Throwback Thursday: the plain gray sweater

Six years ago today, I finished knitting the first and only sweater I ever knit for myself (1/19/17). It’s held up all these years because I haven’t worn it much. There are two main problems with the sweater. First, it’s not very pretty–made of a dull gray yarn. Second, I made some drastic decreases before the waistband ribbing that make me look misshaped when I wear it. I should tear that part out and fix it. But I think the sweater is super cozy, and I love the thumbhole sleeves.

In January of 2017, I was struggling with digestive issues. What I put on in the morning didn’t fit me anymore in the evening. Not only was the bloating super uncomfortable, but my clothing made it worse. I decided that I could make something to accommodate my fluctuating waistline.

But sometimes the best intentions don’t turn out well. My shaping decisions were not pretty.

What I remember about making this sweater was how pleasant the knitting was. Stockinette stitch in a comfortable yarn with bamboo needles–it was a memorable project because it was so relaxing. I couldn’t put it down, and I finished a whole sweater in just nine days.

Yarn: Berroco Comfort Aran.

I learned much about sweater design during this project because the pattern is almost a design lesson in itself.

Pattern: “Easy Top-Down Raglan Knitalong” by Susan B. Anderson.

The sweater still fits six years later! I am looking forward to tearing out the waistband and fixing it. I’d like to wear this cozy sweater more often.


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13th blog anniversary and resetting my intention for this blog

Yesterday I received an email from WordPress congratulating me on my blog’s 13th anniversary. I chuckled because it sounded impressive. However, I haven’t been active on this blog for 13 full years. Blogging is one of the most inconsistent things I have ever done. In honor of my anniversary, I would like to set a renewed intention for this blog for the future.

To celebrate, I reread my first post. I remember sitting in my cold house in South Carolina while my first baby, a day shy of two-months-old, was napping. I decided to start this blog. For some reason, I felt like introducing this blog needed to include my life story.

My first baby on his two month birthday, picture taken on 1/12/10

Before this blog, I had a relatively successful vegan cooking blog. While I was pregnant, my interests turned from veganism to knitting, pregnancy, and natural parenting, so I didn’t feel like my interests were appropriate for a vegan cooking blog. And they weren’t.

I regret deleting my vegan cooking blog. I wish I could go back in time and say, “Sweet baby child, it’s okay to have two blogs with different focuses. Blogs should stay on topic, and you’re doing a good job on both.” Because I want my old blog back, but it’s lost forever.

This poor blog that was intended to be about knitting and natural parenting went through a wide range of topics. And when I read my pasts posts, I cringe. They are my thoughts, completely unfiltered. I treated this more like a personal journal than a platform to publish helpful and community building information.

Topics I unskillfully spanned in 13 years: knitting, crocheting, sewing, natural parenting, cloth diapering, movie reviews, sharing odd dreams I had, astrology, meditation, yoga, spirituality, VEGAN COOKING and recipe sharing, working out, rants about whatever I felt like, my (since passed) dogs, how productive my days were, and book reviews.

Bodie, a frequent topic of this blog. 3/12/05-1/29/21

But I suppose I was clear that topics on this blog would be varied. In my introduction post I said, “So here it is, my new cooking/knitting/crochet/sewing/parenting/whatever else I want to say blog.”

I’ve learned so much in the past few years during undergraduate and now grad school. I think this blog has potential, but I need to be focused and publish only relevant content, not unfiltered thoughts about anything and everything.

This post is re-setting my intention for this blog. I want to write about knitting and crocheting. I want to contribute to the warm yarn-loving community. And I want to write more patterns to share. Connecting with others and sharing patterns were the best parts of this blog, and I want to continue that work

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Socks fit for Enid

Last week the kids went back to school, but I had one more week before spring semester started. I decided to really enjoy myself. I made a permanent home on the couch and knit with this cheerfully colored yarn while watching movies. It the most wonderful week.

I’m on a yarn diet and using up the yarn I have accumulated over the past decade. I’m vegan, so I no longer buy yarn made from animal fibers. I committed to buying vegan yarn in 2015. All the animal fiber yarn I’ve been knitting with was bought prior to 2015.

In 2017, I made my first vegan yarn purchases. It was mostly higher quality acrylic yarns for crocheting afghans. I also bought a few skeins of Berroco Comfort Sock to try out.

My knitting has been sporadic since I was pregnant with my second child. I would get into it for a few months, then lose interest. So I would buy yarn while feeling inspired and hopeful, then put it all away when the inspiration died. I have struggled with depression off and on my entire life, and these cycles of knitting fits were dictated by my mental health.

