Category Archives: Knitting

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week Plus Googlewhack

To get me back into blogging with a bang, I am participating in Knitting and Crochet Blog week. That means I am going to make my best effort to post on a predetermined topic for 7 days in a row, starting April 26th. I hope to do well. If you’re interested in reading other participant’s responses all you need to do is Google search the term: knitcroblo1 for the first day, knitcroblo2 for the second, etc. We’re pretty sure that the term/tag “knitcroblo” is a googlewhack. Ok, technically it’s not two words, and you’ll get hits from all the blogs participating, but the main point is all the results will be participating blogs!

You may be wondering what in the world could prevent Katie from blogging everyday? Well, Nick and I decided this morning upon an impromptu visit to his grandmother. We’ve been wanting to for quite a while and finally have booked our trip….we leave 9 days from today and we’re taking all 3 kids with us.

On a plane.

1500 miles away.

You see my point. I shall endeavor to participate as much as possible….while secreting wondering if I am indeed crazy. Wish me luck & see you the day after tomorrow!



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Killer Poppies

The socks are turning out to be a bit of a nightmare. Not a full blown one, mind you. Just the kind where you knit half a sock, run into an issue and spend the next 5 days redesigning it. You may already have guessed it, but the Poppy/Sunflower socks are turning out to be Killer Poppy Socks.

I hit the first snag on Wednesday night. I’d forgotten to take into account the increasing that needs to happen between the heel of the sock and the calf. Now you might not realize it, but there is a significant increase in leg circumference over the length of a typical sock cuff. Since stranded color work has so much less stretch than regular knitting, you can no longer rely on the intrinsic stretch of the fabric to bail you out.  You must design them in.

The second snag I should have anticipated, since I ran into something really similar on my Grecian Goddess socks, but I didn’t. Anticipate the problem, that is. I certainly ran head long into it. This problem being that I am anal, and I want my pattern to reach a certain place on the colorwork chart at a certain place on the foot. Which isn’t a big deal, right? I mean seriously, you just start at the toe and stop knitting when the sock is long enough. Well, that works very well with a minor amount of wrangling when the designer is knitting for their own foot. Considering that not the entire world has the exact same foot size as I do means that the pattern would essentially be usuable (in it’s best form) by only me. So all of you reading this would be out of luck pattern wise. I am a nice person, and I want you to enjoy the pattern, too. So back to the drawing board.

Once I discovered these issues all knitting came to a screeching halt. I didn’t even have an auxiliary project on the needles to help me out. Sure, I was 50% of the way through another pair of socks, but one sock was fully done and the other wasn’t even cast on. Casting on was just way too much work. So I sat around restlessly for two hours that night trying to figure out what to do. So I thought….and thought…….and thought………….for 5 days before I worked it out.

The good news is that the pattern should work. I’ve completely redone the charts – so now the stitch count is correct and it should fit me at the calf area. The bad news is that I’ve changed the starting point of the sock. It originally was a toe up and now we’re going cuff down. That means the 50% of a sock that I have done right now is going to be ripped out. Completely.

So I just ripped out 2 weeks of design/knitting work in favor of the last 5 days worth of brain wrangling.  And just in case you think that I have magic fingers, and knitting charts just flow out of them without effort I’ll leave you with this. It’s essentially an unedited chart “doodle” which was created during several design brainstorm sessions. Doesn’t it make you truly appreciate the clarity and cleanliness of a finished pattern? (And these are just the most recent changes/charts/doodles….several iterations were already erased/doodled over.)

Just so those of you who are waiting for the pattern don’t lose hope – here’s a picture of all the component yarns for the new redeisign: (Colors are: Marigold, Violet Vale, Ancient Forest)


Filed under Creativity, Knitting

Pretty Poppies or Sunflowers?

