the danny kaye throw pillow cover

As decorating luck would have it, the summery, beachy striped throw pillows I chose to go with our new couch when we first moved to Seaside last January do not in any way go with the way I actually decorated our home. We're more bohemian than coastal, more comfortable than cute, and our colors are deeper and richer than the popular whitewashed look we see so much of.

I ended up draping throws and kantha quilts over the white couch, but those dumb striped throw pillows were just sitting here mocking my snappy decision making skills. The size and firmness of the pillows is perfect, so I didn't really want to replace them. Covering them was the obvious solution, but I hate to sew, even though I love my great grandmother's black iron Singer in its curved wooden case. It works, but I avoid using it as much as possible, which is most of the time. The solution, of course, was to knit new covers.

Our house is starting to look like a herd of creative spiders got loose in here and …

when beads come out of hiding

I used to make lampwork beads. You might already know that. I played with fire and molten glass for 16 years, until the economy and my super powers both seemed to fail me at the same time. Whatever the reasons, I lost that loving feeling, sold my torch, and moved on.

I do still have a bit of a bead stash though, and the other day I looked at my box of tiny spacers, and thought, Hey, you guys wanna be stitch markers? You should have heard them hollering yes.

I went digging for wire, pliers, cutters, a hammer, and my tiny torch that's better suited for making a creme brulee than jewelry. I made some headpins, added beads, shaped and hammered the loops, and before long, those long-ignored beads transformed into beautiful, functional knitting accessories. I love the segue, though long awaited, from beadmaking to knitting. Now there's a connection I hadn't seen before.

I sold all of these very quickly. Not surprisingly, they all went to people who used to buy my beads regularly…

fear of thumbs

I've been knitting fingerless gloves for years. Completely fingerless - as in no little thumb-sleeve either, although I would have liked having the thumbs. Truth is, I was afraid of thumbs, or the making of them in gloves. For some silly reason, I didn't think I could do it. Sheesh. Maybe I should have tried...

Well, a new year is a good time to banish old fears. I finally decided it was time to tackle my thumbophobia, and went in search of an easy pattern, which I quickly found at Hand Made Rukodelky. (Thank you!!!) I printed the pattern, gathered my yarn and needles, and had these beauties finished in just a few hours.

The pattern was so easy to follow, I actually worked on them mostly in public, and at one point, with beer in the mix too. No problem.

The yarn is Noro Kureyon, and all these colors came from just one skein. So much fun. I used a little (9 inch) size 7 circular needle instead of DPNs for the body of the gloves, which for me is a while lot easier than wrangling…

knitting in ethiopia

In November of 2008, Rick and I went to Africa for three weeks, as volunteers for the Hope Bracelet Project, at Project Mercy, in Yetebon, Ethiopia. Our main task was to continue the beadmaking education of the young artisans there. While that in itself was a life changing experience for us, there are other memories that surface for me now, and give new value and meaning to our time there.

One of the fun things our group of volunteers did was to teach the children who lived in the compound how to knit. We brought needles and yarn to share and to leave there, and sat outside in the soft November sunshine, surrounded by eager little boys and girls who sat as close to us as they could get, and did their best to learn through our clumsy, mimed instructions.

A few of the local women also joined us. No one had their own project to work on, and so each of the starter pieces was passed around, so anyone who wanted to knit could take a turn. I had also brought along my own large wool bag proje…

last minute knitted gift-card pouch

You meant to make thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list, but somehow the time just flew by, and now it's officially the Last Minute as far as hand-making goes. Oops! Speaking for myself, I'll start earlier next year, like maybe January. 

To the rescue, these cute little pouches make a nicer-than-store-bought presentation for a gift card, and later magically transform into biz card holders or handy pocket wallets. Depending on your knitting speed, these take roughly an hour to make (for slow-knitting me), so you should have time to whip out a bunch before gifting day arrives.

This is not so much a pattern as a basic guideline to making a little buttoned pouch. Improvise where you need to! Now enough chit chat. Ladies and gentlemen, start your needles!

Knitted Gift Card Pouch

small amount worsted weight yarn (these bags each weight about 1/3 of an ounce, or 8 grams)
size 7 circular needle (8 or 9 inch, or longer for magic loop, or DPNs)
yarn needle and scissors fo…

wavelength scarf

Triangular scarves are often called shawls these days. Some can be worn as either one. The Wavelength Scarf, however, is best worn around the neck, because the center pointy part is kind of shallow. This sweeping, asymmetrical triangle is knitted from one side to the other, with increases at one edge, and decreases at the other. This gives it a gentle curve that wraps nicely and drapes in graceful spirals. (Buy this very scarf right off my neck! Link at the bottom of this post!)

The yarn I used here is a soft cotton/polyamide "ribbon" type yarn, with a fine metallic thread running through it (details below). It has a subtle gleam with no itchiness at all. I really love it.

This scarf is done in garter stitch (you know I like simple knits), in a really easy to remember two-row repeat. Try it! And send me pictures!

Wavelength Scarf
dimensions: wingspan, about 75" x 16" at the off-center point

You'll Need -
yarn: 3 balls Louisa Harding "Mazzo," in Villa D…

snuggly double cowl

As an imperfect vegan, I do my best to knit with non-animal fiber yarns. I'll talk more about that in a future post. For now, I'll just say that sometimes I find myself in a similar situation to my darling husband, Rick, when he becomes "vegan between parties" and plunges face first into the baked brie.

My personal downfall is not cheese. It's yarn. If someone gifts me with a ball of handspun wool, or shares some beautiful cashmere or merino they (unfathomably to me) can't use, I happily adopt it and immediately start thinking about what to make with it. It's "rescue yarn," so it's all OK.

I will also admit to sometimes being "vegan between yarn stores." When I wander into a soft and fluffy fiber shop, my hands wander the shelves, fondling skeins as if they were puppies. I make little cooing sounds. I rub yarn on my neck to see if it's scarf-worthy. And then... I usually buy something. I can't help it.

On a recent trip to …