Happy New Year!

After a long hiatus, I have returned to the blog and Mission KnitPossible on a snowy New Year’s Day from my new KnitterWriter’s casita. I moved house in September and now have this lovely space, which we call the west wing of our little main house. The photos above all are views from or within the casita.

My other news is that I actually finished the first project for Mission KnitPossible in August (except for weaving in a thousand ends — still in progress — and possibly lengthening the cuffs of the sleeves a wee bit, at my daughter’s request). Here is a report from July 2018 about the sleeve-knitting process that I was certain would drive me either mad or to drink before I finished.

Project Progress: Sleeve Island or The Fourth, Yes, the Fourth Sleeve

July 2018

I began my Mission KnitPossible journey a little over five months ago with what I’ve come to call the Circa 1987 sweater. I’m still with that sweater and trying not to feel sheepish about the fact that I’ve not yet finished even one UFO. I did a bit of an inventory and recognized that I have finished and knit on other things and, therefore, have not necessarily failed to accomplish something.

First, I was inspired to begin a scrappy sock blanket which is a patchwork of mitered squares made from leftover sock and other fingering weight yarn. This will be, by its nature, a work in progress for some time.

Then I discovered the designer, Jenny Faifel aka SweaterFreak. in May, she called for test knitters for her June Afternoon shawl design, and I could not resist.

And while at a Sisu Designs knitting retreat at Ghost Ranch in April with Dagmar of Zia Woolz in April, I finally gave in to the temptation of the fade. With some Madeline Tosh Twist Light in the Abiquiu colorway, Happy Feet Splash in Tuscany Spice, and two Zia Woolz colors in her Dreamcatcher base, I began a fade cardigan using the Peridot Cardigan design by Marie-Christine Levesque of Tricot Design MCL.

I opted for stockinette rather than the all-over stitch pattern the designer used, as the fade is the star here, but I love the twisted rib and the shaping of the sweater. The body is complete and I am halfway through the first sleeve.

So Circa 1987 still has not had its debut in the 21st century but I am, much like the tortoise, making my way. It’s been a sleeve issue. The pattern calls for the sleeves to be knit in the round from the cuff up and then sewn into the armholes. It seemed much more efficient to pick up stitches at the armholes and knit down. I would simply switch the increases to decreases. How difficult could that be? Well, there also was the business of these being enormous vintage 80’s sleeves which I wanted to modify to a more narrow fit. It didn’t seem that it would be terribly difficult, as the armhole was small enough to pick up 128 stitches, rather than the 140 stitches at the armhole in the pattern, and from there it would be only a matter of calculating decreases.

I knit one sleeve and felt triumphant. I began the second sleeve, began looking at the decreases more closely, and realized they looked very sloppy. I should know to k2tog on one side of the center stitch and ssk on the other side. But did I do that? Of course not. I changed my approach on the second sleeve and the result was much more tidy, looking quite less like a mottled, bumpy fair isle covered alien, as the first sleeve did.

And so, came the first moment of truth. I would have to re-knit the first sleeve. After finishing the second sleeve, I ripped out that first sleeve and started again. My friend, Paula, made me feel like a champion knitter when she commented on how, of all the knitters she knows, I am the most willing to rip back mercilessly when the knitting calls for it. “You’d rip out an entire sweater!” she proclaimed on the phone from Seattle, as though the willingness is a super power. Thank god for Paula, who always makes me feel like a knitting super hero, even though she is a wildly prolific knitter and probably already has finished more knitted items than I will in a lifetime.

Little did I know, more super powers would be required. I was within four inches of finishing that re-knit sleeve last week (now the third sleeve I had knit for this sweater), when I realized that I seemed to have too many stitches on the needle. I should already have finished the decreases, I thought. Something is wrong here. And, indeed, something was. I had forgotten when I knit the second sleeve that the last 15 rows of the sleeve are knitted straight in the pattern, meaning that, in my reverse process, I was to knit straight for the first 15 rows of each sleeve before beginning my decreases. I had not done so on the second sleeve, but that sleeve looked fine. The first sleeve (which I was now re-knitting) was bigger than the first – noticeably bigger, almost to the cuff, with more pattern repeats in each round – because I had followed the instructions in the pattern and knit the first 15 rows straight without any decreasing.

