Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Indie Designer Gift-a-long 2017 - New Fav Designer

Guess what?  I can't pick just one :-D  Over the course of looking through all the designs available in the Indie Gift-a-long, I ended up favoriting 8 designers!  These are not necessarily my favorites to actually make, but they just have some amazing designs.  In no particular order, check out these knit and crochet designers...

Irina Tarasova has designs for THE MOST ADORABLE bunny and outfits!  This bunny is pretty cute, but the outfits really knock it out of the park.  I think my fav would be Set in Boho Style (pictured left).  The patterns appear to combine knitting and crochet so be sure you know both! 

This is one that I'm just admiring, I haven't made or purchased anything.  That being said, these are pricey patterns that appear to be very detailed according to the description.  I did see some comments from a buyer that it was not all they expected but there are also some very happy bunny's!

Elizabeth Felgate had a few knit designs that caught my eye... but this hat, Hick City, is one I've looked at again and again.  It's perfectly slouchy and lose which I like for my curly hair.  We must not overlook some other designs she has that are ingenious!  The Gaugeless SweaterGaugeless Lady Cardigan and Gaugeless Cardigan 2.  The name may give them away, but you can make any of these with any yarn and needle combination with no gauge calculation required.  I really like the stitch used for the shoulders and arms on the Gaugeless Sweater.  The Gaugeless Lady Cardigan has a bit of a shawl look from the back, with three increase eyelets sections running down it, while the Gaugeless Cardigan 2 has a more traditional cardi look.

 Up next, Nim Teasdale who caught my eye with her gorgeous lace shawls.  I'm not much for lace knitting these days but some day I'd love to make one!  I think the The Peacock's Tale is the one I'd go for and the gradient yarn used is the perfect effect.

Emily Ross is not really new to me, not that I actually knew that to start with...  she is the designer behind the Haruni Shawl, a free pattern that has over 10,000 projects!  She has a bunch of other knit lace shawl designs that are beautiful, as well as many Haruni inspired patterns.  While I really love all the shawls, my favorite is probably the Haruni Cowl for its easy wearability.

While little toys look easy to make and I'm always drawn to them... I know they're fiddly and usually don't end up making many.  That doesn't mean I can't admire the designs by cheezombie.  There are knit and crochet items which is nice, as I am more likely to try a crochet toy.  My favorite though, is a little knit sheep, the Sheepish Toy Pattern

Crochet peacock items?  Yes please!  Look no further than Christa Veenstra.  There is an amazing array of different things with different style peacock 'feathers' such as a stool cover or bookmark.  I'm hard pressed to find a favorite among these, but if I had to pick one I'd go with Peacock Feather Motif Art Nouveau mostly because I love the color scheme used on the pattern page. 

Kari-Helene Rane has some real fashionable designs, which would make sense as she is a fashion designer.  You get a real sense of her style looking through her designs.  She has a range of knit accessories and garments for adults and children.  While it would be a commitment at 1500-2200 yards of sport weight yarn, the Maddie Dress is simple yet effective.

Another designer that I didn't know I knew, because often times designs are popular by their name and the designer gets lost, Mary Annarella is the designer behind Shleeves and Stranger Things Cowl.  Those are great representations of the knit designs she tends to create, garments and colorwork.  While I do like those two items, I'm more drawn towards the Funicular.  This hat seems a great way to do some simple colorwork and short rows, just think of all the color combos!

Have you made anything from these designers?  Or maybe you just discovered them too?  Have you found some new favorite designers too?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Indie Designer Gift-a-long 2017 - Foot & Leg Things

When it comes to this category, I don't have much to contribute...  almost all of my socks are plain vanilla, no patterns for me!  I did manage to find four designs that were worth favoriting for my purposes.

My very favorite (and already on the needles!) are the Thrumbelina aran weight knit slippers.  These slippers also use roving, to make thrumbs.  I've never done this technique before but these slippers would be perfect for gifts.  There are plans to make FIVE pairs, but to be sure I understood the technique, I started the pair for myself.  These should be a quick knit, but making thrumbs is a little tricky.  I think they'd make a good PT exercise for those with wrist problems (yeh, like me).  So my plan is to make as many thrumbs as I can manage and then knit with those until I run out.  Back and forth should give my wrists a break from monotony. 

