This cozy blanket is a wonderful thing to curl up in on a chilly Sunday morning. The lace and cable pattern is complicated enough to remain interesting over the many many repeats, but simple enough to memorize. It made for good conversation knitting – something I could work on while hanging out with family friends at my parents’ house over the holidays last year. It’s not good subway knitting, since it’s too large to carry around, so I worked on it simultaneously with other smaller projects. It took a while to knit, but near the end I could snuggle up under it while I knit, which was quite cozy.

I made this last winter, but by the time I finished writing up the pattern the weather was too warm to think about wool blankets, much less photograph one. But with autumn here I’ve been taking the blanket out again, and perhaps someone else will want the pattern.

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Size: 4′ x 6′
Gauge: 15 stitches in 4 inches
32 rows in 4 inches of garter stitch
18 rows in 4 inches of lace and cable pattern
Yardage: 1200-1400 yards
Yarn: worsted weight alpaca/wool chainette
Needles: US9 / 5.5mm

If you need to adjust to a different size or gauge, there are 36 stitches for the edge and first lace section and 18 stitches in the repeating lace and cable pattern. If “r” is the number of full repeats you want, cast on 18r+36 stitches.


Cast on 180 stitches.

Work 24 rows in garter stitch (knit all stitches on both sides).

The body of the blanket has a 12 stitch garter stitch border on each side, and alternating lace and cable across the center, beginning and ending with the lace.

To set up, knit 12 stitches, place marker, work only the portion of row 1 in the blue box one time, work the full row 1 8 times, place marker, knit 12 stitches.

On the following row, knit 12 stitches, work row 2 of the chart 8 times, work only the portion of row 1 in the blue box one more time, knit 12 stitches.

Continue in this pattern, working 12 stitches of garter stitch on either edge, separated by eight full lace and cable repeats plus one lace only repeat. After you complete row 6 of the chart, go back to row 1.

When the blanket is three inches shorter than your desired length, work 24 rows in garter stitch. Bind off.

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Paper Cranes


I made lapels! I’ve tried to before, but I’ve never been entirely happy with the way they came out. This time I am. I was worried about the soft double gauze fabric, but with a bit of interfacing and top stitching, they came out just fine. Maybe a jacket is next.

I love this fabric. It is so soft and cozy, and the houndstooth-esque pattern is actually paper cranes (click for larger photos if you can’t see them). I had a long conversation with my sister in the fabric store about what to make out of it. The dress I settled on has lapels, a pleated skirt, long sleeves with cuffs, and closes in front with hammer in snaps to the waist and hidden sew in snaps down the skirt. I had some minor fitting problems – there are gussets hidden in the armpit, because I’m bad at drafting sleeves – but on the whole, I’m really pleased with this dress.

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This skirt is made from another lovely watercolor print from Golly Bard’s Spoonflower shop, this time with an acorn pattern. Appropriately enough, I photographed it while visiting my parents in Oakland, under an eponymous tree.

I look forward to wearing this skirt with yellow tights and a cozy sweater as the weather gets colder in New York. But in California it still feels like summer, and hopping in and out of the tree to set the timer on my camera I got too warm for even a light cardigan. So much for pretending it’s fall here.


This skirt is an easy one. Knife pleats are one of the easiest ways to make a full skirt. Just fold and iron the fabric to form the pleats, pin them in place, and sew them to the waistband. Knife pleats (folds that all point in the same direction) are much more forgiving than box pleats (pairs of folds facing away from each other), and easier to sew into the waistband than gathers. For the waistband, I used a 6″ strip of fabric folded in half to make a very wide 3″ band, but the pleats would work equally well with a narrower band or even a bound edge. This skirt used exactly a yard of 45″ fabric (plus a bit of something else for the pockets), a 7″ invisible zipper, and a button to close the waistband.




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I love swings. In college I would go to the park near my house whenever I had something to think through and swing quietly until I’d sorted it out. There were never any children in that park, never any other people at all. Just me and a swing set. These days I live near busy parks where a grown up really should not be taking up a swing that someone much smaller would probably like to be on. But on my parent’s path, that’s not a problem. Their neighbor has built a particularly lovely pair of grown up sized swings looking out at San Francisco across the bay.



This dress is one of two seersucker projects from my recent visit home. The fabric in the yoke and trimming the pockets is the same as the skirt I posted recently. It’s a particularly excellent seersucker, with stripes in two shades of blue-gray, and I think it’s a nice match for this dotted swiss. The seersucker gives the yoke a bit of structure and the dotted swiss makes a light floaty skirt. They’re both such summery fabrics, they clearly wanted to fly.


Most of this dress should look a bit familiar to anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while. I’ve done a lot of yokes this year, and the waist gathers are straight off a Monet inspired dress I wear all the time. The only new thing is the jetted pockets, which I used mostly as a way of tying in the seersucker, and to a lesser extent so I wouldn’t have to deal with the awkward situation you get with a side zipper and in seam pockets where they sort of want to be in the same place. They didn’t come out entirely tidy – the dotted swiss is too light a fabric for that, but they’re stripy and that makes me happy.


Photos by my dad.

