Sunday, December 26, 2010


Blizzard Approach with Ice Halo and Sun Dog [(c) 2009, Hannah Six]

The Winter Solstice has passed--complete with full moon and full lunar eclipse--and LIGHT is returning once again.

This difficult (for me and many others I know) year is drawing to a close, and a new one will soon begin. I hope it will bring peace, light, and (yes) love. Whatever it brings, though, we'll celebrate the coming days together.

Wishing all of you peace, good health, and joy in the New Year.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

The color of winter...

The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination.

~Terri Guillemets


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Today: Quilt Show in Maryland!!!

The NCCC 2010 Quilt Show Raffle Quilt!

2010 Quilt Show
Kensington (MD) Armory
Friday, December 3 - Saturday, December 4

In even years, the NeedleChasers sponsor a quilt show to exhibit members' work to the local community. Proceeds from the quilt show support the activities of the NeedleChasers, including their many service activities for local community organizations. For more information about the NeedleChasers' service projects, click here.

The NeedleChasers' 2010 QUILT SHOW will be held on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, and SATURDAY, December 4 at the Kensington Armory, in Kensington, MD. Watch this page for developing information.

Members: Click here for Instructions & Forms to enter your Quilt in the Show

The theme of the 2010 show is "New Directions: Past to the Present". Here's what we'll have for you at the show:

OVER 200 QUILTS, MADE BY THE NEEDLECHASERS. Come see bed quilts of all sizes, wall hangings, clothing and accessories, all made by the talented NeedleChasers! You'll also get to view many "challenge quilts" based on "Trying Something New" either a technique you have not done before or a new way of doing what you generally do. Maximum size is a circumference of 96" (approximately 2 feet by 2 feet, but any shape you want).

A TERRIFIC RAFFLE QUILT! could be the centerpiece of one of your bedrooms if you hold the winning ticket! The quilt design will be an uneven pieced log cabin. A new twist on a traditional block! This queen size, multi-colored contemporary quilt is rooted in a traditional block.

AN ARTISAN BOUTIQUE. Do your holiday shopping early! This is the place where you can purchase beautiful hand-sewn items, including small stuffed animals and other children's toys; baby quilts; quilted placemats, aprons, and potholders; and "art to wear", such as purses, tote bags, scarves, and jewelry. Lots of holiday items, including fabric ornaments, table runners, tree skirts, and placemats.

A SILENT AUCTION. Your chance to bid on some terrific quilts and other items made or provided by members of the NeedleChasers.

A "CALICO ELEPHANT" FOR QUILTERS AND OTHER SEWERS. Who doesn't need more quilt books, quilt magazines, fabric, and sewing notions -- and at bargain prices?! Come early for the best selection.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES. The show offers a great opportunity for kids to learn about quilting and fiber arts. Be sure to stop by the demonstration area, where children can read books about quilting and work on make-and-take quilting projects designed for young sewers.

QUILTING DEMONSTRATIONS. Would you like to learn how quilts are made and watch experienced quilters demonstrate piecing, appliqué, and other quilting techniques? Come to the show at almost any time to see a demonstration!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bestowing Warmth, Changing Lives

Baby, it's cold outside! Many areas in the US have already seen snow, ice, and that shiver-inducing wind that drives the freezing temperatures deep into your bones. I think you know what I mean... I'm chilly just thinking of it (and from the frigid wind that sneaks through the unseen chinks in my 1920's cottage).

But I am a knitter. And when knitters and crocheters think about winter, we tend not to rail (too much) against low temperatures and storms. Rather, we like to imagine working on a sensuous project while curled up with some hot chocolate in front of the fireplace. (Oh, how I long for a fireplace!) Most of all, we yearn to put on those woollies we've worked up over the summer and fall. So, in a way, winter itself warms us.

On the other side of the world, though, hundreds of thousands suffer through harsh winters without the garments they need to stay warm. To make matters worse, many are displaced by war and natural disasters. Hope exists, though, through the efforts of people just like us, who believe that one person can make a difference. Overwhelming, perhaps, but there are many organizations whose goal is to help individuals help others.

My personal favorite, Afghans for Afghans (A4A), is "a humanitarian and educational people-to-people project, inspired by Red Cross volunteers who made afghans, socks, slippers, and other items for soldiers and refugees during World Wars I and II and other times of crisis and need."

