I sewed something wearable!


In my head, sewing is “quicker” than knitting, because it’s not like you have to make the fabric from scratch! But really…it’s not, at least, not for me. But after a solid month of working a little bit each weekend, I now have a piece of clothing that I made all by myself that’s actually wearable, and I’m pretty darned excited about it!

York Pinafore!

I keep wanting to call this a “jumper”, but that gets confusing because I know that’s what my UK-friends call a sweater. It’s the York Pinafore, from Helen’s Closet, and it’s the first “clothing” item I’ve ever successfully sewn from a pattern! And it has POCKETS!

York Pinafore, side view

I used some Kaufmann herringbone flannel that I’ve had sitting around for quite awhile, because I thought a jumper/pinafore/whatever like this would be really nice as a transitional piece – I can wear it like I’m wearing it today, on a cool but not even close to cold late summer day, but I could also layer wool tights and knee-high socks and boots under it, and layer a cardigan and cowl over it, for winter. And grey is such a useful color for me – it matches basically everything!

York Pinafore

I don’t really know anything about sewing patterns, but to me, this one seemed really well-written, and the only part I was confused by was the instructions for the bias-tape binding. I’ve never done that before, and for some reasons the instructions in the pattern just weren’t clicking for me, but I found a few videos on Youtube and that helped me sort it out. I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

York Pinafore, back view

I’ve always been a fan of overalls, and this jumper has a bit of the feel of wearing overalls, but in dress form. And in fact, once I’m feeling a little more confident about clothes-sewing, I’m hoping to sew myself some Yanta Overalls in a striped linen/cotton blend. I have enough of this same flannel, but in a dark blue herringbone, to make another one of these pinafores, so I think I’ll do that first before I try to tackle a new pattern!

York Pinafore!

I definitely still have so much to learn about sewing garments…it’s a whole different world from knitting and I just don’t really have many skills yet. But now that I have a sewing machine that isn’t constantly fighting me, I feel like I’m ready to learn, and I’m excited to sew myself more clothes, even if it takes me just as long to sew a pinafore as it does for me to knit a sweater. Slow is fine. There’s no rush.

So much of everything


We’re now two weeks into fall semester at my university, and so far, online teaching is going well. I think I’m pretty good at it, and I’m really enjoying the sense of camaraderie amongst the students in all 3 of my classes, just figuring out how to be good to each other in these strange times we’ve found ourselves in. Online teaching is also orders of magnitude more exhausting for me than teaching in person is (some of this is just due to unfamiliarity, but I do think that the cognitive demands of synchronous online teaching are beyond those of in-person teaching, period). But one thing that’s even easier when teaching online than when teaching in person is to sneak in a few rows on a knitting project while the students are in breakout rooms doing small-group discussion.

Getting started on Musselburgh

And that’s why I cast on, at the start of the semester, for a Musselburgh hat for M, in her beloved red color; I figured once I got past the increases at the start, I’d have smooth sailing ahead of me, just round and round in plain stockinette stitch. When my brain is overtired, that’s exactly what I need!

Progress on Musselburgh and Ravelston

I’ve made good progress on the hat, and also on the Ravelston pullover; I’m nearly finished with the first sleeve!

Isn't that a lovely sleeve cap?
Isn’t that a lovely sleeve cap?

I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to start the second one; the sleeve cap *does* demand quite a bit of attention, and so does…pretty much everything else in life right now. My daughter’s going to be doing school fully remotely, and that starts next week. Unfortunately, the message we got from her soon-to-be teacher contained…basically no information about what to expect, and also didn’t contain any of the links it purported to, and there’ve been no responses to the parents’ requests for a corrected email. I’m trying my hardest to maintain grace for the teacher, who is surely working under difficult circumstances just like I am, but I’m also panicking about what my daughter and her classmates’ experience is going to be like, if this is how it is starting. We don’t even know when the “meet the teacher” Zoom is on Tuesday…and it’s a holiday weekend, so we’re not likely to find anything out until Tuesday morning at the earliest. Or maybe we just won’t meet the teacher at all? Deep breaths.

I’m already really, really exhausted just from teaching my 3 classes online for 2 weeks, so I’m quite nervous about what it’s going to look like once I add “helping my daughter manage her remote learning” to the mix, especially if it’s going to be this disorganized. What’s it going to feel like when we’re truly in it? We’ll find out soon, I suppose.

Adding to all of this: my city has currently joined the ranks of cities in which the police department has effectively declared war on its citizens, this time in relation to protests over the death of Daniel Prude, a black man having a mental health crisis, back in March, at the hands of the police officers who had been called to help him. Yes, you read that right: back in MARCH. This was covered up and hidden until last week, when Prude’s family released video, and as a result, there have been protests each night in the city. Last night, as I was falling asleep, I thought I heard rumbling…and then I woke this morning to stories from my friends from First Unitarian Church, of being kettled, flash-banged, teargassed, and pepperballed by the RPD at last night’s protests. Timing suggests that the rumbles I was hearing were those flashbangs being deployed against the overwhelmingly peaceful protestors, including my friends, who thankfully all eventually made it home safely. A big part of me wants to be at the protests with my friends; I also know that while pepper spray and teargas are not safe for anyone, there is a whole extra layer of risk if you’re someone whose lungs are already damaged, like mine are. So I contribute with donations, and with spreading the word, because that’s what I can best do right now.

It doesn’t actually surprise me that the RPD is following the same script as police departments in other parts of the country, but it does strike me. It’s not like they’re unaware of what this looks like, it’s not like they don’t know we’re watching…so the fact that they brazenly attack overwhelmingly peaceful protestors suggests to me that the RPD believes it can behave with impunity. And given our current system…they have every reason to believe that. And that’s exactly why we need these protests.

One more knitting project update before I end this post, which is likely as jumbled as my mind currently feels. I’ve made it to the body portion of the Water Bearer cardigan!

Progress on Water Bearer

This project is probably NOT the best one to knit while my mind is so scattered; I tried working on it during a recent faculty senate Zoom meeting and, well, let’s just say I ended up learning a lot about how to rip and reknit brioche. Slowly but surely, though, I’ve made it through the point where you join everything up at the underarms, and I think I’ve pretty well internalized the brioche pattern, too…so hopefully I’ll have fewer bumps along the way as I continue on this project.

