Monday, December 31, 2012


Now that the holiday season is over, I've been able to put more time into completing promised patterns.

Sparkly Shawl pattern
The first is Sparkly Shawl. As I mentioned in my earlier post, this is my first triangle shawl design. It's fairly simple, so as long as you are familiar with lace work, you should have no problem following the pattern.

Cable Socks 2012 pattern
The next pattern is for the socks I began on our trip to Scotland. I've actually upgraded this pattern, filling out the corners and edges, so to speak. This sock is my husband's favorite. He says it hugs his legs and is comfortable all around. Here's the original blog post for this sock. I posted two blogs on this sock. The first is when I'd finished the first sock and the second was when I posted the pattern. And now, here is the upgraded and hopefully improved pattern.

I've just finished two sweaters for my nephews in Ohio. They are 12 and 10. I hope to include pictures of them in the sweaters with the patterns.

Until then, Happy 2013!

Reah Janise

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sparkly Shawl

 This will be a short post -- Christmas is approaching and there are so many gifts to complete!!! -- but I wanted to share, finally, my own shawl design.

The great thing about shawls is that they don't require too much yarn. I had made a rectangle shawl for a friend a few years ago. (I didn't know how to do triangle shawls at the time.) It turned out quite lovely, and I had four skeins remaining, which I thought would be a perfect amount for making my first triangle shawl design. And it was!

The yarn is Australian Merinos Lamé. The color is rosina, kind of a maroon. Each ball is 50 grams, 175 yards. As the lamé might tell you, this yarn has a silver metallic thread running through, so it makes for a dressy shawl.

I have started writing up the pattern, but will have to share it at another time.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these photos.


Reah Janise

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Whew! What a storm. But at least the power outage wasn't for as long as it was when the derecho roared through here late June. Five days for that one, 19 hours this time. Still it wasn't a total loss. Under the glow of a battery-powered LED, I finished a shawlette.

I had wanted to try a non-triangular shawlette and found Annis shawl on Ravelry.

I dipped into my Scottish yarn stash. I'd specifically purchased one to be used to make a shawl. This was one of the first two yarns I'd purchased in Edinburgh. It was hand-dyed in the Orkney Islands.
The Annis shawl is a lovely crescent shawl. One of the stitches in this lace pattern is a nupp, which did not work very well when I knit a swatch of the pattern. It could have been because the yarn was too thick and it would have gotten lost in the multi-color of the yarn. Swatches are very useful. When I start any project, I do a swatch. And when I'm going to start a lace project, I practice the lace stitch because lace can easily go wrong.

Lace has also made me a firm believer--and user--of stitch markers. Stitch markers make it much easier to not mess up the lace pattern, which is far too easy, at least for me.

Anyway, the Annis pattern was quite fun to knit up. Triangular shawls begin with three stitches and then keep increasing. This crescent shawl started with the longest row first, the lace pattern. After the lace is completed, you begin short rows, decreasing 1 stitch each row until the last row.

I finished the shawl and then realized it looked like the finished edge would roll. I ripped out the last row and added three additional rows knit in basketweave: k2p2, reversed every other row. The bind-off row followed the same pattern. And then the finished edge did not roll. Yeah!

Have already begun the next shawlette--and this time I'm doing my own pattern.

Reah Janise


Monday, October 29, 2012


Last year an artist friend of mine commented on how her hands got cold in her studio and how it would be great to have a pair of fingerless gloves.

Always on the lookout for a knitting project and having just discovered a fairly new knitting store, Looped Yarn Works, close to the office, I had a great excuse to shop! I ended up knitting her a pair of fingerless mittens out of a really cool yarn. (Sorry, forgot to take a photo!)

Since knitting those mittens, I've put some serious thought into knitting gloves. My grandmother knit gloves. I remember that she used safety pins to hold the stitches for each finger. It seemed intricate--and fascinating. How did she do that? So in the back of my mind I've always thought about knitting gloves, but they seemed out of reach. Sweaters were more to my comfort level.

Well all comfort must be tested, so a couple of months ago, I tried my hand at a pair of fingerless gloves. (Getting close, Grandma!) I checked out some patterns on how to do the fingers and then set off on my own.

