Author Archives: onemilljellybeans

Treasure!

The other week while we were on vacation, my mom and I took a lazy afternoon stroll around the tiny town we were staying in.  (I was secretly hoping that we’d find a coffee shop, but no such luck.)  We did find a bowling alley, a post office that was only open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays and someone with what I can only call a “Shrine to America” in their front yard (complete with a fairly creepy Uncle Sam doll).

And, we found a massive junk/antique shop called “The Yard Sale.”

I’m not a big antiquing gal, but Mom was in the market for antique windows to decorate for a project, so we went in on a treasure hunt.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find any windows, but we did find something, buried among the VHS tapes and decrepit Furbies.It’s a teeny, tiny sewing machine!  It’s only 5 inches tall (6 if you include the spool of thread on top)!  It’s a vintage, miniature, toy sewing machine- and it actually works!  It’s got a real sewing needle and everything!

It needs a little cleaning, and a bit of TLC (and a new hand wheel, but that’s not 100% necessary to make it work), but it’s in remarkably good condition.

And look at this!

It was manufactured in the US-controlled zone of Berlin, so we can date it to the late 40’s or early 50s.

It even still works! (Kind of, at least.)

I need to see if I can do something about the tension- it’s a little tight.

And, this is neat!  Since it’s just a toy, it doesn’t have a bobbin.  So, when you look at the back of the fabric, you can see that it makes a chain stitch!  (The chain stitch falls apart if you look at it the wrong way, so it’s not super practical.  But, I’ve never seen a sewing machine that is quite like this one!)I’ve got a bit of work before my new sewing machine is up and in tip-top shape again, but that’s OK with me.  I think it’s pretty hilarious as-is.  It really made my day when I found it.  And I think it looks pretty cute, sitting on top of my full-size machine.What’s your favorite thrift-store find?  Also, if you know where to find hand cranks for vintage miniature sewing machines- I’m in the market!

Papaya

Woo!  I’m free!  I finished all my “work knitting!” (For now, at least.)

It’s weird- it’s like that feeling I got back in college, right after Finals Week.  Every minute has been taken up with studying, or thinking you should study, or worrying that you’re not studying enough.  But they you finish your last exam, and BAM! you’ve got nothing particularly important to do.

It’s both very freeing and a little bit unsettling.

When I have that feeling, I like to go into my closet and see what kind of yarn I have waiting for me.  I’m not a huge “Stash Person.” I generally don’t go out and buy a big bag of yarn “just because.”  At most, I’ll buy a skein or two of sock yarn as a splurge, but that’s about it.

But, hidden deep at the bottom of a pile of yarn in the back of my closet, I found a treasure.

A bag of 11 balls of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in Papaya Heather!I literally have no idea when I bought this, or what I bought it for.  It must have been years ago.  I almost never wear pink, and I never wear orange.  I don’t know what would have possessed me to buy so much of this shade.  (It really is pretty, but it’s just not a color I normally go for.)  Maybe it was on sale?

I’ve got 11 skeins, though. Which means I can make something cool.  A sweater maybe?  Or a smallish throw blanket?  Or a big shawl?

What do you think I should do with my surprise stash yarn?

Have you ever been surprised by what you found in your stash?

Inspiration: All Snuggled Up

I know it’s cliched, but holy cow do I need a vacation after my vacation.  I’m still exhausted, even though it’s been almost a week since we got back.

I think it must be a combination of the following:

  1. Too much traveling- a full day of air travel to get to the Midwest followed by a full day of driving to make it up north, and the same thing in reverse to go back.  (Plus all the driving we did over the week there.  I forgot how far apart everything is in the country!)
  2. I was surprised to discover that the part of the UP we were visiting was in the Eastern Time Zone, three hours behind Seattle.  I spent the whole week trying desperately to get on local time and failing miserably.  Now I’m back here, but I think my brain is still somewhere between Eastern and Pacific time.  I’m a mess!
  3. I picked up some nasty stomach bug somewhere on my trip back home, and I can’t for the life of me shake it.  I won’t give you the details, because ew… but suffice it to say that I’ve felt better.

Basically, all I want to do is snuggle up in some cozy knits and go into hibernation.

Let’s play the “what Allison wishes she had in her closet” game.  (I’m too sleepy to start any new projects right now… it’s that bad!)

