Chunky Knit Pillow Cover DIY

I can’t believe it, SO MUCH SNOW! To all my Washington DC and NYC friends, hope you’re warm and cozy! With winter in full force, I sure have the knitting bug. I bought more yarn than I should have in a recent Michael’s trip and on Amazon, and I’m looking for any excuse to whip up something fun. One sale item that I was absolutely ecstatic to find was Ginormous Yarn from Loops and Threads. Beyond super chunky, I bought the largest knitting needles I could find to go along with it, and bought two skeins.

pillow yarn

A project opportunity presented itself when not a hot second after re-covering my couch pillows in a DIY re-fresh, my husband complained that the upholstery fabric I used wasn’t too rough. Pillows, he said, should be exactly that- pillow-y and soft! Immediately I thought about knitting a pillow cover to go over the top, and I was attracted to the chunky knits I’ve been seeing everywhere lately.

First, I tried arm-knitting the ginormous yarn, and played around with how much I should cast-on. I guess I have fat wrists because my arm-knit was pretty loose. So instead I tried my using my fun new Size 50 (25mm) needles, and I found that I liked the chunkiness but more structured look that the needles conveyed a bit more than the slouchy arm knitted version, at least for a pillow cover. Here is the result:

pillow couch

grey pillow

Although I thought the grey color goes well with the upholstered pillows I already have on the couch, I decided to go ahead and knit another one for a second pillow. However, I’d already used 1.5 skeins of the Ginormous yarn out of the 2 skeins I purchased, so I opted to use double strands of another super bulky yarn instead. I cast on 26 stitches using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA Super Bulky yarn in “Washington Denim” for my second pillow.

This time I used a diagonal stripe pattern that transitioned to a stockinette, so that each side (shown is front and back) can be a little different depending on how I’m feeling. For the second pillow, since the yarn was not as bulky, I had to cast on slightly more stitches and used four skeins (working two at a time). I knit it in one large piece that folded over the pillow, then used the yarn to “sew” up the sides.

Together, the pillows make a handsome pair:

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pillow back

Using this chunky yarn and the giant needles, there are so many possibilities! I think I might like to go back and get more Ginormous yarn and knit a chunky blanket, but I envision that I’d need a several skeins, at least 5+ for a decent size blanket. Other options are a chunky cowl or scarf. I thought it might also be fun to make chunky pom-poms out of it to top other knit hats.

As soon these finished up, I couldn’t help but cast on my next project. Spoiler, it’s baby themed!


A Pillow Cover Refresh DIY and Sweater Weather

Last night it snowed three inches, leaving this morning a bright white wonderland. This always puts me in the mood to putter around inside where it’s warm and cozy, and I love me some DIY. Lately I’ve been wanting to re-cover some pillows on my couch that when I first got them, I thought the colors were bright and fun. But the more I decorated the apartment (and especially after we recently got a new couch), the pillows just didn’t quite fit with general feel and overall theme of the room. It seemed like the perfect weekend DIY project.


There’s a small fabric store steps away from my work, and it’s hard to resist the urge to pop in for a look on my way home some nights, if it’s still open. One day I came across some upholstery fabric on sale, and I couldn’t resist. This fabric was just waiting for this project because it just happened to be a square of the perfect size. Folded in half, the fabric covered both pillows with a little extra on top, perfect for a fold over pillow cover, envelope style.

New Pillow

I just summarized what I did, so it’s not a comprehensive tutorial but you get the idea. I love the look of my new pillows, and I think they play much better with the color of the couch and the other pillows we have. The whole project took only an hour or so, and was perfect for someone like me who barely knows her way around a sewing machine. Some day I’ll figure out how to sew something other than a straight line, but not today!

