Friday, November 30, 2012

Please vote for my pattern!!!

Yea! My free pattern for my Textured Fingerless Gloves or Mitts (by purl3agony) has been nominated as a rising star on Hubpages!!!  I really have no idea what this means but please go to by Wednesday, Dec 5, and vote for my pattern (pretty please).  If I win, then we'll all find out what this is all about :)

You don't have to sign up to vote, so vote early and often!!  While you're there, check out my other free patterns and craft articles at


Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Favorites: The Lust List

Or "If money grew on trees..."

photo by Genevieve Williamson on etsy

1.  Polymer Clay Bracelet by Genevieve Williamson on Etsy - This bracelet is beautiful! I love how she formed and colored the polymer clay to look like old, worn pieces of wood, stone, I don't know, something else. It's - at the same time - both very architectual and organic. Really cool.

photo by Zach Medler on etsy
2.  Pittsburgh Mug by Zach Medler on Etsy - He doesn't currently have this mug in his shop, but I love this design. I love how he uses stamps to create a Pittsburgh-like landscape on his mugs. I lived in Pittsburgh for 9 years and loved it. This mug reminds me of Pgh - the heaviness and colors of this piece remind me of the industrial past and hardworking roots of the city. Plus, I always love a great handcrafted ceramic mug!
photo from
3.  Handmade Necklace from Elva Fields - I first heard about Emily Wheat Maynard's beautiful jewelry in an article in Country Living magazine and just fell in love. It's hard to pick a favorite among all of her beautiful pieces. Emily recycles/upcycles vintage jewelry into new pieces with a great modern look. I love bold necklaces and really like how she maintains the femininity of the vintage pieces while updating them to a very current and cool look.
4.  The Photographs of Sarah Szwajkos - We saw an exhibition of her really large photographs recently at the Chocolate Church Arts Center (I'm not making this up) in Bath, Maine. I can't seem to copy any of the images from her website to share on this blog, but believe me, her photos are amazing (follow the link). Her photos of indoor spaces capture this wonderful sense of stillness, beauty, and mystery. You feel as if the occupants have scampered off, and left the details of their daily lives to be examined like an archaeological dig. Really fascinating.
With the holidays coming up, I hope this list gives my husband some ideas :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Knitting Pattern: Reindeer Tracks Cowl

I recently posted this new knitting pattern for my Reindeer Tracks Cowl on my Hubpages.  You can find this FREE pattern at:

This is a pretty quick, so it's great for last minute holiday gifts :)   The pattern uses slipped stitches and is knitted in the round.  I designed it to show off the colors of variegated yarn, but I think it would also look good in solid colors.

Hope you like it :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Favorites: Non-Traditional Quilts

"Christina's World" quilt by Luke Haynes
First, I don't quilt.  I don't even really sew.  But I enjoy looking at quilts and I admire the work and creativity that is involved.  I love how color and texture are pieced together to create an interesting composition.  I particularly like non-traditional quilts where either a) traditional materials are used to create a non-traditional pattern or image; or b) non-traditional materials are used to form something the resembles a traditional quilt pattern.

For this Friday Favorites, I am highlighting two non-traditional "quilt" artists.  A little surprising, both are men (I'm not really sure what that says about anything, but it's interesting to note).

Luke Haynes

"American Gothic" from Luke Haynes website

Amazing. What else is there to say? His cloth photo quilts are so detailed in their piecework - just beautiful. And I love how he uses traditional quilt designs as background for these images of daily life. I really can't imagine having the patience to put these together, but the color and composition make you forget that you're looking at a quilt and just draw you into the image itself.  Again, amazing.
"In School" by The Steel Quilt Company
Nathan Winkler uses wood and recycled barn tin to create these "barn quilts" that mimic traditional quilt patterns.  I love the rustic marriage of the rusted tin and worn wood in his pieces.  He seems to have a great eye for picking just the right background color to interplay with the pieces of recycled metal and how to create visual interest.  His barn quilts manage to be "country" and yet still be very modern.  More information about the Steel Quilt Company can be found on their facebook page.
from the Steel Quilt Company
Hope you enjoyed seeing these amazing quilts!  do you have any favorite non-traditional quilters?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Local Yarn Store Names

logo for Ball & Skein from their website

I love to visit local yarn stores (LYSs) when I'm traveling. Its always great to see the different products that different stores carry and how the merchandise is displayed. I particularly like stores with great names. I lean toward LYSs with cute and clever names, and I love a good play on words.

