Archives for category: Knitting

They’re teeny. They’re tiny. But each one will make a difference to a preemie, whose head needs to stay covered to help retain body warmth.

Photo of the preemie hat

With the yarn left over from knitting a pair of socks, I am making four of these little preemie hats. I’ll donate them to The Knitmore Girls’ collection drive at Stitches West.

Many thanks to Cheryl Andrews for sharing her free pattern for preemie hats, in many sizes based on the gestational age of the preemie.

Less yarn in my stash + charitable knitting project = FEELING GOOD!

Picture of purseLast month, I wrote about my new Autumn Cabled Purse pattern. I’ve been thrilled with the response to this pattern – many of you have downloaded it, queued it in Ravelry, or told me in person how much you like it. Thank you, all!

Since then, I’ve been reflecting on my design process for this pattern. It all began when I decided to work with a spool of 100% wool from my stash. The wool  was too scratchy to be made into a wearable garment, so I decided to knit a felted something. Its rusty color made me think of autumn, which made me think of cabled sweaters. With these design constraints — make a felted something with cables — I began the design process.

The worst thing a designer can hear is an offhand “Just do whatever you want.” That’s because designers understand the power of limits. Constraint offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth and innovation.” — Scott Dadich, Creative Director of Wired Magazine, Design Under Constraint: How Limits Boost Creativity

I know that I need limits to boost my creativity. In fact, I’m planning to dig through my stash for yarn that will provide me with design constraints for my next project. Stay tuned!


I’ll admit it. About ten years ago, I became severely addicted to making felted purses. I made over a hundred of them, and I sold them at holiday boutiques, gave them as gifts, and kept a few for myself. It was crazy. At some point, though, I got bored with making them and stopped cold turkey. I was done with making felted purses.

Or, perhaps I was just on a hiatus?

I recently dug out my old stash of felting yarns, determined to use some of it up for Stash-n-Burn’s 2013 “Use It Or Lose It” Challenge. I found a beautiful cone of rust-colored tweedy wool yarn, and decided to knit it into a felted purse. Because of the autumn colors, I started thinking of cooler weather and cabled aran sweaters, and created a design with columns of cables that are carried over to the straps. Here’s what it looked like before I put it in the washing machine:

Knitted purse before felting

And here is how it looks finished, with wooden buckles attaching the straps to the purse.

Photo of Autumn Aran Purse

I lined the purse, adding interior pockets, my personalized label, and a magnetic snap closure. It looks “legit,” as my teens would say.

Picture of the inside of the purse

You can download my free Autumn Cabled Purse pattern. If you make one, please post a photo on Ravelry. I’d love to see yours!

Clapotis ScarfFor my entire life, I’ve enjoyed making things: crafted gifts, hand-knit sweaters, homemade clothes, and even computer software. In fact, I studied computer science in college, and was a software engineer during the early part of my career.

The process of writing code sometimes yields unexpected results. If you don’t like the results, you can go back and edit your code until you get it perfect. But, sometimes you like the results better than what you planned. Or, you decide the code gets the job done, even if it isn’t doing exactly what you set out to do. Computer scientists have a phrase for this: “It’s a feature, not a bug.”  It’s a nice way of celebrating the finished code, even though you didn’t set out to build it exactly the way it turned out.

“It’s a feature, not a bug.”

I was thinking of this phrase as I finished knitting a Clapotis scarf. This free pattern is one of the most popular on Ravelry, with over 20,000 projects. It’s knit on the bias, with bands of dropped stitches that make the scarf lacy and downright beautiful. I had been thinking of making a Clapotis for years, and I finally cast it on as part of a challenge to use up stash yarn. In my collection of yarn leftover from previous projects, I had 2.5 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. After doing some research on Ravelry, I decided I had enough yardage to make a Clapotis.

However, as I approached the final section of the Clapotis pattern, I realized I was going to run out of wool. Because it’s knit on the bias, I couldn’t just make it shorter like I would with a normal rectangular scarf. Instead, I decided to knit to the end of my yarn and cast off, creating a blunt edge where the scarf should have continued into a nice point. (Look at the top right corner of the photo below.) This doesn’t sound too bad, but by not finishing the point, I also wasn’t able to drop some of the columns of stitches. I had a blunt edge AND a wide band of solid knitting that should have been filled with bands of open, dropped stitches.

Clapotis stretched out

At this point, I declared the wide band a feature, not a bug. I’m happy with this unexpected result. It makes for an interesting asymmetrical design, which in turn makes my Clapotis unique from the 20,000+ others that have been made.

I may make another Clapotis to donate to a charity auction.  If I do, I’ll have to decide if I want to incorporate my “feature” again. We’ll see!


Photo of 6 braceletsMy friend Mary Ann recently told me about “zero waste” clothing design, an approach to creating patterns that don’t leave any left-over scraps of fabric. According to the NY Times, the reason to pursue zero-waste design is sustainability. Millions of tons of fabric scraps are tossed into landfills each year because it’s cheaper than recycling.

In the spirit of zero waste design, I’m on a mission to use all of my scraps of fingering weight yarn that are left-over from other knitting projects. My Wrap It Around Bracelet is the perfect design to use for this.  Not only can I make something with just a small amount of scrap yarn, I can also sell them to raise money for a charity that I care about. Win-win!

I love the scarp yarn I used to make these bracelets. It’s a soft merino/silk yarn from Big Alice Dyes in beautiful shades of burgundy, blue, and purple.

I was able to make seven bracelets. Six are shown here, and one was a gift to Mary Ann. I hope she enjoys her “zero waste” bracelet!