Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Free Knitting Pattern: Tree Skirt (or Doily) for Table-Top Christmas Tree

My latest free knitting pattern is a round doily designed as a tree skirt for miniature or table-top Christmas Tree.  This skirt or doily features bands of different stitch patterns and can be adjusted in size depending on your needs.

Although designed as a Christmas tree skirt, you could also use this pattern to knit a round doily to put under a plant, decorative bowl, or lamp.  I chose not make my tree skirt very Christmas-y because I wanted to use it under other things during the rest of the year. However, if you'd like to add more holiday cheer to your doily or skirt, there are a few ways to accomplish this by using novelty yarn with shiny tinsel woven in it, or yarn doted with sequin.  Or you can knit each band of the pattern in a different color of yarn, alternating between white, green, and red.

You can find this free pattern on my Hubpages!

Friday, October 23, 2015

How to Felt a Sweater: A Fall Tutorial

I've always been a little hesitant to felt any of my knitting.  But a friend gave me this old fair isle sweater, which I loved, but didn't fit.  And I just couldn't donate it to Goodwill.

So instead, I felted the sweater in my washing machine and made this charming stuffed pumpkin!  Aren't the colors just perfect for fall decorating?  You can find the full directions for felting and making this pumpkin on my Hubpages

I love how this pumpkin fits in with my other fall decorating.  To find out more about my fall fireplace display, check out my craft blog

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Knitting: The Best Items to Knit and Sell at a Craft Show or Fair

Ever thought about selling your knitted goods at a craft fair, but don't know what to make or what might sell?  I've just posted an article on my Hubpages with a list of knitted items that are strong sellers at craft shows, along with some things to keep in mind when selling your knitted goods.

This article includes the hot trends at craft shows right now, along with some sample free patterns for each of the items on the list.  I hope this article inspires you to consider selling your knitting!  Check out the full list here.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

{Pet Peeve} Knitting Patterns with Dark Photos

"Sleet" by Marie Wallin from http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sleet-4
Excuse me for going off on a bit of a rant here, but I can't stand it when knitting patterns have dark photos.  To my mind, the photos are posted and included to encourage you to buy/knit the pattern, but how can you decide if you want to knit something that you really can't see?
Rowan (see above) is kind of notorious for this.  If the photo isn't almost pitch black, than the model is posed in some way that completely obscures the knitted item that they are trying to sell to you.

"Cabled Batwing Cardigan" by Debbie Bliss from http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-batwing-cardigan
Here's an example:  I've been thinking about knitting a cape-poncho-like sweater and have been searching around for the right pattern.  I came across this Cabled Batwing Cardigan by Debbie Bliss which certainly has some possibilities.  But the accompanying pattern photo makes it hard to really make out the shape and detail of this sweater.  Between the dark color of the sweater and the dark background, the design of this sweater is lost. 

Wouldn't it make more sense to knit the sample in a brighter or lighter color, then photograph it in a way that highlights the beauty and specialness of this pattern?

"Frances" by Debbie Bliss from http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/frances-18

I mean, really, what can you really tell about the design of the sweater above? 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Upcoming Knitting ~ To Keep Myself Inspired and Organized

October 1st will soon be upon us and this time of the year always makes me a little anxious.  For knitters, this begins the final stretch for any and all projects we want to get done before the end of the year.  For me, this is a self-imposed deadline.  I'm not knitting any holiday gifts this year (well, maybe - see Christmas stockings below), but I still have knitting projects I'd like to finish by the end of the year.

So, I'm posting my knitting list here to keep myself engaged, inspired, and on schedule :)

1.  First up - My Sport Weight Lace Scarf:  I blogged about my search for a lace scarf pattern months ago.  In the end, I didn't choose any that I mentioned and instead I'm knitting the Three Sisters Scarves #2 by Monica Steinbauer.  I love the mix of chevron with lace, particularly in this teal yarn (see above - not finished and unblocked).  This should look great with my fall jacket, thus creating project #2 on my list:

2.  I'm going to try to create some matching fingerless mitts to go with this scarf.  Stay tuned for the pattern in the coming months (but probably not before December).

