Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

The Game of “Bind-off Chicken”

May 4, 2016

Anyone who’s been knitting for a while knows the feeling: you’re nearly done your project and you’re nearly out of yarn. Will the yarn last? Or will you be forced to rip out a row or round or make a trip to the yarn in search of one more skein. With each stitch you bind off, you use the force of will (and maybe prayer) to make the yarn last.

Marcia played her first game of “Bind-off Chicken” at knitting class last night.  Eight stitches to bind off and a mere 2.5 inches of yarn remaining. Guess who won?

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She didn’t have another skein of yarn, which she’d bought in the sale bin at a LYS. She didn’t want to rip out a round of the sleeve cuff because it was only four rows and anything shorter just wouldn’t work she felt.

Fortunately, she hadn’t woven in any ends on the entire sweater. When she turned it inside out, she discovered 5 or 6 long strands — a whopping 2 or 3 feet of additional yarn — more than enough to join and finish the bind off. Whew!

Here’s a sneak peek of her sweater. With any luck, I’ll have more photos once it’s finished and blocked.

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A Knitter’s Christmas…Every Month

April 27, 2014

Like every knitter I know, buying yarn is one of my favorite activities. Actually shopping for yarn — looking, fondling, planning, dreaming of wondrous projects — is enjoyable in and of itself. With a new skein of beautiful merino or handpainted sock yarn, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Imagine my delight when my sweet husband gave me the gift of new yarn every month for a year. OK, OK, I hinted told him that was tops on my Christmas wish list.

On a cold, rainy April day, this little cardboard box of yummy (Vivacious DK in Deep Aqua by Fyberspates) sure warms the heart.


Thanks, Patrick. xo

A Knitter at Heart

October 20, 2013

My sister-friend Liz and I have been friends for more than four decades. We grew up together in central Maine and now are fortunate enough to live about 1.5 miles from each other. We have a walking date every Wednesday morning at 6:00am — and we go out year-round, which in New England means in all kinds of weather and often in the dark. While the walk is good for our hearts and muscles, it’s even better for our souls — kind of like therapy.

Liz isn’t a knitter but she understands how important this craft is to me — as a creative outlet and a calming influence (except when it’s not). Yesterday, she gave me this for a birthday gift:


A beautifully hand-crafted, blue (my favorite color) pottery bowl with a lovely sheep on one side. But this is no ordinary bowl, dear reader. This is a yarn bowl, especially for a knitter (made by the clever Susan LeBlanc Brum of Hog Wild Pottery).


I think Liz may have been a knitter in another life.

Running Short

September 15, 2013

You know that feeling when you do a quick mental-visual calculation and realize that the yarn you need is greater than the yarn you have? Yeah, that.


While knitting with the good women of the midday Friday group at JP Knit & Stitch, I suddenly realized that I would a few yards short of the yarn needed to finish the final side of Square 3 of the Albers Cowl. I had about 16 rows of garter stitch to go and had enough yarn for maybe half that. “What yarn is it?,” someone asked. “Maybe you can search for more on Ravelry.”

Alas, I have no idea what yarn I’m working with. This was a small ball pulled from an ample stash of fingering weight yarn by Ann Weaver during our color theory class. It’s black that’s subtly flecked with purple and green — but mostly black.

As luck would have it, there’s a plastic bin of charity yarn at the shop that I was able to dig through in search of black fingering weight. Most of the donations were heavier and not black, but at the bottom of the bin I discovered what I was seeking.

Rather than finish with the original yarn and then switch to the replacement, I switched between them every two rows. It’s nearly impossible to see the difference except if you’re very close.


After binding off the final row, I had two very small bits of each. I wondered if maybe I had enough of the original yarn so that I didn’t need the black “replacement” after all. But I’m not about to find out. Sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone and start blocking.



More than Buttons

March 4, 2013

Finished the wee baby sweater (Puerperium Cardigan) except for the buttons and figured I’d pop into Webs on the way out of Northampton, arriving 10 minutes before it closed, so I’d be forced to make a quick choice and then be done.

