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I have been staying home for more than 30 days now. The thing that has kept me sane during a global pandemic has been knitting.

And wearing matching outfits with Jellybean and posting them on social media. It’s the little things.

In all of the chaos, fear, and sheltering in place, the click of needles and the feel of yarn has calmed my nerves. It helps me turn my attention away from what’s on the TV and focus on what’s in my hands and what feels good.

For this month’s edit, I thought I’d share a few projects that I would consider mindless knitting, knitting that doesn’t take too much energy, isn’t too complex, and can probably be done with a little stash diving.

Sparkle by Sharon Sebrow

There’s one group that is loving all the people staying at home: dogs. Our beloved companions are puzzled as to why we’re home all day, but they happily accept the extra walks, belly rubs, and treats. So wouldn’t this be the perfect time to try a simple dog sweater for your furry BFF?

I know I’ve talked about how I adapt dog sweaters, but one of my go-to dog patterns is Sparkle. It’s an easy top-down sweater, knit in worsted weight yarn, which you can try on your dog as you go.

If you have a small dog like Jellybean, you could finish it in a day. If your dog is bigger, you can work on it over the week. Now’s the time to make something that makes you smile, and dogs in sweaters always make me smile.

Homebody by Heidi Kirrmaier

Right now I can’t focus long enough to attempt to knit bobbles, stranded colorwork, or lace. I just want the soothing rhythm of stockinette stitch in the round. Homebody is the epitome of a simple pullover. It’s the kind of mindless knit that will engage you but still let you zone out and enjoy the knitting.

I’m thinking of making one for spring in a non-wool based yarn. Perhaps knit this in a fun, bright color to help bring a little joy to your day. I always suggest an outrageously bright pink or turquoise as a good mood lifter. Perhaps knit it in a yarn that matches the Sparkle you plan to make your dog.

Scrapper Cardi by Safiyyah Talley

When I want an easy knit, garter stitch is my go-to. This cardigan is a top-down, with a round yoke. It plays with color fading, so it’s a perfect project to start right now with special skeins you’ve been saving in your stash but don’t know exactly what for—it’s for the Scrapper Cardi.

If now isn’t the time to break out the good yarn, I don’t know what is! Added bonus: when you’re finished knitting, you can put it on immediately to add a bit of polish to the video conference call.

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Painting Bricks Shawl by Stephen West

Don’t have the capacity to knit a sweater? That’s OK, too. I’ve been working on this shawl in a rainbow (25 color striped rainbow to be exact) as a good project to settle in with in the evening. It’s just knits, purls, and slipped stitches. Nothing complex, and the end results are just beautiful. Plus, the color combinations are endless and the stripes don’t take up a lot of yardage.


Well would you look at that, I finished it!

No matter what you’re knitting, I hope that you are home, safe and sound, and washing your hands.

About The Author

Dana Williams-Johnson knits every day. Knitting is what brings Dana joy, and she shows that through her use of color (hello, rainbows) and modifications of favorite patterns into replica sweaters for her dogs.

You can read about it all on Dana’s blog, Yards of Happiness, and watch her video podcasts on YouTube.


  • Dana, I always love your posts. You have such excellent ideas! Thank you for brightening my day.

  • Oooh Dana ! I love your knitting and your unbridled enthusiasm.

  • Beautiful options! I don’t typically knit in bright colors, but quarantine had me pull out some bright pink I had stashed along with some bright variegated suri alpaca- I am holding the strands together for a simple topdown sweater. It looks like an Easter egg and it is making me so happy!

  • I love the Painted Bricks shawl! Especially with the smoothed out edge in place of the scallops. How did you handle that?
    Dog sweaters – I love what you create; but having two Maremma Sheepdogs (they’re double-coated, and both over 100 pounds), I don’t think I’ll be knitting any of those.

    • Beautiful patterns!!

    • I stopped at the chevron border and just skipped to the I-cord bind off.

    • You could knit yourself a sweater from their undercoats – then you’d have matching ensembles!

  • Wonderful and truly inspiring! I have just finished my first top down sweater (hooked on top down now) and ready to dive into some serious stash busting. Will follow you on YouTube. Thank you.

  • I love, love, love your posts, Dana! And, I love seeing you and your sweet dog!! Thank you!

    • I have quite a lot of fingering in my stash – huge variety of colours – just waiting for the right shawl. I think this may be THE one. When I’ve finished my current 3 WIP that is! Thank you for a inspiring blog.

  • Well I’m pulling out my WIP now that I haven’t been able to focus on. You exude such joy in your knitting and it’s infectious! Thanks for the inspiration during this crazy time.

  • Dana, now more than ever we need someone like you! Bright colors, big smiles and adorable little dogs in beautiful sweaters! Always look forward to your posts.

  • Dana, thanks for the different spin on the Painting Bricks Shawl. I wouldn’t have given it a second look with the dark outlining, but your softened version made me do a stash dive! Can’t wait to get started!

