July 15, 2014

Buttonholes Mean Buttons!

The latest issue of Knit 123 (Issue 12) is out and the patterns are on Ravelry - this was the first time I saw the photos of them being modeled.  It always is so exciting.

The article I wrote focuses on buttonholes and different ways to make them - of course, instead of getting excited about the buttonholes and patterns I was more excited about going button shopping.   Better yet, when the publisher got the finished items her first reaction was "great buttons" - she too has a thing for buttons.

Here is the Beginner project with yarn over buttonholes and then a 2 row buttonhole for the thumb:

Then the novice wrist warmers have a thumb gusset and two row buttonholes:

Lastly, I splurged on lovely wooden buttons for the intermediate project which has a thumb gusset and uses a one row buttonhole:

I love doing these articles - they challenge my brain to think on 3 levels of knitting ability.  Also, I sometimes get to go shopping for buttons!

July 1, 2014

Keeping with the Theme

I had several balls of Classic Elite Yarns Bella Lino and they were haunting me to be used in a design.  I swatched, I swatched again, I swatched on and on and on...then I had a lightbulb moment with a stitch pattern and I found something that made the fiber sing.  It almost looks like a lovely Missoni fabric.

Presenting (and keeping in the Just One More theme) Just One More Scarf.  It uses just 2 balls of Bella Lino (I was trying to keep this an affordable knit) and blocks so beautifully with lovely points at the chevrons.

I am in love with this scarf!

June 30, 2014

Parlez Vous Francais?

Oui ou non?  If you said "oui", then you are in luck!  Christine de Savoie kindly offered to translate my What A Slouch! pattern into French.  It is live and available on Ravelry.

I am so excited for this!  Thank you Christine...better yet, Merci!

June 22, 2014

What A Slouch!

Sometimes a pattern idea sits in my head for a while before I can get to it.  After reading through Wendy Bernard's new book I had an idea to adapt a stitch pattern I saw and thought it would look great with a solid and a variegated yarn.

So I dug through my stash and found a skein of Cascade 220 and Noro Kureyon which were earmarked for an Inspira Cowl and got to work.

Two days later I had a new pattern - What A Slouch!

My model wasn't in the modeling mood so I bribed her with the proceeds from the first sale I get for this pattern.  She cracks me up.

May 31, 2014


I was listening to the Yarniacs podcast and they had Wendy Bernard on the show.  Towards the end she talked about her new book...no sooner than I heard the description I was on Amazon.com purchasing it.

This book is BRILLIANT!  Wendy swatched tons of stitch patterns and then converts them from flat to in the round and then if it is a directional pattern she converts it from bottom up to top down (no more upside down lacy leaf motifs!).

I am so excited to use this book - I have some projects coming up for Knit 1-2-3 and this book will be on the coffee table next to my favorite knitting chair.  Brava Wendy!

May 16, 2014

Simply Perfect!

Kathy is a member of my old knitting group in CT and she makes these gorgeous project bags.  She makes them and has this amazing machine that does the embroidery on them (she had to take classes to work this machine).

So, I thought that I should put her in touch with Debbie, the owner of my LYS.  They talked back and forth and now my LYS carries Kathy's perfect project bags.  They are selling well, I'm happy to report.  Here are a few of the ones we she sent to the store:

Then the other day when I was in the store small package arrived for me...Kathy made me my own project bag as thanks.  Isn't it perfect!?

You too can get your own perfect project bag - Kathy has a store on Etsy - BDG Embroidery.  Treat yourself - so worth it.

May 12, 2014

A Bit of Advice

Sometime this blog is my place to say what is on my mind - sometimes it isn't knitting related.  Here's my advice:

If you know someone who is going through a rough time, don't EVER say to them "God only gives you what you can handle".  You don't know what they are going through, what they have been through already and what is yet to come...sometimes God gives a person more than they can handle.

What should you say?  "I'm sorry you are having a hard time" or "I am here for you if you need anything".  If you know them well, a hug will do.

Also, don't be tempted to say "when God closes a door, he opens a window somewhere".

Enough said - just keep this in mind when a friend has a shitstorm in her/his life and needs your support not canned phrases.

I promise knitting content next time.

May 4, 2014

Pleased As Punch

The next issue of Knit 123 comes out this coming week.  I got my advance copy in the mail last week and I was so excited I was jumping up and down while squealing.  You see this issue is the first one where I had input on the technique topic and I really was challenged with the designs.  I also have an extra pattern in the issue.

The technique I wrote about was cables - I had to do it for 3 levels of experience with a slipper pattern for each level.  For the Beginner level, I showed how to do a mock cable and here are the slippers I did for that:

The Novice slipper had your basic cable with a cable needle and a different slipper:

The Intermediate slipper is by far my favorite - I did a mock cable cuff and then showed how to do a cable without a cable needle (trust me it is easy and the best way to go!):

Usually the knit items are donated after the shoot - this pair of slippers stayed with the editor who also is a good friend.  So glad to know these were a hit through and through.  I might just have to knit up another pair!  Net, net - I was pleased as punch with this issue.

So after seeing this and you want a copy, they go on sale May 8th and can be found in Walmart, JoAnns Fabrics, Michaels, and/or AC Moore.

April 30, 2014

You Get What You Pay For...

My last post elicited a few comments - I love a healthy discussion especially when it involves knitting.  The best line is "sometimes we knit just to knit".

My other line I found I've used a lot while teaching knitting classes is "You Get What You Pay For".  It usually involves a free pattern and the knitter doesn't get the instructions or lack of instructions.  I always explain as a designer you post a free pattern sometimes and it might not be the most thorough or complete pattern out there but it is FREE.

