Jumping on the Band Wagon

The yarn shop can be a strange place. Probably not what you expected me to say, but hang with me for a moment and let me explain.

A few years ago, it seemed that everyone at my LYS was knitting the Ivy Vest by Kay Dahlquist. I admired all the vests that were being knit, but had not started one for myself. I liked the pattern, but I was working on other things then. I bought the pattern and stashed it away.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday, and the gal I usually work with had the day off so I worked with someone else. It was fun to catch up with Ann and see what she was working on. Well, she is working on the Ivy Vest. In fact, she informed me that several ladies were working on it and they had come up with a schedule to have it done by September. I mentioned that I had it in my queue but that I was probably so far behind that I couldn’t catch up. They are already three weeks into the KAL. But Ann can be quite persuasive and she convinced me that I could catch up. And I believed her. (See, the yarn shop does strange things to people.)

Well, it turns out that they did the back section (section A) the first week. Then weeks two and three were spent knitting all four panels for section B. This week they were completing one panel C. So I jumped right in and got the back finished yesterday as well as the first panel B. I started the second panel B last night and maybe by the end of the weekend I will have the four panels for B finished. Then if I can get through two of panel C I will be caught up. I can do this right?

Now to totally change the topic, I planted a hibiscus plant this spring and it started blooming this week. It is stunning! Just ignore the weeds.


Have a fabulous weekend and keep creating!


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Excited and Nervous

I can’t believe that it’s time for my Kumihimo class already. This class filled right up and there has been so much interest that I will be offering it again this fall. I’m going to have to start thinking about my fall classes too. The summer is going by way too fast.

IMG_20160710_131423I spent the better part of today polishing up my handout for the class. I wanted to have something for my students to take notes on as well as have the instructions so they can continue braiding when they get home. Writing, rewriting, taking pictures, editing the pictures, getting the layout to look decent . . . I’m exhausted. But I am quite happy with how it turned out. I could really use a nap right now but I just don’t have the time. Buddy on the other hand, napped the whole time I wasIMG_20160710_131119 working. Oh to live the life of a cat!

I am really excited to teach this class tomorrow night, but I am really nervous at the same time. I’m always nervous the first time I teach a class. This is something new and I’m always worried that I will have forgotten something or will confuse my students. I feel prepared, but there is always that little voice of doubt in the back of my mind. Do you think I could shut it up with some cookies?

And lest you think my weekend has been full of class prep, let me tell you what else I’ve been up to. I was gifted some lovely bits of sock yarn on Thursday, so I have been adding squares to my sock yarn blanket. This has been a 10 year project, but I had no timeline for it. The blanket is growing and part of me can’t wait for it to be done. Maybe it will be my go to project this winter.

I have also been working on knitting up a model for my Band Heel class. Right now there are no students signed up (though there has been some interest). So I’m hoping that a model in the shop will get people to sign up. If it doesn’t go this summer, I may try again in the fall. It’s a really fun heel and I like that there is no decreasing for the gusset. As a bonus, the sock we’ll be knitting has a toe that does not need to be grafted. Kick that Kitchener stitch to the curb!

Hubby is prepping steaks to throw on the grill for dinner along with some potatoes and broccoli. After that, I think I will spend a little time with my sewing machine and whip up a cute little bag to put my Kumihimo supplies in. Hopefully it won’t take me all night to get it done.

Never stop creating!



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Uptown Girl

It has been awhile. In fact, it has been longer than I would have liked. But it has finally happened. I have released a brand new pattern! (I hope you were sitting down. Guess I should have warned you.)

So without further ado, I give you the Uptown Girl Socks.


I really enjoyed designing these socks. They are knit from the cuff down and feature a pretty twisted rib on the cuff. A lace panel works its way down the side of the sock and continues down the foot. There are a definite right and left sock. My favorite heel, the Band Heel, is featured. The pattern is presented in written directions. It requires around 420 yds of a fingering weight yarn (more if your shoe size is women’s 10 or above) and a US size 2 needle. They can be worked using magic loop, two circulars or dpn’s.

If you leave me a comment letting me know how you like the design, I will email you a coupon code for 40% off the retail price of $6.00. (Offer good through July 31, 2016.)


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Creativity Abounds

I have made a decision to no longer let life get in the way of my creative pursuits. I have been having a lot of pain in my wrist lately so I have seen an orthopedic doctor. After a round of x-rays and an office exam, I have been given a splint which braces my thumb and have been scheduled for carpal tunnel testing. I have been a bit down about this, but I have come to the conclusion that I just need to press onward. The doctor gave me clearance to do as much as I felt able to do, so that is exactly what I am doing.

First off, I have added four new listings to my Etsy shop. The first one is a lovely shawl/scarf that I crocheted about a month ago.  I finally got around to blocking it and taking several photos so that I could list it on Etsy. This was a fun project. I am thrilled with how it turned out and am already digging through my stash to see what I may have on hand to make more of them. (The links in the photo captions will take you directly to the Etsy listing for the item.)


Crocheted Shawl/Scarf – available in my Etsy shop

My second endeavor has been to make cute stitch markers. These were a blast to make and I have already ordered up some more beads to make more. Knitting is just so much more fun when you have awesome stitch markers. Make sure to check them all out.


