Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Manifestivus Destiny


Dear Ann,

I don’t know about you, but during life’s persistently hectic patches, I find that it helps to knit small log cabin squares. Or whatever unchallenging yet absorbing thing one likes to knit. For me, right now, it’s 18-stitch log cabin squares in Noro Silk Garden.

I have a few (cough) spare skeins of the stuff, plus a whomping bag of leftovers from my many log cabin blankets. Some of my leftovers are just a yard or two. I’ve sorted them by color. The vague goal is to create tonal squares that (hopefully) will read as solids when they are arranged into whatever they are going to be.

I don’t know what they are going to be. I am just finding it very soothing — each square the equivalent of a deep cleansing breath — to knit log cabins while pondering whatever Mr. Noro was thinking when he came up with some of these color combinations. I love that man. He has given me so much joy.

The other thing I’ve been doing is knitting up a big pile of Christmas gifts. I know! Crazy talk! Leave of senses! After years of being sensible and avoiding the obligation of deadline gift knitting, I decided to go for it. (Funny how the scarves get smaller as December 25 approaches.)

Speaking of great gifts. A few weeks ago, I received the gift of a kit for a New York Beanie from Wool and the Gang. The kit contained 3 balls of their wonderfully dense, chewy wool. I got 3 beanies out of the kit. (There is enough left over for a 4th one, using all 3 colors.  There are lots of options.) Each beanie took exactly 45 minutes, including the sewing-up. (The duplicate-stitched “NY” took another hour, because I had to relearn duplicate stitch and fight with it a bit. Duplicate stitch at this scale — the yarn is roving, basically — had me alternating between giggles and swears.)

These beanies did not even skim the surface of the Christmas gift stash. People just grabbed them, murmuring “this must be for me.” Some kind of Manifest Beanie Destiny.


I barely got this shot of Allison wearing hers at sewing circle. (Plug for Allison Moorer: her new record is available for preorder now. Voice of an angel, soul of a poet, and Good Hat Head, in one person. Hardly seems fair.)

Given the doorbusting demand for this beanie, I made a few more out of Cascade Magnum, which is also a quality bulky yarn. Guess what? They are a bit less substantial and not quite as nice as the ones made with the Wool and the Gang yarn. The Gang knows its Wool!  But in no way did this stop these beanies from being snapped up immediately. Any beanie in a storm. Mi beanie es su beanie.


One of my Cascade Magnum beanies was by a friend’s special request for her spiritual leader, Rinpoche. I did a good job tinkering with the fit (it needed to be less hipster and more lama) and matching beanie to robes.

You may now refer to me any enlightened beings  in need of hats.



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