Another fun and quick slipper pattern, Strange Jewels Slippers are knit up with super bulky weight yarn.  These also don't use much yardage and might be nice for handspun.

The deep roots leg warmers are knit up with worsted weight yarn.  Utilizing just knits and purls, you can create these cozy leg warmers or boot cuffs.  I love the idea of making them long enough for leg warmers but still wearing them under boots and folding the cuff down.

A more traditional boot cuff, in my mind, should have a little lace.  The Old English Lace Boot Cuffs are perfect.  They are knit up with fingering weight weight yarn, but boot cuffs in any yarn weight can be a quick knit!

Have you found some neat Foot & Leg Things?  Share, share share!  And if you're making any, be sure to pop onto the Foot & Leg Things thread and tell about it.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Indie Designer Gift-a-long 2017 - Scarves!

Another potential gift I've got on my mind is a scarf.  It could also be a shawl, but for today we'll focus on scarves.  Something easy to wear and of course, the quicker I can finish it, the better!

So lets start with some of the quicker possibilities and focus on worsted weight scarves.  The Samara Scarf is a crochet pattern that actually utilizes a skein of worsted weight as well as a skein of fingering weight yarn.  Worked up on the bias alternating the skeins gives the body of the scarf a cool affect with a fun stitch pattern on the edges for added interest.  Another scarf that has one stitch pattern for the body and a different on the edges is the Cloud Covered Scarf.  This one is mostly lace with garter stitch on the edges and looks so warm and cozy in the pattern page photos!  Not exactly a scarf, the Impari Shawlette would still be a quick knit.  I especially like the feature of 2 different ties that can be incorporated on the shawlette making it super wearable!

There was one mid-weight yarn design that I found may fit the bill.  The sport weight Duara has a similar theme of using two different stitch patterns.  This one begins with a short bit of rib, followed by a flower motif, back to a bit of rib, flower motif and finally the short rib section.  The styling in the feature photo is just marvelous!

And as crazy as a fingering weight scarf may seem when we're in a time crunch, I found plenty of options in this category as well.  The crochet scarf Prelude uses under 200yds so it's still fairly quick.  It's mostly a fairly simple stitch with short row borders that result in a softly curved edge.  The Phoenix Feather scarf is a gorgeous scarf that is worked up in two halves and seamed together.  I have to keep checking because the lace is so unique, this is definitely a knit pattern!  A reversible scarf with a mix of different stitch patterns, Interlacing Scarf is knit on the bias.  Another design that caught my eye because of the styling in the photos, I really love the tied look of the 5th image!  While you could theoretically add fringe to any scarf, the Crooked River Scarf makes my list because the fringe, among other things.  The way the dropped stitches are worked in a rib like manner make for a cozy scarf that isn't too hot.  For a delicate looking scarf, check out the Frideswide.  This would work beautifully with a monotone indie dyed yarn and it features a reversible cable edging and ruffle!

There are a few scarves that I think deserve 'honorable mention'.  They don't exactly fit the bill for my recipient, but might be a good selfish knitting item or it's just so interesting I have to share...

The Clincher was originally a knit design, but since has been released for crochet as well!  This might be an ordinary fingering weight triangle shawlette, except for the added feature along the one edge (icord I believe?) that makes wearing the shawlette that much easier.  It's so hard to explain, so go on and click the link to see it!  The Art Deco Beaded Scarf looks like a fairly simple knit scarf but the addition of beads make it so classy!  This DK weight scarf is gorgeous and reversible.   I'm a sucker for crocheted flowers and this scarf just calls my name!  The Floral Whisper Scarf could easily be a cowl and should finish quickly with worsted weight yarn.  Always on the lookout for patterns good for bulky handspun, the Brioche Stitch Infinity Scarf looks like a simple knit with beautiful results!  Did I mention loving crochet flowers?  Well, not exactly flowers but still right up my alley, the Myrtle Crochet Scarf is made up of circular motifs and could be a great way to use up fingering weight scraps!  Another uniquely shaped scarf, the Spring Runoff Scarf utilizes short rows to give it the shawl like sections that add up to a stunning scarf knit fairly quick with sport weight yarn.

