Sunday, August 6, 2017

Celebrate Differences

I confess, I've been more preoccupied than usual with politics this last year.  I've watched in dismay the increase in partisanship and decline in civility in politics and social media.  There have been days when I want to scream, "Can't we all get along?" On those days, I turn to my knitting to relax and forget about the latest political posturing or Facebook rant.

Usually, I prefer to knit technically challenging projects, but my need to knit for relaxation inspired me to design something simple and nearly mindless.  So here I am, modeling my newest design, the Celebrate Differences shawl. It's my easiest pattern to date, nothing more than garter stitch and stockinette--pure relaxation knitting.  The name reflects my wish that we might respect our differences and celebrate diversity, but it also is a nod to the wonderful properties of the recommended yarn, Halo Bundle.

Halo Bundle is a new offering from the folks at Handmaiden and Fleece Artist.  It is really 2 of their existing yarns, Merino Slim and Angel Hair, that have been dyed together and bundled together into one neat package.  The two fine yarns can be knit together to yield a worsted weight yarn with a soft halo, or they can be knit separately for a lighter fabric with interesting textural contrasts.  In the shawl, I tried a little bit of both.  The borders are knit with both yarns held together, and the body of the shawl alternates bands of Merino Slim in stockinette with bands of Angel Hair in garter stitch.

The Celebrate Differences pattern can be downloaded from Ravelry here.  You will find a great selection of colors of Halo Bundle on my website here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Oh, Canada!

My newest design, the Butchart Gardens Shawl, was inspired by a beautiful Canadian yarn and a world-famous Canadian garden. When I travel, my favorite thing to do after visiting local yarn shops is to tour local public gardens.  I fondly remember Butchart Gardens near Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC as having the most spectacular colorful flower borders.  And so, it was only natural that Butchart Gardens came to mind when I was trying to think of a name for the spectacular flower bordered shawl that I just finished making.

The shawl is knit in Handmaiden Fine Yarns' Sea Silk, a fingering weight yarn that I just started carrying in my online store. The yarn has gorgeous drape and is a joy to work with.

As I was finishing this shawl, news erupted of the terrible wildfires near Ft. McMurray. I was moved by the pictures on TV, and the idea came to me that perhaps my Canadian inspired shawl can help me do something to help Canada. I will be donating a portion of the proceeds from pattern sales to the Canadian Red Cross. I am also starting a knit along for this shawl in my Ravelry group, hoping that we can get a large group going and make a healthy donation.

Interestingly, and just by chance, the name of the
colorway that I used for my prototype is Phoenix.
Let us hope that is prophetic, and a sign that Ft. McMurray will soon rise from the ashes.

This link will take you to the Ravelry pattern page.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

They Call Me the Great Pretender

Here is one of my favorite scarf patterns, The Pretender.  I designed this pattern in 2014, and I never got around to bragging (err, I mean blogging) about it.  In truth, while I love to show and tell my work, I am never quite comfortable with the shameless self-promotion of the blogosphere. However, such is the world we live in.  If I don't tell you about it, you will never know what a lovely little pattern it is. 

I called this pattern "The Pretender" because it pretends to be a cable pattern, but no cable needle was used.  On close inspection, you will see that the pattern is completely reversible, with cables on both the right and wrong sides.  What is even more amazing, that this pattern can metamorphose and pretend to be a delicate flowery lace stitch instead of cables with just a little blocking. Once you learn how to manipulate the stitches, the pattern is relatively simple and knits up quickly.  My original sample scarf (the grayish green picture below) was knit up in a DK weight on size 6 needles, but hey guys, it's a scarf.  It is easily adaptable to different weight yarns and gauges.  The top picture was knit in 3 Irish Girls Glenhaven sock in the very beautiful Floribunda colorway.  You can find the pattern here in my Ravelry store.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Abracadabra, my newest design! 

I must have been channeling the late Severus Snape as I was knitting, because this pattern seemed to come about by magic and the resulting scarf has some bewitching characteristics. 

