The Game of Thrones MKAL 2015 is here!

It’s happening!!! Another Game of Thrones MKAL!


For those of you who missed the last 2 years, here is what you missed:

Year 1: Arya’s Water Dancer Cowl


Year 2: The Stormborn Shawl


There’s still time to sign up for this year’s MKAL though, so head on over to Ravelry to get all of the info. And for those of you who can’t wait, here are the basics:

This year’s MKAL is inspired by Tyrion Lannister, and we’ve created a gorgeous Lorna’s Laces color way called “Casterly Rock” inspired by the Lannister family sigil. For this year’s MKAL, we’ll be using the brand new Cloudgate yarn which is a squishy, bulky weight.


Kits for the MKAL (yarn and pattern download code) are available through Jimmy Beans Wool with several other color options as well. The kits include the pattern download code (at a discounted price of $3) that you can then use to download the pattern for free on Ravelry. This code ships inside the kit, so as soon as you receive it you can download the pattern info page and begin swatching! If you don’t see a color you want available in the kit, call Jimmy Beans Wool at (877) 529-5648 and they would be happy to substitute a different Cloudgate color for you in able for you to receive the pattern discount.

This year, I’ve chosen to keep the project a complete mystery. If you message me privately on Ravelry and want to know what the project is, I will be happy to share. I know that for some folks, that can make or break their decision to participate, so please feel free to message me if you’d like to know that part of the mystery. Things I will not divulge though are: exact stitch patterns used, shape, finished measurements (there will be notes on how to customize this as we go).

A Note on Color Choice: While the Casterly Rock color is beautiful, highly variegated yarns such as this may not be everyone’s taste, so I recommend seriously considering your preferences before choosing your colors. I’ve designed the pattern this year to be relatively simple (Advanced Beginner) to accommodate the busy color, but definitely take some time to consider if a variegated yarn is right for you. See the gauge swatch photo I’ve posted here for help with that decision.

A Note on Swatching: Gauge is important on this design. I always recommend doing a gauge swatch and have included specific instructions on HOW to swatch for this project on the info page that you can download when you purchase the pattern. If you find you tend to use more yarn than is called for on average in your knitting projects, you should consider buying a 4th skein of yarn to be on the safe side. Extra, unwound skeins of yarn can be returned for a full refund later, and it’s a good insurance policy if you run short. You can also use any leftovers to knit yourself a matching hat! Oops, I guess I’ve given a clue there…we are NOT knitting at hat! 🙂


This year’s MKAL will be slightly different than the last few years. I’ve made this design a bit more more beginner friendly, although I promise that it will not be boring for the more advanced knitters. If I had to rank the difficulty of this pattern, I would call it “Advanced Beginner,” but it does incorporate some simple lace and patterning in the design.

As usual, this MKAL will be hosted in the Jimmy Beans Wool Group here on Ravelry. Specific threads for each clue will be posted and labeled accordingly, along with separate photo threads where you can post progress photos. Please feel free to join in the Pre-MKAL chat that is happening over there now!

This year’s MKAL will begin on May 3rd so as not to conflict with the Outlander MKAL that is currently going on (darn those TV show schedules being so close together!) Here are the dates for the 4 clues in this MKAL:

Clue 1: May 3rd
Clue 2: May 10th (Mother’s Day)
Clue 3: May 17th
Clue 4: May 24th

I post each Clue late on Saturday night so that the update is in your Ravelry library first thing Sunday morning. The time that I post it on Saturday evening is not exact, just right before I turn in for the night. For those who remember my earlier KALs I switched to doing this so that the east coasters (and those of you in Europe) aren’t waiting on me until later in the day Sunday to get it all uploaded, since I am on PST. 🙂

If you have any questions about this MKAL, please feel free to message me directly, or check the Jimmy Beans Wool Group to see if your question has been answered. I try to check there throughout the day, but as I also work full time at Jimmy Beans, so I don’t always get to it until I get home. I do try to answer as promptly as possible. I also have some lovely helpers in the group who are fabulous about answering questions as well. It’s a fun community, I hope you’ll join us!

Lastly, just a couple of little housekeeping things. When you purchase your pattern, don’t forget to save it to your Ravelry library. When the pattern gets updated with a new clue each week, I will send a message, but you can always go directly to your library, and download the new version. Easy peasy. Also, once you download your pattern info sheet, don’t forget to create your “project” here on Ravelry and tag it with: GoTMKAL2015 so that people can easily search for your project.