What do you think?  Any scarves here that would work for your gifts?  If you end up making one, be sure to join the a-long for Cowls, Scarves and Other Neck Things.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Indie Designer Gift-a-long 2017 - Hats!

While this event is in it's 5th year, this is my first year participating as a designer.  The Indie Gift-a-long is a great way to prepare for the holidays!  You'll find all the info you need on the Ravelry board and there are a bunch of other threads you'll want to check out also depending on how you want to participate.  I'll let you explore the Ravelry group to get all the details so I can share with you some of my favorite finds!

I was able to browse the participating designers thread a little early and ended up with over 400 favorite designs!  There's likely not enough time for all those so I need to narrow down who I can gift knit/crochet for.  Then I organize that list based on who I want to gift most and then I'll start making and see how many I can get to!

One of my must makes is a hat for DH.  He saw a brioche hat I made myself and was impressed.  So I decided I must find a good brioche hat that is masculine and not too fancy.  My pick is Autumn Vibes!  I've followed Knit Graffiti, mostly on Instagram, for a bit now and I love many of her brioche patterns.  Last weekend I was at a LYS and was able to find some beautiful and soft merino yarn perfect for this hat.  One color is a little bright and the other is dark, so I think they'll make a perfect contrast for brioche.

A little further down the list I have at least 3 more hats I could gift.  One would be a sister hat.  I struggle with picking out something that I think she'll like versus showing her some options to be sure I've got her style right...  So far I'm leaning towards hats that are slouchy and maybe with lace, she lives in a warmer climate so cozy hats aren't really useful.

Sweet Clementine is a sport weight, crochet hat.  I really like the stitch on this hat, which I believe is a bobble or popcorn type stitch.  It's also just the right amount of slouch with a nice ribbed brim.  Speaking of crochet, sport weight hats, the La Villa Lace Brim Slouch Hat is another good contender.  This one has a different stitch on the brim that is a little like lace ribbing.  The body of the hat is not really lace or openwork at all but it has nice slouch.  I also found two knit hats that look good but a bit more complex.  The Lacy Screech Owls Hat might not be very slouchy, but the lace is innovative... it looks like owls!  While I really like this one, I need to remember I have time constraints... fingering weight and lace might not work.  The DK hat, BUX might be more appropriate... while there is some lace the heavier weight yarn will make it a little faster.  I also really like how the crown decreases form a star.

My other two possible hat recipients I imagine wanting somewhat plain and manly hats.  Preferably with a foldable brim so that it is more likely to fit.  The worsted weight Syndicate is a good pick, there are several sizes to choose from and you can't go wrong with a ribbed hat.  Also made with worsted weight, the Pangani Hat starts with ribbing, but the body has a bit more detail between the rib.  This one also has a few size options but with less built in length, I'd have to modify to get a folding brim.  With a subtle difference to the 1x1 rib, the crush worsted weight hat is also a possibility.  This one is a one-size design but with slouch that could be folded up.  I think my best bet is going to be the Mount Rainier Hat.  Also a worsted weight design, it is mostly a ribbed pattern but it transititions into knit at the crown decreases in the most interesting way!  And... I just realized all my picks are knit.  There are many more knit designs in the GAL but don't worry there are plenty of crochet designs I'll be sharing also!

There is a chance I'll be making a holiday hat per one of my children's request.  I found a few options to chose from in the GAL.  How about sheep santas?  Fleece Navidad has you covered!  It's a worsted weight hat made with stranded colorwork.  This might be a little time consuming, and I'm more likely to appreciate the sheep, so that'll probably be for me.  Another worsted holiday hat with a twist, Akua's Christmas Tree Pattern is a crochet tree hat!  So cute and think of all the fun things one could add to go over the top...  For a more traditional santa hat I found two options.  Mrs. Claus Pointy Hat is written in multiple sizes for worsted weight yarn.  While the name might make my son dismiss the hat, I think this is a good contender for all kids.  Just in case, there is also the Festive Mood which has directions for DK and worsted weight along with many sizes.  This one features a brioche brim and directions for the 'Jolly Elf' or 'beanie' style hat.

