Category Archives: On My Needles

ProcrastiKNITion

OK,  I’m “supposed to” be working on my Provincial Tweed sweater.  Or at least “supposed to” be coming up with a plan for that sweater.

Instead, my mind is a blank, and all I want to do is use up more of my sock yarn.  I want to follow a pattern (no math for me today, thank you very much).  And I want to do something quick, easy and familiar.

Well.  I guess there’s just one thing for it.

I’ve gotta break out my Elisabeth Zimmermann and make another Baby Surprise Jacket.I love this pattern.  It’s super simple, with almost zero finishing (unless you put in a bunch of stripes, which I plan on doing… oops).  It’s absolutely ingenious, to the point where I have no idea how EZ figured out how to design and write the dang thing in the first place.  It’s a great way to use up whatever bits and bobs of leftover yarn and salvaged buttons you have laying around.  And, the pattern’s style is absolutely charming.

It’s not a standardized, modern pattern, that’s for sure.  The copy that I use is a reproduced version of the original by-mail newsletter from 1968.  It’s been written on a typewriter, and amended with little drawings, diagrams and notes from Ms. Zimmermann herself.  She has includes little chivvying remarks and jokes in with her pattern instructions, and lets her personality shine through the text of her pattern.  I feel like we would have gotten along swimmingly.Anyway, all that’s to say that I’m making a Baby Surprise Jacket for the little one, using all the leftover bits of blue and gray yarn I have left in my stash after finishing off his baby blanket.  I’m really excited!

Do you have a favorite pattern you go back to time and again when you’re waiting for inspiration to strike?

Putting On My Thinking Cap

It’s been nice to be finished with my Papaya Sweater.  But it was on my needles for so long that I kind of got used to having it as my easy go-to when I had a few minutes of knitting time.  It was something that I always knew I could pick up and get to work on without thinking about what I had to do next.

Now that it’s done, I’ve actually got to put a little thought into what I’m going to do next.

I’ve already decided that I want to use the Provincial Tweed yarn that I got from Knit Picks.  It’s a beautiful colorway, it’s super soft, and I have enough for a whole sweater, so how could I say no?

I spent yesterday morning winding up all the skeins, and now I have a very satisfying bowl of yarn cakes, ready for action!And then, I spent the afternoon working up a nice-sized swatch on US8s.And, I gotta say… I was not expecting this yarn to make such lovely, silky fabric.

I’m not complaining, but I was really surprised how this yarn knit up.  I was expecting something with a little more texture, a little more stitch definition, but that doesn’t seem to be what this yarn wants to do.It’s possible that if I go down a needle size (or two or three), this yarn might get a little more backbone, but I don’t know if I want to futz with that.  It might be better to just go with the flow (or rather, go with the nice flow-y fabric that I’ve already got).

I had been planning on making some sort of  cabled pullover, something like this one (except maybe a little less fancy).  But, I don’t think that’s going to work with the texture of the Provincial Tweed yarn.Instead, I’m now thinking I might need to make something a little looser and drapier.  (And something that possibly looks a lot more like my Papaya Sweater than I had originally intended for this yarn.)  I might try a cardigan like this, or design something myself.I’ve got to put my thinking cap on for a bit and see if I can’t figure out what I should do.  (Or, in true Allison fashion, I could leave the yarn to percolate in my studio for the next six months or so before I ever actually knit anything with it.)

What would you do in this situation?

FINISHED!!!!

I did it!  I kind of didn’t think I ever would, but I’ve proved myself wrong!

I finished the Papaya Sweater!  It only took me six and a half months, but I did it!

Now, before I show you the “finished” pictures, I want to show you this:This is literally all the yarn that was leftover from the original 11 skeins.  I managed to call it perfectly.  I finished binding off, and had about 4 feet of yarn left (plus little bits and bobs from the other parts of the sweater), so I didn’t even have to really play yarn chicken.  So satisfying!

Anyway, you want to see the finished sweater!

It turned out really great!  It’s blocked up nice and drapey and comfy.  The sleeves are the perfect length, and the fabric is a nice medium-thickness, not so thin that it will have trouble keeping me warm, and not so thick that I’ll start sweating the moment I put it on. It’s going to be a perfect transitional piece, which is exactly what you want for Seattle.  Not too warm and not too cold.

