Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2017


We've made it to the end of October! Thanks so much for joining me on this journey - I'll be quick today. So, a giveaway! Either on this post or on Facebook, let me know which pattern was your favorite - in a week or so I'll randomly select a winner to receive a set of my very favorite Heidi and Lana snagless stitch markers. Also, the discount code write31days is still good through tomorrow  at midnight (November 1st) - find the full list of patterns here.

This is day thirty one of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the conversation on Facebook!]

Unraveling Gratifying

Ending on a bright note! When I spotted a happy basket of mini skeins at my favorite local store, a few called out and asked for me to take them. Since the yardage was so low, I chose a simple stitch pattern that wouldn't be disrupted by a color change, or by running out and needing to bind off.

So Gratifying is primarily a study in color, and good travel or TV watching knitting - find the pattern free here, and check back tomorrow for a wrap up post and giveaway.

This is day thirty of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the conversation on Facebook!]

Unraveling Dash of Spice

From big to small. Before Brooklyn was born, I decided to attempt a baby sweater. I rarely make garments for anyone but myself, and hadn't ever made anything without having access to the person (or pet) it was intended for.

But I took myself to the Craft Yarn Counsel's sizing standards and decided to trust someone else's numbers. Since I was already deep in uncharted territory, I went ahead and added some short rows (something I'd never done before) as a little detail on the neckline.

Lo and behold, it worked, and fitted her nicely enough - enough that I've made several since as gifts. They go fairly quickly, and are a good use for sock yarn, left over or otherwise. Find Dash of Spice here, and get it free through the end of the month with code write31days - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Gratifying.

This is day twenty nine of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the conversation on F…

Unraveling Beorn's Bees

Despite living in the South, where a dusting of snow through people into a panic and closes schools, and a horrifying percent of people think that "four wheel drive" means "four wheel stop" and are surprised when they slide on ice, I like to be cozy.

Since I have minimal application for full-body woolliness in the form of sweaters (doesn't stop me from having a few, though - just have to wear short sleeves under them!), I tend to indulge that preference with giant triangular scarves.

This particular giant triangle (one of a series) was a worthwhile exercise in patience. The rows just kept getting longer, but the finished result was delightful and suited to its inspiration - the giant bees kept by Beorn the skin changer in my favorite book, The Hobbit.

Find Beorn's Bees here, and get it free through the end of month with code write31days - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Dash of Spice.

This is day twenty eight of my series 31 Days of Unraveling …

Unraveling Pacific

One designer that I've always admired is Jared Flood - aka BrooklynTweed. I was very excited when he released his own yarn line, less excited that it was available at so few stores (and none of them near me), and delighted when I happened to be traveling near one of them. Without a clear idea of what I wanted to make out of it, I got enough Shelter to make something.

And then I carried it with me for six years. Last fall, I decided it should be a sweater - I had originally been thinking of a skirt, but decided it was too pretty to sit on. I wanted something cozy and comfortable - a sweater for introverting in.

I feel that Pacific rose to that standard excellently. It went quickly, with the worsted yarn, and the color blocks kept me from getting bored. Find the pattern here, and get it free through the end of the month with code write31days - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Beorn's Bees.

Yarn note: as much as I love the BrooklynTweed Shelter I used to make this, a…

Unraveling Ace of Diamonds

One of the very first things I made after I learned to knit was a rolled wrap bracelet. I had just learned how to make a button hole and wanted something small and gratifying to test my new-found skill on. The first one used some sparkly silver yarn that I had, and went on to live on the shift stick of the vehicle of someone who thought it was more fabulous than it probably deserved.

As I learned more, I also became fascinated with beading. While I haven't written a lot of patterns with beads, I've made quite a few things with beads, and it never fails to delight me.

I decided to revisit that simple rolled bracelet, and see if I could dress it up a little by adding beads. It ended up being a great way to practice beading, as well as producing a wearable object in the course of an evening - and since it only took a few beads, it was a perfect use for the leftover beads from a larger project.

Find Ace of Diamonds free here, and check back tomorrow for the story behind Pacific.


Unraveling Dune

A more recent adventure in fabric distortion was Dune. I like the look of twisted rib and things of the nature, but sometimes my tired mama brain can't handle having to shift my stitch pattern over every row or two.

I had a single delicious skein of yarn that I bought from a friend (and therefore couldn't match the dye lot on if I needed more), so I decided to see if it was enough for a cowl - and while I was at it, to attempt a spiral fabric that shifted the fabric instead of the stitches.

This time I was the one who wasn't sure it would work, but I gave it a shot, and I'm glad I did - it turned out perfectly, skewed the way that I wanted but with nice straight sides and top. I was also able to use all but a few yards of the yarn, which was my primary goal, since I wasn't having to try to finish a pattern repeat.

