Knitting

When Life Gives you Lemons…

Knit like crazy! 😀

We all have our “off” days. It’s part of life. Every day can’t be totally awesome, or there’d be no such thing! I’ve had a lot of awesome days recently, so I guess I was overdue for an “off” day…

Usually when I’m having the occasional “off” day, it’s the little stuff that can get under my skin and irritate me, even while I’m doing my best to handle it well. 🙂

And then there’s the entirely unexpected stuff that can just jump out and smack you (sometimes rather hard) when you’re not expecting it! That’s (literally) what happened to me the other afternoon!… 

Arriving back from a lovely grocery shopping trip with two of my sisters, I was rushing to get those groceries in the house (we live a good distance from town, so time is a factor with those refrigerated items…). Both hands full with eggs, milk, and meat, I was booking it towards the front steps, and then… One of my flip-flops caught on the concrete steps as I was on my way up to the front door. Thinking I could catch myself with my other foot on the next step in time to restore my balance, I tried to take that next step up real quick,… Misjudging the height (the steps are not quite standard size), I caught my other flip-flop and catapulted (rather awkwardly) first into the front edge of the storm door that we had propped open, and then onto the concrete stoop…! 

Rather bruised and battered, (but much wiser regarding the dangers of flip-flops and concrete steps plus hurrying with both hands full), I am utilizing the best comfort and coping strategies I know:

  1. Knitting…Lots and lots of knitting this evening – as much as I want! 😀
  2. Doggy cuddles…Lots and lots of doggy cuddles (while knitting of course)! 😀


I’m already feeling a lot better! Even my slightly bruised ego is recovering. 😉

Do you use knitting as a comfort and /or coping strategy on occasion? I’d love to hear about how knitting has helped you get through something difficult as well! 

~Happy Knitting! 

Knitting, shawls

Summer Shawl Knitting…

One sure sign of a truly deep love of knitting is a knitter who keeps on knitting despite the Summer heat! 😉

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Knitting the Kathryn Scarf on my back deck!

What to knit in said Summer heat?

My favorite go to is lace! In the Summer, I knit lots and lots of lace! Though I don’t personally limit myself to only working with yarns that are cotton/linen blends in Summer, I do enjoy them, and they’re a great option for cooler Summer knitting and knitwear. 🙂

Shawls are a really useful (and beautiful) garment to create when you’re knitting lace. They can be very light and airy, making the perfect light layer to grab and wrap around your shoulders as the sun goes down on a breezy Summer evening! I find them very entertaining to work, as well as super portable for travel knitting!

Here are a few favorite Summery projects of the past that I would knit again in a heartbeat!

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Flambe

This is the first shawl I ever knit – the one that got me hooked on shawl knitting in fact! It’s the Flambe One Skein Shawl, by Michelle Miller of Fickleknitter. I bought the kit for this shawl in order to participate in a knit-a-long (KAL) that Michelle was hosting. It was SO much fun! A KAL is a great way to connect with people who like a lot of the same things you do, and also provides amazing support and encouragement! (Especially when you’re new to shawl knitting!) 😉 This shawl has a lot of happy memories for me!  Flambe makes a fabulous Summer knit because it’s complicated enough to keep your mind busy, but not too complicated for travel knitting, and it only requires one skein of sock yarn! It’s also perfect for Summer wear as it’s small – just enough to cover your shoulders if the air conditioning gets to be a bit much or there’s a chilly breeze at night. 🙂

 

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Lace Leaf Shawl

This one is the Lace Leaf Shawl, designed by Mary Henderson. It’s a lovely leaf pattern, easy to memorize; and you can customize the size of your shawl by knitting more or fewer repeats! The yarn is a fingering weight merino/silk blend called “Row of Tulips” by Expression Fiber Arts. It was an absolute dream to knit with!

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Obi Shawl

Another Fickleknitter design by Michelle Miller, The Obi Shawl is one of my all-time favorite shawls to knit. In fact, I’ve already made two of them! One I gave away, and the other gets a lot of wear as a favorite go-to layer that I turn to constantly! The yarn is amazing – a merino/cashmere/silk blend called Serenity Silk Single by Zen Yarn Garden, it’s also one of my favorite yarns to work with! The color shown here is called “Dragonfruit!”

