Author Archives: onemilljellybeans

Invisible Progress

I’m still chugging along on my wedding blanket (I’m only 5 months behind schedule now!) and it’s going well. I still love the pattern and the color and the yarn that I picked. In fact, I’m enjoying it so much that I’m thinking about getting some more of the same yarn and making myself an oversized, cabled, lacy sweater. But that’s another post.

I’m actually making so much progress that I’ve burned through two or three skeins since last week! In any other project, I’d say I was cruising. Two skeins is more than enough for an adult sleeve, a whole scarf, a couple beanies, or even an entire sweater for a toddler. Unfortunately, I’m currently in the “Black Hole” portion of my blanket. Which means, no matter how much I work on it, and no matter how much yarn I pour into it, it looks essentially the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. It just is feeling a little like treading water at the moment. But maybe that’s good- it’s giving me lots of time to daydream about my next project.

How do you get through the mid-project doldrums?

Back on the horse

I pulled my wedding blanket out of storage the other day, and have started working on it again. It’s great! I still love it. The pattern’s just tricky enough that it’s interesting, but simple enough that I have it memorized (or maybe I’ve just worked it a million times, so it’s just gotten stuck in my brain). I love the gray-brown of the natural wool, and I love that it’s gotten to the keeps-me-warm-while-I-knit size. It’s all just lovely (and massive! Each repeat is about 4″ across).

Only one thing about it is wrong. The timing. Here’s the timeline for this project:

May: I bought the yarn.

June: I made the swatch and started knitting.

Early July: My friend had her wedding.

Late July: I stopped knitting the blanket because it was too hot, and it was late anyway, and I kind of just forgot about it, if I’m being honest.

October: I started knitting again.

Which means, if I were to finish this blanket today, I’d only be 4 months late. Unfortunately, I’m only about halfway done. So, it seems very unlikely that I’ll finish today.

Maybe it’ll be done by Christmas? Maybe it’ll be done by their first anniversary.

What’s the latest you’ve delivered on a knitted gift?

Double Double

They’re done! They’re done! And just in time for the baby to turn 6 months! (It might not be a very punctual “Congratulations on having a baby” present, but oh well. New sweaters are better in October than April, anyway, right?)

That duplicate stitch nearly did me in. It was such slow going. Every night I sat down to work on it I’d think “This’ll be the night I finish these ding dang sweaters,” and I’d end up only finishing one half of one letter.

But, finally, after much whining and several bad movies, I managed to finish! A little blocking later and, tada! Matching sweaters for Luna and Albus! (Or maybe Lupin and Aberforth? Or Lord Voldemort and Aragog?)

I’m so pleased with how they turned out. The duplicate stitch (while a slog), ended up looking just lovely. I love how it blends into the knitting, and how much the blocking made everything so nice and even (I swear blocking is some kind of magic).

Now that I’ve got these guys done (which took surprisingly longer than I had intended), I guess it’s time to get back to the wedding blanket that was “due” last June… Oops!

Have you finished any big projects lately?

New Pattern: Call & Response Throw

A new day, and a new pattern!

It’s the Call & Response Throw, part of the Knit Picks 12 Weeks of Gifting program, which means: it’s FREE!

I’m super happy with how this monster of a blanket turned out. The chunky yarn plus the squishy garter stitch make it extra cozy and extra snuggly- it almost feels like a weighted blanket! It’s exactly what I want to be under (or working on) on a cold winter night.

It’s constructed in separate blocks. Each mitered block (there’s 3 variations) is worked from the wide edge to the point, and you use intarsia to create the colored squares along the diagonal. The blocks are then all sewn together and a quick log-cabin-style border is added to finish the whole thing off. Super simple, but such an impressive finished product. Plus, because it’s worked modularly, it makes a great travel project, and is easy to modify!

Head on over to Knit Picks to grab your free copy of my Call & Response Throw today!

Double Trouble

I have realized two things.

  1. These sweaters are going to be SO. GOOD.
  2. Embroidery is VERY. VERY. SLOW.

Let me walk you through my process.

First, I used safety pins to mark off roughly where I wanted the letters to go.

Then I counted out my stitches and rows, made myself some graph paper and sketched out my letters. I made my own graph paper because I am both too lazy (I didn’t want to go down to the basement to grab my pre-printed graph paper) and not lazy enough (it probably took 15 minutes to draw out these graphs). I wouldn’t recommend it.

Then I grabbed my leftover yarn and a needle and got to work duplicating my stitches.

And I gotta say… this is slow going. When I say it might take me longer to embroider the letters on these sweaters than it took to actually knit them up, I might not be joking. I don’t know if it’s a me thing or if I’m doing something weird or what, but oofa doofa. It doesn’t help that I’m doing the fronts and backs of both sweaters (since Flax is a reversible sweater, I figured I’d make the decoration reversible, too).

It’s going to look so cute once I’m done, though!

Have you ever done duplicate stitch to finish a project? Did it take you an aeon, too? Or is it just me?

Super Speedy

I. Love. Making. Kids. Sweaters.

They’re so cute, and so fast to work up. They’re just the most fun. (Especially when I’m in a knitting funk!)