Ah, you are thinking, was that a good idea? Shouldn't I have gotten familiar with the "how to" before sprinting off on my own?

Perhaps. But all of the patterns I saw used sport weight or heavier yarn and I had my heart set on using sock yarn. Smaller needles, smaller stitches, less bulky ... an entirely different experience.

The first digit to be knit was the thumb, which was done by adding stitches. You have to keep the thumb "hole" open while continuing to knit in the round until you get to where you start the fingers.

The fingers were a bit tricky, but once I got the hang of it, they moved along fairly well.

I had a ball of Berroco Sox metallic (color 1366, Mangosteen)  that I was thinking of using for socks, but decided it might make a pair of fun gloves. The first glove was for the left hand and it turned out not too badly, so I followed the pattern for the second. Too late I found that I'd knit another left hand glove! It was obvious as there was a front and back to the glove (cable on the back, which doesn't come out very well in this photo). Also, I really did not want to rip it out down to the thumb.
Fortunately it doesn't take a lot of yarn to knit a glove. I now have two lefts and one right. A pair and then some! During Hurricane Sandy when just about everyone in the DC area was home, I took time to work out the pattern. Click here for the PDF.

glovingly yours,

Reah Janise

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Holden Shawlette knit with Wandering Wool.
I'm in the midst of several knitting projects. Two are sweaters for my nephews who live in Ohio. Because I want to make sure they fit, last week I mailed the body of the sweaters, loosely stitched together at the sides and shoulders, to my sister-in-law to have the boys try them on to make sure they fit and also to get her to measure arm length for each with the boys with the sweaters on.

In the week since mailing off the sweaters, I started and finished a shawlette using a skein of Wandering Wool's North Country Sock yarn. The colorway is Lapis Lazuli. The pattern was Mindy Wilkes' Holden Shawlette.

I used size 5 needles and was able to get in one extra row, but ran just inches short of being able to do the picot finish (which takes a very long time both to do and to rip out). Argh! It still looks wonderful and I hope the person who gets this as a gift will feel the same.

The previous shawlette I'd knit with this same yarn (and pattern), different colorway, used size 6 needles.

I'm excited to start my next shawlette project, which I've already planned, and which will use one of the Scottish yarns purchased just for making a shawlette.


Reah Janise

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Showing off new bag.
Confession: I am not just a knitter.

As a young teenager, I learned to sew and since money was very tight, I sewed many of my own clothes with fabric I bought from part-time jobs. I even sewed for friends.

In 12th grade I bought my own sewing machine, a Singer, for $99. It did zigzag and had a zipper foot attachment. I retired it a few years ago when it started having some problems (close to 40 years of faithful service) and my husband surprised me with a new one, which also was a basic sewing machine. I'd checked out a few of the new models that had computerized this and that, but they seemed too over the top for me (and kind of expensive). The new one was light to carry and perfect for my needs.

While I don't sew too many clothes now, a few years ago I ventured into another area. I had an inexpensive bag with a top zipper that was perfect for traveling and holding my knitting project at home. I could sling it over my shoulder and it had an inner pocket. One day the zipper broke and I contemplated replacing it. But as I looked at it, I thought,  hmm, I could make one and add some other things--like more pockets. Can you ever have too many pockets?

So off to the fabric store. Some years before this, I'd also picked up a "carpet" bag, which I loved, so the upholstery section seemed to be the place to start. The remnant section was like a treasure chest bursting with all kinds of interesting designs and sturdy fabric, which is essential in a bag if you want it to last. My dear husband, who has a great eye for colors, was with me, so together we chose some fabrics. Why be limited? Zippers, straps, lining, and thread all followed.

I used the purchased bag as my initial pattern and then modified. It took a while to get the pattern down so that all of the pieces fit well. I then made pattern pieces from newspaper.

Probably a couple dozen bags have come off of my sewing machine since then, with all but a couple as gifts. I find them fun to make and to give, and I keep looking for things to add or change, though the basic design remains.

So this past week, I sewed two bags (pictures below). Christmas is coming ... and I have a list of people those who have been nice!


Reah Janise

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Despite the various delays, I finally finished my dear husband's sweater. He likes to call the sweaters I make for him "hugs."

