Monday, June 29, 2009

Two more bears

Here are the two last bears; they wouldn't fit in the previous entry. Note the jumpsuit - is that not cute? :)


Sent out my new batch of bears today; here are pics of them in more detail:

I love how they turn out different shapes and sizes depending on the stitch patterns I choose. Right now I'm into bears with stockinette-stitch fur and garter-stitch clothes - the stockinette is easier to sew faces onto, and the garter makes them shorter and chubbier. I've made a project of using up the heavy-worsted-weight, fuzzy novelty yarn that I received as a donation; you can see some of it in the sweater of the black bear in the first photo. I like this yarn so much that I've started making bears wearing jumpsuits out of it. See next entry.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shrug Completed!

Good news: I've successfully turned the green lace thing into a shrug.

Bad news: I like the shrug so much I'm refusing to put it up for sale. This is good for me personally, because I've made myself a garment I love, but not too good for sales! So I'm making a similar one in pink, which I WILL put up for sale - I already have a pink shrug.

My lovely new shrug from the front (yes, I know my outfit doesn't match):

My shrug from the back:

And I've got 14 new bears - knit by me, assembled by Mom - who are all ready to ship. Right now, though, they're in here keeping me company!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cushion Covers and Cotton Lace

So here's today's project update:

A couple of days ago I finished this patchwork sampler cushion cover, and am still sighing in relief that all the squares matched up! I mean, I made the necessary swatch and took the gauge very carefully, but there's no telling how different stitch patterns will mess with your gauge, and I was NOT going to make a separate swatch for each pattern. Also, this is the second zipper I've ever sewn, and I have to say, I'm quite pleased with myself. :) You can find it on Etsy here:

My next store project is a long, cotton lace spring/summer vest, which I've been working steadily on for the past two days:

It's hard to get the colors right by electric light: I'm alternating between a pale green yarn and a light-green-and-melon variegated yarn. The lace pattern is very simple, with only the two RS rows to remember: yo, ssk and yo, k2tog. I can even knit this while watching movies, which is definitely a plus!

Then there's the glorious staghorn-cabled scarf I'm working on for my boyfriend, following the pattern for the "Antlers Scarf" in Son of Stitch'n Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit & Crochet for Men. This scarf achieves the near-impossible feat of being both beautiful and manly. Both scarf and book are highly recommended.

And it's not knit, but...

I'm finally going to do what I've been wanting to for years, and make a skirt out of old ties! They're all formerly my dad's, but are too ratty for him to wear - so I will transform them! I just broke out the sewing machine and cannot wait to start.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why "empty" knits?

I think the best way to begin this blog would be to tell how it got its name, thus answering the question I'm frequently asked: why did you choose the name EmptyKnits?

This question is in response to my starting an online store, I'm a knitting fanatic - and have been since I taught myself the art a year and a half ago - and I also crochet, sew, embroider, quilt, and weave tapestry. I channel my love for textiles through making things for friends and family, making things for sale, and knitting for my two favorite charities (both of which I highly recommend knitters/crocheters and non-knitters/crocheters check out): Mother Bear Project ( and Afghans for Afghans (

I am also a practicing Buddhist, primarily in the Tibetan tradition. (I say "primarily" because I don't yet have a teacher, which is essential to Vajrayana.) One of the fundamental ideas in Buddhism is that of "emptiness," which Thich Nhat Hanh explains beautifully and concisely:

"Because form is emptiness, form is possible. In form we find everything else - feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. 'Emptiness' means empty of a separate self. It is full of everything, full of life... To be empty does not mean nonexistent... Emptiness is the ground of everything. Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible" (Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley, Cal.: Parallax Press, 1988, pp. 16-17).

When I knit, I am made aware of emptiness, of interbeing. Knitting is a way of expressing love, both for people I know and people I don't know. Knitting a teddy bear for a child in Africa or a pair of socks for a baby in Afghanistan makes me feel closer to them than does anything else in the world; through it, I can express my love for them as fellow beings. For me, it's a palpable reminder of how we as sentient beings inter-are.

So, at the risk of being labeled a Dharma-burger by The Worst Horse (actually, I'd be rather flattered if they did!), my shop name - and now my blog name - became EmptyKnits.