Feathered Shawl & Spring

feather shawl yarn sundara

This shawl concept came to me a while back, while pondering on bird feathers. This gorgeous color by Sundara was something very different for me, and I hoped it would compliment my idea.

Using variegated yarn is always a potential issue when you are trying to get a stitch pattern to show up. Many times the pattern get lost in the colors of the yarn. I’ve learned long ago that sticking with something either a) a large scale pattern or b) a relatively simple pattern is the best way to go.

feather shawl progress 1

This was my first time working with Sundara’s Fingering Merino Cashmere. I was pleased that the yardage for this yarn was generous enough (500 yds/457 m) to create a nice-sized shawlette with the one skein. (Please note that this shawl took approx. 460 yds; if subbing for another sock weight yarn, make sure you have enough!)

feathered shawl finished against sky

Of course the yarn was a pleasure to work with. With the silky smoothness, and the lovely stitch definition, it didn’t take me very long to get going. In fact, the whole shawl worked up quickly, once you understand how the main pattern works, all you have to do is pay attention to the increase rows. For me, this is the ultimate pleasant knitting, as most days following complicated charts requires more brain power than I care to expend.

feather shawl back full

I kept the the increase rows in the stockinette stitch sections for ease of knitting. Which means you don’t have to worry about incorporating the increases into the lace sections. The border is full of ‘plumes’, worked in another simple lace pattern. You can pin them out at closer intervals during wet blocking if you want more points at the edge. I hope you enjoy knitting this as much as I enjoyed the design of it!

feathered shawl on rocks full

feathered shawl on rocks detail corner

feathered shawl on e side

You may find this pattern available for free, over at knotions, along with many other lovely designs in this issue. Enjoy!

I hope you are enjoying Spring, wherever in the world you are.

camellia biltmore sprin 16

Sidhe, Bacchus & Seasonal Ruckus

Greetings friends, from insanely sunny and temperate NC! It’s been a while, and I’m thrilled to have a few new designs to share with you.

A while back, I submitted a design proposal to Jody at knotions magazine. If you don’t recall the name – this is an online only knitting magazine that offers a wide range of free patterns, similar to Knitty.

She discontinued the magazine in 2009, and just recently decided to bring it back. I was thrilled to get a chance to be a part of the new launch, and when she wanted to include my Sidhe sweater, I got busy finding the ‘right’ yarn.

sidhe on e 1

I ended up going with Quince and Co.’s ‘Lark’. I had some in stash, and loved the way it showcased stitches, while also being extremely lightweight and lofty. I thought it would be perfect for a nice, cozy Winter pullover.

sidhe on e back closer

The color I had was all wrong however, and I clearly needed some gray yarn. (Have I mentioned that I am obsessed with gray? There’s a perfect shade for everyone…) Kumlien’s Gull was the one that was Just Right for this project.

I knew I wanted it to have a cowl neck, but since I worked this from the bottom up, I didn’t get to play around with it until the end. Going with an easy garter stitch lace means you can easily make this collar smaller, or even larger than what is shown here. I decided to make it 5″ deep, and I really like the way you can fold it down to sit nicely on the shoulders.

sidhe on e back

This pullover was inspired by this great Japanese lace stitch pattern, when I saw how it sort of waved back and forth I knew I wanted this to be an asymmetrical design. Thought I’d never created one myself, I have always enjoyed this look.

sidhe_side detail with sleeve


When I was nearly finished, Jody & I were working on my interview (which you can read more about here), and I mentioned I would have enough left over for a matching beret. Then Sidhe’s Beret was born, following the same concept and stitch pattern.

sidhe beret on e 4

This beret went very quickly and I have been wearing it quite a bit. It’s so light and doesn’t overheat my head like some hats do. I hope you may decide to give this hat (or the pullover – or both!) a try.

sidhe beret_detail

You can find both of these patterns in the current issue of knotions here:


Sidhe’s Beret

sidhe beret_top detail

But WAIT – there’s MORE! I also managed to finish up that pattern for this hat I knitted for my husband back in October (I know, I know, I’ve been trying to get him for modeling, but he’s been working the late hours recently…or he’s complaining of being too scruffy, so you’ll have to do with more pics of me for now.)

bacchus on e good 3

Though intended as a man’s hat, I think you will agree that us women could certainly wear it as well. This is for those of us who crave some cable goodness every now and then. (Or for our cable loving men.) Though none of the cables are difficult, they do occur every other round, so there is some attention needed here – in a good way!

bacchus hat on e good side

I used a dk weight MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) blend yarn for extra lusciousness. It is now his favorite hat that I’ve made him (in fact I had to steal it away for the photos).

