FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths

Who knew slippers were so quick and fun to make? I made this pair as a Christmas gift, and now I want to make a pair for me. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com

The Non-Felted Slippers pattern has been in my queue for years, and I finally got the chance to make them. Turns out that slippers are fun to knit. Quick to make too when you use super bulky yarn. I made one other pair but they were essentially socks with soles sewn to the bottom - so these are technically the first pair of slippers I’ve ever made. 

Who knew slippers were so quick and fun to make? I made this pair as a Christmas gift, and now I want to make a pair for me. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com

One of the great things about knitting a pattern that’s been made 2,953+ times is that there are plenty of helpful tips and hints to find. I researched people’s mods to see what was possible and went from there. Definitely didn’t want a seam on the bottom of the foot so I used Judy’s Magic Cast On to start the sole - it’s not just for sock toes - and worked everything except the sole in the round. I made up plenty of time from not having to sew the slipper together even after ripping out the sole twice to get the right size. Full mods and numbers on the slipper’s Ravelry page. 

Who knew slippers were so quick and fun to make? I made this pair as a Christmas gift, and now I want to make a pair for me. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com
Who knew slippers were so quick and fun to make? Sewing on the soles did take a good chunk of time though, but the work was definitely worth it. They gave the slippers structure and a bit of slip resistance. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com
Who knew slippers were so quick and fun to make? Sewing on the soles did take a good chunk of time though, but the work was definitely worth it. They gave the slippers structure and a bit of slip resistance. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com
Here's what the inside of the slipper looks like after the soles were sewn on. I didn't pull the seams too tight and they blended in well with the sole fabric. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com

The one thing I did underestimate was how long it would take to sew on the soles. I probably could have knit a third slipper in the time it took me to sew on all 4 pieces. At least I didn’t sew the top and bottom together…more than once. Ahem. Anyway, the soles added something special and slip-resistant too. I used the medium size suede Fiber Trends soles which were a good fit for a US 8 slipper. I’ve got a large set stashed away for when I make slippers for myself. 

Who knew slippers were so quick and fun to make? I made this pair as a Christmas gift, and now I want to make a pair for me. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com

Pattern: Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky - 41 yds Fjord Heather and 67 yds Briar Heather

Needles: US 8 (5mm) circs

Dates: November 5 - 27, 2015

@Ravelry

Washcloths are a tried and true gift. Plus, they're a quick knit so you can make a bunch before you get bored. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com

Washcloths are a tried and true gift. Always practical and fun, they’re quick enough that you can makea bunch before you get bored. I usually knit a few of them to giveaway every year. There was a set of 4 on the gift list last year. Each cloth used a different pattern to keep things interesting. I made 2 of my own designs, 1 that’s been in my queue for years, and 1 old favorite. Even though every one is different because of texture or slipped stitches, making them the same color really tied them all together. The washcloths were a big hit so I’m definitely going to knit more sets like this in the future.  

Washcloths are a tried and true gift. Plus, they're a quick knit so you can make a bunch before you get bored. | FO: Non-Felted Slippers and Practical Washcloths - withwool.com

Pattern: Bridges Towel and Laddered Cloth by me; Little Tent Dishcloth by Vaunda Rae Giberson, and All Washed Up by Jill Arnusch

Yarn: Pisgah Yarn Peaches & Creme Ombres - Ivy League (30 - 33 yds per cloth)

Needles: US 6 (4mm) needles

Dates: November 8 - 12, 2015

@Ravelry

How To Do The Long Tail Cast On And Helpful Tips

The Mosaic Sisters pattern- a set of colorful mosaic knit kitchen towels, washcloths, and coasters - is here! Meet the sisters and get the pattern.

Check out the other tutorials for the Mosaic Sisters: Mosaic Knitting 101 & Stripes And Carrying Yarn Up The Side


The long tail cast on was was one of the first cast ons I learned after branching out from the backwards loop cast on that most new knitters learn right off the bat. After years of knitting, the long tail method has become one of my favorites and my default cast on when a pattern doesn’t ask for a specific method. It’s stretchy, makes a tidy edge, and works up quickly once you get the hang of it. It can be worked in knit, purl, or ribbing (this tutorial focuses on the knit version). 