Progress on Water Bearer

So anyway, that’s where I am: dividing my time between three knitting projects depending on how overwhelmed my brain is, teaching 3 online classes and trying to support my students for whom this is all so new, trying to figure out what on earth my child’s learning is going to look like this year, and trying to figure out how I can best be of service during these difficult times in my city.

Isn’t it good, Norwegian WOOL


Right now I have not one, but TWO projects on the needles using wool from the Norwegian mill, Hillesvåg: one is in the fingering-weight Sølje, and the other in the DK-weight Tinde. Longtime readers of my blog will know my love for “wooly” yarns; I’ve got nothing against the super smooth soft yarns, but my heart goes to the yarns with a bit of toothiness, and these Hillesvåg yarns definitely fit that bill!

Ravelston progress.

The first of these projects has already been shown on the blog: it’s a Ravelston pullover, in Sølje in the color “Lys dongeriblå”. I’m almost finished with the left front, and so far, the fit is perfect.

Getting silly with Ravelston

I even purled a row while trying it on, because why not?

The second project is Jacqueline Cieslak’s “Water Bearer” cardigan, which I’m knitting in Tinde in “Turkis”.

Water Bearer Cardigan in progress

What I love about the Hillesvåg yarns, which are made from Norwegian Pelsull, is the way that the colors just GLOW. I don’t think the camera does them justice. Between the luster of the fiber itself, and the fact that the fiber being overdyed is grey rather than white, the end result is a luminous, almost color-shifting quality in natural light.

Beginning of Water Bearer

It’s just gorgeous! The construction of Water Bearer is really interesting; it starts with the back of that gorgeous brioche-stitch shawl collar, and then the back shoulder stitches are cast on from there.

Trying on two in-progress sweaters at once.

It’s been great to get back to brioche, which I kind of fell in love with last summer while making the Paris’s Brioche Scarf! I think this is going to be a beautiful cardigan.


Apparently I can’t help myself when it comes to brioche – I have to take a picture using it as a “brioche-stash” :)

The start of Fall semester is only 1.5 weeks away, and I’ve still got quite a bit to do get my classes ready for online teaching…and then to figure out how to balance that with my daughter’s remote-learning, too, once that starts. I don’t know what to expect in terms of knitting progress…there’s definitely a lot less time, but I *need* to keep my hands busy more and can do so on the parts that are more “mindless” even while taking part in meetings, so maybe it’ll all even out. In any case, whenever I get a chance to knit, I’ll be enjoying the feeling of this delightfully wooly, luminous Norwegian Wool.

Caesura V is finished!


I finished knitting my heavily-modified Caesura V tank this weekend!

Caesura V is finished!

Here are the details!

Pattern: Caesura V, from Åsa Tricosa
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, just about exactly 3 skeins
Gauge (different from pattern): 6sts/9rows per inch on size 5 needles
Time to knit: 2 weeks

By the way, if the formatting on that set of details looks different that usual: I’m still not used to this new “blocks” system that WordPress is using now; at heart, I’m a “write the post in html” sort of person, and GUIs tend not to suit the way my brain thinks. But I’m trying to figure it out!

I’m also no longer going to be linking to my Ravelry page in these posts; I’m still able to use the site in Classic Mode, but do not want to assume that anyone clicking the link can safely use the site in either mode. I’m deeply saddened and frustrated by how everything has played out in relation to Ravelry over these last couple of months. I was quite hurt by the gaslighting statements in communications from the Rav team that ended up going viral last week. It was only a couple of years ago that the (now-former) president of my own university was trying to brand my colleagues and I as liars using the same sort of “consider your sources” framing that Cassidy used, and it brought up those same familiar feelings of disorientation, betrayal, and rage. But this time, it was coming from a member of a team I had thought of as friends. And perhaps some of them were, at some point in the past? But that is gone now, and it was probably naive of me to still be thinking of Ravelry as anything other than a business. That’s how I’m thinking of it now: as a site I use because it’s useful to me, much in the same way as Facebook or Twitter serve a useful purpose in my life without me having any illusions that Zuckerberg or Dorsey are part of “my community”. Whether the site will continue to be useful to me depends on how well they address the accessibility issues at the heart of this, so I’ve also downloaded all of the PDFs in my pattern library and am thinking about how best to use my blog to keep track of the kinds of things I’ve long relied on Ravelry to do. I haven’t really thought through what it means for my designs; I’ve not published any patterns in quite a while and though I keep thinking I should dip my toes back into those waters, I’m not sure I have it in me.

While I wish Cassidy well in terms of her mental health needs, I’m also really bothered by the way that white women in particular lean on “mental health” as a way of excusing problematic behavior. I mean, I also struggle with anxiety and depression and PTSD, and I do understand how much it can warp your sense of reality and make you lash out in unproductive ways, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to own your actions and work to repair the damage you’ve done, and if you destroy people’s trust in the process, well, it’s going to take time and effort to get it back. The people you hurt are allowed to have feelings, too, and are also deserving of care.

Anyway, enough about that – let’s talk about the tank! I’m really quite thrilled with how it ended up after all of the modifications I made. Let me walk you through those!

Caesura V is finished!

First, gauge. I was wanting to do something with this Silky Wool that I’ve had in my stash for well over a decade, and since it lists itself as a “DK-weight”, I thought I’d try this DK-weight pattern from Åsa Tricosa, whose “Ziggurat” technique for top-down knitting is fascinating to me! But alas, there was no way to get 20 stitches over 4 inches in Silky Wool while maintaining a fabric that wasn’t completely see-through. What I ended up with was 24 stitches over 4 inches, instead. I also had a different row gauge, which meant I needed to adapt things like the armhole depth. But it all worked out!

