Monday, November 17, 2014


Finally did it!
Diamond Lace Capelet

I posted my first for sale pattern on Ravelry! Have a couple more in the works to post.

As you know, I've been keeping the patterns I post for free downloading on Ravelry mainly because I was learning the craft ... and it is quite a tricky business to write a pattern for just one size, but to add small, medium, large, extra large, etc. is even trickier.

The Diamond Lace Capelet is my first for sale, and as everything, there is a bit of a story behind it. 

First, I wanted to knit something for a friend who lives in California who knits and already has a number of shawls. So another shawl was not the answer. Also nothing too warm, like what we more northern folk like to have especially in the fall and winter. A capelet seemed to be the best, but most of the patterns I saw had a high neck. I wanted something to rest on the shoulders and drape down.

Solitude Wool, a small company that creates artisan yarns from their own sheep and other small area farms, sells at a local farmers market. I've purchased yarn from her before, but on a recent visit, I picked up two skeins of their Border Leicester sport because it seemed the perfect color and weight for this capelet. 

Yarn in hand, I designed and knit the capelet. After it was done, I knit another of a different size using one skein of sport weight yarn that I'd purchased this summer from the Good Karma Farm in Belfast, Maine. I love the way they name their colors. This one is January Thaw--and it is a delicious yarn.
Capelet in Good Karma Yar's January Thaw

Sport weight yarn, 400 to 480 yards required depending on size, and you will be good to go!

Oh, and it took me less than a week to knit! So if you are looking for a relatively quick but lovely item to knit for that special someone (yourself included!), ...


Reah Janise


Friday, August 29, 2014


What a lovely morning!
Just back from a wonderful vacation in Bayside, a small vacation village on the shores of Penobscot Bay near Belfast, Maine. 

Maine is a source of many wonderful things. The number of small farmers is growing and the state is planning to get up to 40 percent of its produce from local farms in the next decade or so.
Good Karma Farm

Being on vacation and relaxing, doing some hiking, running, and reading were high on my agenda. But I was also curious to see what the local area had in terms of yarn. I was not disappointed.

Good Karma Yarn
Delightfully, a sheep and alpaca farm was only a few miles away. Good Karma Farm is an all-in-one farm from sheep and alpaca to fleece to spun and dyed product. And they love to have visitors. My sister, husband and I found it fascinating. Their small mill is one of only a few left in the New England area. Lovely, lovely yarn. They'd had a great season and so had limited quantities of their yarns, but my sister and I were able to get enough for a sweater each. I was delighted to support them. Make sure you check out the video of their operations.

Another yarn delight was the home of String Theory in Blue Hill. I'd come across this yarn at a yarn shop in Bethesda, Maryland, and knit a sweater for a friend and two pair of socks. It was really fun to see the store and to meet one of the women who run it. They make deep, luscious colors.
String Theory yarn

Getting to this store reminded me of my trek in Scotland to locate the Skye Shilasdair Shop. They exist in remote areas that require concerted effort to find. Of course, when you do arrive, it's like opening a treasure chest.

Rural Maine seems so civilized. They have "honor-system" produce stands where you pick up vegetables, fruit, eggs, bread, jellies, etc. and put your money in a can--sometimes an open jar so in case you need to make change.
Purple Fleece yarn

We came across a remote yarn shop while driving to meet my sister's friend at String Theory. We passed a little sign that said Purple Fleece yarn shop. We decided to stop on our way back. This lovely shop is situated in a home near a lake in Stockton Springs, a village that you could easily miss. We were grateful we pursued it. Along with the full gear for a knitting store, she has her own yarns that knit into lovely designs plus supplies for weavers and dyers. She is a weaver and has many items for sale.
Purple Fleece Yarn Shop

Of course, Belfast, Maine sports its own yarn shop: Heavenly Socks yarn. I discovered this thriving shop during my first visit to Belfast in 2008 and I always look forward to shopping there during my Maine vacations, even though they may be years apart.

