little wonders

anne wrote this in the late evening:


lately there has been a little flurry of books arriving in my mailbox, signaling a revival of new knitting publications. one that turned up recently caught my eye—one-skein wonders for babies, edited by judith durant and published by storey press.

when our grand nephew, baby eli, was born in january, i said i would wait to knit him a sweater until he was big enough not to grow out of it too quickly.


now he’s a big strapping superbaby of nine months and i’ve been casually entertaining thoughts of what that sweater might be (oh, and i am never going to let my nephew live down this photo, hahaha; he even dressed the dogs up in superhero costumes!).


so the arrival of this little book of treasures was quite welcome; i was looking for some inspiration and wondering what hand knits kids are wearing these days. filled with adorable photos and loads of patterns (101 in all!) for all manner of children’s wear and related items—everything from pullovers to pillows and all knit from one skein of the suggested yarn.


sweaters and other wearables top the list; there are a wealth of really cute articles of clothing included. in fact, i am quite surprised at what a knitter can make with just one skein—baby knitting is a real stash buster and a great way to use up all those singles in your collection.


and many are sized for toddlers as well, so we are not talking only about little tiny things for infants. another thing i like about this collection is that there seems to be a really equal representation for boys clothes—not usually the case. and yet, in my experience little boys love hand knits even more than little girls do.


although girls are certainly well represented too, with cute dresses, skirts, and sweaters.


a number of projects also offer interesting construction strategies to keep the knitting fun; sideways sweaters, blankets with “handles” that double as toys


and items that are super-functional for family use, such as coverups that are compatible with car seats


or—my personal favorite—cotton bibs without ties that double as mouth wipers! these are such a wonderful, quick, giftable item; any parent would kiss the ground you walk on if granted a few of these.

speaking of quick, cute, and giftable—there is no shortage of clever hats and booties for those times when the family of a co-worker or neighbor is expanding and you want to extend a little token of hand knit love, even though you don’t know the expecting parents personally. a tiny item to knit in one sitting is just the thing.


knitted toys can be a bit fiddly, but so worth the trouble for a dear little one and this book has plenty of those as well. most are knit in cleverly easy steps too, so that you can enjoy the process as much as the recipient will enjoy playing with them.


such a lot of knitting enjoyment on one little book—one-skein wonders for babies is a great resource if you find yourself needing to knit for little ones a lot these days (it comes in waves within families, right?).

now most of the time, this is where i would tell you that the publisher provided a giveaway copy of the book for a randomly drawn winner. but this time i’m going out on a limb to do something different, since i do have just the one copy.

there is a very special grandma in my circle of friends that you all know too—my friend beckie became a grandma all over again about eight weeks ago to baby alice.


here she is on her arrival at home, few days old, swaddled in the blanket beckie knit while she was getting ready to be born. soft organic worsted weight cotton, the color grown by nature. just perfect!

and beckie is crazy about her—i think she’ll get a lot of use out of this book, don’t you?


anne wrote this in the wee hours:


it’s that time again; the trees have rained leaves all week so that their branches have turned to black, twisted fingers.


the wind whistles through them, periodically pausing to moan or shriek.


tree limbs creak and groan, sometimes dropping chunks of rotting extremities . . . sometimes with rather exacting aim—all i’m saying is, watch where you run at dusk.


we have the kind of neighbors that laugh themselves silly to see you scared or startled, even a little bit.


but don’t you get too comfortable and laugh back—they don’t like that much.


for them, reciprocal neighborhood fun is for the birds.


yeah, not so smiley when the shoe is on the other foot.


ask us how we know . . .


HAPPY HALLOWEEN from our neighborhood to yours!

there was knitting too

anne wrote this in the wee hours:


i’m trusting each and every one of you not to tell david you saw this photo (what is said or done in the rhinebeck van stays in the rhinebeck van).

anyway, it didn’t last long; i was just posing briefly with kim’s knitting for a goofy vacation shot—i had my eyes glued to the road the whole time.


that said, i left home with the intention of doing lots of knitting on that trip—i had to try to catch up. since it was unlikely i’d open my computer to do paperwork, i could at least use in-between moments to knit. i brought along only three projects—all bigger ones. two from the active rotation plus a backup project (you never know) that’s been on hold for a bit.


my go-to project for the trip is another long sweater i’ve been knitting in chebris worsted (this time in the dragée shade). it was just the right mix of mindless stockinette with some shaping and a BIG killer cable. perfect for chugging away on while talking, laughing, and waiting.


this one has raglan shaping and is knit all in one piece. with knitting complete and with no finishing work to speak of (even the button bands are incorporated), i’ve actually been feeling sort of dumped by my knitting in the aftermath; it’s through with me. just a few yarn ends to weave in and a couple of sleeve seams—that’s it. no cake? no farewell party?

i can’t whine for long about it tho—not when it’s so yummy.


mmm, huge cable action with a modern feel.


delicious garter stitch accents everywhere, including that big cuddly collar. i love how the cabled raglan lines become a big feature at the top of the coat.


when i was texting photos to anne marie, she asked to see how the cables came together at the top. as they converged, i just continued to decrease at the center, chipping away at the inside edges of each while maintaining the twist on the outside half. in the previous photo, you can see that it’s not an aspect that’s very visible when it’s on the body; most of the time, the collar will overlap it.


this sweater coat/jacket is part of a collection that we’ll be publishing in january; myself and a few other designers together, all in BNWs. i’ve got to wash it yet and after getting final measurements, write up the pattern and get it out to the tech editor, posthaste. i’m running behind on my own project, haha.


