Why I want to knit a sweater in November

Every year people try to write a complete novel in November, of the 430 thousand people who entered last year 40 thousand managed to write a 50,000 word novel.   Knitters have a slightly version of it called NaKniSweMo, knit a 50,000 stitch or more sweater in one month.

Now I had no plans to do this at all because a) I have to write a 20,000 word thesis b) I have to do the research involved to write said thesis.  In other words I am already struggling under the weight of my previous commitments.  However, I am also wasting time in many little ways.  I know this because I am a self confessed data nerd. I track my time and habits and I know that there are lots of minutes lost to facebook, instagram, sudoko (yes this is a big problem for me) and lots of stuff I can do without.  It has also been my experience that the better structured my time and days are the more productive I am.  So instead of taking things off my plate, I just spooned myself a huge serving of knitting.

I did the math, without any lengthening to the sleeves or body of the sweater, it needs 70 thousand stitches.  I am also starting a week late.  Again, crazy person here.

Anyway. I am knitting Pavement by Veera Valimaki in Cascade Heritage Silk in black. 

This is happening. #knitting #nakniswemo

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If you are interested in joining check out the Ravelry Group.  There is still enough time if you think like me, if not then maybe next year? Next year I hope to be writing a novel.  I would have done that too, but I am already writing something else anyway that is just as exciting 🙂

Just a quick update …

I am busy but I am not too busy to blog, I am just wasting time.  I am ok with that.  But I intend to fix it.  I leave you with a collection of some of the things I have made recently.

Loving how this one is turning out. #knitting

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Hat #knitting completed. Now I only have one #WIP that has been on the needles since summer.

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Mission accomplished. #knitting

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I knit 7 washcloths out of one ball of yarn. #knitting

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Slow and steady. #knitting

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Spring break and I

I am not a huge fan of school breaks, especially when I have coursework due and when I am suffering from a major dental problem. Today is the last day of my daughter’s spring break, technically speaking of course, because there is still two more days of weekend. We went to the beach, I tried to work a little on my essays, I took her to the indoor climbing place and we did yoga at the park.
Overall it was OK.This is perhaps the first break that she has had that I didn’t feel like a nervous wreck. I think it is because she is older and no longer needs constant entertaining or supervision. She reads books on her own, does a little arts and crafts and watches a show or two or plays some video games. Apart from an abscessed molar, I think everything was fun actually.

I finished my Airflow Cardigan.

I am working on a super bulky blanket for my daugter

I cast on a washcloth today while I was sitting at the dentist’s waiting room and got all of this knit up.
Waiting room washcloth #knitting

I also enjoyed spending a morning at the beach. I am enjoying this book, it is not light or easy reading, but the concepts are interesting.
I could stay at the beach forever.

Playing tourist was fun, visiting the Kuwait towers always reminds me of my childhood.

I am glad it is over so I can get back to my routine and finish the things I need to do.

I really shouldn’t be here

I am the master of procrastination. I really shouldn’t be here or doing this right now. Well I should be “here” as in physically sitting at my computer, and doing “this” as in writing stuff too. But not here on the blog and not this post. I have 4 majorly large essays and reports due mid April. I am saying mid-April because that makes it feel far away in the future than it really is. Being a full time grad student while being a full time mom, wife, chauffeur, cleaner and lots of the other things I do in life is a constant struggle between doing the things I should be doing and doing the things I want to be doing and artfully pretending I forgot about the things that are too exhausting or bore me out of my brains (I am looking at you housework). I also realized the last time I was here was in October. That is a lot of months. In that time I did tons of stuff, including write a ton of essays, travel to Egypt for Christmas break, knit lots, read lots more and generally be my awesome wonderful and totally busy self. I also had a birthday in November and for the first time in my life felt that I genuinely liked myself for who I was and didn’t want to change or improve a single thing, yes I want to lose weight, but that is cosmetic, and almost like me wishing I had different bone structure.

I am going to try to sum up some of the highlights of the past few months

I knit my favorite hat

The magic of blocking your #knitting

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I had my entire needle set (circulars and DPNs) EVERYTHING confiscated at the airport

I rediscovered Egypt, went on a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor and loved it.

#thisisegypt as it should be. As I want it to be. As it needs to be.

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Spice market. #thisisegypt

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Thousands of years ago an artisan chiseled this on the temple wall.

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Ramses the second. The narcissistic pharaoh.

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I knit a baby sweater

I love it when a #knitting project turns out really cute.

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I started a sock yarn blanket (again!)

I am not an addictive personality. #knitting #sockyarnblanket

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I discovered a new author and book series. I can’t wait for the next one

I just finished. I loved it. #adarkershadeofmagic

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I crocheted a tiny bunny

I made a bunny 🐰 #crochet #amigurumi

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And here I am writing essays

It is on.

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And from now on I am signing off the same way I see my daughter off to school every morning.

Be curious, be kind.

Pen strap thingy

Instagram Photo
I have been trying to find a way to keep my pens with my notebook. I purchased a pen loop from Midori but it turned out to be too small for my pens, I tried making my own but you can only fit one pen in it.
And then one day I was surfing Pinterest and saw something similar to this, I never pinned it so I can’t remember where it was from but I decided to make it.  I have made a similar thing before but with fabric and elastic not just elastic.
It is so simple. Just cut a piece of elastic that can go around your notebook and extra for pens. Seal the edges using a lighter, so they don’t fray, then sew it in place. I am not 100% happy with the cleanliness of the sewing, but I am pretty sure I am going to make another one and try different ways of doing it.

Nothing like everyday boring old routine

I can totally explain my lack of posting in the last few months.  I was in Egypt for the summer and before that it was Ramadan and I had assignments that were due and all of that.  There was practically very little making or doing.

