Category Archives: Knitting patterns

Peacock lace


I started Prima’s birthday present with unreasonable expectations. I had a pattern for a shawl which I thought she’d like, and I thought I’d knit it up on the subway going to and from work. Her birthday was three weeks away. It seemed so easy.

But I had picked a terrible pattern, with terrible charts for lace which seemed to mutate constantly making it impossible to memorize. The second day out I discovered the chart I was carrying only covered the first twenty lines. With an hour of knitting time ahead of me and no information about what came next, I abandoned that pattern and started knitting leaf lace, based vaguely on my memory of Aeolian. But I wanted something special, something particularly Prima-y. So for the border I created this peacock feather lace.



I don’t think it would be right to put up a pattern for this shawl as a whole, since the first twenty rows came from someone else’s pattern. But I’ve charted the peacock lace for you to incorporate into your own projects.

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This chart shows only the right side rows. Purl all wrong side stitches. To make a peacock feather from this pattern, work rows 1-2 (first box) 8 times to make the quill. Work rows 3-12 one time to set up the barbs. Work rows 13-16 (second box) 8 times for the body of the feather. Finally, work rows 17-38 one time to make the eye of the peacock feather. In line 17 (the first line of the eye) there are several yarn overs in a row. Wrap the yarn around the needle multiple times to create an extra large yarn over. Then, on line 18, knit into the front and back of this loop until you have formed four stitches (front, back, front, back).

When you block the lace, pin the tip of the feather to form a point, and push around the eye until it has a nice round shape.


Lace weight shawls take longer than I’d planned on, and making up the lace as I went didn’t help. I gave the shawl to Prima for Christmas.

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Sideways sweater


I knit this sweater sideways from cuff to cuff, casting on stitches on both sides for the body and knitting the two sides separately around the neck opening. It’s purled, except for a 6 stitch band which runs up the arms and splits around the neck. There are cables on that band at the cuff and neck opening. The shoulders and sides are shaped with short rows.

I finished the sweater months ago and took the photos weeks ago, but haven’t posted because I’ve been trying to put together a pattern. I have concluded that this is not a good idea – it’s too difficult to grade and I’d need to knit another one from the pattern to be sure it works. Maybe next winter. For now, this is what I did to make an extra small…

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Finished measurements of the sweater: 23.5″ long, 29″ bust, 36″ hip
To fit someone with the measurements: 33” bust, 24” waist, and 36” hip (as shown in these pictures)

Yarn: Morris Empire 8 ply in smoke
Gauge: 19.5 stitches and 19 rows in 4″


Cast on 40 stitches for the cuff.
RS: Purl 17, knit 6, purl 17
WS: knit 17, purl 6, knit 17
Work in pattern for 2″, then on a right side row, purl 17, 3×3 cable, purl 17.
Work in pattern to elbow, then increase one stitch on each side every 8 rows to armpit.

Cast on 80 more stitches on each side – this will be the body of the sweater. New stitches will be worked in reverse stockinette (purl on right side rows, knit on wrong side rows). Work 1 1/2 inches, then begin shoulder shaping.

The shoulders are shaped with short rows. Begin with the 40 center stitches (Place markers at the edges) Work only these stitches for two rows. Then, work until 2 stitches before the marker, move marker in and turn. Repeat, making each row 2 stitches shorter than the row before it for 6 rows. Then make each 1 stitch shorter than the row before it for 10 rows. 18 stitches remain. Work all the way across for two rows, then begin side shaping.

The sides are also shaped with short rows so they flare out at the hips. I started the short row shaping a bit above my waist, 18 stitches down from the armholes, because I like that balance between fitted and relaxed. You might prefer to start it at your waist or immediately after the armholes. I moved each row by 5 stitches, but again it really depends on what shape you want. So, I began the short rows at the bottom corner of the front and made each row 5 stitches longer than the row before it until I reached a point 18 stitches down from the armholes. Then I knit across to the back of the sweater, and began another set of short rows at the bottom corner of the back.

Work in pattern for 1 1/2 inches after shoulder shaping, measured along the 6 stitch knit strip. Then, cable these stitches and attach a second ball of yarn in the middle of the cable to work the front and back separately. There should be 97 purl stitches and three knit stitches on each side.

The back is worked in reverse stockinette, except for three stitches along the neckline. Neckline decreases and increases are made in the last purl before the knit band (i.e. the fourth stitch from the edge). I decreased one stitch every row for 2 rows, then one stitch every other row for 3 repeats (6 rows), knit straight for 4″, then increased one stitch every other row for 3 repeats (6 rows), then one stitch every row for 2 rows.

The front is the same as the back, but with deeper neckline shaping. I decreased one stitch every row for 6 rows, then one stitch every other row for two repeats (four rows), knit straight for 3″, then increased one stitch every other row for two repeats (four rows), then one stitch every row for 6 rows.

Rejoin the two halves of the sweater and cable the knit stitches in the opposite direction from the first shoulder. Work for 1 1/2 inches, then work side short rows as on the other side (except this time you will start with the longest row and get 5 stitches shorter with each row). Then work shoulder short rows, beginning with the 18 center stitches and increasing by one stitch for 10 rows, then by two stitches for 6 rows. Work in pattern for 1 1/2 inches, then bind off 80 stitches on each side.

