black friday – cyber monday sale!

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Happy Holidays, everyone!

Hope you all had an enjoyable, restful, and food-filled Thanksgiving yesterday. This weekend marks the beginning of the holiday season (at least to me), so what better way to celebrate than to have a pattern sale?

And it’s not just any pattern sale: I’m one of many, many designers participating in the knitting/crochet/craft sales promoted all weekend long by the MarlyBird website. (Check out that list – it’s HUUUUUGE.) With so many wonderful vendors from throughout the crafting world participating, you’re sure to find a sale that catches your fancy – all while supporting independent designers from around the world!

For my part, get 20% off all my self-published patterns from now until midnight on Monday December 1st with the coupon code: MWD.

Here are a couple of my own designs that I’d recommend for quick holiday knitting, either for yourself or for the many recipients on your gift knitting list:

My Lakeview Hat, which has become my own favorite item to throw on when I have to walk the dog, get the mail, go to the grocery store, etc…

My Integral Shawl, which is oversized and ultra-cozy, thanks to the aran-weight gauge and rich stitch texture.

And if you’ve got a bit more time, go for my Stomping Grounds Pullover. It’s just the ticket for cozy knitting: a textured sweater worked all in one piece in the softest DK tweed yarn!

So get those computers, get those knitting needles, and get shopping!
xoxo Danielle

gift-a-long

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Howdy, all!

I know that Thanksgiving still hasn’t arrived (and it’s a holiday that always deserves its due *cough pumpkin pie cough*), but if you’re a crafter, the December holiday crunch has already begun. It’s not just that your handmade items need to be finished by the holidays, it’s that you have to choose the project far enough in advance to actually make it in time, so November is the perfect time to start!

What’s a crafter to do? Fear not: it’s the Ravelry Gift-A-Long to the rescue! While I’m not participating this year, it’s still a great opportunity to spread the word of this fantastic program that supports independent knitting and crochet designers.

So what is the Gift-A-Long, anyway? From Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm US EST, tons of indie designers will be discounting many of their patterns a generous 25% for this event. Just use the coupon code: giftalong2014.

There are almost THREE HUNDRED designers participating in this year’s event, and you can scroll through their work and their offerings on THIS Ravelry thread (and you can find a more condensed, alphabetized list here). You are absolutely certain to find at least a couple of patterns that scream “knit/crochet me now!” for at least a couple of gift recipients on your list.

And if you’re up for it, feel free to join the Ravelry group that hosts the gift-a-long, where there will be lots of conversation, games, and even prizes as you work through your holiday crafting.

Enjoy and happy early holidays!
xoxo Danielle

for avery

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Soooo….this may all sound/read like déjà vu, but remember that post I did a couple of months back about a new sweater design for my beautiful niece, Grace? Well, the pattern still hasn’t been released yet (I know, I know, somebody needs to grade/size and edit it….or, you know, write it down….ahem). And now I have the companion sweater for my other gorgeous niece completed and ready to show off as well!

Here is Avery’s sweater, shown in a 6-9 month size, before I shipped it off to her a few weeks ago:

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Knit in the deliciousness that is Madelinetosh’s 100% merino Tosh DK, this little garment is a traditional yoke-shaped sweater, just like Grace’s sweater, and is knit from the bottom up. Unlike Grace’s classic cardigan, however, Avery’s sweater is a cozy, casual pullover. The vivid blue yarn has the fabulous name of “Button Jar Blue,” which perfectly suits Avery’s complexion, while the neutral yarn in the yoke is “Paper” (for which you need very little yardage, as you might imagine)!

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The body is knit simply in stockinette with garter stitch cuffs for ease and speed of knitting. The bottom hem is split for ease of wearing and movement on a wee body! I also added in a bit of colorwork along the hem just to keep things interesting.

