Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn CrawlΒ is on through Sunday, September 25.

What Goes On In Our Basement

Dear Kay,
Get a load of this: country financial twangster Merle Hazard, featured in yesterday’s entry, has done gone hit the dang big time. That New York Times has discoverated him, honey! See? You can say you knew him back when.
Meanwhile, Elsewhere in Our Basement
While SOMEbody was recording country songs over in the superdank portion of our basement, I was patiently standing over in the slightly-less-dank portion, at the ping pong table, doing that thing I love to do which was not ping pong:
Blocking. Blockingblockingblocking!
Your finishitis really is contagious. Once I finished making that silk shrug, and reveled in the doneness of the thing, I cast about for another unfinished-yet-once-compelling project which I could finish.
It didn’t take long to dig out the bag of tweedy mitered squares I started last spring, which I had put aside when we had to put our heads down to work on that book project.
So great: the reunion with all that tweedy yarn was like CHRISTMAS, people.
And to find 41 of 64 squares already completed, well hell, that was like seeing your husband dressed like a dang country singer in the New York Times.
I totally forgot what my plan for this blanket was, but I knew I’d drawn up a chart somewhere. Not my finest work, that chart.
But once I laid out my squares, I started to recall that I’d been going for a set of 16 big squares with inset squares of varied size.
I used your low-sew method of making miters, which you describe so elaborately not to say obsessively right here. (Strong work you did there–anybody who’s contemplating this sort of project needs not only to clip ‘n’ save Kay’s tutorial, you gotta LAMINATE the thing.)
You make one square, then pick up stitches along the edge for number 2, then do the same for numbers 3 and 4. This eliminates a buttload of seaming. But it does mean that a totally carefree, random blanket can be a little trickier. And it locks in your squares, making last-minute color swaps impossible. This doesn’t bother me in this blanket, because my pattern is defined.
While blocking, you discover stuff you had no idea was happening when you were knitting:
Like, an 8″ x 7″ square instead of a 7″ x 7″ square. Euw. We’re calling this one The Artistic Flourish.
I discovered that I really like a sort of blocking I haven’t done very often: washing the squares, then pinning them down while totally wet. I’m more of a steamer when it comes to blocking. I’m here to tell you that this method really lets you adjust the squares with abandon. I know that it’s not possible to block something into a totally different size, but making all these squares 7″ x 7″ will making sewing them together a lot easier. Plus, they’re just so very SMOOTH now.
I have seven more squares to make, then the seaming begins. I am going to use a stopwatch to see how long this takes. People always worry about the extreme labor required in making up a blanket; by the time I’m done, we’ll know exactly how much time that is. I have a suspicion that it’s not as dreadful as we fear. It’s like party dread, or dentist dread.




  1. Ok. I have thought about this. I have knitted mitres, lots of them. I have NO IDEA how you’ve managed to knit one 8 x 7″. But love the look of it. x x

  2. I wanted to let you know that, apparently, your blog is considered too subversive, or objectionable by the Saturn dealership in Houston. I was suffering through a car maintenance and took advantage of their internet access to check on a couple of blogs. They had yours blocked. I was, quite frankly, confused. I tried a couple of political blogs and some that I know to use rather risque language (I didn’t actually try any porn, it was a semi-public place), and they were all fine, but yours they had to block. Are Saturn dealers offended by mitres…or guys singing country songs about investment management?

  3. Oh I love these squares, so good to see them again. Your guy’s blankets are always oh-so-fab. I might have to try that method of blocking, as the only blanket I ever tried turned into a trapezoid type object.

  4. thank you for using the term buttload.
    it’s not used enough in our modern language for my liking.
    saturn dealers are not offended by mitres. the up-tight types are usually bothered by feminists (because we ALL know that ALL feminists knit) and people with alternate lifestyles (ditto above comment). that may be the road block you’re encountering.
    if these uptight people would just knit and get along…..they’d knit some water tight stuff. it’d be awesome.
    go, tweedy, GO!

  5. That’s it. All this blanket talk is making me think of my one lonely miter waiting for a large number of friends to show up (or be made by me, whatever)
    When I get home from work tonight I’m making miters!

  6. The blanket looks awesome!
    I read your letter to Clif in Real Simple Family today. I love it!

  7. The NY Freakin’ Times! Congrats Hubbo!
    All that talent in one basement. It boggles the mind….
    Miters are next on my list of knitty things to learn – keep us posted!