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Double pleats


I originally intended to pleat this skirt all the way around. I thought it would take eight sets of pleats to fill the waist band, making a very full 1950s style skirt. After the first one I began to have some doubts, and by the end of the second I had decided that two in front and two in back would be just fine. Simple accordion pleats can be sort of meditative: measure, fold, iron; measure, fold, iron. But these double inverted pleats are fussy. Making the inner pleat is easy enough, but keeping the inner pleat flat as you form the outer pleat requires just a little more attention than I wanted to give this project. Therefore: only four pleats. I think it looks fine this way.



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I tried something new with the pockets – when I abandoned half my planned pleats and cut down the sides of the skirt, I cut the pockets directly into the sides of the skirt. I’m not going to start doing this regularly, since it’s a very inefficient use of fabric, but the pockets disappear nicely into the sides of the skirt.

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Shibori jellyfish


Jellyfish are my favorite animal, and the colors and blurred edges of shibori are reminiscent of the ocean, so of course my shibori experiments had to include a jellyfish. I first drew the jellyfish on the fabric in pencil. For the body I sewed along the lines with running stitch and gathered it tightly. For the tentacles I pinched up a little fold, sewed over it with whip stitch, and pulled it tight. This creates a sort of chevron resist pattern which reminds me of herringbone. If you’re using this technique, note that the tip of the chevron will point toward the tip of the needle and the barbs will point back toward the eye of the needle. It will look almost like arrows pointing in the direction you sewed. So, if you’re making tentacles, it would be better to start at the end and sew toward the body, which unfortunately is not what I did. But I like my jellyfish anyway.



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Dip dye


Another of my Brattleboro dye projects was dip dyeing this dress. I made the dress a while ago, but always wanted to dye it. It was just a bit boring in plain white. The design was fun, with a low backed lining covered with a higher eyelet overlay with a keyhole back and shallow v-neck front. I finished all the edges with bias tape binding, and closed the back with a sparkly glass button. But it needed something more. So I brought it up to Prima’s with a lot of red dye and dip dyed the skirt.


To dye the dress, I wrapped the part I wanted to keep white in cling wrap. I never put this part in the dye vat, but I wanted to make sure it didn’t get splattered. It was also helpful to have the end of the plastic as a marker for how high I wanted to dye to come. In the past I’ve ended up dyeing quite a bit more than I meant to  because it’s hard to judge how much is under the surface of the dye. I left the exposed end in the dye vat for about an hour, turning it from time to time so the dye would come out even. The dye was Cherry Red from Rit. It’s not really red, but it’s a nice shade of dark pink. To get this color, rather than a bright hot pink, I used three times the recommended concentration and rinsed it cold. Even with a color that sets better than red, you really have to hand wash a dress like this and make sure the water runs from the white to the color. There’s no other way to keep the white white.

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Photos of me taken by Prima at the Smith Botanic Garden.

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Quilted shibori



Last weekend I went up to visit Prima in Brattleboro and did a bit of fabric dyeing. I was particularly excited to try some different shibori techniques.

This piece was the result of a slight misunderstanding. I conflated a technique where you pleat the fabric and clamp it with one where you stitch a pattern and gather, and decided what I needed to do was pleat and stitch. This actually worked well. The layers of fabric have sort of the same effect as gathering, stopping the dye from getting in. I would not be surprised if this is also a common method of resist dyeing, although it’s not one I read about. My approach was:

1. Pleat the fabric into a 2 inch wide strip
2. Mark out 2 inch increments in the other direction
3. Draw curves from one corner to the other (look at the photos to see what I mean)
4. Stitch along these curves
5. Stitch another curve 1mm under the first
6. Dye
7. Pull out the stitches and iron


It’s one of my favorite pieces I dyed this weekend. It was also one of the easiest, since the pleating means you only have to sew an eighth of the lines, and it was the only piece I sewed on the machine.

Since this technique requires pulling out tight stitches it’s only suited to reasonably sturdy woven fabrics. Quilting cotton is perfect. Prima and I later tried it on a piece of jersey, and ripping out those stitches was pretty frustrating. Not recommended.

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Forsythia Dress


I love Golly Bard’s watercolor fabric prints. These forsythia branches look like the coming spring. Despite this misleading vacation photo, nothing is blooming here yet and I can only wear this dress under a sweater. But it reminds me of what’s coming, and the pretty watercolor design makes me happy.

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Hyderabad dress


I made this dress a while ago and never wrote about it. Mostly because I made a top around the same time that was so similar in construction, it seemed repetitive to post this dress as well. Both are made by gathering the front into seam binding, which runs up to form straps. This version is a maxi dress, made from 2 yards of 60″ gauzy cotton, and cut to use almost all of that fabric. The body is made from two large trapezoids with a bit of armhole shaping, and the left over triangles went into bias tape and inseam side pockets.


This is a pretty simple dress. What makes it special is the fabric. It’s light and floaty and the wind goes right through it, making it comfortable on even very hot days. I like the texture of the fabric – a thin gauze with heavier cords running vertically every two inches or so. The vegetable dye block print is subtle and pretty. But mostly I like it because the fabric is full of memories of a trip to India with my dad, and the fun we had finding it.


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