Friday, March 20, 2020

Sheltering in Place: a memory sampler KAL

A long time has passed since I last posted here, and many things have changed. But one thing that remains the same is the comfort of knitting.

I work at a major academic medical center in NYC, and I overheard a colleague talking about her work, laughing as she said "well we're not knitting!" Like knitting was some sort of waste of precious time. Seriously?  Chai Latte is appalled at her ignorance. Can't you tell he is staring her down?

As people begin to distance themselves socially, we find ourselves with time to think.  And time on our hands (to use our hands!)  I have been designing and knitting a sampler to honor my mom, and am finding it very cathartic.  Some of you know she died in 2019. Of course, that was before the pandemic. My knitting time has been curtailed, but the knitting remains a comfort. It occurs to me that it might also be comforting to you too. I am a nurse in New York City, so I am not sheltering in place right now. In fact, I am going to work most every day. But I suspect many people are social distancing, sheltering in place and in quarantine. And if you are not you should be and will be soon.*

I started this project as a memory piece. As some of you know, I lost my mother in 2019. She had a long fight with lung cancer, and the cancer finally won last January. Early in 2020 I began designing a memory sampler.  I started charting stitch patterns and thinking about memories with my mom. Each pattern began to take on a time or place I experienced with her. I cast-on and immersed myself in the feeling of each time and place, as I knit each pattern. The project is still evolving as I design and continue knitting the border and edging. The process has been both bitter and sweet and very peaceful for me.

Although this is designed around my memories, you can put your own feelings, memories or milestones in their place.  I will share just a little about the memories I knit into each section, along with some images that are there for me. But then you can instill your own meaning into each section. 
This project is perfect to mark special event: weddings, new babies, losses, major events, pandemics…
Pattern 1

Quick details:

The constructions is:

Cast-on using provisional cast-on.

Work flat back and forth for a rectangle that uses 9 different patterns.

Pick-up all around and work a circular border.

Work edging back and forth, binding off as you go.


-1640 yards of lace-weight yarn (if you do all the huge nupps.) I am using white. I suggest a solid or semi solid.  You might make a gradient work.  You can also use whatever you like because you can do whatever you want.

-If you do smaller nupps you will use less yarn.

-If you replace the nupps with beads you will use even less yarn.

-Did I mention nupps?

Each 9 stitch nupp takes about 7” of yarn.  There are about 1364 nupps without the border. This means if you replace nupps with beads you will use about 250 fewer yards of yarn.
You can use one color for the center and another one for the border and even a third for the edging. I do not have exact yardages for you right now.

-Appropriate size (for your yarn) 40” circular knitting needle.

-Waste yarn for cast-on.

-Yarn snips, yarn needle, stitch markers, the usual suspects…

I am opening the Ravelry project page up as this post goes live.  The pattern will be posted in weekly installments. Read the details and access the pattern here:
You can follow the chat at my
or Ravelry forum:

Knit on through adversity,


*Are you freaking out? Don’t. But do access evidence based information. Here are some good links:

COVID-19 links

-New York City Department of Health

Healthcare Provider Page

General Information Page

-CROI Coronavirus update: video of Coronavirus specific presentations

Zunyou, WU, Chinese CDC
COVID-19 update from China
John Brooks, US CDC
Global epidemiology and prevention of COVID
Ralph Baric, virologist
Virology of Coronaviruses
Anthony Fauci, NIAID
Research Response
Dr. Baric
Questions and Answers


-New York Times

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Les Sylphides

On June 14th 2017, Knitpicks and Crafts Americana is publishing a new collection, called Luxurious Lace! And guess what??  One of my designs is included.  The piece as shown is a full circle, but the pattern includes directions for 1/2, 3/4 and full circle options.  This is knit in Knit Picks Luminance, which is 100% silk lace weight decadence. 

I hope to get some photos of the other options up on my Ravelry page soon, and I will add links here, but for now here are the "schematics" of the 1/2 and 3/4 versions.

3/4 after blocking

1/2 while blocking

So we have beads, nupps, leaves and mesh.  What more can a lace knitter want?  A copy of the new book, you say?  I will be doing a book giveaway (thank you Knitpicks!) and all you have to do it like and share my facebook post about Les Sylphides, on June 14th.  Then you will be entered in my random drawing, with a winner posted on July 4th.  I will be halfway across the globe so my Facebook post might be a few hours later in the day.  Please be patient!  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rainbow Dye Party!!

This project was inspired by the gift of some food coloring and a skein of white yarn.  Thank you Mary Rose!  When my daughter was young we dyed in the kitchen using Kool-Aid all the time.  It was easy and safe and we didn’t need special pots. We never tried food coloring before, but were eager to, as my friend Sheila does the most amazing gradients and transitional colorways using them!  If you want to see some check it out:

So when my daughter was home over the holidays we had a dye party in the kitchen.  Easy, safe and so much fun!  Food coloring works like acid dyes, so this recipe will work for any protein fiber.  That means a fiber that comes from an animal; wool, cashmere, alpaca, silk, angora, mohair.  Plant fibers (cotton, linen) will not work well with this type of dye.

