On How I Almost Got Caught Up On Some of the Things

Okay, that might be an overstatement.

Especially if you count the five thousand toys and bits of shredded cardboard box (ahem Rocket Ship) Reed left strewn throughout the house before he went to bed.

But, I do feel a lot less frantic than when I wrote this post a couple weeks back.

Baby hat in the works over at This Knitted Life. Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Logwood.

I’ve gotten in some knitting time and found a good stride in my projects. I actually need to pause from knitting and catch up on some Computer Knitting (pattern writing), but I almost don’t want to. All I seek in the world is to keep on knitting.

No interruptions.

I’ve taken pause to mindfully admire the season’s colors, to go hunting through the garden for the last of the tomatoes and other such bounty. I’ve hacked back the asparagus patch. Yanked out the zinnias. Harvested (nearly) two of the olive trees. Acquired pumpkins at fair market value. (Our own patch met a dismal end this summer…I don’t want to talk about it…) Split kindling to no end and hauled a Respectable Load of fire wood into the house.

I’ve released the hens to Free Range now that their only potential horticulture victims are the persimmon trees, which seem amply loaded and will surely provide enough for all, pestilent poultry included.

I am ready, World.

Bring it.

I am now on Version 4 of the baby hat…nearly finished as long as I don’t trip on the way to the kitchen (to dig into the chocolate pudding) and break a finger.

Could happen.

Turns out I was right when I wrote down the number of stitches I cast on for Version 2. You think this would have been obvious when I circled the number in orange ink with a little star next to the number.

Why don’t I ever believe myself?

It’s not like I was remembering a value from my head. I had actually written the darn thing down. Hello Frazzled Me.

Onward. Plus now I have an extra baby hat.

Knitting Shelter poncho over at This Knitted Life.I am LOVING Andrea’s pattern. I don’t know if this poncho will fit in the end, but it’s been fun to knit up in Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter. This yarn is Such a Trip. I haven’t knit in Brooklyn Tweed before and almost didn’t. This stuff ain’t cheap. When I was hemming and hawing over which yarn to choose, I happened to catch some pro-Shelter/Jared Flood articles in my Feed concurrent with my decision consternation and figured hey, it’s only money.

Shelter feels like a sponge was put through a pasta maker that spit out little square strands of wool sponge. It’s wild.

Knitting someone else’s pattern is much more fun than coming up with my own, I hate to admit. But it’s true. I feel like I am on a Knitting Vacation, and I have barely left the sofa.

I’m still not caught up on life. It pains me to admit I will probably never feel caught up on life. I will, however, finish my knitting projects, one stitch at a time.

Mistakes and all.

Dolores in Action

Dolores by Dawn Catanzaro. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.
I love this photo not just because Reed and I look great and so happy but because I am wearing my Dolores. All those hours of hard-won lace stitching finally shine through, thanks to the assistance of professional photography. That night when my lace work literally exploded off the needles—right before my eyes—seems but a distant memory. No suffering. No frustration. Just my nice emerald sweater, now more than a year later, wrapped around my sticky little son and his naughty, devilish giggle.

(You can now submit parenting advice on how to get your child to listen to you when you say NO in the comment section. I suspect selective hearing might be either genetic or learned at a startling early age.)

After DAYS of drying (on the radiant heated bathroom floor, no less), my second grey poncho is now off the needles! I can’t wait to share it with you just as soon as I can snap some respectable photos and write up the pattern.

This means I only have one more grey poncho left to knit (my third). I have already resolved that I am not buying anymore grey yarn in 2017.

Scout’s honor.

(My fingers may be crossed behind my back. But I’m not telling.)

Just yesterday, I was chatting with my Knitting Compadre in Life about my immediate knitting plans, and I realized I pretty much have the rest of my Knitting Year all planned out.

AND, it involves very little holiday knitting. That almost killed me last year. Never again. This year, everyone gets cards.


After I wrap up the Third Grey Poncho and Ver. 4 of the baby hat, I am finally going to knit Reed a sweater. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve had the pattern picked out since the beginning of the year. It’ll be my first attempt at stranded color work. Send wine and brace yourself for swearing. I still need to order the yarn, but it’s on my short list.

(I have this sinking feeling that Reed will spill grape juice all over this sweater on Day 1. I think this means I can no longer purchase grape juice, at least until he has outgrown the sweater.)

