In Which I Shamelessly Cheat On My Knitting


First of all, I am feeling MUCH better, having recovered from that awful stomach flu. You folks in the comments were so sweet to send me little get-well wishes; thank you.

Second of all, I have a confession to make. I, Sandi Wiseheart, did indeed cheat on my knitting this past weekend. I not only cheated on it, I left it at home while I went out and partied with another yarn-using project…All. Weekend. Long. And as long as I am confessing my sins: The yarn-using project I was partying with was not even another knitting project. It was a weaving project. AND I even used my knitting stash to cheat weave with.

I know. I'm wicked and I hope you can forgive me.

Wanna hear about my weekend-long cheater's party anyway? Sure you do.

Let's just get the story straight up-front by saying that there were several other big-time knitters there, cheating on their knitting all weekend right along with me. I know it doesn't make my sin any less by saying that a certain Yarn Harlot was happily weaving away at the next table–too many of you are moms to let me get away with the excuse "But, all the OTHER knitters were doing it!" (RacheloftheComments was there. Denny was there. Beth was there. Abby-of-the-Spindle-Book was there. See? All knitters, all cheating on our knitting.)

But I thought maybe you might let me get away with a little bit of weaving if I told you I was at least doing it in respectable company.

The party was a weekend class taught by Sara Lamb; she was teaching us to make a cut-pile bag like the ones in her book Woven Treasures. (I'm warning you: Don't look at that book unless you are Very Strong. It has made many a dedicated knitter go weak in the knees and order a wee loom. Just sayin'.)

The first question Sara asked us all was: "Why are you here?" I gaped at her: Why? I had no idea. I had just driven six hours and several hundred miles for a three-day weaving workshop, and I had no idea why. I had just quite blithely jumped into the car with a bag of my stash yarns, abandoning my knitting for a loom no bigger than a bag of rice.

I mean: I have a gorgeous cardigan collar on the needles in my office. I have a lace shawlette three rows away from binding off in the TV room. I have socks on my favourite rosewood dpns in my go-bag. I am a knitter, for EZ's sake. I have responsibilities. And yet, there I was, cootchy-cooing with a tiny warp as though I was as fancy-free as any commuter who thinks a train ride is for catching up on the newspaper.

Shameless, I tell you. Just shameless.

But…the BAGS. They're so PRETTY. And making them is so easy… The yarns were even already in my stash–a little worsted weight cotton, and a handful of two-ply DK wools–and really, it was such fun to plan out the design and colours myself. (I sketched out a simple heart design, with purple, pink, green, and blue on a cream background.) The cut-pile weaving is done knot-by-knot, with a simple variation on a knot I already knew, the lark's-head knot. Lay the yarn over the warp, twist the knot into place, trim the ends, repeat until pattern emerges…

And most seductive of all: When you trim the knots, an amazing thing happens. The cut ends of the yarn bloom out a bit, and you realize, with a little shiver, that you are seeing the yarn in a way you'd never imagined as a knitter: You are seeing the cross-section of each little yarn end, and the surface of the bag is like a field of waving grass, with all the different yarns shimmering and changing as you move your hand lightly over the top.

I was entranced. Sara had brought a selection of her finished bags from the book, and I couldn't stop petting them. Tiny meadows of yarn under my hand…

Although a couple of knitters finished their bags by the end of the weekend, mine is still not done. Oh well. That just means that I brought a little something home with me to play with this week.

So: Yes, I cheated on my knitting for an entire weekend, and I am not sorry one itsy bitsy little bit. I got to look at yarn in a whole new way; I learned some techniques that will help keep my fingers nimble and my design skills sharp. I also found a new way to quickly use up stash yarns (if we have to get practical about this whole thing). I found both inspiration and delight in Sara's little baglets; her teaching opened the doors between the crafts of knitting and weaving and let the breezes stir things up a little for me.

I didn't knit a single stitch all weekend long. I did, however, weave several inches of cut pile, and I'm happy as can be.

It's all yarn. It's all good.

All right, so now it's your turn: 'Fess up. Ever cheated on your knitting? Tell All! Leave us a note in the comments so we can all live vicariously through each other's adventures.

Knitting has brought so much richness into my life. It's brought me endless skeins of colour; talented teachers like Sara; and, of course, all of you. Thank you for sharing my knitting journey with me. I hope some delightful adventure enriches your knitting this coming week!