While I would like to take credit for this lovely pattern, I cannot. I modified it from Man's Entwined Circles Pullover by Melissa Leapman. Her pattern has the cabling front, back, and sleeves, but as I edged toward completing the front, I realized I did not have enough yarn to complete the sweater that way (cabling can really eat yarn), so I did a basketweave stitch (see below) for the back and sleeves. And since I had purchased the yarn on sale--and all that Heavenly Socks Yarns had in that dye lot--I could not get more. I trimmed it with red as a little different style thing. I finished the sweater using just over 16 balls.

The yarn is Classic Elite Yarns Chesapeake, half wool, half cotton. I had no qualms about how the yarn would fare as I'd knit the Ziplock Sweater from the same yarn and it kept its shape and styling throughout the Scotland trip. Unfortunately, the first time Hadan wore it (and just for a few hours) it stretched an inch or so. Perhaps this is why I don't like to knit cotton sweaters unless they are lace. I can only assume that at some point the yarn became too heavy, which resulted in the stretching.

Close up of the cable patterns.

Just like life, knitting doesn't always do what you want it to do. So what's the plan? Rip it out and figure out what I can do with this yarn that will work. Maybe an overall basketweave, in which case not all of the hard work will have been in vain.

Meanwhile, I've also finished a pair of fingerless gloves and will talk about this adventure in my next post. And right now I'm working on a pair of socks. Christmas is coming and my list of sock giftees is growing ... !

Keeping it real,

Reah Janise

Basketweave stitch:
  Row one: Purl two, knit two across.
  Row two: Knit two, purl two across.
  Row three: Knit two, purl two across.
  Row four: Purl two, knit two across.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Crossed the finish line!

As part of the Olympics spirit, Ravelry staged the Ravellenics Games. I signed onto
Team Wandering Wool. My sport? The Holden Shawlette knit with Wandering Wool's Helvellyn Sock yarn, cranberry bog. She has lots of other delicious colors.

This was a fairly quick knitting pattern and the lace pattern was easy to follow and memorize. I started the project on August 2 and completed it August 9.

My only concern was the bind off. The pattern called for a Picot bind off. ... The what?

My dilemma was attempting something new (and messing it up) or going for it.

Well, we all know that Olympians don't shirk the tough stuff, right? So, I dove in and was delighted to see the result. The picot bind off produces little bead-like ends, which give this pattern a wonderful finish.

Now on to complete my husband's sweater!


Reah Janise

Details of wave pattern and Picot bind off.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Four little birdies waving at you.
Knitting allows for many types of expression. Lately people around me have been having babies. Well, it's always fun to make a sweater, blanket, booties, even a bonnet for a baby. But last fall I came across a cute toy design in Ravelry. Rebecca Danger designed Chubby Chirps. They are adorable, and one can easily be knit one in the evening after work.

The other great thing about them is that you get a chance to use up yarn scraps. I made a slight modification on the first one I knit and liked it so much, as did everyone else who saw it, that I stayed with it. Basically I added hair. Yes, I know, birds don't have hair. But, look at what you can do with it! I even made dreadlocks for them.

I also move their wings so that they looking like they're waving. They also kind of remind me of the Adipose babies from Dr. Who. (Oh!, just discovered there are Adipose baby crochet patterns available, just Google Adipose babies Dr Who.)

Anyway, I've lost count on how  many of these I've made since then, but I have given them to a children's shelter, adults, friends, newborns, and even one to my mother who is in long-term care. I just made a new batch and finally took a picture.

If you decide to try them--and want to add hair--just keep all of your ends, like the cast-on tail, the tail left from sewing on the wings, nose, and eyes, and the tail once you sew up the top of the head. I bring them up through the top of the head. Crochet the tails to make dreadlocks.

Oh, if you are making it for a baby, make sure you anchor the wings. Babies love to pull on them. Fortunately I'd done that for the first baby recipient.

Sock yarns make the tiniest birds. Add a loop and it can be a Christmas ornament!

