September 16, 2014

The Universal Language of Knitting

When I moved to MA, I was introduced to a knitting group that meets every Monday at a local church.  It is a small group with quite an international flare.  Two members don't have English as their first language but they both understand the language of knitting.

Chen moved here from China a few years ago - I think she's in her late 70's.  When I first met her two years ago she had a small vocabulary but insisted on learning the vocabulary of knitting when we were all together.  She wrote down everything in a little book.  Chen knits on long, long DPNs and rarely follows a pattern.  She is a prolific, proficient knitter.  She's taken to reading patterns and always wants to know that the abbreviations mean...she knows how to do them intuitively but has never read them.

Parthena's native tongue is Greek.  She usually crochets but recently showed me a knit pair of slippers/footies and asked how to re-create them.  She too doesn't read patterns but has an intuitive flare for creating or recreating.

Yesterday, Parthena was showing Chen how to make the slippers...I caught this moment of three native tongues working together - Chinese, Greek, and Knitting with the new tongue of English tying them all together.  It was a joy to listen to them communicate and share this passion - this universal language we share.

September 14, 2014

Another Variegated Yarn

I got to knit up another store sample for a yarn I've never used before - Noro Cyochin.  We chose the Berroco pattern, Dizzy.  I rather like how it turned out.  When knitting store samples we follow the pattern as written and use the yarn as is.  With Noro I often take out the brown sections but not for the store sample. What would I have done differently?  I would have made it longer so it it had a bit of slouch.  Otherwise it looks great.

September 12, 2014

Crazy Crochet

This past weekend we were at a wedding in Minneapolis.  With a whole day to spend before the wedding at 5pm, we went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art with two other wedding goers.  It is an amazing collection and well worth the visit.

This piece cracked me up - what crazy crochet!  Just had to share.

September 5, 2014

A Variety of Variegated Yarns

One of the advantages of working in a yarn store is that you get to work with yarns you might not ordinarily choose to buy.

Case and point - Tangier by Cascade Yarns.  When this yarn walked in the door I fell in love with the colors.  However, I had no need to knit with it right now.  When the store owner suggested we knit up a sample, I happily agreed.  We found this free cowl pattern that only uses one skein.

What did I think of the yarn?  Loved it softness and the fact it knits up quickly.  The cowl would be a perfect fall or spring accessory as there is silk and cotton in it.

Another variegated yarn I got to knit with was Noro Taiyo Aran.  We had an excess of one color way so I knit up a hat called Guinan.

Lesson learned - knit a sample and you will sell product!   This yarn also has silk and cotton - loved the feel of it.  My only complaint about Noro is there are knots AND there is always a brown section. That being said, you can always cut out the brown.  This too only needed one skein.

I'll have another Noro yarn to review as soon as I get photos.

August 27, 2014


While coming up with class ideas for my LYS, I suggested a seamless knit stuffed animal.  We came across Susan B. Anderson's Bunny Love.  I had so much fun knitting this guy!

Isn't he just adorable?  I can imagine knitting up a bunch of different sweaters...don't know why I call it a him - I think the red sweater makes him look like a boy.

August 22, 2014


One of the projects I finished for Knit 123 that will never make it to the magazine pages was a snowman decoration.  You've probably seen the mini-snowmen I've made as Christmas tree ornaments.  I had the idea to upsize the pattern (he stands about 9" tall) and convert it to flat knitting.

Presenting Noseman the Snowman...why "Noseman"?  Well when our son was little (he is off to college in a week), he couldn't say "sn" or "sm" together.  He would put the "n" or "m" first and move the "s" in the "snowman" was "noseman" and "smokestack" was "mokes stack".

The pattern is live on Ravelry - why not start your holiday knitting now?

August 19, 2014

Greater Boston Yarn Crawl

Today at my LYS, we started selling passports to the Greater Boston Yarn is a short month away and it's time to put it on my calendar and plan what stores to visit.  Each LYS will have a grand door prize drawing, events around the crawl and free patterns for all passport holders.

A while back I offered to design a new hat pattern for Iron Horse for the yarn crawl.  We chose Cascade 220 Superwash as it comes in a bunch of colors and is washable.  I knit the hat while at the beach for a week and my friend, Peggy, came up with a great addition of a tassel on the top. So, I named it Bay Head Hat as that is where I knit it.

So, just to give you a small taste of what it looks like, here's a snippet of the textured stitches.  I will share more as the yarn crawl gets closer.

Be sure to buy a passport so you can get your free pattern at Iron Horse.  Not a local to the area?  No worries as after the yarn crawl you will be able to buy it on Ravelry...I'll keep you posted.

August 12, 2014

Absolutely Adorable

The yarn store where I work has a section for selling gifts - it is a Co-op arrangement where the vendors get a percentage and so does the store.  I've sold quite a few knit items including my own designs.  It usually is very busy around the holidays as people are looking for gifts.

The other day the owner mentioned that the vendor who made a lot of hand knit baby items was leaving the store in the winter.  So, I took it as an opportunity to whip up some baby hats to put in the store for sale.

I had some Sublime Merino Cashmere Silk Aran floating around and found this wonderful pattern for only $1 - Greenleaf Baby Hat.

Aren't they absolutely adorable???

On the second one I added a slipped stitch in the center of the leaf to give it the line of a "spine" like real leaves have.

Then I got a bit creative and added stripes and used the top of the Cute Noggin Baby Hat (free pattern) to make this hat a little different.

So much fun - have another one on the needles already.  Hopefully they will sell quickly...

August 9, 2014

Bummed beyond words...

So I took a week off and went to the beach (the LYS was closed for a week so this made it very easy to do).  I brought lots of knitting including my deadline knitting for Knit 123.  When I cranked through and finished the last project (table runners - what was I thinking?) and had written a kick ass article opening, I contacted my friend who is the editor and asked if she wanted me to mail them to her or give them to her when she too was at the beach.  A cryptic message from her said don't mail them and that she would call me.

She called the next day to inform me she had resigned and the owner of the magazine had decided to fold the publication.  So that means, not one but two issues worth of work will never be published and I doubt seriously I will ever get reimbursed for my labors.

Bummed?  Absolutely yes, as I enjoyed this venture.  I learned a lot about myself, how to write three levels of projects, how to convey techniques, etc.  Even more bummed as I had a beyond adorable Christmas decoration for the holiday issue.

So, what will I do?  I considered publishing the technique article and patterns as a mini e-book.  I just don't know if there is a market for that.  The decoration will definitely be self published.   The pattern is written...I just have to photograph and publish it.

So watch this space.

NOTE: For the person who asked me where to get their copy of issue 12 as it had not arrived in the mail, I don't know the answer to this.  I'd go to the Knit 123 website and if you need to order a back copy.  I just got my copy of the magazine - rather late at that.

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 sooner than I heard the description I was on 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.