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I sort of hope that this is a bit of a bringing-coals-to-Newcastle situation and that you’ve been on the Bettye LaVette train ever since her stunning “comeback” with My Own Hell to Raise in 2005. But if not, well, I’m certainly glad to be of help.

Her brand new LaVette! keeps her by now legendary status thrumming along full-force, with a batch of songs all written by almost-original Sea Level member Randall Bramblett. With several albums’ worth of covers of very famous songs in her past, I loved that I wasn’t familiar with these; the record is less about “what’s she gonna do with something I know very very well?” and more about “what can she build from the ground up?”

Now, if you know Bramblett’s work already, you might not experience that, but I didn’t so I did. There are not a lot of people in this world who can bend a song to her will quite like Bettye LaVette, and sometimes I wonder if songwriters envy her just a little because she manages to find something in a song of theirs that they didn’t quite know was there. Let’s call up Bob Dylan and ask!

I don’t always love it when people make a big deal about or act surprised when an older artist makes a great record; the implications are that the well runs dry when you hit a certain age or that you can’t possibly have something to say at that point and that we should just clappy clap clap because they’re still upright.  Well, those are just lies, lies, lies, and I blame Big Youth.

I just don’t believe you can truly sing a song about regret at age 24, sorry (don’t @ me! My blocking finger is itchy!). But … it’s hard to avoid noting that LaVette is 77 years old and that she might have some thoughts about regret and maybe we should really listen to her.

If Bettye LaVette is new to you, you’ve got a really rich back catalog to pop on the hi-fi. If she’s not new to you, you’ll love LaVette! as much as the others. And if you ever get the chance to see her live, you should do it. You’ll hate yourself for not being half so vibrant and energetic and … relevant.

A Giveaway!

The prize? We get to see lots of excellent yarns when we make choices for the MDK Shop, so this week’s prize comes courtesy of our ecommerce manager … it’s “Natasha’s Choice Mystery Bag.”

While we’ve got your attention, browse the Sale aisle here.

Every week, Natasha edits our discounted offerings. And thank you for shopping with MDK. Your purchases and Field Guide Subscriptions support all the daily, ad-free fun.

How to enter?

Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for MDK emails, right here. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. If you’re already signed up, you’re all set. We have a new option for texting, so when you sign up for those, you’ll get a coupon code good for 10% off your next MDK order.

Step 2: MDK readers never let the well run dry. Let us know in the comments what new (or newish) to you activity you’re into to keep it fresh and funky.

Deadline for entries: Sunday, July 9, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • I found some oddball silk yarns in my stash — two lonely sport-weight skeins hand-died in grape and one skein of lace-weight in melon. Summer colors! They are becoming a bold and dashing shawl like nothing else I have ever dreamed of!

    • Post photos. It sounds scrumptious.

      • Enjoying some summer reads on audio books. Tom Hanks’ novel is awesome!

        • Thanks for the tip! It’s on my list:)

    • Signed up for French classes!

      • I’m enjoying making Sofia Scarves these days…

    • I learned how to sail in the fog on the Maine coast this summer. And it inspired me to build a Caledonia Yawl this winter. I have never built a boat. I have never even built a birdhouse.

      • I’m experimenting with acid dyes.

      • I had pledged to myself to bump up exercise. So I am walking and kayaking regularly.
        When I sit, I knit!

      • I hit a knitting slump, so I bought a lap loom and it’s helping keeping me engaged and creative!

        • Jill, I feel your pain! I’ve been stuck on sleeve island for months.

    • I am learning to weave on my cricket loom.

      • I’ve been sitting on the dock watching the boats go by as the boaters go by watching me knit.

        • I’ve been playing with paper a lot these days. I often come across old books that are bound for the landfill and am thoroughly enjoying pulling the pages out and making things with them.

    • I joined a western equine drill team and will be designing my own costume and performing at a state fair.

  • I’m learning a new language, Swedish

    • I started to read every label that I come across- clothing to bread.

    • I’m back to kayaking. Why did I stop?!

    • I’m learning to crochet with my daughter and granddaughter so we can make a granny square quilt together

      • I recently started cross stitching. 🙂

    • I have been writing in a journal every day, not something I have regularly done.

      • I’m submitting some of my poetry to Poetry Journals

        • We discovered mini-landscaping with a small pond insert and new plants and a waterfall feature in our yard this summer ☀️

      • I’m learning Fair Isle.

    • I just finished a workshop on rigid heddle weaving. One more way to use yarns and fiber!

      • My sister-in-law gave me some sourdough starter so I am learning about that now. It actually feels new in this post-pandemic phase of life.

  • I’ve started learning English Paper Piecing… Its a small project just getting my feet wet but I’m loving all the possibilities!

    • Yoga, always and forever!

  • Well, I joined a book club in my neighborhood…

  • DG- Oh my goodness gracious- where where has this woman been my whole life? I thank you for the introduction. Her cover of Dylan’s song reminded me of picking up my then middle schooler with Blood on the Tracks playing- her covering her ears and saying would you PLEASE turn that off it’s hurting my ears! This would have been a better introduction!

    • I just purchased an Electric Eel spinner. Up to now I’ve never used a spinning wheel of any kind. My first tries are not pretty but I’m looking forward to improving.

    • Ditto!!

