5 Years Later, Still Weird.

Posted on by MK Carroll


5 years ago, Amy Singer at the then-fledgling Knitty thought my submission was just too weird to not publish. At that time, I think I'd already submitted to and been accepted for Stitch 'N Bitch Nation, but the Winter '04 issue of Knitty came out first and established me as a freak fiber artist. Hey, might as well be honest right from the start!

The version of Womb that I've been working on with different licensing permissions (this one will 1. hold things and 2. have permissions allowing the sale of finished items) has been going on for years now; I keep getting sidetracked by other things. Getting there, though.

Traveling Womb

Posted on by MK Carroll

Hippocrates coined the term hysteria, and thought that it was caused by the womb traveling around the body in search of children. 

This womb will be doing her traveling outside of my body.


My Indiana trip included visiting with a dear friend of mine, Nicole, who I had not seen for several years.  The timing was serendipitous; she was on her way to Kansas and then on to Oaxaca, Mexico, to start a new job.  Nicole has traveled quite a bit and is likely to travel quite a bit more, so the Womb has chosen the right companion for global adventuring. 

Attn Toronto Residents

Posted on by MK Carroll

I know a few of my readers are in/from the Toronto area - other Canada residents may be able to help me out with this too.

The CYCA Co-op held their First Annual Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair this past Saturday (Feb 10, 2007) at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto.  I have gotten an email from a woman who heard about the fair and a certain item in the (online) gallery on CBC Radio, and headed over hoping to get a Womb, only to be told that I would not be there*.  Lucky me, I got to add to her disappointment and tell her that they are not for sale, a policy I have had in place since the publication of the pattern in the Winter 2005 issue of Knitty.  The FAQ still recommends finding a local knitter and engaging in a swap/barter/gifting - any recommendations for knit shops, meetings, etc. where a non-knitter may be able to find a knitter willing to make a Womb? 

Also, I have not been able to find any mention of the Womb in a CBC broadcast - did you hear it?  Do you remember when?

p.s. I'm thinking about having some postcards printed up and made available for sale, so that at least there would be something (and a something light and inexpensive) that could be shared and sold.  I don't want to bother if there isn't interest, though, so do let me know if you think you'd pay $1 - $3 for a postcard with an image like the one here:



*I didn't even know there would be a fair - I would have loved to attend, but even if I'd known, it's a long and expensive flight, something I just can't do right now.

Knitty Pattern Knitting

Posted on by MK Carroll


With the help of my new $10 DIY Macro Photo Studio (thanks to the blog Strobist), I'm reshooting things I've already done, starting with Womb, as the [link is not safe for work] Come As You Are co-operative in Toronto is building an exhibit on their website and they asked really nicely for permission to use some of my photos.  Plus I really like saying "venez tels quels".  I'm still tweaking the set (must get that strand of yarn smoother, plus rearrange fimbria for more knitting accuracy) and working on my photog skillz (geez, is it that hard to get it in focus...with auto-focus?), but I particularly like this test shot as it seems to have some personality. 

Womb Pattern FAQ

Posted on by MK Carroll

Pattern: Womb, published by Knitty, Winter '04/'05 issue.

I will update and alter this post as events occur and questions are asked.  My contact info is available on the pattern at Knitty and on my blog. is not my personal website.  Knitty is a free online knitting magazine, published quarterly.  If you haven't taken a few minutes to check it out, please do!  You can read the rest of my blog to see what else I get up to with yarn.

The elusive round 23 should read: k all sts.
I also recommend adding two more rounds (k all sts)  before the increases begin.

* Modified versions of the pattern:

Womb: pattern variation, worked flat
Original pattern published in Knitty, Winter 2004. And before anyone asks: you can't sell this one either.
CO = cast on
st st = stockinette stitch (one row knit, one row purl)
k = knit
p = purl
m1 = make one (increase)/lifted bar increase
k2tog = knit two stitches together (decrease)

CO 6
1-4) st st (row 1 = knit)
5) p all
6-11) st st (row 6 = knit)
12) *k1, m1, k1* = 9 sts
13) p all
14) *k1, m1* = 18 sts
15) p all
16) *k2, m1* = 27 sts
17-19) st st
20) *k1, m1, k7, m1, k1* = 33 sts
21) *p2, m1, p7, m1, p2* = 39 sts
22) *k1, m1, k11, m1, k1* = 45 sts
23) p all
24) *k1, k2tog, k9, k2tog, k1* = 39 sts
25) *p1, p2tog, p7, p2tog, p1* = 33 sts
26) *k1, k2tog, k5, k2tog, k1* = 27 sts
27) *p1, p2tog, p3, p2tog, p1* = 21 sts
28) *k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1* = 15 sts
29) *p2tog, p1, p2tog* = 9 sts
30) k all

Cut yarn, leaving a 25” tail, and thread tail through remaining stitches. Use tail to sew seam.

