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Lacy Cuffs ~ A Free Pattern

Lacy Cuffs are here now.


Because I Needed A New Obsession.

Happy New Year!  Since it’s the start of 2011, I thought I’d use my Christmas gift card to Michaels to indulge a new needlecraft hobby, mwa ha ha.  Enter embroidery!  Here is my Sloppy Sampler, something that took me 2 evenings to “complete” and of which I am pleased as punch!  Really.

The Sloppy Sampler

Feast your eyes, folks!

The possibilities that come to my imagination as I think of all the things I can adorn with darling little pictures, words, quotations and shapes are endless, aren’t they?  I think my favorite application is going to be making little pictures and words to stick inside the windows of cards or directly onto cardstock, like this:

Teapot Cross Stitch Card

Tea Pot Cross Stitch Card by Alex Broadbent

I am an avid lover of quotations, pithy sayings, movie lines and song lyrics, so I have some plots and plans for framed cross-stitch pieces as well.  Some of them must be kept secret at this point, however.  I enjoy subversive cross stitch and would like to frame my quotes similarly, but mostly without f-words.

Then I thought, well now that I’ve gotten going with my sloppy sampler, I should try some of those pesky embroidery stitches that I couldn’t manage to work the first time!  So I popped over to Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching website and practiced all the stitch instructions she graciously offers.  I was so happy about the french knot (it’s so cute!)…

Sacré Bleu, c'est adorable!

"Mais oui, je peux faire le French Knot!"

…that I seized a scrap of felted knitting and the first wool handy and tried out some super-duper french knots– triples, quadruples, sextets! Also some back-stitches and chain stitches for good measure.

some little barnacles on a....leaf?

Not-so-charming color combo, but still fun!

And lastly, I tried out the process of following a little chart, and it was pretty easy.  I got The Big Book of Cross-Stitch Design at the library and it has some cute designs, but I found that I was getting very stressed about making a mistake due to the slightly bossy tone of instruction.  I find that perfectionism can really take the joy out of learning something new or embarking on a new craftivity, so nuts to that!  That’s why I decided to just have fun with my sloppy sampler.

When I first began knitting in 2008, I had to make a deal with myself that I would not get caught up in how perfect or knot perfect (I could knot resist that, whoa, it just happened again!) the work is, but to be patient, be a learner and above all, don’t say I CAN’T DO THIS!

Keep on stitching! I leave you with this.



I didn't sign up for this! Oh wait–yes. Yes, I did. (Wrimo, what else?)

How’s it going with everyone on Day 2 (is it still only November 2nd!?)? I’ve done 3 sessions (starting at 12:06 am on November 1st and writing again the following “day”) and have 5,000+ words and have been on kind of a high until today, when my story got totally out of control! My characters changed from being 12 years old to being 21! The old-fashioned storybook tone I had been trying to cultivate (Complete With Accents) gave way to bratty teen whining! What is going on!?

There are things to love, though.  I’m thrilled with the way that charging full force into this challenge is helping me produce something other than little story ideas that exist nowhere but between my own ears, but I can’t keep order and it’s getting messy.

I guess this is where I am supposed to let go and take comfort in the fact that it’s really only about getting the word count.  Everything else can be fixed.  But you have to produce something to fix into your Real Story later.  BREATHE. Anyone else?

On the Hook, On the Needles, Wrimo & General Goings-On

Well! I’ve been having one of those periods of time where I’ve been doing a lot of needlework, but don’t have a lot of things to show for it!  I’m working up a lovely little crocheted version of Miss Sadie that I’m looking forward to sharing, and also gearing up for NaNoWriMo which is starting on Monday!

If there are any Wrimos out there who can offer me advice, I’d like to hear it.  If one expects to work steadily at it, the quota is about 1666 words per day for 30 days.  I don’t plan to be legalistic about a daily word count. Perhaps a weekly word count of *gulp* 12,500!

Deep breaths.

Also working on developing the pattern for the delightful furrow hat, pictured below.  I love this ribbing, so neat and tidy. I’m still playing with options for the crown decreases.  This first idea doesn’t look as organic as I thought it would.

the tight ribbing reminds me of earthy furrows

Furrow Cap

a little bit of the first crown decrease technique

Have recently become semi-obsessed with refining my technique for working seamless raglan crocheted sweaters in the round from the top down.  Goodness, that’s a mouthful, but it expresses all the elements that I’m going for.  I love top-down raglan knitting and have been working to bring it seamlessly (hah.) into crochet since I’ve noticed a dearth of available patterns on ravelry.