And so, I ripped that first sleeve again. I’m not even going to describe untangling the different colors of yarn as I unraveled. I just patted myself on the back for my zen mentality, which I really do have with knitting, thankfully. And I am now knitting peacefully on this sweater’s fourth sleeve.


To review my process in the spirit of Abbott & Costello, I began my Sleeve Journey by knitting Sleeve #1. Then I knit Sleeve #2. When I noticed the unsightliness of Sleeve #1, due to the improper decrease method employed, I began re-knitting it, causing Sleeve #2 to become Sleeve #1, as it was the first sleeve I knit properly. The original Sleeve #1 was now Sleeve #2 but I was re-knitting it into Sleeve #3. Then I discovered that knitting now-Sleeve #3 according to the pattern (in reverse) left it too large, unlike the now-Sleeve #1, and I ripped yet again, resulting in my knitting on Sleeve #4 (which originally was Sleeve #1 in this whole mess!).

Knitting New Mexico 2018 with Isabell Kraemer

This workshop is now closed! Thank you all who registered. If you would like to be placed on a waiting list, please email theknitterwriter@gmail.com. Thank you to all who registered!

You also still can register for a three hour class with Isabell Kraemer at the Yarn Store at Nob Hill on September 28, 2018 by contacting the shop directly by phone or email.

Exciting news! This summer, we formed Knitting New Mexico, a small group of knitters dedicated to creating knitting experiences – retreats and workshops –  in the desert southwest with talented knitting designers and teachers. Knitting New Mexico 2018 is our first event and we are thrilled to offer a workshop in Albuquerque with internationally renowned knitwear designer and knitting teacher, Isabell Kraemer, on September 28 and 29, 2018! Isabell is coming to spend two days with us after teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in San Francisco. Isabell’s bio and all the details about the workshop and how to register are below!

Isabell Kraemer


Isabell is a qualified dressmaker who became a knitwear designer almost by accident! People kept asking her how she made things, so she published her notes on her blog. When she discovered Ravelry she gradually started to publish more and more designs. It wasn’t long before she had gained a large and dedicated following for her fresh, wearable, and modern designs.

Isabell’s designs have been published in Laine Magazine, Amirisu and Vogue Knitting. She has also produced beautiful designs for Malabrigo Yarns, Quince & Co and Swan’s Island… all in her signature streamlined and contemporary style.

Knitting New Mexico 2018 Workshop Details

Friday, September 28, 2018

We will meet at 1:30 p.m. at the Yarn Store at Nob Hill, 120 Amherst Drive NE, in Albuquerque, and begin our first class with Isabell at 2:00 p.m.

Top Down Knitting – Basics and Beyond 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Top down knitting

A guide through techniques to expand your top down knitting skills. The class will cover different methods for knitting a sweater from the top down and Isabell will share some useful tricks. Skills required: knitting in the round and basic knowledge of sweater construction.

For full class description, click here.

Dinner at the Yarn Store and Knitting 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

We have invited the Yarn Store community to join Isabell and our group for a light dinner and an evening of informal knitting and socializing.

Saturday, September 29

We will gather in the Ventana Room at the Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. for a light breakfast and begin our day-long class at 8:30 a.m.

Amory – Contiguous Set-In Sleeves 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m (lunch on the Ventana Room patio)

Isabell’s design, Amory, is our workshop project and, in this class, you will learn contiguous set-in sleeve construction, as well as several techniques you will use in knitting the sweater (short row neck shaping, shoulder and sleeve increases, underarm cast on methods and more). You will take away from the class all the skills necessary to complete the sweater.

For full class description, click here.

Apres-Class 3:00 p.m. – ???

We will spend late Saturday knitting together and decide as a group during the workshop whether we want to dine at a local restaurant, snack at a hotel roof-top bar, or gather at a local knitter’s home..

Amory – the Knitting 2018 with Isabell Kraemer workshop project

amory project photo

Amory is an Isabell Kraemer design knit top down in a light fingering weight yarn with a lovely lace pattern at the base of the sweater. All the details are available on the pattern page on Ravelry.

The Yarn Store at Nob Hill will have yarn options available for the sweater.