Caesura V (heavily modified) side view

Next, the side “seams”. This is a seamless knit, and the pattern calls for a wedge of reverse stockinette opening up from the base of that neat twisted rib triangle on each side. But I didn’t particularly like the look of that, so the first thing I tried was to just keep the one twisted knit stitch with a purl on either side running down, but that didn’t look that nice, either. What I finally ended up doing was turning the center twisted knit stitch into a two stitch twist, and kept a purl stitch on either side of it, all the way down to where I split the hem. The pattern has a vent in the back, but I’ve always liked side vents, and for this one, I created a 1×1 twisted rib triangle on either side to mirror the ones at the back neck and the underarm, and then made the back a bit longer than the front before starting the 1×1 twisted rib for the bottom hem. Here’s a more detailed picture:

Closeup of hem split

Finally, the back. The pattern has A-line shaping, but my own shape made me want a slightly different fit. I’m not a very “curvy” person, but what curves I have are much more strongly pronounced on my back than my front – I both have more of a waist curve in back, and I also have a slight swayback, so I wanted to adapt the A-line shaping to be a bit more “back-hugging” than tent-like in the back. What I ended up doing was to add two columns of 2-stitch twists, with a purl stitch on either side of each, and then did a few quick decreases to pull the back in. After that, I just did a decrease on the outside of each twist every time I did an increase at the side seams, so the back didn’t grow to be as wide as the front. Towards the bottom, I did a few increases on the *insides* of each twist, to widen the back panel a little over the bum.

Caesura V (heavily modified) back view

I’m really happy with how all of these modifications worked out, and I love the tank so much that I wish I had Silky Wool in more colors! But of course, I’m trying to knit down my stash, so should probably NOT acquire any more Silky Wool until I’m able to knit down or otherwise offload some of the yarn I currently have. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of projects already in the queue.

Caesura V is finished and I love it!

If I look a little tired in these pictures, it’s because trying to prep 3 classes to teach them online, while also being a parent, during a pandemic that is being horrifically mismanaged by your nation’s government, is really freaking exhausting. Fall semester starts in just 3 weeks, though, so I’d best get back to work instead of continuing to ramble here on the blog. I hope all are staying safe and well.

What I’ve been up to


Since finishing my daughter’s green vest, I’ve been working on a few projects, and I’m currently waiting for a lesson I recorded to upload to Panopto, so what better time to update the knitting blog?

Makin' more masks.

Of course, one of the projects I’ve been up to hasn’t been knitting-related at all – I’ve made us some more masks! This pandemic doesn’t seem like it’s going to end any time soon, so I wanted us to each have a few more masks so that we’re not needing to do laundry quite so often. My daughter in particular needed enough to get through 5 straight days of mask-wearing, because she’s now attending a day camp at the science museum and is wearing a mask 100% of the time other than during lunch. (I’m *quite* nervous about this, as it’s the highest risk thing we’ve done since this whole thing started, but they have very good safety policies and COVID rates are pretty low in our county, and M was desperate to do something outside of our house and it’s definitely easier to get work done without her here…but still, it’s nervewracking, and I hope we stay safe.)

I’ve also been working on a Ravelston sweater for myself. When I saw the pattern, I fell madly in love with the almost luminescent blue-grey color worn by one of the models, and when I was given a gift certificate as a “thank you” for sharing my post about being bi on Ysolda’s website, I picked up enough of that exact yarn to make a Ravelston of my own.

Future Ravelston

I’m not *quite* following the pattern, though, because I decided that I wanted 1×1 rib, but wanted a split hem, too, so I sort of combined the two bottom-hem options.

My next sweater: a Ravelston in Hillesvåg Sølje

I’m really enjoying knitting with the Hillesvåg Sølje; it’s pleasantly wooly and I feel like the color just glows!

Ravelston Progress

I’m now just starting the waist increases. I’m most excited about the prospect of knitting the sleeves, because I know that Ysolda has a special technique for knitting short-row sleeve caps for top-down sleeves, and I’m excited to learn it (and then maybe apply it to some of my own design ideas!). And I think this sweater will be a lovely addition to my wardrobe.

I love this grey-blue color.

My other knit project hasn’t been so successful. I’ve had this Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in my stash for…gosh, something like a dozen years? And I thought it might be nice as a summer top. I really enjoy the top-down patterns from Åsa Tricosa, so decided I’d knit up a Caesura V. The first problem, though, is that while Silky Wool is listed as a DK-weight yarn, in my hands, it behaves much more like a light sport weight, so getting 20sts/in was just not going to happen without creating a fabric that was WAY more open and loosey-goosey than I like. Ok, no problem, I can do math! My gauge was more like 24sts/in, which meant I’d need to knit a few sizes up. So that’s what I did.

Need to rip and reknit this one after doing better gauge math!

But what I forgot (in fairness, my brain is super scattered right now!) is that it’s not just *stitch* gauge that matters – it’s also row gauge. And while the stitch counts in the larger size give me an appropriate width for the tank, the armholes end up too short, because they’re not proportionately that much deeper for the larger size. So I need to rip and reknit after having done the math that will tell me how many rows I need to add to the pattern in the spots where modification is possible. But at least now I have a really solid understanding of how it all goes together (it’s very clever!), so if I can ever muster up the energy to do the math properly, maybe I’ll be able to knit a nice tank top.

So anyway, that’s what I’m up to. Just chipping away at the old stash, while also knitting stuff from newer yarn, and figuring out how to live in the midst of a pandemic that my country is failing miserably at managing.

Masks masks masks

A sparkly green vest for M!


I finished M’s vest yesterday, and she loves it!

Sparkly green vest!

Pattern: from my brain
Yarn: Rowan Soft Lux from over a decade ago in “Gigli”
Needles: Size 7
Time to knit: 9 days :)

The weather right now is brutally hot, but M gamely suited up in a long-sleeved shirt to model her new sparkly green vest outside!

Sparkly Green Vest!

The design is basically the same as the red vest I made for M a few years ago, and the same as the sweater (whose sleeves I still need to reknit) that I made for myself last month. It might become a pattern someday, with a few more tweaks – for example, I think the top of the pocket looks a bit too narrow on this, and would like to try creating a twist or something to tighten up the spot where the split neck comes together. But in any case, she loves it, and especially loves the pocket!

Kangaroo Pocket
Kangaroo Pocket!!

As might be obvious from the photos, we finally got our hair cut yesterday for the first time since February. We’re both much happier not having hair on our necks with the temperatures in the upper 90s!