Forward progress has been slow, but it is happening on the Pretty Poppies Socks. But they are now no longer poppies. Why? Mostly because the word Sunflower just looked so much better charted out as opposed to poppy or poppies. So here are what the socks look like currently:

More progress would have been made if I hadn’t ripped out the original heel. The first go ’round continued the Salt & Pepper pattern from the foot. But it was too tight and thick. The shaping was dumpy and I was unhappy. Heels are a pressure/rub point for nearly everyone and you have to get that part right or the socks stink to wear. So I switched to a two color garter. You can see it in this shot:

I’m still not happy with the heel, though. Not because the shaping is wonky this time around (Although the ssk row isn’t as straight as I’d like it to be due to the color changes. But that should block out.) This time I think the combination of the instep pattern, the gusset stripes and the striped heel are too overwhelming. There’s no where for the eye to rest. Luckily, you can work the entire heel in one color and end up in the same place you started from (Beginning of round, where the other working yarn strand is waiting.). So the next sock is going to have a plain green heel. That should clear things up substantially.

I will try to get more knitting done this evening….right after grocery shopping, present shopping, dinner and applying the first clear coat to my kitchen table legs. It’s going to be a busy night!


Filed under Creativity, Knitting

Pretty Poppies Socks

I’m back from Sock Summit and sort of almost recovered from the insanity that is planning, working and cleaning up after a retail yarn show. It was great to meet lots of you at the Summit, and you know I always enjoy the yarn show – even if I don’t sleep for a month!

So I’m in just a bit of a holding pattern after the show, while I wait for a large order of base yarn to come in. After being in such a wonderfully chaotic, creative environment, it’s hard not to design something new. So currently on my needles I have my Pretty Poppies socks.

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

The idea is that the flower grows out of the toe, up the foot and finally blooms on the leg. Yarn is: Yarn Love’s Diana in Violet Vale (Background color: non repeating, medium saturated purple, semi solid) and Scarlett O’Hara in Ancient Forest (Accent color: non repeating, moderately saturated green, semi solid). The flower will of course be another color, but I haven’t quite decided what color I’ll choose. I’m leaning towards a new tri color that I dyed up for Sock Summit called Marigold. Notice the entire floral motif thing we’ve got going here?


Filed under Creativity, Dyeing, Knitting

Socks….lots and lots of socks.

I’ve been meaning to blog more, but not doing a good job of it for the past several (read 6-9) months. I’m attempting to fix that now, and get back on my Monday blogging schedule again. I have been busy in my off time. If by off time you allow that I’m running a hand dyeing business, branching into designing, teaching dyeing, and prepping to vend at Sock Summit.

I do have pretties to show you. Maybe I won’t post them all now, but snippets….to entice you to come back. (Some of these links will direct you to If you’re not a member there yet, you need to be. Don’t fuss, just sign up. You’ll be glad you did!)

I’m going to start with the most recent pattern added to the Katie Franceschi collection. It’s available for purchase (Immediate download, no less! Yay, instant gratification!)

Winding Path Socks

Yarn Loves Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Awakening Earth

Yarn Love's Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Awakening Earth

Designed especially to accentuate the particular beauty of hand-dyed yarns. No more knitting with the most gorgeous skein ever only to discover that it does wicked, wicked things when you actually knit it. The pattern contains specific guidance for choosing an appropriate yarn. Both examples are knit with high contrast, multi-color yarns. Generally speaking highly saturated colors with high contrast to each other present the largest challenge when knitting with hand dyed/ painted yarns. Ironically, the multi-color skeins are often the ones that catch your eye and draw you in!

The socks are worked toe up, with a generous gusset for a great fit. (The gusset is that triangle along the side of the foot.) The stitch pattern does a great job of breaking up and re-distributing the bold colors – which gives the sock an over all even sprinkling of color. Notice how there aren’t large blotches of any single color anywhere. Those blotches are referred to as pooling or flashing and are usually very distracting. Then I finished off the sock with a simple cable. It’s eye catching and keeps you interested as the knitting progresses. Yes, the pair is asymmetrical. The cable travels up the outside of each sock. You could place the cable on same side for each sock, but it looks….very odd when you wear them!

As a bonus, there are four widths included in the pattern. And instructions for using both fingering weight and sport weight yarns. You can knit these up for practically any adult foot size! The sport weight option makes these a good choice for a fast gift!


When I’m designing, I usually knit up more than one version of the sock. The first pair is the design template, and the second pair is polished and pristine (Well, mostly pristine.) for photography. You can see the prototype pair for this pattern in my Ravelry Projects. If you keep tabs on my projects at Ravlery, you’ll most likely see my design projects in progress.

