Click the picture to purchase the pattern.

"Cathy's Cowl"

Click the picture to purchase the pattern.

"Cathy's Hat"

This hat pattern is free with the purchase of the "Cathy's Cowl" pattern.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


This yarn is a delight to knit with, and I'm happy with the way this tank top is working up so far. 

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It's difficult to see the cable and lace pattern since the stitches are crowded on the needles (and the stitch will need to be blocked to see more detail), but you can see it better in the swatch in this post

This yarn needed a bra badly because it is slippery and the yarn cake kept unraveling. I can't remember where I got this one from because I've had it for so long.  But if you need some, you can buy them at Jimmy Beans Wool.    

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I will show you more as this piece grows.  What are you guys working on?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I had strict instructions; The BFF said that if I am going to design a tank top for her that the pattern must be able to be knit in the round because she "no likey" to seam.  EVER.  But I know that she is actually very good at it because I had her knit and seam one of my designs once and the seaming was so perfect that I have a shrine built in honor of her seaming prowess.   

Here she is.  All 184 stitches in the round.

 In this post, I mentioned I got as far as the sketch and swatch for this design, but it turns out that I actually have gotten a bit further in the process.  I was going through some old files on a flash drive and discovered that I got so far as to have this design charted in Excel. I learned to use Excel to chart my knitting designs using some of Marnie MacLean's blog posts.  If you're interested, head on over there and get some learnin'.

She describes using Excel for charting colorwork in this tutorial, but I've substituted colored squares for Stitch Mastery Knitting Fonts.  I usually chart an entire sweater on Excel, and this has helped me tremendously in being able to see the garment stitch by stitch.  It also helps me understand and plan for how increases and decreases will interrupt complex patterns like cables and lace; a lesson I learned while taking a free "design-along" course by Shirley Paden over in the We Love Shirley Paden Group on Ravelry.   

I spent last night making changes to the original design. You can see a bit of it in the sketch above the swatch.  

At first, only the front right side of the tank top was supposed to have this cable and lace pattern.  Now, I want it to wrap around to the right back.  That involved re-calculating the number of stitch repeats.  I am satisfied with my calculations, so, as you can see in the first picture, I cast on.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Contest Winner

Caroline (Fiber Tribe) my dear, you have won the contest!  Send your mailing address to niksknits@gmail.com and I will send you the prizes. Congratulations!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2016


The week is over!  My week wasn't hard, there was just a lot to do.  I had to give a poster presentation at work yesterday that went really well.  I'm tired, and when I feel like relaxing, I find a fancy wine glass from which to drink (There can be anything from water to Riesling in that glass, depending on what I need.) and maybe a knitting magazine or book to read.  

Imagine this: You're sitting at home with your feet up, browsing through a knitting book with some awesome patterns, all while a candle that smells like what the candle company thinks the ocean smells like is burning. 

You like that, huh?

Well, I've got something to give to you.

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Just tell me what you're knitting this weekend and how you're relaxing in the comments section by Sunday, 5/15/16 at 9pm and I will randomly draw one commenter's name.  The winner will receive a copy of finish-free knits, that beautiful gold embellished wine glass, and the candle, because I'm all about helping you relax.  You'll have to come back on Monday to see if you won. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Design inspiration can come from anywhere, and pop into your head at any time.  Take yesterday for instance.  Right after I cursed out a driver (in my mind) for swerving in and out of my lane in rush hour traffic, a design popped into my head for a sweater with a swerving neckline.  I'm working on that one because I believe this design needs to come to life.  I might call it "Traffic".  Or maybe "&@$^*#%" would be a better name.

I have this notebook that contains sketches and notes for designs that just showed up in my head all of a sudden.  Many of them have gotten as far as being swatched.  I was flipping through said notebook and came across a sketch of a tank that I was designing for my best friend, but I didn't get past the swatch.  This, too, needs to come to life.

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So for my next knitting trick, watch me pull a tank top with an offset V-neck out of my hat. 

