Mystery KAL - The Prizes

Have you signed up for my Mystery Shawl KAL yet? The first clue comes out next Friday (May 6th)!

There is still time to sign up. You can check out details in this blog post or over in Ravelry in this thread.

How do you win a prize? Just post a picture of your completed shawl in the Ravelry group, or you can leave me a link to your picture in the comments on my blog (if you are not on Ravelry). All knitters who complete their shawl and have their pic posted by the deadline (June 10) will be entered into a random drawing for prizes.

So, what are the prizes? I am still working on throwing one more into the mix, but here are the three so far.

First up, is a project bag by ZigZagStitches:
(picture by ZigZagStitches. used with permission)

Catherine makes my absolute favorite project bags. I have quite a growing collection from her etsy shop. So, I decided I need to get other people addicted to them, so I scored this lovely owl one for a prize in the KAL.

Next up, is some Knit Picks Gloss Fingering weight yarn (2 skeins):
The winner of this Knit Picks yarn will also get a copy of my Snuggery Shawl pattern (now available for download on Knit Picks!)

And, thirdly, a skein of Knitting Like Crazy Insanity Sock yarn in the Buttercup colorway:I closed up my etsy shop last month to focus on designing, but I still have a few gems around the house that I am hoarding for giveaways. This skein is one of my favorite I dyed. I think it would look lovely as a nice super lacey shawl. :)

Stay tuned early next week for a review of all that is going on with the KAL and for the first clue on Friday. I have so many people signed up for this KAL. I can't believe the response this time. Hope you all enjoy knitting along!

Happy knitting!


Firefly Foxmoor Scarf

Yesterday, Classic Elite Web-Letter 188 hit the Internet. Inside it was my newest pattern - the Firefly Foxmoor Scarf!
The scarf is knit out of 3 balls of Classic Elite Firefly. That yarn is awesome! You really should try it. When Classic Elite sent me yarn to swatch, I had a few choices, but I was immediately drawn to the Firefly. It's a really great spring yarn.
The pattern is a great one if you are new to lace. And, the pattern is both written and charted, so don't let the lace scare you!
The pattern is available for free on the Classic Elite website. You can download the pdf here.

I had been keeping this one secret for quite a while now, so I am glad I can finally spill it for everyone to enjoy!

And, to celebrate my pattern in the Web-Letter, I am giving away (yep, you guessed it) 3 balls of Classic Elite Firefly so you can knit your own Firefly Foxmoor Scarf.

Just leave a comment between now and Wednesday, May 4th. A random number generator will determine the winner. Please leave your Ravelry name or a link to your blog in your comment so I can track you down if you win!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. While your here, you might want to sign up for my Mystery Shawl KAL starting next Friday. Details here.

Happy knitting and good luck. :)

Note: Pattern pictures courtesy of Classic Elite Yarns.


Sock Summit - Oh, the Classes!

So, last week, I'm at home minding my own business, screwing around on Twitter, and I see a tweet that the Sock Summit class schedule is up.

Cut to me running dramatically to the computer. :)

I went to the first Sock Summit and had a spectacular time (you can read all about it in this blog post). I took some good classes and knit so much during that weekend that I came home with three and a half pairs of new socks (seriously. knit. all. weekend).

Last time was heavy on the yarn purchases and I only took a couple classes. Seriously, here is the yarn haul from last time:

I'm almost embarrassed to post that. That is A LOT of yarn. I have knit more than half of that in the last year and a half, but there is still quite a bit of Sock Summit stash around here. This time, I am going to try to take some more classes. Of course, there will have to be yarn buying, but it is going to be scaled back this round (yeah, I say that now, right?). :)

There is no way that I can take all the classes I want to (there are so many good classes!), but here are the ones at the top of my list:

Advanced Top Down Sock Design
Writing Up an Awesome Sock Pattern
Making the Next Monkey
Designing with Japanese Stitch Dictionaries

(um, see a theme there?) :)

I also am interested in these classes:

Knitting Knee Highs
Oddball Stitches
Story Socks
Designing Socks with Handpainted yarn

So, we'll see. Hopefully I can get into some of my top picks!

