Just Hangin’

The other day, my mom, who is my crafty accomplice, was at one of those Dollar Plus stores, the ones that sell a little of everything, from the groceries and toilet trees you use everyday to the gadgets and containers you can’t find anywhere else. She found a perfect holder for the spare yarn that can’t be put away because it’s being used in a current project, but probably shouldn’t be cluttering up the coffee table or CD rack.

According to the label, the container is meant to hold stuffed animals and other small toys. It’s shaped like a drum or the sort of pan you boil vegies in. Well, it’s shaped like two, one stacked on top of the other. It’s made out of a fine netting or mesh, the stuff collapsible laundry hampers are made out of, and to give it shape, it’s got three plasticky wire rings, one at the top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle, where the two drums or pots meet. Each of the drums or pots has a hole in the side. This is where you reach in to fill the container with yarn or to pull another ball out. There’s a loop on the top surface for you to hang the contraption.

So far, it seems to be working, though I miss the lovely yarn accent in my decor.

New Written Chart

I’ve updated our Written Charts page to include the written chart for the Moon and Stars baby blanket. A kind volunteer translated it in June and I’m just now finally getting it uploaded. Better late than never I say. Enjoy!

Check out the link for the Written Charts page at the top to find the new text and a few others.

Knitpicks Color Descriptions

Earlier today I was doing some yarn browsing online. I was technically supposed to be getting a couple balls of yarn for a baby blanket I’m making. It looks like I’ll be about 3 or 4 balls short in two different colors. Knitpicks didn’t have any more of one color I needed. After some venting and measuring I decided I could still make the blanket with the yarn I have. It will just be a bit smaller.

Being on the Knitpicks website is never a good thing for me. Well, I think it’s a good think but my checkbook might not agree. So, while I was browsing through the Felici fingering self-striping sock yarn I was feeling mildly irritated. I was going to have to call a friend and get her to describe the colors for me. Seeing as this is the same friend I just vented to about the shortage of blanket yarn I didn’t really want to bother her. We’ll not even mention the fact that I’m not supposed to be buying yarn for the rest of 2012. Then I decide to click on the View Larger Image link for a color way called Time Traveler. I’m a big science fiction fan so the name appeals to me. I’m thinking in my head that there just might be more information about the yarn. Probably not, but just maybe. I get the surprise of the day. They have color descriptions of each color way. How totally awesome is that? I checked a couple of others to see if they all had it and they do. Then I look back over the information right before the list of colors. Lo and behold if I slow down just a little there’s a line that says “Click on each thumbnail to see larger images and color descriptions.” Imagine that. I have no idea how long these descriptions have been there. I’m pretty sure they weren’t there when I first started shopping at Knitpicks but who knows. This will make my yarn shopping so much more informed and even more fun. Like I need another reason to buy more yarn. I have a feeling that Time Traveler will be in my stash very soon.

Yes, it really is a Ravelry app for the IPhone!

And it works with Voiceover!!


I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying there needs to be a Ravelry app since I first got my IPhone. Just a little over a year later my dreams have come true. Yay me!


Wooly is a new app for Apple IOS. It’s definitely a work in progress but it looks like the developers have the potential to make this a great app. I’m already impressed. We all know about the trepidation every time we have to buy an app. Is this going to work with Voiceover or not? At first glance this app is almost completely accessible. The only thing I had a problem with was something called Happiness. First of all I didn’t even know this feature existed on Ravelry. Apparently it adds descriptive words based on how high you rate a project on the Happiness scale. My Petri Shell now says it is an Uggh! On the Happiness scale. I must have done this with the app but I can’t recreate the action. This project would have actually been something like 90% which is a lot better than Uggh! Other than that I could edit all the things the app says I should be able to edit. One very exciting thing is that I could adjust the progress percentage. I can’t do that on my PC. I tried to explain how awesome this was to my husband and it just went right over his head. Poor darling probably thinks his wife is crazy. So far though the most totally awesome thing about Wooly is its photo uploading feature. You can take a photo from within the app and upload it directly to Ravelry. Had previously mentioned husband take photo of me in Petri and I had it uploaded in about 30 seconds. We all know how long it takes with the usual digital camera to computer to Ravelry to project method. The app has the photo option from within each individual project so it eliminates that step. There are also photo editing features right in the app.

I’m really excited about this app. It has a lot of great features and the potential for many more. I’m going to contact the developers about the one issue I had with accessibility. Oh, and the edit button says 14gear. I think they could fix that without much trouble. Wooly costs $2.99. I would have paid more so this is a really great price.