Through A4A, knitters and crocheters--warm-hearted and generous as we are--can send hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan. Your donations, made with love, "bring comfort and warmth to Afghan women, men, children, and infants who continue to suffer from oppression, war, hunger, poverty, and sickness."

The organization's current campaign focuses on Afghan youths. A4A is asking knitters and crocheters to send accessories and garments for Afghan children and teenagers who attend schools operated by their new partner, Help the Afghan Children (HAC).

According to A4A's website:
Help the Afghan Children has provided humanitarian aid, medical care, education, and hope to the Afghan people since 1993, the height of the civil war. Under the Taliban, they started 17 secret home schools for 425 girls. Since the fall of the Taliban, Help the Afghan Children has built 11 schools in four provinces that serve about 23,000 students. Their mission is to help Afghan children become educated, healthy, and productive citizens who contribute to building their country's civil society.
HAC's programs include: model schools, teacher trainings; and educating children about technology, the environment, and landmine safety. "The girls and boys develop job and social skills. Children plant gardens and learn to care for their surroundings and natural resources." Most importantly, HAC schools provide safe, stimulating, and welcoming learning environments.

For the current youth campaign, A4A is requesting the following items for seven- to 16-year-old girls and boys:
  • Vests
  • Sweaters
  • Mittens
  • Knitted Socks
  • Hats
  • Blankets
Because many regions in Afghanistan suffer harsh winter weather, A4A asks donors to use only 100 percent wool or mostly wool (or other durable, warm animal fiber). For more information, please visit the campaign's guidelines page.

Friends, this is important, incredibly fulfilling work. As you knit or crochet, you can imagine the child who will receive your garment, the excitement he or she will feel at receiving something so beautiful, made by a stranger who cared enough to create such a heart-warming gift.

If so moved, you may wish to say a little prayer (to whatever benign force you believe in) or send a loving wish for the child. Hold the little garment close to your heart and infuse it with love and compassion. Then, when you can, make another and do the same. This is meaningful work. It takes you outside yourself. It can change your outlook on the world and, quite possibly, your life.

PS. While you're on the A4A website, check out this page of gorgeous, Afghanistan-inspired knitting patterns. I love the Afghan Tulip Socks and the Friday Mosque at Herat Sweater! Your purchase supports A4A and the Afghan Widows Education Center's literacy classes for widows and other women in Kabul.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Destash Sock Yarn and Save a Life

Save the Children and Warm Up America! are asking knitters and crocheters
across the U.S. to pick up their needles and hooks to help save
the lives of nearly four million newborn babies in the developing world.

The Caps for Good grassroots initiative will run through February, 2011. People of all ages are encouraged to join in by making one or more caps; writing to policymakers; and, if possible, donating money (a little or a lot) to provide newborn care in developing countries.

At the end of the program, all of the collected caps will be distributed to pregnant women and new moms and their babies in Save the Children's programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

For more information--and to download a Caps for Good Action Kit with free patterns and more ways to get involved--visit Save the Children's website:

(Note: I designed the little hat shown above to send to Afghans for Afghans a couple of years ago. If enough knitters show interest, I can write it up and post it for download on Ravelry. Just let me know!)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ma Rêve (My Dream)

Les Deux Magots, 6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Since I was a child, I've dreamed of going to France. Notice I didn't say "visiting" or "taking a vacation to" France. No, I really and truly mean going to. It's my goal, my wish, ma rêve.

I can recall studying while I babysat for a family in Mill Valley (where I spent two years at Tamalpais High School). Working hard, I promised myself that my ultimate reward would be working as a lawyer and having a gorgeous corner office in Paris. But I am a writer and knitting designer, and don't want to be a lawyer anymore.

Studying French from junior high school in the San Francisco Bay Area through college at University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, I became as close to fluent as is possible without actually living amongst French-speaking people. Meanwhile, as I explored and reveled in the intricacies of the language, I also immersed myself in French culture, literature, art (Watteau, Renoir and Dufy), and music (Piaf and so much more!).

Later in my life, I could see myself as an old woman, living in a Paris apartment with tall shuttered windows looking over a little cobble-stoned courtyard. Sun would stream through them in the morning, and I could look out over some shade trees.

