Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Embroidery On Knits

I’ve been making embroidered mitts for about six years now. Five years ago I published a free pattern called Harlequin Mitts. It’s been a popular project with color work students. The original pattern didn’t include graphics for embroidery and so last winter I decided to update the pattern with a new cuff stitch and to include a couple of motifs that could be transferred for embroidery. The Happy Dance Mitt pattern as well as a coordinating Happy dance hat pattern has now been published to Ravelry. Basic embroidery instructions are included in the pattern, but thought I would share a few more photos and info here. Please feel free to post questions- I hope you might enjoy making these as much as I do.

I start with a finished – soaked, blocked and dried piece. This will give you a smother more even surface to work on. I have to admit this is the hardest part for me- it’s difficult to wait for things to dry when I’m excited to get going with the embroidery.

1.Using washable transfer fabric trace design with a permanent marker. I have used two different products made by Pellon. They are both easily available at my local fabric store – Sol-U-Film and Wash-n-Gone. The Sol-u-Film is quicker to dissolve but a little tough to stitch through, the Wash–N-Gone a little slower to dissolve but more pleasant to stitch through- ultimately I would say the Wash-N-Gone was my preferred product.

2.Pin your tracing in place then baste to top of mitt being careful to not stitch all the way through to the back.

3.Do a simple outline of you design in running stitch. Folding the cuff up will make it easier to reach inside.

4. Remove basting thread and trim excess transfer material away.

5.Wash transfer fabric away. Note it doesn’t take much water to do this.
6.Let Mitts dry.

7.Embellish and fill in your motif with satin stitch, chain stitch, French knots or any other stitches you like.
8. Give the mitts a final soak. Pat into shape and dry flat.

A note on the yarn- I have used Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport with great success. It really holds up well to the embroidery. I have a pair of mitts I’ve worn often for the past six years and they still look beautiful.

Of course you can skip all the transfer business and free hand your embroidery, which is really quite fun! Either way you’ll end up with truly one of a kind works of art to give as gifts or for your own enjoyment.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Its been difficult not to daydream about Scotland this weekend with the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in full swing and so many fun photos popping up in my Instagram feed. Looks like a blast and I'm ready to make a reservation for next year!

Some of the most exciting news to come out of the festival is the release of this year's special hat pattern for Shetland Wool Week. Talented Shetland designer Ella Gordon has been named the 2016 Patron and designed a wonderful color work hat that features the croft houses she has made her trademark.

To download a free pattern go to Shetland Wool Week website, fill out a short form and they will email you the download. I know I can't wait to cast on! Knitting the Wool Week Hat has been a fun way to "participate" in all the festivities even when I haven't been able to make the trip.

2014 Hat Designed by Hazel Tindall (knit by me)

2015 Hat designed by Donna Smith (knit by me)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lots of Hats

I know you know I knit lots of Hats - I'm particulary proud of these - Berries and Branches on top and Korona on the bottom.  Am really looking forward to the New Year and what new hats it might bring.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Remembering Aberdeen

I stayed in Aberdeen for a few days on the way to and from Shetland. It was fun to get to explore the city and I was able to get some practical stuff - like laundry- done.

Mindless knitting on the train - so I could look out the window.

Early morning view of the ferry docks from my apartment.
Latter I stayed at The Globe, a tiny hotel over a pub. Would highly recommend it- I had no problem with noise, the room was very comfortable, and I was an easy walk to the gallery and my favorite coffee shop.

Favorite perch at Books and Beans.  I could have sat there forever watching people walk by. Book shop/coffee shops are such a perfect combination. I stopped in several times and no one batted an eye at my loitering.

              The Aberdeen Art gallery was wonderful -  
        I fell in love with the work of Winifred Nicholson.

         A early morning view of Aberdeen from the ferry.

More photos from Shetland and Wool Week to come-

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Berries and Branches a Hat Story

As soon as I opened 150 Scandinavian Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone I fell in love with motif 1 and 2 (actually I fell in love with the whole book). First thing I did was add them to a little sock. Then I started playing around with ideas for a hat.

The body of the hat was pretty straight forward as I was planning on using the motifs as they appear in the book. The crown- the part I enjoy the most- can be like working with a kaleidoscope or a puzzle as you try to bring the whole into harmony.

Sharing process photos on Instagram, friends started asking for the pattern and so I decided to publish a free hat recipe that included my crown design with my formula for designing a basic hat. I referenced the book mentioned above as a good resource for motifs for the body.

Eventually ideas started percolating and I realized I could make the entire hat my own design. I started putting the pieces together.

One thing that had troubled me about the original /traditional dot motif was that the center dot as knit with the background color can appear sunken. I tried a few manipulations like knitting it through the back, which helped a little but still wasn’t what I had in mind. Eventually a friend mentioned the Estonian Button Stitch. I looked it up and realized with a few slight variations (working it over just one stitch and with two colors) I was able to get the effect I was hoping for.

I also realized using a third color could highlight the dots and so included that as an option in the chart along with some optional diagonal lines which I think add some fun dimension and movement.

Ultimately I published the updated pattern fully charted – body and crown along with the instructions for my version of the button stitch. You can find it here.  I decided since I was updating the blog I would post a little video I made demonstrating the stitch up above on its own page.

I’m really happy with the pattern and proud that I stuck with it to make it my own.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Travel Memories

I had promised to share some photos of my trip to England and Scotland. Alicia has reminded me and it really doesn’t take much arm-twisting. I had a spectacular time! After flying into London, I took a luxurious train trip up to Glasgow where I stayed overnight in a Cathedral rectory that has been converted into a small hotel. Then I made my way by train up to Oban through the most picturesque countryside of rolling hills and lochs. Oban is a bustling port city with lots of travelers making their way to various Hebrides Isles. I took a ferry to Mull, then a bus across Mull to take a ferry to Iona where I stayed for a week.  All the train-bus and ferry time meant lots of window gazing enjoyment. I loved every minute of it.

Now somehow I will choose my three favorite photos from Iona-


The Walk to the Hostel

 The view from the fields behind the Hostel-

I attended a beautiful Thanksgiving service at the Abbey cathedral. the children from the local elementary school sang and made a presentation about their school-yard garden project.

I'll wait a bit and share a few more photos down the road- so many wonderful memories-