The summer has flown by, and fall is here. It’s been gorgeous weather, and I’m savoring every minute of it.

I was out taking a photo of my latest shawl (Light and Up), and couldn’t resist a few photos of the flowers still in bloom.







Light and Up Shawl

Light and Up Shawl


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Make a Wish (bone)

Ever since I first read Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac, I’ve wanted to make the “Hurry-Up Last Minute Sweater”, AKA the “Wishbone Sweater“. At first it was because I hadn’t knit many sweaters, and the idea of one that didn’t take a long time to make was appealing. Then as I made more of EZ’s patterns, I came to appreciate her genius and unique approach to pattern designs.

Eventually I set aside the idea. I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear such a bulky sweater, thinking it would be hot and heavy. I hadn’t seen many pictures of finished projects, and wasn’t even sure it would be flattering on me. I thought it might be better suited for men, with their broader shoulders.

But I finally did make a few bulky sweaters, and they weren’t nearly as hot as I thought they’d be. When Garnstudio came out with some new DROPS aran– and bulky-weight “blown” yarns that are lighter in weight than conventional yarn of the same thickness, I thought they might be nice to try out. They’re mostly alpaca, with a bit of merino and nylon. I don’t normally like to wear alpaca, because I find it rather prickly. But for some reason, I don’t have that problem with the DROPS yarn – it just feels nice and soft. When all of their alpaca yarn went on sale last month for 35% off, I decided to buy some and try it out.

I purchased some of the super-bulky (Cloud) as well as aran-weight (Air), planning to use the Cloud for this sweater, as it is listed as the correct gauge. But after doing some swatching and looking at another project I wanted to make, I decided to use the Cloud for the second project. Fortunately, using Air doubled gave me the same gauge as Cloud, so I was good to go.

And the result? I love it. I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to making this pattern, but maybe it was just waiting for the right yarn. It’s soft, drapy, and cozy – the kind of sweater you can just live in. I love the wishbone yoke, and find it much more flattering on me than raglans, despite the similarity of the diagonal lines. Of course, the week I finished it we were having record-breaking heat, near 100. I’m sad that I won’t be able to wear it for months.

Hurry-Up Last Minute

While making the sweater, I re-discovered the genius of EZ. Aside from the wishbone shaping of the yoke, there are decreases at the shoulders that provide a more natural shoulder shape than you get with traditional raglan shaping. You can see the shoulders in the photo below. That’s not due to any blocking, it’s just the way the decreases make the shape.

Wishbone shaping

EZ said not to try to knit the sweater at a smaller gauge, because it doesn’t work, but only mentions stitch gauge and not row gauge. But row gauge is also critical in order to have the diagonal lines meet at the throat in the right amount of decreases. I estimated that it needs to be about 16 rows over 4″ (4 rows per inch). If you have fewer rows per inch, the yoke may be too tall by the time lines meet, and if you have more, the lines will meet too soon. But you can also do the decreases a little more quickly or slowly to make up for differences. Having too deep a yoke seemed to be more common a problem than not deep enough, maybe because some people were using such large needles, which would give them fewer rows per inch. If you need needles larger than 11 to get stitch gauge, consider that carefully.

Want more inspiration? Cheryl Oberle made a darling tunic version of it.

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A flurry of fleece

I’ve been a very bad blogger, and it’s been a long time since I posted anything about knitting.

So let’s catch up, shall we?

First there’s Mailin, made from some lovely, squishy merino. The cowl neck is optional, and I probably wouldn’t normally have made it, but I had plenty of yarn and it’s so soft that it’s delightful around the neck. I’d like to make this pattern again with the scoop neck option, and maybe even a short-sleeved version.


Then there’s the Holey Square, which was made out of 100% silk. The pattern called for linen, but I think this made a nice substitute:

Holey Square

Next is Milana, a lovely design that I fell in love with when I first saw it. The cables don’t show up quite as well in the tweedy, slubby yarn as I’d like, but I’m still very happy with it.


Then there’s Ms. Moneybags, a totally impulsive knit. The little bunny pattern was so adorable I had to make it. Unfortunately my gauge was off and I had to full it to fit the frame, which makes the pattern a little blurry, but I don’t think my hands could have taken knitting it on smaller needles than I was using (US 0/2mm). I’m not sure what I’ll use it for, but it was fun to make.

Ms. Moneybags

That gets us caught up to this month. I have two more projects just off the needles coming up next.

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Triple-stranded yarn trick

I stumbled upon this tip for triple-stranding a single ball yarn for knitting. I haven’t ever needed to do that, but it seems like a good trick to keep in mind so I thought I’d share it here.

Spinners will recognize this as a chain ply, but since I don’t spin, it’s new to me.



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Make Do, Reuse, Recycle

For years, we’ve had this old lounge chair sitting in the back of the garage. It came with the house, so it’s at least 20 years old. The metal frame is in good condition, but the vinyl straps are broken. I kept it around with the vague idea of restrapping it – but when I finally got around to looking into it, I discovered that it’s a really difficult job, especially with the type of frame we have. And it certainly wouldn’t be cost-effective to take it anywhere to have it done. But I hated the idea of throwing it out, since the frame is much better than most of what you can buy today.


