Tag: knitting (page 1 of 5)

Mothers and daughters: Reluctant gifts

Dear Wendy,

Last week someone asked me how I learned to knit.

I paused for a moment, trying to remember—I’ve been doing it for so long now, it’s hard to recall the details. I do know that our mother had something to do with it, which is a bit out of character for her, since she didn’t go in much for that whole “mothers and daughters” thing. Continue reading

The joy (and pain) of hand knit gloves

Dear Wendy,

This week has been unseasonably warm in Ottawa, which makes what I am about to say sound faintly ridiculous: in anticipation of winter, which looms only a few weeks in the future, I finally finished knitting a pair of  Very Warm Gloves. Continue reading

Awesome Advice Central knits up a storm

Dear Awesome Advice Central,

Finally, oh finally, I’ve found the man I love.  I’ve been searching for years for Mr. Right, and at long last there he was, sitting on the opposite side of a bonfire last July, beating his bongo with a vigour usually found in big rock groups like The Weavers and Edison Lighthouse. 

His bongo-playing attracted me, but his personality kept me coming back for more. 

He told me he fell in love with me when he saw me remove my G-string.  That seems like a peculiar thing to say, given I change my strings so often.  Portius (that’s his name) says he adored the concentrated look on my face when I replaced it (the string, not my face) with another string. 

I commented that it’s not that unusual for a guitar player to have spare strings in her pocket, but still.  He loved it, he loves me, I love him, we should be happy. 


And yet it’s just not working that way for me.  Portius (I mentioned it was his name?  Because it is) is kind, loves my iguana (named Night—get it?  haha, I love puns), enjoys Sundays on the beach with our twin metal detectors, and doesn’t even mind when the home-brew in the basement occasionally explodes.  What a guy, right?

And then…last night I learned something about him. Something that might put our wonderful bond in jeopardy. 

It’s so alarming, I just never would have thought it of him, but dear sisters of Awesome Advice Central, I have to tell you that he…well…there’s nothing to do but just come out with it…which I’ll do in just a minute, after I have a quick but meaningful hug with Night, to bolster my spirits…Portius knits

The shock.  The horror. 

If he’d told me he’d been a murderer, I couldn’t have been more appalled. You see, I swore, after my last failed love affair, that I would never date or become attached in any way with a man who was involved with textiles.

Due to a serious purling episode involving me, Pontius (my ex), and a hamster named Ralph, I’m just not willing to go there again.  At first, Pontius lured me in to his tangled world of wool by knitting me small pot holders and tea cosies.  I thought it was charming.  I told him I loved them all, put them in a back cupboard and promptly forgot about them. 

His behavior escalated.  I suppose it was partially my fault for not telling him that I thought he was a nitwit, but that’s what we call “blaming the victim” these days.  I just couldn’t bring myself to let him know that knits are not my thing.

He knit me a dress.  It looked like a regular sweater, but it went from my shoulders to the floor.  To gussy it up, he put tassels on it, at intervals around my chestal area and hips.  I grimly thanked him for the gesture, put it in the cupboard with all those fricking tea cosies, and tried desperately to forget about it. 

Until the night when he invited me out, making a special request that I wear the dress that evening, “just for him.” Well, if he liked it so much, why didn’t HE bloody wear it. 

I put the repellent thing on, tried not to look at myself in the mirror and dragged myself to the front door to get into his car.  If I’d thought the dress was heavy and clumsy before, it was a total disaster when I stepped outside into the pouring rain. 

I won’t go into details.  I save those for my therapist.  Let’s just say, it ended that night with Pontius in tears, threatening me with his 5.5 mm chrome-plated instruments of death:  his needles.  Circulars, but still. Pointy.

Pontius is doing time in prison now, where last I heard he attempted to escape using nothing but a macramé rope made of recycled toilet paper and saliva. 

I can’t go through something like this again and I need you to help me figure out how to unravel myself from this web of love, desire and shame. 

I love Portius, but he must see how he’s just no good for me.  He’s hinting that he wants to make me something “special” for our upcoming anniversary.  I don’t think I can bear it anymore.  How can I dump him?

Nittie G. Rittie


Dear Nittie,

Well, aren’t we the special little snowflake? Too good for a knitting boyfriend, are we?

Unappreciative of the skills of not just one, but two decent-sounding fellows (with extremely odd names, but perhaps they’re related? Names puzzle us these days). Clearly, you don’t deserve either Pontius or Portius.

