The intersection of crafting, knitting, cooking, and more!
I'm a crafter, knitter, writer, gardener, and cook. I'm the editor of the website knittingdaily.com, and also a Stampin' Up demonstrator. I'm married to a wonderful gal, Mimi, who shares my interests in papercrafting, knitting, travel, but not so much with the cooking.
I promised a blog post on my successful finished object, so here it is: The Zuni Cardigan!
This beauty was technically finished last November, but the sleeve caps were giving me fits. I changed the pattern because of my crazy-short arms, and when I looked at the photos on the pattern, I though there were a couple of gathers at the top of the sleeve. I knit the sleeve caps with lots of stitches across the top so I could fold it into gathers, and it looked ridiculous.
So I did just one gather, and I liked that better. Looking more closely at the pattern, though, it didn’t call for gathers at all. But I was done, and mine has a gather! It’s cute, I think, although I really don’t need the extra bulk. But like I said, it’s done!
Mods I Made
Since I changed the sleeve length, and I got lazy, so I only did one colorwork section on the sleeves. What do you think?
Another modification I made was omitting the belt. I don’t look good in belted garments, so this is just an open front cardi. I can close it with a shawl pin, or add a snap later if I want to.
I made the back and fronts longer by adding a few rows to the cream sections between the colorwork rows.
In an earlier blog post, I detailed the progress of this project, so check that out for more info.
I used Universal Yarns Deluxe Worsted in Gold Spice, Charcoal Heather, and Oatmeal Heather, as shown at right. This yarn was great to work with, and it’s super economical. Love that!
I loved these colors when I saw them in the original pattern, so I decided not to mess with a good thing. Jesie Ostermiller knows of what she speaks.
I’m really happy with this sweater, and I’ve worn it a lot. The length is perfect, and although I thought I’d want a closure in the front, I enjoy wearing it open. It’s a warm sweater, so wearing it open helps with that.
Years ago, when I worked at Interweave, I designed the free sock knitting pattern, Cable Rib Socks. It appeared in a free eBook called Knitting Patterns for Knitting Accessories. A new version of this eBook is on the site now, and the sock pattern isn’t in it. Since people have asked me for the pattern, so I decided to put it on The Craftermath.
Sorry for the HORRIBLE PHOTOS. Funny story, I only knit one of these, and through the magic of Photoshop, two appeared in the eBook. Yeah, fake news. I’m going to knit these again so I can have a better photo, and a complete pair of socks.
The original pattern was knit from Zauberball Crazy, which I love, but I really think the stitch pattern would shine with a solid yarn. I’ll have to search my stash and see what I have. Probably nothing—yay, time to shop!
I’m not the most prolific sock knitter, and truthfully, I don’t really enjoy knitting socks. I tend to have a death grip on those tiny needles, and my hands aren’t happy. Maybe I should try knitting on bamboo needles. Do any of you sock knitters have advice on this?
I’m heading to Phoenix in a couple of weeks, and this will be my travel project. Here’s hoping I can finish them up!
As soon as this hat was done, Mimi put it on and she’s worn it almost every day this winter! So cute on her, right?
Her hair is perfect for it, too.
I had so much fun writing this pattern; the first part of the joy was choosing the yarn. I looked through all of the yarns at Alpaca Direct, finally settling on Berroco Vintage. I love knitting with Vintage—it comes in a wonderful array of colors, it’s washable, and it’s super-economical.
I chose charcoal for my main color and purple haze for my contrasting color. The purples and blues make nice color changes for the snowflake motif.
The great thing about knitting stranded colorwork with variegated yarn is that the yarn does the work for you. The snowflake section of Flurries is so colorful and wintry, and it’s all done with just two yarns, the main and contrasting colors! You’re welcome.
Several years ago, I designed my Faux Isle Hat for Interweave (also a free pattern!).
I loved the technique so much, and I wanted to use it again—so here you go!
The pattern includes an adult version (20″ circumference) and a toddler version. Make matchies for you and your little one.
I spent about three months on and off knitting my Veronika Cardigan, all the while picturing myself wearing it everywhere and being cozy, warm, and stylish.
When I was finished, I tried it on, all excited about my life-changing finished object, and nope, nope, nope! It was absolutely hideous on me. HIDEOUS! No one believed me, and when I tried it on for my knitting group at our holiday party, one of my favorite people said, “Yeah, it’s not good.” I love her.
