The Braided Trivet Solution


After three years of knitting, I’ve amassed a ridiculous amount of scrap yarn. This is the yarn where there’s too much to throw away yet not enough to complete even a small project. It’s a conundrum every knitter faces – What the heck do you do with all that extra yarn?

K1506_small2The solution came to me in the Summer 2015 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. In it, there was article on nifty ways to use an i-cord for household items, like coasters, seat cushions, and trivets. My interested was lukewarm at first – I loved the idea of knitting things for my home, but I hated the prospect having to knit i-cords. After knitting several i-cords for a tank top I made a couple of years ago, I swore I’d never do it again.

Then, I read a little further and found out there’s a much easier way to create the dreaded i-cord. Remember those tube knitting tools for kids? Well, take that idea and mechanize it with a crank and rotating hooks. The Embellish Knit essentially “motorizes”  the i-cord process. Sign me up!


I tracked down an Embellish Knit at my local craft store and got to work! Creating an i-cord has never been easier – In under twenty minutes the Embellish Knit can crank out a 75 inch i-cord. After learning how to knit an i-cord on needles and hating every minute of it, I believe this is the best invention ever created for knitters!

My first trivet was created with leftover sock yarn from socks I made earlier this year. I simply turned the crank and made three 70″ i-cords. Then, I tied the top sections together by the tail yarn. I secured those ends to the back of a chair and braided the cords together. The last step is stitching the braid into a coil, using a horizontal zig-zag stitch, (the entire process is outlined visually in Interweave’s article).

I ended up with a 6″  trivet that didn’t buckle thanks to the horizontal zig-zag stitch.


6″ sock yarn braided trivet – wool, alpaca, acrylic blend.

The success of the first trivet led me to experiment with other scrap yarns in different colors and weights. Through the process of trial and error I learned the Embellish Knit can handle a variety of different yarns, but anything above #3 weight yarn gets tangled in the hooks. Wool, cotton, acrylic, and blended fibers all seemed to work well as long they are on the lightweight end of gauge.

My scrap yarn basket has thankfully been reduced significantly thanks to a number of successful trivet projects.


6.5″ braided trivet – spun and worsted 3-ply wool.


7″ braided trivet – 100% cotton, sport weight


8″ braided trivet – worsted weight wool, 10 ply

This one is definitely a birthday present for my mother-in-law. Turquoise is her favorite color and the yarn came from a pair of socks I made for her two years ago.


7.5″ braided trivet – wool/acrylic blend, #3 weight

The most recent trivet I made is for me. It matches my kitchen perfectly and I love the heft of a lightweight worsted wool.


8″ braided trivet – worsted weight wool, 10 ply

Some of these lovely trivets will be wrapped up as Christmas gifts and some will make their way into my kitchen. Either way, I’m thrilled to have a practical, yet fun way to use up yarn that would otherwise just sit there tempting my cat to make a mess.

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Hermione’s Everyday Socks


A late summer decision to re-read the entire Harry Potter series clearly inspired my latest knitting project – Hermione’s Everyday Socks. This is not my first time with this pattern. Last Christmas I made a pair of “Gryffindor Socks” for a gift. Two years before that, I made a pair for myself, but they felted so much the stitch pattern disappeared.

Between gifting and felting, I needed to make myself a new pair of Hermione’s Days Socks! I settled on my go-to sock yarn, Paton’s Kroy Ragg Stripes in Brown Rose Marl. The color choice came from watching Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban not too long ago. Hermione wears a rose pink hoodie in the movie and my yarn stash had the perfect shade to go with that hoodie!

Do you think Hermione would approve?


Hermione’s Everyday Socks

I knit these up on my KB sock loom, using 52 pegs. The pattern is written for double-pointed needles but it transfers just fine to a sock loom as long as the number of pegs allows for the pattern repeat.

My next project kicks off the Christmas knitting season. Several family members have put in their “orders,” which makes it all the more fun!

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Seascape Melody Socks


After the challenge of knitting lace socks, I decided to go the simple route for my next project. I pulled out my trusty KB sock loom and got to work on Seascape Melody Socks (via Loom Knitting Socks by Isela Phelps).

Hiding in my yarn stash was a gorgeous skein of ONline Supersocke in Ocean Color, Colorway 1577. How perfect given the name of the sock pattern! I got this yarn while on vacation a couple of years ago and I was so excited to finally find the right pattern for it. Sadly, however, I think this yarn is discontinued.

The yarn is self-striping and mixes solids with heather effects. Beautiful shades of pink, blue, brown, cream, and green pull together to make a simple alternating ribbed pattern something really special.


Seascape Melody Socks

Seascape Melody uses only knit and purl stitches. It’s basically an interrupted ribbed pattern. As usual, the heel and toe are worked using the short row method with a series of wrapped stitches.

