An Extra Step for Your Future Self

How does your Future self differ from your Now self or your True self? Let’s take a look at how acknowledging each of these selves might help get you where you want to go–with your knitting and anything else! Last Friday I talked about a True self and how acknowledging or being your True self can support your forward progress.

Future Self

Your Future self is just you in the future. It may be 20 minutes in the future, or some time in the more distant future. We all have, at least in our lifetime, a Future self. If we have a future, why do we need to worry about our Future self now?

Future Self: Don't love ironing them, but I love using Ironed hankies Let’s say you put something away.  You do this for your Future self.  We do this all the time without ever thinking of it as doing something for our Future self. We do it now because we will be able to get it later or it might make our current environment better, or if we don’t do it we won’t know where it is.  Do you ever question putting that thing away?  How do you decide to do it? You are probably making a concession to your Future self:  You will be able to go to where you put it away, find it, and use it again.  Personally, I never put my keys back where they belong (in the little orange zipper pouch in my purse) because I want to do it now.  I do it because later, I will look there first.  My Future self will be able to organize itself to get out the door without having to look for my keys.

Why We Honor the Future Self

Future Self: Ironed hankies ready to use.As I decide whether or not to put that head form back on the top shelf of the cabinet in my studio/office, I do it for my Future self.  It is actually easier for my Now self to leave it sitting on the footstool I had to get out to get it off the top shelf in the first place. I made a choice to honor my Future self by putting it away.  It meant I could also put away the footstool and close the cabinet door, so it was a huge win for all my selves!

In more knitterly terms, if I choose to stick to a current project so I can finish it as planned instead of starting a new project, I am honoring my Future self.

  • I will have a completed project to use as intended,
  • Having completed my project will make me happy, and
  • I can start a new project without guilt!

Make Progress By Thinking Of Your Future Self

It seems counterintuitive to act for your Future self, but we often profit now too. When your knitting gets boring or you see some delicious new thing, try to stick with the one you are already working on for your Future self.  But there are ways to make both Now and Future happy:

  1. Make a swatch for a future project when you are bored with your current project.  Then go back to your current project.  Your swatch now will help you be prepared to start a new project in the future.
  2. Wind all the yarn you need wound while you have the swift and ball winder set up to save having to do it later.
  3. Put together a project bag or basket for each project that has everything in it as you are planning your project.  Boring now. Happy later!
  4. Plan how to get through each stage of your project so you can work on the next one sooner.
  5. Add extra time into your plan–you know you will need it, even though right now you think you won’t.
  6. Picture how you will use that project when you finish it.
  7. Window shop for your next project. Your selves will enjoy it now and later!

Future Self: Taking gauge honors the Future self!


Wraps Per Inch (WPI) and Gauge

Wraps per inch: preparationsI did not always appreciate what you can learn from WPI or wraps per inch. I always thought in gauge, and since I was knitting, and WPI seemed like a weaving tool, I didn’t give it much thought.  Fortunately my knitting world is a place of growth and change, and I’ve changed my tune on wraps per inch.  Now I make a WPI and Ply card for every yarn that comes through my studio. I learn a bit about each yarn as I go.

Wraps Per Inch Narrows the Field

Worsted, bulky, DK, sport, fingering, lace.  If you use yarn you have probably heard these terms used to describe yarn weight and the approximate stitches per inch you will get.  Or you may be familiar with the number system developed by the Craft Yarn Council.  Neither of these classification methods makes it easy to know whether you are talking about yarn that will be transferable with another yarn.  This is a big subject, because fiber (not just type of fiber), method of spinning, method of preparation, plying, finishing, all play a part in the yarn you end up with.  Not every worsted/#3 yarn is the same or will yield the same results.

It is hard to compare yarns without seeing them side by side and actually feeling them, but we do it all the time.  Every tool we have should be used to clarify the weight of yarn.

Wraps Per Inch and Ply Cards

I love making wraps per inch and ply cards.  It is the kind of task that feels significant, and is visually pleasing, so it fits right into what I like to do.  I am currently putting my cards into notebooks with swatches, but they could easily be made and put on a binder ring that could be hung in your yarn storage area for quick reference.

Wraps Per Inch

Label the end of your card with the yarn name and whatever other information you want to have handy.Wraps per inch: completed and in process

  • Take a piece of cardboard or card stock cut about 1″ wide and 3 to 5″ long.
  • Mark a 1″ wide area where you will wrap the yarn.
  • Wrap the yarn so that it is not at all stretched or squished within that 1″ area.
  • Tie or fasten the yarn on the wrong side. I put a piece of tape over the back too.
  • Count the number of wraps!

Yarn Ply

Wraps per inch: Unraveled end of yarnsAnother fun thing to know about your yarn is the structure of the yarn itself.  You can untwist it and see how many plies there are and how they are structured relative to each other.

  • Tie another piece of yarn around the WPI card.
  • Undo one end of the yarn to identify the structure of the yarn:
  • These are (from top):  a) 4-ply, b) 2-ply then 2 strands plied, and c) 4-ply.

What Can You Learn?

Can you tell which one is wool?  Are there any blends?  Are any manufactured fibers?

Be sure to write the WPI and ply information on your card. Think of the wealth of information you have in your yarn stash. When I want to be distracted by yarn, but I do not want to start a new project, this fives me a chance to constructively play.

I save pieces of white cardboard from things I purchase or that come into our house.  I then cut these up into these cards.  You can buy card stock at office supply stores and it works nicely.



