Category Archives: On My Needles

Procrastinknitting

I know, I know. I’m so close to finishing the wedding blanket, but man, I really want to make something fun, quick and simple. And after talking about knitting little stuffies for my kids, well, I suppose this was inevitable.

I’ve bit the bullet and decided to make them the Butterfly & Cocoon sets for Christmas this year! I went back and forth, but decided the cuteness factor outweighed the “these are going to be annoying to have to keep putting back together” factor. And, heck, worst case scenario, maybe the cocoons just get “lost”, and the kids just have cute li’l butterflies to play with.

And I gotta say, they are so fun to make! It’s shocking how quick they work up (though that might just be in comparison to the gigantic blanket I’ve been working on). I made this body in essentially one evening. I’m even using up stash yarn and stuffing left over from a project from years ago.

Now, I’m looking ahead, and the wings/antennae look like they might be a bit fiddly, but so far, so good!

What’s the most fun knit you’ve done recently?

Long enough?

I’m officially at the “Are we there yet” phase of this ding dang blanket. I’ve made it this far, but is it far enough?

And while every big project has this moment (at least for me), this blanket is giving me extra trouble deciding when enough is enough.

There’s a “ribbed” quality to this pattern that I underestimated when I was swatching, and I’m having trouble figuring out what it’ll look like blocked. For example, when I just lay the blanket flat, it looks long and narrow:

Surely, it’s ready to bind off, right? The goal is a square-ish blanket, maybe slightly longer than it’s wide, but I certainly don’t want a long, skinny blanket.

But then, a moments later with a little futzing, and suddenly my long, skinny blanket is short and chubby and could definitely use a couple more skeins.

I think with blocking it’ll end up even wider, which means I should do more knitting. (Which is not the conclusion I was hoping for.) But then, on the other hand, after it’s been used for a while, will it just relax back into its long, skinny shape?

I’ve got 2 and a half more skeins. I’ll probably do at least one more full skein (plus whatever I need to do to get to a stopping point). Then, I’ll have a debate with myself about stopping. And then convince myself that I need to keep going. And then I’ll keep knitting until I’ve accidentally run out of yarn, at which point I’ll have to debate about ripping back or ordering another skein to finish the project. What? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

What would you do? Call it, or keep going?

Invisible Progress

I’m still chugging along on my wedding blanket (I’m only 5 months behind schedule now!) and it’s going well. I still love the pattern and the color and the yarn that I picked. In fact, I’m enjoying it so much that I’m thinking about getting some more of the same yarn and making myself an oversized, cabled, lacy sweater. But that’s another post.

I’m actually making so much progress that I’ve burned through two or three skeins since last week! In any other project, I’d say I was cruising. Two skeins is more than enough for an adult sleeve, a whole scarf, a couple beanies, or even an entire sweater for a toddler. Unfortunately, I’m currently in the “Black Hole” portion of my blanket. Which means, no matter how much I work on it, and no matter how much yarn I pour into it, it looks essentially the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. It just is feeling a little like treading water at the moment. But maybe that’s good- it’s giving me lots of time to daydream about my next project.

How do you get through the mid-project doldrums?

Back on the horse

I pulled my wedding blanket out of storage the other day, and have started working on it again. It’s great! I still love it. The pattern’s just tricky enough that it’s interesting, but simple enough that I have it memorized (or maybe I’ve just worked it a million times, so it’s just gotten stuck in my brain). I love the gray-brown of the natural wool, and I love that it’s gotten to the keeps-me-warm-while-I-knit size. It’s all just lovely (and massive! Each repeat is about 4″ across).

Only one thing about it is wrong. The timing. Here’s the timeline for this project:

May: I bought the yarn.

June: I made the swatch and started knitting.

Early July: My friend had her wedding.

Late July: I stopped knitting the blanket because it was too hot, and it was late anyway, and I kind of just forgot about it, if I’m being honest.

October: I started knitting again.

Which means, if I were to finish this blanket today, I’d only be 4 months late. Unfortunately, I’m only about halfway done. So, it seems very unlikely that I’ll finish today.

Maybe it’ll be done by Christmas? Maybe it’ll be done by their first anniversary.

What’s the latest you’ve delivered on a knitted gift?

Double Double

They’re done! They’re done! And just in time for the baby to turn 6 months! (It might not be a very punctual “Congratulations on having a baby” present, but oh well. New sweaters are better in October than April, anyway, right?)

That duplicate stitch nearly did me in. It was such slow going. Every night I sat down to work on it I’d think “This’ll be the night I finish these ding dang sweaters,” and I’d end up only finishing one half of one letter.

But, finally, after much whining and several bad movies, I managed to finish! A little blocking later and, tada! Matching sweaters for Luna and Albus! (Or maybe Lupin and Aberforth? Or Lord Voldemort and Aragog?)

I’m so pleased with how they turned out. The duplicate stitch (while a slog), ended up looking just lovely. I love how it blends into the knitting, and how much the blocking made everything so nice and even (I swear blocking is some kind of magic).

Now that I’ve got these guys done (which took surprisingly longer than I had intended), I guess it’s time to get back to the wedding blanket that was “due” last June… Oops!