Having fun,

Reah Janise

P.S. Meanwhile, I signed up for the Ravellenic Games on Wandering Wool's team to knit something during the Olympics. Have had to set aside finishing the sweater for my husband (I keep making changes to it!) which was close to being done before heading off to Scotland.

Monday, July 30, 2012


A gorgeous thistle
Stopped at Red Skye Restaurant, a lovely cafe a few miles past the Skye Bridge on the Isle of Skye.

The table was adorned with a two flowers in a vase.

Reminded me of
Wolle's Color Changing Cotton.

Oh, and the food was excellent!

Beauty and no beasts,

Reah Janise
Shawlette I knit from Wolle's Color Changing cotton

Saturday, July 28, 2012

MADE IN SCOTLAND (and over the Atlantic)

First of the pair completed in Inverness.
Second one completed over the Atlantic on the return flight.
Click here for pattern.
Close up of the pattern stitch. Click here for pattern.
I wouldn't be much of a knitter if I didn't take a project along with me whenever I travel. Socks are the easiest to travel with because the project doesn't take up too much space. My only problem is that I inevitably drop a needle on the airplane floor or between the seat cushions or in some other weird area. My beleaguered husband then frets while I try and retrieve the needle or cable hook or whatever little piece of equipment for which I am on the hunt.

After dropping needles twice on the recent trip to Scotland and (oh no!) breaking one of the wooden double pointed needles (the first ever!) (yeah for that extra needle), I have decided that the next pair of socks will be made with two circular needles. Then hopefully the worst I can do is drop a cable hook or a stitch.

Meanwhile, I started and finished a pair of socks for my dear husband on the Great Scottish Yarn Expedition of 2012. Even better, I've posted the pattern should you want to knit a pair for yourself or some other lovely person.

I'm now finishing the sweater I'd started before this trip. One last sleeve to go!

Happy knitting-ing!

Reah Janise

Saturday, July 21, 2012


The Expedition turned up some lovely yarns, as featured on previous pages, but now it's time to get a better look at these lovelies. 
The Expedition's Treasures
Scappo Aran, Shetland Wool from KI Yarn Boutique, Edinburgh
Multi-color hand-dyed Orkney wool from K1 Yarn Boutique, Edinburgh 
Natural color (yum!) North Ronaldsay wool, Kirkwall
Shilasdair natural dye, Skye Shilasdair Yarn Shop, Waternish, Isle of Skye
Shilasdair natural dye, Skye Shilasdair Yarn Shop, Waternish, Isle of Skye
A lovely, lovely place.

Time to create!

Reah Janise


Sunday, July 15, 2012


Entrance to the Skye Shilasdair Shop
If you ever find yourself in the highlands of Scotland, do try and take time to visit The Skye Shilasdair Shop, the last shop on my "yarn tour." It takes a little effort to get to, but it will be so very well worth the drive. This shop is nestled in the scenic croft lands of Waternish peninsula on the Isle of Skye, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Hebrides, rolling green hills, and the sparkling blue waters of the Little Minch and Loch Dunvergan.

After miles of one-lane roads (with pullovers to let oncoming traffic pass), we turned onto an even more one-lane road with sheep pastures on either side, left onto a gravel drive where two women stepped aside to let us through, and into the parking lot. As I got out of the car I met a woman who was carrying large cones of recently--and beautifully--dyed yarn. While we didn't know it then, this was the woman who owned the croft. She takes the fleece through the entire process of combing, drawing out the yarn, spinning it, and finally dyeing.

The Skye Shilasdair Shop entrance
Shilasdair is the Gaelic name for the Flag Iris, an ancient dye plant. The specialty of this croft and the yarns sold here is that it is the only place in all of the United Kingdom using the ancient process of dyeing yarn--and it is totally organic. The dyes come from moss, lichen, and flowers, some of which are grown in the crofter's garden, others which are collected from the area.
When you walk into the shop, you are met with an array of vibrant colors emanating from the various yarns and originally designed and hand-knit sweaters. They also have gloves, scarves, and knitting kits.

Me with an armful of yarn
There are half a dozen homes in the area, mostly crofters, and you hear only the waves, wind, and birds. It felt like a place of respite and peace, and I wanted to move in and start knitting. 