I know this is a men’s sweater but man, I’d totally wear this.  I love the slightly variegated/tonal yarn and the cowl-like collar.

Cosy Hubby by Marzena KolaczekSpeaking of cowls- I can’t imagine anything cozier than this ridiculous cabled cowl.

Cozy Cable Cowl by Purl SohoBut really, this is what I want to wear right now.  It’s coziness personified… It’s halfway between a cocoon and a sweater (actually, it might be closer to a cocoon than a sweater).  I love the thick textured fabric, and the thigh-length oversized silhouette.  It would take about three pounds of yarn to make a sweater of this style for someone my height, but I think it might just be worth it.

Cozy Sweater by Anna and Heidi PicklesWhat do you like to wear (or knit) when you’re feeling under the weather?

Whoops!

I just got back from a lovely vacation up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  It was fantastic! The weather was gorgeous, the scenery was breathtaking, and it was great to see my family again.

Unfortunately, I still had some work to do on a couple patterns I owed my publisher, so one afternoon, I sat down with my laptop, my notebook and a cup of tea.

Well…

You can imagine what happened.

I was chatting with my dad and I tried to pick up my tea, but failed spectacularly.  The next thing I knew, I had spilled an almost-full cup of tea all over my computer.  I lifted it up, and tea poured out the USB ports on the side.  It was not pretty.

I sopped up the tea as best I could, and let my computer sit near a sunny window for the rest of the vacation, while I crossed my fingers that I hadn’t caused too much trouble.

Now we’re home, and my husband has had a chance to open up my laptop and clean out any leftover tea residue.

And would you believe- it’s working perfectly!  (Except that the keys are a little sticky still.)

I’ve gotta say, I was completely shocked- I was all ready to go out and get a new computer.  I guess it’s my lucky day, or maybe they’re just making computers more idiot-proof than they used to.

Anyway, now that my computer is up and running again, I’ll be able to get all caught up with my work again, and hopefully I’ll be a little more careful in the future.

(In the meantime, here’s a picture from my vacation- The UP really is absolutely gorgeous!)Have you ever spilled on your computer?  (Not that I’m counting, but this is the third time I’ve done it… and it’s never good…)

All Work and No Play Makes Allison… Something Something

I’ve been working my butt off on another Super Secret Project.  It’s not just a new pattern, either!  It’s going to be amazing!  I’m so stinking proud of it (although I’m currently between the point where I’m 90% sure that it’s utter garbage, and the point where I’m 100% sure that I’ll never actually finish it).

In short, I’m feeling a little like Jack Torrence from The Shining.  (But more caffeinated, less murder-y, and covered in yarn.)

I know, I know, it’s a total First World Problem, but this is my blog, so I get to complain about whatever I want!

The worst part is that I can’t share it with you yet! Even though I’m almost done with my part of the project, the whole thing won’t be done for months, so I’ve just got to be patient and keep my fingers crossed that everything works out.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my head down and chugging away on my part of the project, trying to be as quick and accurate as possible (and to have as few typos as possible- ha!).

And, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I look at pictures of puppies and other people’s gorgeous finished projects, and daydream about when I will be able to work on any project I want… sigh…

Anyway, that’s why the “Here’s what I’m working on” posts have been a little sparse lately.

Are you working on anything new and exciting?  (Or old and boring… I’m interested in those projects, too!)

700

Whaaaaaat?!!!

Can this really be my 700th post?  That’s absolutely bananas.

But, when I think about it, I’ve been writing this blog three times a week for the last four and a half years.  So, yeah, the math checks out.  Wow!

It’s amazing to me that anyone reads this thing at all (and it really freaks me out when people in the real world bring up things that I’ve mentioned here).  It’s a really strange feeling.  Writing a blog is such a public thing-it’s shared with hundreds of people every day, but it’s also really private.  I work on it at home, first thing in the morning, usually when there’s just Ollie here to keep me company. Anyway, this is all to say thank you for sticking with me all these years.  I know I’ve said it before, but I never thought I’d be half as successful in this endeavor as I’ve turned out to be.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting.  I really appreciate you guys!

Happy Knitting!

(And, if you have any ideas for blog posts, I’d love to hear them!  After 700 posts, I’m starting to get writers’ block!)

