Archive for the 'knitting & crochet' Category

uh oh

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

I live an hour away from Rhinebeck, home of the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, but for five years I’ve managed to stay away. Until this year.

I was afraid that what happened would happen. And it happened. I bought yarn. Mucho yarn.

Rhinebeck yarn haul

Somehow in these pictures it manages to look like not too much yarn, and I am grateful to my camera for that, but it’s enough to knit a sweater, a cowl, a pair of socks and some sort of lacey shawley something. (I swear, if you’d touched that lace weight angora/silk mix it would be at your house right now, and you probably aren’t even a knitter.)

So let’s ignore the fact that I already had plenty of yarn, and instead focus on the pretty, pretty colors…

Rhinebeck yarn haul

a tale of two sweaters

Friday, May 25th, 2012

My cousin had a baby and I thought that was the perfect excuse to knit the February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

By the time I got started, this new little person was heading into her fifth month. After casting on and knitting a few rows I thought, “This is going to be wayyyy too tiny”, and ripped it out. I did some major (for me) math and figured out a whole new stitch gauge and ended up with this:

baby sweaters

baby sweaters

Very cute. But the more I looked at it, the more it started to look BIG.

Then, and only then, did it dawn on me that my friend google could probably give me some information on what size babies’ chests are. Turns out I’d knit a sweater for a toddler.

I really didn’t want to mail a gift that couldn’t be worn for a year. So I ordered another ball of yarn and set about making the sweater in the original size:

baby sweaters

Also very cute. But frighteningly tiny. (I wish I’d photographed it next to my hand for a sense of scale.)

Feeling more and more like Goldilocks looking for the sweater that is “just right” I decided to nip the thing in the bud before it got out of hand and get both them sweaters down to the post office asap.

baby sweaters

According to the thank you email, I squeaked in by a hair — wee Stella is still able to fit into the little sweater, and there’s the big one to look forward to.

This experience has taught me that it’s helpful to have a baby in front of you as evidence of how teenincy a brand new person truly is. Cats cannot be substituted.


Friday, March 16th, 2012

I’ve been knitting a wee baby thing for a new person in the family.


Noola is showing tremendous restraint, refraining from playing with the yummy-looking pointy sticks and the green string with the lumpy thing attached. She’s even abstaining from attacking my chair cover — that irresistible, delicious sheepskin that usually drives her wild with desire with its sheepyness.


It looks like she might be plotting… Maybe she’s saving up her ferocious attack for when I leave the room.

sock madness

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I have a confession. I am a sock knitter.

I’m not sure what happened. I was going along, knitting a little here and there, reading blogs about how fabulous hand-knit socks are and ignoring the hype… and then I knit a sock.

It started innocently enough; I made M some slipper socks for Christmas. The problem is they were easy to make and they came out looking like a pair. AND they were well received. Next thing I knew I was trolling through Ravelry‘s sock patterns, and digging out some lilac-colored alpaca from my stash. It still seemed like a manageable experiment. I can stop at any time, I told myself as I plowed through the Kalajoki socks. No problem.

Kalajoki socks

No problem until I put them on and wouldn’t take them off for longer than I care to admit. They felt soooo good. Turns out all them sock knitters weren’t kidding about how comfy-fabby-warm hand-knit socks are.

M’s birthday was in February and I used the celebration as an excuse to knit him some socks. And, tellingly, to buy more sock yarn than needed.

M's birthday socks

By then I’d read a blog post about 12 sweaters knit in 12 months, and had seen that The Yarn Harlot knits a pair of socks per month, on top of her other projects. I just knit 3 pairs of socks in 3 months, I thought. I could totally knit 12 pairs in a year!

So March found me knitting my own pair of stripey socks with the leftover birthday yarn + some old green stash yarn. I’m just using up leftovers, I told myself, still in denial.

my March socks

But then came April. And books about sock knitting were openly checked out of the library. And I shamelessly knit myself a big chunky pair of welly socks, telling myself that if next winter is anything like the one we’ve just escaped then I’ll be needing lots of socks. Thick socks. Long socks…

April socks

I’m in trouble, friends. We’re a third of the way through the year and the rash shows no sign of abating.


