She’s a Fickle Knitter (But Not Really)

June 21st, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

Fickleknitter TNNA Postcard

I’ve been a bit under the weather the past couple of days, so I guess I should take advantage of the few hours at home to post about some fun stuff I’ve been working on. I was fortunate to have Michelle Miller (Fickleknitter Design) contact me to design a postcard and trade show banner for her booth at TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) a couple of weeks ago. Michelle is a fantastic knit designer, who specifically tries to create pieces that can be made with one skein, which is great, because I know had a habit of falling in love with luxury yarn and purchasing only one, for which I never find a good. I’m sure I’m not the only knitter who does that. Plus, it’s just nice to make something small out of fiber that is fancy and luxurious, without breaking the bank to get 8 skeins for a giant sweater.

Anyway, she wanted to go in a more typographic direction, with pink and gray being her booth colors, so design-away I went, and this is what I came up with. I hear it got a great reception at the show. Shortly thereafter, she asked if I could put together a logo based on a similar look as the banner.

Fickleknitter Logo

I’m really pleased with how these pieces have turned out, but I’m even more excited to be designing her first book! I can’t wait to dig in and show it off!

I’m a finisher

March 10th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

For Him

This past couple of weeks have been awesome for me and finishing things. That mustard sweater, the website for Prickly Pear Creative, and look! I finally finished this scarf for my husband, too!

So here’s the story: I told him many many moons ago, back when I still thought knitting scarves was entertaining, that I’d make him a scarf. I got some yarn that I thought he’d like, and he liked it, and I cast on a pattern that I’d used for a couple of neckwarmers. But then I started knitting sweaters, and scarves became So Boring. And I just wasn’t feeling the pattern with the yarn. It’s a beautiful shade of Manos, and it’s thick and thin, and the pattern wasn’t really showcasing the yarn like I thought it should, and as a long scarf rather than a short neckwarmer, I realized that it would curl too much and just be a tube, and who wants that?

Manos Cables

So I put it down. For a long time. I don’t even know how long. Then I picked it up and ripped it out and started over at least 3 times in different random stitch patterns that I pulled out of the ether (corners of my mind). I thought maybe seed stitch would be the winner, but alas, it wasn’t. None of them were. It was a lame, boring scarf that I didn’t want to knit.

I finally finished this scarf

He really wanted it, though, and had waited a long time for it. So as a last ditch effort, I turned to Jared Flood, who has never let me down. He recently published Pavement, a manly scarf that still has cables to keep it interesting for the knitter. Seemed like just what I needed to finish this project. I only had two skeins of yarn, and sort of believe in less bulky scarves, so I opted to alter the pattern slightly and reduce the width by about a third, knitting only 2 center cables rather than three. It turned out just the right length by doing so, and was engaging enough for me to stick it out and finish it, finally.

Welcome to the new home!

March 2nd, 2011 § 12 comments § permalink

White Russian

Well, I figured it was high time for this collection of articles, thoughts, design and photography (and knitting!) to have a dedicated home, so here we are! It’s a scary transition, moving the blog off of, which has been very good to me, but I wanted a little more control. So to welcome you, I’d like to share this sweater I just finished!


It’s this time of year when I start to really crave colors like green and yellow. I love this particular yellow because it’s naturally dyed, so it also feels like a neutral. I like complicated colors. And clearly it’s been on my design-mind lately, too. Which is why I was sad to hear that this particular color is already discontinued. I’m glad I got to work with it when I did.


The pattern is White Russian, knit in Rowan Purelife Organic, and was a cinch! It’s DK weight, so I thought it would take me forever, but it moved right along. The lace is an easy repeat, and I didn’t run into any problems, which I think might be a first. Other than the fact that I didn’t have quite enough yarn. I knit the sleeves before finishing the body, so that I could just knit out the skein, and it turned out that I ran out only an inch from the end! But it really needed that inch, so I got another skein to finish it instead of just leaving it an inch short. I think I will do this again with other top down sweaters, though, because there’s something awful about turning that whole sweater around and around as you knit the sleeves, but when there’s not as much sweater, there’s less of that awfulness! And then when you’re done with the body you’re DONE!


I was worried that it was a bit too small when I tried it on at the end (I made the small size, and also used a smaller number of stitches at the sides for a fitted garment), but it blocked out and grew just the right amount, as I hoped it would, so it fits perfectly! I adore it, and it’s just right for this time of year, when spring is approaching, but not quite here.

Pointy Ears and Pom Poms

February 8th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink


So I still had a bit more than a skein of that huge pink yarn laying around after I made that sweater, and I was thinking maybe a bulky earflap hat with pointy ears and pom poms would be fun. I did a bunch of searching for earflap hats, and found quite a few pointy ones, but only with one elfin point. Which, I’d like one of those someday, too, but I was really hoping for two pointy “ears.” Not sure if I’d have to wing it, on page 20ish I came across Haka, which was just exactly what I was going for. It had a chin strap and a button, which was totally cute, but I opted to modify it with icord tassels terminating in pompoms. Because, go big or go home, right?