  • I’m getting back into cross stitching by inventorying many years worth of DMC floss. Does that count? 🙂

    • I’m introducing my blue heeler to kayaking in a tandem- fun and games ahead!

  • I was introduced to rubber stamp carving a few weeks ago. What fun! So simple, yet satisfying. You can pick up an inexpensive kit on Amazon. Speedball is the brand that was recommended to me.

    • I was going to learn how to crochet, specifically a market bag. I picked up
      knitting during the lock-down and just love the community of knitters!

    • Practicing Tai Chi and swimming laps regularly.

  • Love this, thank you! I just discovered a new musician I love Joy Oladokun, which made me think about how all the new music is young people and why don’t I hear new things by older new-to-me people in mainstream interviews. (What I consider mainstream, that is.)

    I’m finally going back to yoga.

    OT, for a while I’ve wondered about Olive.My beloved dog, recently died, so now I’m wondering even more because I know Olive was a few years older. I wonder about Kermit too.

  • Hi all I joined a CAL and it’s my first garment made in crochet…eek I’m so excited!

  • Wel, my new activity is going to be listening to all things Bettye Lavette for the next long while. Where on earth has she been all of my life!

  • Swimming at least every other day.

  • We bought a camper van, so the current project is learning how to run it.
    Then I can indulge my old/new passion, crochet!
    Bertha needs a granny square Afghan.

  • Renewing interest in needlepoint for a diversion.

  • I just finished a wonderful embroidery class from Tatter, so I’ve been stitching every morning.

  • New activity? I’m taking a bonsai class today at the Sarah P Duke Gardens (a magical place –if you are headed to Durham, do check the gardens out).

  • I’m learning to repair holes in sweaters with creative mending. I’m using all my skills from weaving to embroidery to felting. It’s creative and challenging. A lighted magnifying glass will help make it easier which is my next purchase.

  • I discovered audiobooks, about a year ago, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I don’t even watch TV anymore! All I listen to is historical romance.

  • I had planned to attend my first VK Live in NYC which was the weekend of my 40th birthday. (I was all signed up for a class with Franklin Habit and everything.) Unfortunately I couldn’t make the logistics work so I had to cancel. My consolation was taking a natural dyeing course the same day at my local community college. I came home all fired up to dye All The Things, and picked up a couple books. Then I remembered that I have a five-year-old and a baby and very limited space and that perhaps this is something to put on the back burner until the kids are older and my craft time isn’t limited to the occasional few rows on a sock.

  • Everything old is new again. Like crossstittch! I pulled out a large project I started in 2000 that was almost completely finished. Why did I put it in timeout for so long???

  • Hmm…in crafty things I’ve been playing with a lot of old books and figuring out what I can make with them (teeny tiny envelopes, stars, origami cranes in case I end up in prison like Martha). There was a time when I accidentally found out I was really good at volleyball but it was so long ago, I don’t think it counts as new.

  • I have been listening to Brenda Dayne’s podcast Cast-On. Up to 2007! And now, thanks to the Netflix special, also have over 150 episodes of SmartLess to listen to.

  • I just started spinning wool.
    I simply didn’t think I needed another hobby. It’s addictive.

  • New volunteer opportunities to give back and keep me active. My latest is measuring windows for insulating window inserts which are then assembled and can be donated to or paid for by people who need them.

  • Growing and baling my own hay.

    • BRAVO!!

  • I’ve got a Bargello kit to make a …..wait for it……a kleenex holder 🙂 …except I put the kit somewhere safe… I am on the hunt. Which will likely result in a diversion into the other things I’ve put someplace safe…..

  • Hi All! I discovered Aqua Fit and running in the Lazy River this summer at my local rec center. I have never enjoyed fitness classes, much preferred running and working out alone. All that has changed. I love these classes!!

  • I took a skateboarding lesson for my 55th birthday. I’m intrigued!

  • I’ve been going down the rabbit hole that is Amy Christopher’s Pressed Flowers designs truly enjoyable knitting whether you’re making the shawl, scarf, hat or sweater. Thank you for your great articles I look forward to them and always learn something new from them.

  • I am back practicing the piano.

  • I’m doing deep water and ABD water classes. Love them! Great for balance and flexibility. I’ve meet an now socialize with some great people!

    • I’m learning to play the gong.

  • My new thing this summer is going through drawers and cabinets and boxes, and weeding out the things that I no longer want or need. It’s really liberating!

    • That’s my plan for Summer along with reading and spending time & library and knitting!

  • Finally using my rigid heddle loom I bought 20 years ago…So much fun

  • I’m working on upping my crochet skills. (They’re more basic than basic.)

  • Knitting a summer sweater for myself. I haven’t knit anything for myself since high school.

  • Karate. More or less new-ish but I learn to practice every day and focus on improving.

  • Move that body! The only way to keep it fresh ! Lift those Weights feel your muscles!
    Listen to Bettye to move to!

  • Thank you, DG! Was not familiar with Betty LaVette; love her voice and vocal phrasing.

  • Potpourri seems to be making a comeback. I might try my hand at making my own.

  • I’m starting my first quilt ever.

  • Looking forward to warping a rigid heddle loom that has been patiently waiting in the corner of my craft room for years!