Sparkly Green Vest (and a new haircut)

This probably won’t get much wear until much later in the year, but she’s happy with it and I’m glad I was able to put some of my deep-stash yarn to good use!

Sparkly Green Vest!

Now to figure out what’s next on the needles…gotta keep these hands busy!

knitting for, and with, my kid!


One exciting thing to witness during this time of being stuck at home together has been my kid’s burgeoning interest in knitting. She’s discovered that she can knit while listening to podcasts, just like mama!

Sitting in her “nook”, knitting while listening to a podcast. My heart!!

And all of that knitting has had some pretty big results – she finished her first project!

She finished her first project!

She turned the “scarf” she started knitting at age 4 into a cowl! There are some…unintended holes and stitch-count changes, but I still think it looks fantastic, and she’s so proud!


For her next project, she decided to cast on for a blanket for her doll, and I taught her how to do 1-ridge stripes in garter stitch.

Her next project: a doll blanket

I really like the design she’s creating, with a big band of the lighter green on either end, and the skinny stripes in the middle:

Her new project: a doll blanket of her own design.

M’s also gotten me to knit for her doll (whose name is “Sparkles”). She’s been begging for me to knit her doll a hat to match the one I made for her, and the other day while cleaning with her, I found the ball of leftovers from her hat. My child is not known for her patience, so within a few minutes, I’d cast on for a top-down, 1×1 rib hat:

Kiddo asked me to make a hat for her doll out of the leftovers from the hat I made for her.

And since it was such a tiny project, within an hour or so, I was able to bind off with i-cord (because I thought that would keep the bottom hem from getting stretched out with repeated wear) and then I was finished!

She has a hat!

Sparkles looks great with their hat whether paired with short hair or long hair!

Doll hat (with long hair)

M said I made her dream come true :)

Happy kiddo with her be-hatted doll.

I haven’t just been knitting for M’s doll – I’ve also been knitting for M! She “inherited” my old desk when we moved into our new house, and in one of the drawers was some Rowan Soft Lux in a sparkly green color. This is DEEP stash – I think I got it something like a dozen years ago? When she saw it, she asked if could use it to make her another one of the garter-yoked, kangaroo-pocketed vests I’ve been making for her, so of course I said YES! I was excited to try out my “knit the i-cord first, then pick up stitches” approach for the neckline cast-on again with a different yarn, and I’m happy to say it worked out great!

Being silly with a knit-in-progress for my kid

(I had a little too much fun taking pictures of the yoke before I joined everything together for the body!)

Being silly with my kid's sweater-in-progress

It’s fitting really well so far!

Looking good so far!

I’ve got a little ways to go before I create the line of purled stitches for the top of the pocket, but I’m really excited to test out the new approach to knitting the bottom hem & pocket that I figured out for my own grown-up, long-sleeve version of this design! She wants to keep hers sleeveless, so we’ll be able to show off both variations.

My favorite kid, trying on her vest-in-progress.

I love my little knitter!!

If it’s not working, fix it.


So, I promised a post about this sweater, but it’s not an FO post. See, after finishing the sweater, and blocking it, I realized that the sleeves just…don’t fit right.

Not quite finished, because the sleeves are too baggy.

They’re not awful, but they’re just a little too big at the underarm, and end up being a little awkwardly loose throughout the sleeve. They kind of “bag out” awkwardly, especially between the underarm and elbow.

awkward elbow bagginess.

I’m pretty sure I know what went wrong. I’d noticed that the last two sweaters I’d knit from patterns had sleeves that ended up pretty snug on my upper arms, and was trying to avoid that in this sweater, too. So when I picked up the held stitches at arm openings, instead of decreasing away the extra stitches I picked up to close the gap, I left them. Which on a sweater with smaller gauge might’ve been fine, but at 4sts/in, I’d added 1.5” to each sleeve circumference at the upper arm. I just wasn’t thinking!

As for the other sweaters with their tight sleeves – I think that for Wardie, my row gauge on the body ended up being a little bit shorter than the row gauge called for in the pattern (by a tiny fraction of a stitch, but that does add up over the many rows involved in knitting the armscye, so I think the arm openings themselves were a bit on the small side, and then (thanks to stress, I think) my stitch gauge also compressed a bit on the sleeves relative to the body. The sleeves ended up snugger than intended, but still quite wearable.

Likewise with Honeydew, though I think the cause there was the kind of gauge compression that I sometimes get when knitting small circumferences in the round; I didn’t notice any gauge change on the sleeves of my kangaroo-pocket sweater, but I think with thinner yarns/smaller needles, I do tend to get a slightly tighter gauge on small-circumferences in the round.

Anyway, neither of those issues was really at play in the kangaroo-pocket sweater; I’d calculated the size of the sleeve opening and it was what I wanted. I just let a bit of paranoia that maybe my upper arms were thicker than I thought (despite measuring) get to me, so thought I should fudge a bit and add some extra stitches. I mean, my upper arms *have* gotten thicker in the last couple of years, just because that’s a thing bodies do, but I hadn’t realized the extent to which I was letting clothing convince me that something was wrong with my body. Nope! I know how to measure, I know how to calculate gauge, and I just need to trust my measurements and my math.

So…I’m going to be ripping out the sleeves. It’s not going to be fun – I already wove in the ends and blocked it, so it’ll be pretty annoying to try to dig out those ends and unravel them. But if the alternative is a sweater I’ll never wear, then obviously I need to do the annoying hard thing so that I can instead have an awesome sweater that I love wearing!

Baggy sleeves - gonna rip and reknit!

Which brings me to a current topic within the knitting community: the redesign of Ravelry.com (I am deliberately not linking to the site for reasons that will be obvious). I have been a Ravelry user since nearly the beginning, and while I was never a big forums user, I absolutely love being able to organize my projects, my stash, and my library of patterns, and to search through all of the patterns, projects, yarns, etc. It is hands-down my favorite place to visit to just scroll through pretty things and do a bit of knitting daydreaming. Until the redesign, that is. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I’m a bit neurodivergent. In particular, I have visual processing/visual attention issues and wonky stereopsis, and am photosensitive. I’m also prone to migraines.

