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selma moss-ward

  • Embracing Change: How I Fell In Love With Big Needles

    Thick and Quick Blanket


    When chronic overuse of my hands was causing pain while knitting I began working with physical therapist, Victoria Moitoso of Foundry Orthopedics in Providence, Rhode Island. She suggested that I use only very large needles: “The larger the needle, the less stress it will cause.” I found some number seventeens among my knitting notions, and started a blanket for a baby girl due in July.

    In the beginning, number seventeen needles, 1.5 inches around, felt about as delicate as shovels. But the blanket they created, with Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn, was adorable, and best of all, the basic stockinette worked up so quickly that I forgot all about the initial clumsiness. I also loved that the project was complete in only a few hours. Whether or not you have a hand problem that might benefit from using large knitting needles, you’ll find that it’s extremely gratifying to make something so beautiful so quickly. Big-needle projects are perfect for summer knitting, since the speedy work means you won’t feel overwhelmed by heat.

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  • The Pleasures of Hand-Woven Plaid

    I’ve always loved plaid fabrics, anchors of my wardrobe since childhood—kilt skirts, winter coats, nightgowns, and flannel shirts.  Plaids are multicolored roadmaps of threads that travel together, split apart, intersect, and play the angles. When I saw Lion Brand’s pattern for a Woven Plaid Clutch, loomed on the DIY Weaver, I seized the opportunity. I’m a person who learns through doing, and I really wanted to understand plaid from the inside out.


    Plaid happens when two or more colors intersect in the weaving.  Warping the loom in two colors, as required for the Woven Plaid Clutch, is as simple as warping it in one color.  For the clutch you set up the warp in stripes, and you weave across in swaths of the same two colors.

    Because you’re using Wool-Ease® Tonal in the colors Lapis and Smoke, the woven effect is more complex than if you’d used solid color yarn.  Lapis modulates from royal to sky blue, and Smoke is a medium grey that moves to pearl.  The woven fabric you create with these dynamic colorways conveys depth in a way that isn’t possible with a monotone.  Especially in this pattern, the yarn’s coloration provides maximal interest.

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  • Pillows Woven From the Heart

    What does your heart say?  I wove three heart-shaped pillows with my Martha Stewart Crafts DIY Loom, and each had a different message.  Several messages, actually, because each heart spoke of many things.


    When I first saw the pattern for the Woven Heart Pillow in the Lion Brand pattern database, I was charmed.  Small, decorative, and adorable, it seemed a perfect Valentine’s Day gift.


    Setting up the loom was easy.  There’s a clear diagram to follow.  What I didn’t expect was having to set up the loom pegs just once.  When you warp anything on this loom, you anchor the beginning and end with a simple slipknot.  After you’ve completed your weaving, you undo both slipknots, and the woven panel you’ve made relaxes as the warp loosens slightly.  Then you gently lift your weaving off the pegs.

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