31 December 2009

Amazing British Glove collection

In case you haven't seen this amazing collection of gloves, be sure to visit here and here and all of the rest of them. Leather, knitted fabric, amazing embroidery - wow. I'm inspired.

25 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #25: Treeline Striped Cardigan

I'm sure you were very good this year and received a bag of yummy Manos del Uruguay or other Aran/Worsted yarn of your choice. Now it's time to make something for yourself. I'm thinking of the Treeline Striped Cardigan, with Malabrigo Merino Worsted and some Kidsilk Haze. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

24 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #24: Stocking Ornament

You've still got sock yarn nuggets, don't you. How about a few last-minute mini stockings for your tree? Everlasting Liz comes through again with these cuties. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

23 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #23: Gifted Mittens

I bet you need a pair of mittens for snowball fights right about now or know someone who would appreciate them this Christmas, and these go very quickly with bulky yarn (or doubled worsted weight) on two needles. The seaming up is pretty quick. Kate Gilbert is a lovely knitwear designer, and it's very kind of her to share this pattern. [Ravelry link / Pattern link / PDF link]

22 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #22: Sweater Ornaments

Surely you have a little nugget of sock yarn in your oddballs stash. A few last-minute sweater ornaments would be perfect for the tree or to decorate a gift. I've included two today; one is top-down and the other bottom-up, so you can go with whichever is easier for you (or try the other for a light challenge in miniature).  [Bottom-up: Ravelry link /  Pattern link; Top-down: Ravelry link / Pattern link]

21 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #21: EZ as Pi Lace Beret

Lacy, pretty, quick. What more could you want? You are running out of time for Christmas gifts, Hannukah is over, and today is the Solstice (yay, turning towards the light!). This one does go quickly, though you need to leave time for blocking -- I do mine over a cake stand and run a strand of thread through the YOs closest to the ribbing and tie it tight around the base of the stand to open up the lace and keep the brim snug (at least to start, as we all know wear will stretch out that ribbing). [Ravelry link]

20 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #20: Pooch Pouch

We're getting down to the wire! How about some saddle bags for your dog's retractable leash to hold keys, ID, perhaps even a baggie or two? A little bit of worsted weight yarn is all it takes. Sized for small, medium and large retractable leashes. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

19 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #19: Lobster Buoys

You don't have to be from Maine to know what a wonderful place it is. Why not add a few lobster buoy ornaments to your tree or someone else's to keep Maine fresh in your mind? These little buoys from Molly Lincoln, who also designed the awesome knit lobster, are a great stash buster and a quickie project. Knit them up in Christmas colors or come up with your own lobsterman color scheme. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

Falala Free Pattern #18: Goldfish Mittens

Still looking for something special for the little one in your life? These mittens are adorable, a good chance to practice your stranded knitting technique, and have a clever cuff design that looks like a fish tail. I worked up a pair for Isobel in Malabrigo Merino Worsted on US4s, and just in time as it's finally cold here in New York. And there just might be a pair on the needles in blue and gold for a certain nephew of mine for Christmas. They go quickly, so you should have time to work up a pair before the big day. [Ravelry link]

17 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #17: Little Red

Do you have a little fairy-tale lover on your list? How about the new Little Red Riding Hood set from Petite Purls? Little Red, her Grandmother, and the Wolf work up quickly, being small, in DK yarn -- perfect little handfuls. And if you hadn't visited Petite Purls yet, what are you waiting for? Lots of darling things for your little darlings on this new online publication. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

16 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #16: Francis Revisited

Today's delay brought to you by ... changing email addresses. Yes, after 15 years I've decided to chuck the mac.com addy and go gmail (kathleendames at, for those who are interested in such things). Which means I've spent the day unsubscribing and resubscribing to a kajillion mailing lists. Wow, some online entities are waaaay better than others when it comes to managing your personal data/preferences/subscription. Yahoo!, you stink. Sorry, but I had to change every Groups subscription I had individually, and I still have to see the stupid "kathleen_fivel" identity, even though I am no longer Kathleen Fivel and have, in fact, changed everything to "kathleen_dames". Grumble grumble. Gah! Enough of that, on to the fun stuff!

It's cold (finally) in New York, so I'm in the mood for a sweater, something cosy, perhaps with a cowl neck? How about Francis Revisited? Beth Silverstein has kindly written up her pattern for all of us (XS to 3XL) and offers it free on Ravelry. The pattern is worked on slightly larger needles (US10) for the worsted/aran yarn, so it should fly. I have a pile of 100purewool worsted merino in the Frog Pond that may be just right. New Christmas sweater, anyone? This one doesn't have any intarsia reindeer! [Ravelry link]

15 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #15: Knitted Fisherman Stocking

Until I work up my own knitted fisherman Christmas stocking pattern, you will have to make do with Mary Thomas's lovely one. A row of these hung by the chimney with care would be so pretty. This pattern has been in my queue for a long time, so I should get cracking on at least one. If only we had a fireplace in our apartment! A word of warning on this pattern: there are no charts. However, the written instructions seem fairly clear. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

