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Aran Gets A Touch of Cashmere

August 31

If you follow my blog, you know I recently released the Aran Reversible Scarf as an individual pattern. I am delighted to announce that it is now available on Knit Picks, using their fabulous Capretta yarn. As you can see in these photos, Capretta has great stitch definition. What you can’t see is that its combination of merino wool, cashmere, and a touch of nylon makes it exceedingly soft.

Aran Reversible Scarf Knit Picks

Using a ribbed cable technique, this scarf is surprisingly easy to work. The stitch pattern is easy to memorize. With cables forming on both sides simultaneously, it seems like a really cool magic trick!


I hope you’ll give this pattern a try. It’s a lot of fun to make!

Aran Reversible Scarf detail

Photography by Gale Zucker

posted under Patterns, Scarf, Yarn | No Comments »

Aran Meets Lorna

August 15

Aran Reversible Scarf

Over time I’ve been releasing individual patterns from my book Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues. I’ve re-written the “Aran” design to use Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. I chose the yarn because it has just the right combination of great stitch definition, good drape, and a huge selection of beautiful solid colors.

This pattern looks complex, but in reality is very easy. The six-row pattern repeat is simple to memorize and fun to work. Using a ribbed reverse cable technique, cables are formed on both sides of the scarf simultaneously as you go along.

Aran Reversible Scarf detail

The pattern is now available for download on Ravelry.

Photography by Gale Zucker

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Rios Linen – Carrying the Yarn

June 7

Even after making it a bunch of times, I’m still obsessed with the linen stitch scarf pattern I included in my book Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues. I turn to it over and over when I travel because it’s a super-portable project and is easily memorized.


I love using it to experiment with my favorite variegated yarns. On airplanes, I am happy to knit the simple pattern, admire new colors as the appear on my needles, and listen to my favorite podcasts. For this scarf, I used Malabrigo Rios in the “Diana” colorway.


Both the front and back textures are lovely, and really show off the beautiful colors.


Some hand-dyed yarns are wildly different in color from one skein to the other, even when dyed at the same time. Take these two balls of Rios in the Diana colorway, for instance:


If I were to work the scarf until one skein ran out and then start the second skein, my scarf would end up with two distinctly different colors. For the scarf above I carried two very different skeins of “Diana” up the length of the scarf. I worked one skein for 2 or 4 rows, then alternated the other skein for 2 or 4 rows, resulting in a nice blending of the two.

I think I’ll do the next scarf with 2 skeins of Diana and change skeins every 3 inches or so and see if it makes a striped effect that I like.
Experiment on!

posted under Book, Patterns, Yarn | 2 Comments »

Petroglyph Socks

March 30

Falling in love with a new-to-me yarn is one of my favorite parts of knitting. This happened to me when I tried Dragonfly Fiber’s gorgeous Djinni Sock yarn recently. A blend of merino, cashmere and nylon gives it a wonderful hand, and the just-right ply makes for delightful knitting.

When I was a young, I spent a lot of time in Arizona. I loved nothing more than to ride through the hills, exploring beautiful canyons and desert vistas. It was on one of these rides that I discovered a whole hillside of petroglyphs. Ancient carved rock pictures of snakes and stick figures captured my imagination.

No wonder I felt compelled to make the Petroglyph Socks from Anne Podlesak’s Western-inspired book, Free Spirit Knits.

Petroglyph Socks

I modified the Petroglyph pattern by making a rounded toe. If I had it to do over again, I think I’d choose a yarn that is a true solid so the socks’ stitch pattern would show up better. That said, I know I’ll get a lot of use out of these socks. I like the pattern, and the yarn makes the socks heavenly to wear.

I will be reviewing Free Spirit Knits and offering a brand new copy as a giveaway in the coming weeks.


Dragonfly Fibers offers many weights of yarn, in a staggering array of gorgeous colors.

I encourage readers to purchase books through their local yarn shops. Please ask for Free Spirit Knits there. You can check out the patterns in the book on the book’s Ravelry page.

Anne Podlesak offers many great patterns on Ravelry.

Another Pair of Lockhart

November 4

I wish I were better at photographing red. If I was, you’d be seeing the true gorgeous ruby color of my latest pair of Lockhart fingerless mitts. The design is by the talented Leila Raabe.

This was my first time using Baah Sonoma yarn, and I am smitten. It is soft as can be, but doesn’t lose its oomph during blocking. The lovely ply makes for great stitch definition in the twisted stitches.

fingerless mitts, Baah yarn

I made a few little modifications. I made the short version of the pattern, but wanted a bit more wrist coverage. I added two rows to the beginning and two rows to the end of the cuff chart. I bound of all stitches purlwise, since I like the way it blends into the rows of garter.