Acknowledging Your True Self

Life seems to me to be a huge voyage of self-discovery, all leading me to having to acknowledge my True self. Most of this isn’t news. What I am discovering is that if I acknowledge my True self and how it reacts to any task, chore, thing to do, etc., then I am more likely to have success getting it done.

True Self Is Not A Morning Person

For you this may be something else, but I am best able to get stuff done if I acknowledge that there is a lot I am just not equipped for before 9:30 am.  I am quite good at big thoughts, but please don’t ask me to make decisions, change my routine, or be very social. Those things need to wait until after I’ve eased into my day.True Self: Not a morning person!

One of the ways I circumvent my non-morning tendencies (I live with someone who is capable of cracking jokes as soon as his feet hit the floor) is to have a morning routine.  I think I’ve mentioned once or twice that I love routines.  My True self want to make no decisions until I’m really awake and done with my thinking phase of the day.

I make coffee, do dishes, prepare breakfast, check email and social media, tidy up, shower, makeup, dress, and laundry, without thinking too deeply about the task.  If an email needs a substantive reply I usually wait.  I have a pad of paper and pen in the bathroom so I can make my list for the day or jot down thoughts.

I have been getting up at 6:30 or earlier as long as I can remember. It has never been easy and I still need an alarm. Sadly, this routine is so engrained now, that I also can’t really sleep in. On weekends sometimes I nap.

True Self Is A Process Person

I love processes and I am less interested in product.  The journey is what really interest me and so I think a lot about everything on that journey.  It makes me a good teacher. I am hyper-observant, not only of myself, but of everything around me (which may be you!).

True Self. Yarn hanksAs I was standing untying the knots holding a hank of yarn on my umbrella swift the other day I started thinking about the different ways those knots are made, and why I always want to untie instead of cut.  No big conclusions on the tying, but I imagined that it has something to do with the connection of the tie-er and their view of the end use of the yarn.  From my end, I am always a little afraid of cutting the wrong thing.  I am grateful to those who make it easy to tell where to cut, or easy to untie the knot.

So the downside of my True self is that I am distractible before I get to the product.  If I am onto something that interests me, then I love a little side trip for a greater experience of that process.  This means that if I don’t acknowledge that I’m doing that, it is easy for me to just leave something half done–probably lying right in the middle of my desk, the floor, or piled on top of something else I got distracted from.

Two things:

  1. This is annoying to other people who want me to get things done on their timeline.
  2. This is annoying to me because I have too many things going on and if I don’t have deadlines, I can endlessly explore.  True Self. Multiple Projects

What Can Make My True Self Behave?

I am always trying to figure myself out.  Mostly why some things work really well, and others are battles from the get-go.  I noticed that I have this travel notebook that I keep all of my travel documents in. I can actually put my hand on things more quickly than Mitch can when we are traveling.  So why do I put things in that notebook, but I don’t put other things away in such an orderly and logical fashion.

  • Travel is a really specific thing.
  • There is a benefit to me to being organized around travel (less stress!).
  • Travel anticipation is one of my favorite things.
  • I don’t travel all the time, so it is relatively easy to stay on top of the paperwork.

True Self. Creating NotebooksWith that in mind, I have been really trying to give myself permission to take the time to enjoy putting things away, or establishing a process for dealing with it, instead of rushing on to the next thing. I’ve not gone so far as to have a completely tidy office/studio, but I’ve made the process of putting things in order something to be enjoyed in and of itself. By making it a process, it speaks to my True self.

Things to Know

  1. The coffee photo is from Coffee with C.C. (and Dami too).  I will be drawing a winner of the electronic version of this new book on March 22!  Leave a comment on that blog or on Instagram.
  2. The yarn is from Anzula Luxury Fibers.  They have the best knots to undo!  I think a woman ties them.
  3. Multiple projects:  1) A duplicate swatch for my Jill Wolcott Knits® Swatch Workshop March 2017 notebook. 2) Notes for a book review I’m writing (March 31 blog). 3) Silk fabric rings from Oink Pigments that I got at TNNA.  The use I plan for them needs them to not be in rings so I need to undo the seam.
  4. The notebook just above is part of the Jill Wolcott Knits® Swatch Workshop March 2017.  Did you miss it?  I will be offering Jill Wolcott Knits® Swatch Workshop May 2017!  Starts May 1, ends before Memorial Day.  Registration will open March 21.

To Duplicate Stitch: How & Why

to duplicate: ears on Go High HatI had to refresh how to duplicate stitch last week when I was adding it to the ears of one of my Go High Missoni hats.  It isn’t that I didn’t know how to duplicate stitch, it is that I usually am not doing it on the front of a piece in contrasting yarn. Like all things we don’t do often, a little practice was needed. This is without blocking.

How to Duplicate Stitch

to duplicate: Patch on RS with endsThis lead me to updating my duplicate stitch technique page, and thinking a little more deeply about the how to duplicate stitch.  I began to wonder why we don’t duplicate stitch purls. It wasn’t too long before I realized that is not as easy as doing a knit stitch.  Not impossible, but more steps, completely not intuitive, and made me wonder if that is why it isn’t used.

When I Usually Duplicate Stitch

to duplicate: Patch on WSMost often I am duplicate stitching on the back of a piece to work the ends in.  It is an excellent way to anchor a yarn tail.  When doing that, the key is to make it not show on the front side.  Often it is over a purl stitch, not a knit stitch.  But, I don’t have to cover all the bumps when I’m doing this.  It is done to hide and anchor an end, not to cover a stitch.

Why Duplicate Stitch?

There are multiple applications for duplicate stitch.

