Monday, December 23, 2013


Last year at this time, I was finishing two sweaters for my nephews, Matthew and Joshua, who were 12 and 10 at the time. They live at a distance, so sizing was tricky. Here are pictures of these two handsome young men wearing their sweaters.
Joshua in his two-color Berroco
Pure Pima Cotton sweater

Matthew in his sweater
Since I have more projects in mind than time to flesh out patterns, I unfortunately tend to delay writing up patterns. But I have gotten a pattern together for Matthew's sweater (on the right)--complete with sizes. I really liked how this sweater turned out. 

My sister-in-law had asked for cotton sweaters, which is not my favorite yarn to work with, but allergies required no wool.

Joshua's sweater (on the left) is made from Berroco Pure Pima (shades 2245 and 2263). I had originally thought I'd purchased enough yarn to make both sweaters from the Berroco, but realized after I got the measurements that it wasn't enough. Unfortunately I'd had the yarn for a few months and knew it would be next to impossible to get matching dye lots, so I designed Joshua's to use both colors.

Of course that meant hunting for new cotton yarn for Matthew. I found Lily's Sugar 'n Cream and chose the color denim. It's a thicker yarn than the Berroco, but is a workhorse and can be washed and thrown in the dryer, unlike the Berroco. I wanted Matthew's sweater to have some give and to yet have an interesting design. I tested several stitch patterns before finding one that seemed to work well with the yarn. It combines ribbing with a seed or basketweave stitch. Although I call it a boy's cotton pullover, it will work equally well for girls.

Double Cable Scarf pattern
Recently I put together a pattern for a man's scarf for a friend. It was going to be her first venture into cables. About a month ago, I started a scarf from the same pattern, but using a lighter weight yarn. I think it's a lovely pattern and wanted to share it with you, too. The pattern is written so that you can adjust the width according to the type of yarn you are using. And, to me the pattern is gender-neutral.
Happy knitting!

Reah Janise

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Well I've found another fun thing to knit. In between socks and sweaters, I found a really sweet set of patterns for felted slippers. Slippers were how I was introduced to knitting because my grandmother always knit slippers for her grandchildren. She would have us place our feet on a piece of paper and would draw a pattern. That's all she needed. This was a pattern she had in her head. While I've looked at slipper patterns on an off over the last few years, one came through Facebook that were so darling that I just had to try them.

The e-book is by Cat Bordhi and is called The Art of Felfs: Felted Footwear for families. It is downloadable from Ravelry for $20, the proceeds of which go to support Dr. David Krag, a cancer researcher.

The designs are fun. I started with the quick-start felfs to get the hang of the process, and I must say that they are absolutely going to be the start of a beautiful relationship. I already have in mind Christmas presents for some friends.

In the meantime, I completed a cardigan for a friend for her Christmas present. Unfortunately as she reads my blog, I can't post a picture. But once I give it to her and take pictures, I will be posting it and the pattern.

Happy felfing to all!

Reah Janise

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Coat of Many Colors

I don't want to keep saying this, but, yes, it's been awhile. I wanted to wait until I had actual patterns to post ... and now I do.
First off, featured in this blog are two sweaters. Coat of Many Colors was my first commission (that I accepted). It is a baby sweater for about a 1 year old. To me, the charm of the sweater comes from the terrific yarn: Adriafil Knitcol Trends 50 gram. This is a lovely washable wool, made in Italy, and is soft enough for a baby, even though it isn't considered a baby yarn. 

Because the yarn makes such a smashing pattern, I kept the pattern itself simple: stockinette with a small cable, some right, some left, to add a wave-like feature. The pattern is sized for 6-9, 9-12, and 12-15 months. The pattern is published in Ravelry and Scribd.

Ready 4 Adventure
In my last blog, I promised to post the pattern for Ready 4 Adventure, another baby sweater. That pattern is now also available in Ravelry and Scribd. I knit a hat to go with the sweater from the leftover yarn, but did not make a pattern for it. I assume that most knitters have a baby hat that they can use. 

Atom Cable Men's Sweater
And, as you may remember, I was knitting a sweater for my dear husband. That has also been completed, but I'm still getting the pattern together for it. I will post it, with sizes, when done.

Happy knitting to all!

Reah Janise

Hadan wearing his sweater

Monday, September 2, 2013


Back of Ready for Adventure
Whew! It's been a long time since my last post. The problem hasn't been for lack of knitting projects, but for lack of time. I also had wanted to be able to post at least one completed pattern.