Panda Bear Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop


Fantasy Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop


Ladybug Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop

I have also been spinning and spending some quality time with my sewing machine. I am reminded of my sewing skill deficit every time I sit down at that machine. But the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. Hopefully I can improve my Neanderthal rudimentary sewing skills. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In the meantime, keep creating and make the world a more beautiful place!


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There’s a Spring In My Step & In the Air


Spring has definitely “sprung” here in SW Michigan. In fact, we’ve had several days where it has felt like the middle of summer. Who knew we would have to run the A/C in May? I have been enjoying this spring much more than I have any spring in the last 9 or 10 years. Without going into a lot of details, I have finally been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Basically my body sees my thyroid as an intruder and is producing antibodies to get rid of the invader. I have now been on treatment for almost a month and a half (including going gluten-fhostasree) and I am already feeling better. I have much more energy than I have had in years and it has been wonderful to get outside and do yard work again. My flowers are blooming and my hostas are threatening to take over the world yard.

Despite having quite a bit of pain in my right wrist, I have been busy crafting. I have done some stitching and crocheting while taking breaks from knitting. I have also been playing around with a new-to-me craft called Kumihimo braiding. This technique is quite easy to learn, gives quick results and is very fun to do. I have been having so much fun doing it, that I will be teaching a class on it at my LYS. If you are in the Kalamazoo area, contact KumihimoStitching Memories to sign up.

New this spring, I will also be offering a drop in knitting/crocheting class on Thursday afternoons from 2-4, beginning this Thursday, June 2. There are no specific projects for this class. If you have a project you need assistance with or you need help starting a new project, this is the class for you. I will also be available to teach new knitters/crocheters. If you have taken a class from me in the past and need help completing the project, this is the perfect opportunity to get my help.

I am also teaching  a class to make this stylish hemp/linen ponchette. It will be a 2 week class with lots of time for knitting in between. Every time I wear this piece, I always receive lots of compliments. It is a great addition to your spring/fall wardrobe and can also be used to shield your shoulders from the A/C. Again, contact Stitching Memories to sign up and purchase your supplies. (You receive a 10% discount on all class supplies!) Hope to see you in class!




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So Many Plans, So Little Time . . .

First off, I want to give a HUGE thank you to my doctor. She has finally given me the answers I’ve been looking for the last 7-8 years. I finally have a diagnosis and with my current treatment, I am feeling better every day. Without going into an extremely long story, suffice it to say that I’m glad I persevered, changed doctors, and I’m starting to feel like myself again.

Now that I’m getting my energy back, my creative juices are flowing like a river at flood stage. I have to rein myself in a bit as I have a serious case of “startitis” at the moment. It seems that every project I see I want to start. Every idea that pops into my head makes me want to start seeing if it will work. Everything is shiny and grabs my attention. I do love this manic phase I’m having, but I can’t start all the projects at once.

Enter the notebook. I’m keeping track of all my ideas for later. Eventually this creative flow will slow down and then I can look at my thoughts and ideas in a calm, rational manner. In the meantime, let the ideas flow!

And just so you know, fiber arts aren’t the only way I’m creative. I’ve taken up sketching.





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Thursday Musings

While I was working at my LYS, a customer was admiring some sweaters we have on display for upcoming classes. Each one has a sign stating the name of the pattern, the dates and times of the classes, and at the bottom a simple request, “Please do not try on.” The customer turned to me and asked if people actually try on the samples. This sparked an interesting discussion and I am interested in what other knitters think.

yarn shopetiquette

If you see a sample sweater/hat/shawl/mitts, etc., in a yarn shop, would you just try it on? I personally do not try anything on at a yarn shop unless one of the staff invites me to do so or I ask one of the staff if the item is available to be tried on. In our shop, some of the models come from the yarn companies and those we allow customers try on if they desire. We also have a lot of models that were knit by our staff which are their own personal items.

I have encountered many customers who politely ask if they may try on a model. But there are just as many who walk in, take the model off the display mannequin, and proceed to try it on without asking. I wonder if they are mistaking the yarn store for a department store. Is that possible?

I never allow a customer to try on someone’s personal knitted item without that person’s permission. A shawl or scarf is permissible in my opinion. Allowing people to try on a model risks having that particular model stretched, snagged, or worse. I personally don’t want numerous people trying on my own handknit sweater, hat, etc. I do let customers try on my scarves and shawls as there is less chance of damage to the item.

I also encourage customers to touch the finished projects. Knitting is a very tactile process. I think most knitters are initially drawn to a yarn’s colors, but many knitters skip over a lovely dyed yarn because it feels rough or harsh. Knitting is not a speedy craft and we want to enjoy the yarn as it runs through our fingers while we form the stitches. I do not want to spend weeks knitting something with yarn that feels awful in my hands. In fact, if I don’t like the feel of the yarn I will probably not knit on the project much. Then we have to think about how the final garment is going to feel while we wear it. This is where touching the models comes in. Sometimes a yarn may feel a bit rough in the hank or ball, but once it is knit up it becomes soft and yummy. It’s all about how it feels . . . during the process and as the finished project.

This also brings up another knitting etiquette question . . . if you see someone knitting something, do you just walk up to them and start fondling their knitting as you ask them about the project?

So what do you think? Do you walk into yarn stores and just try things on without asking first? Do you think customers should ask or do you believe the models are there for you to try on? How about touching someone else’s knitting while they are working on it? Speak up knitters!

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