Monthly Archives: March 2015

New Use for an Old Stitch – a free pattern

crochet soap saver- a free pattern

A few weeks ago I found a little blurb in  The Encyclopedia of Needlework  by Ms. Thérèse de Dillmont, published in 1884, about the “knotted stitch”. It’s a variation of the half double crochet (that’s half treble for my Uk’ers). It seems it was never much in use, not even in Ms. Dillmont’s day. Its sat around in the shadows, occasionally being rediscovered by a plucky and independent sort of hookers over the years.

Now I’ve re-discovered it too! And I like it. And I made up a pattern that I think is just perfect for this little nubbly stitch.

Continue reading New Use for an Old Stitch – a free pattern

Blocking Lace And Very Bad Cats

When I planned this post it was going to be a blocking lace tutorial, very how-to, very factual, and hopefully very helpful. I get asked blocking questions all the time. So I know I need to write a post like that.

This is not that post.

When I looked through the pictures I had taken, I realized I have a documentary on how I manage to get lace blocked while living with two Very Bad Cats… and some blocking tips to toss in.

That’s ok. I’ve noticed that ya’ll like Very Bad Cats. That post on why I needed a crochet seat cover earned me more comments than any other post I’ve made (WordPress helpfully told me this) and all of those comments were about how I’m using canned mackerel to cure hairballs. “All that work”, I tell people, “all that knitting and crocheting, and spinning, and they like the cats best.” Well, there are plenty of Very Bad Cats in this post. Enjoy!

Continue reading Blocking Lace And Very Bad Cats

Sunday Stitch – Making Irish Clones Knots

Irish Clones Knot – A Vintage Crochet Stitch

If you’ve been browsing vintage crochet pattern books (like me) and wasting hours looking at old patterns (like me) and not making much progress on your WIPs (like me) then you might have come across the Clones Knot stitch. Clones Knots are found in those elaborate Irish Crochet designs. They aren’t hard, once you get the hang of them. In fact, of all the crazy-beautiful stuff those Irish hookers were making at the turn of the century, clones knot might be the easiest.

Continue reading Sunday Stitch – Making Irish Clones Knots

Knitter’s Pride: Winner + Vintage Pattern Inspiration

Knitter’s Pride, one of our lovely sponsors for the Revive-A-Vintage Contest gave us a boost yesterday and blogged about what we’re up to!

Knitter’s Pride: Winner + Vintage Pattern Inspiration.

We’re excited to sponsor a new contest which is happening now through April 15, 2015: the Revive a Vintage contest hosted on the Roving Crafters website. This challenge is open to knitters, crocheters, tatters, and other crafters across the globe with the ultimate goal of keeping the traditions of crafting alive. Source patterns or images should be from 40 years ago or earlier to qualify for this contest; you can read the full list of requirementshere.

The Weekly Winner in our Revive-A-Vintage Challenge Is…

Morning! It’s Friday and that means its time to head on over to ravelry, check out the progress on all of our Revive-A-Vintage projects, and let Mr. Random Number Generator tell me who is getting a gift bag from Milk + Honey.

lotion bar gift bag from Milk+Honey



Continue reading The Weekly Winner in our Revive-A-Vintage Challenge Is…

Jenn’s Recs – Sherwin-Williams Chip It!™

Need help picking out colors?

pink rose run through the Chip It! app

The very best app for knitter’s and crocheters (and weavers and hand dyeres, and all other crafting types that would hang out here) is the Sherwin-Williams Chip It!™. Its free, its easy to use, and just because its marketed for interior decorating doesn’t mean we can’t snag it for our yarn-y purposes.

Continue reading Jenn’s Recs – Sherwin-Williams Chip It!™

Another Vintage Challenge – to myself

I can’t be in the Revive-A-Vintage Challenge because I’m one of the judges. I’ve griped about that before. Not because it seems unfair but because I’d love to get my hands on that double pointed needle set from Knitter’s Pride. Sadly I have had to accept that someone else will be getting my needle set.

flax fiber to spin

But I can still challenge myself and play along. I’ve decided to try and spin a vintage yarn. You see I’ve had this bag of flax for quite a while and I think its time to see how badly I can mess it up.

