Monthly Archives: June 2013

Do you want to be my friend?


Since I’ve started this blog, I’m really curious to see who would be interested in reading my ramblings on all things yarn.   And since we’ve (I’ve) been talking about Ravelry all week, let’s meet up online.

This is just a bit of shameless self-promotion, but I’d love it if you would become my Ravelry friend!

My screen name is onemilljellybeans.  If you click here, you’ll be taken to my page where you can befriend me and say howdy.

Or, you can “Favorite” my designer page by clicking here.  And, you can see all my original designs (so far… I have more coming up soon that I will be adding to both the blog and my pattern page).

See you soon!

The Search for the Perfect Pattern

My absolute favorite part of Ravelry is its searchable pattern database.  It’s super useful.

Imagine, if you will, that you want to knit a small stuffed animal bird.  You don’t want to pay for a pattern, and you also don’t want to have to sew any seams.  That’s a lot of things to have to search for, if you’re just Googleing for it.  Instead, let’s see what we can find using Ravelry’s advanced search tool.

Open up Ravelry, click on Patterns, then click on the “pattern browser & advanced search” button.  (Ravelry was designed by knitters, not by web designers, which is kind of obvious by its semi-terrible user interface.)

Patterns 1

This brings us to a page of ALL of the patterns currently on Ravelry.  If you really wanted to, you could just go page by page and see everything.  Sometimes it’s fun to browse the patterns, but today we’re on a mission.  We’re going to use the search bar and filters to narrow down the patterns that are available to us.  Take some time to see what filters there are available.  Some of the filters are obvious: knitting vs. crochet, free vs. paid, type of item that the pattern is for (sweaters, soft toys, tablecloths, etc.).  Some of the filters are super specific: design elements (lace, ribbing, etc.), construction details (top down, short row shaping, etc.).  Poke around and see what they’ve got.Patterns 2

Every time you click on a filter, you’ll notice that the patterns start to match your selections.  We wanted to knit a bird stuffed animal with no seams, and we wanted the pattern for free, so I clicked on the following filters:





and I put the word “bird” in the search bar, since there isn’t a filter for “Bird.”

Look at all those seamless, free bird patterns!

Patterns 3

When you find one you like, you can click on the picture, and you’ll bring up the pattern page.  From there, you’ve got some options.  Ravelry will link you to where you can find the pattern (in the middle of the page).  Or you can save the pattern in your “Favorites” or your “Queue.”  OR, you could “Cast On” and start a project page for yourself right away.

Patterns 4

I hope this makes your pattern-finding quests a little easier!  Poke around the site and see what you can find.  What else do you use Ravelry for?

Ravelry 101

ravelry login screenIf you’re into knitting and have been near a computer for more than a hot minute, you’ve probably heard about Ravelry.  It’s sort of a Facebook for knitters.  But it’s sooo much more useful than that (Facebook is kind of dumb… don’t shoot me).

Ravelry is free to sign up for, and they don’t send spam or anything.  If you’re even vaguely interested in knitting or crocheting, you should sign up for an account.

There are about a million things that you can do with Ravelry, but I use it mainly for a couple things:

  1. Keeping track of finished projects.  If you’re anything like me, half of what you make goes to friends and family across the country and you never see it again.  Taking pictures of your finished and uploading them to Ravelry gives you a nice trip down memory lane and a great sense of accomplishment.  Also, filling out the yarn/needles/size info can be helpful if you ever want to make a project again.
  2. Talking to other knitters.  This is especially useful if you’re in a small town without a big knitting community, or if you’re teaching yourself by watching YouTube videos (and reading my blog!).  Have a problem with a pattern?  Questions about learning to spin?  Wrestling with a particularly nasty cable pattern?  Post your questions to one of the groups, and people will totally help you out.  Or, you can use the Ravelry groups as a way to totally geek out about whatever it is that you geek out about.  Is it Doctor Who or Harry Potter?  Maybe you’re really into gardening?  Or stock car racing?  There is a group for you.
  3. Finding new patterns.  Ravelry has the biggest searchable database of patterns.  You can sort by almost anything you want.  Want a women’s drop shoulder cardigan on size 3 needles with cables?  You can totally search for that.  Looking for a toy squirrel that uses short row shaping?  You can find that too.  (I’ll show you more about searching on Ravelry on Wednesday.)