I recently got back into knitting and have been wondering what to do with my stash. I found this skein of Berroco Comfort Sock in the colorway Rotorua, and decided to make some simple toe-up ribbed socks. This pattern is actually my own. Hopefully I can remember how to write a pattern, so I can share how I made them.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but the self-striping yarn pattern turned out really neat. It reminded me of Enid from the Netflix series Wednesday. I’d like to buy some black sock yarn and make some goth-y Wednesday inspired socks to match.

I’ll buy this yummy vegan yarn again. It was soft and very pleasant to knit with. It made great socks with lovely stitch definition. It knits up looser, so next time I’ll go down a needle size.

Self-striping yarn is fun, and I’d like to try out more colorways. I’m happy with these bright and cheerful socks. And I’m super happy I got to enjoy my last week off by burying myself in a knitting project.

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Knitting is Connection: A Tale of the Cricket Yarn

I finished a pair of socks on Sunday. I made them with the same yarn used in 2010 to make my toddler a sweater. Knitting with the same yarn for the same child 12 years later led me to deeply reflecting on the nature of knitting.

Once upon a time, I was a young mother. Not only did I have a baby, but I was obsessed with knitting cute things for him. My favorite baby knitwear designer was Susan B. Anderson. I wanted to knit all of her patterns for him. At the time, she was associated with the yarn brand Spud and Chloe. Just like her patterns, I wanted to try her yarn, so I found a baby sweater pattern and ordered several skeins of Fine Sock by Spud and Chloe in the colorway Cricket.

I wasn’t crazy about the yarn. At the time, I found it scratchy and difficult to knit with—not the best choice for a baby sweater. I got some adorable pictures and he was irresistibly cuddle-able when he wore the sweater at a wedding. But otherwise, the sweater went unused.

I participated in the 2014 Ravellenics,’s event that coincides with the Olympics. I frogged the sweater in the Unwind event and scored some points for my team. It was just as difficult to frog as it was to knit with. I stashed the yarn and never knew what to do with it.

I’m getting back into knitting and am using up my yarn stash. When it’s used up, I plan to be more intentional with the yarn I buy. In 2010, I was a new knitter and wanted to try all the yarns by buying single skeins. I didn’t think they would be taking up space for 13 years.

It was my 13-year-old’s turn for me to knit something for him. He asked for socks and chose the yarn I had once made him a sweater with. I enjoyed knitting with the yarn this time. I have better needles, which made all the difference. The socks knit up quickly and I enjoyed re-visiting the sock knitting process.

While knitting the socks, I deeply reflected on the connection of knitting. I first used this yarn to knit a sweater for my son when he was growing rapidly as a toddler. 12 years later, I knit socks for him with the same yarn while he’s growing rapidly during teenage hood.

I’ve been knitting for nearly 14 years, and something I discovered with time is that knits last. Yarn sticks around if it’s cared for properly and maybe even frogged and reused.

Knitting connects us to our past, it sits with us in many forms in the present, and can last well into our futures. Knitters and crocheters are artists, and we create from our hearts. But this art is special because it can be given to those we love to keep them warm and cozy. Not only does knitting connect us through time, but it connects us to each other.

My son loves his new socks. But just like the sweater, they might not last long because he is growing so quickly. This leads to the question: When he grows out of the socks, will I frog the yarn and reuse it, or will I inherit the socks and resize them for myself?

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Holiday Knits

Hello everyone. I hope you’re having an amazing holiday season. I am–I’m feeling inspired and creative. I am enjoying this year’s break from work and school more than ever before.

I finished the scarf I was working on last week. It blocked out into a lovely open and lacey fabric. My daughter loves it.

Pattern: Textured Shale Sock Yarn Scarf by Christine Long Derks

I’m recovering from a toxic relationship, and part of that is learning to treat myself well. I never had a holiday stocking even though I made them for my children and then-husband. At the encouragement of my children, I decided to make myself a lovely cable stocking. This was an intense pattern, but it turned out so beautiful. Sadly, the super-drapey characteristic of the yarn I used turned this stocking into a bag of soup once I filled it. I should probably go in and add a fabric liner to keep that from happening. I still love it though, and I’m glad I treated myself.

Pattern: Sugar Twist Knit Stocking by Yarnspirations Design Studio

My daughter received a doll bed as a gift, and when she opened it, the colors of the bedding reminded me of a granny square blanket I started in 2016. It’s been in my yarn tote ever since–I guess waiting for me to gather up the motivation to keep working with all. those. ends. I had to do some rearranging of squares, added a few new ones, then finished with a half-double crochet border. I got to spend my Christmas afternoon altering this cute and bright doll blanket.

I knit these toys in 2016, but I never showed them off. They celebrated their seventh Christmas with us this year. Aren’t they cute? And they’ve held up to off-season storage and bursts of play with children and cats.

Pattern: Christmas Set by Susan B. Anderson

How is your holiday treating you? What have you been working on?


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“Recent” projects

Alright, so they’re not recent at all, but I wanted to show off the sporadic knitting and crochet projects I’ve made in the past year or two.

