Monday, December 30, 2013


Let's bump down Furnace Inferno from the top of the page, shall we? How about a new pattern for the holidays? A new FREE pattern?

It's called Engleberg, and you can get it on the Fibre Space blog here. It's a long, relatively fitted cowl, intended for warmth. There's a story behind this design, which is one offshoot of a larger project, and I'll narrate that in my next post. In the meantime, ENJOY!

One side:

The other side:



Monday, December 2, 2013

Furnace Inferno

When Baltimore started getting chilly, we turned on our heat. Rather, we tried to turn on our heat. But no heat. A little investigation determined that the fairly new furnace the seller installed in this house was too big for the house, so for our safety, it just kept itself turned off. Which was a really good thing, considering that the ductwork around the furnace was deficient, too.

The inspector missed this during our home inspection.

So we were cold, very cold. Temperatures were in the 40s, and it looked like we were going to have to shell out $5,000 for a new furnace, which, of course, we do not have.

As we were reconciling ourselves to a year of hustling to pay for the furnace, I went to Michigan to teach at the Clever Ewe retreat. And something went very wrong, some perfect storm of safety switch failure and dangerously substandard ductwork.


The fire was contained in the furnace and ducts, but the smoke and soot was EVERYWHERE.

It spewed from the vents on the second floor. My friend Karida, who stopped by the house in the immediate aftermath, related this story over the phone:

"It's like Victorian England in there. The bed is covered with soot. And your pretty orange girl cat was sitting on the bed, totally black. And Chris pet her, and his hand came away black."

When I got back to Baltimore on Monday, a cleaning crew had been scrubbing for a few days, and a specialty dry cleaning company had packed every bit of fabric out of our house for cleaning. The house smelled strongly of burning plastic.

We're fortunate, though. We're fine. The cats are fine. We now have heat, and the smell is gone. (Or is it? Have I just become accustomed to it?) Today the dry cleaners returned our clothes. After a week of scouring, the cleaners determined that the second floor needs to be completely repainted and the bedrooms need to be recarpeted, but we had planned those projects for the upcoming year anyway. 

The past few weeks, though, have been exhausting. It will be another few weeks before I feel caught up and in control of my life again. So bear with me as I return to some nearly completed design work.

ALSO: THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who purchased patterns during my Veterans Day promotion! I raised nearly $500 for the Wounded Warrior Project, and those of you who won prizes have been informed!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Service and Sacrifice: A Veteran's Day Promotion


Veteran's Day has come to mean more to me over the past several years than it did when I was younger. When I was growing up, people joined the military to gain skills and pay for college. That changed in 2001. Now I meet, work out with, and work with people my age and younger who have returned from combat.  Reflecting on this, my life seems very easy, even when it's a lot of work. And I feel a little bit spoiled, a little bit helpless, and a little bit overwhelmed.

Because I want to do something more than feel grateful to everyone who's served on Veteran's Day, I'll be donating ALL the proceeds from the sales of all my self-published patterns to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit created to honor and empower wounded members of the armed forces, on Veteran's Day and for the following week (that's November 11 through 15). All of them, including the ebooks. You can see them all here:

In addition, on November 11, I'm republishing Lost Highway, a design that was initially published in Craftsanity magazine, as an individual pattern. The proceeds from Lost Highway will ALWAYS go to the Wounded Warrior Project. 

I have some fabulous friends in the fiber world who have offered to support this promotion by donating PRIZES! On Saturday, November 16, I'll draw names from EVERYONE who has purchased ANY of my patterns during the week to determine the winners of these awesome yarns:

First, Four skeins of Shepherd's Wool worsted from Stonehedge Fiber Mill, in the colors I used to make the original Lost Highway: Midnight Lake, Spring Green, Black, and White. This is Midnight Lake, which I LOVE:

This yarn is AMAZING, and the mill is in northern Michigan, about two and a half hours from where I grew up. 

Second, a skein of Skinny Bugga! from Cephalopod Yarns in any currently available color. Check them out here. How about Spanish Shawl? I have a design coming out in this colorway in the next two weeks!