Optional Class — Short Rows: When, Why, and How

Short rows

Isabell will teach Short Rows – When, Why, and How, a class open for registration to the public on Friday, September 28, from 9 – 12:00 p.m. Those registered for the workshop may add this class as an optional add-on. It is not included in the Knitting New Mexico workshop registration fee. For class description, click here.

Los Poblanos Food Details


Breakfast will include assorted pastries, seasonal fresh fruit, and house-made granola with milk and yogurt.

Lunch options will include a seasonal salad, a vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrée, and a Los Poblanos signature dessert.

Complimentary beverage service will be available throughout the day.

Out of Town Workshop Attendees

For those knitters attending the workshop who don’t live in Albuquerque, we can recommend the following hotels or bed and breakfast:

Hotel Parq Central

Hotel Andaluz

Hotel Chaco

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

Sarabande Bed & Breakfast

Mauger Estate Bed & Breakfast

There also are air bnb’s in the area and plenty of economy hotels near the airport (the  Albuquerque Sunport), in the Nob Hill area near the Yarn Store, and around Rio Grande Boulevard and Interstate 40, which is near Los Poblanos.

Fees and Registration

$265 per person includes:

  • 9 hours class time
  • Casual light dinner on Friday evening.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and beverage service at Los Poblanos on Saturday
  • Swag bag including one skein of merino fingering weight yarn in exclusive Knitting New Mexico 2018 colorway by Zia Woolz and other knitting goodness

$35 Add-On Friday morning Short Rows class

Full payment will be due at the time of registration.

There are no partial registration options for this workshop, such as attending one day and not the other.

In the case of cancellation up to 14 days before the workshop, partial refund of $150 will be provided. We regret that we cannot provide any refund for cancellations less than 14 days before the workshop.


Registration for the workshop is CLOSED! There are still slots available for the Friday morning class with Isabell at the Yarn Store at Nob Hill. Please contact the yarn store to enroll in the class.

Hope to see you in September!


Knitting New Mexico 2018 with Isabell Kraemer — Class Descriptions

Below are class descriptions for the classes Isabell Kraemer will teach at Knitting New Mexico 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on September 28 – 29, 2018, and for the public class she will teach at the Yarn Store at Nob Hill before the Knitting New Mexico workshop. For complete information about the workshop and to register for Knitting New Mexico 2018, click here.

Amory — Contiguous Set-In Sleeves

Learn the contiguous set-in sleeves construction while knitting the Amory sweater. As this is worked from the top down, most of the challenging things happen right at the beginning. I will guide you through all techniques involved (short row neck shaping, shoulder and sleeve increases, underarm cast on methods and more). You’ll leave with all the knitting skills needed to finish your own Amory sweater that we start in class.

Level: Intermediate (knitting in the round, basic increases (M1L, M1R)).

Materials: gauge swatch (see homework), yarn that matches the patterns gauge requirements, matching circular needles (16″ and 32″ long), stitch markers, stitch holders or waste yarn, scissors, tapestry needle.

gauge swatch at least 4 x 4″ in stockinette to decide on the yarn to use for class.

Top Down Knitting — Basics and Beyond

Top down knitting

You’re confident with basic stitches and construction techniques? In this workshop, I’ll try to guide you through some techniques to expand your skills and take your knitting to the next level – I’ll take you on a (knitting) trip from the top down – a method that enables you to try your sweater on from time to time to check the overall fit while you’re knitting.

We’ll discuss different ways of knitting a sweater from the top down and learn some useful tricks.

Level: Intermediate (knitting in the round, basic knowledge about sweater construction)

Materials: Notebook and pen, knitting yarn and matching circular and double pointed needles (dk or worsted weight will work best), safety pins or locking stitch markers, darning needle, crochet hook (same size as knitting needles) and some waste yarn.

Homework: 1.: Neckband (starting point for short row use in neck shaping): cast on 60 sts and join to knit in the round. Work 4 rounds in 1×1 Rib (k1, p1), then knit 1 round. Stitches should be left ‘live’ on the needle to be able to work from this point.
2.: 2 tiny rectangles – provisionally cast on 10 sts for each of the rectangles and work 10 rows in Stockinette stitch. Stitches should be left ‘live’ on the needle (or holder/scrap yarn).

Short Rows — When, Why, and How

(Optional Add-On Class — not included in Knitting New Mexico Workshop!!!)

