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Woven Lace-trimmed Sleeves

More herringbone stitch! I love how different yarns can give the same stitch a completely new look.

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Harmony is an amazing and inspiring harpist! I am so lucky to live with such a talented artist.

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Plus, I mean, she’s gorgeous.

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Between the yarn, random musical instruments, and endless poetry books, our house is teeming with creativity these days.

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These sleeves are a quick knit and require a bit of light sewing. Enjoy!

Woven Lace-trimmed Sleeves

Materials;

  • 1 skein worsted weight yarn, about 250 yards.
  • Size 13 straight needles.
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Ruler
  • Sewing needle and thread
  • Sewing pins
  • 18 inches of lace edging
  • Hot glue (optional)

Pattern (make 2);

  • Cast on 34 stitches, leaving a 14-inch tail.
  • Work 30 rows of herringbone stitch.
  • Bind off LOOSELY, leaving a 14-inch tail.

Construction;

  • Cut the lace trimming in half so that you have two 9-inch pieces of lace.
  • Align one piece of lace with the bind-off edge of one of the rectangles. Pin it on the “wrong side” edge so that the lace ruffles evenly over the edge but the seam won’t be seen from the “right side” of the fabric. Using the sewing needle and thread, discreetly sew the lace in place with a whip stitch (being careful not to let the thread show through to the other side of the knitting).
  • Fold one rectangle of knitting in half “hot dog” style. The cast-on edge will be the edge closest to your fingers. Using the tail from this edge, sew a seam about 2 inches down from the top. Cut yarn, and weave in the end.
  • Next, using the tail from the bound-off edge, sew a seam from the bottom up, stopping to leave a 1.5 inch gap in the seam (which will be the thumb hole.) Cut yarn, and weave in end.
  • Repeat these steps with the other sleeve.
  • As an optional finishing technique, I discreetly hot glued the ends of the lace so that it looks attached…because who has time to meticulously sew white lace? Not this girl.

Stay warm!

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Herringbone Clutch

I have been hibernating with two seasons of Downton Abbey and a new espresso machine. Imagine the knitting productivity!

Also, I have discovered herringbone stitch. I am absolutely obsessed. The texture it creates reminds me of vintage clothing, rustic sturdiness, and Sherlock Holmes. I whipped up this little clutch in only a few hours. It’s a hopeful little bag, looking forward to Spring, but the herringbone texture grounds it in Winter. It’s perfect for swing dancing or any type of frolicking. Enjoy!

Herringbone Clutch

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Clutch Materials;

Size 13 needles

Size 10 needles (optional)

1 skein Bernat Softee Chunky (or any chunky weight yarn).

Clutch Pattern;

Cast on 36 sts. Work 35 rows of herringbone stitch, found here.

Bind off.

Optional button flap;

With size 10 needles, along one short edge of the rectangle, pick up and knit 18 sts. Work 5 rows in stockinette stitch, so that the “nice” side shows up, as shown in the picture below. (If you don’t want to make the button flap, you can simply sew on a zipper. I hate sewing, though.)

Next row; P 4, yo, p2tog, p6, p2tog, yo, p4.

K 1 row. P 1 row. Bind off.

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Flower Material;

Size 6 needles

Scraps of white and green worsted weight yarn (or color of choice for flower and leaf)

Decorative button or bead

Flower Pattern;

Cast on 6 sts with a 6-inch tail. P 1 row.

Row 2; Kfb of each stitch across; 12 sts.

Next row, and all alternating rows; P

Row 3; Kfb of each stitch across; 24 sts.

Row 5; Kfb of each stitch across; 48 sts.

Row 6; Bind off.
Leaf Pattern;

(Make two.)

Cast on 3 sts with a 6-inch tail.

Row 1; K1, yo, k1, yo, k1.

Row 2, and all alternate rows not specified; P.

Row 3; K2, yo, k1, yo, k2.

Row 5; K3, yo, k1, yo k3.

Row 7; k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, ssk.

Row 9; k2tog, k5, k2tog.

Row 10; p2tog, p3, p2tog.

Row 11; k2tog, k1, k2tog.

Row 12; P remaining 3 together, cut  and weave in end.

