local yarn store day, 2020

Tomorrow, 12 September 2020, is Local Yarn Store Day. I hope you’ll find a way to support participating stores and businesses. This day was designed to celebrate and support local yarn stores, think of it as a yarn crawl of sorts. This year, like most everything, things are different. Please check out each shop to learn how you can shop safely.

Ways to support small & local businesses including your LYS

LYS Day logo
  1. Shop! If they have an online shop, try there before you go to a large discount retailer. If you feel comfortable wear a mask & visit the store in person, or call and place an order for curbside pickup.
  2. Don’t forget the designers, teachers, and smaller producers who may not be widely available in a traditional store. Many of them have relied on in-person events (shows & festivals) and are working hard to reach customers. If you can please take an online class; buy a pattern or yarn; or support them through a system such as patreon.
  3. Follow & show them love on social media. Please don’t be upset if you don’t receive an immediate response, they may be wearing extra hats these days. Also, not everyone uses every social media channel. Some may have left a platform for a variety of reasons. Think of it as a scavenger hunt! There’s several different hashtags being used, have some fun!

I’m trying to do less of all social media and have refocused my efforts on this site. You may occasionally find me on twitter, and supporting others through likes & comments on Instagram.

My small effort — a new crochet pattern!

Back in February, I designed a one skein crochet project, Blue Gems Capelet, to highlight Artyarns’ gorgeous exclusive hand painted color for LYS Day, Denim Blues.

Blue Gems Capelet
Blue Gems Capelet, detail (back view)
Blue Gems Capelet, pinned

Ok, it’s technically a scarf as it’s a somewhat narrow rectangle. I designed it in February when I was tired of wearing winter layers. We originally thought LYS Day would be in April, when temperatures were warming. So, I found different ways to style it and discovered I prefer to wear it pinned at the front. With the diamond border edging that is worked as you go, this makes it feel like a capelet, at least to me.

The design is currently exclusive to those who purchase the yarn from a participating store. Due to complex technical reasons (that are supposed to simplify matters), the design is currently priced at $36 and if you purchase the yarn from an Artyarns retailer, the pattern is free through the magic of a coupon code to redeem at Ravelry or my site.

The current pattern price is an incentive for you to purchase the exclusive yarn. The price will change later this year if you want to wait. If you choose to pay this price now, thank you. I will not offer reimbursement but will use that to support a small business or LYS!

I hope you’ll help support small & local businesses during this challenging time!

September Swatch Project

Yesterday I posted a photo to instagram with the announcement that this September I’m going to post a daily pic of a swatch I’m working on. Why should you pay attention? These pics will lead to tips and lessons about specific yarns, thoughts about the swatching process (swatching for fun and for size), and eventually new designs.

What’s the September Swatch Project?

Every day I’ll post a swatch to instagram. Each week here on the website I’ll write a tip about swatching or something I’ve learned while working with different stitches and yarns. Not every swatch will be knit. Some will be crocheted. Others may find themselves woven.

Black & White Tuxedo Kitten with Poison Apple colour Oink Pigments garter stitch swatch.

This is the first swatch of the project, knit in Oink Pigments new yarn, Mystic. This DK weight is 230yd (210m)/100g of 100% Extra Fine Superwash Merino. Shown in colourway Poison Apple.

Many will be yarns I’ve committed to writing about, so you’ll see lots of Anzula and Oink Pigments.

Leaning Stripe Swatch in Mrs Crosby Carpet Bag with Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and "The Witch Who Came in From the Cold" books in background.Others will be for my curiosity. Such as today’s swatch in Mrs Crosby’s Carpet Bag. It’s another DK weight and is 240yd (219m)/100g of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% silk. However, not all characteristics are similar. Yesterday’s Oink Pigments Mystic is a very round 3-ply, this is a single ply.

Generally I’m not a fan of single plys, but as I work more with them, I’ve found some stitches that work better than others. I’m participating in a Brioche KAL project, so this unique stitch is on my brain. I’m thinking of similar stitches and different ways to create them. I like single-ply for brioche so this is a good pairing that will help me work on different variations and other similar stitches. Shown is the Leaning Stripe Pattern from The Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. It’s worked with slipped and twisted stitches.

Yes, sometimes a foster kitten becomes a forever kitten! She’s still stealing yarn and may influence what I choose to swatch with.

Two days complete, twenty-eight to go!

self-care, cashmere edition

Meet the Cashmere Triangle Scarf.

This crochet scarf is worked from the center back out to the tip and uses half-double crochet. It uses 5 skeins of Artyarns Cashmere 1 ply (100% Italian Cashmere).

The resulting fabric is soft and very beautiful, the cashmere is delightful and the lace-weight yarn begs for the crochet hook. I recommend swatching with the yarn you choose to designate as color a and a D/3 (3.25mm) crochet hook. While gauge isn’t critical for this pattern, it will affect fabric characteristics and the amount of yarn used. With a light blocking I created a shawl that is 47″ Wide x 17″ Deep. The crochet pattern includes written instructions and a stitch diagram. While I designed the scarf with stripes to ease the colour transitions, you could disregard that directive and work each colour until you ran out of yarn.

Artyarns Crochet Cashmere Triangle Scarf, shown in Blues

Artyarns Crochet Cashmere Triangle Scarf, shown in Blues

I recognize it is not an inexpensive kit. I’ve watched the hand painting of the yarn. Your purchase helps support a small business.