Short rows

This class is open to the public and will occur on Friday morning, September 28, 2018, before the Knitting New Mexico 2018 workshop begins. If you register for the Knitting New Mexico 2018 workshop with Isabell Kraemer, you may add this class as an optional add-on. More information in the blog post about Knitting New Mexico 2018. If you wish to register for this class only, and not for the Knitting New Mexico workshop, please contact the Yarn Store at Nob Hill to register.

In this class you will learn several different techniques for short rows to add shaping to your knitting and where to use them. You will learn how to add shaping to a neckline worked in the round, how to shape shoulders, bust darts and hem lines. Examples of my designs that use this method of shaping will be available to view in class.

Level: Intermediate (knitting small circumferences in the round, basic increases (M1L, M1R)).

Materials: notepad and pen, knitting yarn and matching circular needles (dk or worsted weight will work best), safety pins or locking stitch markers, darning needle, crochet hook (same size as knitting needles) and some waste yarn.

Homework: 1. Neckband (starting point for short row use in neck shaping): cast on 40 sts and join to knit in the round. Work 4 rounds in 1×1 Rib (k1, p1), then knit 1 round. Stitches should be left live on the needle. 2. Bust darts and hem lines: cast on 28 sts, work 6 rows in Garter stitch, then 4 rows in Stockinette stitch. Stitches should be left live on the needle.


Mission KnitPossible in the Wild

How many unfinished projects do knitters (or crocheters or other fiber artists) typically have and what do they do with them? Does it matter whether you have fewer or more? To answer that question, “Yes,” conjures judgment, which I think we should avoid and I write more about that below. I have not counted my UFOs but there are many. In response to the second question, “does it matter?” a lawyer answers, “It depends,” and a psychotherapist adds, “On the person.”

My good friends Pam and Lisa (@lpinceloup) joined Mission KnitPossible and each has a photo journey they kindly agreed to share. Lisa dealt with an unfinished (because she is not happy with the resulting sweater) project by unraveling the yarn to be knit into something new. Pam opened the bin(s and baskets and bags) of doom and faced the music. She took stock of her unfinished projects, counted them, and announced proudly that she has 35! I was wowed when I read the number but also did not even blink because Pam is a talented and prolific knitter who knits (and finishes) enough to have even more than 35 UFOs.

Lisa’s Story


Lisa knit this sweater and explained she was not happy with the outcome because the armholes were too large and the bodice too snug. The design is appealing with interesting color detail and eyelets, but those sizing issues would leave me unhappy with the garment as well, so I understand Lisa’s decision to scrap it and start again.


Here are the very lovely results of unraveling. If she would like, Lisa could re-knit the same design and adjust the armhole size and width of the bodice. That would require modifying the pattern (and perhaps some seamstress know-how) but certainly could be done. I think, however, that Lisa plans to knit something new. I will be curious to see what she chooses for the new project.

Pam’s UFO Collection


Pam’s collection of UFOs lives in a few different places in her home — some of the projects are next to her TV chair, some under her desk, and some in her knitting room. We begin with her knitting room and pause in homage to the stash. I can only imagine the yarn fumes. And I (really, really) want to see what’s in that cabinet.


Here is the cozy chair, as Pam calls it, and the view of works in progress from the chair.


Pam shared that there are five unfinished sweaters and several unfinished shawls in this area by her TV chair.

It is not uncommon for knitters to start new projects before finishing projects in progress and to then become engaged with the new project and abandon the first one. We sometimes call this “startitis” or “casting on syndrome.” Unless a decision is made to unravel the unfinished project, it usually languishes in a bag, basket, or other container until the knitter takes it up again in a few weeks, months, or even years and either decides to abandon it entirely or finally finish it (like the colorwork sweater I started for myself in 1987 and am now finishing for my teenage daughter). Sometimes, the knitter never gets back to the project and even leaves it behind when she or he dies. I’ve heard many stories of knitters asked by a friend to finish a project that a mother or other relative left behind unfinished when she or he passed away. Those stories are usually quite poignant.

The more unusual knitter will knit on only one project at a time and will not start another project until the current project is finished. And there are countless variations of knitters in between, such as those who limit themselves to a certain number of ongoing projects at any given time and must complete at least one project before starting another so that they stay at the magic number; or those who who allow themselves to have any number of unfinished projects of a certain type (socks, for instance) but draw the line with other projects, such as garments.

