Fridays with Franklin: The Edge of Crazy

fwf-logo-columnsizeFor an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this project, click here.

It’s not often that I wish a project were larger. This one has been an exception. Every stage has been more fun than I anticipated–and the result makes me smile.

This is a small piece. I thought it would be a swatch.

I’ve carried it with me during the busiest teaching travel season I’ve ever had. It has been worked on in eleven states; in big cities and in the middle of nowhere; on land, on sea, and in the air; in view of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; next to one Great Lake, two small lakes, and a medium-sized pond with a frog in it.

It’s seven inches wide and nine inches long.

When last we met, I was working on the decorative embroidery between the patches.

In addition to the buttonhole stitch (open and closed) and the feather stitch, I went cuckoo and added French knots with little tails in a few places where it seemed additional frivolity would be welcome.

It was fun.

At no point did this project require me to be serious or restrained. At no point did I have to ask myself whether more embellishment would be too much, or whether I ought to tread within the bounds of good taste. This project is crazy. It says so right there in the name.

When I had finished the lion’s share of the embroidery I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to leave the swatch a swatch. I didn’t have the time (or yarn) to do an entire blanket. But I had enough to make it up into a tiny, unserious cushion cover.

Since it was an unserious cushion cover, I kept dicking around with stuff I had been told never to do. For example, a very serious knitter once warned me that in cushion covers, one must always be sure the grain of the front fabric matched the grain of the fabric. In other words, you must always arrange the panels thus:


and never thus:


If one broke this rule, she insisted, one’s cushion would…I don’t know what. Explode? I mean, the horizontal grain (rows) and the vertical grain (columns) of any knitted fabric do stretch at different rates; but why would this be a catastrophe in a cover over a stable (if squishy) center?

Anyway, she’s dead now, and she was mean while she was alive. So I decided to stick my tongue out at her, posthumously, and mix the grains up like a madman with nothing left to lose:

I striped the back panel at random with every color from the front except the purple, because for about a week I couldn’t find it.

I put one-row buttonholes into the upper back panel.


Wait. That sort of looks like a superhero mask, doesn’t it?

Garter Woman! Na na NA nana na NAAAAA!

This was, of course, an excuse to play with more buttons from Skacel buttons; so I lost a pleasant hour wandering among the hundreds on offer and settled on the Fancy Iridescent Glass Buttons because I was feeling both fancy and iridescent.

Fancy Iridescent Glass Buttons from Skacel Buttons

I sewed the panels together with mattress stitch, and found that the joins were fine–clean, straight, unobtrusive–but altogether too sober. Insufficiently bonkers. So I pulled out my vintage needlework books in search of a mildly bonkers edging.

A pattern collection from 1905 turned up just the very thing, a picot edge, which looks like this:

and is worked like this (I quote the original verbatim–if I can make sense of it, so can you):

Make a chain of the length required, work Sg. C [single crochet] or DC [double crochet] on this, then fasten yarn with a Sg. C in the top of a stitch; chain 3, insert the hook through the top of the first chain stitch, throw yarn over the hook and draw through both loops; fasten with a Sg. C in top of next stitch, or skip one stitch and fasten whichever way makes the picot lie flat.

I wanted to crochet the edging directly to the cushion cover; so rather than make a chain, I worked slip stitches all the way around the seam line between the front and back panels and worked the rest of the edging stitches into that.

You may notice that I found the purple HiKoo Sueño Worsted that had gone missing. I used an addi Olive Wood crochet hook in size US D/3.25 mm because it seemed like it would do and it was near the chair I was sitting in.

The result was a very unserious ruffled edge–ruffled because instead of obeying the instructions about making the edge lie flat, I crammed the picots in. Jamming lots and lots of fabric into a smallish space gives you ruffles. Annoying when you don’t want them, delightful when you do.

It’s kinda like the edge of the petticoats on a cancan dancer. O, là-là! La plume da ma crayon! Défense de fumer!

Then on went the buttons, one-two-three-four. In four different colors. Because in crazy patchwork, more is more.