So I gave it to my friend Edie, who’s also in my knitting group. She is taller and slimmer than I am, and it looked great on her. She hesitated to accept it, until I told her that I wanted it out of the house, and if she didn’t take it, I’d give it to someone else. She put it on and didn’t take it off.
Now I don’t want you all to think I’m trashing the pattern, because I’m definitely not. It’s just terrible for my body. Because this was a knit-along, I’ve seen it on several people, and it looked great on them all. I do have to say, however, that it looks best on people who are taller, like 5′ 6″ or more. Although now that I think about it, my friend Terry is about my height, and her’s looks great. So . . . maybe it’s not for chubettes. Or just my brand of chubette, because it looks fine on the Ravelry folks.
Anyway, lesson learned: don’t go for oversized, boxy items!
Honestly, though, I was pretty upset. I had spent so much time knitting this beast, and I loved my yarn choice. I felt bad about my body, and I had a thought that I’d just knit accessories from now on, because sweaters in my size take FOREVER, and it’s such a crap-shoot on fit. At least for me it is.
But then I had a stern conversation with myself, and thought about the successful knits I’ve made, including another cardigan I just finished; blog to come after I take some decent pictures.
This Veronika process also helped me realize that I need to make better choices (in many things, but I’m talking about knitting here). Why on earth would I think an over-sized sweater would look good on me? I am already over-sized, and I need to flatter my shape, not expand it! Total fail on the pattern choice. I just loved the look of it on the model and in The Studio, where I saw a finished sample and joined the KAL. So, again, lesson learned.
My next sweater will be a well-thought-out project, with much consideration of how the sweater will look on me, not how it looks on other people, especially the model. Kris from The Studio is a master of fitting knits, so I’m going to be asking her for advice.
Leave a comment and give me your advice,and tell me about your fails. I need some company here!
Hand-dyed yarns always draw me in. There’s something so magical about them; the hard work and creativity of the dyer just shines through in each skein. I’m so lucky to be friends with one of the best indie dyers out there, Sarah from SeraCraft yarn. She and her family live on their 10-acre farm north of Spokane, Washington, and she’s in one of my knitting groups.
I love following Sarah on social media and seeing her gorgeous colorways pop up in my Facebook and Instagram feeds. Just stunningly beautiful yarn!
The really neat thing about SeraCraft yarn is that Sarah’s kids help her dye and name the yarn. One of my recent favorites was called Shark Week, name courtesy of Sarah’s son, and the colors were cool blues and grays. It’s all sold out, but Sarah does dye to order!
Sarah has a degree in fashion design and merchandising, and she studied art in London and at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and you can see that expertise in her yarn. She puts colors together unexpectedly and beautifully, and her kids obviously inherited that artistic spirit, too.
Sarah started knitting in 2004, after seeing celebrities knitting, and remembering her grandmother knitting and cross-stitching. Because she lived in Florida when she started knitting, there weren’t a ton of knit shops around, so she got a copy of Stitch ‘n Bitch and taught herself. Sarah’s first project was a wonky scarf (sound familiar?), but she’d been bit by the knitting bug, and she never looked back!
When she moved to the Inland Northwest and discovered local yarn shops, she was introduced to beautiful yarn and talented teachers, and she really stretched her skills. Now Sarah test-knits for designers, as well as making gorgeous knitwear for her family and herself. And she’s one of the most prolific sock knitters I’ve ever met.
Sarah came across indie dyers in yarn shops, and saw their videos on YouTube. She was inspired and decided to give it a try. She got a book on the subject, ordered some plain yarn, and started in! After going through a box of 20 skeins of yarn in a weekend, she ordered some mini-skeins so she could try even more dying combinations, and a cottage industry was born.
Her favorite yarn bases are wool and wool-nylon blends, because they work well for her favorite projects, sweaters, shawls, and socks. Currently, the SeraCraft Etsy shop is stocked with fingering- and worsted-weight options. Sarah is considering a cashmere blend in worsted- and DK-weights, and bringing in a bulky base yarn for those quick-knits. Yes please!
Drawn to colors from nature, Sarah also enjoys mixing in the occasional bright or neon. Her kids have given her ideas, such as a collection based on fish, and her seven-year-old son, Liam, suggests colors and sketches ideas for her. He names seventy-five percent of her colorways! I just love that.
