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My first sock was the product of peer pressure. Everyone else was knitting socks; they felt that I, too, should be knitting socks. By way of encouragement, they began to give me skeins and balls of beautiful, expensive sock yarn. I hadn’t been knitting seriously for very long, so I didn’t have much of stash…

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Carpe Filum

I had intended this month to continue the series of little knitting memoirs that began with my first scarf, then continued with my first yarn shop, and the first (and last) time I was held captive by one of my own projects. But life had other ideas. Instead of firsts, I’m thinking about lasts. I’ve…

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The Big Snag

My first visit to a yarn shop was discouraging, but not so discouraging as to keep me from knitting. I had no knitting teacher, and after commencement scattered our class to the four winds, I no longer had friends who knit. It was more than a decade before I went back to the shop in…

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Contest Alert! Write A Caption to Win!

We heard a picture is worth a thousand words, but we’re only asking for a few! A few words, that is. Win A $100 Gift Certificate to! Franklin Habit has drawn a cartoon for us, but we have no caption! We’d like to hear you get creative and comment (on Instagram) with what you…

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My First Time: The Yarn Shop

(In which I continue the reminiscences that began here.) At nineteen years old, I stood at the door of a yarn shop for the first time. I was alone. I had put on my best hat and coat and my good shoes. It was a short walk to the shop from my room in Lowell…

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My First Time: The Lesson

I was preparing for an upcoming teaching engagement when a file (an actual paper file–how quaint) hit the floor and the contents flew across the workroom. Most of them were what should have been in the file–class notes. But there was also a name tag, my name tag, from the first year I taught at…

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Ten Perfect Needlework Notions: The Gift Giver’s Guide

It happens every year. The Thanksgiving turkey isn’t yet cold on my plate, the parade hasn’t even passed by, and here come the questions from friends-and-relations of those who knit and crochet. “What sort of holiday gifts,” they ask, “ought I to get for this delightful, but odd, person in my life? I feel it…

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Sheep to Shawl

I’ve had a spell of time–an entire summer, really–where the Ugly really got to me. That’s not quite right. It wasn’t one Ugly, it was all the Uglies. A torrent of Uglies. A cascade of Uglies. When the Uglies rally, they form a tight circle around me and lock arms so I can’t get out.…

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That’s So Annoying

Recently a friend of mine who is not knitter (I know all kinds of people) asked if I would mind offering advice to a friend of hers, who is a knitter. “She just finished her first hat,” said my friend, “but I guess she’s not happy with it, and she said the woman at the…

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The Princess and the Purl, A Yarn in Two Plies: Ply the Second

To Read Ply the First, click here. The violent storm that had flung the young woman and her knitting bag across the moat was no quieter the next day. Driving rain pelted buds from branches and drove green shoots back into the ground. Howling wind toppled the spire on the highest turret, and blew the…

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