Category Archives: Other projects


Chautaqua Park, Boulder, Colorado.It’s been just over a year since my last post, the one about not writing after my mom’s death. Now I’m wearing a jacket that belonged to a friend of mine who died over the holidays. It has been a very long year.

It involved gaining some people, losing a few people — to mistakes, fights, deliberate distance, death  — and getting a few people back. Last spring I remember thinking “I know this is hard right now and going to stay hard for awhile, but it’ll pay off later.” It took a lot of perseverance, but I’m seeing the payoff.

I like garter stitch a lot more now that I used to. I have more patience, I think.

I caught myself making sketches for a stripy shawl (in garter stitch, natch) the other day. It’d been a long time since I’d ventured away from a pattern. What’s different? I thought. Why now?

Well, mountains helped. I recently spent a long weekend in Boulder, Colorado, walking about ten miles a day in 40-degree weather. I can’t even tell you how big the sky is out there. I bought the first snow boots I’ve had since I was a kid.

I skipped my friend’s funeral to go. I saw a show. I bought some yarn. I walked a lot. I clambered around on red rocks. I tried a lot of local beers and found a Colorado bourbon I really like. I didn’t talk much. I wrote a eulogy on the bar top at Shine. I got used to seeing cottonwood trees. I took a lot of pictures of clouds. I hadn’t traveled much in the last year, just my annual trip to Joshua Tree, and I guess I get weird if I don’t manage to get out past the Sierras.

Here’s to garter stitch and 2014.

Relocation and intermission

I’m not knitting lately, at all, because I moved crosstown, to my own apartment. I hired movers for the heavy stuff and the furniture and the things I needed to set up a house right away, and the odds and ends are at the old place, piled onto the balcony and mashed into the closet, with all the yarn at the back. I have no idea where my knitting needle sets are.

But, knowing how my hands and brain start to itch when I don’t make anything for a few days, when I made a mad lunge back to the old place to pick up mail, I grabbed an overflow stash organizer (god, I’m becoming that kind of stash freak) (Becoming?) (Shut up). The freestanding cabinet that the birdcage sits on still holds my collection of vintage red, yellow and green Boye straights. I loaded a couple patterns on my iPad that I guessed would suit the yarn and needles I’d have at hand, and I’ve promised myself that once I unpack a few more boxes tonight, I can sit in my easy chair and listen to the radio and knit for the first time in a couple of weeks.

And since I have two and a half rooms and two and a half closets all to myself, the little shallow half-height closet is going to be just for yarn.

Process ain’t always progress

I made a bag!

I sewed a bag, to be specific. A knitting bag. I have a couple of bento bags I picked up in Japantown at the dollar store: squat, square-bottomed drawstring bags that are the perfect size for a ball of yarn and a small, portable, mass transit-friendly project.

Drawstring bag
These little guys are perfect for carrying small projects around before you absentmindedly stuff them into the back of a closet or into the "I swear I am going to go on a finishing spree; next week, maybe" box.

I didn’t use a pattern (but this pattern is pretty close), since I was using whatever scraps were left over from some too-long pillowcases. The red thread I already had on my sewing machine matched perfectly: not because I’d spent any effort on it, but because I keep buying such a narrow range of reds (“safety” through “fire engine” and “candy apple,” to be specific) that everything matches — to the point where last week, I accidentally-on-purpose dyed my hair the same vivid color as my little red satchel.

I went a little nuts on the construction: after having a couple of my earlier sewing projects fray in the wash, I’ve become militant about enclosing seams. In this one little bag there are French seams, flat-felled seams and rolled hems — I even broke out my new hemming foot for my sewing machine!  Any stray fabric that could shed threads, snag a needle or catch a pair of scissors is sewed down to within an inch of its life. This little dude is bulletproof. There’s even a pocket inside with a tiny compartment for my tiny, tiny sock needles.

I sweated over this little bastard for two hours, pinning and ironing and getting my corners EXACTLY right, making sure the exposed hem on the front of the pocket was lined up just so. The cotton yarn I used for drawstrings at first seemed too thin, so I ended up crocheting a few feet of chain stitch out of a neon orange acrylic yarn I’d picked up for making amigurumi. Once it was done, I popped a ball of yarn into it, tucked a set of tiny DPNs into the pocket, and tied the top shut with a flourish, to admire my handiwork.

And what I had was … a little red bag. A little red bag with a pocket you can’t even see.

That’s it?

Good lord. I think I’ve set a new personal craft record for overthinking the obvious.