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

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rainbow Tie-dye sock

Here is my really long hank of kool-aid dyed yarn. It was about 10 feel or so. We put it over 2 chairs in the dining room so it could be wound up for knitting. Carl helped me wind it into a smaller hank on my niddy noddy. He kept saying it looked like a rainbow so we have dubbed it the Rainbow tie-dye yarn.

Then we put it over the backs of 2 chairs and wound it into a ball. Carl loves this part--he does the winding. Usually he is pretty good about going slowly and stopping when I need to straighten out the yarn but sometimes he gets in a hurry! He loved watching the ball spin around with all those pretty colors.

See his hands? He was patting the ball into shape after squashing it. Ahem....

I started a plain vanilla sock with it...well I guess it is a Rainbow Tie-dye sock. I am almost to the heel turn. The stripes are looking great! We are going to have to try this again!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tie-dye Sock Yarn

The kids and I made some fun sock yarn today! I was gifted with some sock yarn that I could dye a few months ago. Thanks Von!

I had the 3 youngest helping this afternoon. First we made the hank into a ball with the help of my ball winder. Then I had Amy, Rosie and Carl sit as far apart as they could in the living room. They each held up an arm and I stood in the middle wrapping the yarn from one to the next. We ended up with a hank that was about 10 feet long.

It went into the sink for a long soak while we chose colors. I had picked up some Mixade from Aldi and had some Kool-aid in the cupboard. They keep eliminating colors! What is with all the invisible Kool-aid these days? Yeah, I know it doesn't stain the kids clothes but what are we going to dye yarn with in the kitchen?

After the soak I carefully laid the hank of yarn in a glass pan, weaving back and forth from one end to the other. I was trying to get as long section of each color as I could.

We had chosen Berry punch which was blue, lemon-lime, and tropical punch. I started pouring the blue on and realized that I had greatly underestimated how much dye I should have mixed. I quickly mixed up some grape to finish it off. It still wasn't as much dye as it could have been but we decided to go with it and see how it turned out.

After cooking it in the microwave, I took it out to rinse. There was no extra dye at all! Carl said it looked like it was tie-dyed so here you have our tie-dyed yarn hanging up to dry.

I like all of the colors except the grape. It is more brown than purple but I think when it is knit it will be fine. Now I have to find a way to get this big hank wound back into a ball. Should be fun to knit into some socks!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 19, 2007

Wallaby is finished and loved!

As soon as the last threads were clipped Carl put his Wallaby on and he hasn't taken it off. I think it might be hard to get him to take it off even for bedtime! This one is certainly a winner.

Photo shoots with Carl are interesting right now. He is always talking and moving. I have a great photo of the side of the house where I thought he was! LOL

He didn't like the sun either so I got lots of funny faces.

I used TLC Wiggles yarn for this sweater on size 8 needles. I started with 2-3.5 oz skeins of blue and one each of the yellow and red. Carl had chosen the placement of the colors and I was off.

I knitted the sleeves first and when I got just above the pocket I realized I only had about half a skein or so of the blue so I started adding in random stripes of the yellow. I thought about doing some red ones too but I am glad that I didn't because the hood took most of that color. I still have a small amount of the blue and yellow. Maybe I should make him a hat from the leftovers?

The Wonderful Wallaby is a Cottage Creations pattern available from my LYS, The Rose Tree Fiber Shop, and others.

I used the size 6 for the stitch counts because Carl is so slim but I think most of the lengths were closer to the size 8. It gave him just the right amount of growing room I think.

This is the stockinette hood. Doesn't it fit nicely with the ribbing around the neck and the garter stitch border around the face?

Definitely a pattern that I will consider using again. I could use one for myself. Isn't that pouch pocket great? I could put my ball of yarn in there when I am outside with Carl. I often am knitting a small project when we are out. The weather is getting nicer though so we may not need sweaters much longer.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wonderful Wiggles Wallaby

It is getting closer to being finished and it is so cute! Carl, my 4yo who helped me design this one for himself, is very pleased with it. He is anxious to try it on.

It is made on size 8 needles from TLC Wiggles yarn in red, yellow and blue. (Love those simple color names!) I am making the size 6 width but I think the lengths will be closer to the 8 because Carl is tall and thin. I just hope he doesn't decide that the little wiggley bits are to itchy.

I started adding random stripes of the yellow because I wasn't sure I would have enough blue. We had only planned on the yellow for the pocket but we both decided that the stripes look great.

I think I will be starting the placket in the next row or so, then it is on to the hood which will be red!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fair Isle finally!

I finally finished it earlier this week! I really, really, hate finishing! I try to knit as much seamlessly in the round as I can but I was teaching a class how to make this sweater so I felt that I needed to basically follow the pattern. So armed with caffeine and chocolate, I was finally able to sew underarm seams, add buttons and weave in all the ends!