The long tail cast-on creates the first row of your work - which is why I especially love this cast on when working with non-stretchy yarns like cotton or linen which can be hard to start from a backwards loop cast on. Having a row already made is also great for when you join to knit in the round because it’s much easier to check that the stitches haven’t twisted around the needle. Plus, if you mess up and knit too many rows like I did on a recent project, you can even un-pick the cast on to fix the mistake. The process is a little finicky, but completely doable. 

Even better, for all of this long-tail goodness, all you need are needles and yarn. 

Getting Started

Pull the yarn over the needle with the tail end to the front. There’s no need to tie a knot. The photos above show how to hold and position yarn on the needles with and without my fingers in the way. Hold the yarn in your left hand with the tail end of the yarn over your thumb and the working end over your pointer finger. The needle goes in the middle. The yarn over your thumb becomes the bottom edge and the yarn over your pointer finger becomes the first row.

How much yarn do you need to pull out? Eventually, you’ll be able to eyeball the amount, but a good trick is to cast on 10 stitches, then unravel to find out how much yarn they used. Multiply the amount and had a few inches to weave in later and you’ll have a good estimate. 

Here’s an interesting fact: if you reverse positions and hold the needle in your left hand and the yarn in your right, you’ll make purl stitches instead of knit stitches. 

The 4 Steps To Make A Stitch

How to make a stitch with the long tail cast on. Also, gifs are perfect for when you don't want to watch an entire video.

How to make a stitch with the long tail cast on. Also, gifs are perfect for when you don't want to watch an entire video.

There are 4 distinct steps to make a stitch which seem complicated at first, but your hands will learn. Cast on enough stitches and you won’t even have to think about doing them. I exaggerated the motions to make the steps clearer, but I usually work with much smaller and faster movements.

Step 1: Bring the yarn in front and up underneath the yarn in front of your thumb. This is the loop that will secure the stitch. 

Step 2: Move the needle behind the forward strand on your pointer finger from right to left.

Step 3: Move your thumb backwards which bring the the loop over the needle and the yarn.

Step 4: Take your thumb out of the loop and pull on the front piece of yarn to secure the stitch.

Repeat those 4 steps until you have all the stitches you need on the needles and your first row. If you’re working in stockinette, purl the next row.  

When Casting On Lots of Stitches…

The main complaint about the long-tail cast on is when making a lot of stitches. I’m going to be conservative and say 50 stitches and up. If your yarn estimate is off, you’ll have too little yarn and have to rip out to start again or too much yarn and have a long tail hanging off the end of your work. To avoid both of these hassles, work the cast on with two strands of yarn instead of one.

You don’t have to knot them together either. Just hold the ends in place on the needle with your fingers. Once the first 2 stitches are on the needles, the yarn is secure and isn’t going anywhere. When the cast on is finished cut the front strand of yarn long enough to weave in. Yeah, it’s another end to weave in but it’s still less time and energy than having to repeatedly redo the cast on.

Garterlac Dishcloths

Fairly sure that I’ve fallen down the Entrelac rabbit hole. The day started innocently enough when I went looking for pattern that would look great with variegated yarn. My first choice, Grandma’s Favorite, pooled catastrophically. My second choice, the Garterlac Dishcloth, seemed like it was made for variegated yarn. The pattern had been in the queue for years. Why not not try it? Little did I know that I was standing on the edge.

Casting on was simple. As were the crumpled looking edge triangles. Then I knit a square and then another and another. In no time at all, I was working the bind off triangles and weaving in ends. Picking up stitches be damned, knitting entrelac was fun! I was officially falling down the rabbit hole and it was awesome.

I was so tempted to keep these for myself but into a box and off they went to their new home. Going to be knitting a lot more cloths so I’m sharing the entrelac love. After all, it’s a perfect use for my giant stash of kitchen cotton. 

