Author Archives: onemilljellybeans

Kitchen Confession

I have to admit to something.  Something I’ve been neglecting for far too long.  Something… gross.

My dishcloths have officially turned into dishrags, in the worst possible way.

It’s real grim in my towel-and-rag drawer.  I didn’t think it was that bad, but now that I’m thinking about it, most of my “nice” dishcloths were wedding presents.

We got married 9 years ago.

Yikes.

I thought about posting a picture of the old rags, but I decided against it for 2 reasons.

  1. You really don’t want to see them.
  2. I don’t want you to judge me.  Because… oof.  They’re real grim.

The nicest ones are “only” bleached out from years of washing.  The worst are stained with curry or chocolate (or who knows what) and riddled with holes from being used so many times.

So, in a fit of practicality (and avoidance of the projects I’m “supposed” to be doing), I’m breaking out my bin o’ dishcloth cotton.IMG_1293.JPGThere’s plenty of yarn in there, but none of the colors are terribly cohesive, and there isn’t a ton of any one brand.  I’ve always had grand plans of working up a lovely set of fancy matching dishcloths and towels, but… clearly that hasn’t happened.

So instead, I’m grabbing colors at random and making big ol’ single-crochet squares until the yarn runs out, then switching to the next color.  They might not be the fanciest dishcloths, or terribly interesting to work up, but they’ll do their jobs well enough, and I’m enjoying burning through my stash yarn.  IMG_1301We’ll just have to see how many I make it through before I get bored- so far two and a half, and I’m still going strong.

Have you worked on any really practical projects lately?

Welcome! (Blanket)

You guys know I like a big project, I like a nice group project, and I like using my knitting for positive change.

So, honestly, it was only a matter of time before I wrote about the Welcome Blanket project.

WB-flier-2side-final-updateLanguage-1

The Welcome Blanket project is a lovely pro-immigrant activist statement/group art project/just a dang nice thing to do.

Basically, people across America knit or crochet or quilt smallish lap blankets (they ask for 40″x40″), and send them in to be collected at an art gallery somewhere in the US. (So far they’ve been in Chicago and Atlanta, and they’re getting ready to do an installation just outside of Boston.)  Once the donated blankets have been on display for a bit, they are then distributed to newly-immigrated families, along with notes of welcome and encouragement.

WB-Sept25_10

(These blankets were displayed in Chicago last fall.)

It’s a beautiful, loving gesture to families that are doing something incredibly difficult in a country that isn’t always the most welcoming to new people.

If you’re interested in taking part, unfortunately the most recent round of blanket collection (at the Fuller Craft Museum) has just finished, but don’t fear!  The Welcome Blanket folks are going to keep going, and I’m sure a new collection will be just around the corner.  I know I’ve got a couple ideas for blankets that I want to make (in all my free time).

If you’re running short on ideas, but want to participate, there’s an official “Welcome Blanket” pattern that you’re more than welcome to use (but feel free to get creative).

Come Together Blanket by Kat ColeIMG_1009

Do you ever do any activist/charity crafting?  What projects have you participated in?

Pattern: Hurricane Ridge Pullover

It’s been a minute since I have been able to say this, but, guys, I have a new pattern for you!!

Introducing, the Hurricane Ridge Pullover!52558220_02.jpgIt’s a super-cozy, extra-comfy, everyday sweater in the softest superwash wool you’ve ever seen.52558220_06I love this sweater, for real.  I’ve got one in a gorgeous deep red that is just a delight to wear.  It’s made with super-soft Provincial Tweed (which, despite my turbulent relationship with my last Provincial Tweed project, I love dearly).  It’s soft and warm,  and you’ll want to wear it every day.52558220_10The Hurricane Ridge Pullover is a super simple knit.  It’s worked seamlessly from the bottom up and features an asymmetrical split hem, raglan sleeves and a generous shawl collar (perfect for staying warm on cold hikes through the woods).

33576

(And I know, this post is kind of supposed to be a self-promotion post, but, dang if Knit Picks didn’t hit it out of the park on this collection.  It’s as if they designed a whole book of patterns just for me- so much tweed, so much texture, and so many cozy sweaters!  Definitely check it out.)

6 years (and counting!)