Yarn Loves Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Nostalgia

Yarn Love's Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Nostalgia

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Twinkle Mitts, Mitten & Cowl – new pattern release, Jan 2009

Twinkle Mitts, Mittens, and Cowl - January 2009 from Yarn Love
Twinkle Mitts, Mittens, and Cowl – January 2009 from Yarn Love

New Pattern release from Yarn Love!

Our newest pattern: the Twinkle Set will be released January 2009. The pattern includes instruction for average adult sizing of fingerless mitts (pictured), full mittens, and a cowl (also pictured. Shown at left in Malabrigo Chunky Merino colors Roanoke & Lettuce.  Only available at Eat.Sleep.Knit. – please check them out! They are one of our retailers and have an amazing customer rewards program. (I happily shop with Erin & Dad, too!)

The given gauge is perfect with our Charlotte Bronte Aran merino, as well.




Twinkle Set shown in Brisa - Malabrigo Merino Chunky

Twinkle Set shown in Brisa - Malabrigo Merino Chunky


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New room, new style

Since work is moving right along in our old office space – soon to be the NewGuestBedroom/Office, I’m starting to get busy planning the decor. Now strictly speaking, I am not terribly good at interior decorating. Our house is pretty much cobbled together over the 6 years of our marriage. An odd assemblage of new furniture, mixed in with thrift store finds and hand me downs. We do have quite a nice art collection on the walls, and a stylish paint job throughout the house, but really we lack a firm hold on style. Plus, we’re kind of a cluttery family. Every spare surface is always covered with clutter. For instance, my very clean desk from a few posts below is now covered with the detritus of everyday life and the yarn business. I wish I could claim it was that well plotted, beautifully executed magazine photo type of clutter, but it’s not. On my desk right now are:

  • Two needle felted hedgehogs
  • My KnitPicks Options binder
  • Random assortment of ball bands and double sided tape
  • A few envelopes of random mail
  • A basket of pens, plus one or two across the desk surface
  • Three decorating magazines and my husband’s book
  • Two cups
  • A skein of Gaslight Dyeworks yarn
  • And an Xbox game box

Maybe someday I will start being a clutter free, organized person. But I don’t think it’s happening while my kiddos are little. Between the daily mess of yarn dyeing (Which I do clean up everyday so our kitchen isn’t simply a messy work area) and the childrens’ ability to tornado a room in .62557891 seconds there just aren’t enough hours in the day for creative pursuits and detailed cleaning/organizing. I guess the clutter is here to stay.

For now, the picture up above is my idea of a decorator accent. 1 lbs of superfine, sport weight merino, twisted into a ball. Clean, curvaceous, organic lines add a minimalist accent to my otherwise functionality dominated workspace. And it feels good. Just what you need to make your office/family room a little prettier.

Anyway, while looking through one of the three magazines on my desk, I found a photo shoot of a room that I absolutely fell in love with back in February when the magazine appeared. I think we’ll go with this theme, if I can get Nick to approve. We may have to make the walls cream, with an accent wall of blue. That will keep our space nice and airy and bright – there is only one window and the room is half under the ground. I love the use of light pink, light blue and chocolate brown in the photo. There’s also lots of texture via the floor and the pillows. Plus, the bird theme is just plain cool. Sigh. I wonder if I’ll be able to pull it off. I found the company that did the rug – it’s high quality carpet tiles, but they no longer have the bird carpet tiles. And a 4 x 4 rug runs between $200-250. Ouch. Maybe some other substitute would be good.

The yarn on top of the magazine is freshly arrived Superfly from Gaslight Dyeworks. I love this stuff. This is my second order this month from Gaslight and I’m hooked. Super fast shipping and amazing quality. You need some. Go now. Go quickly. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m off. I have yet another try at a new colorway. This will be attempt #3 and this colorway is kicking my butt. I can see it in my head, but it’s just not coming out right. Sigh. It had better make the fall line up or I’ll have invested a lot of time and effort on…well three skeins of not-quite-right dyed yarn. Such is the life of a dyer. At least I have my coffee and dreams of a spectacular room to keep me going.

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