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But the majority of the color work is found in the yoke once the sleeves are joined to the body. I tinkered with many motifs before designing this simple, graphic pattern during one particularly fun session with some knitter’s graph paper. Part of my motivation was a unisex motif appropriate for little boys and girls alike, and I was also inspired to sketch something that would echo the mountainous terrain near where Avery lives. I love how it turned out!

As you can also see from the pictures (and as with Grace’s sweater), Avery’s pullover features a nice wide neck for comfort and is generously sized with positive ease to accommodate lots of growing and wear. But the neck has a fun little surprise on the back, too:

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A single button placket! I thought this would be a useful feature for parents who are trying to pull a pullover on over a baby’s head, to give just a bit more room for that skull when the neck is unbuttoned ;) (I also put the button on the back to eliminate any choking hazard. I’d strongly recommend a flat or flat-ish button for this job, so that it’s not irritating for the baby to lie on.) The placket is knit as part of the collar, so there’s no need to sew or tack it down later during the finishing; I love streamlining those steps wherever possible! And you know I don’t even have to say it at this point: of course that button was obtained from the local Joann’s Fabrics with my button partner-in-crime, my mom.

With both nieces’ designs behind me, I can say that I really enjoyed jumping into yoked sweater design over the past six months. I’m toying with the idea of releasing the patterns together as an e-book, but making them available individually as well. Time will tell…..

Happy Knitting and Happy (early) Halloween!
xoxo Danielle

annual rhinebeck sale!

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If you’re a crafter, this might just be the most wonderful time of the year: Rhinebeck weekend again already! To celebrate, how about a pattern sale?

From now until midnight EDT on Monday 10/20/14, get 20% off ALL Makewise Designs patterns! Just use the coupon code rhinebeck when you check out!

Happy knitting and Happy Rhinebeck! :)

kung fu knits, by elizabeth green musselman

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Happy Friday, all!

I’ve got another treat for you as we all prepare to enjoy this long weekend: a sneak peek at Kung Fu Knits, an animated knitting adventure for kids and adults alike, written by the inestimable Elizabeth Green Musselman!

(all images copyright of, and courtesy of, Elizabeth)

(Some of you may recall that Elizabeth and I have been working together for some time, as Elizabeth was instrumental in the design of my logo. If you’ve purchased or downloaded one of my designs recently, you’ll also notice that I have a new pattern template/layout, and some eagle-eyed technical editing, which is also down to Elizabeth’s talents. I can not recommend Elizabeth’s skills highly enough to anyone who might be looking for this type of graphic design or editing work, and I consider myself very lucky to also count her as a witty, intelligent, and collaborative friend!)

So without further ado, let’s check out her new book, which is unique on the knitting scene. Kung Fu Knits tells the tale of a young boy who sports a variety of knitwear, proudly and ingeniously knit for him by his mother, to help him combat both the cold weather outside and any monsters that pop up along the way. Not only is KFK an animated book filled with bright colors and bold imagery that will appeal to young readers, but it’s also a pattern book with instructions to make each of the knitted pieces that feature in the book! That’s probably my favorite part of the book – the way it inspires both children and adults to engage in a burst of creativity.

So where did Elizabeth come up with the idea for Kung Fu Knits? Luckily for us, she answers this question and more in the chat I’ve posted below. And trust me – you won’t want to miss the surprises at the end ;)

Makewise Designs: Inquiring minds really want to know – what made you think of combining knitting and kung fu in the first place?!?

Elizabeth Green Musselman I wanted to tell an illustrated story about knitting that would appeal to school-aged boys, but that wouldn’t tread on any trademarked toes. My son [Liam] has been studying kung fu for several years, and it dawned on me one day what a perfect theme it was for a kids’ knitting book. The kung fu uniform makes a great costume, something many kids would be more likely to wear than an Aran pullover or snow pants … not to mention that this book’s knitted pants on their own make super-comfy pajama wear. And unlike karate, the martial art of kung fu involves weapons, so that opened up all kinds of great toy possibilities: nunchuks! throwing stars!