Friday, December 31st, 2010

I’m in love.


Warm. Robust. Manly. The balaclava is the ultimate masculine accessory. I’ve written about my balaclava feelings before, and turning to this page in Knitting America I was felled again.

Not only is the balaclava a nifty fashion accessory, but the word itself is irresistibly beguiling. Say it over and over and you too will fall into its thrall.

In a recent conversation with a-friend-who-shall-remain-nameless I had the pleasure of higher than average “balaclava” word usage. She called me from her cell phone, which she had strapped to her head with a balaclava. Further illustration of the balaclava’s flexibility and usefulness, leading to a deeply-satisfying, “balaclava”-laden conversation.

week of giving thanks

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. This morning I said goodbye to the last member of my holiday visiting family and drove home from the train station in the rain, feeling suitably glum and wintery.

Some houses still have pumpkins on their stoops, but this was obviously the weekend for getting out holiday decorations – lots of glowing icicles hanging from eaves, and May-pole shaped ‘trees’ made of Christmas lights strands. Some blow-up snowman snow globes of which I will not speak another word.

My decorations are on my radar but not up yet. And the idea of getting a tree was collectively nixed the minute the word “kitten” was mentioned. I need some time to come up with a solution to that energetic, furry problem.

On Thanksgiving day we went up to Sam’s Point and walked in the fog,

and were given the gift of blue sky when we reached the lake at the top of the ridge.

There was fog dew on everything.

We came home and ate turkey and then leftovers, leftovers, leftovers for days.

On Saturday we visited the fairytale Mohonk Mountain House for lunch (and a menu change).

We got lost, briefly, in the garden maze but managed to find our way home.

It was a real vacation. We watched movies, played with cats large and small, and talked and laughed a ton. So good. It felt both long and short – how the best days always feel. I am grateful.

o canada

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I’m heading out to spend a few days with family in Canada. I was packing yarn for a light-weight travel knitting project and first I thought, “Two balls will be plenty.” But then I remembered that terrible time when I was stranded in an airport hotel in Amsterdam for 24 hours, and I packed all four just in case. You never know, and you can never have too much comfort yarn.

Back next week!

crochet coral reef

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

On Sunday I went to the Winter Garden for the opening of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. The project marries craft and mathematics, and brings attention to the ocean’s endangered coral reefs.

The pieces are every shape imaginable, and made from everything from wool to trash.

I got to meet Helle, who has flown in from Australia. Her Rubbish Vortex is hanging in the middle of this snapshot…

It’s made entirely from plastic bags of every color, sent to her from all over the world. I find the piece particularly moving; the real trash vortex in the pacific is large enough to be compared to a land mass and makes this planet seem very small and vulnerable.

little birds

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

There are daffodils blooming at the end of our street and birds keep showing up in my knitting. These guys in the center back of my cardigan…

…and this one on the lower left front.

They make me think of a song by The Be Good Tanyas with the lyric the littlest birds have the prettiest songs. They make me happy. It’s spring.

the giant knitting obsession

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Once upon a time I was knitting a sweater, and then I had a disappointment, and finally I came to realize that this whole knitting in two colors in the round from the top was completely insane and probably impossible and I should stop. Just walk away from the pointy sticks. No more knitting stupid impossible sweaters.

But then during the plague I couldn’t help myself; a washcloth was not enough, I needed a KNITTING PROJECT. So I frogged the aborted sweater and started over.

This time it’s in manageable pieces, and I have a pattern to follow (Debbie Bliss’s fair isle cardigan in Vogue Knitting Holiday 2007). I am knitting in a different gauge but despite the reawakened frenzy I tried really hard not to just start. I did some calculations and it seems like the stitch count for the small size will turn out my size if knit at this gauge. (Please don’t quote me if I come back in tears.) Of course I’m still insisting on using the flower pattern instead of what the the designer suggested. I cannot follow a pattern to the letter. It’s a disease.

By the time I was well I had knit the right front, and I’m almost done with the back now.

The monster knitting obsession is back.