And just so that you don't think that's all I did during this wonderful week, we also climbed Mt. Megunticook and kayaked.

So many, many wonderful yarns!! Let's just say all in all I helped the local economy. ... and had lots of fun doing it.


Reah Janise
Heavenly Socks Yarn Shop


Monday, August 4, 2014


Crescent Hearts Shawl
Apologies for the hiatus, but some family matters required my attention.
Knitting projects, however, have not stopped. First up, I was flying to California for a conference and had thought I was more than prepared for knitting air time. I managed to complete the second of a pair of socks about midway and started on a lace shawl. I’d designed and knit one earlier and quickly given it to a departing colleague. I call it Crescent Hearts. The pattern is available on Ravelry.
Close up of lace pattern
To my dismay, I found that I’d not included stitch markers and had only 6 in my Knit Kit. Yikes!

While you can knit lace without stitch markers, I do not recommend it. It is far too easy to make errors and thus lose valuable time and energy, not to mention having to rip out lace. (Oh the horror!)

I remembered that a friend had made her own stitch markers from yarn. Seemed like a good idea to me, especially since I wanted to get this shawl moving. So, using the leftover sock yarn, I made 20 little slip knot stitch markers. (They work very well. You just need to make sure you don't knit them into your stitches.) The shawl was nearly finished by the time we returned home a few days later.

I like crescent shawls mainly because they are so-o-o much easier to design than triangle shawls and more interesting than rectangle shawls. Oh, and the yarn is made from soymilk: Pure Soysilk from South West Trading Company. It works up nicely and has a lovely luster.

By the way, the socks used a butterfly stitch. Since the yarn was already multicolored, I had looked for a stitch that would add just a touch of fun, and the butterfly was just that. The yarn was Berroco Sox. The pattern is available in my Ravelry store for free.

Until next time ... happy knitting!

Reah Janise

Butterfly Socks

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Santa and the Easter bunny
I love it when I have a pattern to share. My problem is that I love knitting so much that I move quickly onto new projects before I take the time to write a pattern in sizes for others to knit. Shawl patterns are a bit simpler that way. ... You want it bigger, just knit more rows -- and pray you have enough yarn!

But before we get to the shawl, we need to give appropriate homage to Santa. I knit a Mochimochi dwarf, adding a red ball on his cap, and mailed it to a friend. (She'd had a dream of me where I was Santa, so how could I resist?) Remember those "Where's Waldo" books and the traveling dwarf in the movie Amelie? Well, she's been doing that with Santa in her house (photos below).

The moral is to never doubt the value of a small knitted item. 

Peeping Hearts Shawl
And now the shawl. I call it Peeping Hearts and am delighted to share the pattern with you. It is a free download on Ravelry.

I'm forever looking for new yarn to try and new projects (as any craft addict will agree). Last year I purchased a skein of Pagewood Farm Chugiak in forest. It is 450 yards, 100 percent Merino superwash sock yarn. Of course, a sock yarn does not necessarily have to become a sock. 

Triangle shawls are tricky to design because of the middle stitch and the increases in the middle and on each side. Not every lace pattern works well and sometimes you just have to accept a bit more "white" space than you might want. 

Peeping Hearts close up
To give the shawl a bit more flair, I added a picot bind off. If you are impatient when you get to the end of a project, of which I am sometimes guilty, you won't like this edging because for every one bind off, you add a couple of stitches. (What is that saying? Two steps forward and one step backward?) But I encourage you to keep with it as it produces a marvelous finish to the shawl.

And, oh by the way, I have several more projects that I've finished while putting this pattern together: a cardigan from the North Donaldsey yarn and a shawlette, and I have two pair of socks on needles plus a sweater for a friend. 

Creatively yours,

Reah Janise

Peeping Hearts Shawl

Santa Rocks!

Ze artiste!

