Feather and Fan Shawl, Swatching

Feather and Fan Shawl

This shawl has been a process of chart, knit, rip, repeat. I finally found the formula I needed to make a half pi shawl with the feather and fan stitch.

This is the first version of this shawl. I am using 100% non super-wash wool in DK weight. I am adding beads to this one. Beads are always optional.

I will be making a second version, holding 100% non super-wash fingering together with a suit silk blend lace yarn. This will give the piece a slight halo and be so soft!

As always there will be tutorial videos to support you along the way. Including one on how to place beads, when to place beads and tool options for placing beads.

Happy making!

behind the scenes, tips and tricks

Tutorial Choices

I love love sharing the different tricks I discover, learn and to take a word from Elizabeth Zimmerman, unvent.

There are many ways to share those. In person and that is my favorite. Through photo tutorials, which I have done a few of and the easiest for us all I think, video tutorials.

These take me the least time, though they still take quite a bit of time. The majority of my videos are hosted on YouTube. A few strays are on Instagram. I like YouTube because they make it easy to make the videos have subtitles. That makes the directions available to a wider audience. Between the audio and two kinds of visual, video and written in the subtitles, it hits nearly all of the learning types. I have started adding swatch directions to the videos so that you can swatch along with me and that hits the tactile learner.

If you prefer photo tutorials, simply pause the video and now you have a still picture of what it is you’re trying to do. Only you get to choose what the photo is of.

Here is the link to the spreadsheet of ALL the tutorials I have done. The Tiktoks are slowly being redone into YouTubes. The Tiktoks I guess are still there and the links will moved to the “TikToks” tab as I replace them. There is also a tab for the few photo tutorials I have done. The remaining tabs are all for different kinds of videos; crochet, knit, other…

If there is ever a stitch, technique or something that you’d like me to share please let me know by commenting on this post or messaging me on IG or click over to the contact page and let me know!

Happy Making!


Counting Rows/Rounds Swatch

Here are the directions for the swatch that I made to use in the video to count rows/rounds in knitting. If you haven’t seen the video, the link is here. I think that if you make the swatch yourself, counting rows and rounds in knitting will be even easier for you than after watching the video.

You will need 2 balls of yarn, just small amounts, in the same weight and of different colors and a pair of needles of appropriate size to the yarn.

I used the backward loop cast on, video link here, but please use the cast on the is your personal default, this will help you the most.

I recommend carrying the yarn up the side of the swatch in case you decide to keep it, video link here.

Cast on 15 stitches with Color 1.

Change to Color 2.

Rows 1 and 3: Knit across.

Rows 2 and 4: K2, P11, K2.

Change to Color 1.

Repeat Rows 1-4, once.

Change to Color 2.

Rows 9-12: Knit across.

Change to Color 1.

Repeat Rows 1-4, once.

Change to Color 2.

Repeat Rows 9-12, once.

Bind off as desired.


Shawls and Their Charts

This is an eBook I got as part of the Swatch Studio Circle. I’m not sure where to find a copy now. You can message Frenchie here on Instagram and ask. She is the author. There is both charted and written directions.

I started this with the 5 day challenge Frenchie does on occasion on Instagram. I liked the knitted pieces but I am also a crocheter and crochet designer so I decided to make a crocheted counter part for each of the knitted ones. Then I discovered that this book is part of the Swatch Studio Circle I had just joined and has 15 different swatches to make. It took me a while but I made them all and all but one had a crocheted partner. The Hexagon, easy to make as a motif, but going to take a bit of work to keep the shape for an entire shawl. I think this would be a design by design issue to deal with.

I’m am still working on the crocheted directions but they will be eventually be posted here on the blog.

Below I will share the photos I took of each of my swatches and what they are called.

Triangular (Flat)


Winged Triangular


3/4 Square

Asymmetrical Triangular

Bias Rectangular

Half-Pi Shawl

Side to Side Triangle



Circular (Pi)




behind the scenes, linen and lace

Linen and Lace

I’ve been working on this swatch for a while now. Ripping and redoing. The linen, cotton blend yarn I’m using wasn’t happy about it so I changed over to using some fingering weight super wash wool and it is taking the ripping so much better.

Yesterday after teaching Estonian lace at Yarnfest I grabbed my bag of design bits I brought with me and headed back downstairs to work on this swatch yet again.

