De-pill, De-pill!

Remember my great green sweater?


It’s far from perfect, but I’d like to knit it again, a smaller size, a tighter gauge. Right now it’s a housecoat and I bundle up in it in the evenings when it’s chilly in Santa Barbara. Chilly in Santa Barbara is anything below 68 if you’re a local. And too hot? That happens at 73. Spoiled?

Because it gets worn, and worn hard since I have two kids, two dogs, and a house, it’s covered in pills. For years I’ve used a Windmere Sweater Shaver. And by years, I’m talking 15+ since my little tool pre-dates my husband. It works pretty well, but it’s slow and you have to have the technique down: small circles, about 2″ in diameter in a back and forth pattern will generally get you where you want to go with the sweater looking almost new again.


The new player on the field is a Gleener. I’ve heard it buzzing about the knit-sphere. No battery, elbow grease power. But supposedly the best thing since the knit stitch.

Pre-Gleen. Lots of pills.


Post Gleener you can see it’s removed a lot of the bigger stuff. But there’s still a haze on the fabric. There is a finer Gleener head, I’ve played with it but not officially. (that lovely half button is thanks to the puppy. She’s a chewer.)


The big pils is Gleener. The smaller is the Windmere going over afterwards. The Gleener is definitely faster for large area pill removal. For fine work, I’m leaning towards the sweater shaver. It takes batteries and is slower, but the fabric actually looks like new not just de-pilled.img_20170106_095508

Do I like the Gleener? Yes. And I’m going to keep trying it out. But I’m not going to be tossing my trusty sweater shaver.

Embroidery, Mr. Robot


Way back in March I reviewed a few books from the library. Specifically, I looked at the Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Embroidery. After thinking about it, checking it out, thinking, needing to reference it, I finally bought it from Amazon.

And usually after I do that the books sit on the shelf untouched. Not this one!


First I referenced it to add an embellishment to the required class project in my 3 week sewing course. Day one was mostly listening plus starting this bag, identical to everyone else’s. My little trio of flowers should help distinguish my finished project. Plus, so cute!


Then, because every knitter feels a compulsion in their DNA to clothe babies, I had to make a baby beanie for a blogging acquaintance. After frogging a baby hat knit on the wrong yarn, I knit up a simple grey beanie. And after searching Pinterest for line drawings, referring to my new favorite book, and pulling out the floss – Ta Da! Adorable baby boy gift.

More Reviews

I’m pretty lucky that my library has a good selection of knitting books. And what it doesn’t have it’s able to request from the branches up and down the Central Coast of California.

Unfortunately, this one, while it had a beautiful braid that had me drooling, didn’t come home. It focused a bit more on “how to knit” and the pages just weren’t captivating for me. I’m a bit beyond “how to knit” and with the whole Eastern European style, most books don’t even address different methods. So this one wasn’t a good fit for me.

Who knew the world of stitch dictionaries was full of so much competition.

I did bring home two stitch dictionaries – one for knitting, one for embroidery.


My husband does not count “Do you want to come to bed and read stitch dictionaries with me?” as an aphrodisiac 😉

But I found myself just paging through the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches” book. It was captivating. Fascinating. Because I’m a beginner at embroidery, I appreciate the “how to’s” for this. But there’s almost too much info! I skipped a lot of the first several chapters and went straight to looking at stitches. Some of that may be because I’m only really interested in embroidery on my knitting, so different fabrics doesn’t hold a ton of interest. Though it does have me considering more Wabi Sabi embroidery repair on clothes that are wearing out (afterall, I am a lover of darning).

The other book, “400 Knitting Stitches,” is, well. It’s a stitch dictionary. I’m looking more closely at some of the bobble stitches than I did in my previous stitch dictionary. But if I were to add one to my personal shelf, it wouldn’t be this. It’s just a book. And one I can re-check out if I need to.


Stitch Dictionary Review

Despite knitting for more than a decade at this point, I’ve never been one much for stitch dictionaries. I follow patterns and pick up new stitches that way & have been quite happy with the results.

Until now.

The Knitmore Girls have discussed their carefully curated library, including stitch dictionaries. Up to this point, I’ve tried to limit the books, mainly to Alana Dakos, Hannah Fettig, & Susan B. Anderson; and a handful of magazines, mostly Interweave Knits. I prefer single patterns I know I’m going to knit (so much regret over patterns I buy and don’t knit!)

But I checked out “Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary” from the library. And I’m in love! I find myself picking it up and flipping through it. The directions are clear, and as the title states, they give them for top down, bottom up, or even knitting in the round. Highly applicable for knitting hats & socks!

IMG_20160224_135826402_HDRClearly George is not as thrilled about stitch dictionaries as I am.

I really want to try a few, particularly on hats for the Down Cellar Studios Gift-a-long KAL. (Most of my socks are vanilla)

I appreciated the fact that the book is “tabbed,” sort of. Each section is color coded, so it’s a bit easier to find what you’re looking for quickly. And the addition of a section on designing is available at the back of the book. While writing patterns doesn’t hold a huge interest for me, I would like to be able to fit a stitch pattern into a hat pattern.

Another perk is that the book looks hardbound, but once you open the front cover you find that it is actually spiral bound, so each page lays open flat.

Part of me wants to add this to my shelf right now. I love the layout, I love the chart & written instructions, I love the spiral binding. Two things are stopping me: 1. It’s the first stitch dictionary I’ve really reviewed and 2. I love the library and can check it out again anytime!