Young woman, do you have any clue how much love and labour goes into knitting a dress? Not to mention the cost of the wool.

Especially a full-length gown of the sort you describe—we understand completely why poor Pontius flipped his cookies and went after you with the only weapon at his disposal. Though frankly, we’d have gone for a smaller gauge needle, as they’re pointier and can do more damage. 5.5 mms are fine for larger projects, but when you’re aiming for a person’s jugular, you really want a precision instrument. However, we forgive him this gaffe, as he was clearly distraught at having picked a lady friend who so obviously scorned his devotion.

As for Portius, we suggest you do the only decent thing, and set him free. In fact, if he’s planning on knitting something special for your anniversary, you should head him off at the pass right away, as a kindness. That is, assuming you’re capable of a kindness, which we sincerely doubt. In our vast and worldly experience, those who fail to appreciate knitting paramours, male or female, tend to be unappreciative and graceless in other ways as well.

However, it is not our place to judge you for being a self-centred narcissist whose sense of entitlement is exceeded only by your ability to whine about it.

While you’re showing poor Portius the door, you may tell him from us that he is always welcome chez Awesome Advice, should he wish to join us for an afternoon (or evening) of knitting, coffee, and kibbitzing. Trust us, he’ll have more fun in an evening with us than in a lifetime with you, you pathetic creature.

Awesome Advice Central


Saturday List: My favourite knit blogs

Dear Wendy,

I know you’re not a knitter. Well, unless you count that time I forced you to knit a giant pullover out of apricot-coloured mohair, which made you look like a really furry pastel version of the Great Pumpkin…but that was a long time ago, and I say we should let bygones be bygones, right?


In any case, I’m a knitter, and if there’s one thing we knitters like doing almost as much as winding string around needles and turning it into wonderful magical knitted things, it’s reading knit blogs. In fact, even if you’re not a knitter, you’ll probably enjoy these blogs, because the knitters who run them are such awesome people.

For example, my friend Mary, who writes Hugs for Your Head, is the nicest woman you’d ever want to know. And her posts really are like a warm cup of tea on a chilly day…with the added bonus of beautiful pictures of the stuff she knits. You’ll see when you get there.

I’ve gathered up a passle (passel? neither spelling looks right to me, and I’m too lazy to go look it up) of wonderful knit blogs for your viewing enjoyment. They’re my favourites, each for its own reason: excellent writing, beautiful photography, patterns to drool for…these blogs have it all.

So go on, dig in! And don’t forget: you can click on the little left-side arrows to vote your own favourites up or down; you can add comments; and you can suggest blogs you like, that I might have overlooked.

Because seriously: this is just a tiny sample of the Wonderful World of Knit Blogs. There are hundreds out there, just waiting to be discovered.

Hope you enjoy them—and I’ll look forward to any and all input.



305 views 13 items
KarenWendy Irving

World's best knitting blogs

I knit a lot. I read knitting blogs a lot. Here's my take on the best knitting blogs--from beginning knitter to pro, and everything in between.

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  1. 1  Yarn Harlot

    Yarn Harlot

    The Yarn Harlot has been blogging since blogs were a thing, and knitting for a much longer time than that. She's from Toronto (yay!) and describes herself as a "knitting humour writer." She's pretty much considered a goddess in knitting circles.

  2. 2  Knitting Blog

    Knitting Blog

    The Oregonian has a knitting blog! This alone makes me think Oregon must be the most awesome state ever, even though I'm Canadian. Here's their blurb: "Get the latest Knitting tips, events, news and columns from The Oregonian's Peggy McMullen and Mims Copeland. Get articles about Crochet, Dyeing, Yarn, Patterns and more at OregonLive.com"

  3. 3  Samurai Knitter

    Samurai Knitter

    Julie describes herself thus: "I'm currently a stay at home mother, freelance writing on my off time, wondering how I became part of the ten thousand year old tradition of raising the kids while creating textiles. I grew up in NE Ohio dairy country, married a sailor, lived in Hawaii ten years, lived in SC for five years, then moved back to culture shock and confusion."

  4. 4  Knitspot - Anne Hanson Knitting Pattern Designer Blog and Knitting Patterns Shop

    Knitspot - Anne Hanson Knitting Pattern Designer Blog and Knitting Patterns Shop

    Anne Hanson designs and knits some of the most elegant pieces out there--you can find her patterns and her blog here. "The exact, right place where knitting happens (wherever that may be)."