If you’ve never tried Entrelac knitting before, this pattern is a good place to get your toes wet. It’s well written and easy to understand. The cloth is small and quick so you’re not investing a lot of time trying a new technique; however, it’s still large enough to know if you enjoy working Entrelac. Doesn’t take much yarn either - less than 60 yards, about 30 grams, of worsted weight cotton. Plus, the cloth looks very impressive and much harder to make than it actually is. If you can knit, pick up stitches, and work kfb and k2tog, you have everything you need to get started.

The Specs:

Pattern: The Garterlac Dishcloth from Criminy Jickets

Yarn: Knit Picks Dishie Multi - Nettle

Needles: US 6 (4mm)

Dates: May 6 - 9, 2014

@Ravelry 

Wander the Web 39

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain. 

I was on the hunt for a washcloth pattern that would look great in variegated yarn and decided to try something that’s been on my knitting bucket list for awhile, Entrelac. The Garterlac Dishcloth was a great and addicting introduction to the technique. Pretty sure that I’m going to be making a lot more of them. 

Sprawling Ink Cityscapes by Ben Sack

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies might be on the menu this weekend. 

Romain Laurent’s Looping Portraits 

Learn about circuits and electronics with conductive play dough. The site includes “recipes” for the dough and tutorials for building circuits that would be great for kids of any age. Totally going to make a batch. Science is awesome and occasionally unexpected.

Christmas Knits

Before it’s definitely old news, I did knit a few things for Christmas. I didn’t feel any obligation to knit for everyone on my list so there were no crazy deadlines to stress over. The projects were small, simple, and only took a few hours of dedicated work. I hope I remember this lesson for 2014’s holiday season. 

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The first projects off my needles were a set of kitchen towels for a friend who recently bought a house. I used one ball of Knit Picks Dishie, US 6 needles, and two of my own patterns: the Laddered Cloths and the Bridges Kitchen Towel

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The Cornered Slouch Hat, a pattern I released last December, was also a Christmas gift and I was incredibly tempted to keep it for myself. 

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Then, there were stockings. 

Big & Stripey here only counts as Christmas knitting because, A, it’s a stocking, and, B, I knit it during Christmas. My other travel project wasn’t working out and I wanted to just knit something. Decided I wanted to make a stocking with stripes and went from there. It was a simple thing to keep my hands busy during long car rides and low-key gatherings. I’ll block it eventually. Probably, right before it’s time to hang it up 11 months from now. 

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The tiny one continues my tradition of knitting a new ornament every year. I couldn’t resist putting a palm tree down the leg since the Bearded One and I have been surrounded by the things since we moved.

Now, no more talk from me about Christmas knitting until it’s time to start knitting for this year. The time will arrive sooner then it should. Always does. 

Counting Down

Just 15 days until Christmas, my dear knitting friends. I hope you're way ahead on all you're projects or at least close to being done. There's just one more thing on my very short knit list, a small ornament, and it should be finished by the weekend. I hope. 

If you're looking for a quick, last-minute gift, I recommend simple hats, mitts, washcloths, and sport weight socks.  They're great tv knitting and you can wrap them up in no time at all. 

Knit and Be Proud

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One reason I love knitting is because of all the different things I can make. The other big reason is how easily it fits into the rest of my life. I don’t need to sit at home to knit. I can go out with my knitting and not be stuck in front of a computer. I can run errands with yarn and needles in my bag to keep busy and not waste time standing in line. For the last few years, my favorite bit of purse knitting has been socks but I’ve also hauled along hats, fingerless mitts, and even a shawl or two. I carried around the Hitchhiker Shawl until I had to wrap it around my arms so it wouldn’t trail along behind me. Before I learned to make socks and developed a love for shawls, I carried along washcloths to keep my hands busy. I clearly remember knitting a washcloth in a doctor’s waiting room. While the lady sitting across from me thought my knitting was pretty great, I was just a little embarrassed. Not because I was seen knitting in public by stranger but because I was embarrassed to be seen knitting a washcloth. 