MWD: It’s so great to see patterns for boys and better yet, that your son Liam is modeling them! Was Liam involved in the process for KFK and if so, how? What was the best (and most unexpected) part about seeing the project through his eyes?

EGM: Liam always has a huge influence on my design process. He’s such a great reality check. On the one hand, if I’m getting too fancy, he’ll bring me back down to earth. On the other hand, he reminds me every day that boys are not always predictable. You really can’t pigeonhole them, so I wanted to design a collection that let their fertile imaginations run wild.

I love how seriously my son takes the design process. He will talk with me at length about what he likes and what he doesn’t. And when I asked him to do kung fu moves for the camera at the photo shoot, he really turned up the drama! It was all I could do to keep from chuckling while I was holding the camera.

MWD: How did you connect with your illustrator and what was that creative process like? Did you always know that you wanted the book to have a comic book look and feel?

EGM: Though it’s not obvious from the illustrator’s bio at the end of the book, Ben Bender is my son’s kung fu teacher! I had been thinking about a comic book format for a while, and when I found out Ben did comic illustration, I realized I had hit the jackpot. He knows what kung fu really looks like—I did have to give him a little coaching on what knitting really looks like, though—ha ha.

MWD: The great (and totally unique) thing about your book is that it’s not just for knitters and not just for kids; there are plenty of elements to please both camps here! How do you envision knitters and children alike enjoying your book?

EGM: Here’s what I really hope will happen: that a kid and a knitting adult will read through this book together, fall in love with the story, and then decide between them which patterns they want to make. (Listen to episode 53 of the Down Cellar Studio podcast for a perfect example of this dialogue—the host recorded her nieces and nephew begging her to read it again and knit all the things!) I would love it even more if kids this age knit these projects for themselves. Finally, I intended the comic book story to work on an adult level, too. The whole premise of the book is that it’s painfully hard sometimes to get boys to wear knits—it’s a plot that too many of us are familiar with. And this book, I hope, bridges some of that gap between what we want to knit and what kids want to wear.

MWD: How did you go about designing the pieces that accompany the story in KFK? Did some real-life kung fu garments come in handy?

EGM: Absolutely! I modeled both the garments and the toys directly off of my son’s kung-fu gear—right down to the gusseted pant legs. I wanted the pieces to look as authentic as possible while still having a big dose of fantasy. The backpack is the one piece that isn’t directly modeled on kung fu stuff, but it’s the ideal cool bag for holding all kinds of adventure gear.

MWD: Do you have a favorite design from the book? Where would you recommend that beginning knitters start with a project?

EGM: I know that designers usually say that this question is like making one choose a favorite child, but I’m not going to be that person. I love the nunchuks the best. They’re a fast, easy, and fun project to knit, and they’re even more fun to play with. I designed them to be nigh-indestructible. Believe me, there were several failed prototypes before this version won the day.

Thank you, Elizabeth!

And now that surprise I promised you: Leave a comment on this blog post by Thursday, October 16th and I’ll randomly choose one person to win a digital copy of Kung Fu Knits!

But wait, there’s more! From now until the end of November, the coupon code kfklaunch will earn you 15% off ALL of Elizabeth’s self-published patterns! Elizabeth is well known in the knitting world for her wearable, fun pieces especially designed for men and boys – check out her portfolio and be prepared to download!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into this fabulous book, and if you’d like to follow along with the Kung Fu Knits book tour, or purchase your own copy, you can learn more below! Happy long weekend!

xoxo Danielle

22 September | Mixed Martial Arts & Crafts blog
24 September | Fibretown podcast
28 September | Must Stash podcast
29 September | Through the Back Loops blog
2 October | Through the Looking Glass blog
5 October | The Knitgirllls podcast
15 October | Sunset Cat Designs blog
17 October | Joeli’s Kitchen podcast
22 October | Slate Falls Press blog
3 November | Wattsolak blog

Other useful information:

Pricing:
Digital download: $9.95
Paperback: $15.95 (comes with the digital download if purchased through Cooperative Press)

Where available:
Currently available on the Cooperative Press website and on Ravelry (as digital download only)

Intellectual Property for Indies

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Good morning, all!

