Category Archives: About the Blog

800

Pardon my French, but holy balls, you guys!  This is my 800th post!

That’s a lot of posts.

That’s a lot of photos and a lot of knitting.  A lot of patterns (both my patterns and other peoples’ patterns), and even a bookI know I say it every time that I reach a milestone of one sort or another, but holy cow, you guys!  Thank you!  It’s insane to me that I’ve been at this for so long, and that people like what I’m saying enough to continue to follow along.

But here’s the thing.  I’m writing this from the past, in preparation for my maternity leave.  I still have my brain more-or-less in tact, and have been (usually) getting enough sleep, and I still have trouble coming up with new ideas for posts from time to time.

So, is there anything that you want to see?   More patterns?  Different patterns?  New tutorials?  More pictures of my dog? (That one’s easy.)Holler at your girl and let me know!  And let’s do another 800 posts! Woo!

An Update About Updates

In Monday‘s post, I mentioned that I was still “writing from the past,”  and I was- I finished the Papaya Sweater (and wrote that post) about three weeks ago.  I also mentioned that “by the time you read this post, I should be less pregnant.”

Well, I’m writing this on Tuesday, and I am not less pregnant.  I didn’t think it was possible, but I am in fact more pregnant.  I am almost a week past my due date, and my kid seems determined to stay put until he finishes high school.

But, by the time you read this, I should have had my baby (for some reason, my doctor seems to think that staying pregnant for the next 18+ years is not a great idea… I can’t imagine why), and I will officially be on parental leave!  Exciting!

But what does that mean for the blog?  It means that I’m going to be cutting down posts to once a week (on Monday mornings).  I’ve already got a nice buffer built up, and should have enough posts to carry me through until the beginning of summer at a once/week schedule.  I’ve also got some plans for easy projects that I can start working on when the little one is sleeping (that’s a totally reasonable thing to expect… right? I’ve heard that babies are totally great at sleeping), so you might get a couple extra posts and updates here and there, outside of the usual once-a-week schedule.Also, if you have questions about anything (via email, or through the comments section), just know my response time is going to be a little slow, but I’ll still try to do my best to check in every couple days.

I’m a little sad to be cutting back on my blog time (and my knitting time!), but I’m so excited to get started on this next big project!  Parenthood is going to be interesting!

Wish me luck!

Happy Birthday!

Can you believe it? I’ve been at this blog for 5 years!

That’s absolutely nuts!  I don’t really know how long I expected to keep this bad boy going, but it certainly wasn’t 5 years.  It’s been a huge learning experience for me- the patterns I write today are head and shoulders better (or at least less full of typos) than the ones I came up with in 2013.  I’ve learned a lot about my style of knitting/designing, and I think I’ve become a better writer and teacher.  You kind of have to get better when you work on the same project three days a week for 5 years!

Of course, On the Needles is going to start changing a little bit, what with the whole “baby-on-the-way” thing, at least until I get my feet under me.  Starting next week, I’m going to switch from my usual 3 posts a week to a slightly less insane twice-a-week schedule (Monday and Friday), to give me a little slack so that I can get some posts prepped so that when I have to go on parental leave, I won’t leave you blog-less.

It’s going to be crazy to see what the next 5 years has in store!  Talk about changes!

WIP

I’ve been working on a super secret project for quite a while now.  It’s a huge project, and it’s been taking up a lot of my time and attention.  And, frankly it’s going to be taking even more of my time and attention going forward.

I began this project this summer, and it just seems to be growing and growing on me.  I assume it’ll stop growing at some point, but for the foreseeable future, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and more and more complicated.

In short, the project I’m working on is… a baby!

There he is!  He doesn’t have a name yet, and isn’t due to be born until the beginning of April, but he’s very much making his presence known (I’m afraid of stretching out all my sweaters, so I’m down to cardigans only), and has currently wedged himself uncomfortably up in my rib cage.

(I wonder how many of you guessed something was up with all the baby sweater talk.)