If you missed out on last year’s MKAL and want something to knit while you wait for this MKAL to start on May 3rd, check out last year’s design, the Stormborn Shawl inspired by Daenerys Targaryen!

Happy knitting, and see you on May 3rd!


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Downton Abbey MKAL Design – Edith’s Secret!

Hi everyone!

The Downton Abbey MKAL 2015 has wrapped, but I just wanted to share the final design with you all! Introducing the Edith’s Secret Shawl!










The final version of the pattern (with photos!) will be ready soon, but in the meantime, you can get started knitting yours by downloading all 7 of the pattern clues on Ravelry or Love Knitting!

Happy knitting!

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The Downton Abbey MKAL 2015 is Here!

Hello everyone! It’s Downton time again! Are you so excited? I know I am!


So you may be wondering about this year’s KAL and while I can’t divulge too much info about the design itself, I can give you specifics about the MKAL and more details on the special Lorna’s Laces color I created especially for the design, Edith’s Secret.

Here are the basics:

This year, you may notice that the pattern cost is $6 for the KAL. I know we didn’t charge for the pattern the last two years, but there are several reasons for the change. JBW has always been very generous in allowing me some time to work on the KAL as part of my regular workload. However, because of the size this KAL has grown to, I spend on average 20-30 hours per week just working on KAL related stuff. Roughly 20 of those hours are outside of my regular 40 hour per week job at JBW (it’s like having a second part time job!) We both agreed that it would be better for both of us, for me to be compensated fairly for the time I put in, thus the decision was made for me to begin charging for the KAL design. As a result of us now charging for the KAL pattern, I’ve been able to dedicate much more time to creating a more streamlined and user-friendly KAL experience for you all. (ie. making each week’s clue a printable PDF, having someone professionally tech edit, providing charts in addition to written instruction, etc.) Overall, we think you’ll enjoy the changes.

Additionally, we’ve made the pattern available through the In-Store Pattern Sales program here on Ravelry so that LYS’s can purchase this pattern for their customers and participate in the MKAL.

Those of you who are new to the Downton Abbey MKAL this year, welcome! Here is how our MKAL works:

1) The MKAL will begin on Sunday, January 4th, 2015, when the first Episode of Season 5 of Downton Abbey begins airing on PBS in the US. Each Sunday morning (by 10am PST) the new clue for that week will be sent out via e-mail & Ravelry message. The KAL pattern will be broken into 7 clues.

2) A short info sheet with gauge/swatching information will be available to download when you purchase your pattern. Feel free to swatch to your hearts content in the meantime.

3) This year’s mystery project will be a shawl. (The mystery is not in what the garment is, but in the design itself. The first year we didn’t tell anyone what they were knitting and a lot of folks thought they were knitting socks instead of fingerless mitts. As you can imagine, it caused a lot of confusion when it came time to add thumb holes.)

4) This shawl uses 2 skeins of Lorna’s  Laces Solemate in 2 different colors. I have designed a special Lorna’s Laces limited edition color inspired by Downton called “Edith’s Secret” that is available only at Jimmy Beans Wool. The shawl uses one skein of “Edith’s Secret” paired with one of five different complementary color options (Farwell, Buckingham Fountain, Grand Street Ink, Old Rose, or Manzanita.) Here are photos of the options to help you decide:

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You can find pre-made kits at Jimmy Beans Wool that include a download code for the pattern at 50% off of the Ravelry price as a thank you for shopping at Jimmy Beans. Of course, you can also use Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock or any fingering weight yarn you would like for this project. Using the Lorna’s Laces yarn is NOT required.

*Please note: You may purchase any two colors of Solemate or Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock for this project and still receive the pattern download code at 50% off through Jimmy Beans. If you would like to do so, please include the following note in your order notes: “Please add download code for the Downton Abbey KAL to this order. I understand that will it will increase my order total by $3.” Or, call Jimmy Beans Wool directly to place your order and let them know you are participating in the KAL.

5) This project is an intermediate level project. However, there will be plenty of help available throughout the KAL in the Jimmy Beans Wool Group, so even if you have never knit a shawl before but have gotten beyond the basic knit & purl stitches (ie. you can do increases & decreases) you should be fine. We’ll help you through…be brave! 🙂

6) The KAL will be hosted as usual in the Jimmy Beans Wool group on Ravelry. All of the Downton MKAL threads will be labeled: DAMKAL2015 with the corresponding clue # after it. There will be separate threads for pattern discussion, general chat, show episode chat, and photos (spoilers.) Feel free to head over there now to begin the pre-KAL chat!

