Elizabeth Knits Barbara Swatches

A Treasury of Knitting Patterns – p. 11
Seed Stitch

Yarn Weight: Worsted
Needles: Size 6

Seed Stitch is such a great texture, and I’ve already used this in my designs quite a bit for edgings and borders. I ran out of the brown yarn, which is why it is topped off in aqua. Have to say, I like this color combo, and I love it when “happy little accidents” teach me something new!

A Treasury of Knitting Patterns – p. 11
Double Seed St (also known as Double Moss St)

Yarn Weight: super bulky
Needles: Size 13

I had a feeling this stitch pattern would look awesome in super chunky yarn, and I was right! It’s also reversible (both sides look the same), and if I didn’t live in Los Angeles, I’d love a sweater in this yarn with this texture.

A Treasury of Knitting Patterns – p. 12
Sand Stitch – Right Side
A Treasury of Knitting Patterns – p. 12 Sand Stitch – Wrong Side

Yarn Weight: DK
Needles: Size 6

Love this texture on both sides, and it would make a great alternative “background” if you want something with more visual interest than Stockinette. It does curl, so it is definitely not useful for a border or edging unless you are intentionally incorporating curl.

I Love Yarn Day 2016

20160822_165431Yes, I do love yarn, and I love fine mohair best of all. The Craft Yarn Council created this celebration to encourage crafters to stitch it forward by teaching someone to knit or crochet, and to celebrate the gift of yarn.

In my house, celebrations usually go on for more than one day, so I am having an I Love Yarn week. In addition to some other goodies I have in store for all of you this coming week, I am running a promotion in my Etsy shop. If you use the code ILOVEYARN2016, you can get 10% off your order, plus $5 shipping on each kit. The $5 shipping is only for domestic orders. Most I Love Yarn Day promotions only run for 24 hours, but in keeping with the theme of my week, this coupon will run until next Saturday, October 22.🙂

These kits include all the yarn you need to make the shawl, plus the printed pattern in a sheet protector, naturally. This is the purest, top-quality mohair (which is very soft and lustrous, unlike cheap mohairs that are mixed with nylon), and you will have a beautiful heirloom piece to keep or give to someone special. And since treasured pieces need to be treated as such, I will wrap it in tissue and ship it priority mail. Some of the colors are selling out, so if you were considering a certain palette, this is a great opportunity to get it before it’s gone.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and a happy I Love Yarn Day. For some more fun, check out I Love Yarn Day Facebook Yarn Bomb.

Descanso Gardens: Woven

Woven Exhibit at Descanso Gardens
Part of the Woven Exhibit at Descanso Gardens

As far as I’m concerned, a day doesn’t get much better than going to a fiber art exhibit set in a gallery surrounded by gardens you can walk through at leisure. Unfortunately, they’ve already changed the exhibit, and we only got to see it right before it closed, but the gardens are open year-round. I’d recommend them to any of my LA people who need fresh inspiration. Here are photos and names of the artists featured which I hope you’ll all enjoy!

Bound by Thinh Nguyen
Closeup of Bound
And another closeup – if you’re wondering, these balls were all loose on the floor. I had to be careful not to move any while photographing.
I had to take about 100 photos to capture this koi venturing out from the lily pads, but I got the shot!🙂
The Enchanted Forest is not just any forest…those are California redwoods! My absolute favorite part of Descanso.
Descanso Gardens are well-named. Descansar means “to rest” in Spanish, and it is a very restful place.
Untitled by Echiko Ohira – the most artful use of tea bags I’ve ever seen.
My son admiring the vertical garden just outside the gallery
Xylem 3 by Kristin Leachman
Bouquet for Columbine #2 by Dinh Q. Le – my favorite piece out of the entire exhibit
Closeup – this is basically magazine photos of flowers in different widths that were woven together to create the visual effect.
woven exhibit at descanso gardens
Parachutes by Dinh Q. Le – another piece with the same techniques as above
descanso gardens
Domestic Flow by Meriel Stern – but if it was me, I’d have named it something oceanic because it looks like crocheted seashells to me.🙂

ElizabethKnitsBarbara – First Swatches

My first follow-up post to the challenge I laid out for myself. I will be linking all these posts to the hashtag #elizabethknitsbarbara, just so all the posts will be in one place. I hope you all find my photos and notes helpful. Feel free to post to the hashtag if you knit any swatches.

barbara walker, elizabethknitsbarbara
A Treasury of Knitting Patterns – p. 10
Crossed St st
Twisted St st

When I said I was going to do EVERY stitch pattern in these books, I wasn’t kidding.🙂 However, if you’re a knitter for 5 minutes, you know very well what regular Stockinette stitch is, so I chose to knit the two variations for this swatch instead.