Fallopian Tubes (make 2)
CO 6
1 – 4) st st (row 1 = knit)
5) k1, k2tog, k3 = 5 sts
6) p all
11) k1, k2tog, k2 = 4 sts
12) p all
16) k1, k2tog, k1 = 3 sts
17-24) st st (row 17 = purl)
cut yarn, leaving a 30 inch tail. Using a darning needle, thread end through remaining stitches and pull together. Use end to stitch loops (like a whipstitch, but wrapping yarn around a finger). Sew sides of tube together. Tie a small knot with the yarn end around a stitch and draw end through tube. Cut and tug tube so end disappears.

Crochet Pattern (pattern variation by Mary Sue Renfrow; for personal use only).
Any worsted-weight yarn
Crochet hook size N/10.00mm or size required to get gauge
Stitch marker
2 pipe cleaners
scrap yarn or stuffing

12 sc = 2.5"

Row 1: ch 12, sl st to join in circle. Place stitch marker to identify start of rounds.
Rows 2-5: ch 1 (will count as first sc from here on), sc in each st. sl st to join in original ch. 12 sc.
Row 6: ch 1, sc in back loop only of each st. sl st to join in back loop of original ch. 12 sc.
Rows 7-10: ch 1, sc in each st. sl st to join in original ch. 12 sc.
Row 11: ch 1, (sc, 2sc in next sc) until reaching the original ch, sl st to join in original ch. 18 sc.
Row 12: ch 1, sc in each st. sl st to join in original ch. 18 sc.
Rows 13-14: repeat rows 11-12 (24 sc)
Row 15: Repeat row 11 once more (30 sc)
Rows 16-20: ch 1, sc in each st. sl st to join in original ch. 30 sc.
Rnd 21: ch 1, 2sc in next stitch, *6sc , 2sc in next stitch* three times, then sc in next 5 stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 34 sc.
Rnd 22: ch 1, sc in next stitch, 2sc in next stitch, sc, *6sc , 2sc in next stitch, sc* three times, then sc in next 5 stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 40 sc.
Rnd 23: ch 1, 2sc in next stitch, *8sc , 2sc in next stitch* three times, then sc in next 5 stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 46 sc.
Rnd 24: ch 1, sc in all sts.

Form Cervix
From top of work, slide crochet hook into 6-st tube, catch end of tube (beg of work), and pull up inside tube until purled row forms base of tube. Push down gently on inner tube to make cervix look plump ("pouty", if you will). Sew in place using yarn tail from ch.

Rnd 25: ch 1, sc2tog in next stitch, *8sc , sc2tog* three times, then sc in next 5 stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 40 sc.
Rnd 26: ch 1, sc in next stitch, sc2tog in next stitch, sc, *6sc , sc2tog in next stitch, sc* three times, then sc in next 4 stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 34 sc.
Rnd 27: ch 1, sc2tog in next stitch, *4sc, sc2tog in next stitch* three times, then sc in next 3 stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 28 sc.
Rnd 28: ch 1, sc2tog in next stitch, *2sc, sc2tog in next stitch* three times, then sc in next 2 stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 22 sc.
Rnd 29: ch 1, sc2tog in next stitch, *sc, sc2tog in next stitch* three times, then sc in next stitch, sl st to join in ch1. 16 sc.
Rnd 30: ch 1, sc2tog in next stitch. sc2tog in rest of the stitches, sl st to join in ch1. 8 sc.
Rnd 31: ch 1, sc all stitches. sl st to join in ch1. 8sc. Remove st marker. Cut yarn, leaving 12 inch tail, thread tail through rem sts. DO NOT pull tail tight to fasten off at this point.