I have a lace stitch dictionary that I had marked multiple stitch patterns in. The one I had started with wasn’t great and wasn’t laying correctly with the miter in the middle.

I surveyed my options and chose a pattern with an 8 row repeat, that is mostly knit. Below is what I got.

I am so very happy with it!

This morning after breakfast I got it charted up and then printed it out here in the business center at the hotel. So convenient!

Here is what I have to show for the afternoon of stitching. I like the pattern and am only questioning one thing, does it need more edge stitches before the eyelets? It isn’t going to roll but I think it would look neater, more finished.

I have started writing the directions and they need a bit of help. Over all it is a simple pattern, I’m struggling with communicating the repeat correctly and completely.

Now to go rip and add some edge stitches.

Happy making!

Brick and Mortar

From Design Idea to Published Pattern

This topic can be approached from a couple of different directions and might become lengthy. I will start with the approach of what I as a designer of crochet and knit patterns experience in my personal design process.

First of all the design process is exactly that, personal. It is different for everyone and everyone has a different approach and way that they deal with it.

For me most often the yarn comes first, not always but usually. I see a yarn and I love something about it; fiber, color, weight… So I buy it. Sometimes when I buy it, I will have a basic idea in mind of what this yarn might become. This helps me know how much to buy.

Next I begin swatching. This process can take a lot of time. If I am designing an ethnic piece using what I’ve learned from the techniques that have been written down, then this part of the process will include time doing more research so I know, to the best of my ability, I am doing the best I can by the technique and preserving as much of it as possible. When I publish an “ethnic” design I say that this piece is done in the style of… It will never fully belong to any ethnicity, because I am 100% American made. My family has been here so long that my heritage has been lost.

Swatching is the process of choosing a needle or hook that I like with the yarn and choosing a stitch pattern as well.

If you have been following the blog you may have seen that I have been working on a mitered square piece. One morning on my walk, I thought “What would happen if the line in the miter was off center…” When I got home I pulled out needles and yarn and tried it in knitting. Below is what happened.

I will continue swatching and trying different things until I have something I like. This doesn’t mean it is the final and that it is what will be published. That might change as the larger finished piece comes to life, during fitting or if I have another idea along the way. That’s why there are 2 different reversible hat patterns in my design library. The stockinette was the original idea and the ribbed was the new idea along the way. Both of these ideas were good and both made it to publish.

Next for me, I get the piece started and far enough along that I feel comfortable to begin writing the pattern out for others. Prior to this it is just notes and drawings in my notebook and on my phone. I wait because I don’t like to edit the “final ish” directions again and again if I make changes early on. This is how I miss key details that I changed in the piece but not in the directions.

For the next piece I don’t really have a standard of how I do it. Sometime I have completely finished the pattern before it goes to tech edit and testing. Since I have started using a Tech Editor it always goes in that order, but the final piece isn’t always completed. Sometimes though the piece has been finished so long and been worn or used so much that I need to make a new one for photos.

During the stitching process I make a lot of other small swatches too. These are used in my technique and stitching videos which I am working hard to include in each new pattern and in the patterns that I have started refreshing.

I do my own camera set up, shooting, editing and uploading. This is a process but I am grateful for all that I have learned from it along the way. The videos I have made and uploaded can be found here.

Tech editing and testing can take anywhere from a month to 3 months, depending on what the piece is. I have 4 tech editors I am working with. They each have a different specialty. I found them through The Tech Editor Hub.

When the file is returned from the tech editor, I make my changes and then send out the file to the testers. To recruit testers I use a service called Yarnpond. As a designer I pay per test and the the testers don’t pay anything to get to be testers. I like this platform and the tools it provides me. If you would like to sign up to be on my tester list outside of Yarnpond, click here

When the testing deadline comes, I collect the info and input they gave. If there was something big enough along the way there might be changes to the file and it gets sent out again. All the changes get put in. I add photos and the links to the videos. I do photo editing in Affinty Photo, colleges and pages in Canva and bring it all together in Affinty Publisher. These programs are worth every penny for me to keep my work looking consistent and cohesive.

Then it’s time for publishing! I am currently publishing on 2 platforms, Ravelry and PayHip and am working on a 3rd, Making. The first 2 I can upload and run from the computer and have been around a while. Making is barely out of beta testing and is only available on the phone, through the app. They have big plans and that takes time and I’m happy to be part of the early ground work process.