Third, a skein of Chromium and a skein of Loft from Neighborhood Fiber Co in colors of your choice. Perfect for making an Iodine cowl (I'll include the pattern), or whatever you like.

If you've considered purchasing one of my patterns or ebooks, now is the best time to do it. You'll get a great pattern and the money you spend will go straight to some heroes who need it. THANKS, EVERYONE!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Louise and Linear Systems

Louise has been putting in some hours at the Neighborhood Fiber Co. studio over the past few weeks in preparation for upcoming shows! Never again will she say "Hey, just make kits for that project!" because she now understands the amount of labor that goes into producing a lot of little skeins (winding, hanking, tagging, bagging).

Last week involved a transition from Neighborhood Fiber Co. outfit

to Louise uniform for working at a fancy dinner at a temple in the Baltimore suburbs. Shabbat shalom!

Kol ha kavod, Louise.

In case you missed it (I nearly did), I have a new FREE pattern available from Spud & Chloe, Linear Systems:

It's knit in Spud & Chloe Fine (check out the colors! I love working with Spud & Chloe!). I wish I had a modeled photo, but this will have to do for now. It was inspired by some images of textbook covers in the book Iron Curtain Graphics:

The busyness continues around here. Next up: a post about Vogue Knitting Live Chicago and a Veterans Day promotion.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bauhaus and Bartending

It's been a busy fall around here. For all of us. Ann Weaver, freelance copyeditor; Weaverknits; and Louise are all in high demand, which is great for paying bills and keeping life interesting, but not so great for keeping up with friends, knitters, and even my own designs. In an attempt to fill this lacuna, I'll be writing a series of posts, each of which will feature a new design and a new adventure.

First up: the Bauhaus Cardigan, which was just published in Knitting Architecture:

Here's the photo of the Bauhaus school in Dessau that inspired the design:

It's not often that a project that isn't self-published so closely matches my vision, so I'm particularly proud of this foray into more mainstream knitting publication.

And my latest adventure: I just graduated from the Maryland Bartending Academy! My staffing agency encouraged me to take this course (and gave me some financial assistance with it), and in a little over a week I went from a moderate amount of knowledge, a small amount of skill, and very slow drink mixing to creating 26 drinks of all different styles and preparations in 20 minutes. Now, time to find a more lucrative part-time job than event waiter!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Really Good New Yarn

It's Chromium from Neighborhood Fiber Co.: 69% silk noil, 31% stainless steel. Yep, stainless steel. See how it glimmers in the photo below? The color is Georgetown.

You know I like designing with silk/stainless yarn.

And now that yarn is available from Baltimore's own Neighborhood Fiber Co. As soon as Karida dyed the first batch, I snatched some in Charles Village and paired with with Neighborhood Fiber Co. Loft in Victorian Village to make Iodine, a cowl that plays with the color and texture of both yarns. For those averse to mohair, you can substitute Capital Luxury Lace (a sample in that combination is being knit now!).

Cowl photo with undyed yarn background

Neighborhood Fiber Co. publicity photo

Now that I have a feel for the yarn and what it does, I'm swatching with bigger projects in mind. A t-shirt. Perhaps a cardigan.

Knit in Stockinette stitch, this is what it does. It stands up. It ripples like a sea creature. It practically designs itself.

Want to see all this goodness in person? Neighborhood Fiber Co. and Weaverknits will have a booth at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival next weekend. Louise has taken the weekend off! There will be Chromium. And Monomanias. And  kits. And new Rustic DK. Samples galore. Books. Patterns. BE THERE!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Meet Louise

who works as a temporary waiter, principally at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Baltimore. This weekend was the Grand Prix of Baltimore, which closes most of downtown and creates crowds in and around the Hyatt. Louise was needed in the Hyatt Bistro!

Who got a working pass? Louise did! (Louise was my Grandma Weaver's name, which is why I picked it out of the Hyatt name tag bag. One of her signature phrases was, "Oh, Boy." That came to mind often this weekend, as in, Oh, boy, this is intolerably loud.)

