Usually, "This Month on My Needles" is a retrospective post about what I've been knitting the past month. However, this month I have some exciting news to share about October. Starting now, I on sabbatical for the next four weeks! I am taking this time after working at Lullabot for the last ten years. I am so thankful to have this time to use my brain differently. I currently spend most of my day organizing and planning events in other states and always in front of my computer. I will spend the next four weeks working full-time on Little Grey Heart: blogging, knitting, designing, and selling. I can't wait to have focused time to work on content for my blog, knit merchandise for LGH and myself, and share some of my LGH patterns. I will be selling in Omaha on October 21st at Hutchfest, and in Des Moines on November 25th at Market Day. I am so excited to dedicate a full month to this hobby I love so much. Your support continues to amaze and overwhelm me. I can't wait to share all the exciting things I have planned during the next month.
I have been hard at work over the last year designing and knitting new merchandise for Little Grey Heart. I am proud to share my 2017 fall collection. I appreciate all of your support, and I hope you enjoy the new collection!
I recently knit this adorable striped baby blanket for the sweetest and newest member of our family, Baby Will. Baby blankets take forever to make and can be soul sucking. When I saw Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket by Purl Soho, I was certainly intrigued. Knitting a baby blanket in the round certainly felt dreamy. The terrifying part about making this blanket, of course, is cutting it down the middle. However, it was amazing. I mean it was terrifying cutting it down the middle (but it was also satisfying). Folding and securing the edges was a bit tedious. Nonetheless, when it was all said and done, it was a great project. I will never knit another baby blanket any other way.
The Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket pattern is fantastic. There is a steeking tutorial that uses pictures and videos to explain every step. I took it slow and followed the directions word for word. No deviations. I feel like now that I understand how it works I could make adjustments if I wanted.
I had always been curious as to how steeking worked and I'm glad to have one project under my belt.
July has been a BUSY month working on Little Grey Heart merchandise. My goal is to get everything knit before my shop opens on September 22nd. At this point, I have knit all my zipper pouches and my hats. I am just getting started on mittens. Since mittens are a new product, I have to write the pattern. So, there has been a lot of knitting and tearing out, which drives me crazy, but I want to get them *just* right.
Maggie, my wife, has recently taken up embroidery. She is working on some adorable pieces for Little Grey Heart. I will have those up in the shop in September.
I released a new pattern this month, the Bobble Cowl. I am in love with this cowl and can't wait for the weather to cool down so I can start wearing it.
I can't believe how fast summer is going. I have a lot of knitting to do before my shop opens, but I am so excited to share everything I have been working on this summer.
I am hard at work creating new and exciting products for fall. There will be adult hats, mittens, cowls, zipper pouches, hand embroidered art, ornaments, and garlands. The official opening of my online shop is September 22nd!
Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic is a fantastic and amazingly helpful book; every knitter should own it. It clearly and beautifully explains how to knit over 150 stitches and how to knit them top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round.
The book is bound on the outside, so it sits perfectly on the shelf. However, it's spiral bound on the inside, so the pages keep easily open while using it as a stitch guide when you are knitting. Brilliant!
What I enjoyed most about this book is it gave me the clarity and more importantly the confidence to write my own patterns. I have never written anything complicated, granted, but this book has helped to understand the architecture of knitting which I think is a good foundation for pattern writing.
Bernard has also released a new book, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary. I don't have this one yet, but it's definitely on my list.
I wrote a new pattern, the Bobble Cowl! It's a lightweight and super soft cowl that is so much fun to knit. The bobbles look like polka-dots, and the space between bobble rows increases as you go. It's been a looooooooong time since I've released a new pattern, but I am so excited about this one.
I had this beautiful yarn I purchased at Hill Vintage and Knits before they closed. I tried to order more because I wanted to use it on Purl Soho's Braided Cowl because I didn't have quite enough. It turned out it was hard to find in the US, and the shipping costs were going to be crazy expensive. So, I decided to write a pattern for this yarn. I love the bobble stitch, and this yarn is so lightweight it worked perfectly.
Since this yarn is hard to find, it's important to note that this pattern would work just fine with any lightweight worsted or aran weight yarn. If you're not familiar with the bobble stitch, it's not complicated, but there are plenty of videos and tutorials that can help. I used this one from Purl Soho.
It's hard to imagine wanting a snuggly cowl right now in the summer heat, but I am excited to wear this one, come fall!