Amelia, Sarah’s darling daughter, is also interested in yarn, and she thinks there should be much more pink in the world. I agree!
Sarah’s business is run out of her kitchen, but her husband plans to build her a studio in a garage on their property. I predict she’s going to need that extra room sooner than later—her business is bound to take off.
Sarah and her family truly live a handmade life. They raise chickens and ducks, have a big vegetable garden that provides canned goods all year, and they make soap every year, just to mention a few of her homesteading activities. They’re thinking about getting some pygmy goats, and I am first in line to hug them!
Sarah’s philosophy for SeraCraft is bringing joy to people through her yarn. Whether they admire it for a while in their stashes or cast on a project right away, Sarah’s goal is for all of her customers to be happy with their purchases. And judging from the reviews on SeraCraft, she’s achieving her goal!
I hope you’ll check out SeraCraft and support my friend’s small business. She’s offering 15% off through March 2018 (enter the code CRAFTERMATH) to all of my readers, so go crazy!
Who’s watching The Orville? Or Star Trek Discovery? I love The Orville so far. It’s half Trek, half Galaxy Quest. And yes, I’m going to angerly, yet eagerly, subscribe to CBS All-Access in order to watch Star Trek Discovery. (Smooth move, CBS, preying on Trekkies to sell your online streaming service. I could go on about this, but I’ll stop.)
I super-duper love sci-fi, especially Star Trek. I’ve watched all of the series multiple times, (except the original series; it’s my least favorite), and all of the movies. The Voyage Home, right?!? I even liked Insurrection. That’s dedication. Plus, I’ve read a bunch of the Star Trek books. Nerd-alert.
If you’re still with me, I need to talk about (the most recent) Battlestar Galactica, too. It was brilliant and wonderful, and I miss it. So say we all. I watched the original Battlestar Galactica, of course, when I was little. My brother, sister, and I just loved it, and our dad got us each a Cylon Raider and a Colonial Viper action-figure as stocking stuffers. We were way too old for those items, and way to excited to get them! I wish I still had those.
Where is this going, you may be asking. Well, I’ve noticed a love of sci-fi among knitters. The Ravelry Nerdy Knitters group is fun, and there have been patterns inspired by all sorts of sci-fi and fantasy TV shows and movies. Star Trek iPad cover, anyone?
If anyone knows where to buy the patterns for these, let me know. I can’t find them on Ravelry. I followed a Pinterest link to neatorama.com, but that’s as far as I went.
Fantasy, although not my preferred genre, has been a big inspiration to designers, too. When I was at Interweave, we put out a collection of patterns based on costumes worn in Outlander, and it was really popular. And the shrug based on Katniss Everdeen’s costume in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is pretty cool. There are a lot of patterns out there for that shrug, but this one by Dahlia in Bloom is my favorite.
I can’t leave out Star Wars, of course. My nephew loves all of the movies, and I gladly watch them with him whenever we’re together. He thinks I’m cool. Of course, I knit my way through them, so to me, knitting is related to Star Wars in that way, too.
I trace my love of sci-fi to Horton Hears a Who. I remember vividly the first time I ready that story, and how it affected me. Could there be a tiny planet on a speck of dust? Of course there could! I think often of the quote from the movie Contact, “The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it’s just us … seems like an awful waste of space.” There’s certainly room for a few Whoville residents!
If Horton Hears a Who ignited the sci-fi spark for me, A Wrinkle in Time lit the bonfire. I can’t wait for the movie version! I wonder if any knitting patterns will come out of it. Maybe I’ll write one.
P.S. What’s your favorite sci-fi book, TV series, or movie? Leave a comment so I can check it out, too!
It’s knit in a giant T, and then certain sections are sewn together to make armholes. It’s a wrap that’s sorta ponchoesque, but open in front so it’s a cardi. Yeah. It’s its own, beautiful beast.
This pattern is all me. I love loose, long, cozy toppers, and my go-tos are getting a bit ragged. Before I knew about this pattern, I had just told Mimi that I needed a new wrap wardrobe!
That’s just one of the reasons I’m excited about knitting this cardigan. Here are a few more:
It’s something I know I’ll wear a ton.
I’m using yarn from my stash—Tahki Donegal Tweed in a gorgeous dark green.
The construction is unique and the design is clever.
It’s part of a knit-along at my friend Kris’s shop, Knit Knit: The Studio, and the group is full of my friends!