I might also finally allow myself to knit a shawl or two from my current list of shawl-crushes…!

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A Hap for Harriet: Designed by Kate Davies; photographed by Tom Barr.
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Fantoosh!: Designed by Kate Davies; photographed by Tom Barr.

I’m totally in love with both of these shawls designed by Kate Davies: A Hap for Harriet, and Fantoosh! They are both simple, but elegant, and the yarns used for the samples look absolutely scrumptious! I particularly love the coziness and generous size of Fantoosh!, and the delicate simplicity of A Hap for Harriet. If you’re drooling over these like I am, be sure to check out Kate’s shop – she has kits for sale containing: yarn, pattern, and project bag!

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Rock Island: Designed by Jared Flood.

I’m also loving Rock Island, by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. I find the mix of openwork lace and simple garter stitch captivating! Brooklyn Tweed Vale is a lovely lace weight wool; although for Summer, I think this shawl would also be great in a cotton or linen blend such as Purl Soho’s Linen Quill (wool/alpaca/linen) or Juniper Moon Farm’s Zooey DK (cotton/linen/flax).

While we’re talking about Summer shawl knitting…

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Leaves of Grass: Designed by Jared Flood.

…knitting a circular shawl has been on my bucket list for a good long time now, and I’m feeling the urge to buckle down and just do it! I’ve been eying this one – Leaves of Grass, (another Jared Flood design) as a potentially great Summer knit…hmmm…need to go check my stash and see if I have enough fingering weight yarn… 🙂

Do you knit in the Summer time? If so, what Summer knitting project(s) are you currently working on? Do you have a favorite Summer knitting style or project? I’d love to hear all about it! 🙂

~Happy Knitting!

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Family, Knitting

A Good Visit!

Yesterday we had perfect weather for being outdoors! (In Maryland, that is! 😉)

Claire enjoying the shade in the green, green grass at the park!

I got out the baby-carrier and Claire and I walked to the park for a bit!

Smile or smirk? Maybe a bit of both…?! 😉
Under the tree with Auntie!
I’ve also made a lot of progress on the “Kayla” infinity scarf!

Kayla Infinity Scarf

Now halfway through repeat # 3,…

So nice to knit on the deck during 😴 nap time! 😉

I’m finally almost caught up to my level of progress on the “Kathryn” scarf! 😊 (Which means that I am approximately 3/5ths of the way through both!) 

Kathryn Scarf

I’ve so enjoyed spending time with Baby Claire,…

Playing with Claire!
…and my sister and brother-in-law the last two weeks! 

My sister, Hannah & Baby Claire!
Brother-in-law, Everitte & Baby Claire at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

I can hardly believe that today is my last day here! I know I’ll really miss them when I go back home…

Happy Claire modeling her Foxy Hat!
Swing!
Happy Claire in the swing!

But I’m really looking forward to my next visit! I’ll be sure to make it SOON! 😊😉❤️

Peek-a-boo, Foxy Baby Claire! 😘

Family, fiber festivals, Knitting, Maryland Sheep and Wool

Maryland Sheep & Wool 2017!

It was another great year at The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, folks!

This year I went with my sister, Hannah, brother-in-law, Everitte, and niece, Claire!

There was SO much to see and take in!


Hannah, Claire, and I fell in love with these amazing fluffy purses…


And this very nice lady was kind enough to allow photographs AND point us in the direction of the “Everything Coopworth” booth and these AMAZING sheep-head-ears!!! 😍 🤣😍

Clearly, Everitte was the black sheep of the family… 😉🐑


We saw some sheep shearing…


And so many lovely sheep! ❤️


And of course, I couldn’t resist picking up a few new additions to my yarn stash… 😄 


This stunning sock blank by Knitty and Color is a birthday gift from Hannah & Everitte! (Thank you so much, guys!! ❤️) I can’t wait to cast on some socks!! 😊


And of course I couldn’t pass up these 100% Merino wool beauties…

Next year, I want to take a class or two… I’ll need to check out the classes earlier than I did this year because they were sold out by the time I even started looking! 

Were you able to make it to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this year? Do you have a favorite fiber festival that you attend regularly? I’d love to hear all about it! 😊

~Happy Knitting!!!

baby, Family, Knitting

A Knitting Auntie!