This is all the Dye you Need!

1 skein KnitPicks Stroll, fingering weight; 75% superwash Merino, 25% nylon; 462 yards/100 grams.

1 set of 4 food coloring (4 x 0.3 ounce bottles) in Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow.

9 ball jars, at least 600ml each.

One canning pot or other large pot to hold all jars, with pot cover on.

Disposable chop sticks or stirrers you do not mind getting color on.

Niddy noddy and waste yarn

Waste yarn to tie skeins.


US 4 (3.5mm) needles: 10” straights are good (if you are making the simple scarf.)

This shows the yarn skeins and ready

Almost Finished in the Dye Bath

Skeins Hanging to Dry

Once the skein(s) is/are really dry, you can wind it/them into a ball(s) for easy knitting.  Try this easy scarf, which will give you a garter mesh with a bias, with long color blocks of each color in sequence. 

Easy scarf not your thing?  Pick any project you love that wants to be a rainbow!  Or try the Lichen Moebius, available through my Ravelry Shop:

This is Lichen, Full Rainbow Treatment!!

Get the full Dye Party Directions along with a pattern for a simple scarf for FREE at my Ravelry pattern shop.  There is a coupon code in the free file for a discount on the Lichen Moebius!

Friday, June 10, 2016

New Heights in Lace Knitting has Landed...

And is available all over the place!  You can get it through Amazon as both a tangible, page turning book and also electronically:

You can also get it through Interweave as a book or download!  And they are having a sale right now, so everything is less $$!

Super excited!!!  I should be having some book signing coming and will share once I have dates.  Until then, knit on!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

New Heights in Lace Knitting!!!

My new book if finally here!  Well, almost...  The book should be ready to ship in early June.  But I just found out it is available to pre-order now!!!  I am working on adding the book and projects to Ravelry, and here is that link to the book with projects added to date. As I get photographs from the publisher I will add them to each project.   In the mean time I have one project that never made it into the new book, called Machu Picchu Shoulder Wrap.  A hat using the same lace patterning is in the book, but this wrap got left out!  I am adding the wrap to my Ravelry pattern shop and am offering that AS A GIFT to anyone who pre-orders New Heights in Lace Knitting from this page.  All you have to do is use the link below to order and email me* (or post to my Ravelry forum) a screen shot of your pre-order and I will send you a coupon code for the Machu Picchu Shoulder Wrap pattern using your email address or Ravelry ID.  And check out the "look inside" feature which is active and shows a few of the 17 projects the book includes! *

And if you still do not have a copy of my first book please grab it!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Full Moon!

This design was inspired by the Year of the Sheep.  This lunar New Year is represented by the color green, to symbolize new wood.  As we move from snow storm to snow storm in New York this winter, I find myself longing for those fresh, green branches that tell me springtime is on the way. What better way to pull ourselves out of the snow but with a project that almost smells like spring!  I selected a bright, fresh green yarn and beads with gold flashes.  You might choose a green, gold, brown or anything else that pleases you.  The design is a full circle with 12 wedges to invoke a zodiac mandala, if you will.  The lace work is organic and reminiscent of fresh leaves or sitting in the shade of a willow tree in full leaf.

Interested in joining a group project?  Enjoy a knitting mystery that requires some real lace knitting skills?  Come on over to Ravelry and check it out!  Meow...

Sunday, September 14, 2014


As many of you know, I have a new video out.  It is called Knitting New Vintage Lace.  Using two projects I designed specifically for the video, we will explore the techniques used in these projects and also in many of the projects in my new book, New Vintage Lace.  Although the video is a nice technique source for the projects in the book, you do not need to have one to enjoy the other!  You can read a little more about the video AND order either a DVD or download through Interweave.

I will be hosting a KAL and technique discussion at my Yahoo Group, BadCatDesigns.  You can request group membership here.  Be sure you include something about yourself in the comment field!
We will use the group to discuss techniques and share some supplemental files.  If you watch the video you might notice some swatches and small doilies that I use to demonstrate specific techniques. We will be playing with some of those charts at the Yahoo Group.  Over on Ravelry I host a forum and we can use that forum for chat about the projects and techniques.  You can join that forum here!

