I don’t often post about my knitting projects here, but today seemed like a good opportunity to make an exception. After all, the prompt is “circle” and I have a project that was knit in the round, thus creating a circle.

This is my own design, one that was created for my local yarn shop, Mockingbird Moon. It’s a cowl with matching fingerless mitts using a truly fun — and high quality — yarn my LYS stocked up on this fall called “Dyed in the Wool” by SpinCycle. Loralee, who owns the shop, needed a pattern for the statewide yarn crawl coming up in October, and wanted to feature this yarn.

I played around with various designs using yarn from my stash (for those not familiar with yarn terminology, “stash” is leftover yarn from finished projects or yarn you’ve purchased believing the right project will come along someday — the former is what makes up my stash). Here’s what some of those samples looked like:

I took those samples in to Loralee, who decided on one and gave me some yarn from the store to knit up a sample cowl, both the Dyed in the Wool and a yarn named Alegria by Manos del Uruguary. Once I finished it, we realized there was plenty left over to make some mitts, so using the same basic design, I created a pattern for those and knit them up.

After displaying the cowl and mitts in the store, where it received a really good response, we learned that even though the original cowl is a full 24″ around, some people feared it would be too tight. It was easy enough to adjust the pattern to make a longer cowl, so the pattern now has two sizes.

CowlI really wanted the “right” pictures for this project. Loralee’s daughter Lydia seemed like a good choice for a model, unfortunately, she wasn’t available. So we thought one of the shop’s regulars, Heather, would be perfect. As it turns out, Heather’s niece, Kaylan, enjoys this sort of thing (and Heather doesn’t), and as you can see, she was the ideal model. Heather’s mom and Kaylan’s grandmother is my friend Yvonne, and I have to thank all three of them for their support with this project.

After writing out an initial draft of the pattern, I needed some test knitters, and three women graciously volunteered to knit a set and give me their feedback. Fortunately, the pattern didn’t need too much revision.

The cowl requires two yarns, and in addition to the Dyed in the Wool, one of the yarns used by test knitter Maureen was locally-spun and dyed, in a color named “ColPat.”  The color was given that name in honor of her son, Cole Patrick, who committed suicide several years ago. My LYS has taken on suicide prevention for fundraising, and proceeds from the sale of the ColPat yarn will go to that cause. It’s selling well.

The design looks like it uses stranded, sometimes called Fair Isle, knitting, but it doesn’t. Instead, there are slipped stitches, which create the two-color effect. The cable is a really fun dropped-stitch version, which can have a lace effect with certain yarns, or a more textured effect with others.

20504153_10154902012905668_1045306875_nThe pattern, which I named MoonDance, is available for sale on, a social media site for knitters, crocheters and weavers. If you dabble in any of those arts and haven’t checked out Ravelry yet, do so now!!

I’m really pleased with the final result, as is Loralee. I don’t do a lot of designing, but when I do, there’s a great deal of satisfaction.

If you’re a knitter looking for your next project, I invite you to take a look at this pattern! Another yarn that would work well with it is Lorna Lace’s Shepherd Sport, which comes in numerous variegated colorways. That’s the yarn I used in the sample on the left above. They also have solids in the same yarn, which would coordinate well.

One note about the Lorna’s Laces variegated yarn: the color repeats are shorter, so the effect would be very different from the Dyed in the Wool. You can see that difference in the sample.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with this pattern!!


Crafting a Legacy

In my home, as well as my mom’s, there is evidence of my handiwork everywhere — evidence of me. It is my legacy, I suppose, along with other things I’ll let my family and friends determine on my behalf. But I love to create, and those I love are the recipients of my creative efforts, generally, I hope, because they want to be.

One of my young friends just moved from Arkansas to Wisconsin, and she has this cap to keep her warm!

Long ago I learned only to give to those whom I know, or have reason to believe, will appreciate the gift. Over the years I’ve received many gracious notes, letters, text messages and phone calls saying, “thank you!” The most memorable, I suppose, was the hug from a co-worker when I made him a mohawk cap (it was knitted, then felted, and when he wore it, it resembled a mohawk). He was in a band, and wore it when he played. Later he wanted me to make the same cap for the others in his band, but I didn’t have the time.

I asked him for a picture with him wearing the cap, and he promised me he’d take one and forward it to me, but I never received it. Never mind, he was so excited about the cap, and I hold that memory close.

Some fingerless mitts I designed.

At that same workplace I made fingerless mitts for my friends who worked in receiving. Later, I knitted a second pair for one of them when she lost the first pair. Last year I designed and made another pair of fingerless mitts for a friend when she cat-sat for me while I took cared for my mom after surgery.

But take a look at my mom’s home. Never mind the plethora of sweaters I’ve made her, there’s the shawl, the pillow, the quilts, the dish cloths I embroidered, bookmarks I stenciled, jewelry boxes I decorated, a picture of a wild parakeet I drew and soon, she’ll have curtains in her kitchen (just waiting for the fabric to get that one done).

I come by this passion for creating honestly. My mom sewed while I was growing, everything from my underwear to my dad’s suits. She was incredible. My dad, a computer programmer by profession (which I think of as creative), made and sold pottery when I was in high school. If he’d wanted to, it’s likely he could have quit his job and been a full-time potter, but the timing wasn’t right.

When my niece was younger, I designed and knit some clothes for her Barbie dolls — and I’m still designing !

Knitting is my primary outlet. I’ve been knitting for more than 38 years, and in recent years have been designing a little here and there. Actually, I’ve always done some design, I just never recorded it.

My friends and family keep warm in the winter because of the hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, cowls and the like I’ve made. For that matter, some strangers do, too, as I always make a few things for my church’s Giving Tree each year, where we collect cold-weather clothing of all kinds to give to those who come to the food bank each week.

Yes, it’s my legacy, and it’s a legacy of love.

A few years ago, I did a lot of quilting, and I may do some more someday. For now, these keep my home cheery and the bannister warm. Plus, the cats like to “hide” under the one on the left!



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