by Joanna

Earlier this month I received some absolutely gorgeous gradient hand-dyed sock yarn from the very talented Jaala Sprio over at Knitcircus. The photo does not do it justice- it is just stunning. I have been knitting socks for about 10 years, and very avidly of late. I think I knit myself seven pairs of socks this winter alone.

So… I have decided to try my hand at designed a few sock patterns. I have this yarn to work with, plus some beautiful hand dyed yarn from a Colorado indie dyer I recently met, so stay tuned. Socks are coming, hopefully in time for fall knitting!

Yoga socks for the dance teacher!

by Joanna

Yes, it is another handmade gift post. I suppose I am on a roll! I wanted to knit up a little something for our daughter's dance teacher, and thought that a simple pair of yoga socks would be perfect. I confess I had a hard time parting with these sweet socks, they are just like a cozy little hug for your feet.

I used scraps of Paton's Kroy sock yarn, and made a pair of yoga socks from about 110 yards of yarn. You could easily get a pair of these socks from one 50 gram ball.

I simply cast on 48 stitches, worked 3-4 inches in k2 p2 ribbing, then shaped the heel by binding off 24, working 24, casting on 24, working 24, and continuing merrily on my way for another 3-4 inches. I have a feeling I will be making a lot of these in years to come… they were so much fun to make, are super comfy to wear, and will fit pretty much anyone!

Teacher Gift- The School Bus Scarf!

by Joanna

Lately I have really enjoyed making handmade gifts again. That is one of the trickiest things about taking up pattern writing as a profession-- sometimes you lose out on the joy of creating handmade gifts just for fun. Not me! People appreciate hand made gifts too much to skip out on it!

I found this adorable crochet pattern from Crochet Me, it is a free pattern which you can find here:

I used some Red Heart yarn from the stash and happily cast on, making a few changes like using white instead of gray for the center of the wheels. My crochet skills are very limited, but I had no issues with this project at all, it went very quickly!

The best part? I think the thank you note I got from our son's teacher was the nicest thank you note I have ever received! What a great way to end the school year.

Sewing again! A nifty retro apron

by Joanna

I have been in a sewing "desert" for a long while… I haven't stitched a single stitch on my machine in over a year! Last spring I cut out a dress (the Clara dress) for myself and it is still sitting folded up on my desk. I decided it was high time I got sewing again. And what inspires like a birthday for my sweet little niece!

Determined to make this a pure stash project, I found about 5/8 of a yard of this adorable retro zoo-themed fabric in my stash, and decided to use some red or yellow floral as a contrast. I have been organizing, purging, and cataloging my sewing patterns on pinterest, which is working out amazingly well, and quickly found this vintage pinafore pattern. Converting it to an apron was a breeze!

I created the pattern mostly as written… just adding a snap closure at the upper back instead of a zipper, and adding prefinished eyelet trim to the armhole edges. Zing! What a fun little project this was! 

Our niece loves to play kitchen and dress up. I hope she enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it!


Giveaway and Review ~Tahoe Knits~

Today I am very pleased to bring you a review of a lovely book by Kirsti Johanson entitled Tahoe Knits. I was first introduced to Kirsti and her work while working on Jane Austen Knits and I have always found her pieces both beautiful and inspiring.

Her newest project, a self-published knitting book inspired by nature and hiking, is a unique collaboration with a few of her very talented students. High school junior Jemima Liposcak created some lovely pen & ink illustrations which pepper the pages, high school senior Claire Wisniewski composed a poem for each chapter, and college student Britt Stevens wrote an essay for each chapter as well. Kirsti's students also modeled for the book, making it a true creative collective.

This beautiful collection of knitted accessories is accompanied by thoughtful essays, poems, and even a recipe for Cherry Almond Scones- they look delicious! Knitting instructions are both written and charted, and the photographs are beautiful. You can see all of the patterns from Tahoe Knits here on Ravelry.

The best part? Kirsti is graciously offering to gift one print copy and two digital copies of her new book to three of you lucky knitters.
Comments are now closed for this drawing. Congratulations to Gobzone, TerryLee, and MarianHooks for winning! Thanks!


Interweave Embroidery Webinar

photo courtesy of Interweave

This spring I will be teaching my first Interweave Webinar on the topic of beginning embroidery.
The live Webinar is scheduled to take place on May 15. I hope you can join me!

Needlecraft courtesy of Interweave

For more information, please visit the Interweave Store here:


Weaving Adventures Inspired by Stephanie

One of the best "side effects" of traveling to Ohio this winter to tape for Knitting Daily TV with Vickie Howell was connecting with Stephanie Flynn Sokolov, co-author of Woven Scarves. Stephanie is an incredibly talented and inspiring weaver. She did a fabulous segment for KDTV, and the guests all had a great time "backstage" in the green room ooh-ing and aah-ing over her gorgeous scarves.

Stephanie in the green room at the tv studio. 
It was really cold that day.

As an experienced knitter and an extremely novice weaver, I was overwhelmed by the clear and detailed instructions in Woven Scarves. Everything I needed to know was covered, from setting up, to choosing yarns, warping, weaving, finishing, and washing. The detailed to-scale photos of yarn wraps to show the various weights, colors, and textures of the yarns used are fabulous. And I loved being able to learn about how washing, fulling, and agitating the woven cloth can really influence the final design. I came home to my studio, and suddenly all of those random skeins of yarn had an entirely new meaning and purpose. Incredible.

For my first new scarf, I used the 5-dent reed and worsted weight yarn. For the warp I used yarn from the Susquehanna Knitting Company (dark blue) and a few lines of Wave from Filatura Di Crosa (yellow). I wove in a random pattern of mostly Fibre Company Savannah with a little Wave. 

As I wove, it looked really open, messy, and uneven. I was skeptical. But I forged on. I removed the scarf from the loom and haphazardly tossed it in my washing machine on a gentle cycle, then threw it into the dryer for about 20 minutes. Lo and behold, my messy work had been transformed into something beautiful. I was smitten. It truly all comes out in the wash. 

I'm now furiously reorganizing my entire stash into future scarves. Thank you, Stephanie!