I have heard more than one knitter say that button placement makes him nervous. This is all I do–put the upper band over the lower and insert locking stitch markers through the buttonholes to mark the place each button needs to go. Boom.

Neat little buttons, all in a row. A pretty sight.


In case you’re wondering where I got a pillow form of the correct size (7 inches by 9 inches), I didn’t. I cut up an old cotton sheet that was in the rag bag and sewed one, stuffing it neatly with some clean, hand-dyed wool roving that I bought ages ago at a fiber fair, and have never been able to understand why I bought it, because the colors are hideous. No, I am not going to show it to you; and no, I’m not going to tell you who dyed it.

I’m not that crazy.

Now I have this hilarious little pillow…


…and I don’t know what it’s for, though I am absolutely going to use it as a sample for a new class on knitting and embroidering crazy quilt squares. If I can’t stop the madness, I might as well spread it around.

Epilogue in HiKoo Sueño

This is was my first encounter with HiKoo Sueño Worsted and I can’t say enough good things about it.

It’s so crisp and smooth, and the colors show off brilliantly. There’s been no sign of pilling, even though the balls of yarn and the knitting itself has been dragged around the country.

Even after the cushion cover was finished I didn’t want to stop knitting the stuff, so I whipped up an impromptu cowl for Rosamund without a pattern.

She likes it. She likes to have clothes on, especially as the weather in Chicago turns nippy. The only thing I think I might do is line it with woven fabric to keep the floats on the inside from catching on her collar. But that’s for another column.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

HiKoo Sueño Worsted (80% Merino Wool, 20% Viscose. 182 yards per 100 gram hank.)
HiKoo Sueño (80% Merino Wool 20% Viscose; 255 Yards per 100g hank.)
Fancy Iridescent Glass Buttons (18mm) by Skacel Buttons
addi Olive Wood Crochet Hook
Clover Small Locking Stitch Markers

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site ( or his Facebook page.

Thursday, or Rather a Rest-Day?

Honestly, I am very tired this morning as the baseball game last night took very long and I have been home quite late. But do not worry, I can handle this! Even if I do not drink coffee, black tea is my best friend this morning…

Afterwards we, that means my boss Karin and me, headed to the Makers’ shop to prepare everything for the Vogue Knitting live show on September 21st until September 23rd. We are training on how to build up the booth so that it doesn’t take us too long to build it up on the event itself. Building up the booth has been quite funny as it was something practical, doing some hands on stuff for the whole afternoon.

I am so excited to go to San Francisco for the weekend! How cool is that? I even have the possibility to explore the city, at least a little bit. That is just great!

Wednesday, Halftime!

Can’t believe that half of my internship is already over! Wow. Time passes quickly 🙁

This day, again, is based on some Lynda learning and I continued checking the list of participating shops at the 10,000 New Knitters project on the website with the list of retailers that we have here at Skacel. I was surprised how many shops actually take part in this project. So, this is great!

This whole project is supposed to teach “newbies”, beginners or even people that don’t knit (just like me) how to knit. The retail stores will be delivered with free knitting kits, so that everyone who wants to take part can easily take part on this special knitting event on November 10th. Sadly I won’t be in the us anymore when the event takes place, otherwise I probably would have started a newbie in the #10000NewKnitters project as well!

I saw a baseball game of the Seattle Mariners this evening, so this has been very exciting as I saw the football game of the Seattle Seahawks last week. I must say that I prefer watching a football game rather than a baseball game. I just prefer the quicker sports, having more action, as I used to play handball for a long time.

photo-2018-09-17-10-06-34.jpgNot to forget that there was the event called “Bark at the Park”, where everyone is allowed to bring their dogs to the stadium. Long story short: So many cute puppies!

You may or may not recognize Rylie. She has been on some other pictures in this blog and you may know her from her bakery she used to have at Makers’. She is Karin’s daughter and we have a lot of fun together, especially when I get to try some of her home baked sweets! Oh and of course her dog, Barkley, belongs to this picture, too!

Please Remind Me that this is a Tuesday!

