Introducing the Twist Ending Cowl!!

Twist Ending Cowl
Spoiler Alert: it’s my new pattern!

Announcing my latest pattern–the Twist Ending Cowl! It’s available now for free (yes, free!) on the Knit Picks website as part of their Twelve Gifts of Christmas series. Here is the Ravelry link. I really love this pattern–it’s simple but it’s got a kick to it. And I can imagine it looking great in all kinds of color combinations, although I confess a special fondness for the grey and yellow combo. It was designed to show off the pop of color in the Latvian braid edging, so it would look great with any neutral paired with a bright contrasting color. White with black or red or navy, perhaps? Or maybe black with a hot pink?

Worked in Knit Picks Mighty Stitch Super Bulky yarn on size 15 circular needles, the pattern calls for about 130 yards of the main color and 30 yards of the contrast color. It knits up super fast and would make a great Christmas gift (or twelve). And, keeping in mind my recent posts, it would be the perfect pattern to knit during a movie; the pattern is simple and easy to memorize but the result looks a lot more complicated than it really is.

Here are some more equally gorgeous photos from the Knit Picks site:

Thank you to Knit Picks and their Independent Designer Partnership Program (IDP), and especially Stacey Winklepleck. And gratitude also to my good friend, Deborah Gormley, who originally suggested the twist pattern and is just generally a good egg all around.

I hope you all like this pattern, and I’d love to hear from any of you knitters out there who have knitted it up. Show me your finished cowls — I can’t wait to see what all of you come up with! Thank you!

September Update — Finishes, Starts, and WIPs

Where does all the time go? I can’t believe it’s September already, which means I’m two months behind in my half-year update, although I suppose that’s really right on schedule since I didn’t even post my year’s goals until the beginning of April. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m great about meeting goals in other parts of my life. I’m really very organized. Seriously. Anyway…

Update on Knitting WIPs and Goals for 2014

So, let’s see what I’ve gotten done since April’s reckoning. The progress bars in the right-hand sidebar will let you know how far along I am with my current projects. Here’s the list of knitting projects, some finished, some still in progress:

  • Baby Bobbi Bear and assorted outfits (a belated gift for my niece’s second birthday)   update: Baby Bobbi Bear was completed on 4/5/14 and the sweaters were completed on 6/29/14. Pictures and more details are below this bulleted list.
  • Winter Lace Afghan (a belated wedding gift — are you sensing a theme here?)  update: completed 5/16/14!
  • Breast Cancer Ribbin’ Scarf (seriously, all this needs is some kitchenering. Is that a verb?)
  • Felted Sashiko Cover (this is a little something I’m working on as a freebie pattern to accompany the sashiko-style cross stitch I’m designing for Wordsmith Designs — see below)
  • Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts (you know, because it’s so cold here in Los Angeles in springtime) update: completed 5/22/14!
  • Swedish Thora (a belated gift for my beautiful and patient Aunt Janet — there’s a point where gifts become so belated, there’s no point in rushing anymore. Sigh.)

And here’s Baby Bobbi Bear in all his glory:

And here are his fabulous sweaters:

There’s more info about all the yarns I used and the various crochet patterns on my Ravelry site (it would take too long to list them all here). The scarf is a simple 10-stitch 2 X 2 rib knitted with self-striping Adriafil Knitcol (color 46) on size 5 needles. Pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

Last April, I also stated “plans to make some Easter knits for the girls, including the Fiesta Tea Set by Annie Modesitt (knitted with Tahki Cotton Classic in yummy Fiestaware colors like lemongrass, peacock, plum, scarlet, shamrock, sunflower and tangerine).” Update: Done and done! Finished sometime in late June or early July. Here are some photos:

And here’s a picture of my niece Ella playing with her new tea set:

Ella Playing with Fiesta Tea Set
Ella Playing with Fiesta Tea Set

These were not part of my goals, but I also started a pair of the “The Wallpaper Had It Coming (Again)” mittens as part of a Sherlock-related challenge with the West Hollywood (WeHo) Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group, and the Spring Kerchief by Sachiko Uemura. I’m about halfway through the first glove, but I’ve only just cast on for the kerchief.

