Tag Archives: knitting

Gift Along FO

Like many other designers I use the gift along as a great excuse to kick back and knit other people’s stuff for awhile. The first project off my needles this season is for Windsor. The silly girl LOVES mittens this year. Which means she’s wearing them everywhere, and then taking them off and leaving them everywhere. The solution to the lost-mitten-crisis of 2015 is clearly a set of them with icord ties:


These adorable little things are from CJ’s Garter Cuff Mittens by Denise Balvanz, except with icord. I knit them traveling home from a conference last week. I’d thrown the yarn and needles into my bag figuring I’d find a pattern later. I was able to search Ravelry and download the pattern to my phone while sitting at a short layover. Have I mentioned I love living in the future sometimes?


I followed the pattern exactly as written, except for how I didn’t (you know me) instead of a standard cast on I knit some icord first, and then picked up stitches from there to make the cuff. My only other change was that the mittens are about 4 stitches smaller than the smallest size, because Windsor’s hands are so wee.

She loves these mittens. And I’m either pinning them to her coat cuffs, or sewing them on. Whatever it takes…

Interview: Triona Murphy

Every year around the Indie Gift-Along I like to do some GAL inspired features. I’ll talk about some GAL patterns I love and GAL designers who inspire me. Today I’ve got an interview with Triona!

Triona photo

Welcome! I’m excited to be interviewing you for the indie gift-along! First can you tell my readers a little about yourself:

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I’m always on the lookout for things to inspire my designs! I’m an incorrigible Kinnearer (see the Yarn Harlot’s extremely informative post for an explanation of the term). Sometimes I think I wouldn’t design anything without my trusty iPhone. I take pictures of interesting clothing and accessories, architectural features, nature, fences, rugs, and lots more.

How did you first get started designing?

I bought a sweater in Paris because it was freezing there in December. While I wore it a lot after I got home, there were all these things I didn’t like about it. It was boxy with no waist shaping, had an unflattering neckline, and the cables were all out of proportion. So I decided to design my own roughly-inspired version. When I posted it to my Ravelry project page, I was really surprised when a whole bunch of people said they would purchase a pattern for that sweater. I had just left my job and had some time on my hands, so I studied every pattern I could get my hands on and then gave it a shot. That sweater (Chandail) is still my most popular pattern to date!


What’s your favorite thing to knit? (either for designs, or on your own)

I love knitting hats, especially in worsted weight. They’re the perfect vehicle for messing around with new stitch patterns, and they’re always done before I have time to get tired of the pattern.

What do you do in your down time?

I’ve been working on writing sci-fi novels for children and young adults for a number of years now. I’m hoping to get published someday!


Now about this GAL thing:

How many years have you been in the GAL? When/how did you first hear about it?

This is my third year participating in the Gift-A-Long. I loved the concept right from the beginning. Now it’s when I give myself permission to knit patterns from other designers, so it’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite times of the year.

Pick one of your own designs that you think makes the perfect gift and tell us why you think that.

I just released a new hat pattern last week, Land Under Wave, that I think is perfect for gifts. Since it’s knit in worsted-weight yarn, it can be worked up in just a few evenings.



Name one thing you hope to finish during the gift-along. Or, if you’re not knitting gifts this year, what’s one other designer’s pattern you WISH you were knitting?

I’m going to knit myself a pair of cute cabled fingerless mitts for sure. If I have time, I’m hoping to find a small steeking project—I’ve never tried steeking before, and this seems like a good opportunity!

Gift along 2015

I’ll be participating in the Indie Designer’s Gift Along again this year, and it starts this evening!

If you haven’t heard about this before it’s a group of indie designers (over 300 this year!) who band together to offer you a brilliant pattern sale right before the holidays. All participating patterns will be 25% off from tonight at 8pm until November 27th at midnight (Eastern time).

Along with the two week sale, and continuing until the end of December, we have a group knit along, fabulous prizes, and support for everyone during the holiday knitting rush.

My Bundle of sale patterns is on ravelry and I hope you’ll check it out. I included eight patterns and tried for a broad sampling from the very new:

kinsman closeup

To the very old:
La Moelle
lamoelle vertical

The popular:
Clarina Irene
soft focus

And the hidden gem:
November Guest
November Guest draped

December KAL

The November KALs are going nicely, lots of folks from the Peace Fleece group are knitting Cervus, but Oleracea has a knitter too. If you still want to join, two weeks is plenty of time to knit a hat. And we have prizes! You could win yarn, or caramel!

It’s also time to start thinking about December’s knit-along. The chapter this month allows for some indulgence. If it isn’t enjoyable then it is hard to maintain knitting and eating locally! In the spirit of the holidays we have a little gift bag which is itself a gift, Cannella:

These bags are knit with Vermont dyer Ball and Skein’s shiny silk yarn and adorned with beads in festive patterns.

If you prefer something to keep yourself or a loved one warm consider the cozy and dressy capelet, Lavandula:

It’s a simple crescent shawl with feminine ruffles at the bottom, supportive icord along the top edge, and a romantic hood. The sample is knit from Sunday Knits angora blend yarn.

I hope you’ll stop by the December KAL thread and let me know what you’re thinking about knitting for next month!

Little things

I’ve been knitting some more quick, simple pieces while my life is full of craziness. I finished up a pair of slippers for Windsor:

No pattern and they’re not perfect, so even though I kept notes I won’t be publishing one. The ankles are too big around. But I wove an elastic through them and now she can get them on and off by herself. So we’re calling that an intentional part of the project.