This month I have been working hard on getting ready for fall at Little Grey Heart, including some new and exciting merchandise. I just completed knitting new LGH zipper pouches. Hooray! The final step will be to have liners sewn in, and zippers added. I am pleased with how these turned out. There is almost nothing I love more than a good zipper pouch, and it seemed like a great fit for Little Grey Heart. They will be up in the store in early August, but I thought I would share a sneak peek of some of the new merchandise for fall.
I am obsessed with the yarn I use for Little Grey Heart. It is incredibly soft and lush. It is important to me to use yarn that is, of course soft, but also washable, wearable, and available in beautiful colors. It is also important to me to work with a company that is friendly, helpful, and flexible with small orders since I fund Little Grey Heart personally. Simpliworsted by HiKoo fits the bill. It's just beautiful, quality yarn. HiKoo Yarn is 55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, and 17% Nylon, which is what makes it so soft and buttery. I order all my yarn directly from Skacel, and they are a great company. From the first time I contacted them, they have exceeded my expectations time and time again. They are a family owned and operated company in Seattle. They distribute some fantastic yarns and my favorite knitting needles, addi. It's a match made in heaven.
I almost never leave the house without my knitting, be it for vacation or just a trip around town (you never know when you'll get stuck in traffic or a long line). I travel a bit for work and a bit for pleasure, so I feel like I have learned a few things about packing knitting projects for trips.
First off, I want to say that I always and completely overpack for travel. Pretty much you can probably cut whatever I suggest in half.
I am a super duper organized person, and I'm proud of that. Some of this may seem a little crazy, but this is what I do. Can you imagine being stuck in an airport with nothing to knit? My absolute worst nightmare. Like everyone else in the world, travel is super stressful for me. There are so many aspects you can't control or plan for, which causes me a lot of anxiety. I cope with that stress and anxiety by knitting. It's entertaining; I can do it forever, and it passes the time. It's the perfect thing to do while traveling.
I plan out at least three projects for any trip. I am not a multiple project knitter. I'm just not. So, I like to carry one with me and have two in my checked bags. If you do knit multiple things at once, you might want to bring all with you. I always figure, I'll finish one on the trip out, one while on vacation, and one on the way home. Of course, that has never happened. This rule does depend on the type of project. Three is my general rule for average length projects: hats, cowls, mittens... etc. If I'm knitting LGH inventory, I will bring more, because I knit that stuff quickly. If I was making a big wrap, I might just bring the one. No, that's a lie, I would never travel with less than two projects.
I pick my patterns and my yarn a couple of weeks before I leave so I have time get all the supplies I need. I get the yarn wound and pull all supplies I'll need for the project: needles, crochet hooks, cable needles.... etc. I print the patterns (in case I don't have access to the internet or power for my devices). I put one project in my project bag and pack it in my carry-on, and the other two projects in separate plastic bags. That way, I have a complete project in one spot. It keeps things simple and organized, and I don't have to get stressed searching through a bunch of supplies I don't need for what I do need. I love my project bag, but I am coveting a Fringe Supply Co. Field Bag. I just think they are cool and I like all the pockets on the inside. They are expensive though, but someday I'll treat myself, someday.
I have only had a problem with TSA once, and it was in Mexico, so I'm not sure if that's still considered TSA, but whatever the equivalent of Mexico's TSA is. I was stopped at security flying out of Mexico, they took my knitting project into a back room and then brought it back to me. I'm not sure what they did with it, but I was so scared. I knew I could get the project back, but I was nervous about not having anything to knit on the long flight from Cancun to Minneapolis.
Another time, I was sitting next to a woman on a flight, and she was very confrontational about me having knitting needles. She was SURE they were not allowed. She couldn't understand why I could bring knitting needles, but she couldn't bring a Diet Coke. I was friendly at first, but she would not let it go. Finally, I just told her, "I don't make the rules," and put on my headphones.
For the most part, people are always very interested in my knitting, "What are you making?", "My grandmother taught me to knit when I was seven," "how do you do that without looking." It's mostly nice and only sometimes annoying. :-)
Anyway, that's how I plan my knitting projects for a trip. I hope that's helpful!
I made the Puerperium Cardigan for the newest member of our family, sweet baby Will. He was born on March 8ᵀᴴ of this year.
When I started making this pattern, I kept calling it the "pure premium cardigan," which obviously was incorrect. I looked up what puerperium meant because I thought that would help me call it the correct name; "the period of about six weeks after childbirth during which the mother's reproductive organs return to their original nonpregnant condition." So then I loved the name! It's perfect. Side note, I bet a lot of parents know that word, but it was new to me.
I wanted to make Will a simple, classic cardigan. It's so challenging to find simple, classic patterns. With all the beautiful yarns out there, I think simple patterns let the yarn shine, but I digress.