(FYI, I’m writing this from the past, so I’m super duper pregnant in these pictures… hopefully as you are reading his, I will be less pregnant.  Fingers crossed!)

Anyway, here she is in all her papaya-y glory:I even love the big plain back- it ended up being a really flattering length on me (not that I really planned it that way- I just stopped knitting when I was about to run out of yarn).  It’s not fancy, but I can see myself wearing it for a really long time.I like that it’s open, without any fastenings, but I could totally see fancying it up with a shawl pin, or maybe adding a button or something, if I decide I need to be able to close it up.Whoo!  It feels great to be done with such a big project!

But, now, I guess I have to figure out what to do next.

Have you finished anything lately?

She Could Go All The Waaaaaay!

It’s happening, guys!  I think it’s really happening!

I think I might be able to finish my Papaya Sweater!

It’s got sleeves now!Sure, they’re not the slim, fitted sleeves that I had originally envisioned, but that’s OK.  Frankly, there’s no way at this point that I’m going to go back and rip out all that work.  There are worse things than a sweater having slightly oversized sleeves.  And, if I’m being honest, they’re not really “oversized” they’re just not closely fitted.  They’re definitely one of those “mistakes” that only the knitter herself will notice.  (And now, you’ll notice too, since I told you about them.  Oops.)I’ve even got the body to about 13 inches long!  That’s about waist-length on me, so I know I’m getting close!  I’ve got two and a half balls of yarn left, and each ball of yarn adds 3-ish inches of sweater, so I should (assuming I did my estimating/math right) end up with a 20-inch-ish long body on this sweater, which sounds perfect and cozy!Now I just need to find a new TV show to binge-watch as I finish off this bad boy!

Have you made any headway on your big projects lately?

On My Sleeve

It’s happening!  I’m actually doing it!

The sun is shining a little bit brighter and the birds are singing a little bit louder!

It’s a new era!

The Papaya Sweater has half a sleeve!It’s so exciting to finally be making headway on this project- I’m actually starting to believe that I will finish it at some time in the next decade.

Unfortunately, the sleeve is a little less tapered than I initially envisioned/hoped for.  But, I can’t bring myself to rip out those precious inches of sleeve and re-knit them at a faster rate of decrease.  I’ll just let it go, and hope it’ll block out. After all, that kind of “mistake” is never something that other people notice, it’s something that only the knitter herself picks up on.

Are you making any headway on any of your projects?

Pips

Speaking of finishing off projects, I am really on a roll lately.

I’m still knitting on my Papaya sweater like a fiend, but I took a break yesterday to update the last little finishing touch on my Mini-Picard Sweater.

In case you forgot, I made a teeny little cardigan, inspired by my favorite Starfleet Captain, Jean-Luc Picard.  I broke out the red and black sock yarn and teensy little needles. I knit the whole thing up, blocked it and added buttons, and a row of little gold Captain’s pips on the collar.But the gold buttons I had bought were too big!  They looked awkward and funky.  They were only a quarter inch across, but they were too much for such a teeny sweater!So, I took another trip to JoAnn’s this weekend and picked up the teensiest gold buttons I could find.  And, voila! Perfection!Or at least close enough to perfect that I’m super happy with how they turned out!  Now my little sweater is fit for a tiny captain, and I couldn’t be more pleased!Have you ever made a small change that has completely changed your opinion of a finished object?

Call Me Ahab

I’ve been on a roll, trying to finish up all my UFOs before this baby shows up and takes up all my knitting time.  It’s felt really great- kind of freeing- to clear out my Ravelry WIP list (not to mention the shelves in my studio where I keep my WIPs-there’s so much more room in there!).

And, so, the time has come for me to really buckle down and get to work on the White Whale of my WIPs… The one that keeps getting away (or rather, the one that I keep intending to work on but then get bored with and do something else instead).

The infamous Papaya Sweater!I’ve been working on it all week, and I’ve managed to cruise through a skein and a half of stockinette for the body.  And, it’s looking surprisingly good!  I’ve got 10 inches of body so far, which feels like a great start.  I’m going to take a break from the body at the end of this skein, work up the arms, then use the rest of my yarn to see how long I can make the body.