For more information:


Wooly in the ITunes store


Ravelry group for Wooly


There are also Ravelry apps for Android and Windows users. Check out the article on apps for Ravelry on the Ravelry homepage. You might need a Rav ID to see the article.


One last interesting thing is that Ravelry developers are creating a mobile site. It can be found at m.ravelry.com. From my windows PC this site is totally inaccessible. From my IPhone it appears to work fine from a quick glance over. It looks like you can use it to browse all your project information plus a few other things. The developers say they are updating it as they add more features so it’s not finished yet.



Plano Organizer

A few of the knitters I know have been using little plastic organizers for their knitting accessories. I thought they were just really organized knitters and that was too much for me. I would just continue using my little bag system. This involved putting all the little bags of markers and things into a larger little bag along with all the other little odds and ends I need. So of course I’m spending a few minutes at a time digging through this little bag to find one or another of these little things. I thought I was being organized by having everything in one place but now I know the error of my ways.

Last week I decided to check the little plastic organizers out at Wal-Mart. The first nice surprise was that they were only a little over $3. I just love prices like that. Especially when I’m not entirely sure I’m going to like something. I still open one up in the store and investigate. The organizer has two identical sides. If you opened both lids they would open opposite to each other like the front and back covers of a book. I wouldn’t open it like this though; all your stuff would fall out. Each side has 5 long sections and there are little dividers you can insert wherever you want and create up to 10 sections. The whole thing is about 6 inches by 4 inches and a little over 2 inches deep. Not really too large for a knitting bag. I should also mention that these handy little organizers can be found in the fishing section at Wal-Mart. I did have some trepidation about having my husband take me into this section but he behaved himself and it didn’t take us long to get in and out.

After putting the baby to bed and feeding the rabbits and all those things that just have to be done before you can relax at night I was finally able to sit down to see just how organized I could be. At first I was disappointed that my folding scissors wouldn’t fit. I left the center slot open just for them. Then my husband pointed out that the side slots were longer because of the space needed for the latches to close the lid. So I moved the open slot to the side and the scissors fit. I put the things I use the most in one side and put a braille label with my name on it on that side just so I would know which side was which. They are identical otherwise. It’s made of clear plastic so the contents can be seen but that doesn’t help me. I put the less often used things in the bottom. The only things I couldn’t put in were things like larger cable needles crochet hooks and stitch holders. These went into another plastic case and I have everything I could possibly need all together.

Once I got everything where I wanted I really started to like this new organizing plan. I can just put the organizer on the table and leave it open during those times when you find yourself needing a lot of little odds and ends. For me, that’s when I start and finish a project. One major downfall I can imagine is leaving the organizer open beside me on the couch and forgetting it. It would be entirely too easy to sit down in the wrong place and spill all of the nicely organized stitch markers and things. I feel confident that this is bound to happen one day. It really seems inevitable for me. I just have to remember to close it when I’m through using it. For now, I’m just going to enjoy being super organized. At least with my knitting; we won’t talk about the rest of the house.

Yarnless Bind Off: Normal and Stretchy

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about how to cast on or start a piece of knitting, but so far, I’ve only described two ways to bind off. That’s because I have fewer bind-offs in my bag of tricks. Nevertheless, I have a couple more to post.

One of my favorites is called the yarnless bind off. It’s yarnless in the sense that you use the yarn that is already on the needles, not the working yarn that’s hanging from the beginning of the row or round. It’s also the technique that all knitters discover eventually, but never admit to, because they think they’re committing some knitterly infraction.

Yarnless Bind Off (Normal)

The yarnless bind off is useful when you know or suspect you don’t have enough yarn to bind off in the usual way. Here’s how it works:

1. Find your starting point.
a. When you’re knitting flat, start at the end farthest from the working yarn. If you’re using circular needles, hold the tip nearest the end of the round in your left hand. If you’re using single-point needles, first slip all the stitches to another needle, so the working yarn is closest to the button; then put that needle in your left hand.
b. When you’re working in the round, do a little prep work. First, slip the first stitch of the round to the right needle. Then bring the working yarn between the needles, to the front if you’re knitting or to the back if you’re purling, and drop the working yarn. Finally, return the slipped stitch to the left needle.
2. Slip two stittches to the right needle.
3. Pass the second stitch over the first stitch. This means that you use the tip of the left needle to pickup the second stitch (the one farthest from the tip of the right needle), lift it over the first stitch (which is closest to the tip), and let it drop off the needle altogether. Only one stitch remains.
4. Slip one stitch to the right needle.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until one stitch remains. The remaining stitch is on the right needle and has the working yarn at the base.
6. Draw the working yarn through that last stitch and pull the tail to close the loop.