7) All pattern updates and new clues will be sent each week as an e-mail and Ravelry message. All of these PDFs can be saved in your Ravelry library for safe keeping. This means that each clue will be ready to go in an easy-to-print format, unlike years past when they’ve only been available in a blog post. This should simplify the process for everyone. At the end of the MKAL you will receive a file containing the complete pattern.

Mystery KALs are a ton of fun. If you’ve never participated in one before, this is a great one to do because the atmosphere is light, fun, and the group is always helpful. I think this year’s Downton MKAL is going to be the best one yet! I hope you’ll join us!

Happy knitting,

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Cloud Forest Cowl

What is a Cloud Forest?

cloud forest, also called a fog forest, is a generally tropical or subtropical, evergreen, montanemoist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of mosses covering the ground and vegetation, in which case they are also referred to as mossy forests. Mossy forests usually develop on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced by settling clouds is more effectively retained.[1]

Thanks Wikipedia!

I’ve been lucky to have spent a few months in the Great Bear Rainforest in BC, Canada, one of these amazing cloud forests. With further research, I found that cloud forests exist all over the world, including New Zealand. New Zealand also happens to be home to one of my favorite yarn companies, Zealana, of which this cowl is knit in. Scrumptious Rimu DK, a blend of New Zealand merino wool and possum fur, makes this cowl extra cozy and warm and well as soft.

The all-over fern leaf lace pattern depicts some of the foliage you might find in the cloud forest. The cowl is knit from the top down, and widens with a larger leaf design at the bottom to lay over the shoulders comfortably.


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I designed the Cloud Forest Cowl for a promotion for Jimmy Beans Wool, so if you participate in their upcoming Facebook contest you’ll automatically receive a copy of this pattern for free just for participating. You’ll also be entered to win the yarn to knit this design! Be sure to “like” Jimmy Beans Wool on Facebook and stay tuned for more info. The contest begins 9/24 and runs through the 30th!

If you’d rather cast on right away, the pattern can be purchased directly from me on Ravelry. It takes about 260 yards of DK weight yarn and a US size 6- 16″ circular needle. Either way, Happy knitting!


PS. And if the boring photos above aren’t enough. Here is a shot of my goofy hubby modeling the cowl too. I think it looks better on him, don’t you? 😉



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Where I’ve Been…

If you read my last post, you can probably figure out what has been taking up all of my time.


Her name is Olive Ruby and she’s stollen my heart completely.

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She was born on July 16th and was exactly 2 months old as of yesterday.


I spend most of my time just staring at her sweet face and planning the little knits I will make her…if I ever am able to pull myself away long enough. 🙂


We are over the moon with our sweet girl.


I’ve got some new designs to talk about, so stay tuned…

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This is what I’ve been up to…

I know it’s been a while and I swear I’ve been really busy. Here is my excuse for being so quiet:


I’ve been knitting baby sweaters…


And hats…


And diaper covers…


And searching thrift stores for rad onesies…


And knitting more hats…


And buying cute prints to make cloth diapers…


And re-discovering old favorite books of fairy tales…


And choosing fabrics for crib sheets and bumpers…


And even a matching quilt…


And making bibs…


And getting ready to welcome our little girl in July who is growing bigger every week!

Sorry for the crappy photography. One of these days I am going to replace our old camera with something decent. This may just be the year to do it too! Yes, we are having a baby and are so excited! I (luckily) have had an easy pregnancy thus far (knock on wood) so that is not the reason for the absence. I have just been crazy busy with work. I have found plenty of time for baby projects though and have even more on the horizon. In case you are interested, here are links to the projects shown here, except the baby sweater. That is a sneak peek at a new design. 🙂

-First hat knit in Friea Fine Handpaints Flux Worsted in Seaglass. It’s a modified version of these hats.

-Diaper Covers are the Darling pattern by Courtney Kelley for the Kelbourne Woolens Baby Collection. I knit these in Malabrigo Twist since JBW doesn’t carry The Fibre Company Organik.

-The 2nd hat is called Alfalfa and is free on Ravelry and from the Kelbourne Woolens Website. I used the yarn required – The Fibre Co. Terra.