  5. 5  westknits


    Westknits is all about colour, geometric design, and awesomeness. Stephen West's patterns make me happy. You should give them a try.

  6. 6  Stolen Stitches

    Stolen Stitches

    Carol Feller's knitting designs are beautiful--and her blog is a delight to read and look at.

  7. 7  Brooklyn Tweed

    Brooklyn Tweed

    "I always liked to make things with my hands, even as a young child. I began crochet & crochet lace-making first when I was very small, then picked up knitting in high school. My first knitted garment was a U-neck vest - at the time I could only knit and purl, so stockinette (or reverse stockinette) were the only fabrics I was using!"

  8. 8  mercedes knits

    mercedes knits

    Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark shows you how to tackle tricky knitting techniques--and she designs some pretty awesome knitting patterns.

  9. 9  Follow Hugs For Your Head

    Follow Hugs For Your Head

    Mary offers "brain food for crafty people: free knitting patterns, craft tips, and trivia on knitting, spinning, sewing"...and delightful commentary as well! This blog really is like a warm hug and a nice cup of tea with a friend...who knits.

  10. 10  tiny owl knits

    tiny owl knits

    This is the home of the famous Beekeeper's Quilt, aka the hexipuff blanket, which I've been working on for ages now. Okay, really it's only been since September, but it feels long. Anyway, here's where it came from, and Tiny Owl has loads more besides. Guaranteed fun.

  11. 11  Woolly Wormhead - unique & original knitted Hat designs

    Woolly Wormhead - unique & original knitted Hat designs

    Woolly Wormhead is a hat designer, and oh! her hats! She uses interesting constructions and beautiful yarns to create hats you want to wear in August, in a heatwave...because they're really that awesome.

  12. 12  Knitty: Spring+Summer 2014

    Knitty: Spring+Summer 2014

    Knitty is the longest-running free knitting magazine on the web. Launched in 2002, there are more than 11 years worth of fabulous free knitting patterns and free knitting articles in our library. Learn to knit, learn a new knitting technique, find a new free pattern!

  13. 13  Website at www.craftsoftexture.com

    Website at www.craftsoftexture.com

    A new one to me, but Sara's handspun yarn and beautiful knits are worth a visit!

Hexipuffs, Take 2: Puff-puff-puffing along

Dear Wendy,

Last time I bored you to tears with tales of my hexipuff knitting I believe I’d finished…um…(checking back)…about 22 puffs.


A smallish number of hexipuffs

Ah, it all seems so long ago now…back when a quilt composed of tiny stuffed knitted ravioli things made of leftover sock yarn seemed like more of a lovely fantasy than a Real Thing.


So small. So unassuming. So addictive.

Back when I only had a few puffs, and could easily tuck the whole project into my purse.

These days, things have expanded. Significantly.

Sure, I’ve taken breaks to knit other things, such as socks…


Socks resembling a pinata


More socks, a bit less garish


And back to the garish again.

…felted bears, the end of one sweater and the beginning of another…you know, the usual.

Even so, I seem to have accumulated a largish number of hexipuffs.


Moar hexipuffs! For reference, this is about 28″ x 30″.

While it’s definitely looking much more blanket-like these days, the project isn’t exactly what you’d call “portable” any longer.

Also, because it’s made of many, many small but plump puffs sewn together, it has pretty much no drape, like a normal blanket would. For instance, you wouldn’t want to try to wrap yourself in it. It would wrap about as well as a slab of foam rubber. Thick, bendy, but not drapey.


Extra points if you can guess where the wool for the centre puff came from?

alt="IMAGE-knitting-beekeepers-quilt-hexipuffs-sewn-together"On the plus side, though, when I spread the blanket across my knees to work on it of a cold winter evening, it’s basically like having my own personal blast furnace.

The wool puffs, stuffed with wool fleece, almost feel like they’re generating heat, not just conserving it. Of course I know that’s crazy talk—really they’re just acting as especially efficient insulation between me and the rest of the room.

But given the winter we’ve been having so far, I’ll take heat any way I can get it.

Also, I’m quite aware that by the time I actually finish this thing, it’ll likely be mid-summer. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles. For now, I’ll just keep hexipuffing along, one puff at a time, and by next winter I’ll have a decent-sized lap blanket to use while watching Netflix with Mitchell. Or whatever.

All I can say is that after all this knitting, next winter had better turn out cold enough to be worth it.



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