Knitting with no particular plan in mind


There’s something very freeing about not know what color is going to come next.

I’m knitting a Lamina Wrap and I decided to do it using two magic balls. The first magic ball I purchased at the ZK retreat from Sophie’s Toes. The second magic ball is composed of bits of scrap sock yarn from my stash. In order to keep it all pretty random I’m trying hard not to peek. I want to relish the surprise as each new color emerges from my project bag.

Pretty wild so far, huh?

Fickleness, Thy Name is Knitter


I’m in a CLEAN ALL THE THINGS phase at home.

Organize, organize.

Sweep, vacuum, dust, cough.

I’m de-cluttering as fiercely and quickly as my husband will permit.

  • Out go the old snow boots, too small by 1.5 sizes.
  • Out go the rock-hard tubes of epoxy and shoe glue.
  • Out go the college notes from classes I barely remember taking.
  • Out go the VHS tapes, unwatched for nearly a decade.
  • Out go the stash of small boxes I never remember to use for wrapping Christmas gifts.

I’ve successfully destashed a goodly portion of my yarn  and knitting book collection too. It feels fabulous. But there’s plenty more yarn where that destash came from. In looking at what I decided to keep, I am struck by my own fickleness as a knitter.

A few months ago I was completely addicted to stranded colorwork. Complex, rich, and painterly. Nothing else would do. I acquired a huge assortment of small, single skeins of yarn in fingering and sport weights, confident I would plow through them in a matter of months.

Only now, a few months later, all I want to knit is lace. Ethereal and feminine; insubstantial as cotton candy; full of air and light. Colorwork feels too heavy for me and completely unappealing. The problem is that my current stash cannot support a lace affinity of any considerable length. If this continues, I may have to buy more yarn.

Buy more yarn? Gah! That’s what I’m trying to avoid.

But my muse-cum-troll growls for lace. LAAACE!  What can I do but feed it?

Meanwhile, that colorwork stash isn’t going anywhere. I thought about jettisoning some of it, but it is a well-chosen collection. And knowing my muse-troll, it can’t survive long on cotton candy. Sooner or later, it’s going to want something heavy and rich. Sooner or later it’s going to howl for meat.

My stash will be ready.


3 Unexpected Mothers Day Fiber Encounters


I wasn’t expecting a fiber-filled Mothers Day visit when we drove to La Crosse today to visit my mother-in-law.  But in one four hour visit we encountered three splendid, unrelated displays. No discernible Mothers Day theme, here, other than the joy of serendipity.

1: Seen while driving to Mothers Day lunch at Taste of India. We stopped to talk to the homeowner. He said the blanket had been created by his mother last year and displayed at a local cemetery. It disappeared briefly, but was recovered by the groundskeeper and returned to the family. His mother had passed away in the year since all this occurred. So the family decided to display the blanket on a tree in their yard in loving memory.

This is a yarn bombing tradition I can really get behind. Something you can display and add to every year.


2: Seen at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse student library. An exploration of interesting topological shapes created using crochet. There are lots of topological surfaces that can be difficult to manufacture, I understand. However, many of them can be knit or crocheted. A journal article was published on this topic in 2009, and I saw another in American Scientist magazine. If I ever wanted to branch out beyond sweaters and shawls to knit other types of objects, I might be more inclined to make this sort of thing than to make toys. Patterns can be accessed here, or on Ravelry.  Cool, huh?

Topological experiments in crochet. #knittersofinstagram

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3: Crocheted coral reef. Who wants a fish tank with real fish you have to feed and water you have to change? Crochet yourself a display like this and the most you’ll need to do is shake them out and dust them occasionally.

Crocheted coral reef. #knittersofinstagram

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Designing a Knitworthy Vacation to Ireland


My family has been talking about a trip to Ireland for a few years. Mom and Dad, us grown kids, plus the SOs.

I’m in research mode right now, trying to break down very large guide books into much smaller lists of things I want to see and do. So daunting at first, but once I grab onto a particular thread of interest, it all gets easier.

To the surprise of absolutely no one in my family, the first serious priority I’m researching is fiber and knitting related destinations. (Later I’ll look seriously into two other big priorities: music and picturesque ruins.)

