fika mitts

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Here’s a little side-by-side photo fun. On the left is a picture I took yesterday, on Easter. On the right is a picture I took this morning, the day after Easter.

On the downside: that’s right, it’s still snowing! In April!

On the upside, it’s snowing in April (even though it’s melting really fast)! So it’s still knitting weather, which is a perfect introduction to my newest knitting pattern, the Fika Mitts:

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(Ok, admit it, you love the mitts but you want a closer look at that maple donut. I do too.)

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The inspiration for these mitts was the yarn itself. Perusing the Knit Picks website recently, I came across a new-to-me yarn called Paragon. The colors in the palette were so pretty that I felt inspired to design a bit of stranded colorwork. So what better than a quick pair of fingerless mitts with a classic motif?

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Knit Picks Paragon yarn is a sportweight yarn made from a blend of merino, silk, and alpaca fibers. The merino and alpaca ensure that the yarn is very soft to knit with and comfortable to wear, while the silk content gives the yarn a rich depth of color. In the mitts you see here, I chose a glowing teal (“Kenai”) as the main color and accented it with the contrasting colors of white and a burnished yellow (“Turmeric”).

Once you click on the link above, I know that you’ll find a unique combination of Paragon colors that you love, but if you want to do a bit of stashbusting, this is a great project for that, too. All of the sizes in the pattern require less than 150 yards for the main color and 20 yards or less of each of the contrasting colors!

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Not content, of course, to leave well enough alone with the colorwork motif on the hand, I added a few welted bands of color at the lower cuff because (a) I just liked the combination of colors that much; and (b) the bands reminded me a bit of bracelets around the wrist!

As far as the pattern itself goes, the mitts are knit in the round from the cuff upwards. The cuff is worked in Fisherman Rib, and working into the row below gives the cuff a wonderful, cushy feeling. The thumb gusset is worked simultaneously with the hand. The thumb stitches are held while the colorwork on the hand is completed and then the thumb is finished. Definitely a doable project for an adventurous beginner or anyone with additional experience beyond that.

The pattern includes two different adult sizes. Since the mitts are intended to fit more loosely around the wrist and more snugly around the hand, knitters should choose size where the finished knuckle circumference is smaller than their actual knuckle circumference.

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Finally, you might be wondering about the name of this design. Those of you who know me know that I’m always game for a (nearly boiling) cup of coffee and something sweet to go with it (*cough* MAPLE DONUT *cough*). In Swedish culture, a “fika” is a coffee break, an opportunity (however brief) to relax with friends and family and enjoy a sweet treat. These mitts were inspired by that philosophy, by embracing knitting as a way to relax with a quick and colorful project in the middle of your daily routine.

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You can purchase the Fika Mitts pattern either here on the MWD website or over on Ravelry here. (You don’t need a Ravelry account.)

As Winter winds down and Spring arrives (eventually), happy knitting everyone!
xoxo Danielle

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yarn love challenge

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With February nearly half over, this post is definitely overdue, but hey – better late than never!

During the entire month of February on Instagram, the fiber/yarn/knitting/crafting community is participating in the “Yarn Love Challenge.” Each day, participants in the challenge post a photo related to a prompt or keyword, such as “style,” “colorwork,” “designer,” and so on. It’s a great way to think more about how your crafting habits impact your daily life and it’s an even better way to find new photos and Instagrammers that inspire you! Anyone who has an Instagram profile can participate, of course, and you can see my feed (and my most recent photo) on the left sidebar here. Just click it to be taken to Instagram where you can join in the fun.

In general, I find Instagram to be a convenient mini-blogging platform. For a busy mama, or anyone who is short on time, it’s a great avenue to share a quick photo and thought or to take a couple stolen moments to be inspired by other people’s photos and comments. You’ll find all kinds of photos in my feed (my username is makewisedesigns), although it probably wouldn’t be surprising to discover that my photos mostly center around knitting, sugar, and the kids. Since the blog is often quiet, I’d invite you to follow along on my Instagram feed to see what I’m up to lately!

Hope everyone has a good week and hoping Spring arrives soon,
xoxo Danielle

delancey hat

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It’s late January, which means that Winter (and the knitting season) are in full swing. So what better time to make yourself a new hat? Especially if it’s a cashmere hat? Meet my newest design: the Delancey Hat!

