Yarn Tasting



A recent study found that 81% of subjects suffering from depression reported feeling happier after knitting, while more than half said they felt “very happy.”

I’ve been knitting my life back together since I was a teenager. Things unravel, I pick up my needles. Stitches drop, I figure out how to get on track and reknit. It’s my M.O. when life goes haywire. The perfect therapy — a rhythmically, repetitive mediation that calms. And you end up with something beautiful and useful!

Can you get all that from a therapist? Well, I guess you can, but it may not be as relaxing.

Since knitting is my first emotional line of defense — and calm and happy are always welcome — as the seasons transition, I can almost taste the yarn.

Without further adieu…

Here are my latest knitting crushes:

What’s on your knitting menu?

Crafting A Legacy


Snuggled in our respective nests, my family drifts into maker-mode. Daughter is throwing pots. Son is woodworking. Husband‘s shooting up a storm with his camera. And of course, my needles are clicking.

Although we’re merrily crafting a blizzard of goodies, curiously, we never seem to remember it all takes an enormous amount of time to complete these energetic handmade gifts. I predict there may be more than a few IOU’s.

As an experienced knitter, I look for a challenge this time of year to add to my crafting legacy. I do not crochet. Not because I can’t (mom taught me). It’s because of a long-standing attitude that knitting is more beautiful than crochet.

Don’t start throwing hooks at me yet.

When I started knitting, granny square afghans lit up the craft world. Granny…Afghan…SO not cool. Gorgeous Crochet Snowflakes…SO cool.

I’ve changed my tune and want to share with non-knitters — who have no idea what I’m talking about — the difference between knitting and crocheting:

Knit and crochet are distinctly different crafts with different tools that work up various stitches. Knitting is done on needles — straight, double pointed or circular. Crochet uses hooks of varying sizes. Straight knitting looks like a bunch of interlocking “v”stitches. Crochet stitches are “chains” — crochet hook gets inserted into a stitch and yarn is looped. Knitting tends to be tight. Crochet is looser, more open weave. I’m told crocheting is quick (not so much for me), while knitted garments take many, many hours to complete.

Wrapping, twisting, cabling, chaining, braiding…who cares? Inspired by these gorgeous snowflakes, momentarily, I put down my needles and pick up a hook.

In the maker spirit, here’s a round-up of my 3 favorite crocheted snowflakes:

Frosty Filigree Snowflake from Martha Stewart

Rustic Twine Snowflake from Aesthetic Nest

Beaded Snowflake from AgaKnickKnack

What’s your craft legacy?

Photo via flickr

DIY Folding Chairs To Die For

My latest DIY obsession is repurposing old chairs. A while back, we found two Scandinavian chair frames abandoned by the side of the road. Making cushions is beyond my DIY realm – I’m crafty, but sewing a hem musters up a learning curve that I’ve yet to master. Why? Because I’ve always had a lovely sewing enabler in my life. I’m lucky because my mom is my go-to seamstress/upholsterer. And I’m thrilled she’s still willing to aim her magic thimble in my direction. Mom is currently chopping away on a maxi-skirt that I snagged at my local second-hand store, Rupo. It’s a beautiful long, narrow skirt, but torturous to climb steps in. When my daughter was here last week, she whisked the skirt off to mom and asked her to put a slit up the side (probably way higher than I would wear). Bye-bye skirt. But I digress…

I saw these Overdyed Terai Chairs at Anthropologie (above) and was immediately inspired by DIY possibilities. I’m thinking an oh-so stylish bluish, vintage-vibe would give new life to my old chairs.

Here are 3 of my favorite fabric pics:

1. Madeline Weinrib – This Ikat fabric is just stunning. Ikat means ‘to bind.’ I’m bound by love for this hand-dyed and handwoven silk/cotton fabric.

2. Marimekko – Who doesn’t love Marimekko? With its quintessential retro designs, these fabrics wink back to groovier times. This bold pattern from 1964 is almost identical to the ‘flower power’ wallpaper pattern of my childhood room (hence, the blue trend). In fact, I had to buy a few items with this pattern when I was at the NYC Marimekko store recently.

3. Amy Butler – I’ve written about Amy Butler’s designs before. Not only does Amy provide organic fabrics (below, organic velvet), her business philosophy inspires me as much as her gorgeous designs: “Being generous, fair, and honest in business and in life rewards you with grace and is it’s own success. Giving back to your community is sewing what you reap (sharing the love)…Care for YOUR community and it will take care of you.”

DIY Folding Chair Instructions HERE.

Photo: Anthropologie

Customized, Cushionized Couch

The Cushionized Couch by Christiane Hoegner caught my attention for these 4 reasons:

1. It’s pliable and adjustable, making it uber-comfortable looking.

2. The color options are playful. Reminds me of something straight out of a fairytale. Princess and The Pea, anyone?

3. While my couch aesthetic is generally simple and leans towards the more neutral lines of natural linen, I’ve lusted after the wildly hip and colorful Mah-Jong Sofa from Roche-Bobois for years. The Cushionized Couch is reminiscent of this multi-cushioned iconic sofa.

4. So many DIY possibilities for creating mix and match handmade cushions from eco-friendly fabrics, beautiful sheets or vintage curtains, abound in this inspirational Cushionized Couch.

But…and there’s a big BUT…Could you live with this?

Photos: Cushionized Couch, Home Rejuvenation, Mah-Jong Sofa, Roche-Bobois

Repurposed Over-Dyed Rug Sling Chairs

I am awestruck by the beauty of these sling chairs. The chairs are handcrafted with over-dyed repurposed rugs. The custom designed chairs from Still + Co. for Sit and Read in Brooklyn, are hemmed and hand-stitched onto welded wrought iron frames.

Check out the rug-dying process via Design Sponge. Gorgeous.

Still & Co. for Sit and Read from Sit and Read on Vimeo.