First, I finished this baby sweater set for a one-year old. I'm getting close to completing the pattern, but ... well, it does take time.
Ready for Adventure

As you can see, each piece is different. The back is blocks of color. The front are two colors, and the sleeves are stripes and blocks. The body is about 23 inches around and 11 1/4 inches long. The sleeves are 7 inches long (to the underarm) and the wrist is 4 inches around. I used three balls of Classic Yarns Cashsoft 4-ply, 50 grams, 197 yards each: one of each color. and used size 3 needles. Gauge is 18 stitches for 3 inches and 17 rows for 2 inches. The front is angled past the middle where a big button goes and then almost straight to the neck edge. The edging is a simple seed stitch over 3 stitches.

I've also begun a sweater for my dear husband. I was thrilled to get Interweave's special "The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits" edition and poured through it for patterns. They are so lovely and I really wanted to knit the Sorcerer's Sweater for him, but I had already purchased yarn and it was a worsted, which would not work. So I went to work looking for a cable pattern that might be as magical. I found one in Continuous Cables. Unfortunately Melissa Leapman did not give it a name, but Hadan thought it looked like an atom. And since he's a chemistry teacher, that seemed perfect. I made a couple of modifications on the outer edge and bottom edge. 

I completed the front and back recently, but have not yet blocked it. The side is done using a wrapped stitch, and I have a twisted stitch as the border, and there are three six-stitch cables running up the middle to the atom. I'm using size 7 needles for the ribbing and size 8 for the body.

The yarn is Knit Picks Full Circle, a worsted weight, made with recycled fibers, 220 yards per skein. Color is Blue Moon.

The back is knit without the atom. I've started the sleeves, which will continue with the wrapped stitch on the sides, but just one cable running up the side, with the twisted stitch running alongside the edge.

My goal is to finish the sweater by this weekend. 

Let the knitting commence!

Reah Janise


Saturday, July 20, 2013


So here's the deal. After knitting socks for the last, hmm, dozen years, I have lots of small balls of leftover sock yarn. Some are enough to make one sock, but definitely not another two.

So when I finished the last shawl and while I was working out the pattern for the next thing--a baby sweater--I picked up three leftovers, two multi-color and one simply red. and started a pair of socks. To let the color be the pattern, I stayed with a simple rib stitch.

And here they are!

Having fun,

Reah Janise

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Last year I started knitting triangular shawlettes and absolutely adored working them. Then I came across a crescent shawl, where you start on the longest outside edge row and work your way smaller. I keep doing modifications to the original design (Annis shawl), and just this week completed another shawl that simply thrilled me.

Because of the way lace works up, you almost have to go on faith as to how the finished piece will look. I'd used a white sock yarn with  size 5 needles. I've seen some patterns using beads. Since I've never used beads before, it seemed like a good time to try, so I worked a sample to see how it would work. I got 36 crystal beads and used 30 of them.

By the way, when working with beads you have to string them on your skein before beginning a piece. This can make it a bit awkward because you are always having to shift them down the yarn until you are ready to place them.

I'd decided on replacing the stockinette portion of the Annis shawl with a trellis lace pattern (6 stitch pattern over 4 rows). I thought it would be open enough and also allow for relatively easy decreasing. The decreases were sometimes a bit tricky, and because of it I am not putting up the pattern.

Rather than nupps, which are worked over two rows, I experimented with bobbles.

The other change I made was to use a picot bind off. Cast on two stitches onto the left hand needle. Bind off four stitches. Place the remaining stitch onto the left needle. Repeat. This bind off takes time, but is well worth the lovely edging.


Reah Janise

Monday, July 8, 2013


OK, so two of my knitting friends LOVE Noro yarns. I've watched them knitting scarves and bags and just having a delightful time with this kicky yarn.

Well, recently a friend was diagnosed with a difficult illness. I wanted to do something to let her know that I cared--something more than flowers or a card. Since she lives across the country, I wanted it to be something lasting that would remind her she was loved.
So when I was picking up an order from Knit + Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda, I bought a skein of Noro Taiyo sock yarn. This friend loves fun socks and few yarns are as fun as Noro. One reason is that each sock comes out different because that's just how the yarn colors come through.

I used an overall cable pattern, interlacing the cables--like little hugs. Will post the pattern shortly.

Reah Janise

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Climbing Mountains Lace Pullover
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I started on a summer lace pullover. A few years earlier, I'd knit a lace cardigan with white cotton yarn. My mother liked it so much that I gave her mine and then knit another for me. The cotton yarn was a worsted weight, so a little bulky.

Then last summer I knit my first triangle shawl using Wolle's Color Changing Cotton yarn. Her four-stranded cotton yarn was light, like a fingering or sock yarn, and I started thinking that it would make an ideal summer lace sweater, something to toss on over a tank top. I emailed her to see if she had any single-color yarns and ended up purchasing skeins in the color granite.

Summer is here and so despite lots of project ideas as gifts for people, I decided to tackle a project for myself. I found a lace pattern, called mountain peaks from the website. I also use this website for determining how many skeins are needed for a project. I made a slight variation to the pattern.

It seemed that a drop shoulder pattern with a boat neck would be the easiest (no worry over figuring out lace decreases).