Can you believe it? (I can’t!)  On the Needles has been chugging along for 6 years!IMG_1286It’s been a long time since my first “Hello World”, my life has changed significantly, and I’ve learned so much, both about knitting and writing (and writing about knitting).  I’ve written dozens of patterns and grown in my confidence as a designer.  I’ve made a whole stack of sweaters (my entire family is very warm these days).

I just wanted to say thank you to all my readers (and knitters), if it weren’t for you, I would probably be doing something very different with my life.  I’d still be knitting, sure, but it certainly wouldn’t be my “day job” (something that I never would have anticipated before starting this blog).

So, thank you!  And thank you for putting up with the slower post schedule- that 3-day-a-week schedule was fine when I was just me, but some weeks it’s hard to get out a single post, now that I have a kid (that for some reason wants my attention!).  And, get ready- because I’ve got a bunch of patterns in the pipeline that will be coming out over the next few months.  I’m really proud of them, and I think you’ll like them, too!

Here’s to another year!

SNOWPOCALYPSE 2019

We’ve had a crazy mild winter this year- 40s and 50s, and more often sunny than not.  It almost felt like we forgot to have winter.

Well.  We remembered.

And decided to have an entire season’s-worth of winter all in one weekend.IMG_1270.JPGIt started snowing Friday around lunchtime, and kept on going all through the night, until we ended up with knee-deep (or at least calf-deep) snow blanketing the city.  We hit 9 inches on our back deck on Saturday morning!IMG_1280I know that as a transplant from the Midwest I’m supposed to go on and on about how “back in my day we’d drive in three feet of snow, uphill both ways, with our eyes closed, just for fun.”  But, I gotta say, I kind of love the Seattle way of dealing with snow.  Here, we don’t tough it out, we don’t fight it, we don’t shovel or salt or plow.  We just stock up on food when there’s snow in the forecast, call out from work and hunker down.  This morning, I’m fully embracing my inner Seattleite and enjoying the snow through the window, cozy with my knitting and a cup of tea.  Maybe we’ll go outside and make a snowman later, or maybe we’ll just stay inside until the snow melts.  IMG_1284Is there snow where you are?  What do you do when the snow hits?

Oops

I may have made a mistake.

OK, not really a mistake.

I may have over-committed myself.  Which, when you’re a Type-A overachiever like me, is nothing new.

I’m no stranger to “accidentally-on-purpose” signing up for just one too many activities, and making one too many entries on my to-do list.  And, well, I did it again.

I can’t give you too many details, because it’s all very secret, but I’m currently working on not one, but two new designs.

They’re both lovely (if I say so myself), but they’re both due mid-Februrary, and they both require a lot of prototyping.

(And one is knit on US3s.  Who designs a sweater on US3s?! Honestly?!  Oh… Right…)

IMG_1268Anyway, the kid is napping right now, so I’m going to take advantage of the quiet and hop back on the couch and get in a little speed-knitting.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!  It’s going to be a busy couple weeks!

Have you ever over-committed with your crafting?  What happened?

Quick and Finished!

You guys know I’m a big sweater knitter.  I love a great big, weeks- (or months-) long project that I can really sink my teeth into.  And if it’s a pattern that I’m making up as I go along, and documenting the whole thing, even better!

But sometimes, there’s nothing better than finding a great pattern and banging out a project in a little over a week.

This little cowl is one of those projects.

img_1248

It’s finished!  And it’s super cute!

It’s not perfect (the decreases are a little weird, and I don’t love how the CO edge pulls a little, compared to the super-stretchy brioche fabric), but I don’t mind.  The pattern was quick to work up, and the finished object is cute and totally wearable.  It was a super fun little knit.  I’m not going to say it was “easy”, but once I got my brain around the whole brioche thing, it was pretty straightforward.

img_1254

One thing I really love is how it’s totally reversible!  The big color-blocks on the right side are fun, but I kind of love the way the contrasting colors peek out between the bright blue ribs.  (It’s even prettier, and more glow-y in person!)

img_1259

This is definitely a piece that I intend to wear a lot in the future!

Have you finished up any fun, quick projects recently?

A Little Something New

It’s been a while since I tried something truly new in knitting.  I’ll try a new cable or stitch pattern, but even the most complicated stitch pattern still just uses a combination of the same handful of stitches.  And I’m not afraid to try a new pattern or come up with a new design, but it’s all really just putting the same stitches in different order.  I’m not complaining, I love my usual knitting, but none of that is really a new skill.

