Vincent and the Doctor Shawl

vincent and the doctor shawl

On the short list of things about which I will readily admit to being a nerd fangirl, Doctor Who tops the list. I’ve never done cosplay nor been to a Con, but I’m so excited to have knit this shawl as a subtle, every-day nod to my fangirl status and anyone that has seen Vincent and the Doctor can’t help but be in on my secret when they see this shawl. The yarn is hand dyed by Quaere Fibers and the colorway is actually called Vincent and The Doctor. I have my friend Beth (who was one of my amazing bridesmaids) to thank for the gift of the yarn. She got me in to Doctor Who and I got her in to knitting, so it seemed a very fitting gift :) She’s currently knitting herself a matching shawl and I can’t wait for us to get to wear our shawls …


Pastel Jaywalker Socks

pastel self striping sock family

Despite my grand love for knitting socks, I’m ready to take a break from them for a while. On my big trip, I only brought sock yarn and small needles, so I knit nothing but socks for four months (and a couple of baby things that I could fit on the sock needles from the leftover yarn). These Jaywalker socks are the last socks from my trip. (I can’t tell you when I’ll return to socks, because I really love knitting socks, but I can tell you that my next project is going to be with extra bulky yarn!). I used the Jaywalker pattern by Grumperina to knit these socks from self-striping sock yarn (Zitron Trekking XXL) that I stole from my mom’s stash. I never buy self-striping yarn because I prefer to knit lace and cables and self-striping really looks best in stockinette. However, I thought the Jaywalker pattern …


Ruffled Baby Sweater

ruffles on baby sweater

Is it wrong of me to admit that I was sorely tempted to keep the sweater that I knit as a baby shower gift for my stepsister because I thought it was so darn cute and I kinda have the baby fever right now? Yeah? Okay, let’s pretend I didn’t say that and just ooh and aah over this cute little thing together. The pattern is Nola Jane by Annika Barranti. I knit it on size 3 needles (which felt gigantic since I’ve been knitting a bunch of socks on size 1 recently!), using up the last of my Wendy Roam Fusion yarn from my Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee-high socks. I think the detail that really makes this dress is the lines of crochet ruffle across the chest. They were super-duper easy to do as you knit a few evenly spaced purl rows across the chest and then go back …

Burke’s Toddler Car Hat

Burke in Beanie

I have the cutest nephew. Seriously. How can you look at his adorable face and not agree with me that he is the cutest little guy ever! I am a proud Auntie :) And, despite some grumbles about this hat pattern that you’ll read below, I’m happy with the hat I knit for him and even happier to see him enjoying it! To celebrate Burke’s first birthday (unfortunately, from afar), I knit him a beanie hat with cars across it. The pattern is barnelue med flak, and the yarns were Wendy Roam Fusion 4-ply and King Cole Merino 4-ply, two fingering weight yarns left over from the last two pairs of socks I knit (my Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs and my Woodruff Socks). I thought that the yarns made a fun but not garish combination. I hate to say it, but I don’t actually recommend the knitting pattern. I …


Woodruff Stranded Knit Socks

woodruff socks top

I can’t decide if I love my decision to knit these Woodruff socks by the House of Hogbuffer in a subtle color combo or if I wish I would have just gone whole-hog and picked something brighter and more contrast-y. What, you don’t think these are subtle? I guess I’m calibrated a little differently than most in that regard. I’m still pretty dang happy with them and thankful to Minerva Fabrics for the yarn. The pretty rainbow yarn is Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic Degrade Superwash Sock Yarn in Turquoise/Blue/Green and the main yarn is King Cole Merino Blend in Kingfisher. Normally, “they” say that you shouldn’t work a stranded knitting project using two fundamentally different yarns like this combo (since the Lang Yarns yarn is single ply and the King Cole yarn is stranded), but in this instance I think they made a beautiful combination that knit up quite nicely. …