Otherwise, I plan to use my Malabrigo Worsted scraps (I have grey ahem Polar Moon, a bright pink and a turquoise/aqua to work up some simple striped kids hats for Reed and his buds) and perhaps put my two skeins of Spin Cycle yarns to some unknown use.

I hope to reward myself for a year of good knitting by FINALLY knitting myself Lesley from Home & Away*. I can hardly wait!

After that, I bet it will be New Years. I hate to say it. It seems so far away, yet I KNOW the end is in sight. I can feel it. Hek, I just planned it all out. All my knitting days from today until December 31st. Pretty much anyway. It’s fairly shocking.

But at least I’ll have a new sweater.

And socks. I didn’t mention those, but they’re on the list too, as always.

I look forward to seeing you at the Yarn Along. I’m STILL listening to I’ll Give You the Sun* and reading Truly Madly Guilty* and loving both. I hope to FINALLY be on to a new book next week. Phew.

*Affiliate links. Thank you for your support! 

**If you are a newer reader and  a Ravelry user, please note I have a Ravelry group here. Stop on by and join the fun! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest if you just can’t get enough.

My Story

Over the past decade, I’ve chased a lot of wild dreams about how I might earn a living doing something, well, different.

Because somehow doing all the NORMAL things we’re taught we’re supposed to do wasn’t enough. Yes, I went to college, and yes, I even have a graduate degree. And, on most days, I find my Regular Career quite satisfying. (I’m a hydrologist when I’m not knitting.) I often don’t mind Going Through the Motions of Life.

It’s what we do.

But sometimes I wander a little.

There was the time I wanted to be an event planner. And the time I wanted to be a real estate agent, before 2008 at the height of the market of course. Or a house flipper. (Too much HGTV during that particular stint in life.) I guess I’ve kind of always wanted my own business, which never occurred to me AT ALL in my younger years. Mentoring women to be entrepreneurs wasn’t such a Big Thing like it is now.

There was the time, after reading the Four Hour Work Week*, my big idea was to manufacture cute wheelbarrows with fancy, bright prints to jazz up the mundane tasks of pulling weeds, hauling firewood and raking leaves. Any woman’s Yard Work Dream. Who wants a boring ol’ black, navy, or brown wheelbarrow?

Not me.

For two months, my husband and I were going to start a permaculture plant nursery.

And then we were going to open a distillery (which I still think is a good idea, but I’ve happily settled for sampling vodka and other spirits from the micro-distilleries boldly opened by others in recent years…).

Oh! And the food truck. Our town in the Middle of Nowhere has ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE to eat, so I was going to do everyone a service and open a food truck. Until I crunched the numbers and decided standing in front of a griddle in a glorified tin can during the heat of summer might not be All That after all and instead was a miserable way to quickly Go Broke.

Despite all these hair-brained tangents, I kept going to work like people do. On bad days, I was inspired by Christine’s world adventures and lived vicariously through her globe trotting lifestyle, always wondering: how would I do that?

Then we had Reed.

It’s true what they say. Having a child changes everything.

I wasn’t able to return to my previous full time job after having Reed. I needed a part time gig, and my old position was a full time program only. So I started racking my brain. What could I do? What did I want to do?

It felt like my big chance.

(Years later, I now believe EVERY DAY is a Big Chance.)

I had asked myself these questions before. It’s not like it was the first time I thought about Going Rogue. But it felt more pressing then as I looked at my infant son and our rural life and wondered what the next chapter might look like, newly jobless for the first time since high school.

While I quickly found a near-perfect part time gig that I still love and the immediate fear of poverty and living under a bridge with my baby was put to ease, I still wondered. What might be in store for me? What can I make happen? What do I love to do?

What can I say, I think I was channeling Oprah.

I saw other women online who appeared successful in a crafty sort of way with Etsy and the like. My brain was going down that road a bit.

Goat milk soap? No.

Cross stitch kits seemed to be making a comeback, but I hadn’t picked up an embroidery hoop since age 8. No.

I had all kinds of wild ideas on my list, on top of all the other Maybe-This-Maybe-That possibilities I’d cycled through all the years prior.

Then one day it hit me. I was on Ravelry and saw Martina Behm’s Brickless. At the time, it had something like 2,000 projects. (Today, there’s nearly 5,000 projects for that pattern.)  I remember doing the math. Two thousand times $4.00 USD each. This woman made $8,000 USD off a scarf.


