Author Archives: onemilljellybeans

Spring!

It’s definitely spring around here! I can tell because:

  1. My kid won’t stop talking about his birthday.
  2. I’m dying to get out and start planting the garden.
  3. I’m constantly sneezing.

What’s an allergy-ridden, indoor kid to do when the weather turns? Oh that’s right. Knit! (Or at least daydream about knitting.)

If I had infinite time and energy, I’d definitely make myself a lovely new spring sweater. Shall we window-shop through Ravelry together?

Rift by Jacqueline Cieslak

Such a stylish-yet-comfy silhouette. I love the subtle shoulder and hem details, and the slightly-textured yarn she chose for the samples. Can you imagine it in a cotton-wool blend? Or better yet: a nubbly slik? Ugh. To die for.

Felix Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

Or what about this darling little number? Can you imagine a more perfect springtime cardigan? I love the sweet little shoulder details. Plus the wool+mohair combo? Perfection!

Dustland Sweater by Stephen West

If I’m being honest, it’s still pretty chilly around here (despite what I want to believe), so maybe this is the best way to go. A lovely, textured pullover in a fantastic spring color. I usually like to switch up the colors of sweaters I make, but honestly, I can’t imagine this in a better color. That electric lime might just be exactly what I need in my wardrobe.

If you could magically knit up a sweater right now, what would you make?

Slow and Steady(ish)

I know I keep saying “Wow! Crochet is so fast!” And it is. But that’s only when I actually sit down and do it.

Which is why, even though crochet is super fast, compared to knitting, I’ve only gotten… about an inch and a half more put on my sweater since the last time I talked to you about it… weeks ago.

It’s a combination of things. I’ve been super busy with the kids (the big one is being very Four and need lots of help with big feelings, and the little one has decided that 5:00 is a great time to get up in the morning). I’ve got a new project in the works with Knit Picks that I can’t talk to you about… yet. And, when I actually have a little time to myself I’m more likely to sit down and want to scroll on my phone than actually do work (even if it’s fun “work”).

All that’s to say, when I do work on it, this sweater is going quick. I just haven’t been actually working on it. Fingers crossed something will change soon and I’ll get a little more bandwidth to finish it up… I’m so close!

Do you have any projects wasting away in your to-be-knit pile?

Spring Cleaning

I like to keep a pretty tidy house. I do laundry every week. I keep the sink more or less free of dirty dishes. Most of my kids’ toys are stashed in bins. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I try to stay fairly clean.

To that end, I say I thoroughly hand-wash all my knitwear at least once a year. And that I wash the sweaters in heavy rotation more frequently than that.

But, if I’m honest, I’m not even close to that.

In fact, I just sat down the other day and tried to remember the last time I did a thorough cleanout of my sweaters. And I couldn’t remember.

Certainly before my baby was born (1+ year ago). And definitely before Covid hit (2 years ago). Maybe after my big kid was born (4 years ago)? But you could tell me that it was even before that.

Whenever it was, one thing is clear. My sweaters are gross and I need to wash them.

So, I hopped online and bought the biggest bottle of wool wash I could find and went to town. The basement has smelled like grapefruit soap and damp wool for weeks and the dehumidifier is working overtime. My pile of clean sweaters is growing and my pile of “to be washed” is shrinking.

Anyway. This is a reminder that you should probably wash your sweaters.

(Unless you’re a functional grownup who already remembers to do laundry.)

When is the last time you laundered your knits?

New Pattern(s): Stitch Your State!

It’s new pattern day, but this time it’s a little different.

A few months ago I was approached by Knit Picks to help them with a collaboration with the Craft Yarn Council’s “Great Yarn Challenge” and Warm Up America. They had written the instructions on how to make a “state blanket”, but they needed someone to actually write out the charts.

And you know me. I love a good challenge, so I said “Sure!”