Well. My experience of the redesign was one of immediate pain, visual sensory overload, nausea, and the beginning of a migraine. And sadly, I am not alone in that experience. I’m glad that they eventually made it possible to select the “Classic” view (though even that seems slightly different than it used to), and I’m lucky that it seems to be remembering who I am and not forcing me to log into the new design to re-select “Classic” view, but I know many others are being put in that situation, and are having even stronger harmful reactions to the new design. (As many have pointed out, needing to log in through the new design to access the toggle to switch back to Classic View is like saying “the inside of our store is wheelchair accessible – just go up these stairs to enter!”)

As knitters, we are so familiar with the experience of putting a lot of love and excitement into a project only to find that it isn’t working out the way we wanted it to. And we have a few options, when that happens: we can shove the project away in a drawer and give up on it, we can power through with finishing it and then end up with something that isn’t usable, or we can do the painful thing and rip it out to fix it.

I certainly hope that Ravelry does not take the “shove it in a drawer and give up on it” approach – the site has become absolutely central to the knitting community, and though the Ravelry team itself is still very small, there are many, many people who depend on Ravelry for their livelihood. This does make me wonder about how wise it is to be dependent on tools which you do not control for your livelihood. Ravelry wouldn’t be what it is for anyone, including the people who run it, if it weren’t for how easy they made it to sell your patterns, and to have people find your patterns in the first place; in other words, they wouldn’t be what they are if not for the users, and they wouldn’t have those users if they hadn’t made the site the way they did. There are many designers who wouldn’t have the careers they have if not for the existence of Ravelry. But this has created a set of dependencies that make it so that any change made by the small team at Ravelry has incredibly big ramifications for those who use the site, whether that’s because it’s the source of their livelihood, or a large part of their social world, or simply the place they go to unwind…it is not a trivial thing for any of the folks who use the site to lose access to it, but that’s effectively what has happened as a result of the redesign.

Sadly, though, based on the communications coming from the Ravelry team, it seems that the approach being taken is the “power through with finishing it anyway, and then end up with something that isn’t usable (for a subset of their users)”. And look, I get it – a lot of love and work was poured into the redesign, and I am completely sympathetic to how much it hurts to put in all of that work on something you think is beautiful and then have people tell you it doesn’t work for them. But if you knit a sweater for someone, even if you loved the pattern and put in tons of work to knit it, you wouldn’t force the recipient to wear it if it didn’t fit them, would you? If it actually *hurt* them? No, you wouldn’t – you’d rip it out, and you’d work with them, take their measurements, get their input, and try to create something that actually works.

Accessibility needs to be a central goal of any website that wants to claim to be inclusive. And it is especially important given the central role that Ravelry plays in the livelihoods of so many in the knitting community. I hope that Ravelry will work with web accessibility experts (these people do exist!). And I hope that they will show the same willingness as with knitting to “rip and reknit” as needed until they have a site that does not exclude anyone.

Honeydew is finished!


Thanks to a kind stranger on Ravelry sending me her leftovers of the Oceanwindknits BFL, I was able to make full-length sleeves on my Honeydew, and I’m thrilled with it!

Honeydew is finished! Hooray!

Ravelry Project Page (warning: I’ve reverted to “Classic” view because the new design is painful to the point of being unusable for me; please don’t feel like you need to click on the link to go see my project there if Ravelry isn’t safe for you!)
Pattern: Honeydew, from Laine 8
Yarn: Oceanwindknits BFL in “Seabreeze” and Knitpicks Aloft in “Iceberg”
Needles: Size 4, 6, 7, 8
Time to knit: a couple of months (but with a long break between mostly finishing and actually getting full-length sleeves)

I love the way this icy blue yarns just glow in the sunlight!


I’m still quite charmed with the centered double decrease that’s used to join the front and back the shoulder. It just looks really neat!


As you can tell, even with the extra yarn that was sent to me, I decided not to lengthen the turtleneck (it’s a much longer cowl in the pattern). I just prefer this closer-fitting turtleneck to a drapey cowl, and I think it looks “right” this way.


I should mention that my 8.5 year old daughter was my photographer for these finished sweater photos. She did a great job! She thought we should take some pictures with Frank, our beloved front-yard maple tree (what, you don’t name your trees?). Here, I’m holding Frank’s “nose”:


I’m really happy with the fit; I was a bit worried, prior to blocking, about how snug the drop-sleeves felt, and they still *are* a bit snug, but blocking relaxed the stitches a bit and everything just drapes more nicely now. And the length is perfect!


It was a bit windy outside, but no amount of wind would make it a temperature where a mohair-blend sweater is actually seasonal right now! It’ll be really lovely to wear come winter, though.


Hooray for Honeydew! I also “finished” the kangaroo-pocketed yoked pullover this week, but…well, I’ll save that for another post so that Honeydew can have this one all to itself!


So soft, so pretty!

done with the pocket, on to the sleeves!


So, I didn’t end up working any more on Honeydew, but I did do quite a bit with the sweater of my own design that I’m making with my Jill Draper Makes Stuff Empire mega-skein. In fact, I’ve already finished the pocket AND started the first sleeve!

Sleeve progress

I’m quite pleased with the fit so far!

Showing fit from side

I ended up ripping out the pocket the first time I knit it, because I didn’t the shaping right, and I also came up with a better solution for the “fold-up” part: on my kid’s vests, I really did just fold it up, and then I edged around the ENTIRE pocket (including at the bottom) in i-cord. But that seemed like it was going to end up being unnecessarily bulky, so what I actually did was bind off in i-cord at the point where I wanted the “fold”, and then I picked up stitches from the legs of a stitch on each round of the i-cord, just like I had done to create the collar. It worked beautifully!

Showing off i-cord detail

I was able to knit the edge of the pocket together with the already-knit side flap (I swear this will make sense if I ever actually write this pattern) and created a nice slipped-stitch edge to the pocket that captures the look of an i-cord edge without the bulk. Then, at the top of the pocket, I joined the live stitches of the pocket to the line of purl bumps I’d made on the body using a 2-stitch i-cord bind off (knitting the first stitch together with the picked up purl bump, then ssk’ing the second stitch together with the stitch from the pocket to bind it off). It worked really well!

showing off the pocket top.