And now both sweater and pattern are done. And this is the first pattern where I've included sizes. Here's the link for the PDF on Scribd and another on Ravelry.


Reah Janise

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Connie and Reah Janise knitting in public
Today was the start of the Worldwide Knit in Public week. Co-knitter Connie and I set up camp at the Solitude Wool stall at our local farmers market and then moved on to--how could we be so lucky?--a blues festival!

Solitude Wool is local and their wool is lovely. They carry yarns that felt excellently, so I bought some about a month ago and knit a felted bag, using their pattern. The handles for the bag are a specialty item sold only at Uniquities Yarn Shop in Vienna, Virginia. Although I had to wait a month for the handles, I am thrilled with the finished product.
Ta Da!

I brought it with me to show to Gretchen at Solitude Wool. It's inaugural public display, but I'm definitely going to be using this bag for a long time.

Thanks to Connie and Gretchen for snapping the photos.


Reah Janise

Sunday, June 2, 2013


The last time I checked in, I'd just spent a lovely day dyeing yarn using Kool-Aid. At the time, I'd also just completed another crescent shawl (becoming a favorite shape of mine). The shawl was a another variation of the Annis shawl. I added three rows of additional lace to make it a deeper shawl.
String Theory Crescent Shawl
Two skeins of String Theory DK Viola were used. Because this is hand-dyed yarn, the skeins--from the same dye lot--have enough variation that you should not just go from one hank to another. So every other row, I switched from one ball to another. This made for a blended pattern.

Crescent Shawl
And now I have begun a summer lace cotton sweater. Last year I'd made my first triangle shawl from Wolle's Color Changing Cotton yarn. Her four-stranded cotton seemed like it would make an ideal summer lace sweater, one to toss on over a tank top. I bought skeins last year in the color granite and have finally gotten up the courage to start the project.
Here's a sample of the lace pattern, called mountains. What I like is that it combines purl stitches on the front, kind of in between "mountains." The sweater will have a boat-neck, so construction is relatively simple.

Reah Janise

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Kool-Aid-dyed sock yarn
You might remember me mentioning my artist friend, Relene, who had given me Kool-Aid-dyed yarn that I'd recently knit into socks. Well, she'd also given me undyed sock-weight yarn, with the offer of showing me how to dye it.
Yesterday was the day and she arrived stocked with squeeze bottles and packets of unsweetened grape, ice blue raspberry, tropical punch, and lemonade. We let our yarn soak in warm water that had just a touch of dish washing liquid in it for 10 minutes. Carefully washed it in clear water and squeezed excess liquid out.

Meanwhile, we'd dumped 10 packets of each color into separate plastic cups, added water, and put them into the squeeze bottles with a bit more water. We put each skein into a container and began applying color, working the color into the fibers.

When we were satisfied with the look, we put the skein into a container, microwaved it for a minute, tested it with a paper towel to make sure no color came off, then set the color by immersing the skein in cold water.

Then we gently squeezed each skein and hung them outside to dry. For two skeins, I combined several colors, and then decided to stay with one color for two other skeins.

Apparently the vitamin C in the Kool-Aid makes it so the color adheres to the yarn. Personally I find it somewhat alarming that Kool-Aid is such a good dyeing material and am very happy not to drink it!
Our only error was not using rubber gloves, but Borax soap cleaned us up very well, followed by liberal applications of hand lotion. I prefer the Bee Bar by Honey House.

This was really fun to do. If you want to try it just make sure you get lots of Kool-Aid and don't water it down too much.


Reah Janise


Sunday, April 28, 2013

No Noodling or Nodding, Just ‘Nittin’

String Theory Loopy Socks
Close up, Loopy Socks
From the looks of it, you might just think I’ve been nodding off at the needles since it's been so long since my last post. But that would be incorrect.

First off, a pair of socks knit (Loopy Socks) with String Theory (great yarn!) came off the needles. I’d started these while traveling for Easter because socks are easier to knit on planes and don’t take up as much room in your bag as does a sweater.

Next, I finished my “Wee Bit ‘O Scotland” cable cardigan, made with one of the Great Scottish Yarn Expedition yarns.  The yarn comes from Shilasdair Shop on the Isle of Skye, Waternish peninsula, and is handspun with natural dyes. I had a lot of fun designing the pattern and really like the finished product. Buttons are always a bit of a challenge, but found some that were varigated like the yarn. Thanks to the clerk at G Street Fabrics with the great eye!