The Last Wool Mill in New Zealand

Bruce Woolen Mill Milton New Zealand winding

In a nondescript town (called Milton) on a quiet highway, we found the last wool mill in the south island of New Zealand. The brick buildings line the road and, were it not for the modern cars, I could almost imagine I was in Dickensian London. The Bruce Woolen Mill was built in 1897 and at its peak, employed over 500 workers, although there aren’t nearly so many employees now. In fact, a fair portion of mill space is actually rented to a fiberglass company for storage. They no longer offer tours, but if you show up first thing in the morning and happen to tell a certain friendly employee that you actually spent 2 nights in the town of Milton (because you arrived on a Sunday and they were closed for a public holiday on the Monday) and you came all the way from the United States and you are …


Tutorial: Zippered Roll for Double Point Knitting Needles

double point knitting needle roll

I know I’m not the only one who struggles to keep certain things organized. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love to organize things, especially craft supplies – for example my bias tape collection is neatly organized by both width and color. But somehow my drawer of knitting supplies is always out of control and one of the biggest offenders is my double point needles (dpns) that always seem to fall out of my regular knitting needle case. So, I sewed an organizer that zips shut to show those dpns who’s boss! To make the pouch, you will need 2 identical zippers, some fabric, and a length of ribbon. The exact measurements are up to you (and I’ll talk you through them below), but for reference, I used 2 – 16″ zippers, 2 pieces of fabric that were 12″ x 32″, and 2 pieces of 28″ ribbon. The zippers will determine how …


Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs

wendy roam fusion sock yarn

Of all places to get a bunch of knitting done, I must say that sitting on a tropical beach on a tiny island off of Lombok, Indonesia is a pretty delightful way to knit. Although my husband and I are traveling around the world for 4 months with only a small backpack a piece (which certainly meant that I couldn’t bring my sewing machine), there was no way that I was going to leave my knitting behind! I started these socks on the multitudinous flights that got us from Seattle to Bangkok and have knit them across Thailand and Indonesia. I wrote the pattern to be a stitch sampler and spent a bunch of time calculating the stitch increases so it would fit my skinny calf perfectly and then figuring out how to fit stitch increases into the various stitch patterns I had chosen. And then I decided I hated …


Wedding Shawl for my Mother-In-Law

icarus shawl feather lace motif

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I knit each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. I already shared the shawls for my stepmother, godmother, and mom. This final one is for my mother-in-law. Judi is a strong, loving woman with an artist’s soul. I wanted to knit her a shawl that would emphasize her loving embrace, for she takes into her arms, her heart, and her life so many people that are lucky enough to cross her path. I knit Icarus Shawl from Interweave Knits Summer 2006 in Rowan Fine Lace. I chose a silver lace yarn so that it would shine, just like Judi. Other than one stupid mistake on my …


Wedding Shawl for my Mother

vogue turquoise lace shawl 6 holiday 2013

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I am knitting each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. I already finished shawls for my stepmother and godmother. This one is for my mom. My mom is a petite blonde woman who wears pink. Clearly, I’m not blonde (well, not most of the time), I’m definitely not petite, but I certainly inherited my love of pink from her! I picked a complicated and frilly, intricate pattern not necessarily because I thought it would fit her personality (how I chose the other shawl patterns) but because I knew she would appreciate it. I know it will make her smile. The pattern I picked is #06 Turquoise …


Wedding Shawl for my Stepmother

slanting plaid stole

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I am knitting each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. The first finished shawl was for my godmother. This second shawl is for my Stepmother. Linda, my stepmother, has a simple, classic style. She’s sporty, no-nonsense, but always elegant. Since I planned on knitting lace patterns for all of my mothers, I knew I was going to have to look beyond the frilly for something to suit Linda. I think I found the perfect pattern in the Slanting Plaid Stole from Interweave Knits Fall 2010. It’s a unique lace pattern that looks deceptively simple when knit, with a geometric feel that is still quite elegant. …


Wedding Shawl for my Godmother

classic elite silk alpaca lace

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I am knitting each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. Although I’ve had a few setbacks, I’m again on track to have them all finished in time. This first shawl is for my Godmother. The pattern is Rose Lace Stole, published in Interweave Knits Spring 2011. It is cast on as a provisional cast-on in the center and worked outward to each end, ending in an Estonian lace pattern, resembling roses at the end. I knit it from Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca Lace (I do love me some alpaca yarn) in the Gentian Violet colorway. (Nerdy sidenote: gentian violet, although named after the gentian …


