Blocking Knitting In A Small Apartment

It’s no surprise that blocking is considered an integral part of the knitting process. Those who choose not to block are missing out on a life of even stitches, soft and squishy fabric, and even hemlines. (But that’s another story altogether.)

It would be truly ideal if we all lived in homes with an exclusive knitting room where we could spread out a giant blocking board and lay out ten shawls at a time. Unfortunately, some of us live in New York City apartments where available floor space is a laughable concept. 

If you don’t have much room to dedicate to the art of blocking–whether you find yourself in a dorm room, community space, or the aforementioned East Village studio–don’t fear! Years of cramped quarters have led me to the development of a small-scale blocking regimen. Here’s my tips:


Leaving my pieces in an industrial ten-gallon bucket in the basement? Yeah, not going to happen. Believe it or not, I soak my knitting in a pasta pot. Bigger projects tend to protrude out of the pot, so this method requires some stirring/monitoring in order to make sure all parts of the piece get equal attention. Oh, and make sure you don’t turn on the stove.

I also use Soak Wash products in order to maximize my blocking results. I plan on doing a more comprehensive review of their products in the future, but for now let me just say: worth it. 


In order to save space, I don’t use any kind of blocking board. Instead, I use a yoga mat. It’s surprisingly perfect when it comes to fitting into tight corners or sliding from one corner of the apartment to another. And of course, when the blocking is all done, the mat rolls right up and stashes away. (What? You thought I was exercising?) 

It very well may just be me, but I find that I am constantly losing all kinds of pins in the blocking process. When you’re blocking in a small and high-trafficked area, a rogue T-pin is the last thing anyone wants to discover. To solve this, I bought a set of Knitter’s Pride Blockers. The large size minimizes how many pins you need (one set works completely for an entire sweater), and they work wonderfully with a squishy yoga mat. 


One concern I really had about blocking in an apartment was potential pests. Bugs love moisture and the idea of having a wet sweater laying on my floor for a few days freaked me out to the max. But I’ve come to minimize the excess moisture with the use of a bath towel places in between the projects and the yoga mat. This helps keep moisture at bay. 

Furthermore, if you are able to place the project in indirect sunlight, near a fan, or near an open window, the drying process will be pleasantly expedited and you can stop searching exterminator reviews on Yelp. 

Where to Block?

With all of this in mind, you’re ready to compactly block like a pro. But one question does remain–where can I actually block when my floor space is so limited? Here are a few places I have made magic happen:

Under a kitchen table, under the bed, in the bathtub, on a kitchen counter, inside a storage unit, on top of a bookshelf, on a shelf of the aforementioned bookshelf, on the roof (on a hot day)…

Anywhere there is space, it is yours to use! 

Remember, blocking doesn’t have to be glamorous, because your knits will be glamorous afterwards.


Breaking The Boyfriend Sweater Curse

It’s one of the most fervent superstitions among knitters that if you make a sweater for a significant other, the relationship is doomed. The myth has several different variations: the recipient will break up with the knitter shortly after receiving the sweater, or the relationship won’t even last through the knitting process. All variations of this legend have come to be known by the quaint (heteronormative) nickname of the “Boyfriend Sweater Curse.” 

My two-year anniversary with my beau is on the horizon–just under a month away. When discussing what kinds of gifts to exchange, my boyfriend brought up the prospect of receiving a sweater. I’ve knit him things in the past, sure–hats, scarves, socks–but nothing as substantial as a sweater. 

Of course I explained to him the lore of The Curse, but he quickly poo-pooed the belief and declared that our relationship has the capacity to withstand any sort of paranormal forces. Now, I don’t know if he was trying to be romantic or just really wants a sweater, but he really got me thinking. 

Thinking enough to pick out a pattern and invest in a substantial amount of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash in a fine assortment of heather browns and reds. I told myself that if, midway through the project I’m feeling the universe’s warning, I can just co-opt the sweater to be a present for my brother and my boyfriend will be none the wiser.

Still, my fellow knitters tell me to beware. One of my closest friends agrees that smaller projects are okay, but the sweater is just untouchable territory. “Maybe if you guys were married,” she offered. I don’t think I know anyone who’s personally experience the wrath of The Curse, but there’s this entire blog I just discovered with numerous tales. It’s even so rampant as to have its own Wikipedia page. Who knew? Aaaand I just read the term “pre-knitual agreement” and don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

Anyway, I have a few days until the yarn arrives, and my boyfriend is conveniently out of town for two weeks. As of this exact moment, I’m leaning towards “go for it!” but I can’t help but feel a sense of reservation attached to the whole thing. Have any of you ever taken the plunge and crafted a sweater for a significant other? Where have you found truth in the superstition if at all? I am curious to hear reactions to this whole mythos…and I will certainly keep you updates as to the progress of this garment (and my relationship!)


