Famous People and Their Hobbies

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Penguin Mishegas*

Here’s what Franklin Habit (of The Panopticon blog fame) had to say about the entire matter:



*Yiddish slang for craziness.

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Use Those Needles Responsibly

When you go to the doctor or to the hospital, your physician assigns a numerical code describing your symptoms and diagnosis.

diadnosisThese codes are universal — meaning that they are used here and in virtually all foreign countries.

This year the U.S. is updating their codes to be more descriptive.  A number of codes have been added to the list.

As knitters and crocheters, I thought you’d like to know about a particular new code that I hope is never assigned to you:

2014 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code Y93.D1:

  • Activity, knitting and crocheting
  • Y93.D1 describes the circumstance causing an injury, not the nature of the injury, and therefore should not be used as a principal diagnosis.

Be careful out there.

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Knitting Gone Wrong

This gallery contains 11 photos.

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Harvard Agrees…Knitting is Good for Your Health

©Knitting Fever

©Knitting Fever

The health care community has finally found out what we already knew: Knitting is cheaper than therapy. Of course, that depends on the size of your stash.

The repetitive motions used in knitting and crocheting have been proven to increase patience, improve motor skills, and relax the body and mind. People on anti-depressants have actually been able to reduce their intake once they started knitting.

Watch this video developed by the Craft Yarn Council.

According to an article on treehugger, here are some benefits of knitting and crocheting:

  1. Knitting is used for therapy.
  2. Knitting is supremely relaxing, which is extremely important for reducing stress and anxiety.
  3. Knitting connects people.
  4. Knitting improves concentration and can provide an outlet for excessive energy.
  5. Knitting can reduce the risk of dementia.
  6. Knitting offers a break from busy schedules and a refreshing detox from a technology-saturated world.
  7. Knitting makes people happy, from the people who knit to those who receive knitted items, and those who see knitting in their surroundings.

The Craft Yarn Council recently published this great article.

Take a few minutes to look at the video and read these articles.

The next time someone asks you why you knit/crochet, just tell them that your doctor made you do it.

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A Sweater Tale

Knitting my Ambiente while on return flight from Phoenix July 2013

Knitting my Ambiente while on return flight from Phoenix

As you may recall from an earlier post — 6-1/2 months ago — I started on my very first adult-sized sweater. It was to be a birthday gift for my sister. The chosen pattern was Ambiente a lovely top down sweater featuring the contiguous sleeve method.

Here is what I discovered: never, ever make a sweater for someone who lives 2,279 miles away. For my maiden sweater attempt I definitely needed to have my sister readily available for fittings – even though I had very detailed measurements.

I began the project last July. Armed with her measurements, I set off on this new knitting adventure. Loved the contiguous arm method! Full of confidence, I made it past the neckline where I joined the garment to start working in the round. I then got serious and was constantly comparing my knitting to the measurements. Then, I frogged.  Started again. Measured. Frogged. Repeat. By December this project was in full hibernation.

I went to Phoenix last month and brought my poor neglected WIP with me. My sister tried it on and I was thrilled that the neck, shoulders, bustline, and waist were perfect! I next measured sleeve length and length down to the hipline where she wanted it to fall.

I, of course, had to refresh myself with where I was in the pattern and set off knitting to the eyelet round which precedes the start of a feather-and-fan lace motif at the hem. I finished the lace after measuring from under the arm to the bottom and confirming that it was the desired length. I did my usual knit two, pass 1st stitch over 2nd bind off and looked at this nearly finished item in horror dismay.

For some reason I had extra stitches in the lace pattern and now I had a rufflely, frou-frou hem. Even though much can be done in blocking, I just knew that that ruffle would never be tamed and my bind-off seemed to roll the edging more than I was comfortable with. Hot mess!

Since my sister was conveniently coming over to my Mom’s house, she tried it on. It was unanimous…frou-frou had to go. Adding to the trauma, was the eyelet row which hit her in a spot that she felt would require tank top underneath. Have you been to Phoenix, AZ? Well, it was 80 degrees outside…in February. You don’t want to be adding layers when you don’t have to.

More measurements were taken. After I ripped out the lace and eyelet sections, I did some lace pattern research. We agreed that we liked the wavy edge you get with the feather and fan stitch. After counting my stitches and reviewing different patterns for this stitch I found one matching my stitch count. I lengthened the body a bit by continuing in straight knitting (in the round) for 2” more and eliminated the eyelet round. As I knit the new lace pattern I could immediately tell that the edge was not at all frilly and would lay flat as God intended (or the designer, whoever came first).

As I prepared for the bind-off I once again did an Internet search for various bind-offs and found just the right one. Sadly, in my excitement and haste to get this damn sweater done, I’ve lost the link to the YouTube video.