So what does this little dude mean for the blog?

  1.  Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a “Mommy blog,” or an “All About Babies” blog, or anything like that (though I can’t promise that I’ll never mention the kid).  I’ll still be talking yarn and knitting, and I’ll still be designing patterns, though maybe not as frequently (I’ve been told that babies need a lot of attention).
  2. For now, nothing will change in the blog schedule, but over the next couple months, I’m planning on scaling back a bit.  Monday-Wednesday-Friday posts are a lot of work.  I’ll keep the 3-days a week through mid-February (and my 5-year blog anniversary!), then I’ll be scaling back to twice a week (so I can get to work on a little bit of a backlog, which will let me take a bit of maternity leave).  Then, when the baby’s born, I’m planning on going down to once a week (at least until I get my sea legs).  I’ll still be here, just not as much.

I’m really excited to meet my little dude!  (And really excited to see if his sweaters fit.)

Do you have any exciting projects in the works?

The Women’s March (and Pussyhats), One Year Later

I really try not to get too political on this blog.  After all, you come here for tips about weaving in ends, updates on how fast I’m making it through my latest pair of socks, and me griping about how bored I get when I pick a pattern with too much stockinette.  I get it.  You don’t want me hopping up on my soapbox every time someone in office does something I don’t like.  (Which is often- ask my husband.)

But today seems like a good day to break my politics-and-knitting-shouldn’t-mix rule.  It’s been just over a year since Trump’s inauguration, and (not really coincidentally), a year since the first Women’s March.

Last year, I got to march with my friends down in LA, where I knit and distributed a whole pile of Pussyhats.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the march this year, but you better believe I was there in spirit.  And I made sure towear my hat from last year all day (it’s the one I actually finished while marching last year).The last year has been filled with ups and downs of all varieties- issues with taxes and immigration, the widespread acknowledgment of sexual assault in, and questions of women’s healthcare.  But, there’s one story that’s been giving me a ton of hope lately.

2018 is an election year, and an important one.  Control of both the House and Senate are going to be very tightly contested (heck, the Senate is currently held by the Republicans by only 1 vote!), so this will be a situation where every vote really does matter.

And, with people starting to line up to run for office (state and local office, too- not just national), people have started noticing something amazing.

Women are stepping up to run for office in unprecedented numbers!

Now, of course, I’d never suggest you vote for a woman just because she’s a woman (the same way I’d never say you should vote for a man, just because of his gender).  But better representation of women and minorities can’t be a bad thing, right?  (Right now, only about 20% of representatives and senators are women!)

If you agree that more female representation in government is a good idea, you might want to take a peek at two groups that are helping women who want to run for election (from local office all the way up to national positions).She Should Run is a non-partisan non-profit that gives women the resources, knowledge and networking that they need to run, regardless of their ideology or party affiliation.  They encourage women to actively participate in politics and run for office, something that historically, women have been discouraged from participating in.

Emily’s List is a Democratic pro-choice group that works to give candidates the resources they need to mount successful campaigns.  In the last 15+ years, they have run hundreds of trainings for women interested in making a change in their communities and helped many campaigns become successful.  If you’re someone who thinks pro-choice issues are important, you can even go onto Emily’s List and look for your local candidates to see if they’ve been endorsed.

Anyway, I suppose it’s time for me to get off my soap box.  Don’t worry- my next post will be all about how I can’t stand working with tiny needles, or how my blanket is not growing nearly as fast as I wish it would.

Did you make it to the Women’s March this year?  Are you planning on voting in the November election (or are you running!)?

2017

I’ve gotta say, in some ways 2017 was a big ol’ dumpster fire.  (You don’t need me to explain that, do you?)

But, personally, 2017 had some pretty great things happen.  I’ve been working on some pretty exciting projects (that you’ll hear about soon), both personal and professional, and just generally, my family and I have been doing really well. (Except that Ollie had to go to the vet yesterday because he broke a nail partying too hard at the dog park… sigh. It’s always something with that dog.)Oh, and I got to spend a lot of my time knitting!

