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

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. 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 pattern. The …


Burke’s Northwest Baby Sweater

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

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 Tie a Yarn Hank for Dying

I have a large cone of undyed wool that is perfect for hand-dying to use in needlepoint projects. The last time that I dyed a large batch of it, I ended up with tangled messes that took me hours to untangle so that I could use them. Super frustrating. So, this time around, I decided to be smart about it and appropriately secure the yarn for dying. The first step is wrap a length of yarn off of your cone (or skein) into a circle. It’s convenient to wrap around the back of a chair or to wrap holding one end in your hand and the other around your elbow. By wrapping the yarn into a circle, you are turning it into a hank of yarn. Lay one hank of yarn down on a surface. (I made a bunch of hanks of yarn at once and then went through and tied them all). Putting one twist in …

How to Cable Cast On and Alternating Cable Cast On

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

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)

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 …

My Design Process: Baby Sweater

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

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

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

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.


Fractal Crochet Tablecloth

My first ever crochet project. It’s Fractal doily pattern by Essi Varis, available on Ravelry. Being my first project, I decided to go for a larger hook than the pattern calls for so that I would easily be able to see the stitches. So, instead of petite doily, I ended up with a tablecloth. I’m happy with it, regardless!


Dorothy’s Vintage Shawl

I had the pleasure of adding a satin back to gorgeous vintage shawl, knit by Dorothy, the lovely woman who recently gave me a stack of vintage knitting patterns. I’m not sure exactly when it was knit, but Dorothy is in her late 80’s and she said this was her second knitting project ever, so perhaps in the 1940’s??


Vintage Knitting Patterns

While in Santa Barbara over the holiday, Adam and I had some lovely quality time with his 92 year old Grandmother, Nanny She. One afternoon, Nanny She took us over to her younger friend Dorothy’s house (and by younger I mean in her late 80’s). Nanny She wanted Dorothy to see the knitting projects that I’m working on currently. Since we were talking about knitting, Dorothy got down a rack of knitting patterns and let me have any vintage patterns I could find since she knew she wouldn’t use them. Golly gee how lucky I am!

Knitting Plans

I got a little excited. And bought more than a little yarn. I seem to be very cyclical in my knitting in that I knit from my stash for a long time and then all of the sudden I go crazy and buy a bunch of new yarn. But (unlike my fabric stash) I only buy yarn with specific projects planned for each skein of yarn. So here’s the new projects I will be knitting.

East West Knit Purse

Oh man. Well, I finished it under three years. Another WIP to cross off the list! I thought this purse was beautiful when I saw it in the KnitPicks catalog. My mom purchased it for me for my birthday shortly after, and the rest is history, albeit a rather boring history.

Off My Needles

Last month I tried to shame myself into finishing up some knitting projects that have been accumulating mostly-done in my drawer. Well, my self-shame and a week sick on the couch combined to be just what I needed to get-er-done! Here’s a quick peak at what I’ve recently finished. Click the links to Ravelry if you want more details about the projects. I finished the second colorway of my Baby’s First Fair Isle Sweater! I love how it turned out. It’s really satisfying to knit up my own pattern and to be so proud of the result. I finished my Sophia sweater (another French Girl Knits, my fourth sweater from this book). Man this project was a nightmare. I ripped the collar off and re-grafted in onto the body 3 times before it was done. But, it’s done and it will be good to have in my wardrobe. I finished …

What’s On My Needles? (Too Many Projects!)

I thought I would give a glimpse at what projects are currently on my knitting needles. A little bit because I want to share and inspire. A lot a bit to shame myself into finishing some of these projects! This is a different colorway of my Baby’s First Fair Isle Sweater. All I have to do is cut the front steeks and knit the front ribbing, weave in the ends, and block it. I should be able to do this over the course of a couple of movies (how I measure knitting time). I just need to do it. This is Anjou from French Girl Knits. The body is done and I’m almost done with one sleeve. That leaves one sleeve, waistband, assembly, and blocking. It’s a surprisingly quick and easy knit that I’ve been leaving at work to knit during meetings. I’m happy with my speed and progress on this …

Baby’s First Fair Isle

I’m excited to announce that I have finished a new knitting pattern and listed it on Ravelry for sale – Baby’s First Fair Isle. I picked the palette of colors for my cousin Amilia who lives in rural New Mexico. Even though she lives in the desert, it’s high desert, so chilly nights still require snuggly sweaters. It’s a simply shaped cardigan, knit in the round, bottom up and includes a steeked front. Sleeves are knit in the round separately, joined to the body at the underarm, and the yoke is knit in the round with decrease stitches giving it a raglan-like fit. If you’ve never knit stranded knitting before, this isn’t the pattern for you, unless you’re willing to look elsewhere for support on new techniques. It assumes that you have prior experience with stranded knitting. There are many excellent resources out there to teach techniques, and this pattern …

Georgie Gets a Girlfriend

My favorite doll growing up was a sock monkey named Georgie. I’ve always had a soft spot for sock monkeys, and so when I found a pattern for knitting a girl sock monkey (Carmen Banana!) I just had to make it. I knit Carmen and two different outfits for her.