Category Archives: On My Needles

Yikes! Stripes!

Why I love making sweaters for my kid:

  1. They’re super cute.
  2. They go super fast (at least compared to a grown-up sweater).
  3. I usually have just enough yarn just hanging out in my stash to make something fun.
  4. The dang kid grows so fast, I don’t really have to worry about sizing (as long as I make the sweater big enough). He’ll grow into it in about fifteen minutes.
  5. Makes me feel like some sort of Type-A-Martha-Stewart-Ma-Ingles impressive mom who’s got it all squared away.

Why I don’t love making sweaters for my kid:

  1. The dang kid refuses to wear them.

I mean, he’ll wear them sometimes, if it’s cold enough. But currently, Seattle is not cold enough in his opinion. (He runs hot like his dad. I’ve been wearing sweaters since August.) Also, with being in quarantine for the last… several months, I’ve been a little lax about the whole “getting dressed in actual clothes” thing. Most days he spends in last night’s footie PJs, or just running around in a diaper. I can’t really blame him. I currently have my “Day PJs” and my “Night PJs,” so I’m not doing much better.

Anyway, all that is to say: I finished his Striped Pullover. It’s super cute. It’s gigantic. And he probably will refuse to wear it until mid-December. So, here’s a picture of it, nicely blocked and laying out on the floor. (Not pictured is my kid, just out of frame, spreading LEGOs all over the living room.)

I love how the stripes turned out, and how all the disparate colors ended up blending pretty seamlessly (though, part of that is the poor color balance on the photo. The green stripes are much more green and the red stripes are much more red in person.) And, as far as I can tell, it’s going to fit the kid. (I managed to get the collar over his head, just to check if my bind off was too tight for his giant noggin. It’s not.)

Though, compared to his current favorite outerwear, it’s massive. I’m just going to say it’s “oversized,” “cozy,” and “he’s going to grow into it”.

Maybe by the time he’s ready to wear real clothes again, he’ll fit into it properly.

Do you ever knit for kids?

Two by two, stripes of blue

I’m cruising through my kid’s Leftovers Sweater, and I gotta say, I love it!

It’s the perfect amount of mindless knitting- just switching between main and contrast colors every two rows, then breaking the contrast color after every fifth stripe. Couldn’t be simpler, or more striking. I think it might just be the perfect pattern for a little kid sweater!

And, I’m really digging the blue in-between each contrast stripe. I think it will make the whole color scheme more cohesive. (Which is a feat, when pulling together 6 (I think) random colors leftover from several years’ worth of projects.)

Plus, my favorite thing about 2×2 stripes in the round- it looks like you’re going to have a million and a half ends to weave in, but you don’t! I just carry the unused yarn up the inside of the sweater, and you only have to weave in ends when you break to change color. Easy! (I’d probably use this trick to carry over 3 or 4 rows, but maybe not more than that- the floats start to get a little long and start pulling funny if you do wider stripes.)

Now, am I still going to complain about having to weave in the (few) ends left when I’m done? Of course. I’m still me. But for now, I’m going to pat myself on the back and tell myself that I’m doing a great job.

Are there any little details on your knitting that have really been pleasing you lately?

Yet Another

It’s the beginning of the school year again (sort of), so that must mean that it’s time for me to make my kid another sweater. (Although, when is it not time to make him another sweater?) So far, every fall I’ve dipped into my stash and made him a sweater. And, they’ve all been from the same leftover yarn.

Honestly, at this point, I don’t even remember what the yarn is leftover from.

But, I do know it’s Knit Picks Hawthorne in a whole bunch of colors (mostly light blue, which thankfully looks really good on my kid, in my totally unbiased opinion). It’s a fingering-weight superwash wool that’s right in that sweet spot of soft and strong that makes it perfect for kid’s clothes. Plus, it’s Knit Picks, so it’s fairly cheap.

When he was a baby baby, I made him a “Christmas in July” Sweater. It might be my favorite sweater I’ve made for him (or in general, really). It’s super cute, I love the colors, and it was a super fun, quick knit (maybe because of the size). Unfortunately, because he was a big baby with a gigantic head, he grew out of it in about fifteen minutes.

Last year, when he was 1 and a half, I designed a sweater for him, based on the book Sheep in a Jeep (his hands-down favorite at the time, and still a winner, if I’m being honest). I loved the little radish design. (Also! Look at all that hair! So cute!)

And this year, I’ve broken out my stash of Hawthorne again, but this time, I’m keeping it simple. No color-work, just stripes. My current plan is to do a bottom-up raglan V-neck (just like the Sheep in a Jeep design, and perfect for active little kids with big noggins), with blue cuffs, collar and hem. But, I’ll be covering the whole body and arms with 2-row stripes, alternating between blue and the other colors I have in my stash. They’re kind of a disparate lot of colors- not necessarily something I’d put together normally, but I think using all the colors and alternating them with the light blue will make them come together.

And, heck, if it doesn’t, who cares?! He’ll be cozy either way.

Do you have a seemingly unending stash of a favorite yarn? What’s your favorite thing to do with it?