  • NEw-to-me that’s keeping my well from running dry? Lately I am missing some of my knitting time by A- rebuilding our deck, B- learning some Indigenous beading & quill work (as in porcupine quills) and C- early forays into learning spinning (fibers) and throwing (clay pottery).

  • This year I got into axe-throwing. So stay away from my yarn stash if ya know what’s good for ya.

    • Ha!!!!!

  • My new (rediscovered) activity is listening to music while I knit – thank you Pandora! And thank you DG for giving me boatloads of new-to-me artists to listen to. (To whom to listen? Maybe my new activity should be to calm down about grammar!)

  • Audiobooks on an iPad.

  • I’ve just a beginners yoga class, and loving it!

  • I’m at that special time in life where I get to choose my Medicare plan(s)…which is fun! Otherwise, I’m also working on a wedding album for my son and daughter in law. They were married 6 years ago!

  • Canning. Making lots of fun flavors of jam this week!

  • I’m working on either finishing or dismantling a large cache of unfinished projects. In a moment of weakness, however, I bought a sashiko sampler kit and now can’t resist the stitching…it’s nice to try something new.

  • I’m playing around with using scraps in all sorts of ways to make crazy quilt blocks

  • I’m listening to BETTYE LAVETTE!!! Wow! And thank you, DG!

  • I’m venturing into the world of natural dying and finding out there’s a lot of yellow in that world!

  • I love DG.

  • I’ve got my second Alabama Chanin project mostly bought for, and gave myself an occasion to finish it for . . .

    • Forging stronger friendships with my five sisters.

  • Started knitting dolls to resemble people and giving them as gifts. So far, they have been favorably received.

  • Sashiko and boro boro mending

  • Lots of time at the lake and a few hikes

  • A friend passed on some fabric to me and inspired a round of sewing myself clothes. Have not had the sewing machine out much in the past few years, so I am relearning a lot and having a great time.

  • I just got back from SCUBA diving in the Galapagos. It was amazing. Already dreaming about my trip to Indonesia to SCUBA dive in October,

  • Pickleball!

  • I’m thinking about various things new to try – basket weaving keeps coming to the top.

  • I am taking up hand embroidery again after many years.

  • I’m learning gold work couching embroidery but adapted to my modern design style. Taking a wonderful class with Hanny Newton in the UK. It’s so much fun to just play!

  • After a long winter of listening to audio books and knitting I’ve rediscovered the joy of sitting on my porch and reading a book.

  • I’m knitting a skirt for the first time, and it happens to be the Shakerag Skirt pattern by Nell Ziroski, its coming out great and I love it. Thanks for a lovely pattern Nell!

    • I love that skirt and you will too.

  • Going to learn Tunisian crochet

  • Calligraphy and lettering.

  • Just this morning I was searching for words to wish a friend the best on her 80th… considering Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.” That might make the cut.

  • After many years of being a diehard cuff down, double points only sock knitter, I am finally doing my first pair of magic loop toe up socks, loving them. AND following Patty Lyon’s wisdom for the perfect SSKs and k3tog!

    Also enjoying junk journaling, dying my own papers, making my own signatures.

  • I’m doing the full “Mare Kondo”, and I’m loving it! Space!

  • I’ve been doing some boro stitch mending on a pair of loose denim jean capri pants and wearing them inbetween patches. Also looking at the 4 shaft loom I’ve never used and planning out a project.

  • I recently found some rather old handmade quilts. I’ve been researching ideas on how to repurpose them into clothes, hats patches etc.

  • Getting back into hiking!

  • Trying to finish my Ancestry family tree, but the hints keep coming!

    • New games with my grandchild

  • I just had my first baby. So… That lol

  • Keeping my sanity

  • !!! I just saw her in the re-airing (for Canada Day on CBC, which does make it across the border) of Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen. A showstopper among showstoppers (though KD Lang’s Hallelujah was the knockout blow for me). Most recent new-to-me venture was weaving on a circular (embroidery hoop) loom.

  • I have a couple of sashiko kits calling my name.

  • Knitting different projects with different yarns! Especially starting them!

  • I have seen Randall Bramblett live when he opened for Bonnie Raitt. Great show ( loooong time ago).
    I will check out Bettye Lavette and that will be my new and interesting activity!

  • I haven’t started a new craft; I don’t want to acquire new tools and supplies. But I’ve been easing the guilt of several friends by accepting their destashed yarn and searching for ways to use it. Often it’s a limited amount of a delicate yarn that’s not suitable for charity projects. (I draw the line at eyelash yarn – that just goes straight to the trash.)

  • Getting back to gardening and crochet after a long time away.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win some yarn AND the music tip!

  • I’m relatively new to sock knitting!

  • Crochet — fabulous yarn / project baskets! So fun!

  • I am starting a course in color and design for fiber artists.

  • Not new to me but new each time. I do not read genre or author. I find a book as it finds me. I have recently read about China in a different time, 2 WWII stories about people and what was required and now Puerto Rico in the 80s. Not new hobby but new people to move old thoughts

  • Taking Tai Chi for the first time and enjoying it! Taking on Treasurer role in my local rowing/tai chi club! Adding to my yarn collection and thrilled to be learning mosaic knitting while making Amy Christopher’s Pressed Flowers Cardigan!

  • s for knitting, Stephen West has definitely added to my skillset in simply explained and delightful ways.