I love this pattern. It is well written, and fun to make!


Yarn Discovery Tour and Travelling Stitches

September 6

I adore the North Coast Knitting Guild in Northeast Ohio. It’s a very active group, with all kinds of activities and lots of very talented knitters. The Guild regularly offers fantastic workshops. Today I was lucky enough to take Candace Eisner Strick’s class on travelling stitches. She has a unique way of working some of the stitches so that the left- and right-travelling stitches match each other better than in the traditional method.

Right after class I embarked on my very first Yarn Discovery Tour. I’ve heard about it for years, and am determined to finally participate. Knitting on the Square (affectionately known as KNOTS) in Chardon was my first stop on the Tour. I’ve been looking for a variegated yarn in fall colors, and scored big time with these lovely skeins of Dream in Color Smooshy in the “Flight of the Maple Seed” colorway. Serendipity!

Dream in Color yarn, Smooshy


KNOTS is a warm, inviting store owned by the very talented designer Kate Jackson.  I can’t wait to go back!

Having procured my YDT passport and my first stamp, I have “only” 16 more to go. Good thing we have until September 20th!

Frog Tree Feather and Fan

February 23

 Feather and Fan, reversible scarf, Frog Tree

Here’s a sample I made from Frog Tree’s Pediboo Worsted. I was excited to get to try this yarn, since tone-on-tone colorways are a relatively new addition to the Pediboo line. Frog Tree has created gorgeous colors in both the worsted and sock weight.

This is the reversible “Feather and Fan” pattern from my book Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues.  In the partially worked ball of the yarn, you can see the subtle variations of lighter and darker blue:



I love the “Feather and Fan” pattern – it’s a fun and easy knit. It always makes me nervous at first, though, since it looks like a jumbly mess as it comes off the needles. After wet-blocking – giving it a good stretch – it transforms into a beautiful, feminine creation! You can see the beautiful color variations of the new Frog Tree tone-on-tone line:



This scarf is on display at the Ball & Skein & More in Cambria, California – it was one of the first shops to carry the new tone-on-tone version of Pediboo Worsted. I loved getting a sneak peek of all the gorgeous colors available! The Feather and Fan scarf uses only two skeins.



“Feather and Fan” pattern from  Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues :


Frog Tree Yarns

The Ball & Skein & More – the amazing yarn store in Cambria, California

Frog Tree Cables and Knots

October 25

I love getting a chance to work with new-to-me yarns. I had the pleasure of making two sample scarves from my book Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues. Both used Frog Tree’s Pediboo Worsted, a lovely blend of machine washable worsted and bamboo. Here’s the first of the samples (I’ll blog about the other at a later date):

You can see that the yarn lends nice stitch definition to my “Cables and Knots” pattern…

reversible scarf, Frog Tree, cables


 …I also love the way the little scallops along the scarf’s edges held their shape after blocking.

reversible scarf, Frog Tree, cables

Like many of the patterns in my book, the “Cables and Knots” design looks more complicated than it really is. The knots in the center of the cables are very easy to make (unlike bobbles, which I find to be kind of fussy). The pattern repeat is easy to memorize, too.

This particular sample will be on display at the Ball & Skein & More yarn store in Cambria, California. It took three skeins of yarn.

I like it so much, I may have to make another to keep myself!




Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues “Cables and Knots” pattern:

reversible scarves, cables


Frog Tree Yarns

The Ball & Skein & More carries a wonderful selection of Frog Tree yarns and my book. You can see the Cables and Knots sample, and they always have my book available.






















Mystery KAL Week 1, Clue #1. (Downton Abbey meets NASA)

January 10

One of the best things about participating in the Downton Abbey Mystery KAL is getting to use a new fiber from an old favorite yarn company, Lorna’s Laces. For the KAL, I’m using the suggested yarn, Sportmate. As I read the ball band, I was a little surprised by the contents: “70% superwash Merino and 30% Outlast viscose.” Never having heard of Outlast, I just had to look it up. As it turns out I’m working on a 1900’s inspired pattern using a fiber developed for NASA! Here’s what the Outlast web site has to say about it: “Outlast® technology, originally developed for NASA, utilizes phase change materials (PCM) that absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort.” What would Lady Violet have to say about that? Leave a comment with what you think she’d say about a newfangled fiber!

Sportmate is a very well-behave yarn, easy to knit with and creating nice, even stitches. There is a slight halo to it. Here’s the project KAL project so far, through Clue #1.

 Downton Mystery KAL, Jimmy Beans Wool, Lorna's Laces


December 28

I love patterns that offer interesting construction. With its intriguing cables weaving in and out, Jared Flood’s Fenimore tam fits the bill nicely. I couldn’t wait to use the beautiful Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn calling to me from my stash.  Subtle flecks of color give the yarn depth without distracting from the texture of the cables.


