Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Today is the longest night of the year...or the shortest day, whichever you prefer. I like to celebrate the solstice. Something about stopping to think about the earth tilting as far away from the sun as it will for a year & realizing that from now on the days will get longer, even as winter is just beginning, makes me feel a little bit more in tune with nature. We now have almost 2 feet of snow on the ground after this weekend's storms. Time to hibernate. Knitting and crafting projects are waiting...

Monday, December 15, 2008


I am back in my warm home typing on my Mac after being without power for 4 nights. We had an ice storm on Thursday night and lost power along with a record setting 500,000+ other homes from Maine to New York. Luckily we could go straight to my father's house and were able to keep nice & toasty as well as have hot coffee & food with one of these....
He still doesn't have power but my Mom got her electricity back on Saturday morning so the girls & I have been living comfortably since then. My husband is an electrician so he's been working pretty much non-stop since Friday morning helping customers but also keeping our pipes from freezing by bringing in a generator for a few hours each night.

I've decided that if we're going to be living in NH, we need to heat our home with wood & not be completely dependent upon electricity (or oil...but that's another discussion). I can go without the luxury of lights, television and internet (although that was a tough one), but HEAT is simply a necessity in the winter!

The amount of destruction caused by just a 1 inch coating of ice was unbelievable. Trees were snapped in half, power lines downed and homes and parked cars damaged by falling branches. There was a lot of beauty in the ice as well. Here are some of the images I saw on Friday morning.

Feels wonderful to be back home and connected to the world. Hope others that have been displaced by the storm find their way home again soon.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Solstice Bird

Here's a simple bird ornament for hanging around the house this holiday season. I'm working a little flock, but for now here is the first one.
You need a very small amount of 100% wool for the body & just scraps for needle felting wings, stitching seams & making beaks. I've used the following needles & yarn for this guy, but feel free to experiment with what you have on hand. Felting is unpredictable as well, so keep an eye on it to make sure it's the size you'd like. The finished measurements of this bird are 4.5" h x 5" w.


Needles: US size 10 for body, US size 6 dp for i-cord beak
Yarn: Cascade 220 wool (NOT superwash...need 100% wool for felting)
Stuffing: yarn or fabric scraps
Felting needle (for adding wings)
2 buttons for eyes
tapestry needle for stitching seam & sewing on beak & eyes

Using size 10 needles, CO 7 sts.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: m1, k7, m1
Repeat rows 1 & 2 making 1 new stitch on each edge of row 2 and knitting all the stitches in between (ie: m1, k9, m1 then m1, k11, m1, etc.) until there are 19 sts then start decreases:
Dec Row 1: k2tog, k15, k2 tog
Dec Row 2: knit
Repeat dec rows 1 & 2 until there are 7 sts left, then knit 1 row.
BO all sts.

At this point you will have a garter stitch oval that is ready to be felted.
Check out this link for how to do felting and then go for it. You can knit up a bunch of ovals at one time and felt them all at once or just do one at a time. Just be sure to separate your ovals from each other (using a pillowcase or a lingerie bag) during the felting process or else they will felt to each other.

Once your felted piece has dried, you can then cut* it into equal mirror images for your bird body following this diagram. Felted wool does not unravel so cut away! You can trim as necessary to alter the shapes so they fit together evenly.

*Please note that when cutting your pieces, hold the fabric with the garter ridges horizontally. If you look at the above photo, the garter stitch pattern runs horizontally on the finshed bird.

Stitch the body together, leaving a small opening at the bottom. Stuff with fabric/yarn scraps then stitch closed. Sew on button eyes & needle felt wings. Using size 6 dp needles make a 3 stitch i-cord ~ 1.5 inches long for the beak then stitch onto body. Hang up in your favorite location!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Simple Solution