Fallopian Tubes (Make 2)
Row 1: ch 8, sl st to join in circle. Place stitch marker to identify start of rounds.
Rows 2-5: ch 1, sc in all stitches. sl st to join in circle.
Row 6: ch 1, sc2tog, sc 6. Sl st to join to ch1. 7 sts.
Rows 7-11: ch 1, sc in all stitches. sl st to join in circle.
Row 12: ch 1, sc2tog, sc 5. Sl st to join to ch1. 6 sts.
Rows 12-15: ch 1, sc in all stitches. sl st to join in circle.
Row 16: ch 1, sc2tog, sc 4. Sl st to join to ch1. 5 sts.
Rows 17-24: ch 1, sc in all stitches. sl st to join in circle.

Cut yarn, leaving a 20-inch tail. Thread yarn on tapestry needle and draw through rem sts, pull tight. Use yarn tails to sew loops (see photo). Use yarn to tie a small knot around one st, draw rem yarn tail down through tube and cut end.

Stuff body until it feels firm but cuddly. Pull yarn end at top of body to close, fasten off and weave in end.
Bend tip of each pipe cleaner over (about .25 inches). Slide each pipe cleaner, bent end first, into a fallopian tube, working from the CO end up to loop fringed end. Leaving 2.5 to 3 inches projecting from the cast on end, cut excess pipe cleaner. Position tubes on body, pushing ends of pipe cleaners into body. Using pins or coilless safety pins, secure tubes to body, gently spreading out bases of tubes. Sew into place and remove pins.
Weave in all ends.
Gently bend fallopian tubes forward into a curve, or however you wish to pose them.
photo in this post - scroll down

Fallopian tubes done mitten thumb style and around the pipe cleaners:(thank you Stacie! - originally posted on

On row 25, I *knitted and slipped* (did not slip and break yarn) three
stitches from the "k5" section on two of the needles. So row 25 went
like this: needle #1: k1, k2 tog, k3 and sl these 3 to stitch holder,
k2, k2 tog, k1, needle #2: k1, k2 tog, k5 and sl last 3 of these sts to
holder, k2 tog, k1, needle #3 (same as MK's pattern): k1, k2 tog, k5,
k2 tog, k1. Row 26: work in pattern, but CO 3 sts. over each st holder.
Row 27 was a little tricky, knitting 2 together using newly cast-on
stitches. I found I had to knit with more tension than usual. One of
these stitches came out looking strange, but I cleaned that up when I
wove in the ends.

After completing the body of the womb, I
broke the yarn (leaving a 20-inch tail as per the original pattern),
cast on 6 sts. over 2 dpns and slipped the 3 from the holder onto a
third dpn, total 9 sts. The first row I worked k1, k2 tog, k1 around =
6 sts. On the next row, I knitted all of the sts. onto one dpn, then
started I-cord and continued exactly according to the original pattern.
One one fallopian tube, I actually knitted the I-cord around the pipe
cleaner. That worked fine, but it was a little tricky getting the end
to cooperate on the last few rounds. The trick is to be sure to wrap
the yarn around the pipe cleaner at the end of each row, and always
knit that first stitch tightly. By row 21, the end of the pipe cleaner
should start to tuck inside the tube.

Crocheted Womb, no photo but Madame Fabulous says it's more anatomically accurate (based on the written pattern, I'm guessing she means the shape is more pear-like and less cartoony).

*The Buying and Selling of Wombs
[January 2008 update: I am working on a Womb v.2 menstrual cup cozy pattern which will be for sale under a Creative Commons license permitting the sale of finished objects. If you are interested in test-knitting or just being alerted to when the pattern is ready for sale, please email me.]

I have had requests from non-knitters about purchasing Wombs.  I recommend finding a knitter in your area - try your local yarn shop or forums like and  Or, of course, you could learn to knit!  There's also a crochet version of the pattern, if that's more your thing.  If you'd like to knit a womb for someone else, please do!  The wombs knitted from the pattern cannot be sold.  If you are knitting for someone else, you may charge them for the cost of materials and postage (if applicable).  If the recipient would like to give you a tip, that's fine.  The FAQ is quite clear, and as the author of the pattern, I'd like to keep things simple for Knitty.  Let me say it again: the wombs cannot be sold.  Why you are interested in selling them will not influence my decision.  And, honestly, wouldn't it feel strange to put a womb up for sale?  Bit o' commentary on the commodification and sale of the female body, eh?  If you have your heart set on using the Womb pattern to raise funds for a non-profit organization, I ask that you consider selling kits and/or lessons instead of finished product.  Knitty has a no-sell policy on printouts of the pattern from the site, so if you are interested in putting together kits, please email me so I can fill you in on the specifics.  If there is sufficient interest, I am willing to have postcards printed up with images like the one at the top of this page - please contact me if you'd like to buy/sell postcards.