The idea is that you can use the charts to make your favorite states in your favorite style- filled in with intarsia, outlined with stranded knitting, or even embroidered! They’re easily adaptable to knitting or crochet, being a little more/less elaborate.

You’re more than welcome to keep your squares and make your own special blanket (maybe featuring all the places you’ve visited, or where all your cousins are living, or who knows!) But, if you want to participate in the Warm Up America part of the challenge, you can mail your finished squares in, and volunteers will assemble them with squares from all over the country to donate to people in need. What a fantastic idea!

This was a super fun project to help with, and I’m super excited to see what everyone comes up with!

Grab the pattern here!

Progress!

Woo! I’m tempted to declare that I’m almost done, but I think that might be a foolhardy thing to say. Even if I’m not “almost done”, I am at least a bit closer to being finished. I’ve completed the front and back pieces, which feels pretty significant.

And, I need help!

I’m supposed to seam up the shoulders and the sides, then pick up (or whatever you call it with crochet) stitches around the arm openings for the sleeves. Simple, right? Well, it’s been a minute since I did seaming on a crochet project.

I started with the shoulders, which seemed easier. I matched up the tops of the front and back and did single-crochets through both layers. The join was nice and neat-practically seamless (and difficult to photograph clearly).

No problem.

The issue is with the sides. Because it’s essentially a double-crochet fabric, there are big gaps all over the place. I’m afraid that if I sew/crochet into the holes, it’ll just accentuate them. But, if I sew through the stitches, I’m afraid it won’t be sturdy enough.

It’s a conundrum. And, probably something that could easily be solved by googling, but I don’t have the energy to do that right now. So, instead, I’m hoping that one of you guys have a brilliant idea.

How do you like to seam up crochet (or knit) projects?

A tale of two (one) sweater(s)

I’m of two minds about this sweater. But what’s new?

First, I’m excited about how fast it’s going, which isn’t usually the case at this point in the process. Most of the time when I’m three-quarters of the way in, I’m very frustrated and not seeing much progress. I’m just not used to how fast crochet is. I had a 2-hour Zoom meeting last night, and managed to get through 4 repeats- almost 6 inches of sweater! (I know it doesn’t look like I’m going that fast compared to last week, but that’s mostly because I bought myself a paint-by-number kit that’s taking up most of my attention. I have no regrets.) And, I even like the way the fabric is turning out. I think it’s going to be cute- I love the bobbles (even if they’re a pain to make).

However, I’m real skeptical that this is going to be a cute sweater. It’s just so… rectangular. To be fair, it is a style that I’m not too familiar with (drop shoulder, cropped, oversized sweaters aren’t usually my bag), so maybe this is how it’s supposed to look. Maybe it’ll turn out amazing after I seam it up and put it on, and I’ll never want to take it off. But right now I don’t have a lot of faith in the finished sweater.

Either way, I guess I’ll just keep trucking along and trust the process. I like the finished picture in the pattern- fingers crossed that it turns out that cute!

When’s the last time you were skeptical of a pattern halfway through?

Like the wind!

I’ve been cruising along with my crocheted sweater, and it’s been fun getting to stretch out of my yarn-crafting comfort zone.

I’ve noticed a few things:

  1. I do not like making bobbles, but I do like how they look. (In fact, I made an executive decision to halve the number of bobbles on each bobble-row. It’s a decision I stand behind.) To be fair, a crocheted bobble is much less of a pain than a knitted bobble. So at least there’s that.
  2. Crochet uses different muscles than knitting. I could knit for hours and hours with no discomfort, but my forearms start talking to me after only a little bit of crochet. I don’t think there’s anything wrong, just my body getting used to something new.
  3. Y’all, I forgot how fast crochet goes! Between kids not sleeping and, you know… general life stuff, I haven’t been getting my usual sit-down-and-do-hand-work-time, and still, I’m almost done with the front of this sweater. It’s amazing how fast it’s going!
  4. Crochet patterns are wild! Or maybe it’s just this one. I’m so used to super-precise knitting patterns where every stitch and increase are accounted for, while this pattern is more of a loose “recipe.” It’s kind of fun to try such a different pattern!