I managed to fill my Christmas tree with Arne and Carlos’ Christmas Balls, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out.  Sure, I haven’t made all 55 (yet), but I got about halfway through the book, which left me with enough finished balls to decorate my whole tree.  Plus, this way, I’ll be able to make more balls next year! Fun!I knit… a lot.  (Surprise, surprise.)  Starting in January with a whole pile of PussyHats, a stack of Mother Bears, a half-dozen or so shawls and scarves.  Plus a bunch of sweaters and socks.  I’ve started slacking off on keeping track of my knitting on Ravelry, so I can’t give you a full rundown of everything I’ve knit, but let’s just agree that there’s been a lot.Plus, I’ve been busy working!  I’ve just about turned this whole “knitting thing” into a real, big-girl job.  I never in a million years thought that I’d be able to make more than pocket change with my knitting, and I’m so thankful for everything that I’ve been able to do over the past (almost) 5 years of running this blog and focusing on pattern design.  Heck, this year alone, I’ve published 11 new patterns, and I have a half-dozen more that are somewhere in the design-math-editing process.  I couldn’t be happier with the trajectory of my new career!I can’t wait to show you what 2018’s got in store for me (there is big news in the works at Casa de On the Needles!).  I know it’s going to be awesome!

What did you get done in 2017? What are your goals for 2018?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Whether you’re all dressed up for a big fancy party, or sleeping late and having a cozy day in, I wish you the Best Christmas Ever!  If you have to work, may your shift be low-stress and get over with quickly.  If you don’t celebrate Christmas, may you have a fantastic Monday!

We’re keeping it pretty low-key this year.  We’re not traveling, and no one’s visiting.  My husband is making a fantastic stollen (that smells amazing- it’s baking right now!).  Instead of going crazy and making a big Christmas Dinner for just the two of us (three, if you count the dog), we’re going to put together a big ol’ cheese plate, play board games and watch a bunch of Christmas movies.  It’s going to be a great day!Well, I gotta go- I think I need to go make some coffee (with egg nog, of course).

Have a fantastic day!

Under Construction

I feel a little like I’m writing to you guys from a construction site today, even though it’s really just my kitchen table.

We have a pretty old house (at least by Seattle standards).  The oldest part of the house was built in the early 20s, and bits and pieces of the house have been remodeled and added-on-to over the last almost 100 years.  (And we have the 50’s wallpaper, 70’s shag carpeting and 90’s pocket doors to prove it.)  The previous 100 years of owners have done a pretty good job with the house as a whole, it’s really a very nice house, and the important things (like the windows and roof) are in great shape.

But over the years, people have just slapped coat after coat of paint on the doors and trim in the oldest part of the house… probably (definitely) lead paint.  And the paint has started to chip and peel.  It’s honestly the only thing I really didn’t like about the house when we bought it (other than the knob and tube wiring which we got rid of right away… because FIRE!). I always half-thought that I’d just fix the paint myself “someday”, but clearly that hasn’t happened.

Anyway, long story short, four years after buying the house, we finally hired guys to come and fix the paint!  They’re here now!  It’s very exciting!

But then…

Our furnace decided to stop working yesterday.  It got real cold here this weekend, and our house was about sixty degrees.  Luckily, because we have an old house, we have a fireplace.  It took a while to really start putting out heat, but thankfully, we’re back into the mid-sixties, so it’s a lot more comfortable today.  Supposedly, the furnace guys are going to come over this afternoon, but I’m still waiting on a confirmation phone call.

Fingers crossed!

I guess the only thing to do in the meantime is sit back with my knitting, a blanket and a big mug of tea.

Holiday Check-In

Hi guys!  How’s your holiday season shaping up?  We’ve got less than a week until Haunnukah begins, about two weeks until my brother’s birthday, and just under three weeks until Christmas.  (What?  You don’t celebrate my brother’s birthday, too?!)