It's no secret that I often take jobs just because I think they're interesting, and that was certainly the case here.

Throughout the summer, I've been doing a LOT of knitting, and I'll be unveiling some new projects here over the next few weeks. First is a new hat design (I talked about this earlier) called Fixation. It's the companion hat for Monomania: a way to use up leftovers or experiment with stripe and color combinations before committing to the cardigan. So far, I've made three, the two I showed in the previous post, and one from Three Fates Eponymous sock yarn. I bought a mini 10-pack last year at Knit Fit! in Seattle, and it was just the right amount of yarn to make this hat. Amazing!

I just knit until I ran out of each color, then I joined the next one. Great fun.

Until the end of September, the Fixation pattern is only $3 here. Use the code 911fixation at checkout. Now, go crazy! Louise is going to take a nap.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

MONOMANIA, anyone?

Good news! The Monomania pattern is now available as an individual pdf from Plucky Knitter, right here!

I'm going to make another in this combo that Plucky created:

And my mom has requested one in all neutrals from Neighborhood Fiber Co.:

I am going to be knitting my little fingers off! I have several other things in the works right now, too, including some Container Ships designs and an epic work of garter stitch. Hint.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Early Adopters, Part II

And the next Early Adopters pattern is . . . Powel!

Use up your fingering-weight leftovers to create a unisex hat! The pattern is so easy to remember that you can work on this hat while traveling or watching TV. It uses three colors per round some rounds, but again, simple pattern and small motifs make this really easy and a great introduction to colorwork. I love the projects on Ravelry so far and want to see more of them! Let's spread the Powel love!

Starting today, 100 Powel purchasers will get the pattern for $2 rather than the usual $5 price: You can purchase the pattern here. Just use the coupon code EarlyAdopter at checkout.

For those of you who voted for the other contenders, stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Today in Baltimore, and Early Adopters Requests

The feral cat who looks like wood:


Mini skeins from Three Fates Yarns (I get to knit something from these as a reward for getting the Work done):

Since Traffic Furniture was such an Early Adopter success, I'm taking requests for the next pattern that will be promoted at a seriously discounted price to encourage knitters to try it. In the running are Powel,  Big Top, Button Coil, and Honeycomb Shawl. Leave a comment telling me which you'd like to see promoted!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Early Adopters, Part 1: A Pattern Promotion

I have some designs that I feel haven't received the attention they deserve. These are garments that get a ton of attention when worn or when seen in person, but for some reason this enthusiasm hasn't carried over to the number of knitters making the project.

First among these projects is Traffic Furniture. I visited Country Needleworks last week during a visit to my family in Michigan, and two knitters brought in AMAZING Traffic Furnitures. At the time, I was knitting one in Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet, which received raves wherever I went with it, even when it was just a blob on the needles. Here's the result, modeled by my lovely mom:

This one uses Plucky Feet in Medieval (dark gray), Elegant Elephant (medium gray), and Cider Mill (orange).

[Hey mom, I know you're reading this. Go down the basement into the room where you store all those boxes containing the collections of my childhood. Look in the box on the shelves marked Beer Steins.]

Here are photos of one of the shawls I saw at Country Needleworks, knit by my friend Jenn (Country Needleworks is full of early adopters):

This one is knit in Neighborhood Fiber Co. Rustic Fingering in Eastern Market (red-orange) and Belair (chartreuse), with some Malabrigo Sock (deep blue) thrown in.

To share my enthusiasm about Traffic Furniture with adventurous knitters, I'm offering a special Early Adopter discount: I'm selling 100 copies of the pdf pattern for $2 each, rather than the usual $5. I figure the people who read my blog and follow me on Ravelry are my trendsetters, my lighthouse customers, the knitters who add more colors or beads or mix bases and stripe patterns or embrace variegation

To get your copy for $2, go to the pattern page on Ravelry and click Buy It Now. On the checkout screen, enter the coupon code EarlyAdopter, which will apply your discount.