Yarnless Bind Off (Stretchy)

The stretchy yarnless bind off is useful when you need the bind off edge to be especially loose, like when you’re making a hat that starts at the crown, socks that start at the toes, or gloves or mittens that start at the fingertips. It’s also a great way for tight knitters to loosen things up. It’s a two-part process. Part 1 (Step 1 below) sets up the bind off, and Part 2 (Steps 2 through 9 below) actually bind off. Here’s how it works:

1. On the last row/round of the project, work 1 st as directed, * yo, work 2 sts as directed; rep from * until no sts rem. The last yo may be followed by one or two stitches. If working the yarn overs into the existing pattern feels overwhelming, simply knit or purl across the entire row or round with the yarn overs (e.g., [K1, * yo, k2 *] or [P1, * yo, p2 *]).
2. Find your starting point.
a. When you’re knitting flat, start at the end farthest from the working yarn. If you’re using circular needles, hold the tip nearest the end of the round in your left hand. If you’re using single-point needles, first slip all the stitches to another needle, so the working yarn is closest to the button; then put that needle in your left hand.
b. When you’re working in the round, do a little prep work. First, slip the first stitch of the round to the right needle. Then bring the working yarn between the needles, to the front if you’re knitting or to the back if you’re purling, and drop the working yarn. Finally, return the slipped stitch to the left needle.
3. Slip one stitch to the right needle, drop the yarn over off the left needle, and slip another stitch to the right needle. There are two big floppy stitches on the right needle.
4. Pass the second stitch over the first stitch. This means that you use the tip of the left needle to pickup the second stitch (the one farthest from the tip of the right needle), lift it over the first stitch (which is closest to the tip), and let it drop off the needle altogether. Only one stitch remains.
5. Slip one stitch to the right needle. There are now two stitches on the right needle.
6. Repeat Step 4 to pass the second stitch over the first.
7. Drop the Yarn over off the left needle and slip the next stitch to the right needle, repeating Step 4 again.
8. Continue as established, working the normal yarnless bind off except that you’re dropping all yarn-overs as you come to them.
9. When only one stitch remains, draw the working yarn through that last stitch and pull the tail to close the loop.

All of this sounds a lot harder than it is. For the yarnless bind off, you’re really just slipping stitches from one needle to the other and passing each stitch over its neighbor, and for the stretchy version, you add lots of yarn overs to the last row so that, when it’s time to start slipping stitches and passing them over their neighbors, you can drop the yarn overs making the stitches extra big.

Interchangeable Needle Sets

I’ve been hearing about the Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles for a few months now. I’ve also heard about a few other sets recently. I don’t think they are all new but the only ones I knew about when I started knitting were Knitpicks and Denise so I thought I would spend some time and do a review of some different sets. But, alas, another blogger has gotten to it before me. No surprise there but here is the link to her post listing all the different sets. There are definitely more than I thought.


The Knitluck Guide to Interchangeable needles


I’ll give a couple of thoughts on the two sets I have. The first set I acquired was the Knitpicks Harmony needles. I love these but it helps to have a tube of super glue around. Maybe it’s just that I’m hard on needles but I’m pretty sure they have all been super glued back to the metal joining at least once over the years. I’ve had my set for about 4 1/2 years. The cables did start coming apart and this is a little harder to fix. I chalked that one up to them being old so I just replaced them and the new ones are fine. It was pretty irritating when I dropped a lot of stitches because my cables broke though. Knitpicks is really good about sending you replacements if anything is wrong.]

I also have one set of the nickel plated tips. I love the way stitches just glide on the needles. I’m seriously considering a set of metal interchangeables. When I was a beginner knitter the metal needles were a little harder to manage but now I think the knitting goes faster with these.

I am not an acrylic fan. A lot of people love them but I’m just not one of them. I have a couple of Knitpicks Zephyr tips. They are fine for acrylic and the price is one of the best selling points.

I also have the Denise interchangeable needles. I really liked these for a while but the longer I knit, it seems I like the acrylic needles less and less. The Denise set has fatter cables which can make it harder to maneuver your work. They also come apart easy if the cable gets worn out. Also the flexibility of the acrylic sets has started to hurt my hands a little.