Every once in a while, I dig out my yarn stash, which is a gigantic tote completely full of yarn I bought and have not used. Some yarn I bought in 2010! But it’s single skeins or ends of skeins, and I don’t know what to do with it. I refuse to buy more yarn until I’ve worked through some of the stash, so the results are… creative.

Cable hat

I love Malabrigo. I bought this yarn in 2011, and hadn’t used it yet because it’s too special to waste. But I decided to just use it because it’s being wasted if it’s just sitting. I made this cable hat, and it’s become almost a security blanket. But for my head.

The pattern is “Cable Hat” by Dora Stephensen.

Owl Hat

My daughter loves owls and birds and blue. She chose the yarn and the pattern. It turned out adorable, and she says it’s very comfortable and warm.

The pattern is “Owl Hat” by Ruthie Nussbaum.

Candy Corn Sweater

I made this for my puppy’s first Halloween in 2021. It turned out stinking adorable, and it fits her perfectly. However, during the process of knitting and fitting the sweater for her, I traumatized her from wearing sweaters. If she sees me walking toward her with a dog sweater in my hands, she runs and hides. It’s unfortunate because there are so many dog sweaters I want to make. And she would look adorable in all of them.

The pattern is “Candy Corn Dog Sweater” by Jodi Lewanda.

Dish cloths

I don’t have a dishwasher, so I use knit and crochet dishcloths every day. Nothing compares to them. I didn’t take photos while they were new, so I apologize for their rough condition in the picture.

On the needles

My daughter loves my yarn stash and browsing patterns. Once again, she chose the yarn and the pattern.

The pattern is “Textured Shale Sock Yarn Scarf” by Christine Long Derks.

What are you working on?

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“Ghost Garden Shawlette” by Kelene Kinnersly and reanimating a long-dead blog

Hello knitters and crocheters. I haven’t written on this blog for nine years. After a difficult five years, I’ve reconnected with my creative self and I’m in need of a creative outlet. This idle blog kept calling to me.

Nine years seems like a long time, especially with how much my life changed in that time.

  • My kids grew up and are now 11 and 13.
  • I got divorced in 2021.
  • I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2022.
  • I started a master’s degree program this year.

I’m moving from survival mode into creating-a-life-I-love mode.

And part of creating a life I love is reconnecting with the creative side of myself. I have carried a heavy weight of grief in my chest for five years. I am finally feeling better and realizing the creative part of myself was dormant. The weight is lifting, and I am feeling inspired again. Inspiration is coming back in the form of knitting, crocheting, and writing.

To endure the grief of the loss of my 18-year relationship, I compartmentalized parts of myself. I isolated the past me and just focused on the present me to survive. Now I want to reconnect with the old parts of me that I loved, admired, and feel happy about.

Returning to knitting and crocheting

I never stopped knitting and crocheting, though I didn’t do it consistently. I only have a handful of completed projects since 2017.

This is the second time I’ve knit “Ghost Garden Shawlette” by Kelene Kinnersly. I cast this project on over a year ago–I worked on it for a few days, then wanted to make a few hats and a dog sweater, so I set it aside and forgot about it. I can’t say why I picked it up again. Maybe because it was in a highly visible basket at the bottom of the stairs, reminding me of what I still needed to do. Maybe it was because I woke up one morning with an urge to knit.

Once I got into a rhythm of knitting while watching TV with the kids, something opened in myself. I had a flood of wonderful memories of knitting. They were happy memories with positive emotions–I may or may not have cried. I felt an old connection awaken between my mind and my hands. They were old motions and memories stored in my fingers.

I love the way it turned out. It is truly beautiful. I highly recommend the pattern because it’s clearly written and straightforward.

Returning to blogging

I finally graduated with a bachelor’s degree at age 36. As an English major, I’ve written a mountain of academic papers. I was on the campus newspaper and wrote mountains of news stories for both the school and local newspapers. Between academic and journalism writing assignments, I’ve developed an intense writer’s block.

I’m majoring in technical and professional communication. One of my assigned readings this semester was about mom bloggers and the validity of blogging as a form of technical communication. This reading reconnected me to my past blogging self and validated the work I did. I felt inspired to blog again.

I need a break from forced, rigid, and structured writing assignments. I need to write from my heart and for an audience. It’s one thing to pour my soul into my journal each morning. It’s another thing altogether to write about what inspires me for others to read. Not only is knitting and crocheting a satisfying creative outlet for me, but so is writing.

Thank you for being here and for reading.

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February’s Crochet Challenge

I was recently involved in a community afghan making project. It was incredibly satisfying and inspiring. What a simple and effective way to help out. This blog is asking crocheters to donate 1 granny square a month to make blankets for charity. Granny squares are so easy and my favorite thing to crochet. I’m really excited to have found this blog.


