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5 Tips for Holiday Knitting

I posted this in my newsletter, but it seemed to hit a chord, so I wanted to share this further.

Are you in the midst of some holiday deadline knitting?

Here are some quick tips that keep me sane.

  1. Only knit for someone who’s knitworthy. By knitworthy, I’m including someone who appreciates the thought, work, and time that goes into making a handknit accessory or garment. Otherwise, just buy something nice that won’t take you hours of work! I’m also a big fan of shared experiences – take someone out for a nice lunch, for a gorgeous hike, or something else that will be fun and relaxing.
  2. Pick yarn that you love to work with. This is the time to break out the super soft, comforting yarn. I recently knit up a sample in Mrs Crosby Due Capre and it was heaven in my hands.
  3. Ideally, pick something that is DK weight of larger. You know I love tiny needles, but this is not the time to work on, say, a Bohus sweater in light fingering weight.
  4. Choose something that can be sumptuous: slippers, a cozy cowl, house socks, a warm hat, or a lacy shawlette.
  5. Don’t stress out! If you’re knitting for someone knitworthy, chances are they’ll love whatever you make. That doesn’t mean don’t do the best work you can, just enjoy the process. And take a bit of time for some self care. I know that’s the trendy phrase of the moment, but there is validity to it. Go to the gym, take a walk, brew a nice cup of tea or coffee and just relax a bit — with or without your knitting.


Winner AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary

Congrats to commenter #55, GM! I’ve emailed you as well. 🙂

1 comment

Book Review: AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel

I’m the first to admit I’m a junkie for stitch dictionaries, and I was pleased as punch to receive a review copy of Andrea Rangel’s AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary.

The first 20 pages or so are devoted to quick lessons on color theory, how to hold the yarn for stranding, how to read charts, how to lock floats, and other tips.

The next 100 pages are all swatch-y, charted goodness, with stitch patterns (200 of them!) ranging from bold graphics to whimsical representations of animals and other objects.

The last bit of the book includes an essay on how to use the stitch motifs for various projects (including doing a bit of math), and then patterns for a beanie, mittens, cowl, pullover and cardigan.

Some of my favorite stitch patterns are Escher Bats, Bees, Sonora, Spiders, and Gecko. My absolute favorite is her Masked Bandit pattern, with an adorable raccoon and trash cans. She has some lovely geometric patterns as well.

If you’re looking for something a bit different that traditional Fair Isle or other regional colorwork stitch patterns, I bet you’ll love this book.  I know I’m going to have fun playing with some of the motifs!

Do you want a chance to win your own copy? Interweave has offered to give away a copy to one of you!  Just leave a comment on this blog post about your favorite types of stranded projects, by midnight PST December 11th, and I’ll draw a winner from the comments. US and Canada only, please!


Pattern Release: Chalk Hill Mitts

The Chalk Hill mitts are named for the Chalk Hill appellation in northeast corner of the Russion River AVA in Sonoma County. Primary varietals grown here include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

I know Chalk Hill best as my bike-leg nemesis for Barb’s Race in 2007, my first and only half-Ironman triathlon. (At the time, Barb’s Race was an all-women’s half-Ironman triathlon, run concurrently with the full Vineman, raising money for cancer support.) The Chalk Hill area is gorgeous, but, oh, going up that hill was hard! The downhill and ride back to the transition area was awesome, though!

Cabled stitch pattern is both charted and written.

Read about the Winery Knits collection here.

Women’s Small (Large); to fit 6–7 (7–8)” / 15–18 (18–20.5) cm hand circumference

Finished Measurements
Palm circumference, unstretched (note the lace cable pattern is quite stretchy): 5.75 (6.5)” / 14 (16.5) cm

Shalimar Paulie Fingering, 60% Merino Wool / 20% Camel / 10% Silk / 10% Cashmere goat, 420 yds / 115 g, 1 skein, shown in size Large in Buttermilk

US 1 (2.25 mm) needles, or size to obtain gauge, for working in the round
US 0 (2 mm) needles for ribbing, or one size smaller than needle to obtain gauge, for working in the round

32 sts and 48 rounds = 4” / 10 cm in Stockinette Stitch
Cable pattern, unstretched: 2.25 (2.5)” / 5.5 (6.5) cm

yarn needle, waste yarn, 3 stitch markers

cabling, maintaining stitch patterns


Pattern Release: Willow Creek Mitts


The Willow Creek mitts are named after one of the new AVAs (American Viticultural Area) in the Paso Robles area, the Willow Creek District. It includes the rolling hills west of Highway 101; some of our favorite wineries such as Cypher and Turley have tasting rooms in this area. The most common varietals grown include Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Grenache.

Read about the Winery Knits collection here.

One Size

Finished Measurements
Palm circumference: 8” / 20.5 cm

Elemental Affects Natural Shetland Fingering (118 yds / 108m per 1 oz / 28g), in the following colors:
Fawn (MC): 2 skeins
Ciel (CC): 1 skein

US 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles, or size to obtain gauge
US 0 (2.0 mm) needles for garter stitch, or size smaller than needle to obtain gauge

32 sts and 34 rounds = 4” / 10 cm in stranded stitch patterns
28.5 sts = 4” / 10 cm in garter stitch

yarn needle, waste yarn, minimum 3 stitch markers

cabling, stranding, reading charts, maintaining stitch patterns