At the time, hand knitted washcloths were all the rage. However, for as many people I saw extolling the virtues and wonders of knitting your own washcloths, there were just as many people typing their distaste. One person wrote they would rather pull out their own hair rather than knit a washcloth. Another commenter stated that they would flat out refuse knitted washcloths given to them as gifts. It was comments and thoughts like this that were swirling around in my head as I was sitting in the doctor’s waiting room stitching away. You either had to love knitting washcloths or hate them. There was no in between. I was afraid that some knitter - one that unapologetically hated knitted washcloths - would see me and sneer. So I slunk down in my chair, kept knitting, and hoped that the imagined sneering knitter would not appear. The thought that some knitter who loved making washcloths might appear did not occur to me.

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I couldn’t help feeling that way even though I knew it was silly and completely illogical. Several years later, I’m certain that it’s silly and illogical. Just because someone on the internet or in real life says they don’t like knitting washcloths or lacy socks or giant blankets or funny hats doesn’t mean you have to feel like a smuck for enjoying those things. If you want to knit a stack of washcloths 10’ high or a hat that looks like a cooked turkey, go for it. Enjoy it. Have fun. Own it. Just knit what you like. Knit what makes you happy. You don’t have to sneak away and rent a hotel room to get your fix for knitting washcloths or full-length beaded opera gloves. 

Over the years, I’ve since come to terms with my love of knitted washcloths. They’re small, colorful, generally easy, and entirely functional. I like them for scrubbing my dishes and scrubbing my back. If you’re wondering, I do have separate kitchen cloths and bath cloths. Don’t worry. My kitchen has a special drawer filled just with knitted kitchen towels and a few crocheted clothes from a friend. I have an unapologetic stash of kitchen cotton. What’s more, I’ve released six washcloth/kitchen towel patterns and have a few more in mind. The Triforce Washcloth and Bridges Kitchen Towel are the most popular but my favorite is Cthulu Rising. I have no intention of not knitting washcloths because they’re awesome and I enjoy it. Socks are my default purse knitting of choice now but I’m not afraid of sneers or derision, real or imagined, for knitting washcloths or anything else. I say, knit what you love and be proud of it.

Knit and Focus

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I love the versatility of knitting. I can have giant projects that take months to finish like the Norma Blanket. I can have medium sized projects like the Shur’tugal Socks which fit in my purse and keep me entertained for weeks. I can also have small projects as a refresher and break from the larger projects. It’s a good thing there’s no such thing as the knitting police or they’d be writing me up for just how much I have on the needles.

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The current small project of choice is the Unique Basketweave Washcloth by Anna Peck Maliszewski. It’s a simple pattern that’s easy to remember and looks great in variegated yarn. I can knit a few rows here and there without loosing my place which is great since I only have a few minutes for knitting these days. Plus, knitting a few stitches helps me focus and not run around like a headless chicken. Yep, knitting is good.

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Small Knitting

I took a slightly different approach to gift knitting this year. The list was shorter. The gifts were smaller. The last minute requests were filed away for a later date. Not rushing to KNIT ALL THE THINGS saved my bacon this year. Plus, not every gift I give has to be something I knitted. I had my list and, aside from some mid-game additions, stuck to it. I wish I could say I started early too but that didn’t happen. I just went small and that’s worth celebrating.

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Definitely the tiniest thing I knit was a cosy for my Dad’s iPod. It’s a previous generation and there was next to no chance of finding a case for it. A few quick sketches and 13.6 yards of Knit Picks Comfy Sport later, the case was made.

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Washcloths made an appearance this year too. The cream cloth is Grandmother’s Favorite in Knit Picks Dishie. I increased to 50 sts before starting the decreases to compensate for the smaller gauge.  The purple cloth is All Washed Up by Jill Arnush in Sugar’n Cream (Country Mauve). I can’t wait to knit the pattern for myself in kitchen towel size. It’s easy, memorizable, and reversible. What’s not to like?

Also on the small list: the annual ornament, two ribbed hats, and two not yet mentioned goodies. I’m not sure if I go small again next year or just start early. What I do know is that I’m not loathing the gift knitting or working on IOU’s which are both good things.

Pattern: Summer and an Elder God

Summer started off with a bang and I mean that quite literally. Thunderstorms have been rolling through since Wednesday. Loud, obnoxious thunderstorms that wait just long enough for things to dry out before dumping more rain. The cat has not been pleased but my garden could not be happier. As for me, I’m welcoming Summer in my own way with mai tai’s and truffles. This is a combination I heartily recommend.

