Denise's NeedleWorks

Denise's Needleworks

Location: Ames, Iowa, United States

I am wife to Jeff, homeschool mom to 8, a knit and crochet teacher and totally addicted to knitting, crocheting and other fiber arts. After knitting, crocheting and sewing my own clothing from the age of 10 on, I studied textiles & clothing in college. That lead me to 25 years of custom dressmaking and alterations work, while sewing, knitting and crocheting for my growing children. I have worked in the yarn industry for the past 3 years and have been designing my own knitting patterns. Visit my web site at Find me as DeniseInIowa on

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Finished UFO!

This is the Baby Surprise Jacket finally finished! So cute and soft! The yarn is self-striping Mondial Kinder Baby, 70% merino wool/30% acrylic. I used size 6 needles with this. The sweater is maybe a 6-12 month size but the garter stitch is so stretchy that it may fit an older baby. I also added ribbed cuffs to lengthen the sleeves.

It is a gift and I don't know if the baby will be a boy or a girl. This yarn has both pink and blue but was pretty heavy on the blues and green so I am hoping that it will look appropriate for either gender.

I enjoy this pattern so much. I think it is that it is pretty much mindless knitting. As soon as one is finished, I start thinking about which yarn to use for the next one. I want to cast on right away!

Note: Someone asked where they could find the pattern. The Baby Surprise Jacket is in two of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books Knitting Workshop and The Opinionated Knitter and available in a Spun Out as a single pattern for about $3 from Schoolhouse Press. There is even a video that was recently made to go with the pattern.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Long absence but lots of knitting!

I have not had a chance to update my blog for quite a while so I thought you might like to know what I have been working on lately. I started teaching a sock class last Wednesday and I will start a class on Tuesday which will be making the Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation. That has kept me busy writing handouts and knitting up samples.

I have been working on the second sock for a pair of blue and brown striped socks made of Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn. It is a very simple stockinette pattern on size 2 needles that I have used multiple times. I have perfected the fit this pattern and yarn combination. I like a snug fitting sock so fit is important to me.

The other sock I have been working on is made from Online Supersocke 100. This yarn is much finer so I am using size 1 needles. I really am not having fun with this one!! I think this size yarn and needles are just too small for my stiff fingers and poor eyesight to manage comfortably. I am knitting it in a 3x1 rib which is difficult enough. I tried to use a slip stitch pattern for the heel but I found that it just wasn't going to work. So the heel will be stockinette.

I am still not sure about the fit for this one either. I am getting 10 stitches to the inch but the sample still seemed loose thus the reason for the ribbing.

I have to say that going back and forth between these two socks has been teaching me some things:

  1. I really like a slightly heavier yarn and larger needles. Of course I already knew that! I love my worsted weight socks! Especially when we get temperatures around zero like we have today!
  2. Dark yarn like this green is very hard to see! I find I do best with it during the day when the light is better. Unfortunately much of my knitting time is at night.
  3. You can "feel" the difference in the size of yarn and needles even when they are this small.
On to the sweaters!

I am finishing up a Baby Surprise Jacket. This one is so cute! I used Kinder Baby yarn from Mondial. It is a self-striping yarn in a wool/acrylic blend. This sweater is intended for a baby due in March so I might loan it to the LYS for a while so they can put it up as a sample.

My Fairly Easy Fair Isle is made of Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn. I have joined the sleeves to the body of the sweater and I am almost ready to start the color work on the yoke. I made several samples with other stitch designs that I wanted to try with this sweater but they weren't working so I am going to just use the patterns from the book. Sometimes simple is really better. With our cold weather, I would really like to be wearing this sweater so I decided, as a friend of mine has been known to say, "finished is better than perfect."

Lastly, I started a Spiral Baby Blanket last night in a mint green acrylic. This is a fun pattern but I keep forgetting whether I am on the knit row or the increase row. There has been a lot of tinking going on!

I am going to work on some of these projects tonight as I watch the second half of Jane Eyre.

Knit on!


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Starlights Shawl

I fell in love with this beautiful mohair yarn when it first came into the Rose Tree Fiber Shop. It is Starlights from Ironstone Yarns.

There are 2 strands in the yarn. One is mohair and wool with a lovely, soft halo. The other, is a boucle of rayon and nylon so bright that the finished knit almost glows from within. It comes in several beautiful colors, all of whilch I would love to have.

I made this shawl from only one skein on size 15 needles. It is going up at the Rose Tree as a sample. It feels so soft that the shawl could also be wrapped around the neck for warmth under a coat. We need that right now! I can see it made up as a mobius scarf or a light vest or shrug too. So many possibilities!

Have I got you hooked yet? Wanna try some?

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Another small project I am working on...

Well, maybe not so small but I feel I have to get this one done. I am teaching a class how to make the Fairly Easy Fair Isle from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation starting the end of January. I have a sample I made last year when I taught this class but I wanted a new sweater and it is always easier if I have something similar going that I can demonstrate with. I will be teaching a sock class too so I have a lot of knitting to do to keep up with both classes. I thought it would help to get a head start.

The yarn is Lamb's Pride Bulky wool/mohair. I have the body of the sweater almost up to the underarms now. That is mostly simple stockinette. I decided to make a change in the Fair Isle design that I will use in this sweater. It is a much more complicated design than the one in the book. The small bit of knitting on top of the body piece is my swatch of the designs. I wanted to see how they will look. I am using some really bright colors so it should be interesting to see!

Gansey update

My first Gansey swatch! Finally! I went to a quite room away from the children...of course they followed there were craft projects to help with, snacks to get, questions to answer...well, I finally accomplished this much at least. It is only about 3 inches would think that I could get more knitting done in 2 hours than this!

I used Sinfonia mercerized cotton yarn and size 3.25mm(US3) needles. Once I finally figured out how the chart worked, with all of the noise around me, it went fairly well. I has a nice sheen and even though it is knit pretty tightly is feels soft and not stiff at all.

I am looking forward to trying some of the other projects and learning more about the sweaters with these designs that the fishermen used to wear out to sea.

Keep knitting and keep learning,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2006 Knitting in review

I had a great year of knitting! I counted up 103 projects that were completed! Some were for myself and my family, some for charities and some for class samples. Here is a brief rundown of what was included:

3 pair wrist warmers
4 headbands (Panta and Calorimetry)
6 pair socks
2 Pelerines (Elizabeth Zimmerman's poncho)
4 Baby Surprise Jackets
11 baby hats
2 pair baby booties
15 adult hats and chemo caps
6 scarves
2 pair mittens
5 shawls
6 prayer shawls
1 child's vest
1 Fair Isle adult sweater
3 tank tops
10 washcloths
6 towel toppers
8 Christmas Stockings
7 purses/bags
1 water bottle carrier

I have several UFO's (un-finished objects) that I hope to complete soon. I finished up another prayer shawl today! I am not joining any of the stash reduction or knit from stash projects but I aim to do some of that this year too.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Gansey Workshop

The EZasPi yahoo group is starting a Gansey Worshop that I am really excited about participating with! After making a Gansey Christmas stocking I found that I really like these textural patterns.

Elizabeth Lovick from Northern Lace, Orkney Island, UK is leading the workshop. She lead a great Shetland Lace workshop for the group last year that I was unfortunately too busy to participate in. I did buy the e-books that she made for it though!

I am really looking forward to doing some more Gansey work. I will let you know how my projects turn out.

Oh, and here is a close-up picture of the designs on the Christmas Stocking I made.