Then I had the bright idea to put wood slats on it. (Well, to have DH do it.) I have a cushion for it, so it wouldn’t really matter if it looked a little odd, as long as it was functional. And if it was a failure, it could just go out with the annual neighborhood cleanup next month. He had some scrap cedar fencing in the garage, so tried attaching a couple of pieces to see how it worked.


Not bad! So he picked up a couple more pieces of wood, and ta-da!


We have a fully functional lounge chair! And it’s already gotten a good bit of use in the past few days. Quirky, yes, but it goes with the house.

The other yard project I worked on today was the periodic painting of the metal chairs. These chairs are even older than the lounge chair – close to 30 years old. Every 2 or 3 years when they start showing some rust spots, I spray them with a new coat of paint and they’re good to go.


I’d hate to think how many coats of paint these chairs have on them after all these years, but they’ve certainly earned their keep.

Now we’re all set to enjoy the beautiful warm days.



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Orchids Ahoy

Life has been hectic and, uh, “interesting” lately. I feel like I’m running on empty, but my windowsill orchids are doing their best to add a bit of brightness. I was watering them today, and it gave me a moment to stop and enjoy a little bit of pretty.


They’re mostly grocery-store orchids that I’ve had for several years, and they re-bloom pretty reliably, without much fuss or attention.


Outdoors, the daffodils, early tulips, and other early spring bulbs are putting on a good show, so there’s some brightness to be found both indoors and out.




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February is for…

Inversion. Blech.

It’s been gray and dismal outside with our inversion and smog, but at least I’ve had more bright colors to play with.

crocheted birds

I had a burning desire to work up some of these colorful little birdies. They keep making me smile when I look at them. Especially with their little button eyes.

crocheted birds closeup




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Chasing Away the Winter Doldrums

I needed something bright and cheery to chase away the Winter blues, especially when my main knitting projects are not exactly colorful.

Some quick and colorful coasters to the rescue!

Grandma’s Knickknacks Coasters

They even make the snow seem cheery! I used mostly Lily Sugar n Cream cotton, but also some Lion Brand cotton. It’s a great way to use up assorted scraps of yarn.

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Stash busting and organizing

A couple of years ago, I decided that I really needed to rein in my stash and pare it down. Since then, I’ve tried to knit mostly from my stash. Lately I’ve been choosing a yarn, and then figuring out what I can do with it.

Occasionally there’s a particular pattern I want to make, and have to see if there’s something in my stash to suit it – which worked well for me when I made the “Bird and Vine” mitts, since the Jamieson & Smith I had was perfect for it.

I do occasionally buy yarn, but I’ve been trying not to do that unless there’s a specific pattern I really want to make right away and I don’t have suitable yarn for it. (Then it doesn’t actually go into my stash, so I figure it doesn’t count, right?) I was recently on the verge of buying some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter for a sweater, but decided to hold off – I don’t really have the right pattern in mind for it yet.

Between knitting from my stash and giving away a bunch of yarn that I would probably never use, I’m definitely making headway!

I keep my yarn in large plastic stacking drawer-type bins. I went through the bins the other day to reorganize and consolidate them – managing to go down from 10 bins to 7. Although that doesn’t include the boxes of remnants I have stored in the basement, it does include a lot of worsted- and fingering-weight wool yarns that aren’t really enough to do much with individually – but will be great for stranded knitting projects. Those take up a bin by themselves. So that means it’s really only 6 bins of stash yarn, right? My goal is to get down to 5 (not including leftovers/remnants/samples), and keep it at no more than that.

I have a nice little cubby space that is perfect for 4 bins. (I have no idea what it was originally used for – maybe a TV and/or stereo equipment?) I was sad that it’s about 2″ too short to allow for 6 bins, but it occurred to me that I had a large unused under-bed storage bag that could go on top of it, and should hold a bin’s worth of yarn:

Storage Bins

The cubby is off the floor, and gets some light, but no direct sunlight, and it’s in an area that could become a nice craft space. I think this will be much better than the guest room closet that they were in before – less likely to be attractive to any beetles or moths than a dark, undisturbed area. Now my goal is to get my stash down to only what fits in this space, and keep it at no more than that.

While going through the yarn, I ran across a few things that I didn’t know/remember that I had, including this cone of laceweight linen, that’s sort of a silver-gray-green:

Linen yarn

I don’t remember buying it at all, when I bought it, or what I had in mind. The only thing I can think of is that I might have wanted to use it for the Holey Square Shawl, which I’m currently making in silk. Oops.

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On the needles

So after all of the finished work, what’s on the needles now?

Some very unflattering pictures of my work in progress:

Holey Square, in gold-colored silk, which looks a bit ragged now, but hopefully will look MUCH better when finished and blocked.

Holey Square

And a top-down raglan sweater, Mailin. Although top-down raglans aren’t generally my favorite, I do like the way Isabell Kraemer adds back neck shaping and modified raglan increases. And there’s something to be said for being able to bang out a sweater quickly. This pattern has an option for either a scoop neck or a cowl neck. I’m leaning towards the cowl neck, but I’ll decide when I get there (the neckline is worked last).


Well, that was a pretty beige-looking post, wasn’t it? I think we need more color next time. I have something in mind.

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