Frogging. And Then More Frogging.

mistake in knit lace shawl

Oh man. I may be in the middle of working myself into a tissy over trying to make waaay to many things for our wedding oh yeah and trying to finish grad school in the next couple of months and what the heck is wrong with me why can’t I just make simple choices and say no to myself but I want to do ALL THE THINGS and there just aren’t enough hours in the day so I use night hours too but there aren’t enough of those and I really have to sleep sometimes even if I’ve become a complete caffeine addict again because Adam will tell you that I’m really not as pleasant of a person as I could be if I’m not getting enough sleep and I really do try and be pleasant most of the time even if I am more than a bit of a …


How to Block Knit Gloves

how to block knit gloves

Gloves, mittens, mitts, fingerless gloves – whatever you’re knitting to put on your hands, it will be even prettier after you have blocked it, most especially if there is any lace or cablework. In my humble opinion, every knitting project is improved by a good blocking (even if I thought it was superfluous for years, I shouldn’t have, trust me on this one). I’ve gotten several questions about how to block my Queen Anne’s Lace Gloves, which is important to do because they have lace and cable stitches! Without further ado, this is how to block knit gloves: I like to steam block everything instead of wet blocking because I think it is easier to control (unless the project is in need of dramatic blocking like my Red Knit Duster). There’s nothing worse than permanently stretching out ribbing while blocking, which is a lot easier to do with wet blocking. …


Pink Hand Knit Sweater in the Circle of Life

pink knit short sleeve sweater vintage

Sometimes the circle of life can be sad and scary. My dad’s parents have had declining faculties and abilities for a while now, and were recently moved into a care facility. My dad and his sisters have had to clean out my grandparents’ home. However, there are silver linings to all things. I have been to visit my grandparents in their facility and was happy to find them safe and cared for with a friendly, attentive staff. Another silver lining is that some junk from my grandparents’ home has turned into treasures by being passed to family members. I treasure this pink sweater. This sweater was hand knit and has a tag that reads “Fashioned by Belva Runyan.” Belva Runyan was my grandmother’s mother. I don’t know when she knit the sweater, but it was pre-1980 as she was no longer able to knit in the last years of her …


How to Hide Yarn Ends in Double Knitting

trim ends of double knitting yarn

Dealing with yarn ends in any knitting project is a drag, whether there are just a few from when you’ve reached the end of a skein or a whole bunch because you’re doing color work. The cool thing about double knitting, which I discovered while knitting my Floral Double Knit Cowl, is that you are creating a two-sided fabric so your loose ends don’t need to be woven-in in a hidden manner, they can just hang out free between the front and back sides of the double knit, as long as they are secured. To secure the ends of a yarn change while double knitting, tie the ends together (gasp! yes, tie them together) in a sturdy knot, right at the base of a knit stitch. You’re usually told not to tie yarn ends because knots are visible on the wrong side and can often be felt through the garment. …


Floral Knit Cowl

floral double knit cowl

This floral cowl was a fun excuse to learn a new skill. I designed the chart and knit it as a double-knit, so the inside and outside are the same pattern but inverse colors. I figured a little cowl is just a tube so it should be quick and easy to knit, right? Ha! 40 hours of knitting later (and one stripe less than I originally planned!) it’s finally done. But it was worth every (slow) stitch because it’s bright and fun and happy and cheerful and cozy. I knit this from Sublime cashmere-merino-silk DK weight yarn given to me by Minerva Crafts for being a part of their blogger network. It’s a lovely yarn and I would be very happy to use it again in another project. In fact, I’d be tempted to use this same selection of colors to knit myself a little cardigan or a simple pullover. …


Anjou Lace Sweater

French Girl Knits Anjou Lace Sweater Back

Well, color me embarrassed. I finished assembling this gorgeous sweater (Anjou from French Girl Knits), wrangled Adam into taking some photos of it, and started processing the images so I could put together this blog post. And I just simply couldn’t find the photos I took of blocking the sweater. I really wanted to share them because I wanted to share a creative solution I came up with in the process, but they were nowhere to be found. Until I dug back a whole year! I have had this sweater knit, blocked, and just needing to attach the sleeves and hem band for a year. Talk about procrastination! Well, now that we have that embarrassing fact behind us, lets take a look at this sweater! It’s a lace sweater that I knit in a 100% Alpaca lace yarn. The body is knit in the round. The hem bands and sleeves …