Loopsy Artsy Socks
Have begun writing up the pattern and will post it when completed. For this one, I will also attempt to include sizes. (Fingers crossed!)
Meanwhile, on a visit to my mother, who is now in long term care in Pennsylvania, I started another pair of Loopy Socks only with yarn my artist friend, Relene, had Kool-Aid dyed. I'm calling them Loopsy Artsy Socks because of their lively color! Am close to finishing these, but meanwhile, also started a crescent shawlette.
Creamed Crescent Shawl

Wee Bit 'O Scotland Cardigan
Thursday night saw the completion of the shawl. I'd purchased the yarn on a visit to my mother about ten years ago when she lived in North Carolina. (It’s called yarn stashing, not hoarding.) I improvised the Annis Shawl pattern, adding a few extra lace rows because I wanted a somewhat deeper crescent shawl. Unlike the first time I knit this shawl, I worked the nupps, but left out one row because they … take … so … long.  

 In the midst of all of this, last weekend began the Metro Yarn Crawl, a nine-day journey threading through the yarn stores of the DC metro area. Two friends participated in this journey with me on separate days. What a delight to visit new shops and get a feel for the creative knitting community. Each shop has its unique personality and selection of yummy yarns.

Now, needles ready ... NEXT!

Reah Janise
Close up of pattern

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Blue Cable Mitts
Well, there I was knitting the sweater I mentioned in my last blog with my pink Shilasdair yarn when I realized that I needed to have a gift for friends we'll be seeing at Easter.

Hmm. As Winnie the Pooh would say, "Think. Think. Think."

So I thought about what I might be able to knit in a week. Might I be able to make fingerless mitts? So I dug into my yarn stash and found some soft washable yarn: Lion Brand Micro Spun.

One of the cable patterns I'm using for the sweater is a 4-stitch cable. It looked like it would make a nice pattern for the back of the hand.

And here are the mitts--with thumbs. And they are soft and warm. I think I'm going to have to make another pair--for me!

Pattern on Ravelry and also Scribd.

Reah Janise

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Shilasdair Yarn
I spent most of a Friday evening working out the pattern design for my next sweater. It was time to work up another of the Scottish yarns. For this sweater, I chose the naturally dyed pink Shilasdair yarn.

Well, part of Saturday was spent knitting a swatch to make sure the gauge I'd tested Friday night with some of the pattern was correct, realizing it wasn't balanced, ripping it out, rethinking the placement of the cables, starting over, ripping it out because I had decided to go with a seed stitch border increasing just a few stitches from the border to the main section. The problem was that unlike ribbing, which makes a border snug, thus allowing for the body of a sweater to blouse a bit, a seed stitch does not snug. After about 5 inches, I realized my mistake and ripped it out (again). If I wanted to keep the seed stitch border, I had to cast on a lot fewer stitches and increase more stitches in the last row before the body to ensure a nice flow from border to body.

Blue Hearts Baby Sweater

And that's where I am today.

In the meantime, I have drawn up the patterns for the baby sweaters discussed in the last blog. The pattern is designed for 6 month olds. See the photos for the links to the patterns. Patterns can also be found on Ravelry.


Reah Janise

Blue Blocks Baby Sweater

Sunday, March 10, 2013


One thing I find refreshingly fun to knit are baby sweaters. They are fairly simple and work up quickly ... and they are just so cute!
Primary Colors Baby Blanket
Yesterday I put the finishing touches on two sweaters that are intended for a colleague at work who is expecting twins (boy and girl). This is their first pregnancy and we are all excited for them. For another colleague who had a baby almost two years ago, I designed and knit a blanket. So I did sweaters this time. 
Blue Hearts Baby Sweater

I used KnitPicks Crayon, a DK weight, small Boucle, 100% cotton yarn that is very soft. A friend had given me a bunch of skeins, and I thought it would be perfect for these sweaters.

Blue Blocks Baby Sweater

I am finishing the patterns and will post them shortly, but meanwhile, I wanted to share the sweaters. They are sized for a child 6-9 months.

Now on to designing a sweater with the pink yarn from the Great Scottish Yarn Expedition!

Reah Janise

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Muhu mittens
Today the temperature is hovering around 30 degrees and the wind is making it colder still -- glove-ly weather!

And here I am wearing the finished Muhu mittens (yes, I know they aren't gloves, but mittenly didn't really work as a title). 

The mittens incorporate a braided cast on using two colors. There is also a twining stitch, which is similar to the braid because it uses two strands of yarn but of the same color, alternating them with each stitch, and, of course, color work.

Making the first cuff was easier than the second because, as mentioned in the previous blog, I was learning how to do it under the experienced direction of Nancy Bush who had brought this technique back from Muhu Island in Estonia, where there is a long tradition of intricate knitting with color work.

In the beginning was the cuff
The second mitten was more challenging because I had only my memory and the written instructions to follow. Consequently I made a few errors and had to start over twice. But once I had the pattern in my brain, it was a race to finish before winter was over.
And today is the perfect day to try them out.

winterized and ready to go,

Reah Janise


p.s. For those of you who might want to try this pattern, you'll have to check with Nancy Bush, since I don't have the rights.