Find the pattern here, and get it free through the end of the month with code write31days - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Ace of Diamonds

Unraveling the Isen Shrug

One thing that I love about knitting is how the fabric itself can be manipulated, since you're making it as you go along. Instead of having to put in darts, as with sewing, you can just make there be less or more fabric. I've had lots of fun distorting the fabric to create interesting shapes - like the incidental Vneck detail on Eft/Modern Nymph that didn't require any fiddly shaping at the end.

While attempting to create shrug, I wondered what would happen if two neck-shapes were put together - I envisioned elfin sleeves and flattering raglan lines on the shoulders. Everyone I explained my idea to was skeptical (perhaps because I'm not good at verbalizing what I'm picturing in my head) but I figured that if it didn't work out, I could always just unravel it.

But it did work out. Isen came together beautifully, and the sleeves brought tremendous joy to my fairy heart (as well as a perfect level of warmth for the hot/cold Southern autumn days). Find the pattern…

Unraveling Stashed

Stashed rose from an attempt to create something pretty from only leftover and stashed yarn. At the time my color taste wasn't quite as developed as it is now, and I had a wide range of very mismatched scraps from projects that I'd made both for myself and as samples for the knit shop I worked at.

After a few false starts, I found three yarns that played well together and added up to sufficient yardage to make a functional cowl. One workhorse worsted, a bit of soft bulky for the edge, and a pop of novelty ribbon worked together to create a nice effect. Although I haven't remade it, I'd love to see it done with a range of different yarn types.

Find the free pattern here, and check back tomorrow for the story behind the Isen Shrug!

This is day twenty three of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the conversation on Facebook!]

Unraveling Twinkling

Another need that quickly arose while I was leading the library teen knitting club was a quick baby knit. Older siblings, cousins, little aunts, and young soon-to-be-moms came with an ardent desire to both learn to knit and then to use the skill to make something for a baby.

With only about two hours together and no guarantee I would ever see them again, even something as small as a hat wasn't an option, so I spent some time figuring out how to fold a square into a bootie. After lots of experimenting, I made Twinkling, and then got to see several delighted teens go from staring at me in horror when I expected them to somehow wrangle two needles and strand of yarn, three alien objects, with only their two hands, to gazing in awed delight at the tiny booties resting on their palm, over the course of a couple of hours.

I love the power of knitting to change lives - the way that you can teach someone that she is capable of more than she knows, and maybe more than anyone tells her, ca…

Unraveling Waiting Room

I love washcloths - they're the perfect portable project, and you can never have too many (or if you do get overcropped, they make excellent gifts). But as much as I love the texture and ease of plain old garter stitch, it can get old after awhile.

In the depths of a washcloth-knitting season (small bits of time and no energy, mental or otherwise) I finally reached a point where there was no multicolored yarn pretty enough to motivate me to make yet another garter stitch washcloth, I created Waiting Room.

A two row repeat with only one pattern row - looks slightly more svelte than all knit - and two good scrubbing textures, depending on what you're cleaning. I made a bunch and gave them as Christmas gifts with fancy soap, but generally use mine for dishes. Find the free pattern here, and check back tomorrow for the story behind Twinkling.

This is day twenty one of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the conve…

Unraveling Quest

Sometimes the best things are the simplest. Quest started with an impulse yarn seduction purchase - besides being my colors, it was also ridiculously soft. I got one ball each of the two colors with no clear idea of what I wanted to do with it, other than wrap it lovingly around my body.

The low yardage I'd gotten meant either a hat or fingerless gloves - since I had just finished a hat, I elected to go with gloves (my hands are always cold, anyway).

As I recall, I had some issues with the thumb gusset, but persevered until I got them just right, because I envisioned wearing these constantly - which is more or less what happened. I've worn them in excessively air conditioned indoor spaces, as a buffer between my palms and the frigid steering wheel in the winter, and on all sorts of outdoor outings. Besides the softness, I love the length of the cuff - long enough that even if I reach for something, my sleeve doesn't pull up past it.

Find the pattern here, and get it free …

Unraveling Mud Creek

Last story from the local love series - socks! I have a love/hate relationship with hand knit socks. On the one hand, I really enjoy making them, but on the other hand, most of them are boot socks with all of the patterning on the cuff and leg, and that's not really practical for me (I tend to either wear sneakers or knee high boots that hide all of my hard work).

I also wondered why the gusset decreases are always located along the part of my foot where my shoe puts the most pressure (and as a wearer of sneakers, is also the place most likely to already have a seam), and wanted to experiment with shifting the placement.

Turns out, as long as the ratios remain the same, the placement doesn't ultimately matter. I went easy since I was already mixing one thing up and made a purled creek bed running down the foot - then went to photograph them in the creek they're named after. (While it's not apparent from the photos, the water was really cold and I was about 6 months pr…

Unraveling the Maple Street Messenger Bag

Yesterday I talked about the "local love" design series I created - another design in that was the Maple Street Messenger Bag. Maple Street is where all the sorority houses are, and what girl (or student) doesn't need a good bag?