5 Helpful Tips for Great Knitting Projects

5 Helpful Tips for Great Knitting Projects

I knit a lot. Through work meetings, while watching TV at night. I love to knit sweaters for myself, which can be complicated projects, and I like to do so when my attention is divided. To keep projects going smoothly, I make sure that I have things well organized and prepped so I can pick up and put down the knitting without skipping a stitch. Just as I’ve developed tips while needlepointing, I’ve put together some of my knitting strategies that help me knit great projects. 1) Photocopy your pattern. While there are a plethora of awesome options for patterns available digitally, I still like collecting knitting books and magazines for inspiration. When I find a pattern in a magazine that I want to knit, I make a photocopy so that I can feel okay writing all over it and stuffing it into my knitting bag without worrying about marring …


Queen Anne’s Lace Free Fingerless Gloves Knitting Pattern

Queen Anne's Lace Fingerless Gloves

My friend Ann lives in a gorgeous 1800’s farmhouse on an Island outside of Seattle. Nestled in the trees, it’s charming, rustic, a welcoming dwelling. It’s also pretty darn drafty in the winter. To keep her hands warm and dextrous for sewing on cold days, Ann wears fingerless gloves. I designed this pair of gloves to suit her elegant, vintage influenced style, while still providing function. You can download the pattern free on Ravelry or Craftsy. The lace pattern along the top of the glove has a subtle leaf pattern. I knit these gloves in Plymouth Yarns Alpaca Prima yarn because it is light-weight but very warm (and a gorgeous color). The yarn has a slight mohair-like halo which slightly obscures the pattern. In a yarn without halo, the leaf pattern will stand out more. The bottom of the gloves have a subtle peplum, with three lobes of the lace …


Burke’s Northwest Baby Sweater

baby sweater back sunshine cloud

I’ve been detailing a bit of the creative process of designing a baby sweater for my soon-to-be nephew Burke, from the initial brainstorm to a first draft and now the finished piece. It’s now done, gifted to his mom (my step-sister) at her baby shower, and patiently awaiting his arrival! I cast on with a brown moss stitch border, knit the body in light blue stockinette, and added intarsia cloud and sunshine with sun rays embroidered on top. I used 100% cotton yarn. I had asked a friend with a 6-month-old if I could take photos of the sweater on her baby, but I finished knitting it at 1 am the night before I flew up to Seattle for Blair’s baby shower, so that didn’t happen! I designed the sweater to be gender neutral but still have some personality. I knit the 6 month size, figuring that a cotton sweater is …


Enchanted Red Knit Duster – Sylvi Sweater

Sylvi Swater Bawck

I feel like an enchanted storybook character in this gorgeous duster. It’s the Sylvi Sweater pattern by Mari Muinonen, published in Twist Collective Winter 2008. I love her designs for their dramatic and playful cables, and plan on eventually knitting several more of her patterns. I used 32 skeins (that’s a LOT of yarn!!! 1760 yards!) of Grignasco Marte yarn. Its’s 60% wool and 40% synthetic. I usually try and knit in all natural fibers, but I found it on an amazing sale which made buying epic amounts of this yarn almost affordable. See my Ravelry project page for more technical details. While the body is knit in moss stitch, the back features an intricate cable pattern over a patch of reverse stockinette. Bobbles make the centers of the flowers. The pattern was simple enough to read for anyone familiar with cable charts, but if you’re new to cables, you might …