Well, at least it’s done.

OK. So, I finished my “

OK. So, I finally finished my “Quarantine Sweater,” and the best thing I can say about it is that… it’s done.

It might be the least-flattering sweater I’ve ever made. I might even go as far as to say it’s ugly.

I mean, the shape ended up super weird (it’s way too wide, the sleeves are droopy, and the armpits start around my belly button). It’s not even worth taking a flattering picture of myself wearing it… sorry…

The colors are… fine, but I really dislike how some of the sections ended up super-marled (but I suppose that’s what happens when you knit exclusively to use up the random half-skeins of yarn in your stash without a lot of planning), and why did I include that puke-yellow color?

And the fabric itself is… odd (it’s nice and soft and warm, but also the stitches are very open and loose. I much prefer a wooly, structured sweater; this one is altogether too drapey and shapeless).

But, it’s done, so there’s that. Maybe I’ll grow to love it? Or maybe I’ll find a very wide, short friend with very long arms that grow out of their rib cage I can give it to? Or, I wonder what would happen if I tried to felt it? Does alpaca even felt?

Oh well. At least it used up a bunch of yarn.

Have you ever finished a big project, only to hear a great big sad trombone?

,” and the best thing I can say about it is that… it’s finished.

It might be the least-flattering sweater I’ve ever made. I might even go as far as to say it’s ugly.

I mean, the shape ended up weird (it’s way too wide, the sleeves are droopy, and the armpits start around my belly button). It’s not even worth taking a flattering picture of myself wearing it… sorry…

The colors are… fine, but I really dislike how some of the sections ended up super-marled (but I suppose that’s what happens when you knit exclusively to use up the random half-skeins of yarn in your stash without a lot of planning), and why did I include that puke-yellow color?

And the fabric itself is… odd (it’s nice and soft and warm, but also the stitches are very open and loose. I much prefer a wooly, structured sweater; this one is altogether too drapey and shapeless).

But, it’s done, so there’s that. Maybe I’ll grow to love it? Or maybe I’ll find a very wide, short friend with very long arms that grow out of their rib cage I can give it to? Or, I wonder what would happen if I tried to felt it? Does alpaca even felt?

Oh well. At least it used up a bunch of yarn.

Have you ever finished a big project, only to hear a great big sad trombone?

Teeny Tiny Pants!

I finished my tiny Felici pants, and they’re just about the cutest things ever.

They’re super small- each leg is probably about 3/4 the diameter of a standard adult sock, and the way I got the stripes to match up is just *muah* perfect! Even pre-blocked, I kind of love them. (I’ll probably block them up when it’s time for them to meet their new owner, but I’m just not feeling it right now.)

It’s funny, though how on the “butt” part of the pants, the stripes are so much skinnier. Which makes sense, because of math (he butt is about twice as wide as a single leg, so of course the stripes there are half the width), but for some reason it didn’t occur to me until I was halfway up the front. I considered ripping back and fussing with two balls of yarn or grafting in chunks of different skeins to keep the stripes even, but 1. That’s a lot more work than I wanted to commit to, and 2. I think it’s pretty cute as is.

The only problem now is that my 2-year-old wants a pair, too. And a pair of toddler-sized pants is going to take a lot more work (and yarn) than a pair of newborn ones. Oh well- that’s just how it goes, I suppose!

Well, That Just Flew By

Both this knit and the show I was using to knit it up.

That’s right, my Dark knitting is finished, and I love it. (I also love the show, which was amazing. At least Season 1, which is as far as this shawl got me. I’ll have to come up with something new to knit for Season 2).

This shawl was more-or-less the Deep Winter Shawl from Lisa Metzgar (I modified it slightly on accident because I wasn’t paying attention, and didn’t feel like going back and fixing the bits that were wonky). It was a super simple project, a fairly straightforward garter-stitch triangle with big bands of openwork every few inches. It was a pattern easily-memorized with just enough challenge to make it interesting without requiring me to look away from the closed-captions.

I love the finished shape: it’s a slightly-skewed triangle that is really cute and flattering draped around the shoulders, and you know I love me some garter stitch. I even like the dull gray-brown of some stash yarn I was using up. It’s incredibly neutral-y, which means I could see it going with just about any color coat, but there’s enough warmth in the color’s undertones that it looks nice and flattering. (Also: Look at all that hair! My quarantine hair is getting crazy!)

In summary:

Dark is a dang good show.

The Deep Winter Shawl is a dang good shawl.

And I might knit up a second one for Season 2.

Have you got any TV knitting going at the moment?

Itty Bitty, Teeny Weenie, Multi-Colored, Striped Pantinis

I got my yarn last week! And by “my yarn” I mean my yarn! My colorways of Felici from Knit Picks (Dragonboat and Fiesta)! And they’re so cute! I’m so pleased with how they turned out. (Fair warning- my pictures do not do the yarn justice. Some day I will learn how to take a photo with color that’s true to real life. Today is not that day.)