Are you going to Sock Summit? What do you want to take?


Come Fly With Me Socks - The Redo

So, part of trying to get better with designing is redoing the layouts of my older patterns.

The Come Fly With Me Socks have been available for some time, but I didn't really have good pictures of them. I decided if I was going to update the pattern, then I needed to update the pics too. Enter my wonderful sample knitter, GMarie. I sent her some yarn (Dream in Color Smooshy) and in return she knit me some socks. She knit them so quickly and beautifully. Thanks so much, Gaylen!

I love my new pics for my pattern. And, I think I like the pattern even more with this yarn. I will need to knit myself a pair soon, I think.

In celebration of the "re-release" of my Come Fly With Me Socks pattern, all my sock patterns in my Ravelry shop will be 20% off now through 4/30. That means each pattern is only $4!!!

No coupon code necessary. Discount will be applied at checkout!

Thanks again everyone for the support! Happy sock knitting!


Mystery Shawl KAL - Blog Buttons

Did everyone check out the post with the shawl gauge?

I thought it would be fun to have a few blog buttons/pics for Ravelry if you so choose. Not required, and you can post whatever you want (in progress pics, for example), but I just thought it would be cool to have a little blog button to go along with the KAL.

Now, I am totally terrible at Photoshop, but I made some buttons and I think they look ok. I am not going into graphic design any time soon, but they get the job done. :)

Feel free to use them:I find that the first one fits really well for a project pic on Ravelry.

Enjoy and hope everyone is excited to get started!

Haven't signed up yet? No problem, check out all the details in this Ravelry thread!


Mystery Shawl KAL - Gauge

So, we have been talking about a Knitting Like Crazy Mystery Shawl KAL for May in the Ravelry group, and I realized I never posted anything on the blog - oops. :)

Here are the details:

Each Friday in May I will be posting a clue for the next set of directions for the shawl. There will be 4 clues total. I will post the clues both on my blog and on the Mystery Shawl KAL thread in the Ravelry Group.

So, clues will come out:

May 6
May 13
May 20
May 27

After the last clue comes out, everyone will have two weeks to get caught up/finish their shawl. The KAL will end on Friday 6/10. Post a picture to the thread or give me a link to it on your blog and you will be entered to win valuable prizes!


One skein of sock weight yarn (400yards)
US Size 4 needles

I will be using my precious skein of The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in the Leaf Insect colorway!

When the KAL is over, I will put the clues all into one pretty little pattern and it will be available on Ravelry for free.

Once you post a pic of your finished shawl, or let me know that you posted it to your blog, you will be entered into a drawing for prizes? What? I'm not sure yet, but I think the people who won the last KAL will tell you they were not disappointed. :)

So, if you are playing along, you may or may not want to know the gauge for this shawl.

Gauge: 6sts/inch in stockinette

Hope everyone has fun playing along. I think it will be a good time. Happy knitting!


Sock Class - Week 1

I know that most people who read my blog know how to knit socks. But, I thought that for those that don't, I would post a thing or two about sock knitting over the next three Wednesdays.

This month, I am teaching "Sox in the City" at Fuzzy Wuzzy in Arlington Heights. It's normally my friend Jenni's class, but I picked it up for her this month, while her son was in town. The class goes over how to knit a basic cuff down sock.

The details of my basic worsted weight sock:

Yarn: Cascade 220, 2 skeins
Needles: US Size 6 dpns (that's double pointed needles)
Cast On: 48 sts

So, it obviously starts out with the cast on.

I am of the opinion that your cast on better be pretty loose. Maybe I just have a freakishly large heel or something, but I have knit a sock or two that were unwearable due to not being able to get it on my foot!

I find that long tail cast on (for me, anyway) is a little snug. So, when knitting a sock, I always go with the knitted cast on (video link).

Alright, so after casting on, comes the "joining round, being careful not to twist." Oh, how everyone who has knit anything in the round has twisted and knit themselves a nice mobius. I do it at least once a year. :)

I always make sure that the cast on edge is facing inwards on all three double pointed needles. Then I pick it up, join it, and start the ribbing.