* The lack of ovaries: The pattern does list beads for supplies, but there aren't any in the photos and it's not mentioned in the finishing instructions.  I'm still shopping for ovaries with my Womb, who is probably going to have a whole wardrobe of them.  The bead store has some interesting options.  Proportionally, the ovaries should be a little wider than the fimbria (the fringe around the ends of the fallopian tubes).  I recommend going with the ovaries your Womb prefers - if she wants Swarovski crystals, give them to her.  Pearls?  Nothing is too good for your womb.  Diamonds?  I'll draw a line and ask your Womb to choose faux or antique.  Gemstones and diamonds in particular are a bloody in a bad way business these days.

*The Blythe Thing:
Blythe dolls. I'm fascinated by what people do with them - modifications, outfits, carefully composed settings, photographs. The facial expression is pretty blank, which allows the viewer to project their own ideas and feelings onto the doll, or interpret from the setting what the doll is "thinking" or "doing."

We're used to giving inanimate objects human qualities and personalities (in cartoons and animated movies, for example, and we all know someone who talks to their car). Womb is intended to be part of a larger project similar to Gina Garan's This is Blythe book. I'm very interested in the qualities and personalities people give to the womb doll.  If you still don't get the connection, don't worry about it - sometimes my degree gets in the way, and I start sounding like an article in ARTnews.

*Why a womb?
Why not?  It's an internal organ that can be pretty easily recognized out of context, unlike, say, the spleen.  It's also an organ that we have all spent time in and which many people have strong feelings about: as Amy said on the front page of the Winter 2005 issue of Knitty, it's "everyone's first cozy home."  I find it especially well-suited to knitting - strong, warm, cozy, nurturing.  And playful!  The womb is for growing babies in, and growing babies need security, warmth, nourishment, cuddling, and play.  I'm not knocking the pancreas, which has an important job (we should all appreciate it more), but it doesn't stimulate the kind of discussions that a uterus does (well, not at the dinner parties I go to, anyway).  I have sketches of other organs and systems in my notebook that may or may not become knitted objects.  If there's a particular organ or system that you think needs a knitted representation, you could lobby for it, but I'd recommend designing and knitting it yourself.  Why should I have all the fun?

*Why not a [male/female reproductive/sexual organ here]?
Because I wanted to knit a womb.  If you want patterns for particular bits, here are links to items worked up by other designers.  Some workplaces may consider the images unsuitable for a workplace environment.
Vulva Coin Purse
Knitted "Hoo Hoo" (vulva)
Crocheted Penis
Knitted Penis (pattern available for sale)
And, as it happens, there is another knitted uterus out there, used for demonstrations in birth classes.
knitted uterus for sale,
pattern to knit a uterus, no photo.  I've seen a photo somewhere - try googling if you really need to see it.  As I recall, it looks like a pink bag with a doll head sticking out of it.
Cries and Whispers, a giant felt womb for "a child whose mother is absent", from HJR Studios.
For those who say "but what do you do with it after you knit or crochet it?"Pan Peckers and Booby Lid Lifters from Bawdy Body Parts.
I'd been assuming everyone knew about the Knitty Fall '04 Surprise, which includes a pattern for a boobie scarf.

A little bit of trivia for you: some have asked why I didn't design a male counterpart.  There is no male corollary for the uterus - it is unique to the female.  The cells that develop into the uterus exist in the very earliest stages of fetal development; if the fetus is female, the cells continue to develop.  If the fetus is male, the cells disappear.  I could do a knitted representation of the male internal reproductive system, but would you recognize it if you saw it? [update: if I get my hands on one of those gadgets that let you crank out miles of i-cord with just the turn of a handle, I just might]

*C'mon, really, what can do you do with it?
- Go to the bead shop and try on ovaries. My womb is not interested in having knitted ovaries, and is thinking either hand-blown swirly silver glass or swarovski crystals. Or both, really. Why not have a wardrobe of ovaries?
- Knit your womb a sweater. Hey, it gets cold outside of the abdominal cavity!
- Go for a walk. Go to the park. Have a picnic. Have tea. Have fun.