Pillow on couch

Despite my sewing skills being a little less than noteworthy, I got a chance to work on another project of mine that I’ve been talking about for some time, but never got around to finishing. Well this weekend, it’s done! The sweater I’ve been knitting that I started last spring, is finally complete. It was knit in two pieces (front and back) then sewn together and the sleeves and neckline picked up and knit.  Here is how it looks on the hanger:


I love the simple striping detail, especially how it goes up into the top shoulder. Also the seam lines up the stripe pattern from the front and back pieces so they join together, giving a neat chevron look:


I highly recommend the pattern, as I said before it’s the Second Story Tee from the Spring 2015 Interweave Knits issue. I used exactly the yarn they recommended and didn’t change the patter much at all in the way of adjustments, it was very straight-forward. Shown in blue below, is the magazine picture of what it should look like, and it’s a little more fitted on me, but I like it that way.

It would have come together quicker if I knit with a little more regularity, but I really did take my time with this one. I think it was worth it though!


Looking forward to a lot more knitting, since I just bought a whole boatload of yarn just  waiting to be whipped up into some crafty things! As a preview of what’s to come…

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Yes, that’s Giant yarn!!

Happy MLK Day!

Cheddar Cornmeal Pancakes and Rainy Day Knits

It’s an impossibly rainy dreary winter day, and waking up this morning to hot coffee and complete grey, I wanted nothing more than to cook some hearty savory pancakes and finish off some knitting projects.

In my fridge I had about quarter block of my favorite cheddar cheese that was just dying to be made into something delicious. I’ve turned out some pretty delicious cheddar cornmeal waffles before, so I decided to adapt the recipe into a pancake.

old croc

My all time favorite cheddar cheese!

pancake collage

I was decadently happy with the result, although I have to say these puppies aren’t exactly health food. But I love the flavor of the cheddar and the dense cake-like texture that would be great with some thick gooey maple syrup.

pancakes 2

Eating mine with some thick-cut orange marmalade

Cheddar Pancakes

The recipe is pretty straightforward:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (yellow stoneground)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter (plus additional for cooking)
  • 1/2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
  • (optional) 1 tsp chopped dried sage

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients except the cheese together, this works best if the wet ingredients are at room temperature. If you can’t use room temperature ingredients, mix the wet ingredients without the butter, then combine the wet and the dry together first, then mix in the melted butter. Lastly, stir in the cheese.

Melt some butter in a skillet and cook ’em up! This recipe made about 10 large pancakes.

  • Servings: about 4
  • Calories per serving: 291
    • Total Fat: 11g, Protein: 10g, Carbs: 39g, Sugars: 2g

Hat VernonAfter breakfast, I was finally able to finish the hat I’ve been working on, the Vernon Hat from Interweave Knits Winter 2016 issue.

I thought this hat was the perfect mix of interesting, challenging, and quick, all at the same time. The color combination is a little challenging to match with, I suppose I could have used more neutral colors instead. I initially loved the purple, but when I was looking for a contrasting color for the brim I bought a faint blue instead of the recommended white/ash, just by accident. I think they still work well together. I would definitely make this pattern again!


I really think the two colors make this hat so much cuter than if it were all one color. I would love to do it in a yellow/grey or a navy/ grey as well.


Love the slouchy back

I used to subscribe to Interweave Knits magazine through the mail, but now I just get it straight on my iPad. What that means though is I have a lot of old issues lying around containing patterns I wanted to make but never got around to. I was thinking of going through them again and re-evaluating which ones to keep and which ones to toss. I don’t know if it’s better to digitize the ones I like and store them on my computer, or clip them into some kind of scrapbook collection. Any recommendations?

I thought for my next project, I might use a super chunky yarn to arm knit pillow covers, to give my living room a fresh look. We’ll see how that turns out!

Knitting Projects from 2015 and 2016 Plans

Another year gone! It’s hard to believe it’s 2016, and I have to say I didn’t knit much this year and when I did, I mostly tried other people’s patterns rather than trailblazing my own. It doesn’t help that I’ve been knitting the same sweater for what seems like ages, so in addition to finishing it up, I want to work on a few smaller and fast projects in the upcoming year.

I did finish a few other small projects this year. I tried to knit this Archway Hat from Interweave Knits Fall 2014, but somehow my gauge was off and it ended up waaaaay too big for my or anyone’s head! I turned it into a sort of cowl thing instead by mirroring the pattern up to the end. I actually love it, so that was knit mishap with a happy ending!