Yarn Weight: fingering.
Needles: Size 6

Crossed Stockinette is done by knitting through the back loop on right side rows. Everything else is the same.

Twisted Stockinette is done by knitting through the back loop on both sides.

Hopefully my photo is clear enough for you all to see the variation. My favorite of the two is Crossed – it dresses up Stockinette St a little. When I started, I was wondering why you never see these variations used much. Now I know – both are a MAJOR PAIN! I think I’d pull my hair out trying to make a whole sweater with endless rounds of Stockinette where you have to dig into the back loop for every single stitch. However, I think I could live with it as some added interest on a Stockinette section in a shawl. A small section.🙂

barbara walker, elizabethknitsbarbara
A Treasury of Knitting Patterns – p. 10
Garter St with sample of plain St st

Since we also know Garter st, I chose to knit this sample in boucle yarn someone had given me. I have never made anything in boucle, so I figured this was a good opportunity to swatch it. I did a small plain St st section in the middle just to see if you could see any difference in how it knit up, and obviously, you can. However, as expected, boucle gives VERY little stitch definition, so if I made anything in it, I’d probably just keep my life simple and stay with Garter.

Yarn Weight: DK.
Needles: Size 10

I did a small plain St st section in the middle just to see if you could see any difference in how it knit up, and obviously, you can. However, as expected, boucle gives VERY little stitch definition, so if I made anything in it, I’d probably just keep my life simple and stay with Garter.

barbara walker, elizabethknitsbarbara
A Treasury of Knitting Patterns – p. 11
Moss St

Yarn Weight: DK.
Needles: Size 10

Nothing much to say about Moss St except that this is absolutely my favorite so far, and I don’t know why I haven’t used it more in my projects. Beautiful texture with some openness when done on these larger needles, but would be great on smaller ones too!

So now that we’ve done some of the basics, stay tuned for more updates with Barbara’s tougher stuff coming soon!


Math Creations That Say Op Art to Me

Ever since I opened my Etsy shop, I’ve gotten obsessed with researching other possibilities for it. And I have to say, I LOVE reading other people’s blogs and seeing projects and getting to know the community more.

I will share other links soon, but I thought these math creations deserved a post all unto themselves. I really love every single project posted here, and the math side of it is fascinating. The fact that Op art is one of my absolute favorite movements, and so many of these pieces look like knitted Op art projects is just simply the cherry on top. Enjoy!

By the way, just a fun little family fact – my husband can solve the Rubik’s cube in a minute or somewhere thereabouts. He taught himself, and says it is all about the math patterns too.🙂

A Test – Because I Like to Challenge Myself

barbara walker stitch patterns
My set of Barbara Walker stitch pattern volumes

I have decided to put myself to a Test – both in terms of expanding my knitting skills and in terms of testing my ability to finish a true challenge.

I realized when I started a new design recently, that even though I own the entire Barbara Walker collection of books, I always end up back at the same collection of stitch patterns. This would not necessarily be a bad thing if it were my “thing”, but I realized the real problem is that I haven’t taken the time to work through the books and swatch out the less familiar patterns. And to be perfectly honest, I am completely intimidated by the volume with all those complicated cable patterns!

I’m sure my fellow designers out there are all familiar with Barbara Walker, but for those of you who aren’t, check it out. Each of her books have hundreds of stitch patterns – pretty much all the reference material any knitter needs. She is truly incredible, and pretty much any stitch pattern you see most likely originated out of one of her books.

Now that you know the extent of Barbara Walker’s material, you can appreciate the test I’m setting up for myself. I am going to knit a swatch of every single pattern in her stitch volumes. I have wanted to make myself a swatch book for a long time, and since all the photos in her books are a bit small, and in black and white, I would love to have a tangible sample of all of them. This will be a huge investment of time and a very difficult thing to see through to the end, but I know it will be invaluable to my work in the future. I will be learning how to do techniques I’ve never done, and since we’re talking about thousands of stitch patterns, it will be tough to get through all four volumes plus the Mosaics book.