I was particularly excited about the Fiesta colorway- It’s way more “It’s the 80’s, so let’s wear our geometric design windbreakers to the mall and show off our ponytails” than I had intended, but in a really good way. I just had to start knitting something with it.

Anyway, I threw aside all the projects I’ve been working on/I’m supposed to be working on and had to cast on something with my new yarn as soon as possible.

It’s self-striping sock yarn, so of course I started a pair of socks.

Ha!

You don’t know me at all.

No! I started making a pair of baby pants! Because why? Because the world needs a pair of 80’s-tastic striped baby pants!

I’m kind of winging the pattern (which will definitely not backfire on me) based on a pair of my kid’s pants, so we’ll see how they turn out. But, they look so cute so far! (Speaking of the kid, he saw me starting one of the cuffs and said “A tiny sweater!” He’s learning so fast.) It was a pain getting the leg stripes to match up, but not too bad. It’ll be worth the futzing when they’re done.

And, don’t worry- I’ve got enough yarn to make myself a pair of socks, too.

Are you getting any Felici? What’s your favorite pattern for self-striping yarn?

Caption Knitting

I’ve been cruising through my quilt (or as much as you can cruise through a quilt… it’s such. so. going), but I’ve hit a bump in the road. And it’s not the bump that I expected.

The bump is that we’ve started watching Dark on Netflix. We’re only a couple episodes in, but I’m hooked. (I know, it’s a show from 3 years ago, so it’s not like I’m on the cutting edge or anything.) But it’s a very well-made show; beautiful, well-acted and really compelling. I’m a sucker for a unique sci-fi show, especially a time-travel story.

But here’s the thing. It’s in German.

I took German in high school, and still remember enough to ask for directions or order dinner, given enough time and a German-English dictionary, but watching (and understanding) a TV show? That’s beyond me.

Which means we have to bust out the closed captions. And that means my eyes have to be glued to the TV. And that means, no quilting for me.

So, I’ve started a new project, just for working on while watching Dark.

It’s a super simple shawl, featuring lots of garter stitch and a really simple repeating pattern for shaping. I’ve based it more or less on the Deep Winter Shawl by Lisa Metzgar. I started by actually following the pattern, but somehow got lost (I blame the closed captions), so I just kinda kept going.

I’m really enjoying my new show, and my new knitting. It’s coming along pretty well, and I think it’s going to be a nice little shawl/scarf when it’s done. Just interesting enough to be fun, but simple enough that it won’t interrupt my TV show (much).

Do you have a dedicated TV project?

And now, socks!

I’m continuing on my streak of “Finishing off projects that should have been done weeks ago if I’d only not been a doofus” with my newest pair of socks.

If you’ll remember, I had some special yarn from a trip to Austin. It’s a lovely gray-blue handpaint, super soft and cozy that I was really excited to knit with. So excited that I decided to knit up a whole improvised cable sock without doing a swatch.

And, exactly what you’d expect to happen happened.

The sock was tiny and depressing, too small for me to even consider wearing. I thought about making a second one to match and finding someone with smaller feet to wear them, but, well, I wanted to wear them.

So, after a few weeks in time out, I ripped out the tiny sock, lightly blocked the yarn to make it lose its kink, and went back to my original plan- Monkey Socks. I’ve made this pattern a bunch of times before, and I don’t know why I decided against it this time. It’s simple, effective, and super cute. Plus, they fit me!

I’m really happy with how they turned out. I did my favorite reinforced heel and made them a little longer than suggested, but they’re perfect for me.

However, I had a bear of a time taking a flattering picture of them, so you’ll have to trust me when I say they look great!

Do you have a favorite go-to pattern that’s always turns out the way you want?

Treasure

Something wild happened the other day.

I’ve been cleaning out my studio (because what else are we supposed to do while still on lockdown?), and I’ve been discovering a bunch of half-finished projects.  I found part of an afghan from 2013 (according to Ravelry), and two quilts in various stages of completion (one’s easily a decade old.  I think I started it when I first moved to Seattle…).

And, I found a baby sweater!  It was 99% finished.  The ends were even woven in.  It was so cute and tiny, and just was missing a few buttons and a block.

And I have ZERO memory of making it. I don’t know the yarn or the pattern, or when I made it or why. All I know is that it must have been made way before I had my kid, because it’s white.  And who in their right mind would make a white baby sweater?  Me, apparently.

But it’s so cute!

It’s got kind of a “1950s Letterman’s sweater” vibe and just needed buttons.  I went digging through my button jar, and found 4 different sets, two sizes of white buttons, and two sets of gold ones (eagles and lions).

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After a little debate between me and myself, I decided the lions were too perfect not to use.  They’re a slightly warmer color than the eagles, and just so ridiculous. (Unfortunately, they’re completely impossible to photograph.  You’ll just have to trust that they’re lions.)

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And so, with about 15 minutes’ work (plus blocking time, I’ve got an instant preppy baby sweater!

Now just to wait for someone to have a baby (who doesn’t mind doing laundry).

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Have you ever left a project unfinished for so long that you forgot all about it?