An End to A Madness

Not the end, but definitely an end. In fact, lots and lots of ends. But really, the end of something very special.

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I have finally, FINALLY finished my miter square blanket – Miter Madness – that I started so many years ago. And when I say finished, I mean every seam, every border, every end.

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It’s hard to say anything more about it that hasn’t already been said really. I knit all 120 miters in a six week period using 85 different colors of Tahki Cotton Classic way back in the Spring of 2007. I knit so much I put a hole in my finger. And then those miters sat in a box.

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While those squares were sitting in a box, I had two babies and moved into a house. In the old days, I had all the time in the world to knit, blog about it, and do a bit of work on the side. I spent many hours a day by myself – glorious, wonderful ALONE time. I’m rarely alone these days and time to myself is a luxury.

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The Back Side

The Winter after my second daughter was born, I was really struggling. I won’t say I was full blown PPD, but I was not in a good place. It was during this time that I pulled out my box of miters and decided THIS WAS THE TIME. I wove in all the ends and blocked all the miters then started seaming the squares. I seamed and seamed and when it was all together I knit the border. Sadly I didn’t really blog any of this, but by the Summer I was done. I had a dozen or more ends still to be woven in, but otherwise it was done. And then into another box it went. Seriously.

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imageThe Signature Square

What pushed me to finally finish it? It’s kind of funny. My daughter was doing a science module in school on fabric and we were encouraged to send in some fabric samples.  I thought how fun would it be to bring in all my knitting swatches (I have a ton) and my spinning wheel and show the kids in her class how fiber becomes yarn becomes a finished object? So much fun! And I thought they would love to see the blanket. So I wove in the rest of the ends and cut them all and in a couple of hours – voila! THE BEST FINISHED OBJECT EVER!

You have to know I’ve been dreaming about the FO shoot for this blanket for a long, long time. I knew I wanted to hang the blanket the way I’ve seen people hang quilts, so I hung a laundry line across my back yard and took the pictures above. But I also wanted to take some arty, cool pictures. I channeled my inner Vicki and the greatest FO shoot of all time, and set to work.

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This is by far the best thing I’ve ever knit. I’m so ecstatically happy with how it turned out, but I’m also sad that it’s finished. This knit wasn’t just a lot of fun to knit, it was important for me to knit. Once or twice while the miters languished in their box, my dear friend Kay, Queen of All Things Mitered, offered to seam the blanket for me. As touched as I was by the offer, I knew I needed to do it myself. The WHOLE thing. And I finally did. I finished it. ALL of it. And I’m a better knitter and dare I say mother, because of it. I cannot wait to see where my knitting madness takes me next.

Thank you, dear readers, for coming along on this journey. If you missed any crazy, mad part of it, you can read the project archives, from the first square to the last and all the silly stats in between.

L, C

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together

Ever since I started working on seaming my mitered blanket, I’ve been dreaming about the next blanket that I’m going to make with all the leftover Tahki Cotton Classic I have. It has to be something that will utilize A LOT of color – after all – I used 85 different colors in the mitered blanket and I have leftovers of everything, not to mention a bunch of colors that I never used at all!

I’ve always known I was going to do a much more structured blanket – at least colorwise. My fantasies have always been about a blanket that is laid out in the ROY G. BIV rainbow and has always had some kind of play on close color tones that sit next to each other.

And after seeing a few quilts out in the Internets, both knitted and sewn, I knew that the background palette for all the color would be an off white.

At first I was seduced by hexagons – lots and lots and lots of hexagons. My idea was to do a pair of colors – two blues or two reds or two oranges – just a bit off from each other – and then surround them in white. I started knitting it a few different ways but never loved it and I was too involved in all that seaming to really commit.

Then I saw a gorgeous Log Cabin blocks by Julie and the hexagon blanket was suddenly dead to me! I would do four sides in different colors – again all similar in color but off in tone – and then frame them in white! Perfect! Once again, there was a lot of planning involved and I was still deep in the seaming madness of the miters and I didn’t fully commit.

Then Kay, my guru in all things quilt-like and knit, posted about this fabric log cabin cross quilt and how she was going to turn it into a knit blanket and it was like being hit in the face – in a good way! I was completely entranced. I had to knit this – it was PERFECT for what I wanted to do! Each “arm” of the cross would be in a different yet similar color and the background would be white and I would do each block in it’s own ROY G. BIV fabulousness and WHAM! There it was.