Pom Poms

I love it, and was finished in only a few hours, and able to wear it with pride to Grilln’ for Peace last weekend, which, incidentally, has sort of turned into a fun hat party. I even got my picture taken by the Wisconsin State Journal! Although who knows if they published it, because I can’t find anything about it on their website. Oh well.

Grilln' 4 Peace 2011

(Thanks to Jodi for sending me this!, and to Nate for taking these pictures.)

Instant Gratification

January 17th, 2011 § 14 comments § permalink


Sometimes you just need a project that will go quickly, and give you what you need without too much fuss. And that was just what I needed after the baking and wrapping and traveling and partying of the holiday season. And boy was this ever quick. My friend Jaala was so kind as to gift me a bunch of pink Rowan Big Wool that she’d started a sweater with quite awhile ago, and then abandoned because she realized that big bulky wool wasn’t something she was ever going to wear. So it came to live with me. About 5 skeins of it. I didn’t have quite enough to make some giant thing with it, but I found the perfect project for how much I had in the Modern Garden Cardigan. I originally found this super cute one, knit in the same yarn, and was instantly sold.

I borrowed some size 15 needles from a friend, and set to work, finishing the body in 4 days. 4 days! It was staggering how fast this yarn knit. Then I stalled for a couple of days while I looked for another set of 15s to work the arms. Once I gave in and bought a pair, I was finished in just over a week more. It was such a nice contrast to the other sweater I’m working on in DK weight on 6s, which is much slower going.

Modern Garden Cardigan

I modified the pattern just slightly in the same ways as did the knitter who inspired me to make this, knitting the short rows into the stockinette instead of the garter collar, and knitting rows 13 and 14 twice in the yoke section for extra length. In the end I didn’t really need that extra length, as the armpits are now a bit too long, but it’s not a big enough deal to feel the need to fix. My buttonholes are all over the map, since while I was busy knitting super fast, I totally forgot to count my rows. I eventually moved the bottom button up an inch for aesthetics, since I’ll never button that one anyway. I knit the size small, as the sweater is meant to be worn with a good amount of negative ease.

I love this sweater. My only qualm is that the shaping in the leaves at the hips (plus the bulky yarn) sort of accentuates my extra curves there, and the leaves don’t lie all that flat, but I still feel that this sweater is pretty flattering nonetheless. If I made it again I might try to modify the lace pattern in the bottom section to be a bit trimmer, and maybe add a couple of stitches to the ends of the arms and then decrease them into the lace, as they are pretty tight. I even love the pink, even though I probably wouldn’t have chosen it on my own, I love it anyway. Thank you, Jaala, for the opportunity to make this! Click over to ravelry for more pictures, if’n you like.

Drinking too much of Christmas

December 28th, 2010 § 5 comments § permalink

Beer buckets

So it’s over, for another year. The twinkle lights (although they stay up through new years in this house, just because they make me happy), the cookies, the wrapping, the giving, the unwrapping, the laughing. Well, hopefully the laughing isn’t over. There’s still some peppermint bark and a piece of pumpkin pie in the fridge, but probably not for much longer. It was a full season of cooking and cleaning and glowing and moving and sitting. I ate many cookies and probably screwed up my blood sugar balance. Drank too much, too. Went to my aunt and uncle’s farm and took pictures of the horses and sat in the hot tub and made my sore throat worse. And now I’m home and watching a cat sit on the warm radiator looking at the tree, and still trying to figure out what my routine really is these days.

Beer Sweaters

Crocheted bottoms

I made myself a beer cozy awhile ago from a pretty simple pattern, but being the kind of paranoid and clumsy drinker that I am, I always felt like I was about to lose my beer out the bottom of the cozy, since it was open on the bottom to slide over the top of the bottle. I knew I wanted to try to modify the pattern to be more like those beer coozies that the bottle slides in the top. But I figured I’d have to learn how to crochet for the bottom of the cozy. So I did. And the Beer Sweater was born. I altered the pattern to be knit top down, with the neck knit back and forth so that it would open far enough to slide the beer bottle in through the top. Then it is joined and worked in the round for the remainder of the bottle, bound off, and the bottom is crocheted from the outer edge to the middle in a circle. I added a big button and a crocheted loop for closure at the top. I gifted a couple of these for Christmas to my beer-drinking aunt and uncle, and they got lots of love.

Beer sweaters in action at the hot tub

I also took this sample-knitting and Christmas gift-knitting as an opportunity to learn a little about knitting with multiple colors. I started by adding stripes, and then experimented with fair isle, which, admittedly, has some tension issues and isn’t the best example, but it’s my first! And I was so scared of it for so long, that switching colors and running multiple strands along. They look very collegiate, I think, and I could see making more of these with different school or team colors. I also ended up knitting one of these guys too tall, so opted to fold the top down a little, like a collar. It looks so much like a man’s sweater, I thought, that that’s what I ended up calling all of them. Beer Sweaters.

