Alabama Studio Style and chat with author Natalie Chanin
I'm getting really close

Today's thoughts

Feb 17
Fair isle

I love any reason to pull my colored pencils out of the art cabinet and use them.  Charting the fair isle pattern for my sweater was the perfect excuse.  As I sat and knitted the first few rounds of the yoke, I thought just how much I love fair isle knitting.  And then I remembered that I said the same thing the last time I did it and wondered why I don't do it more often.

I have received numerous emails and comments asking me about whether or not I will sell guitar straps like the one I made for Jane.  I really want to and I am looking into figuring out just how to make that happen.  I'll let you know as soon as I make a decision either way.

I enabled threaded comments a week (or two?) ago.  I really like it this way because it allows me to respond to people quicker and more efficiently and it allows you to comment on other peoples' comments, too.  A virtual conversation, of sorts.

I haven't forgotten about the snack pdf.  I just haven't had the time to get it together.  But I will soon.  We have added smoothies to the mix and they have been well received.

Staying up late to watch the Olympics is making me super tired and a bit crabby.  I am going to do my best to go to bed early tonight.  Or take a nap.  Or both.

I wish I had a personal organizer who could come over and help me sort out the studio.  The mess is epic and there is a lot of fabric and other stuff that needs to go, but I feel paralyzed every time I look at it.

The sun is out and I am happy for that.


rachel | buttons magee

I wish I was a bit closer. I could help you organize your studio and you could help me learn fair isle. :)

Erin | house on hill road

oh, that would be perfect!


ummm...just two days ago, I was wondering if there was any way I could afford a professional organizer. But unfortunately, I would need them to take on my whole house!!

that fair isle is amazing....


I have been cranky too, I think it must be the late nights for me as well. But who can help staying up for Shaun White!?

What sweater pattern are you making and what yarn are you using?, The base color- looks so soft and lovely.


I'm so not an Olympics person (ducking now!), but I did manage to catch Shaun White's run last night and he really is incredible.


I have also often wondered how I could get my very own personal organizer. Your fair isle is beautiful! Even Elisabeth came over to the computer to look at it and comment on it -- which is unusual for her as she's not usually that interested in whatever I'm looking at online.

Susan Moore

I'm wondering what yarn you are using for that sweater. It looks so soft, and just a bit fluffy.


I think you all may be jealous when I tell you this. I have a personal organizer for a friend. She gave a day of service to her friends for Christmas. She can organize anything and loves it. Especially if there is some demolition involved. I have her slated to do my garage. I won't let her do my studio though. That's mine to deal with.
I'm sure she would love to help anyone. She lives to organize. How nice for me.

I loved your colored pencils. I just bought a set of 50 and placed them in this colored tin I got from Germany. I too love colored pencils. I've never done the fair isle knitting, I do like it just have never tried it. I did run to the book store upon your recommendation yesterday to buy Reversible Knitting. There is one sweater in there that belongs to my daughter.


I think I wish for a personal organizer daily. The only room in my house that is organized is my craft/sewing room. The rest is a mess of epic proportions.


what cardigan pattern are you using? I'd really like to learn to knit with multiple strands here pretty soon.

Dude, I'd totally come over and help you organize. I'm a good organizer, when I get going.


I have found that a good friend can be a good substitute (not that I've ever had a professional organizer to actually compare). Having someone to keep you on task and not get bored/sidetracked is key. Also, someone who is not emotionally attached to your stuff and thus, can help you be a bit ruthless in the Tossing phase of organizing.

Francis Berryhill

The sweater and yarn look yummy! What is the pattern you are using and what yarn?

Mama Urchin

I wish I could help you organize too, plus it would be fun to play in your studio. My tension on fair isle always gets too tight, no matter what I do. I have in my head a snowflake yoke sweater for Katie though so I really need to figure it out.

Sarah Jackson

I have the same things to say as everyone else. LOVE the fair isle (and really need to get over my fear of it).

My studio is a similar paralyzing disaster. How about you fly here and we'll do mine, and then I'll fly there and we'll do yours. That way you get fabulous weather for a few days, and then I'll come there with a newborn for you to snuggle while I work. I think it's a win-win! :)


don't forget what your FlyLady says..."you can do anything for fifteen minutes." :)
I just finished organizing my craft space again last week, and I did it fifteen minutes at a time. and if that doesn't work, take Sarah J's suggestion. to snuggle with a newborn for a few minutes? heavenly.


Well I'm still working on organizing my studio, but what has really helped me is to tackle just one thing at a time. For instance - today I'm going to fold all my fat quarters, then tomorrow I'm going to put away all my ribbons and buttons, etc, etc. Trying to get everyone done at one time was just too much for my brain to handle and I couldn't even start the process.

I'm looking forward to seeing your sweater yoke come along. EZ is the best.


Oh that fair isle is so inspiring! I love the colors! I know what my next project will be.


I have to add that watching organizing shows on TV (neat, clean sweep, etc) always motivates me. It also makes my husband nervous b/c I tend to want to get rid of lots of 'cool' things :)


the organizing thing is hard for me in my studio, I seem to be able to get it everywhere else for whatever reason. Sending clear thoughts and naps!