That was my golden ticket. I remember looking at then itty bitty Reed and calling my husband with an enthusiasm not dissimilar to how Neal Armstrong must have felt when he landed on the moon and proudly announcing, with sincere relief, I HAD IT ALL FIGURED OUT.

I will make a pattern for a scarf one time and sell it 2,000 times and pay all my bills.


Now you’re probably chuckling by now, especially if you are also a knitwear designer. Clearly I didn’t exactly do a very thorough job on my market research for knitting pattern designers (which was actually quite unlike me at the time as Number Crunching is one of my strengths…but the overhead seemed quite low and Number Crunching felt superfluous…at the time).

So what did I do?

I grabbed a skein of yarn from my Little Yarn Store and quickly set about making the most basic triangle scarf of all time and uploaded it to Ravelry.

At the time, I wasn’t an expert knitter (nor am I now). I was a daily knitter but not nearly as obsessive about knitting as I am today.

And I had never designed a pattern but I figured how hard can it possibly be?

Just thinking back to these moments, now 3 ½ years ago, makes me laugh at myself. But I was determined.

Fake it to you make it, right?


Anyway, I uploaded that first pattern to Ravelry and anxiously awaited my 2,000 sales.


Nothing happened. Like, literally, NOTHING HAPPENED.

Not even a lousy five bucks.

I was undeterred and made more patterns, and STILL nothing happened. No money. NOTHING. Just Ravelry staring back at me through my computer screen in this horribly mocking sort of way.

What were you thinking?

While I quickly realized my math was a little off (okay, a lot off) and discovered perhaps there was a little more to this knitwear design thing than I had paused to consider In the Beginning, I found that I loved it. I enjoyed the work. Even when I was messing up (all the time).

I soldiered on, driven just as much by my determination to be successful as I was by my love of knitting. I was inspired by other designers. I stayed the course. Every time I picked up my knitting, I told myself I was working.

Note I did not quit my day job.

Years later, I now have my blog and realized I love writing as much as I love knitting (which I kind of already knew, but that’s a story for another day.) My designs are now modestly more successful, although I will say I typically still land squarely within the most common bracket of designers’ sales on Ravelry. (Ravelry reports most designers selling patterns on their site earn under $50.00 USD monthly). I’m in good company. On many levels. I like the friends and colleagues I’ve made through this work, and I sometimes can break even on my Yarn Habit, if I don’t add in the value of all the TIME I invest.

We’ll just ignore that little detail for the time being.

I still have my eye on the prize and feel confident good things are coming. At least that’s what I am working toward. I’m nearing four years in and just as motivated today as I was then, if not more so. So thanks, Oprah.

I love the work, and that’s what counts.

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Rainland Shawlette Pattern Release

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

Remember when I finished this baby? And the little grey version?

Well, the pattern is finally out. Tech edited, shiny, and everything. The best part is the pattern includes versions to accommodate both yarn weights: Sport and DK.

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

I love this pattern because it is simple. Sometimes (most of the time) simple knitting is my favorite. Especially as yarns are so amazing and soft these days. The truth is I often feel like I don’t need a fancy pattern. My gorgeous yarn is enough.

I just want to knit it up.

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

That’s why I love Rainland. It’s as basic as they come. I would have titled the pattern Basic Shawlette, Plain Jane Shawlette, or even Boring Shawlette, but those names have actually been used already on Ravelry.

So, we have Rainland. All you need to warm your shoulders on a drizzly (or truly rotten) day.

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

Rainland is also super cool because it’s a one-skein wonder. If you have 360 yards (329 m) or so of a lovely skein of DK or Sport that’s been waiting for Just the Right Pattern in your stash…well, this just might be your number. Put those souvenir skeins to use!

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

The stripy version of Rainland is knit in a handspun DK weight yarn that was gifted to me by a friend. Her sheep. Her spinning. Her dyeing. Special. I like wearing it “wrong side” out quite a bit also. The colors are fun that way.

The all-grey version was worked up in Madelinetosh Pashmina. Um, that’s amazing stuff. So soft with an out-of-this-world Drape Factor. It grew A LOT during blocking, and the pattern is written to accommodate that as well.

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

I love these easy crescent shawls and could knit them over and over. I think they are very wearable in scarf or shawl formation, with substantial (but not too substantial) tail ends for wrapping or tying.

