you.

Why don’t projects progress if you ignore them?

Honestly!

It’s been a couple weeks since I picked up my crocheted blanket, and honest-to-goodness, it hasn’t grown at allIt’s very frustrating.

I keep it in a nice big project bag in my studio, protected and safe, yet it refuses to crochet itself.  What gives?

Why can’t it just hang out and grow on its own like a potted plant?  I’ve thought about breaking it out from time to time over the last couple weeks… shouldn’t that be enough?

Sigh.  I suppose if my “ignore it and I’m sure it’ll be finished eventually” strategy isn’t working, I’ll just have to go to plan B (“get it out and actually work on it while binge-watching Masterpiece”).  Too bad.  I had hoped that maybe I’d just invented a new, more efficient way of working on projects.

Do you have any projects that you’re trying the “leave it in the closet and maybe it’ll magically get finished” strategy with?