So, my self-inflicted rules for this test:

  1. Each swatch must be big – 10″ x 10″ at least.
  2. I must rip out if I make a mistake. The swatches need to be perfect so they can be used for future reference.
  3. I will post photos of swatches here for all of you as I complete them.
  4. I will knit the swatches in the yarn weights that relate to the pattern. For instance, no bulky yarn for lace and cable patterns.
  5. And yes, I will knit a swatch for EVERY single stitch pattern. No skipping.

I am going to try to link all the posts and photos to #ElizabethKnitsBarbara. Please let me know in the comments if you have her books and would like to do this with me. Company and fellow contestants welcome!🙂 If not, I hope you will enjoy all the upcoming posts and hopefully find my full-color large photos helpful.

Why I Decided on Etsy (Instead of Amazon Handmade or Others)

As you all know, Colinton Australia made it possible for me to offer you all a really good deal on their Light Fingering yarn, which I decided to sell in kits on Etsy. If you haven’t already checked out my shop, I hope you will, but in the meantime, I wanted to share my research on the various platforms out there that help artisans sell their work.

I did alot of research prior to deciding on Etsy, and I thought I’d share what I found out. I hope this will be helpful and save alot of time for any of you who are wanting to sell your work online but not sure where to start. I researched four platforms – Etsy, Amazon Handmade, Kitterly, and Zulily. I also researched a few others, but they were specific to the UK, so I am only including the international ones here. Obviously, Etsy won out, but I will try to give you all an objective breakdown of each with pros and cons.

Amazon Handmade

I was really excited about this, but quickly decided against it when I researched it. The major pro is that your market would be Amazon’s market, which as we all know, is about as big as you can get. The major con to selling with them is that they charge $40 per month, which is a huge fee compared to everyone else. When you’re just starting out and getting a feel for things, this is alot of money to take out of your profits, or to spend up front when you really have no idea how the market will respond to your product. I also saw complaints that Amazon can force you to lower your prices or otherwise control your shop, which seems out of place to me when dealing with creative people who usually have a style and vision for their product and image. Their definition of handmade is also a bit contrived – the complaint I read the most is that Martha Stewart Inc. (and other big brands) are included in Amazon Handmade. All in all, I really couldn’t find a good reason to deal with Amazon other than the fact their market is so huge and it’s a popular place to shop.


This site was founded by a former LA yarn shop owner and a marketing executive. It is a beautifully curated site with excellent photography and is there for the sole purpose of tempting knitters into their next project. The one major downside from the designer/vendor side is that you have to contact them and get approved. It is up to them to decide if they want to work with you or feature your pattern on their site, and the process takes a few months. If you have your product in hand and just want to start connecting with customers, this is not the place for you. The other thing that frustrated me is that there are no details on the site as to what kind of profits you would receive. My conclusion is that this site is excellent for marketing yourself because if they decide to work with you, you will get good promotion with your target audience, but it’s pretty much out of your hands once you contact them.


Zulily has a customer base of 5 million and offers a large number of brands. This is not just for knitting or crafts, but includes fashion and lifestyle. Your brand would receive excellent promotion and from what I’m reading, they do have a marketing team that works to actively promote the companies they work with. The major con, from my perspective, is that they vet everyone they work with, so again, you would need to contact them and take the month or two needed to go through the process. Their site mentions that commissions can be up to 10%, which means that you would need to sell alot of volume to really make money off of your products. These are also week-long sales or promotions, so if you want to have a permanent shop somewhere, Zulily is not your place.


I had my hesitations about Etsy because I’d heard alot of complaints. People don’t agree with how they define the term “handmade” and didn’t like it when they opened up the market to China. And to be honest, I still do find Etsy a bit overwhelming. However, after doing all my research, I think it is still the best place to open up shop. They give you an open, honest breakdown of their fees, which are much, much lower than anyone else’s. Their interface is very easy to use when setting up your shop, and you have complete control over your product and image. Etsy has gotten huge, but it is still the most supportive of the craft/handmade market. Unfortunately, it is very hard for craftspeople to make a living when we pretty much have to compete with Walmart and all the mass-produced cheap goods. Etsy was founded to help artisans sell their work, and my conclusion after comparing it to the other platforms out there is that it is still the most proactive about following that mission.

Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my conclusions, or if you know of any other sites that work with craftspeople. I’d love to hear your input, and feel free to let me know what you think of my shop too! And if you’re just figuring everything out, I hope this post helps save you time and money!