If you’d like to view or purchase this pattern, please visit my website below:


In non-knitting news, I’ve been very busy (aren’t we all!) getting ready for Christmas. This is my favorite time of year, and we are blessed to have a few extra festivities this year going on for my girls. After all, kids really do bring the Joy of the Holidays home.

I am hoping that you & yours all have a wonderful Holiday Season, from my home to yours.

gingerbread 15 elf in tree

Stoney Knob, Alpacas & Monsters – Oh My!

This design came out of a desire to work with another gorgeous variegated yarn that I attained, this one is Western Sky Knits Willow dk, in their colorway Shellseeker. This Purl Twist pattern was a great compliment, the way the stitches move diagonally really shows off the yarn.
stoney knob shoulder detail closer

Since all the ‘work’ happens on the wrong side rows, the right side rows are simply knitted, adding in the raglan increases on the yoke as you work top-down.

I only had 2 skeins of this pretty yarn, and I already knew that I wanted a small cardigan/bolero – however, this would be quite easy to adjust to a longer cardigan. This kept my interest the whole time – and of course it’s also nice to crank out a quicker sweater that you can wear even sooner (!).

stoney knob e full

While working on the body, I realized that I wanted a cabled border to go around the whole thing. Having never done this, I wasn’t really sure if it would work. I also wanted a reversible cable, that way if the fronts flipped open it would still look good.

I also knew that the cable needed to be a solid color to show it off properly. The Western Sky Knits Magnolia dk in Oats ended up being the perfect compliment. After playing around with picking up stitches, I was able to figure out the correct ratio to make it work!

stoney knob closer front detail

It came out lovely, and it was fairly mindless to continue on once I did a couple of repeats of the cable. Once I reached my starting point, I grafted the ends together for a seamless look.

If you are like me, and always needing things to wear over sleeveless tops or tees, or want something pretty to wear to a wedding (or simply to jazz up your jeans!), you may need to make one!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the name of this design. There is this wonderful restaurant in Asheville called Stoney Knob Cafe. When David & I first got together, we would eat breakfast here every Sunday morning. We were ‘that’ couple, the annoying one being all Lovey-Dovey in our corner booth. I told him we needed to take a trip out there in celebration of me finishing this cardi, plus we were also planning to visit an alpaca farm close by.

stoney knob sign and girls

Yes, Sydney was quite thrilled at this moment. 11-year-old Girl Drama.

morning glory stoney knob

While waiting to get in I spied lots of Morning Glories on a hill behind the restaurant.

alpacas last penny farm day

How y’all doin’?

After our brunch, we wandered over to Last Penny Farm Alpacas and met some of these little cuties – Erin was having an Open Farm Day. She has about 20 alpacas total, as well as a couple of donkeys and a few sweet Great Pyrenees (of how I love these dogs!). It was a fun visit and I was certainly glad to be able to bring the girls out there too.

last penny farm pyrenees and mia

Getting up close & personal with one of the adorable guardians

Last week my little cutie pie Mia requested me to make her a Monster hat. What else can a good mom do but make one immediately??

oct 15 mia monster hat

I didn’t even need to ask her to be silly – this is just her:)

oct 15 mia monster hat silly 1

oct 15 mia monster hat silly

Love this kid!!

Now evidently I need to make her a Monster costume to go with the hat, which of course means the baby now needs to be a Baby Monster (you’ll see that one next week).

If you’d like to check out the details on Stoney Knob, you can do so on Ravelry here – or also of course on my website here.

This is the last day for the new pattern promo, which you’ll find on Ravelry if you go there now!

Other than creating, I’ve been enjoying Fall as I always do, last night I made this soup (hint – it has lentils, coconut milk & indian spices), and it made me quite happy. It was lovely with a special herbed grilled cheese on whole grain bread.

What is soothing your soul right now?

arboretum fountain hanging leaves

NC Arboretum waterfall – September 2015

Jane of the Wood

This design *almost* didn’t get done. Originally designed back in May, prompted by a contest over at the Madelinetosh group on Ravelry – for an original design created in one month. MadMay, they call it. How could I not want to jump in on that?

I had been feeling ‘stuck’ for a while. As a designer, it can be exhausting trying to figure out what the next wonderful thing to make is. It doesn’t always come together the way we want it to, to say the least. My husband, being the wonderful man full of suggestions that he is, simply said – ‘why don’t you make what YOU want to wear?’. As Oprah would say, that was my ‘Aha’, or ‘Bing Bing’ moment.

