Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Pattern: Three Way Stop

Three Way Stop

Pleating is a universal garment shaping technique. You will see it in many different fabrics, both sewn and knit. It can be used to create a swishy skirt, add a little extra room to pants, or some extra shaping to sweaters.
I’ve created a hat design that incorporates a traditional box pleat as a way to decrease the crown, and I also used a technique that I call a reverse box pleat to add volume and shape to the body of the hat. It is a slouchy hat that comes in two adult sizes.
Techniques Used:
  • Box and Reverse Pleat: Detailed picture tutorial included.
  • Central Double Decrease- aka Mitered Decrease.

- 16 inch US 4/3.5mm circular needle
- 16 inch US 5/3.75mm circular needle
- 1 set US 5/3.75mm double-point needles

- 1 stitch marker
- tapestry needle

Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3-Ply [65/35 wool/silk; 251/230m per 100g skein]; color: smoke; 1 skein

24 sts/32rows = 4" in stockinette stitch on larger needle

Brim: 16[18] inches
Height: 8[9] inches
To Fit Head Circumference: 20[22] inches

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Pattern: Vintage Fringe

Vintage Fringe
By Brittany Wilson

I was greatly inspired by fun, vintage pom pom fringe that you often see edging pillows, curtains, lampshades, and anything else that you can put a fringe on- but all I could find was a crochet version of the fringe. I made several attempts to learn crochet just so I could make this fringe, and I failed every time, so I decided to create my own knit version.
The Vintage Fringe Scarf is created by first working the body of the scarf, a wide scarf that incorporates short rows to make it deeper in the center. The fringe is then worked in a smaller gauge yarn by picking up stitches along the edge and creating the fun bobbles. The pattern has a picture tutorial for the fringe edging.
This pattern is not suitable for a new knitter and it definitely an intermediate pattern that requires a little bit of fancy fingerwork at times on two double pointed needles. Skills needed for this pattern include short rows, I-cord, picking up stitches, and joining bits of knitting together. 
1 pair US #10/6mm straight or circular needles
1 pair US #8/5mm straight or circular needles
1 set US #6/4mm double pointed needles (you only need 2 of them)

-  Tapestry needle
-  Blocking Pins and Wires (handy but not required)


[MC]Handmaiden Fine Yarn Smitten [80% wool, 20% silk; 202yd/185m per 100g skein] 1 skein; color: Radiant Orchid

[CC] Handmaiden Fine Yarn Silken [100%Silk; 273yd/250m per 100g skein] 1 skein; color: Ivory

GAUGE (gauge is not crucial)
17 sts/20 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch, unblocked, using MC and size 10 needles.
12 sts/22 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch, blocked, using MC and size 10 needles.

Height, including fringe: 10”
Length: 110” 

Yarn choices: 
The body of the scarf is worked in Handmaiden Fine Yarn Smitten, a wool/silk blend in a worsted weight. I used almost the entire skein.
The fringe of the scarf is worked in Handmaiden Fine yarn Silken, a silk yarn in a DK weight. I used about 3/4 of the skein.
You can easily switch up the types of yarns you use. If you want a heavier draped scarf, use a silk yarn for the body. For a lightweight and bouncy scarf, use wool for the whole thing.
This pattern has been test knit, but not tech edited. Please notify me if you find any mistakes.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chick Hatch-Along Part 2: Incubating Week 1

The first few days of running the incubator were a bit stressful. I wasn't very confident in what I was doing and I was nervous because, well, I've never had a part in creating life before. Seems like something that should be taken seriously.

I chose my office as the place to set it up because it was lower traffic and I thought I would be able to keep the temperature in the room stable with a space heater. Not true at all. The room was fluctuating by 20 degrees throughout the day/night and I couldn't get it to balance out. It was affecting the temperature inside the incubator and it's really important to keep it between 100-102  at the tops of the eggs, any higher and it could kill the embryos.

It got to frustrating so I ended up moving the incubator into the kitchen. That way the dogs/cats couldn't get to it, the temperature in the room never fluctuated more than 5 degrees and I could check on it frequently. After that it was smooth sailing. There were still hot and cool spots in the incubator because there wasn't a fan circulating the air, but the lowest was 99.5 and the highest was 103.2, with most of it in the right range.

