Category Archives: About the Blog

My Favorite Distraction

Please indulge me for a minute while I get sappy.

It’s my prerogative, after all, to get sappy when my BABY TURNS ONE! This is ridiculous. He can’t be one!  I still only half-believe that I have a baby at all.

It seems like yesterday he was just a tiny little nugget, wearing his tiny Captain Picard sweater.  But he grew (and is still growing) so fast, he barely fit into it a month after he was born. (Pro Tip: never actually make the “newborn” size for babies.  They fit for about fifteen minutes.)IMG_20180423_163616976He put up with my ridiculous knitwear designs and questionable color choices.  (Although, to be fair, I put this sweater on him the other day, and while it’s still not the best sweater I’ve ever made, it’s much less ridiculous now that it kind of fits.)IMG_20181106_164347481He posed for Christmas pictures with my Arne and Carlos Christmas balls (which he was a big fan of).  And look at that poofy hair!  I miss that hair.  It’s gotten too long to stand up on its own now.IMG_20181128_084112346He got over his dislike of hats (most of the time).  He’ll even happily wear his hat if it means going out to our favorite diner for pancakes.IMG_20181209_090601434_HDRHe wore the heck out of this adorable little fair isle sweater while he learned to crawl.  It’s a little small on him now- it’s hard getting it over his GIGANTIC HEAD, but it fits well enough once it’s on, so I only break it out when we’re both in the mood for a wrestling match.IMG_20181210_161920040And now he’s ready to go on adventures!  (Ollie is less than enthused about adventures.  He’d rather be comfy at home .)IMG_20190226_112451188It’s been a crazy year of knitting (and not knitting).  The boy is definitely cutting into my knitting-and-blogging time, but I don’t mind (most of the time).  I can’t believe we’re already a year in!  It seems like just yesterday I was wrestling him into his first sweater.

(Thanks for bearing with me.  And, don’t worry, I’ll be back to my regularly-scheduled knitting programming next week!)

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!

Permission

It’s Christmas Eve.  You should be listening to carols, nibbling on cookies and generally relaxing while soaking in the Christmas-y vibes.  But, if you’re like most knitters (me included- I decided a couple days ago that I had plenty of time to knit just one present, because I’m a little bit of an idiot), you’re probably stressing yourself out, trying to power through that last few inches of scarf or finish up the ribbing on that sweater.

I’m here to give you permission to stop.

You’re allowed to put your knitting down if it’s stressing you out.  You’re allowed to help your grandma make cookies or drink a cup of mulled wine with your uncle.  You can go play bingo with your nieces and nephews or make a snowman with your siblings.

Don’t hole yourself up, hiding as you finish your last few gifts.  Your family will understand if they don’t get a totally finished gift on Christmas morning. (There’s no shame in wrapping a half-finished project, still on the needles.)

And if they give you trouble, just hand them this permission slip from the big man himself.  It’ll totally get you out of any trouble you might find yourself in.Permission slip

Print yourself off a Permission Slip, and go find yourself a plate of cookies and a glass of eggnog.  Relax, and have yourself a Merry Christmas (or just a really nice Tuesday, if you’re not a Christmas person).

FO

So, have you been up to anything exciting lately?  Cool!

Oh, me?  Not that much.

Just hanging out with this dude.Everybody!  Say hi to my son!  He’s pretty much the best.He’s a huge, healthy, and hungry baby boy, born on April 14th.  He was just over 9 pounds at birth, and surprisingly tall and skinny- over 20″ (he takes after his dad’s family in his body type, but his face looks just like the babies in my family).  He’s a big fan of staying up all night, drinking lots of milk, and riding in the baby carrier when his dad and I go for walks.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be a big fan of hats and is currently too small for the sweaters I’ve made for him, so his appreciation of knitwear is a bit limited so far.  Though, he does like his garter stitch blanket, especially on car rides.I’ve still got a bunch of posts in the chamber, ready to go.  So, you’ll still be hearing from me “from the past” for the next couple months, but I wanted to stop in and give you an update while I recuperate and the boy learns that nighttime is for sleeping.

Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll manage to find some time to get a little knitting done, too.  Who knows- miracles can happen!

See you soon!

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?