Category Archives: On My Needles

“Last Night Allison” Strikes Again

You all remember the last time Last Night Allison struck.  It wasn’t pretty. I mean, I managed to fix it, but it was touch and go for a while, and way more difficult than I expected it to be.

Unfortunately, Last Night Allison struck again.  But here’s the worst part.  I have no excuse for my bad decisions.  It wasn’t late (actually it was about 3:00 in the afternoon).  I hadn’t been drinking (except a cup of decaffeinated tea).  And, I really should have been paying attention.

I was starting the prototype of a sweater I’m working on.  The pattern begins with (spoiler!) a 1×1 rib for about 2 inches.

This is what I knit:Allison, that’s not a 1×1 rib!  That’s a 2×2 rib!  That’s a 2×2 rib that you worked on for about three hours before realizing your mistake!  (There was swearing.)

So, then, I had to decide, do I rip out the whole thing?  Start over?  Or, do I painstakingly go through with a crochet hook and change half the knits to purls, and half the purls to knits?

I bet you can’t guess what Last Night Allison chose.  (That’s right!  She picked the most fiddly and difficult choice possible.)I ripped each column of stitches out, one by one, carefully picking them back up in the proper orientation.  Which is totally not a super annoying process.  Ha!Amazingly, the fixed ribbing actually looks pretty good- I was afraid it would be a little wonky, but it looks OK.The only problem is I’ve still got well over halfway to go.  I think my “quick fix” is going to end up taking longer than re-knitting the whole thing would have.  Of course, at this point I’ve sunk too much effort into it, so I’m here for the long haul.What would you have done?  Would you have ripped the whole thing and re-knit, or do you have agreed with Last Night Allison?  Or, do you have a magical solution that would have been better than either?

Chuck is Finished!

Woo Hoo!  I’ve got another finished sweater!

The knitting on this one went like the wind- a combo of a big (ish) gauge, short sleeves, cropped waistline, and my time off work for spring break. I essentially finished this bad boy in a week!

It’s just as cute as I was hoping for (though it is a little itchy.  But, I’m a knitter- I can survive itchy wool).  And, it fits like a glove!

Get ready for some awkward-as-friends pictures!  (I was home alone, and had about 5 minutes to try taking pictures between pouring rain and hail!)  I need some lessons on taking nice pictures of myself wearing sweaters- everyone else on Ravelry seems to get it, but I always end up making myself look like a big goober.  Of course, I am a big goober, so maybe that’s the problem.

Anyway!  Ta-da!The modified collar turned out perfectly, and I love the additional cable down the spine. And, this sweater is surprisingly warm!  That means I can wear my summer dresses in the spring (at least while it isn’t raining).

Have you finished up any projects lately?

Sockhead

I’m sure you were all waiting with baited breath to find out what I decided to do with my skein of Tosh Merino.

Well, I sat down on Monday night to start knitting, and I thought I was going to make the Annis shawl.  But, then my husband put on an episode of the new MST3K, and I couldn’t focus on casting on all that lace.  So instead I started on a Sockhead Slouch HatI love it so far- It’s a super simple pattern, so it’ll really show off the pretty color of the yarn.  I love how soft the fabric is turning out.  And, I think I’m going to get a lot of use out of it.  It’s not crazy thick and wintery- I’ve got plenty of thick winter hats.  I needed something a little lighter, for breezy spring days.I won’t lie, though, at this small gauge, it’s going to take me a hot minute to finish this hat.  But it’s so simple, it’ll be good TV-watching/coffee-shop-sitting/waiting-for-class-to-start knitting.  In fact, I knit about an inch yesterday morning waiting for my dog to get done with his haircut.

(Do you want to see pictures of him?  Of course you do.)

Before:  Shaggy old wizard dog

After: Teddy bear puppy

Anyway, dog aside, I’m enjoying this hat pattern.  Especially with some of the more *ahem* elaborate patterns I’ve been working on lately, it’s nice to make a super-simple project like this.

Have you been working on anything exciting lately?

A Quickie

I’ve got a dilemma. OK, it’s not really a dilemma, just a decision I need to make. OK, it’s barely a decision, but I’d like your input.

I’ve finished my Chuck sweater (which went really fast, since I had the week off work).  It’s blocking out right now, and I’ll let you know how it turns out later this week.

My needles are empty (at least for the moment- I have some design work coming up).  I’ve got a little more time to knit for myself, and I’ve got a lovely skein of Tosh Merino Light that’s been looking at me for months.  It’s a gorgeous, dark navy(ish) blue, but it still manages to glow in the sun.  It’s so pretty, I couldn’t manage to get a good picture of it myself, so I’ll use the one from Madeline Tosh’s website.Ooh!  Aah!
So, here’s the question- What can I make with about 400 yards of fingering weight yarn and abut 1 week of time?

