Monthly Archives: October 2015

Mama Bear Check-In

Oh boy, guys.

I’ve fallen, and I’ve fallen hard.

I have been completely neglecting my Christmas knitting and any design work I should be doing.  My yard is knee-high with dandilions and my sink is full of dirty dishes.  All I want to do is watch the Great British Bake Off and make teddy bears.

This pattern is so simple, knitting it is basically a practice of Zen meditation.  And, the bears are too stinking cute!

I finished my first bear in just under 24 hours (I told you I have a problem).  I couldn’t stop knitting!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the second one joined the pile less than a week later.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve got a bag half-full of Knit Picks Swish Worsted, leftover from a few projects.  It’s a lovely uber-soft merino wool that’s surprisingly hard-wearing (even if it pills a bit), so it’s perfect for kids toys.  I’m planning on knitting my way through all this yarn, then diving back into my stash to find more yarn to make more bears! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had planned on shooting for a goal of a half-dozen bears, but at this rate, I’ll have a whole pack (herd? gaggle?) before I know it!

(Also, did you notice-I haven’t stuffed my bears yet.  That’s because I don’t want to stop knitting them, even for the few minutes it would take to stuff one and sew it up.  I think I might have a problem.)

Has anyone else made progress on their bears?

Itty Bitty Faces

As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of all things tiny.  And when I make tiny stuffed animals, I need to make tiny faces, too.

Because of the way knit fabric is created, often teeny tiny embroidered faces end up looking kind of dumb and stretched out.

So that’s where this cool face technique comes in.  I’d pretend that I came up with it myself, but alas, I’m not that clever.  Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits came up with it, and generously included the tutorial with her instructions for her teeny tiny toys.

It’s so simple, and so perfect, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t come up with it on my own.

6a00d83451d24769e200e5520787618833-800wi[1]Simply cut out a little piece of felt and hold it behind the doll’s face before you stuff the critter.  The felt is dense enough to allow you to embroider to your heart’s content without worrying about the sewing into knit stitches, and it is soft enough that you don’t even notice it once you’ve finished the little guy.


I used her technique on my tiny teddy bears, and they turned out perfectly!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt worked so well that I think I’ll probably use the same technique on my Mother Bears, too!

Have you ever come across an insanely-simple-but-totally-perfect technique before?

Pattern Spotlight: Itty Bitty and Teeny Tiny

I love tiny things, it’s true.  Especially really tiny things.  Especially especially teeny tiny adorable things.  It’s one of my weird quirks.  When I’m feeling down, stressed, or just in need of a quick pick-me-up, one sure-fire way to raise my spirits is to make something cute, pointless, and tiny.

I’ve been keeping this pattern in my back pocket for years, waiting for a day when I would need a tiny, adorable, pick-me-up.

Well, that day came, and instead of moping around the house, I broke out my fingering-weight yarn and my US0 DPNs and these two little bears just about flew off my needles.


Seriously.  Tiny.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey measure just under 2 inches tall from the tips of their toes to the tops of their ears. And the best part?  Their dresses are removable- look at the teeny bare naked (naked bear) adorableness!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the best part?  The pattern is well-written, clear and free!

Teeny tiny knitted toys by Julie Williams2456725646_6de7080305_z[1]itty bitty dress by Julie Williamsminibun_medium2[1]Next time you need a quick, fiddly and adorable project, remember to keep these little guys in mind!

(And, don’t worry about me.  I just had a long day, but it was noting my tiny bears couldn’t handle!)

What do you like to make when you’re feeling blue?


(And don’t forget to order your Mother Bear Pattern for the first annual On the Needles Charity Knitalong!)

Operation Mother Bear is Go!

It’s here! It’s here!  My pattern showed up in the mail, and I’m dropping all my Christmas knitting to start on my first bear!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor my $5 donation, I received a beautiful (and heartbreaking) pamphlet on the Mother Bear project (can a pamphlet be heartbreaking?), my very own copy of the knit-in-the-round pattern, and an adorable tag for me to sign and tie around my finished teddy’s wrist.

Upon examination, the pattern looks well-written and straightforward, and I’m raring to get started!

I dug through my stash, and found some nice heathered merino (leftover from designing my Human Beans) in lovely mahogany, evergreen and grassy green shades.  It’s super soft, and pretty strong-perfect for a stuffed animal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you gotten to start on your Mother Bears yet?  Did you order your pattern?  It’s not too late!

Charmed Giveaway!

It’s Giveaway Day!  The most wonderful day of the year!  Woo Hoo!

So, to catch you up, if you weren’t paying attention:  Last week, Knit Picks’ new collection Charmed: Whimsical Knitted Accessories launched, featuring 23 adorable patterns!

32752[1]And (more importantly) featuring two of my patterns! Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts and Ride the Rails Scarf.

51956220_2_medium[2]51974220_7_medium[1]Also, featuring this important cat-themed hat.  Too cute for words.

51976220_3[1]10 of you folks entered the drawing, and that means instead of going to some online number generator, or printing out a million little slips of paper, I get to bust out my favorite 10-sided die!

(What? you don’t have a selection of oddly-shaped dice among your knitting supplies?  How do you make random stripe patterns?)

I gave it a roll, and…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFogKnits!  You’re the winner of a copy of Charmed!  I’ll send you an email, so be on the lookout!

If you aren’t lucky-duck FogKnits, and want your own copy of this freaking adorable pattern collection, head on over to Knit Picks (it’s actually on sale right now!).

Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

OK.  Fair warning.  I’m going to complain about something that I probably shouldn’t.  If you want to skip this post, I totally understand.

That being said, here goes:

It needs to rain more.

I know, I know!  I live in Seattle, and I’m complaining because the weather’s been too nice?  Give me a break!

Summer started extra early this year, and it has been sunny and warm for months.  We had a few blissful weeks of rain and clouds, but now it’s back to being summery- I even had the windows open yesterday!  I thought I lived in Seattle, and not Los Angeles!

Where is my rain?  Where are my clouds?  Where are my days spent curled up beneath an afghan, watching the rain drip through the cherry tree outside my window, a cup of tea on the end table and a half-finished sweater in my lap?  Where is my rain!

Maybe there’s some kind of knitter’s rain dance I can do?

I could make this gorgeous shawl in lovely rainy colors.

Color Affection by Veera Välimäkicolor-affection-2_small_best_fit[1]

I could knit up these socks with their raindrops, waves and cloud patterns.

Water Cycle Socks by Tami Sheifferdscn0958_medium2_small[1]

Or, if worst comes to worst, I could always just make my own raincloud.

Rainycloud by Anna Hrachovec483379646_e95e3b0597_z[1]

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

Pattern: Ride the Rails

What?  Another new pattern?!  (I said I had two patterns in the new Knit Picks collection… did you catch that?)32752[1]This one is  awesome, too (if I say so myself).

My Ride the Rails Scarf is a double-sided scarf, complete with three-color colorwork and knit with sock yarn on teeny tiny needles.  So, I’d say it is slightly more “tricksy” than my usual patterns.

51974220_7_medium[1]But, as much of an undertaking as it may be to make one of these scarves, the finished product is totally worth it.  The double-layer knitting makes the scarf lovely and warm, the gauge makes the scarf feel totally luxurious, and the three colors can be customized to match your favorite winter coat.

51974220_10_medium2[1]Get your copy of the collection from KnitPicks!

Or, reply to Wednesday’s post to enter into the drawing for a free copy of the book!

Pattern: Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts!

It’s new pattern day!

(Actually, it’s new patternS day!)

I’ve got two brand-spanking-new patterns in the new, ridiculously adorable collection from Knit Picks: 32752[1]It’s a collection of two dozen insanely cute whimsical knitted accessories. Want a hat with a cat chasing a ball of yarn that’s actually a pompom?  They have it.  Want cap adorned with tiny french men?  They’ve got it.  Want cute, customizable mittens?

Of course you do.  Let me tell you all about my pattern.

51956220_15_medium2[1]These little guys are my new favorite!  My “Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts!”

They are simple, striped mittens that are 100% customizable.  Want thin or thick stripes?  Want long mittens?  Want short fingerless gloves?  These guys are for you!


And, since they’re knit in super-soft sock yarn, they’re not only comfy and soft, but also super hard-wearing!  (Which is great, since you’ll want to wear them every day.)

Want to get a copy of Charmed: Whimsical Knitted Accessories?  Grab yourself a copy of the collection here!

Or, want to win a copy?  Comment below with a description of your favorite knitted accessory!

Mother Bears On the Needles!

I can’t get the Mother Bear Project out of my head.  The stories of little kids with next to nothing positive in their lives just break my heart, and I can’t stop thinking about them.Mother_Bear_in_Liberia_1_medium2[1]So, I took the plunge and ordered my pattern!  The patterns are available for $5 (proceeds go to running the charity and helping with shipping and handling), and is mailed to your house via snail mail.


I’m itching to pull out my scrap yarn and get to work on a whole army of bears!

But here’s the thing- I’m only one person, so even if I do nothing but knit teddy bears from now until the end of time, I won’t be able to make that much of a difference.

You guys, however, are more than one person!

So, I propose that this year for the holidays, everyone who reads On the Needles knits a teddy bear or two!  We can make it into a big On the Needles knitalong!  I’ll post updates about my bears, and whoever wants to play along at home can send in pictures of their bears, and we can all share our projects!

What do you say?  Want to join in?  How many bears do you think we can make before New Year’s?  20? 50? 100?!

Mama Bear

I don’t know about you, but I’ve already got Christmas on the brain.  I’ve been cranking through lots of projects… that I can’t talk about here because family members read my blog (lame!  Not really, but it does throw a cramp in my blogging this time of year).

But when I do a lot of targeted, purpose-driven, knitting sometimes I get a little burnt out.  I can start to feel like I’m “manufacturing” projects, not actually knitting.  Sometimes I want to just make something fun- like a stuffed animal.

And, you know, if it’s a stuffed animal for a good cause, that’s even better!

So, imagine my excitement when I found this amazing teddy bear-making project (or rather, re-found… I had read about it before, but totally forgot about it).283434_220092554695040_4064929_n[1]The Mother Bear Project  makes adorable, one-of-a-kind, hand-made teddy bears and then distributes them across Africa to children whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS.  Could you ask for a better cause?lesotho1[1]I went over to their website, and saw that they have patterns for the same bear, both knitted and crocheted, worked flat and in the round.  bear_about[1]The best part (other than that whole helping-children-in-need thing) is that the pattern is so simple, it just begs to be embellished.  Take a look on Ravelry to see everyone’s take on the basic Mother Bear.  There are bows and dresses, overalls and striped shirts,  and teddies of every color of the rainbow!Mother_Bear_in_Liberia_1_medium2[1]This project is just inspiring!

Have you ever taken part in a big group-knitting project like this?