  • To add a dash of color (argyle, in a larger pattern)
  • To add embroidery or surface interest
  • To darn (as in a sock)

In argyle the duplicate stitch adds the “chicken feet” or individual stitches of a third color.  Done on a diagonal it is easier to add the color in this way than to carry the yarn for that single stitch–which would have to be anchored later.

Duplicate stitch is generally done for surface interest and to add color within an intarsia design.  Again, carrying a color only used occasionally is often more work than desired.  Adding duplicate stitch adds a layer of yarn, so it does become a texture as well as stiffening the fabric where it is used.

I don’t know that anyone but sock knitters darn anymore.  If you do notice that a stitch is wearing out it is much easier to darn with the remnants of a stitch still in place than to create a stitch in the space, so duplicate stitch not only repairs, but allows you to follow the trail of the original stitch for accuracy.  When darning there is usually a stitch or two done over the adjoining fabric to integrate the new with the old–essentially duplicate stitch, but usually in the same duplicate: Hat with Patch

You can use duplicate stitch to add color anywhere.  It is often used, at least in part, when making initials, adding a name, or other writing that might not fully adapt itself to knitting.

As I wrote about darning I thought how cute it might be to make a patch on purpose.  I used some silk/merino to create a patch on a wool beanie.  The patch also works to draw out a color in the hat!

Coffee with C.C. & Dami Too

Coffee with C.C. (& Dami Too) arrived via pdf on Monday, as promised.  I was surprised by this book, and I would recommend purchasing it if you like small projects. There are seven patterns, a shawl, fingerless mitts, and five socks, but the options offered make it a bit more than just seven patterns..

Coffee With C.C. (and Dami Too)I vaguely know C.C. through Tara Swiger’s Starship.  C.C. is JavaPurl Designs.  She and Dami live in Edinburgh and they also do a podcast called Geeky Girls Knit, which I’ve never listened to. I just don’t have time or brain space. I do see C.C. on Facebook and occasionally on Instagram.

Dami is 17 and a budding designer, while C.C. is her mom, and has been doing knit design for a while. That’s about what I know about them. They do a retreat too.  Just go to the JavaPurl Design website and see what they offer!

Coffee with C.C. & Dami Too The Patterns

Coffee With SockEach pattern has a connection to coffee and there is a photo of a type of coffee with each design.  I loved that the socks are offered in both cuff down and toe up orientation.  That is so nice–and generous.  I also loved that they do a short-row heel instead of a heel flap. They use a method of short rows I can hardly wait to try!  Whoo hoo. The patterns give written instructions and chart instructions and the charts.

The commentary offered was really helpful in keeping track of how to work these patterns and didn’t feel obtrusive at all.  However, I was slightly annoyed that Judy’s Magic Cast On and Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off weren’t written in the book (even a short version) because I wasn’t able to go to the website while initially looking at the book.  I would have appreciated a comment or two on working the initial stitches after doing JMCO.

Using the Patterns and Book

Coffee With SockThe patterns are given difficulty levels, and the instructions are thorough. As mentioned each sock pattern is offered as cuff down and toe up. Clearly they chose stitch patterns that would work either way and I appreciate that thoughtfulness. I would get this book just to try out the heels, and I would do at least one pair doing one sock top down and the other bottom up.  It might just solve the second sock problem!  A different orientation might be just the thing.

The fingerless mitts come in three lengths, and look like a great place to practice cabling–or cabling without a needle!  The Flat White Wrap is basic lace, but the opportunity to learn and see possibilities are great.

Coffee with . . . Free Advice

Coffee With fingerless mittsI will say off the bat, that I am not the target audience, so any annoyances I felt might not be experienced by another reader. These are suggestions for next time, and I was looking at a pdf that I printed out. Once I figured out how the patterns were laid out, and what the abbreviation style was, it was pretty easy to follow through each pattern.  As a non-sock knitter, these are the things I noticed the most:

  1. The title font was difficult to read.  Really cute, and I would choose it, but it was really hard to read. I actually thought that Leg: was a sketch at first glance.
  2. I hated the font used for the text.  I am a Times New Roman hater.  There are so many fonts that I’m always disappointed when TNR or its cousins are the choice.
  3. I wish the chart had been near the Chart Instructions.  I’ve done this in my patterns too, but I see the efficacy of having the two together.
  4. Too little white space. I like 2 spaces after colons and periods (I know it is heretical), but our eyes crave that space, especially when following directions.
  5. There were some stylistic inconsistencies and a few minor punctuation errors (period with no space!).
  6. This may be a British thing.  But why can’t Knit be a word?  If it says Row 3:  K to 1 st before wrapped st, why not Knit. If it is followed by a number, cool.  Got it.  but I kept looking to see if the number had been dropped. Coffee With Wrap

So that’s it and these are the reason I publish my own patterns!  I’m going to make a very small version of one of the socks to try out the short row variation that they use.  I might try it from both directions. I loved that they offer both options and feel thatshould be supported by sock knitters.

Thanks C.C. and Dami.  I think Coffee With you was great. I recommend purchasing this book because there is the opportunity to learn things, accompanied by good guidance. I can’t wait to see where C.C. and Dami each go from here!

Smooth Ears On Your Go High Hat

Smooth Ears: Version 1If you haven’t seen Penny Shima‘s Go High Hats, you can see photos here, and on her project pages (version 5, version 4, version 1. She took the idea of a pussycat hat literally. This led to a small modification in the bind off, which gives the nice smooth ears of a real kitty.  When you look at her project pages, you will also see kitties.

This is her first hat, without the smooth ears bind off.

I will explain her bind off modification and show photos of my hats using it.  I doubt I will have the patience to do the duplicate stitch all of my hats before the drawings, which begins on Wednesday at 1:30 PM PST.  Mitch is standing by!

