Indie Knit and Spin 2014

I have been remiss in not mentioning this upcoming Pittsburgh event, because suddenly it is less than a month away!

Indie Knit & Spin
a Pittsburgh Yarn and Fiber Artists’ Festival
Saturday, November 15th from 11am-4pm
Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square
7604 Charleston Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15218

The website is here – and is the place where you can find the full list of participating vendors as well as the list of classes. That’s right, classes! A new edition this year, and one that I am excited about since I am a teacher.

I will be teaching my Introduction to Stranded Knitting class in the third session from 2-4pm. So there is plenty of time for you to shop before you join me for class. There are only 8 spaces and the class fee is $4. If you always meant to take Photo Aug 10, 3 48 53 PMthis class from me at Natural Stitches and never got around to it, this is your chance. I can’t say for sure whether I will ever have the opportunity to teach it again.

Scroll down the class list page to read more information about what you’ll learn in the class. And if you sign up, PLEASE DO THE HOMEWORK. It is not a lot of homework, but it will be hard to get through everything in the 2 hours that we have if you don’t do it.

I will also be hanging out at in the vendor area before my class, and you will be able to see samples of my designs at several booths. I hope to see you there!

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Mill Run Mitts

My September pattern release was planned, and yet still managed to be a last minute scramble. I had been working along on the pattern through the month, and expected to release it before October began. But then, I heard from Amy at Ross Farm that not only had they gotten into Rhinebeck (yay!), but that they were also headed to a festival the weekend of September 27th-28th. At the same time, I realized that I would be home with the kids on September 25th. Meaning that this was the ideal day to publish the pattern on several accounts, and I needed to get my act in gear to meet a specific deadline instead of a nebulous one.

I went to sleep on September 24th with a completed pattern and edited photos. I woke up the next morning, only slightly before the kids, and starting the pattern publishing process. Even with everything “set-up” on ravelry, it still tends to take me a couple of hours to do the work. I tend not to post my personal projects until the pattern is set-up, I change my ravatar to show off the new pattern, and I write customized announcement posts for every ravelry group on which I share the news. Not to mention posting some tweets and obsessing over whether I picked the right cover photo. None of these things are hard, they just take a couple of hours when you put them all together.

So by the time I was done with the barebones marketing, my kids had watched over an hour of TV and I was still in my pajamas. I don’t really feel much in the way of mom guilt…but it definitely seemed like it was time to put down the laptop – as much for me as for them, since I didn’t want to spend my whole day off staring at a screen.

<Insert excuses here about why it has taken me nearly a month to blog about this pattern. I don’t want to write them and you don’t want to read them.>

Here are my Mill Run Mitts!


I began designing them in early March. I had a swatch done before my annual weekend away with some very good friends, and during the quiet hours of Saturday afternoon I figured out the math for the first mitt. It was not the only thing I worked on all weekend, but by the time I got home on Sunday the first one was done. (Mill Run is the name of the cabin where we were staying. :-)


Finishing the pattern took a while because I really wanted to offer the mitts in a range of sizes, and grading a mitt pattern is more complex than grading a hat pattern. It also got picked up and put down a few times between March and November…see previous posts about changing jobs and busy summer…not really compatible with new math challenges!

This project all began when I saw the laceweight that Ross Farm had in their booth. I could not resist it…but I wasn’t really excited about designing a laceweight shawl at that moment. The chocolate and cream of the Leicester Longwool just called to me to be used together. The resulting fabric is even nicer that I expected, and is surprisingly soft given how rustic it looks. But if you are not one to wear rustic wool on your wrists, I’m hard pressed to imagine any laceweight yarn that wouldn’t work well with this pattern. The alpaca version is super soft and warm, without being heavy. The color changes and textured stitches keep the project interesting, but the stitch pattern is not complex.Mill_Run_Mitts_Angled_Close_2_medium2

I wore the alpaca mitts while we were fall camping a couple of weeks ago, and the warmth they gave off was amazing. I didn’t realize how warm they were keeping me against the chill of the breeze until I took them off to assemble dinner. Within minutes, the cool air was traveling up my coat sleeves and giving me a chill.

Novice crocheters should note that it can be tricky to see where to put your hook in stitches made with laceweight yarns. Also, if you choose darker shades of yarn, be sure to work in good lighting conditions.

Required Skills: The cuff is worked flat and crocheted together to form a loop. The rest of the mitt is worked in the round from the wrist up. The stitch pattern uses typical crochet stitches, as well as spike stitches, and crochet through the back loop & rear loop. The pattern includes descriptions of all stitches and a photo tutorial for locating the rear loop. Directions are written, not charted.