I'd have some sweet French-speaking kitties, of course, and would be a famous writer. I would live alone (treasuring solitude), write every day, go to lovely cafes and watch people strolling by, meet with my publishers and editors, and mingle with the literati at modern-day salons.

Chez Julien on Rue des Barres (close to Church Saint-Gervais)

Well, my life has once again adjusted itself, offering me the possibility to make my dream come true. I've yet to achieve the level of fame I dreamt of, but I'm working on that. I have time alone, and will have more of it in the near future. I also have time to find my little apartment, to figure out a way to move to Paris, to live there, to work there, and to navigate the mountains of bureaucratic red-tape for which France is famous.

Funny how life throws you a curve ball now and then. You don't see it coming. Maybe the pitch hits you and you double over in agony. But then you say: "Enough!" You stand straight again, you eye the pitcher, and you wait for the perfect fast ball to sail over the plate. You work the count, and then there it is. You swing, the ball sails toward the center field fences... (Have you had enough of my baseball analogy yet?)

Paris, to me, represents beauty, mystery, and opportunity. Perhaps some people see my plan as escapism. As "immature." What they don't understand, though, is that this has been a life-long determination, born of some inner knowledge -- instinct, if you will -- which, for me, makes going to Paris a "running toward," rather than "running away."

After all, what's "running away" about intending to live alone, to spend time with myself, to use solitude to get on with my life's work, writing. No, this is more than just a pie-in-the-sky fantasy. I am facing my future as I've always seen it, not seeking an easy way out. And that's why I will do this. And that's why it will work.

je vous souhaites le tricotage heureux!

(Translation: I wish you happy knitting!)


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hello, Friends...

I've had a little time on my hands lately (more on that to come), during which I haven't felt much like knitting (gasp!). When that happens, I tend to pull out my knitting books and spend hours poring over stitch dictionaries, my favorite pattern books, and, sometimes, my old sketchbooks. Which brings me, via a recent obsession with living in Paris, to my Villette Fingerless Gloves (Ravelry link).

Of all the designs I've done in the past year (more or less), this lacy little confection is one of my favorites. Everything came together perfectly. The stitch pattern, which I'd used for my Villette Socks, is feminine and pretty, and makes a sweet rippling wave effect at the top of the wrist. And the easy (no hem) picot cast-on I used sets it off very nicely, indeed.

Originally, I'd intended to repeat the picot edge on the bind off at the knuckles. (I often find picot edges on thumbs get in the way of what I'm doing, and I like to design garments I'd want to wear.) Once I'd bound off, however, the edging just didn't sit right. The lace pattern is intricate enough to speak for itself, so I ripped back and decided on neat little twisted ribs at the knuckles.

"Ils sont parfaits!," I thought. And I'm still as happy with the design today as I was when it was fresh off my needles. Now and then, things just seem to work out, don't they?

You can purchase the Villette Fingerless Gloves (and/or matching Villette Socks) pattern by contacting either (1) Shalimar Yarns or (2) Eleganza Yarns. Or you can write to

Should you buy a pattern and work up a pair, I'd love to see photos. And I hope you enjoy knitting -- and wearing -- them as much as I do :)

One last thing...

I've been absent from Ravelry, from my blog, and even from my LYS and knitting group/s for quite a while. So, lest you be overly concerned about my welfare, I want to assure you I'm OK.

For nearly a month, I've been suffering from an allergy/virus combo that's left me utterly exhausted, weak, and nauseous (great combo, huh?). So yucky, in fact, that I've hardly done any knitting at all :(

I have complete faith in my fabulous doctor, however, whom I'm seeing this week, so I'm sure I'll be back to my usual self soon. Until then...

Happy Knitting!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 fun knits, including my Clover Honey Shawlette!

Sock Yarn One-Skien Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks!, edited by Judith Durant--the latest edition in the popular One-Skein Wonders series--is now available (review coming soon!).

I have to tell you, even if I didn't have a pattern in this book, I'd have been happily anticipating its release. I do, however, have a pattern in this latest knitter's goodie bag: the Clover Honey Shawlette...

Clover Honey Shawlette in Shalimar Yarns' Zoe Sock (color: Snow Pea)

When I designed the prototype for the Clover Honey Shawlette, back in October 2008, "shawlette fever" hadn't yet begun to spread. Since then, however, they've become wildly popular. (Please don't misunderstand...I am not suggesting that I had anything to do with this.)