Smooth Ears Bind Off Numbers

Smooth Ears: Flat 3-needle bind offLet’s do a few calculations to divide the hat into ear-head-ear.

  • Take your total number of stitches 80 (84) (88) (92) (96) (100) (104) and divide by two for doing the three-needle bind off.
    • You will have 40 (42) (44) (46) (48) (50) (52) stitches on each needle to bind off.
  • Divide your new bind off number into 3 (ear-head-ear).
    • Some sizes will end up with extra stitches:  13.333 (14) (14.666) (15.333) (16) (16.666) (17.333) stitches
  • Round the resulting number down to a whole number: 13 (14) (14) (15) (16) (16) (17)
  • Multiply that by two (for ears):  26 (28) (28) (30) (32) (32) (34) total ear stitches
  • Subtract the total ear stitches from the bind off: 14 (14) (16) (16) (16) (18) (18) head stitches.

After considering the way the numbers worked out, I decided to change my ear numbers.Smooth Ears: Version 5 without duplicate stitch

  • I shifted one stitch out of each ear for most sizes to new ear numbers of:  12 (13) (14) (14) (15) (15) (16) ear stitches
  • Multiply those number by two (for ears):  24 (26) (28) (28) (30) (30) (32) total ear stitches
  • Then I subtracted the new total ear stitches from the bind off number.
    • This will leave 16 (16) (16) (18) (18) (20 (20) head stitches

I have no idea what the actual ear to head ratio of a cat is.

Smooth Ears Bind Off

This is super easy, until the third segment.  Then it gets tricky, and I have trouble-shot through this to find what seemed to be the easiest method.Smooth Ears: Inside the 3-needle bind off

  • Turn your hat so that Right sides are together.
  • Using the yarn still attached to your hat, and the three-needle bind off, bind off 12 (13) (14) (14) (15) (15) (16) ear stitches.
    • Slip the stitch on your right needle onto one of the left needles.
  • Turn the hat so that Wrong sides are together.
  • With the two left needles in your left hand, return the bound off stitch to the third needle in your right hand.
  • Work the flat 3-needle bind off across the head stitches so that 12 (13) (14) (14) (15) (15) (16) ear stitches remain on each of the left needles.
  • Put these stitches onto stitch holders or waste yarn.
  • Put the stitch on the right needle onto one of the stitch holders or pieces of waste yarn.  You can try turning without doing so, but you are likely to drop stitches.
  • Turn your hat so that Right sides are together again.
  • Return the stitches to the left needles and the single bound off stitch to the right needle.Smooth Ears: Right side of the 3-needle bind off
  • Now orient your yarn again and use the 3-needle bind off to bind off the remaining stitches.  Cut yarn.
  • Turn your hat Right side out again.

All you have to do is work in ends.  Unless you want to duplicate stitch the inside of your ears.  Maybe I’ll get to this for my newsletter.

Don’t forget about the drawings on March 8 beginning at 1:30 pm PST for the hats I knit and to acknowledge International Women’s Day.  Go here to find out how you can participate in a virtual march!  Be sure to stay tuned to their work to stay on top of actions and activities!

Smooth Ears: Version 4

Tawny Reynolds, of Sundrop Jewelry

This month I’m introducing you to Tawny Reynolds, the owner, and designer behind Sundrop Jewelry.

These monthly features of other creative businesses are a way for all of us to get to know these wonderful businesses; it has been a long-time interest of mine to explore how other creative people make their way as professionals.

Introducing Tawny Reynolds and Sundrop Jewelry

Tawny Reynolds, I’m delighted to have you!  I am as much taken by the process as I am by the jewelry, so let’s dive in and find out more. I think we have to go straight to What, then we’ll go back to Who after we sort out the What and Where.  

Sundrop Jewelry: Tawny Reynolds and her lensQ: Tawny Reynolds, please tell us about your What. What is special about your glass!

A: “What” has to be my giant magnifying glass!  It is about 20” by 30”, and it can focus sunshine to temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit on a good clear day.  I melt either recycled bottles or stained glass (depending on the color) into dainty glass teardrops for my jewelry.

Technically, my magnifying glass is a fresnel lens – instead of a curved piece of solid glass, this lens is flat, with tiny grooves in concentric rings to focus the light.  Fresnel lenses were first developed for lighthouses to disperse light from a small lamp.  But, flip the lens around, and it focuses light instead of dispersing it.

As the day progresses and the sun moves across the sky, I have to constantly refocus the magnifying glass in order to keep a tightly focused hot spot that produces enough heat to melt glass. My lens stand pivots horizontally to follow the sun as it moves from east to west, and can also be tilted to keep the light in focus as the sun rises and lowers from morning to afternoon.

My glass-melting process is very zen.  I usually make a large amount of one color at a time, so it is very calm, repetitious, and my mind can half-wander.  Sitting outside under the magnifying glass, watching for the subtle signals that indicate the glass is starting to melt, repositioning for the drip and judging just the right moment to move the glass out of the light and let it cool, ready to begin again.  Until a cloud comes along at the wrong moment and steals all my light!

That is not at all what I pictured, so thanks for the picture! This seems just too amazing. I admit I would be happy just knowing this, but let’s go onward.

Tawny Reynolds and Sundrop Jewelry, Children of Alaska

Sundrop Jewelry: Sorting drops

Q: Is there a place that is important to your work?

A: I was born and raised in Alaska, and Sundrop Jewelry was invented by my friend when he was a teenager growing up in a nearby town.  Even though we didn’t start the business together until we were out of college and living “outside” (as Alaskans call the rest of the US), Alaska is still at the heart of who I am and what I do.  My parents still live there, and we take my daughter to visit at least once a year.