Working crochet in rounds creates a bias in the fabric that totally undermined my first design idea which featured a lacy front panel. By the time I had worked the entire body, the panel was fully skewed from one side to the other.  It’s funny how sometimes we crafters can stubbornly persevere thinking “surely this will work out! it’s not as bad as it seems right now–just a few more rounds.” And the old stand-by, “nothing a firm blocking won’t take care of!” Sigh.  I learn slowly.

Abandoned lace panel idea and am now working to figure a good formula for Top Down Raglan Crochet Sweaters.

Top Down Raglan Crochet WIP

I am enjoying the world of pattern sales!  Yo-Yo has been something a hit and I love getting notes back from crocheters and knitters who are using it and Mon Amie. Thanks for your support!

Elspeth was featured in KP’s October Catalog, much to my surprise and delight!   Again, I’d like to say how much I enjoy being a part of the Knit Picks IDP program!  It’s been such a great springboard for me as a new designer.  So cool!

My husband made this for Facebook and then we had champagne.

Miss Sadie: 2010

Hey there! First, a recap: 

Miss Sadie’s Scarflette was my first design/pattern-writing project and free pattern offering, and I’ve been thinking about her and decided that with Fall nearly here it’s time to discuss some updates and mods to this pattern. Originally published on my old blog, Girl in Sheep’s Clothing, Miss Sadie has been well-received and it’s been so much fun to see other knitters’ photos on ravelry and the Hobby Portal craft forums in Russia! 

If you take a moment to glance at the pattern, you’ll notice that Miss Sadie is simply a knitted rectangle. The transformation from (basically) a large swatch to scarflette occurs during the seaming of this humble rectangle!  As such, it is a blank canvas for stitch patterns and interesting yarn combos.  The key is to work the rectangle to dimensions of 10 X 19.5 inches. But we are not bound by sizes, are we? Bah! Make it wider, make it longer!  Do what you will! The basic shape will always turn out when you seam. 

My favorite ways to mix up the basic pattern are seed stitch and making giant art yarns by combining 4 or 5 different colors and textures of yarn and then knitting on giant needles (these Sadies also knit up super-fast!).  They are popular at craft fairs and very satisfying to cast on and bind off in the space of a single movie! 

Seedy Sadie


Purple People-Eater Sadie


Simple Sadie


Marine Biologist Sadie


Snowy Sadie


Seventies Sadie


 So, if you’re making Miss Sadie, drop me a line at stitchowl@gmail.com and send photos if you like; I’d love to share more ideas on how you’re making her your own! 

I Dye, Horatio!

For the purpose of justifying this witty title, I need you to agree to be Horatio, k?  

The other day I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from a jog at the park.  On my way into the produce section, I caught a glimpse of a fluorescent beast in the surveillance camera as I picked up my shopping basket and prepared to scavenge out some supper.  Of course, the beast was me, wearing my absolutely favorite, hot pink, soft, zip-up, mock turtleneck sweatshirt.  A sporty garment, a wardrobe staple, nothing crazy.   

Except for that color! Zowee!  



Now, it’s funny how things work together.  You know how you’ll get a thing on your mind, and then all of a sudden you start noticing it everywhere?  Occasionally my husband, with a sigh of deep regret, will remember the ideal driving machine of his youth –his hunter green Jeep Cherokee–and suddenly it seems that the highways, byways, parking lots and driveways of Eastern PA are flooded with Jeep Cherokees, just because we started thinking about them. That kind of thing.  

Anyway, I had started to wonder about those inconspicuous little boxes of RIT dye available at mega-discount retailers, grocery stores, Jo-Ann Fabrics, et cetera.  And I thought….what might I do with some dye?  

The security camera gave me my answer. It adds 10 pounds AND makes me look like a pink monster.  

So! Immediately obtained a box of RIT Color Remover at nearby JoAnn Fabrics and followed package directions for the washing machine.  Now the sweatshirt was showing its true colors…shining. through. I saw its true colors…anyway, the color remover took out a lot of the shocking pink, but left behind a diseased shade of peach (not pictured — sorry, was too anxious to fix resulting hideousity, heh heh)  

Again following package instructions, I took a box of the powdered Denim Blue dye and ran it through the wash cycle.   

Note to Self: Get better at taking blog photos/remove old towels from background.



I didn’t realize that the synthetic thread would not take the dye, but the effect is kind of fun after all, success!  Will have to be careful when laundering, as may not wash well with others. 🙂

Heart Vines Beret ~ A Free Pattern

Heart Vines has moved houses!