Here’s my progress so far:
I can hear you all saying, “Cool, but what the hell are all of those markers for?” Well, the yarn is dark, and I couldn’t see my increases, so I placed a marker after each increase. I needed to have 15 total decreases, and counting the markers is WAY easier than finding and counting the decreases. Markers are magic, and I love them—so much so that I wrote a top-10 blog for Alpaca Direct, all about markers. Check it out, and add your favorite use!
But back to Veronika—what you see above is actually the front. Veronika has a shawl collar, and deep ribbing all around the bottom. The longer rows at left are the start of the back. When the back is completed, the ribbing picked up and knit at the bottom. To complete the cardigan, the back ribbing is sewn to the front ribbing, and voila! Here’s the schematic, which will help this make sense:
Pretty slick, right? I think so.
This is a lot of knitting, but the textured rib stitch gives it some interest, and with worsted-weight yarn, it’s knitting up relatively quickly.
If you’re looking for a cardi to wear all winter, Veronika is your project. I recommend it, along with a new bunch of markers!
P.S. What’s your favorite way to use markers? Leave a comment and share it with me!
When I was working at Interweave, I loved it, too, but it was so much a part of work, I didn’t look forward to it like I do now. I didn’t think about it at 3:30 p.m. the way I think each night about that first cup of coffee in the morning; I want to hurry up and sleep so I can have that delicious morning nectar.
Each night when Mimi and I sit down with our knitting—we call it “couching it”—I have a feeling of anticipation as I pick up my project. Where did I leave off? What’s next in the pattern? I hope I get to start on a knit row instead of a purl row! You know the feeling.
I once wrote a blog for Thanksgiving, about about why I’m thankful for my knitting, and I still feel that way today. Here are some of those reasons:
1. It encourages my creativity.
2. It introduces me to new people who share my love for the craft.
3. It loves to travel.
4. It likes the same TV shows that I like.
5. It keeps the same schedule as I do; if I want to knit in the middle of the night, it’s there for me.
6. It challenges me.
I was out at Alpaca Direct the other day, and I was inspired by a list I saw on the blackboard that’s behind the front desk/cash register area. There was a list of reasons to knit, and I hadn’t heard of some of them, so I reinvented my list, including some of those ideas. Check out my new Top 10 Reasons to Love Knitting!
Yours in loving knitting,
P.S. Did I miss your favorite reason to knit? Leave a comment and share!
I wanted to let you know that I’ve taken a part-time job with Alpaca Direct as social media manager. Yahoo!
If you’re not familiar with Alpaca Direct, it’s an online yarn shop that also has a store front in Hayden, Idaho, about 15 minutes north of Coeur d’Alene. The store is darling—full of yarn and gorgeous samples, and it’s a homey, friendly atmosphere. I’m really excited to work with all of the wonderful people there.
Alpaca Direct doesn’t just sell alpaca yarn; you can get just about anything you need there, including all kinds of yarn, needles, crochet hooks, shawl pins, and ready-made alpaca socks!
If you haven’t checked out Alpaca Direct, please do. (I’ll still be writing here, but also blogging on the Alpaca Direct site.)
And here’s a little bit of spring on this snowy day:
Speckled yarn is having a moment! I first saw it a few years ago in the form of acid yellow speckles on a cream base. I didn’t love it. But the more I see this type of yarn, the more it grows on me.
I was at Alpaca Direct a few days ago, and I saw a gorgeous project, Susan Ashcroft’s Brain Frieze Cowl. Alpaca Direct’s store manager Susan Melka knit this version from Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat and Tosh Merino Light. The Cheshire Cat is the speckled yarn (it’s the Dreadfully Frightened colorway from Halloween 2016, which is no longer available), and the “solid” is Tosh Light in the Filagree colorway, which is really a light green and yellow variegated. The two yarns work together beautifully in this pattern.
The trick to using speckled yarn in a multi-yarn project is choosing colors that complement each other. You need choose solids with enough contrast so that the speckle stands out, but not so much that it overpowers it.
Check out this beautiful project from my friend Carmen:
This project is Stephen West’s beautiful Building Blocks Knit Shawl. Carmen’s yarn choices are key to the success of this project; she picked two speckled yarns with similar colors and pulled out the blue and orange for her solid yarns. The transition from solid to speckled is perfect. Looking good, Carmen!