Growing up in Alaska leaves an indelible mark of resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and love of the natural world.  That love of nature shows through in my jewelry, both in the natural teardrop form that is at the center of my work, and in caring for the environment.  Over the 13 years I’ve been making Sundrop Jewelry I’ve explored the environmental impact of my business, always working to improve.  From melting glass with solar power to using recycled silver and glass, to the printing, packaging, shipping, and even web-hosting – wherever possible I try to tread lightly on the Earth.

Thanks for the light step, Tawny.  I so appreciate when artists take that into account in their creating and their business.  Just being mindful is a huge step to modifying our impact.  That you have been able to make it part of your process and product is terrific.

Tawny Reynolds Creates for You

Sundrop Jewelry: Big Green Earrings

Q: Tell us a very important person to you being the business-owner you are today. This might be someone who has mentored you or whose work you have followed or someone who has guided you in some way.

A: Sally is my absolute favorite customer.  Her love of big earrings and custom designs has inspired a number of my new designs over the last couple years, and she has consistently been the first to jump on any new design I add to my line of glass teardrop earrings – as long as it’s big!  I launched four new collections last year – 28 new designs in all – and Sally’s requests were the direct precursors of a number of the designs.

I love working with Sally on her custom glass teardrop earrings.  Some are based on one of my existing designs, while other pieces have emerged after a fair amount of back and forth adjustments to her original idea.  Depending on the design, I either start with a rough sketch, or simply lay out the glass teardrops to mock up the earring design.  Then I email her a photo to get her thoughts – too long, too short, too big, too small?  With Sally, it’s never too big!

Plus, with comments like this, is it any wonder she’s my favorite customer?

“I receive more compliments on my cobalt Comet earrings.  I’m wearing my diamond and sapphire ring, however, the Comet earrings is the only thing that gets noticed.  People rave about the beautiful blue color.  Then I tell them are they are made, and they are totally blown away!!” – Sally

Q: Please tell me what is going on in your business now, and any exciting projects you have going on or coming up. 

A: I am inspired by colors, and I love the way translucent glass glows in the light.  A new bottle color, a sheet of glass or millefiori rods in the glass shop – I want to try them all!  And I am always excited when I find a bottle in a new color!  Anyone who has fallen in love with sunlight through a stained glass window will recognize the same vibrant, glowing translucency in much of my jewelry.  So many people are immediately attracted to the colors of recycled glass, even before realizing they were made from their favorite liquor bottles!

I’ve never met someone who, on hearing how my jewelry is made, didn’t say, “What?!  You’re kidding!”  I think the story appeals to the inner science geek in us all. Who can resist a chance to tell their friends, “Oh, these new earrings?  They’re made from Skyy Vodka bottles melted with sunshine and a giant magnifying glass!”


Thanks Tawny! Sadly all the liquor I drink comes in clear bottles.  But I think I’m going to be looking at wine bottle glass in a new way.  I love that bead that is mixed colors that I saw on your website.  

Find and Follow Tawny Reynolds and Sundrop Jewelry

Learn more about Tawny Reynolds and Sundrop Jewelry on her website:

Follow Sundrop Jewelry on…
Facebook – @SundropJewelry
Twitter – @SundropJewelry
Pinterest – Sundrop Jewelry
Instagram – @SundropJewelry

Don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter to stay in the loop.
And while you’re there, have a browse through the shop.

Let Jill Knit A Go High Hat For You

Let Jill knit a Go High Hat for you!  Yes, that could happen. I’m knitting three of these (you can see regular photos on Ravelry or on Instagram) and I actually only want to do the knitting.  I don’t wear hats and so even though I love the concept, I don’t need them.

Let Jill Knit: 2 ribs done, 1 to goLet Jill Knit A Go High Hat – How to Get One!

This is what inspired me.  I’ve knit six Go High Hats, and couldn’t really work up enthusiasm for doing more, but when I saw the Missoni hats, I got all enthused again.  Not having any pink yarn left, I got going on the black and white rib.  Soon I was on the second rib, and now I’m on my third.  I have two size medium and one size small Go High Hats.  I’ve since purchased the really cool, not bright pink yarn for the tops.  I want a couple of photos, then I’m done with them.

Let Jill Knit: Rib in process. Hat 1I will give the three hats away on March 8, to celebrate International Women’s Day. I’ve spent real money on these, plus each hat takes about 6 hours to knit. At the minimum wage in my City, just my labor is worth $90 per hat. I have about $56 into yarn (only the best!). So if you win, you will have to pay postage from me to you, but this isn’t just any hat.

How to Let Jill Knit A Go High Hat For You

Instagram (Missoni-1)  Sign up for my newsletter*, then go to a photo of any of the Go High Missoni hats on Instagram and leave a comment letting me know you have done so. Your name will go in the Go High Missoni-1 drawing. I will put all the names in the hat, and Mitch will draw a Winner and a Runner Up at 1:30 pm PST on March 8, 2017.

Let Jill Knit: Hat 3 Rib in progressJill Wolcott Knits Blog and Ravelry (Missoni-2)  Sign up for my newsletter*, then  leave a comment on this blog post OR go to Ravelry and leave a comment on my Go High Hat Missoni-2 project (or the other two).  Your name will go in the Go High Missoni-2 drawing.  I will put all the names in the hat, and Mitch will draw a Winner and a Runner Up at 1:35 pm PST on March 8, 2017.

