Is it Holiday season already? Oh Yes. Yes it is.

I’ve never been good about planning Holiday gift knitting.  By the time I think of it, October is usually half through, and it might just be too late.  Yeah for us though, that Interweave puts out their Special Issue – Holiday in September:


When the call for submissions went out earlier this year, I just fell in love with their mood board.  Visions of woolly sweaters with Nordic motifs danced in my head.  I thought, “what if I could cut open a couple and make them into a blanket…and added batting and soft flannel?”  So I swatched, and raided my stash of fabric from past pairs of Christmas PJs for the flannel backing.  It was gloriously warm, and comfortable.  It’s 10″ x 12″ size was like a baby’s snuggy – I carried it around with me like a toddler.

I submitted my concept, only enlarged to wrap an adult, while being able to tuck under toes, and included dimensions for a crib size.  I was so thrilled that they accepted my Reindeer Woods Lapghan project, and now you can enjoy it too!


It starts with a band of 1 x 1 ribbing, just like the bottom edge of a sweater.  Worked flat in Fair Isle, you will knit your way from the Forest Floor to the Forest Canopy, and each half with simple Stockinette st.  To make the generous 46″ x 63 1/2″ less cumbersome, it is worked two in halves and grafted together (with a special note about using a Russian join).  I love the way the rustic Cascade 220 Sport paired with the Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel.  I have to say, this was the first time I’ve ever used a real woven flannel, not just the flannel that is printed on top.  It is a substantial piece of fabric, and beautiful on its own.  It’s perfect for shirts, too!  I’m dreaming of getting more and sewing a skirt for the winter with it.


I made another sample  – this one of the baby blanket size out of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in solids, and using the new Tonals – yum!  Total baby squishiness! and machine washable, as well.  I found a whimsical cotton plaid (cheaper because it’s a print) for my backing, and made sure my batting was also machine washable just to be safe:



Thanks to Amy and Celia for letting me takes pictures of their sweet babies – Ethan & Valerie – so adorbs!


Meet Justine…

From Nov 13th through Dec 31st there is an Indie Design Gift-A-Long going on over on Ravelry.  This is my first year participating.  It has been great fun joining with 293 other designers, and a community of knitters & crocheters in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group.

Today I’m interviewing a fellow designer, Justine Turner of Just Jussi Knitwear Design.  I grew to love her designs way back with her amazing Aviatrix hat, and more currently I’m in love with her Coop set of mitts, hat, cowls, and even a mason jar cozy!


KAN2 JustJussi

Just Jussi Coop Mitts and Mason Cozy Coop Set

KW: What is it about babies and children that inspires your designing passion?
JT: I design for babies and children because I have a lot of ideas that just don’t suit adults. I can be more flexible designing for littlies. The yarns can be fine, construction methods that won’t work on an adult due to drag can work fine on a baby.

Riverstone is a good example:

Just Jussi Riverstone

The yoke would stretch far too much on anyone over 10, but on a child it is cute and quick to knit. I have two other designs which people are always asking me to resize for adults – Aria and Cocteau – but they aren’t suitable for grown women’s body shapes, what looks cute on a child can often look frumpy on a grown up! There are so many amazing designers creating garments for adults, I step into that world occasionally with accessories but most of the ideas that jump out at me are for children. My husband and I raised five daughters, and they have delighted us with three grandchildren so far. I have always knitted for children, so it just feels like my niche.

KW: I love creative and unusual constructions.  What kind of unusual constructions are your favorites?
JT: I like construction methods that feel “clever” – projects that I just get a burst of joy from. That’s why I still love the Aviatrix after knitting so many of them! I don’t like making things more difficult than they should be, and I like to reduce seams where it is suitable. I am not a proponent of the “always seamless” philosophy though, as sometimes you need a seam to give structure to the garment and to carry weight.
I do like the “up and over” method, working the front, then adding sleeves, reducing sleeves, knitting the back then folding at the shoulders and seaming the sides. I have used that method in a few of the garments in my Garter stitch plain and simple set, where I have also used increases and decreases within the body of the knitting to create sleeves (4 Seasons) and a button up flap (Sailor) I just love details like these, they keep the knitting fun.

Just Jussi 4 Seasons

4 Seasons jacket

Just Jussi Sailor

 Sailor sweater


KW: As a teacher, what are your favorite topics to instruct?
JT: Teaching still scares me, so I teach what I know! My favourite is my Short rows class. Aviatrix opened the world of short rows up to me. I know 7 methods inside out and I love teaching them, often using the Aviatrix as a sampler. The students work a different method for each section and it gives them a good comparison. I have taught Designing for knitters, Finishing techniques, Knitting for beginners and Troubleshooting and Cables and Lace for beginners. I always have fun during the class but I’m a stress bunny beforehand.