The Puerperium Cardigan, by Kelly van Niekerk, is a very popular pattern on Ravelry. There are two options for the cardigan, short sleeved and long sleeved. I liked the long sleeve and seemed to make more sense to me. It was easy and quick to knit up. I used a Madelinetosh DK from my stash and luckily had precisely enough. The pattern was knit flat, with the exception of the sleeves, from the top down. I was not sure if the button holes would be evenly spaced, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I don't knit a ton of clothing, so I'm always worried about fit, especially since this was a gift, and I didn't have Will's measurements. So, I followed the pattern and hoped for the best.
Feedback from Will's Mom, "Well, he LOVES it, and I think it is so darling, but he is still growing into it. So it would have to fit a pretty big newborn. P.S. I didn't even do the buttons; I just pulled it over his head. I think it will be perfect for chilly Seattle summer nights. Thank you again!!"
Overall, I was very happy with this project. I would make it again as a gift for a baby. I think Kimono style sweaters are adorable.
Welcome back to Little Grey Heart! I spent the last nine months planning a wedding, getting married, enjoying the first months of marriage, and traveling. It has been glorious. I was nervous to take so much time off from LGH, but I am so glad I did. Planning a wedding took way more time and energy than I ever could have anticipated. It was such a special day that meant more to me than anything I have ever done.
After our wedding, we adopted two Boston Terrier rescues. Eleanor who is six and Fern who is almost 9. They are the sweetest, most adorable dogs. They couldn't be more obsessed with each other, and us with them. We feel like we hit the jackpot.
We have also done quite a bit of traveling in the last nine months. I went to Palm Springs for a work trip at the end of January. It's so incredibly lovely there, and I'm always happy to connect with my coworkers. We went to Mexico in February for a family trip. Then we visited D.C., this spring, to celebrate Maggie's birthday and visit her Cousin Steph. We also took a quick trip to the beach from D.C. There is SO much to do, see, and eat in D.C.; three days certainly didn't feel like enough.
This spring my cousins welcomed a new baby boy to the family, Will. My Cousin Kate and Baby Will are flying to Iowa in a couple of weeks for our annual family trip to Lake Okoboji. I can't wait to meet him! He's the most precious little thing. He currently lives in Seattle, but my fingers are crossed we can help him fall in love with Iowa and move back.
Through all of my adventures the last year I have been knitting the whole way. I've been making stuff for friends, family, and myself. So, I have a lot of new and exciting projects to share.
This year I will be focusing on adult goods at Little Grey Heart, and I have some fun new accessories in the works. I am also hoping to be at several makers' fairs, and hope to see you all soon.
Thank you all for your love and support over the last year. It means the world!
Earlier this summer, I made The Romney Kerchief by Jared Flood at Brooklyn Tweed. It is a great pattern and was very enjoyable to knit. The size is really good. Usually, by the end of a project, I am sick of it. However, I wasn't with this one.
I used the recommended yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Sweatshirt, which worked really well. I love the color of this yarn. It's the best grey of all the greys. I used Brooklyn Tweed in another project; I thought it was stiff and itchy. This is a loosely knit pattern, so the stiff yarn worked well. It seemed much softer and the drape much better.
Once I finished, I wasn't sure how I was going to wear it. I didn't think about it before or while I was knitting, but when I finished I thought, "Hmm, this is going to be awkward to wear." However, it's not. Look how cute it looks on my adorable sister! It looks super cute tied, and because the yarn isn't too soft, it stays put. It is lightweight, so it doesn't feel bulky. I will get a lot of use out of it this fall.
I want to make this again. It was fast to knit up and fun so it's a good contender for gifts. I recommend this pattern.
I recently made the Greyhaven Cowl by Robin Ulrich. The elegance and uniformity of this pattern caught my attention, and I adore it. There are three size options. I made the slouchy size. I love the lace repeat, the size, and shape of the cowl. However, I am not very happy with my cowl, because of the yarn I used. It turned out stiff and itchy. I used Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Postcard. I chose this yarn because of the color and texture. However, it's just not soft. I love the yarn, and I love the pattern, but together they just don't work. Bummer.
I want to make this cowl again with a softer and cozier yarn. There is also a matching hat, which I am excited to make, as well.
I am a sucker for a neutral knit cowl with a subtle pattern. As soon as I found the Lowbrow Cowl on Ravelry, I had to knit it right away. It is a well-written pattern, and the repeat was easy to memorize. I love the leaf lace pattern. It's elegant and balanced.