Jill Wolcott Knits Facebook Page (Missoni-3)  Sign up for my newsletter*, then go Like my Jill Wolcott Knits Page on Facebook. If you have already liked my Page on Facebook, leave a comment on the social media post for this blog post.  Your name will go in the Go High Missoni-3 drawing.  I will put all the names in the hat, and Mitch will draw a Winner and a Runner Up at 1:40 pm PST on March 8, 2017.

*If you already receive my Newsletter, you do not need to sign up again.

Winners of the Go High Hat Drawing

Let Jill Knit: Yarn for CrownsAfter your name is drawn, I will contact you for your mailing information.  I will invoice you through PayPal for the shipping cost. I will send your hat to you via the lowest available Priority Flat Rate from Seattle, Washington on Saturday, March 11.  If I do not hear back from you within 24 hours I will contact the Runner Up and they will become the Winner.


  1. You can enter all three drawings but please only sign up once for my Newsletter.
  2. Winner must pay shipping.
  3. The size is the size.
  4. The pink is actually more of a dusty rose or salmon color.
  5. I must have received confirmation of Winner status within 24 hours of the drawing time and date above.
  6. I must receive PayPal payment for shipping no later than noon PST on March 10, 2017.
  7. Should any Winner name be drawn in more than one category, their name will be discarded in the second category and another Winner will be drawn in that category.


Pattern Refreshing: My Catalog

I’m embarking on a project pattern refreshing some unsung heroes in my pattern catalog. So much happens after the publication of a design as a pattern that, aside from how how great the original was, it may benefit from pattern refreshing.

I have put off even thinking about this for a while because it is a daunting task. I’m not really one for looking back, preferring to focus on what I want to do going forward. I have been looking at it through a different lens lately and, for a multitude of reasons, it has become something I plan to put some energy into over the next couple of years.

Pattern Refreshing With New Yarn

Well that is bound to be fun, right? Choosing new yarn give me an opportunity to see things differently, and choosing new yarn the best! So yes, fun, but it is just the beginning and there are so many elements to consider.

Pattern Refreshing: The QueueWhy does the pattern refreshing require new yarn?  Sometimes yarns are no longer available or the yarn is not widely available, the color is discontinued, I no longer have a supportive relationship with that yarn company, or I just want to try something new.

Finding the right yarn means you have to consider a variety of factors: fiber content, weight and structure of the yarn, and the stitch pattern(s) used.  Color is always a consideration for the design and for photography, and for how the photographed garment is seen.

Ultimately I decide on the yarn for a design or pattern refreshing based on my experience and swatching to make sure it works the way I think it will.

Pattern Refreshing the Document

I’ve been working on pattern refreshing the pattern document in two ways:

Pattern Refreshing:Pattern Swatch Blocked
Revising the visual format of the pattern itself.
 I’ve changed the layout and presentation of information and some visual elements within my existing format.  This is incredibly difficult to do because I like my patterns, but things change, and format changes were in order.  I’ve done test knits to try to find sticking points in using my patterns, and I have addressed those issues.

Refreshing pattern language and voice.  I have been working on this casually in the pattern recipes I have made available in the past couple of months. In the recipes I’ve put in comments about why I do things along with the pattern instructions.  I think this has made it easier for some knitters to do what I am telling them to do. Since I learned pattern writing as a formal process, working with other publishers for whom space was always an issue, I have tended to be spare in my explanations. I think that having a more active voice within the patterns will make them more appealing to use.

Go here for the Copenhagen Headband Recipe and the Go High Hat Recipe.

Pattern Refreshing the Samples

The new yarn has to be worked up into a new sample. As you may know, I don’t do the actual sample knitting unless it is something small. I don’t have time, and I’m not good at noticing problems in my own patterns.  I pay sample knitters to work from the new pattern. Part of their job is to alert me of problems. I try to pay decently for this, although I can’t pay extravagantly. This part of pattern refreshing is time consuming and costly.

Pattern Refreshing the New Pattern

A technical editor edits the pattern whenever changes are made, even if there are just formatting changes.  Since I will be adding in new language, this editor (or a separate one) must be comfortable with context and language. My patterns are really long so the editor has to have some stamina!  This is a cost that is well balanced against having few (hopefully none) errors that I have to contend with later on. I’m happy to answer questions about my patterns, but I would rather they not be about errors!

Pattern Refreshing Photography

This is a real sticking point for me.  It is costly, it is difficult to find models who look lovely and realistic, and then there is styling.  So this is an entirely different perspective, which takes a lot of thought. I have not been as attentive to it as I should have been, so as I’m going through all of the above, I’m considering this angle as well.Pattern Refreshing: New Yarn

Pattern Refreshing Test Knits

For some of the patterns I will be looking for knitters to test knit the project.  I will set up test knits as I get the patterns ready, but nothing will be ready until April.  On release of the final pattern each test knitter gets the final pattern. Test knitter use their own yarn and the final project is theirs. Test knitters must work the pattern as it is presented (no substituting techniques), on a specified deadline. I request weekly status photos of the project. Discussions take place on a a thread on Ravelry or elsewhere that I set up and I am there to answer questions along the way.

Pattern Refreshing: Unblocked swatchInterested?  Email me to tell me what kind of project you are interested in and yarn weights you like to work with.  Want me to consider refreshing a pattern?  Let me know which one.

San Jose TNNA 2017, Last Report

San Jose TNNA ended almost a month ago. I still have some booths I want to report on, so here goes! I was not a fan of San Jose TNNA, so I was surprised that it had one of the best convention center layouts, had decent food, but many of the restaurants closed over the weekend and service tended to be indifferent to bad. The weather at San Jose TNNA was horrible.  We go to California and Southwestern US to find good weather, but it was at the beginning of the torrential rains in California.  Winter TNNA often offers up fairly cold temperatures, but sun. Not so this time.

