Category Archives: On My Needles

Tip-toe

I’ve made it to the toe!  My socks are almost finished!  Woo!  There’s something just so satisfying about finishing a pair of socks (or any knitting, I suppose).

This morning, after dropping off my husband at his bus stop, I sat down to do knit a couple rows before grabbing breakfast.

And, well, I got a little distracted.  Let’s just say I got my breakfast a couple hours later than I had planned (which is saying something. I love breakfast).

I’m so happy with how the socks turned out, but I think my favorite part of making socks (and the reason I love making top down socks in particular) is sewing up the tip of the toe with the Kitchener stitch.  It’s one of those perfect knitting tricks that just makes me endlessly happy.  I know that a lot of people have trouble with the Kitchener stitch, and it took me a long time to figure out how to do it.  But, man, I love it now.

It’s like magic!

You start with a big ugly hole in the end of your nice sock.  Then with a few careful stitches,Then a little careful pulling,  (I know you’re supposed to keep your stitches tight when you do the Kitchener stitch, but for whatever reason, leaving them loose, then tightening them up afterward makes more sense to me.)And, voila!  A perfect, lovely toe!  I just love how the stitches disappear, looking just like your knitting.  Whoever figured out how to do the Kitchener stitch (presumably, Ms. Kitchener) is a freaking genius! Now I have to go weave in all my ends (my least favorite part of making socks).

Do you have a favorite technique?  Something that makes you happy whenever you have to do it?

On the Road Again

We just got back from another road trip! This time, to Mt Rainier National Park.  My folks came to visit last weekend, and we drove to the mountain and stayed in the lodge at the top (well… the lodge is about a third of the way up the mountain, but it’s as far as you can get with a car).  The weather was… wet… but the park is absolutely gorgeous, nonetheless.

I mean, look at it!  It’s absolutely stunningWe spent the day hiking around, checking out waterfalls and finding tiny wildflowers.  (We even spotted a fox and a few deer-but they were too fast to get a picture.)And, in the evening we hung out in the lodge, playing cribbage and playing the ukulele.  It was absolutely delightful.

Unfortunately, the road to Rainier is narrow and twisty, so I wasn’t able to make that much headway on my Road Trip Socks (dang motion sickness!).  I had hoped I would be able to finish them last weekend, but it looks like I’ll just have to keep working on them at home.  Oh well- we still had a fantastic trip.

Have you spent any time in National Parks?  Which is your favorite?

Travel Socks in Progress

Last weekend was a whirlwind!  I had an amazing time traveling down to LA to visit friends (and their perfect tiny baby!  Hi, Janey!), watch comedy, dance, and eat way too much good food.  I still feel like I have a hangover, despite not drinking anything since Saturday.  I guess it’s just an emotional “Why can’t I still be on vacation” hangover.

LA isn’t that far from Seattle- a couple hours on the plane isn’t that bad.  But, it still gave me plenty of time to get started on my Travel Socks.  And, I gotta tell you, I had almost as much fun working on these socks as I did the rest of the weekend.  (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but they’re turning out really, really cool!)

I mean, look at this stitch pattern!You’d never know it was so freaking simple to knit.  It’s ingenious!

I showed it to a bunch of knitters over the weekend, and none of them could figure out how it was worked.  (And even when I told them what I was doing, they had a hard time believing me!)

It’s a 1×1 row stripe (1 navy row, one light blue row).  Every dark row, you knit, and every light row, you work K1, P1, alternating back and forth just like in seed stitch.  The finished fabric is beautiful, squishy and soft.  I think this stitch pattern might just start showing up in other knitting patterns.  (Right now, I’m dreaming of a raglan sweater with this pattern.  Maybe with variegated yarn?  Or maybe with stripes!  Or maybe with variegated stripes!)

I’m using the dark (MC) to make a simple cuff, heel and toes, which I think is going to look really classy- instead of an obnoxious striped sock, I’m going to have very cool, interestingly-patterned socks.  I can’t wait until I’m finished!What’s the last project you got really excited about?

Road Trip Knitting

Summer’s Road Trip Season, and this year I’ve got a bunch of trips coming up.  We’re flying to California to visit friends, we’re driving to Mt. Rainier with my folks and we’re going to a family reunion waaaaay up in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan.

Of course, we’re not doing all this at the same time (we do have to work, after all).  But, I want to get ready for all that car/plane downtime.  That means stocking up on Dramamine, filling my Kindle with new books, and planning out some simple-yet-interesting knitting projects.

I’m a big fan of socks as travel knitting.  They’re small enough to fit into a purse or cary-on, but take long enough to fill up a whole week of travel.  And, other than turning the heel, they’re easy enough that you don’t really have to focus on what you’re doing.

