In pursuit of a wrap to wear for our son’s wedding in late August, I’m knitting the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes. It’s a free pattern download on Ravelry. I wanted a lace shawl pattern that was an easy project, as I am pushed for time as usual. But I also needed it to be fairly dressy. There are two free shawl patterns, using only one skein of sock yarn, in this posting, one that begins at the bottom and the lace one that is cast on from the center neck. Both are easy shawl patterns for beginner first time shawl knitting…great accessories to wear as shawlettes, cowls, or a triangle scarf. You’ll find even more free shawl patterns and Princess Kate’s shawl at knitnscribble.com, link below.

The Holden Shawlette, cast on from the center neck, has several inches of stockinette stitch in the beginning rows divided by yarn overs on the edge and in the center. The pattern is so easy to remember, you don’t need markers, as your knitting does the marking for you. I don’t enjoy using markers anyway, but sometimes you just have to. This photo is a little lop-sided, because the circular needle’s gone all wonky, should have run it under hot water to straighten it out before I started casting on.

Then the pattern changes to the lace pattern. This one is Mindy’s. She used one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn, a lovely yarn, hand-dyed with tonal color qualities.

I’m using another Merino wool and silk hand-dyed sock yarn. I’m a little disappointed in the color, as it was called ‘silver’, but it’s actually the color of ‘squirrel’. Lesson learned here is to go to your loyal yarn shop if you are wanting a special colorway of yarn, so you can see it up close and personal. May or may not use this shawl for the wedding, jury is still out. It’s a lovely yarn, no doubt, just not the colorway I wanted for this project.

You begin by casting on 3 stitches, using a long-tail method, with a US 6 (4.25mm) needle at the top center of the back, then picking up three stitches on the bumps of those and then three more, sounds confusing, but it isn’t really.


The number of stitches are then gradually increased to equal 193 via yarn overs, 4 on every right side row, two yarn overs in the center, and one on each side.

It’s actually much easier than casting on and counting 270 or so stitches as for the Abyssal shawl, which I have made several times in an Old Shale pattern, also mistakenly called ‘feather and fan’.

The Abyssal is a fun free shawl pattern to knit, available written in French or English, too, but it begins from the bottom up and requires the tedious counting to start. The pattern is also a free download on Ravelry. Here’s one I made for a birthday present for one of our daughters. Just like the Holden Shawlette, Abyssal can be worn as a shawl or a scarf, very versatile accessory.

In any case, the Holden Shawl continues every evening, and I will shortly have reached the lace portion of the pattern.

The depth from the center down is about 9 inches now. The finished width will be approximately 55 in by 25.5 inches long from the center down, depending on how it is blocked. Wish me luck! (to be continued…) For even more free patterns, even Princess Kate’s shawl pattern, her famous shopping ruffle shawl, visit knitnscribble.com, where you can enter any keyword to search for free knitting and crochet patterns. Language translation available as well on knitnscribble.com.

The felted tote bag I told you about recently is finished. You can find the link for a felted bag pattern I made earlier, below. The free knitting pattern works well with KnitPicks 100% wool yarn. Always heave a sigh of relief to get one of these handbags finished, more or less 30-35 hours of work. These handbags are great for carrying all year round, but especially fall, winter, and spring. This one is posted on Etsy now,  the “Chicken or the egg felted cross-body tote bag.” Eclectic and one-of-a-kind!


For free pattern felted tote bag, please read more (more…)

One heavy gardenia

In New England, it’s time to move those heavy ficus trees and pet plants outside to their sunny summer spots. For those gardeners who are not so strong, it’s an ordeal every season. Since I found the Pot Mover, I no longer have to bribe one of our sons to help. It’s  one of the best garden tools I’ve found in a long time and also makes a great Father’s Day gift or birthday present. (more…)

I’ve always been a sucker for bonnets and when I saw Larissa Brown’s new bonnet eBook, Love Bonnet, I wanted to knit them all. Problem is, I don’t have many infants to knit for these days, and needed a larger size.