One important thing to note is that I’m a tight knitter. This makes the drag on acrylic needles much worse. If you are a loose knitter it might not bother you as much.

That’s all the ones I’ve tried for now. I’ll just have to decide which metal set I want. I have a feeling I’ll be sticking with Knitpicks but its fun to shop around. Also the metal tips are one solid piece so I don’t think I can break them.


So, go check out Knitluck’s wonderful guide to interchangeables. I found her articles very helpful and I hope you do too.

Cardigan Fever

I finished the Mr. Greenjeans Cardigan last week. While I was trying it on I realized that in five years of knitting, this was the first sweater that I have made for myself that I’m actually going to wear. This makes me really happy. This sweater is a top down raglan with a cable and rib section on the body and on the sleeves. I think it will be a great casual sweater to wear with jeans.

. I made this same sweater a few years ago out of an acrylic yarn. I wasn’t happy with the button band and the whole sweater needed serious blocking. In my beginner state I didn’t know that acrylic is basically impossible to block. This time I used Boroco Ultra Alpaca. It’s 50% wool and 50% alpaca. It has a much better drape than the acrylic sweater had. I also used a larger needle for the cable and rib section instead of the smaller needle it called for. It just didn’t make sense to me that I should use a smaller needle that would necessitate more blocking when I could use the larger needle and do less blocking. Now I’m just hoping for some cooler evenings so I can actually wear this cardigan before this fall.

I immediately cast on another cardigan. I was so pleased with the first one that I thought I would try another one and see how it went. This time I chose the Sitcom Chic Cardigan. It’s mostly stockinet with a garter and eyelet strip around the yoke. It has ¾ length sleeves and one button at the center of your chest. It was a fairly simple knit and worked up pretty quickly. I had a lot of knitting time last week since I skipped all the housework and knit instead. It’s just too bad I can’t get away with that every week. I’m done with all the knitting for this cardigan. I just have to do the finishing work and I’ll have a cute little cardigan to wear over summer dresses. It should be a little cooler than the other since it’s made out of a 75% cotton and 25% acrylic yarn.


Ana and Crystal are on Viewpoints!

Ana and I did an interview for the Viewpoints Podcast. We talk about knitting with visual impairments and share some tips and advice for other blind and low vision knitters.


Please check it out:  ViewPoints 1214 4-4-12 Knitting for the Visually Impaired


Also, check out  ViewPoints

A weekly, half hour radio program for people living with low vision

Find out more about the show and get links to the podcasts at:



The Right Decrease: Knitting Two Together

When I was five, my mom taught me to knit. Literally. She cast on the stitches, and I knit them. After a few rows of crinkly garter, we moved on to purling. A sweater, after all, requires the ability to make smooth stockinet for the body and corrugated ribbing for cuffs and edges. I think the next lesson was binding off, and the last was the long-tail cast on. Great! Barbie and all my other dollies were happily stocked with blankets, scarves, washcloths, pillows, and more blankets, scarves, washcloths, and pillows. What else can a girl imagine squares and rectangles into?

Eventually, my mom taught me to decrease, turn two stitches into one. That was magical because I had been given the power to make the fabric change shape. For example, if I cast on a bunch of stitches and decreased at the beginning of every row, I made a triangle, which was like the shawls grown women I knew wore, or if I cast on a bunch of stitches, worked a few rows even, then decreased all the way across the row before working a few more rows even, I would create a ruffle. New and exciting things were possible, and the decrease was my first major step into non-rudimentary knitting.

The simplest decrease is called “knit two together.” The way it’s abbreviated in knitting patterns is “k2tog” or “k2 tog.” Technically it slants to the right. This is important when you’re making lace or when you want the decreases to line up, but when you’re starting out, it’s a great all-purpose decrease.

How does it work?

Normally, when I knit, I have the thumb of my left hand resting lightly on the needle between the first and second stitches. Before a decrease, I move my thumb so that it’s resting lightly between the second and third stitches.

For the knit two together decrease, I do exactly what I do for the knit stitch, only instead of inserting the needle into one stitch, I insert it into two. I start by placing the tip of the right needle where my left thumb is. I push the tip through the second, then the first stitch on the left needle, scoop or wrap the yarn exactly as I do when knitting a single stitch, then draw the right needle back through both stitches, dropping them off the left needle when I’m done.

It feels a little awkward the first time or two, and it’s one of those things that your hands just get, so it’s best not to think too much about what you’re doing or what you’re going to do. It’s best to imagine all the things that you’ll be making.

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