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

Friday, June 29, 2007

EZ as Pi Shawl

I had a quiet moment today so I decided to get my Pi shawl started. I want to take it along on our vacation next week so I needed to do the fiddly part beforehand.

Bob and Larry helped me keep the needles from slipping through those first wobbly stitches! I had read that you should put it on a pillow and turn the pillow as you go instead of trying to turn the needles around. It worked very well!

When it got big enough, I added another needle. I prefer working with 5 needles rather than 4. Here it is at the 36 stitch stage.

And again at the 72 stitch stage. The ladders at the corners got rather big. I am hoping that with some washing and blocking they will even out more. But if not, this is a learning experience right?

I now have it at 144 stitches and on a 16 inch circular needle so it is ready to go on vacation with me!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pi Shawl preparations

I joined the yahoo group Elizabeth's Year which is knitting along through the projects in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. We are starting with the Pi shawl, a beautiful circular shawl knit from the center out.

I was going to try to do a Bugs In My Garden Pi with another group but decided that I was just not quite up to all that lace and counting right now. I needed something simpler. I think this project will be perfect. I am going to make a very simple Pi without lace for the most part I think, though that is subject to change at whim.

It will also be perfect for the yarn that I already have. Knitpicks laceweight. I have 3 hanks that are each 880 yards. I dyed one of the hanks with Easter egg dyes that were leftover from the holiday back in April. Aren't they pretty?

My plan right now is to start with the white for the center of the shawl and when I near the outside I will used the dyed yarn. I am pretty sure that I have more than enough yarn but I am not sure quite when to start the colors. I will just have to see where whim and whimsy take me.

I have about 13 inches of the Silky Wool tank knit and will soon be to the underarms so I am hoping to get it finished before we go on vacation in July. Then I will start this Pi Shawl so I can knit on it during the times that I am not driving on our trip. I imagine that it will not be the only project that I will take along though. There are more hats to knit and the kids need mittens too. Then there is always a sock or two that I could take along. DH has already asked how much yarn is going along! Between my daughters and I it could be half the baggage!

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

What can I say?

I frogged it! I decided that I really didn't like the back side of the stockinette on this Silky Wool. The pattern has you use reverse-stockinette as the background for the cables. The yarn is rustic enough on the right side of the stockinette that I really was not liking the wrong side.

I also had really made it difficult for myself because I was knitting it in the round from the inside so I could knit all the stitches. Except that meant that I had to do all of the cable work from the back side of the top, reading the charts backwards and making all the knits into purls and the purls, knits. YIKES! It was just too much!

So off to the frog pond it went. I started over again using the front of the stockinette and adding 2 purl stitches beside the cable so it will stand out. I really like it now! I think I may leave out the design that is in the center of the top though. It is just not in a good place for my figure!

I am still knitting caps! I found some fun kid-colored yarns on sale. I don't think I will run out of yarns any time soon. I am up to cap number 10 now. The plain green one came out a little bit small for Knit-a-cap. It will probably go to the international families instead. I have more of this yarn(Red Heart Kids), so the next one is one strand of it and one strand of baby yarn on size 11 needles. I wonder what size it will come out? It really doesn't matter because there is always a child's head that it will fit!

I also did some blanket blocks and a pink ribbon dishcloth for a friend of a friend who is dealing with cancer. Some of the blocks are crochet and some are knit. I pray that these things will give her some comfort and that she will heal and live a long, full life.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

There is something magical about this hat!

Over the weekend the pile of caps grew and grew! These are just so easy and mindless. I love mindless projects. Maybe it is because I like to read while knitting.

These hats were knit from the Knit-a-cap pattern using a 16 inch size 10 circular needle. The dark striped one on the bottom was TLC Essentials. It came out a little bit thin looking so the second one (plain blue) I made with 2 strands of Caron Simply Soft.

Then I pulled out some Red Heart Super Saver yarn and decided to try it with one strand because it is a little bit thicker. The 3 middle hats were made with this yarn.

