Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On REALLY Not Fitting

I made these knit shorts and I meant for them to be roomy - but not as large as they turned out. I was doing dishes at the sink on the first Saturday that I wore them, when I started to feel a bit of a draft. They, literally, were falling off! For those of you who know me in person, you'll know they have to be pretty darn big. It was a first-time event for me, I'll tell you that!

So, maybe I should have hedged my bets with a drawstring. Live and learn!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

From Paris with Love

This is a shot from...oh, right before we came back from Paris, last October. Those two little bundles are fabric remnants I bought at Lil Weasel, which, even though it doesn't seem possible, is even cuter than its website. 

I'm finally making myself cut into the lattice fabric. There's just enough to make a shell. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Math4Knitters: Show 48

Show notes and more at

Woven Stockings, Caucasus, 700 CE

Really old, really cool knit sock from about 1100 - 1200

Click to make bigger.

This one is a bit smaller, but just as cool

My favorite version of an afterthought/inserted/pocket heel. (Full information about making this heel is in my book, Sock Architecture, and my Craftsy class.) If you watch the Craftsy class, you get to see me get REALLY excited when the heel bone and the thumb bone on a model skeleton are the same length.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New Apron!

Pardon the mess, I'm just excited about my apron! Check out the pretty cute pattern matching on the pockets. 

I love little three-pocket aprons for when I'm selling somewhere, teaching, or just knitting around the house. 

The three pockets are awesome for when you want to knit with multiple colors. Simply put each color in its own pocket, and you're way less likely to get all tangled up in yourself. 

When I'm teaching, my apron is great because I can shove my little sample piece of knitting into a pocket while I help a student. It reduces the amount of time I spend chasing down the yarn and needles I set down somewhere, usually across the room. 

And, also around the house, when I'm chatting on the phone with my sister as I knit, fold laundry, or whatever, it's great to have somewhere to hold my phone while I use an earbud headset!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

To Set a Course, To Change Course

The view from my company's NYC office in the Garment District. Check out the dress form.

I have not moved to New York! I just went on a business trip. 

Maybe this is strange, but sometimes I try to imagine the other paths I could have taken in life. It leads me to a lot of questions.

What is a good life?

Why would you change your life?

How many chances to we get to make a big change?

If every other step in my life hadn’t gone the way it has gone, how different would I be?

I wouldn’t be as confident in learning to sew if I couldn’t take Craftsy classes, like this one, this one and this one.

I wouldn’t know as much as I do about knitting if I hadn’t dedicated so much of my last 17 years to it. A lot of that learning process was at the very beginning, but a great deal of it has been in the last few years. Bill Bryson says, every time that he writes a book about grammar or writing, he learns a lot more about it. I feel the same way about my knitting and writing.

Whenever I have a small fit of professional jealousy (it always passes if I sit quietly and maybe have a snack), I remember that Alison Bechdel has had periods of her life when that sort of jealousy nearly consumed her. That makes me feel much better, since I admire her work.

…and I try to remember something a fellow student told me when I was in grad school. I told him I was worried that I wasn’t as good as the other students, including him. He said, “Everyone will always be at different levels. The question is, are you improving?”

I had a career that I know a lot of people think was glamorous and exciting. It could be. It often wasn’t. I know people think that because many, many strangers I met told me that they envied my job. If they counted my nights away from home, the times I felt breathless panic when my phone rang, the moments when I had to respond blandly to another person’s pain or rage, or the meals with friends and family that I had to miss, would they still be jealous?

Is the popular-culture image of the artist as a tortured soul a way for society to assuage its envy of the artist as a “non-producer”? If you spend your day chopping wood, the guy who paints may seem a bit frivolous, right? So you imagine that he’s just bent up inside, unable to do a normal job, compelled by some dark force beyond your reckoning?

I could have been a lawyer.
I could have been a full-time teacher.
I could have remained a photographer.
I could have been a more well-known knitwear designer.
I could have been a professional seamstress.

Those all would have taken a change in my life to happen.

This is pretty rambling! This is what I am, instead of any of those one things.

I’m an artist. I also have a day job. I’m happy with that. Can I always do things as quickly as I like? Do I get to pursue every possible chance to practice my art? No and no. But, that’s ok with me. Maybe I’ve seen too many freelance photographers dangle over the precipice of contracts that don’t get paid on time and living on rice to make it all work. I have security and (usually) enough resources to do what I need to do to keep myself sane.
I’m an artist. My mediums are the written word, knitting, photography, sewing, weaving and spinning. My exact relationship to each of those things is evolving every day. 

I’m learning to be ok with that

Wednesday, March 09, 2016


It's still not always perfect (on the first try), but I am getting better at installing zippers!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Math4Knitters: Show 47

Show notes and more at

Math4Knitters: Episode 47

A bit of a ramble today about some WTHeck moments I've had while reading sources. Sorry!

Textile fragment found during the Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos (around 250)

There is a lot more information about the Dura-Europos site here.

Socks made in the 4th or 5th century, found at the burial grounds of Oxyrhynchus, a Greek colony on the Nile in central Egypt.

These socks are currently at the Victoria and Albert Museum.