Once there has been a long weekend, also known as Labor Day weekend…

I really enjoyed having a long weekend including Labor Day and that is in fact why my 16th day is on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. I have been scared for a short moment because I thought I would have forgotten to write a blog post for Monday, but then my calendar reminded me about Labor Day…

The day basically was structured by a lot of Lynda learning, writing on this blog and then even more Lynda learning. It was not the busiest day so I tried to get some knowledge about creating an infographic with the usual programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I still might not know the techniques behind using these programs for creating an infographic, but at least I know now the theoretical part behind it: How it has to be structured to provide a good understanding and why infographics are helpful in general.


My highlight this weekend has definitely been Sunday, when Karin, her husband and I went to Alki beach for dinner. We had fish and chips which were really good! But the stop we made at one of the observation deck has been even better! I already told you that I love photography, so I got very excited standing on the deck while taking lots of pictures, not only at the deck but also at Alki beach itself…


It is Friday again!

…And I miss the cheesecake in the kitchen 🙁 I think I am gonna bake some on my own and bring it to work, so everybody’s day gets sweetened up.

Today, believe it or not, the button project continued about putting the buttons up on the rings. Sadly there has not been enough rings, so I have to split the task for the next days. I am not sure if it is based in my German roots, but I prefer finishing a task on one day, kind of efficient.

Afterwards I worked on the monthly newsletter for all the truthful knitters out there. Therefor, we look up for interesting patterns on Revelry, put them in a bundle and add them to the monthly newsletter. That way, all of you are always up to date with the newest patterns and trend!

Please do not get confused that there is not blog post for day 14. Day 14 was my day off, as I have been to a Macklemore concert on Wednesday evening and to a Seahawks football game on Thursday evening. I had a day off on Thursday to regenerate after and for all these awesome and exciting experiences!

The football game yesterday night was very cool. It has been my first football game ever and watching the Seahawks as one of the most famous football teams in the US has been great! I have been very impressed by the size of the stadium, like…WOW! I have never been in a stadium that big. I was very impressed even before the game had started. I will not say I have not been familiar with football in general, what made it a little easier to get into the rules and the strategies. As it got darker and the sun began to set, the view from or rather of stadium got even more impressive. I really enjoyed this experience.

Wednesday, more like a wow-day!

Today, again, was quite much about translation. I translated a text about the Atelier Zitron in which they explain their production and their values to their costumers, kind of a newsletter.

Before and afterwards as well, I did some research on Ravelry, Instagram and Pinterest, as usual adding some pins, creating bundles and liking or answering to comments.

The day ended a little bit earlier as I went to a Macklemore concert this evening. And tomorrow evening will be reserved for a Seahawks game. So, busy week! And as it will get quite late this evening, my boss kindly told me to take Thursday off, because the the football game will get quite late, too.


The concert was so much fun! It took place at a winery which has been a very cool location for a concert.

Alright guys, nothing special to tell you about this day. You will hear from me on Friday 😉


Someone brought cheesecake to work today! Whoever brought this cheesecake to work today…you made my day! Thank you 🙂

Today, everyone was kind of exhausted from the photo shooting yesterday. So some of my coworkers were especially quiet and I have seen some tired figures sneaking through the office, my person included. The photo shooting was unexpectedly demanding, so we are all happy to have a calm Tuesday.

The pictures might give you a little impression of the results that are about to be published in the Look Book, but also how much fun we had doing this photo shooting. Thanks again to my coworkers and of course to Karin!

My day started off with wiring the blog entry for the photo shooting yesterday, as we have not been in the office after. Actually, it did not cost me that much effort to write the text as it is easier to write about busy days.

Afterwards I did some Lynda learning until Candice, our graphic designer and now well worked out photographer, showed me some pictures of the shooting from yesterday. We compared the pictures that have been taken with Karin’s favorites. She took part in the photo shooting as a model, too.

The cutest Burrito around

This day has been so much fun! I did not have such a cool workday for a long time. This day we had the photo shooting for the look book by Skacel and I got to take part in it as a model. It was just so much fun with among these awesome people doing some great work.

