Category Archives: On My Needles

It’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdone!

I’m so freaking stoked about this!  THE BLANKET IS DONE!!

This is fantastic for 3 reasons:

  1. I’m only about a month late!
  2. I’m DONE and get to start new projects!
  3. It turned out so good!

I mean, look at this bad boy:IMG_1902Glamour shot!IMG_1895I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.  It’s warm and squishy and the colors are freaking gorgeous (and really hard to capture.  The black has undertones of green and navy and ash gray, and the yellow is golden with touches of copper.  So gorgeous). IMG_1859It was actually a really simple pattern (which I have plans of writing up for y’all), just a lot of knitting.  I love that kind of pattern- simple enough for anyone to work up, but with a real impact when it’s done.  Honestly, the hardest part was finding a space big enough (and away from the baby and the dog) to block the dang thing!IMG_1890_adjusted

Phew! Now I think it’s time to make something little.

Off my needles

Woo!  I finished!

God, it feels good to finish a project.  It’s been a while.  I’ve been working on that dang wedding blanket for my (now married) brother for what feels like a decade, and before that, I was working on a sweater for my husband that I ended up setting aside because I am an insane person who decided that knitting a full-on men’s sweater on US3’s was a good idea.

So, it’s been a minute since I was able to weave in that last end, break out the blocking boards and say “I’m officially done!”

And I’m here to say, “I’m officially done!”  With this baby sweater.IMG_1840

I mean, look at this kid.  He’s looking dapper in his little tweed sweater that’s still a bit big for him, which is great- it should be just about perfect in the fall.  (Don’t mind the fat lip.  He’s trying really hard to learn how to walk, and had a little run-in with gravity the other day.  It looks worse than it is.)

I really enjoyed this pattern- Flax Light is real simple, and a nice quick project that used up a couple leftover skeins of Knit Picks Provinicial Tweed. (It’s marketed as a worsted, but knits up like a sport or a DK, so it was pretty perfect for this pattern.) I love that Tin Can Knits grades all their sweaters from baby to big adult, which means that I can make more Flaxes for the kiddo as he grows up. (And maybe matching ones for my husband and I?  Though, that might be a little much, even for me.)IMG_1823

One thing that was odd, though, was the lack of a front/back in this pattern.  No short rows at the back of the neck or stitches bound off at the front.   It’s the second time I knitted a sweater for the kid that didn’t have a specific front/back.  I wonder if it’s a baby-sweater thing, or something that I just haven’t run into until recently.

Have you finished anything lately?

Not So Magic

I’m cruising along with my little Flax Light.  (It’s a refreshing change from gigantic sweaters and blankets, but it’s a little sad that it’s so much bigger than the kiddo’s other sweaters… Slow down, little dude!)

I worked up the ribbed hem and bound off the body while watching last week’s episode of The Bachelorette.  (Not the show I’m proudest of, but you gotta have something silly to watch from time to time.)  The sweater is turning out so cute!  I love the little shoulders and the neat little hem.  And this color is going to be so flattering on the kid.IMG_1798I still had a half-hour left of my show, so I decided to grab some DPNs and get to work on the sleeves.  But horror of horrors, apparently I don’t have any US6 DPNs.  I’ve got 3 sets of 5’s, 2 sets of 7’s, and just about any other size I could want, but not a 6 in sight.  How does this happen?  I’ve been knitting for more than two thirds of my life. Why don’t I have any 6’s?

But, no fear, I can rally.  I’m a knitter and knitters are nothing if not resourceful.  I pulled out one of my long US6 circulars to start doing magic loop.  Sure, I wasn’t a fan of it years ago when I tried it last, but maybe I’ve matured as a knitter.  Maybe I’m open to other ways of knitting.  Maybe it’s after 9 and JoAnn’s is closed and I have no other choice.IMG_1808Well, I made it about a half an inch before giving up.  Good God, magic loop is annoying.  The more power to you, if that’s what works for you.  I’m glad there are different techniques for different people, but this one is definitely not for me.  I don’t know why, but there is something that just drives me up the wall about wrangling that big old cable, and futzing with moving my stitches back and forth.  Maybe there’s some “flow” thing that I’m just not getting, but at least for now, nope.  Magic loop is definitely not for me.

I guess I’m taking a trip to the craft store this afternoon.

Are there any techniques that you just can’t stand?  Have you ever tried something new  and “noped” right out of there?

Doing the Splits

It’s been nice, giving myself a break from all my “big” knitting.  I’ve given up on finishing my brother’s wedding blanket before his wedding next weekend (unless my kid suddenly decides he doesn’t need my attention, there’s no way I’m getting it done in the next 7 days), and I’m between work knitting assignments.

Which means I’ve been leisurely knitting away at my fun little Flax Light for the kiddo.

And I just passed my favorite part of a top-down sweater- the “split for sleeves” part.

It’s a simple little phrase, barely even a sentence, but it’s so fun.  (Especially when I’m just following a pattern and I don’t have to do any math!)  It’s that point where your project turns from a weird funnel-thing into an honest-to-goodness sweater.  It’s like magic.  (And it doesn’t hurt that suddenly you reduce your stitch count by a good third or more, which means the next section starts going really quickly.)

And I know it’s silly, but I love picking scrap yarn to hold my sleeve stitches.  I like a yarn that contrasts but still “goes.”  I kind of love this yellow scrap yarn with the red- the it really picks up the little yellow tweedy nupps from the red yarn.  It’s to the point where I’m half-considering adding a yellow stripe to this sweater, 90s-style.IMG_1793.JPG

What’s your favorite part of a sweater?  Casting on? Binding off? Sleeve island?