Ha! I hear you on the need for a professional organizer. My craft room is a Disaster.

I love that sweater pattern. In fact, I made my absolute most favorite sweater using in, and plan to make another. So much fun!


wow... we have organizers and those wanting the services of an organizer... I also live to organize. Nothing like some good pitching, sorting into containers and lining things up to make me happy and filled with energy. Right now, I'm covering plain Jane manila folders with pretty papers so my organizing will look nice. Love the sweater and the colors on the neckline. I tried to learn how to knit... went back to crochet.


Erin, I love coming to your site. Especially when I've had a hectic day and want to relax (your photos always help!) As a mom of two little girls who is just starting to knit and sew, I was wondering how you started...and are there some things that can't be self-taught? (like maybe fair isle knitting?)

Thank you for your website!


Love the colours on the fair isle!!


Your sweater looks great - please tell us about yarn and pattern.


Oh I LOVE love LOVE yoked fair isle jumpers! I would just knit them if I had the choice... but it gets to the point where you seriously can't wear them all... :D I love the mindless knitting for the body and the yoke, oh the yoke makes my heart sing seeing it all come together! But I make myself knit smaller things in fair isle now, like hats and mittens on teeny tiny yarn so that it takes as long (or if not longer) to knit a hat as it would to knit a jumper, because I simply can't keep knitting yoked fair isle jumpers!! Or perhaps I should just knit bohus jumpers (on teeny tiny thread)!
Can't wait to see yours finished!!!


Too bad you aren't located in Virginia, as I am a professional organizer. And to organize a studio would be F-U-N!!

Erin | house on hill road

I promise to dish all the pattern and yarn details as soon as I am finished.  I'm not holding out - I just don't have all the info at my fingertips right now.


Erin, I went back and searched for the place that you referenced
reversible knitting. I couldn't find it because you didn't. I somehow
traveled to another blog from yours. I found it on
There's a sweater there that I will surely make for my daughter.
I also love your tea leaves sweater. That I am certain was on your blog. At least I'm fairly certain. You've inspired me to pick up my knitting again. Thanks


yes! the tea leaves was mine. i saw that reversible scarf betz made and it's beautiful. that book is really fantastic, too.


it's an elizabeth zimmerman. i promise more details later!


it's an elizabeth zimmerman, ellana. i got the yarn at knit nook. nashua creative focus.


i'll take a rain check!


That yarn looks so soft and yummy, and I don't usually use words like "yummy", especially in regards to objects that are not food (and even then it's usually food that I'm trying to get my toddler to eat). I saw it and immediately wanted to make a blanket from it. And I don't even knit.


Wanted to say that even though I only found your blog in December, I have come to look forward each day to your posts and projects. Thanks for sharing them.

Erin | house on hill road

Thank you, Linda!  I really appreciate your sweet words.

Erika Sews-it-all

Just found your blog! Great stuff, love your tutorials.

Wanted to share this link with you to, it's a project sharing inspirational links with sewers on the web including tutorials and connections with other people. There is a whole page, Sew to Serve, of charity organizations that need donations of time and talent from sewers, too. Thought you might like to visit.


Fair isle boggles my mind. Maybe one day... Oh, and I suck at organizing my studio space, which is why it is a mess most of the time.


Loving the fair isle. I think any excuse to play with colored pencils or crayons is a good one!


gorgeous sweater erin! messy studios make me want to move or just sit there and cry. i find what works best for me when things are so far gone is to set the timer for one hour, and just start there. the next day, another hour, then stop. one hour a day for a week will give you great improvement. you'll also find that by day 3 or 4 it's not so daunting anymore and you might spend a full afternoon in there. good luck, i feel ya.



Regarding the epic mess: I seem to be in a clean-in-out kind of mood these days. I've realized that the key to success in tidying my place is to identify what needs to go, and then GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE. This time around, I've just set out a bunch of empty boxes labeled for friends, and fill them up with the things that they might like. When they're full, I take them over to the post office and mail them with a little note. I also always have a goodwill bag next to the desk, so I can just drop things in when I need to.

I hope that the clean-up and the fair-isle go well!


I love excuses for pencil crayons too! I like to design quilts with them and graph paper. so fun! can you sent that organizer person my way next. I am also paralyzed by the state of my sewing room right now. So I've been hanging out in the bedroom knitting instead.


GORGEOUS color combination! I can't wait to see the finished creation!~Jan


Yes the Olympics are exhausting to watch. thank goodness knitting can be done while watching. I was just saying today I could use an assistant to clean my desk and type and print. One can dream.

sew katie did

My problem is I start to get my second wind at about 9pm. I often make myself go to bed at 10 and call it my "inspiration hour." I read and write...if only I could make myself do it every night!


love love love those colors, erin.
don't you have a friend that could come over and help organize? and then you help her? do it on a friday night... where wine is served.... and kids roam free. :) SO FUN!

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