Category Archives: On My Needles

And Done*

*kinda.

After all that complaining about how long the kid’s sweater was taking, it turns out that all I really needed was about 2 hours and a couple episodes of Drag Race and…. Fanfare, please!

It’s done! I finished up the ribbing, bound off and even wove in the ends!

The sleeves are ridiculously long on the kid, but fit well enough when I roll up the cuffs, and the body is long, but not looong. I think (hope) that they’ll get a year or two’s use out of it (and I have plenty of extra red yarn, so I can always make the body longer as the kid gets taller). Although, at the rate they’re growing, it’s going to be too small for them by the time I finish typing out this post. Kids, am I right?

Now, just to get it blocked out and add the buttons. That certainly can’t take longer than actually knitting up the sweater. Right?… Right?

Have you finished anything big lately?

Slow going…

I guess my days of banging out a sweater in a weekend are behind me (at least until my kids can fend for themselves for more than five minutes at a time, anyway). I’ve been working on this ding dang sweater for more than two months at this point. And it’s a kid’s sweater!!

Ridiculous.

I mean, sure, I’m busy. The big kid has decided not to nap any more, and the little one has decided that it’s hilarious to take my ball of yarn and try to run around the house with it, so I’m relegated to knitting only after bedtime. And yes, it’s been hotter than the blazes over here, so I haven’t wanted to knit. AND, sure, I’ve been doing some design work that’s been using up what little knitting time I have. AND, of course, I accidentally picked a size that won’t fit my kid for about 3 more years… it could practically fit a (small) grownup!

But still. I’m ready for this project to be done.

At least it’s turning out cute. I’ve just got an inch or two left of the hem, a bunch of ends to weave in, and buttons to add. It’s practically finished!

Ha. (Let’s see how many more weeks it’ll take for me to finish up. Taking bets now!)

What’s the slowest you’ve done a project? Did it ever get finished?

Christm-ish

So, I went back and forth for a while about what color to get to finish off the kid’s sweater. And, while I was leaning toward the nice light green, or a neutral oatmeal/gray, they were adamant that they wanted RED.

I managed to talk them down from RED red, to this nice shade of “Black Cherry.” Not necessarily what I would have picked, but, hey, it’s not my sweater.

It took a while for the yarn to show up, so I haven’t gotten far, but I’ll be honest, I like it more than I thought I would. I figured the red + green would look so Christmassy, that I wouldn’t like it, but I’ve surprised myself that I don’t hate it.

(Would I have preferred not running out of green yarn to begin with? Yes. Would I have picked another color if it had been up to me? Yes. But, such is life with a preschooler.)

What new color combinations have you tried recently?

Choosing

OK, it’s officially official. I’m out of green yarn. (OK, not 100% out of green yarn, but close enough that I know for a fact I won’t make it to the end of this sweater. Unless I make this into a crop-top with 3/4 sleeves.)

So now, it’s time to buy some more yarn. In a perfect world, I’d love to get more of the same yarn (Douglas Fir), but I can’t imagine that the dye lots will be exactly the same, 10+ years after I bought this yarn.

So, I’ve gone through the Webs and picked out a couple favorite colors to do a series of mock-ups.

(My favorite) Fennel. Fairly low-contrast. I like the green-on- green, and I’d imagine it won’t take too much away from the subtle mistake-rib yoke.

(The kid’s favorite) Black Cherry. Honestly, they wanted red red, but I talked them down to this pretty garnet-y shade. Looks nice, but I can’t help but thinking it looks a little Christmas-y.

Oats. A nice neutral-y cream. Not too white (to hide the dirt that will inevitably build up on the sweater), but still nice.

Aubergine. A pretty dark purple. I’m a sucker for purple and green. Plus, the kid looks great in purple.

Thoughts? Feelings? Have I missed any fantastic color choices?

I’ve Made A Huge Mistake

OK, not huge. But I’ve definitely underestimated how much yarn I would use for this sweater.

To be fair, I also underestimated how big this sweater was going to be, so it only goes to figure that I’d underestimate the amount of yarn that I’d need. (My kid is 4. I’m pretty sure this will fit them when they’re 12.)

I’ve got maybe a full skein left in total, and I’ve used probably 2-ish skeins already. And, since I’m barely 3 inches into the body and only at elbow-level on the sleeves, I can’t imagine that one skein will be enough to finish up.

To make sure I’m using my yarn as evenly as possible, I had the brilliant idea to work the body from one skein, then work the sleeves from opposite ends of a second skein at the same time. While this might make a lot of sense from a theoretical standpoint, it’s proving to be more trouble than I expected. The amount of time I spend carefully organizing my yarn and untangling it is getting a little out of hand. But, I’ve made my choice, and I don’t feel like going back on my plan.

Anyway, I’m going to have to go get more of this yarn… and I think I’ve got two choices:

  1. Buy the same color, and hope the dye lots are close enough. (I bought the original yarn maybe 10 years ago, so there’s no chance that I will find the same dye lot).
  2. Go for a different color for a two-tone sweater. And, if I go this way, what color should I pick? Play it safe with brown or gray? Go wild with a bright contrasting color? Or monochromatic with a different shade of green?

What would you do?