So, I have created a larger bonnet pattern, based on Larissa’s “Juniper Bonnet”, which is a free pattern.  Hoping that the bonnet for older kids and toddlers in bigger sizes will be the new trend, so I can knit some more….. a natural transition from the earflap hat and sock monkey hat fads this past fall and winter.

Call me “crazy,” but the bonnet is so practical…great hat to wear with ponytails. In the Nordic countries, all ages wear ski bonnets…just because it’s called a bonnet, doesn’t mean it’s for babies.

This one is trimmed in a little dove gray cotton and knit with about one skein of soft grape wool and alpaca for Easter, which is rarely a warm time in New England. The bonnet doesn’t have to be tied, but the ties can hang down, like the older children usually prefer to wear them.

There are five repeats of the feather and fan in this larger bonnet pattern. The finished size of this one is about 17 inches around and will fit up to a six year old.

If you are interested in this larger size feather and fan bonnet for toddlers, kids, and older heads, please subscribe to this blog and let me know by leaving a comment. I also plan to write a larger bonnet pattern for a plain stripe design.

For Larissa’s Juniper Bonnet pattern, written for infants, click here.

Happy St. Paddy's Day

As I write this, everyone is at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Newport, RI. I can picture this sunny day, the streets awash in green crepe paper and hats, Irish knit sweaters, babies and young girls with shamrock-painted faces, and guarded flasks of Jamieson Whiskey in herringbone vest pockets. I hear police car sirens resonating over and over, even from here, the other side of the hill, leading the parade to its end at the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), where the celebration will be capped off with a traditional American – Irish boiled dinner, corned beef and cabbage.

AOH was created to protect Irish Catholic priests under the rule of English King Henry VIII, and it became a club, more or less, organized in early 19th century America as a way for the immigrant Irish to band together against the established Boston Brahmin “No Irish Need Apply” (NINA) directives, to promote forward thinking, interact and find work in their oh, so new world in America. There were two Hibernian organizations on Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island, originally, the first organized downtown in 1876.

James Bradley, who sailed across the Atlantic from Ireland at the turn of the 19th century, was a founder (according to the gold watch he received) of the uptown Hibernians, formed to educate and enrich the lives of new Irish immigrants, which met at the old Music Hall on Thames Street. James Bradley was Brad’s (my husband) grandfather, for whom he is named.

For over forty years, there has been nary a St. Patrick’s Day morning that Brad, as one of six children in a large Irish family, didn’t ask me, “Do you have the recipe?” referring to his cherished corned beef and cabbage, which is the traditional staple St. Paddy’s Day dinner, at least in the U.S.

I have always answered, “yes,” thinking: “What is there to do but boil the darn thing, chop the root veg and serve it?”

It always tastes the same, like a boiled dinner. The brisket has either cooked down to nothing or ended up too stringy for consumption for the past 43 years.

Last year on March 17th, low and behold, like clock-work: “Do you have the recipe?”

“Yes,” I answered, dreading the same inedible result. (more…)

Have decided to knit a few more large hobo handbags for felting. They are really fun to do, and the results are always a surprise. Getting more than one ready for felting at the same time, saves hot water when it’s time to felt. I’ve finished the knitting and crocheting for the first one . It’s called: “The chicken or the egg?”…It’s a favorite saying of a certain pragmatist I know, and I found all the theme ingredients for this recipe in my fabric and yarn stash. Follow this blog for a free pattern for a felted tote bag.

chicken or the egg felted hobo bag

(more…)

A knitting pattern for a warm earflap balaclava hat with a monkey face and ears—

Sock monkey stuffed animal toys have been around since Victorian times, believe it or not. Victoriana became enraptured by monkeys and their exotic world in the 1890′s. When the Rockland, Illinois wool work sock factory started making socks with red heels, that’s how the arts and crafts creation got his red mouth and behind.

Rockland still celebrates a “Sock Monkey Festival” in the 21st century.

Last winter when my granddaughter’s middle school friends latched onto the sock monkey hat craze,  I designed this sock monkey hat knitting pattern with earflaps for Charlotte, who is  eleven years old. The pattern has now been knitted for adults, teens, and children alike.

Cheeky sock monkey hat pattern (more…)

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