Last weekend I was celebrating a different kind of beginning: a new baby. The parents are good friends of mine and also happen to be the creative force behind UndertakingFX, a special effects, makeup, and general source of awesome. One of their latest products is the Cthulu Plaque. They gave the Bearded One and I one as a gift and it is amazing. Now if only we could find the right place to hang it. We’ve already ruled out the bedroom. It's going somewhere we can enjoy it all day long. Anyway, since the two of them are H. P. Lovecraft fans I couldn’t stop myself from adding a little Cthulu into the mix for the baby shower.

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Cthulu Rising | download | @ravelry

~50 - 55 yds worsted weight cotton per cloth | US 6 (4mm) needles

gauge: 5 sts/in | 7” by 7” square

Shown in: Lily Sugar’n Cream - Sage Green &

Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted - Golden Heather

This set of 2 different washcloths knits up pretty quickly. The first shows off the Elder God in all his cute, yet horrible glory. The second depicts R’lyeh if R’lyeh were made of knits and purls and had lots of columns/windows. Who knows, it just might.

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If you’re reading this post on the site, you might have noticed something new. The “Free Patterns” and “Shop” links at the top of the page have been combined into one handy link - “Patterns”. If you're following the site through a feed reader, click through and check it out. Let me know what you think!

Pattern: Laddered Cloths

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It started innocently enough with a trip to the store and the random urge to walk by the yarn. I just so happened to see a lovely ball of innocent cotton yarn with an innocent name, York Town. It was light blue, dark blue, and red. I was quite smitten and I promised myself that, if I bought this yarn, it would not be buried in the stash. Indeed, the ball was out of my stash quickly but it did take me a few tries to come up with the right pattern. This pattern happened to include US 6 needles, slipped stitches, a lot of garter, and only 2 rows. It also looks like a series of ladders.

The Laddered Cloth | Ravelry | Download

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It turned out to be such an easy knit that I had to dig through the stash to make a few more. So, next up there were a few washcloths...

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...and then a coaster for the boy.

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After all this knitting, there's slightly less cotton in the stash, another towel for the kitchen, and a few gifts waiting for the right occasion. Oh, innocent ball of yarn, you've been quite helpful. Hopefully, I have a few other skeins of your ilk hiding in my stash. 

Pattern: Bridges

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Bridges Kitchen Towel | ravelry | download |

I'm not sure why I keep making kitchen towels or washcloths for that matter. It's not like I don't have more than enough already. However, I do have a lot of cotton yarn and I could be making other things - like market bags - but washcloths and kitchen towels rule the day. Oh yeah, I also really like making them, whether it's just a random pattern or a Nintendo character.

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I also like giving them away too. Washcloths will randomly arrive at my friend's houses any time of year without the need for an occassion. Following that vein, I'm giving the pattern away too. It's a combination of stockinette and a quasi rib that reminds me of bridges crossing a river. Plus, it only uses about 95 yds of worsted weight yarn. Make one and give it away or give it to yourself. Both options work quite well.

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Pattern: Sideways

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Sideways Kitchen Towel | ravelry | download |

Usually, I have a tried and true way of doing things. Socks are always knit from the toe up. Sweet tea always has lemon. Pencils always get put away point down.  All that uniformity gets a bit boring sometimes so I like to mix it up on occassion. This latest time just happened to involve kitchen towels which I can't help but knit every couple of months.  I've lost track of many I've made over the years and all the same way: bottom to top. It finally got just a bit boring. So, instead of bottom to top, I decided to make one from side to side. It worked out pretty well too with worsted weight cotton, US 7 needles, and a simple stitch pattern.

After that little diversion, I'm ready to go back to my usual ways but I'm definitely going to try different things more often.

Triforce

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Triforce Washcloth | ravelry | download

My inner geek/fan girl wins out more than I'd like to admit. I have a bathroom full of washcloths of the Super Mario and Dr Who varieties because of her. The obsession is only getting worse since I've added Legend of Zelda to the mix. Plus, the Triforce is just the beginning.