  • Rediscovering photography post retirement

  • Thanks DG for finding this one. I met Bettye in maybe 2005 as she was touring and singing in our town and I was doing her hospitality. She was a lovely and gracious lady and one heck of a singer for a room that did not have the acoustics she deserved.
    What’s new to me? Figuring how to work with the Kidsilk Haze and making the Belinda Wrap. Once you are 4 or 5 rows in and using the good pointy needles (see notes in lounge) it’s a fun and summer, dare I say, poolside knitting if you are not lifeguarding.

  • MDK is my new thing, been knitting, crocheting, cross stitching, and sewing for a long time. A daily blog to read has gotten me eager to learn more techniques that I’d never heard of before. The past six months have been very busy!

  • For years I have wanted to try rug hooking and have slowly acquired some hooks, wool fabric, and some backing and a paper pattern that I am now thinking it is not a beginner’s project. I am borrowing a frame so I should be ready to go. Three weeks later I finally tried hooking for the first time two days ago. Hooked and ripped out multiple times and finally hooked and left it stay. Videos make it look so easy! I am now launched into another wooly craft. I am seeing all sorts of possibilities of using odds and ends of yarn. But it will be helpful if I can hook faster than a snail!

  • Ultimate frisbee season has started up

  • I recently spent way too much time scrolling thru Ravelry for baby blanket patterns. My neighbor is expecting a grandchild in Oct. I settled on an ABC blanket pattern from Knit Picks , but of course I had to change up a couple blocks….and I am halfway done with it. Its the biggest project I’ve tackled in some time. I was tired of the shawls and cowls I made all winter!

  • I’ve started dabbling in quilting.

  • Crocheting plant hanging baskets

  • I am making janky journals! They are called junk journals, but mine are kind of janky, so janky journals. I gift them because I have TOO MUCH STUFF!

  • We moved to a new city recently, so we’re going to lots of new places! Today it was an iconic local diner for strawberry pancakes.

  • On my daily walk with my dogs I recently started taking a photo of something that speaks to me. This time of year it’s usually flowers. Then I text it to a friend. I’m also starting a Tai Chi Chih class in August.

    • P.S. Thanks for introducing me to Bettye Lavette, D.G.!

  • Since I have developed a tendinitis from knitting, I have started doing needlepoint. But, as soon as I can, I’ll get back to knitting too!!

  • Online book club with some very smart and fun ladies!

  • I’ve been having fun reviewing and growing my very rusty crochet skills and learning intarsia, both in the same wedding gift project!

  • I’m learning to spin with a drop spindle.

  • Canning. It wasn’t hard once I took the plung! Nice to open a home canned jar of goodness in the dead of winter.

  • I’m joining a KAL! Looking forward too that.

  • I’m learning how to play pickleball. Not too unique – but it’s fun!

  • I’ve started playing The NY Times Mini-crossword and Spelling Bee along with Wordle (started that about 8 months ago) before going to sleep. They are perfect for turning off all the worries from my day.

  • Bettye LaVette is awesome! We saw here here in Portland at the Waterfront Blues Festival several years ago. The Festival is back in full force this year (buh-bye Covid shutdown), and it’s so good to see/hear big music in person again. My favorite performer so far this year is Nik West, a bassist who has played with Prince, among others. She’s amazing.

    Fresh and funky? I’m teaching knitting on a schooner at the end of this month. I’ve never taught on a schooner before! Schooner Zodiac out of Bellingham WA, Nautical Knitting Cruise. Woot!

  • I’m on a quest to make a perfect pie. I’m working on crust right now. It takes practice, but I’m getting better.

  • I’m experimenting in tie dye/ice dye! So far, so good!

  • Journaling – trying again, this time with stamps, stickers, colorful pens and pencils. Hoping the creative element will help me stick with it…

  • In honor of my upcoming milestone birthday, I decided that this next twelve months would be a time to experiment with new crafts. I started with an indigo dyeing workshop and am thinking about setting up an outdoor dyeing space. I want to relearn how to crochet and I’m thinking of gifting myself a rigid heddle loom. I took a worship five years ago on weaving for knitters and enjoyed it. I figured weaving would help use up my considerable yarn stash, although some weavers just assured me that it presents many opportunities to buy more yarn!

  • Relearning crochet to make a baby blanket for a great-grandchild expected in January.

  • I’m learning how to swim!

  • Strength training

  • I haven’t start yet, but I’m learning about weaving and starting to save up for a rigid heddle loom!

  • I’ve gone & done it: joined a weekly knitting group!

  • My favorite new activity has been using a VR headset to do aerobic workouts, it turns a chore into a game!

  • I am learning to live in a new to me country and trying to knit sweaters typical to my tyrolese village 🙂

  • I’m baking all kinds of bread using interesting flours: Irish, rye and spelt so far.

  • Gosh, its all about time, isn’t it? I wish I had more of it for HALF of the things I’ve dipped my toe in during this lifetime.

  • I’m taking a new yoga training to expand my yin practice.

  • Writing poetry! Definitely for my eyes only, but so much fun.

  • I’m getting my stash in order. Sigh

  • I’m taking my first painting class!

  • I attended a meeting of a book club for the first time (Because the book was non-fiction; I don’t read fiction.) It was great fun!

