If you’re Rhinebeck-bound, we would love to see youย at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night–details here.

Overcommitters Anonymous

Dear Ann,
It’s a good thing I like to knit. I seem to have a lot on my plate with the knitting. It’s not that my initial wild enthusiasm for a project dies down; it’s more that it runs into all the other objects of said wild enthusiasm. They start bickering and jockeying for time and before you know it, I am only doing the choicest, most fun bits of each project. But then I remember: this is my HOBBY. This is supposed to be FUN. It’s OK to do the fun parts first.
Last weekend I got to work on a bunch of stuff because for about two hours nobody needed sunscreen, food, or my undivided attention as they recited the play-by-play from a Yankee game. (I’m feeling a sudden kinship with Bob Costas’ mom. O the maternal fortitude.)
Wall of Linen “Square” 8
The Wall of Linen has benefited from a couple of airplane rides including a weather delay. This square is 3-squares-in one. You start with the center one. Cast on 60 stitches. Knit 60 ridges, striping as the mood strikes you. Bind off on the RS.
I introduced peach and brown to echo the cushion that inspired me, but did not try to copy it exactly. I subbed in a small amount of leftover indigo-dyed linen that I’ve been hoarding, for a couple of the pale blue stripes.
THEN, pick up one stitch in each ridge (i.e., 60 stitches) on one side and continue striping away in the same palette for 60 garter ridges. Bind off on the RS.
THEN, go to the other side, pick up one stitch in each ridge (i.e., 60 stitches), and work 60 ridges in alternating stripes of navy and cream. Bind off on the RS. Finish by edging the entire rectangle with cro-Kay (pick up 2 stitches on the edge, *bind off one stitch, pick up one stitch, continue from * all the way around the rectangle).
One would be justified in pausing to reflect on whether the cro-Kay is really needed. It takes a while. Its purpose is obscure, its usefulness uncertain. Since I haven’t tried to join any of the pieces yet, I don’t know whether I’ll be glad, sad or mad about the cro-Kay. (Kind of a Seussian moment. Will you cro-Kay in a box? With a fox? In a house? With a mouse?) But for the moment I am committed to the cro-Kay. I have this idea that it will make the join look like a design feature instead of something cobbled together.
(For those knitting along: Yes, I skipped over Square 7. I can’t remember why, but there was a reason, probably something to do with Colors In Bag. Also, the picture shows that there is a slight glitch with Square 8, in that it would appear to be too short. Will rectify.)
Red Square
This is a single square from the glorious Barn-Raising Blanket in Knitalong. It’s my contribution to a sweet gift blanket that is being done all in reds. I fell in love with this sock yarn from ShibuiKnits (which means “elegant with a touch of bitterness” in Japanese–isn’t that cool?), because of the subtle striations. I prefer a slightly uneven solid, to flat solids or truly variegated colors. There’s something so pleasing about that flicker of color. (Maybe it’s the touch of bitterness.)
Woolly Beach Blanket?
I’m still soldiering on with the second raffle blanket for Oliver’s Fund. I’m anxious to get this done because Michaela has so kindly kept the raffle bookkeeping open for so long, waiting for the paint-drying/grass-growing process that is me, sewing square to square. It’s not what you would call a portable project, at this point. It’s more than halfway there, including the border. As always with “improvised” blankets, I’m loving the surprise of seeing the idea play out. Such beautiful squares. The border is a a Koigu solid in a walnutty brown. Again with the flickering monotone.
It’s so exciting to see all the projects piling up for Team Afghans for Afghans! Can’t wait to cast on my project. (Pie Man, from Tadpoles and Tiddlers, in Rowan Magpie Aran.) For those not in Ravelry, you still need something to knit while watching the goings-on in Beijing, and Afghans for Afghans will welcome your contribution regardless!




  1. Hey – I know exactly how you feel. I’m in the middle of sewing up an afghan for a knitalong I’ve spearheaded with my local library group. We need to finish so we can raffle it off next month. Also have to finish another afghan to enter in the State Fair must finish by the 15th.- I’d join your Ravelympic team, but I’ve already joined the Hat Dash, and I sent a stole off to A4A last week – phew! My Olympic goal is only 5 hats -surely I can finish that. Love all the stuff you’re working on. – Good luck

  2. That raffle blanket is a thing of beauty – it looks like it’s been painted.

  3. Kay, just give a yell if you need help seaming up the squares for Oliver’s blanket. I have experience, having helped with the first one at Knitty City back in December! Oh, and love the wall of linen!