I’m really enjoying this project, and can’t wait to wear the finished project!

Have you tried anything new (or new-ish) lately?

1000

You want to know what’s really wild?

This is my 1000th post.

I know! I don’t believe it either.

It’s been (almost) 9 years since I started the blog, and in that time I’ve:

  • Published 100 patterns (which I didn’t realize until I sat down to count them right now!) Some of them are… questionable, but some of them I’m really proud of. My most popular pattern (Socks by the Numbers) has been knit up more than 500 times according to Ravlery! (Unfortunately, my photography hasn’t improved much over the intervening years.)
  • Written 1000 posts. Sometimes I feel like I’m just letting my inner (knitting) monologue blurp out onto the screen, but sometimes I feel fairly insightful.
  • Knit close to 300 projects (assuming my Ravlery count is accurate… which I can’t imagine it is).

And, in my personal life in that time I’ve:

  • Bought and moved into our current house.
  • Changed “day jobs” 3 times.
  • Got a dog.
  • Made 2 kids and keep them warm with more woolens than they know what to do with.
  • Survived at home for approximately one million years with said dog and children.

It’s certainly been a wild ride. Thanks for taking it with me. Here’s to a thousand more!

Trying something completely different

OK. I gave up on the striped sweater. I’m sure I’ll come back to it, but right now, it’s not “sparking joy.” So, into the hibernation pile it goes.

I thought for a while about what I wanted to make next- I wanted something quick (or at least quicker than the striped sweater) and I wanted to use my stashed yarn. I thought maybe a scarf or a hat, but none of my yarn was exciting me, and I couldn’t find a pattern that spoke to me.

But I do have a sweater-quantity of fingering weight yarn that I thrifted from our local craft-supply-resale shop (Seattle Recreative… it’s really amazing, if you’re ever in town). It’s in two lovely shades of blue-gray. I like it, and want to make something with it, but I don’t want to knit a sweater with fingering yarn. In fact, that’s the whole reason I am looking for a new project!

Then it hit me! I don’t want to knit a sweater, but maybe I want to… crochet? It’s been a minute since I pulled out my hooks, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually crocheted a garment (maybe some hats in high school?). I took to Ravelry to look up crochet sweater patterns, and dang! Crochet patterns have gotten cute since I last looked at them!

It was a tough choice, but I settled on The Goldfinch Sweater by Hailey Bailey, a super-cute, boxy, lightly cropped pullover with lots of texture.

I got to work, and within an evening, I already had several inches worked! It’s wild how fast crochet is compared to knitting (especially knitting on tiny needles).

It took me a bit to figure out how to read the crochet pattern- I truly don’t know the last time I crocheted (let alone used a pattern), but I’m figuring it out. It’s actually kind of fun to re-learn a new “language.” I already love the results, and can’t wait to keep going!

Have you tried any “new” crafts lately?

Still going

Not much to report yet on my sweater, except that it’s still going… I’m at the bit I was worried about last week, the super super long rounds around the chest. I’m so close to splitting for the arms, but still it’s killing me. It takes me close to a half hour to do one round (assuming I’m paying attention and not spacing out and scrolling Instagram instead). But, soon, I should be to the body, and that should fly by by comparison.

Hopefully.

I’ve gotten all five colors into the sweater now, so the next thing will be to decide what to do about stripe order. My initial plan was to do the stripes at random, but now I’m second-guessing myself. Maybe I keep the red-gray-brown-green-cream order, repeating it down the body? But will that make it look like a rugby shirt from 2002? Is that a bad thing? I’m not sure.

At least I’ve got plenty of time to decide before I reach the next stripe. I’ve got four more rows… at least 2 hours of buckle-down knitting time. HA!

What would you do? Random stripes or a repeating pattern?