  • I just inherited 8 large shoe boxes of beads from a friend. I think I need to start embellishing!

  • I’m learning how to play golf.

  • An old-new thing – I got a RSS aggregator app and have been putting blog links in there (including MDK). This is early 00s tech but is really helping me stay focused… instead of reloading 20 pages every hour, I just go to my app.

    As to craft – have bought stuff to do some hand-sewing but haven’t yet bought any fabric. Making a simple t-shirt is on my short list though – a very new thing for me!

  • Kayaking. Peacefully paddling on calm waters restores me and calms my mind. A lovely activity for getting the creative juices flowing again.

  • This isn’t crafty but we recently sprang for a Peloton Tread and I love it – I know it’s spendy, but it’s my newest thing. There are so many great things I’d like to try once I’m retired. Real job is pretty time consuming!

  • I am working on clearing off my needles one project at a time. My goal is to only have them cleared (except a long term blanket project) by the end of summer. I am also reworking a couple of FOs so that I will enjoy them more. I just ripped out 6 inches on a lace weight pullover to make it more wearable length.

  • Just learned how to crochet!

  • I am a home recipe tester for the PBS show and my family is invited to my testing. They love it.

  • The most exciting discovery for me this week was buying an air fryer. Yes, it’s come to that.

  • My “new” thing is to not pick up any addition hobbies and concentrate on the ones I have!

  • DIY update of my old fireplace 🙂

  • I’m dabbling in some paper craft. Revamping a set of cards to take them from meh to oh lovely!

  • I’ve been delving into experiments with what I can grow in pots on my deck railing in an effort to thwart the local deer and push the pot capacity envelope. Will I get squash? How long before the lettuces bolt? Did the squirrel barrier work? Big times.

  • Making a blanket with my stash- and have been collecting additional stash from yard sales and free online apps – my daughter – who is saddened by my bits of beautiful wool not getting used will be overjoyed when I finally present it to her!

  • I’m venturing into vinyl bag making land

  • I’m working on my home bartending skills! Next up, a watermelon, mint, lime cocktail.

  • Making a quilt from knit fabrics for my niece using fabrics from another sister. Lots of memories. When this is over, I’m back to my stash of cotton fabrics.

  • I’m being challenged to rewrite a knitting pattern to change the stitch pattern and shape of the sweater (from a ribbed tunic to a stockinette pullover…testing my math skills as I’m trying to grade the pattern!)

  • I taught my daughter to knit but now she is teaching me to crochet!

  • I learned how to bead crochet this month. It wasn’t pretty but it was addicting and I plan to do more soon!

  • I figured out how to drive a car through a herd of cattle on an unpaved back road in Kansas. Fences on one side and a ditch on the other prevented going around.

  • I’m doing a bucket list trip to Alaska. As always, bringing my sock knitting project. Make a pair every vacation.

  • getting my dancing shoes back on after recovering from a few surgeries…

  • Always an interesting newsletter to look forward to.

  • Learning to weave 🙂

  • fresh and funky….fresh is trying to keep up trying and learning all the ways to do colorwork from intarsia, to fair isle to stranded to mosaic to ladderback, brioche and double knitting including illusion….so many ways to use color….and then funky, I am knitting a floor mat with size 19mm needles and bulky yarn, looks like a fishing net so far..the giant stitches has a kinda lego like building block feel. Can’t wait to feel it squish under my toes.

  • I am knitting with tencel for the first time.

  • Working with more cotton blends with color ways that naturally pool – discovering fun, interesting color combos doing this

  • After a lifetime of using yarn to crochet, weave, and knit, I am learning how to spin. I’m learning about wool and yarn from the inside out. I’m also remembering how challenging it is learn new ways to use my hands, and to coordinate my hands with eyes, treadling feet, and my brain.

  • Trying a little sewing.

  • Learning to swim and yoga.

  • I was about to write that I’m enjoying silk/linen blends, and that’s so like the first comment I read! And lace.

  • I’m in a class that knits a different pattern for socks each month this year. We are comparing them like March Madness to determine which we like best.

  • I’m learning to weave.

  • Dyeing yarn with natural dyes. So far this summer I’ve used onion skins (if you use a lot of onion skins you get a beautiful deep orange) and avocado pits (dyed twice using all the pits the second time…beautiful mauve). Marigolds are on the list.

  • I am knitting a feather fan blanket, trying to use up leftover yarn. I grouped the yarn by color; pinks, blues, greens etc, then do one row of each color group: light pink, dark pink, light pink, dark pink, until all the pinks are used up, do a few rows of white, then repeat with the blues and so on. It looks really nice blending the colors this way.

  • Started playing the tuba four years ago, just as my 66th birthday was coming up. Next up, now that my 70th birthday is coming up, I’ll work on learning to play the double bass as well.

  • Love Bettye! I am knitting100 hats in 2023. I’m up to number 52:)

  • Taught myself to knit in 2016 using “Building Blocks” by Michelle Hunter. Great way to learn, but I am a process, not project, knitter. So, learning a skill, not beauty, was/is my goal. As you can imagine, I have a pile of differently sized, lumpy, somewhat inept blanket squares. In the ensuing years, I have learned I hate joining! It has taken seven years, but I am finally joining the blanket squares! My new activity? Joining by crochet! I do not know how to crochet – so that is the new skill I am learning. World’s ugliest blanket will then be donated to the thrift store, where it will likely be scooped up by a wily and thrifty knitter who will unravel it to repurpose the yarn!