Cowl Picture

A friend from work gifted me the Harmony Cloche pattern by Heidi May (inset picture), and I made it a full three different times for myself and others. I definitely recommend this pattern! It is so versatile that I can wear it cloche style with the brim flipped up (as intended) or with the brim down so it’s more like a front billed hat. I love it both ways. I made it in blue, purple, and black using the recommended yarn.

harmony cloche

I also whipped up a winter classic for my hubby, a hunter green cable knit pom-pom hat! I did make up this pattern, but here is a similar one on Ravelry that is free and easy. We sported our hats at the airport flying home to Boston, with me in my green Slouchy Knit Beanie and him in this cable hat, and the flight attendant asked us if we were matching on purpose in our green knit beanies. I told her no, I just like to knit hats! So funny and totally unintentional.

cable hat

I have a couple projects in progress, including the Vernon Hat from the latest issue of Interweave Knits. I am loving this issue and want to make absolutely everything, but I’m starting small. I feel like I need at least one new hat for myself every winter!

Vernon hat

Lastly, I’m still working on the Second Story Tee by Debbie O’Neill (below) and with any luck, will finish that up soon. I decided to do it in a deep wine burgundy color, since I have a lot of blue in my closet right now. I’m hoping it turns out okay!

I’m always looking for inspiration and people to make things for. I cast on a new hat and my husband asks, “who is that going to be for?” I gift hats or gloves almost every year, and it gets harder and harder to figure out who to give them away to, so I often end up just keeping them and wearing a different hat every day. What did I do when I lived in sunny California? At least Boston has cold knit-appropriate weather.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and productive 2016! I welcome ideas for knitting projects and suggestions, as I dip my toes into writing patterns (pretty roughly) and making new things.

Some projects I have in mind for 2016 include:

  1. Pot holders/trivets
  2. more hats!
  3. An arm-knit blanket or pillow cover
  4. Baby hats and blankets for expecting friends!
  5. Another sweater?

What projects are you casting on in 2016?


Cozy 20-minute Arm-Knit Scarf

I can’t believe the holiday season is finally here! I miss all the beautiful fall colors already, and I’m not quite ready for snow. Where did the time go? 2015-10-27 14.05.49

In the meantime there’s been Thanksgiving! I always have a Friendsgiving since I live so far from my family and usually see them at Christmas, so it was fun to see friends again. I never cook the turkey, and only contribute in the form of pie. This year it was the Pecan Pie from Smitten Kitchen.

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While I’ve been meaning to just sit down and brainstorm some knit gifts for the holidays (hats, hats, and more hats!), what I most wanted was a fast and easy project. I’ve heard about arm-knitting before, but I had never learned. I thought it was about time! In less than one episode of Jessica Jones, I whipped up a simple infinity scarf:

arm knit 1

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Starlight.arm knit 2

arm knit4To learn, I used this online tutorial from Simply Maggie, but if you are not in to the videos and prefer pictures only, this blog post about arm knitting from Flax and Twine is also great. You’ll notice that most of these scarves double the yarn to create a thicker scarf, using two skeins at once. I only used one skein (and not even the entire ball) for mine, but I liked the looser look of the knit:

arm knit

Yarn: 1 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Starlight, or another super bulky yarn.


Cast On 8 stitches using long-tail cast on.

Arm-Knit until piece can wrap three times comfortably around your neck, or measures approximately 80 inches.

Cast off, leave about a foot long tail. Use the tail to join the two ends of your scarf (making it an infinity scarf) by sewing the two ends together with the yarn. Weave in remaining ends.

This pattern can be customized to double the yarn or increase the width with the number of stitches. It was a great quick activity and I would totally make it again!

Happy Holidays!!



Cross-Over Knitted Headband: Free Pattern

This weekend is House of Cards binge weekend, and I’m already spending more time than is recommended in front of the TV. It’s also snowing (again) outside, and as much as people tell me spring is just around the corner, I’m still in the mood for cozy knits, hot tea, and soup.