And they’re a great excuse to do silly stuff like this. A matching pair of Harry Potter-themed sibling sweaters. C’mon. I’d never do something this silly for an adult, but there’s something so satisfying about doing it for little ones.

I’ve finished the hard part, and it was hardly hard. I just finished up both the big and little brother sweaters! (In my beloved Flax Light/Provincial Tweed combination.) They’re super cute and super soft and ready to be embroidered.

I’m honestly tempted to just leave them like this. They’re already so cute. But, I’ve got a plan, and I’m sticking to it.

I really love this pattern for kids and babies. It’s so functional and cozy. Before I had my kids, I made a BSJ for every friend that had a kid. I still love that pattern- it’s such a satisfying knit, and the final seaming-up is just… the best. But now that I have kids of my own, I’m all about the functional knits for kids. I don’t have time to do up (and worry about) 6 buttons every time we go outside. Flax Light is great because it’s a simple pullover, it’s reversible (no worrying about which is the front and which is the back!), and the head holes are generous enough for even my kids and their giant melons. And, because it’s such a simple pattern, you can do all sorts of things to add your own spin- change the colors, add stripes or… add a giant duplicate-stitched letter to the front!

Speaking of which… I’m itching to get embroidering. It’s going to look so good!

And on to the next one!

I “finished” my big-brother sweater last week, and I’m on to the little brother.

I did the first in the 4-6 year size, and this one in the 6-12 month size, and the difference is wild.

Like, I know that obviously the big one will take longer, but when compared to the big sweater this one is just FLYING off my needles.

I’ve been working on it for essentially one day, and I’ve made it almost to the armpit split. And I don’t have a ton of knitting time these days (obviously).

I just love this caramel-golden-yellow color, too. It’s so warm and cozy, and puts me in mind of something delicious and full of toffee.

Speaking of toffee, there’s really something just so tempting about knitting for babies. Even with the same pattern, a sweater for a grownup might be a whole meal, but a baby sweater is dessert. Or coffee and a slice of cake. Or a caramel apple from the state fair.

Or maybe I’m just hungry.

Have you ever knit the same pattern in different sizes? What’s your favorite size of sweater to make?

Finished (with the first bit)

I DID IT! I finished a sweater! It’s the first sweater I’ve finished in… a while.

Yes, it’s a kid’s sweater, but still. It’s so cute and so soft and it’s going to be so appreciated by the recipient (or at least I’ll pretend it will be… the recipient is 3, and probably couldn’t care less about clothes, but still.)

I’ve roped our sleepy dog Ollie into modeling for me:

He’s a good sport.

I haven’t blocked it yet, and I’m going to wait until the little brother sweater is done, too, before adding the duplicate-stitch letters on the front and back. (They’re going to be a set of matching Weasley-inspired sweaters, so cute!)

Now that I’m in a good mood, and on a roll (and, shockingly, both kids are asleep at the same time), I’m going to go wind up the yarn for the baby version and get knitting! I’m so excited!

What’s the last sweater you’ve knit?

Nearly There!

I’ve somehow made it out of the black hole/vortex of doom that was keeping me from finishing the body of my sweater. It’s plenty long enough (and will probably end up being way too long once it’s blocked), and I’ve even cruised my way through the first sleeve. It’s looking great!

(I marked a couple stitches at the bottom to help center the duplicate stitch I’m planning on adding after it’s done… that’s why there’s a couple little markers down by the waist.)

But speaking of being cursed, I can’t get a decent picture of this sweater to save my life. It’s so cute, but it’s proving impossible to get a picture of the whole sweater, in focus, and with an accurate color. The above picture shows my progress pretty well, but the colors are all washed out and beige-y.

This picture is closer to the real color. It’s a lovely, warm two-toned moss-green with little tweedy bits in goldenrod and violet. Frankly, It’s colors I wouldn’t have put together, but it makes for a lovely little sweater, perfect for tromping around in the woods.

(And, yes, I know I could take a photography class or learn photoshop… but what’s the fun in that?)

What have you been working on recently?

Black Magic

I swear my knitting’s been cursed or something.

(Or, maybe I’m just bad at measuring. But that couldn’t possibly be it.)

I’ve been cruising through my latest Flax Light. I used up one skein and added in another. This is my usual go-to baby sweater, but this one is for an older kid, so admittedly this one is taking longer than usual. But still, I was making plenty of headway.

So much so, that last night I pulled out the tape measure to check my progress.

The body should be 9″. I could have sworn that when I sat down to start knitting, it was at 8.5″.

After a couple episodes of Treehouse Masters (which is a delightful show, if you ever need something fun and silly to watch), I’d worked probably a half dozen rows. I measured again, sure that I’d be switching to my smaller needles for the next row.

8. Inches. Eight.

WHAT? How is that even possible? I had added rows. How could it be shorter?!

I angrily worked a few more rows and called it a night.

I pulled it out this morning to take pictures and write this post and, well. You can see for yourself:

What black magic is this? Who has hexed my sweater? Will it ever grow any longer, or has it been cursed to always be just a little too short?

(Or will I get frustrated, knit a bunch of rows tonight, then go and measure it again, and it will be 3″ too long? That’s also a possibility.)