Wish List, Winter 2009

What's on your wish list this year? Oh, in addition to the little list below, I'd like peace, universal health care worth having, meaningful work for those who don't have it, and a new season of Project Runway or The Rachel Zoe Project. What? A girl can dream.
  • Backup for my digital life (all of it - 1 TB!)
  • Perhaps a new interchangeable needle set -- there are lots to choose from these days. This one from WEBS comes in such a pretty case, and, of course, there are the Knitpicks Options sets (metal/the original Options , wood/Harmony, or acrylic/Zephyr). I like that the set from WEBS will have a US3 needle, since I tend to knit yarns on the finer side these days. There is also the HiyaHiya Interchangeable set, though it's not available for purchase at this time -- perhaps they underestimated the demand for a high-quality set. Usually I'm not that keen on metal needles, but I liked the brushed finish on the lightweight steel tips from HiyaHiya.
  • Oh, anything and everything from my Etsy Wish List. I just love Etsy, despite Germaine Greer's tirade against handmade gifts in the Guardian a couple of days ago.
  • A silicone basting brush -- my current "dishwasher safe" one keeps losing bristles, making it clear that it is not, in fact, dishwasher safe.
  • A job, ideally the one I interviewed for last week. It's a design position with the university. The people seemed nice and cool and have a similar design and work philosophy. Plus the office is about halfway between home and the kids' school. Good work, good people, good location, good benefits: All around a really good fit, if they like me.
  • A case for my camera (Nikon D80) -- it's pretty heavy to lug in my purse, and it deserves a little more protection.
  • Lovelies from past wish lists, like Scilla, a C pin from Leslie Wind, a Mermaid blanket, or some ORK posters

14 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #14: Impatience

Here is another pattern for knitting up some of that beautiful sock yarn you're hoarding. Impatience is a large cowl/scarf worked in Dream in Color's Starry (all of DIC's lovely, superwash color with added sparkle -- what's not to love). [Ravelry link / Blog link / PDF link]

13 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #13: 22.5 Degrees

Do you still have sock yarn looking for a purpose? Of course you do! Why not knit up Martina Behm's lovely little shawlette. Garter stitch-based with a very wide angle, it's more interesting to knit than a scarf but fills the same need. Be sure to check Martina's video link on the pattern page to see her work the scalloped edge. She used a skein of Wollmeise, which has over 500 yards, but since the body of the shawl is garter stitch (no extraneous lace), you should be able to adjust, starting the edge a little earlier -- just follow her notes in the pattern for how many stitches you'll need on the needles. This would make a perfect quick gift or a project to look forward to in January. [Ravelry link]

12 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #12: Jean Beret

Hats hats hats! They're quick and satisfying to make, do a super-efficient job of keeping their wearers warm, and brighten up one's winter ensemble in a snap. The slouchy style is very popular right now, so why not try my Jean Beret, especially since today is my mom's birthday, and I created this one for her. Worsted-weight yarn make it a pretty quick knit, while the twisted stitches lend interest to both knitter and wearer. [Ravelry link / PDF link]

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you.

11 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #11: Hemlock Ring Blanket

I know, I know! Everyone has knit this blanket. What? You haven't? Oh, you should. It's a neat pattern and makes a lovely gift. Just ask my parents. I made one for them last Christmas (I wanted to make two but had this little, hungry baby who wouldn't let me accomplish much of anything) and there was so much squabbling I had to whip up another one (for Dad, he let Mom keep the first) once Penelope started eating solids. So far I've made four, including one for me. Go on, make one! Brooklyn Tweed (Jared Flood) made this one famous, and the Rainey sisters whipped up a lovely PDF chart. [Ravelry link / Brooklyn Tweed's blog link / Rainey Sisters' blog link / PDF link]

Falala Free Pattern #10: Petrol

Have a man in your life? How about a nice vest for him. Quicker than a sweater (especially if you have one of the long-armed varieties) but a step up from a scarf or hat, Carol J. Sukcoski (yes, that Carol) wrote this one to knit quickly in beautiful Aran-weight Manos del Uruguay. Folks have also subbed Cascade 220, Cascade Eco Wool, Malabrigo, and more. Work it up in one color for Mr. Conservative, or push his boundaries a little by including the stripe. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

P.S. Apologies for missing a post yesterday. I had an interview for a position I really want and then sold some of my handknits at the kids' school Craft Fair yesterday. Busy busy busy. Today's pattern will be up shortly to get us back on track.