I think I poured the most effort into this one. I chose to stripe the bag bronze and oatmeal - created an inside pocket so keep phone and keys from being lost in the depths - and thought long and hard about the perfect dimensions (I made a new knitting bag every few years for awhile, and each time modified it slightly - this was the final version).

For the "buttons" on the flap, I went to a fashion boutique in an airstream trailer, owned by a local woman, and dug through her bowl of vintage earrings (yes, those are earrings). The post of one was bent, which wasn't a problem for me, so I stuck them through the felted fabric and glued the backs on.

Then for the strap I went to a local leather shop and had them make me a custom desig…

Unraveling Faytown

About five years ago, I decided to create a series of designs inspired by the hipster college town we lived in. I worked at a local business in the historic downtown area, near campus, so I saw plenty of inspiration.

The first obvious design was a slouchy hat - I chose a self-striping yarn for maximum effect with minimum effort, and finally had an excuse to use a couple of little peace sign buttons I'd been hanging onto.

We photographed it at a fountain on the town square, a few blocks away from where I worked, and then I proceeded to wear it all winter (knitting it in my favorite colors helped - I had plenty to wear it with ;)

Find the Faytown here, and get it free through the end of the month with code write31days - and check back tomorrow for the story behind the Maple Street Messenger Bag.

This is day seventeen of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the conversation on Facebook!]

Unraveling Grace-Filled

A few years ago, our church went through a sermon series in the book of Ephesians. I had just finished Refuge, and after explaining the story behind it to someone at church who asked what I was making, they suggested knitting my way through the Ephesians study.

That sounded like a wonderful challenge. I decided to focus on the theme of grace - I field tripped to my local knitting store and found two yarns that played well together: one navy, and one several lovely pastel hues.

I worked the colors together as stripes - but I made the darker stripes elevated, so that the pastel was only visible when viewed directly. At an angle, the dark ridges hid the lighter colors, since grace only makes sense when you're in the middle of it.

Find Grace-filled here, and get it for free through the end of the month with code write31days - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Faytown.

This is day sixteen of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You…

Unraveling Brazen

I love knitted things can be both decorative and functional. I spotted this delightful yarn at the local yarn shop where I live now, and knew that it needed to be something, although I wasn't sure what.

Since I wanted to use all of it, I settled on a cowl as the best use for it, and I can honestly say that this is one of my very favorite pieces. I like to wear it long, like a delightfully fluffy necklace, or doubled as a practical scarf.

It ended up being perfect in-the-car and movie-watching knitting (I made another one recently and worked on it almost exclusively at the movie theater during repeated showings of Wonder Woman). I named it Brazen because of the bold color options the yarn came in. Find the pattern here and use code write31days to get it for free through the end of the month - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Grace-Filled.

This is day fifteen of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the c…

Unraveling Date Night

head here for more photos
More delicious alpaca! A quirk that I have is loving (and being able identify) the smells of most natural fibers. When I opened this box of alpaca yarn everyone else gagged and I buried my face in the box and inhaled deeply.

While it wasn't for me, there ended up being almost an entire bag of it left over, and I was allowed to carry off the rest. I made it into a pretty cardigan, and supplemented with a little extra accent yarn I used all but about a yard of it.

The yarn was so pretty on its own, I didn't feel the need to add much in the way of embellishment, besides the cuffs and a little edging to keep the bottom from curling. I wanted something that would keep me warm in a pretty dress without detracting from the dress itself.

Find more photos and the pattern itself here, and use code write31days to get it for free through the end of the month - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Brazen.

This is day fourteen of my series 31 Days of Unravel…

Unraveling Junco

From summer to winter! Junco was a personal challenge. I hadn't (and haven't) done a lot of Fair Isle knitting, and thought that it would be a fabulous idea to practice while also creating a design, because I'm nothing if not optimistic.

I chose three shades of delicious alpaca yarn from the shop I was working at at the time, and settled on a geometric pattern (that way it would be predictable and easy to follow) that reminded me of the little tracks that juncos leave when they hop about in the snow.

If I remember aright, I struggled with the edging a little, but I was pleased with the outcome - and so was Juniper Moon, the company who made the yarn, because they had me create two other designs just for them: a luscious scarf and a felted bag.

Find Junco (and the other patterns) here on Ravelry, and use code write31days to get Junco free through the end of the month - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Date Night.

This is day thirteen of my series 31 Days of Unra…

Unraveling Flight Song

Have I mentioned that I love linen? After I got over my fear of large projects on fine gauge yarn, linen seemed like the perfect fiber choice for a skirt.