The hanging rope broke on my old bird feeder so I decided to knit an i-cord to replace it. My big cone of Sugar and Cream cotton is great for such around the house little projects. I have a washcloth & basket knit up with it as well.
The simple yet so many uses! Check out this link for how to knit an i-cord.The pattern for 'Joy' will be up by this weekend. I've been battling sickness after sickness in our house with myself and the girls. Maybe it has to do with not being adjusted to the frigid New Hampshire weather yet??
Yesterday was the first day it was below freezing all day. The birds are going to have to wait for Spring to use their birdbath.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Here's a little dress for the holidays. Great for layering and dressing up or down. My daughter just loves wearing this dress. Knit in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash 100% wool, it has great bounce while jumping up & down.
I should retake some photos for a more seasonal feel here in New Hampshire. Something to add to the ever growing "To Do" list.
But for now, here is 'Joy', basking in the sun of Southern California. Pattern will be posted in PDF format for download shortly!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


copyright © knitonthenet

My first published pattern is finally available to see on Knit on the Net!
I just loved working with Cocoon from Rowan. Such a beautiful yarn.

It is modelled in the largest size and shown with the buttons in the front but can also be worn with the buttons in back and a center cable in the front.

Linkcopyright © knitonthenet

Check out the Knit on the Net website for the free pattern!

Monday, October 6, 2008

...And Now For Something Completely Different

OK. I am all for the power of positive thinking. How long have I been talking about getting back to New Hampshire? Longing for Fall and cold nights knitting curled up on the sofa. Trying to figure out how and when we were going to get there from San Diego. Well guess what happens when something is the focus of your mental energy for so long? My husband was laid off from his job 2 weeks ago today and here I sit in my father's house in NH typing this post. Yes, we left California and moved back East. Made the decision that morning and here we are. Packed up and moved across country in a week's time. We are all here safe and sound and recovering from this whirlwind. Excited to move on to the next adventure. More when we are more settled in...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Colors of Nature

Some inspiration for future projects from the Quail Botanical Gardens.

The gardens are one of our favorite places in the San Diego area and every time we go I see something new. Lots of huge flowers were in bloom on our last visit.

The shades of greens & yellows in this bamboo patch were just beautiful.

More knitting photos to come soon. I'm working under deadline for 2 to be published in October & one not coming out until the Spring but due in 2 weeks. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lucky Lucky Me!

I hate to post without pictures and since I can't include any photos of projects that I am currently working's just a closeup of one of the most beautiful yarns I've ever used.

This post's title is taken from a Charlie & Lola episode I recently watched with my 3 year old. I actually love Charlie & Lola and recommend that you take a peek if even you don't have kids! Well, I definitely feel lucky these days. After much researching and experimentation with every career including archaeologist (seriously...I took an introductory class a few years back), analytical chemist, biologist, photographer, soapmaker & teacher. I'm feeling like I've found that passion for my work that I've heard is actually possible if you can find the right fit between your personality, interests & natural abilities. Oh yes, and you have to completely forget about money...that just complicates everything. And I found it in the most unlikely of places. Isn't that usually how it works?

I knew I was interested in designing and thought that graphic designing would be the way to go. However, as the start date has been rapidly approaching I've had a bit of anxiety. Felt like something wasn't quite right. There isn't enough tactile involvement in graphic design now with everything digital.
Don't want to spend all of that money on school if it isn't the right choice. I wanted to create something that could actually be touched and felt to be appreciated. So I decided to start working on my own knitwear designs and just see where that takes me. The few that have been shown here & a few others that I'm saving for submissions. The good news is that I was in the right place at the right time and a yarn company is actually going to pay me to design for them! Yikes...I cannot believe it! I don't want to divulge too much information yet because I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say, etc. before the patterns are actually published, but I'm just crazy with excitement. It is all that I want to do. I am truly obsessed. I love it. Just the right amount of creativity, variety & attention to detail required. I actually dream about my designs. I keep a sketch book next to my bed to keep track of any ideas may pop up in the middle of the night. I cannot truly rest until they are finished and then my mind is racing to work on the next one. I look around at the world now and see things differently. I have thoughts like, "Wow, the color of that hand painted bowl is beautiful...I wonder if I can find a yarn in that shade of blue?" or "I love the pattern of bark on that tree....I'd love to be able to knit a scarf with that". Yep. Head over heels. I can honestly say that I've never felt like this with any of the work that I've done, including owning my own herbal soapmaking business. And I have to say that I am very lucky such a supportive husband and to be at a point in my life where I can explore all the options and find what I truly love to do and stay at home with my girls while I'm doing it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Officially Open for Business

Just a short post to say I am officially selling my original patterns! I have just posted Cerise as a PDF download through the Ravelry pattern store. They have a fantastic service that will take care of all the pattern downloads and links to PayPal. All you have to do is click on the "Buy Now" button and you are linked straight to PayPal to purchase the pattern. So cool, this Ravelry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Finally finished the project I started back in February! It started out as a ballet wrap skirt with 3 tiers of ruffles, but ended up as a pull-on ribbon tie skirt with 2 ruffles. The Crystal Palace ribbon yarn is quite stretchy & the weight of an extra ruffle would really distort the shape I wanted.