I worked this sock over 56 pegs on the original fine gauge KB sock loom. I arrived at this peg count because the yarn I used had the same gauge (28 sts = 4″) as my favorite sock yarn, Paton’s Kroy. Experience has taught me 56 pegs with a 28 st gauge makes a perfectly fitting sock for my 8″ diameter foot.

My goal this summer is to clear out my sock yarn stash, so more sock posts are on the horizon!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015


Favorite Thing Friday: Veil of Rosebuds Socks


Sometimes I’m looking for a challenge when I pick up my knitting needles. After knitting some relatively simple ribbed socks, I decided to try a lace sock pattern called Veil of Rosebuds, (via The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Anne Hanson). I’d been drooling over this pattern ever since I got the book last year.

A fancy pattern deserves fancy yarn, so I dug through my stash and found a gorgeous skein of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Arco Iris. This fabulous merino wool is soft, sturdy, and a joy to knit. The best part, however, is the color scheme – gorgeous shades of green, brown, dusty pink, and golden yellow.

A great pattern + beautiful yarn = awesome socks!


Veil of Rosebuds Socks in Malabrigo yarn (Arco Iris)

The pattern is extremely well written, which I’ve come to expect from The Knitter’s Book of Socks. The pattern stitch is written out both in list form and as a chart, (it’s nice to have a choice!). In addition, detailed instructions on stitch counts for each needle made it so easy to follow each phase of the sock (i.e. leg, heel, toe).

It’s tricky to keep track of lace stitches on the needles because of constant stitch increases and decreases. One missed yarn over can screw up the entire row!  To keep better track of stitch count, I placed markers at the end of each 14 stitch pattern repeat. After each 14 stitch repetition, I counted stitches to make sure I had the required 14 stitches for each section between the markers. If I don’t get the right number, I know I missed something and I don’t have to unknit an entire row to find it.

This sock marks the first time I’ve knit a short row heel on needles. I’ve done countless short row heels (and toes) on a sock loom, but never on needles! It’s quite a different experience. It’s a lot harder to spot wrapped stitches. Again, I used markers in front of the last wrapped stitch so I didn’t get lost. Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out and loved the absence of a gusset (picking up stitches is a pain!).

The last fun part of these socks was the arrival of my new sock blockers. These plastic forms allow me shape socks for photographs and maintain the shape of socks that try to shrink during washing (I’ve got a pair that partially felted and this should fix those right up size wise!). I love them!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015


Favorite Thing Friday: Letting Stuff Go


We all have that one closet. You know, the one that hasn’t been opened in months for fear of an avalanche. Such a closet lurks within the clean exterior of my guest bedroom. For years, I’ve been slowly filling it with scrapbooking supplies, beads, buttons, ribbon, fabric, tools, glue, paint, and about a million other things.  Yup, my avalanche closet is the craft closet. Every time I open the door, I wonder if I should have worn a helmut. How scary is that??

Every crafter has the same problem. Where do you put all the little odds and ends left over from a project? Or the supplies you bought for a project you’ll make in the future? What about the half finished projects you’ll get around to finishing later? Before you know it, an entire closet is filled from floor to ceiling.

My craft closet may classify me as a pre-hoarder. For the last 15 years, I’ve saved everything craft related because I kept thinking there would be a project down the line where a thingamabob would be useful. On top of that, I inherited a bunch of stuff from my grandma’s craft closet. Saving her craft items went beyond possible future use. In many ways, holding onto her things helped me hold onto her.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that saving a mountain of objects to preserve an emotional attachment to a loved one is not healthy. Nor is it a good idea to hold onto five different colors of unused raffia for ten years. There comes a point where it’s time to clear things out and let them go.

This week, I started the grueling process of pulling out boxes, sorting items, and organizing. Despite my practical attachment to useful items, I’m finding it surprisingly easy to discard items I no longer need, (no matter how good it is). Some things end up in the trash, while others go in a donation box. I found a great little thrift store that accepts gently used craft items. Boy, are they in for a windfall donation when I get done with this closet!

While the clearing out process has been invigorating, there are moments of struggle. Yesterday, I went through all of my paper crafting  supplies and rubber stamps. Making cards and scrapbook journals were projects I did with my Grandma and many of the items I have belonged to her.

As I sat with two giant boxes of stamps and stacks of decorative card stock, I thought about a conversation I had with my mother. She reminded me that I don’t have to hold onto every little thing my Grandma owned in order to remember her. The memories are always going to be there, even without the stuff. And you know what? My mother is 100% right.

I kept a few things I know I’ll use, but I got rid of the rest. Another donation box is full and I have a feeling my Grandma would approve. As more things leave my closet, so does the weight of keeping all of that stuff. What a nice feeling it is to be so light.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015