since helena joined us for knit night tonight, i asked her to throw it on for a few spontaneous shots—she looks adorable in it, no?

oh, totally random but before i forget, the winner of romi’s book, new lace knitting, is sue C! she has been emailed and we will get her book in the post on friday.


speaking of knit night, barb was also in the house, wearing the red pedal pusher jacket she finished knitting at rhinebeck. she used briar rose charity; looks like color 161.


she looks amazing in it; that red kept catching my eye all evening.


helena came by to knit with us tonight which was lots of fun—she’s working on her first project involving short rows—the intertidal mittens in feederbrook farms entropy that we shipped as part of our purple club last year. the mitten has a shell-shaped cuff worked in short rows. she’s picking up the new technique very well; i think she’ll be back next week with a beautifully executed cuff.


i have several secret projects on the needles which obviously i can’t show to you or at knit night so i brought along my other biggish project to work on—which is a wool A-line skirt. i showed this one briefly on the blog the other day, but since them, i ripped the whole thing out and started again when i realized that it was way too big for me; apparently i don’t have a back end the size of a volkswagon, despite what my inner MIL tells me!

anyway . . . all fixed now; i believe i am on the right track to achieve the gracefully shaped skirt i had in mind. i’m working with kent DK—SOooo light and squishy; i think this is going to drape in the most lovely way.


i knit an encased elastic waist by starting with a provisional cast on, then folding it back to knit that edge in later.


i left a little opening through which to thread the elastic, which i will sew up later using the yarn tail at the start of the work. i love to look close at the yarn color—driftwood—it has threads of both gray and brown fiber, giving it lots of great depth. the polish on that gorgeous romney serves to highlight the textured pattern so well. more on this one as it progresses.

speaking of texture, i came across this funny drawing the other day, something my mom had kept for me and wanted me to take home. i drew it for my dad when i was probably eight years old or so.


clearly there was just one thing about hunting that fascinated me—the plaid clothes, natch.

wild open spaces

anne wrote this in the wee hours:


my friend rosemary hill—you have met her several times before on the blog—has written a new and very beautiful book about lace—new lace knitting; designs for wide open spaces. in the process of reading the publisher’s materials, i came across a comment by a reader stating that the book included “designs for  wild, open spaces”.

while this isn’t exactly the message in the subtitle, i had to kind of smile to myself, thinking of the many talks rosemary and i have had about lace. lace knitting technique, and design ideas; shop talk if you will. i’m sure we have covered the wild open spaces of lace at least once or twice.


in fact, much as it would fool you into focusing on the solid shapes, lace is nothing if not all about the open spaces. i love the idea that lace has the potential to be wild, and that someone else besides me appreciates the part of lace that isn’t there. in other words, there’s no there there, but in fact, it’s ALL there. i will leave off now so we can chew on that a bit, because i’m sure her publisher would rather i talked about the book.


(in my mind, i keep seeing this lovely top knit in our chebris lace yarn in deep silver charbon; soft with a slight fuzzy halo, it would be a knockout as a holiday evening blouse, to contrast with that bit of skin showing through).


rosemary—AKA romi—is well known for her shawl designs and the series of “7 shawls” compilations she has published as eBooks. she has also published several collections of accessories, gift knits, and jewelry. but we don’t get to see her garment designs as often and this book brings them to light.


full of beautifully conceived garments with unusual and very flattering shapes, the book gives rosemary an opportunity to translate her aesthetic into the third dimension. we are treated to a host of feminine, wearable designs for work, relaxation, and after hours.


the ravelry photos of this garment were styled differently and it is stunning as a standalone piece—romantic, summery, and cool. we are working on a sample of the tunic length version (to be released at a future date, i think) in hempshaugh lace, mmm.


even this very casual sweater is rich with openwork texture, though it has the feel of  a warmer fall knit—i love that! a sweater like this is terrific for travel (maybe in ginny DK?) because it crosses over into several climates with ease and its neutral color goes with everything.


of course, the book is not without shawls and accessories, some of which echo the motifs from the sweater designs, like this virginia city cloche and cowl. i am always impressed with the variety of shapes that rosemary comes up with for hats.


this crescent shawl, a take on the old shetland feather and fan favorite, appears to have a hem worked in layers, giving it a bit more weight and substance as an alternative to a scarf.

another thing i love about this book are the short written pieces that rosemary included to talk about her design aesthetic, what attracts her to pattern and lacework (eerily similar to my own), and the evolution of this collection.

i said it earlier this year and i’ll say it again; rosemary’s work lately is just spectacular—it literally makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck sometimes. between her experiments with scale in the surface design and her work in alternative overall shapes, she is just blowing my mind with one thing after another.


but don’t let a design like this intimidate you; the book is chock full of tips and notes from romi to guide through each design concept. each chapter focuses on a different type of lace motif and graduates from its application in a smaller, more manageable project to one that is larger and more complex. there is definitely plenty of learning support in its pages. which is why you should consider getting a copy!


to purchase your copy today, please click here.

OR you can enter to win the extra copy generously provided by interweave knits, publisher of this book. to enter, leave a comment telling us which of the designs in the book you would knit and which bare naked wools yarn you would use. it doesn’t have to be a design on this page; you can pick any of the 19 designs from the book. leave your project plan as a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm EDT on wednesday, 10/28—we will draw a winner and announce it soon after.