Needlework WIPs and Goals for 2014

As of April my current cross stitch WIPs were as follows (oldest to newest):

  • “Ewe and Eye Needlecase” by Maureen Appleton/Heart’s Content
  • “Celtic Band Samplar” by Homespun Samplar
  • “Union Jack,” an original design of the Union Jack flag which I will be “releasing” as a Wordsmith Designs freebie soon update: completed 04/06/14!

Since I’m being brutally honest, I will admit that I haven’t completed a single stitch on the Needlecase or the “Celtic Band Samplar.” They’ve been on hiatus for a few years now.

I had four other cross stitch goals for 2014:

  1. A set of four Shepherd’s Bush Christmas Stockings for my brother, sister-in-law and The Two Most Adorable Nieces in the World.™ Update: I’m happy to say I’m making terrific progress with these, and will have photos soon.
  2. The Mirabilia “In a Garden” series. Update: I’ve barely started the “Summer” version. Seriously, only a few stitches completed, and it’s “due” September 21st. My stitching time lately has gone to the Christmas stockings; I’d like to have those completed by the beginning of October so they can be finished professionally before Christmas.
  3. The 2014 Smalls Stitch-Along (the handy-dandy icon is in the right-hand sidebar). Update: I completed my smalls for April, May, June, and August, and I’m still working on July. Here’s the gallery so far:

Goals for Wordsmith Designs

For Wordsmith Designs, my first three design priorities for release are (in this order):

  1.  A sashiko-based design that I don’t want to go into too much detail about right now
  2.  A Celtic alphabet design that’s already designed and stitched but still needs some “polishing”
  3.  A design called “Memento Mori” and that’s all the detail you’ll get for now
  4.  A design called “A Rose is a Rose” and that’s all the detail you’ll get for now

Update: I haven’t met any of my designing goals for Wordsmith Designs. I’ve done some work on the sashiko design, but it still needs a lot more work. 

Goals for Moon & Sixpence Knits

For Moon & Sixpence, I am working on three free patterns:

  • an update of my (very basic) Michael Nesmith hat pattern, one that is more historically accurate and includes the four-button variation Nesmith wore sometimes
  • a scarf and cowl with a breast cancer ribbon-style cable pattern (I’m debating whether to charge a nominal fee so the proceeds could go to breast cancer research)
  • a small cabled heart design based on a Christmas ornament that IKEA was selling a couple years ago

Update: Apparently, design-work is not my top priority, which is sad because it’s a way of generating at least some income. As I stated in April: “I would love to have the breast cancer ribbon-style scarf completed by October, which the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” That seems like a goal that could still be met. Stay tuned.

Check back on December 31st! And wish me good luck and good motivation!



April Smalls SAL Check-in: “Union Jack Freebie”

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England…

In celebration of actually completing this month’s (by which I mean April’s) 2014 Smalls SAL challenge, I’m letting my inner Anglophile out to play. To be truthful, my inner Anglophile isn’t exactly usually inside the house practicing her violin and doing her math homework. She’s usually out cavorting around for everyone to see — watching BBC America, reading nineteenth-century English novels, eating lemon curd, indulging in a mild fascination with Prince Harry, driving on the left side of the road (OK, maybe not that last one).

I charted and stitched “Union Jack Freebie” (last seen as a work-in-progress here) for my fledgling — very fledgling — cross stitch design company, Wordsmith Designs, and the charted design will be up on the web site soon. However, it’s already available on this blog here as a free pattern.

Union Jack Freebie by Wordsmith Designs
Though she be but little, she is fierce!