Have you finished any big projects lately?

Double Trouble

I have realized two things.

  1. These sweaters are going to be SO. GOOD.
  2. Embroidery is VERY. VERY. SLOW.

Let me walk you through my process.

First, I used safety pins to mark off roughly where I wanted the letters to go.

Then I counted out my stitches and rows, made myself some graph paper and sketched out my letters. I made my own graph paper because I am both too lazy (I didn’t want to go down to the basement to grab my pre-printed graph paper) and not lazy enough (it probably took 15 minutes to draw out these graphs). I wouldn’t recommend it.

Then I grabbed my leftover yarn and a needle and got to work duplicating my stitches.

And I gotta say… this is slow going. When I say it might take me longer to embroider the letters on these sweaters than it took to actually knit them up, I might not be joking. I don’t know if it’s a me thing or if I’m doing something weird or what, but oofa doofa. It doesn’t help that I’m doing the fronts and backs of both sweaters (since Flax is a reversible sweater, I figured I’d make the decoration reversible, too).

It’s going to look so cute once I’m done, though!

Have you ever done duplicate stitch to finish a project? Did it take you an aeon, too? Or is it just me?

And on to the next one!

I “finished” my big-brother sweater last week, and I’m on to the little brother.

I did the first in the 4-6 year size, and this one in the 6-12 month size, and the difference is wild.

Like, I know that obviously the big one will take longer, but when compared to the big sweater this one is just FLYING off my needles.

I’ve been working on it for essentially one day, and I’ve made it almost to the armpit split. And I don’t have a ton of knitting time these days (obviously).

I just love this caramel-golden-yellow color, too. It’s so warm and cozy, and puts me in mind of something delicious and full of toffee.

Speaking of toffee, there’s really something just so tempting about knitting for babies. Even with the same pattern, a sweater for a grownup might be a whole meal, but a baby sweater is dessert. Or coffee and a slice of cake. Or a caramel apple from the state fair.

Or maybe I’m just hungry.

Have you ever knit the same pattern in different sizes? What’s your favorite size of sweater to make?

Finished (with the first bit)

I DID IT! I finished a sweater! It’s the first sweater I’ve finished in… a while.

Yes, it’s a kid’s sweater, but still. It’s so cute and so soft and it’s going to be so appreciated by the recipient (or at least I’ll pretend it will be… the recipient is 3, and probably couldn’t care less about clothes, but still.)

I’ve roped our sleepy dog Ollie into modeling for me:

He’s a good sport.

I haven’t blocked it yet, and I’m going to wait until the little brother sweater is done, too, before adding the duplicate-stitch letters on the front and back. (They’re going to be a set of matching Weasley-inspired sweaters, so cute!)

Now that I’m in a good mood, and on a roll (and, shockingly, both kids are asleep at the same time), I’m going to go wind up the yarn for the baby version and get knitting! I’m so excited!

What’s the last sweater you’ve knit?

Nearly There!

I’ve somehow made it out of the black hole/vortex of doom that was keeping me from finishing the body of my sweater. It’s plenty long enough (and will probably end up being way too long once it’s blocked), and I’ve even cruised my way through the first sleeve. It’s looking great!

(I marked a couple stitches at the bottom to help center the duplicate stitch I’m planning on adding after it’s done… that’s why there’s a couple little markers down by the waist.)

But speaking of being cursed, I can’t get a decent picture of this sweater to save my life. It’s so cute, but it’s proving impossible to get a picture of the whole sweater, in focus, and with an accurate color. The above picture shows my progress pretty well, but the colors are all washed out and beige-y.

This picture is closer to the real color. It’s a lovely, warm two-toned moss-green with little tweedy bits in goldenrod and violet. Frankly, It’s colors I wouldn’t have put together, but it makes for a lovely little sweater, perfect for tromping around in the woods.

(And, yes, I know I could take a photography class or learn photoshop… but what’s the fun in that?)

What have you been working on recently?

Black Magic

I swear my knitting’s been cursed or something.

(Or, maybe I’m just bad at measuring. But that couldn’t possibly be it.)

I’ve been cruising through my latest Flax Light. I used up one skein and added in another. This is my usual go-to baby sweater, but this one is for an older kid, so admittedly this one is taking longer than usual. But still, I was making plenty of headway.

So much so, that last night I pulled out the tape measure to check my progress.

The body should be 9″. I could have sworn that when I sat down to start knitting, it was at 8.5″.

After a couple episodes of Treehouse Masters (which is a delightful show, if you ever need something fun and silly to watch), I’d worked probably a half dozen rows. I measured again, sure that I’d be switching to my smaller needles for the next row.

8. Inches. Eight.

WHAT? How is that even possible? I had added rows. How could it be shorter?!

I angrily worked a few more rows and called it a night.

I pulled it out this morning to take pictures and write this post and, well. You can see for yourself:

What black magic is this? Who has hexed my sweater? Will it ever grow any longer, or has it been cursed to always be just a little too short?

(Or will I get frustrated, knit a bunch of rows tonight, then go and measure it again, and it will be 3″ too long? That’s also a possibility.)