I am sure to pull tight on the first two stitches of the round, so that it is joined nicely. You can also use the method of swapping the first stitch and last stitch in order to join the round tightly (here's a link that describes that).

Most socks start with ribbing. For a basic sock, like this one I am knitting for the class, I like to go with a 2x2 rib (that's knit two, purl two around).

You can knit the ribbing for as long as you like, but I went with 2" for this sock. Enough to hold the sock up.

After that, it's just knitting every round. When knitting in the round, you are always on the right side, so to get stockinette, you just have to knit each round. I think this is one of the reasons I love to knit socks. I am not a purl girl. :)
So, now I will just keep knitting every round until my sock is 6" from the cast on edge.

Next week, I will go over knitting heel flaps, turning the heel and the gusset.

Happy sock knitting! :)


Vine Flower Dress

A couple weeks ago, I was at home, being bored while Alex was up in Fargo visiting my brother with my other brother & brother-in-law. Ah, boys weekend. Anyway, I was home and pretty bored and I got to thinking about how I had not knit my niece anything in awhile.

Enter the Vine Flower Dress.

I started searching on Ravelry for dress patterns. And, the second I saw this Anne Hanson gem, I knew it was the one. I bought it, shopped my stash and got started.

Caitlyn is a very tall baby, so I knew I probably would have to modify it a little bit. So, I ended up knitting the largest size for the skirt, decreasing extra to get down to the smallest size for the body and added 2 extra inches in the body to account for her height.

I was a little worried about making all these changes, but it was worth it. The dress turned out to be a great fit.

My sister said that she has already gotten so many compliments on it. Someone told her that I was very talented. Ok, yes, I am a good knitter, but this was all the pattern. This pattern is so unbelievably beautiful. And, it was so well written and the construction is easy, it really isn't me with the talent, it's Anne Hanson!

The yarn I used was Valley Yarns Superwash DK from Webs. I had bought it last year with plans to make Caitlyn a sweater with it, but I am so glad I didn't do it. The dress and the yarn together are a perfect combination!

I can't wait to find something else mega cute to knit my niece. Any ideas?


Snuggery Errata

I have updated the Snuggery Shawl pattern for one minor error.

In the set-up rows section, the pattern says Repeat rows 3 & 4 eight more times (45 sts total). That should read:

Repeat rows 3 & 4 eight more times (49 sts total).

If you bought the pattern through Ravelry, you should have received a message saying that you can download the new version of the pattern (Version 1.1). If you purchased the pattern through KnitPicks, then you should be contacted by them about the change as well.

You can also find the errata on my new tab at the top of my website. This is something that I will be updating going forward if there are errors in my patterns. Hope everyone has a good weekend. Happy knitting!


How to Knit a Heart Back Home

About a week ago, I finished reading How to Knit a Heart Back Home by Rachael Herron.

I read Rachael's first book, How to Knit a Love Song and just loved it. I was so excited to hear that her next book was coming out. Like, so excited I pre-ordered it!

This second book did not disappoint. I even enjoyed it more than the first (which surprised me, because I really really liked the first one)!

I loved that How to Knit a Heart Back Home had characters from the first novel in smaller roles. It felt like you were catching up with some old friends. This book, just like the first one, is perfect for the knitter wanting to read a good love story. The way the main characters find each other again and how their relationship blossoms left me up late reading into the night. It's definitely a page turner.

I think the love story in this book stands on it's own, but add knitting perfectly sprinkled throughout the book and you really have a winning combination. I have tried reading some other knitting-related fiction, and I usually have a hard time getting into it. It all seems a little cheesy. Not in these books. I think if you are knitter (or other fiber artist) you will really enjoy how the knitting is woven (pun intended) into this book. I thought the way the knitting was presented in the second of Herron's books was even better than in the first.

So, the weather is getting warmer, and you may be looking for that perfect beach/poolside read. I highly recommend How to Knit a Heart Back Home. I think you will really like it.