In my opinion, the appeal of these little wraps is well-founded: They're versatile, quick to knit, and most use only a skein or so of fingering-weight yarn. Plus, their smaller size makes them less "granny-ish," a concern of many women, especially those of un certain age ;)

A close-up of the "prototype" shawlette in Zoe Sock (color: Dirty Sand)

The beads are applied when you bind-off, and add a little sparkle that really makes the shawl stand out. Also, their weight (the beads I used were Czech glass) -- along with the Faroese shaping -- helps keep the shawl on your shoulders. Adding the beads is easy, easy, easy! For the visual learners among us, I wrote a tutorial, illustrated with photos by Kristi Johnson, dye-genius behind Shalimar Yarns. You can find the tutorial here.

Sure, you're going to rush out and buy the book. But until then, here are some particulars, so you can get ready to knit up a Clover Honey Shawlette of your own:
  • Size: 46 in. wide at top edge; 16 in. long from top (at neck) to bottom of lace panel
  • Yarn: One skein Shalimar Yarns' Zoe Sock (100% Superwash Merino Wool, 100g/450yd)
  • Needles: US #5/3.75mm 32-in circular needles

The Book
Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns that go way beyond socks!
Judith Durant, editor
Published by Storey Publishing.

Preserve our small businesses: Please purchase this book at your local yarn store or independent bookseller!

PS> You may also purchase the Clover Honey Shawlette pattern here :)


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Let's Knit Mitts!

Only a few spaces remain in my Smitten with Mittens workshop at Eleganza Yarns this weekend!

Come join me for some mitten knittin' in Frederick, Md. this Saturday (10/9). We'll spend four delightful hours -- with a break for a quick run to Frederick Coffee Co. down the street.

Participants will...
- Learn how to design great looking and well fitting mittens and fingerless mitts
- Explore measuring tips and techniques for unique design features
- Discover the whys-and-hows of different thumb/gusset constructions
- Try out new stitch patterns, cuff ideas, and embellishments for creative, unique mittens

AND, every student will leave with a customized pattern!

What you'll need: 200-250 yards of worsted weight yarn for main color, 75-100 yards of several colors of contrasting worsted weight yarn, tapestry needle, sewing needle, colorful scraps of yarn for embellishment

All this for only $60??? What a deal :)

Call the store or sign up online today, and bring a friend!

Smitten with Mittens Workshop
Instructor: Hannah Six
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2010
Time: 12 Noon to 4 p.m.

PS. A special note from me: Please try to purchase your main-color (and contrasting color, if possible) yarn at Eleganza, and do come early to allow enough time for skeins to be wound into center-pull balls.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Violetta: My pattern -- on the cover!

It's my own pattern...on the cover of Yarn Forward magazine! Yipee!!!

Violetta is a tailored little jacket that I designed to see you through these transitional seasons. Knit up in Rowan Belle Organic DK (color: Peony), a lovely blend of 50 percent organic wool and 50 percent organic cotton, this sweater offers just the right amount of warmth without adding bulk.

With a broad range of sizes, visible "Princess seams," cool stitch pattern, optional pockets, and enough ease for layering, Violetta just might become your go-to sweater this year!

If your bookstore carries Yarn Forward, check it out -- it's a great magazine (thus why I submitted patterns to them). And if you have problems finding it, you can always pick up an electronic copy at Yudu.

Happy knitting!


Friday, September 17, 2010

My Drop-Spindle Workshop: Only a few spaces left!

This Saturday (9/18/10 -- yes, that's tomorrow!), I will be teaching a Beginning Drop-Spindle (spinning) Workshop at Eleganza Yarns in Frederick, Md.

The workshop will run from Noon - 3 p.m., with a break to rest our arms and perhaps grab some refreshments from Frederick Coffee Company, located just down the block.

Participants will learn:
  • Drop-spindle mechanics
  • Fiber drafting and pre-drafting techniques (including identifying the beginning of a roving/top)
  • How to set the twist in your new yarn
  • Basics of drop-spindle plying
The workshop price ($35) is amazing -- especially as it includes fiber and color handouts! Drop spindles will be available at a discounted price to participants (or bring your own). We'll have lots of fiber available for you to purchase after the workshop also.