I have a few free patterns - they mostly are from when I first started designing and I was dipping my toe in the water.  Some are free because I heavily adapted a pattern or stitch pattern that someone else had put up for free.

What amazes me is my free patterns are my most popular - maybe I shouldn't be too amazed as free is easy to do on Ravelry and Craftsy.  We all download free patterns - why not, they're free!

My most popular pattern are my Santa Hat Ornaments - 623 downloads since October 2013.

My other hot free pattern is the Farfalle Cardigan - I get daily updates from Craftsy indicating it has been downloaded.  Ravelry has 154 downloads and Craftsy has 847 since November 2012!  Wow!

So, here's an idea.  If you like a person's free pattern, then why not help encourage and support them by purchasing a pay for pattern?  It's kind of like paying it forward...  Just an idea I had to float out there.

It all started with this simple scarf pattern - 79 downloads to date.  It was the first pattern I ever wrote up and it encouraged me to keep designing.

April 23, 2014

Enough Already

One of the things I do to help my LYS where I work is find new, interesting free patterns to share with the customers.  We sometimes send out emails with these so people can see what is going on in the knitting world.

After today's search I just had to say what has been in my mind for a while - how many shawl patterns do we really need?  I'm "shawled" out!  Every search for hot right now and free is mostly shawls.

Here's the thing - how often do you wear your shawls?  I have knit several in my day but worn them very little - it's almost a running joke in my old knitting group about how we knit them but never wear them.

Yes, they are lovely and interesting to knit (one of my favorite architectural knits was Stephen West's Pagona) but seriously enough already.

End of mini-rant.  Sorry to offend the shawl lovers of the world.

April 19, 2014

Great Minds Think Alike

The other day while I was working at the LYS, the owner and I got to brainstorming.  She had the idea of using some yarns that might not be the best for a full sweater to make a necklace.  So, we threw three skeins together and I got to work.  The brains were going fast and furious on this and I loved the creative fire that was lit.  She thought of how to do to the button tab...I came up with the flexibility of a necklace that can be done several ways.  Ta-dah!  Presenting Twist and Shout Necklace.


I had this done in 24 hours!  When I got tired of one color I jumped to the next so I had a variety of yarns to work with to keep me interested.  When I got to work the next morning we threw a bunch of colors together and packaged them up - perfect for Mother's Day gift - make it or give it to a knitter.

April 4, 2014

Fit To Flatter with Amy

When I first started working on a regular basis at my LYS, I noticed that Amy Herzog was going to be doing a Fit To Flatter workshop.  While the class was already full, I put my name to work that evening.  I am so glad I did!

Amy arrived with a suitcase full of sweaters and she spoke about fit, measurements, body types and how to flatter them.  While busily taking notes as Iron Horse will be one of the yarn stores carrying the Custom Fit program and I need to know this stuff, I had a few lightbulb revelations.

I own Amy's Fit To Flatter book which I read but didn't do what she said.  I assumed that my body is proportional - my bust/waist/hips measurements are hourglass numbers.  Hence, I thought I was proportional.  Amy took one look at me and told me I have broad shoulders and would be considered "top heavy" body type.  WHAT!?!  I've been thinking wrong all along.  Now I admit I don't like the moniker "top heavy" especially since I've been over-endowed with the girls.  But once she explained the style sweaters that look best on "top heavy" bodies I totally got it.  Those type sweaters are my favorites.

Lightbulb moment here!  It was a wonderful workshop and I hope those who attended got as much out of it as I did.

March 29, 2014

Now Out In Stores

As you know, I have been writing and designing for Knit 123 magazine.  The print production process is a long one and I started this job back in the fall...finally the first issue I worked on is now out in stores!

In this issue my technique that I detail is about increases and the different types.  I wrote three capelet patterns for three skill levels (beginner, novice and intermediate).  I forgot almost how they looked and it was so wonderful to see them on a model and styled.

Magazine cover

So, the other day when I was in the LYS working a customer came in and pulled out a copy of the magazine and said "look what I found in Walmart!  Recognize this?"  Then she proceeded to open it to my article - she purchased the magazine not knowing that I had an article in it.  She explained her surprise when she saw my name and photo.  She immediately wanted to cast on for the intermediate capelet.  Can I tell you how much that made my heart sing?!  The other ladies around the table suggested she get my autograph on the article which she promptly asked me to do.

The thing is I am not nearly as proud of this article and designs as my next issue ones.  I was feeling my way, playing it safe and getting the job done for this issue.  I'm not saying that there isn't good information or patterns in this one...but I can't WAIT for the next issue.

So, head out to Walmart, JoAnn Fabrics, AC Moore or Michaels and check out the magazine section...you too can have your own copy.

March 24, 2014

Belle Linee Cowl

For quite a while I've wanted to use Classic Elite's Bella Lino yarn in a pattern.  I was going to pair it with Magnolia but it wasn't working so I had a lightbulb moment to pair it with Iron Horse Superwash Merino/Silk heavy fingering and a new pattern was born.

Introducing Belle Linee which means beautiful lines in Italian.  It is a long cowl knit on the bias which can be worn single loop, doubled or even draped over your shoulders.  I love this transitional piece of light warmth and I know I will be wearing it right up until summer.

March 22, 2014

This Made My Day

I was working at the yarn store yesterday and a mom and her daughter who took my class for making The Hat in The Hat stopped by with their finished hats.  I immediately asked them to model them for a photo - don't they look wonderful?!?  It truly made my day.

Then I had to snap this photo...the mom was looking for some Noro Silk Garden and I told her to call out any numbers if she wanted met to check quantities.  It got very quite over in that corner of the store.  I walked round and look what I found - doesn't she look like a kid in a candy shop?