Since the GAL runs until the end of the year (just remember that the discount on purchases only runs until 11/28) there could be time for selfish knitting also!  In that vein I've picked out some of my general favorite hats to share with you also.  The Nina Z is an aran weight hat that utilizes BOTH knit and crochet!  Said best by the designer "A simple crochet mesh transforms this basic hat into modern and stylish accessory." I definitely want one of these!  The Mendia Hat is one I've looked at for a while now.  The twisted ribbing detail gives it a little something special while it's still a fairly simple DK knit hat.  Fleur De Love is another DK knit hat that features colorwork in the daisy stitch, I can envision this with many shades of purple!  The sport weight hat, Hick City look so cozy with a good amount of slouch (or beanie optional!) and slipped stitches for use with at least two colors.  If you've got the time, the fingering weight Persian Windows Hat would be fun with some left over yarns.  The striping is so interesting with the special knit stitches used.  The Caffe Latte worsted weight hat can convert to a cowl and still makes a super cute hat!  I can't resist a cute brioche hat and with it's art deco and flapper style it's a must make for me.  The Maddness hat will knit up quick with bulky yarn in two nicely contrasting colors.  For a simple, slouchy crochet hat, look no further than the Bistro Beanie.  I think this would be perfect for a variegated, indie dyed DK weight yarn to really show off the colors.  For a little variation, I wanted to include the Oxford Headband.  Crocheted in worsted weight yarn, this would be perfect for those messy bun days.  

What will you be crafting for the GAL?  Any of the hats here strike your fancy?  Be sure to share on the Hat & Other Head Things thread so you can be in the running for PRIZES!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

DenKnits BONUS 2 Tour de Fleece 2017

Today I recorded a short video to share my finished skeins so far.  I plied my little spindle project that I showed last time and finished up another 3 skeins!

DenKnits BONUS Tour de Fleece 2017

Tour de Fleece runs along with Tour de France and it is where fiber artists spin along with those bicyclists spinning their wheels.  It runs from July 1 - 23 and there are two days off along with two challenge days.  Usually I just spin along casually, but this year I joined a team with the Bookish Stitcher podcast.

In this video, from July 2nd, I show a little how I prepped some of my fiber, what I spun on the first day, and how I prep a batt for spinning.

DenKnits 4.10 WIPs

I cover some of my current WIPs in this video from June 24th.  I'm mostly working on crochet these days, as summer tends to be my time to really want to crochet :-)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Spun This Box Spun! Plus one

I'm sharing with you all the fibers I spun from my Spin This Box as well as one extra fiber from Cornbread and Honey.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DenKnits 4.8 FO Show!

Intoxicated socks-Cornbread and honey yarn, my vanilla sock
Cowl design for bulky/handspun/art yarns-I used handspun coils from Uniquely Yours
Merryall Cardigan-used a Cascade yarn I won and the pattern is paid which I was gifted
Trellis Infinity Scarf(crochet)-free pattern that I test knit(made by hand), used a combo of three handspun skeins: Fawkes Farms and Fiber Addiction x2
Plaid Triangle Cowl(crochet)-free pattern on Whistle and Ivy blog, used handspun I spun for use in plaid pattern: Wild Wool Farm
Siobhan Crafts-batts from auction, spun

Michigan Fibre Studio-Leading Men Fiber Arts show: sock yarn for DH socks and 3 1/2 skeins that I ended up making a shawl out of also bought fiber from Fiber Addiction

FB & Insta: Denknits and Crochets
Rav & Insta: denmoma
YouTube: Denae Merrill

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

DenKnits 4.7 No clever title

My original Sweet Six Wrap is worn throughout but not clearly enough as to give anything away.  I show off both the original and the one I made during the MKAL starting at 11:36 and ending at 14:26.