Okay, you guys were so fabulous that the Early Adopters promotion was over in a day. Time for the next one, right? Here it comes!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Single Minded

Hey everyone! Popping in to share some GREAT NEWS for you about the Monomania pattern. Plucky will have the pattern and yarn for sale during the blog update this Sunday, August 11, at 8:00 p.m. You can purchase the pdf pattern only ($7), the pattern and yarn in many of the kit combinations, the pattern and yarn in combinations of your choosing, or the pattern and just a skein or two of yarn to use with stuff in your stash. ENJOY!
Because I know knitters will have leftover yarn, and because I can't stop knitting chevrons, I'm bringing the Monomania chevron pattern to hats! Version 1, in Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet:
Version 2, in Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool (the gradient gray-yellow--by the way, two skeins of Dyed in the Wool will make TWO HATS) and Wollmeise "Pure" (black):
The pattern is coming within the next few weeks. If you purchase the Monomania pattern through the Plucky Knitter this weekend (or if you have already purchased the Monomania pattern as part of a kit), you'll get the hat pattern for free when it's released, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Red Fruit Jelly

Sometimes really amazing and unexpected things come out of my work. The most recent example is Red Fruit Jelly, a swing-knit shawl that Birgit Fitzke (Fadenzaubereien) created based on Chittagong.

Birgit has written the pattern for her version, which you can purchase here. Note that this pattern is intended for experienced swing-knitters. Right now it's only available in German, but an English translation is in the works. Check out the different versions knitters have created here.

Here's one of my favorites (I can't resist anything in these colors).

These are unbelievable! Like Alice-in-Wonderland versions of my original idea. It's an honor to have provided the initial impetus for this work.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


a single pathological preoccupation in an otherwise sound mind

In this case, chevrons and making them align. Making them align and working all the shaping for a set-in sleeve cardigan in five sizes was a challenge. According to my sister/layout department, making the lines of the pattern align was also a challenge. Monomania: ALIGN!

I've been working on this pattern for several months, and some of you have probably seen this sample. After test knits in every size, a tech edit, several rounds of proofreading, and a careful layout, it's time to  release this one!

Final pattern page count: 37.

Don't let the page count fool you--this is not a difficult pattern! Quite the opposite. The pattern is written out line by line for each size, so you just print the pages for your size and follow the instructions. Use a row counter and you'll be all set!

Monomania will initially be available exclusively as a kit from The Plucky Knitter. There will be at least 12 color combinations available, and they will go live at 9:00 a.m. EST this Friday, July 12, in The Plucky Knitter shop. The pattern will be available as an individual download in three months, at which point you can knit it in whatever you like (leftover skeins, mix and match skeins, anything!).

Here's the original: It's knit in Plucky Feet in Message in a Bottle, Essie, Wintry Mix, and Cider Mill. This is an elbow-length version, but the pattern includes instructions for both elbow-length and three-quarter-length sleeves.

In this photo, I'm wearing the 37-inch bust size, and I have a 32-inch bust. The reason it doesn't look gappy and too large on me is that the fabric is light and stretchy (fingering-weight yarn knit on US 6 needles). I'll be posting photos of me modeling the 31-inch bust size tomorrow.

Here's Ruth, intrepid 37-inch bust size sample knitter, modeling her version, which was knit in Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock. Ruth has a 37-inch bust. This is the three-quarter-length sleeve version.

I tried to pick only the best photos of Ruth, but all the photos of Ruth are the best.

And here's Claudia, intrepid 43-inch bust size sample knitter, modeling her version, knit in Plucky Knitter Plucky Single (a single-ply silk/wool blend).

And here's Karida, the artist behind Neighborhood Fiber Co., modeling the 49-inch sample, which was knit by my lovely friend and intrepid sample knitter Pat. This sample is worked in Neighborhood Fiber Co. Rustic Fingering, a single-ply Merino wool. Again, this is the three-quarter-length sleeve version. 

I love the way the cardigan looks totally different when worked in a gradient.

Note: Better photos of this one are coming. I forced Karida to pose in front of the vacant house next to my house after we went to the farmers market.

So THIS is what I've been doing for the past few months, and I'm so happy to share. Comments? Questions? Let me know!