Monthly Archives

July 2017

Ten Tips for Walking While Knitting That Will Up Your Knitting Game. Guaranteed.

The comments I receive when I mention knitting while walking are all over the map, ranging from “I could never,” “I’ve been meaning to try that,” to “I also love walking and knitting.”

If you are squarely in the “I could never” category, well, I actually bet you could. If you wanted to.

As for the rest of you, I’ve prepared my favorite tips to set you forth on the joyous path of walking and knitting AT THE SAME TIME.

I mostly walk and knit out of desperation. After a busy work day, I am lucky for a single free hour before I just need to collapse back into bed again before doing it all again the next day. Taking my socks on a walk has helped me avoid the hard choice between using my free hour for minimal exercise or luxurious knitting.

I do a bit of both.

(I have not tried, nor do I plan to, knitting while jogging. That wouldn’t end well for me. However, I have heard from some of you that knitting on a stationary bike works just fine. Big kudos there. Definitely a hot tip to remember for upcoming inclement winter weather and requisite indoor exercise.)

Honestly, sometimes I bring my knitting with me on walks so I don’t focus on the fact that I am walking By Myself. I love taking walks with friends. Walking is definitely one of my favorite girlfriend catch-up activities, but often Real Life prevails. Sometimes an opportunity for a quick walk presents itself, and I just have to usurp the chance. Even if it’s just me out walking through the world. (Although I think knitting while walking with my knitting girlfriends would be the Absolute Best…adding that to the top of my to-do list Right Now!)


If you find yourself as time crunched as I am, needing to burn a few extra calories now and again and could use some extra motivation to get off that (AMAZINGLY COMFORTABLE) sofa, or you are just interested in trying something new, I have prepared these TEN tips for you. Walking and knitting at the same time is possible.

Just imagine–you could fill up an entire sock drawer JUST from walking and knitting this year if you wanted to, on top of all your “regular” knitting!

Ten Tips for Knitting and Walking at the Same Time

  1. Try it.
  2. Try it again. (Try knitting and walking at the same time at least three time before you quit.)
  3. Only attempt during pleasant weather. This will not work when your hands or cold, and trying this with mittens (even fingerless gloves) is not recommended. Take advantage of warm weather, and make walking while knitting a New Habit in your life.
  4. Make sure you have the right materials to comfortably carry your project: a small pouch with a wrist strap for socks and other small projects or a light weight tote to carry over your shoulder if you have a shawl or something like that.
  5. Plan. Make sure your project is in a good spot for knitting while walking. No big mistakes that need to be resolved. No transitions in stitch patterns. No significant counting. Avoid projects that will require you to stop and look at your pattern all the time.
  6. Keep it simple. Start with stockinette in the round (or garter if working back and forth rows) all the way. I tried walking while knitting ribbing a couple times before I threw in the towel. It made me feel seasick and a snail could have overcome me because I kept stopping to look. I have seen other knitters walk while knitting AND purling, so it’s not impossible. Start simple, all the same.
  7. Pick the right project. To date, I only knit and walk with socks, but my dear knitting friend works on shawls (and even sweater sleeves) All. The. Time. If you are knitting a shawl or other non-sock project, again, stick with those simple, long rows of knit-knit-knit to get started before you throw anything fancy into the mix.
  8. Attempt with light-weight projects only. Pick a project that doesn’t weigh a ton (like that worsted weight sweater you’ve been meaning to finish).
  9. Be proud. There’s no need to feel subconscious or generally fret that other people will see you and think you are weird. Most people who comment on my knitting while I walk have positive things to say. In the end, do what makes you happy and don’t worry about what other people think. Also: make your time triple count! If you are trying this alone, knit, walk, AND use headphones with your phone to catch up on phone calls or podcasts.
  10. Practice. Did Michael Phelps win all those gold medals without blood, sweat, and tears? No! He practiced. All great athletes do. Knitting and walking is your new sport. Practice. Practice. Practice.

P.S. Never hurts to wear sunglasses for eye protection. Just in case you trip. Those needles can be sharp!

P.P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

New Weight Loss Secrets for Knitters: How Many Miles are in a Sock?

 Or, if you live in the rest of the (saner) world: how many kilometers are in a sock?

Good news knitters: you can make progress on your knitting and pursue your physical fitness goals At the Same Time!!!