This week, I’m in Maryland helping to care for my five month old niece, Claire, so that my sister can meet a work deadline!

Claire & I have been having a grand time playing with her baby gym…


… going out for walks (sometimes several times a day!)…




… sitting up (with just a little help 😉 )…


… and especially swinging in the swings at the park!! 






During nap times, I’ve even gotten some knitting time in as well! 


I’m making good progress on Kayla’s infinity scarf now (you may remember that I had to rip back and start again a few days ago…)! 


I’ve already completed one pattern repeat, and am working on the second! 


How’s your week going so far?

Knitting

Rrrrrriiippp It!

Again.


And again.


And yet AGAIN!


What?! You’re likely wondering… rip what? And why? Maybe I should start at the beginning… 

On my needles right now are two scarves…

…one for my friend Kathryn,…


…and one for my friend Kayla!


So there was this gorgeous yarn by Expression Fiber Arts that we all fell in love with…


Once we’d collectively clicked “Submit” on our four skeins (one for each of us plus a lovely mint green that coordinates perfectly!)… 


…it didn’t take long for the idea of designing “sister” scarves to pop into my head! (By “sister” scarves, I mean three different scarves unique to each personality and style, but clearly belonging together. 🙂 My plan is to name each scarf after the friend who inspired it. 🙂

So I swatched several stitch patterns and brought them to K & K for evaluation. 

Arrowhead Lace with Cables
Falling Leaves
Norwegian Fir Tree

The general consensus was that since they were all fun and lovely, it was nearly impossible to decide which to use!!! 


If you follow me on social media, you may remember voting on this to help us decide! 😉

Once Kathryn & Kayla had chosen their stitch patterns, we discussed style…!

Kathryn opted for a super long & slender scarf with a very open and lacey stitch pattern called “Arrowhead Lace with Cables.” It will be very dramatic, and also very versatile, perfect for wear in almost every season! 


Given that Kathryn is a talented artist and a wonderfully practical lady, I think this is a very pleasant reflection of her personality. 🙂 

Kayla selected “Falling Leaves” as her stitch pattern and chose to go with an infinity style scarf. 


A more solid lace compared to Arrowhead, Falling Leaves has a very elegant, flowing quality and I’ve no doubt will produce a joyful, eye-catching statement piece! (I see this scarf as representative of Kayla’s brilliance and expressive of her fullness of the joy and enthusiasm of life!)

Though so different, I think both combinations of stitch pattern and style will showcase the special yarn really well!


Arrowhead Lace with Cables is an easy-to-memorize stitch pattern, 


…and because the “Kathryn” scarf is narrow the rows are short; 


…so I feel like the scarf is just flying off my needles! 

Slightly different story with the “Kayla” infinity scarf, however… 


To get the “Falling Leaves” to lay the way we imagined them, “Kayla” is knit in the round. In order to create enough volume to drape the scarf twice about the neck, I’m working 19 22-stitch repeats. That means a big long cast-on. A really big, 418 stitch cast-on! Which I have already done twice and will now be doing a third time! 

The difficulty with such a large numbers of cast-on stitches, is joining to work in the round. Specifically, it’s super hard to avoid getting a twist in your cast-on! Even when you’ve checked and re-checked and you think you’ve got it, you may later discover a pesky twist lurking! Which is what happened to me today….!

After working 1.5 pattern repeats (that’s 18 rounds, or 7,524 stitches)…


I noticed this:


A twist! Aaauuuggghhh! Do you see it?


Time to rrrrriiiiiipppppp back. 

All 7,524 stitches!


Compared to the time it took to get that far… 


…ripping back took almost no time at all! 



Best not to dwell…. 


So, now I’m casting on 418 stitches AGAIN! 🙂


To help me keep track of my progress, I’m placing a marker every 22 stitches as I go…


That’s a marker for every pattern repeat along the round. There are 19 pattern repeats per round, so I’ll need a total of 19 stitch markers. 


I really like these from the Sheep and Wolf because of their simplicity, pretty colors, and size. (These are the large ones, they also come in medium and small (sock knitting size!); as well as different colors.


As frustrating as ripping back and starting over from scratch seems right now, I know I’ll be glad I did when I have a twist-free infinity scarf ready for my friend Kayla! 😉 


And it’s not so bad! 


