Sunday, January 18, 2015

Double Decrease Tutorial

In my latest pattern, I use a less common form of a double decrease, found more commonly in older stitch dictionaries and patterns. It looks good from both sides in ribbing and is a better match for sl knitwise, k2tog, psso.  It is written as ssk, put st back on LN, pass next st over, sl to RN. This is what it looks like:

1. SSK- I do a version called SSK improved, where you slip as in knit, slip as in purl, k2tog through the back loop.
2. put the stitch back onto the left needle
3. slip the second stitch on the left needle over the ssk
4. slip the stitch to the right needle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

GAL Interview with Louise Tilbrook

As part of the Indie Gift-A-Long, I interviewed Louise Tilbrook, a designer known for her sock designs for both men and women. Visit her ravelry store here:

Hoar Frost

How did you learn to knit?
My grandma taught me when I was young - aged about 7 or 8 and I knit on and off during my teen years. I really picked it up again after having my second son and with the aid of the internet re-taught myself.

What made you decide to start knitting socks?
I was given some cool Regia coloured sock yarn as a gift. I didn’t know what to make with it so I looked on Ravelry and was instantly hooked.

How many pairs have you knit? How many do you keep for yourself?
My Ravelry page says 52 but there are probably more as I don’t often record the plain vanilla ones I do for my family. Of my ‘fancy’ socks maybe 50% of them end up in my sock drawer. The rest go to my DH who is very appreciative of handknits, or they are samples for my LYS, classes or other display.

What was your favorite pattern to design? Which one drove you nuts?
Green Gable
My Green Gable socks were my favourite to design. The slip stitch pattern looks really complicated but is actually really easy and great fun to work. My Samhain socks drove me nuts. Only because I had neglected to write proper notes whilst knitting the first sock and by the time I came to knit the second I ended up having to practically re-design it. Lesson learned with that one.
What was your oddest knitting experience?
Great question. Probably the time I was knitting on a small baby cardigan on a train. A lady nearby commented on it and asked to see what I was working on. I passed it to her to look at and she ended up showing half the train carriage and exclaiming how clever I was. It was very sweet but quite bizarre.

If you went on a yarn shopping spree, what yarns would you stock up on?
My new favourite is the indie dyer Eden Cottage Yarns who does some amazing sock yarn and I love the Knitting Goddess too who does an amazing range of colours. I would stock up on funky self-striping yarn too for my boys who love wild socks.

Monday, November 17, 2014


It is time for the annual Indie Gift-A-Long! For the rest of the week, nearly 200 independent designers have many of their patterns 25% off on Ravelry with the coupon code giftalong2014. Not only that, but get some motivation to get some holiday knitting done and participate in the KALs and games to be eligible for more prizes. Lots of patterns will be given away, as will yarn and other physical prizes. 

I have made all of my patterns available for the sale and am giving away five free patterns. If you have had an eligible pattern sitting in your library that you already bought, feel free to knit it and submit it in the KALs, giving you a great excuse to break out the pattern. 

All the fun can be found at the Ravelry group here:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Craziness of Life

The last several months have been a bit ridiculous. The list of ongoing craziness includes:

  • Two brothers getting married and being involved in both- one as a bridesmaid, one as a source of free labor (and being so allergic to their venue I had severe nose bleeds for a week). I still need to think of a wedding present for the one I'm a bridesmaid in, it's on the 22nd. Thrummed mittens, maybe?
  • Changing jobs and looking to change again. Let's just say my current one has me running around all day like a chicken with my head cut off. 
  • Commuting 3 1/2 hours a day. It actually hasn't been that bad. I invested in some noise cancelling headphones and usually use the time as my craft time (I ride a train then a bus). 
  • Having to put down one of our cats, Bill, due to severe pancreatitis, and adjusting to a new puppy, Cooper. 
  • Picking up two new hobbies- spinning and cross stitch. (If you ever want people to look at you weird, cross stitch on public transportation.) 
  • And releasing a new pattern: Calamistrata ($4). 
It's been crazy but usually worth it. I'm hoping that after we get through the holidays things will calm down enough for me to spend more time knitting and working on patterns. One of my goals for next year will be to release patterns more consistently. Of course, my other goal is to buy a condo, so who knows. 

I can't believe it is already November. Christmas is less than a month away, and I have no idea what I should make for anyone. It might end up being the year for store bought gifts...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Getting a bit whimsical with crochet

I've been on a bit of a break from knitting for the past couple of weeks. After finishing the present for my friend, my left hand was bothering me enough to make holding a needle uncomfortable. Probably a combinations of hitting my hand on a bannister hard enough for it to go numb and working with a mostly cotton yarn so much. Deciding to give my hand a break, I figured I would crochet a bit.

I've known how to crochet for a while now, but I rarely do it. Partially because, generally, I like the look of knit fabric better. Partially because I need to look at my work while doing crocheting, so it isn't as convenient. Now, it was the perfect solution. I get to rest my hand and I get to make some toys.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knitting for a Friend

A knitter's instinct when they hear bad news about someone is often to knit them something comforting. Maybe it's because it has the dual effect of comforting both the knitter and hopefully the recipient. Maybe it's our need to feel like we are doing something to help. Whatever the reason, you tell a knitter bad news and most of them will at least have the thought of "I should make them something," even if they don't follow through.

I recently received the bad news that one of my friends was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She's a grandmother who should be getting excited about her latest grandchild-to-be and looking forward to retiring in a few years and playing with her grandkids. Instead, she spent the holidays getting a tumor removed and trying to figure out when she should start chemo. When she told me, I spent about an hour thinking that this must be the worst practical joke ever before it sunk in that she was serious.

Then my knitter's instinct kicked in and I started to think about what I could make for her. Hats are popular for chemo patients, but she was never a fan of hats, so I wouldn't even know what type she might like. I couldn't see her using fingerless gloves or needing a scarf, and larger objects are too cost prohibitive. Eventually, I decided on a shawl.

The idea of a shawl appealed to me for a few reasons: she has always been religious, so a prayer shawl would be appreciated (the idea being that the item is imbued with good prayers for the recipient), and she has always had issues with regulating her body temperature, which will only be made worse by chemo. The unlike a cardigan or a sweater that might get in the way of an IV, a shawl is easy to get on and off in most circumstances and it is easier to adjust them.

So, I started to think of a design and I came up with this:

Originally, I had thought to put a Celtic cross on it, but every time I tried, I thought of a headstone. So I decided to use cables that reminded me of crosses instead. I also used machine washable yarn (Cotton Ease Seaspray), so that she doesn't have to worry about washing it.

I admit that this project was probably more to comfort me than it was to comfort her. Sort of my way of giving her a long distance hug.

I don't know if I'll publish the pattern for this one. I might, but as a shawl and a blanket pattern. It would feel weird to profit from this pattern.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fairy Glen now available!

After months of testing, my Fairy Glen stole is now available!

It is available for $6, and includes both written and charted instructions.

I might release the Paris Night hat later today, it depends on if I can convince my sister to model for me.

Also, here's a sneak peak on what will be available for next winter:my Raspberry Sherbert hat.