This pattern uses worsted weight cotton, US 7 needles, and is both written and charted. If washcloths aren't you're thing, use the chart on a scarf, a hat, a blanket, or whatever else comes to mind.

Spring Cleaning

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Spring Cleaning | ravelry | download |

Spring is definitely here and the sun, warm temperature, cool breezes, and even rain prove it. As a side effect, I've definitely been bitten with by the Spring Cleaning bug. Winter clothes are being put away, the house is getting a good cleaning, and the clutter is being cleared out. Part of that clutter is all of the ideas that have been floating around in my head since last year. It's high time to get them out of my head and into the world. 

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One of these ideas was a simple washcloth that would use up my small, leftover balls of cotton and be useful around the house. The pattern wasn't as simple as I first envisioned and it seemed like I spent more time ripping than knitting. Short rows came to the rescue though and after a bit more tweaking, the idea was finally out of my head. The final pattern uses worsted weight cotton, US 7 (4.5mm) needles, increases, deceases, and short rows to get the final shape. Both solid and variegated yarns look great and don't hide the pattern. Besides from giving a few sample stitch counts, I've also included directions on how to make any size cloth you want. Have fun making one as big as you want and use as much or as little yarn as you want.

Good luck with your own spring cleaning both knitting and other-wise. 

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Cotton Leaf

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Cotton Leaf Rag by Ann Buechner (ravelry)

This leaf is one of the latest additions to my fleet of hand towels and washcloths.  I couldn't resist making it way back in December since it reminded me so much of Spring and non-freezing temperatures. It turned out to be a really quick knit and all the short rows made it so much fun. Maybe I'll be able to make a few more before Spring officially arrives.

Home

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There’s always a bit of work involved to make a place feel like home. Moving boxes and setting up furniture is only the start. For me, though, it’s the small things that have the biggest impact. So, when house hunting began in earnest, I dug out my cotton stash to make a piece of home. Three kitchen towels were finished soon after moving day and, after a few months of use, they look like they belong here. It finally feels like I do too.

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Linoleum Dishcloth by Kay Gardiner (ravelry)

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Mosaic Stripe Set (ravelry)

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Mosaic Flower Dishcloths (ravelry)

Importance

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I often find myself prioritizing my to-do list by what is most important. It’s a pretty handy technique since it helps keep me on track. Lately though, I’ve been questioning how I decide what’s important since knitting always seems to end up at the bottom of the list. Obviously, sending out resumes and doing the laundry are necessary things that shouldn’t be ignored but their importance doesn’t lessen the necessity of knitting. The opposite also stands true; however, my knitting comes second (or third or fourth) place to these things. Why?

Knitting has helped me do some amazing things. It kept me going through an all-consuming architecture degree. It helps me help others and make people happy. It makes me happy. These are important things that shouldn’t be ignored. Still, I know all of this and still manage to completely ignore it when I’m deciding what to do with my day. No more. Hopefully, I can balance all those pesky important necessities with all the enjoyable ones, knitting and otherwise, in the future.

Dark Humor

Standing in line for the roller coasters at Six Flags, I often wondered what would happen if there was a zombie infestation at a theme park. It didn't take long for me to think of long lines as a convenient buffet for the zombie horde on the go. My simulations usually took place right as the apocalypse was happening; however, Zombieland answers the zombie/theme park question a couple months after zombies have taken over. I'm not giving anything away but it did have some nice suggestions. The theme park was just a part of Zombieland and on the whole it was a fun, hilarious movie rife with dark humor. And zombies.

Besides from my deep love for zombie movies, I'm also particularly fond of dark humor and have a few favorites.

1.

Black Sheep

What's not to love about giant weresheep and carnivorous wooly flocks terrorizing the New Zealand hills?

2.

American Werewolf in London

I can't mention sheep without bringing up this particular werewolf and all the rotting victims that

follow him.

3.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This book became infinitely more entertaining to me once zombies and ninjas were included.

Any other suggestions while I knit on the giant scarf and maybe whip up a few more of these Halloween themed 

washcloths

 for myself?

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