Just a fun skirt for dress-up, over jeans or as a tutu, or just as it is for a summer day!

Pattern to be posted soon....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Distracted but Still Here

Sorry for the month or so absence. I've been on the go with the girls and enjoying the weather. Here are a few pics of what we've been up to.

Been thinking about knitting and have been on Ravelry almost daily, but can't seem to get it together to sit down and accomplish anything. Is this normal for having two kids under 3?? By the end of the day I am pretty much wiped out and just want to sit and chill for an hour or so before my bedtime.

I've been too much inside my own head these days as well. Still questioning my decision to not go back to work full time. Ironing out the financial issues and all. Going around and around in my mind until I started to drive myself (and my husband) crazy. I am happy to say that I am finally at peace with my decision. There's not much I am sure about lately, however this I am. I want to enjoy this opportunity to be with my girls for as long as I can while they are still so young. It is a time to cherish.

Monday, April 7, 2008

First Sweater for Me

I finally decided to knit something for myself. I fell in love with the Big Cash from Zaol and really wanted to make a sweater that I could wear most of the year. It is a super bulky yarn, but it's 50% cotton and I'm making it sleevless so hopefully I can wear it fall-spring. I'm making up the pattern as I go, but I'm still worried about the fit. Since it knits up really quickly it wouldn't be terrible if I had to frog it but I'm sooooo hoping I don't have to! It might be hard to envision in this picture, but it's going to be a tunic style tank dress type of thing...this is the front skirt section.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Soli Pattern

Sorry for the delay in posting...and I still haven't had time to figure out the PDF document links. Anyhoooooooo here's my pattern for Soli. Let me know if it works out for you!

Size: Girls 2
Knitted Measurements: Chest 22”/56cm
Gauge: 20 sts and 24 rows = 4”/10cm using size 8 needles
  • MC: Berroco Touché Orange #7920 (3-1.75oz/50g skeins)
  • CC: Berroco Touché Yellow #7917 (2-1.75oz/50g skeins)
  • US 8(5 mm) needles or size needed to obtain gauge
  • spare needle (any size 6-8) for 3 needle bind off
  • stitch holders (3)
  • tapestry needle for seaming
  • crochet hook size 5.0mm

BO: bind off
CC: contrasting color
CO: cast on
k: knit
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together
MC: main color
p: purl
rep: repeat directions
RS: right side
sc: single crochet
st: stitch
St st: stockinette stitch
tbl: through back loop
WS: wrong side

Stitches Used

Seed st: (on an odd number of stitches) row1 k1p1 across row, row2 k1p1 across row. Rep.

St st: row 1 (RS) k, row 2 (WS) p. Rep.

3 needle bind off


Front Skirt

CO with MC 75sts and work in seed stitch for 3 rows.
Row 4 (RS): k.
Row 5 (WS): k1, p across row, k1 (repeat for all WS for helpful seaming during finishing).
Row 6 (dec row 1): k1, k2tog tbl , k across row to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Rows 7-13: St st.
Row 14 (dec row 2): rep Row 6.
Rows 15-21: St st.
Rows 22-78: Continue decreasing every 8 rows until 55sts remain.


Row 1: Join CC and p across row. 55 sts.
Row 2-5: Seed St.

Shape armholes:
Row 6 (RS): BO 5 sts in Seed St. Work in pattern across row.
Row 7: BO 5 sts in Seed St. Work in pattern across row. 45 sts.
Work in pattern for 2”. End with RS row.

Right side of bodice:
k 22 sts in pattern. Turn. Work in pattern for 9 rows (Place 23 left front sts on holder).
Row 10 (RS): BO 12 sts. Work rem 10 sts in pattern for 2” (5cm). Place sts on marker. Break yarn leaving tail for seaming.

