Category Archives: my knitting patterns

Weekend in Maine

Some designs come to me in dreams that are hurriedly sketched in the morning.  For some, such as Elijah’s cardigan, I start off with a set goal.  In that case to design a classic, baseball inspired cardigan with certain elements, like color work, contrast trim and a v-neck.  Sometimes I’ll turn a design over in my mind for years, randomly sketching out the options, knitting and re-knitting it time and again in my mind.  And sometimes I just pick up needles and yarn and start knitting with no earthly clue where it’s headed.  Such was the case with this little caplet.

With the frenzy of getting ready for our vow renewal, I never got around to what is normally my very first packing step; making sure I have all the supplies needed for a trip appropriate knitting project.  I’m hardcore about situationally appropriate knitting.  There is a right and a wrong kind of knitting for almost every situation.  You don’t knit delicate lace or a huge blanket in the car.  This is the wrong way to knit.  You do knit hats, anything that has a lot of stockinette stitch done in the round, nothing too fiddly or cumbersome.  This is the right way to knit.  And always, always, always plan ahead.  Who wants to run out of yarn midway through a trip or movie?!?!?  Not I.

You can imagine my consternation when I had no set project for this trip.  I grabbed two skeins of yarn I’ve had kicking around with no particular project intended, they were a gift that I hadn’t quite figured out what to do with just yet, appropriately sized needles and a stitch dictionary.  I overlooked the need for a measuring tape.  Luckily my powers of estimation extend far beyond what I ever would have thought.  Or it was a total fluke that I could never again replicate.  Either way.

The yarn itself sort of determined the type of project.  I only had the two skeins, so it couldn’t be anything too big.  The yarn is a Malabrigo kettle dyed merino in the color ‘Paris Night’, a much more luxurious yarn then I would usually buy myself, as such I wanted to use as much of it as possible!  Sweater- too big, hat- too small, scarf- too boring….

I found a stitch pattern that looked like fun to work, starting playing with it, changed directions a few times along the way and ultimately ended up with this sweet little caplet here with a black velvet ribbon closure.

Details on the pattern can be found here.  It’s going out to test knitters later this week.  I’m looking for a couple of additional people to test knit.  If you are interested, you can leave a comment here or email me at


a sweater and a dance

I’ve been working on this wrap sweater pattern, off and on, for a couple of years now.  This is actually the second one I’ve made, though it’s the first that I’ve shared.  The yarn is the very lovely Queensland Collection Joey’s Baby Silk in ‘Baby White’.  It’s a perfectly balanced blend of wool, bamboo and silk.  The tie is a nude colored velvet ribbon.  I actually really love this sweater, it’s so soft and delicate and rather romantic I think.

  Two years ago for Christmas my sister offered to watch the kids so Steve and I could go out and have a real date.  “Real date” consisted of dinner and a movie and uhm…two stops at my favorite yarn store (it’s not mean and torturous because I was wearing cute clothes at the time, see?).  I spotted this yarn on the first trip, but we were nearly late to our movie, so we came back to buy it on the second, with this very project in mind.  And then it sat on a shelf where I sometimes visited it and fingered it lovingly until, oh, like 6 weeks before our ceremony.  Because you know, I like to take it easy on myself and give myself lots of stress free time to work on projects.

Eh, all’s well that ends well.

All the photos above are by the lovely and talented Dawn Joseph.


for my mama

Just a quick little Christmas beret for my mother.  It was actually one of the kids who suggested that Me-Mom would look really good in a beret and perhaps I should make her one.  Everyone else quickly chimed in in agreement and so it was decided.  The yarn is Cascade Eco+ in Lake Chelan Heather, same as the stripes on Alex’s gnome hat.  I forgot to take pictures of her during Christmas and actually snapped this one as she was literally walking out the door.

Luckily I have some more detailed photos from earlier in December when I was gathering pictures together for the pattern.

The pattern has instructions for two versions one that’s less slouchy and one with a bit more slouch.  This is the slouchier version.  My green one, as seen below is of the less slouchy verity.

While we’re on the subject of knitting, I recently created a facebook page for my designs.  I’m really just in the beginning stages of setting it up, but in the future I’m imagining sneak peeks at new patterns, special offers, possibly some exclusive free patterns…so go on over and check it out.  Feel free to “like” the page so that you get updates on all the good stuff as it gets added.

I’m so happy to be back to knitting these days, working on a very, very simple sweater for Galen’s birthday.  I’m using Wool of the Andes in ‘Honey’ for my yellow loving boy.  It makes me think of Rumpelstiltskin spinning gold.


a boyish beret

Goosey Boy was envious of the hats that Rosebud and I wear and coveting one of his own.  Well now, we can’t have that, can we?  Not when it can so easily be remedied.