These socks have been through the rounds the past several months. I started them as my “walking socks,” determined to calculate how far I would have to walk to finish the pair. In the end, they were my walking socks and more, as all socks tend to be.

They went with me to Oregon, where my grandma took them over, making respectable progress on the first. (I was touched by the outpouring of awesome comments on my Instagram post, perhaps my photo with the highest level of engagement of all time. Ya’all are suckers for old ladies knitting.)

And, of course, they went with to the river on more than one occasion.

There were also rounds I snuck in during those little blips of waiting that make knitting socks so worthwhile: long waits in road construction, the doctor’s office, and during Bathtime Supervision in the bathroom (Reed has been a wee bit overly splashy lately, apparently in an attempt to convert the tub into a floating houseboat.)

Mostly, however, these were my walking socks. I would set out alone, catch up on phone calls or a podcast, walk, and knit. Like all knitting projects, these socks kept me company during some hard walks and gloriously sunny, couldn’t-be-happier strolls.

For some time now, I have used my small Go Knit Pouch and STILL love it. It goes around my wrist and can even hold my car key since my yoga capris are all pocket-less. I used stitch markers to keep track of how much I knit on each walk and the free Map my Run app (there are many similar versions available) to keep track of my distance and time.

When walking, I only worked on the simple stockinette sections of the sock. No heels. No toe decreases. Just around and around and around. (I saved the trickier bits for when I was sitting at the river and am proud to say I CAN participate in a conversation and turn a heal without screwing up too badly.)

On average, I knit one inch per mile (2.54 centimeters per 1.6 kilometers) over the course of a 20-minute mile on even, mostly flat ground. I do walk a bit slower when I knit and walk compared to if I was just cruising, but I covered some good distances all the same.

I usually work my socks eight inches to the heel, and then another five and a half stitches until it’s time to decrease for the toe. (I have small feet). Accounting for the ribbing at the top of the sock, that’s about 12 ½ inches of walkable stockinette knitting (nearly 32 centimeters).

Decreases your gussets while walking if you dare. I did and lived to tell the tale!

If I had ONLY knitted these socks (excluding casting on, ribbing, heels, and toes) while knitting, I would have walked 12.5 miles per sock (24 miles per pair). That’s eight hours of walking for a pair of socks. Walking burns 120 to 140 calories per hour, for the average person at a moderate pace. My sock-walking thus earned me about 1,000 calories, which converts to two or three brownies.

I wish I could say walking and knitting these socks resulted in a slimmer, toner me.

They didn’t.

Apparently I overcompensated on the brownies.

But I KNOW the potential is there.

So, if you are time limited like me and forever faced with that tragic dilemma of choosing between relaxing with your knitting and getting out to move your body—well, you don’t have to make that hard decision after all. Do both.

Your body and mind will thank you.

Even if your pants are still too tight the next morning.

*Yarn for these socks was a random Etsy purchase in support of my commitment to supporting Indie Yarn Dyers this year (and always) from the Iria Yarn Company in their Great Pumpkin Colorway.

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Welcome knitters itching to try walking and knitting socks at the same time. It CAN be done, and YOU can do it. Satisfy your knitting and exercise ambitious AT THE SAME TIME! Read all about it here. I have all the stats ready for you.

Time to Brighten Your Day: July Cocktail Night! Moscow Mules with Fresh Berries!

Pst. Follow these links if you missed Cocktail-Knitting recipes for May’s Champagne Cherry Fizz or June’s Watermelon Margarita.

Here’s my question for you: are Moscow Mules supposed to have fresh mint, or not? I always thought mint was an ESSENTIAL ingredient in a mule, until a friend posted a photo of an alleged Moscow Mule on Facebook. With no mint.

Just imagine the debate the ensured on that one.

To be honest, it was Oprah who first turned me on to the Moscow Mule back when she went camping with Gayle in Yosemite. Remember that? I will say this: Oprah knows what’s up. This is one of my all-time favorites.

I love gingerale. I love lime. I love fresh mint.

And of course I always add fresh fruit.

I made these a while back with fresh raspberries, but decked out the most recent batch with fresh hand-picked blackberries.


I also love Moscow Mules because you can always whip one up when a friend drops by unexpectedly, provided you have a small mint patch on the premises (which of course I always do) and stock gingerale. (I have to hide the gingerale from myself or I sneak it when I am having a sugar craving…)

Cocktail-Knitting night with free Moscow Mule recipe.