I was a bit surprised by the number of people coming through the shop during the time I was visiting. Perhaps some, like me, were drawn to check out this unique shop, despite the remote location.

They sell camel (incredibly soft), blends (cashmere, angora, and lambs wool), silk blends, cotton, and, 100 percent Scottish wool. I selected two colors of the Scottish wool for sweater making. 

Quite satisfied, we headed back to Portree. I left the driving to my dear husband Hadan, who has gotten the hang of driving from the right side of the car on the left side of the highway, ... and one-lane roads!


Reah Janise
The crofter's home and garden

Thursday, July 12, 2012


We've just checked into our hotel in Portree on the Island of Skye ... and the sun is shining and there's barely a cloud in the sky! Beautiful country around here. Skye boasts of mountains, formed from volcanoes. People vacation here to hike, bike, sail, and simply bask in the beauty and quiet. We'll soon be joining in doing our own walking.

The finished sock

Close up
Meanwhile, just to keep this blog on topic, last night I finished the first of two of a pair of socks for Hadan. Socks are an easy knitting project to take while traveling. And this time, I've actually written down the pattern, which I'll post when we return.

But I almost didn't keep the sock. On the bus ride back from the Orkney Islands on Tuesday, I pulled out my knitting. The woman across the aisle from me oohed over the stitch. When I told her it was socks, she volunteered that she was a size 7 and quite rightly pointed out that it would be quicker to finish for her than for my husband who obviously took a larger size. I promised if I finished by the time we got to Inverness I'd give it to her. Alas for her, the trip wasn't long enough.

OK, time to check out the city and hiking trail.

Reah Janise

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


At Inverness Castle overlooking the River Ness
(yep, it's lovely)
Picking up some undyed (isn't this a gorgeous brown!)
 North Ronaldsay yarn in Kirkwall, 12 Victoria Street.
Here we are in Inverness, a lovely city in the highlands of Scotland. The River Ness is just a couple of blocks away, as is the city center. The city is very civilized with two close pedestrian walkways across the river along with two bridges for cars (and people).

We spent Monday exploring and doing a lot of walking. The temp never got beyond 56 degrees Fahrenheit and it was windy. Had I had the right set of needles, I might have knit myself a hat!

Unfortunately knitting does not seem to be much of a creative outlet here. I had read some blogs before we left and one woman had said her mother was trying to revive knitting in the area. Her store was short lived and the one we found was a bit of a disappointment.

However, yesterday we toured the Orkney Islands and I found a luscious brown wool, undyed. It all came from the same sheep. This flock lives on North Ronaldsay, the northernmost of the Orkneys, and they graze on seaweed. I'm thinking something along the lines of a jacket. Yummy.

This afternoon we'll start looking for Nessie. (here girl!)


Reah Janise

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Outside of K1 Yatrns in Edinburgh 
Getting ready to purchase
Greetings from Scotland!

My husband, Hadan, and I have escaped the 100 degree temps in Washington, DC in exchange for 57 degrees and rain. ... And that's OK with us.

I've been anticipating this vacation (celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary) and the opportunity to check out some Scottish yarn. (Even though my stash is groaning under its own weight.) Bu how can a knitter travel to Scotland and not buy yarn?

We only had one full day scheduled in Edinburgh -- and there's so much to see and do. We'd checked out places ahead of time and I found a yarn shop that was in the area, just off the Royal Mile in the City Centre.

K1 Yarns Knitting Boutique is located at 89 West Bow, a street about two blocks long. It's not the easiest street to find, so if you are ever in the area just be persistent because it's worth it. K1 stocks some lovely Scottish yarns.

The staff person was kntting socks (yeah!) and was very helpful and sweet. Unfortunately I forgot to get her name.

Anyway, since we are going to two other cities in Scotland, I had to discipline my fingers and only purchased two kinds of yarn, a royal blue for a sweater, and a multi for a shawl. The multi comes from the Orkney Islands and is a special hand-dye.

Despite the rain, drizzle, wind, and cool weather, it was a great day.


Reah Janise

Thursday, July 5, 2012


In an earlier blog, I talked about my introduction to knitting socks (so cool!). There was so much to share that I had to stop and save the rest for another time.