Just Jussi Aviatrix

KW: When you are designing, what drives your creativity?  The yarn, something you see, special moments?
JT: I get most of my ideas while I am knitting, I think about different ways of doing things and the ideas just flow. I draw them in my design folder and describe the idea in as much detail as possible so that when I am ready to write a new pattern I can go through my folder and understand what past me was trying to say! I am more likely to design the garment first and then go and look for a suitable yarn rather than the other way around. That said, my stash is quite large and surrounds me in my studio. So it is definitely having a subconscious influence on me. I also use my experiences with my grandchildren to help me design garments that are actually going to be used. My latest series of short-sleeved tops were designed because my eldest granddaughter (she is 21 months old) always gets her cuffs grubby and wet, because she is so enthusiastic in her play. We don’t want to stifle her enjoyment and learning, but we also don’t want to spend hours laundering hand knits just because the cuffs are dirty. The short-sleeved over-tops mean that my daughter only has to change the (machine washable) fine knit merino undershirt that most Kiwi kids wear in winter. They are also great for our “four seasons in one day” weather.

Just Jussi Milse

KW: Your website has many wonderful tutorials.  I was especially excited by the Laundering Woollens page.  It made me want to get the supplies to make my own soap (in fact, I might just have done so).  How did you come up with this fab idea?
JT: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed them! I was what we now call a “crunchy Mum” I lived in a part of the country where attachment parenting was popular before it became mainstream (my kids are aged between 27 and 23) and I loved gardening, crafts and making as much as possible from scratch. One of my daughters had numerous allergies and asthma, so it was important for us to keep the number of chemicals to a minimum. These days we can buy products which are better for the environment and ourselves which is great, but making them yourself, even if only occasionally, is fun. I still grow all my own herbs and we have a veritable orchard of dwarf fruit trees in our suburban garden. When you have a new baby you want everything to be as nice and safe as possible, that’s why I like the idea of washing that new baby’s knits in homemade laundry soap. I think the most important thing about that tutorial is that it tells new parents that hand washing knits does not need to be a time consuming, difficult chore. My daughters and sons-in-law have all learnt this from me, and the tiny garments have survived well enough that they are ready for the next batch of babies.

KW: With the beautiful Waitakere Ranges so close, does this impact your design process? How does the weather and stunning views help/hinder your process?  and do you give Bed & Breakfast tours?  Please?

Just Jussi Waitakere picJT: I’m lucky to live where I do, the city centre is only a 20 minute drive away, but within 30 seconds  I can be on a track surrounded by cool, calm, green bush. I love the scent of the forest, the shade and the sound of native birds. It centres me so quickly and helps me to relax and think. We live in a valley, there are plenty of neighbors, but many are hidden by the trees so it feels a lot more rural than it is. My studio is on the ground floor of our home. It looks out onto a bed of gardenias and my vegetable gardens. The gardenias are just starting to flower now, so in a couple of weeks the scent will be amazing. Being so close to the bush means that there are always birds in the garden. There is a cheeky little fantail who dances on the fence every morning, and some big Tuis who are always fighting for territory. Their song is stunning and reminds me to go outside for a cup of tea in the sun every now and then to watch their aerial displays. Traveling has shown me just how lucky I am to live in this green oasis, and journeying knitters are more than welcome to visit! Bed and breakfast may be difficult though, although our kids have left home and my husband and I have claimed their rooms as our studio/ offices, there always seems to be at least one friend or family member sleeping in our guest room…though I’m eyeing that room up as my photography studio!

KW: What an awesome environment to live and create in! Thank you, Justine, for sharing a bit of your world with us today.

Just Jussi Coop set


Be sure to check out Justine’s website at,  on Pinterest as Just Jussi patterns, or look  for her amazing patterns on Ravelry at Just Jussi.




Feeling Pixie-ish?

Today is my turn on the Holla Knits Accessories 2014 Blog Tour.  I present to you…..

Embrace my Inner Pixie – a longish hat that features a Fair Isle lining that can fold up if desired, showing the pixie in you.

EMIP (8)2200 EMIP (11)2200 EMIP (12)2200 EMIP (10)2200 EMIP (9)2200 EMIP (7)2200 EMIP (4)2200

If you look closely you will see either a symbol for radioactivity or a Hyrulean tri-force (for you gamers out there).  It is knit in Manos del Uruguay Fino.  I can attest that the 70% extrafine merino wool and 30% silk are, indeed, luscious!  As a single ply yarn, it is also as remarkably strong as it is soft.  I enjoyed knitting my Pixie hat so much with it that I’ve cast-on a second hat.

The brim is double thick, but is not double-knit.  I use Judy’s Magic Cast-on to keep live stitches available when the brim is complete.  It is basically a tube that is folded and joined before the pointy top is worked.  To accent the Fair Isle portion, a multi-colored pom pom tops it off.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do, and always reflect the mischevious pixie in you.