And so he got a boy-ish beret all his own.  And mightily cute he looks in it, I must say.

I only had so much yarn in one color, and so he got a dot of a different color on the top, which he quite likes and I don’t mind at all, so it all worked out.

Pattern: My very own Blackberry Beret, being test knit right now.  I am hoping to release it before the end of the year.

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool in ‘Coffee’ with a splotch of ‘Natural Grey’.



I’ve had some requests in the last couple of days for that beard pattern I mention in this post.  At this point it’s rather belated for Halloween crafting, but I thought that perhaps it might fit into some people’s Christmas plans.

And at least this way it’s out there for next year.

Disclaimer: This is a very loose, very rough tutorial, not a full scale knitting pattern, for a gnome/Santa/old man/wizard/what-have-you beard of all trades.  Obviously it has not been test knit or anything of that sort.

For both of these projects we used Sensations Cello eyelash yarn in ‘white’.  Snotty yarn snob that I am, normally I wouldn’t be caught dead knitting with novelty yarn and synthetic fibers at that, but it’s strange the things that crazy requests from cute kids will do to you.  It’s considered a bulky yarn, I guess because of the eyelashes, but it doesn’t seem the least bit bulky to me.  One ball is sufficient for this pattern (more may be needed for some of the variations).

You’ll also need a set of size 7 (4.5mm) needles, a length of 1″ elastic, matching thread and either a hand sewing needle or a sewing machine.

gauge is approximately 17 stitches and 22 rows per 4″ of unblocked garter stitch

Beard knitting notes, more or less as written in my notebook:

we start by making a little mustache…

row 1: co 5

row 2: k across

row 3: co 1, k to end, co 1

row 4: K1, bind off 5, k1

row 5: co 2, k1, co 8, k1, co2

**note: we’ve found this mouth shaping to fit and work for everyone in our family, that doesn’t mean it will be perfect for you, but consider it a one-size-fits-most.  I really just can’t-stop-typing-like-that-today.**

increase section: work 6 rows, casting on 1 stitch at the beginning and 1 stitch at the end of each row

K5 rows (7 for a larger beard)

repeat increase section

k 10 (33) rows

decrease row: k1, ssk, k to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1

K 5 rows

repeat decrease row

K 5 rows

repeat decrease row

K 3 rows

repeat decrease row

K 3 rows

repeat decrease row

K 2 rows

repeat decrease row

K 2 rows

repeat decrease row

K 1 row

repeat decrease row

K 3 rows

repeat decrease row

K 3 rows

repeat decrease row

K 2 rows

repeat decrease row

K 5 rows

k1, k2tog, k1

K 3 rows


break yarn

Picking up stitches for chin strap:

You should now have this kind of funny shaped thing that looks like a trapezoid with a hole in it on top of a big inverted triangle.  Starting at the very top corner of one of the sides of the trapezoid, pick up 5 stitches, working your way down towards the triangle part.  I know this needs a visual aid.  I’m sorry I don’t have one to offer at the moment!  This should take you about half-way down the side of the trapezoid.  If you would like a wider chin strap, feel free to pick up more stitches.  Knit approximately 8 rows.  This will depend on how far up the cheek and into the hair line you want the beard to go.  Repeat what you did on the first side for the second side.

This is the exact way I knitted up the gnome beard, pictured on a 5 year old above.

Attaching the elastic band:

This design includes an elastic band that goes up and around the back of the head creating a very secure beard that conforms to the contours of the face in a more realistic way.  Most people seem to like wearing it with the band just above their ears.  This band can either be covered with a hat (as shown) or it could be camouflaged with additional yarn.

Sew one end of the elastic to the under side of one of the chin straps.  Try on the beard, stretching the elastic across the back the head to get a good fit.  Trim the extra elastic, sew the other side in place and you are done!

After working in the ends we opted to trim back some of the eyelashes around the mouth area, mostly because no one thought they tasted very good.

 For a longer beard:

As shown on Santa above and Dumbledore below, simply increase the number of rows in between the shaping.  Suggested row counts for the beginning sections are in parenthesis.  Elijah and I were both working on that beard and I guess I stopped taking notes after that.  Be sure to mix up the number of rows you use to give it a more natural look.  A straight edged triangle with shaping at regular intervals will not look right.