When you purchase the kit, you also receive the knit pattern, designed by Iris Schreier. For the knitted version, the yarn is held double throughout and knitted in 4.5mm (US 7) needles. It begins at the center bottom point so you only need to cast on 3 stitches. Please choose carefully, each kit includes enough yarn for either the knit or crochet version!

I believe this simple design is a wonderful project to work on during self-care moments. The beautiful cashmere winds up small making it a good project to tuck into your bag.

Yes it is a large investment, but every now and then we need some cashmere comfort. While years ago I would have rather purchased lots of different yarns so I could make many things, I choose differently now. I prefer to thoughtfully create one item in a high quality yarn that I will take care of and cherish. I think it would be a wonderful gift to yourself, winter holidays are coming.

Introducing VLSI

As the days lengthen and warm, this transition piece adds understated elegance while taking the edge off air conditioning too optimistic for the current temperature.

Named in honor of Lynn Conway and her VLSI microelectronics design revolution (with Carver Mead). She forever changed computer science with this paradigm shift.

While I’ve focused on software for my entire career, the design offers a nod to her rapid prototyping process.

The stitch pattern is comprised of a simple ve-stitch chain anchored with a single crochet, providing a rhythm to work and a standard stitch as the design foundation. To add interest, there are short intervals with picots.

Lorna’s Laces variegated and speckled yarns are highlighted in this shawl, and while designed in two similar hues, it looks forward to your experimentation.

The piece could be stunning all in the same colourway or even working the entire 13 row repeat before switching yarn. If you do mix it up, please remember that you may require additional yardage.

For more information about Conway and the Mead-Conway Revolution, please see:
Pattern details:

Skill Level: Intermediate
Skills required: foundation single crochet, single crochet, half-double crochet.
Sizes: Petite (Regular) [Petite is shown]
Finished Measurements: 17in/43cm wide x 66 (82)in/167.5 (208)cm long
Gauge: In stitch pattern: 4 (sc, ch 5) groups wide and 8.5 long = 4in/10cm blocked

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (80% Superwash Merino Wool, 20% Nylon; 435 yards/398 meters per 100 gram skein)
Color A: Aslan, 1 (1) skein
Color B: Owen, 1 (1) skein
Hook: US size F/5 (3.75mm) crochet hook
Notions: tapestry needle, removable stitch marker (optional)

The pattern is available for $6 and immediate download at ravelry | craftsy | etsy.

Thank you:

Lorna’s Laces provided yarn support.
This pattern was tech edited by Lindsey Stephens of Poetry in Yarn.

now with more kittens

Tail end, my crochet cat toy for kittens of all ages, has now been tech edited and sports both new layout and photos.

Tail End & Shadow

Throughout the years from the initial creation in 2011 when Shadow stole a half finished mouse off my lap to today, the toys have continued to be tested and loved by him, Buddy, and all my foster kittens.

Buddy playing with a Tail End crochet cat toy

A percentage of all pattern sales will be donated to Westchester Humane Society at New Rochelle each year. The other portion of the pattern sales will help support my fostering efforts.

Tail End

Quick to make, this crochet cat toy will keep your cat moving and entertained for hours. Made with less than 10 yards of worsted weight yarn, these mouse tails are finished faster than microwave popcorn and healthier for the feline in your life. The shape provides hours of fun for a paw to swat and is easy to carry around the house. The braided tail provides added amusement and saves you the time of weaving in additional ends.

Skills & Supplies:

Skills required: Magic adjustable ring, working in the round, 3 strand braid
Finished Size: approximately 2in (5cm) wide x 1.75in (4.5cm) long + braided tail of 2in (5cm)
Yarn: 10 yards of worsted weight (CYC Medium #4) is recommended.
Hook: US size F/5 (3.75mm) crochet hook
Notions: tapestry needle, removable stitch marker
Gauge: While not essential for this pattern, a tighter than normal gauge will help the toy maintain its shape.
Technical Editor: Lindsey Stephens of Poetry in Yarn.

Learn more & Purchase:

This pattern costs $1.99 and is available as an instant PDF download from Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy.

If you don’t crochet and would like cat toys for the feline(s) in your life, I have some available on Etsy. If there are none in stock, please let me know that you’d like a set and we can discuss a custom order.

I hope to add kits soon.

New Kittens!

Earlier today I picked up four new foster kittens. They’re going to stay with me for a few weeks while they grow and gain the strength to succeed in their forever homes.


getting ready for spinzilla 2016

Spinzilla 2016 is fast approaching. This year the event runs from October 3rd through 9th. Signups are open now.

What’s Spinzilla & How do you join?

It’s an annual week-long event sponsored by the Spinning and Weaving Group (SWG) of The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA). The $10 registration fee supports the NeedleArts Mentoring Program.

The goal? Share the joy of handspinning!

The challenge? To have fun and encourage spinners of every level to spin as much as they can throughout the event. Yes, there are prizes for who can spin the most, but as it always coincides with the Jewish holidays, I ignore that detail and while I try to spin as much as I can, I set another sort of goal for the week.

How? You can join a team or spin rogue.

Penny’s 2016 Spinzilla Goal

I plan to practice worsted drafting and to produce slightly over twisted/plied yarn that I can use to knit into new winter mittens. I’ll probably chain ply all my singles as I still love that technique.

I’ll be spinning for team Happy Fuzzy Yarn, please join us!

Spinning Resources

YarnitectureYarnitecture (my review) by Jillian Moreno

I’ve been adding to my pinterest board (may take a moment to load):