If you’ve ever heard of “potato chip” knitting, then this pattern is exactly that: a project so fun, quick, and addicting that you can’t knit just one!

In broader terms, this hat, and this design, epitomize much of what matters to me in my knitting life: a simple and speedy unisex pattern that includes sizes for everyone in the family, the unmistakeable and quintessential textures of garter stitch and super-squishy fisherman rib, and even a dash of whimsy (thank you, massive faux fur pom-pom).

It also thrills me to have the chance to collaborate with a small, woman-owned business like Clinton Hill Cashmere, whose aran-weight Bespoke Cashmere yarn is featured in this design. With its neutral solid-colored palette of 100% cashmere yarns spun in Italy, CHC is bringing such an impeccable product to the knitting world. Their aesthetic and vision is an inspiration to me both as a designer of modern, wearable pieces and an everyday knitter. I think that a classic design like the Delancey Hat is the perfect opportunity to let this exquisite yarn take center stage.

For you detail-oriented knitters out there, Delancey is worked in one piece in the round from the brim upward. CHC’s Bespoke Cashmere yarn, shown here in their “Graphite” colorway, ensures that this hat is heavenly to wear, but any aran-weight yarn will work nicely. Most of the sizes in the pattern require only 2 skeins, and the baby size can be made with just one skein for an especially lovely gift! I’m also pleased that this hat is a great project for beginners, not only because the project knits up so fast, but also because it introduces the skills of knitting and purling into the row below.

At the end of the day, this hat just makes me stinkin’ happy, as all knitting should. And so I hope it makes you happy too. 🙂

You can purchase the Delancey Hat pattern either here on the MWD website or over on Ravelry here. (You don’t need a Ravelry account.)

As Winter continues on, happy knitting everyone!
xoxo Danielle

whitehorse pullover

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Happy New Year, everyone!

With Winter well and truly upon us, ’tis the season for hardworking, but stylish, knitwear!  So it’s a good time to share my latest design for Interweave Knits (IK), part of their current Winter 2018 issue – the Whitehorse Pullover!

(All photos are courtesy of Harper Point Photography.)

This sweater first came to me as a classic rib pullover but with a twist (no pun intended): the ribs migrate across the front and back of the sweater thanks to cable crosses! 

With a modern easy shape, I wanted this sweater to be a wardrobe staple whether you’re going skiing or, like myself, looking forward to the après-ski scene more 😉 The body is oversized and doesn’t have any shaping to achieve the modern look that I was going for, but the sleeves are fitted to provide warmth and a nice contrast to the body.  To maintain the structure of this bulky-weight pullover, the front and back are knit separately and seamed together.  The sleeves are also knit separately and seamed to the body for additional structure.

The pattern offers 5 different sizes, all with at least a few inches of positive ease to accommodate at least another layer underneath – it is winter, after all!

The yarn chosen by IK works perfectly for this design, as you can see from these lovely photos.  It’s “Boliviana Bulky” yarn from Cascade Yarns. This 100% merino plied yarn is fantastic stuff. Tightly spun for smooth and bouncy knitting and, being merino, it’s also extremely soft. The yarn comes in lovely neutrals, like this Ecru, or other jewel-toned colors that would make this design sing – maybe Star Sapphire or their purple Anemone?

Thank you as always to the great team at IK and Harper Point Photography for another wonderful experience. I love how the photos convey a sense of classic wintertime pursuits – and, oh, how I wish my own blue spruce trees looked that nice!

You can find this design, and all of the designs featured in this issue, here. I’ve already been contacted by a few knitters as they share their finished Whitehorse Pullovers, and it’s such a thrill to see how they make this sweater their own! Please be sure to share your pictures on Ravelry or on Instagram.

Happy knitting and happy (hopefully not too long) Winter,
xoxo Danielle

three years old

If 2015 and 2016 each went by quickly, then 2017 feels like it went by at lightning speed. I can’t believe it’s December 13th again already.

Jackson, you are the zaniest little boy I’ve ever known! You greet every day with curiosity, endless energy, and your own brand of irrepressible excitement. But perhaps the greatest surprise is that, even at such a tender age and after only a few months, you have become a kind and thoughtful older brother. Always quick to say a comforting word or to offer your toys, no one can make Nina laugh louder than you. I am so proud of you.