For a beard with a rounded bottom edge:

Work as above until the first decrease row.  At this point you can either work straight or as above until the beard is approximately the desired length (presuming that you are wanting a shorter beard then the one above, otherwise you will run out of stitches).  Decrease at the beginning and end of each row for a couple of rows before binding off.  This will round off the corners.  How much rounding off you wish to do is entirely up to you.  Continue with the pattern as written starting at the “chin strap” section.


It does knit up quickly, so if Halloween has been delayed for you, due to the storm, you may just be able to get one made in time after all.



just a peek….

It seems like everyone, everywhere is knitting up a storm just now, with so many gorgeous projects to share with the world.  Tis the season.  I confess, I’ve been feeling a wee bit cranky about my lack of progress to share!  It’s not that I haven’t been knitting.  Oh, I’ve been knitting, but it’s slow going.  I’m currently working on four…no, wait, make that five designs and the patterns to go with them.  So my knitting speed and style are much different then they have been in the past.  There is a lot of swatching, tweaking, adjusting, sketching, measuring, testing, mind changing, reconsidering and after all is said and done, trying to find the quiet time to actually sit, write out the pattern and do a whole lot of math.  While thinking out loud.  I carry on a whole running conversation with myself every time I sit to write a pattern.  There is too much going on to be held within the small confines of my brain.  It has to seep out somewhere.  My family has learned to just ignore me at these times.  It’s really for the best.

With all of that going on turn around time is very long indeed.  So different from the instant gratification of knitting from someone else’s pattern or even designing something just for my own personal use, without a worry about the information that other people would need to recreate it.

And once I post and put it out in the world, I feel like I need to quickly follow up and get a pattern out there.  But a life like mine with so many other commitments just doesn’t work that way.  So, if I share one of the designs I’m working on, because I happen to have pictures of it, do you all promise not to judge me even if you don’t hear another word about it for a year and a half?  I just know that all of you kind and good hearted readers are going to say yes, even if you don’t really mean it!

Here is a glimpse of the lace shrug I made myself to wear to my cousin’s wedding last month…

and another little hint of it again…

Pattern to come, sometime in the indefinite future.


Elijah’s 2012 Birthday Sweater

It took me longer to finally get pictures and post about it than it did to knit it.  But here it finally is….

The first mama-designed birthday sweater to appear in this house!  But look out!  Now that the precedent has been set, I think I’m going to have some work to do!

It’s clearly baseball inspired.  What else would a sweater for this boy of mine be?  And after-all, he’s got to keep his pitching arm warm.

The entire fair isle pattern is comprised of interlocking home plates.

This was really a lot of fun to work on.

The yarn is Valley Yarns ‘Northampton’ in Dark Navy, Red and White.

Oh boy.

And ten is really a lot of fun too!


knitting flowers

~Wild Rose~

I’ve been knitting flowers for a while now.  Quietly, here and there, every once in a while.  It started back in March.  The last email that a saw, before running out the door, from the old house to the new for a work weekend, was a friend asking if I knew of a pattern for a knitted rose.  I thought that I could probably dig one up somewhere, but I wouldn’t have time to look until I got back home.  Through the long car ride and the long, long hours of painting I started thinking about how I would go about knitting a rose.  At the end of the day, when I was almost too tired to move, but still a bit to wound up to sleep, I sat down and started knitting the thoughts that had been floating around my mind.  My first rose was grey because that was the only yarn I had with me at the time.  The red version that I did after that can be seen on my hat in this “Week in the Life” post.

Since then, I come back to it from time to time.  I have a little tin full of knitted petals in various shapes, sizes and styles.  I started fooling with things and moved away from roses and then back again to design the wild rose show above.  In messing around with techniques I accidentally designed a beautiful poinsettia.  I started to see that with just a couple different petal shapes you could create a huge range of different flowers just by changing the yarn or the way the flower was assembled.  And my poor patient friend?  She still doesn’t have the rose pattern I promised her.  Because me?  Well, I’m still debating the best way to share that with the world.  The knitting is very simple, but putting them together isn’t just like straight forward seaming on a typical knitted garment.  It’s more like fabric sculpting, if you will.  And I’m not sure how to convey that in words.  I’m not sure that words are the best way to convey it.

   ~bad prototype photo of a garden rose that I quickly took to show my friend what I was working on~

Right now I’m considering photo intensive tutorials or possibly some sort of video.  I’m not sure exactly what will come of that, but I’ll keep playing around with different flower styles and techniques until then.

The headband in this post was gifted while we were camping, to a little friend born Solstice day, 6 years ago now.  A girl like that?  Well, I think she surely needs flowers in her hair.