Category Archives: On My Needles

Papaya

Woo!  I’m free!  I finished all my “work knitting!” (For now, at least.)

It’s weird- it’s like that feeling I got back in college, right after Finals Week.  Every minute has been taken up with studying, or thinking you should study, or worrying that you’re not studying enough.  But they you finish your last exam, and BAM! you’ve got nothing particularly important to do.

It’s both very freeing and a little bit unsettling.

When I have that feeling, I like to go into my closet and see what kind of yarn I have waiting for me.  I’m not a huge “Stash Person.” I generally don’t go out and buy a big bag of yarn “just because.”  At most, I’ll buy a skein or two of sock yarn as a splurge, but that’s about it.

But, hidden deep at the bottom of a pile of yarn in the back of my closet, I found a treasure.

A bag of 11 balls of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in Papaya Heather!I literally have no idea when I bought this, or what I bought it for.  It must have been years ago.  I almost never wear pink, and I never wear orange.  I don’t know what would have possessed me to buy so much of this shade.  (It really is pretty, but it’s just not a color I normally go for.)  Maybe it was on sale?

I’ve got 11 skeins, though. Which means I can make something cool.  A sweater maybe?  Or a smallish throw blanket?  Or a big shawl?

What do you think I should do with my surprise stash yarn?

Have you ever been surprised by what you found in your stash?

Christmas (in July) Balls

I’ve been knitting up a storm lately- but unfortunately (or, if you look at it another way, fortunately) it’s mostly been “work knitting.”  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thrilled that I can count myself as a “professional knitter,” but sometimes I long for the day when I could just knit whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without deadlines or due dates.

(Woe is me, right?)

I’m crazy busy, but whenever I have a few minutes free, I’ve been slowly chugging away, working on a project just for me.  It’s fun, it’s straightforward, and it doesn’t require me to do any math! Woo!

Since I got Arne & Carlos’ book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, I’ve dreamed of a Christmas tree covered in their adorable red and white ornaments.

I bought a big bag of red and white yarn in January, and I’ve slowly been making my way through the book.So far, I’ve completely finished 3 balls, stuffed 6 more, and have one freshly off my needles.

They’re quick little projects- it takes me an evening to knit up a ball (not including finishing).  And, its great to be able to just follow a pattern, knowing that it’ll turn out great.

Have you been working on any “just for fun” projects lately?

Well, I done goofed.

I’m on a bit of a sock kick lately.  I love making socks.  They’re fun, easy(ish), and they fit in my purse.  Plus, I love nothing more than slipping on a pair of brand-new pair of socks- they’re one of the best things in life.

I’ve been trying a few new techniques, and came up with this adorable sock:Picot edge, eyelets, and cute purple details.  What could be wrong with that?

Well…

Apparently something went wrong, because, hoo boy!  This is the tiniest sock ever!(Sure, I’ve got great big feet, but still!)  I don’t know what happened!  I’ve made dozens of socks, maybe even hundreds.  I’ve never had a sock come out this little before!  I must have spaced when casting on…  Oh well…

So, do I rip out the sock and try again, or do I make a second small sock to match and find someone with little feet?

What to do, what to do?

Have you ever goofed on a pattern you’ve made a bunch of times.

Little Green Socks

OK, if we’re being honest, there’s nothing little about any socks that I make for myself.  I’ve got great big feet- the better to stop me from falling over.  (Oh, if only that were true… I’m such a klutz!)

But, these socks are coming along great!

I decided that I wanted to have tiny mirror-image cables running up the sides of the legs like this:  And at first, I thought that was all I wanted.

But you know me- never leaving well enough alone.  If there’s a way to embellish.  I’ll find it, and sew sequins to it.

So I decided to take one of those cables and run it down the top of the foot, too.  (I actually had to rip back a little bit when I decided to change it, which I think was worth it.)

Right?!  I love how this sock is turning out! The color- the tiny cables, the excitement of making them toe-up! (Yes, I’m a dork.)

I can’t wait for the other one to be done (and the weather to cool off again) so I can wear them around!

Are you working on any project that’s gotten you excited lately?

New socks!

I’m on a sock roll! And you can’t stop me!

(Actually, you probably could, I’m pretty distract-able.)

I’ve been digging through my overly-extensive sock yarn collection and trying to use up some yarn that’s been hanging around for way too long.  (I once got overly-excited about a sock yarn sale and ended up coming home with about 2 dozen skeins of yarn… that was probably three years ago, and I’ve still barely made a dent in it.)

Anyway, I found enough turquoise-blue for a pair of socks, and I thought I’d get cracking.  But this time, I feel like trying something new.

95% of the time, I work my socks top-down.  But this time, I think I’m going to switch it up.  I’m going… toe up!  Woah!  I’m a loose cannon!

That means I get to break out Judy’s Magic Cast On!  I’ve used it a handful of times- mostly years ago, before I got so set in my sock-knitting ways.And, I gotta tell you.  That is one satisfying technique.  (It’s a little bit of a pain at first, but dang!  Once you get past the first few rows, it looks really nice!)

I’ve increased up to the toe,  so now I’ve just got to decide what I want to do next… cables? Texture? Lace?  There’s too many options!

What do you think I should do next?

Woo!

Woo Hoo!  My socks are officially finished!

An unfortunate number of ends are all woven in (why did I think striped socks was a good idea?).  And the socks have been blocked.  They’re lovely and finished and have grown about two sizes.  (But that’s a good thing, because I have great big man feet.)

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of insightful things to say- just that I love these socks, and love blocking socks in general.  They’re smooth and perfect and ready to go.Unfortunately, it’s about a million degrees here, so I won’t be wearing my socks any time soon.  Sigh…

What’s your favorite part of making socks?

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?