Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Hat for a Cat

I couldn't not make this for the boys. Fortunately, they both look good in red and are willing to share (No, Chuck, I insist it's your turn today. No, no, Henry, it's your turn.)

While they both look fetching, it was very clear very quick that they really don't like hats. But you can make one for your cat, and maybe your cat will wear it. You can get the pattern on Ravelry. It's called "A Hat for A Cat". I'm just glad I didn't decide to make them pants.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mental Floss

We're in the process of selling the country house we've had for 17 years. It's hard. For all this time, it's been a place to take the kids when the city summers got too hot and they could run a little freer; a place to go without the teenagers when there was too much attitude; a bolt-hole from the stresses of parents in dementia and other conditions. We all know that it's time to move on: we don't use it much at all and none of the kids seem to be interested, but it's hard. There are a lot of memories in that place, and even when we're there to clean up and clear out, there's the sense of quiet and calm and away-ness that is absent in everyday life.

Within a couple of months of settling in, we put this picture on the kitchen wall:

It's exactly why we went there. It's hard to let go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Yarnovers

Allie and her friend Jennie have just launched their Etsy shop, The Yarnovers. It's filled with crocheted kitchen items: hand towels, aprons, oven mitts, coasters, pot holders, etc. They've been working very hard for the last couple of months, designing and making their inventory, creating the background set for photography, and now it has all come together.

Good things do come out of hard times: these are two smart, educated young women who have applied for about 100 jobs between the two of them, with no responses. So they're making it happen themselves.

Check it out. Buy some towels. Have some fun.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


In March, I needed an easy, portable project to work on while riding the MegaBus to New York, one that would interest me but not be difficult to execute while we barreled down the Jersey Turnpike.

I cast on while we were waiting in line, tried a few different shapes and stitches while we rode, and by the time we got to East Brunswick, I had settled on a four-section shawl with the outer two worked in Stockinette stitch and the inner two worked in a slip stitch. The rhythm of working it was so right that even when I dozed on and off during the ride home, I didn’t mess it up.

The day I wore it to work, all finished and blocked, both my co-worker and a customer wanted the pattern. So here it is.

It has proven to be quite popular on Ravelry; you can get your copy of the pattern here for $3.00:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tipped and Skewed

Two triangular shawls playing on the idea of placing increases so that the end result is an asymmetrical shape with curved wingspans that hug your shoulders. Both are worked in worsted weight yarn, work up quickly, and when wet-blocked, are much lighter than you'd expect.

Tipped was first:

Stockinette stitch is alternated with a garter ridge, and the edging is ribbing that widens gradually to create an almost-but-not-quite ruffle.

Tipped is available for $5.00; you can get your copy here:

I had so much fun designing Tipped that I wanted to take the idea and push it a bit more. That's where Skewed came in:

Skewed is Tipped Shaw’s bolder cousin: the colors are brighter, the center spine is more than off-center, the garter ridges don’t quite line up, and instead of ribbing, a vertical welt finishes off the bottom edge. The welt edging is worked with short rows to accommodate the curve of the bottom edge.

Through April 30, Skewed is available at the introductory price of $3.00.

Monday, April 11, 2011


A design from a couple of years ago that is, I think, clever as well as practical and pretty: the Changeling Travel Changing pad.

Worked in Stockinette Stitch stripes, the center panel has garter stitch edging, and the side flaps are picked up along the sides. It fastens with a button, and is designed to fit around a pack of wipes or a couple of diapers so everything you need is right at hand. And if you knit it in cotton or a cotton blend, you can pop it in the washer as needed.

This is a great project for a baby shower, as easy to knit as a blanket but more out of the ordinary.

Folded up, Changeling measures approximately 11” x 7” x 2”, and opened up, it measures 26” x28”.

You can buy the pattern at in either printed or pdf form.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


My newest design---

I used Skinny Cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas which was a pleasure to work with. It's a 100% organic cotton that is soft, smooth, doesn't split, and has absolutely wonderful stitch definition.

The dress is worked flat from the bottom up, beginning with the ruffle in the contrast color, and the shaping decreases are worked in the body rather than at the seams so there is the illusion of princess seams.

I think a little girl will really enjoy the flip and flounce of the ruffle.

Flounce Baby and Toddler Sundress pattern is available now to download on Ravelry for $5.00.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Best Thing Since....

