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, September 28, 2007

My first Norwegian Mitten

I finished the first one! I am amazed that it came out so well. I have dabbled in fair isle techniques but I hadn't made mittens like this before. I am very pleased with it.

It needs to be blocked yet. And of course I have to try to knit a second one that looks enough like this one to make a pair! As my DH is fond of saying, "It is easy to make one of something alike."

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Trekking Pro Natura Dublin Bay Socks

My Tofutsies sock was finished so I started another sock on the size 1 needles. They had barely cooled off!

I am using the Dublin Bay Socks pattern from here. It has a pretty lace inset on the sides of the socks but otherwise is a simple sock to knit.

The yarn is Trekking Pro Natura wool and bamboo blend. It knits up really nice and doesn't split at all! Lovely yarn!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mitten Progress

I finished up another pair of mittens to go into the church donation box. These fit my hands with a little room to spare. They will be nice warm wool mittens for one of the International students here.

I have been working on the Elizabeth Zimmermann Norwegian mitten this week too. It is almost to the shaping at the top. I did have to rip a bunch out because the hand part was not going to fit. I started again at the wrist with larger needles. I will tell you later how I messed up the thumb.

I was having trouble following the tiny graph in the book so I enlarged it. Then I printed it on cardstock and covered the whole thing with clear contact paper. Someone suggested having it laminated and using wipe off markers but I was afraid that they might get rubbed off in my bag and I didn't know if they would work with the contact paper. I ran across this great Omnigrid Glow-Line Tape at the fabric store. It sticks well to the contact paper but peels off so I can move it easily. I have been using the same piece for the entire graph!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Warm Woolen Mittens

The weather is changing here in Iowa. The northern part of the state has already had a freeze. We haven't had frost yet but the leaves are starting to lose their color. It will be cold soon and there are lots of hands that need a pair of mittens to keep them warm.

I have been making some simple mittens for the International students at our church. These are some odds and ends of wool yarns. For this pair I used the Easy Striped Mittens pattern. I had to go up to size 8 needles to get the right gauge. I don't usually have problems with gauge so that puzzles me.

I also think there was a mistake in the pattern. There should be 3 more rows before the thumb shaping. The photo's stripes don't match the instructions. This pair should fit a pre-teen to teen. It is a little short for me. I think I will add the extra rows to the next pair so it will fit an adult.

Then I started an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern--the Norwegian mittens from Knitting Around. Size 4 needles with a blue Nature Spun wool and a dark teal Lion Wool. I am using the snowflake design for the back of the mitten.

I haven't done a lot of Fairisle because it takes more concentration than I can usually find around our busy household!

I am enjoying this though. I have been trying to get the tensions balanced which has been tricky. The two yarns are slightly different thicknesses which I think is affecting my tension. I keep trying different holds, knitting one looser, the other tighter etc so this mitten might look a little funny when it is done. But as Elizabeth says in her books--blocking can work wonders.

There are stripes on each side of the mitten and on the thumb. Not as easy as it looks because with the increasing stitches of the thumb gusset the sequence of colors keeps changing.

The palm has a simple pattern. I kept looking at it though and thinking it didn't look quite right. I finally discovered that the white boxes in the chart should have been black and the black-white. I had to rip and restart at the wrist again! I remade the chart in my Easy Graph Designer program so it would be easy to follow.

It has been moving right along since I straightened that out. Having a yarn in each hand is becoming more comfortable as I work. I start to miss it when I pick up other projects!

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Karaoke Candy Wrapper Hat

This color makes me think of Wether's Originals. I like it but the cables don't show up quite as nicely as they do in the plain colored hats.

Pattern: Candy Wrapper Hat--top down, size-women's large
Needles: size 7 dpn and 16 inch circular
Yarn: Karaoke, 50%soy silk/50% wool, 100m

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Candy Wrapper Hat in Karaoke

I found this beautiful new colorway in Karaoke 50% Soysilk fibers/50% wool at my LYS. It is really soft! The newer colors of Karaoke are much softer than the older ones.

I wanted to see how the striping would work with the lace and cables of the Candy Wrapper Hat pattern.

So far, so good. I will keep you posted.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Blue and White Baby Surprise

This BSJ is a long time coming but isn't it pretty? After knitting the light blue for what seemed like forever I decided that it was a little boring looking...well, maybe a lot I added the white and I love the way it came out!

It is made of Hobby Lobby's Baby Bee Sweet Delight Twist in bare blue, 85% Acrylic/15% Polyamide. The label claims it is bulky weight but it seems more like a heavy worsted similar to the Red Heart yarns. Has anyone else noticed that Hobby Lobby's Baby Bee yarns are not labeled correctly? I used most of 2 skeins, 226 yards each, on size 8 needles. The white is some Utopia acrylic yarn that was left over from another project.

I think this one would probably fit about 9-12 months, maybe even to 18 months. It measures 11 inches across the chest when flat, so 22 inches circumference and 14 inches neck to hem.

I added fold back ribbed cuffs and did an I-cord bind off around the edges. I cheated on the shoulder seams and crocheted them together with the white yarn. I haven't decided on buttons yet. I need to go dig through my button boxes and see what I might have.

Yes, I have more than one box of buttons, shoe box size actually.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Candy Wrapper Hat

My newest pattern!

Candy Wrapper Hat

You will find the pattern available on my web site.

It started with a challenge from my friend Jennifer to "make a sample" from this heavenly soft new yarn that Rosemary got in at the Rose Tree Fiber Shop. It is Silk and Merino from Russi Sales 30% Silk, 70% extra fine Merino from Italy.

I tried a series of cables for a swatch and found that the yarn shows them off beautifully. I wanted to be able to use every inch of this wonderful yarn but I was also worried about running out before I finished the hat if I started at the bottom as most hats are. I only had 120 yards.

Then I thought of the Pinwheel Baby Blanket pattern that has this beautiful spiral start. I combined that with a double cable twist that looks like candy wrappers.

Oh, and I did use almost every little bit of the yarn. I have only a tiny ball left over. I even frogged my swatch and used it!

So come on into the Rose Tree if you can and check out all of the beautiful new colors of Silk and Merino. It is so soft that you may want to take some home too!

My model is my beautiful daughter, Amy. She is rather shy.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Pi shawl--Is it big enough yet?

I am still working on this shawl. I have almost finished with the first 880 yard ball of yarn. I was afraid for a while that the ball would never quit. It seemed to go on forever!

Is it big enough yet to add the edging? When I grab the center and give it a gentle tug it comes just past my shoulder. I wonder how much it might stretch when it is wet?

I have another big ball of this yarn. I know I won't run out of yarn for my border at least!

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