The bottom garter edge is knit first, followed by the stockinette middle. Simple wrap-and-turn style short rows create the crescent shape. If you are new to short rows, don’t fear. You can still do this. The written instructions are there and quite clear. This would actually be a good starter pattern for a knitter new to short rows, or someone who might need a refresher. There’s not a lot of other craziness going on to cause undo stress.

I believe in you.

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

Rainland is available on Ravelry and Love Knitting for $5.00 USD. (Subscribers, check your emails. You should have a coupon code for 50% off. Mwah! I love you all!)

The holidays are fast approaching (Gasp! Faint! Cuss a little!), and this one-skein wonder just might make a nice gift for someone on your list.

Rainland Shawlette by This Knitted Life. Pattern provides instructions for both DK and Sport weight yarn. Amazing one skein wonder. Sometimes simple is better.

So, here’s to simple. And easy. And workhorse knits. A cheers to you!

I look forward to seeing you at the Yarn Along. I’m still listening to I’ll Give You the Sun* and reading Truly Madly Guilty* and loving both.  I haven’t made much progress on my audiobook because Reed insists on listening to his own stories, with which he is officially obsessed (The Magic Tree House* series). I think I am going to have to find the kid some wireless headphones so we can each enjoy our respective audio stories in the car. Already, we go our own way. So much for car chats. Sigh.

*Affiliate links. Thank you for your support! 

**If you are a newer reader and  a Ravelry user, please note I have a Ravelry group here. Stop on by and join the fun! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest if you just can’t get enough.




Redemption, Vol. 2

A new baby hat in the works over at This Knitted Life using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.

Unsurprisingly, I still haven’t redeemed myself.

I thought I was all (well, mostly) in the clear when I finished my last cream colored baby hat…but then the hat was actually a wee bit too small for the neighborhood baby (AKA Baby Hat Model).

Of course.

I had been cleverly working up these Much Improved baby hats from my ample stash of scraps of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, which of course I LOVE. My scraps had run their course and I seemed short on sufficient yardage of a suitable shade to make a third hat. This tragic fact left me with no other choice but to order more online (I settled on the Logwood colorway) and patiently wait for the U.S. postal system to work its magic.

In the meantime, the too-small hats were shipped off to a brand new baby with a smaller head. As it seems, the list of these newborn creatures seems to be growing at such a staggering rate, and I just can’t keep up. I’m backlogged in the New Baby Gift Department, with more and more on the horizon, and have actually wondered if I shouldn’t just buy a gift like a normal person instead of holding on to this bizarre determination to knit something for all these new babies.

A knitter need not be defined by an unspoken responsibility/obsession/expectation to knit things for new babies. A knitter can still be a knitter and knit things for people other than new babies.

That’s precisely why someone invented Target.

All the same, I am determined to get this hat right, as my own knitting karma is directly attached to fixing and finishing this pattern before sharing it with the masses for free.

I have this knitting journal of sorts where I scribble significant knitting notes to myself, particularly when developing a pattern. It’s where I work out my math and write down the steps I take such that I can eventually decipher my illegible handwriting and type up my notes in a manner that might actually make sense to other human beings. In the case of the cream colored baby hat, I had indeed written down the number of cast on stitches so I could easily tell how many additional stitches I would need to make a hat correctly sized for the Neighborhood Baby Model after my prior failure.

Except…and I won’t go into detail here…it didn’t exactly work out that way, and I couldn’t actually BE CERTAIN how many stitches I had cast on. Was it 78 or 88? I anguished on this a bit and even tried counting stitches and pattern repeats from the photos in my prior post and Instagram, but in the end I just couldn’t be sure. I even went so far as to ask my friend and recipient of the cream colored baby hat to please count the picot points on the brim for me and text me with the results.

I’ve heard nothing. New moms have a lot on their plates.

So I’ve taken a wild guess for Try Number 3, hoping the hat will be larger than Try Number 2 but not so large as to be unsuitable. This invariably means I have guessed wrong and am spending all my free knitting hours knitting a hat identical to Try Number 2, which will also be TOO SMALL for the Neighborhood Baby Model, thus requiring Try Number 4.

I can say this: I am making sure my notes are clearer and I am not mailing away Try Number 3 until I am absolutely positive I have documented how many stitches I cast on with unequivocal certainty.