My original concept was to knit a cowl based on cast on / cast off cords. Even though I was making a cowl, I decided to knit it flat because that way it could be nearly all knit stitch, quick and easy.  I knit the blue and pink sample above, casting on just enough stitches for a cowl length.  As I was about to sew it together, I saw that I could slip the ends through the cords to create a self-tying pocket scarf. Voila!   I was enchanted by the look of the crossing cords and the way the bottom row of cords almost look like fringe.  By luck or by magic, the gradient yarn I used (Universal Yarn's Poems) worked up beautifully, beginning and ending with the lovely magenta shade on the outside edges.

While I love the way the ascot length prototype turned out, I decided to knit a longer version of this idea as well. For my second sample, I used Universal's Classic Shades Sequins Lite, a slightly lighter weight yarn. In addition to the change of length, I knit 6 cords instead of 5 just because I had enough yarn and I could see that the color repeat would be more balanced if I did so.   

I don't think I could be more pleased with a design. I have written it up for both the short and long versions, giving instructions for both the gauges I used.  While I love the stripes achieved by the gradient yarns, I think this would also look lovely in a wide variety of medium weight yarns and I hope to see some customer projects and variations on Ravelry!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Moving in a New Direction

Goodness! Can it be almost a year since I blogged? Life on the Internet speeds by quickly.  I haven't been standing still, I've just been posting more to my Facebook page and Ravelry group than here.  I've also been busy creating new designs, revamping the website, and updating my booth displays. In short, I am taking Knitter's Journey in a new direction.

When I first started Knitter's Journey more than 8 years ago, I carried only my own line of knit with wire jewelry kits.  While I still sell knit with wire kits, I have reduced the number of colors and styles and I've added lots of beautiful yarn and gifts for knitters. I have been carrying Blue Heron Rayon Metallic for several years, and I continue to have great color selection and great prices. (Check it out, we are cheaper than Webs!)  I now also carry 3 Irish Girls and Interlacements yarns -- hand dyed in my home state. I've added several new patterns for the new yarns including the Wingspan Shawl (center pic above) and M'Lady's Mittens (bottom right).  Last but not least, I have added a great selection of gifts for knitters that are all one of a kind and handmade in the USA, including knitting bags (made with great attention to detail by my very talented sister), knitting needle earrings, and shawl pins.  
The pic above is just a teaser, see more in the store.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Announcing the New Me

I am very excited to announce I have launched a totally new look to my website.  You will still find me in the same place at but it's a very different look with a new secure shopping cart.  New products are still being added, but you will be able to find Knitter's Journey Knit with Wire Jewelry Kits, Blue Heron and 3 Irish Girls yarn, and gifts for knitters. 

To my many fans of my Knitting Vacations Link List, I am very sorry, but the page did not fit into the online store format, so I had to let it go.  I will do my best to recreate it here, perhaps in bits and pieces at first.  Watch for more news and coming events in the near future.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Well, now that summer is over and I am back to school,  I thought perhaps I should write an essay about how I spent my summer vacation.  Although I love to travel, I did not set off on exotic knitting adventure this summer. I prefer to stay close to home in the summer because summers here are so pleasant. The Lakefront, bike paths, festivals, and free concerts in the parks make it easy to entertain oneself or out of town guests.  I spent much of my time knitting, making jewelry, designing new patterns, working on Knitter's Journey -- activities that are all my idea of fun. I spent a lot of my time this summer vending at our downtown artist's market-- a new venue for me, and very fun! I was surprised to see how many tourists we have in my hometown, but that is as it should be, because we really do have a great place on a Great Lake!

I am very pleased with my summer design project, the Evening Paseo Shawl. This shawl was inspired by my past travels in Spain, where there is a tradition of going for an evening stroll or "paseo."  Whether you are in Barcelona or Madrid, you will find the sidewalks teaming with people in the early evening. Families stroll with young children, lovers walk hand in hand, and young people flirt with each other as everyone is walking and talking, trying to see each other and be seen.  Even though it is just an evening stroll, one tries to look one's best.

This little shawlette would be the perfect accessory for a paseo.  It is knit from a single skein of Blue Heron Rayon Metallic, one of my favorite yarns because of its beautiful colors and lovely drape.  The shawl will be making its debut at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, and you will soon find the pattern on Ravelry.