19 October 2015


Wow! What a fantastic weekend! I am wiped, so you get lots of pretty pictures. There are some Periscope broadcasts over on Katch, and I think I'm going to upload all of them to my YouTube channel once I look/listen to them to see if they are worth preserving (I have no idea - I was so excited to be there that I'm not sure the video or sound was at all useful).

Coherent words to follow when I am more coherent. Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.

If we met this weekend, "hi!". If we missed each other, :( I saw many other lovely fiber folks but was too busy enjoying myself to take the proper pictures.

I'm off to do laundry and get myself organized, even though all I want to do is knit all the things (starting with some long arm warmers - it was cold!). Hope you had a lovely weekend, too :)

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
Tone Poem Photo: reflected foliage and blurry coffee mug

So excited to be here at Building B!

Annie and I fussing over our handknits by a favorite tree
Cider donut stand in the background

Modeling - smize and show your footwear!

With Annie and her girls

I heart wool

I think this ram was flirting with me

So fun to meet Gaye of GGMadeIt in person (and all the other knitters/periscopers/bloggers/podcasters/wool lovers)!

View of the posing tree from the other side with delicious lamb barley soup

How cool is this jacket? She made all the flowers then sewed them together.
Her beau (not pictured) had one flower pinned on his jacket as a boutoniere.

Captain meetup: Liz Gipson (weaver extraordinaire known as Yarnworker), Lisa Check of Flying Goat Farm (that's her booth of rainbow-organized gorgeousness), Lisa Barnes (LMB Designs). Thanks, Tara, for bringing us together!

OMG! That's my Sotherton as a sample in the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth
My talented test knitter, Jennifer, told me she'd spotted it.

Frost on the windshield - glad I packed mittens and a hat!

Saturday night's frost caused all the trees to start dropping their leaves like mad -
some parts of the smaller roads had thick carpets of leaves on them

Another Captain meetup in Lisa's booth, this time with Ariel Altaras

I'm sure this lady thought I was crazy going on about her Bohus hat
but she was kind enough to let me photograph it

Tough decisions in the Fiber Optic booth. I went with Vitamin C over Au Naturale,
since I found myself going crazy for yellow sweaters at the Fair this year

See those white things on my cape and hat? Snow. It was cold enough to wear my
Caught in the Rigging (again) over Sailor's Valentine, which is a crazy-warm sweater.

Meeting a pet bird. Like you do. This little one had fallen out of its nest and been rescued
by this lovely woman. She cuddled it and kept it the rest of the time in a cozy pouch. So sweet.

So lovely to meet yet another Captain, Corinna Ferguson of PicnicKnits,
and check out her wonderful all-season book, Warm Days, Cool Knits

This. I have to work up the right idea for Catskill Merino's Pure Indigo yarns - there were three different "strengths".
I was a little fried by this point so will have to visit them at the Union Square Farmer's Market some time.

14 October 2015

Rhinebeck? Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck!

It's that time of year - the last big fiber festival is this weekend up in Duchess County, New York! New York Sheep & Wool Festival is an annual get-together of fiber folks from the farmers who tend the lovely creatures giving us wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, etc. to the dyers and spinners who turn fiber into yarn to all of us fiber lovers, whether we "just" knit or crochet or weave or are designers and "industry" folk.

I wasn't able to go last year (due to some not-fun stuff) so am extra excited to get up there this year for cider donuts, turning leaves, staring at sheep, and trying to decide which yarn HAS to come home with me (um, all of it).

My plan is to drive up Saturday morning and do the Ravelry meetup at noon. I'll be at that meetup on Sunday, too, because it's so much fun to see all the knitters. The rest of the time I plan to visit the sheep, fondle the yarn, hang with my dear friend/former roomie, and hug all the people I don't see often enough. I'm also going to talk with a small group of knitters my friend is bringing up on Sunday morning.

If you will be there, I'd love to see you! I will try to do a Periscope broadcast or two, if Verizon puts out a decent signal. Otherwise, I'll take some videos and post them on YouTube.

