My son – transformed into a part of Star Wars

Transformation is not a word we normally associate with Halloween, but I realized that’s exactly why we love Halloween. For one evening, we get to transform ourselves into someone else.

My life has transformed quite a bit this last year. My kids are in a different school situation, which of course has become a whole new situation for me too. My life is filled with lots of new people and places and some days it is exhilarating and others just plain overwhelming.

I haven’t dressed up for Halloween since I was my daughter’s age, because it is so much work to come up with an IDEA for a costume, and then more work to actually put the thing together. We are invited to a costume party where adults have to dress up too, so no chickening out for me this year. And once I got into it, especially this year, I realized I love the idea of transforming into someone else.

Just for fun, or if you are looking for easy DIY ideas, check these out.

  1. Pinterest (for inspiration of course!
  2. Some kid and adult ideas
  3. Crochet ideas amongst some knitting
  4. And, a simple DIY video to help you transform your best LBD and boots, if you so choose. This almost became my costume, but I asked everyone to vote on Facebook, and another idea got the vote…

And the idea that won the vote this year – Katniss Everdeen. I have the shirt, the skinny jeans, the boots and the long hair for a true Katniss braid. Now back to the knitting so it’s done in time for me to transform. Photos to come as soon as it’s done!


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.