2016 Knitting Resolutions

Before you ask, yes, I did make otherwise noted resolutions to eat more broccoli and take the stairs etc. I am only human. But most important to my #newyearnewme is the knitting related goals I’ve set. 

Over the past year, I’ve definitely stagnated as a knitter. Sloppy blocking, basic projects, frogging everything in sight. I’m certainly proud of the patterns I put out and the knitting connections I made, but I really want to push myself to get to the level where next time I go to Rhinebeck, someone will ask to take a picture with me. Just kidding (sort of). 

Here’s what I have in mind:

Toe-Up Socks

Yes, I am the most daft person alive who has knit over 10 pairs of socks and never bothered to learn what everyone considers to be the savior of all sock knitting: the toe-up method. “Oh, but I don’t mind picking up the stitches around the heel flap!” I say as I fashion yet another foot-holder replete with holes and mixed-up sizing. For the good of humanity, I need to stop fighting the light and get on with the toe-up socks. 

A Sweater Of One’s Own

In the majority of my pattern-making, I’ve gotten away with the one-size-fits-most dealio, or just outright said “This pattern will only fit size X” (hence the multiple threads on Ravelry discussing how to re-size Bettie–curse me!). Designing a sweater, even if it’s simple, requires actually being a designer. Sure, I might not get around to this one until December 31, but dammit, it will happen!

Continental Style

Okay, this is The Big One for me. I’ve knit English style (throwing the yarn) ever since I first started knitting back in the day. It’s a perfectly good way to knit, but I’ve also come to realize it represents a much less efficient way for the hardcore knitter to get things did. On Instagram, people have been sharing #howiknit videos for the past few weeks, and I’ve been shocked at the beauty and proficiency of the Continental Style. Now, I’ve seen some of my favorite designers talk about how they, too, went from English to Continental for the sake of efficiency, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be any easier than learning Mandarin or writing with my opposite hand. I definitely plan on writing about/photographing this experience so you can all laugh at my struggling little claws. 

What are your knitting resolutions, friends? I’d love to hear what plans you have for a most rad 2016! 


Image via Flickr/Creative Commons

Recent Project Extravaganza!

I’ve been on a serious knitting spree this summer. Kind of contradictory, I know–who wants to hold five pounds of wool in their lap on a 95 degree day? Still, this summer I’ve wrapped up tons of long-overdue projects and whipped up a couple of new ones. 

From top to bottom: Bundled in Brioche by Stephen West, an original pattern I’ll be sharing soon!,  Viajante by Martina Behm, a random bastardized DROPS pattern I have never been able to find again, and Women’s Cardigan Style No. 150 from Free Vintage Knitting

Currently on my needles: Ladies Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond in Cascade 220 (the color scheme is Neapolitan Ice Cream, of course), and a pair of rainbow socks in Manos del Uruguay fingering weight for my niece. 

I’ll have more new patterns coming your way soon! 


Favorite Yarn: Araucania Huasco


Oh yeah, this blog is about knitting too, right? Well let’s talk yarn!

I’ve had a skein of Araucania Huasco Botany Lace sitting around in my stash for at least two years. As with any great skein, I bought it because it was just so damn pretty–a beautiful kettle-dyed mix of blues and greys. Yet, being a fingering weight, I have resisted using it because I either can’t decide on a project or don’t feel like self-inflicting carpal tunnel with #1 needles that day. 

Finally, after completing a ginormous sweater for Rhinebeck (that can only be described as Bjorkian) I wanted to do something small-scale with a bit of intricacies. I pulled out my Araucania, some #4’s, and cast on for a hat. 

I am literally addicted to knitting with this yarn right now–which doesn’t bode very well considering it’s finals week and I’d rather make a hat and watch Sailor Moon. The texture of the yarn is squishy, never stringy, and the variegation in color is oh-so subtle. The best part: the stitch consistently is really beautiful. I’m working the honeycomb stitch in the round and the results have been really even and lovely. 

This would be a seriously rad yarn for a sweater or bigger project (if you have the patience…pshhhh). I can’t even imagine these colors on a large scale! The yarn is delicate and it’s advised to be dry-cleaned, so I wouldn’t suggest socks despite how good they would feel. I think scarves, shawls, hats, and other down the middle projects would be made really special with this yarn.

Have you knit with Araucania before? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Shop Araucania Yarns at


Life Updates: Brioche, Blume and A Mystery Novel

Hey all! Life is good! It’s summer, I’m happy, and I am currently eating a garlic knot! There’s so much going on in my world that I thought I’d share:

This morning, I just finished reading Judy Blume’s latest novel In the Unlikely Event. It’s one of her few novels “for adults,” centering around three plane crashes in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1950’s. The novel has garnered mixed reviews–but I am on the side of praise. The novel follows a large, complex cast of characters and is incredible in its capacity to evoke time and place both mentally and physically. Just as a side note: this isn’t good airport reading.