I adore this yarn. It’s well behaved – easy to knit, and nicely spun. The heathered colors are so gorgeous – I can’t wait to make another project in another color!

I finished the tam just in time for the second snowfall of the season!

Jared’s written an amazing account of how he manufactures his yarns in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire. His posts are great, and illustrated with his beautiful photography.

posted under Hats, Projects, Yarn | 2 Comments »

Free Knit Picks Sock Pattern

December 16

Dubbed the Cushy Chroma Socks due to their warmth and thickness, these socks make for perfect winter knitting.  I don’t know about you, but as the hectic holidays wind down, I’m always in the mood for some easy, quick knits. The Cushy Chroma Socks fit the bill. No teeny needles or thin sock yarn here – Knit Pick’s Chroma Worsted works up quickly on US #5 and #6 needles. The end result? Soft, warm socks that are perfect for padding around the house on frigid winter days, wearing to bed  to keep tootsies toasty at night, or even to wear out in your roomier shoes or boots.

The Cushy Chroma Socks pattern is available for free from Knit Picks. Sizes are Women’s small (shoe size US 5-6), medium (7-8), and large (9-10), ranging in circumference from 6.5″ to 8″. Chroma Worsted comes in vibrant colors ranging from blended stripes to bold. I love wearing these cheerful colors when the weather is dreary!

I’ve been privileged to be part of the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program since April 2010. I thank Stacey and the rest of the Knit Picks team for the opportunity to include another pattern!

Yarnmarket Visit

November 16

The field trip to end all field trips…I got to visit Yarnmarket a couple of weeks ago while in Ohio.  

When I drove up, my heart started going pitter-patter just seeing the familiar Yarnmarket logo.  Signs in the window show that the facility houses not only endless yarn and supplies, but also the wonderful, tenacious people who keep Yarndex up to date. (If you’re not familiar with Yarndex, check it out. It’s THE source for finding every kind of yarn imaginable, and is easily search-able by weight, gauge, brand and other terms).

Yarnmarket, yarn store

I love to support my LYS, but they can’t carry every line needed to satisfy my voracious yarn yearnings.  I fire up the computer to  place orders online with Yarnmarket,  sometimes phoning for expert advice to narrow down a selection. When I’ve looked at the huge list  of brands they carry, I’ve always wondered what on earth their company looks like in person.  Now I know: it’s yarn mecca to the nth degree!  A series of  light-industry warehouse units, all connected, housing shelf-after-shelf, bin-after-bin of every conceivable fiber goodie.

To have the opportunity to meet all the nice people I’ve spoken to by phone over the years was a real treat. Deborah Knight (no relation, but I wish we were) gave me a terrific tour of the facility. We started in the showroom, where I learned the stories behind some of Yarnmarket’s special brands. Did you know that Yarnmarket has its own house brand? Named Caledon Hills after the lovely part of Canada where Deborah’s mother lives, the yarn comes in worsted and chunky weights.  I am bowled over by the number of colors available – 72 in each line! My head is spinning with design ideas. To get the full story, you can check out Deborah’s hilarious description of life in this beautiful but technologically challenged part of Canada.

Yarnmarket’s Abbey Collection is inspired by the pastel drawings of an American monk. A dollar from each ball sold is donated to the artist’s abbey. If you want some design inspiration, check out the Abbey Collection site where there are pictures of the pastels. Clicking on the picture will take you to a page showing that particular drawing and the yarns that represent it. I love to see how Iris Schreier has used dye to interpret the pastels.

Deborah offered up many more entertaining stories, and I wish I could have had all my readers along to hear them too! As the day grew later, I had to get down to business selecting yarns for a new – big – project coming up. Jan, a yarn expert extraordinaire, looked over the sketches I brought and helped me to narrow my choices down.

If you visit Yarnmarket, you’ll start off in the showroom, where at least one of each yarn is on display.   With all the yarns the company offers, it might be easy to be overwhelmed, but the room is brilliantly organized. This photo  is of one tiny corner:

Yarnmarket, yarn

Next comes the warehouse tour. This is like walking through some lovely dream involving the ultimate stash combined with the knitter’s library from heaven. It’s another tribute to the powers of organization, as the bins all perfectly labelled and arranged alphabetically – room after room, shelf after shelf. I’ll fess up… the place is so enormous I  got lost trying to find my way back to the showroom the first time. I learned to tell my internal navigation system, “Turn left by the Berroco”.

I want to thank everyone at Yarnmarket for their warmth and hospitality. You’ll be seeing several of their yarns in future AudKnits designs.

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