I can’t say it’s terribly interesting knitting (it’s just miles of stockinette with a little bitty garter stitch border), but it’s simple and satisfying.  Plus, it’s kind of fun to see how big/long of a sweater it’s going to end up being.  I hope it gets massive!

Do you have any “White Whale” Projects in your stash?  What’s keeping you from finishing them up?

15th Street- Finished

I’m on a roll, you guys!  I’ve finished another project!  I don’t know the last time I finished so many projects in so little time.  It’s very satisfying.

My 15th Street Wrap is all wrapped up (if you’ll forgive the pun).It was a super satisfying knit, and the finished project is cozy, squishy and frankly, just kind of fun.  There’s something great about a simple project that ends up being so big and impressive.  Of course, it’s getting a little warm around here to be wearing big wool wraps, but I’m sure it’ll keep until next year.I mean, look at all that seed stitch!  You gotta love that!  (OK, maybe I didn’t love working up the seed stitch, and maybe it could do with a bit of a block, but still!)  There’s nothing cozier and more comfy than seed stitch, in my book.

Even Ollie wanted to get in on the photo shoot!  (I know he looks real grumpy in this picture, but I promise it’s just because he needs a haircut.  He’s a very happy dog with too much facial hair.)

Have you finished any projects lately?

Momentum!

Woo!  I’m feeling so good after finishing up all those projects for the Ravellenic games.  I think I might keep going!  (Plus, I don’t have any real plans for new projects, so I might as well keep finishing things off!)

Last October, I published a pattern, the 15th Street Wrap.  (It’s a free pattern, by the way!)It’s a cute (if I say so myself), oversized, cozy shawl/wrap, featuring major color-blocking and acres of seed stitch.  It’s a super simple pattern, but the finished product is very satisfying.

I started working on the pattern in May (according to my Ravelry page).  But, I got distracted halfway through, and never managed to finish my prototype!

I got through four and a half of the color-blocks, before losing steam.  And, since it was such a simple pattern, I didn’t feel the need to really finish up the prototype before I sent the manuscript to the test knitter.  Then, when she did such a good job on the sample, I really didn’t feel like I had any reason to keep knitting the shawl.

After all, I had other projects I could have been working on!

But now, buoyed by my Ravellenic Games success, I’m going to do it!  I swear!  I’m going to finish this shawl if it’s the last thing I do.  (Hopefully it won’t be the last thing I do- I’ve got lots of other projects I’d like to work on, too.)

Do you have any projects that have been hibernating a little longer than you’d really like to admit?

Sick Days and Sock Yarn

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a rough couple days at my house.  I’ve come down with the plague, or as my doctor put it “just” a cold.  I’ve been a coughing, sniffling mess.  My house feels full of Kleenex and I’ve been drinking water like it’s going out of style.  It’s the worst!

I haven’t had the brain power to do any planning on my Ravellenic Games knitting, so I guess we’ll all be surprised with what I decide to do, come Friday morning.

I haven’t been able to muster the energy (or the brain power) for doing anything more than simple knitting-and only knitting.  No purling, no shaping, no counting.  I don’t want to leave the house to get more yarn (because I don’t want to spread this plague to anyone else), so into the stash I went.  And lucky for me, I found a ton of single skeins, half-skeins, and tiny balls of sock yarn.  I have a vague memory of going crazy a couple years back and getting 20 or so skeins of Knit Picks Stroll during one of their sales.  I’ve been slowly working through it, but there’s still quite a bit leftover, and not really enough of any one color to make a full pair of socks.

So I said, “Hey, let’s make a blanket with this!  But a baby blanket, because I’m not insane enough to try knitting a great big blanket with sock yarn.  And I should hold the yarn double and knit it with big needles so that it’ll go fast.”

And, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I’ve cast on a bunch of stitches (I didn’t count, but it’s about a yard’s worth of stitches- I’m sick! Give me a break!) with some nice big US10s, and I’ve been knitting back and forth, watching crummy daytime TV for the last couple days.  And whenever I get bored of a color, or when a skein runs out, I switch that strand for a different color.  So far, I gotta say, I like how it looks!Plus, it’s crazy simple, and I’m cruising through really quickly.  It’s going to be a really nice, cozy blanket!

What do you like working on when you’re feeling under the weather?