Red Lace socks for women
So today I’ll talk about needles and the importance of the first row.

I used my grandmother’s metal double-pointed knitting needles at first, perhaps getting some knitting effluvia from them while sending her happy thanks. But I found them a bit slippery. I knit loose. My grandmother was a very tight knitter. I remember watching her force her needles into stitches. That’s not me. So, the metal needles sometimes led to “Gah! My stitches fell off!” and the painstaking effort of getting them back on. (Sadly, reading glasses have become a must when knitting socks, especially with dark yarns.)

I’d been ordering quite a bit of yarn from websites, and came across Knit Picks, which has all sorts of cool accessories along with yarns. I ordered the 6" Harmony Wood Double Pointed Knitting Needle Set. The wooden needles were lovely. Best of all, they kept my stitches on, unless, of course I pulled the wrong needle when finishing a row. Yikes! Argh!
Selection of socks knit for my husband
(some have stretchers in to see the
pattern better)

When, much to my delight, my sister started knitting socks, I ordered a set for her, which she also enjoys.

A slight challenge I encountered on entering the world of sock knitting was that they were often a bit tight to get on, which could lead to tearing—or a frustrated recipient deciding not to wear the socks. (Heaven forbid!) This was due mainly to the first row cast on. My solution has been to knit the first 5 rows on slightly larger needles and then switch to my usual size for the rest of the sock. Since then, no problems getting them on feet … and no tearing!

My sister found another way to alleviate the too-tight first row using a different cast on, which provides for a more elastic first row. It’s called Old Norwegian cast-on. It’s a little tricky at first, but it results in a lovely cast-on row. Illustrations and instructions can be found at Knitting Daily. You can also watch a YouTube.
The only problem I have found with knitting socks is that once I give someone a pair, they love them so much they become regulars on my Christmas gift list. But I so-o-o love to knit them! (So, not really a problem!)

Happy socking,

Reah Janise 

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Two types of cabled socks for men (RJK design)
My grandmother knit socks, slippers, and gloves. In fact that was just about all she knit. She rarely used a pattern. When we were little, she would trace our feet on a piece of paper to determine how big to knit slippers for us. She mostly knit ribbed socks for my grandfather.

I also remember watching her knit gloves—yep, all five fingers. She used safety pins to hold the stitches for each finger. Grandma had immigrated to the United States in 1908 when she was eight years old, lived through the Depression, never accumulated much, and basically used what worked instead of buying anything “fancy,” like stitch holders.

A few years after Grandpap died, she went into assisted living for what turned out to be the last year of her life. During that time, she became much beloved for knitting hunting socks for the male employees. She was 93 when she peacefully passed.

My sister inherited Grandma’s knitting needles and some years ago passed along the double-pointed needles because she wasn’t planning on using them. What a treasure! They were still in the small brown paper bag in which Grandma had wrapped them. They were all metal and looked well used, some even slightly bent. The smallest size was 000.

Voilá! The heel!

So about eight years ago, I took a leaf out of Grandma’s book and decided to try my hand at socks. They looked intriguing. How in the world did that heel get made? I’d also never used double pointed needles. The pattern I used came from Sockology by Lang Yarns, which has a number of lovely designs. It also has a very handy chart for the number of stitches needed for various shoe sizes: toddlers, children, women, and men. My pamphlet is a bit dated, but Lang has released other Sockology pamphlets, so check online or in your local yarn store.

While knitting with four thin needles requires some adjustment, knitting in the round takes even more. For me, the first row after the cast on is awkward. If you aren’t careful you can easily twist a needle and end up having to start over.

You also need to be careful about making the leap from the last cast on to the first knit stitch or you’ll end up with an unsightly gap. One trick for this is to cross the first and last cast-on stitches before knitting the first row. Gap problem fixed!

Oh, and you can also easily twist stitches. While this is a valid stitch, you might not want to do all of your socks this way. It will also make it difficult when doing other stitches. If you are familiar with circular knitting you won’t have a problem. You already understand that the project is always facing one way, rather than the usual one side being knit and the other side being pearl. With socks, you only ever look at one side.