So help me, Great Wool Spirits.


On Fall Knitting

I typically think of Fall as a gentle season of calmness and slowing down. Knitting quietly in the window while staring mindlessly at the trees in the yarn, leaves adjusting hue as a last hurrah before they drift to the ground and rot until I rake them up. Fall is when I aim to tidy the garden and plant new crops of hearty greens. I clean the house and tuck away the outdoor furniture, safe from the impending rains. I will uncork the season’s first bottle of red, and happily knit stitch after stitch, satisfied with all that it.

Not this year.

This year, I run around like a crazy lady. Reed keeps saying, like a broken record in his I-am-being-so-funny voice, Are you nuts? The poor little guy doesn’t know how right he is.

Yes, dear child, I AM nuts. Or, I am going nuts.

There has been no calm. No slow. Hardly any knitting. I have not sat in the window and stared, thoughts drifting. The garden is in shambles. The lawn is on the verge of becoming its own non-native forest ecosystem, exotic grasses and all. Maybe there are tomatoes left to pick. Maybe that have all rotted. I haven’t even had a chance to look. The outdoor furniture? Well, it’s dripping wet. The rain beat me to it.

The red wine, however, has been uncorked. I can assure you that. Although somehow (and I have NO idea how this could be possible), a single glass seems to hit me harder than I recollect, sending me early to bed at the detriment of my knitting. Time to reassess that little joy.

As I move through the motions of each day, flashes of fall color zip by in a hazy blur. How do you reconcile seeing something and missing that same thing all at the same time?

I forget how grounding knitting is to me until I have been severed from my routine, leaving me only to catch myself wondering, for the first time, if that little vacant plot next door might be suitable for sheep of the woolly sort.

Worry not.

I WILL be reunited with my knitting soon, leaving me only to fret about which one of my four projects to finish first: Poncho 1, Poncho 2 (also pictured above in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, sweatershirt colorway), the baby hat ver. 3, or some socks?

I look forward to seeing you at the Yarn Along. I’m listening to I’ll Give You the Sun and reading Truly Madly Guilty

Administrative Notes

* Affiliate links. Thank you for being you!

**If you are a newer reader and  a Ravelry user, please note I have a Ravelry group here. Stop on by and join the fun! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest if you just can’t get enough.

True or False

An easy-folded style poncho in the works. Malabrigo Worsted in Polar Moon.

True or False: I currently have two grey ponchos on my needles.


True or False: On top of the grey Stoneland Poncho I already knit this year.

(Also true.)

True or False: I have had this little issue of knitting entirely in grey before.

(True, too.)

True of False: This is because grey is a lovely neutral, I love wearing grey, and it photographs well. Whereas black, which I also love to wear, doesn’t photograph well and isn’t quite as satisfying to knit with.


True or False: I am not concerned with having three (new) grey ponchos.

(Outwardly, true. Inwardly, a little concerned. But I don’t want to talk about it.)

True of False: I feel like my knitting time has been unusually limited of late, and it’s making me grouchy.

(Very true.)

True or False: And my house is still a mess!

(True again.)

True or False: This particular poncho uses a similar stitch pattern as my Twist Shawl and Twist Cowl, two of my all time favorites. Now there will be a Twist Poncho.

(True. Because after spending five zillion hours flipping through stitch dictionaries, sometimes I just have to go with what you know and love. Especially if it has been a couple years since you last knit the ol’ Twist.)

True or False: The twists will flatten a bit with blocking.

(True. Boring question. But significant.)

True or False: That’s Malabrigo Worsted in Polar Moon. 200 yards (183 m) for $12 USD. What a steal for a super soft, squishy yarn.

(Very true on all counts.)

True or False: I am joining the Yarn Along this week.

(True! Ever and always.)

A Purple Shawl for Fall

Simple short-row crescent shawl with a check stitch border. Cascade Yarns Pure Alpaca.

You’ll be happy to know the purple yarn did indeed turn into a shawl, although, in all honesty, I may have spent more time unknitting and reknitting and than Just Knitting. This simple crescent shawl has a check stitch border. Sometimes I forget alternating knit 2, purl 2 can look quite pretty for being so boring. I had envisioned a broader border of check stitch on the top. It seemed I had so much yarn remaining until all of the sudden I didn’t have any yarn remaining. I hate when that happens. I wanted to make a crescent shawl that was deeper than my last two, and I did. But I also wanted the ends to be pointy. And they aren’t.

