Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shameless Self-Promotion

I put together a little slideshow of my jewelry as part of an upcoming talk that I am giving to the Madison Knitting Guild, and I thought it was worthy of showing here. The kits are available on my site,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Make New Jewelry, Keep the Old

Just like the old Brownies song, one is silver and the other's gold.

New, not yet in the store, is this Freeform Crocheted Flower necklace.
This design is a departure from my usual style --the crochet is a little more involved, the beads are Swarovski crystal and seed beads rather than gemstone beads, and it has a lobster style clasp rather than my usual toggle clasp.  The pattern has a bit of a different approach as well,  more of a technique tutorial  or recipe than a stitch by stitch pattern. Like no two snowflakes, no two flower necklaces should be alike!

Another new project with seed beads is this 3 strand bracelet.  A very easy bracelet, this would be a great knit with wire or crochet with wire first project -- (the pattern is written for both knit and crochet). I experimented with the clasp on this bracelet as well  -- it has a slide type clasp. I'm still doing a little tweaking/proofing of the patterns for both the Freeform Flowers necklace and the 3 Strand bracelet, but I hope to have kits for both available at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival in just a few short weeks.

And as for the old and gold?  I knit up a sample of the Falling Leaves necklace in gold.  Stunning!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Knit with Wire Lessons

I enjoy the variety of what I do. I love the creative design process. I love playing with yarn and wire and beads.  I thoroughly enjoy doing shows and meeting my customers. But I am a teacher first and foremost, so my absolutely favorite, best-est part of my work (as my young students at school would say) is when I have an opportunity to teach knitting, especially knitting with wire. 

I had a great time on Saturday teaching a Knit with Wire bracelet class at Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  This is an especially enjoyable class to teach because everyone  goes home with a finished project.

I will be back at Fuzzy Wuzzy this Saturday to teach my Falling Leaves Necklace/Scarf kit. I'm looking forward to another fun weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Return to Knitting Camp

I traveled up to Marshfield these last two weekends to be a vendor at Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp.
I was tickled to be there.  I was a camper myself back in 1998 and 2000. Returning felt something like coming home.

I had already been knitting passionately for a dozen years or more when I first went to camp. I was mostly self-taught, but I thought I was a pretty skilled knitter. After all, I had mastered cables and had knit a few sweaters that actually fit.  Well, let's just say that I didn't know what I didn't know.  Knitting Camp opened my eyes to a level of knitting that I had never seen before. I was overwhelmed by the new techniques and inspired by the skill of Meg, her assistants, and my classmates.

I don't think I would be exaggerating to say that Knitting Camp changed my life. The experience of knitting in the community of others totally energized me. For a while, I went crazy for knitting retreats and lessons--seeking both personal growth (in the form of new knitting skills) and personal  relationships (in the form of knitting friends). Shortly after my first knitting camp, I began to design my own patterns and began to fantasize about the ultimate knitter's dream--owning my own knitting business. At my second Knitting Camp, I met a few fellow campers who  lived near me, and we decided we would get together to knit after Knitting Camp was over. We have been knitting together for 12 years now, and I count these ladies among my best friends. 

So thank you once again, Meg, Amy, Eleanor, Tammy, and all the Knitting Campers past and present for your knowledge and inspiration, for friendships found and dreams realized. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

All American Baby - Go Team USA

I thought I would show a little patriotic spirit in honor of the Olympics, so I designed this cute little sweater for new members to the American team.  The pattern is available as a Ravelry download here.

I had intended the sweater to match my All American baby hat, but of course, I changed the yarn (a little heavier gauge of 100% cotton) and I decided the stripes really needed to be 4 rows wide rather than 3, so of course, I had to re-write and re-knit the hat too.  I am pleased with the result.

I had to borrow a child from the daycare at work to perform modeling duty.
Actually, I borrowed two little friends.  My first model, is quite a big boy, and a bit big for the sweater (sweater = 12 month and model #1 = 18 month).

My second model was a  better fit, but he made it quite clear that he does not like to wear hats!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vogue Knitting Live!

I just heard the exciting news! I will  be a vendor at Vogue Knitting Live! in Chicago, October 26th -28th. As you can see, I am proudly displaying my vendor badge!

I love Chicago, and am looking forward to staying at the elegant Palmer House.  Obviously, I'm looking forward to the show too. I hope I will have time to look around at the other vendors.  Then again, it's always nice to be too busy to shop for myself!

I have some regular and loyal customers in the Chicago area whom I hope to see. Mark your calendars friends -- I'm looking forward to seeing you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Better Bobble Scarf

Introducing . . .