In other news…

I know I am behind, but I finally got my veggie garden going again. Gardening is one of those things I just can’t help myself from pursuing. If I see dirt, I have to hurry up and stick a plant in it. (I think this is similar to the insatiable urge to hurry up and grab my knitting to fill every idle moment of sitting…)

I’m keeping the garden simple due to the late start and lack of time and energy. Plus I already have an abundance of flower beds that require maintenance and care. I threw in four giant pumpkin starts and hope they do well for a late October pumpkin party. I think Reed will really like that, and I suspect they will be hearty and self-sufficient enough to thrive on their own without much care from me.

I also brought home some peas, beans, spinach, and artichokes. I thought Reed would love to help me plant them, but I guess gardening has already lost its romance with him.

He said: you can do it, mom. 

He has, however, delighted in his responsibility as Chief Garden Waterer, which mostly entails squirting me with the hose as I shout various versions of NO, STOP, and WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME?!?!?!, all drowned out by his naughty little giggle of delight.

Mr. Big Shot.

Eventually I have to heard him into the shower to wash off all the mud (I seem to lose 3% of my topsoil per garden watering session…). Sometimes this is when I sneak in washing the dishes and other chores. Or, if I am good, I pick up my Lesley sweater and knock out a few rows.

July cocktail-knitting night with Andrea @ This Knitted Life: Moscow mule with fresh raspberries and mint.

I do truly hope you enjoy this recipe this weekend and are able to carve out a few minutes for yourself to sit with your knitting in a sunny spot and sip. Feet up. At peace.

It’s simply the only way to go.

Happy Sunday!!!

Moscow Mules with Fresh Raspberries


2 oz. respectable Vodka (I use a brand from one of our several local distilleries.)

8 oz. gingerale

Fresh mint

1/2 fresh lime

Fresh raspberries (or blackberries…or any berry!)

To make:

Muddle lime, mint, and a few berries in the bottom of your glass. Add vodka. Fill glass with ice. Top with gingerale and stir a bit. Load the top of the glass with berries and a spring of mint.

*Disclaimer: This recipe is for adults that meet the legal drinking age requirements of their respective nations. Always drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Alcoholism is a very serious disease. Please seek support if you need it. Drinking is very likely to impact your stitch count and may generally result in extensive frogging, so go easy.

P.S. Do you already follow me on Instragram? If not, please do. I am here.

Dispatch: River Knitting

Rivers are my thing. Well, weather dependent, rivers are my thing.

While professionally, I work to restore rivers (you didn’t  think I just blogged and knit for a living, did you?), come summer, I lounge beside them.

I have a system for my river days. It goes like this: unpack cooler (with a cocktail, if feasible, and yummy treats), position shade tent just so, spread out my beach towel on chaise recliner, set Reed up with his various beach toys and buddies, slather on copious quantities of sunscreen, and unpack the knitting.

It’s my weekend routine.I’ve worked on all kinds of projects this summer, but my socks have seen a lot of the action and have now traveled to no less than five different rivers over the past couple of months. They travel well, and I can hold a conversation or keep my eyes on Reed without screwing them up.

When I get too hot, I can easily set the sock down and jump in the river.

Splish splash.

And if the sock gets a bit drippy on the return (it always does), well, it’s not the end of the world.I’ve brought other projects along too: my worsted weight sweater and a shawl or two. I’m not too discerning, although my white shawl is staying home for all eternity.

I usually think I will fit in WAY more knitting then I ever get to, especially if I am sans Reed. But, in reality, it never amounts to more than a few hours per trip. Not nearly enough.

In typical fashion, I will envision finishing a sweater, two shawls, and a sock in a single day, only to come home with two inches of stockinette on a sock.

When will I ever learn?Of course my new skill this summer has been floaty knitting, which I truly cannot recommend highly enough. It’s gotta be right up there with living in an apartment directly upstairs from a superb yarn store (with great big windows for fantastic light).

I’ve figured out how to anchor the little hole by my feet on a rock so I float in place and don’t drift away, only to end up in Fiji or somewhere. It’s delightful.River season is really in it’s prime now. The water is a bit lower and warmer. Better for swimming. There are so many relativily pristine rivers close to us. We are truly lucky in this regard, and it’s one of the main reasons I have chosen to live where I do. Making a routine of weekend river knitting has also helped me cope with the summer coastal fog and cooler temperatures in my new home.