How to knit it though. I preordered the book figuring by the time I would have it in hand I might be closer to starting to knit (still a TON of seaming to do!) But this blanket would NOT shake me and after a couple of comments to Kay about being super psyched to knit this, I couldn’t contain myself anymore and called to beg for the pattern. How happy am I that I did!

Kay has released The Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern just today! The pattern by itself is fabulous, but to make it extra fantastic, all proceeds from the sale will go to help Japan as they recover from the earthquake and tsunami.

Now, I know my talents and my limits and while I can put colors together like nobody’s business, I don’t have the skills to figure out how to knit shapes and put them together and construct them and make them fit like they were meant to be. But Kay does. I’d like to think that my part in all of this was to say how do I knit this and then her brain took off and knit it!

I was lucky enough to knit a block along with Kay and it’s just a flawless pattern. Miters are knit on to each other (no seams!!) and then you log cabin a frame and it’s beyond perfect for what I want to do with my left over yarn. Beyond perfect. What could possibly be better than miters AND log cabin?! It’s the Reese”s Peanut Butter Cup of knitting! As you can see in the square above, I’ll be using four similar colors for the cross, framed by linen white.

The fun part now is to go through all the colors and put them together in groups of four. There may or may not be some other rules – like the last miter in one square will be the first miter in the next square. Not sure I want to repeat any colors though. I will definitely be supplementing my colors – there are not enough yellows or oranges or reds. I’m thinking it will be a twenty block blanket – at least two blocks for each ROY G. BIV color with some neutrals thrown in as well (a block of browns in between the reds and oranges and maybe a block of grays after the violets.) They will be laid out in rainbow order as well.

Hopefully soon I’ll get some time to go through the yarn and organize it and try to figure out some color numbers and such. My test block is almost perfect – once I was finished I decided I needed to reknit it on 5s instead of 6s and I think I’m going to be much happier. I’m going to love planning this, knitting this, finishing this – everything about it! And it fits perfectly into the knitting I’m able to do right now – small, portable – perfect for what will most likely be a long summer.

I’m still working on the mitered blanket! I have one strip completely seamed and I’m working on the next row:

The picture does not do this blanket justice. Even with only one strip done, I can’t believe how gorgeous it’s going to be! And big. Very, very big.

I’m sad it’s been over a month since I blogged last. Life has been kicking my ass. Sleep deprivation (no, my kids still don’t sleep through the night and yes, my oldest just turned 3!) is killing me and my anxiety lately has been in overdrive. I’m taking steps to get them to sleep – especially the 3 yr old – and things are looking promising. But I still feel pretty lousy. It just invades your life in ways you wouldn’t expect. Pushes all my buttons. And today our computer died. Just as I was about to start processing a new job. Fun times. At least now I’ll have plenty of time to knit.

Exercise in Futility

Yesterday was supposed to be my relaxation day.

We had one of those weekends that changes your life forever, and not in the good way. Oh yeah eventually, hopefully, it will be one of those funny stories we tell about how the police and paramedics came and mommy was in her t-shirt and underpants the whole time, but for now it’s still terrifying for G and I.

The baby started getting stuffy and was up all night Saturday night and I was dealing with her when Meli woke up around 3 or 4 AM as per her usual. I handed the baby off to G and went in to check on Meli and immediately noticed she was really hot. So I took her into our bed and tried to take her temperature. About 5 or so I succeeded and she did indeed have a bit of a fever, so we somehow got her to take some medicine and we all went back to sleep.

When we woke up, Meli was still hot – in fact a bit hotter. I took her temp again and it was a degree higher, but it wasn’t time to give her more medicine and she was in pretty good spirits, so we were all just lazing around in bed watching cartoons and relaxing. Meli rolled over as if to go back to sleep and G was laying next to her when he noticed she was doing something funny with her eyes. He told her to stop and then realized something was really wrong and called me over. I looked at her and we both started into a panic. Her eyes were very fixed and open and her eyebrows were going up and down rapidly and then the whole foaming at the mouth started. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew she was most likely having a seizure from the fever, but it was still so completely horrifying. I told G to call 911 and in the few minutes that it took for the paramedics to get to us, the seizure had stopped and she was groggy and awake. The whole thing lasted about three minutes. Three excruciatingly harrowing minutes.