So, after years of considering myself a semi-pro knitter, I finally learned to brioche. It only took about 50 different YouTube videos and online walkthroughts, but I think I finally got the hang of it. I’m currently working with some Rowan Silky Tweed to create a two-tone scarf.

I recently went home for a long weekend to visit my family, and needless to say it was swell. The real surprise was coming home to find my boyfriend had purchased me a vintage Remington Tab Master typewriter! It’s absolutely beautiful, if not delightfully noisy. I’ve been using it nearly everyday, which brings me to my next point:

I am currently halfway through writing my first novella. I plan on self-publishing by the end of the year (so yes that means you should get the eBook for all of your friends and family this holiday season). I’ve *attempted* many an extended work in the past, but I have such a great feeling about this one.

This week, my best friend forever is coming to stay with me for a few days! We have sensational plans that include, but are not limited to, seeing Ken Wantanabe in the living, breathing flesh on Broadway.

Speaking of said friend…we are going to Rhinebeck this year. Which reminds me…I better start knitting that sweater.

I love you all!


Knit for Charity

The Penguin Foundation

It’s time to put your needles and hooks to work!

A handmade item has incredible power to brighten and benefit someone’s life in unimaginable ways.

Below is a list (sorted alphabetically) of awesome organizations that need your knitting skills to make a difference! Please contribute to this list by adding your favorite organization in the comments section.

Afghans for Afghans // “humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.”

Binky Patrol // “We are an all volunteer, national, non-profit organization making and distributing homemade blankets to children born HIV+, drug-addicted, infected with AIDS or other chronic & terminal illnesses, those who are abused, in foster care or experiencing trauma of any kind. Our recipients are from 0-18.”

Chemocaps // “We are knitting and donating hand knit chemo caps to wonderful hospital oncology inpatient units and hospice programs so that cancer patients who lose their hair can have a very soft hand knit cap to call their own to comfort their heads and their souls because they will know someone cared enough to knit a cap for them.”

Hats 4 the Homeless // “If you know how to crochet or knit or would like to just donate a hat, scarf or pair of gloves…The warm gift-giving feeling that comes with giving this gift will surpass any other gift you give this Holiday season.”

Knit-a-Square // “Together we work hard to help warm and comfort the children and we’d greatly value your contribution to this knitting project for the AIDS orphans of southern Africa. We ask the world’s knitters and crocheters to send 8″/20 cm squares to South Africa, where we have them sewn into blankets for the children.”

Penguin Foundation // “Knitted penguin jumpers play an important role in saving little penguins affected by oil pollution. A patch of oil the size of a thumb nail can kill a little penguin. Oiled penguins often die from exposure and starvation. Oil separates and mats feathers, allowing water to get in which makes a penguin very cold, heavy and less able to successfully hunt for food.”

Snuggles Project // “After being given a Snuggle, a frightened and/or difficult to handle animal is able to become calm. This calming effect gives the animal and the caregiver time to learn how to handle the situation. We believe that this calming effect has saved the lives of many newly-sheltered animals.”

Wrapped in Love // “To help families in time of need during palliative care with homemade blankets and items made with love.”


Love is in the Air: 7 Romantic Valentine’s Day Patterns

Try as I might to fulfill the bitter old crone label that my mostly black wardrobe and dislike of babies would suggest, I absolutely love Valentine’s Day. Go ahead, internet, go ahead and tell me that Valentine’s Day was created to make us feel sorry for our lonely selves and put an annual spike in Hershey’s profits as a result. Yet, I always thought the joke was on Hallmark. Of course I want to eat this candy and of course I want an excuse to be overly emotional  and of course I want to watch Sweet Home Alabama. So really, thanks for the opportunity. 

I know I am a minority in holding this opinion, but I really do wish more people felt the same! Valentine’s Day is a lovely and luscious time of year, regardless of your relationship status or Tinder exploits. So why not try to love the love a little bit? Mwah!

1.) The Jackie O-Tee by Pickles

2.) Dot the I by Flowermouse Designs

3.) Peace and Love Sweater by Anna Ravenscroft

4.) “Eye Candy” Colorful Reversible Eye Mask by Lauren Riker

5.) LoveSocks by Devon Clement

6.) Moss Stitch Bow Headband by Stephanie Fail

7.) Valentine Heart by Sachi Ishii


New Pattern: Bettie High-Waisted Shorts


It’s here! The pattern for the Bettie High-Waisted Shorts is now available for download! In case you haven’t heard, this underwear/shorts hybrid is the cutest thing since this puppy in a cup holder. And now that you’ve seen that…go knit some undies!

You can download Bettie on Ravelry or in the Hare & Anser shop. Let me know if you have any questions or run into any issues while knitting this pattern. I am more than happy to help.

I can’t wait to see all of your cute lil’ butts!