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

The Touch, The Feel, The Fabric of Our Beach Knitting

Dear Ann,
Since you’re off wandering the beaches of New England, I thought I’d share my Summer 2007 Beach Knitting.
Now. You know I usually like to do either a whole lot of small pieces (2005: 30 Top Secret Dishrags), or something that is composed of a whole lot of small pieces (the Mitered Blankets of ’04 and ’06). Beach knitting has to be cotton. Some people knit wool on the beach, and even alpaca and mohair. To them I say, with all due respect, “Whatever.” For me it’s got to be cotton. Dippable, drippable, washable and dryable. As Richie Havens crooned, it’s The Fabric of Our Lives. (I looked for a clip, but this and this were all I could find. The Richie one was awesome.)
This year, though, I’m not following my Many Small Pieces approach. I am knitting 4 huge pieces, which when joined will be a Cornish Knit Frock for the multiple-XLT loveofmylife. At the beginning I had my doubts about shlepping such big pieces to and fro, not just to the beach, but on all my summer rounds including cars, buses, subways and the Hampton Jitney (which is known for its teeny tiny seltzers and the occasional free trashy summer paperback, but not for its elbow room). Not only are all these pieces very generously sized, but there is the matter of the cable needle and the remembering of increases and decreases and of cable and texture panels. None of these things are hard in themselves, but they require seeing and thinking and keeping track. It’s frustrating to pick up a sweater part and try to remember where I left off and did I write down when I stopped this motif on the other piece, and how often am I turning those cables and which part is this, anyway?
But I guess it’s going OK, because today I have reached the Two Sleeve Moment.
For the denim-curious, this photo shows the difference in length between the pre-washing sleeve in the back and the post-washing sleeve in the front. A 30-inch sleeve shrank to 25 inches. Just like it’s supposed to.
If your cable needle goes missing, try a coffee stirrer from the Beach Snack Hut. This coffee stirrer is a perfect US5 (3.5mm).
This pattern and I are at that perfect relationship stage. I think it’s the cutest most sweetest pattern in the world. No longer struggling with my memory of what goes where and when, I knit along, smiling every at every charming bit of business. Once in a while I mess up, and the pattern says, “Dollface. You totally mossed through that rib back there.” And then, how we laugh!
Oh c’mon. You don’t do that?
Love, Kay
P.S. I do not purposely take pictures of Joseph doing his armpit farts; it’s just hard NOT to.




  1. Those intimate sweet nothings we share with our knitting…they are what the good life is made of.
    xoxo Aara

  2. It’s nice that you’ve built a solid relationship with the sweater. I can only imagine you’ll be together for more than just a brief summer fling.
    Also, the weird google hits and the great teen embarrassment fodder are totally worth aiming for with the armpit fart shots.

  3. Joseph at the beach…good times!

  4. That has GOT to be the artiest armpit-fart photo I’ve ever seen! Love it. Maybe I’ll get to do that someday with my son.

  5. The summer is a great time for light weight knits – cotton (a new one for me, because I usually knit wool), bamboo, linen. It is hard to get everything done, but it is beautiful to see the work as it progresses.

  6. Our oldest is seven and I sooooo get the armpit fart thing. Last month when he did armpit farting more than talking, I had to Lay Down the Law. Rule #1 was “no armpit farts in the car” because, as an enclosed space, I can not escape the noise. But, this month, somehow, he’s less interested. And so, he asked me today if it was okay to do in the car now because he “hadn’t been doing it very much”. I had to laugh. Oh, and he can do the knee pit farts too. Lovely.

  7. Mine is 13 and still the occasional armpit fart emerges….I don’t think they ever get over it.
    Kay- the knitting is beautiful and I take great comfort knowing that I am not alone in my communication with the knit in progress. Love how you put it all into words though! Also, the kids and I gave my husband a new croquet set for his birthday last week…you have forever ruined me because mentally I am thinking CRO-Kay when we play!!!

  8. Mine is 13 and still the occasional armpit fart emerges….I don’t think they ever get over it.
    Kay- the knitting is beautiful and I take great comfort knowing that I am not alone in my communication with the knit in progress. Love how you put it all into words though! Also, the kids and I gave my husband a new croquet set for his birthday last week…you have forever ruined me because mentally I am thinking CRO-Kay when we play!!!

  9. Way to go with the Cornish! You are SO whipping through it! x x x
    ps – love the art-house pic of Joseph. Who knew armpit farting could be so photogenic?

  10. I love cables, hate cable needles. That’s why I’ve learned to do them without the cn. The coffee stirer looks like a good substitute. I definitely agree about the cotton, though. Last week I knit all night at the Relay for Life – it was foggy, damp, and cool, and I was glad I had a cotton dishcloth (actually I finished two) to work on.

  11. My admiration for you increases every time you mention this sweater. My husband is large (6’3″), and honestly, as much as I love him, the most I can envision for him is a hand knitted vest. You’re a brave woman.

  12. I think I can smell that armpit-fart-aroma!

  13. Ok, the bloggers are all at the beach, when do the blogged get to go???
    Thanks for the photo for the denim curious. As for the armpit farts, oh, the memories! (three brothers, seven nephews)

  14. I’m trying to feel those sleeves through my monitor! How gorgeous! I love the early cotton ads! Do you remember the one where the little girl is feeling the curtain blow against her face? I’m going to be singing that all day!