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Felted Wool Dryer Balls


Wool dryer balls are awesome.  They are a great natural alternative to liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets.  The harmful chemicals in commercial fabric softeners can cause central nervous system damage, among other potential horrors!  Wool dryer balls soften your clothes and reduce static cling in your laundry without any harmful side affects (unless of course you’re allergic to wool, then I most definitely wouldn’t use them).  Wool dryer balls are a very popular topic people are searching for, and most of the traffic on my blog have come here through search engines looking specifically for knit and crochet patterns to make them.  In my wool dryer ball post, I did not include the pattern and I feel bad that I wasn’t helpful to the people coming here looking for them. 

The patterns to these dryer balls have been bumping around in my head for years and it’s about time I get them out into to world.

One commenter in the wool dryer ball post suggested going to the big box craft stores with a coupon or during a sale and stocking up on Fisherman’s wool for making the dryer balls. 

You’ll need to start your project by making a ball of yarn, wound very tightly.  This is a fantastic project to use up leftovers in your yarn stash.  Any 100% wool yarn will work, in any weight for the wound up ball that goes inside the knit or crochet pouch. 


When the ball is 9 1/4 inches in circumference, thread the yarn tail onto a tapestry needle and secure the ball together.  It doesn’t have to be seamed very much, just enough that it won’t be coming apart inside your knit or crochet felted dryer ball pouches.

I’ve done quite a bit of felting and I have found Knit Picks Wool of the Andes to be the best felting yarn ever.  It felts up so easily, I swear this is what it was meant to do.  I have had success with other brands of 100% wool, just make sure you aren’t using superwash wool.


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Now, I’m going to be very direct and honest here. Felting is hard work! Some of the felting instructions I’ve read say something along the lines of, “Oh just throw your project in the washer and it will come out felted!” I have not found this to be true even once. I have a front load washer so felting is more of a challenge and I have no doubt it is easier in a top loading, agitating washer.

Here’s how I felted my dryer balls. First, I boiled them. I let them boil for a few minutes, then with tongs, plunged them into ice cold water. I put them back in the boiling pot of water for a few minutes, then once again, plunged them into ice cold water. I repeated this once more. I squeezed them out, put them in a mesh laundry bag, tied the slack, then put them in the washer on hot/ cold cotton cycle. I repeated this entire process (boiling and washing) 3 times before they were felted to my liking. My balls ended up being 10- 10.5 inches in circumference after all the felting. Both knit and crochet versions came out about the same size.
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Another question I get is how many balls to use? I personally like 6-8 balls in my dryer at a time. I’ve heard of people using up to 12 and as few as 2. It’s really up to you!

The crochet pattern is easier and faster to make, but harder to felt. The knit pattern takes longer to make, but easier to felt. I am glad I got to do both. It was a really fun adventure.

Crochet Felted Wool Dryer Balls pattern

Knit Felted Wool Dryer Balls pattern

Happy stitching!


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Crochet Felted Wool Dryer Balls

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This pattern is crocheted in the round, amigurumu style so there will be no joining and chaining.  Just keep crocheting in a continuous spiral.  You’ll need a stitch marker to indicate the beginning of the round.

You will need to make a wool ball of yarn that is 9 1/4 inches in circumference to place inside the outer pouch.  See more information here.


Size J Hook (6.0 mm)

Stitch marker

Tapestry needle


Worsted weight yarn in 100% wool  (make sure it’s not superwash).  I highly recommend Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for felted projects.


2scinc: 2 single crochet stitches in the same stitch, one stitch increased.

sc2tog: single crochet 2 stitches together, one stitch decreased.


Starting with a magic ring, sc 6 times in the loop.  Pull tight.

1. 2scinc, repeat around. (12 sts)

2. 2scinc, 1 sc.  Repeat around (18 sts)

3. 2scinc, 2 sc.  Repeat around (24 sts)

4. 2scinc, 3 sc. Repeat around (30 sts)

5. 2scinc, 4 sc.  Repeat around (36 sts)

6. 2scinc, 5 sc. Repeat around (42 sts)

7. 2scinc, 6sc. Repeat around (48 sts)

Rounds 8- 15 sc in each st.

16. sc2tog, sc in next 6 sts. Repeat around (42 sts)

17. sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts. Repeat around (36 sts)

18. sc2tog, sc in next 4 sts. Repeat around (30 sts).  Put the yarn ball inside the pouch.

19. sc2tog, sc in next 3 sts. Repeat around (24 sts)

20. sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts. Repeat around (18 sts)

21. sc2tog, sc in next st. Repeat around (12 sts)

22. sc2tog around (6 sts)

Cut yarn, thread onto tapestry needle and seam the hole closed.  Weave in ends.

The pouch will be large and loose before felting.  Felt as desired.  For more information about felting, click here.


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