*If you are interested in other fiber-based anatomy and science stuff:
Print magazine had an embroidery pattern of the heart and lungs by Andrea Deszo in their European Design Annual 2004 issue (also featured on the cover).  FiberARTS magazine had an article in the Sept/Oct 2004 issue about pieces based on human anatomy as well.
Becky Holtzman has beautiful artwork (including etchings and drawings) including images of internal organs.
The DNA cable Seaman's Scarf by June Oshiro is one of the most awesome knitted things I've ever seen.  The crocheted Lorenz manifold is FABULOUS (link to the .pdf pattern on the Crochet Me blog).
There was an excellent entry on Geek Knitting over at the Making Light blog.

*If you would like to use any of the material published by Knitty, let me know what you'd like to use and how before you do it.  I hold the copyright to both the pattern and the photos, and I respect Knitty's policies and image.  I have loads of other photos that can be used instead of the previously published photos, and I'm always happy to do a little writeup about the pattern.

* Assorted sightings:
Come As You Are Erotic Art Gallery
Alt Fiber: reclaiming art/craft, Assemble Gallery exhibit, Jan 13 2006 - Feb 04 2006, Cleveland, OH.
Dave Barry's Blog (my Dad is so proud!)
Boing Boing Scanner by Ada Calhoun (under "Product Placement")
The TKGA forum list of Ridiculous Patterns, compiled for Jon's Worthess, Stupid Projects of 2005 list.
Beeline's is a drummer.
Assorted threads: Knitty's Womb, Knitting for Choice, A Womb for My Mummie, Good Womb/Bad Womb.  There are probably more; you can go to and do a search.
The knit your own uterus thread over at GetCrafty's forums includes knitters thinking about how to knit a brain (yessss!)
What Color Is Your Uterus?
Pesky Apostrophe has an idea for a Halloween costume.
Synthesis and Output knitted up two for Wombs on Washington.
Arakne Spins Yarns named hers Eunice the Uterus.
Godawful Fan Fiction Forum and the ongoing "gross or cute?" debate
College student doing a Women's Studies project; post includes a poll.
With Googly Eyes, by Show Me Your Knits.
Knittybird's says DC or Bust!
KnittyKnotty knitted one for her OB and says "so I guess now that this is done I can *finally* have the baby".
5 Questions with Ars Gratia Artis
A Knitty Pattern Knitting a Knitty Pattern

*Recommended reading:
The Anatomy Coloring Book, Wynn Kapit, Lawrence M. Elson
Illustrated Guide to the Human Body, Charles Clayman
How We Live, Sherwin B Nuland
Woman: An Intimate Geography, Natalie Angier
Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century, Boston Womens Health
Private Parts: An Owner's Guide to the Male Anatomy, Yosh Taguchi
Out in the Open: The Complete Male Pelvis, R. Louis Schultz
Dick: A User's Guide, Michele C. Moore

Illustrations of a normal, healthy female reproductive system and a cutaway view of a normal, healthy uterus from

Limbs & Things sells medical education models, including interchangable uteri for the Clinical Female Pelvic Trainer.

*I created Womb as part of a larger, collaborative project - having other people take the womb out into the world and take photos or other recordings, and to compile the images into a book or a short film that lets the images speak for themselves (or with a minimal amount of text).  I wasn't really expecting the pattern to get published in Knitty (it was an "oh what the heck" moment), and I'm glad that it has been finding an appreciative audience.  I'm nowhere near getting a book and/or short film together, so best that I got the pattern published after all...

*Wombs on Washington is not my personal project.  If you are interested, have questions, etc., please join the Live Journal community, knit4choice,and/or visit the website, [website down indefinitely; all Wombs donated were in the Alt Fiber show]  The organizers have my permission to use the pattern for individual use. My involvement in the project is a) permitting use and b) being available for assistance with the pattern, and c) hopefully getting great footage, interviews, etc. from the event.  If you join the Live Journal community, you'll have access to information about pattern questions (yarns that can be subbed, replacements for the pipe cleaners, etc.) and instructions on alternate womb patterns, like a template to use for sewing.