Now to just decide what to wear to what someone on the Rhinebeck Ravelry forum called "Yarn Prom"! Here's what I'm thinking...

Saturday: Benwick

Hoping I will have finished my Benwick cardigan (working on the shoulder shaping now) to wear on Saturday. It should be cool and sunny according to my weather app, so a fitted, worsted-weight sweater seems like it will work. And once the sample is knitted up, I'll be able to publish my version of the pattern for you!

Hoping the me-sized Benwick will be ready for Saturday
This is the original from Jane Austen Knits 2013

Sunday: Caught in the Rigging

It's supposed to be chilly on Sunday, so something like Wavelette with Caught in the Rigging on top. "Layers" is always a good game plan for things like this. Plus, it will be fun to take Caught in the Rigging back to where she originated (I bought the yarn from Miss Babs in 2013). Wavelette is a fingering-weight pullover, which seems like it will give me the right amount of wool with some ventilation from the lace. Thistle Leaf Pullover is my other thought, though its shorter sleeves might leave me chilly, or maybe Bloc Pulli with those orange cuffs peeking out.

I'm thinking Caught in the Rigging cape for Sunday (high of 48F!)
I'll probably bring my red boots, too, since there's a chance of rain :)

Will I see you this weekend? Let me know in the comments or just say "hi!" on the Fairgrounds. I can hardly wait!!!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

13 October 2015


Last week I set myself a challenge. I didn't say it out loud or tell anyone because I just wanted to see if I could do it at all. What was it? I aired five live broadcasts on Periscope for five days in a row. And guess what? I loved it! I think it's my new thing.

Catch me and Lady Jane on Periscope @kathleendames

What's periscope?

Periscope is an app that was acquired by Twitter that allows anyone to live-stream a video broadcast from wherever they are. Viewers can watch "live" or catch the replay for 24 hours; they can share it with their friends on Periscope, Twitter, and Facebook; they can tap the screen to show how much they enjoy the broadcast; and they can type messages delivered in real time to the other viewers and the periscope-er.

What's in it for me, the viewer?

You can interact with people around the world! You can hear what I sound like and see the funny facial expressions I make when I get all excited about knitting. You can ask me questions in real time. We can have a conversation. But you don't have to broadcast yourself (like in some conferencing apps). Lurking is also a totally acceptable option, as is watching online from a browser, though you can't get in on the interactive part.

Lots of periscope-ers are showing viewers how they make their art. There are also really honest conversations about feelings-as-makers and business and whatever you might be interested in. And I'm sure there are lots of other things going on. It was started to share events live in real time, after all.

What's in it for you, Kathleen?

So far, I'm in it for the fun. And the chance to connect with knitters. People all around the world use my patterns. While I would like to meet all of them (and give them hugs), that's not really feasible. But I still love the opportunity to communicate with knitters and find out what they're working on, what questions they have, how I can make what I do more helpful.

What started as a brief #WIPWed 'scope (below - hopefully the "embed" code works), where we talk about our works in progress (WIPs) turned into an hour-long conversation about knitting styles, the Shaker community, what to do with shed antlers, and a few other topics that swam into our ken. It was so much fun, and I want to do it again!

I also got to do a scope last Thursday morning "live from New York". My neighbor let me know that they were filming not too far away from our building, using a bunch of antique cars, so I walked down there and shared what I saw, which was kind of the original purpose of Periscope (to share what's happening in the moment).

What are you going to do with it?

Good question! This platform is still in its infancy*. And I've only done 14 'scopes (my first was less than two minutes, and I had no idea what I was doing). But the 'scopes that have been the most fun (for me) are the ones where we had a conversation, and I'd love to keep that going.