You may have noticed that I gave this sweater a fairly shallow yoke – that was intentional, because I wanted it to look good as a high cap-sleeved vest if the sleeves were left off. What this meant was that I needed to do some short-rows to fill in wedge between the sleeve cap and the armpit.

Side view.

They’re really subtle, but they do the job! The sleeve fits great without pulling at the shoulder OR underarm bunching.

sleeve closeup

The underarm is fairly wide (12 stitches at 4sts/in) and I picked up 2 additional stitches on either side to close the gaps and did not decrease them away, so sleeve is deliberately fairly loose. This is because I wanted freedom of motion at the shoulder (I’m a violinist! This is very important to me!) and at an aran gauge like this, for a “sweatshirt”-style sweater, I prefer a looser sleeve.

Back view

The other feature I love, that I can’t remember whether I’ve shared, is that the back bottom hem is a bit longer than the front. I just really like the look of it!

Front view

I’m still not 100% sure if I’ll ever write a pattern for this design, but if I don’t, I’m probably sharing enough details in these posts that a clever knitter could reconstruct a pattern for themselves, ha!

sweater(s) status report


At the end of my last post, I shared a this picture:

a new sweater, and yarn to finish Honeydew.

The yarn I’m holding there is an extra partial skein of the Oceanwindknits BFL sock yarn that a kind person on Ravelry sent to me. See, I’d measured the yarn I had left before starting the sleeves, and it became clear as I was knitting the first sleeve that I would not be able to get full-length sleeves. At first, I thought I’d just make them shorter, and that’s what I did…but I did not like the way they looked as 3/4 length sleeves, and since this is going to be a toasty-warm winter sweater, I also know that I would *hate* having less-than-full-length sleeves in the winter. So I popped onto Ravelry to see if anyone might have some of this yarn, and found someone who had used all but a partial skein from the same “Pas de Valse Kit” yarn that I’d purchased all those years ago, and asked if she’d be willing to part with the leftovers. She was! So thanks to the kindness of a stranger on Ravelry, I’m going to be able to have full-length sleeves on my Honeydew. Gotta rip out the ribbing I put on originally for the 3/4 length sleeves, but I think I’ll probably have the sweater finished by the weekend!

Of course, what I haven’t said anything about yet is the (partial) sweater I’m wearing in that photo. Here’s a better look:

Beginning of a me-sized, long-sleeved version of a vest I've knit twice for M.

While figuring out what to do about Honeydew, I cast on for a me-sized, long-sleeved version of the yoked, kangaroo-pocketed vest I’ve knit twice for M. The yarn is the massive skein of Jill Draper Makes Stuff Empire that I got at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival this past fall, and y’all, this yarn is AMAZING. I just love the way it feels in my hands. And I have found that with my shoulder in the state that it currently is (I re-aggravated the C8-T1 crap that has been a recurring issue in my left shoulder for the last 6 years), knitting on size 8 needles with aran-weight yarn is a bit more comfortable than finer-gauge stuff, at least right now. And gosh, even with knitting in nothing but short bursts, it sure knits up quickly at 4ts/6rows to an inch!!

Sweater progress

In part because of my shoulder and the resulting weirdness in my left hand (i-cord cast-ons typically are not super comfortable to perform even when I’m well!), but also because I always have a heck of a time getting the first row to look nice when I do i-cord cast-ons, I tried a slightly different approach this time: I simply cast on an i-cord (mine was 100 stitches long, because that got me the neckband circumference I wanted), and then picked up a stitch from the leg of a stitch down each round of the i-cord to start the sweater. It looks great, is very neat, and has the benefit of letting you “try on” the neckband before continuing (since it’s just an i-cord, not tethered to a needle except at the very end). I think I’ll keep doing this when I want i-cord cast-ons in the future!

Since I took these photos a few days ago, I’ve already made it past where the kangaroo-pocket will attach on the body (which I mark with a row of purl stitches, to make it very easy to know where to attach the top of the pocket when I’m putting i-cord around the edge) and am actually just about ready to split for the back bottom hem/front giant fold-up kangaroo pocket! I’m debating whether I want to turn this into a pattern when I finish – I’m going to be knitting my daughter another vest, and could see using this summer as a time to write a child-adult customizable pattern for either a sleeveless vest or long-sleeved pullover (one of several ideas I shared in a long-ago design idea brain-dump). I’m not sure, though…I just don’t have any confidence about sizing outside of the range I’m familiar with, and would not want to do a terrible job in the larger sizes. So I want to learn more about yokes and fit in larger sizes. I’m definitely open to collaboration and resource-sharing on this!

a long time coming.


So much has happened since the last time I posted. What to make of it all? Well, it’s been a long time coming, that much I know. I do have knitting updates to share, but before I do that, I have thoughts to share, because what is happening right now in my country is much more important than knitting.

Verso has made this ebook free to download

Verso has made this free to download as an e-book. Please join me in reading it and thinking about how we can change the world for the better!

When armed white men can show up at the governor’s house in KY and face zero consequences, while unarmed black men are inherently viewed as threats and murdered by cops or wannabe-cops, that’s racism. When our country vilifies Colin Kaepernick for kneeling on the football field while ignoring the violence he was protesting, and cops kneel on black men’s necks without a care, that’s racism. And none of us who grew up in this country are immune to the biases that lead to viewing black men as inherently threatening. Racism is baked into our country’s DNA. It’s in the water we drink and the air we breathe. I mean that metaphorically as well as literally: we don’t notice or care when black communities can’t drink their water because it’s full of lead, or can’t breathe their air because it’s too polluted. Until it starts hurting white folks, we just ignore it or pretend those who suffer deserve their fates. Oh, sure, not ALL of us; some of us have been paying attention for a very long time. But all of us can get away with ignoring the problems.