Womp. Womp.


Now I know, for pointy ends, one INCREASES and does NOT decrease.

I learn something new every day.

I’ve had these two gifted skeins of Cascade Yarns Pure Alpaca in my stash for a year or two now. When I wound them up to try out my swift earlier this year, I decided the yarn was mighty fine actually and added it to my mental Knit Soon list.

I do follow through on most things. Eventually.

Fall arrived here right on schedule. Crisp air. Even a bit of drizzle. I busted out some socks. Switched from white wine to red. All I want to do is lounge around and knit. I know that’s not quite possible, but I am going to keep dreaming about it anyway.

All things in good time.

The Stoneland Poncho-Pattern Release

Finally. It’s ready for you.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I know I’ve been teasing you with glimpses of this easy folded-style poncho for MONTHS. I am proud to introduce you to the new Stoneland Poncho.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I love this thing! Now that the chilly mornings have arrived, I have been living in Stoneland. This is the first poncho I have ever owned, and I lament the decades of my life that have passed without such a fabulous accessory in my daily knitwear arsenal. It’s cozy like a shawl, bigger than a scarf, and doesn’t fall off your shoulders all the time. There’s nothing to tie or secure. It’s like a blanket you wear, except you look MUCH better than if you were actually wearing a blanket.

I know a lot of you think you aren’t poncho/wrap people (uh, hi Mom) …and, until this year, I WAS just like you. But now I know: PONCHOS ROCK. Seriously. I have already cast on two more.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

Stoneland is knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amano sportweight. It’s light and soft with an easy cable fabric. The pattern also includes little tricks to avoid cabling with a cable needle to save time. (Thank you to all the readers who encouraged me to figure that out. It was well worth the ten minutes I spent on YouTube.)

This is how you knit Stoneland: knit a rectangle and sew the short end to the long end. Then you are done. Although Stoneland does include a teeny tiny bit of i-cord edging on one end for a clean finish.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I love how the neckline lays just so! And it’s so cozy.

Stoneland is available on Ravelry for $6.00 USD. If you are a subscriber, check your email for a 25% off code. Even if you aren’t in the market for a poncho pattern right this minute, please consider taking a moment to add the pattern to your Ravelry favorites so you can find it again in the future.

The pattern includes sizing for small through extra large.  Written instructions include all measurements in both metric and English units. Stoneland has also been tech edited and test knit by a cadre of fabulous knitting enthusiasts.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I truly enjoyed knitting Stoneland, and I hope you do too. This is a great knit for fall (or any season).  I love that the stitch has texture without being too busy. It’s subtle, but not just stockinette. This results in a piece that is very wearable but not severely boring.

Please visit the Ravelry page for Stoneland here. I hope you love this one as much as I do.

As always. many thanks to the beautiful and talented Anna for modeling for me. Mwah. 

And, joining the Yarn Along and between books (yikes!)

The Secret to Super Speedy (and easy) Sock Knitting

The secret to knitting super speedy (and easy) socks. Almost everything you need to know to fill up that sock drawer, pronto.

I hereby announce I have solved all your problems.

Okay. Revised. I hereby announce I have solved all your sock-knitting problems.

Double okay. That also might be an over statement. But I’m trying, okay?

To be completely up front, I’ve barely been knitting socks for a year, which might technically mean I’m not even a “sock knitter.” That said, since casting on my very first pair, I now ALWAYS have a pair of socks on my needles, and I’ve gained some insight.

For those of you stitching away toward Operation Sock Drawer-type sock knitting enthusiasm, the following unsolicited tidbits are thus offered as my words of wisdom on the matter. Take it or leave it. I love you either way.

Simple knit man socks in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Whiskey Barrel colorway. Quick and easy beginner sock pattern!

(These socks are fresh off my needles, constituting my second pair of Man Socks knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock’s Whiskey Barrel colorway. I quite like the color for being boring brown. They are just plain ol’ ribbed in no particular pattern.)

Use Pointy, Metal-Tipped Needles

Until recently, I knit my socks using the magic loop method on Size 2 (US)/2.75 mm bamboo-tipped Hiya Hiya needles. As far as bamboo needles go, I’d say these are on the pointier side of the spectrum for a wooden-tipped needle. However…I went through two pairs this year alone due to breakages (I would argue once wasn’t my fault and the second time was definitely my fault) and, weary of buying not-inexpensive needles multiple times per year, switched to using my metal-tipped ChiaoGoo needles* instead.