I pulled out this yarn that had been hanging out in the stash for a bit, some Madelinetosh Tosh Sport, in colorway Lowlands. I have come to realize that green must be my favorite color, I never really get enough of it. I found this Double Leaves lace pattern in my Vogue Stitchionary (#5, I believe) and away I went!

jane of the wood back detail 1

It actually came together pretty easily. I knew I didn’t want full length sleeves, and decided the most effective look would be a bit of the eyelet lace to trim the cuffs.

I had no idea what I was going to do with the border. At first I tried to do an alternate leaf pattern, to tie in the look of the back with the front. That looked completely lousy, it really didn’t show up well with the variegation in the yarn.

jane of the wood front rocks

Then I remembered how I’ve been working on my KISS method. Ok. Scale back a bit. Garter stitch looks fabulous, who knew? I wanted a small collar, which I created using short rows. Decided on the picot trim at the end, and this is one of the neat little details that makes the collar stand out.

Viola! She’s done! I ended up winning 2nd place in the contest, and my special prize was more lovely Madelinetosh yarn to play with.

jane of the wood back

The very next day after I posted this, I woke up to seeing this in my Facebook feed, posted on my board by my LYS owner – Donna, of Black Mountain Yarn Shop (one of the sweetest people in the world mind you!):

jane top 20

Jane of the Wood had made it in the Top 20 on Ravelry!!!! (Insert appropriate SQUEE sounds here.) I was amazed, and very humbly grateful that so many people liked it. What a wonderful compliment to wake up to. I probably never would have even known if she didn’t tell me – to be honest I don’t look at the Top 20 super often.

About the name….there is this great hang-out Celtic style Pub / Restaurant here in Asheville called Jack of the Wood. This is one of the places to go if you want to make a new friend (we are always meeting people here) and listen to some great live music, usually Bluegrass. People just show up and start making music together, it’s awesome.

jack of the wood sign may 13

If you ever come here to Asheville, hit me up and we’ll meet here for a pint.

13 strings cd

Greenman ESB – it’s the best!

As I continue on with my designing, I am committed to creating more of what I really love and hoping that perhaps I’m not alone in that.

If you’d like to see more of this pattern, check out links below.

Jane of the Wood on Ravelry (offered at a discount, now through October 8th)

Jane of the Wood at Counting Sheep Studio

Namaste all.:) Live, love, laugh, hug, KNIT!

Rocky Broad Mitts

These mitts started with the yarn. A few short months back, I went to a little Fiber show here in WNC called Fiber Feel Day. My friend Maria & her buddy Nikki had started up their own yarn adventure, called Fern Fiber. I knew they were using locally harvested fiber, while also having it spun here, and then dying it using all natural plant materials.

fiber feel day 15

A small sample of products from the show

I ended up with some gorgeous aran weight wool that came from Rosabelle the Romney. This particular yarn was dyed using elderberries & alkanet. I loved the tonal brown/grays that came out.

fern fiber romney closer

Can’t you just reach out and squoosh it?!?

Once I began swatching I was quick to realize that any sort of ‘intricate’ pattern would get lost with this yarn. I needed something more bold, which naturally turned me towards cables.

I began with the cuff, which I worked in a lattice pattern, only 2 stitches cross at time. I knew I wanted it to close with buttons, they are not only beautiful, but functional as you need them to get the gloves on & off.

rocky broad mitts detail shot

For the top of the mitts, I wanted a large cable, but with the gauge of the yarn I couldn’t go too big – it still needed to comfortably fit on the back of the hand.

As for the name, the Rocky Broad is a river here in NC, it runs very close to Lake Lure – and you can see here why it has that name.

rocky broad

I can certainly see why people would fish here – but go whitewater rafting?!? Sounds more like a death wish to be. This river is surely any rock hopping person’s delight. I thought this a great name for my natural, rustic mitt design.

rocky broad mitts

So – back to the mitts – I placed the larger cable is on both the top & the bottom of the mitts.

Finally, I picked up the thumb and put a gentle little twist on the outer side of that as well!

rocky broad mitts side


These are so rustic, but still cozy & warm. They knit up quickly (you could certainly do them in a weekend), making them perfect for a last-minute gift. I know I have at least one friend who has requested a pair, and I will be happy to oblige her.

Last chance to get 30% off of ANY of my self-published patterns in my shop. You have 3 days left (ends midnight on August 31st.)

As always – thanks for reading, for your support, and I do hope you have a lovely day.