One-on-one teaching is necessary, so the workshop is limited to eight students. Only a few spaces remain, so hurry on over to the Eleganza Yarns website and register now... Hope to see you there!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Cheery Cherry Teapot Cozy - New Pattern!

Yes, it's true -- the Cheery Cherry Teapot Cozy is now available for purchase!

Knitters like their tea. Yes, we like coffee, too (I adore it!). But for some reason, our oft-conjured image of "curling up in front of the fireplace with your knitting and a hot cup of tea" just doesn't work as well with coffee. (Hot chocolate, on the other hand, would work...a whole pot of it!)

We also enjoy, for the most part, a bit of kitch, a pinch of history, and a dollop of retro/vintage styling. Inspired by images of 1930s kitchens, I chose a color palette that's just a little bit retro: bright red against pale blue, with chocolate brown accents and just a touch of green. It's sure to brighten up your kitchen and to bring a smile to your face!

This pattern walks you through the Intarsia knitting process and making i-cord, to fulling the finished piece for a customized fit. All you need are your US #7 needles, a few skeins of Ella Rae Classic (or worsted-weight wool of your choice), and an average weekend's worth (or less) of knitting time. Several photos grace the pattern's pages, and a full-color chart is included.

I hope you'll enjoy knitting up the Cheery Cherry cozy as much as I enjoyed designing it. A great gift for someone on your holiday list, it would also make a lovely gift for yourself. So, with that in mind, I'd like to offer my warmest wishes that this little cozy warms many a "cuppa" in front of a crackling fire as you knit, read, and, perchance, dream...

To purchase the Cheery Cherry Teapot Cozy, click the button below. You'll then be able to download the pattern.

(Note: You don't need to be a Ravelry to purchase--but if you knit, crochet, or spin, why not give it a try? You won't be sorry...)


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Exciting news!!!

My new pattern, Flower Child, available now in Yarn Forward magazine (No. 29)!

Image: Yarn Forward Magazine

Yarn Forward magazine #29 (October 2010) is out -- and I have a pattern in it! (I'm also one of the featured designers, with bio on the Editor's Letter page.)

Flower Child, my pattern, is a fresh take on 60s-inspired garments. A sleeveless top/tank top/vest (depending on where in the world you live AND how you deign to wear it), it sports an A-line skirt and bust darts. At the ever-flattering Empire waist and square neckline, brightly-colored, crocheted grannies spice things up.

Details: Bust darts, seed stitch edging, side shaping, slight gathering at waistband

Flower Child looks great on its own, but really shines when layered over a long-sleeved tee. I'm checking into professional photos/copyright permissions etc., and will put up some photos of the finished garment as soon as possible.

(Model: Kristi Johnson)

Meanwhile, I am working on some new designs -- a couple of sweaters, some cool (warm) accessories -- which will be available soon. Please drop me a line if you have an idea or suggestion...I want to make sure I'm giving you what you want, so feedback is always welcome :)

Also, my website,, will be functional within the next couple of months. At that time, I'll make sure my designs are available for you to peruse on the site. As always, you can purchase many of them via Ravelry.

For now, though, check out Yarn Forward. I think it's a great magazine (or I would never have submitted my designs to them), so even if you can't get Issue 29 yet, you're sure to find inspiration in its pages. And when you do get YF29, be sure to let me know if you're knitting up the Flower Child top. I'd love to see your photos!!!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Review of one of my favorite things

P8014167.JPG, originally uploaded by knitsixdesigns.

I remember the first time I saw The Gentle Art of Domesticity in the book store; I scoffed at the title. Domesticity, said I, aren't we finished with that sh*t???

You see, I was a bit young to join the feminists of the 60s and 70s, but still old enough to know they were doing and accomplishing great things. And I truly believed that women would continue on that track with ne'er a look back. Thus, I often find myself frustrated by young women who appear completely unaware of what their forebears sacrificed, and the freedoms we owe them.

But I digress... Back to the book:

It's funny...The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home (STC Craft, Aug. 2008) is no longer a new book, but it's new to me every time I pick it up. Endlessly inspiring, author Jane Brocket's photography is luscious, and her writing draws me in immediately, regardless of the page I land on (on which I land, for the grammar fiends--like me--out there).