They’re the best!

Anyway, I dug into my stash, and found a bunch of little ends of sock yarn.  So, I was thinking of doing something to use up that yarn.  Stripes seem too boring, and colorwork would make me carsick (simple is the name of the game, after all).

I poked around on Ravelry, until I found these beauties!

Broken Seed Stitch Socks by Hanna LevaniemiHer original pattern (it’s not a formal pattern, exactly, more like a design suggestion that I can use with my standard Socks by the Numbers pattern) uses a lovely cream color with a pretty variegated yarn. The little stripes combined with the knit/purl pattern make the colors blend together really nicely.

But, what I really love is the idea that Ravelry User mckr had.  Stripes!  But when the stripe colors are mixed with the background color, the whole thing looks gorgeous and cohesive.So, I picked out six mini balls of leftover sock yarn, and a full 50g skein of a lovely navy blue.  I think they’ll look great together.  (One of the mini-skeins even has sparkles!)

I’m making myself wait until our road trips are officially going before I start knitting these bad boys.  Vacation can’t start soon enough!

Are you looking forward to any upcoming projects?

 

Dolly Dress

May was a crazy knitting month for me.  I spent it working full-out on three different patterns.  (Super-secret patterns, unfortunately… I’ll just say- next year you’re going to see some patterns that I’m pretty pleased with!)

So, when I get a weekend free from any “work knitting,” what do I do?  Do I go outside?  Do I get chores done around the house?  Do I go grocery shopping?

Of course not.

I knit a cute little dress for the Knit Doll I made last year.  She’s got a decently-sized wardrobe right now, but it’s mostly wintery clothes- sweaters and cardigans.

It was crazy hot this weekend, and I was looking for something small to knit, so one thing led to another and inspiration struck.I used Arne and Carlos’ dress pattern from their Knitted Dolls book (which is a delight, if you haven’t looked at it).  I used some Wool of the Andes DK I had laying around, and tiny, vintage mother-of-pearl buttons I inherited from my Grandma years ago.

I modified the pattern a little bit, which I think Arne and Carlos would approve of.  I cast on with bright green at the bottom of the skirt, and worked the pattern as written for a few rows, then joined some blue and did about an inch of Fair Isle to make the grass and the flowers’ stems.  I finished the dress using some lovely sky-blue heather.  Then (and this is the best part), I went back in with yellow, red, pink and purple, and embroidered tiny little flowers at the tops of each stem.

How cute did that turn out?!

I’m pretty tickled with the results, I have to say.  (And the fact that I finished a whole project in 24 hours is pretty satisfying after the last month.)

Have you ever made doll clothes before?  How did they turn out?

WaHoo!!!

You guys!

Hey!

Guess what!

Blocking is the best thing ever invented!

Remember my Cursed Sweater?  (I really wish I could show you real pictures of it…  Some day.)  Well,  I think I finally got the curse to lift!  Woo hoo!

So, last you heard, I had finished the sweater, but it fit me… not great.  In fact, it fit me so poorly that I thought I had messed up my math.  I spent the week worried, going over the math again and again.  What had I done wrong?  Did I misplace a parenthesis or a plus sign in my spreadsheet?  Did I accidentally cast on the wrong number of stitches?  WHAT DID I DO?

It didn’t help that the sweater made me feel distinctly like a plump sausage in too-tight casing.

(I can’t show you pictures, but I can show you poorly-Photoshopped representations of the sweater in question.)

The collar choked me, the sleeves were a good 6 inches too short, the body rolled up on itself.  It was awful!Awful!

Well, I went ahead and blocked it-  I didn’t have much hope, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

But, holy knitwear, Batman!  It blocked out perfectly!  It fits like a glove, the sleeves are the perfect length, and I can swallow while wearing it.  It’s the best!It turns out, I had blocked my gauge swatch before I measured.   So, all my math was based on a blocked gauge (THE WAY YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO IT!), but for some reason, my brain had completely forgotten how pattern designing works and assumed that I had just really, really messed up again.

Come on brain, don’t stress me out like that!

This sweater is DONE!  It was a slog, but I survived, and I have a pretty killer new sweater in my closet (where it will stay for the next six months, because summer just started here… sigh).

Have you finished any big projects recently?

Also, if you are interested in having your project featured on On the Needles, send a photo with a short description to knittingontheneedles@gmail.com!  (Any project is welcome- not just knitting!)

Well, it’s done, I guess

Phew!  It’s done!

Well, 99% done.  I still have to weave in some ends on my cursed project, and it’s got to finish drying out (it’s blocking right now).

And, I’ve gotta say, it turned out…. OK.

I love the pattern; the textures and the cables are great.  I love how it looks, sitting on the table, or pinned out for blocking.  But, I gotta admit- I don’t love the fit.

