New Pattern: Nahant Stole/Scarf

Who loves handspun? I do! I’m pleased to share this new design via

I give you … Nahant!


I read about fractal spinning and had to try it out. Like magic, colorful high-contrast fiber fluff became self-striping-ish prismatic handspun. I absolutely adored the finished yarn, but it needed to be knit up into something special.

rh01 spring fever fiber

rh02 spring fever fractal spun

Pattern searches left me unsatisfied — the only solution was to design the perfect stole. My requirements: mostly stockinette, with just enough pattern to keep my interest without distracting from the colorful yarn.

nahant full length

Nahant highlights the color changes of my fractal handspun with a subtle leaf pattern that doesn’t fight for attention. Knit on the bias, it resists curling. Use any weight yarn (just choose the appropriate needle), and make it as wide or as narrow as you like. Length is flexible too, so you can make the most of that precious handspun yarn.



Extra thanks to Donna (who helped me get photos at Nahant Beach for submission to Knitty) and Rebecka (who modeled “springier” pictures for me, as per Knitty’s quite reasonable request).



NEW pattern: Galanthus (and a story too!)

I’m in Knitty! I’m in Knitty!

If you follow me on Facebook (or Twitter), or if you’re on my brand-spankin’-new email list … or, if you devoured the Winter 2013 Knitty as soon as it came out … you already know that my lacy top Galanthus is out, and in great company.

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Of course, I have Galanthus queued (along with some delicious Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce that I set aside for it over a year ago … read on for that story). I’ve also queued cabled sweaters Lempster (those sleeves!) and Key and Knot, cowls Princess Franklin (plaid!) and Moebius Braid, as well as  Roses socks, Skullcracker hat (cool construction!), and Sssstarter mittens. I can’t promise you that they’ll all get made, but they made the first cut and are in my queue, at least.

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DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  FREE in the Winter 2013 Knitty

Yarn: Kelpie Fibers Taliesin MCN Sock Yarn (950 – 2400 yards, depending on size)

Galanthus is a dramatic lace top features the traditional snowdrop lace pattern on a full skirt and long belled sleeves. At the high waist and just above the elbow, the transition from lace to stockinette is marked with rows of horizontal chain stitch. The round neck is finished with the same stitch to bring the entire garment together.

The front, back, and set-in sleeves are all worked flat from the bottom up. The neck edge is worked flat after one shoulder is seamed. The side seams in the body and sleeves will stabilize the lacy fabric and help prevent sagging. Any solid or semi-solid colorway will be beautiful in this pattern.

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The Story Behind Galanthus

More often than not, selling a pattern goes something like this… I’m inspired by a call for submissions, so I swatch and put together proposal.  I send it in, cross my fingers, and wait.  Lately I’ve been getting a lot more “yeses” than “nos” (which is awesome).  I get yarn, I make a sample and write up the pattern, I send everything in. Tech editing and photography happens, usually without my involvement. Some time later (usually 3-6 months), the pattern is published.

Sometimes though … there’s a bit more of a saga.  Sometimes I have a pattern that has a hard time finding a home; sometimes publication is delayed (and delayed again). Sometimes I get conned and have to have friendly strangers in another country reclaim my samples. Galanthus has had an unusual path to publication, and there’s no hard feelings … so I thought I’d give you all a little window into how it came to be in the Winter 2013 Knitty.

It began with a call from Knit Picks for their 2013 Late Winter/Spring collection. The call came out in May 2012.  I loved the color palette and came up with a design for their cotton/linen blend.  I swatched with something similar from my designing oddments stash:



Here’s the sketch that I made for that submission — note the short sleeves!

KP sketch

This was Knit Picks’ first collection, and I’m sure they got a TON of submissions.  I wasn’t among the chosen. Alas. I moved Galanthus from the “Submitted” column to the “Homeless” column on my whiteboard, and worked on other things.

In late June I was very excited to see a call for The Sock Report 2.  I had absolutely loved the first Sock Report, and a chance to be part of it … wow!  Great photography, and I loved that they had people test knit before publication. After looking over the call, I decided I could turn Galanthus into a sock-weight yarn garment with a more wintery look, since TSR2 was scheduled for “Holiday 2012.”  I knew I’d have to knit fast, since samples and patterns were due September first!

Here is my sock-weight swatch and revised sketch that I submitted to TSR2:




Note the longer sleeve, higher waist, and more squared-off neckline:

long-sleeved Gal

I was thrilled when they said yes to Galanthus! I actually submitted two proposals (the other I eventually self-published as Flock) — they liked both, but preferred Galanthus, and were only taking one pattern per designer. I received my yarn in mid-August and got right to work. My first stab at the neckline wasn’t quite right (too narrow) — I ripped back and re-did it, and I think you’ll agree the final version is superior.

top with discarded changes   top with kept changes

I mailed the sample on time and sent in my pattern. The test knitter and tech editor were awesome — we worked through some details on the pattern to make sure it would fit as many people as nicely as possible.  Then I waited. And waited.  The publication date was pushed to January, and then February … I will admit, I started to worry.