NEXT STOP…..Angry Knits by Allison Jane (creator of one of the coolest hats, ever)

Nov 4: The Sweatshop of Love
Nov 5: Ruby Submarine
Nov 6: Knits in Class – Pattern giveaway
Nov 7: Karen Whooley

Nov 10: WeaverKnits – Interview with Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Company
Nov 11: Under the Red Umbrella – Cedar Glen Mitts kit giveaway
Nov 12: Patty Nance at the HK Blog – SEG: 2 Foliage Cowl WofA Bulky Blackberry Kits
Nov 13: Manos del Uruguay – Giveaway: Embrace Your Inner Pixie Kit
Nov 14: Neighborhood Fiber Company – Interview with Ann Weaver

Nov 17: KnittingKirigami – SEG: Embrace Your Inner Pixie KP Stroll Fingering Kit
Nov 18: Angry Knits – SEG: Wooly Mammoth Knit Picks Kit
Nov 19: Baah Yarn
Nov 20: Willow Yarns at the HK Blog – SEG: 2 Cedar Glen Mitts Daily kits
Nov 21: Lion Brand at the HK Blog – SEG: Foliage Cowl LB Kit

More ventures in Ventura..




Walking around Downtown Ventura…

Over at the shop (Anacapa Fine Yarns), we’re in the midst of 10th Anniversary preparations.  I’ve been taking pictures for part of a special project to celebrate, and while I can’t let you in on the secret just yet (more to follow in the next few weeks), here are some gems I found.  Some are right there for anyone to see, some are hidden gems that I discovered while looking for locations.  Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend….






WAV - old Law Bldg pic(800)




















WAV - Looking Up El Jardin(800)














WAV - Historic El Jardin Courtyard pic1(800)























WAV - the view from behind El Jardin pic(800)

Blood Moon Rising

This post has absolutely nothing to do with knitting.  We homeschool, and last night was a rare learning experience in the wild.  I hope you all saw last night’s lunar eclipse.  If not, you will have three more chances in the next year and a half.  Here’s what dear 12yo son and I saw last night:



I am super please with my Nikon P510!  No special lens, and just on the pre-set Night Landscape setting.  Best value for our budget!

What’s on Your Needles?

I hope you all got through the January Flu season unscathed….we didn’t.  However, now that everyone in the family is sans cough or fever, I’m back to the needles.  I knit.  a lot. like hours and hours EVERY day.  It takes many days of 102 degree fever to make me put down the needles.  Losing 10 days of knitting time made me knit furiously to catch up with deadlines, class samples, and projects in general.

Now that I’m in the rhythm again, I’d like to share what’s on my needles while I’m watching the Olympics.  Currently, I’m participating in the KAL for the Ambrose Chapel Capelet from the book, “Hitch: Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock.  Luise O’Neill is the designer.  This is a comforting wrap that begins at the neck and works down in a circle shape.  We were fortunate to have had it at the shop for a trunk show of Hitch! patterns.  It was very impressive and received much attention.  I’m making mine from Juniper Moon Farms Moonshine in the Seaside colorway:


I started last Thursday evening, and only got to knit on it at night while watching the Olympics.  Already, I’m on Row 81 out of 114.  I love the texture, and if it ever gets cold around here (83 degrees F expected by Wednesday, ugh!), I’ll be most glad to have it around my shoulders.

The pattern is clear, and easy to understand – just the kind of pattern I need while oohing and aahhing over the Women’s Slopestyle, or Team Skating competitions.   I’ve mostly knit lightweight shawls; this is my first worsted wt capelet.  I love the way the sample rested on my shoulders, and the Moonshine in this one will drape beautifully as well.


Here the cabled edges are worked as I go, and the textured center is a fun knit.


Up Next:

The KAL for Our Gal Midge will be starting March 1st and will run through May 1st.  I hope you will join me, and can start planning for your materials soon.  I will post links and more information next week.  In the meantime, I leave you with this question:  What are you knitting while watching (or not watching) the Olympics?  Please share in the comments section. Thanks.

edited to add:

BW cover pic

There is an awesome new fiction book by Larissa Brown (amazing designer) called Beautiful Wreck.  It is set in the future and the past – a time travel Viking Love Story for certain!  Larissa’s vivid writing style places you in the settings.  It is easy to see, smell, and picture yourself in both worlds.  Imagine a place where small patches of grass are novel, and rare; where “regular work attire” means everyone walks around in wardrobe like a Hollywood backlot.

Right now Cooperative Press has some benes for ordering the book on Amazon.  It’s too late for the discount, but until Valentine’s Day, you can still get a free copy of Lichen by Ms. Brown with purchase, AND if you review it and share (like I am right now), there is another bene  – Betta.  You’ll get codes for them to download in your Ravelry library.   Hurry, though, as these bonuses will only be available for a few days more.

What a deal!  Beautiful Wreck while I knit in the day, Olympics to knit by at night!

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