Assembly Materials;

Two white medium-sized buttons

1 sheet of craft felt

Scrap yarn and thread

Tapestry needle

Sewing needle

8-inch zipper

About 20 inches of decorative lace edging (optional)

All knit pieces

Assembly directions;

1.) Fold the herringbone clutch rectangle in half, and position the leaves and flower parts on the front so that you have an idea where you would like to sew them. Then, using the 6-inch tails of the flower pieces and a tapestry needle, sew them on, leaves first, button last, as shown in the pictures below. (Be careful not to accidentally sew the front of the clutch to the back of the clutch!)

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2.) Flip the whole clutch over, and position the buttons so that they will fit the button holes of the top flap, as shown in the picture below.

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3.) Line the bag with the craft felt, folded in half. (This is optional. I find the herringbone stitch to be plenty sturdy on its own, but it’s up to you!).

4.) Sew up the sides, and weave in remaining ends. Enjoy!

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8 Unexpected Ways to Make Time to Knit

First, I want to apologize for my utter failure in producing weekly patterns. I’ve been struggling with my health, but now I am thankfully well and back! Knit on, my friends.

8 Unexpected Ways to Make Time to Knit

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1.) Choose the right project. Many busy knitters are over-achievers. There’s a reason you’re busy. There’s a reason you have the patience to learn an antiquated fiber art and love it. HowEVER, it is better to start projects that you will actually work on and finish, than to pick ridiculously complex fair-isle, aran, double-knit blankets, no matter how luscious they seem. Knitters on-the-go need simple, easy-to-follow, portable patterns. Hats, scarves, mittens, coasters, or anything requiring a skein or less is perfect (as are most patterns on this blog.) Limit the extended techniques, like colorwork and shaping. Evaluate; would I mess this up if I were simultaneously watching a emotionally-gripping episode of Downton Abbey? If so, choose a simpler project.

cropped-edmund_32.jpg Edmund is a quick knit!

2.) Choose the right bag and organizational tools. We all know how stressful tangled yarn is in your purse. It’s not a good look. Keeping your project organized will make you more likely to work on it. Maybe it’s just me, but seeing my project all bundled up and ready-to-go makes it more enticing. First, make sure your every-day purses are big enough for knitting projects. Going out? I keep my projects in a large zip-lock plastic bag in my purse, along with smaller zippered bags inside full of stitch markers, tapestry needles, and any other accessories I might need. I honestly think specialty knitting totes are unnecessary, but a bag like this or this is great because it allows you to hold your yarn while you knit.  You could sew your own bag like this easily!

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3.) Knit while you watch TV/movies. Now, this assumes you have time to watch TV. I know, I know; ain’t got time for that. But if you indulge? Knit at the same time. You’ll be surprised how much you get done!

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4.) Take five-minute knitting breaks. Everyone needs a break, and knitting is extremely soothing. Turn off your brain, pick up an easy project, and simply breath. After awhile, if you haven’t gotten there already, knitting will feel as easy as walking. You don’t watch your feet while you walk, and seasoned knitters don’t have to look at their hands while knitting. Soon you will be able to close your eyes, knit, breathe, and relax. Five minutes might not seem like much, but it all adds up!

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5.) Knit on the subway or the train. I have even been known to finish a row during red lights (though knitting and driving is NOT advised…) Most working people have to travel in some way, and if you are an urban knitter, grab an easy project for the subway. If you’re driving with other people, take advantage of the times you’re not driving, so that you can knit an easy project on the way. Make sure it’s a project that you can knit while not looking at your hands, as you might get dizzy otherwise.

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6.) Knit while socializing. Busy people rarely get to relax and have coffee with friends. Why not bring a mindless knitting project along? Watch your favorite show together and knit. Get tea or coffee at your favorite cafe, and knit. Out to dinner? Knit. Stuck at your roommate’s awkward party/bridal shower/Avon event? Knit. It will definitely start a conversation, and you’ll be finishing a hat at the same time. I’ve even been known to knit while going on a walk; light exercise and knitting is a great combination. Bewildered looks is a bonus. Just make sure it’s an easy pattern so that you can devote your attention to the people you’re spending time with.