Short and Sweet

Over the years I’ve gone through phases- for a while I was a shawl knitter, then I was a sock knitter.  Now, I’m a sweater knitter.  Every once in a while I bang out a hat or a pair of mitts, but mostly, I knit sweaters.

Which is great! I’m always warm, my family is warm (sometimes too warm), and I have a big pile of hand-knit sweaters that I really love.  I’m a happy camper.

But the problem with being a sweater knitter is that everything I make takes forever.  (Especially when I’m knitting sweaters as my “fun” knitting to break up the monotony of blanket knitting.)  I’ve been feeling a little down about my knitting lately- less excited about the projects that are on my needles and more tempted to just scroll through Facebook on my phone in the evenings.  So, what’s a sweater knitter to do, when she wants a fun, quick, project that she can finish in a couple days?

A baby sweater, that’s what.  (OK, really, it’s a toddler sweater, but still.)

I had some Provincial Tweed in Candy Apple leftover from my Hurricane Ridge prototype.  It’s subtly shiny, has a deep, rich color, and is machine washable(!!!), so it’s perfect for a little sweater for my little guy.  I love him in red- it’s so flattering on him, with his bright blue eyes and pink cheeks.  Plus, I have 2 and a half skeins- just enough for a baby sweater!

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So, I dug around on Ravelry for about five minutes, until I saw a pattern that I’d been meaning to try for a while- Tin Can Knits’ Flax Light.  It’s so cute, and such a practical little sweater for a toddler (or anyone, really… I might end up making one for everyone in the family).  It’s a simple, top-down raglan with nice garter detailing up the sleeves.  Such a great everyday sweater!

SC-flaxlight-07aI’m not even bothering to make a swatch.  I figure I’ve picked a size that’s big enough that the kid will grow into it eventually, even if my gauge is way off.  Talk about low-stress knitting!

Well, I’m off to cast on, while I still have a few minutes before naptime is over.

What do you do for a “fun” project?

It just keeps going…

I’m eyebrow deep in my brother’s wedding blanket.  And it has been a journey.

I mean, not literally- it’s gotten really big, so it’s pretty stationary.  But, emotionally, it’s been a real journey.

(I’d love to share pictures with you, but since it’s a gift, you’ll have to make do with this totally-unrepresentative schematic of my progress. Don’t worry, Charlie, your wedding blanket is not a gigantic rainbow.)

Join me, if you will, on an epic journey through this gigantic project.

Blanket

Step 1 (red): Yay! This blanket is going to be great!  I love the color(s) I picked!  The yarn is so soft! The stitch pattern is so squishy!  I can’t wait to get going!

Step 2 (purple): Second guessing sets in.  Hm.  I don’t know about this pattern.  Is it too fiddly?  Too boring? Did I miscalculate the gauge?  Is it going to be too wide? Too narrow?  Do I even know how to knit?  Should I rip out the whole thing and try something else?

Step 3 (dark blue): Smooth sailing.  You know what? This blanket is great.  I really like how it’s turning out, it’s going well and coming together faster than I expected.  I’m already a few skeins in and it’s turning out great!

Step 4 (light blue): The Slog.  It looks good, but dang it’s boring. I don’t want to keep working on it, and you can’t make me.  One or two rows a day is plenty to get this thing done by June, right??

Step 5 (green): Second guessing part 2.  Ah crap.  This is why you follow a pattern- you don’t want to be halfway through a blanket before you realize that you’re about to run out of the special hand-dyed yarn that you picked for this blanket.  Gotta scramble to figure out a new plan.  (Preferably one that doesn’t involve ripping out a month’s worth of work.)

Step 6 (yellow): I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m so close I can taste it- if only I didn’t have to do dumb things like eat, sleep, or take care of a toddler, it’d be done already.  It’s going to be amazing when it’s finished!

Step 7 (orange): Isn’t it done yet?  If I keep measuring it, one of these days it’ll magically be long enough, right?  Gotta get it done! Push push push!

I’m currently here, grinding away slowly, but not making as much progress as I’d hoped (and pretty sure that I’m going to run out of yarn before I had intended to, but still pretty much in denial):Blanket2

Y’all, it’s going to be great, but the last couple weeks of knitting have been rough.  Just gotta push through, and then never make anything with more than a single skein of yarn again.

What do you do to get yourself through a slog-y project?

Gauge Gripes

Do you ever get halfway through a project and start questioning everything.  Why did I pick this yarn? Did I really need to make the extra-large version?  Why is there just so much stockinette stitch?  And was the pattern designer a little bit of a sadist?

I’m halfway through a pattern like this.  (OK, full confession, I’m barely a third of the way through, but I like to dream.)

It’s a top-down sweater knit on US3s with fingering-weight wool.  The shoulders were fun, with lots of color-work, but the rest of the sweater is acres of stockinette.  IMG_1311It’s going to be lovely when it’s done, but man, I gotta wonder about the sanity of the designer.  Who designs a men’s sweater on 3’s and 2’s? I’m currently working on the body, and each row has almost 300 sts.  It’s not even that big of a sweater.

Oh… wait… It’s my sweater.  I designed it…  whoops.

I just hope it turns out OK, because my fingers are going a little numb from all the thousands of tiny stitches.

(Keep your eye out for this pattern some time next fall.  In the meantime, I’ll be plodding away through this tiny tiny gauge, and dreaming of worsted weight yarn…)

When’s the last time you over-estimated your enthusiasm for a pattern?

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?

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.

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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.

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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!)

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

Have you finished up any fun, quick projects recently?