  15. Being a newbie to this blog, I had to check out the summer of 2005’s warshrags (as you call them in your book I love it–that’s what my mom always called them…somewhere along the way I started calling them dish clothes…washrags brings me back to my roots!) BEAUTIFUL!! I want to find a drawerful of those in my kitchen!! Soon as I get my cotten log cabin blanket done…it’s more dishcloths…or maybe I’ll sneak some in on short breaks while I am working on the log cabin…Deb in Nebraska

  16. I’m SOOOO jealous! I really wish that I was at a place in my life to do BEACH knitting. Oh, how I miss the beach!
    Enjoy it!
    And I get to look forward to armpit farts, too! Only 7 more years before I have my very own 8 year old boy!

  17. The sweater is coming along beautifully! My husband is 5’4″, so I’m in awe of making something that huge!
    My son is four. I’m excited about armpit farts in the future. Daddy is hard at work training him.

  18. The whole thing that used to get me about the armpit farts was that glowing mischievous smile on their faces that they could possibly do something so awesome with nothing but their bodies. I have 3 brothers and a grown step-son and they all possessed that special glow. One of the many things I love about you guys is that you bring things like armpit farts and dishrags to the forefront and say, “Come on, who doesn’t do this or remember these?” You have touched our hearts, brought the warm fuzzy feelings back and have shared your wonderful patterns with us.
    Hubby’s sweater is beautiful. Both the color and any sort of cable pattern are my favorite. I’m sure he will love it. One of these days I may get those size 15 argyle socks going….
    I am making an “add a different color Noro when the skein runs out” log cabin-sort of-afghan (I pick up a skein at every yarn shop I go to) and every single person who sees it says “Mason Dixon!” Even though the pattern isn’t in there the inspiration is and isn’t that what it’s all about?
    Thanks and hope you are both having a grand summer.

  19. Oh the joys of Denim. Any shots of blue fingers and/or knitting needles?
    You know, there is a way of crossing cables without using a cable needle. I know, utter blasphemy for all those knitting gadgets collectors. It gets worse, it involves slipping several stitches off the needle at once…

  20. I love the cable needle! My 5, and 4 don’t know about the armpit fart just yet. Although I’m sure it won’t be long. Yesterday at lunch 4 counted down…5,4,3,2,1, BURP! I had a hard time reminding him about his manners…I was laughing too hard. Seriously, they are born with this stuff.

  21. I love the cable needle. My boys (5 & 4) don’t know about armpit farts just yet…but I can imagine we’re not far. Yesterday at lunch 4 counted down 5,4,3,2,1…BURP! When he was counting down I didn’t know what to expect…and I can’t believe that he anticipated and prepared for this burp. I had a hard time reminding him we expect manners at our table…I was laughing too hard. Seriously, they are born to do these things.

  22. FABULOUS stitches in denim. What pattern is it?

  23. ha! armpit farts.

  24. Such a pretty sweater. I hope to graduate from scarf and baby blanket knitting to sweater knitting some time this lifetime.

  25. Gorgeous denim cables and texture.
    My 4 year old burps beautifully and some days constantly. Armpit farts are in our future.
    I wasn’t half-bad doing them myself.

  26. Dear Kay,
    I want to offically Damn yer hide for the whole turning me on to the Rowan Denim thing which has become one of my life’s obsessions. I did not need another obsession. I bought the very inexpensive Denim People at your urging and now I must knit many of them. I do not have the yarn and I am considering selling stash to accquire more rowan denim. I hope you are well pleased with yourself. Your evil scheme to convert knitters everywhere to the wonder that is rowan denim is proceding unchecked! I can hear you laughing BWA-HA-HA-HA at me and all the other acolytes. I repeat Damn yer hide.

  27. You are a brave, brave woman. And you give all of us with large husbands (mine’s 6’6″ and not a rail) who will only knit vests a bad name. But hey! The man’s got the wingspan of a condor (as he often brags when at the zoo); when camping in the redwoods, the kids kept remarking on the amazing resemblance. Clearly, I am not meant to make him a sweater; I think socks are evidence enough of true love.
    Did the Rowan fade when washed (just noting the colors in the pictures; I like the lighter color, don’t get me wrong, just looking for info)? I’m dying to try it, and have a pattern all picked out — that lovely Indigo Ripples skirt from IK.

  28. Having two young boys at home (4 & 6) I am pretty familiar with the armpit fart and all forms of Potty Talk. Just for fun you may (or may not) want to teach Joseph the “bendy-straw-armpit-fart-trick”. The bendy end of the straw goes in the mouth while the long end is inserted into the pit. Blowing into the straw is guaranteed to lead to hysterical giggling!

  29. My husband still does armpit farts. Where did I go wrong?
    A recovering lawyer? I am still practicing law and occasionally (ok, more than occasionally) dream what life would be like pursuing my fiber dreams.

  30. While my son was sleeping on my chest this afternoon I witnessed something I thought was many years down the road: he armpit farted. He’s seven weeks old. I thought of you and Joseph.


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