I arrived thinking the store closed at 5 but discovered closing time was 5:30, so I had plenty of time to look around.  Clearly, I had time for more than buttons!


There’s this pattern I’ve had a hankering for off and on over the past few years. I think the time is right.

Oh, and I just had to buy this (and may need to go back to stock up on a few for some knitterly friends).


Socks – finally!

April 30, 2011

Before I’d knit a lace shawl, I had that on my to-do list of things I’d need to make in order to consider myself a “real” knitter. (I know, I know — there’s no knitting scorecard or knitting police who keep track of these things. I readily admit it’s all in my own head.)

The second item on my list was “a pair of socks that fit and feel good.” I’ve been pondering why it’s taken me ages and ages to get on the sock bandwagon. My current thoughts:

– I didn’t think knit socks would be comfortable.
– I didn’t think that I or anyone else in my family would want to wear knit socks.
– The whole second-sock phenomenon spooked me a bit. I was afraid that I’d knit a sock and have no desire to make another. My attention would flip to a new pattern or yarn, and I’d be left with an orphan sock.

Well, I was wrong on all counts.  I’ve knit two pair of lovely socks and have just started a third.

What I like about knitting socks:

Portability — easy to stuff in a pocket or bag and take pretty much anywhere: dentist’s office, subway or bus, early morning flight, or basketball tournament (to name a few).

ribbed top of sock knit with Noro next to orange juice on plane flight

Low boredom factor — you never do anything for very long when you’re knitting a sock.  You start at the top (at least, that’s where I’ve started so far. I’ll do a toe-up sock one of these days) with the ribbing. After a few inches, you’re on to the leg, patterned or not. Then it’s time to turn the heel, a very nifty bit of yarn engineering. You catch your breath, pat yourself on the back, and move on to the foot. When it’s long enough, you taper to the toes and voila, a sock!

sock knit with Noro on gym floor with basketball game in background

Challenge — so far, I’ve only knit a very basic sock, using the Yarn Harlot’s basic recipe pattern from Knitting Rules, but I know that there’s nearly no end to the nifty things you can do with socks — color, stripes, lace, etc.

I challenged myself a bit with the pair I knit with a lovely Noro yarn (the name of which escapes me at the moment). I could have just started the second sock with the yarn that was coming off the ball when I finished sock #1, but I wanted to see if I could make a matched pair, one where the color changes lined up. And I did.

The Best Laid Plans

September 4, 2010

I’m nothing if not flexible. While planning for our annual August get-away to my in-laws quirky, somewhat rustic island home (no TV or internet but a lovely 1960s rotary phone attached to wall), I was very much looking forward to making lots of progress on the Every Way Wrap.

After the slow-going, lace Cleite shawl, this garmen has just the right ingredients: cables for a bit of challenge, moss stitch for “recovery,” finger-pleasing blend of wool and alpaca (Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca in “Cyclamen”).

The day before I left home, I wound about 400 m of yarn into balls, sealed them in a plastic bag, and stuffed it amidst the sunscreen, Yahtzee, wiffle balls, library books, and other summertime necessities.  Oh so clever!

After a couple of good bouts of knitting — by the evening fire as kids played cards, on the beach (sand can be washed out when blocking), in the backyard while sipping a beer — I reached the end of the ball. I dug out the bag of nicely wound yarn and prepared to join.

In the light of day — indeed, the sunshine of a quiet morning — I had a startling realization.  Clearly I love this color — sort of raspberry-fuchsia-purple-pink — since I’d apparently purchased large quantities of very similar yarn! There would be no joining, no inches of wrap created during this respite.  The “real” wrap yarn was back home in my stash, hiding at the back of the cupboard while this imposter had made its way to the front.

So instead of knitting, for the next week I dreamed of what my next project might be, using the lovely Harrisville Highland in “Chianti.”

On the plus side, I finished “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese, learned how to play “Monopoly Deal” (a much more humane form of the dreaded, interminable board game) although I didn’t once beat Michael, rescreened the kitchen door, and completed the annual photo collages — from 2003 and 2007 (I was a little busy in ’04 and ’08 apparently!).

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