Left side of bodice:
Rejoin yarn at the neckline and work 1 row in pattern. Work 7 rows seed st. Next row (WS) BO 13 sts in pattern. Work rem sts in pattern for 2”. Place sts on marker. Break yarn leaving tail for seaming.


Work as front to Row 5 Bodice.
BO 5 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Continue in pattern for 3.75” (9.5cm) ending with WS.
k 10 sts in pattern. BO 25 sts in pattern. k 10 sts in pattern.

Right shoulder:
Place 10 left shoulder sts on marker. Work in pattern for 2” (5cm). Place front right sts on needle and use 3 needle bind off method on WS to join shoulder seam.

Left shoulder:
Work as right shoulder. Join shoulder seam using 3 needle bind off.


Seam front to back from
armhole to bottom edge.
Work sc edging around armholes and neckline of bodice.
Weave in all ends.

©2008 UmaJoy Designs All Rights Reserved
Individual, non-commerical use only. Sale, any other commercial use and any reproduction, publication or distribution prohibited

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Legwarmers Pattern

Finally finished the legwarmers and had to bribe my preschooler to wear them for a photo shoot! She's not crazy about the "stripy pink ones". Here I am thinking that they'd be perfect for her. Oh well! The baby doesn't seem to mind though. Nice for keeping chubby thighs warm and knees protected while crawling around.

I'm posting the pattern in the blog body as I'm working on getting PDF files up & running (hopefully soon!).

Yarn: I used Phidar Dolcinia DK in white and Araucania Atacama alpaca in pink, but choose any DK yarn you like.

6 sts = 1" & 10 rows = 1"

size 6 dp

Size: 2-4 girl

In MC (pink) CO 40 sts and join in round. Place marker. Divide sts as you like across needles. Work in k2p2 rib for 5 rows. Change to St st for 2 rows. On 3rd row, k2 m1 to end, k1.

*Change to CC (white) and k3 rows. Change to MC and k3 rows.* Repeat alternating colors every 3 rows for ~ 9 inches ending with a CC row.

Change to MC and k 2 rows. On 3rd row, k2, k2tog across row, k1. Work in k2p2 rib for 10 rows. BO in rib pattern.

Make a second one just like it & give to a little dancer to enjoy!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Corner of My Own

The baby's crib is finally out of our bedroom so I've set up a bit of working space in the corner. It just enough room for me and will have to do until I can have my own studio.

The Venezia and the Big Cash are just amazing. With the Encore they are actually for 3 different projects that I'm hoping to get started soon. I still have 2 UFOs in my basket that I'm trying complete this week. If I could only stay FOCUSED!

I've sent in my application for the graphic design program at UCSD Extension. Hopefully I will hear next week regarding an interview so I can start the admissions process. I feel really lucky that I found this program and that it will allow me to stay home with the girls for 1 more year and take classes at night. I'm just not ready to send them off to have someone else take care of them all day. I want to stay home with them as long as possible. They will be off to school soon enough!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Spring Flowers and a Change

Just a brief post to let you know I am still here. I've been quite busy sightseeing with a visiting friend and making decisions about my future. If I post it here than I will be more finalized and less likely to change my mind. I found a fantastic graphic design program that I can start in September. No going back to biotechnology for me! More on this decision later...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Beach Day and a Coincidence?

I took the girls to the beach today. It was perfect timing. Low tide, a break in the clouds and nap time for my baby girl. Noa & I picked stones from the sand and admired the beautiful range of colors. Some inspiration for another knitting project maybe?

And yes, the sand did feel good between my toes! Such a treat to get out of the house after having a week of coughs & colds.

I found out about Project Spectrum 3 today. Just in time for the completion of Soli as well as the current project that is on my needles using the yarn I bought 2 weeks ago and the legwarmers that I still haven't finished. Coincidence? Some people say there is no such thing...

Friday, February 15, 2008


I finished my first real design (where I've actually kept track of the pattern for publishing later). The whole process was so exciting that I think I'm addicted. Here is Soli, named for My Sunshine as in You Are My Sunshine, a song my daughter really loves.

