Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book Review - Henry's Hat

This is a review of the book Henry's Hat, by Eric and Joanna Johnson.

This book is about a little boy, well a chipmunk really, who has fun playing a game called Imagination in which he wears his favorite hand knitted hat.
One day he loses the hat, and he has lots of adventures in trying to get it back. 

The illustrations in this book are just precious and so adorable. There is lots of detail for little children to find: things like little birds, and small insects living their life in the corners or edges of the pages. I really enjoyed the emphasis on handmade things in this book. People wear sweaters, they have knitted afghans and blankets in their home, and so on. 
There is a happy ending of course.
The book includes the pattern to make Henry's hat for your own special girl or boy. There's also a sweater with a big letter initial on the front that you can personalize for the child in your life. There's even a stuffed animal pattern to make your own little toy chipmunk, and the chipmunk in turn wears a miniature sweater just like Henry. So much fun!

This book hits all the buttons. A cute little story for the children, beautiful illustrations for adults to admire, and knitting patterns that the knitter in the family will enjoy making. This book has something for everyone in the family. I think you will really enjoy it.

Look at the cute hat!

See you next time!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Win your very own Sirka Counter!

** The winner of the drawing is lucky number 6: Kathy! I will be in touch! ** 
 This is a review of the Sirka counter. Let me start by saying the Sirka is a beautiful piece to have in your possession. It has great colors, and just feels nice in your hand.
But of course, it's not just a pretty face. It lets you keep track of stitch patterns, repeats, decreases and increases, stripes, and anything else you would like to count while you're knitting. It’s nicer than the little counters that sit right on your needle (how do you use them on circular needles, anyway?)  

I also like this better than relying on apps on my phone, because frankly it can drain the battery, and sometimes you want to use your phone for other things!
I won't try to explain everything about how the counter works – it’s on the website – but I will say that lets you keep track of several different things at a time such as decreasing for the neck, while at the same time, shaping the arm holes, and at the same time remembering to cable every 8 rows. You get the idea!
You advance the little hands every time you do the thing that you need to repeat and you keep doing it until you reach the end – which is marked by one of the colored hands on the face of the counter. That's not a very good explanation, but it does give you an idea that it is easy to use, and it is also fun to use.
I really enjoy using my counter! And I'm so grateful for GrellowandGray for sending me this one for me to try out.
Do you want to win your very own Sirka? Just enter a comment on this blog saying why you want to own your own counter. You must include your email or Rav id or Instagram handle so I can tell you if you've won! 
I’ll draw a winner in one week, on March 14.
Good luck!

Project Bags

Here’s what’s new in my Etsy shop. I have added a cute fabric featuring ukuleles, banjos and guitars. It’s available in both drawstring and zipper styles. Here are some comments from my past customers:

"This bag is so well made! Great work and super fast door-to-door! Already stuffed with goodies to knit! Thank you!!!!"
"Fast shipping, great product, couldn't be happier. I'll come back again and again! "

Plus I have some fabulous Scottish tartans in pure wool.

Here is a discount code! The code is GOODSTUFF5, which will give you $5 off your purchase. 

Enjoy, and happy knitting! Remember to sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss out on reviews, giveaways and special exclusive sales.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

It’s my birthday – you get the gifts!

It’s my birthday – you get the gifts!

Well, my birthday is right around the corner. It's on March 1st, one day after Leap Day, so that means I'm one day younger than I really should be, right? :-). 

To celebrate, I have selected the 10 most popular patterns in my Ravelry store, as measured by the number of hearts on Ravelry (excluding free patterns), and have put them on sale at 40% off, especially for my newsletter subscribers.

This is the list of patterns that are on sale:

Use the coupon code BIRTHDAY40 to get 40% off any of these patterns,

The discount will be valid just until 2:00 am March 2, Pacific time. When my birthday is over, the sale is over!

I hope you enjoy this little gift from me. 

Project Bags

Now, if you don't need any patterns right now, but you would love a new project bag for your current knitting project, here is a discount code for my Etsy shop GoodStuffCrafts, where I sell project bags and other goodies. The code is GOODSTUFF5, which will give you $5 off your purchase. 
I have some cute new fabrics to show you, including a 1960s Love and Peace print.

Enjoy, and happy knitting!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Meditation on the Beach - New Shawl Design

I was working with the Altered Stitch yarn store on a trunk show when I spotted this beautiful yarn.

We cooked up a plan for me to design a shawl with this lovely yarn from The Flying Kettle.
And, today I released Meditation on the Beach shawl.