Here’s my list so far:

  1. Galway School of Knitting: I hear they have classes. They don’t seem to have a website however.
  2. Aran Islands (of cabled sweater fame).
  3. The Sheep and Wool Heritage Centre – Leenane, Connemara
  4. National Museum of Country Life – County Mayo
  5. Foxford Woolen Mills – Country Mayo
  6. Studio Donegal –  Kilcar, County Donegal

Where should we visit? I know there must be scads of wonderful, wooly places to visit. I doubt we’ll get to visit them all, but I’d like to know which you think are the best.

Destashing is Good for the Soul


I have a tendency to horde yarn. When I buy yarn, I invest it with possibilities: a story of what it will be someday. It’s hard to give up those stories.

So I tell myself a new story. The story of a woman discovered smothered in her guest room by her own stash. And all that yarn, once full of possibilities, is now full full of vomit and maggots. Useful to no one. Except, possibly, the maggots.

For the first time in my knitting life, I am doing a destash. I have carefully reviewed every hank and skein. Anything that doesn’t give me a spark of joy (followed by a blast of pattern ideas) I am going to jettison. This is yarn that, hopefully, will find purpose in someone else’s stash and someone else’s yarn stories.

Have a good life, my little woolies (and non-wooly brethren).

The Destash – Seriously good prices, folks, with shipping included (US only)

Take a gander. There are some nice yarns here looking for loving homes. Here is just  the top of the destash page. Trust me, there’s more.

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Lots and lots of spinning and knitting, plus wine


I’m surprised how much spinning and knitting I managed to accomplish on my trip to California. In between hiking, wine tasting, sight-seeing, eating, and more wine tasting I managed to squeeze in plenty of quality fiber time.


I nearly completed this mitten. I’m testing out some ideas for a mitten design.Have discovered I am going to have to tweak the flower motif at the top in order to get it to look right.


A goodly portion of spinning accomplished on my trusty Akerworks spindle. Nearly ran out of fiber. Never thought I would make it through a whole ounce on this trip. I was almost wrong.

I completely neglected to take photos of myself spinning and knitting. My time was too taken up photographing all the fun places we visited and the merry times we spent together.

Can’t really blame me. We had a glorious time and tried some amazing wines.

For those who are interested, we visited the following wineries/tasting rooms: Benziger (Partners Tour totally worth it), Gundlach Bundschu, Frog’s Leap, Jessup Cellars, MacPhail, Lynmar Estate, Imagery, Regusci, and Darioush. There was no particular method to our selections. We picked places we had heard were good, places recommended by acquaintances, and places recommended by guide books and podcasts.

I would dearly love to go back and do it all again. Just give me a few months to finish up all this wine I bought. The UPS man asked me, after delivering the fourth box, “Is it all booze?”

Few Things are More Annoying Than Trying to Cast On While Flying Coach


In just over a week, my mother, my sister and I will be traveling to California together for our first-ever Girls Trip. We have an itinerary all mapped that will take us to various hot spots in Sonoma and Napa where we plan to try lots of wine, squeeze in some hiking, and enjoy the mild spring weather.

Predictably, we’re also planning to hit one or two yarn stores. Yarns on First in Napa is officially on our itinerary. And I’m hoping we will “stumble upon” at least one other. I want to bring home some souvenir yarn to remind me of the trip. My sister doesn’t knit, but perhaps we can distract her with some chocolate. 

I’m trying to decide what types of fiber projects to bring along.

  • My tiny little Akerworks spindle served me well on my last big trip, so I’ll definitely plan to pack that with some fiber for spinning. This spindle is the best possible travel spindle, in my opinion. Small, light-weight, collapsible, and completely indestructible (unless you were to run it over with a car).

Spinning while leaning against a megalith near Carnac.

  • Perhaps I’ll also pack a simple pair of colorwork mittens to knit. Or a hat. Hmmm…whatever it is, I’d  better cast it on soon. Few things are more annoying than trying to cast on while flying coach.

I don’t want to get carried away. I must remind myself that I won’t have that much time for spinning and knitting. In an ideal world, I’ll be far too busy site-seeing and sipping pinot noir to have much time for my fiber.  I tell myself this so that I can talk myself out of packing a sweater project.