I have my spots, but I always have my ears open for new oases. (I like that the plural of oasis is oases.)

My mission this summer is to see how many water bodies I can take the floaty out on before it pops. So far, I am up to three.Where’s your most decadent place to knit?

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

A Knitter’s Non-Knitting Bucket List of Lifetime Adventures

I have a vague recollection of being in my early 20s and feeling incredibly overwhelmed by everything that was piled onto my bucket list at the time. I was young and full of zest, ready to set out and conquer the world. I hadn’t yet encountered much in the way of constraints or failure, and I suspect, at the time, the world felt limitless.

My bucket list must have been mighty long.

While I only can recall a few specific items that were on that particular 20-year-old Younger Me version of my bucket list, I do have a very clear memory of deciding to separate my bucket list into two distinct halves: the half I would do when I was young and limber and the half that could wait until I was “old.” I referred to the half of the list destined for my older self as my “Old Lady bucket list.”

It seemed cute at the time.

I don’t really recollect what threshold my younger self established as having reached “old age,” but I remember reasoning there were some things I should do when I was young and didn’t mind sleeping on the ground and other characteristics that can generally be described as “roughing it.”

Honestly I don’t remember what was on my bucket list for Young Me. Perhaps if I were to search through my old journals from that era, deeply buried who knows where, I would uncover such a list. I can only hope I have made good progress and crossed off all that I hoped for myself, long ago.

I have a hunch, in many ways, I have.

I do hazily recollect lumping “learning to play the banjo” and “knitting” onto my Old Lady bucket list, rationalizing those activities could wait until later in life when I was tired and lazy and no longer had a tolerance for cheap hotel rooms in third world countries.

Young Me will be happy to know Old Me can now cross “knitting” off the bucket list. Or, at least, it’s an ongoing work in progress.

While I have always been a list maker, I do admit I have lost track of my bucket list and felt it was time to transition the list from the deep, inner recesses of my brain to an actual piece of paper. I paused for a while, wound a bunch of yarn (that always helps me think and generally reflect on the promise of The Future), and made a list. It’s likely not the same list I would have made 20 years ago, although I know at least several items have transferred forward, still remaining for that unknown (windy, twisty, beautiful, difficult, bountiful) path that lay ahead.

My bucket list is not a list of things to accomplish (raise a good kid, save for retirement, start a business) but more a list of experiences to behold–before I, you know, kick the bucket. At present, it’s actually a rather short list. I think I became overwhelmed when I saw all the traveling related items and started calculating the cumulative expensive of checking off all these trips, quickly determining a cost/year over the next fifty years.

It wasn’t a laughable sum.

That’s the kind of thing Young Me would have disregarded 20 years ago. Now I am very well aware of how much airfare for two costs from San Francisco to Thailand.


All the same, here’s my list. I wrote it down in an old, re-purposed journal, and I hope I will add to it from time to time. And even, with fortitude, cross off an item now and again.

(If you follow my blog, you know I regularly develop annual and seasonal bucket lists for projects I hope to knit. This particular bucket list is (mostly) a non-knitting bucket list, but you can find my most recent bucket list of summer knits here and my 2017 bucket list here, should you prefer or generally be curious.)

My Non-Knitting Old Lady Bucket List

(In no particular order…)

  1. Raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. That’s the wilderness run with hot springs, and I do recall this was on my Young Me bucket list as well.
  2. Learn to play the banjo. (Or the fiddle?!?!) Decide: why not learn both!
  3. Go to Italy. Walk or bike from vineyard to vineyard. Village to village. Drink wine each night with dinner. Have someone else carry my luggage.
  4. Southeast Asia trip.
  5. Corsica.
  6. Borneo.
  7. Live in Hawaii (or similar tropical island locale) for at least a while.
  8. Ride a horse in a beautiful place (trail riding or similar) more than once.
  9. Knit my way around the world (or at least some of it).
  10. Take Reed to Glacier National Park–road trip!
  11. Show Reed where I went to college. New York trip!
  12. Find new amazing swimming holes. Take the floaty. (Maybe knit too.)

What’s on your bucket list?

If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

The Endless Pursuit of Perfection: Updating the Twist Shawl

Perfection is an exhaustive pursuit.

As always, what was supposed to be easy-peasy design tweak didn’t exactly go as planned.

Because what ever goes as planned?



My carefully devised design release/knit production schedule?