Holy crap.

I thought I had been cruising along at warp speed with the Hiya Hiya’s. Nope. I had been limping along on the Santa Maria and didn’t even know it. Now that I’m working with sharp, metal-tipped needles, my sock knitting is progressing at Mock Speed.


So, if you are a sock knitter and have been dedicated to working with wooden-tipped needles (even if they seem sharp), just try using a metal-tipped needle, whether you are using DPN or the magic loop.

Trust me on this one.

Knit Plain Ol’ Vanilla Stockinette Socks

I know there are five zillion and one gorgeous sock patterns floating out in the universe, many of them enticing and tempting and all that wonderful socky goodness.


Personally, I feel like my socks are hidden in some sort of shoe half the time and no one will notice my hard work on some fancy pancy stitch pattern. I’d rather save the complicated stuff for a shawl or something that might actually see the light of day.

As far as sock patterns go, I’ve stuck to simple stuff over the past year: ribbed, Hermione’s Every Day Sock, and numerous pairs of Blueberry Waffle socks. They were all free and easy patterns, suitable for a novice. Top down. One at a time. Nothing too complicated.

It wasn’t until I knit my first pair of straight-up stockinette socks that I realized how QUICKLY knitting a pair of socks could go. It’s like I blinked and they were (both!) off the needles.

After knitting many pairs of gifting socks (which I learned I prefer to do ribbed so I can fret less about the fit) and am focusing on knitting socks JUST FOR ME, I am just doing stockinette socks for the time being. All the pretty gradient, self-patterning, and self-striping yarns make them interesting and beautiful and I don’t feel like I am losing out by not working from a pretty sock pattern.

Walk and Knit

The other benefit of knitting simple ol’ stockinette socks is that it is much easier to walk and knit at the same time. I’ve tried walking and knitting with ribbed socks and it’s achievable…but walking and knitting with stockinette socks is much EASIER.

If you are anything like me (e.g., prioritize knitting over exercise and just about anything else) and also perpetually failing to achieve a higher state of desired personal physical fitness, let me suggest taking your socks on a walk during mild temperatures (my fingers get too cold during the winter to make this possible). I keep my socks in my Go-Knit* pouch and have made great knitting strides, although my waste band begs to differ.

Would you like another M&M?

Take Your Socks Absolutely Everywhere

Don’t just walk with your socks. Take them everywhere. I admit I have developed a sort of neurosis about leaving the house without my knitting. I barely ever do it. As luck would have it, as soon as I go somewhere without a knitting project I of course end up with an hour to kill that I otherwise COULD HAVE spent knitting.

The worst.

So, the socks always go. They are small and uncomplicated and travel well. Road construction with lengthy delays? Knit socks. Waiting for an appointment? Knit socks. Inadvertently find yourself at a bar drinking a bloody mary? Knit socks. Someone else is driving and your are the passenger? DEFINITELY knit socks.

All those random rounds add up and, BAM, you have a sock.

Some neuroses pay off more than others.

Set a Daily Goal

I have been coaching a knitting friend through her first pair of socks. I can’t say we’ve made a ton of progress, but this is what I told her: just knit eight rounds every night. That’s about an inch (2.54 cm). After a week or so of that, you’re ready to turn a heel. DOUBLE BAM. Eight rounds is NOTHING. You probably spend more time than that thoughtlessly scrolling through Facebook.

Knit your eight rounds (or whatever goal you otherwise set yourself), and you can thank me later.

Knit Smaller Socks

I’ve noticed socks commonly come in patterns based off 64 stitches. For me, working on Size 2 US/2.75 mm needles, 64 stitches comes out WAY too big. I use 64 stitches for Man Socks only, or women I know to have particularly thick feet and ankles.

When knitting socks for myself or averaged-footed ladies to gift, I go with patterns that use only 52 stitches for a better fit. Fewer stitches=smaller socks. Smaller socks=less time.

If you need to knit a gift for a man in your life, consider a hat instead. In worsted weight. Save the sock knitting for smaller feet.

Sock On!

That’s all I’ve got, knitters (for now). I’ll be thinking good socky thoughts for you and your soon-to-be cozy feet. Happy knitting!

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