Gauge, after blocking:
28 sts & 20 rows = 4″ (10cm) in half double crochet ribbing
28 sts & 19 rows = 4″ (10 cm) in half double crochet
6-row pattern repeat = 1 1/8″ longMill_Run_Mitts_Close_on_Hand_medium2

Hooks: U.S. Size B (2.25 mm) or size needed to produce noted gauge

Finished Measurements – Hand Circumference:
S (6 1/4″ – 16 cm) [M (7 3/8" - 18.75 cm), L (8 1/2" - 21.5 cm),   XL (9 3/4" - 24.75 cm)]

Natural Brown & Cream Sample – Ross Farm Heritage & Rare Breed Fibers Laceweight yarn, 100% Leicester Longwool, 250 yds/skein, 1 skein each
Medium sample used approximately 150 yds of brown and 100 yds of cream.

Green & Purple Sample – Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace, 100% Baby Alpaca, 437 yds/50g, 1 skein each, Color A: “Lake Chelan Heather”, Color B: “Thistle”
Medium sample used approximately 130 yds of Color A and 75 yds of Color B.

Good Substitutions:  Any laceweight yarnMill_Run_Mitts_Colored_Flat_medium2

Additional Supplies: Tapestry Needle, Scissors, Locking Stitch Marker (optional to note beginning of round)

Tech Editing by cmuralidhara.

Due to the nature of electronic pattern sales, once you have downloaded a pdf file of the pattern, there will be no refunds issued.


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In the Works: Yarn bombing

I feel like I have a lot to share and no time to write. Not unusual for fall, really. Sometimes September through December feel like the shortest months of the year.

At the very least, I will share what has been occupying all of my free time this week (as well as time that should be spent washing dishes and folding laundry…).

The art teacher and some parents at the elementary school my kids attend are planning a yarn bomb as a part of the school’s 3rd annual Art Night. I am not actively involved in the PTA, but since this activity is right up my alley, I could not resist.

The current assembly includes my swatches, a couple from my LYS and more from friends. This panel needs one more row of swatches and an inch or two added to the edges. Crocheting them together is pretty fast, and I’m doing some infill work as well to get to the right size.

It’s a nice little diversion, and I’m excited to contribute at the school, but I haven’t found a new pastime in yarn bombing. :-)

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In the Works: Crackerjack

The final Cincinnati Reds game of the season is underway. I’m caught up on the knitting of my Crackerjack and I have even woven in the ends at the beginning.
 My goal is to knit the last stripe, weave in the ends, and graft the ends together tonight. And then putting it in a blocking bath before I go to bed.
 I have enjoyed the knit and I’m ready to have the finished object!

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In the Works: Crackerjack

After being over a month behind, I decided to catch up on a Crackerjack this weekend. I’m going to want this project when the season is over, and if I got any further behind I was worried that I would never finish it.
 Despite the bands of losing stripes, I really like it!

 I’m sure it will look even better when it is blocked. :-)

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In the Works: Shawl, Socks and a Blanket

The distraction that I posted about two weeks ago  was finished and blocked on Thursday night. I finished weaving in the ends last night and photographed it on my daughter this morning. I wrote most of the pattern (except for the charts) on Sunday. So once I figure out the best way to assemble a self-addressed stamped envelope to have the sample returned to me, I’m going to be sending it in for a submission call. But this particular call allows simultaneous self-publishing. And as I mentioned, I have an idea to make a larger version with two skeins of yarn. So you won’t have to wait months and months to see whether this comes out in a book. But I’m going to keep some of it under wraps until I have the larger version worked out.

I had hoped to submit a second project to the book call as well, but time has run out.

The socks I started in July  have made some progress. I was feeling concerned that the one for me was a bit snug and I was sad to see that the first one for my daughter was very snug…and they went back in the WIP basket. This weekend I washed and blocked the first sock for me. Despite the popularity of Lorna’s Laces Shephard Sock, it is not one that I have used before, so I didn’t know how it would to blocking. Thankfully, there was enough bloom that the size turns out to be fine. After putting my sock in for a bath, I ripped back the sock for my daughter. No matter how fast sock knitting for a 7 year-old foot is, I don’t really want her to grow out of it mere months after it is done. So I added a couple of increases for a larger foot, and I made it a little longer, too. She tried the sock on after dinner last night – success! And I bound off her first sock before bed last night.

Hopefully I can keep the momentum going and cast on the second sock for me very soon.

And lastly, a few photos of a finished object. I wrote about this blanket when I decided to change how I crocheted the squares together, but I never shared the finished object!


This is a second sample of my first published design, a present for friends who adopted a little boy last year. I finished it back in June and delivered the gift a couple of weeks later. The original was designed quickly as a class sample with the yarn I had on hand. I love the color combination of this version a lot more!

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Skirts Complete

Both new skirts have been worn already, though I only remembered to take a picture of one of them.
 Happy girl in the rain.

 I may have started two new sewing projects right after finishing the skirts…

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