My current plan is to broadcast on weekdays focusing on knitting and design with occasional "adventures" (like checking out the cars down the street last week or other NYC things I'm excited to share with you - Rhinebeck this coming weekend!). If there are topics you'd like me to chat about, let me know! Tweets, messages on Ravelry, comments on this post - oof, there are lots of ways to get in touch with me :)

I also need to figure out what to do about my broadcasts' ephemerality. I could upload them to my YouTube channel, if you were interested, but they are just quick videos made with my iPhone. They're archived on Katch, but that's one more thing to sign up for. Clearly I need to give it some more thought (so if you have an opinion, let me know).

Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. I'm going to do a little sneak peek of my new Jane Austen Knits patterns this afternoon on Periscope! Catch it live around 1:30 or view the replay for the next 24 hours.

P.P.S. In case you forgot: Lady Jane is my dress form. She's wearing Sailor's Valentine in the photo, and I'm wearing Thistle Leaf Pullover.

*And I mean really in its infancy. You can't search for broadcasts on Periscope by hashtag, even though it's owned by Twitter. You can search for hashtags on Twitter and then follow someone over on Periscope (it shouldn't be that difficult though!). There's no fast-forward or rewind, and no way to know how long a replay is. You can gauge how long a replay is by starting to watch it and noticing how long it takes the little white progress line at the bottom to advance across the screen. The good thing is you can delete a broadcast right away if you're unhappy with it. The "bad" thing is that 'scopes only stick around for 24 hours. I say "bad" because the ephemerality allows for a more relaxed experience for broadcasters and viewers, but when it's gone it's gone. I signed up for Katch (and am really annoyed that it's spelled that way), so I do have an archive of all but the first two.

09 October 2015

How to knit m1 increases (and why)

how I knit m1 increases (and why) VIDEO by Kathleen Dames

For those of you who never get around to watching videos:

Today I'm going to show you how to work my preferred make-one increases. While some knitters prefer knit-front-and-back or working into the running thread between stitches, I have issues with both of those, particularly when knitting something with paired increases.

The issue with kfb is that you get a purl bump. There are times when this is great, like doing increases for ribbing or seed stitch, but if you're working a smooth stockinette fabric, those bumps may stick out in a bad way.

Picking up the bar between stitches (the running thread) is ok, but I find it pulls at the fabric at those points since you are literally pulling the running thread from running between stitches to bring a whole new stitch. You can work those stitches as pairs, but sometimes it can be a wrestling match.

So making one out of whole thread, as it were, is my preferred technique. To do it, you make a backwards loops with your working yarn and place it onto your right needle. To make paired increases, twist your loop in one direction for the first increase and the other direction for its match. Simply work into the new stitch normally on the next row or round. Just remember to be consistent on which direction you twist your loops.

So there you have it. Matched increase that are nearly invisible! I use this technique on all of my sweaters, as well as some accessories (Sly Maid Stole comes to mind). And it works on flat knitting and in the round.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. Did you enjoy this video? Yay! Newsletter subscribers got to see it a week ago. Sign up here to get the good stuff first.

07 October 2015

What's your Style-Personality?

So, this is kind of fun - Myers-Briggs for style: The Cut's Style-Personality Quiz

XCRI, Kathleen Dames-style
Upon the Spanish Main, An Aran for Frederick, Thistle Leaf Pullover

XCRI: Maximalist, Consistent, Romantic, Individualistic
You're a rare bird, XCRI. Your style is feminine and sweeping, full of grand gestures, but it's not something that changes a lot from year to year. You have a uniform, and that uniform is dramatic. More power to you.
And my thoughts on this assessment...
  1. Not sure anyone who knows me IRL would think of me as a Maximalist (hello, jeans and t-shirt/sweater), but I do kind of wish I could sweep around in grand ball skirts all day.
  2. Many thanks to St. Joseph's for inculcating a love of uniform dressing. 
  3. My only quibble is the opposition of Romantic and Intellectual. I'm both!
  4. Individualistic? Of course! I'm me ;)
So, after looking at all the other personalities (click on the "already know your type" bar - the resulting page has all the personalities down the left side), I feel like I swing between Minimalist and Maximalist, in addition to the Romantic/Intellectual dichotomy. But I'm definitely not a Trend Enthusiast, nor am I Adventurous in the Avant Garde fashion sense.