09 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #9: International Cat Hat: Turkey

Let's not forget the kitties this year! Stacy Mar of Spindles and Spices has come up with a number of adorable, hysterical patterns for cat hats. It was a toss-up between this Turkish fez and the Statue of Liberty crown (the French beret is cute, too), but the red of the fez seems more festive for the season. If you can get your cat to wear such a thing for more than a nanosecond, I would be impressed. Riley says, "No." [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

08 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #8: Hearts and Bones Dog Sweater

Do you have one of those dear little dogs that need a sweater when the weather turns foul or know someone who does? How about a little dog sweater with charted intarsia hearts and bones for embellishment. This sweater is from Picture Perfect Knits (Chronicle Books) and has some nice details, like front-leg sleeves and straps that keep the back of your pooch warm, too, without getting the back of the sweater dirty. Recommended yarn is Lamb's Pride Worsted Superwash, and this is an instance where you should choose a superwash yarn. Your faithful companion will thank you. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

07 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #7: Child's Gansey Sweater

Do you have a special child to knit for? Perhaps a traditional Gansey Sweater is in order. Claudia at Countrywool wrote up this chatty pattern for the Aranknit list covering all the details that make a Gansey Sweater unique (Channel Island cast on, twisted-stitch yoke pattern, and gussets for a better fit where sleeve meets body) in Worsted weight yarn. She gives us her recipe for a 28" chest and 5spi, but because it's a recipe, she gives you the information to adjust for your own size/gauge. If you follow the Yarn Harlot's adventures, you may know that she's been working on a Gansey for Joe for years. Why not try a smaller version and finish it up in no time? That's the beauty of a kid's pattern: lots less yarn/knitting and you still master new skills. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

KSA: Vogue Knitting Winter Sale Ends Today

Wow! 40% off books, 50% off patterns. Lost your copy of the Winter 06/07 with Norah Gaughan's Cabled Bolero on the cover? You can get a copy of the pattern for half off. It's in my queue. Is there a knitter in your life (perhaps yourself?) moving on from following patterns to designing their own? Get one of Nicky Epstein's "edge" books or a Vogue Stitchionary (Knit and Purl, Cables, Colorwork) on sale. Ends today (12/7/09). [Link]

06 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #6: Gloves Can Be Deceiving

Perhaps you're a fairly new knitter, looking to move on from scarves, starting to stash beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn, but not yet ready for socks and/or knitting in the round on double-pointed needles (DPNs). Try these gloves, knit flat with sock yarn and then seamed (slightly tedious, but totally worth it). I used about a third of a skein of Madeline Tosh Sock for mine and didn't do the stripes (happily, the pattern is based on measurements rather than a certain number of rows or repeats of the striping pattern, so just follow the inches), which makes it a little easier with fewer ends to weave in and all, plus that hand-dye does all the work. [Ravelry link / pattern link]

05 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #5: Irish Hiking Scarf

This classic, cabled scarf is perfect for just about any man or woman on your list. [Ravelry link / blog link / PDF link]

If you're a knitter with access to the interwebs and don't know who Adrian Bizilia is, you're missing out: beautiful hand-dyed yarns and fibers, clever patterns, some free, others available in great knitting publications like Twist Collective and Clara Parkes's books. Wander around her site from the blog link above or browse her projects on Ravelry.

04 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #4: Amy March's Slippers

These slippers, worked up in bulky yarn (pattern calls for Lamb's Pride Bulky) or two strands of worsted (I've done a number with Malabrigo Merino Worsted, doubled), are quick-to-knit, cozy, and feminine with a bit of ribbon. Plus, they are a great gift for a traveler, since they are small and stretchy and can be slipped in a carry-on. Bonus for the knitter: learn toe-up sock construction with a short-row heel on a much smaller number of stitches. PDF available for download from Ravelry. [Ravelry link]

03 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #3: Kelly Bag

I was going to say I'll add this to my queue for after the holidays, but Jennifer Casa (the clever designer) and several others on Ravelry said they knit theirs up in a day. Economy? What economy? Kelly bags for everyone! [Ravelry link / Blog link]

02 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #2: Mini Mittens

How about a string of mini mittens for an Advent Calendar? Or use them with long strings to wrap up holiday presents? This pattern [PDF link / Ravelry link] from Valley Yarns (Webs) work the mittens flat with a little seam to sew up, which may be less fiddly for some knitters. If you are looking to work in the round, try these from Mindy Lewis [blog link / Ravelry link].

01 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #1: Elsa Schiaparelli Bowknot Sweater

Thought I would share a free pattern a day until Christmas, some suitable for quick-knit gifts, others to put in your queue for a gift to yourself once the holidays are over.

Why not add Elsa Schiaparelli's Bowknot Sweater to your queue? Shocking pink, perhaps. The good people of Schoolhouse Press offer this pattern free on their website. In addition to knitting a bit of surrealist fashion history, you could add Armenian knitting* to your skill set. Or if you're a crazy-quick knitter, you could wrap yourself up for the holidays!

*Looking at the trompe l'oeil bowknot on the front of this sweater, you would think it is done with intarsia, and you would be wrong. Armenian knitting uses trapping of the second color (a la two-handed fair isle knitting) to carry the second color throughout the piece. The pattern is written in pieces, which means trapping on purl rows -- I think I might try to convert this to knitting in the round to avoid that and work out some seamless set-in sleeves with EZ's help.