After completing the last round in the feather and fan pattern, I did one round of knit and then bound off the stitches. Love, love, love this bind off.  It not only looks great, but keeps the edge from turning! Here’s how it’s done: knit the first stitch through the back loop, move the stitch back to the left needle and knit it again through the back loop. Repeat on the next stitch. Then, pass the first knitted stitch on the right needle over the second stitch (the one nearest the needle point). Continue in this manner until you’ve worked all stitches then end the last worked stitch by pulling yarn through loop to secure. I love the way it looks and it’s stretchy.

Feather and Fan along the  hem

Feather and Fan along the hem. I apologize for the poor photography!

I then applied the same lace pattern and bind off to the sleeves.

Sleeve detail

Sleeve detail

Provisional Cast-on technique

Provisional Cast-on technique

The next area to tackle was the neck edge. The pattern calls for a round of single crochet. While that’s easily accomplished, I’m not the best at crochet and cannot maintain a steady tension. Plus, I was already in a “learn new techniques” mood, so why not push myself. First, I had to learn a provisional cast on. Then watched a few videos and, voilà, I finished the neck edge with an applied I-cord!

I liked the provisional cast on finished with Kitchener stitch for smooth joining of the I-cord ends. You really have to look hard to see where it began/ended. Overall, I love the effect. It provides just the right amount of stability and gives a wonderful finish to the neck edge.

Neck detail with applied I-cord

Neck detail with applied I-cord

After blocking, my sister tried it on and declared, “It’s great. I’d like another one.”



Here is everything I learned while working on this project:

  1. Fuji by Berroco was a dream to work with. It is not at all splitty and has a lovely feel and drape. And yes, the next one will be made out of Fuji. Sue carries it in the shop. Next time you’re at Lovelyarns, take a look. It’s perfect for Spring/Summer knits.
  2. The contiguous sleeve method rocks! This Ravelry forum regularly lists contiguous patterns. You’ll definitely want to give this technique a try.
  3. When you’re working with the same non-woolen yarn/color, you might want to try the double knot technique. I recommend it and there are no ends to weave in! YAY!!!    As an FYI, I use a Russian Join when working with 100% wool.
  4. I am able to do the math necessary to match stitch count to patterns…this was not the case before. My math skills are somewhat lacking, so this was a big win for me.
  5. Love the applied I-cord edge finish. I am now on a quest to find other patterns where I can use it. I envision that the next few items I make will probably have an I-cord somewhere on it.
  6. When I find videos/instructions for new techniques, write down the URL…it just might come in handy someday.
  7. And, finally, if you’re me, don’t make a sweater for someone who is not geographically available to continually try on and fit…at least not until I get much better at making sweaters.

Have you learned any new techniques lately?

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All the Cool Kids Do It

Can you identify all these famous and cool fellow knitters? As one well-known knitter shows us, knitting can be downright sexy!

sophia loren

Sophia Loren


Tim Daly


Bette Davis and her stand-in

ryan gosling

In a GQ Australia interview, Ryan Gosling revealed that he is a knitter. Would love to have him be a part of my knitting circle!

rita hayworth

Rita Hayworth


Mama Cass Elliot


Here’s Martha Washington using her double points.

linda ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt back stage on tour in the 1970s. Photo by Annie Leibowitz for Rolling Stone magazine.


Kristin Davis

Knitting Star 6

Katherine Heigl

Knitting Star 4

Ashley Olsen


Julia Roberts


Katherine Hepburn

judy garland

Judy Garland (with Mickey Rooney) knitting while doing a radio broadcast.


Mommy Dearest — Joan Crawford


Vickie Howell teaches Isaac Mizrahi how to knit.

grace kelly

Grace Kelly on set in Africa with Clark Gable


Gina Lollobrigida passing time during a movie shoot.

george lucas

George Lucas knitting in a California Starbucks.

e taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

e roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

doris day

Doris Day


David Arquette


Sarah Jessica Parker makes knitting sexy.


Christina Hendricks carrying her latest WIP.


Ingrid Bergman


Audrey Hepburn knitting between takes.


Mouseketeer Annette Funicello

a seigfried

Amanda Seyfried

How can anyone say that this is a hobby for old ladies? Be proud to be a knitter. You are in great company.

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Breaking the Stereotype

Super Heroes

Super Heroes



Actor John Glover Photo: Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

John Glover
Photo: Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

Regular Guy on the Subway Photo: Dan Washburn

Regular Guy on the Subway
Photo: Dan Washburn

"Tangled" Animated Movie © Disney

“Tangled” Animated Movie © Disney

The Perfect Family The Coopers — 8-year-old Audrey, her mother, Kiyoni, and father, Don — work on knitting projects at a Mariners game. Photo: Jim Bates/The Seattle Times

The Perfect Family
The Coopers — 8-year-old Audrey, her mother, Kiyoni, and father, Don — work on knitting projects at a Mariners game. Photo: Jim Bates/The Seattle Times

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Knitting There and Back Again

I spent New Year’s Day in a Hobbit-fest. While knitting a pair of socks for myself (!), I marathoned the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first installment in the new Hobbit series of films in preparation for the latest installment in the franchise. You all did get the reference in this post title, right?