I had orignially planned some embroidery details, but decided to keep it clean and simple. I'm really happy with the results (after a short love/hate period). The yarn is a cotton/rayon Berocco Touche, which has a really nice drape and should be great for warm weather.

I had quite a time figuring out the simple decreases. I couldn't work out how to space them evenly to reach my finaly measurements. Finally I got it though! Here's a bit of the craziness of my thought process.

It can be worn as a tunic or a dress in the summer. The style allows for some growing room which is imperative if you have a toddler! I'm currently working on a pattern to be available on Ravelry soon.

And just a note about what a wonderful, supportive husband I have. Guess what he got me for Valentine's Day? Yes, a copy of Vogue's Ultimate Knitting Book, which I have been wanting for quite a while. Is that romantic or what?!

Monday, February 11, 2008

For All My Cold Weather Readers

Ahhhh, San Diego. One of the reasons we moved back here from the East Coast was for the weather. Not to be cruel to my cold weather friends, but I love looking at the weather in New Hampshire and comparing it to here. What better way to spend a Saturday morning in February than to go to the beach? No wonder I'm not doing much knitting lately...

I've been tagged by SASKnitsItAgain for a fun little trivia list, so here you go:

4 Movies I like:
Ferris Beuller's Day Off
Run Lola Run
The Usual Suspects
The Borne Identity/Supremacy/

4 Places I've been:
Tel Aviv

4 Places I've Lived:
Dover, NH
Boston, MA
San Francisco, CA
San Diego, CA

4 TV Shows I Watch:
Project Runway
Christian is my favorite to win
Man vs. Wild That Bear is something!
Ace of Cakes Don't know why I like this show, but I do
Top Chef New season starting soon

4 Radio Shows I Listen To:
The only time I can listen to the radio is driving in the car when my girls aren't listening to their music. I usually tune in to NPR or switch back and forth between 91X or 94/9 during commercials.

4 Favorite Foods:
Red Wine (wine IS food)
Chips & Guacamole with a Margarita on the rocks with salt from PB Bar & Grill
Steak Tip Caesar Salad and a pint of Guinness from Kelly's Row

4 Places I'd Rather Be:
Nowhere (San Diego is looking pretty good right about now!)...but if we're talking where I'd mentally rather be that's another story...hmmm, how about more settled on a decision if I'm going back to work full time as an analytical chemist in the biotechnology industry or continue to be a SAHM and try to develop my own at-home business? Oh, if money wasn't an issue....

OK, you guys are tagged next:
The Shetland Trader

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Garden & Yarn Day

Wednesdays are turning into Yarn Purchase Day as well as Garden Day. My LYS is conveniently on the way home from the garden (if I take the scenic route) and I can convince my daughter to go because she wants to see Cocoa, the cat, as well as get a piece of chocolate that Nancy & Caryl keep next to the checkout area. Here's my latest purchase:

I love the colors and want to design something cool for my daugher (more on that later...). By the way, I have finished one legwarmer. Yes just one. Noa doesn't like it. Hmmmmmmm. She definitely has an opinionated mind of her own (just like her mother). Do I finish the other one & hope that she'll wear them? I definitely should finish it now otherwise it will never get done.

Back to designing. I am currently working on 3 of my own designs that I will (hopefully) submit to Knitty. It's very exciting, but nervewracking at the same time. What if I can't translate what's in my head into a finished object? What if the editors don't like my designs? What if I write up the pattern wrong & there's a ton of errors? OK, enough of that. I really don't want to psyche myself out of at least submitting my designs. If anyone has any tips or suggestions I welcome them here!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Busy Bee

We visited a beautiful park this weekend in a part of San Diego not necessarily known for it's natural beauty. This was one of the sculptures that really stood out to me.
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that
will endure as long as life lasts.
There is something infinitely
healing in the repeated refrains of nature -

the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter"

- Rachel Carson

And here's a busy little bee taking advantage of the sunshine in between all of the rain we've had.

I've been busy as well. I finished Sivan's sweater and finally got outside in between rain drops to take a picture.

The sweater fits her well. I was worried that she might be too big for the 6-12 month size, but she still has some growing room. Just enough to get us to Spring I suspect.