His birthday sweater is Owlet, knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky (colorway “Tart” because his favorite color has always been red). And yes, I combined 3 different sizes in the pattern to get the right mix of stitch gauge, sleeve/body length, and overall circumference. Knitters can never leave well enough alone 😉

We wish you a holiday season filled with family, fun, and renewal. Happy holidays, all!
xoxo Danielle

2017 indie design gift-a-long

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Just a quick post this evening, folks! I’m happily participating again in this year’s Indie Designer Gift-A-Long!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6-week knit-a-long and crochet-a-long of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by hundreds of independent designers. From now through November 28th at 11:59 pm (EST), the participating designers will be discounting some of their knitting or crochet patterns at 25%.

This is a great way to pick up a knitting or crochet pattern you’ve had your eye on, or discover a new designer and some great new patterns. The Gift-A-Long is also a wonderful way to promote and support independent designers everywhere during this holiday season.

There are numerous knit-a-longs (KALs) and crochet-a-longs (CALs) to participate in as a crafter, as well as prizes of all sorts that are given out! The Gift-A-Long KAL/CALs will run from tonight through December 31st. To find out more about all of the designers that are participating, as well as all of the KAL/CAL/prize details, please visit the Ravelry page devoted to the Gift-A-Long HERE.

And here’s a quick sampling of a few of my patterns that are included in the sale, including my newest designs, the Rhinecliff Hat and Nina’s Blanket:

To get the 25% discount, just purchase one or more of these patterns directly from my eligible patterns between now and midnight on Tuesday, November 28th, using the coupon code giftalong2017 at checkout.

Then join one of the KAL/CAL threads on Ravelry and away you go!

Happy holidays and happy knitting,
xoxo Danielle

TNNA webinar: contracts for the needlearts industry

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Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away, but I hope everyone is enjoying the autumn season!

I’m pleased to share that, on December 5th, I’ll be teaching the next webinar for The National Needlearts Association (TNNA)!

For those of you that are not TNNA members, you may recall from one of my earlier posts that TNNA is a professional organization representing the needlearts industry in all of its forms across various handcrafting disciplines: knitting, crochet, needlepoint and cross stitch, weaving, and so on. Its mission is to encourage the growth of the industry through education, industry meetings, and marketplaces where members can do business with each other.

(Want to learn more about eligibility and becoming a member? Then just click here!)

As you can see from my little blurb above, this hour-long class will be an introduction to contracts and how they can serve you and your brand in the needlearts industry. My aim is that, whether you are a designer, teacher, editor, photographer, craft shop owner, or product manufacturer, you’ll pick up valuable tips on how to read your current contracts with a more critical eye and be empowered to draft (and negotiate) contracts that benefit your business in the future!

The link to sign up for the webinar is here, and very good news: you do NOT need to be a TNNA member to attend this webinar! (If you’re a TNNA member, please spread the word!)

And if December 5th doesn’t work for your schedule, the webinar will be made available online by TNNA for future listening. I’m looking forward to having a fun and educational afternoon with you all.

Happy crafting,
xoxo Danielle

rhinecliff hat

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I wasn’t sure if I’d have this post ready in time for Rhinebeck, but the designing gods have smiled on me and my newest design, the Rhinecliff Hat, is ready for its big reveal!

This design was one of those times where I could not knit anything else until I got this one completely figured out! Inspired by, and named for, one of the loveliest autumn destinations I’ve ever visited, the Rhinecliff Hat features everything that I love about hat knitting: classic cables, timeless texture, and a cozy brim. (And an enormous pom-pom.)

While I could see what I wanted in my mind’s eye when it came to this pattern, I went through several iterations (and swatches) of “Is this the right cable?” “Can you see this rib pattern clearly enough?” “Would this hat work for everyone in the family (and is it quick and fun to knit)?” I’m so pleased to say that it turned out just the way that I had envisioned.

I know that a huge part of why this design turned out the way that I wanted is thanks to the extra-special yarn. This is “Hudson” by Jill Draper of the aptly-named yarn brand Jill Draper Makes Stuff. Jill creates her yarns in the Hudson Valley town of Kingston, making the use of this yarn for a design called “Rhinecliff” (a hamlet across the Hudson River from Kingston), especially appropriate.

Hudson is a worsted-weight 100% merino yarn that is so smoothly and tightly spun that it makes any textural design just pop. I can’t rave enough about how this yarn behaved – it’s pleasant to knit with, it holds up very well to reknitting and washing, and (best of all) it’s made entirely from sheep to skein here in America!