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7.) Knit in class or rehearsal. I’m a flutist, and once during a particularly grueling production of a Poulenc opera, I knit 5 pairs of baby booties while waiting to play my scarce piccolo part. Just make sure you check first with your professor or conductor first. In that case, the conductor said he didn’t mind as long as I made all my entrances, which I did. However, if it’s an intensive class, it’s probably not a good idea. If the atmosphere seems relaxed and discussion-based, give it a try. My professors have always been charmed to see an undergraduate interested in something their grandmothers also loved.

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8.) Finish what you start. The number one complaint of knitters I talk to is that they have a blanket/scarf/sweater half-done and lying around in their attic for years on end. The sense of accomplishment when you finish a project is addictive, and will inspire you to use these tips to finish more projects! Keep in mind; it’s totally fine to have multiple projects going on at the same time, but keep it under control by keeping works in progress in a “WIP Basket”. When the basket is overflowing, you know you need to finish something before starting another. The productivity high I get from finishing projects is my biggest inspiration!

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Hope these help, because they sure help me! Happy Holidays and happy knitting!

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Cozy Pom-Pom Slouch

It’s that time of year. The residents of The Secret Garden (aka my apartment) have pulled out their fleece blankets, flannels, and man sweaters to cuddle through the coldness. This hat seemed necessary.

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As you can see, Christmas has already exploded in our house (#noshame) and this hat makes the perfect quick gift. I knit it for my friend Stef’s birthday.

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It only took 1.5 hours, and it’s incredibly warm.

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If you’re as freezing as we are, you won’t regret treating yourself.

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Quick & Cozy Pom-pom Slouch

This hat is made with 1 skein of a bulky handspun wool yarn held together with 1 skein of worsted weight black yarn. It’s knit flat but then seamed with only the black worsted yarn, so that the seam is hidden.

Materials;

1 skein bulky weight yarn (handspun if possible)

1 skein worsted weight black yarn

Size 11 straight needles

Size 13 straight needles (optional)

Size 15 straight needles

Pattern;

With size 11 needles, cast on 46 sts.

Work 6 rows in k1p1 rib.

Next row; Switch to size 13 needles (or if you don’t have them, size 15) K2 tog, K until end of round. (45 sts.)

Next row; Purl.

Next row; Switch to size 15 needles if you haven’t already, and knit around.

Work 14 more rows in stockinette stitch.

Next row; *P7, p2tog, repeat from * around.

Next row; Knit.

Next row; *P6, p2tog, repeat from * around.

Next row; Knit.

Next row; *P5, p2tog, repeat from * around.

Next row; Knit.

Next row; *P4, p2tog, repeat from * around.

Next row; Knit.

Next row; *P3, p2tog, repeat from * around.

Next row; Knit.

Next row; *P2, p2tog, repeat from * around.

Next row; Knit.

Next row; *P1, p2tog, repeat from * around.

Next row; Knit.

Next row; P2tog around.

Cut 24-inch tail, and weave through remaining stitches. Then, using black worsted weight yarn from the tail, sew along seam. With extra yarn, create a pom pom (tutorial here) and sew to top of hat. (I might have made mine a bit bigger than the one pictured; experiment and find a size you like.) Weave in ends and enjoy!

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Le Merle Noir

Inspired by a piece I performed last week, by Olivier Messiaen, meaning “The Black Bird”. You can literally hear him fluttering about. It was perfect for Halloween!

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Here’s the pattern. Enjoy!

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Materials;

Black worsted weight yarn

Size 8 double pointed needles.

Body;

Cast on 8 sts and join into round.

Round 1; Inc every stitch around. (16 sts.)

Next round; *K1, Inc. 1, repeat from * around (24 sts)

Next round; *K2, Inc 1, repeat from * around (32 sts).

Next round; *K3, Inc 1, repeat from * around (40 sts).

Knit 15 rounds.

Stuff with polyfill.

Next round; *K3, k2 tog, repeat from * around. (32 sts).

Next round; *K2, k2tog, repeat from * around (24 sts).

Next round; *K1, K2tog, repeat from * around (16 sts).

Next round; K2tog around (8 sts).

Cut yarn and weave through remaining stitches.