Finishing As I Go

I know it’s not a unique or clever thing to say, but weaving in ends and generally “finishing” my knitting is one of my very least parts of knitting, and I’m not alone. (I suppose that’s why it’s a cliché.) There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re all done, then realizing you have another hour (or more!) of painstakingly sewing in ends and trimming and adding buttons… not to mention blocking!

So, this time, I’m doing a bunch of my finishing before I’m… well… finished. I’m still short of the halfway mark, but I’ve already done the finishing on the fiddly bits at the shoulders and collar. I’ve woven in all my ends from casting on/picking up at the shoulders, and I’ve knit on the collar and button bands and woven those ends in as well. I’ll probably go for a dive into the button jar some time this week and get those added on, as well.

It’s not that this actually reduces the finishing work for me, but it makes it feel like there’s less finishing work. And, frankly, that’s all I want.

So, now that I’ve “finished” the tricky bits, I’m off to go knit my sleeves and body… fingers crossed that I have enough yarn!

What’s your favorite finishing trick?

Progressing

We were out of town this week, so I had to make sure that I was at a good spot with my knitting. I knew I had a chunk of time sitting in the car (a rarity these days), so I needed something that I could do without much attention. And, what’s better for knitting without paying attention than the body of a sweater?

Maybe a sweater body, worked in the round all in stockinette?

Before we left, I made it a point to get to the bottom of the yoke on my kid’s sweater. I followed the instructions for a cardigan (minus a stitch or two at the center), until I made it almost to the bottom of the armpit shaping. Then, I worked across the fronts, casting on 3 stitches between the right and left fronts. This made a nice little gap for me to put the placket in later on.

Then, I joined up the front and back at the underarms, and started working in the round for the body. It was the perfect project for our whole trip through the mountains. And thank goodness I picked something I didn’t have to look at… those mountain roads are twisty!

Now that we’re back, I’m looking at the size of the sweater compared to my kid, and it’s a lot bigger than I had intended, but that’s OK. The kid will grow into it eventually. Unfortunately, though, I’m not 100% sure that I’ll have the right amount of yarn for it at this bigger size. I think what I’ll do is finish up the neckline, and knit on the sleeves first, before finishing up the body. That way, I can use every last scrap of my yarn. And, worst case scenario, I can add a second color to the hem and cuffs. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t come to that.

Have you done any travel knitting lately?

WIP

Time’s been short around here, and I can’t believe it’s already been a week since my last post. I really thought I’d be further along than this, but hey, sometimes that’s how it goes.

I have to say that even though this sweater is moving slowly, I really am enjoying working on it. The yarn is soft and fluffy, and the fabric is so squishy and warm. I’m considering getting more yarn and make myself a matching pullover.

Anyway, here’s my progress- I’ve really only made it through the back of the yoke. It’s in broken rib- one of my favorite texture patterns. (Couldn’t be simpler, RS: (K1, P1), WS: P)

Next I’ll pick up stitches at the shoulders and work the front yoke as if making a cardigan to make the split for the Henley collar. Then, once I make it to the bottom of the yoke, I’ll start working in the round for the body. Easy peasy!

What are you working on these days?

The Plan

OK, so. After a nice long sit with my swatch and a stroll through Ravelry, I think I have a plan.

I’m going to go ahead with the kid sweater, but not necessarily set out to felt it, at least not right away. I figure it’s good to know that it has the potential to go through the wash without fully losing its shape, but I’m not sure how many washes it would have before fully disintegrating.

Anyway, here are my inspirations:

First, the In Stillness Mini. Such a lovely sweater- I love the simplicity of the broken rib and the stockinette. I think I’d like a different shoulder, and maybe a longer section of yoke.

And this adorable little sweater (Harry by Liudmyla Babintseva). I really like the vibe of this one, but I’m not feeling the fancy ribbing/cables right now, especially if I intend to felt this up down the line. I’d hate to do all that work and lose it by sending it through the wash. I love a Henley collar for kids’ sweaters. They look so fancy, and are great for fitting over gigantic melon heads.

So here’s my plan: I’m going to make a crew-neck/Henley sweater with set-in sleeves and a yoke of broken rib that goes just past the armpits. I want to make it as a top-down sweater so that I can use every last inch of my yarn (I’m about 90% sure that I have enough, but it’s going to be tight either way). I think I’m going to reach for my favorite Ann Budd pattern book since my kid is finally big enough to qualify for the kids’ sizes, and because I’m a basic b who pretty much just makes the same sweater over and over again.

What’s your favorite thing to knit for the kids in your life?

Off My Needles

I did it! Finally! I honestly didn’t know if it was going to happen.

I finally finished my socks.

That’s right. They’re done. I’ve Kitchener-ed the toes and woven in the tails. True, I haven’t blocked them yet, but frankly, I may never do that. We’ll see. They’re still wearable as-is.

I really like how they turned out, and I enjoyed dipping my toes back in the sock-water (ha!). It’s been nice to go back to my roots. I didn’t start knitting with socks, of course, but they were my first real love. I went on a tear for several years, basically knitting nothing but socks. Now, all my socks from those days are worn out and holey. Maybe it’s time to get back on that sock horse. (If that’s a thing.)

What was your first knitting love? Do you ever go back?