In fact, this may be a bit sick, but on a recent seven-week stay on the West Coast, I almost bought a second copy to enjoy while there! Yeah, now that I look at it in writing, that is a little sick, isn't it...?

Among the many joys The Gentle Art has afforded me is a reconnection with early 20th (and late 19th) Century women's literature. Specifically, those published by Persephone Books -- a UK-based company whose catalog I'd like to purchase in full, NOW. I own three, which I found in paperback in Barnes & Noble, but long to own Persephone's elegant hard-cover British editions.

Brocket's affection for, and interest in, "domestic literature" reawakened my early fascination with authors like Rosamunde Pilcher, Elizabeth Bowen, Rebecca West, Maeve Binchy, Barbara Pym, Dorothy Whipple,
Elizabeth Gaskell, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Edith Wharton (I know, purists may chafe at the inclusion of some authors above, but go with me on this: a book's domestic focus does not disallow it's place amongst "real literature.")

A photo of my copy: Don't they look cozy and supremely happy?

Moving on, The Gentle Art features several essays on quilting and descriptions of Brocket's own quilts. Her personal designs showcase her love of, and genius for, color and the rhythm of blocks, strips, and triangles. (Please forgive my lack of terminology--I am not a quilter...yet.)

My personal favorite is a pink and brown confection inspired by the boxes of chocolates women once brought to The Opera. It appeals to my desire to time travel to a more elegant, cultured age in which art and beauty were ideals and topics of many a philosophical discussion and/or argument. (Read up on Whistler, if you're not sure what I mean.)

Then we move on to the knitting. Yes, the knitting, including a lovely pale blue scarf (for which the pattern name is missing), socks the color of candy, a series of colorwork pillows, and more. If you knit, you'll definitely pick up a serious case of "startitis" from Brocket's book.

In fact, I have some startitis I need to attend to (the kind where you start the day's work on a project you need to finish TODAY). But I'd like to talk more about this gem of a book. So stay tuned while I get some photo permissions, and I will soon post "Review, Part Deux" of The Gentle Art of Domesticity--one of my all-time favorite things...

PS. Special thanks to Suzyn Jackson for reminding me to include a link to Jane Brocket's terrific blog, Yarn Storm


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Iceland Knits: Loops 2010

Loops 2010 is an all-encompassing yarncraft festival taking place between the dates of June 17 and July 4 under the midnight sun in Reykjavík, Iceland, the northernmost nation capital on earth.

(Nice Crocodile, by Patricia Waller)

The festival features exhibitions, performance art, workshops, inspirational talks, markets and off-venue events. It celebrates the creativity found in knitting and crochet and ushers you into a world where everything is soft, colorful and intricately crafted.


Friday, May 28, 2010


Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street,
fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
-- Coco Chanel


Wednesday, May 05, 2010


I am in Sacramento, Calif. for several weeks, sans camera. When possible, I will try to post a photo or two along with my usual riveting posts.

Charley in the sun with tea cozy (c) Hannah Six 2010

Today, (since I lack access to new photos) I thought I'd (re)share a favorite photo of this furry little critter.

Charley was a holy terror growing up, but has always been good-natured about the chaos he causes. Now, at about one and a half years, he's grown quite large and is still a Mostly, though, he is very affectionate and sweet, snuggling close in bed and waking me with little kisses on my nose and eyelids.

Katja, our nine-year-old Persian, loves him (though she doesn't want us to know that); watching them play is great fun. I think he's saved her from becoming a cranky old lady.

While I'm traveling, my needles will stay busy. I am working on several new designs (a couple will have to remain secret for now). I'll have more information for you by the end of (northern-heisphere) summer.

Until then, make a cup of sweet, milky tea, grab a few cookies (or any other carb-laden treat of your choosing), sit back and enjoy the adorable, fuzzy, handsomeness we call "Chuck."


Saturday, March 06, 2010


Many months ago, I came across one skein of this beautiful yarn, called Sock Hop, hand dyed by Dalis Davidson, owner and operator of Dancing Leaf Farm in Maryland. The colorway, I believe, is "Briar Patch." The day was cold and gray, and the yarn was soft, warm, and was love at first sight.