-The diaper fabrics are knits from Birch Organics. I am using this free downloadable diaper pattern from Ottobre Design. The small size is huge though so I downsized it about 25%. My mom and I are both making diapers for the baby with this pattern. She is using flannel and I am using these knits. I think they are all going to be adorable.

-The nursery fabrics are also from Birch Organics by Teagan White. The collection is called Fort Firefly and all of the prints have a sage/teal and coral as the main colors. I love this palette and think its going to be gorgeous in the baby’s room. I am not a fan of overly girly girl decor for babies and I think something like this is perfect. I love that it has an outdoorsy feel too. I am really hoping our little gal loves the outdoors as much as we too and hopefully this will inspire her. More pictures to come when we have the nursery complete.

-Lastly, after seeing this bib on Etsy and not wanting to pay the hefty $40 price for it I decided to try making my own. I immediately recognized the fabric as Joel Dewberry, which we have at JBW, so I snagged some from his True Colors line in a gray woodgrain with an aqua herringbone print for the back side. Then I found this adorable (and simple!) Slobber Monkey Bib pattern from Heather Bailey’s website and decided to try my hand at it. Turns out the basic cutting and sewing part takes about 15 minutes and I was able to get 4 bibs cut out of the two 1/2 yard cuts of fabric I bought (less than $10.) All it needs now is a little embroidery and some velcro and we are in business. I’ll definitely be making more of these…for me any pretty much everyone I know with kids!

So those are the projects I’ve been working on. That and growing a human. You know, no biggie. 🙂


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Stitch Mountain is here!

So last year around this time, I was hard at work on four designs for a book. That book was Stitch Mountain. Stitch Mountain: 30 Warm Knits for Conquering the Cold actually came out in November, but with the Winter Games going on right now, we thought it would be the perfect time to talk up the book too. Especially since so many of the athletes are competing right now in Sochi!


For those of you who don’t know what the book is about, we asked 30 winter sports athletes to tell us what their favorite or dream knitted item would be. We then took those ideas and asked a collection hand-picked knitwear designers to create items based on these athletes descriptions. The result is a book that is both designer vision and athletic inspiration–the perfect hybrid of knitting and winter sports!

I have two designs inspired by athletes competing in Sochi. Julia Mancuso, a downhill skier who has already won a bronze medal at this year’s Winter Games in Ladies Slalom and Lindsey Jacobellis who is a Snowboarder who will actually compete later today in ladies Snowboard Cross. Both have medaled at previous olympic games as well. What an honor to design for such accomplished women!

I am an ex-snowboarder myself. Not at the competitive level of course, but it was a sport I really enjoyed for about 10 years until I injured my knee and chose to quit to avoid surgery. I miss it, but I have tons of great memories on the mountain. That’s why being a part of this book was so important to me, and such a huge honor!

Ok, so onto the designs. First we’ve got the Personalized Headband inspired by Julia Mancuso and her home mountain, Squaw Valley. Squaw also happens to be in my neck of the woods (Reno/Tahoe area) so I was really excited to knit this piece. It’s inspired by the original Squaw Ski Team headbands and I wanted to make this one reversible and easily customizable. The pattern includes an entire alphabet chart so that you can create a headband that is personal to you. Perhaps in the colors of your alma mater or your favorite sports team? On the inside, a simple stripe pattern is knit to create a completely reversible piece. Julia’s version is knit in Rowan Pure Wool 4ply which was a dream to knit with. Such amazing stitch definition and it blocks out so well. I will definitely be knitting with it again.



Next up we have the Sparkle Slouchy Hat inspired by Lindsey Jacobellis. Being a snowboarder, Lindsey’s style is super hip so I wanted to create a hat that I know she would love to wear. I chose a fun sparkly yarn by Red Heart called Boutique Midnight in some tonal self-striping colors. The hat features a wide brim that can be worn folded or unfolded depending on the look you are going for. The body is a simple mock rib that is easy, even for a beginner. The hat is super comfy to wear. I actually have 2 different versions of this hat at home and I wear them more often than any of the other hats in my collection.




So these are two of my designs from Stitch Mountain. I’ll be back soon to talk about the other two, but I hope you are all enjoying watching the Winter Games in Sochi! Be sure to cheer on these two gals when you see them on the screen and hopefully you’ll be knitting along on something cozy while you do! Remember, both of these designs are featured in Stitch Mountain, so if you don’t have your copy yet, be sure to snag one from Jimmy Beans Wool (all copies are signed by the author!)

Happy knitting everyone!


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