So the nitty gritty: This is the Fairly Easy Fair Isle from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. Knit with Lamb's Pride Bulky, 85% wool/15% mohair, on size 11 needles.

This yarn is sooooo fuzzy! I had fuzz everywhere as I worked and now wearing it, I feel like I am eating fuzz. I even took the lint roller to it before putting it on. When I took it off, my top was covered in more fuzz. Does the Lamb's Pride always do this? or is it just this color? I have worked with smaller projects in this yarn before which didn't seem as bad but maybe it was just the size of the project. I have heard of the mohair halo but I have been pulling handfulls of fuzz off the sleeves and body!

This is the second time I have knit this sweater pattern. It has been a great pattern for my beginning sweater knitters and those that want to learn how to incorporate some fair isle color work. My class decided that doing the color work on the sleeves, which are knit simultaneously on straight needles, was the most difficult part of the sweater. This is such a nice basic pattern.

My first sweater was rather baggy in the waist especially at the back. I wanted this one to be a little fitted so I started with the small size and increased at the underarms up to the medium for the bust and shoulders. I really like how well it fits me! No more cold draft up my back!

I also added short rows at the back neck ala Elizabeth Zimmerman because my last sweater seemed to droop there. Much improved! Now that I have the fit worked out I can see myself making this pattern again maybe with some texture stitches...

I had to share a close-up of the buttons. These are made of polymer clay by a local artist. When I ran across them in the Rose Tree I knew they had to go on this sweater! They really pick up the cream in the color work.

Behind me in the photos you can see my new bookcase. DH and I put it together on Sunday with the "help" of our 4yo son. It will house my knitting books and magazines primarily. It is getting to be quite a collection. So much inspiration!

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lots of mysteries lately!

This is a hat that was part of a Mystery Knit Along. When we started the pattern we did not know what it would be. We were only given the type of yarn and the needle size.

I chose some Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn in turquoise. This is an acrylic yarn that I had never tried. It is really soft! I think I will be using more of it for baby things and maybe some prayer shawls too.

The hat will fit me if I stretch it a bit. It is quite stretchy because there is a lot of garter stitch in it. I think it would be good for an older child though.

The top shaping is done very quickly so it is sort of bumpy. The pattern said to put a pom pom on top but I don't especially like them. They never seem to come out looking very good when I make them. The shape of this hat looks like maybe it should have a tassle if anything.

This close-up shows the stitch pattern off better but is not the true color. The pattern seems to be garter stitch interrupted by slipped stitches.

Oh and the 10 year old daughter that I borrowed the book from says to tell everyone that The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is a very good book.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Preemie Baby Surprise Sweaters

These are the cutest little sweaters! They will be going to a very special set of twins that are expected any day now.

This is an adaptation of the Baby Surprise Jacket that Elizabeth Zimmermann designed. Knit on size 4 needles, I used 3 different baby yarns for the stripes. They are very randomly striped. It was basically whenever I remembered to or felt like changing colors.

I used the crochet pattern from Caps to the Capital project for the hats. I unvented a flower for them in crochet too.

Labels: ,

Mystery solved!

I finally found all of the goodies in my Mystery Swap yarn. This was lots of fun! Thanks Janet!

There were 3 bags of tea, a tin of Bee Bar Lotion for my hands, a sachet, some pin type stitch markers, Werther's Originals and a tin with 4 very pretty stitch markers. I always need lotion for my hands in the winter. This one smells so good too. I am enjoying one of the teas while writing. I love to try new teas. The Werther's will probably be gone soon as they are my favorite hard candy. Janet, how did you know?

The pin markers are great for marking a stitch or row. I will use those a lot. I have even used them to hold a dropped stitch until I could get back to it! The other markers are made from beads. I really like those too. I didn't have any pretty ones like these. It is almost like jewelry for my knitting! Here is a close-up picture of them.

I used up almost all of the yarn from the ball. There is just a little bit left. My 4 year old suggested that if I used the yarn from the swatch I could maybe make a pair of baby socks. Now that's thinking!

I have used the cabled hat a lot already. When I finished the hat there still seemed to be quite a bit of yarn left. I thought maybe it would be enough to make a headband. I am glad I was right. This one I will keep in my pocket for those days that I don't take the hat because it "seems so nice." Sometimes the ears get cold on a walk, you know?

I made the headband on size 5 needles in a ribbed pattern so it would be nice and snug. I knit it in the round so I could stop when I ran out of yarn... or it was wide enough to cover my ears. It came out so well that I may have to write up the pattern to share!

This swap was really fun! I have never been so motivated to get my projects finished!

Labels: , ,