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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Amy's fingerless mitts

I have almost finished another pair of fingerless mitts! It would have been nice to have them finished for Amy to wear last night. The Ames High School marching band was at the football game last night to support their team in the playoffs. It was cold and windy! She plays piccolo so she needs the fingers to play but needed to keep them from stiffening up in the cold. Maybe for the next one! We won!

Here is a picture of the first one. The second is getting close to the top ribbing tonight. These are made in PT5 Sport weight yarn.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Afghans for Afghans--Youth Campaign for Next Winter

Lately, I have been working on blanket blocks for this organization of knitters and crocheters who send afghans, mittens, hats, socks and sweaters to the children and adults of Afghanistan. If you noticed, the project right now is for next winter, winter 2011-2012 not this coming winter. It takes time for the shipments to arrive in Afghanistan and more time for distribution at the grassroots level. This particular organization has successfully sent thousands of items to this desperate country over the past 10 years.

I would encourage you to help if you can. You can donate knitted or crocheted items in wool or you can make a monetary donation to help with shipping costs. Click on the button above to find out how you can help.

Here are some of the blocks I have been working on. I will be crocheting these together to make a small blanket to send.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mitts and Mittens, oh my!

I have been knitting a lot of mitts and mittens this summer. You would think that I would want to knit tank tops or something cool for summer wear. But this summer mittens really took over my knitting.

In August before I went to Norway I sent off a couple of pair of very simple children's mittens to a Ravlery group project called For the Children of Pine Ridge. They were bright orange and purple. Should go over well with children on the reservation there if they are anything like my own children. I used my own pattern for these. I have knit so many basic mittens this way that I finally wrote up the pattern for it. You can find it here.

Then I started a pair of Latvian Mittens from the book of that name by Lizbeth Upitis. I chose 5 colors of Lamullgarn that I liked together. I really wanted to learn some new techniques from this book. There are beautiful scalloped edges, braids and rows and rows that use up to 3 colors at the same time in the row -- yes, I am a glutten for punishment when it comes to kntting. It was really hard to choose a pattern because there are so many beautiful mittens in this book. I finally decided to make mitten #5 because it was fairly simple designs, had the scalloped edge and only had a few rows knit with 3 colors in the row--I have my limits after all! The braids will have to be in the next pair.

The first mitten is just past the thumb opening. I am using 2mm needles with 72 stitches. Tiny, tiny! It grows very slowly. What was I thinking? They are beautiful though, right? They were starting to get a bit tedious and they are hard to take along. It gets to be a big bag full of knitting when you are using 3 balls of yarn at the same time. So they have been resting for a while.

Last week I happened to see that a designer was looking for some people to test knit a new pattern. Sure, why not? I only have .....ahem....lots of projects on the needles already. So I started another one. These were short fingerless mitts so they wouldn't take long, right?

The first mitt came out a little bigger than I need but should fit someone with just a slightly larger hand well. They are worsted weight in a nice denim blue and creamy white. They will be great for those cool winter days when your hands are getting cold but you still need them to type or knit. Or under mittens for those really cold days when you know you are going to have to take the mitten off at some point to dig the car keys out of your pocket.

I made that one mitt and decided to try a different yarn because it was a bit lighter and might fit me better. So came this one in a dark teal green and blue. Mmmm, nice colors and a good fit too. I finished the first blue and white one and made the green and blue one on our trip to Wisconsin this weekend for a wedding. That's why I took the pictures in the car. Great place to take pictures on a sunny day, by the way. It was perfect lighting. I really didn't need the warmth of the mitts though because it was well into the 70's the whole weekend. Beautiful trip too because the trees were gorgeous, but that is another story.

So, where was I? Oh yea, I made this one mitt and then started the second blue and white one..... but once again, I was distracted. I found some dark and light purple PT5 Sport yarns just calling out to be mitts for Amy. Amy loves purple. It is getting cold soon. So Amy needs mitts. Of course, I had to start those right away don't ya' know?

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Cowls to keep out the chill

The first thing I have to cover when the weather gets cool is my neck. If I get a draft down my neck, I am cold all over! So I have been making some cowls and scarves to keep myself and others warm.

I started out this summer making a cowl from some beautiful, soft sock yarn called Mini Mochi from Crystal Palace Yarns. I had gotten 2 different colors in this yarn. The first one was greens, golds and dark reds. I made it up in the Willow Cowl pattern which is available as a free pattern on

Then I took those 2 balls in the background of this first picture and made one for myself. This one is blue, purple and green. Here it is collapsed down on itself like it would on my neck. There is still a needle in the last stitch because I need to hem the top edge. I think it is interesting how when it is collapsed the green is mostly hidden in the folds. But when it is stretched out as in the next picture, the green shows up again. This one is long enough to pull over my head if I need to cover my ears. Click on the pictures for a closer look if you like.

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Working, working

I have been so busy since I got back from Norway! My kids are back to homeschooling, things are slowly getting sorted out with my father-in-law's estate--very slowly, the household routine is getting back to more or less "normal" and I have been knitting, of course!

My knitting lately has been primarily for some patterns that I have been working on. I finally have the first new on up! DN1009 Mohair Mix-Up Mitts and Hat is a pattern that I developed to use the Plumet Mohair yarn that I have on the web site. It is such a nice quality yarn and very light weight. In this pattern I used it in combination with another yarn to add that soft touch to the mittens and hat.

I have knit a LOT of mittens over the years for my 8 children and charity efforts. I have developed a favorite way of knitting them for a good fit. You may notice that the thumbs are on the sides so they are reversible. That is very handy for small children.

The hat is made mostly from the leftovers from the mittens. It is a very simple hat with a rolled brim knit in the round. A nice way to coordinate the mittens to the hat without being too matchy.

This mitten has the Plumet mohair just in the lime green stripes. The second yarn is PT5 Sport.

This one is made with Rauma Tykk Magi, a sport weight sock yarn and the lime Plumet Mohair. It looks like I worked hard to get the designs in this one but the striping in the sock yarn did all the work.

This light blue one is PT5 Sport in a medium blue and Plumet Mohair in a light blue.

There are sizes to fit kids from about 7 or 8 to adult women.

Pattern DN1009 is available as an Instant download PDF file or a Printed Pattern.

Next, I have a sock pattern that I am still modifying, a cabled hat pattern and a crochet sweater. I can't say which will be done first but I will add it here as soon as I can.

Have a great day!

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