Then I knit her some fingerless mitts. I always thought these were silly for toddlers. But she steals mine, and wears her full mittens around in the house. So then I changed my mind:

And she loved them so much she didn’t take them off for 36 hours straight. Then she did take them off, somewhere at daycare. And now we only have one left. This is the thing about knitting for toddlers…

I’m traveling next week, so I’ve got a couple of bigger projects on deck. One new design and one old sweater that I keep wishing I could wear right now. Also coming on the plane ride will be Yet. Another. Pair. of toddler mittens. And maybe something for Neil, if I have the time.

How much knitting do you think I can do in a week if I sleep the same amount I have been, and don’t have a toddler to take care of for 5 days straight?


I’ve got a quick new pattern to tell you about today! Meet Kinsman. (please queue and favorite on Ravelry!)

Kinsman hero

These boot toppers are kinda addictive. You know that feeling when you’re cold and you simply MUST knit something warm? We all know it’s illogical. Putting on an existing sweater would be a faster way to warm up.

kinsman closeup

Well these little boot toppers are so quick you really can cast on, and have something warm to wear almost instantly. Knit out of Fleece Artist BFL Aran on size 8 needles this project goes quickly. And at 110 or 180 yards you probably have some extra aran weight yarn kicking around in your stash that could be kicking around on your boots keeping you warm instead.

kinsman kneeling

I hope you’ll give them a try! They’re stylish AND cozy. There’s lace work on every round to give the edging that scalloped look. But it is only 2-4 rounds at a time so it’s never really tricky to keep track of what you’re doing.

kinsman dance

Cast Iron, Cast On – available!

I’m psyched to announce that my book: Cast Iron, Cast On: cooking and knitting through the seasons is available on Amazon now! If you just want the ebook I recommend Ravelry – and it’s available there too!


Makers are just that: inspired to make things, whatever they may be! Calley Hastings (co-owner of Fat Toad Farm, a goat dairy specializing in goat milk caramel) and Becky Herrick (knitwear designer) both live in Vermont, where they create fantastic handmade items from the local bounty. Be it local wool or local milk, stylish wearables or delicious edibles, this talented duo will show you how to cook and create through all the seasons of the year.

Both authors find equal satisfaction in baking or knitting a housewarming gift. When a loved one needs comfort they might knit a hat, or show up with a loaf of homemade bread. Let Becky and Calley guide you through a year of their patterns and recipes.

The book includes 16 patterns and more than 20 recipes all organized around our seasonal theme and all featuring some of our favorite yarns and ingredients. I hope you’ll check it out, ask your LYS to carry it, and your local library to pick up a copy!

If you’re on Ravelry please pop over to my November Knit Along, or the mirror one in the Peace Fleece group! Our November prizes have been announced and (I may be biased) but I think they’re pretty awesome! There’s yarn, more yarn, Fat Toad Farm caramel sauce, and some of my indie patterns too!

Playing catch up

What have I been up to? Well let’s review:

There’s been a whole lot of this

And a long weekend of this

And occasionally some of this

It’s been a busy summer! Neil is on a new work schedule which means I have more evenings alone. I thought this would mean more design time. But it also means more of doing everything on my own. Sadly my Meristem vest is still here

But I am down to the hems, so maybe by next week I’ll have something new to show off!

When I have time

When I have time to knit, these days, little things are often best. Finishing something up quickly feels like progress even when it really was just a couple of rows per evening.

The toddler socks were finished at knitting camp this summer.


I ended up using leftovers from three different skeins of yarn. Once again I’m left thinking there’s no good way to keep socks on this child’s feet. These are not too tight in the leg, the instep (which I knit higher than usual) or the foot. Yet somehow they slip down any time she’s wearing them. She has very chunky feet, I might just have to wait a few years…

As if those weren’t speedy enough, I knit a coffee cup cozy next.


And I’m wondering what would happen if EVERYONE got one for Christmas this year. So quick, and so satisfying.

Meet Meristem

My latest pattern was published yesterday in the 7th anniversary edition of Twist Collective. Meristem is a tunic length vest designed with casual elegance in mind. It is a simple, cozy garment perfect for the transition to autumnal weather. The front yoke features a slipped branching cable pattern. You can favorite and queue Meristem on Ravelry. You can also see more pattern details, over at Twist Collective.

(thanks to Crissy Jarvis for the lovely photos!)

The yoke of the vest is knit sideways, with stitches picked up along the bottom edges and knit down for the body. The cables look simple enough, but I went through more than a few swatches to get them figured out! The cable over garter stitch looked so good in my submission swatch, I was sure that with the stitch definition of Valley DK it’d be a breeze. But once I had the yarn in hand I couldn’t get the cables to stand out the way I expected in my first swatch. So I tried twisted stitches (looked lumpy). I slipped the cables on the WS rows (too elongated). I was preparing myself for an awkward email to the editor saying the chosen yarn wouldn’t work – then I tried one more thing. I blocked my swatches.

And you know what? That made the initial swatch (from my very first try) look gorgeous. Lesson relearned yet again. Always block your swatch.

Like many (most) knitters out there I remember when the first issue of Twist was unveiled. I remember because there was nothing else like it at the time. And it was gorgeous. I’ve been lucky to work with Twist on several other occasions (Verbena, Trefoil, and Cambridge Cables) and every time I have loved the experience.

The Twist Collective team includes wonderful photographers, brilliant technical editors, and people behind the scenes making all those pretty PDFs and magazine pages. I hope you’ll take a moment to click through a few ads and support the people who support Twist. And of course please buy a pattern or two ;-)