Lookin' for chocolate!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Beads, Dots, and Pandas

Beaded Lace Shawl
Have been having lots of fun lately. First was working with beads. Hmmm. Not really sure I'd call it fun. More of an adventure actually. If you haven't worked with beads before and someone knits something for you with beads in it, be grateful, very grateful, very, very grateful.
Beaded lace closeup

The plan was to make a crescent shawl using Wandering Wool's Udaipur fingering, which is a lovely silvery blue color. I explained my plan to another knitter who suggested that it would work really well with beads. I had used beads with one other shawl, just a few that hung on the points of lace. For that pattern, I slipped the beads on the yarn before starting the shawl. Fortunately, the lace was the first to be knit and so the beads were soon off my yarn and onto the shawl. However,
I really didn't want to do that with this shawl because there was going to be over a hundred beads and these were smaller than for the previous shawl.

So I used another technique for adding beads. I used what seemed like the smallest crochet hook ever to add the beads on while I knit. When I was ready to add the bead, I poked the crochet hook through the bead, hooked the stitch I wanted to add the bead to on the left-hand knitting needle, slid the bead down onto the stitch, and then slid the stitch back onto the left-hand needle and knit the stitch.Whew.

It took a while to get the hang of this technique, especially since the crochet hook was so teeny and I didn't always catch all of the yarn threads each time. The rows where I added beads took five times as long to complete than the rows without beads. But I like the end product. And now I'm thinking about what else I can knit with beads! Socks?

Oh, the shawl was a version of my favorite Annis shawl. But where the Annis shawl is finished off with stockinette, I used a simple 4-row lace pattern. Odd rows were purled. Row 2 was k2tog (right-slant decrease), yo. Row 4 was yo, ssk (left-slant decrease). 

Random Dots Socks

One adventure completed, I turned to another new experience. Polka dots.

I still consider myself a bit of a beginning when it comes to color work, but wanted to give it a try. So I set to work on knitting a pair of polka dotted socks. I used four stash yarns for the polka dots, all of which were multi-colored. I knit a sample dot and measured how much yarn it took, then pulled out 6 lengths per color and rolled them around a holder. 

I call the socks Random Dots because I didn't hold to a pattern for the dots.I mailed them to a friend who needed a little cheer.
Mochimochi Tiny Pandas


When I'm thinking of a larger project, I tend to start socks because I find them easy and relaxing to knit. So while I've been working on a pattern for a sweater for a niece, I started a pair of brown tweed cabled socks for a sweater for my niece. 

Meanwhile, I picked up the Mochimochi Tiny Panda kit that I'd purchased for $10 at VogueKnitting Live in New York in January. Just finished the third panda today. The first panda went to a friend who hasn't been feeling very well. These are absolutely adorable. Too tiny for a baby, but you can make them into pins or just have fun with them. And that's what these were. Fun. And easy. It takes only an hour to make one.

Purling off for now!

Reah Janise

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Fun and Fit V-Neck
You see it's like this; I was so fired up about Vogue Knitting Live that I rushed through knitting my sweater (see previous blog post), because I wanted to wear it there. I call this Fun and Fit V-Neck because I added a fitted waist and the yarn, Mountain Colors Twizzle in the color winter sky is a delightful hand-painted color mix.

When I was knitting the front, I realized I'd not started the neck when I should have for the type of V-neck I wanted, but rather than rip out and start over, I kept going. A shorter V is perfectly acceptable and it worked out. Besides, I thought, everything else would be great. I was focused on the finish line.

Well, I wasn't 100 percent happy with the finished product. Yes, it fit OK, but I really did want a deeper V-neck and, oh dear, I should have kept to my written instructions about length because it would look better a tad longer. Oh, well, I thought. It was done and I'd do better on the next one. But it nagged at me.

Then I was talking to my sister who had just ripped out a sweater she'd knit years ago so that she could make it into a different sweater. As Winnie-the-Pooh would say, "Think. Think. Think." And I did.