The paramedics told us that it was probably a febrile seizure, but we went to the ER just to be sure, where they told us the same thing. She had a fever of 104 when they took it at the hospital. We stayed until her temp came down a bit and then went home and preceded to stare at her for the next 24 hours. A visit to our pediatrician the next day confirmed everything and she’s been fever free for over 24 hrs now. Apparently febrile seizures are fairly common and while horrific to witness, they don’t do any damage. The way the paramedic described it to us is that when a fever spikes really high, the body will sometimes convulse as a way of breaking the fever. Meli has no history of anything like this – in fact – aside from a runny nose every now and again, she’s had like one ear infection her whole life. She’s rarely sick. The good news is that it didn’t hurt her and that she might never have one again. The bad news is that she COULD have one again and also the baby is now at a greater risk to have them because it tends to run in families. We keep telling ourselves that it didn’t hurt her and everyone and everything says it’s not a big deal but it was just so scary that it’s hard to believe. We’re trying, but it’s going to take awhile to get over this. (For us – Meli’s back to her old singing and dancing the day away self.)

Oh and did I mention this was the weekend she decided to potty train herself? Surprisingly the trauma of the ambulance ride and the hospital visit didn’t derail our progress.

The baby still has a cold too.

With all this going on, I’m not sure the last time I really and truly slept or relaxed and my mind really needed a break, so when our babysitter came for the day on Tuesday I thought I’d delve into a project I had been thinking about for a while.

As you all know, I’m working the miter project and it’s going pretty slow these days. I think I’ve managed to seam one more square since the last time I blogged which is killing me, but I did manage to order a bunch of yarn.

What you see there is the present and the future. The black yarn (Tahki Cotton Classic) will be the border for the mitered blanket (I’ll also use it for seaming all the seamed squares together) and the linen white TCC will be a blanket to be named later.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a new blanket using the leftovers of the miter project. I’ve had a few ideas going around and around in my head and I’ve seen a few quilts that have inspired me lately (I’m looking at you JulieFrick!). At first I was thinking knitted hexagons but now I’m squarely in the log cabin camp. I’m not sure what it’s going to be so I’m not going to say much more, but I have been wanting to organize the leftover yarn so I can easily tell what I have, what I want more of, and what I’m missing. To this end, I contacted the wonderful Kathy at WEBS and asked if she knew if I could purchase color cards for TCC from Tahki. I figured this would be the easiest way to catalog all the yarn I have and identify something. Surprisingly, Tahki doesn’t have color cards. Color me shocked, but that was the message given to Kathy. Oh well. Too late to change yarns so I went to Plan B.

I gathered up all the TCC yarn I have: little bits and pieces, half used balls and unwound hanks. I took out the spreadsheets with color numbers I put together back when I started the project and the color card scans I printed off the internet that I found on Yarndex. I had the internet open to anyone and everyone that sells TCC and set about matching the yarn in my hand to a number. After about three hours I had this:

Sixteen freaking colors. And about a third of them were easy because I had extra skeins still wrapped up in the ball band with the color clearly stated. The others were a pain in the ass. The scans don’t match the yarn which doesn’t match the internet and this green looks like that green and is that a yellow or a brown and I used 85 colors in the damn blanket. You can imagine the frustration. While I’m proud of the color card I made, that’s it. I will start planning my new blanket and will determine a yarn color number when and if I need it. While it would be nice to have them all labeled, I don’t have the patience or the time for this. It really sucks that Tahki couldn’t provide color cards. And it also sucks that I wasted what was supposed to be a relaxing afternoon. I knew it would be a project, but I really thought I would make more progress. I should’ve just seamed more squares. Would’ve been a whole lot more satisfying.

Suffice it to say, it’s been a trying few days. Thanks for letting me vent. I’m going to leave you with a short video of the baby laughing her ass off. I had her at hello!

Laugh Riot! from January One on Vimeo.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully my next post will be th
at I’ve finished seaming all the squares and I’m ready to seam them all together. And hopefully I’ll be blogging sometime next week! I want this blanket DONE.

L, C

Are you ready for some MADNESS?

By the time you read this, I will have seamed 15 of the 30 squares and the rest of the miters will be blocking. Yes, my friends, the miter madness continues! I have had complete project monogamy with this – the miters have taken hold all over again. Even though I have a million projects on the needles and I’d like to be knitting all of them all the time, the squares are what pull me in. I feel like I’m cheating if I even look at the knitting. Honestly, my time for any of it is so limited and the squares are easy and give me such satisfaction and I can taste the finish, even though it’s a LONG way off.