Well.  I tried.

Note to self: don’t forget to update The Schedule. Two-month delay.

My quick and simple Twist Shawl update was fairly quick (six-ish weeks of hard core knitting), but missed the mark of perfection.

Of course.

I am trying to alter the shape a bit so it is more crescent-y and less triangular-y, although I think a lot of that is influenced by yarn choice (superwash vs. non-superwash) and blocking. All the same, perfect it must be!

While there was improvement, I still fell short of perfection.

Why: subtle adjustments result in subtle changes. Too subtle.

You want big results? Whelp, I guess you (I) have to go big!

There’s a lesson there: don’t hold back in life. Your shawls will end up the wrong shape. Although, as a consolation, they will drape well when worn (imperfect shape hardly evident).

I worked this baby up in The Fibre Company’s Cumbria (Cowberry) colorway. It’s going to be a gift for my mom. I think she’ll like the color, but I can’t say she’s much of a shawl person. Fashionable, she is not. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I have more fingering yarn ready to cake, ready for Try 2. I ended up with speckles On Accident, but I think everything will work out just fine in the end. (The universe acts in mysterious ways.)

I may be many things (fabulous, snarky, nonathletic), but a quitter I am NOT. Count down to Cast On.

There’s a pot of gold at the end of this Twist Shawl rainbow. I just know it.

P.S. Have you discovered my Facebook page, in case you need minor injections of snark between blog posts. Just saying.

Ten Reasons Why Counting Stitches Should be a Solitary Exercise

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  1. After having Hannah Fettig’s Lesley pullover on bucket list for EONS, cast on. Joy!
  2. Make pledge to self: will only work on leisure knitting (this project) one night per week. For night-off knitting only!
  3. Start with neck ribbing. All is going well. Complete short rows. Check. Start on increases for sleeves, front, and back. Double check. All seems in order. The world is still spinning in the correct direction.
  4. Become overconfident. Neglect to check stitch count.
  5. Go to (first!!!) monthly knitting group after work. ONE Bloody Mary! Don’t judge. It was AFTER work.
  6. Knit. Talk. Imbibe. Notice seam along increases appear a little non-linear. Hhm. Figure body is also non-linear, so they would probably wiggle anyway. Denial.
  7. Next day: go to river. Take Lesley. Yes, one night/day week quota exceeded, but all other projects were blocking or the color white. No, white yarn CANNOT go to the river. And yes, one can knit aran weight pullovers when it is HOT out as long as one frequently remains wet. Count stitches. WAY OFF!!! Spend an hour tinking back four rows in an attempt to “even it all out.” Ignore wobbly seams. Chat with friends concurrent with “counting” stitches. Get up a bunch to swim. Distracted. Distracted. Distracted. But surely, count must be fixed after an entire afternoon reworking.
  8. Week later: go camping. Grab pullover from knitting bag. Note pattern has been left behind. Hundreds of miles away. Panic. Further note yarn label with stitch counts scribbled has not been left behind. Good enough. Panic resolved. Count stitches. Worst than the first time they were “fixed.” Panic Phase 2. Ponder. Swat mosquitoes. Ponder some more (Mosquito swatting does not help concentration.) Decide to frog. Rip back to beginning of increases. Try 2. No tears shed. Take it all in stride.
  9. Knit a bunch. Vow never to do increases in the presence of another (non-sleeping) person again! Make little chart with row and required stitch count to better track increases. Count religiously. Track religiously. PRAY A LOT. TOTAL SILENCE. (No Bloody Mary…) Back on track soon enough. Aran weight yarn has its merits. Rejoice after separating for the sleeves. The torso is straight in-the-round knitting! What a pleasant surprise! Yep, knitter neglected to read pattern in advance before starting, as recommended. Sometimes avoiding prim and proper has its benefits.
  10. Unable to put down pullover. Just want to knit and knit and knit. One night per week quota exceeded. All other projects require counting, thinking and general brain engagement. Once again, knitter is ready for cocktail and knit-chatting. Phew.

Now, will the darn thing fit?!?!?

*Note this is me in my camp chair, near sunset, right before I realized how screwed I really was. Reed was sleeping in the tent.

**Hey all, you know I have a Facebook page, right? If not, head over and check it out.

***I hope everyone enjoyed fantastic Canada Days and Fourth of July’s for their respective North American nations. Now summer’s REALLY here! Knit on!

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