So I spent this past weekend ripping my new sweater apart down to the armholes--front, back, and sleeves--and knitting it back. By Sunday afternoon, I had front, back, and sleeves blocked and drying for the final seaming and finishing of the neckline. 

Fortunately I still had almost a full skein of yarn left. (I'd almost made felted slippers from it! Whew.) I used it and most of what was ripped out. At one point, I had tossed the yarn that had come from unraveling the sleeves. I still had a small ball of yarn left and was feeling pretty lucky.

Ah, but after I'd washed all the pieces, I realized I still had to knit the collar. Yikes! I retrieved the castoff sleeve yarn and washed it. It was going to be needed. Maybe.

The next day all was dry and I proceeded to sew the shoulder seam together and knit the collar. Unfortunately the night was over before I could finish sewing the sleeves in. By Wednesday I was wearing it to work. And much happier with sweater 2.0!

No knitter likes to rip out a sweater that they've just meticulously sewn together, but sometimes you just have to tear into it if you want a product that will not be a disappointment whenever you put it on--IF you wear it. You know the saying, "If at first you don't succeed ..."

ever trying,

Reah Janise

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Felted chess set @ Vogue KnittingLive

Knit garden @ Vogue KnittingLive
Ever been surrounded by hundreds of people who all harbor the same addiction? Well that's what I did over a week ago.

The addiction? Knitting. The place? New York City. The event? Vogue Knitting Live.

Classes, teachers, and a really great marketplace of yummy yarns, kits, and more. I'm terrible at taking pictures, so I just have a couple to share from some of the artists: an amazing chess set (love the dragon!) and a garden complete with fountain, flowers and birds.

I took three classes: one on steeking, which is something you absolutely need to know how to do if you want to do a Fair Isle cardigan or any kind of color work that you want to match up. The two part class on designing lace shawls and writing the pattern provided terrific information. I started a shawl that I plan to wear at a big event for my boss's 80th birthday gala. The last class was on designing drop and saddle shoulders. I learned when these are good to use and how to design them.

The Marketplace had many, many temptations, and I was reserved, but I still came away with some lovely cashmere, a few kits, and yarn for making a shawl and a couple of scarves.

Meanwhile, I've been knitting up a few things. I finished a sweater using Mountain Colors yarn, which I wore to the event. I wanted a simple sweater that I could just toss on. The color is so rich that it needed no embellishment, so I just did a cable up the front, back, and sleeves. At the conference, one of the teachers was wearing a cowl that matched her sweater. Aha! I had extra yarn, so as soon as I got home, I worked up a pattern and knit one. I used a triangle pattern using knit/purl. The cowl has been perfect since winter has been unusually cold this year.
Pink Tiger Socks

I also knit up a pair of socks. As I've mentioned before, socks are the best thing to take on a trip because they take up so little space. I finished one sock on the train home and started the second one, finishing it the next day. I call these my pink tiger socks. I used a lace pattern even though with a multi-colored yarn they are not easily seen. But I like how it moves the color lines. The yarn is Pinnacle Fingering from Wild Hare Fiber Studio. It has the greatest colors, even neon, for socks.

After Christmas I knit a pair of fingerless mitts for myself, but gave them to a friend. I had yarn left over from the cardigan I knit for my friend, so I knit another pair for myself--and am wearing them as I type this. Ahh, warm and cozy hands.

But I'm not finished. I bought a kit to make a felted cloche hat. I was so excited about it that I knit it up really quickly and set about felting it, but something went wrong. I somehow didn't felt it right and the hat didn't shrink. Undaunted, I made some adjustments and made it into a rolled band hat. Hat, cowl, and sweater are featured in this photo.
Hat, cowl and new sweater.

And now I've made a swatch for a scarf idea with one of the new yarns.

And the knit goes on,

Reah Janise