It took me more than ten hours over three days to seam the first square. I must have ripped and restarted like 25 times. The second square took half that time and now, if I had an uninterrupted hour, I bet I could do all four seams without any issues. I finally figured out the formula, so to speak, in lining up the stripes.

I’m constantly surprised at how satisfying this phase of the project has been. If I had known how much I’d enjoy weaving in ends and seaming I wouldn’t have waited three years to get started. It’s been the perfect project. Firstly, I took all the thinking out of it. I’m seaming the squares in the order I knit them and I’m seaming them exactly the way they look in this picture. No thinking allowed. It’s like I’m one of those color people – you know – when the cartoonist does the outline and someone else just colors in by the numbers? What’s so great about it is that my mind is freed up to think about other projects and daydream. And, when I’m too tired to even do that, I just know my job and I do it.

Undoubtedly, the absolute best part of the project – always the best part of the project – is all the color. Especially given that there is still about 36″ of snow in my front yard. This winter has been dreary and gray and we’re constantly being forced to stay home because of the weather, but every day I get a little pop of fun color to keep me company. And it’s always changing. The pile of seamed squares keeps growing and I’m consistently pleased by the choices I made so long ago. So far there’s only been one square that I’m sort of eh about, but I’m not changing anything. It was a completely different person that started this project and she made choices that were inspired at the time. The me I am now refuses to get in the way of that vision.

Tomorrow I will pick up all the blocking squares and dive into the remainder pile to match up the yarns with the squares for seaming. I’ve got my 60″ circular needle winging it way through the mail to me as we speak and I’m ready to order the dozen or so skeins of black Takhi Cotton Classic I’ll be using for the border and the general seaming. I’m so happy with this project and I can’t wait to get back to work on it. I want it to be finished so badly because I’m so excited to have it finished and I keep imagining how wonderful it will be to see my girls all wrapped up in its explosion of color. And at the same time I will be so sad to have it end. Fortunately, I guess, that end is still a long ways off.

Thanks for reading!

Madness Deconstructed

– 120 miters, 30 squares, 85 different colors of yarn

– The first miter was knit on March 15, 2007. The last miter was knit on April 29, 2007. Forty-six days. 2.6 miters per day.



– Each miter starts with 72 stitches. Knit with US #6 needles.

– Four main miters, one background miter from a skein of Tahki Cotton Classic.

– Only one color used two skeins. I used it to make two background colors, and then wanted to use it for a main color. I needed to break into a second skein.





This project has completely consumed me. Knitting these miters was an extreme labor of love and I’m so glad I got to do it. All of the squares sat on my floor for at least a week off and on – I would leave them out there and keep adding squares to the mix as they came off the needles. Yesterday I decided on a final layout. I photographed it and lifted the squares off the floor and mixed them all up. I think I sort of want to erase the layout from my mind while I’m seaming the squares. I will be referring to the photographs for the seaming, but it won’t all be together. Plus we need room to walk around the house.

Basically I had the squares down on the floor and every now and again I’d move some around. Then I’d stand on the arm of the sofa overlooking the squares and squint my eyes. (Quite the scene, I must say.) Yesterday I was DETERMINED to get this all down – don’t ask me why but it became incredibly important for me to say THIS IS IT. I would move squares around and take a picture. Then I’d put the picture up on the computer and change it to black & white. I wanted there to be a somewhat even distribution of value throughout the blanket. Then I’d go back and move stuff around – take a picture – look at it in b&w – move more squares and on and on until I got what I wanted.

When I saw this combination up on the screen – I knew that this was it. I stood back in the doorway – away from the computer and looked at it and it was good.

I leave you with another bunch of pictures, because that’s what I do.





I don’t think I’ll be blogging about the miters for awhile – it’s time to put the project to rest a bit and move on to other things. My mind can’t take it anymore. I don’t know when I’m going to start seaming – maybe my next free weekend – which doesn’t come for awhile. Or maybe I’ll start seaming and it will overtake me and I’ll become obsessed all over again. Have no fear – this blanket will be seamed. A border will be knit. This project will be finished.

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for this project. It means so much to me that I can share my madness.