The Better Bobble Scarf

I'm pretty excited about my newest design.  How much do I love it? Let me count the ways:

1)  It's highly textured and totally reversible. You can find lots of scarf patterns that are textured, and tons of scarf patterns that are reversible, but you don't often find one that has so much texture and is reversible at the same time.  
2) It may look difficult, but an advanced beginner could handle it without a problem.  
3) 7 out of every 9 rows are stockinette or reverse stockinette, but just when you are getting a bit bored, the bobble rows come along to add some excitement. (Did I mention that it's easy?)
4) The bobbles are made without turning, and since it's knit lengthwise, it knits up pretty quickly (especially for a pattern with bobbles!). (Uhm, did you get that about the easy part?)
5) It will look great knit up in all sorts of yarns -- it does a great job of showing off the Blue Heron Rayon Metallic that I used in my prototype, but I can't wait to try it with a lofty and luxurious solid that will show off the pattern texture. 

Speaking to that last point . . . I really would like to see this pattern knit up in all sorts of different yarns.  I'm starting a knit along over in my Knitter's Journey fan club group on Ravelry.   The pattern will be free to anyone who wants to join our KAL through June 1st.  (After which it will be available for sale on Ravelry).

Come on over and join us!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Explorations on vacation

I'm back from a lovely vacation to our nation's capital. I saw the cherry blossoms

and Supreme Court Protesters
and all the usual tourist sites -- the capitol,

the monuments,


and the museums (Well, some of them, there are so many). My favorite was the only one you have to pay for--the Newseum, where we saw remnants of the Berlin wall
 and the Twin Towers.

My other favorites?  Why finding the yarn shops of course! I visited FiberSpace, a lovely shop in Alexandria

and I had a great time at Looped (on Connecticut Avenue just off DuPont Circle), where I stayed for open knitting and enjoyed meeting the local knitters and a few fellow tourists like me.  I was very impressed with both of these shops--well stocked and humming with happy customers.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's New and Sheep in the City Report

Once again, I had a great time at Sheep in the City. This is a great retreat sponsored by Jan from Just 4 Ewe.  Jan always makes it fun with games and give-aways.  I enjoy how we vendors become part of the retreat at this event, and it was great to see some of the repeat retreaters from last year. Not one, but two customers brought in their finished necklaces to show me how they had turned out. Very nice job ladies!

I  introduced a new necklace kit at this show.  It is called Falling Leaves.  It uses fine wire mesh ribbon in addition to knitting wire and beads.  You knit the leaf ties, crochet the "stems" of the leaves and simply stretch out the mesh for the scarf/necklace.  What is really, really, cool about this necklace is its versatility. You can adjust the necklace to different lengths each time you wear it and you can use the leaf tie to tie a scarf or shawl.

I also  introduced my new hat kit at Sheep in the City (See last month's Name These Hats post)  I was happy to get all 3 styles knit up and the pattern written on time for the show. The winning names for the hats are:
Paintball Pillbox

Square with Squiggles
Sunspot Stocking Cap

The patterns were much admired and the kits sold like hotcakes! Here is an inside tip to readers of this blog-- In my rush to finish patterns, and introduce these 2 new kits I wanted to get the hat patterns loaded on Ravelry.  I didn't have time before the show to separate the 3 patterns that I had combined into one for my kit into separate documents, so I loaded all 3 patterns together on Ravelry under Square with Squiggles name. For a limited time, you will get all 3 patterns for the price of one. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Name These Hats

New Year's Resolution: Blog More! 
I haven't been away, just knitting away.  So here are some of the results of my labor:

Santa gave me not one but two volumes of Barbara G. Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and I have been having fun playing with stitch patterns. These hats were inspired by a stitch in her 3rd Treasury that she calls "Lazy Rib."  She showed the pattern in a single solid color yarn, but I immediately saw the possibilities for stranded knitting.

I used Kauni yarn with its wonderful long colorways.  The eye popping combinations of color that you see here just magically happened by knitting with one strand from the center of the ball and one strand from the outside. 

These hats are the first 2 of a planned series of 3 variations on this pattern.  The 3rd will be a stocking cap, still in the works.  I will be putting these on Ravelry soon, but the problem is, I don't know what to name them. 

Here are some of my ideas:

Name ideas for the 3 Hat Series:
Whoville Hats
Crazy Lazy Rib Hats
Crazy Caps
Whacky wondering rib hats

Individual Pattern Name Ideas:
Paintball Pillbox Hat
Sunspot Square Hat
Spot and Squiggles Square Hat

Your votes or suggestions please! (There's a free pattern in it for you!)