In Shamatha meditation practice, the goal is to strengthen the mind’s stability and to counterbalance the symptoms of the being constantly distracted (sometimes referred to as the ‘monkey mind’). I know I’ve referred to knitting as meditation in the past, and this time I had even more reason to do so. This cardigan I designed to be my perfect ‘yoga’ wrap – the one you wear to and from class, easy to throw on – and it wraps in the front if desired.

samatha back on e 3

I knew that I wanted the lotus flower lace panel to be the main focus. I decided to make this in pieces since I was using a seacell / silk blend yarn that I felt might need more structure.

This project was a special collaboration between myself and KimDyesYarn. This was a new blend of yarn for her, and I was thrilled to be asked to give it a road test! This is her Sea Silk Sport – 51% silk / 29% superfine merino wool / 20% Sea cell, the gorgeous colorway is called ‘Curacao’.

samatha back detail

The lightly plied yarn makes for smooth knitting, and the blend is deliciously soft & luxurious. Just look at the beautiful stitch definition! The silk & sea cell gives your work an incredible shine, while keeping it light & airy enough for year-round wear.

Right now on her Ravelry group, Kim is kindly offering this yarn at a discount for pre-order. The normal retail per skein of 323 yds. is $32, which is currently reduced to $25/skein! You get to pick your color from these little lovelies here:

kimdyes yarn seasilk

Pretty hard to choose!

For the fronts I knew I wanted them to be able to overlap, and I need a pattern that would control the natural curling tendency for stockinette stitch. In continuing with my meditative knitting theme, I chose a simple ridge pattern that adds a bit of extra texture / interest and still provides quick and fuss-free knitting.

samatha front detail

The little sleeves are picked up once the fronts are completed, and short rows are worked before joining in the round. It would be very simple to add onto the sleeve length if desired. Once the sleeves are finished, lastly you add a tiny lace border along the fronts and extending to the back neck.

samatha on e front

If you would like to see more details on this pattern, please visit my Ravelry shop. Right now through the end of this month, ALL self-published patterns in my shop are 30% off!

The end of Summer is coming quickly, and it can’t come soon enough for me, although the changing of the Seasons is something I always enjoy. Had a nice, quiet walk by myself last night and watched the day fade into night. Here is a small window into my corner of the world, you can see why they call them the Blue Ridge Mountains.

May you have your own peaceful moment today, wherever you are.

rowland mountains walk aug 15

It’s a Bushka!

Reblog from Counting Sheep Studio – Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

Who is the cutest of them all?  Yes, perhaps I am a tad biased.

I know I’ve talked about design inspiration somewhere along the way. It is different for all of us. It is pretty rare that I can ‘see’ a whole project through from start to finish, but it does happen on occasion.

For this particular pattern, I knew I wanted to make a colorwork dress for my sweet baby girl. It started with this set of super bright neon mini skeins I ordered:

These tiny pretties came from Rock & String Yarn – love love!

I also am crazy about the look of neutrals with brights, which led to me to get the perfect gray yarn from another etsy shop: Light Brown Hare.

Go & give these shops a peek, I’ll be here waiting.

I had fun playing around with a couple different patterns, but I remembered how I have been trying to use the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid. Lately it’s been working out pretty well for me! There days there just isn’t time to make anything super complex.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the border, which was the main reason I used a provisional cast on. Of course this also allows you to go wild and make a completely different border if you like!

Would you just look at those chubby legs! Oh wait, I got distracted again.

The skirt consist of those lovely roses & leaves, which are super fun to create. The are only 10 rows of stranded knitting at a time (using 2 colors at once), interspersed with slipped stitch stripes. There is one major decrease round before you start working the bodice.

For the bodice, I wanted a little something special, and again did not wish to overcomplicate. I decided on this tiny rosette pattern, a mere 3 rows per ‘bud’ to create an extra special touch. Plus, I give you my super-duper method for no-turn bobbles, since none of us have time for that!

The yoke consists of slipped stitch stripes, the little ‘sleeves’ are an extension. Finally, you come back to the border and work in seed stitch for a few rounds and viola! You’re done.

I do think this is easy enough for an advanced beginner who wants to try their hand at colorwork, though you do need to be comfortable with basic knitting techniques.

This was one of those wonderful design experiences where I feel like I achieved exactly what I wanted to. Trust me, this is not often the case. I look forward to seeing this in other color combinations, and remember of course you can make this for Fall/Winter as well!

Beginning now through August 8th, I am offering this pattern at a 50% discount! You can view it on Ravelry here: Bushka Dress.

Hoping you are having a most excellent day. Do come back & check in with me soon, more designs are on the horizon.

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