And so, for the millionth time, I’m making an earwarmer/headband to keep toasty on my long commutes. In fact, it’s my commutes that gave me the idea for this cross-over turban style headband, since I’ve seen it worn by so many stylish ladies on the subway that I wanted one myself.

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I had some extra yarn left over from the last hat I made, and three House of Cards episodes later, I whipped up this headband. It’s fully reversible and mostly very easy, the only tricky part is getting the cross-over, but I’ll do my best to explain. For a slightly thicker version shown in blue, use the number of stitches in parentheses.

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  • 3 Size 8 Double Pointed Needles
  • Lion Brand Yarns Heartland in Black Canyon

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Cast On 24 stitches on one DPN (28 for a slightly thicker headband).

Row 1: Slip 1 knitwise *K2, P2* Repeat from star to last 3 sts, K3.

Row 2: Slip 1 Purlwise *P2, K2* Repeat from star to last 3 sts, P3.

Work in Rows 1-2 for a rib pattern until the band measures half of your head, for me that was 9.5 inches. At this point, you’re ready to work the cross-over.

Cross-over: Work in pattern for 12(14) sts then turn work, leaving 12(14) unworked sts on one DPN and use a third DPN to work those first 12(14) sts in pattern in the opposite direction to end. Next row, turn and work the same 12(14) sts again in pattern, so you are back in the middle of the work, and that half of your headband is now longer than the other half. This longer section will be crossed over. Next, (and this is the tricky part) cross the longer 12(14) stitch section over the shorter section, being careful not to twist, and transfer the the sts from the longer section onto the needle containing the other 12(14) sts by putting the last stitch on the section being transferred in front of the other 12(14) sts, and working backwards until all you have all 24(28) sts on one DPN. At this point, your yarn should be on the outside.

Next Row: Continue to work in pattern straight across the twist, taking care not to twist the the work further. Continue in pattern until the headband fits your head, for me, another 9.5 inches. The headband will stretch, so I usually make it a little tight: about 1 inch shorter than the true diameter of my head.

For the cast off, there are several ways finish. You can simply cast off and then sew the ends together, or you can try the three needle bind-off, which casts off and binds the ends together in one.

Cast Off: Use your third DPN to pick up 24 (28) stitches at the finished end of your headband, to which you will join the end you’re working. Put the ends together and hold the needles together in your left hand as normal, except you have two needles instead of one. Start your cast off by knitting through both the first stitch on your active needle and the stitch on the second needle containing the picked up stitches, so that you are knitting both together as one. Continue this way and cast off as normal, breaking yarn and weaving in ends.

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I could make this in so many different colors and patterns, and different thicknesses too. I know spring is just around the corner, but from here it sure still feels like winter! So until the snow stops falling, the binge watching and knitting cycle will continue. Happy Sunday!

Personalized Canvas Bag with knit details

With the wedding over, I’m suddenly left with all this free weekend time on my hands! However, the project I’m posting about what one I did FOR my wedding, but I want to apply it pretty much everywhere now. The idea is simple: add a custom knit detail to any garment by knitting up a simple I-Cord on double pointed needles of any length desired, then using it to spell letters. I made initials to customize cute canvas bags I found at Micheal’s, and made one for each of my bridesmaids as gifts. 2014-05-26 18.16.17

First, I got some permanent fabric glue, a thin-gauge yarn that was actually Crochet Thread, and two double pointed needles (Size 1, 2.25mm). If you’ve never made an I-Cord, YouTube has some excellent videos. With this thread, I Cast-On 5 stitches for the best thickness/width that I liked, but this is also personal preference.

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Some letters are easy to make with one I-Cord, like “M” and “S.” However, for kicks I started with a “K,” and knit two I-cords of the same length and a one half the size. Depending on how large you want your letter to be, I made mine about six inches long for a sizable letter.

2014-05-18 16.27.08 Next, all I had to do was glue it down in the shape of a “K.” Then let dry at least 24 hours.

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Bags are just one thing you can customize with knit details, I envision writing a cursive phrase on a T-shirt or sweatshirt to jazz it up, a la A Beautiful Mess’ Sequin Phrase Sweatshirt DIY. So many crafts to do!