At Day 7 I got to candle all of the eggs. Candling mean shining a light through one end of the egg in a dark room to see what was going on inside. You can buy a fancy egg candler but I made one out of a small flashlight and a toilet paper tube.

At Day 7 you can see a small spot with veins coming out of it. It looks like a spider. That's the baby chicken starting to develop! White eggs are the easiest to look into, but we have brown and green eggs so they can be a bit challenging to see into.

This one is a normal egg. You can see the air sac at the bottom of the egg, the embryo above it, and veins spidering out from there. 

This one turned out to be unfertilized. The yolk moves around in the egg and there didn't appear to be any development. 

Unfortunately quite a few of the green eggs from my flock ended up to not have been fertilized. I culled 7 eggs and I think 4 more are also unfertilized but they are hard to see in so I'm waiting until Day 14 to be sure.

I candled again at Day 10 and could see more development in the eggs. Right now of 47 eggs I can see development in 32 of them, 7 were culled, 4 have shells to thick to see in, and 4 I'm pretty sure are infertile but I'm waiting a few more days to make sure.

Here is one that is developing really well. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Chick Hatch-Along Part 1: Getting Started

A month or so ago I decided that I wanted to try hatching some baby chicks this spring. I was really hoping that I could get a hen to hatch eggs herself because it's much easier. She does all the work and then when the babies hatch she protects them from the other chickens who may want to kill them.

The only problem with that idea is that the chickens don't always, ok never, do what I want when I want it. In order to hatch chicks a hen has to go "broody", it's a chickens version of going into heat. She develops the instinct to sit on the nest and not leave it for at least 21 days- the time it takes for chicks to hatch. She gets all puffed up, makes strange noises, and pecks at you any time you try to take the eggs from underneath her.

I had read that you can sometimes trick a hen into going broody by putting unfertilized eggs, easter eggs, or golf balls in a nest and increase the number of eggs in the next until there are enough that a hen wants to sit on them. I started doing this in January- right when we had a really, really cold spell. All the store bought eggs froze and cracked. So I waited a few weeks until easter eggs showed up in stores. I found some white ones and I started adding them to the nest. All the hens decided they liked laying in that nest, but didn't want to sit.

I finally got impatient and decided to take matters into my own hands. I was determined to get chicks this spring, with or without a hen! I bought the book Hatching and Brooding Your Own Chicks and started shopping around for an incubator that I would need to hatch chicks myself. I didn't realize how pricey incubators were, so I put feelers out to see if we knew anyone who had an incubator.

Two people lent us incubators and we decided to use the smaller one that had a self turner and a large picture window so we could see the hatch. Chicken eggs need to be rotated about 3 times a day, as they would be under a mother hen as she shifts around to make sure she's keeping all of her eggs warm, so the self turner is very helpful. The incubator is a Little Giant Still Air Incubator. The other option would be a forced air incubator, or one that circulates the air. They are more desirable because they keep the temperature more constant, but they are much more expensive. If you are handy you can make a fan for the still air incubator out of an old computer fan, but I'm not that savvy so I'm going to see how the still air works on it's own.

I did lots of research online about how to operate a still air incubator, read the book I had purchased and realized that while I had learned a lot, I pretty much know nothing is certain when incubating eggs. The incubator should be set up in a room with a relatively constant temperature varying no more than 5 degrees because it can affect the temperature inside the incubator. It should stay out of direct sunlight so you don't cook your eggs. The temperature at the top of the eggs in a still air incubator should be between 100-102 degrees, so I set up a thermometer on top of the eggs, and have 2 digital thermometers to stick down in the vent holes to take temps with periodically. The humidity in the first stages of incubating should be between 50-70% according to most sources, but another source said 30-40%, so I purchased an IncuTherm Plus Hatch Monitor (hygrometer/thermometer). I also cut a sponge in half and saturated it with water in addition to the water rings inside the incubator because I read that can help draw up the humidity to the top of the eggs.

Eggs put in the incubator should be clean (but don't wash them), free of shell imperfections like cracks or thin shells, and a shape where it is easy to tell the rounded end from the narrow pointy end to make sure the rounded end with the air sac ends up at the top when placed in the incubator.