I used yarn from my stash, Cascade 220 Superwash Aran in Silver Grey. I adore Cascade's superwash merinos. They are soft and lush. The only adjustment to the pattern I made was using a size 8 32" circular needle, instead of size 7. I did this because the yarn recommends a size 8 or 9. I like to stay true to what size needle works best for the yarn, so the stitches don't look tight or pulled. The finished cowl has a 48" circumference and is 11" tall. I prefer it wrapped twice, how my cute Mom is wearing it in the photos, to hanging straight down.
There is a Lowbrow Hat that matches this cowl, which I want to knit someday. Since the cowl knit up so fast, I would make it again. It would make a great gift.
This was such a fun hat to knit! Once you get the hang of brioching, it's so fun. I totally get why everyone is brioching everything right now.
The pattern, Vanilla Fog by Andrea Mowry, is great. I love all of her patterns.
For yarn, I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Smokestack for my main color. I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Coal Seam for my first contrasting color and Madelintosh Twist Light in Care for my second contrasting color. I used the recommended yarn and needles for this project.
I knit this hat because I wanted to refresh my brioche skills and I wanted to sort out how to do brioche in the round. A while back, I took a brioche class at Hill Vintage and Knits. I had not made anything since the class, and I needed a refresher. I took Nancy Marchant's class at Craftsy, which the pattern recommended. I didn't do all the lessons, but just where I needed some help. I appreciated how the class was broken up into chapters. I thought it moved a little slow, but maybe that's because I wasn't a beginner. The part I found the most helpful was the beginning/end of each round. It's a little confusing, and if you don't get it right, it gets jumbled up. Once you do get it right, it's a breeze. I did have to start this hat over once because I messed up the beginning/end of the rounds. I also had to rip my needles out when I was just about to the decrease because I had dropped a stitch and couldn't sort it out. I was utterly amazed that I was able to get my needles back in and continue knitting.
The decrease was a little hard, and I'm not totally sure I did it correctly. However, when I was done with the hat, I turned it inside out, and it seriously looks awesome.
It felt like everywhere I looked on the internet everyone was knitting the Fidra hat by Gudrun Johnston. It turns out it was for good reason; it's adorable! So naturally, I wanted a piece of the action.
The pattern suggested Brooklyn Tweed Quarry, which I think is a great yarn. However, I had some Hikoo Simpliworsted in Totally Taupe (obviously, that is the yarn I use for my little grey heart hats). I went down a size with my needles. I cast on with an 8 and then used a 9 for the body. I didn't swatch and my hat turned out a bit tight for my head. I wish had used a 9 and 10. Not only was it small for my head, but it was knit tight. I have a friend with a small head, so I'll just gift it to her. :-)
The pattern was fun! It used knitting through the back loop a lot, which makes a stitch that is twisted and gives a subtle texture to the fabric. The pattern is written clearly and it uses a chart. I did have to keep checking the chart key because my short term memory is awful.
It's a great pattern, and I completely understand why everyone on the internet is knitting it.
A couple of weeks ago, while I was in Mexico on a family vacation, I started PUDDINGyarn's Modern Fair Isle Cowl. A while back, I saw a fellow Instagram knitter, Rainingsheep, post photos of the cowl she made. I thought it was adorable. It was an easy pattern, but a good exercise in color work.
I used Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in Modern Fair Isle (I did NOT realize the color name of the yarn matched the name of the pattern until just now... how crazy is that?!?) and Madelintosh Tosh Vintage in Grenadine.
I followed the pattern, but I do wish I had made it longer. I feel like it could have had a little more bulk. However, I loved the color combination I picked. The brownish purple of the Grenadine pulls the purple in the Modern Fair Isle, and they worked exceptionally well together.
The Modern Fair Isle Cowl was a last minute project for me. I brought five different knitting projects with me to Mexico. I know, I know, but don't you do that, too? I wanted one project to be easy, so I didn't have to think whilst sipping on fruity drinks all day. ;-) I'm so glad I brought this project with me. It was easy and turned out great.
Last week, while I was in Mexico on a family vacation, I knit Purl Soho's Bandana Cowl. I have wanted to knit this for years. I just never got around to it.
This is an excellent, fast and easy pattern. The only slight challenge are short rows. Honestly, once you get the hang of them, they are easy. Purl Soho also has a great tutorial, if you're new to short rows.
I used Cascade Eco Cloud Yarn in Dove Grey. I have used this yarn before, and I love it. It is great yarn and is totally underrated. It is soft. It's affordable, and this project only used on skein. How great is that?
While I was knitting it and even after I finished it, I thought it was so small. However, once I tried it on I was surprised how great it fit. I will make this again. It'd be a great gift. If you're looking for a quick and easy project that isn't boring, this cowl is perfect.