One-of-a-kind skeins -- even when the yardage is good -- can sometimes be a tough sell. For 20 minutes or so I squeezed and caressed the yarn, and went over my budget in my mind, to see what I could do gasoline? heat? (Not really.) Finally (surprise!) I caved in and bought the jewel-like skein, brought it home, and pondered its destiny.

Craving a basic, mindless pattern for movie watching and traveling, I opened up a Japanese stitch dictionary, and chose a semi-lacy design that wouldn't overpower, or be overpowered by, the yarn's bright, randomly changing colors. And what do you know...a silky little scarf gradually unfurled on my needles.

One of those projects you can carry around in your purse for spontaneous knitting opportunities, Bento is never mind-numbing. In fact, I am doing my own test knitting on this one (though slowly). After all, this skein called out to me, Siren-like. And, after a couple of months, I still find the shifting colors, like sunlight through stained glass, infinitely pleasing.

I am also enjoying this stitch pattern, which marries a few rows of stockinette and a rhythmic scattering of purl rows. The texture and tones of the yarn are front and center, while the occasional yarn-over row satisfies my desire for something a bit more complex than garter stitch.

Bento is a pattern for those single, wonderful skeins you come across now and then. A simple design, but effective, I think. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Flitt Mitts: Feels like spring!

Flitt Mitts by Kristi Johnson

I mentioned these mitts in yesterday's post, but just had to show you how CUTE they are. Love 'em, especially those sweet little bees buzzing around the easy-to-embroider spring flowers.

Designed by Kristi Johnson, the gloves use two colors (Concord Grape and Juniper Berry) of Honey Worsted (100% superwash Merino) from Shalimar Yarns.

A bit of simple embellishment takes these mitts from nice to super-special. In fact, this pattern just might be THE answer to those last few chilly weeks of winter. And you'll love this part: The "Flitt Mitts" pattern is free! Just hop (or buzz?) on over to to download it.

While you're there, check out Shalimar's gorgeous colors and browse the company's patterns. Who knows? You just might find yourself humming Spring is Busting Out All Over as you queue up a new project (or two, or three...).


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thank you! (and sneak peeks)

The "Mom Socks"

Early last autumn, I began to lose my "knitting mojo" as some have called it. Truthfully, that phrase kind of annoys me. It does, however, describe with more than a little accuracy how I felt. Designing began to feel like a chore, and maintaining my blog was even more difficult.

As the year drew to an end, I realized that I'd hardly been knitting or crocheting or spinning... Sure, we've been going through some tough times around my house, but enough to totally shut down? Well, maybe.

Brandywine Shawl (yarn: Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock in Blue Raspberry)

But then something wonderful happened... My friend Kristi -- purveyor of Shalimar Yarns and designer of one of the cutest pair of mitts ever (Flitt Mitts) -- invited me to give some drop spindle demonstrations at the Indie Artist Celebration hosted by Eleganza Yarns. Surrounded by lovely, friendly fiber arts people -- knitters and crocheters alike -- I suddenly felt all warm and fuzzy, like I'd come home again.

I'll write more about the actual event in coming days. For now, I just want to take a moment to thank those of you who stopped by the table I was babysitting to say hello, those of you who told me you enjoy my designs, and those of you who read -- and comment on -- my blog.

Bento (A new pattern, available soon!)

Thank you, thank you. Your support and encouragement reminded me that I'm more than just a daughter, sister, friend, or wife. I am (among other things) a fiber artist -- knitter, crocheter, spinner, designer. And I count myself lucky to be part of this generous and talented community.


Friday, February 19, 2010

A Winter's Tale

It's been a cold winter. Both inside and out. We have been wrapped in the alluring yet ominous blanket of hard, glistening ice and snow for too long. I feel shattered, and hope the sadness my husband and I feel -- each in our own way, for our own reasons -- will ease as spring melts the snow and ice.

Maybe it's best, given my degree in English literature and poetry, to let an expert express what I cannot...

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...
-- William Wordsworth

In the coming weeks and months, I have some traveling to do. But I haven't forgotten that people actually read my blog now and then, and I am ever so grateful for that. So I will check in when I can, and hope to be able to write more once I'm settled again.

Until then, I hope you find peace and joy in creating things with your hands, and that the warm weather comes soon, blossoms and all.