  • I’ve returned to quilting after a decades-long hiatus.

  • I must be in a rut. The newest thing I can think of doing is starting sourdough from scratch, three years ago. But I’ve kept it alive all this time, and have gotten much better at baking bread.

  • Last winter I learned to make pine needle baskets! Now I’m ready to learn how to dye the needles!

    • This sounds so cool! We have a lot of longleaf pine trees by me so I’d always have materials!

      I haven’t started anything new. Mostly I’ve been trying to get anywhere on a top-down tab-start shawl that I’ve pulled out I think six times already

  • I’m starting to dip my toe in the stranded colorwork waters.

  • finishing up projects left behind during the past several years

  • HIIT! keeping me in shape so I can sit and knit…

    • I started HIIT last fall— now some of my best handknit sweaters are too big. I have already ripped & reknit two. I think for any others I’ll just make like Elsa and Let It Go.

  • I’m into watching the Tour de France, and I usually hate pro sports of any kind. I blame the Tour de Fleece!

  • Cross stitch with beads!

  • I bought a pattern so that I can learn to sew my own bras.

  • I’m a tad ashamed to say that the newest thing in my life lately is Royal Match. Though, it’s really nothing new, is it? Just a different version of Candy Crush. Most of my projects on the sticks are winding down, and I really need a case of finish-itis to catch hold. But Royal Match beckons.

  • A container veggie garden on my deck. I was inspired by my numerous gardener friends

  • Reverse appliqué (mola). Oh my gosh I’m hooked

  • I’m learning how to crochet a sweater.

  • Birding

  • I am learning to spin on a turkish spindle for Tour de Fleece this month!

  • I am learning weaving while also trying to finish several knitting projects. How many works in progress are too many?

  • I have a new and tiny electric spinning wheel… Nano 2 eel from Dreaming Robits (Maurice Ribble). I can’t wait to’play!

  • I’ve put up bird feeders in my backyard and am enjoying the sights of all the birds who stop by. I’ll knit on the deck and find my Zen moment. So darn relaxing.

  • I’m spinning again! As though I need more yarn (of course I do). As the fibers flow through my fingers I imagine what they might become, and what yarns will enhance them. Ahhhh!

  • I’ve recently picked up Portuguese knitting. I was scheduled to go to Portugal in 2020 (oops!) and still haven’t made it there. I did some investigating into yarn shops and discovered the mysteries of Portuguese knitting. It was awkward at first, but now I love it. I use a Maui wave pendant I bought on a recent trip to Hawaii to hold the yarn. I love the depth and richness of knitting. It provides so many inroads to study and learn about different cultures!

  • As a recent transplant to Portland, OR, I am discovering the joys of kayaking.

  • I’m just making different spa/wash cloths

  • I recently accidentally bought many bags of raw sheep fleece. I have surprised myself by how much I enjoy washing, picking, and carding this workload.

  • Indoor rock climbing is my jam. I started last summer going to our local gym, having been inspired by my teenaged sons. At fifty years old, I am getting stronger, more flexible, and trying hard things all while having fun and pushing myself to new heights *pun intended*. If you have even the slightest curiosity or interest, I encourage you to challenge yourself and go for it!

  • Re-reading various fantasy series. Playing the Tears of the Kingdom video game. Knitting a bobble edged kerchief in a fingering silk. Just chilling as best I can amid the heat.

  • No new activities, but allowing myself to start/stop as many knitting projects as I want to – it’s supposed to be about the fun, right??

  • Finished my largest project yet, enormous blanket for a friend. Now I’m on to finishing my abandoned armless sweaters!

    • Having begun my summer with emergency surgery, I am getting my strength back by walking daily. With the unbearable heat wave we’ve been having I have returned to the treadmill which has been sitting unused for years in my basement. It is now a newly rediscovered friend.

  • As it is dyeing season here in Canada I am prepping to dye up some yarn for winter knitting projects. I have a lot of blank yarns but managed to find 2 more this weekend as I travel. So a couple of really big dye days coming up. Cant wait!

  • Learning to spin. Also thinking about purchasing a rigid heddle loom after this week’s article!

  • Compared to some of the other comments here this is going to sound pretty boring but I’m going to knit a pair of socks using the helical method. I’ve tried crocheting, embroidery, canoeing, not climbing and lots of other things and I’m glad I’ve done those things in the past because I’m older now and can’t get around very much anymore.

  • Working on a baby yoke down sweater with lots of color work while trying to change how I knit from a Patty Lyons class

  • Just finished knitting my first ever cardigan – Mariechen – and I absolutely love it! I used cotton/linen yarn and it will be a year round treasure!

  • I’ll be spending my weekend playing with Indigo dye. I have some skeins tied off for ikat, A white Alpaca/Cotton blend t-shirt I’ll be trying Shibori with and then I’m hoping to turn a lace dress blue.

  • Bettye is Awesome. I’m still working on Plan A too.

  • I’ve been working on a Funfetti Shawl” by maxtheknitter.

  • A friend gave me a bouquet of flowers and I took them outside on the patio to paint them on note cards. I’m not an artist but did my “French impressionist” best. Not only did they turn out pretty good, (I will actually use them to write notes to people), but I also heard the birds singing and found peace and inspiration for my knitting.