So, my point is.  Ravelry:  try it.  It’s a great resource.  You don’t have to use everything, but I guarantee that there is something that it does that you would appreciate.

(FYI,  Ravelry didn’t pay me for this review.  But if they wanted to send me some yarn or something, I would totally be ok with that.)

Yikes! Stripes!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve still got socks on the brain.  They are possibly my favorite project to work on when I’m looking for something easy, portable and fun.  But, sometimes having a million plain socks gets boring, so sometimes I mix it up, and use self-striping sock yarn.  Lots of brands carry self-striping sock yarn, and when you buy it, it just looks like regular variegated sock yarn (except that the label will have the word “stripe” on it…duh):

But, when you knit your socks, you magically end up with beautifully striped socks with absolutely no effort on your part!


Pretty awesome, right?

So, how do they do it?  Basically the yarn company figures out how much yarn the average knitter uses for every row when she makes her socks.  Then, they dye the yarn in row-long increments, so that each row is a different color.  So, for example, if it takes 1 yard of yarn to knit 1 row, they might dye the yarn sow that 5 yards are blue, then 5 yards are green.  This means that in the finished sock, you will end up with a 5 row stripe of blue followed by a 5 row stripe of green.  Pretty clever!

Socks II: The Resockening

I just realized that I hadn’t made an official pattern of my Sock Week  Month Tutorial.  Here it is, in a nice .pdf format for your printing pleasure.  I also have the pattern saved in my “Pattern Library” page along with all the other patterns I’ve posted here.  And, you can see all my patterns on Ravelry.

Socks by the Numbers


Reader’s Choice


I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’d love to hear from you, my readers (assuming that you’re out there).  So far, I’ve pretty much been writing about whatever strikes my fancy, without much planning.  So, I have questions:

What would you like to see more of?  What would you like to see less of?  Do you have any burning questions?  Is there a pattern that you need help with? Is there anything you want to know about me? (Or, preferably, my knitting?  I’m not a huge over-sharer.)  Have you heard about some cool new technique or fiber that you would like to hear more about?  Is there something knitting-related (or totally unrelated) that you’d like my input on?  Do you have an idea for an Inspiration post?

I have some pretty cool stuff on deck (ie.  in my brain.  I just haven’t written the posts yet).  But, let me know if I’m missing something!  I’m here to serve!

Contact me through the comments section, or you can email me at, if you want to be all secret-like.

Inspiration: Bob’s Burgers

So, Netflix pretty much thinks I’m a family consisting of:

1. A 60 year old woman (documentaries-Jiro Dreams of Sushi is fantastic)

2. A guy in his 20s (sci-fi movies-anything Star Trekrelated is great)

3. A 17 year old girl (romantic period dramas-Um, Pride and Prejudice?  Obviously.)

4. A middle-aged man (procedural cop dramas-Any show that has “Law and Order” in the title is good by me.  Also, I just discovered there is a “Law and Order: UK.” I think I know what I’m doing this weekend.)

5. A 12 year old boy (cartoons-It’s kind of embarrassing, but Adventure Time is actually really good.)

My “Recommended” queue is always a little multiple-personality-ish.

One show that appeals to the most of my personalities is a really hilarious cartoon called “Bob’s Burgers.”  I think it airs on Fox, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, the second season just showed up on Netflix about a month ago, and I couldn’t recommend it more.  It’s a family-sitcom-type cartoon (like the Simpsons when they were good), about a family that runs a burger joint.  They get into shenanigans, and are generally hilarious.  It’s a really smart show, with really great writing.