How is your gift preparation going?  Are you furiously knitting away, or are you already planning on wrapping up a half-finished scarf for your mom this year?  I’m keeping it super low-key this year, and the few gifts I’m knitting for people have already been finished.  Actually, I’m mostly just diving into my Finished Object Stash for knitted gifts this year.

It’s lucky that I decided to take it easy on my knitting this year, though, because it turns out I have a new work knitting project that’s due just after the new year.  So, I’ve definitely got my hands full this winter.While I don’t have a lot of specifically Christmas-themed knitting, I do have a TON of baking I still have to do yet.  And, unfortunately, you can’t really get your baking done that early.  So, I guess I’ll have my hands full (and covered in butter and flour) from next week through Christmas.

I think I’m OK with that- there’s nothing more festive than spending the day (or the week) filling up your house with a half-dozen types of Christmas cookies.

How’s your holiday to-do-list going?

Hurricane

I’m back home, and earlier than expected.

We spent a lovely week in Tybee Island, off the coast of Georgia (about a half hour from Savannah).  We ate shrimp, hung out on the beach, and played a lot of games.  It was delightful.Then, Wednesday night, some of the folks in our group started worrying about the hurricane that seemed to be coming right at us.  I wasn’t worried- after all, it was days away, and we were supposed to leave before it even got near us.  (And, I’m from the Midwest, where we tend to under-estimate the threat of extreme weather.  Oh, there’s a tornado siren going off?  Let’s go outside and see if we can find it!)

We all went to bed on Wednesday, (me, convinced that everything was fine, and everyone else convinced the opposite) and got up the next morning for a nice trip into Savannah for brunch, a nice wander through the little shops and maybe a beer or two at one of the local brew-pubs.

But, Savannah was dead… like, creepily empty.  We were the only people in the restaurant we had lunch in, and we saw tons of people outside of hotels with their suitcases packed, grabbing taxis to get the heck out of there.

While we were having lunch, our waiter informed us that the governor had declared a mandatory evacuation for the whole area, starting Saturday.  Crap!

We all scrambled to get new flights out of Savannah, with varying success.  (My husband couldn’t get through to the ticket counter, so we ended up just buying new tickets.  Luckily, the airline refunded those later.)  One couple managed to get flights out of Savannah, but everyone else had to drive to Atlanta (4 hours away when there isn’t evacuation traffic) before we flew home.  (And then, on Saturday the couple flying out of Savannah ended up having to drive to Atlanta, too, because the Savannah Airport closed!)

It was crazy, driving down the highway in bumper-to-bumper traffic with cars filled with families and pets.  We tried a couple times to stop for breakfast, but every time we did, the lines were insanely long, so we grabbed bad gas station coffee and made do.

After a stupidly long wait at the airport (I think we were there about 6 hours early, since we had to leave Tybee early to beat the 8 AM evacuation order), we flew back home.  (Our bags didn’t make our flight, so we had to go back to the Seattle airport on Saturday to pick them up, but we were just happy to be home.)

It was a surreal ending to a nice beach vacation.  I’ve never been a part of an evacuation like that.  The weirdest part was that the weather on Tybee kept getting nicer and nicer as the warnings became more and more dire, so it really felt like everyone was worrying more than they needed to.  Of course, I suppose the Georgia officials know more about hurricanes than I do.

I’m glad everyone in my group made it out unscathed, and except for being a little bummed out about losing the last few days of vacation, we’re totally fine.  I can’t help worry about all the nice people we met, and all the locals living and working on the island, and wonder what they’re doing during the storm.  I hope they make it through all right. (I’m writing this on Sunday, so Irma hasn’t made it that far yet,  and maybe she won’t- the current predictions have moved her path a little further inland from where we were staying, so maybe they’ll be OK. I guess we’ll have to see.)

If you want to help with what will surely be a tough recovery, think about donating to the Red Cross, or a local food bank in the affected area.