Intoxicated Socks - yarn by Cornbread and Honey, my usual vanilla sock
Sonoma Stole - Stonehedge Fiber Mill Crazy, 4 skeins, paid pattern
Bulky sweater - making it up as I go
Crochet and knit squares blanket

Leading Men Fiber Arts - handspun falkland, might make the 2 in 1 from 1
Sweet Six Wrap- paid pattern by me, I used Fiber Addiction and A Tree Huggers Wife for the original; Cascade and assorted leftovers for the MKAL version

Cornbread and Honey - sock yarn as mentioned above and merino fiber, 2 braids of the same colorway
RhodaBear locks
Clear Converse!  To show off handknit socks

I recently saw some accusations flying that made no sense to me.  Indie dyer 'A' was claiming someone bought her yarn under a 'fake name' and in pictures knitting with it stated she dyed it herself.  The proof didn't really prove anything in my mind.  And while the current point Indie dyer 'A' was trying to make - that Indie dyer 'B' was claiming 'A's work as her own - there was also an apparent jab at a past incident without ever stating what said incident was.  Meanwhile many took this to be a case of stealing colorways.  Being a knitwear designer, I can understand feeling a sense of ownership on something you created.  However, I can also understand that the creative process can lead two people down a different path to the same end result.  While I make it a point not to copy others, inspiration comes from everywhere and sometimes it happens inadvertently or it just comes out similar.  Hopefully that sums it up and I will get on with my real point :-)

I felt like Indie dyer 'B' - from now on to be known as Cornbread and Honey - was being unfairly accused and having her business hurt.  I decided to be a secret shopper of sorts and test her out.

My experience was overall great.  I received a beautifully dyed product and it met my color expectations as based on her photos.  The yarn did appear to have sparkle in the photo but the description/fiber content didn't mention it.  The description also didn't mention if it was ready to ship or dyed to order.  I usually assume if it's not mentioned, then it's ready.  I noticed since that most of her listings do say which they are.  I decided it was likely dyed to order, wouldn't have sparkle and could take up to two weeks based on the info from other dyed to order listings.  I ordered on a Sunday for after two weeks on the following Monday (at the latest) I expected it to ship.  I received the shipping notice mid day Monday and it arrived on Wednesday (Ohio -> Michigan).

My only other comment is regarding the roving fiber content.  The listing said it was 19.5 micron merino but the label I received says 18 micron merino.  I do love it though and I plan to either pre draft very well or make it a thick 'n' thin yarn.

I've already shared my honest review with her directly and we've had a nice chat.  She filled me in a bit on the past incident (it was a case of her being accused of stealing colorways) and how she was now trying to build up a following again.  She was also very gracious to offer a refund on the roving fiber since it was a different micron count but I would not hear of it.  We've even discussed a future collaboration!

My bottom line here is not to say who is telling the truth and who isn't.  This is the internet and we can never know anything for certain.  I just don't believe that someone can hold claim to colors and if someone else uses them similarly that it can be called stealing.  You'll get your customer based on more than that, including price point.  Some people just can't afford the higher end dyers and will seek someone within their price range.  I also don't like how it came across as though there was this gang of Indie dyers who jumped at the opportunity to bash someone trying to make it as they themselves once were.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

DenKnits 4.6 Oohhh... I'm so good at this

I guess two months really puts me out of practice for this...  I've managed to get through a recording regardless, with a bit more 'uh' than I'd like along with plenty of mis-speaking :-D

Warning!  I am wearing a finished Sweet Six Wrap.  It's not too revealing of the pattern and shouldn't spoil any mysteries!


  • Wild Wool Farm
    • 2-4oz braids, split into 4 2oz sections.  Spun green 2oz into n-ply, spun 2oz green and 2oz pink/purple onto each other in a 2-ply and plan to spin last pink/purple 2oz into n-ply.  
    • Hope to make a crochet plaid item from Whistle and Ivy
  • Weaving Loom kit from 5 below
    • Yeh it's cheap!  But it's function and fun!
  • Spinning kit from Napa Valley Fiber with contribution from Fairytalespun