See, I’m making progress already! 😀

Have you ever had to rip a project back? Do you have any handy tips for avoiding the dreaded twist when you join to work in the round? I’d love to hear about it! 🙂

Happy Knitting! 

Knitting, patterns

 New Pattern Released!

Today, I’m celebrating the release of my new pattern: Twin Leaf Gloves!

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Delicate, yet warm, Twin Leaf Gloves are the perfect cozy accessory for all of those slightly chilly mornings/evenings in Spring & Fall when you just need a little wooly comfort to keep you toasty! Knit in the round on double pointed needles, they fly by quickly with just enough lace to keep you focused. Designed for a fitted look and sized for women’s hands in small, medium, and large, I bet you (like me!) won’t be able to knit just one pair! 😉

 

 

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It’s been a dream of mine, for many years, to begin writing out my knitting patterns so I can share them with you. So today is a very exciting milestone for me! 🙂

This particular pattern, Twin Leaf Gloves, has been in the works for quite a while. The first inspiration for them came about nine months ago at the end of last Summer when I was obsessing over leaf-patterned stitches and fingerless gloves (one of my all-time favorite accessories!). Looking at leaf shapes, it occurred to me that they might go gracefully with hand and thumb gusset shaping for a pair of fitted gloves or hand warmers. As I played around with the idea, sketching and swatching, the Twin Leaf Gloves were born!

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Along the way, I discovered that pattern writing can bring with it a rather steep learning curve… i.e.: Knitting what’s in my head, for myself or a loved one, takes some time, but is relatively uncomplicated compared to writing it down and/or charting it out in a way that makes sense for communicating it with others.

Most of the months between then and now were spent in developing and refining the pattern from my original scribbled notes to a detailed pattern with both written instructions and charts.

And of course, then there was the checking and re-checking of the pattern for accuracy; the first step of which (for me, anyway) involved knitting sample gloves in all three sizes = a lot of time and a lot of math! 🙂

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Overall, I have to say that pattern writing has been a very exciting and rewarding experience for me, even with the rather larger-than-expected learning curve involved! 😉

My deepest thanks go out to Allison O’Mahoney of Kniterations for her patient advice, support, and superb technical editing; and to Beth Harnett (Hatknitter on Ravelry) for her heart warming enthusiasm and fabulous test knitting! Ladies, you are a joy to work with, and I am deeply grateful for your input and contributions. ❤

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And now, to spread the joy and celebrate this pattern release, I’m offering two discount options on my Twin Leaf Gloves pattern:

1)  and enter discount code: New20 to get 20% off your Twin Leaf Gloves pattern through April 25th, 2017!

Or…

2) Get 50% off your Twin Leaf Gloves pattern through June 30th, 2017 when you subscribe to my Newsletter!

Happy Knitting!

baby, Christmas, Family, Knitting

Foxy Hat

One of my favorite knits in 2016 was a little fox hat for my two year old niece, Vera.


The pattern is Foxy & Wolfie by Ekaterina Blanchard. I (clearly 😉) chose to make the Foxy version! The yarn I used is Cascade 220 in red/orange and cream.

Foxy is a really fun hat to knit…


…I especially enjoyed the unusual construction and shaping methods used…

The hat is knit in the round…

…sometimes circular needles are used,…

and sometimes double-points.


The intarsia and shaping are accomplished using short rows…

…even for the ears!


After shaping the ears…


…you connect the top/back of the hat to the front/face of the fox hat…

…using a three needle bind off and keeping a number of live stitches in the center…


…to knit the nose! A very unique and very fun knit!

I had gotten some really cute animal eyes to use, but discovered that the stem of the eyes would poke through the hat too far and be uncomfortable when worn…


So I used buttons from my button stash instead!

A personalized label is the finishing touch…


I sewed the label on the outside of the hat so as to avoid any possibility of discomfort due to its presence.


Vera’s parents (my brother, Joel, and sister-in-law, Annalies), loved it!

But due to a sudden and unanticipated (by me) growth spurt, this little Foxy Hat turned out too small for sweet little Vera! 😢 (Or maybe my gauge was off? It’s possible…)

So I’ll be giving this Foxy Hat to my one month old niece, Claire; and knitting a larger Foxy for Vera! (When your aunt is a knitter, sizing issues are generally fixable in one way or another!)