I've put together a list of the best names I've come across. I'm not receiving any compensation from listing these stores. I don't have any relationship to any of them. In fact, I've only been to a couple of them (which I've indicated with an * ). These LYSs are on this list solely based on their names. I've included links to their websites if you want more information about them.

Top 10 Local Yarn Store Names

1. Knit and Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda, MD

2. Yarnia in Portland, OR
3. Ball & Skein* in Kennebunk, ME

4. Knitorious in St. Louis, MO

5. (tie) We're in Stitches (no website) and We'll Keep You in Stitches, both in Chicago

6. Yarntopia in New York City

7. TheTaming of the Ewe in Gadsden, AL

8. Yarnivore in San Antonio, TX

9. Strings& Strands in Atlanta, GA

10. Purl's Yarn Emporium* in Asheville, NC

Honorable Mentions

Twisted in Portland, OR

String in New York City

Bad Woman Yarn in Seattle, WA

I have a dream (more like a daydream) of opening a yarn store in Maine when I retire.  And I've already got a great name for it!  But I'm keeping it a secret :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Knitting Project: Modern Cabled Capelet

My latest knitting project is a short capelet (whatever that is) from Teva Durham Loop-d-Loop Lace book. It’s done, however I've made so many changes to my capelet that it barely resembles Teva Durham's design.

I've always had some issues with capes and ponchos. They seem slightly impractical (particularly for warmer climates), somewhat uncomfortable to wear, and (dare I say it?) I think I might be too old to pull one off.
But I loved the idea of Teva Durham's pattern - I liked the overall shape of her cape and the fact that the side slits allowed your arms to be free. But I thought her lace pattern was a bit boring (just my opinion). I wanted to try this cape using my own modern lace pattern, and went about making changes to be able to accomodate my cable pattern. Add in that my gauge was off and this led to MANY modifications.
1. I wanted to change the neckline because this Patons Classic Wool that I'm using is itchy. The original neck in the pattern would sit too high on my neck and drive me crazy. So instead, I knit a wider crewneck with ribbing that won't really touch my neck.
2. Because my gauge was off, I added another 4 stitches of ribbing to each side to give me more width to stretch over my arms and seam up the sides.
3. I used 5 alternating modern lace cables for the pattern (I'm making the front and back pieces the same - both with the cable pattern).
4. My cables had less flexibility than her lace pattern would, so I built in 6 stitches of garter on each side of the cables (there's garter between the cables too). This allowed the piece to stretch and move.

Now that the capelet is finished, it is probably as impractical and uncomfortable as I expected (I feel and look a bit like a mummy in it), and the shoulders are wonky as described by others on Ravelry. I tried to remedy this a bit, but they are still wonky and they ride up every time I move my arms. But...I do love my cable lace pattern on this piece. I love the color, and I still love the idea of this capelet.

But…I think I’m going to frog it
L  The shoulders are just too weird.  Instead, I think I’ll find a cardigan pattern, and just add my cables to it to make something that I’ll definitely wear and enjoy J

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Gift of Giving

Fall is traditionally a time when a lot of knitters' minds (and hands) turn to holiday gifts. For the past two years, I've knitted gifts for my family members, with mixed reactions. All in all, its safe to say my family are not great fans of handmade gifts.

So this year I've been using my stash to knit gifts to give to charity. And I've come across a new call for knitted goods, the Red Scarf Project. I am not a paid spokesperson for this organization, nor am I affiliated with them in any way. I don't know anything more about it other than what I've read on their website, but it sounds like an interesting cause.

The Red Scarf Project is accepting red scarves (or scarves with red in them) to distribute to college students who have grown up in foster care. The scarves are distributed as part of a Valentine's Day care package for each student!

Scarves can be any shade of red and can include other colors. The finished scarf should be 5" to 8" wide and about 60" long. The organization only accepts scarf donations from September 1 to December 15 - perfect for fall knitting! For more information, visit their website at

I've decided to knit Cindy Bajema's Best Friend Scarf using some red Encore dk I picked up while on vacation.  I really like the simple lace pattern in the scarf and I hope it will be perfect for this donation.

Anyone have any favorite organizations that request charity knitting that they want to share?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hints and Help for My Knitting Patterns

I'm posting some information that may helpful for my knitting patterns, now located on Hubpages.

Some folks have had some issues with working through the double yarnovers in my High Tea Collar Necklace and my Modern English Cowl patterns.  I've put together this (very basic) video tutorial, showing the double yarnovers.  I hope this helps!  (be kind, this is the first time I used the video feature on my camera)

I've also posted the knitting chart for my Modern English Cowl to the right.  This is a jpeg.  You should be able to double-click on it, save it, the re-size for printing.  Let me know if you have any problems :)