So I got to the point where I was to start the heel. I’d studied the pattern, but it made little sense to me. I’d never done this kind of thing before. I proceeded carefully, and as I went along, the heel just started making itself. It was like magic!

While my first attempt became “my” sock, the next pair was for my husband, who was delighted. I believe my nephew Ian became the next recipient—and he liked the socks as well. From then on, it was learning to make the socks better. Each time I knit a new pair for my husband, he discards two pair of the commercial ones. (My biggest fan! XOXO)

After the first couple of socks, which were either ribbing or a ribbed cuff and stockinette, I made my own designs, mostly using cables. I also have done lace for some women’s socks. I must confess that I have not written down these patterns and will try to do so in the future.

Not long after I started knitting socks, they became “in” for knitters and patterns began showing up everywhere. So if you haven’t tried them yet, please do. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do. There are so many ways to knit them … and so many, many lovely yarns!

My stash runneth over,

Reah Janise

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Today it’s not about me, but about giving you some information. As I work on this site, I will be adding blogs and links to knitting communities, places to purchase yarn, and people who are doing cool things with yarn.

First off, you may have found this site through, which is a terrific knitting and crocheting community. If you haven’t already become a member (it’s free!), do so now. If there was ever a place for the knitting and crocheting community to congregate it is Ravelry, which includes crafters from all over the world. Wondering about a particular yarn? Ask about it on Ravelry and see how many have it in their stash. Looking for a particular kind of pattern? Check it out on Ravelry, many of which are available for free.
Shawlette knit with Woolle's Color Changing Yarn
Ashton Shawlette pattern by Dee O'Keefe

While my sister Jackie (another knitter) was visiting about a month ago, I took her to our local farmers market. Among the vegetables and fruit was Solitude Wool, run by two Loudoun County, Virginia, shepherds who love wool—Gretchen Frederick and Sue Bundy. These hand-spinners have taken what they’ve learned in making yarn from their own flocks to create a range of special breed-specific yarns from sheep raised locally. Each fleece is hand selected. They even pay extra to get a good fleece. From the different breeds of sheep, which grow different types of wool, they design yarn to exemplify the character of the fiber. They sell their yarns mostly at farmers markets and from their website.

I learned about Wandering Wool by Joelle Burbank, an indie dyer, through a work associate. When I went to her site I was entranced with her outstandingly lovely colorways. Joelle is following her bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say, combining her love of yarn and of the outdoors into dyeing her own yarns. She recently quit her day job to see if she could make a living out of doing what she loves to do. She sells through Etsy and also some shops in the DC area.

I used to not like working with cotton, but some friends and family prefer cotton, so I’ve branched into this area. While investigating various cottons, I came across Woolle’s Color Changing Yarn. Elisabeth Drumm, another one who is following her bliss, designs unique yarns that seem to melt from one color into another. I picked up a skein (100 gr/480 yds) at a local shop and used it to knit my first shawlette. It was such fun that I bought another skein (different color) for another shawlette). Check out her fun colors, which also come in hefty skeins for regular-sized shawls at her Etsy store.

Happy knitting!

Reah Janise

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Reah Janise & Zip Lock Sweater


I've been a long-time knitter, having learned the craft from my grandmother and sister. Over the past decade or so have begun designing my own patterns for sweaters and socks. I'm still learning this process and thought it might be fun to share some of the designs with others--along with the challenges.

Thus far my biggest challenge is getting this website to work properly. Somehow I recently erased the original welcome text while trying to insert a button link to a sweater pattern. (sigh)

The other challenge has been actually getting the patterns in a shareable format. Transferring from handwriting and graph paper onto digital takes almost as much work as figuring out the original design (and it's just not as much fun). Be that as it may, that's part of the purpose of this website.

I love knitting, especially giving a knit creation to family, friends, and others. And for you who come to this site, I hope you too enjoy this wonderful craft and how it enriches your life.

The Zip Lock Sweater featured on this page is not my first design, but it is the first design where I've put a pattern together. It's also the first time I've installed a zipper (a little tricky, but fun!) and my first successful use of Fair Isle. It took a while to really understand the best way to work two colors across a row to get the proper tension and not bunch. Thanks to my sister for her advice on that!

And with that,


Reah Janise