We were so lucky- one of the women who lent us an incubator also gave us 23 eggs from her flock. She has a mix of Ameraucana, Buff Orpingtons, Golden Wyandottes and Silver Laced Wyandottes. One rooster is a Buff Orpington but all of the others are Ameracuana crosses (Easter Eggers). I can't wait to see the mix we get! We also collected eggs from our flock- we have an Ameraucana cross rooster and a variety of easter egger hens (crosses between Rhode Island Red, Marans, Araucana and Ameraucuana) and 5 Production Red/White Leghorn crosses. We collected eggs over 5 days and kept the eggs waiting to be incubated in our cool laundry room, about 60 degrees. I read that keeping them cool and humid (but not refrigerated) while collecting, and collecting for 7 days or less, gives them the best chance of hatchability. You can collect for up to 14 days, the hatch rate may go down and they may take a little longer than 21 days to hatch.

I ran the incubator for a day and got the temperature stable before adding 47 eggs to it on  March 24th. Hatch day should be 21ish days later, or April 14th. Just in time for Easter!

Next up: Week 1 of running the Incubator.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Pattern: Frisson


by Brittany Wilson

Cold winter months can go on and on, seemingly without end, until that moment when hope is restored by trees and plants pushing out their leaves towards to early springtime sun. If you’re like me, you wait very impatiently for this sign that the warm months are just around the corner.

Frisson is that moment of excitement and joy that it will soon be time for sandals and sundresses. This lightweight bias shawl can even be knit as an advent calendar for spring; the lace sections grow and grow right along with your anticipation for the warmer months of the year. 

One Size

Width: 78 inches
Height: 13 inches


Handmaiden Fine Yarn [50/50 merino/silk; 546y/500m per 100g skein]; color: Berry; 1 skein

32” length-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle, or desired length for working a shawl.

Notions Required
tapestry needle


24 sts/48 rows = 4" in garter stitch, unblocked


Bind Off: The bind off for this pattern is done purlwise as follows: [P2Tog, slip stitch back to left-hand needle]- repeat until desired numbers of stitches are bound off. Be careful not to bind off to tightly, you will want some flexibility when blocking the shawl.

Brackets on Row 2 and other WS rows: (k1,p1) into double yo indicates that you will knit into the loop of the first yo and purl into the loop of the second yo. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

I’ve entered the FedEx Small Business Grant contest and in order to proceed to the next round I have to collect votes. Could you all help me and vote for me? It will only take a second of your time. It would mean the world to me! And I guess you can vote once a day until February 23rd, so maybe check back and vote again if you think of it.
And if you’re really excited for me to win- maybe share this link with any friends who you think might be interested in helping?

Link to my FexEx Small Business Page.

Thank you all so much for your help!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Pattern: Tiara Tam

A design made for a princess and a yarn that’s fit for a queen- what more could a woman want? This tam/beret design incorporates simple cables and eyelets to mimic a tiara around the brim and 8 diamonds around the crown and is worked in a luxurious yarn that is suitable for any occasion or season.

Check out the Ravelry Pattern Page to get it for Free Through November 7th, 2013 11:59pm GMT. 


1 US #2/2.75mm 16” circular needles
1 US #3/3.25mm 16” circular needles
1 set US #3/3.25mm double pointed needles

-   Tapestry needle
-   1 stitch marker

Handmaiden Fine Yarn Swiss Mountain Cashmere and Silk [65% cashmere, 35% silk; 196yd/180m per 50g skein] 1 skein; color: Vermillion

32 sts/34 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch on size 3’s

With piece laying flat after blocking. It stretches about 1.5” with blocking:
Width across the crown: 10.5 (12.5)”
Width across brim opening: 4.5”

Fits an adult head. The Brim is stretchy. 
Skills in this pattern above and beyond the basics (instructions included): 
Cabling without a cable needle (twisting stitches)
Central Double Decreases


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Regal Color Palette

I dyed up some tussah silk yesterday for a few projects, but shouldn't these all be put together into a project? Such a gorgeous and regal colorway.