Note: I was not compensated for this review. I read the book, I liked it, so I am sharing my thoughts. For more information, please see my disclosure policy here.


The Great Zauberball Socks

I finally finished a pair of socks this year! It's my plain Zauberball socks: I needed something to knit while working at the yarn shop. Something that was mostly mindless that could easily be knit while chatting. The plain stockinette socks are the perfect project for that sort of thing! I knit them using on Zauberball (I probably used about 3/4 of the ball). Just your average, everyday top-down stockinette sock pattern. I used US Size 1 needles and cast on 72 stitches. I think if I knit socks with this yarn again I would consider going down to a Size 0. The more I knit socks, the tighter I am wanting the fabric, and I think I would like these socks a little more if the fabric was just a wee bit tighter. I love my fraternal stockinette socks. Happy knitting!


Meet Chubby Chirp

I am not one to knit toys. Well, there was the angry uterus, but other than that, I am not a toy knitter. When I saw Sarah's Chubby Chirps on Ravelry, I fell in love. And, as you know, I often blog about how jealousy drives me with lots of knitting related things. Stash enhancing, accessories, knitting bags. I covet lots of people's things. So, because I coveted Sarah's Chubby Chirp so much, I had to knit one for myself. This little guy took me just a couple hours to whip up. Not bad for the girl who does not like knitting toys because I think they are just too hard. The pattern is a Rebecca Danger pattern (I reviewed her book in this post). I think this Chubby Chirp pattern was so well written, now I want to try to knit a monster even more than I already did after reviewing the book! The bird pattern is free. You can get it as a Ravelry download here. Happy knitting!


Your knitting and crochet time.

Welcome to the last day of the 2nd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. I have had a great time writing up all these posts. And, it's been fun writing about some different things on the ol' blog. :)

This last post is all about time:

"Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter."

Ah, my knitting time. How I love it so.

I am pretty lucky. I have kind of a lot of knitting time. I have an awesome work schedule (6am-2:30pm, I know many of you wince at the idea of starting work at 6am, but I love love love it!). I get home by 3:00 or so. Sometimes (especially in the winter) I take a little nap. Otherwise, I do a little housework, maybe throw in a load of laundry, and then park my ass on the couch. And, I knit.

Lately, I have been knitting while watching Ellen (she is my new after work or fav) or Oprah. I get caught up on Dancing with the Stars or Biggest Loser or (in the summer) So You Think You Can Dance.

Once Alex gets home from work, I will make dinner, and then after dinner we usually have shows we watch together (American Idol, The Office, Modern Family). Yep, I knit through all of that too.

So, you are thinking - holy sh*t, Jen, you sure do watch a lot of tv. My answer, why yes, yes I do. :)

Every night isn't like this though. I teach/work at a yarn shop, I go out and knit with my knitting buds, and I have taken a recent liking to Zumba, so I go to that 2-3/week.

I will pretty much knit in every spare moment I have. In the passenger seat of the car, while waiting at a doctor's office, my lunch break, anywhere. :)

How about you? How do you get your crafty time in?
Thanks again for following along in a week's worth of blogging. Hope you enjoyed it!

Happy knitting! :)


Something To Aspire To. . . .

Welcome to Day 6 of the 2nd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week!

Today's Post: Something to aspire to "Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have."
There are lots of things that I would like to knit but I don't think I am ready for - a highly cabled cardigan for example. Just thinking about the issue of gauge and getting a cardigan that fits in the end is enough to give me a headache. I don't think I will ever knit one (especially because I realize that I am NOT a sweater knitter).

I would really love to be a better crocheter. I think about taking a class in order to get better. I would also really love to learn to weave. I think both of these are things I will find time to do and get good at over the next few years.

What about you? Anything you would like to knit or a new craft you would like to try? Tomorrow's post is all about time, time, time. Stay tuned! :)


And now for something completely different. . . .

Welcome to Day 5 of the 2nd Annual Knit & Crochet Blog Week! Today is something completely different. . . .

My Favorite Socks:

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