Monday, May 09, 2016


I am not normally a shawl knitter.  I get most of my knitting kicks from making sweaters, vests, and tanks.  But sometimes I will see a pattern out of my normal repertoire that makes me feel like I NEED it in my life.  Andromeda is one of them.

I started Andromeda during that period when I started being adamant about focusing and finishing the patterns that I started.  It's a beautiful pattern that was great fun to knit.  I was even able to work on it during knit-night with the girls because the cable and lace stitches weren't difficult; I could run my mouth and still get this done.

There are instructions to make this with either DK or fingering weight yarn.  I chose to make it with the suggested Madeline Tosh DK in "Scarlet".  The pattern suggests two skeins, but I had to purchase a third skein because I ran out of yarn before finishing the lace border and the picot bind-off.  You can choose a garter stitch edge instead of the picot edge, if you prefer.

Made with Madeline Tosh DK in "Scarlet".
The model for the shawl is my awesome cousin, Denise.  I went to her house to take her to lunch for Mother's Day, and I took the shawl with me so that she could help me get good shots of it.  I had a lot of fun taking these pictures because she's very funny.  (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

I love this picture of her.

It was over 80 degrees outside while she modeled this scorching hot wool shawl.  I'd like to give her a round of applause for not dying. 

Friday, May 06, 2016


I'm just going to leave this teaser right here.  I blocked her last night, and she is still pinned to the floor of the craft room.  I'll give you a full picture of what this is on Monday.  I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

I have no idea what these are going to become:

A hat? Somehow incorporate these into new sweater designs?  Socks?  A shawl?

I simply do. not. know.  As a matter of fact, because I know you know that I don't know what these are going to be, if you ask me what I am making with them, I will give you this face:

'Cause I don't know.

I'm going through a serious shawl phase right now, so this might be a sign from the Universe that at least one of these hanks will magically be turned into a shawl.

I got these dreamy skeins from the Carolina Fiber Fest we had here in Raleigh at the end of March.  The one on the left is from Twist Fiber Studio, and I can say for a fact that there was so much yummy yarn that it was difficult for me to make a decision about which skein to take home.

And what I said about the yarn from Twist Fiber Studio goes ditto for the hank on the right from HauteKnit Yarn.  I had a budget when I went to the fiber fest and walking into this booth had me thinking, "Psssh, WHAT budget?  I can live off of the awesome that is this yarn.".  At one point, I was just walking around with multiple items in my arms, but my need to stick to my budget made me put some back.  I swear it was like ripping my heart out.  You MUST have a budget when you go to these events because you will definitely leave broke.  I guess I can always head over to the Etsy shop and buy more.  

Monday, May 02, 2016


I finished this sweater months ago, but let me tell you one thing: Knitting this baby sweater for a friend's grandson was a lesson in teaching myself to use ninja-like focus when finishing projects. 

I was tired of having unfinished knitting lying around the house due to my "start-itis", so I had to put my foot down when it came to starting new projects: DON'T START A NEW ONE UNTIL THE PREVIOUS ONE IS FINISHED (unless it's absolutely necessary).

A groundbreaking idea, I know. 

I swear I wanted to take a better picture of the sweater.  I was even going to call Annie Liebovitz ("Liebo" to me, since we're such good friends and all.*) and have her take superstar pictures of my creation.  But before I knew it, I'd packed up the sweater before I got the chance to. Instead, you get this quick iPhone photo I took to show my friend: 

"Trellis" by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff.  Knit in Cascade 220 Superwash, Color 821.

I was so proud to have finished that I wanted to mail it ASAP.  I also didn't want much more time to pass because this is a growing baby and I'd made the 6 month size.  I believe the child was 3 or 4 months old by the time I mailed it.

I've seen a picture of the baby wearing it, and he looks so cute!

My job here is done. 

*In my dreams.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Life is grand.

It is very difficult for me to believe that some of the friends that I went to college with now have GRANDchildren.  You know how your brain feels when you try to wrap it around a concept and it just keeps going round-and-round because it can't fully accept it?  Yeah.