Knitters’ attitudes toward having more than just a few UFOs vary just as much as their collections of UFOs and rules regarding the same. But the most common view, in my experience, involves a certain irreverence or cheekiness — an acknowledgment that, yes, this is a ridiculous or outrageous number of UFOs, coupled with an assertion, however, that this is “just what we do” or it’s a right of passage for the seasoned knitter (wink wink).  Or there is the ironic, “She only has 20 UFOs? Darling, she’s just getting started. I won’t be impressed until she’s at least reached 35.”

I sense in this type of response a defensiveness against anticipated judgment — in other words, against the view that starting and not finishing these projects is somehow not acceptable, is inappropriately indulgent, or indicates an unattractive lack of discipline. This same issue arises around the amount of yarn knitters purchase or collect. Knitters have responded with slogans like, “Liberate the Stash,” which I think really means liberate the knitter from the judgment around how much yarn she has accumulated or is choosing to accumulate.

Some knitters reject the judgment entirely. I heard one knitting podcaster say recently that she has no problem with unfinished projects or works in progress or how many she has at any one time. She and other seemingly irreverent knitters claim a right, if you will, to have as many WIPs (works in progress) or UFOs as they desire. I second that and add: what you have is what you have; it’s your business. The only appropriate questions are ones for the knitter to ask herself or himself, probably in private or in an intimate conversation with an understanding friend: How is that working for me? Is it destructive, problematic, or unmanageable in any way?

  • Are you hurting yourself financially — living beyond your means, going into debt — by purchasing yarn for too many new projects? One probably should not buy yarn with the money meant for feeding the children or paying the rent, and the credit card payment shouldn’t be allowed to get so high there is no cash available for buying yarn!
  • Is your living space or mental space becoming overly full of unfinished projects for your comfort level? Perhaps you are somewhat (or more) of  a minimalist who likes a clear visual field or uncluttered space and closets and the knitting projects are filling up the space more than you would like. In my case, many UFOs had been hanging around too long. I was tired of seeing them every time I went through my yarn storage. I wanted knitting closure! These were projects I started out of love for the designs or ideas and I wanted the satisfaction of completion.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to make life easier for yourself or make yourself more comfortable by making some changes. Jump into finishing where, I promise, the joy of completion is not much different from the joy of casting on! Starting a project is delightful but wearing something you knit is thrilling!

If you answered no to the questions above but words are bouncing around in your head like “Even so, I shouldn’t have so many unfinished projects,” “It’s inappropriate for me to start something new with all these UFOS,” “If people see this they will think so poorly of me because I’m obviously so undisciplined,”  or “I can’t let my spouse, significant other, boyfriend, or girlfriend see this — what will they think of me,” tell the voice(s) speaking (or shouting) those words to take a time out.

“Should’s” should not dictate your knitting life, especially if knitting is a hobby! A knitter’s life is his or her own and a knitter should be liberated from the should’s and expectations of others. If a knitter finds pleasure starting one thing after another and finishing a project here and there and is not over-spending or feeling overwhelmed, that knitter’s way of life is, again, his or her business and perfectly acceptable.

I am arguing here for neutrality and for the individual knitter to have the freedom to find the path that is right for that knitter, exclusive of other views and practices. I understand that the views and attitudes of a spouse could conflict with the knitter’s chosen path but that is a topic for another day or perhaps for a relationship or marriage counseling blog. Here at theknitterwriter.com, the motto is, indeed, “Liberate the knitter,” whether, for you, that involves beginning, finishing, or curating a collection of yarn you adore.



Tres Leches

In non-knitting news, I’m so pleased to announce that a piece of my flash fiction has been published in the online literary journal, Fiction Southeast.  Here’s the direct link to the story, Tres Leches,  with a photo of me taken a few years ago when I still had a lot of brown hair and much less grey than I have today! Wow, what a difference!

One Sweater, Three Lovers

One Sweater, Three Lovers

I have started my year of finishing with the oldest unfinished object in my collection. I use the term “collection” quite intentionally, having decided that my unfinished objects are a collection – not a bin of doom, as one friend says (although I love that term, Dagmar!) or a stash of projects I didn’t finish because I’m too distractible or deficient in some way. These unfinished projects are a knitter’s life collection and I am the curator. This oldest project is the Multi-Color Jacquard Sweater from Aarlan Journal 45, a knitting journal published in the 1980’s by a German publishing company. I bought Journal 45 and the yarn in 1987 at Knit One, a yarn store in Colorado Springs. I was 22 years old and, when I saw the photograph of the sweater on the cover of the journal, I had to knit it. Immediately.