San Jose TNNA Show Booths, Part 2

Go here for a report on Booths A through L.

My thoughts on the Yarn Industry are here.

Discover What’s New is where I always start.

If you didn’t read Booths A through L, these are just booths I took photos of and made note of.  There was much more.

San Jose TNNA: Mondo FiberMondo Co. Ltd.  This is where Conner is, representing this Japanese yarn.  He has lots of ideas about how to use these yarns highlighting their unique structures, and making them less “novelty” yarns which is what they appear to be at first.  I give him props for using Pantone’s color or the year.  Conner is a knitter and really knows his yarns.  On chatting further with him (we got talking about how to use color in shops), it turns out he went to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), majoring in architecture. His company is International Yarn Distributors. Go there to see the yarns.  It is strictly wholesale, so pass the word to your local yarn shop if you are interested.

San Jose TNNA: Oink PigmentsOink Pigments.   Sara wanted to go here to get a kit they had for Sample It (Sara works in the Freia Fibers booth so doesn’t get to shop). It was fun to look at their yarn, and they had a lot going on, but when I saw the hand-dyed sick that was in the kits, I bought three of them.  I need that fabric for projects in my studio!  Interesting palettes, and slightly different dye perspective. There is room for lots of hand dyers.

San Jose TNNA: Pawley StudioPawley Studios.  Yarn bowls and, new-to-me, yarn bells.  Yarn bells provide some protection from pets and toddlers. I’ve always loved these yarn bowls, but they aren’t really my style. Plus I can just picture Mitch or me kicking them across the floor, so I stick with plastic boxes.  There are also mugs. I feel for them because packing and unpacking this stuff must be a chore.

San Jose TNNA: Purl & LoopPurl & Loop.  I stopped here because I know Liz Gipson who invented/conceived of these. If you are a weaver, and ever wanted to experiment without having to warp your loom, you can thank Liz for coming up with this idea.  It is such a duh!, it is surprising no one thought of it sooner.  There are also felting kits, and some other needlework items.  This was a lovely confluence of product developer and distributor coming together.  I’m acquainted with Liz through TNNA volunteer work.

San Jose TNNA: San Francisco School of Needlework & DesignSan Francisco School of Needlework and Design.  Oh Sara and I both were so taken with this!  There was some mixed media projects, but mostly it was just really such an appealing idea–especially to me as a keen educator!  Cannot recall the name of the woman who started this, and who we talked to.  I thought I would get to their museum while I was in San Francisco, but that didn’t happen.  It reminded me of the student I had at FIDM who had done a year at the Lesage Embroidery school in Paris while her husband was working there–and the sequin work (that was her focus) in her work was unbelievable.

San Jose TNNA: Shalimar YarnsShalimar Yarns. I’ve known Kristi and Paul from trade shows and retail yarn shows probably for ten years. Kristi was a local yarn shop owner before she started dyeing professionally.  She sold Knit or Die items and she is not afraid to speak her mind.  It is what I like about her!  She also dyes really beautiful yarn which reflect her lovely red-head color sense.  Not something you always see. Take a look at the yarn.  You will likely see why I am always going back to their booth.

Those are just selected booths that I visited and thought you’d like to know about.

San Jose TNNA Booth Winner

This is an unofficial honor, since I just decided to do it.

San Jose TNNA: Freia Fine HandpaintsThe winner is, in my book, Freia Fine Handpaints.  Not only did Tina do a knock-out display piece, but since her first booth as a dyer, she has had the sexiest yarn put up around.  Now she is copied a lot, but she was the first to do the long-run gradients, and to put it up as a cake instead of a ball, skein, or hank.  Tina Whitmore was clever when she was doing KnitWhits, but her genius with color makes Freia Fine Hardpaints what it is.  That and the fact that she has had a vision, stubbornly stuck to it, and made sure that her product is presented only as she wants it presented.  I’ve been hanging out with Tina, and Sara, since 2012 Winter TNNA (in Phoenix).  Tina generously gave me a ride to my hotel in San Francisco at the end of the show, despite being sick with the cold.

This is why I keep going to TNNA.  I renew acquaintances, make new ones, and see how we are all growing and changing as the industry soldiers on.  I’ll be in Columbus in June.

Searches for Techniques & Information

I can see the searches for techniques and information made on my website–but not in real time, so I can’t help with actual searches. I thought it would be fun to do a post on technique and information searches I’ve noticed in the past month.

Information Searches vs Technique Searches

Information searches are less likely to yield quality results because they aren’t tied to a particular technique, which is how the database is set up. Unless I thought to put a tag in that might be relevant, it isn’t going to lead anyplace relevant to the search. What follows are some searches I found.

Define Reverse Stockinette Stitch:  Reverse stockinette stitch (Rev St st)  is the reverse side of stockinette, but it is used as the right side.  If worked from the right side, each right side row is purled and each wrong side row is knit.

Row 1 (RS):  Purl
Row 2:  Knit
Repeat Rows 1 and 2.

If working in the round, where work is always done from the right side:

Rnd 1:  Purl
Repeat Rnd 1.

A direct link is found with a search for Rev St st or rev st st or reverse stockinette stitch.  My database isn’t smart like a search engine, so the more extraneous words you give it the harder it is for it to narrow your search.

Searches: Cable on a reverse stockinette background

Florence sleeves feature a centered closed cable on reverse stockinette sleeve

What knit stitch is sl with yarn in back:  Slip stitches or slipped stitches would yield a link for this database entry.  A search for with yarn in back also yields an entry.