How to Cable Cast On and Alternating Cable Cast On

cable cast on 6

My go-to cast on for knitting is the cable cast on. It’s simple to do and produces an even, sturdy stitch for perfect edges that don’t need to stretch too much. 1) How to cable cast-on: Start with a slip-knot on the left needle. 2) Knit into the slip-knot. 3) Transfer the stitch from the right needle to the left needle knitwise. 4) Insert your needle between the two stitches on the left needle. 5) Knit the stitch, and transfer it to the left needle knitwise. Continue in this pattern, knitting between the last two stitches on the left needle and transferring the new stitch to the left needle knitwise, until you have cast on the correct number of stitches. If you are casting on a ribbed edge that doesn’t need to stretch a whole lot (like the bottom of a sweater), you can modify the Cable Cast-On to be …


My Design Process: Northwest Baby Sweater

intarsia embroidered sunshine knit

I’ve been working on designing a baby sweater for my stepsister Blair. Fortunately, I got a pretty early start because this has definitely been an iterative process. I already shared the first steps of my design process. I have since knit the sweater twice. I’ve used what I liked and what I didn’t like about these two drafts to write a pattern. Now I just have to knit the final sweater! Since the shape of the sweater is so simple, the design process has been about getting the intarsia sun and clouds perfect. For the first sweater, I knit two clouds, one on the front, one  on the back. I quickly decided that I didn’t need two clouds as juggling the bobbins to knit three separate intarsia patches became unruly. And, although babies do have giant heads, I think I left the neckline a little bit too giant. The other …


Vintage Bobble Cardigan (1939)

brass and oatmeal hand knit vintage sweater

This sweater pattern is from 1939 from Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters (on Ravelry here). I’ve been knitting it since November and spent 93 hours from start to finish.  The yarn was from a cone of fingering weight, undyed, 50% wool 50% silk (that I also used for my fractal crochet and needlepoint heart).  When I purchased it, I thought I would dye it to some fun bright color for this sweater, but I think a nice neutral shows off the pattern beautifully and will be a good basic piece to have in my wardrobe. Overall I’m pretty happy with how the sweater turned out. My only frustration is that the buttonholes are wide and horizontal so the buttons sit at the edge of the buttonhole – I would recommend to anyone wanting to make this pattern to knit them vertically instead. I discovered while knitting this sweater that I really hate …


Grandma’s Handmade Lace

hand tatted baby dress top

I recently was given a bag of sewing notions that belonged to my Grandma (my dad’s mom) who has gotten too old to sew. Among a pile of bias tape, old thread, a pleating board, some awfully 80’s patterns, elastic, and other functional sewing items were several gems – pieces of lace that I believe my Grandmother handmade.

My Design Process: Baby Sweater

idea sketch color

I’ve just started designing a new baby sweater and I thought that y’all might be interested in the process.

Japanese Fan Tabi Socks

knit japanese socks tabi toes

I knit these socks from Knitted Socks East and West, a book of sock patterns inspired by Japanese stitches, perfect for the intermediate to advanced knitter. This is my fourth pair of socks knit from this book, one of my favorites. (Check out the others I have knit on Ravelry). This pattern is called Fan Tabi – the fan is the stitch pattern and tabi refers to having a separate toe so it can be worn with sandals. I tracked my time religiously on these socks, curious about how long it actually takes to knit a pair of socks. It took me 35.4 hours to knit these socks, with over 2 of those being frogged so that I could use a different size needle for the right gauge. These were mostly knit at work while attending seminars and meetings. I started them in October. I ended up giving them to …

How to Mark a Book for Trade or Sell in Ravelry

Ravelry Will Trade or Sell

While organizing my knitting pattern library in Ravelry, I noticed that there is the option to mark pattern books and magazines as available for sale or trade, but it took me a bit of mucking about to figure out how to do so. I put together this little tutorial to help anyone that might be curious to do so themselves.


How to Add Crochet Elastic to Keep Socks Up

insert crochet hook through rib

I love to knit socks. One of my favorite socks that I have knit is a pair of knee socks. However, I found that I initially couldn’t wear them because they didn’t stay up on my leg. It was quite frustrating and likely due to two factors – 1) I used yarn that had a significant amount of bamboo in it which is a fiber that does not stretch. 2) The ribbing is P1 K1tbl (knit one through back loop) which is a pretty stitch but much less stretchy than a standard P1 K1 rib. I solved the problem by adding crocheted elastic to the inside of the cuff. I recently had someone on Ravelry ask me how I did it, so I thought I would share.