My first thought is, of course, socks.  After all, I always think about socks.  I love these socks in particular.  I made a pair of them last fall, but my husband claimed them out from under me.  I would love to make a pair for myself.  But, I think this yarn might be a little too fancy for socks- I don’t think I can get behind hand-wash-only socks.  (I’ll do a lot of things for knitwear, but I won’t do that.)

Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica LuederMy second thought is a shawl/scarf.  It’s been a minute since I knit up lace- I’ve been on a cables kick for the last year or so.  I could knit up a shawl like this one.  I worry about trying to adapt such a lovely shawl to a fingering weight, though.

Annis by Susanna IC

Oh, but you know what I need?  I need a lovely, comfy hat.  (Here I go being a project knitter again.)  Of course, I’ve got plenty of hats, but I could always use another one.  I’ve had short hair for years, but I started buzzing it off a few months ago-  my head is cold and I need a soft, casual, non-super-cold-weather hat.

I think this one might be the one.

Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClureWhat would you make with a skein of special yarn?  What should I make?

I Have Made A Huge Mistake

So, you know the other day, when I told you all the changes I was planning on making to my Chuck sweater?

Well.

It’s going… not great.

Last night, I managed to get to just under the armpits.  The big cable down the front is turning out gorgeous.  I love the way each column of stitches peels off, weaves through the other columns, then joins back together.  I even managed to figure out the changes to the neckline.  I brought in the sides and raised the back of the neck slightly.  I’ll have to wait to see how it looks with the collar added, but I feel pretty confident about it.

However,  I made a huge mistake.OK, maybe not a huge mistake, but I’ve done something super dumb.

I wanted to add a cable down the back of the sweater, but instead of actually working the cable as I went, like a smart person, I kind of forgot about it until late last night.  So, like the genius I am, I dropped the six stitches I planned on using for the cable, and ripped almost all the way back to the cast-on, and started knitting them back up, cabling as I went.(Full disclosure: my husband made me a very tasty tropical drink after dinner last night, which could have been the source of last night’s excessive confidence as I ripped back these stitches.)

In the bright light of morning, I have some regrets with regard of how I’ve been going about this project.  But, I’ve got a hot cup of coffee and I’ve got my fingers crossed, so I should be able to fix the mayhem that “Last Night Allison” created.

Have you ever sat down with your knitting, only to realize you did something really dumb the night before?  What did you do, and were you able to fix it?

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I’ve finished my swatch and got my gauge for my new Chuck sweater. I was just going to follow the pattern as written, but you know me.  I can’t leave well enough alone.

I love the general shape of the sweater- the natural-waist hem is perfect.  And, the cables down the front are so cute.  But there are things I think I’m going to change.

First, I like the boat-neck collar, in theory, but I think it has to.  I have pretty narrow shoulders, so I usually end up fussing with drooping shoulders all day if I wear anything with a boat neck.  (Also, I’m constantly cold, so I’ll take any opportunity to be a little more covered-up.)So, that means I’ll keep the neckline shaping more or less the same, but move the sides of the neck in toward the middle just a bit.  To do that, I’ll cast on more stitches for each shoulder, and take away the same number of stitches from the bottom of the neckline.  A little math, but nothing too tricky.

Also, I gotta say, that big ol’ stockinette back makes me a little sad- I think it needs some extra decorations!  (Of course, I tend to like my sweaters to be totally covered with texture or color, so maybe I’m not one to talk.)So, I’m going to add a cable (or maybe two) down the back.  Nothing as elaborate as the front of the sweater, but just something to add a little something special.

I also think I might make the sleeves a touch longer (but I do that on almost every sweater, since I’ve got long orangutan arms).  I won’t have to decide about that for a while, though.

I hope it’ll turn out OK- I love the original pattern so much, I don’t want to ruin it.  In my head, my changes will only make it better- but we’ll just have to wait and see when it’s done.  In the meantime- cross your fingers for me!

Have you ever given an existing pattern your own spin? How did it turn out?

Chuck

I’m a big fat liar.

Sort of.

So, last week, I wrote a whole big thing about how I am a process knitter only.  I said I would never knit something simply because I want the finished project.

Well, I shouldn’t have been so insistent about that.  Because this weekend, I went looking through my Ravelry Queue, trying to find something to do between work assignments.  And I re-discovered a sweater I has been living, half-forgotten in the back of my brain for the two years since I put it in my queue.

It’s Chuck!

I first saw this sweater at a knitting convention in 2015.  A group of impossibly cool ladies were all wearing the same sweater (this one) in different colors, and each had paired it with a unique vintage skirt.  I knew immediately I needed a Chuck of my own.

I have a bunch of high-waisted dresses that I love wearing in the summer, but none of my sweaters really go with them, so I end up having to wait to wear my dresses until the weather gets really warm (June or July in Seattle).