Searches: slip with yarn in back

when slipping stitches, with yarn in back relates to where the yarn is in relationship to the needles–so sl wyib will put the yarn on the opposite side of the fabric when worked on RS and WS.

Why Judy’s magic cast on:  These searches reveal a lot to me!  When asked as a question, it would appear that there isn’t an entry for Judy’s magic cast on. This blog post comes up, but it doesn’t have the information sought here.  Just searching Judy’s magic cast on will take you to this technique page.

Double moss stitch odd number of stitches:  I love this one because it tells me that someone read this blog post and remembered that I’d given very specific information.  This related post might be helpful for someone looking for more information on charting.

Searches: Sheriff's vest has a reverse stockinette stitch body

Searches: Sheriff’s vest has a reverse stockinette stitch body, with double seed (often confused with moss stitch) trims. This is the star pattern below the collar at center back.

Knitwear schematics in photoshop:  I’ve written two blog posts about schematics, but I do them in Illustrator, not Photoshop.  To find my blog posts I had to limit the search to schematics.  The first post is about including schematics in a pattern.  The other post was probably closer in that it dealt with creating schematics.  I’ve never thought to put schematics into tags, or to create a schematics technique page.  My search  for schematics brought up a couple of patterns whose description stated there was a schematic. I could do a post on why I wouldn’t use Photoshop to do schematics!

What I’ve Learned About Searches

I’ve learned a lot here!

  1. I have seen how to use tags better.
  2. I’ve seen a bit of how extra words can limit the search on my website.  I’m hoping some of the searchers read this post! When I taught at FIDM, one of the things I often helped students with was doing searches.
  3. I need to add information both to my database and elsewhere on doing searches on my website.
  4. I am inconsistent in using terms and need to cross-tag and reference more.  There is a lot of work to be done!

I will continue to look for interesting searches to address in blog posts. Looks like I have plenty of work to do on my database.

Be Loud: Why Am I At A Breakfast?

I can Be Loud, although I’m not ever really loud (I don’t think), but I can speak up when I need to. Mitch and I got up early and went to the annual KCSARC (King County Sexual Assault Resource Center) Be Loud breakfast on Wednesday, February 15.Be Loud Breakfast attended by 1000+

Breakfast anything isn’t really my thing, but I had decided I needed to do this one. Getting downtown by 7:15 am is like being on high alert for me–I felt a little like I’d done a fire drill by the time we got there. We give money every year to KCSARC, and I think we’ve done it at least since 1988, but I haven’t lived in Seattle for almost 24 years (until July), and it isn’t something I talk about.

Be Loud: KCSARC 28th Annual BreakfastBe Loud Now

A couple of things:

Be Loud 1. A couple of years ago I picked up the phone and it was the Executive Director of KCSARC calling to thank me for our donation. We had received yearly phone calls from Mary Ellen Stone, but I’d never been there to answer the phone before. We had a nice chat and she thanked us for ongoing support and I thanked her for their work. I have the feeling she calls everyone.

Be Loud 2. The “pussy video” and subsequent response to it–not the three-days-of-outrage, but the failure of it to become a real issue in whether Donald J. Trump was a suitable candidate to be President of the United States–left me with a case of renewed post-traumatic stress. This was kind of surprising to me, given that I was raped in 1983. But there it was. I felt the same feeling of being unsafe in a really inexplicable way that I had experienced back then.

I like to do stuff so I knit six Go High hats (my version of the PussyHat) and sent them to the PussyHat project. I watched some of the live stream of the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. I have signed petitions and made phone calls.

Be Loud For Those Who Can’t

Be Loud is the slogan for KCSARC because everyone needs to speak up about sexual assault–of every kind and in whatever form: language and inappropriate jokes, sexual assault, or sexual intimidation, these are things that we have most often asked the victims to be quiet about. They are things we don’t easily talk about. It isn’t so important that I tell you my story, but that each of us draw a line and Be Loud about anyone stepping over that line.

Rather than tell you my story, I’m going to tell you why I don’t tell it.  It took me only days after I was raped to realize that most people didn’t want to hear about it.  I could see the horror and fear in women’s eyes. I could see the anger (anger doesn’t help the victim much) response. I could see how uncomfortable people became in my presence once I said it.  I remember each of the people who were kind and open to me. I also remember those who just wanted me to get past it. I know how it damaged relationships when I didn’t get over it on their timeline.

Be Loud: Wearing my Be Loud Button and a Windsor Capelette!So I just shut up. The way we mostly expect sexual assault victims to do. It makes everyone else more comfortable, doesn’t it?  It was really hard to go to the breakfast and as I listened to the presentation, my brain was jumping all around and I had a hard time just taking it in. I got myself calm by thinking about what to say in a blog post. About halfway through I put the Be Loud button on above my jewelry pin.

So please. Be Loud for someone who can’t. Or, if you need to, Be Loud for yourself, or ask someone to Be Loud for you. I can remember a middle-of-the-night phone call I made to the Rape Relief hotline (the original name of KCSARC) back in 1983. It was the only direct way I used KCSARC’s resources. That phone call threw me a lifeline that I needed right then.  I had worked at the Thurston County Prosecutor’s criminal division for a couple of years and from my exposure to sexual assault cases I was aware of all KCSARC did for other people and I’ve always been so grateful.

Be Loud: Be Loud Button and Ideas

I’m going to finish off that TNNA report next week. Promise. I just had to do this one while it was fresh for me. Love my little capelette? It is called Windsor Capelette.