Then came the news that the publisher (Janel Laidman) had lost her husband.  The Sock Report 2 was cancelled. We designers would get our samples back, and would be released from contract and were free to publish elsewhere.  I was terribly sorry for Janel and her family — what a sad thing.

With this news, Galanthus was back in the “Homeless” column … but worse, in a way.  I’d done all the work, but had no home for the design.  It made me think of Knitty back then, because one of the hard things about getting into Knitty is that you must submit designs with already-completed samples and photography. I just-so-happened to have a good friend who is also a great photographer!  I’d hoped to get photos done in time to submit for the First Fall issue, but I didn’t get my sample back in time.

In the mean time, I’d seen the call from Twist Collective for their Winter 2013 issue.  I thought it was worth a shot — if they liked it, I might even get away with sending in the already-knit sample, although I was (of course) willing to re-knit the garment in yarn of their choosing ;).  Twist said no.

By the time I heard back from Twist, the deadline for Knitty’s Deep Fall issue had slipped by … and, well, I was a little busy with all that Fiber Factor stuff :). When I had to photograph Winter Beach for Challenge #3 of the Fiber Factor, I added Galanthus to the photo shoot.  My model (Ana) absolutely loved Galanthus — she really turned on the charm when she put it on!  Donna Kelliher did justice to both garments (my everlasting thanks to her for her skills and help!).  Photographing knitwear outside on one of the hottest days in July …. well, I wouldn’t recommend it, but we all managed to make it work.

For the next few months I was immersed in Fiber Factor challenges, but I did put together a submission for the Winter issue of Knitty. I honestly wasn’t sure I should … it seemed like a better fit for Spring, frankly, with all that orange color and barefoot-on-the-dock photography.  But, I reasoned, if they wanted to bump it to Spring they were welcome to — and if they said no, I could put together a self-published pattern in time for spring, no problem.

As we now know, Knitty said yes!  I have submitted other designs to Knitty, but this is my first time getting in. I couldn’t be more thrilled :).



FO Friday: Purple Hedgehog Hat

I made a very silly hat! Also, a very warm hat.

Want to make one just like it? I have plenty of yarn leftover — if you promise to make a hedgehog hat, I’ll send you my leftover Mushishi.

Project: Purple Hedgehog Hat

Pattern: Hedgehog

Designer: Mercè Janer

Available: FREE from

Yarn: Plymouth Yarns Mushishi #12

I picked up some Mushishi as a “courtesy purchase” while checking out a LYS.  The long color changes seemed just right for the short-row hedgehog hat.  I love how yarn and hat came together for this project.  I know it’s not to everyone’s taste … but I love a silly hat sometimes!

The hat is worked flat, with each bump worked as a set of short rows.  For the hat you work a row of bumps, work a couple stockinette rows (decreasing the overall number of stitches), and then work a row of bumps back the other way.  I definitely put my new(ish) skill of “knitting both directions without turning” to good use with all those short rows!

In addition to a delightfully silly look, the bumps also trap air — this is a one WARM hat. I look forward to wearing it for more than a few minutes at a go, come this winter.

FO Friday: Rodekool de Kool

I did it! I made a lace brioche scarf!


Project: Rodekool de Kool

Pattern: Rodekool

Designer: Nancy Marchant

Available: FREE! on

Yarn: Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi in #103

I totally enjoyed the challenge of this pattern!  The FO is cozy, pretty, and impressive in a subtle way.  I’ve already posted a rodekool video showing how I managed both the lacy and non-lacy rows.  As I mentioned before, it took a lot of focus to get through this pattern.  I found I couldn’t work on it and chat at the same time.  Ultimately it’s a small project though, so despite my need for silence and privacy to work on it, I did get it done.



CO Monday: Eye of the Storm

This week I cast on a long-delayed design project.  I’m on Knitty’s designer email list, and the reminder that Deep Fall submissions are due in June lit a fire under my rear.  I have meant to work up this design — I feel like it’s perfect for Knitty, and oh how I dream of having a pattern in Knitty — but I’ve put it off, worked on other things, and so on.  Of course I can’t put any photos up of the project, or even talk about it really, but I can show you the yarn. I’m working on #6’s for a lacy/drapey fabric.  The edge lace pattern I’ve settled on is working up beautifully.  Now all I need is commitment to THIS project (and not the lace KAL, or the cool hat, or the other design project, or the sample for the shop, or or or) so I can get it done, photographed perfectly, and written up Knitty-style by the end of the month.



Tips and Tricks: Rodekool is Dutch for Lace Brioche

Back in February, I cast on for my very own Rodekool de Kool.  Designer Nancy Marchant published Rodekool in the Deep Fall 2010 issue of Knitty — it’s still available (for free!) there.  Keeping in mind that I’ve never done much (any?) brioche before tackling this “extraspicy” pattern, and also keeping in mind that this pattern involves not only brioche but also lace … it totally kicked my butt at first.