Inspiration: UP North

I’m writing this from the past (through the magic of scheduled posting…oooh!), but I am currently at a big family reunion up in the wild wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Penninsula!

If you don’t know where the UP is, its here:I bet you didn’t even know that the US went that far north!

My grandma lives all the way up there, along with an aunt and her family, so the rest of us (dozens of cousins and aunts and uncles) are all descending on a tiny town waaaay up north for this year’s family vacation.  I’ve only been to the UP once before, and it was decades ago.

From my understanding, we’ll be spending the week hiking in some National Forests.

Hiking Socks by Kerin Dimeler-LaurenceWe’ll spend time canoeing around lakes and streams, looking for interesting birds and fish.

Kejimkujik Canoe Cowl by Raven Knits DesignWe’ll tour copper mines from the 1800s.

Copper Plait by Kathy ZimmermanAnd one thing’s for certain, no matter how hard I try to avoid them, I’m definitely getting eaten by some big old mosquitoes.

Mosquito Scarf by Kim ChristensenAre you going on any fun trips this summer?

Doing the Dishes

Doing the dishes is not my most favorite chore, but I do them anyway.  I’d rather make something tasty and create a pile of dirty dishes than actually clean them up.  (But, I guess doing the dishes is part of being a grown-up… sigh.)

Anyway, I’ve got a stack of knit and crocheted dish cloths that people have given to me over the years, and they’re the best (I always use them before the store-bought ones).  I don’t know why, but handmade dish rags just seem to work better- plus, I love anything that’s related to knitting.

Unfortunately, since I’ve been using mine for years, they’re starting to get a little ratty and a little bleached out.  A couple are even starting to come apart at the edges.

So I guess it’s time to make a couple more.

This brick-patterned dishcloth is totally classic, and super cute.  I love the contrast of the garter stitch “bricks” and the slipped-stitch “mortar.”

Ballband Dishcoth by Peaches & Creme Design TeamThese interesting circular dishclots are cute, too!  I love the short-row shaping (I get bored easily, and short rows might just be the ticket to stopping myself from giving up halfway through and making another pair of socks instead).

Crazy Eights Dishcloth by Julie TarshaThese are also super adorable.  I love how basic patterns can be the most impactful.  The simple mitered garter square is just gorgeous, and the rainbow of applied I-cord at the edge is the perfect finishing touch.

Sinkmates by Lorilee BeltmanDo you use handmade dishcloths?  What’s your favorite pattern?

Another new pattern! Milestones and Memories

I’ve got another pretty cool collection for you guys!

This one is another collaboration with Knit Picks- but this one is a little more of a “choose your own adventure” than the usual patterns I make for you.

Introducing, Milestones and Memories!This book is a collection of colorwork charts (all the same size, and all super cute) that you can use to make memory blankets and cute themed pillows for everyone in your life.

Does your grandma love working in the kitchen?  There’s a pillow for that!Does your cousin love the great outdoors? There are squares for that!Did someone you love just get married?  Why not celebrate with a blanket?

I love the open-ended nature of this book.  There are squares that would be perfect for anyone in your life!  And, the blankets and pillows end up looking just adorable!

Grab a copy of Milestones and Memories here!

New Pattern: Knits for Everybody Two!

You guys!  I can tell you about a fantastic new pattern!

I’m so excited… I can’t even express it.

So, last year I was part of a really cool Knit Picks collection called “Knits for Everybody,”  where I wrote a sock pattern.  It was a fun project- simple patterns for classic projects, sized for virtually every body- from babies up to great big adults.

Well, it’s back for round two!

Introducing: Knits for Everybody Two!And this time, I’ve contributed a very nice (if I say so myself) yoked cardigan pattern.  I wear my cardigan all the time, and I even made a teeny one from sock yarn to give to my friends’ new baby (it’s even cuter than mine).  The cardigan is written out for a huge range of sizes (that took so much math!), and it can be worked in fingering or worsted weight yarn, which makes it even more versatile. If you get the book, you also will get the pattern for this crazy cute V-neck sweater.  (I’m tempted to make this guy for myself.  I love a classic pullover.)And there’s a really cute pattern for gloves!Plus, a great top-down hat pattern with brim options- or even ear flaps!I’m so happy to be included in this collection- I think it will become an indispensable part of a lot of people’s knitting libraries.

Grab a copy of the book here, or my pattern here!