What you will need
The new Interweave video, Knitting New Vintage Lace
The video includes an instructional video covering most of the techniques we will use, plus PDF files for two full projects; the Ripple Doily and the Ripple Shawlette.  
The Game Plan
We will review techniques and chat about various options for center starts, working in the round on small needles, going from a doily to a shawl design, tab starts, ideas for the top edge of your shawl, bind-off and more!  In the video you will see quite a few small “swatches” and I will share the charts for these so you can practice techniques and make some pretty, little doilies!  Then we will embark on the Ripple Projects at your own pace.
Materials for Project One: Ripple Doily
#10 crochet cotton (200-300 yards.)  I used Aunt Lydia’s color #0995 (Ocean.)  Any cotton crochet thread will work well, and if you use one that is heavier get a little more and choose a larger needle and beads size, to work well with your thread choice.
US 1 (2.25mm) knitting needles: a set of double-point needles and a 16 inch circular (or size for gauge)
                US 14 (0.75mm) and US 0 (3.25mm) steel crochet hooks
                8/0 Japanese seed beads to match your thread (you will need 84 of them.)
Gauge: 32 stitches and 48 rows in 2 inches, in pattern
Materials for Project Two: Ripple Shawlette
Sock weight yarn (462 yards/100 grams.)  I used Noro Taiyo Sock Yarn in color #3.  Any sock weight or hand-spun yarn will work.  Long color changes are ideal.  You could use several colors to get the same effect.  This would be a fun project for handspun yarns in assorted colors (maybe spun from fiber samples you have collected.) 
US 4 (3.5mm) knitting needles: 32 inch circular (or size for gauge)
US 14 (0.75mm) and US 0 (3.25mm) steel crochet hooks
                5/0 or 6/0 Japanese seed beads to match your thread (you will need 120 of them.)
Gauge: 24 stitches and 28 rows to 4 inches, in pattern

How are we going to do it? 
We will open the BadCatDesigns Yahoo group for on-topic discussion and supplemental file sharing.  You will have to join the Yahoo group if you want access to any files that I share. You have to join Yahoo to become a member, which is free.  

We will also use my Ravelry forum for both on-topic discussions and socializing.  You have to be a Ravlery member to join, which is free.  The link to join Ravelry is below.  Once you join Ravelry,  follow the second link to the new forum.

Joining the KAL is free and open to everyone, but you will need the pattern files (they are PDFs) included with the video to fully participate.  The pattern files are ONLY available with the video.

You will also need a current version of Adobe Reader (or another PDF reader of your choice.)  These are free and available on-line.  Here is the link to download Adobe Reader.

Things to Think About

Knitters of all levels are welcome but the techniques are not beginning techniques, so be prepared to have fun learning new techniques and practicing old ones.  I will provide plenty of step-by-step, printed directions to complement the video, along with fun practice projects and who know what else! The practice pieces use heavier weight cotton yarns.  I will share two versions of the Shawlette.  One is the piece shown in the video, knit using the suggested Noro yarn and the second is one I made using various colors of spindle-spun yarn, that I spun and knit during my trip to Colorado to film the video.  I would be happy to chat about spinning for lace projects when we discuss materials and techniques.  Please join us!  I have a PDF with all the above information plus some fine print with group rules.  Please feel free to email me requesting a copy.  Feel free to leave comments here, but if you want a reply be sure you are logged in and include your email address, or I can't reply:)

Photo credit goes to Joe Hancock and Interweave!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

One Skein Projects: New Vintage Lace Special and New Designs Posted!

With summer winding down, hopefully some of you are getting ready for a little vacation before returning to school and work.  I have a few ideas for your travel knitting, each a one skein project.  There is a nice assortment, with some (like Nereid) requiring more concentration than others (like Chiaroscuro.)  Not planning any travel?  These are also great for gift-giving, so jump-start your holiday knitting!

Nereid, one of the one-skein projects from my book, New Vintage Lace, is available right now as a kit, through Interweave.  It comes with the book and a skein of the yarn I used for this project.  They offer a few color options, including the color shown above, plus two other lovely colors.  Just thought I would share!
Nereid Knitted Lace Shawl Kits

Interweave is also having a really special 30% off, beginning Monday, 8/11/14, in case there are other books or goodies in your fantasy shopping-cart!
Save 30% at Interweave with Offer Code THANKS30

I also have a few new designs to share, now available in my Ravelry pattern shop.  All three are one-skein projects.  Each is perfect for travel knitting and also make perfect gifts.

1) The first new design is the Chiaroscuro Scarf, which is very simple to make and ideal travel knitting.

The yarn is Risoni, from The Loom, and I just loved working with it.  Because the yarn has so much texture and silky-sheen, keeping it simple is key.  The fabric has amazing sheen and drape.

 But of course not totally simple!  Beads AND silk always work well together, so I could not resist...

2) The second new design is Rainbow Mitts.  

This design uses one skein of Mini Mochi Yarn, from Crystal Palace.  If you want to make the pair match you will need a second skein, but I suggest that in the spirit of diversity, please feel free to allow them to be different…These were a special request, to mark Boston Pride. They are worked in the round on double-point needles, with lace and cables.  The pattern has loads of stretch and will fit most adult hands.  They are fun to work, offer a little challenger, and are perfect travel knitting.

3) The third new design is my Isle of Skye Ribbon Cowl.
This is also a one skein project, using Jade Sapphire Brigadoon. It is worked in the round using a simple diagonal lace stitch.  Ribbons are woven through the eyelets created by the lace after it is blocked. Beads are threaded on the ribbons ends.  It can be worn several ways, and is a fun combination of classic and modern. Works up quickly and perfect for gift-giving!  For a more simple look, omit the ribbons and beads.

Finally, a little plug for my up-coming video.  I just accidentally found this floating out there on YouTube. Did I ever tell all of you that I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York?  No??  I am afraid that this will leave very little doubt about that...I will let you all know when the full video is available:)  

I will be back next week with another new design!  Something for two skeins.  Until then, knit on!