Simple garter stitch and stockinette stitch combine with sinuous short rows to give this asymmetrical triangle shawl its unique look. The colors flow through the hues of a beach sunset, giving you the fun of watching the yarn yield up its mysteries.
Meditative knitting, along with a gorgeous gradient yarn, combine for a relaxing yet satisfying knitting experience.
The shawl is knit to a looser gauge to create a soft cushy fabric that drapes nicely. It is worked from the narrow point to the wide end.

Until Feb. 20, get 25% off with coupon code MEDSHAWL.

Is anyone interested in a Knit Along? I will supply prizes ! Let me know in my Ravelry group here.

Shawl can be made larger if you have more yarn. Size shown uses one skein (360 yds/325m) of sport weight yarn.
The instructions include directions to make a larger shawl.
If you're going to Stitches West (Feb. 18-21 in Santa Clara CA), look for it in the Altered Stitches Booth. It's even prettier in person :-)




A Blog I've Been Reading

I've really been enjoying Jill Wolcott's blog. Jill is a wonderful designer whose work I have long admired. She shares great insights and information on her blog. Currently she has a series of posts called Obstacles in Knitting.
Her post on Finishing is fabulous. Have a look!
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today's Tip: Double your Yarn, Double Your Fun!

Why Double Your Yarn?

Have lots of fingering weight stash, but want to knit warm cozy hats? Read on for a solution!

Sometimes you may want to knit a piece that calls for a heavier yarn than what you  may have on hand. Or perhaps you have lots of stash of beautiful lightweight yarn that you want to use, but it’s not right for the pattern you want to make.

For example, I got it into my head to make cozy slippers for my grandkids, son, and daughter-in-law, after seeing a cute pattern, and I wanted to make them out of bulky yarn.

Surprise, out of all the hundreds of yarns in my stash, there is very little in bulky weight. It’s about two-thirds fingering weight. Probably because, living in California, I have no need for heavy knits.
So I did some research to find out more about doubling up yarn so that you can use lighter weights of yarn to substitute for a heavier yarn.

This is what I found. Remember it's always wise to make a gauge swatch, because even among several fingering weight or sport weight yarns, there is some variation. They're not all the same. 

But having said that, there are some guidelines.
The following are approximate; however, as with all substitutions, you should check to make sure you're happy with the gauge. 
First Method 
Proceed as follows:
2 strands fingering = one strand sport weight
2 strands sport = one strand worsted weight
2 strands DK = one strand bulky
2 strands worsted = one strand bulky to super bulky weight*
*2 strands of a lighter worsted yarn held together may approximate the thickness of a chunky or bulky yarn, while 2 strands of a heavier worsted weight yarn held together may come close to the thickness of a super bulky yarn.

Second Method
You can also use a simple calculation:
Take the regular gauge of a yarn, e.g. 7 sts per inch or 28 sts for 4 inches for a heavy-ish sock yarn and multiply it by 70% (or 0.7).
7 sts per inch x 0.7 = 4.9 sts per inch
This will give you an approximate idea of the gauge you can achieve when doubling the yarn up.  So if you hold 2 sock-weight yarns together, you will be able to get a gauge of 4.5 to 5 sts per inch or 18-20 sts for 4 inches. 

Just remember it's always a good idea to do a gauge swatch. Not only to see if the gauge comes out right, but to check that you like the look of the fabric: not too stiff, not too drapey for your purposes. We don't want winter hats with huge holes in them, or sweaters so stiff they stand up by themselves!

Want to get useful tips like this regularly (once or twice a month)? Sign up for my newsletter (top right of the screen) and get them delivered to your inbox, along with other knitting related info. 
Sign up now and get a free pattern!

P.S. Here is some pretty yarn to look at, from The Flying Kettle yarns.

Sources: Lion Brand website, TinCanKnits blog 

New Projects

Here is one of my new designs. The Contender Hat is a cozy cabled hat that can be made in a masculine color to suit one of the men in your life, or can be knitted just for you!  It needs just one skein of 100g of DK weight yarn. It was featured in the 2015 Men in Knitwear Calendar.

Mr September is a knockout. To keep warm during training sessions he sports a handsome hat featuring an unusual garter cable on a background of cushy warm garter stitch.
The ribbed border is long enough to be turned up for extra w

The hat can be made in a slouchy style if desired.
Pattern is both written and charted and has been professionally tech-edited, for a more pleasant knitting experience. 

More of my designs can be found HERE, if you're looking for something to knit with your doubled yarn. :-)

Current Knitting 

I'm working on a new design - here's a sneak peek.
This is the same yarn you see above in the 2 yarn cakes. Isn't it pretty?
It's going to be on display at Stitches West (Santa Clara Convention Center Feb. 19-21, 2016) at The Altered Stitch booth. Come and see it!