A quick post to share today: my podcast on intellectual property issues for independent designers/yarnies/crafters with Marie Segares of the Creative Yarn Entrepeneur is now live and available for listening!

It was a great pleasure in the past to be interviewed by Marie as part of her Underground Crafter blog series.  Marie has just begun this recent podcast venture, which is specifically geared toward the owners of indie yarn craft businesses who are looking to generate ideas for launching, managing, and evolving those businesses, and I was thrilled to collaborate with her on this most recent episode.

We spend the episode chatting about general intellectual property issues that might arise in the yarn business, from how to read (and negotiate) your design contract, to what copyright issues you should be aware of and how to generally adopt an intellectual property mindset to the benefit of your business!

I hope that you enjoy our chat and learn from it as well – the Creative Yarn Entrepeneur is a wonderful series chock full of education and it’s an essential new resource to have in our industry!

xoxo Danielle

holla knits fall/winter 2014 collection

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Updated on 9/25/14: The contest has closed and congratulations to Gussek – you’re the winner of the pattern giveaway! I’ll be emailing you so you can choose the pattern of your choice from the recent collection – happy knitting!
Danielle

Hello, everyone! I’ve got a special treat for you today: a peek at the Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2014 Collection and an interview with the founder/editor of Holla Knits, Allyson Dykhuizen!

Holla Knits is a website dedicated to bringing knitters and crocheters fresh, modern designs that you won’t find anywhere else. Each year, Allyson curates multiple collections centered around themes like the seasons, accessories, and home accents. Released this month, the Fall/Winter 2014 Collection features six unique garments from Allyson and five other talented designers.

One of my very favorite things about Holla Knits is that Allyson always shows a design in two different yarns/colorways (often using independent dyers as well as established commercial companies) and also photographs the designs on a variety of body types. This approach makes it that much easier to envision each design in a different light – brilliant! Here’s just one example from the current collection: the Geo Delight sweater by Teresa Gregorio. The first two photos below showcase this cardigan on one model, with a lace and color work surprise on the back, in Knit Picks’ yarn:

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But Allyson also showcases the same design on another model in yarn from Mountain Colors, giving you plenty of inspiration as you plan your own version:

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So without further ado, let’s get down to that interview that I promised you!

Makewise Designs: In general, what was your inspiration for this collection? An image? A location? A memory?

Allyson Dykhuizen: The Fall/Winter Collection inspirations are always the easiest ones to put together because fall is the best time to be a knitter! We start getting ready for fall when it’s still 90 degrees. This collection came together around unusual construction techniques more than anything, which is something I love as a knitter.

MWD: What is the message/feeling that you’re hoping to convey with this season’s collection?

AD: Comfy cozy knits with big visual impact. These are all sweaters you can wrap yourself in but not that you’ll be able to hide in. They’re all very bold and fun, and so cozy you’ll reach for them again and again.

MWD: Tell us about some of the more unusual techniques/details featured in the collection. To me, Holla Knits always includes garments with a real twist – something you won’t find anywhere else. Which garment(s) best reflect that?

AD: I think there are 3 real knockouts in this collection! Cape Vertigo by Leah Coccari-Swift (shown below in yarns from Knit Picks and Berrocco, respectively) is a big stranded cape knit in the round and steeked. I love capes because they make it ok to wear a blanket around outside. And the stranded colorwork repeat is super unique. I really love everything about this cape!

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AD: Another standout is Axial Cardigan by Kirsten Singer (shown below in Knit Picks and Rowan yarns, respectively), which starts at the center back and works out in a big cable chart in the round. Which is a hell of a way to start a cardigan! I love that it’s a cozy cardigan in the front and a super cable extravaganza in the back.