When I started college I was a rudimentary knitter. I knew the basics of knit and purl and generally how to follow a pattern. But I had never knitted a garment and didn’t understand gauge or different yarn types and weights and the concept of how a knitted garment would look different in different yarns, let alone be a different size. I discovered Knit One a few blocks down the street from Colorado College early in my freshman year. I say now that I learned to knit as a child from a kind young German woman, but the women at Knit One TAUGHT me to knit. By the end of college, I could follow complicated patterns, had knit an aran sweater, and they had taught me to finish knitted work exquisitely.

Because of the women at Knit One, when I saw the Aarlan sweater, I was a confident enough knitter that, for the first time, I saw a knitted design and both craved to knit it and knew that I could, even if it involved intricate colorwork I had never done. I learned from tutoring with those skilled and talented knitters that, if I didn’t know a technique called for in a pattern, I could learn it. So I started the Multi-Color Jacquard Sweater and learned to knit with two colors of yarn in the same row and follow the chart. I knit on the sweater after I moved to New Mexico in 1988 but probably set it aside after starting law school in 1989. I had knit the body almost up to the point where the work is divided for the armholes. Since then, it’s been with me for over thirty years – through two lovers and four years with a third, through law school, pregnancies, children, private practice, a mid-life MFA in writing, and now a position as an administrative law judge. So many chapters of life.

I chose the same colors as the pattern and the photo of the sweater – cream and denim blue with light pastels (pale sky blue, rose, yellow, and a light aqua). The colors were fitting for a young woman barely in her twenties and it is an 80’s sweater with loose shaping, dropped shoulders and very full sleeves which I will modify to a more slim, modern fit. The websites that carry used copies of the Aarlan Journals describe the contents as “vintage knitwear patterns” and they truly are vintage 80’s, but the fairly traditional fair isle patterns in this sweater also give it a classic look.

When I started the sweater, I was in a relationship with someone much older than I that lasted just five years. A relationship I now look back on and think, “I’d know better now,” or at least, hope I would, for both our sakes. That relationship ended, another began, and I started law school. I may have worked on the sweater a bit during and after law school but, primarily, it languished for the next 28 years, though I never gave up on it and kept it stored away neatly – the knitting, instructions (including the marked up chart), and yarn. The next relationship was a 21 year partnership and we had two children, who are now 17 and 21. We split up in 2010 and I moved the project with my knitting to my new house.

Somewhere along the way, when I was looking through my collection of UFOs and came upon this project, I realized the sweater would not fit me after two pregnancies and, now that I was becoming middle-aged, there was no hope I was going to return to a size the sweater would fit! So it continued to languish, probably because I wasn’t motivated to knit it up without knowing who would wear it. But, still, I kept it tucked away in its plastic bin, thinking I would finish it for someone eventually. Since then, I have a new lover. We both are starting this relationship process again in our early fifties after long previous marriages. It has, so far, been a rich and passionate journey that seems much smoother than those bumpy, struggled-filled partnerships in our younger days.

This past fall, during a deep and thorough review and sorting of my yarn and UFO collection (read as, delving deep into many bins of doom or diving into the wreck, with a nod to Adrienne Rich), I considered this partially knitted sweater again. Over the past couple years, I had begun to think maybe my daughter could wear it. She is tiny, like I was as a teen and young adult, and has several store-bought sweaters she likes to wear. I showed it to her and asked her if it was something she would wear. “Sure,” she said, with the familiar luke-warm enthusiasm of a teenager that I have learned to understand still is a form of enthusiasm.

It seemed fitting to begin this creative project of finishing old projects with the oldest unfinished object, so I started with this sweater. I took it out one evening, unraveled a couple rows for a fresh start, and fell in love all over again. It’s a lovely design with colorwork that engages – making me want to finish each row so I can watch the pattern emerge.