Vintage wood button from my mom

I have found they work best so far with plain old Cascade 220, but you could use whatever worsted weight yarn you have laying around, which is the best part. They don’t take much yarn, can be knit with scraps, in fact, and they knit up fast. I made one with some leftover Noro Kureyon, which I like the color change in, and one with some leftover Peace Fleece from my sweater. Those ones ended up a little bigger due to the weight and gauge of the yarn, but they still have personality. I don’t know a whole lot about writing crochet instructions, so hopefully it makes sense, and if there’s a better way, I’m all ears, please do let me know.

The pattern can be downloaded for free here for a week, and then it will be listed on ravelry.

I knew this yarn would be good for something

December 9th, 2010 § 12 comments § permalink

Garter Yoke Cardi

So remember that heinously too-large orange sweater that I made? Of course you do. Well, I exchanged it with a friend who loves it, for some more yarn. I had such a hard time breaking up with the color, that I asked for the same yarn (Peace Fleece), and I made a sweater that fits me! Hooray! I feel like it’s been 8 months coming, which, I guess it has, since I started that first one last spring, even though this one only took me 6 weeks from start to finish. I’m so happy to finally have my orange sweater.

It’s the Garter Yoke Cardigan. Knit in one piece, top down, just how I like it. I only tried it on in the process once, but felt pretty confident that it would fit me since the last sweater I made from her fit just right. I modified the pattern, as I am wont to do, by shaping the sleeves per the Tea Leaves pattern, and making them extra long with nine inches of rib at the ends. It’s pretty darn warm, a little scratchy, but so far, no big deal.

Garter Yoke Cardi

Garter Yoke Cardi

And those buttons. I was knitting over Thanksgiving weekend with my family, mentioned something about putting a button on something, and my mom suggested that I could look through her button stash. !!! She doesn’t sew much anymore, and doesn’t knit, but she sure does collect beautiful things, and her button stash was seriously awesome. There were just enough of these vintage metal rosette buttons, and while normally I don’t think I would choose them, I thought they would go so well with this sweater. And I adore them. So there’s a little bit of vintagey mom-love in this thing.

I’ve become a sweater addict, I think. Next up, I’m thinking White Russian.

Lettuce knit cowls

November 15th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink


Super fast knit! Super easy, even though it looks complicated! No “I’ve been knitting this lace/bobble/seed stitch section for so long that I’m totally bored and want to jab this needle in my eye!” Wearable finished object in less than a week!

My friend Jaala came over one day a month or two ago wearing this and it was so cute that I had to find it and put it in my rapidly expanding queue of Things To Be Knit, which, might I add, consists almost entirely of huge projects like sweaters and shawls and sweaters and more sweaters. And when I couldn’t curl up and wear all the hours of work I’d put into my last project, I felt the need to get something small knit that I could actually enjoy. Soon. And then I encouraged another friend, who recently learned to knit, to knit it with me since it might be a good project for her to learn a whole bunch of skillz. She wanted me to get a head start on it, though. So I cast on on Tuesday night, and then kind of went to town on it. So I guess I might need to knit another one with her? Or maybe make a matching hat?

Fast knit

Anyway, I enjoyed the hell out of myself knitting this. Even the bobbles. It’s Corydalis. It used less than a skein of malabrigo, and I forgot how much I enjoy knitting with malabrigo, so that was a fun reunion after all of that tough outdoorsy yarn I’ve been using lately. None of the sections were so long that you get overwhelmed or bored knitting them, and you get a little practice on a bunch of techniques: lace, bobbles, eyelets, knitting in the round, rib and seed stitch. And it’s kind of just what I needed as it gets chilly around here.

Now, back to sweaters!

Happy Knitcircus Release Day!

November 10th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Knitcircus Winter 2010–11

Knitcircus Winter 2010–11

Knitcircus Winter 2010–11

Psssst! I just wanted to let you know that the winter issue of Knitcircus hit the internet today, and there’s some really fun patterns, a delicious cookie (I know firsthand), a great article about choosing hand-dyed yarn, and videos (!!!) for you knitters (and non-knitters) to check out! Plus tons more. I love this issue even more than the first couple that I designed, and I hope you do too! Check it out!

A L'Orange

October 25th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink


Orange is my favorite color, you probably all know. And incidentally is the color of my shirt today. And is the color in which I need to own a sweater, which is why I traded that too big orange sweater for more of the same awesomely orange yarn, and cast on for the garter yoke cardigan this weekend. I just couldn’t let go of that color. But the sweater will go to a home where it will be loved the way it should be loved. And that makes me pretty happy, too.

Orange is also the word for Words To Shoot By this week. How fitting. There’s some pretty great shots over there this week, go check them out!

p.s. Words will be doing another call for entries in January!

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