Or at least, we could. But not now, I think. Not anymore. That is one of the things that the protests are doing: making visible what we might have wanted to pretend didn’t exist. Disrupting the status quo. And loudly, forcefully declaring that this state of affairs cannot continue existing unquestioned. That it cannot continue existing, period. Is it unfortunate that things have been set on fire, and property has been damaged? Sure. But if you find yourself thinking, “Gosh, it’s a shame that George Floyd was killed, but the rioting and property-damage needs to stop!”, PLEASE, PLEASE stop. Think about it. Recognize that what you are doing is a kind of tone-policing. Then flip that sentence around and get your priorities straight: sure, it’s a shame that property is getting damaged, but what actually needs to stop is the killing of black people by police (and others). How can we be surprised that people are protesting when our country is failing black people, not just in terms of protecting them from police brutality but also in terms of the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic? (This is a connection that is beautifully and powerfully made in an essay by e’ve now watched, horrified, as our president cleared a path through peaceful protestors, before the start of the curfew that had been imposed, with rubber bullets and tear gas, just for a photo-op (holding a Bible as only someone who never engages with books of any kind would do) in front of a church whose parishioners were among those protestors, after promising to use the military against protestors in cities throughout the country and pointedly reminding his white nationalist followers of their “second amendment rights.” That this all happening in the midst of a pandemic is even more horrifying. We have an incompetent madman at the wheel when we desperately need competent leadership.

Yes, things have gotten very messy, but let’s be clear-eyed: the escalation is coming from the *police* (and from our president), not from the protestors. This is something I’ve been talking about with my daughter, who knows about escalation and de-escalation in terms of how we approach parenting when she’s getting overwhelmed and frustrated: we try to de-escalate by doing things like talking in calm voices (if at all), using really gentle touch or a weighted blanket, and coaching her through deep breathing, and usually that helps her calm down. That’s de-escalation. But if we instead lose our temper and yell at her (which does happen sometimes…we’re human!), that just escalates things…it makes her get more and more upset and things can get really bad. That’s escalation – and for cops, that looks like military gear, tear gas, and rubber bullets. It looks like arresting journalists, or taking out their left eye with a rubber bullet, as happened to the journalist Linda Tirado, who wrote a powerful article about it. It looks like the blatant lies about people who “tripped and fell” when video clearly shows who was pushing them, punching them, beating them with sticks…being lied to about what your own eyes are showing you is gaslighting, and I can’t speak for how anyone else experiences it, but when I recognize someone trying to gaslight me, it enrages me and makes me want to burn it all down.

It’s the responsibility of people who are in a position of power to learn to de-escalate. But that is NOT what police officers learn to do in their training, and black communities, neurodivergent folks, deaf folks, and so many others pay a very high price for that. But Alex Vitale is right: you’re not going to undo the effects of “warrior training” with a few workshops on bias and de-escalation. And frankly, even if officers haven’t gone through “warrior training”, I’m not sure you’re going to override the mindset of the type of person to whom our current system of policing appeals as a career. I’m not saying that everyone who goes into policing is an abusive monster. I know that isn’t true. But if you *are* an abusive monster and you want a job where you can be that way with impunity, our current system of policing is the perfect home for you. We need to change that. Defund the police and send those resources instead to community-based programs that address the needs that currently aren’t met. Demilitarize them, too. And hold them as accountable for their bad actions as anyone in any other job would be for theirs (to start, here in NY, let’s repeal 50-A). Let’s stop making police work a haven for abusers (literally), and let’s stop making it our only tool for addressing issues our communities face. And if the words “defund police” are alarming to you, read this article explaining what people mean when they say that, and then consider that we’ve been defunding public schools ever since I was a kid. Maybe we should demand that our budgets reflect our values and priorities? We ask both police AND teachers to do too much, but only one of those groups keeps getting more and more money and equipment poured into their coffers. And it isn’t the teachers.

Good message, good spelling, very questionable spacing, but now M has ensured that our sidewalk that doesn’t quite reach the street is proclaiming the value of black lives.

“Black Lives Matter”. Her spacing/kerning could use some work, but I’m glad she is growing up internalizing this message and wanting to share it.

Towards the beginning of all of this, I saw someone say something about the hatred required in order for that cop to murder George Floyd, but I think that “hatred” is the wrong framing. It strikes me as being more of a complete lack of concern…not so much active hatred as just not even viewing black lives as ones that matter. Viewing them as disposable. As ones over which white lives should have unquestioned power. I think when we frame it as “hatred”, it’s easy to write ourselves out of the picture. WE don’t hate, after all. But we sure as hell grew up drinking from the poisoned well of this country’s racist history.

White friends, we have to do so much better. For George Floyd, for Ahmaud Arbery, for Tony McDade, for Breonna Taylor…and the list of names could go on for pages. We have to expand what we mean by “we” until we remember that every single person has inherent worth and dignity. Until we remember that black lives MATTER, and they matter BECAUSE all lives matter; that second phrase, which so often gets used to shut down conversation, is an aspiration that we can only make real if we make black lives matter. And that means having hard conversations with your friends and family members who unquestioningly accept the stories about who “deserves” to suffer or about who is “suspicious”, and it means pushing back when they try to explain why something isn’t *actually* racist. It means educating ourselves and each other on the history that is shaping all of our lives today, and thinking about how we can begin to build a new system. It means a hell of a lot of unlearning. It means teaching our kids the truth about our white supremacist culture. But it also means shutting up and listening when black folks are telling us what they’re experiencing, and what needs to be done to address it. It means amplifying those voices over our own whenever we have the opportunity, until we have a world in which black lives are fully included in those that count, get listened to, get heard, get believed.

I saw someone say, somewhere on social media, that people love to imagine they’d have been abolitionists, but they need only look at what they’re doing right now to know what they would have been doing then. As for me? It seems clear I would have been one of those folks writing long-winded letters about justice, and not so much someone on the front lines, with my newly re-injured shoulder and immune-compromised body. So be it. I’m a thinker, a planner, a teacher, and a writer, and I do think those can be important contributions. But I’m very grateful to everyone who is putting their bodies on the line in these protests, and support them with all my might. As I’ve said before, though, I do think we need to be careful about the inferences we draw about where people are and are not showing up, and especially about the demands we make regarding how people participate on social media; issues of ableism, tokenism, and performativity are things we should keep in mind when we think about how others are participating. Just do the work, however you can.