But the most important part about “Bob’s Burgers” is the character of Mr. Frond (the kids’ guidance councilor) is a knitter!  Here he’s making a pink scarf.  (He even has a yarn bowl!)

Mr Frond 1

He runs into Linda (the kids’ mom) at the art store, buying yarn:

Mr Frond 3

And best of all, he has this fantastic sweater:

Mr Frond 2

Be like Mr. Frond and make yourself an awesome sweater.  You could use this pattern, a really simple stockinet turtleneck sweater.  You could then add on the words with a duplicate stitch or a really careful fair isle.

Knittaz 4 Life!



Flying with Yarn

It’s summertime, and that means traveling!  I just got back from a lovely weekend trip to Pennsylvania to visit my husband’s family.  It’s about a six hour flight from one coast to the other, so I had plenty of time to indulge two of my favorite pastimes:  knitting and reading SkyMall.


When you’re traveling with your knitting, it’s important to keep three factors in mind.  Or, at least these are the three things I keep in mind:

1.  What will the fuzz (the po-po, the man, the 5-O) let you take on the plane?  TSA regulations can be found here.  But basically, the only thing you (as a knitter) need to worry about is that your scissors need to have blades that are less than 4 inches long.  Needles/crochet hooks are allowed.  Now, if you bring a pair of super-sharp 15 inch-long size 10s, they might have a problem with it.  But, I’ve never had an issue with bringing my needles on a plane.

2.  What can I carry?  I like knitting small projects on vacation, so I’m not lugging a great big sweater around with me.  Socks are great, because they don’t take a lot of thinking, and you can pick them up and put them down without worrying you’ll loose your place.  Lacework is fun, too, since you can work on a pretty big project, but it crunches up into a tiny little ball when you’re not working on it.

3.  What will prevent the folks in my row from hating me?  If I didn’t get to knit during a flight, I would probably go insane from boredom.  I have to keep busy.  It’s sort of a nervous tick.  But, when you’re stuck in such a small space with other people, it’s important not to piss them off.  So I like to pick a project that doesn’t take a lot of room to work on.  So, no big, long straight needles that poke my seatmates, no blankets or anything that will take up more than my allotted personal bubble space, and no projects that use multiple balls of yarn that could roll around and get in people’s way.

So, safe travels!  And may the TSA never confiscate your knitting!  (And, if you are thinking of getting me a present for early Christmas, I’m a huge fan of the swamp zombie statue from SkyMall.)WP_20130609_028

I’m turning 50!

Actually, I’m not turning 50… not even close.  But this is my 50th post!  How exciting!

It seems like I just started this blog yesterday.  Is it too early for me to repost some of my earlier posts?  Probably, but I’ll do it anyway.

My first pattern, the Lace-Edged Shawl, is still by far my most favorited/knit pattern.  Here’s the link to Ravelry.


People also seem to like my Call the Midwife posts (but that’s probably due more to the show being awesome, than me writing anything particularly genius).

blanket 2


People also seem to like my Call the Midwife posts (but that’s probably due more to the show being awesome, than me writing anything particularly genius).



Although, my most liked post so far was my critique of Clueless:


But despite all those, I think the series of posts I’m most proud of (wether or not you guys are into them, I’m not so sure), is my Sock Week posts.


So, thanks for reading!  And here’s to 50 more posts.

It’s too pretty out for a real post

If the sun’s out in Seattle, you’re pretty much required by law to spend your day outside.  So, I decided to sit out in the yard with a nice iced coffee and a pile of granny squares and sew them together.  Not a bad afternoon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After an hour or two of work and a few chapters of my most recent audiobook…


And I’ve whip-stitched my squares together:


They’re nowhere near an entire blanket yet, but they’re a start.  It’s going to end up being possibly the tackiest blanket ever (since I’m using up all my sock leftovers from over the years, and I tend to knit brightly colored socks), but I’m kind of OK with that.  It’ll be a nice project to work on a little at a time, whenever my bowl of sock yarn leftovers gets too full.