  4. Kay, I love the strips! I think you may have hooked me in….I hear the yar calling!Oliver’s blanket is a beauty. You are one busy lady, with a huge heart!You inspire all of us to do more! Wendy

  5. I love the non-squareness of square 8. And that indigo linen is rather lush, but then you know that! x x x

  6. I spy, with my little eye, a RED square! Thanks so much for contributing Kay…it means a lot.

  7. WOW!
    These OBs just get better and better!
    And for just a second I thought I saw one of my squares…but…not.
    I should learn to make more distinctive squares if I want to identify them on the innernets. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. You so crazy. I think you’re doing enough knitting for the both of us.

  9. I have been over and over the Afghans for Afghans site, but cannot figure out if they want the kids’ socks in ONLY worsted, or if they want them in sock weight yarn, too. I want to do a pair or two of kids’ socks for them for Ravelympics, but need to know this! Perhaps you know?

  10. I have a thing for slightly variegated solids myself. Back when I was dyeing fabric instead of breast-feeding and birthing babies I spent a lot of time, effort and money developing a stash of fabrics that had just the right amount of variegation. Sadly, I have used almost all of it up while continuing to sew when the kids are asleep. I refuse to work with such chemicals when pregnant of breast-feeding; it seems so unfair to expose a growing little one to such stuff without their permission! The need for such fabric has sent me chasing after natural dye methods, but the time to learn about and try them has just not presented itself in a schedule that includes caring for a 2 year old and a 3 month old (Yep, I crazily had two kids in only 22 months!) and keeping up with a house while hubby frequently works 12 hour days. I keep telling myself that there will be more time later; my babies are only cuddly age for a little while. Then they grow up to be embarrassed by me… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. The Wall of Linen strips are just outstandingly beautiful. You’ve really got a special talent.

  12. Oi-so glad that I am not the only one with baseball crazed boys(ages 8 and 10). Fighting over the sports page every morning, spouting stats that I have NO idea about(“you don’t know that?!”)….We are going to San Diego to ostensibly go to Legoland and have a little fol-de-rol before school starts on the 20th, and the only thing they want to do is go see the Padres play the Brewers(you KNOW that the Brewers are UNBELIEVABLE right now, 8 yr old emphasis added). We’ll be in left field box seats in case you wondered.
    Love your knitting-I like the concepts you are using. Keep up the good work!

  13. It may just be me, as I’m not knitting the pillow you all are making, but square 8 does NOT seem to short. The rows on the bottom and middle each have little extra pieces off to the right. If you knit that same thing for the top, wouldn’t it then be the right size? Or…I am fantastically missing the whole point.
    I fear the latter! lol
    It is lovely though!

  14. That’s a pretty intense little boy sweater. Best of luck!

  15. I know I am intruding, but…I don’t think you should elongate square 8. What if you did one of the short stripe rectangles instead. It’ll move the eye around more. I, also am available for sewing squares. I’d just take the train down from on high!

  16. ah yes,…..that is what my violin teacher used to say….”don’t practice the easy parts…..practice the hard parts….” but what is the fun in that?

  17. Thank you, thank you and thank you again for promoting the youth campaign! The shawl you sent in was absolutely beautiful (I got lucky and was unpacking the day it arrived). Colleen – Any weight yarn for socks is OK as long as the socks are an appropriate size and proportion.
    Pam R, San Francisco

  18. The wall o’ linen looks great (as does the blanket) and I love the red square. Can’t wait to see your olympics endeavors.

  19. Just had a tooth pulled today, feelin’ a sort of just a “low level” misery (thankful it wasn’t really all THAT bad…).
    To now come to this site and see pictures of variuos kinds of “square” (LOVE the geometrics!) projects in progress, well, it makes my knitting heart sing! Thank you.
    One of my most recent “dreams” (shall I say obsessions?) is to make that blanket in ‘Knitalong’. I’ve purchased special needles, and all. Just have to finish a few things before I get started….

  20. I keep a framed poster of Dolores (the martini-drinking sheep, you know) on my studio wall, to remind me that knitting is a HOBBY and therefore FUN, not a blood sport. What is it about some of us, that we have to push ourselves??
    Anyway. Keep on with the garter stitch. Very relaxing. And good luck. Have a martini.

  21. I can’t believe how dumb I feel. I’ve got your book and pre ordered the new one. Does that mitigate that fact that i don’t know how to pick up stitches on the knitted edges. Is there a video? Are there clear instructions anywhere? I’d like to learn the Cro-kay. I’d appreciate if you could direct me somewhere so that I can make your various projects including your Wall of linen.
    Dumb in Hollywood and not even blonde

  22. Kay – may I have your email address to ask you a question about the linen blanket?

  23. Ooh – thanks for the reminder. I need to finish my red square, too. Yours is awesome.


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