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AD: The third is Windowpane Sweater by Boadicea Bonnerts (shown below in Dye for Wool and Knit Picks yarns, respectively). It’s an ease-y pullover with big block windowpanes throughout created with stripes and vertical crocheted details. It’s knit from the bottom up, and there is short row bust and elbow shaping, tons of wrap and turns! It’s crazy. I had so much fun knitting the sweater and I can’t wait to wear it all the time this fall.

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MWD: For a beginning knitter or someone new to Holla Knits, which design from this collection would you recommend that they start with?

AD: Probably mine! Velma by Allyson Dykhuizen (shown below in Knit Picks and Knits in Class yarns, respectively) is probably the most tame sweater in the collection, which is funny because my design is usually the most out there! This one has lots of Holla Knit-worthy elements, like unusual construction and creative texture placement, but in a very wearable package. It starts from working a center panel, then stitches are picked up on either side and the body is finished by knitting vertically. Fun right?

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MWD: Do you have a favorite design from the collection, and why?

AD: I really love them all! Every time I put a collection together I really fall in love with every design while I’m tech editing and knitting them. My favorite FO is probably Cape Vertigo because it’s so unique and there really is nothing else like it out there. My favorite process knit is probably Windowpane Sweater because it had so many fun knitting techniques so it really kept me on my toes as a knitter, and I love that.

MWD: I LOVE the Beech Street Vest by Andrea Sanchez (shown below in Anzula and Knit Picks yarns, respectively) – it’s brilliant and totally wearable, not to mention reversible! What are some of the skills that a knitter needs who wants to attempt this project?

AD: Oh I love it, too. You don’t see many brioche garments, and this one is an absolute standout. I think this is a very doable project for a beginner knitter with some youtube skills. This was my first foray into brioche knitting and it took me a couple practice swatches to get the hang of it. I also had to practice tubular bind off and cast on because trying to do it on the vest. And I found those how to videos on youtube as well! So as long as you’ve got the patience to be able to search the internet for stuff you don’t understand, dig in! It’s a very rewarding knit.

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MWD: Thank you, Allyson!

And now, the best news of all – you can win an electronic copy of any one of the patterns featured above! Just leave a comment on this post by midnight, Eastern time on Wednesday, September 24th, and I’ll select a winner randomly from the comments. (So be sure to leave your email address!)

What else can I say – get out there and celebrate the season with this gorgeous collection of new knitting!
xoxo Danielle

PS: Be sure to follow along with the Holla Knits blog tour to learn all about each of these lovely designs (and enter for more chances to win along the way) – the tour schedule is below:

Sept 8: Launch
Sept 9: The Sweatshop of Love
Sept 10: Klever Knits
Sept 11: Berroco
Sept 12: Canary Knits
Sept 15: Mountain Colors Facebook Page
Sept 16: Life on Laffer
Sept 17: Knits in Class
Sept 18: Makewise Designs
Sept 19: Anzula

Sept 22: Ruby Submarine
Sept 23: BoKnits
Sept 24: Under the Red Umbrella
Sept 25: DoogKnits
Sept 26: Cosmos and Cashmere

stomping grounds pullover, take two

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Hi all,

Just a quick note to let you know that my Stomping Grounds Pullover, originally designed for Knit Picks’ City Tweed 2013 Collection, is now also available for purchase here at Makewise Designs!

(images courtesy of Knit Picks)

To learn more about the pattern and/or to purchase it, you can either click here or head on over to the Ravelry page here.

To learn more about the design when it was originally released last year, you can check out my blog post here.

And of course, the pattern will always be available through Knit Picks’ website as well!

Enjoy!
xoxo Danielle

for grace

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Remember that post I did a couple of months back about a new sweater design for one of my beautiful new nieces? Well, the pattern isn’t quite ready for release yet (there’s still the small matter of sizing it and getting it edited…oops!), but at least I have some photographs ready to share!