Getting through the set up rows and first few repeats of the lacy brioche pattern very nearly did me in. It took every last ounce of available mental prowess, kntterly skill, and concentration.  Thankfully, once I’d accomplished those first few rows … things began to settle in.  Here’s the RS and WS  just after the keyhole:


So pretty, right?  For once I used the called-for yarn, and (by accident) selected the same colorway as the sample, so if my version looks a bit like the photographs in the pattern, that’s why.


I’ve trucked right along on this project, but I find I can’t work on it at knitting group (chatting!) — at least not successfully.  But, working on it at knitting group did help me learn how to tink lace brioche!  Ugh.  I have also learned how to fix (small) mistakes, and also pick up the stitches after ripping out several rows.

I’m nearly done with my Rodekool de Kool, and I wanted to share how I’ve been doing it.  I’m not saying it’s totally right (though I believe it is) — naturally this is my interpretation of the pattern, and not endorsed by the designer or knitty, and so on. Usual caveats apply!  In editing I already noticed that I keep calling the big decrease a “quintuple” decrease when I should have say “quadruple.”  Oops. But, I also feel like I figured out a bit of a shortcut with the wrong-side rows — of course for all I know, brioche knitters already know my little trick, but just in case, I thought I’d share.

With all that, I’m sure you are dying to see what I’ve come up with.  I split the video into three parts.  First up: Row 1 (RS, MC)

Still with me? Here’s Row 1 (RS, CC):

The part that’s “mine” is next.  Row 2 is just straight-up brioche — no lace — and fairly early on I decided it must be possible to work the stitches in a single pass, rather than doing first the MC, then the CC.  Here’s my take on Row 2 (WS, MC & CC together):

I hope this was enjoyable and even useful! This is a great pattern with a lot to offer.

Fantasy Queue: Knitty First Fall 2011

A few weeks ago, I was anxiously awaiting the new patterns from Knitty’s First Fall 2011.  Then they came out.  If I sound a little underwhelmed …. well, I am.  I hate to admit it, but this really isn’t my favorite issue of Knitty.  Which is to say, instead of wanting to make nearly ALL of them, only about half call me with their siren song.  I’m used to unremitting “ohhs” and “ahhs” when I page through a new issue of Knitty — this one has a few “hmms” and “uh, what?”  That said, there are many more patterns that I could ever reasonably make, so for this post I answer this question: If I had unlimited time and money, what would I knit, and with what yarn?

Chasing Snakes

Often I’m drawn to complex sock patterns with a whole lot going on. Recently, I learned the folly of my ways … and then up pops this little number. Bold cabling in a non-traditional irregular sinuous pattern zig-zags down the leg, while the rest of the sock takes a background role. If I were being very, very good I would use some of my stashed yarn for new socks … but in my fantasy queue I spring for some Stroll Tonal in “Canopy.”

Double Heelix

Love the unique and interesting spiral heel-first approach on these socks! The pair featured in knitty are striking, but I REALLY love the “flavor 3” variation — especially since it uses Socks That Rock Lightweight in “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” This is the March 2011 sock club colorway, that I’ve already used to make socks and an ipod nano cozy.  I would definitely have to do a Flavor 3 pair for myself — maybe use my sock club coupon to pick up some STR in “Fire on the Mountain” with “Korppi” for the dark background color.


Fantasy Queue: Knitty Spring+Summer 2011

Oh pretty-shiny! The latest issue of Knitty came out a week or so ago, and as usual there are far too many lovely patterns for me to ever actually knit.  For the duration of this post, I will suspend disbelief and indulge in a fantasy queue.  If I had unlimited time and money, what would I knit, and with what yarn?

#1: Corinne

This is a pretty little swingy cardigan knit side-to-side in garter stitch with short rows for shaping. I love the belled half-length sleeves.  It seems like the perfect throw-on cardi, and good “mindless” knitting too.  To help it stand up daily use, I’d use a superwash yarn.  I think it would show off variegated colorways nicely, so perhaps some Happy Feet DK? Colorway #59, “Gems,” is awfully pretty.

#2: Verdant

I’m drawn to this more for the interesting modified intarsia technique than anything else.  I think I’d be happiest with some gorgeous fall colors, even though this is the “spring” knitty. My favorite go-to lace yarn is Alpaca Cloud, but Knit Picks hasn’t released their 2011 colorways yet, so right now it’s slim pickings. I think I MIGHT make this wrap out of Palette … which would certainly provide a multitude of colors to choose from!

Main Color: Camel Heather

Leaves: Merlot Heather, Salsa Heather, Kumquat Heather, Autumn Heather,


#3: Susanna

I love complex cabled and/or lacy socks, and I also love crazy sock colorways.  It’s been a hard lesson, but I have learned over the last half-dozen years that these two loves rarely mix well.  For intricate socks like “Susanna” I will have to stay true to the design and choose a plain colorway that allows the pattern to come to the forefront.  Even a tonal colorway would be too much, but I think I could get away with a heathered color like Basalt Heather (Stroll).

#4: Rivercat

This sock, in contrast, can totally handle a tonal colorway.  I love the big jive-y lines and bold pattern. Since I am in love with Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, I’d pick up some Deep Waters and make this socks in a jiffy.