I tried it on when I finished knitting yesterday (after ripping the neck back several times-because this is the cursed sweater, after all).  And, I don’t know what happened with the measurements- I swear my math is right, so on paper, this sweater should fit like a glove.  But, instead, it’s too tight, and the sleeves are too short!  How on earth did that happen?!

As far as I can tell, I probably messed up in one of two ways:

  1. My gauge is off, or my math is somehow wrong.  In which case, I can fix the written pattern fairly easily.  However, I refuse to re-knit another stitch on this sweater.  If this is what happened, I’ll just have to find someone skinnier and shorter than me to take this prototype.
  2. I designed this sweater to use some really stretchy stitches- stitch patterns that block out almost twice as wide as their unblocked counterparts.  I got gauge off of a blocked swatch.  In theory, simply blocking this sweater will make it fit.  In theory.  I really hope that this is the problem.

Fingers crossed!

Have you ever finished a big project and ended up less-than-thrilled about the result?

The Cursed Sweater

I don’t know what’s happening to me!  I don’t think I disturbed any sacred burial grounds, or crossed any old crones-who-are-secretly-witches, and I definitely didn’t unearth any mummies.  Heck, it’s not even a full moon!

I’ve clearly upset the knitting gods (or at least some knitting trickster spirit), because this project is killing me, you guys.  You guys.  It’s killing me.

You remember my super-secret-project?  The one with the ribbing that I totally messed up?  Well, after repairing the damage in the dumbest possible way (really, Allison- why on earth did you think it was a good idea to get out the crochet hook?), I realized I had messed it up even more than I had thought.

I had cast on the wrong number of stitches.

Needless to say I was upset.  I ripped it out, rechecked my math and was on my way (for the third time).

Fast forward two weeks, and I think I have it under control.  I’ve checked all my math, and everything looks good.  My project is coming along.

Until, two days ago, I connected several separate pieces together (a very finicky step).  And.

Would you believe it?  I messed up again!  This was two days ago, and I didn’t notice until yesterday morning, when I had to rip out a full 24 hours of work!I’m finally getting back to where I was two days ago.  But hoo boy.  I’m struggling.

At least it’ll look good when it’s done.

Hopefully.

Ugh.

Have you ever had a cursed project?  What happened to it?  Did you manage to break the curse?

Only Knitting

I’ve got a problem.  (Surprise!  I feel like I begin a lot of posts this way.  Maybe I have a lot of knitting-related problems?  Or maybe I think that you guys are particularly good at fixing my problems.  One or the other.)

This problem is kind of a first world problem, a problem of “too much.”  I’ve taken on too much knitting work. It’s great- because I’m really making knitting my “big girl” job, which is amazing and exciting.  I never even considered “professional knitter” when I did those “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up” assignments when I was a kid.  I always thought it would just be a hobby.  So, it’s fantastic that I’m actually getting paid knitting design work.

However, I may have bit off more than I can chew this month.  I (accidentally?) agreed to three contracts this month.  I should be able to manage everything, after all I’ve got until the end of the month, which is a long way away.  But in the meantime, I’m going to be knitting like the wind!

It feels a little like the month before Christmas- working as fast as I can, in every available minute.

Cross your fingers and send good knitting vibes!

Do you ever take on too much knitting?  What do you do to help yourself go faster?

Finished: Sockhead Slouch Hat

It’s done!  (OK, I actually finished it a little bit ago, but I got distracted and forgot to show you guys.)

And, I couldn’t be more pleased with my brand new Sockhead Slouch Hat.

I will admit, that while knitting it up, I got a little concerned.  A 4-inch brim, plus 9 inches of stockinette?  That’s almost enough knitting to make two regular caps.  I didn’t love how it looked as I worked it up.  I mean, look at it.  It’s so long and awkward.But I’m glad I followed the instructions and worked through to the end.  It goes to show that people who write patterns sometimes know what they’re talking about.

Ta-da!But you can’t really see the lovely floppiness from this angle.  Let me take a picture of the back of my head for you.(It turns out that it’s really hard to take a picture of the back of your own head.  I ended up with about two dozen pictures like this one.)  Here’s a real picture of the the side/back view of the hat:Totally cute, right!?  It’s the perfect level of slouchy.  The Tosh Merino Light is so stinking soft, I never want to take it off.  And, it’s a lovely mid-weight hat; it’s perfect for the damp 50’s weather that Seattle is so famous for.

This pattern definitely gets my seal of approval!  The Sockhead Slouch Hat is one of my new favorite patterns!

(And, if you thought I could get out the camera without taking a picture of Ollie, you were mistaken.)Do you have any new favorite projects?