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We played tourists this summer. We took our daughter to see the pyramids, the museum and a Nile boat ride at night. 

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They are even more magical at night.

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The only thing I worked on was this cardigan, in my defense I cast this in June, knit to the sleeve section then ripped it all back because I wasn’t feeling happy with where it was going.  I really need to up my game on this so I can start knitting my own stuff.

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I have been taking a yoga class.  I used to just carry my mat into class but, hey, if you can make a yoga bag, you make a yoga bag.  I used this tutorial as a jumping point.  I had this read pleather that has some texture to it, but it is still soft and supple enough to be easy to sew.  The handles were also in my stash.  Even the red and white striped lining fabric, the elastic and the magnetic snaps were all available at home.  I lined my bag because, I don’t like seeing raw edges in a bag.  I used a normal sewing machine needle and a teflon foot.  It probably took an hour and a half from start to finish.

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After successfully sewing the yoga bag, I wanted to experiment some more with faux leather.  This is actually more bronzish in real life but it is much thicker and tougher than the red stuff. The bag size is perfect for my every day stuff; wallet, keys, sunglasses and my iPad.  I also add the key thingy so I can clip my keys into it instead of having to fish for them in my bag.

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Last but definitely not least, I read Nimona.  It is a great graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, you can read the first three chapters online and the book is available as a Kindle book.  She writes a beautiful story of a  young woman, who is strong, multidimensional and vulnerable but without the stereotypical fluff.  Definitely worth a look at.



Knitty Kitty Cat Hat {Free Pattern and Friday’s FO}

Knitty Kitty Cat HatI really had no intention of knitting a hat.  It has been in the 40s (celsius) for weeks, so (a) there is no need for hats (b)I had other things to do.  I was browsing Pinterest and found a really cute crocheted Hello Kitty hat and thought I need to make one of these.  I didn’t want to crochet it so I thought I would just knit it instead.  There was no pattern and I did not feel like finding one.

I grabbed some worsted weight yarn, swatched with 2 different sized needles, then started knitting.  I remember when I first started knitting and crocheting and I had no idea what I was doing.  I still don’t know what I am doing most of the time.  But that night, I knew exactly how to construct a hat, how to measure gauge, how to use that gauge to figure out the number of stitches and how to get this done.

Basically, I told myself “I got this”.  When we are just learning something we struggle with all of its elements, then practice and knowledge start replacing that frustration, more time and muscle memory takes over most of it.  Have you even been some place, then found yourself at home, without even thinking how you drove home, maneuvered the roads or even thought about directions? 

The hat is started with the ear flaps, they are made first, bottom up then the rest of the stitches are cast on in between them.  This hat fits children and has a circumference of 18 inches



250 meters of worsted weight yarn.


4mm DPNs and or circulars

A stitch marker, scissors, darning needle


6 stitches/inch in stockinette


K Knit

P Purl

M1L Make 1 left (instructions)

M1R Make 1 right (instructions)

CO Cast on

K2tog Knit two stitches together


Ear Flaps

On a DPN cast on 3 stitches, without turning, scoot the stitches to the other side and knit the 3 stitches, keep on knitting and scooting to knit an I-Cord.  If you have never knit one or find these instructions confusing, check out this video.  Knit until it measures 14 inches. 

From now on you will be turning each time as usual.

Row 1 P all stitches

Row 2 K 1, M1L, Knit to last stitch, M1R, K 1.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have a total of 21 stitches.

Row 1 P all stitches

Row 2 K all stitches

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for a total of 7 times. Finishing on the wrong side.  Leaving a long tail cut the yarn.

You have completed the first ear flap, do not cast off, leave it aside on the needle or on a lifeline.

Repeat the process, but this time, knit one more row, do not cut the yarn, CO 33 stitches.  This page explains how to cast on in the middle of the work. Knit the stitches on the first ear flap, now it has the same number of rows as the other one.  CO another 33 stitches, add a stitch marker and join with the first stitch from the first ear flap to join the round. The total number of stitches should be 108.

Continue knitting in the round until the peice measures 5 inches, from the edge of the brim (not the ear flaps).  The brim might be rolling so make sure you measure it while flattening it.  Crown decreases can now begin.

Round 1: *Knit 10, K2tog*

Round 2: Knit all stitches

Round 3: *Knit 9, K2tog*

Round 4: Knit all stitches

Round 5: *Knit 8, K2tog*

Round 6: Knit all stitches

Round 7: *Knit 7, K2tog*

Round 8: Knit all stitches

Round 9: *Knit 6, K2tog*

Round 10: Knit all stitches

Round 11: *Knit 5, K2tog*

Round 12: Knit all stitches

Round 13: *Knit 4, K2tog*

Round 14: Knit all stitches

Round 15: *Knit 3, K2tog*

Round 16: Knit all stitches

Round 17: *Knit 2, K2tog*

Round 18: Knit all stitches

Round 19: *Knit 1, K2tog*

Round 20: Knit all stitches

Round 21: *K2tog*

You should have 9 remaining stitches, cut of the yarn, thread the darning needle and insert the yarn into all 9 stitches, pull tight and weave in the end.

The hat itself is now complete.


CO 24 stitches, Join in the round.

Knit 7 rounds.

Start decreasing the ears.

Round 1: *Knit 6, K2tog*

Round 2: Knit all stitches

Round 3: *Knit 5, K2tog*

Round 4: Knit all stitches

Round 5: *Knit 4, K2tog*

Round 6: Knit all stitches

Round 7: *Knit 3, K2tog*

Round 8: *Knit 2, K2tog*

Round 9: *Knit 1, K2tog*

Round 10: *K2tog*

Finish off and weave in the ends through the remaining 3 stitches.

Make second ear.


Attach the ears.

Weave in all remaining ends.


Enjoy your hat.