This post has gotten long enough, but I’ll close with one knitting photo, as a “reward” for all who read the entire thing:

a new sweater, and yarn to finish Honeydew.

I’m trying on my newest sweater, while holding the yarn sent by a kind stranger on Ravelry so that I can make full-length sleeves on Honeydew.

Making masks


We finally broke down and bought a printer, because life without access to one was getting awfully tricky. Among the other things made possible with the printer was the ability to print sewing patterns. And so I’ve joined the ranks of those sewing masks during this pandemic.

A friend of ours made us some of the pleated/surgical-style masks, but they just weren’t working well for us; my daughter couldn’t keep hers in place, and my husband and I had horrible, horrible problems with glasses fogging. I’d heard from friends that the shaped style of mask is sometimes preferred by glasses-wearers, so I printed out different sizes of the Craft Passion mask (kids, teen/women, and mens) and busted into my stash of fat quarters from back when I thought I was going to make a bunch of quilts. Maybe someday I’ll actually follow through on those plans, but if I do, I can always get more fat quarters!

Cutting out mask pieces from my stash of fat quarters.

I was able to get 3 masks from each pair of fat quarters. Mine are bright blue with a yellowy green interior, my husband’s are dark green with a lighter green interior, and my daughter’s are red with a pink interior.

Makin' masks.

This is the only part that needs pins; it’s the fussiest part of the sewing.

I found the instructions a bit confusing, so ended up relying more on the instructions that went with the very similar pattern from State the Label. My first one took me quite awhile, but once I knew what I was doing, I could speed up a bit.

Showing the liner pocket

Showing off the filter pocket

The way these masks are constructed, you hem the sides of the lining and the outside separately, rather than connecting them, which creates a nice pocket for any sort of lining you might want to add. And for side hems on the outside, you actually create a channel, into which you can add elastic or whatever else you’re going to use to make the mask stay on your face.

Threading a skinny strip of fleece through the channel

Threading fleece strip through the first side channel from the top

I don’t have any elastic, but I do have a ton of is leftover fleece from my daughter’s halloween costumes, so I cut skinny strips of that I threaded through the channels – each end was threaded through from the top.

Threading the other end of the fleece strip through the channel

Threading fleece strip through the second side channel from the top

This creates a strap across the back, which rests over the ears, and then you can tie the ends together at the base of your neck.

How the fleece strip works

It fits really nicely!

New mask works great!! I took the fleece channel off, and didn’t add any other wire channel, but even wire-free, with this shaped mask I had very minimal glasses-fogging. Yay!

Front View

New mask, side view. This stays put so much better for me than the pleated masks did. And the fleece ties are quite comfy.

Side View

I had very minimal glasses fogging, too – I bet adding a channel for a nose wire would reduce it even further, but it’s still infinitely better for me than the pleated mask was. And it’s SO MUCH better for my daughter, because it stays put!! The fleece tie is very comfortable – it’s soft, it’s stretchy, and it has enough texture that once you tie the bow at your neck, it doesn’t slip.

Now we each have fitted masks in our favorite colors (bright blue, red, and dark green!)

The three of us, each with masks in our favorite color

It’s a little unsettling to make kid-size masks (or really, to make masks at all), but I’m glad that even with my fairly rudimentary sewing skills, I’m able to do this, so that we can do our part to take care of our community during this pandemic.

Putting these masks together actually gave me some more confidence with my sewing machine, and I think I’m going to try to actually sew some clothing items this summer! The first pattern I’m going to try is a York Pinafore, in some nice flannel that I’ve had for quite a long time. Wish me luck?

Honeydew progress!


Thanks to various Zoom meetings last week, I was able to knit quite a bit on Honeydew – and by the end of the week, I’d finished the body!

Body of Honeydew - finished!

I really like the way the shoulder seams are joined with a centered double decrease – it creates a really nice-looking detail:

Honeydew Shoulder detail

Then, over the weekend, I knit away at the 2×2 ribbing for the cowl neck. I ended up making mine quite a bit shorter than the pattern calls for, because I wanted more of a loose-fitting turtleneck than a deep drapey cowl (and I also wanted to make sure I don’t run out of yarn, since I can’t get any more of the sock yarn!). I think I got the look I was aiming for:

Honeydew turtleneck

It feels slightly crazy to be knitting a mohair sweater now that we jumped from winter temperatures into summer ones! But I did step outside for a moment to capture a picture of Honeydew in the sunlight, with petals from our crabapple trees.

Honeydew turtleneck, outside

My daughter calls our trees “confetti trees” :)

Definitely not a seasonally-appropriate sweater, but it’ll be so cozy when winter temperatures return!

Honeydew turtleneck

Wish me luck not running out of yarn while knitting the sleeves!!

My next project: Honeydew!


I promised a separate post about my next sweater, so here you go! The next project on my needles is…

Newest project: Honeydew

…Honeydew, the cover pattern from Laine 8. When I saw the pictures of this in the magazine, I couldn’t get out of my head how beautiful it would look in an icy blue color. And then I remembered that I had 3 skeins of Oceanwind Knits BFL sock yarn in an icy blue in my deep stash, and all I would need would be some mohair to pair it with. Knitpicks brought out a new color in their “Aloft” mohair/silk yarn called “Iceberg”, so I got enough of it to pair with the BFL yarn. I’m thinking this will be my rule: no new yarn purchases unless it’s something that will help me turn the yarn I already have into specific patterns.

Yarns for Honeydew

The mohair/silk blend is so soft and fluffy!

So soft!

We had one day last weekend that was actually warm, so I cast on and knit the bottom hem outside!!

It’s so nice out!!

And I’ve knit a few rows on it each evening, and also during Zoom meetings whenever I’m not the one presenting or taking notes, so now I’ve got a few repeats of the twisted-stitch honeycomb pattern:

Honeydew progress

The pattern repeat is pretty easy to memorize/read from the knitting, so I’ve been able to make good progress without having to constantly refer to the pattern.

So soft!

And it’s just so soft! I think this is going to be a delightfully warm and fluffy sweater to wear in the winter next year.