The Final Four + One

First, send out a hearty congratulations to Margaret! She won the contest with a guess of April 29, 2007 at 12:53 PM. She was ONE MINUTE OFF! Way to go Margaret! Just a leetle scary how close you came. (By the way, check out Margaret’s GORGEOUS new sweater while you’re over there.)

It turned out that by Friday, both jobs I had this weekend had rescheduled (that’s what happens when you work with kids – something always comes up and I’ve made it my policy to be very flexible.) So I had plenty of knitting time. And Georgie took me to a FANTASTIC dinner to celebrate – screw the sushi – hands down – best steak in the city. Seriously.

Without further ado, since you’ve all waited so patiently, I give you the last five squares:


Square #26

This square was based on this picture:


Kay called this next square my ode to Lilly Pulitzer. I really love this one.


Square #27

My kindergarten square:


Square #28

And the blue square:


Square #29

Last, but certainly not least, is the square based on the picture of my finger:


Square #30 – THE LAST SQUARE

I’m thinking this square is my signature square. It’s got the one red row to symbolize the blood spilled (so DRAMATIC) and also, I want this square to anchor the piece. The border will probably be dark-ish – I’m hoping this square will blend with the border – just like a signature.

So. I finished knitting the squares. I haven’t cast on for anything new, but I do have a bridal shower coming up this weekend and a planned project for a gift that I haven’t started yet. If I can get yarn today, I’ll start on that. The squares are all laid out on the floor and I’m moving them around all the time and hopefully I’ll have pictures of what will be the final layout tomorrow. I don’t plan on spending too much time on laying things out. I want to take a picture and get it off the floor so I can start on the seaming. I have no idea how long it will take to seam this baby. I’m sure it will go a lot slower than the knitting. That’s all right with me. And I’m undecided what to do about the border, but I hope that will reveal itself as I sew the thing together.

This has been a marathon and to say I’m sad to be finished the knitting is an understatement. This project really has taken over my mind and my heart. I’m so glad to know you’ve enjoyed it too. Thank you!

Pencils Down

I finished knitting the last miter of this project at 12:54 PM, April 29, 2007. Details tomorrow.

My eye will not stop twitching.

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Tease me, tease me, please!

It’s killing me to not show you miters. And I know at least one other person misses them as well. But I’m waiting to show you them all finished. So here are some miter macros to tantalize!

It’s become clear to me that it’s going to be VERY difficult for me to STOP mitering. Extremely difficult. The fallout has already begun: I was on the phone with Ann this morning sitting on the floor amidst the yarn piles and four colors jumped out at me SCREAMING to be knit together. The only problem is that if I were to miter them, they don’t really fit with the scheme of the blanket, which may or may not be finished already. Immediately my mind jumped to an entirely OTHER blanket. Maybe not miters at all.

Hold me. I’m scared.

True Confessions

But first, a little clarity. I WILL be showing off the final miters – as soon as I’m finished knitting them. Or maybe I am finished knitting them. Maybe I haven’t slept or showered or eaten in five days and not only have the miters been knit, but the entire blanket has been seamed and the border knit and I’m writing this right now from the very comfortable room they’ve given me at the hospital. The white walls are SO MUCH BRIGHTER when you have a mitered blanket to cover your shoulders as you rock back and forth and back and forth.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’m still knitting. Maybe maybe maybe.

Anyway, I’ll be showing you the last five miters just the way I’ve shown you all the rest. Only I can guarantee you I won’t be showing you them until next week. Or when I’ve finished. Or I’m finished. Whatever. You’ll see them. When I let you see them. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! (Excuse me, the nurse is here with the happy juice!)

True confession time. I bought more Tahki Cotton Classic yesterday. Two new colors. Or non-colors as they’re both greay. (That’s how I’m spelling now – should make everyone miserable – whether you’re a gray or a grey.) And I bought a second skein of a color I’ve already used. You see, I’ve got a problem. (Insert mad laughing here – like I’ve got only ONE!!! Go ahead Annie! I can hear the cackling now!) There are a few colors that I’ve used twice as a background and now I’d like to use one of them as a main color but I know I won’t have enough yarn. So I bought a color I already had and I might use it. Or I might not. It depends on how it all plays out.

Or maybe the blanket’s finished and I’m just messing with you. I didn’t buy any yarn at all. (SHHHHHHH!!! Anyone who may have happened to see me in a yarn store yesterday. You know who you are. Or maybe you don’t.)

Gotta go! They’re coming to take me away HAHA!