Wings (Make 2);

Cast on 6 sts. Knit 8 rounds.

Next round; Binding off, k2tog, k2, k2tog.

Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Sew wings to sides of body.

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Matryoshka Doll Buttoned Pouch

I am sorry for the two week delay! I’ve been studying for the December LSAT while balancing schoolwork and teaching. During creative breaks, I knit up a little pouch to hold all my flashcards, inspired by this cutie, with a practical twist;

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For me, stress = quirky knits. But it’s nice to house my little stresscards in something adorable. The juxtaposition makes me feel almost rebellious.

Let me know if the pattern is too frazzled to understand. Enjoy!

Matryoshka Doll Buttoned Pouch Pattern

Materials;

Size 8 double-pointed needles

Black yarn, less than 100 yards

White(ish) scrap yarn

Red(ish) scrap yarn

Tapestry needle

Red colored pencil

Tapestry needle

Beige and yellow felt

Two small buttons

Crazy glue or hot glue

Body;

With black yarn, cast on 18 stitches and join into the round.

First round; Kf&b twice, K5, Kf&b four times, K5, Kf&b twice. (26 sts)

Next round; Kf&b, K11, Kf&b twice, K11, Kf&b. (30 sts)

Next round; Kf&b, K13, Kf&b twice, K13, Kf&b. (34 sts)

Next round; Knit.

Next round; Switch to white. Knit around.

Next round; Tie on red, and begin colorwork. This round; *K 1 white stitch, Knit 1 red stitch, repeat from * around.

Next round; K2 white, K1 red, *K3 white, K1 red, repeat from * around, ending on three white sts.

Next round; *K1 white, K1 red, repeat from * around.

Next round; Cut off red yarn, and tie on black yarn. Knit 1 row with white. Knit the next row with black, and then cut and tie off black.

Next 2 rounds; Knit with white.

Next round; Tie on red, and knit 1 row with red. Cut and tie off red.

Next round; Knit with white. Cut off white.

Next round; Using black for the rest of the body, K17, K2tog, K13, K2tog. (32 sts.)

Next 3 rounds; Knit.

Next round; K16 sts, and BO 12 stitches, K until end of round.

Next round; Knit around until where you began to BO sts in the last round, and cast on 12 sts. Join where you finished binding off sts in the last round, and finish knitting until the end of the round.

Knit 8 rounds with black.

Next round; K2tog, K12, K2tog twice, K12, K2tog. (28 sts)

Next round; K2tog, K10, K2tog twice, K10, K2tog. (24 sts)

Next round; K2tog, K8, K2tog twice, K8, K2tog. (20 sts)

Next round; Binding off, K2 tog twice, K2, K2tog four times, K2, K2tog twice.

With the piece inside out, sew the top and bottom openings together. Cut yarns and weave in ends.

Buttoned flap;

At the opening; Pick up and cast on 12 sts. Work 3 rows in k1p1 ribbing. Cast off, cut yarn, and weave in ends.

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Easy Knit Bun Tool

Yeah, those roll-up mesh-y things that create perfect buns? You can totally knit them in like 10 minutes.

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This is probably the easiest pattern ever.

Easy Knit Bun Tool

You will need;

  • Handful of scrap worsted weight yarn.
  • Size 8 double-pointed needles.
  • Tapestry needle.

Pattern;

1.) Cast on 16 stitches and join into the round.

2.) Knit 38 rounds. (Knit 5-10 rounds less if you have shorter hair, and 5-10 rounds more if you have longer hair.) Bind off.

It’s that simple.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use it;

1.) Pull your hair up into a ponytail and secure with a hair elastic.

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2.) Roll the hair bun tool so that it looks like the picture below, and then pull your ponytail through it.

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3.) Unroll the bun tool so that it is a long tube over your ponytail, with one end as close to your head as possible.

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4.) Tucking the ends of your hair under and into the bun tool, roll the end of the bun tool that is farthest away from your head down and all the way to the base of your ponytail. Adjust hair and place bobby pins if needed.

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If you’re like me and you compulsively need your hair out of your face to study or focus, this tool is super helpful. It’s also a great way to use up scrap yarn, and makes a great stocking-stuffer. Enjoy!