November 7, 2014

Do You Like My Slouchy Hat?

The other day while I was in the car knitting, I found the free pattern I had grabbed was missing a very important chart.  I had a skein of Berroco Vintage (leftover from my son's college blanket) and wanted to knit.

So I opened up my Goodreader and found one of my patterns called Do You Like My Hat? and decided to rewrite it for worsted weight yarn (it is a sport weight pattern).  I also decided to make it less of a beanie and more slouchy.

Thus is born - Do You Like My Slouchy Hat? pattern!  I think I actually prefer it to the first one - Berroco Vintage makes it soft and wonderful and slouchy.  It comes in two sizes and is available on Ravelry.

Lastly, I might be quiet for a little while as I am recuperating from bunion surgery - it makes it hard to sit in front of the computer for long periods of time.  However, it is conducive to knitting - I have a design I'm working on...stay tuned!

October 24, 2014

Beantown Beanie

When working with the owner of my LYS to create the Railroad Track Full Mittens, we discussed making a hat with the leftover contrast color yarn.

I was inspired by the technique in Ysolda Teague's Ripley where you knit a strip and join it in the round to create the brim.  Then you pick up the stitches and create the top of the hat.  After consulting some stitch dictionaries, I came up with a combination that really pleased me.  It complimented the mittens but wasn't all matchy-matchy.

The name was my daughter's idea - I asked what we should call it and told her I'd like something alliterative to go with Beanie...hence Beantown Beanie.

I took the finished hat to the LYS and we have one staff member who has an unusually large head.  She tried it on and it flew right off her head as it was too small.  Back to the drawing board and time to write up a larger size.  I knew this one worked when she put the hat in her Ravelry queue the next day!

If you are a local and visit Iron Horse in Natick, MA, you can get this pattern for free with purchase of 2 skeins of worsted weight yarn and the mittens pattern.  Stop by and check out the knit up samples.

I am having foot surgery a week from today - bunionectomy.  That means 3 weeks on crutches, 2 of those weeks I can't drive (it's my accelerator foot).  It also means a lot of knitting...I am hoping my next design will be born during this time.

October 10, 2014

Labor of Love

My son has never let me knit him anything - in spite my asking a lot.  Same is true for my husband.  Must be a guy thing.  Anyway, I brought up the idea of a blanket for when my son goes to college and he agreed.  I consulted with him on color which was less than helpful - "Make it blue, Mom".  I consulted with him on a pattern - "Not too fancy, Mom".

I found the pattern Five College Blanket - I hate paying for patterns when I know I could easily design my own blanket but at the time I started this I needed someone else to think for me.  When I went to buy the bulky yarn they didn't have blue so I purchased worsted weight.  Then I ended up having to think as I had to add repeats of the pattern to make it much for having someone else think for me.

I chose Berroco Vintage - it is washable and wonderfully soft and squishy for a blanket.  I cast on for this on February 20th and bound off last night.  I must admit this daunting project was back burnered a lot!

When I started my Iron Horse Block of the Month afghan for my daughter (college bound next year), both my husband and daughter looked at me in askance and questioned if I had finished my son's blanket.  I realized I couldn't put it off any longer and put myself into overdrive to finish it.

He's coming home tonight for the long weekend and this is blocking on his bed.  It should be dry by the time he gets home - he can take it back to school.  This truly was a labor of love and knit with lots of love.

September 30, 2014

My In House "Model"

As you may have noticed from the side bar with my patterns - I tend to use the same model.  It's our 17 year old daughter who basically inspired me to get into designing knitting patterns.  It started a while back when I asked her to model my fingerless mitts pattern and went from there.  When she modeled my "Just One More Cowl" pattern I knew we had a good thing going.

I often joke that "my in house model" wasn't ready for a shoot or had a zit on her nose or didn't feel like modeling.  The last few "shoots" I had to take to bribery and told her she'd get the proceeds from the first pattern sale.  The funny thing was the first time I did that I sold a pattern within an hour of its going live on Ravelry (usually it takes a few days/weeks).

I have a new pattern which will be coming out soon that turns my Railroad Track Mitts into mittens.  We had the "photo shoot" the other day and it always amazes me how she knows how to pose and look at the camera...hardly any direction from the world class photographer (aka me).

However, when I caught this one it made me laugh!  I had just asked for a few more shots...

I love my "in house model" and am thankful for her inspiration to design and her ability to make my designs shine.

September 22, 2014

Bay Head Hat

When I was asked to design a hat for the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, we chose a lovely blue called Summer Sky in Cascade 220 Superwash.  With it we paired a gray and I also had some aran white at home.  I took these skeins on my week long vacation to Bay Head, NJ.  While sitting on the beach I came up with a hat that I've named Bay Head Hat.

I showed the finished hat to my neighbor and friend, Peggy, who is also a knitter...she came up with the idea of adding a tassel.  Perfect!

I even used some Noro Kureyon for a version that has a little more color variation.

Presenting the Bay Head Hat - now on sale on Ravelry.  If you were part of the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, you received it for free when you visited Iron Horse in Natick, MA.

I must admit - I love this hat.  I love Bay Head so it only makes sense I love the hat too.

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!