Category Archives: Knitting



My great-grandfather Larry, Louie, Lawrence, or (to me) Zaide worked in a button factory. To this day, everyone in our family will lean in close and pick at the buttons on someone else’s jacket – “nice buttons!” we’ll say, the way normal people might compliment the garment as a whole. We don’t have many of Zaide’s buttons left in the button jar, because it’s been a long time and most of them have been used in special projects over the years. But I’m pretty sure this is one of them: my mom particularly loves shell buttons, and he’d save them for her.

Zaide never had a laptop, and honestly I have no idea whether or not this bag would be his style (so I’m going to go with not). But the button on it reminds me of him.

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This pattern uses seed stitch, which alternates knit and purl stitches. Unlike in ribbing, the knits and purls also alternate between rows. So if you see a knit stitch in the previous row, purl, and if you see a purl stitch, knit.

Seed stitch worked flat (over an even number of stitches):
Row 1: k1 p1 to end
Row 2: k1 p1 to end

Seed stitch worked in the round:
Row 1: k1 p1 to end
Row 2: p1 k1 to end


How to knit a laptop bag

Size: to fit a 17″ laptop, but easily modified for other sizes.

Unfortunately this yarn was a gift which came in two lovely balls of unknown length, so I have no idea how much yarn I used. Two biggish balls.

Gauge is 14.5 stitches in 4″. You want a tight knit to make a sturdy bag: use a bulky yarn and go down a needle size or two.

To start the bottom of the bag, cast on 50 stitches (for other bag sizes/gauge, cast on [width of laptop]*[stitches per inch] stitches). Work in seed stitch (see instructions above) for 2″. Pick up stitches around the other three sides of the rectangle you’ve just sewn and begin knitting in the round. Work in stockingette for 9″ (or [height of laptop] – 1″). Work in seed stitch for 1 1/2″. At the start of the next row, work 50 stitches in seed stitch, then bind off until the end of the row. 50 stitches remain. The stitches still on your needles should line up with your original cast on. This will be the flap. Work flat in seed stitch for 3 1/2″. On next row, work 22 stitches, bind off 6, work 22. Coming back on the wrong side, work 22 stitches, cast on 6, work 22. This forms the button hole. Work another 1 1/2″ in seed stitch, then bind off all stitches. For the strap, cast on 8 stitches and work in seed stitch until it is 25″ long, or a bit shorter than you like your bag strap: it will stretch a bit when you put a heavy laptop in the bag. Sew the strap to the sides of the bag, sew on a 2″ button, and weave in the ends. You have a new laptop bag!

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This is my new Clapotis scarf, knit from two balls of Bernat softee. The pattern is fun to knit, and I was very cold and wanted to be sure it would be long enough, so I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. It is definitely long enough. If I hang it around my neck both ends reach the floor. If I’m outside or in the subway I loop it a couple of times before I put it on so it doesn’t drag on the ground. So I learned something, besides that dropping stitches is fun: three yards is too long for a scarf.

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Fingerless gloves

I’ve always loved this pattern. When it first came out I lived in Sydney, where on the coldest day of the year a determined knitter might wear fingerless gloves, but she’d kind of wish she hadn’t. So I didn’t knit them for years. But now in New York in the fall, gloves are not only manageable, they’re actually quite nice. I hear that in the winter I’ll even want them with fingers!

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Foliage hat

This hat is the Knitty pattern foliage, done in a sock weight yarn. Because of the smaller gauge and because I wanted a slightly slouchy hat, I did five pattern repeats in the crown.

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Rosalie (in a hat)

My sister Rosalie came to visit this weekend! We spent all day Saturday just walking around, talking about grad school and our new homes and generally catching up on the last three months. It was so great to see her.

I haven’t been able to blog my new knitting projects, since there’s been no one to model them, but with a sister around it was easy. This hat is from the free pattern Regina, and it was a very easy knit. I used a cotton yarn for the band and a wool for the main body of the hat, which makes for a warm cozy hat that doesn’t make my ears itch. This was a nice pattern to use with two different yarns – since there isn’t really a gauge to begin with, there was nothing to adjust. I highly recommend it.

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I’ll be putting up more wedding sewing posts later in the week (Isabel’s pink bridesmaid dress is next!), but today I’m excited about this yarn. We moved to New York right after the wedding, and for the first time in my life I live somewhere I can actually wear cozy hats and scarves. So many things to knit!

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Flapper Earwarmer Pattern

This turban-like earwarmer is a perfect last minute gift. Once I’d figured out the pattern Isabel’s took less than an hour to knit, even including breaks to take the cookies out of the oven and help my dad find his keys (turns out I had them all along). Just what I want from a Christmas knit. Plus, unlike the cape I made her last Christmas, this one might actually keep her warm in the New York winter.

I used a bulky weight yarn at about 3 stitches per inch, but the exact gauge isn’t important for this pattern.

Cast on 16 stitches

Odd rows: p1, k1, p1, k10, p1, k1, p1
Even rows: k1, p1, k1, p10, k1, p1, k1

Knit until piece measures 16″. Cast off. Sew ends together to form a loop, pulling hard on yarn as you sew, so the fabric gathers.

Cast on 5 stitches and knit in stockingette until piece measures 3″. Cast off. Wrap around seam of other piece, and sew ends together.

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Victorian lace sweater

I love this sweater. It’s the most complicated thing I ever knitted, but it didn’t take as long as you might expect. I used a heavier yarn than the pattern calls for – sock weight instead of fingering. This made for some minor modifications (casting on fewer stitches for the back, stopping the center panel a bit early, leaving off one section of the sleeves), but it also meant it knit up a little faster. And I ended up with a cozy sweater that looks like a lacy blouse. What could be better?

The pattern is the Victorian Lace Blouse from Michele Rose Orne’s Inspired to Knit.

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Lace sweater

My sister Rosie spends most of her day around toddlers, so she tends to wear jeans and shoes she can run in. What she really wants to wear is high heels and crisp wool skirts, so when she presented her research at a conference this spring, she was happy to have the excuse make herself a new skirt. She settled on this gray suiting wool and simple a-line shape, with a narrow waistband and an invisible zipper. The sweater she’s wearing with it is a long sleeve version of the Shaped Lace Tee from Knitting Lingerie Style, which is probably my favorite knitting pattern. A pair of simple lace stitches with just enough going on to keep it interesting, and a beautiful finished product.

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Art Deco lace

This dress was based on two patterns from the book Lace Style. I used the shape of the Essential Tank Top, and the lace pattern from the Ooh La Lace Dress. I used crochet cotton, and my lace repeats ended up slightly smaller than the original. I knit it a few years ago as a dress for Isabel, but she’s grown a bit (or just stopped wearing her dresses quite so short), and we generally treat it as a top these days.

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