The first linen skirt I knit was Captain Anne, using gorgeous yarn that Claudia from Claudia Handpainted gave me. It was absolutely delicious, but I didn't wear it often, for whatever reason (I've since gotten over that).

When I spotted a willowy green linen at the knit shop I used to work at I knew that I needed a skirt knit from it. I got the yarn and enthusiastically cast on - and abandoned it after about four inches, because I was pregnant and it's not terribly motivating to make something that you won't be able to wear once it's finished.

The next spring I rediscovered it, just in time to finish it and wear it all summer. The color went well with my primarily grey and black wardrobe, and the panels of twisted stitching added little interest, both while knitting and while wearing.

Find it here, and use code 

Unraveling Eft

One design that came about as the miniaturization of an adult pattern is Eft. I had yarn left over from a top I'd created for myself a few months before and no yarn budget, so I decided to see if there was enough to make a little matching linen tunic for my daughter.

There was. A wonderful thing about linen is that it thrives on being machine washed and dried (which is a requirement I have for children's clothing), and I made this loose enough that she wore it layered all spring and then on its own through the humid Southern summer. It held up amazingly well and ended up being a staple until colder weather forced us to put it away, and her autumn growth spurt rendered it too small.

Find the pattern here on Ravelry, and get it free through the end of the month with code write31days - and check back tomorrow for the story behind Flight Song.

This is day eleven of my series 31 Days of Unraveling Designs - check here for intro and post list! [You're invited to join the conversa…

Unraveling the Strange Jacket

On a lighter note... I mentioned my little boy in yesterday's post. Tobin adores being fabulous, and also loves the color orange, so my most recent design was a Dr Strange inspired jacket for him. He chose the yarn - repeatedly, on multiple trips to knit shop, always the same one and the same question, "Mommy, will you knit me a sweater with this?" He was delighted when I finally developed a plan and agreed.

I wanted to make him something that he could actually use (he's a warm little beast and will overheat with too many layers on his core), and wanted to draw as much as I could from the Cloak of Levitation without actually just making a cape - I came up with a fairly unique construction that suited my purpose well.

This is what I ended up with, and after a brief struggle over how to explain what I had done, we're both well pleased with it. He especially likes the sleeves, and of course the color. I'm tempted to make an adult version for myself... In the me…

Unraveling Refuge

In September of 2015, I was made aware of Syria's ongoing civil war by the photograph of a refugee toddler, washed up on the shore of the country his family was fleeing to - too late to be saved. The image shattered me. Tiny Alan Kurdi looked like my little boy looks now - my safe, happy, loving little boy.

Unable to single-handedly resolve the travesty, and struggling to process, I turned to knitting. I chose the colors of the Syrian flag, added in Mediterranean blue, and created a zig zag of lace for uncertainty. I called it Refuge - something to which one has recourse in difficulty.

Craftivism is expanding, thanks to the internet. Knitters are connecting across oceans to raise awareness, clothe the needy, encourage the broken... the list goes on. I was just contacted by someone in Germany who asked my permission to sell finished knits from one of my patterns at an event raising funds for charity (to everyone else, you don't have to ask, the answer will always be yes, altho…

Unraveling Love Out Loud

Thanks to an overseas deployment, as the one left to keep the home fires burning I spent the greater part of this year and part of last solo with two kids under 4. "Solo" isn't entirely accurate - I might have been the only one at home making primary decisions, but I had so much help and support that I am so grateful for.
One person committed to putting my Littles to bed one Tuesday a month so that I could go to a yoga class. We were invited to dinner by people who were willing to cook around our dietary restrictions. A rotation of volunteers kept our yard mowed. People showed up when the car needed to be dropped off at the shop for new wheel bearings, when the truck battery died, when a dead tree became a hazard, when the garbage disposal broke, when the heater wouldn't stay on and we were all bunched around a space heater in a back bedroom - even when Brooklyn and Tobin both got a tummy bug and I was trying desperately to take care of them while not getting it mys…

Unraveling Graffiti for Humanity

I love things that can serve more than one purpose. The knit shop I worked at "yarn bombed" the light poles and trees and parking meters of the street we were located on, including a "ransom note" requesting that the installation be removed and handed on to the animal shelter to be used as cage mats.
Some were gorgeous works of art that wouldn't have served well as mats, but others were more practical. I made it a point to create one that was both pretty and functional - Graffiti for Humanity. (I apologize for 4-years-ago-me and her overly dramatic pattern names.) I did want to highlight the multi-use of it - including options for scaling it down or up, to fit different purposes, all with a giving mindset.
That's an aspect of knitting that I love - the ways that it can be given. Cage mats, blankets for babies or victims of abuse, hats for preemies, washcloths to be given as gifts... the possibilities are endless. Start here, and check back tomorrow for the…