To give you some idea of the scale of this design, the entire frame is only 6″ X 4 1/2″/15 X 11.5 cm, and the design size itself is 2.52” X 1.4”/6.4 X 3.55 cm. I stitched this Union Jack on 25-count beige Jobelan, which is my current favorite fabric for doing one-over-one designs;  the stitch definition is fantastic and it’s not too tiny (and exasperating) to work with considering my middle-aged eyes. The threads I chose were Gentle Arts Sampler Threads in Midnight (blue), Schoolhouse Red (red) and Oatmeal (ecru/white), although the pattern comes with some alternative suggestions (DMC, Anchor, Crescent Colours and Weeks Dye Works).

I’ve tried to be as accurate to the real Union Jack flag as possible. The tricky parts were the diagonal red lines which do not quite line up in the original, although many reproductions “cheat” by having simple diagonal lines.

The frame is a standard 2″ X 3″/5 X 7.5 cm frame I found at (I believe) Target several years ago. The cracks at the joins don’t appear so alarming in real life as they appear in this photo. It’s funny how photographs magnify even minor flaws. I’ve noticed this phenomenon when photographing knits before; the slightest imperfection — a knot in the wrong place, a stitch that sticks out, a stray cat hair — shows up like it’s got a huge neon arrow pointed at it.

Photography issues aside, I hope you enjoy this quick and easy pattern. I’d love to see any pictures of completed projects.

Rapunzel Scarf Pattern Finished!

Lately, I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of braiding. I was trying to think of some new ways to finish a cross stitch project with braided cord, or how to use braids in a needlework pattern (as in Moss Creek’s  “Julbock Christmas Pocket” from the 2004 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue).Rapunzel Scarf

Then it struck me–knit a braided scarf! And I’ll name it after Rapunzel, she of the fabled long blonde braid! Silly me, I thought I was the first to think of this name, but it turns out that Anthropologie beat me to it by a couple years–here is a blogger with her own take on the Anthropologie version. Doesn’t this look like a great way to use up some of your stash?

However, from the beginning, I was thinking of braided I-cords rather than strands of yarn, and you can see the (unfortunately shaded) close-up of my version to the right. I thought a nice, neutral ivory would look nice and classic, and maybe even a little blonde. I also chose to up the difficulty factor a bit with four strands instead of the usual three.

Rapunzel Scarf Tassel DetailTo top it off, I added big tassels at the ends (see image at left). At 96″ long, you’ll certainly be able to wrap it around your neck a few times, so even though it’s quite skinny, you’ll still stay warm. Of course, you can make it as long or as short as you want.

For the free pattern, click here (or follow the “Free Pattern” link under the banner above). And please send me any comments or suggestions.

Woven Stitch Table Runner Pattern is up!

Woven Stitch Table Runner
Woven Stitch Table Runner

The crocheted Woven Stitch Table Runner pattern is up! Check out the “Free Patterns” link above. I actually finished the table runner a few months ago, but it sat around in my FUFO pile waiting for the pattern to be written up. This is a really simple pattern but I love the way it turned out so much that I wanted to share it with everyone. The yarn has a really beautiful sheen and the shells and wooden beads in the trim makes the runner, in my humble opinion, both elegant and casual. I could imagine this runner with a fancy table setting or out on a picnic table near the beach.

Obviously, you can make the runner any size you wish depending on the size of your table and the surface area you’re trying to cover. You can figure out how much yarn you’ll need by multiplying the width by the length and comparing that result with the surface area (width X length–in this case, 9″ X 60″ = 540 square inches) covered by my pattern. If the surface area of the runner you want to make is, for example, 432 square inches or 80% of my pattern, then you will need approximately 80% of the yarn I have called for in my pattern.

Woven Stitch Table Runner
Woven Stitch Table Runner with back of fringe showing

The trim is sewn on with needle and thread after the runner is crocheted, and instructions are provided in the pattern here. To the right, you can see a photo with the back of the runner showing so you can see how the trim is attached. Obviously, there are a lot of different trims out there so the possibilities for your decor choices should be endless.