Category Archives: On My Needles

Cruising Along

I’m making headway with my Soldotna Crop, and I have to say, I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out.

I was concerned about the pinkness of the pink and the purpleness of the purple in the yoke.  (It’s really a crazy amount of super bold color-work, and I admit that by the end of it, I was starting to get nervous.)  But, now that I’m chugging along with the body, I really like the contrast between the bold, colorful top and the understated body.  Though, if I’m being honest, I kind of never want to do a “field of dots” sweater ever again. It’s just enough color-work to be a pain, but not enough to be exciting. (It does look nice, though…)

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I took a break from the body last night, and worked up the “sleeves.” I don’t think I’ve ever finished both sleeves on a sweater in one sitting (even a baby sweater).  This was really just an inch or so of ribbing- super simple and satisfying.  Now I think that all sweaters should have short sleeves!

I can’t wait for this thing to be finished and blocked (and those ends to be woven in… ugh).

But then I’ll have to figure out what to wear with it… That’ll be the tricky part.

Knitting Along

Ya’ll, this pattern is fun!  It’s been a minute since I did anything with this much color-work and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

While last time I made a big deal about following someone else’s pattern and not doing any of my own math, I must admit I cheated a little bit.  I’d heard people complaining about the neck/short row situation on this sweater, so I changed it up a little.  Instead of working 7 rows of ribbing for the collar, I did 5. And instead of doing 5 sets of short rows, I did 3.  I think it’ll do nicely.  No turtleneck here!IMG_1943.JPGAnd I think I’m liking how these colors are playing together for the most part.  There’s still a part of me that’s a little skeptical of the pink-yellow variegated, but I think that’s because it’s just so far outside of the colors I usually pick.  And, I am a little concerned about the contrast between the pink and the gray in the big “arrow” section of the yoke.  (Though, honestly this picture makes it look pretty nice.  It’s a little less clear in real life.)IMG_1936.JPGI’m almost to the end of the yoke, which is both exciting (yay! I’m that much closer to finishing), and a little sad (boo! I’m that much closer to finishing).  It’s a fun little project, and with no sleeves and not much body to knit, it’ll be done before I know it.

What do you think of the colors?  I think I like them, but I’m still on the fence a bit.

 

Starting Something New!

I’m really excited about this one, folks!  I’m starting a new project, which is always fun, but this time there are a few reasons I’m especially pumped:

  1. It’s for me!
  2. It’s not for work!
  3. It’s a pre-existing pattern (no math!).
  4. It’s going to be made from yarn that I bought explicitly for this project.  No stashbusting!
  5. It’s going to be super cute!

That’s right, I’m jumping on the bandwagon and making myself a Soldotna Crop (though I think mine won’t be quite as cropped as the pattern suggests; I’m pretty tall and don’t own any high-waisted jeans).

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I’m using Tosh DK in four colors that I spent wayyy too much time picking out.  madelinetosh is one of my absolute favorite dyers.  I love the subtle variation they get in their semi-solids and the saturated colors in their variegated yarns.  I haven’t actually worked with her DK weight before, but I’m looking forward to it.  It’s a nice dense yarn, and super soft, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be too prone to pilling (or at least that’s what it feels like).IMG_1919

The colors I picked were Undergrowth (a dreamy blue-green for the main color), Raspberry Cordial (a jammy purple with hints of fuchsia), Tern (a soft purple-y gray), and Texas Tulips (an insane (for me) pink/yellow/green variegated that is something that I would never normally have picked, but it felt like the right thing to do at the time… we’ll see how it looks).

It feels kind of decadent to be making a whole sweater for myself, just because I want to, in fancy new yarn that I picked out specifically for this project.  I kind of love it.

(I really hope that pink color ends up working…. it’s very un-me.)

I’m going to go get this yarn wound up right away and start knitting.  Whoo!

When’s the last time you did some selfish knitting?

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?