Note to self: Always size up more than you think you need to when knitting for children! 😊

What was your favorite knit of 2016? Have you knit a Foxy or a Wolfie hat? What did you think of the process? Do you knit for children? How do you handle the possibility of sudden growth spurts? Feel free to share with us in the Comments, we’d love to hear from you!!

Christmas, Family, Holidays, Knitting

Quick & Easy Christmas Knits!

I don’t know about you all, but I find that during the Christmas Season, knitting time comes at a high premium, making efficiency even more important.

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All of my dear friends and family know that if I could, I would knit something fabulous, exciting, and huge for each and every one of them for Christmas!

But alas, in this imperfect world, reality sets in and I discover (and re-discover) that this is not likely to be possible for me…

So in the spirit of both efficient and reasonable Christmas knitting, I’d like to share with you all some lovely knitting  & crochet patterns I’ve spotted recently that are quick, relatively easy, and make great gifts!

The Pony Tail Hat – a delightful and practical current trend …

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Messy Mom Bun Beanie

The Messy Mom Bun Beanie, by Ashlea Konecny, is very popular, very cute, and super easy to crochet! All you need is a size H (5mm) hook, some worsted weight yarn, and few hours!

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Frilly Ponytail Hat

This Frilly Ponytail Hat, by Cheryl Mercer is a slightly different variation on the same theme. It’s knitted, and it has a cute little frill around the edges of the ponytail hole! It’s knit in Lion Brand’s Wool Ease; a worsted weight yarn, so it would knit up quickly.

The By My Side Ribbed Ponytail Hat, by Michelle Moore is an absolutely adorable crocheted cap version with a cute brim and the perfect spot for a gorgeous statement button or pin. SO chic! You can just see the ponytail hole near the bottom edge in the back view pic…

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Cardiff Bay Ponytail Hat

Here are a couple of really unique options! The Cardiff Bay Ponytail Hat, by Beth Ann Beck has a enchanting touch of simple lace and cable. Knit up in a bulky weight yarn, it would be a quick knit with lots of interest, and would make an exciting gift!

The Child’s Ponytail Hat, by Gail Tanquary, is a riot of color and texture! It would knit up very quickly in aran weight yarn. Plus, the pattern is a free download on Ravelry! The bonnet type styling, the highly textured accent yarn, and the use of the yarn ends as fringe are all so creative!

The Headband/Ear Warmer – perfect for keeping ears warm while rocking fabulous hair! A few that caught my eye…

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Headband with Cable

The Headband with Cable, by Elaine Phillips is a lovely and practical version of this handy accessory; AND it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. I especially love the way that it’s knit wider than normal so that it’s double-layered for extra warmth!

The Cable Knit HeadbandInitiative Headband, and Resilience Headband; all by Brome Fields are gorgeous, and practical. Worked in Lion Brand’s Wool Ease Thick & Quick (a super bulky weight yarn) they would knit up quickly and make great gifts!

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Nordic Viking Headband

And the Nordic Viking Headband, by Randi Hjelm Debes, is knit in a bulky weight yarn. The pattern comes in several different sizes for both children and adults and incorporates a fascinating herringbone stitch pattern.

The Fingerless/Half Finger Mitt – a classic necessity…

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Fast & Easy Fingerless Mitts

These Fast & Easy Fingerless Mitts by Lisa M. Beamer make a perfect gift knit! Available as a free Ravelry download, you can choose between the knit flat version or the circular version. They’re perfect for using up odd bits of yarn leftover from other projects since they only need about 50 grams in worsted weight yarn.

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Muckle Mitts

The Muckle Mitts, by Mary Jane Mucklestone are so charming! The perfect knit for one who loves color work and/or fair isle knitting, they’d make a wonderful gift for a loved one!

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Urban Necessity Gloves

And for someone who wants a bit more of a challenge, the Urban Necessity Gloves, by Colleen Michele Meagher. Knit in worsted weight yarn, these sweet little mitts are half-finger gloves with a button down flip-top! I know many who would absolutely love to have a pair!

What about you? Are you knitting gifts for loved ones this Christmas? Do you have a favorite go-to item or pattern that you turn to for gift knitting? Feel free to share in the comments!

Wishing each and every one of you peace and joy and wellbeing in this Blessed Season, and throughout the New Year!