3.  I need/want to make a doily to go under my ceramic Christmas tree that I put out during the holidays.  I'm going to use Madeline Nelson's Pi Washcloth pattern as a starting point for my knit doily.  This should be a quick knit (I hope).  I don't need anything fancy for my doily and I'm just going to use some leftover white acrylic yarn to knit it.  I might add some beads or buttons around the edge when I'm done.

Standing Stones Cowl by Andee Fagan

4. I have 2 1/2 skeins of Berroco Vintage leftover from knitting my Vale cardigan.  As I mentioned before, I'm considering making the Standing Stones Cowl by Andee Fagan to wear as more of a poncho.  But honestly, I'm not sure how much use I'd get out of a poncho, so I like the flexibility to wear this as a cowl too.  I really love the lace pattern in this design.

Tis The Season Stocking by Katie Weston

5.  Last year when we were at my parents for Christmas, my mother mentioned wanting some knit stockings to display during the holidays.  I'm hoping she's forgotten about this, or changed her mind, but I've also searched out some free stocking patterns on Ravelry.  I love the Tis The Season Stocking by Katie Weston and I can use some stash dk to knit it.  I'd make two stockings for my parents (each different) and I think Katie Weston's pattern will look great matched with this Drops Design stocking.

6.  Lastly, I never finished this striped short-sleeve top I started last spring (ugh).  I still don't love it, so I either need to to finish it in a way I like, or take it apart and knit something else.  Right now, I'm waiting for some inspiration and direction to hit.

I plan to post about some of these projects, so you can watch my progress!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

When Not to Knit a Sweater

If you read this blog at all, you know I love knitting sweaters as much as the next knitter.  But sometimes you can find a fabulous sweater all pre-made and perfect just waiting for you at the store!  This lightweight cardigan illustrates one of the points I made in my blog post about picking sweater patterns:  If you can buy it in a store, and you love it, why bother knitting it yourself?

I found this beige cardigan at Ross last week for $17.  It's a lightweight cotton that I find perfect for in between seasons.  It has this beautiful lace back that is right on trend right now, and is a perfect fit for me (though I could take a better photo of the back).  I love it!

So let's be honest:  I probably couldn't buy the yarn to knit this sweater for $17.  And it would certainly take more than $17 worth of my time to knit.  So the purchase of this cute cardigan was a great buy for me.  Check out more hints on choosing the perfect sweater pattern here.

Oh, and if you like my new Matryoshka doll necklace, check out my tutorial to make your own on my Hubpages!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Vale Cardigan Sweater Update 4: Final Reveal & Last Thoughts

I finished my Vale Cardigan for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit-a-long (#sskal15) with a few weeks to spare (hurrah!)  Though it's taken me a bit of time to get used to how this sweater looks on me, I do like it very much.


The cabling on this sweater is what I first fell in love with, and it is truly beautiful.  I particularly love how the cable design falls on the sleeves.  And the moss stitch creates a sturdy fabric that should be quite warm this winter.

I've posted my notes on my mods, knitting the back and front pieces, and the sleeves already, so I only have a few more comments:

1.  It took me a while to get used to the draping front pieces on this cardigan.  I think it might be a bit too much on me and makes my hips and chest wider.  I wonder if deleting 10 to 15 stitches from each of the front pieces would make the front not hang as much.  I know this would also make the lapels narrower.  It's an interesting idea for modification, but I have no plans to re-knit this sweater.

2.  I do love my choice to knit this cardigan in Berroco Vintage.  I've knit with Vintage before and it seemed a slight bit scratchy.  However, this batch/color is rather snuggly and doesn't seem to have that itch quotient.  And I really love this Dungaree color.  It's the perfect medium blue to go with so many things in my closet.

And it's a good thing I like the color - I have about 550 yards left after knitting my Vale Cardigan.  I'm thinking about knitting the Standing Stones Cowl by Andee Fagan with the remainder.

I been thinking about knitting a poncho and I love how this design can be worn as a cowl or poncho.

Looking forward to cooler temperatures and wearing my new Vale Cardigan :)