The day started at 7:30 o’clock, carrying all the stuff down to the beach house in Burien, where the photo shooting took place. It felt like starting the day off with a little workout. In general, this day was not about skipping leg day at all… 😀 We carried all the stuff down to the beach and tried to start taking the pictures as soon as possible, because we knew that there would be a lot of sun in the afternoon, which would not make it easier for us to take the pictures as well as modeling in the warm sweaters in the afternoon heat.

I expected this day to be physically demanding, but after a short lunch break I already felt like taking a long nap to load up some energy. It has been pretty exhausting for us, the models, to run in and out of the building down to beach with all the changing. But for Candice, our graphic designer and our photographer for this day, it has been even more exhausting. She did some serious squats out there, trying to get the perfect angle. Candice did such a great job, she was able to manage around our goofiness for taking good pictures, even if none of us models is a professional. Now I know, Candice is a professional!

Hank, who has been with us down at the beach house has been very exhausted at the end of the day, too. That is why we took a little break to cuddle and to regenerate some of our resources…

Dear Candice, if you read this, from a photographer to another photographer: You did an awesome job out there! Thank you for your leg-workout and all the squads you did to catch us in the perfect lightning!

First it was a little bit weird to stand in front of a camera and being expected to do some posing. That is why most of us have been even more goofy early in the morning to conceal our insecurity of standing in front of a camera. For me, it has not been the first time doing a photo shooting, but I has been the first time modeling professionally for a company to advertise a product. Because, what you may or may not have recognized flicking around the Skacel look book, the models are never professionals. They are always employees or friends of the company. That is what makes it so fun to take the pictures and makes it a little bit harder for the photographer to handle the models through their (insecure) goofiness for achieving good pictures at the end.


As time goes by, one gets more comfortable in front of the camera so our “posing” got a little more serious as well. But still, I had such a lot of fun doing this. It was an awesome experience and I am already excited thinking about taking the Look Book back with me to Germany, having all this cool pictures with my friends and some lasting memories of this internship at Skacel.

If you wonder what the title is about:  We took a picture with a very big shawl and I have been wrapped into it as a little burrito. That’s when Katie came up with the quote “The cutest burrito around”. You will probably find that picture in the look book, so stay curious!

Day 10, like a tent, but without a T at the end

Well, I guess my jokes are getting worse…

It is Friday everyone!

Today began pretty smooth with some browsing on social media to spot the newest trends and everything else that is happening out there in this big and beautiful knitting-world. Afterwards, I began to write the newsletter. Therefor, I used an existing template on WordPress that had already been prepared by Katie. In this newsletter, we inform you about the newest and trendiest patterns spotted on Ravelry. Each month we search for new and interesting patterns, which can be knitted with our yarn. And we always connect the newsletter with a lot of links, so that you are able to find these awesome pattern, that we picked for you.

The day continued with some online learning. I started to watch a online course that talks about writing a press release. I think this could be good for my general writing skills, as well as general knowledge in the PR. Especially because there are always tasks in the marketing that are part of the PR. So now, if you are curious about some information on how to write a (good) press release, just ask me 😉

img_0235.jpgAnd BIG NEWS: I got my own stapler today! Before, I always had to ask Rob to borrow his stapler, but now I proudly can announce, that this beauty is all mine. Well, it belongs to the company but it is on my desk now 😀

If you are curious to try an internship at Skacel, you will not only get a well equipped desk, but great coworkers and cool tasks!

Just saying: Weekend is coming soon

The title may communicate that I had a bad day, which I definitely did not have, just to be clear!

This day was just pretty cool. Started the day off working on this blog, writing some texts, taking photos and just letting creativity flow.

The afternoon, in fact, we prepared everything for the photo shooting on Monday. So we met and put all these different garments on for allocating the clothing to the models. It was a funny thing to giggle around and trying on different things, just like sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, hats and shawls. It will be the first time for me to model for something. And it will be a very exciting thing to appear in a magazine.

I am happily looking forward to Monday. Being outside with people, that I consider as friends by now, taking photos and having fun while doing professional work done will just awesome.

I wish I could tell you more about this day, but actually I worked very deeply and long term on the tasks of the day, so there is nothing more I can report about.