Continue reading Another Vintage Challenge – to myself

Handspinning a Fractal Yarn – How to do It

My Karaoke Rainbow is spun! I decided at the midway point not to make the standard two ply marbled yarn but to fractal spin it. Fractal spinning is how I turned this hot mess of color into this (WIP) scarf.

Karaoke Rainbow Roving from Louet

knit scarf from a fractal spun yarn

It doesn’t require any special spinning skills at all. In fact, its all in how you prep the fiber.

(For all my non-spinners out there, I hope to inspire much envy in you with this post. So much that you just say “Ah screw it” and go get a drop spindle and some roving!)

Continue reading Handspinning a Fractal Yarn – How to do It

Spring in Texas Means Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets are a BFD in Texas. I’ve lived in other places and I know that all the states have state flowers and flower enthusiasts. I’m here to tell you that its not the same as the swell of pride the average Texan feels when these little blue flowers start springing up. We are kind of stupid about them.

Bluebonnet flower

I have two stories to tell about the history of bluebonnets in Texas. I have not checked on their historical accuracy and I never will. I like these stories and I’m gonna tell them whether they are true or not.

Continue reading Spring in Texas Means Bluebonnets

Sunday Stitch – 4 Ways to Make a Yarn Over in Knitting

If you’re a continental style knitter, the title on this post probably has your scratching your head. That’s cuz it’s not for you, lol. This is for those who knit English style.  If your holding the working yarn in your right hand and “throwing” it for each stitch, then not all yarn overs are the same.

Nupp Berries and Lace Leaves – a motif with all four types

 4 Ways to Make A Yarn Over in English Style Knitting

First a bit of rambling explanation. I learned to knit English style and then taught myself continental. If you are like me, started out English and are wondering if its worth it to learn a whole new way to knit, the answer is oh very much yes. Its worth feeling klutzy and living through the “drop your needles every 30 seconds” phase again. Continental is faster. Once you get good at it, stranded colorwork will be a breeze because you can hold a color in each hand. In continental all the yarn overs are the same no matter what. And continental knitting is faster. I know I already said that but its worth repeating. There are fast English style knitters out there, but for most of us, going continental will speed up the knitting.

But I was English-only when I started. I was English when I tried my first piece of lace. I was completely unprepared for the fact that yarn overs are different if they happened before a purl or after a purl. Previous to that I had assumed yarn overs were yarn overs. The realization that this was

untrue and….

no one had ever mentioned it and….

it was not explained in my pattern and ….

it was not explained in any of the books I owned*

left me feeling betrayed. The world of knitting had been keeping secrets from me and I didn’t like it. AT ALL. I might have cussed. I might have stomped around like a gorilla. I might have pointed out this injustice to every single knitter I knew.

So now its a thing for me. All these years later I’m still very aware of how yarn overs are made. I make a point of discussing the 4 different types of yarn overs in my knitting classes. I guess I just don’t want anyone else to get stuck in their first lace pattern the way I did. And yes, I’m still holding a bit of a grudge.

So here they are, all the four situations that will dictate how to make the yarn over:

  • knit, yarn over, knit
  • purl, yarn over, purl
  • knit, yarn over, purl
  • purl, yarn over, knit

If you want to make a practice sampler like the one I’m working with in the video, here is how

Cast On 28 stitches

knit 2 rows

Row 1 (the one shown in the video): k2, [k, YO, k2] twice, [p, YO, p2] twice, [k, YO, p2] twice, [p YO, k2] twice, k2   —- will have 36 stitches

Row 2: k2, [p2tog, p, k] twice, [k2tog, k, p] twice, [k2tog, k2] twice, [p2tog, p2] twice, k2  —- will have 28 stitches

Repeat rows 1 & 2.

*It wasn’t in any book I owned at the time. I later found this topic covered in detail in The Principles of Knitting, a must-have-book for a geek knitter such as myself. Its the most comprehensive knitting resource I’ve found. June Hiatt (the author) knows absolutely everything about knitting.