All told, depending on the muse, the process from idea to published pattern might take 6 months, could be as little as 6 weeks though. I love my design process and am happy I change things up along the way if needed.

What else would you like to know about my design process? Drop a comment below and I’ll share.

Happy making!


Habit Stacking

I don’t know a lot about habit stacking, but I have learned that it is adding something you want to do, to something that you already do.

I love to spin yarn. However I don’t really take the time to do it. Mostly I spin when I’m doing a demo for educational purposes, but I want to spin more.

I learned by accident recently that my spinning wheel fits between my and husband’s chairs with no issues.

As a family we watch TV a few nights a week for a couple of hours each night. I decided that for the first episode of whatever we are watching, I’m going to spin.

This is the yarn I spun and plied in my first week!

I didn’t do any spinning this week because I have to finish another project on a deadline, but I am going to start some new spinning on Sunday.

What things could you start stacking and add something new or more to your life?

Happy making!


Chicken Bowls

Serves 4

2 eggs
2T Mayo
1T of desired mustard
1t each of garlic, black pepper, parsley, cayenne (if desired)
1-2c panko bread crumbs
8 fresh boneless, skinless chicken tenders
4-6 servings of prepared mashed potatoes, depends on appetites
1 15oz can of corn
1 packet of desired gravy that makes 2c, we use country

Mix together eggs, mayo, mustard and seasonings.

Pour panko crumbs into a shallow dish, like a pie plate.

Dredge chicken strips through the wet stuff.

Then through the panko crumbs.

Place on baking sheet or in air fryer basket.

Then layer the remaining ingredients into bowls, as individual servings.

Happy eating! Happy making!

Random Knits, tips and tricks

Support Your Stitching

This post probably not going to be about what you’re thinking, I’m not talking about financially, I’m talking physically, literally support your stitching.

I am working on a cowl that is going to be sort of epic for me. It is reeeeaaaallllyyy long. It’s the Scattering Petals cowl from Dana Rae. Here is the link for anyone interested.

When making something this big and taking it a as a to go project, which this is, you need to support it properly. I do often walk around and knit on this. You will need to support larger projects both knit and crochet when you are working on them standing or sitting.

When the items are just beginning or are going to stay small we already naturally support them. But as things grow and get bigger they get heavier.

Careful support is important for the project and for you. It is important for you so that you don’t hurt yourself by being in an unnatural position for an extended period of time. If you’re hurting ask why and think about what you’re doing. Reposition yourself and try again. Reminder to get up and move around about every 20 to 30 minutes. I know those long stretches of stitching are so much fun but take care of your most valuable and irreplaceable tool, you.

Lap support is the easiest and best. Snuggle up with a project and don’t lean over it.

As some projects grow and they are in our lap, the pile gets higher and higher and the stitch is right in our face. Make the conscious decision to smash the pile and not hurt your eyes.

Underarm support is great for walking and standing but again don’t do it for too long, you’ll arms will get sore. Ask me how I know…

Supporting as project as it grows and get heavier is important for the tools, materials and finished piece. The weight of a blanket, scarf or sweater pulls down on the stitches that are on the hook or needle. This can pull on cords and cause wear and separation. It can make the yarn stretch out too and blocking might not be able to smooth things evenly. This is where your finished piece is effected. If you don’t support a heavy piece and the weight is pulling on your piece your gauge will change and not be the same as the gauge of the piece when it was smaller. It will find it more difficult to make the stitches too. Like fighting to get the yarn through the loops.

Support your stitching.

Happy making!

behind the scenes, Swatching

Knitted Mitered Squares

A swatch of course.

I tried a couple of different increases to see which one I liked best. Blocking will tell the final story but that won’t happen until tomorrow.

Then I tried two different bind off methods to see which one most closely matched the give and stretch of the slipped stitch side. Above is the normal bind off and below is what I learned when working lace, that one is the winner.

Front and back views are important and help to avoid surprises later. I measured this one too but since I used different increases, bind offs and want to block it, it isn’t the final measurements.

The last thing that I have to play with is joining and the best way to do that. I want it to be a join as you go piece and I want it to look nice in both sides, even when joining different colors.

After I get the knitted ones figured out, I will start on the crocheted ones. I think some parts of that might be easier but only time will tell.