Here is the wee cardi I designed for Grace, shown in a 6-9 month size:

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Knit in the delicious merino/cashmere Madelinetosh Pashmina blend, this little garment is a traditional yoke-shaped sweater, knit in one piece from the bottom up.

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The bodice is knit in daisy stitch, which gives the cardigan a classic texture that is warm and also lies beautifully flat.

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The yoke and sleeves are knit in regular stockinette stitch and edged in garter stitch for simplicity and to show off the variegation of the chosen yarn. As you can see from the picture directly above, the sweater features a nice wide neck for comfort and is generously sized with positive ease to accommodate lots of growing (and hopefully, lots of wear)!

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The buttonband is also garter stitch, and the cardigan is finished with three sweet buttons that allow the sweater to close at the top while keeping the bottom open for maximum movement. The matching buttons were procured after another successful excursion to the local Joann’s Fabrics with my button partner-in-crime, my mom.

(The eagle-eyed among you will also notice that the buttons and buttonband are technically switched or “backwards” for a girl’s garment. I intentionally made this switch to accommodate Grace’s right-handed parents who will be dressing her while she wears 6-9 month clothing :) The pattern will feature instructions for both options, of course!)

I loved working on this design, not least because it gave me a chance to experiment with yoked sweaters for the first time. I’ve got the next yoked sweater design underway for my second gorgeous new niece, and I’ll be certain to share more about that process as well as the pattern releases for both!

Happy Knitting! (And a happy holiday weekend!)
xoxo Danielle

bee stitch cardigan

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It may still feel like Summer and look like Summer outside (and the calendar technically says it’s still Summer), but intrepid knitters are already on the lookout for their Autumn knitting projects. That’s where the Autumn issue of Interweave Knits comes in, and I was thrilled to have my Bee Stitch Cardigan included in its pages!

I can still clearly recall my inspiration for this one: a cozy, simple sweater that’s big on texture. At first glance, the Bee Stitch Cardigan might not appear especially textured, but wait until you get closer:

The sleeves are worked in a traditional, close-fitting rib to give a more modern fit to the sweater, while the body is worked in bee stitch (hence the name of the cardigan…) Bee stitch is a type of brioche knitting, in which you knit into the row below on the right side of the work to create a dense, lushly textured fabric.

For ease of knitting and comfort in wearing, the cardigan is knit in one piece from the top down and features raglan shaping and buttonholes worked into the body. There is no waist shaping, so the body of the cardigan is sized to easily allow you to wear your favorite shirt underneath as shown in the pictures here. (And the traditional crew neck shaping also helps show off that shirt, too). The body is edged in I-cord for additional texture, and I even created a faux sort of “seam” on the sides of the body as a fun detail.

The sample shown in these pictures was knit with Swans Island Organic Washable DK yarn, which I can not rave about enough. This is a FABULOUS yarn, and you will not regret choosing it for any project! It’s a 100% merino yarn made using an Eco-wash process, which renders it washable in a gentle fashion. It feels like butter as you knit with it, and the resulting fabric is both lofty and cushy at the same time. (Just FYI: this particular cardigan requires more yarn than usual, as the brioche-style knitting and ribbed sleeves consume more yarn than standard knit/purl textures.) The color depicted here is a lovely green-blue-teal appropriately named “verdigris.” I could, however, easily see this cardigan knit up in a timeless camel or off-white colorway to become a three-season wardrobe staple.

I hope you enjoy this latest design! It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to work with the folks at Interweave, and this time was no exception. If you’re picking up this latest issue, I’d also highly recommend Ashley Rao’s Ropemaker Pullover (a gorgeous study in cables and pockets) and Ramona Gaynor’s colorful Redfern Cardigan, shown on this issue’s cover!

Happy Autumn Knitting!
xoxo Danielle

PS: All images appear courtesy of, and with thanks to, Interweave Knits.
PPS: Did I mention that, of course, I found five buttons that matched this yarn perfectly at Tender Buttons in NYC? As usual, they’re the best!

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