–  Sandi


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. You can find her blogging here on Knitting Daily every Thursday. Want more? Visit Sandi's personal blog, wiseheart knits. Or, if you're on Twitter, follow her tweets: alpacasandi.



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10 thoughts on “In Which I Shamelessly Cheat On My Knitting

  1. I can’t believe you all were 45 minutes from my house and I didn’t go. I can’t believe you just said the loom was no bigger than a bag of rice? I could love that sort of weaving, I do NOT like floor looms that make clattering noises and require me to sit straight in a chair for hours.

    I even dreamed last night that I was with you guys. Wishful thinking only brings dreams, though. Sigh.

    And my blue bug would have looked so cute next to your green bug in the parking lot. Next time I’ll ask Beth to be more persuasive. That kind of weaving would make me happy, I do believe.

    Next time? Or in my dreams…

    ColorJoy LynnH in Lansing, MI

  2. I am a Knitter, but I also sew, I do some beading and stringing, I have learned a teeny bit of weaving (and want more), and I even (gasp!) crochet. Long ago, I did needlepoint and counted cross-stitch, too, and have recently considered taking up a painted canvas again for a little fling.

    I am entirely unashamed of being mulicraftual. But knitting will always be my primary love – and it knows that and is secure in our relationship.

  3. I primarly knit but I also have a rigid heddle loom and a couple weavette type looms. I have in the past also done beaded cross stitch. (I have a dozen or so kits that I still want to do someday) My current weaving plans is to make a blanket using the weavette and my stash of single skeins of koigu after seeing the last piecework issue. Now if only I could find a weaving needle….

  4. Sandi, have always loved your writing. I have knitted since I was 6. Then later, then learned to weave. Now knit, weave, bead, spin, um, try to not add anything else. So don’t worry about running off to Sara Lamb’s workshop. I would too, but I live in Cheyenne, WY. Knitting Daily is doing fine and I hope you are also. Helen

  5. I miss you on knitting daily Sandi, it was so nice to read you again. Don’t feel bad about abandoning your knitting – as you say, yarn is yarn, and its all good.
    I am so impressed that you drove for 6 hours to take the workshop – I live in the UK, and feel virtous when I drive an hour once a month to my guild meeting. You stateside gals just have a different perpesctive on distance than we do here on the other side of the pond – I applaud you!
    Good luck with the pile weaving – its lovely but time consuming I know. Hope you get the bag finished. Enjoy your yarn – anyway you want to! Best wishes, Susie, from Kent in England

  6. A few years ago I determined that I had to cull my hobbies down due to lack of space and finances. I let go of most of my paper crafts (stamping, embossing, block printing, etc.) in order to keep the “smaller space” hobbies of Hardanger Embroidery, Knitting, and Crocheting.

    At the time, you see, I’d never heard of this thing called a “stash” of yarn. I had a few balls of cotton for dishcloths since that’s all I knit at the time. If I wanted to crochet something, I bought the yarn and made it. The excess yarn was usually given to the project recipient so that if I ever needed to repair the item they had the yarn.

    If only I’d known. Now….when I look at all the yarn I almost feel guilty when I pull out my embroidery instead. Then I remind myself that I am being true to my Chosen 3 and relax.

  7. Sometimes you have to step away, play a different way, and look at the results differently, and the result is a totally different, totally new way to look at your fibers. Doing something differently unleashes creativity and reminds you there are truly other ways to play that are just as fun!

    Kind of like driving a different path to work…the next time you take your ‘regular ride’ you see things a bit differently.

    At least you didn’t ‘cheat’ with something truly messy, like throwing your own clay pot on a wheel…that just wouldn’t mix well with the yarns! Then again, getting truly dirty might be fun…hmm.

    Wish you all well!

  8. My name is Barbara & I have just discovered “Knitting Daily” on the TV. I would so love to be able to get in touch with Shay Pendray of that show. I remember her so well. She is a fabulous stitcher and I really enjoyed her show “Needlearts Studio”
    I cannot find her on the blogs of the Knitting Daily enthusiasts but would really like to email her. My email address is: If you know her, please give this email address to her and ask that she contact me sometime.
    Yours, Barbara Burris

  9. I have always wanted to learn how to weave. W hat a great way to use up stash! I don’t have a lot of spare room in my home – what type of loom did you have?