  • Oh to the em to the gee. I’m buying the homebody pattern, it is exactly perfect for the husband sweater yarn I have. The painted bricks might be the epic thing I need to make for my mother.
    Dana, thank you for your smiles and inspiration.

  • What a wonderful way to start this day. Thank you Dana. Love your shawl colours.

  • You are a ray of ☀️
    Thank you for brightening my day☘️‍♀️

  • Thanks! Gorgeous knitting, as always! Love your cardi and shawl. If only I had your color sense!

    • The Painted Brick Shawl (looks like a stained glass window) & your Rainbow version are gorgeous. Such a burst of glorious colour. Thanks for giving us a glimpse.

  • Thanks for the inspiration, again!

  • Thanks for the inspiration Dana. I love your passion for all things fiber and furry. I am ready to go stash diving today and start a top down pullover. Managing the lockdown well with so much love of life and sunshine. Have a wonderful day!

  • Dana, your Painting Bricks makes me want to knit one JUST like it. Perfection.

  • How can I get the pattern for the rainbow shawl?

  • Love! What great ideas. And that scrapper cardi is calling my name!


  • Darn it! Now I’ve gone and added three more items to my Favorites list…like I didn’t have enough Favorites already!

  • “Outrageously bright pink or turquoise” – you and I are on the same wavelength, Dana!

  • Thank you, Dana, from the heart. I have been knitting Wendy Bernard patterns from Field Guide #11 and her stitch dictionary. I look forward to MDK showing up in my inbox each morning and love everything in today’s posting, especially your colorful shawl and the pullover sweater. You really rock your knitting, I’m grateful that you knit every day and are a delightful “show off!”

  • Dana Williams-Johnson, you are a national treasure and I am in love with you. Scratch that: You are an international treasure, but I am still in love with you. Thank you.

  • I’ve been working on a cowl called the shift and have made way more mistakes than I usually do. I’ve decided to embrace them and will remember this cowl as a time when I could barely focus. It’s still comforting to knit it. It now has lots of “design elements” ❤️❤️
    Thank you for all you do in your cheerful way

    • I just finish my own Shift cowl and have blocked it carefully. The two short sides destined to seam together are still of very different lengths —one side knit sturdily, the other loose and keeping its social distance. Actually the overall triangular shape looks like a mask for a rhinoceros. Hmmm.

  • Love everything about this, Dana. You crack me up all day long.

  • Dana this post was just what I needed right now. I adore the picture of you with your rainbow shawl (and all the others too). What a ray of sunshine you bring. Thank you x

  • I love your work and blog. Thank you. Be safe.

  • I don’t knit but I crochet and love it I don’t have a website

  • You always bring a smile! Love your colorful knitting and your outlook.

  • YAY! A Dana post!!! I didn’t know how much I need one of these until I saw it. Love all the photos and especially love Jellybean. Hope you are safe and well! Thanks for your uplifting post.

  • Thank you, Dana! This post made my day.

  • Thank you Dana, that scrappy cardi has just gone onto my queue.

  • The shawl is my speed. Enjoy all of your projects. You do such beautiful work. The shawl is so coloful, bright and ushers in Spring. I don’t wear sweaters because they’re to hot for me, live in warmer climate. Such an inspiration to the knitting community. Jellybean is the bomb, other canines are jealous. LOL! Keep up the good work! STAY safe and the faith. Blessings!!

  • Do you have a work pattern for the main picture? Looks like a shawl?

    • Where can I get the pattern for the gorgeous rainbow shawl

  • You are such a bright light in a dreary time! Thank you for always being so inspiring! Love JellyBean!

  • Fresh ideas. Great concept…..Love it. Keep them coming….

  • I would love to have the pattern for the rainbow shawl. It’s absolutely stunning!

  • I love her joy and posit I’ve spirit that comes through her writing and smile.

  • Dana, thanks for the inspiration. I can’t believe you knitted 27 sweaters in one year. How in the world? Your Rainbow shawl is gorgeous. I love color too and we have similar body types. Seriously, thank you!

  • Dana- my favorite in all seasons. She is knowledgeable, down to earth, and funny.

  • so inspiring lately I fell in love with crochet work and this feel so stress relieving ….I would like to get more ideas while still in the lock down here in Istanbul probably soon will vacate this place and focus on the yarn with the less privileged back in Africa just thinking this could help women unemployment reduction and children getting to learn early enough to avoid waste of time while growingI iam humbled to yoour great work thank you. Connie from Uganda. …

  • I enjoy seeing your smiling face, your sense of color, and little Jellybean, especially at this time of COVID-19. All the best to you. A fellow DCMVA-er

  • You really are a wizard with color, sticks and string. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite because I love everything you do! Thanks for sharing your gift with us. Happy knitting!!!

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