The green and blue striped hats on the top are made from Red Heart Strata, a self striping yarn. I started the first one last weekend and finished the 7th one yesterday.

A great way to use up some stash yarn and help out some kids!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

TOFUtsies sock goes visiting

My finished sock went down to the Rose Tree Fiber Shop to visit all the other TOFUtsie yarns. It will be on display for a while until I can finish the second one. Then I want to wear them!

It joins several shawls, a baby outfit and a couple of tank tops that I have knit. Customers love to see sample projects!

I taught a crochet class last night at the shop. It was a great class but I am afraid that I may have overloaded them. I was trying to get to the basics stitches and how to read a pattern so they would feel confident enough to try something on their own, but we only had 2 hours. I may have to set up a crochet clinic so people can come in for extra help.

The house is quiet. The kids are at Vacation Bible School mornings this week so I am trying to get some patterns written up. Keep an eye out for them....

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Caps for charity

I got this pattern from the Knit-a-Cap web page. A friend told me about the thank you letters that came from kindergartners after her mother's death. Her mother had made several caps while she was ill. This organization provides handknit caps for the Kindergarteners on Indian Reservations to help prevent ear infections.

The striped hat was made according to the pattern. Size 10 needles, worsted weight acrylic yarn, 56 stitches. Knowing what winter is like here in Iowa this hat didn't seem very heavy to me. It is not what I put on my kid's heads when it gets cold and blustery! So for the next one I tried using 2 strands of Caron Simply Soft yarn with the same numbers of stitches. Much nicer!

I am not sure if I will get enough of these made to be worth sending them to Knit-a-cap or if I will take them down to the church for the children of the international students who are studying at the university here.

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One TOFUtises sock finished!

I finished the first sock! This is color 723, Put Your Foot Down. I chose it when the first round of colors came into my LYS because it had the most different colors. I loved all of the TOFUtsies colors! Now there are 15 new summer colors available!

I used size 1 needles and 72 sitches. There is a waffle rib stitch on the cuff and down the top of the foot. I think it is interesting how the dark colors and light colors separated into 2 groups to make dark and light swirls around most of the sock. On the toe you can see that there were actually 4 main colors.

And as I have said before they feel wonderfully soft! I am anxious to wear them....better get started on the second one!

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Here are some new things I can do...

Of course, finished projects always seem to inspire me to start new projects.

This first one is a breast cancer pink ribbon dishcloth. This is going to a friend of a friend who is undergoing treatment now. It is made from Sugar & Cream cotton yarn on size 7 needles. These aluminum needles are too slippery for this yarn though! I found the pattern online here.

I also finished a prayer shawl which I didn't think to take a photo of. I started a new shawl in a triangular pattern that is started with 3 stitches at the top and worked in increasingly longer rows until it is the right size or you are thoroughly sick of it! I am using up several different colors of worsted weight acrylic. They all seemed to blend together and they were calling out to be used in something.

And finally, I started a tank top. I wanted to make a sample of something from Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool for my LYS. Besides teaching classes there I often make samples for the owner. I chose the Ylva tank that is on the cover of Designer's Choice book nine, The Second Viking Knits Collection.

This top has a double cable up the center front and back which splits for the V-neck in the front. There is also a beautiful knot design in the center front. The pattern has you knit each piece flat and seam them together. The cable band for the back of the neck is knit as a continuation of the fronts and then sewn to the back neckline. I am knitting the body in the round....I hate seaming! I am hoping that I can knit the cable band on to the back as I go, much like a border on a shawl. I am using size 6 needles so this is going to take a lot of knitting but I am doing pretty well considering I just started it on Wednesday. The yarn is color number 42, a beautiful burnt orange.

I am enjoying working with this wool/silk blend yarn. It feels really nice. The pattern is a little bit more challenging than some of the basic tanks I have done before but I think I have that under control right now.....we will see though when I get to that knot design!

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