I think it's because I still think of us as those 20-something-year-olds we were back then.  We are now awesome 40-something-year-olds, but since many of the memories I have of them were made while we were in our twenties (I haven't seen many since then), my brain is trying to make the adjustment. 

I am saying all of this because I am making a baby sweater for one of my "Grandma Homies".  How could I say, "No", when, after requesting a baby sweater, she promised she'd brag about my knitting skills to her friends?  The pattern that I chose to make is "Trellis" from Knitty.com.

Picture is from Knitty.com
Click to enlarge
I'm knitting this in the 6 month size and my goal is to finish this quickly.  I have completed the back and left front, and I'm almost done with the right front.  I think I might work the sleeves two-at-a-time to make this go quicker.  This is the second time I've knit this sweater and I love it for the "wow factor".  Non-knitters see the fancy stitch acrobatics of the cables and think you're a knitting goddess.  This sweater will only take two balls of Cascade 220 Superwash (I wish a sweater for me only took two balls of yarn.). 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

You Can Never Have Too Many

I need you to take a few moments and gaze upon the beauty of my new yarn bowl.
(Click the pictures to enlarge.)
I often browse Etsy for beautiful yarn bowls, and my recent browsing session did not disappoint.  I purchased this bowl from HardwoodSpindles and I'm so glad I did.  Shipping was fast; I ordered this bowl last Friday, Mr. Johnson emailed me to tell me that he will mail it on Monday, and I received it today. 

AND it was reasonably priced at $45.  There were a few different styles left the last time I checked, so if you want one, you best head on over there ASAP.

Of course I didn't NEED another yarn bowl:

But when you see something this beautiful, the next thing you know the screen reads "Thank you for your order.".  I've already started using it to hold the yarn I'm using to make this beauty:

"Compton" from Rowan's "Alpaca Colour" book.  (The picture is from Rowan's site.)

I really thought that I would be done with knitting the pieces last night.  I mean, I was in a groove, honey, and knitting like the wind because I was SO CLOSE to being done.  But when I got to the shoulder shaping of the right front, I realized that I forgot to reverse the shaping as written for the left front.  The neckline of the sweater is at my shoulder and its shoulder is at my neck.  AGONY!  Believe me, I thought about just switching my neck and shoulder around to keep from having to rip the knitting, but that would have been WAAAAY harder.  So I put it in "time out" until I'm not mad anymore.  

Just looking at this picture makes the pain fresh again.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Superstar" Day 7

Well folks, today is the last day of my "Knit and Crochet Superstar" feature.  Today's free pattern is "Ocean".

 I truly want to thank Cat Morely for the opportunity to show my work.  It's been awesome. 

*Click here to read about what the "Knit and Crochet Superstar" feature is on the Cut Out and Keep website.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Superstar" Day 6

A few years ago, it dawned on me that I hadn't knit anything for three of my brothers. So, I decided to design a hat for each of them. "Cables and Ladders", the Knit and Crochet Superstar* day 6 free pattern, is one of those hats.  I wish I had a clearer picture (you can make it a little larger by clicking on it), but hopefully you can appreciate the 6-stitch cables and the ladder pattern formed by alternating purl rows and knit rows. 

*Click here to read about what the "Knit and Crochet Superstar" feature is on the Cut Out and Keep website.

Friday, June 12, 2015

"Superstar" Day 5

Ah, it's day 5 of my "Knit and Crochet Superstars" feature* and today's free pattern is "The Republic"-Toddler Edition.

I tend to love miniature versions of things (One of these days I'll show you the dollhouse I'm building.). I remember that when I was done knitting this tinier version of  "The Republic" hat, I just squealed with delight. If you don't have a toddler in your life, you'll just have to make a baby so you can make this hat.  It's that cute.  


*Click here to read about what the "Knit and Crochet Superstar" feature is on the Cut Out and Keep website.