This morning I did a Hobbit search online and came across the story of a Welsh woman, Denise Salway, who knitted characters from “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”. She was prompted into picking up an old hobby by her daughter who asked for a knitted Thorin figure.

Source: Wales Online

Source: Wales Online

I even found pictures of some of the actors with their knitted counterparts.

Source: Wales Online

Source: Wales Online

To view the full array of her Hobbity goodness, go here and here.

I am very impressed by knitters who can see an image and whip up three-dimensional replicas. They are truly gifted craftspeople. Ms. Salway’s work reminded me of Fiona Goble’s popular “Knit Your Own Royal Wedding” that came out in 2011 when Prince William and Kate Middleton married. An interview with Fiona can be found here.


Fiona has since come out with a new “royal” pattern featuring Prince George and his parents. It’s available for free on Ravelry.

© Fiona Goble

© Fiona Goble

Over the past few years there’s been a mystery yarn bomber (or bombers) in the town of Saltburn By the Sea in Yorkshire, England also featuring knitted characters, real and fictional.

The Saltburn Pier has been embellished with 50′ long railing “scarves” featuring a commemoration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (which, in all fairness, looks like a combination of knit and crocheted items).

theshipOn a personal note: In the following videos, as they pan the knitted work, in the distance close to the cliffs you can see a 2 story building. It is The Ship Inn Pub —  parts of which were built in the 1400’s and 1600’s. In the 1770’s it was owned by a smuggler. I mention all this because in the summer of 1974 I spent a summer living and working in that pub.

Now back to our regularly, scheduled blog post: Here is the fibery Queen’s Jubilee:

and the Olympic Games all done in 2012.

In May of 2013, these prolific knitters were at it again (I just have to believe that it is a group of knitters and not an individual). Under cover of darkness they installed a marvelous depiction of a seaside paradise complete with sunbathers and sea creatures.

Back in 2007, Carol Meldrum, a designer who can be found on Ravelry, released a book entitled “Knitted Icons” allowing us to knit our very own version of Madonna,

© cransom12

© cransom12

The Beatles,

© cransom12

© cransom12

and the Breakfast at Tiffany’s version of Audrey Hepburn.

© cransom12

© cransom12

Of course, close to home, we have Sue’s recent knitted depiction of Baltimore’s 12 Days of Christmas featuring dancers, football players, mice and even a flamingo.

Lovelyarns' People's and Children's Choice Winner -- 2013 Window Wonderland

Lovelyarns’ People’s and Children’s Choice Winner — 2013 Window Wonderland

While I find all of these knitted characters fascinatingly adorable and can revel in the work of very talented knitters, I can’t imagine doing it myself. Perhaps I’m not an artist, just your average knitter looking to produce an article of clothing for the people I love. But, I have to admit, there are times I’d love to be an artist!

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Happy New Year

The New Year is now upon us and, while I don’t really make annual resolutions or goals, I thought I’d try writing some down for a change.

This past year I made a resolution to not add to my stash. Well, best of intentions and all that, but I cannot lie. I did succumb to the yarny goodness available at this year’s Annual PLY Party. In the interest of full disclosure, I also purchased more sock yarn at Lovelyarns…that Berroco sock yarn and Cephalopod Traveller just called out to me! Despite these small lapses, nearly everything I knit for Christmas presents was from the stash.

Here are my 2014 Knitting Goals:

  • Goal #1 — Make socks for ME! I make about 12-15 pairs each year and only own 3 pairs myself, time to change that.
  • Goal #2 — Expand my knitting classes. In addition to Basic Socks, I’m going to teach a Monkey Sock class in March and am thinking about teaching Arm Knitting…anyone interested?
  • Goal #3 — Learn how to read charts. Why do I find this so difficult? I’ve read some articles, but still it seems like Greek to me. Anyone out there who can teach me this skill?
  • Goal #4 — Knit down stash. Currently stash resides in 4 big plastic bins. I’d like to try to get that down to 3.
  • Goal #5 — Knit a sweater. By the end of the summer I’d like to have started on a sweater for myself. I am still working on a sweater for my sister…my first adult-sized sweater. I’d like to attempt one for myself.

That looks like a do-able list. Do you have any knitting goals/resolutions for 2014? What does the new year look like to you? Maybe you are over the whole resolutions things or maybe you’re like me, and have a plan of attack?

On this New Year’s Eve I wish you happiness in abundance, the joy of making at least one person happy each day, no moths in your stash, and the comfort and peace found in family and friends.

Happy New Year everyone.

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