  8. Whoo, doggies! A mention in the NYTimes? Now that’s a buttload of publicity, for sure!
    I admire your tenacity with the mitres. Frankly, all that joining, even though you’ve mitigated it somewhat by using the low-sew method, scares the bejeebers outta me. The only mitred squares I see in my future are those that are destined for places like Warm Up America where they’ll do the joining on their own. πŸ™‚

  9. I still need to go watch that video. As someone who works in the investment world…I have no idea what to expect. Love the squares.

  10. I watched you husband’s music video yesterday. I thought it was cute…not a comment he might be looking for; but then I am very uninformed in regards to Tammy Wynett music and HEDGE Funds. So although I found it cute I can’t say “got” it. I did send it a friend who’s husband is a broker. Anyway I hope his fame does not out shine yours…I understand knitting a bit better.
    What Kind of Tweed are you using? Is some of it Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran? I keep admiring that yarn but have not purchased any.
    And finally I ran down the hall to find my Real Simple Family issue and found your letter. Good Advice. I will read it to my 12&1/2 year old. Then maybe I’ll save it for his first day of work.

  11. Wet wool is good. It’s very satisfying in a good smooshy way. Ann I do hope you’re on the list for Ravelry.
    Knit On!

  12. Now I’m feeling awfully guilty for not slogging away on my blanket…shame on my lack of slog! Especially since it really isn’t any harder than your mitered blankets!
    I can change, I promise!
    Tomorrow, maybe.

  13. Sewing up blankets must be the opposite of embroidery…I always feel it’s going to take much, much shorter than it always does. Time sucker, that embroidery is.

  14. It is beautiful. I’m currently dealing with an arm injury, so am sadly off knitting–but it still makes me feel guilty when I see you slogging away and I’m not!!!!

  15. another masterpiece! LOVE the richness…..and fuzzy appeal……

  16. Ann it’s beautiful! I can’t wait to see this all put together! I love the orange bits!

  17. Your blanket is fab. Is hubster gonna quit his day job now he’s made the media?

  18. Wow, what a great song! Yes, you are no longer the famous one in the house!

  19. “Whee-doggies”???? Everyone knows it’s “Woooooo-doggies”!
    The squares look so inspiring I am tempted to put aside my second (ever!) sock and start making squares – mitred squares – lots and lots of mitred squares –

  20. Congrats Ann to you and Hubbo. Hubbo is now semi-famous! I love the look of the tweed blanket. It’s so very “J-Crew” looking. If J-Crew made blankets, that’s what they would look like. hmmm…maybe you and big sis should pitch the idea to them? I hear J-Crew home fashions calling?!?!, or at least an Oprah segment in your future.
    Lotza luv, Van

  21. OK, I need help. I am 17 rows away from finishing a cotton baby blanket and need to know the Official Mason-Dixon Handy-Dandy Never-Known-To-Fail method for weaving in the ends of cotton yarn, when said yarn will be machine-washed, dragged through the mud, and spat up on. In short, I need a method that works. I have Googled here and Searched there and Perused the Bible According to Kay and Ann, but my patience in August is slim to begin with and I’ve run out. Any suggestions?

  22. You know, I had that same problem at Saturn in Schaumburg IL last week. Weird. Actually, they had my office blocked too, so I couldn’t work either. I had to actually get some knitting done.

  23. what a wonderful surprise to see you and your letter to your son in the special edition of real simple!

  24. Cool! πŸ™‚

  25. That’s just a big old pile of YUM.
    Hard to even conceive of “dread” while looking at it. Because that is some serious YUM.

  26. I lurrve your blog except…….the print is so darn tiny. Is there any way for you increase the size? I have a basket of yarn waiting to become a mitered blanket…..You inspire me.

  27. Druther knit a big ol horse blanket, n sit in a dentist chair dat’s fur shore!

  28. There’s talent all over the place up there! Congrats on the stardum! And to think how long it took you two to get into print! Why do guys have all the fun? I’m loving this blanket, maybe safer not to know how long it takes? We still don’t don’t know how long it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, but we’re still trying, no?

  29. I am amazed at the knitting you two gals put out. It really just blows my mind. I am so envious. Your miters are beautiful. The colors and texture are wonderful. I have dreams of doing just a little and never seem to get enough time. I am retired, but have a day job of sorts. We play duplicate bridge almost every day and I teach a couple classes to kids, but I really want to knit more. Your blog keeps me excited about knitting. Can’t wait for your new book.

  30. I am amazed at the knitting you two gals put out. It really just blows my mind. I am so envious. Your miters are beautiful. The colors and texture are wonderful. I have dreams of doing just a little and never seem to get enough time. I am retired, but have a day job of sorts. We play duplicate bridge almost every day and I teach a couple classes to kids, but I really want to knit more. Your blog keeps me excited about knitting. Can’t wait for your new book.


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