  • Square dancing

  • Learning a new language AND bobbin lace — but not at the same time. 🙂

  • A friend passed away a few years ago and I inherited a braided rug project that she had started. So I’m learning rug braiding!

  • committing to decluttering ALLLLLLLL the things so I can have more mental energy for what’s most important!

  • during the summer here in Walla Walla, one of the wineries has live music and food trucks on Friday night. I’ve been going with a girl friend and or spouse. It’s a nice way to spend the evening.

  • I’ve gotten back to dyeing yarn recently, which I haven’t done for a while. So much fun playing with colors.

    I also recommend seeing Bettye LaVette live if you get the chance!

  • Have been knitting for 5 years and recently taught myself to crochet

  • I’m learning how to be a senior caregiver from afar.

  • Keeping it fresh and funky by knitting multiple hats for the little ones attending our nephew’s wilderness wedding. Great hot weather knitting, just wee little hats.

  • Singing and strumming on ukulele with my friends!

  • Taking a knitting break to crochet some summer tops for my girls.

  • Working on my first blanket, but it is knit in strips

  • I am knitting with kidsilk haze for the first time, using big needles and barely there yarn has definitely been a learning curve and is producing a lightweight and hopefully gorgeous shrug.

  • Tinkering with antique sewing machines is my new jam. Such a rabbit hole.

  • golf or walk/hike when need to take a break from knitting

  • I’m learning new styles of cooking and new cooking techniques.

  • I am currently making a quickpoint pillow. It combines my 2 favorite crafts using yarn and making cross stitches!

  • This is the year to learn how to dye with those specially grown plants from my garden!

  • I have always knitted something for someone else and was very happy to do so. But, now I’m being a bit selfish and I’m making something for myself…and I’m very happy to do so 🙂

  • I’m being inspired by my daughter to branch out my cooking and baking skills. She is fearless on trying and making new foods. I’m much more hesitant.

  • Braiding, especially with leather, and weaving. So many fiber arts!

  • To keep it fresh and funky when I begin a new knitting project, I clean out my knitting bag and somewhat begin anew by finding a bag (in my collection, of course) that suits the size and colour of the new project. This gives me pleasure because I look forward to casting on the new!

  • Qigong in the park! I finally feel OLD ENOUGH! But really, I’ve been wanting to learn this self-healing practice for years. Highly Recommend.

  • My new activity…strength workouts (with dumbbells). I created a weekly/monthly schedule to help me stay consistent!

  • I just made my own needle minders! The glue is still curing, but I got to use a lot of cute things I’ve picked up over the years but don’t really use. I saved my 1980’s pink cadilac pin from Graceland, but attached magnets to old costume jewelry and a few Read Banned Books items.

  • A friend and I are planning to make parasols for second lines in New Orleans.

  • I am into contiguous sleeves and really want to knit more tees and sweaters using this method.

  • I’ve been a rug hooker for years, but after a friend issued a challenge to make something wearable-ish, I’m starting to make bags!

  • I took ballet as a kid, and continued dancing most of my life in one dance form or another (mostly tap). But now, in my aging years, I have returned to ballet class and am loving the exercise (mental as well as physical!) as an extreme contrast to my more sedentary practice of knitting and crochet.

  • Just started to learn garment sewing. Cutting out my first outfit

  • New activity is walking. My Virtual Mission is an app that gives me a virtual map in some foreign place. I walk my neighborhood, log in my miles, and see what I would have seen on the foreign map. Lots of fun and so motivating!

  • I’m knitting my first shawl ( Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli) and it really is well named!

  • I’m doing some mini projects for my daughter-in-law’s first classroom. Painting book bricks and making fabric tied garland this week. Next week maybe some curtains for a storage area.

  • After working some 40 odd years as a librarian (with a degree) I retired ten years ago. Didn’t stop reading but did stop working. Two months ago the Dallas Library System was hacked and we were told to hold onto our books until the system was functional again. The Library System put out a request for volunteers to help reshelve the books that were returned. I was accepted as a volunteer and have worked for six hours already. I didn’t expect to be charmed and excited by helping a library, but I was. Something old was new again.

  • Water aerobics!

  • Making a sourdough starter.

  • I’ve been building Legos-it’s fun!

  • I am growing a tomato plant in a container by my deck stairs for the very first time. I am excited to watch my baby tomatoes doubling in size each day.

  • Pickleball baby! I got up my nerve to go give it a try. I loved it from the start. The pickle ball peeps are a very welcoming group.

  • Learning Spanish helps keep my grey matter fresh and stimulated!

  • I broke my leg and April and was non-weight bearing for two months so I bought a video gaming system and have been channeling my inner teenage boy ever since. I recently upgraded to a 55” TV so I could see what I was doing better. My TV was smaller than my computer monitor so I decided my 59-year-old eyes could use the help!

  • Well, newish for me, I’m doing crafts with homeless women at a shelter, they hate knitting, but I haven’t given up yet

  • making paper boxes out of old calendar photos or maps – a fun thing to do, and ideal to put small things in – they also make nice presents that way!

