Monday, February 23, 2009


This little leafy bag was an improvisation: unswatched for, made up on the fly. It was a way of playing around with some techniques and patterns that I'd had in mind for a while.

The yarns are two heavy worsted yarns that are left over from past projects. The green is a rustic wool from some long-ago farmers' market. The brown is a handspun camel-hair yarn that I used for the Woodland Collar. I knit them on, I don't know, size 8s perhaps?

The leaf motif was a play on a pattern from Solveig Hisdal's Poetry in Stitches. The book is a masterpiece of Norwegian stranded colorwork sweaters, with patterns inspired by vintage textiles. I like to flip through it from time to time when I feel like a taste of inspiration and awe. Since its sweaters are far finer and more detailed than the things I typically like to knit, though, it was with great pleasure that I worked one of its motifs into this wee bag.

So, let's see, I started from the bottom, knit a circle from the center outwards with the green yarn, then added in the camel yarn and started the leaf pattern. At the top, I did a turning row in purl stitches, and then a hem, which I stitched down. I finished it off with an I-cord strap.

It's a very small bag -- just 3.5" wide and 6" high -- but it's just right for carrying the essentials when I take Isis out for our morning walks.

In other sprouting news, I've planted three new dyeplant seeds: madder, bedstraw, and woad. I already have coreopsis, marigold, and indigo started.

I'm hoping to get a good dye garden growing this spring and summer!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dogwood & Shamrock Pattern

The pattern for Dogwood & Shamrock has been finished! It includes instructions for the felted dogwood, felted four-leaf clover, three-leaf clover with stem, and individual hearts.

Have a peek at its Ravelry page or send me an email at if you're interested in buying the pattern.

And now the for the free pattern contest results ... (drum roll) ... the winners are: SharonRose, Erin, PhatLady, Sarah, Meredith, and JC! I drew one name from every 5 entries. I'll be tracking you down the best I can; please send me an email if you don't hear from me this afternoon.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Dogwood & Clover contest

This weekend, it was all dogwood, all the time. After Amey commented that that my dogwood pattern would make a splendid shamrock, I set off on a quest for the perfect emerald yarn. I ended up dyeing some of the white Eco-Wool with 'Berry Blue' and 'Lemon Lime' Kool-Aid ....

which was then knit up into a great big four-leaf clover. Since I was born on St. Patrick's Day, I have a special place in my heart for these.

I also knit up a flower in Hollyhock Malabrigo, which felted like a dream. These flowers are pretty substantial -- nearly 5" across -- and this will be quite a bold blossom to wear.

Not all the flowers were so successful, though. One was in fact quite hideous. I'd wanted to make a pink dogwood, which, in real life, comes in a shocking salmon-pink. I thought that 'Pink Lemonade' kool-aid might give me the right color. But it's so hideous that I'm not going to sully my blog with a close-up

And that's the end of my dogwood/clover knitting for a spell. As for the pattern, I'm currently writing it up and will have it in my Ravelry pattern shop by the end of the week.

Would you like to win a copy of the pattern first? Just leave me a comment! At the end of the week (Saturday, February 14) I'll draw several names for free patterns.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Only February, and the mercury has hit 80. And my body is rebelling. I almost fainted in yoga class yesterday, only to come home, revive, and find myself awake until 3 am. At least I put those insomniac hours to good use: I knit a dogwood flower.

I don't know what came over me, except that the desert heat must have had me craving the blossoms of a cool, damp, woodland spring.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Late winter in Arizona is glorious. Mountain Man and I drank it in this weekend with a climbing trip to "Magma Gardens," east of the Superstition Mountains. The manzanita were awash in blossoms and buzzing with bees.

On the drive there, I finished sewing on the buttons to my Shalom cardigan. And I'm smitten! The yarn is probably the most marvelous yarn I've ever had the pleasure of knitting. It's a handspun yarn in fawn alpaca and tussah silk from Smooth as Silk Alpaca Ranch, and it beautifully combines all my favorite yarn qualities: soft, lustrous, artisinal, earthy, luxurious.

It's a very dense yarn, and I expect it to stretch in length as I wear it. So, I knit it straight instead of adding waist shaping. But since this leaves me without any waist definition, I used the last half ball of yarn to knit a slender sash to tie around my middle.

Frankly, I'm not sure if it does me any favors waist-wise, but it does add a little panache!

And now for a few project details. The original pattern, as I mentioned, is the Shalom Cardigan (rav link) by Meghan McFarlane. Meghan's version was a yoked vest with a single button at the top. I added 3/4-length sleeves, buttons every 10 rows, ribbing at the hips, and that sash. I also made all kinds of tiny modifications for my gauge and size.

Love how it matches the rhyolite.