..maybe sliced bread.

I was working on my Ginkgo Shawl and was having a hard time following the chart---my problem, not the designer's problem. I tried enlarging the chart and my eye still wandered and I couldn't keep track of where I was. And then I remembered that we carry the highlighting tape at work, and I picked up a roll.

Immediate relief! I highlighted each row as I worked it, peeled off the tape and used it on the next row. What had been a long, hard slog became a quick knit.

I can't wait to make my next charted shawl so I can use this again.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Up early this morning and noticed that Chuck was in the back room downstairs, thoroughly engrossed in the morning show of the Nature Channel: a hawk on the back wall having its breakfast pigeon.

It was very calm, sitting tall and bending down now and again to have a bite. A squirrel approached, sat and looked at it for a moment, and then decided that going up the walnut tree and over to the opposite wall was the way to go.

I know there are hawks in downtown Philly, building their nests on high buildings, but I've never seen one so close.

PS: Found out from Cliff:"Red-tailed hawk. Eats mice, rats, squirrels, and cats. Not Henry." Always knew there was a reason to keep the cats inside.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Proud Mom Moment

Yesterday, we came home from running errands and found a large envelope on our doorstep from Temple U, addressed to Allie, Do Not Fold marked on it.

Her diploma was inside.

BA in Spanish, Cum Laude.

We are so proud of her, for finishing college, for taking lemons and making lemonade, amd for taking crushing disappointments and forging ahead.

For someone who should have waltzed into any college she wanted (according to her high school teachers and college counselor and according to her grades, her test scores, her talent, her interests, and all common reason), this has been a long, hard journey with various set-backs. I know that the hurt of being rejected twice by colleges she should have been accepted to once will be there for a long time, but the resourcefulness that she has gained will serve her better and longer than a degree from any of those schools.

She makes us very happy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

On My Knitting Plate

My knitting plate is full. If it were a cup, it would runneth over.

Right now, I'm working on a lace weight cardigan store sample for Loop; a prototype and pattern for a kidknits baby/toddler dress using Skinny Cotton; a prototype and pattern for a kidknits shawl/scarf; and in the mail yesterday, a box of Berkshire Bulky arrived from WEBS for me to do a sample and pattern for a wrap. And I just finished two proposals as well as a blanket for Amy, who has finally made it to rehab.

I think that's all.

What's on your needles?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Semi-Famous again

Today, I'm the featured designer being interviewed here.

Monday, January 31, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, a TV crew from our local ABC affiliate came to Loop to interview Craig and do a piece on making your own stylish, chunky knits.

Kathy and I continued on in the background, helping customers, winding yarn, etc., while the crew did their thing, including close-ups of us knitting (yes, Mr. deMille, we were ready).

It aired on January 22, and here I am!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


...with myself and with others.

I spent yesterday morning working on the lace edging of a shawl for Susie. I spent yesterday afternoon ripping out the lace edging of a shawl for Susie. And then putting stitch markers at each of the 19 repeats and starting over. You'd think I'd know by now that I really, truly need to use stitch markers when working many repeats of a lace pattern.

You'd also think I'd know by now that clear communication is very important when talking with the person who's about to cut your hair. Assuming that she understood what you want without repeating yourself and clarifying leads to (drum roll) a bad haircut.

I can fix the lace much quicker than my hair will grow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I got word last week that Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Company has been bought by Spinrite who is moving the whole production to Canada. This is upsetting to me on many levels: a family-owned, American business will no longer exist; 80 people are losing their jobs, among them my friend Flo Carlisle who has supported me so greatly and graciously as a designer; and on a personal level (petty when compared to losing a job), what will I do for my cotton yarn now?

I've been using their Peaches & Cream for years: when I was doing production work for my craft shows, then in my kits on my website, and also for a pretty good run of designing, including building all the designs in my book around it. It's a great product, great colors, soft, knits well, holds up well----what else can I say? Last night, I put in a pretty big order so that I'll be able to keep on offering my kits. When the yarn runs out, who knows what I'll do then.

But meanwhile, I'm saddened by this turn of economic events. And I'm also sad that Allie and I didn't get to do our road trip last summer to visit Old Fort and meet Flo in person and visit their famous outlet store. My loss, truly.