I love the shape of this sweater- the length is perfect with a skirt or dress, and the wide ribbed hem is super flattering.  I love how the sweater is fitted through the waist, and that cable is to die for!

I also happen to have a bunch of dark-chocolate yarn just waiting in my stash for a project like this.  (It was on sale years and years ago, and I miscalculated how much I would need for a different pullover by a couple skeins, so it’s just been sitting in my closet, waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.)

Anyway, I’m very excited to get started on this project.  (Or, rather, I’m excited to have this finished sweater.)  I think I’ll cast on this afternoon!

Have you ever made a project solely because you wanted (needed) the finished object?

And, don’t forget!  You’ve got until Friday to be entered into the Flourish giveaway!

Bears, But Not Too Many

So, I made some resolutions at the beginning of the year, and I’m not doing a great job following up on them, if I’m honest.

My three goals were:

-Do more knitting “just for fun.”

-Knit at least 1 bear per month.

-Sketch more.

My sketch book has only a couple more pages filled in than it did in January, I’ve been knitting almost exclusively for work (which means I’m getting more design work- Yay!  But, I can’t show you guys my WIPs- Boo!).  And, my bear collection is a little pitiful.I know!  Only a bear and a half, and it’s already approaching the end of March!  And neither one is stuffed! (And most of that half-bear was knit this morning when I realized how behind I was.)

I suppose it’s not a big deal, after all it’s just a goal, not a real deadline, and it’s just something I’m doing on my own.  But, still.  It’s the principle!

I just finished knitting another project for work, so I have a little time “off.”  I guess I know what I’m doing this week!

Are you still making Mother Bears?  What goals do you set for yourself, and do you do a good job keeping up with them?

Purse Socks

Last weekend, my brother and his girlfriend came to visit us up here in the Pacific Northwest.  It was my brother’s first time visiting us in years, and his girlfriend’s first time in Seattle ever!  So, we spent Saturday being tourists.  We visited Pike Place Market and the Gum Wall.  We ate piroshkis and drank cocktails made with local ginger beer.  We did a lot of driving.

Sure, the driving part is never fun, but when you’re showing guests around your city, you always end up driving a lot. And, that’s where your purse knitting comes in handy (unless you’re the one driving the car.  In that case, please don’t drive and knit).According to my Ravelry page, I started these bad boys back in January.  They’re going slowly, but that’s OK.  I keep one sock in my purse at all times, so whenever I have a little down time, I can break it out and knit a few rows.  I’ve worked on these socks in the car, waiting for food to be delivered at a restaurant, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and when I get to work before my shift starts.

These socks are perfect for piecemeal knitting- the pattern is super simple, there are no stitch markers to wrangle, no cable needles to lose, and no colorwork to worry about.  The overall pattern is just knits and purls, and there’s really very little shaping (just the usual heel and toe shaping that I could do in my sleep).  It’s a pattern I can keep in my head, without having to keep referring to a chart or a book, and it’s a nice dark color (so it won’t get grimy-looking from living in my purse for months).

I love my purse socks, and I’m excited for when they’re finished (though that’ll probably be in June, at the rate I’m going).  Maybe we should play tourist more often- I’d get more knitting in!

Do you keep purse knitting?  What’s your favorite “in a pinch” project?

Back to the Beginning

Sometime you’ve just got to go back to your roots.  You’ve gotta eat a bowl of Kraft Macaroni Dinner, or watch the Princess Bride for the thousandth time, or dig out that old, cozy sweater your high school friend let you “steal” from their closet.  There’s just something so meditative and lovely about going back and doing something comfortable once in a while.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m always trying new things, new food, new knitting techniques.  But sometimes it’s so nice to return to something easy, simple and comfortable.

And, I just so happened to have a gigantic skein of Hazel Knits the Big Squeeze in Electric Slide.  I got it at last fall’s Knit Fit, here in Seattle.  It’s gigantic, squishy, and hand-dyed in the most gorgeous shades of electric purple and hot pink.  You know I’m more of a browns, grays, greens, and blues lady, but sometimes I just have to go super bright and girly, and this is one of those times.

I hemmed and hawed about what to do with this skein when I first got it, eventually settling on “just leave the skein out on my desk so I can look at it.”  But I’m a knitter, not (just) a yarn buyer, and I needed something fun and easy to work on.

So, with such big, gorgeous, striking yarn, why not go old-school?  Why not remake everyone’s first project- something I haven’t made in 20 years?  Why try to fancy-up such an already-fancy skein of yarn?

Why not make a garter-stitch scarf?img_4667This yarn is crazy, I mean, just look at it- the yarn is as big around as a pencil!img_4650But, the color is what sold me on this yarn when I first saw it, and it’s still what makes me so happy every time I pick it up.  Just look at the magnificent dye-job.  I love it to death.

img_4645

I wonder if I could dye my hair that color…

Do you ever go “back to basics” with your knitting projects?  What are your favorite “old favorites”?