So I decided to try something that’s truly new to me.  Brioche!  (This isn’t a tutorial about brioche knitting- I’m not even finished with my first piece, so I’m very much not an expert!) Brioche is super cool! It’s knitting, but its stitches are just different enough from regular knits and purls that it’s a little tricky.  It took me a few evenings to really get the feel of it.  The finished product ends up with a sort-of two-color ribbing, and is seriously fluffy.  It’s kind of magical.

I browsed Ravelry and found the Fingering Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella.  It looked simple enough and like something I’d actually wear.  (These days with a very grabby kid, long scarves and shawls aren’t terribly practical, but my neck is still cold!)fingerbandanacowl01I pulled out those mini-skeins of Tosh Merino Light, fired up Google to look for instructions, and after a few false starts, I was cruising along. img_1234I love how the royal blue peeks through to the outside of the cowl, and I love how squishy the fabric is!img_1236(Though I might actually like the “inside” better.  The color-blocking is a little more subtle, just peeking through between the ribs of blue.)img_1240I’ve still got a way to go before I perfect my brioche knitting though, my gauge is a little bit all-over the place and my decreases are a weird and sloppy (though I might be able to block them out a bit).  At least I have a reason to keep practicing!img_1247Have you tried any new techniques lately?  What were they? How did it go?

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

So, I’ve been trying to prune some of my stash.  I used up a bunch of that blue Provincial Tweed for my big old sweater that I finished the other day.  I knit that fair isle sweater for my kid a couple months ago, using up a lot of leftover sock yarn.  And, I’ve made a couple scarves, cowls, and other little in-between-big project projects.

Sometimes I actually use up my yarn.

Sometimes I end up with more yarn than I started with.

So, I’ve had these two little balls of purple yarn for years.  (I got them to make a baby sweater for a friend’s kid.  I think she’s in kindergarten now.  It’s been a while.)  I lost the label, and couldn’t figure out what kind of yarn it was, but I know it was superwash and baby-appropriate.  So I though, “Hey, let’s use up this yarn and make a cute little purple sweater for the boy!”  Seems like a good idea.

Except that I apparently have no idea how much yarn a baby sweater takes.

You’ll notice that I ran out of purple  just about halfway through the sweater. (I knit it bottom-up, so it’s easy to see where I ran into trouble.)IMG_1226.JPGI also kind of guessed on the size, so it’s very, very big on the boy.  Of course, he’ll grow into it, but I was kind of hoping he’d be able to wear it now, when it’s cold out, instead of in 6 months when it’s a million degrees out. (Well, 80.  We live in Seattle after all.)  Oh well.img_1205And, I ended up having to buy a whole big skein of sock yarn to finish the top part of the sweater.  Because, of course, I didn’t have any yarn that matched that particular shade of purple in my stash.  So now I have 3/4 of a skein of sock yarn to add to my stash. So much for paring down my collection.img_1230At least the kid seems to like his new sweater!img_1200How do you use up your yarn?  Or do you just keep buying it, like I seem to be doing?

Ding dong!

The witch is dead!

Or, I should say, The Sweater is Finished!

It’s been over 9 months since I started this bad boy, and it. has. languished.  I’d pick it up every few weeks, work a couple rows (complaining the whole time), then put it down and somehow be shocked (shocked!) when the sweater wasn’t any bigger when I went to pick it up again the next time.

I freaking hated this thing by the time I got to the end of it.

So, it’s surprising that when I finally finished it (just before Christmas), I absolutely loved how it turned out!

IMG_1141.JPGIt might be my favorite sweater right now.  (I’ve worn it basically every day since I finished it, and didn’t even bother blocking it because I didn’t want to wait for it to dry).

It’s a super simple sweater, no fancy shaping, just a regular old Ann Budd top-down set-in-sleeve sweater with a crew neck and lots of extra length.  But, it fits like a glove, and the Knit Picks Provincial Tweed is crazy soft.IMG_1158It’s super comfy, and (despite the unflattering angle on the above photo), looks pretty nice, if I say so myself.  I couldn’t be happier (or more surprised) with how nicely the finished sweater is.

Have you ever finished something, only to be pleasantly surprised by how it turned out?