While this is sort of a silly exercise, it's also interesting to see if what we think about ourselves translates into how we present ourselves. Maybe I will invest in a big ol' skirt...

Go take the test! Then come back and tell me what your Style-Personality type is in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

05 October 2015

Pattern: Mermaid's Cardigan

Mermaid's Cardigan by Kathleen Dames
Mermaid's Cardigan on Ravelry $7 (no account necessary)

An elegant cardigan just right for a mermaid. Gentle waist shaping follows your curves, and Fishtail Lace sleeves pique the knitter’s interest. By eliminating sleeve increases, the lace is not too difficult and the sleeves blouse out from an i-cord cast-on. To keep the lines clean and the hems from rolling, the entire cardigan is edged in i-cord.

Mermaid's Cardigan by Kathleen Dames

What you'll love about knitting Mermaid's Cardigan:
  • Stockinette body gives you some lovely, "mindless" knitting, while...
  • The sleeves are filled with knitterly excitement - i-cord and lace!
  • Integrated i-cord is used to great effect to not only smoothly finish your sweater, but to create your cardigan's buttonholes.

What you'll love about wearing Mermaid's Cardigan:
  • Perfectly placed princess-seam waist shaping flatters your figure
  • Lace sleeves give you a bit of ventilation - this is a great transitional cardigan
  • The little puff of sleeve at the cuff - very subtle but very fun

Mermaid's Cardigan by Kathleen Dames

Size/Finished Measurements
Women’s XS [S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X] (shown in size M with no ease)
Chest: 30 [34, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54] inches

  • Madeline Tosh tosh dk [100% Superwash Merino Wool 225 yards/206 meters per 50 gram skein]; color: Baltic; 4 [5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8] 
  • One US6/4.0mm 29-inch circular needle (NDLs) 
  • Set of five US6/4.0mm double-pointed needles (DPNs) 
  • Coil-less safety pins/removable stitch markers 
  • Waste yarn or stitch holders 
  • Tapestry needle 
  • Eight 5/8-inch buttons

20 stitches x 28 rows = 4 inches square in Stockinette St.

Skills Needed
  • casting on
  • binding off
  • knitting
  • purling
  • increasing
  • decreasing
  • working i-cord
  • following written or charted instructions for Fishtail Lace pattern (both included)

Mermaid's Cardigan by Kathleen Dames

Technical Editing: Ruth Garcia-Alcantud
Test Knitting: 3catos, elizek
Photography: Nicholas Dames

Everything you need to create your own beautiful Mermaid's Cardigan is provided in the professionally designed (by me!) pattern. Both written and charted versions of the Fishtail Lace stitch pattern are included.

Lovely knitters who purchased this pattern when it was originally released should have received a message from Ravelry that the updated version of the pattern is now in your library. Don't miss the special customer coupon code!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

02 October 2015

quick + purly: 5 baby blankets

Some dear friends just welcomed a new baby into the world, so I have baby blankets on the brain. Since the little one is here already, and I have a lot of pattern knitting on my plate, I've focused on worsted-weight patterns this time.

quick + purly: 5 worsted baby blankets on kathleendames.com

  1. Lady Danbury by Kristen Fanning $4 USD 
    center-out blanket - make it as large as you like
  2. Crisscross Apple Sauce by Aimee Alexander $6 USD 
    great motif plus a lovely edging
  3. Bairn by Julie Hoover $7 USD 
    those cables! that color!
  4. Pure Baby Blanket by Jen Lucas $4 USD 
    another really pretty stitch pattern
  5. Daisy Love Baby Blanket by Sarah Nicole Burton $3.99 
    the combination of daisies and hearts is so sweet
All images from patterns' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended. I just want to share the love!

In case you need one more...

Babe in the Mist by Kathleen Dames $7 USD
reversible stitch pattern also creates lovely wavy edges
Do you have a favorite baby blanket to recommend? Let us know in the comments below :)

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!