  • Challenged myself with “Fragrance of Buds Tee”by Lyudmila Aksenik and Steven West’s Sock MKAL

  • Gardening. I love cheerful flowers all around, and growing fruits and veggies to sustain us year round.
    Dish clothes is about all I have time to knit these days, but love trying new patterns for variety.

  • Volunteered last week teaching knitting classes at a non-profit art center.

  • i am currently intent on finishing UFOa this summer. One is a fingering weight Boxy, about half done, I am at the stage were I need to figure out the neck shaping of the front, which requires thought; I prefer mindless stockinette, of which Boxy has plenty. I want to finish an afghan; it would take about a week of on-and-off knitting and would feel wonderful to finish. And then there is the beaded cowl in practice for the beaded qivuit cowl for myself. My plan is to knit for one week on each to avoid getting bored and being tempted by something new and shiny, Wish me luck!

  • Exercising in a new way with a Pilates reformer maching

  • We have new-ish kittens, so kitten-wrangling is a recent pastime. Aside from that, I’m delving deeper into crochet, going beyond the simpler stitches I first learned and finding new and interesting stitches and patterns to play with.

  • Oof. Lately, I’ve been in a bit of rut, so I need a few ideas. I guess yellow yarn is my new and different thing. Lately, I just want to knit all the yellow, which is a new thing.

  • My new thing is learning Hebrew… I am amazed that I can actually read and make a sentence… same feeling I used to have when I deciphered a pattern.

  • I recently taught myself how to crochet. Knitting will always be my first crafting love, but crochet is super fun too. I made my first bag and then promptly started two sweaters, and granny square blanket (with 15 colors). Good times!

  • Scrappy quilt making!

  • I am teaching myself to knit on a vintage knitting machine. Wow! I am excited to combine both machine (and let’s get this straight….machine knitting is no easy peasy, walk away from your luscious yarn endeavour!) and hand knitting. The yarn stash world becomes endless!

  • Returning to English Paper Piecing as a portable summer activity that’s easy to pick up/put down, though as addictive as knitting!

  • I have started rug hooking with yarn to keep my fiber hobby new.

  • I’m taking an online poetry course as well as language courses.
    Of course, I’m knitting, too.

  • I gave up the three-piece bedroom set that was holding my yarn: an armoire and two large dressers. All my yarn is in paper bags. My playroom is going to get a new floor and glass-doored cabinets from IKEA. New to me: researching floors and cabinets. I’d rather be knitting!

    Oh, and I’m going to teach crochet to an adult this week. She has multiple issues stemming from alcohol fetal syndrome. I’ve taught kids before will will appreciate positive vibes!

  • Knitting jewelry with Olga’s SPARK Field Guide using Spincycles Sunset Strip double with a silk haze orange (stash no label).

  • I recently started working on jigsaw puzzles again, now I just need to figure out how to do that and knit at the same time…

  • Just cut a road trip short because I didn’t bring enough yarn with me!!! My chauffeur drove the entire way so I could knit in the copilot seat. Approx 4000 miles!

  • I’m doing a draw every day challenge.

  • Waiting for garden veggies to ripen, listening to audiobooks, and knitting a new tank top

  • Tackled removing carpet from our cat perch and replacing it by wrapping sisal around the post instead. I managed to find extra large staples in my husband’s very disorganized tool areas so for that alone I should get applause! And it’s cat approved. Maybe I should get back into macrame?

  • Walking and listening to new podcasts!

  • Rigid Heddle Weaving class next 2 Saturdays–perfect timing with the article!

  • I’m learning Italian ❤️

  • I am determined to stay on a yarn diet and knit from my considerable stash, but I have found a pattern I want to knit and a yarn I don’t have will be required. Should I break my diet vow or find a different project to work on? Something to think about while I work on one of my too-many WIPs.

  • I’m finally back to work after nearly a year of searching, and the dramatic change in my free time has left me feeling a bit drained. In order to recharge I’ve been dabbling with embroidery and cross-stitch.

  • I recently learned wood burning. I stink but I can’t wait to get better.

  • I’m working on downsizing to create more space in our living space. Never thought I’d downsize much! First, I sorted through my yarn stash and donated what wasn’t earmarked for projects to a LYS that has a Yarn Library in front of it. The yarn I kept got bagged up into plastic bags per project so it’s easier to grab the yarn and start a project. Next up is my closet. Considering a capsule wardrobe – hopefully it will make getting ready in the morning that much easier, especially as I seem to reach for the same few things all the time anyway… Plus, having some breathing room in my closet would be very nice.

    • Well done! and thanks for being inspiring!

  • I’ve been studying Egyptology and learning to read hieroglyphs.

  • My friend recently recommended a podcast – “If Books Could Kill” – very interesting and educational, will definitely keep me fresh!

  • Thanks for the referral!!

  • After 30 plus years I’ve got a warp on my large floor loom and started weaving a blanket with my hand spun yarns. Not as portable as knitting!

  • Caught me just back from an adventure in Seldovia, Alaska where I rented my first golf cart to jaunt around this remote village with my delighted 5 y/o grandson, exploring the harbor and halibut-fishing boats!

  • I just spun a whole lot of Chivoit wool. I had some lace weight multi-colored yarn so I plied that with the Chivoit. It turned out really beautiful.
    And now I’m doing Marie Greene’s Lemon Spritz KAL. Fiber is so fun, and addictive

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