Decrease one stitch on each side every 8 rows until elbow, then work in pattern until 2″ above wrist. Cable knit stitches. Work to wrist and bind off!


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First Snow Pullover


This is very late, but I have a pattern out over at Knitty. This sweater was inspired by my move to New York last year. I suddenly needed warmer clothes than I ever had before, but the winter is beautiful and worth being a little cold for.


This is a sweater for curling up on the couch with your sister and a mug of hot chocolate to watch the snow through the window. This is a sweater for cold Vermont mornings, helping your best friend move into her dream home, and wishing she could find the box with her quilts in it. This is not a sweater for actually going out in the snow without a coat on. That would be crazy.


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Country Mouse Gloves


I’ve said this before, but perhaps the best part of living somewhere with seasons is knitting winter clothes. I don’t really like the cold, but I do like turning soft, colorful wool into cozy gloves and hats. There’s a store in Sydney, Morris and Sons, that makes some of the most beautiful yarn in all my favorite colors. While I lived there I only ever bought the lace weight to make light scarves, but when I went back to Sydney in June I stocked up on Morris Empire in heavier weights (they do ship internationally, but it’s more fun to buy your yarn in person where you can see the colors and pet the yarn).


I wanted to make something simple that showed off the two colors. I went with a garter stitch button band, closed with a big tan button (which perfectly matches the coat I will wear them with when the weather gets cold enough!) and stockinette hands. I liked how they came out so well that I made a second, fingerless pair in Blue Skies Alpaca Metalico (photos to come) and wrote up the pattern. It’s available as a Ravelry download.


Last weekend David and I went out to the country, where it’s really autumn. It wasn’t quite cold enough for gloves, but I brought them along anyway because I’m excited about them (you know how it is with your most recent project) and took some pictures around the autumn leaves. Autumn makes me feel like I’m in a storybook – real trees can’t possibly be those colors.

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My great-grandfather Larry, Louie, Lawrence, or (to me) Zaide worked in a button factory. To this day, everyone in our family will lean in close and pick at the buttons on someone else’s jacket – “nice buttons!” we’ll say, the way normal people might compliment the garment as a whole. We don’t have many of Zaide’s buttons left in the button jar, because it’s been a long time and most of them have been used in special projects over the years. But I’m pretty sure this is one of them: my mom particularly loves shell buttons, and he’d save them for her.

Zaide never had a laptop, and honestly I have no idea whether or not this bag would be his style (so I’m going to go with not). But the button on it reminds me of him.

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This pattern uses seed stitch, which alternates knit and purl stitches. Unlike in ribbing, the knits and purls also alternate between rows. So if you see a knit stitch in the previous row, purl, and if you see a purl stitch, knit.

Seed stitch worked flat (over an even number of stitches):
Row 1: k1 p1 to end
Row 2: k1 p1 to end

Seed stitch worked in the round:
Row 1: k1 p1 to end
Row 2: p1 k1 to end


How to knit a laptop bag

Size: to fit a 17″ laptop, but easily modified for other sizes.

Unfortunately this yarn was a gift which came in two lovely balls of unknown length, so I have no idea how much yarn I used. Two biggish balls.

Gauge is 14.5 stitches in 4″. You want a tight knit to make a sturdy bag: use a bulky yarn and go down a needle size or two.

To start the bottom of the bag, cast on 50 stitches (for other bag sizes/gauge, cast on [width of laptop]*[stitches per inch] stitches). Work in seed stitch (see instructions above) for 2″. Pick up stitches around the other three sides of the rectangle you’ve just sewn and begin knitting in the round. Work in stockingette for 9″ (or [height of laptop] – 1″). Work in seed stitch for 1 1/2″. At the start of the next row, work 50 stitches in seed stitch, then bind off until the end of the row. 50 stitches remain. The stitches still on your needles should line up with your original cast on. This will be the flap. Work flat in seed stitch for 3 1/2″. On next row, work 22 stitches, bind off 6, work 22. Coming back on the wrong side, work 22 stitches, cast on 6, work 22. This forms the button hole. Work another 1 1/2″ in seed stitch, then bind off all stitches. For the strap, cast on 8 stitches and work in seed stitch until it is 25″ long, or a bit shorter than you like your bag strap: it will stretch a bit when you put a heavy laptop in the bag. Sew the strap to the sides of the bag, sew on a 2″ button, and weave in the ends. You have a new laptop bag!

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Flapper Earwarmer Pattern

This turban-like earwarmer is a perfect last minute gift. Once I’d figured out the pattern Isabel’s took less than an hour to knit, even including breaks to take the cookies out of the oven and help my dad find his keys (turns out I had them all along). Just what I want from a Christmas knit. Plus, unlike the cape I made her last Christmas, this one might actually keep her warm in the New York winter.

I used a bulky weight yarn at about 3 stitches per inch, but the exact gauge isn’t important for this pattern.

Cast on 16 stitches

Odd rows: p1, k1, p1, k10, p1, k1, p1
Even rows: k1, p1, k1, p10, k1, p1, k1

Knit until piece measures 16″. Cast off. Sew ends together to form a loop, pulling hard on yarn as you sew, so the fabric gathers.

Cast on 5 stitches and knit in stockingette until piece measures 3″. Cast off. Wrap around seam of other piece, and sew ends together.

Posted in Hats and hair, Knitting, Knitting patterns, Tutorials | 1 Comment