It is easy to get caught up in a new knitting project. A new pattern or yarn is tantalizing, grabs my attention, and I want to cast on NOW. But I’m already noticing that picking up an old project can set a similar process in motion. I start knitting stitches, see a pattern emerging – a colorwork, lace, or stitch pattern – and I feel passionate yet again. I am filled with excitement and the anticipation of seeing the finished sweater, watching my daughter pull it over her head and onto her body, and learning whether she will love it as I do.

I am a wiser and much more skilled knitter now but still learning. Returning to work on this sweater, I am learning even more about colorwork and experimenting with modifying a garment pattern. Similarly, with my new partner, I am learning more about intimacy, exploring the uncharted territory of a blended family, and experimenting with new ways of being with a lover. I hope she will be my last lover in this life. If so, the sweater will be a knitting life journey. I will have begun it as a fairly new knitter in my first serious relationship and finished it as a seasoned knitter during my last.

Ricky believes all knitting belongs to him.

Welcome to The KnitterWriter

Welcome to the KnitterWriter blog! I’m Lauren Baldwin, a knitter, writer, and Administrative Law Judge in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the desert southwest. Mission KnitPossible is a creative project that you can read about in my first blog post below. I am TheKnitterWriter on Ravelry and @knitterwriter on Instagram, and you can join the Mission KnitPossible group on Ravelry where we will work together on this year-long (or more) mission to finish UFOs and share our triumphs, frustrations, and even decisions to abandon projects. Thank you so much for visiting. Please follow the blog and join us on Ravelry! And keep on knitting on.



What is Mission KnitPossible?

I’ve always been intrigued by creative projects that span a long length of time and require a commitment to a repetitive or regular process – take one photograph, paint one painting, or write a poem each day for a year, for instance. Knitting is similar to these projects in as much as larger knitting projects require long term commitment to a repetitive process but one that also has a final product – a knitted item that grows with each row.

I was especially taken by a project I read about in Helen McDonald’s memoir, H is for Hawk. Her father, a British photojournalist, decided he wanted to photograph every place in England where one could cross the River Thames. He spent a year of Sundays devoted to this project and McDonald joined him on several of his Sunday expeditions. The crossings ranged from large bridges that one could drive across to spots where the river was but a trickling stream on someone’s rural farm that one could step across.

Since reading about that project I have had it in my mind that I wanted to take on a similar yearlong (or longer) creative project. When I did a serious review and reorganization of my yarn stash this past fall, an idea struck me. The stash was full of unfinished projects (UFOs) that I had started and abandoned for the various reasons we knitters start and abandon projects but primarily because I was seduced by some other pattern or yarn or the need to knit a gift for someone and cast on a new project. I chose to discard or unravel some of the UFOs, but most of them either still interest me or are projects I will need to sit down and take a good look at in order to decide whether I want to continue. In short, I recognized that I would have to spend a very long time reviewing, evaluating, and completing all the projects I had. And there was my idea: What if I spent a year or longer devoting my knitting life primarily to reviewing and finishing these projects, knitting every day or several days each week on projects that spanned as far back as the late 1980’s! (Well, there are just two that go back that far: mittens and a sweater with a color work design from an Aarlan Journal, a series of pattern collections published by a German company in the 1980’s.)

My first Mission KnitPossible project

The idea was more than a goal to finish as many languishing projects as possible. I wanted to explore the process of revisiting each project, engaging with the yarn and the design, and completing the knitting. Having reflected on the idea for nearly two months, I recognize that I want to know what that repetitive, committed process will feel like and elicit in me as a knitter devoted to her craft. I want to explore whether such a process will deepen my relationship with what I consider craft as an art form. I also want to reflect on who I was when I started these projects and whether my maturation process and personal development as an adult will change my relationship with the objects and creative endeavors now. And I want to write about my journey.

But I also want to have fun – because knitting is also play for me. Honestly, doesn’t knitting qualify as endless hours of adult entertainment, if only for some (lucky) adults (and younger people)? In the spirit of fun, I have named my project Mission KnitPossible!  And because knitting can be communal (I have knit with a group of women every other week for more than twenty years), I want to invite anyone in the knitting world to join me on this journey, whether you have two UFOs or, like me,  so many you haven’t counted. I have created a Mission KnitPossible group on Ravelry where we can come together virtually to share our process and our finished objects. I will be on Instagram too.  Please join me for the year of the UFO.