So let’s talk design details. This unisex hat is worked in one piece in the round from the brim upward. The brim is cast on using an optional tubular cast-on known as the Italian cast-on, which lends the brim a round and elastic edge, but you can use whatever cast on you prefer.

Cabling addict that I am, of course I knew that the ribbing on the brim of the hat would flow directly into the featured cable. I also loved adding the little accent cables on either side.

The beaded rib panels that separate, and provide a visual break from, the cable panels lend additional texture to the hat while also being a welcome departure from the traditional 2×2 rib.

And of course, no self-respecting hat would be complete without a nice, squishy pom-pom on top!

Lest you think, however, that this yarn only comes in the typical neutral palette (although how lovely is this “Pastry Cream” colorway? It reminds me of the finest vintage Aran sweater…), let me show you the hat that I knit for Nina. The colorway is called “Bottle,” and no, I did not alter the color of this photo!

This green is multi-dimensional with darker washes of green and yellow highlights that not only makes it fun to knit with, but also makes a wonderful, cheery color for kids to wear during the dreary winter months.

Speaking of kids, that’s another important feature of this design. The pattern includes 4 sizes to cover the entire family: everyone from babies to adults with head circumferences from 16 – 23″! In the picture above, Nina’s hat is shown in the “Baby” size and my own hat is knit in the “Adult Large” size (which does not come as a shock to anyone…) No matter which size you choose, only one skein of Jill’s amazing yarn is needed, making this project a great travel project and a great gift, too!

This post would not be complete, however, without a few good outtakes. In design, as in life, things aren’t always what they seem. Especially when you’re trying to get some good photos with a shih tzu and a toddler milling about 3 feet away:

Am I wrong to admit that these might be my favorite photos of all?

Finally, it’s not all glamour in this industry. To wit: getting that lovely stone background for these photos required me to kneel on our driveway!

(Too bad you can’t see the slippers on my feet…)

I hope you love the Rhinecliff Hat and that it inspires a whole season of cold-weather knitting! As always, you can find the pattern here at MWD and on Ravelry here.

I’m particularly happy to include this latest design in my Rhinebeck pattern sale that’s still going strong until midnight EDT on Monday, October 23, 2017! Just enter the coupon code “rhinebeck” when you checkout to receive 25% off!

Happy knitting and happy Rhinebeck, all!
xoxo Danielle

2017 rhinebeck sale!

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October means two things around here: pumpkins….

and Rhinebeck, when crafters will be gathering en masse for the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.

To celebrate, it’s time for my annual Rhinebeck pattern sale! From now until midnight EDT on Monday 10/23/17, get 25% off ALL Makewise Designs patterns. Just use the coupon code rhinebeck when you check out.

Happy knitting and Happy Rhinebeck! 🙂
xoxo Danielle

nina’s blanket

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The good thing about having a baby in June? You still have time to design and knit a new blanket for her before the weather turns chilly!

Luckily, my newest design, named after my sweet girl, is finally ready. Meet Nina’s Blanket:

The central inspiration for this design was the classic herringbone, one of my all-time favorite patterns. I just love that graphic punch. In fact, the particular pattern that you see here was inspired by a pair of herringbone sweatpants that I bought for Jackson last winter. (I’m serious!)

In designing Nina’s Blanket, I wanted to create something eye-catching but timeless; always on trend without being trendy. Of course, it needed to be enjoyable and relaxing to knit. In addition, it was important to me to offer a design that could be knit for boys or girls. This striking blanket is the answer. Plush ribbed borders provide the perfect backdrop for the graphic herringbone pattern that is worked in a simple slip-stitch pattern using only one color at a time.

The bottom border, body, and top border of the blanket are worked flat in one piece. Then each of the side borders are picked up and knit in turn. The blanket is shown here in the carriage blanket size and the pattern also includes a larger lap throw size. To make an even larger blanket, simply add additional repeats of the herringbone pattern to the width and then work until the blanket is your desired length, but be sure to increase your yarn requirements accordingly.

And now a word about the fantastic yarn that you see here: it’s the Special DK yarn from Stylecraft Yarns in the UK. This is a 100% acrylic yarn, which is so helpful when designing and knitting for babies (and their parents!) who need soft, easy-to-care-for items. And with a HUGE color palette, it was a lot of fun selecting two colors that highlighted the modern feel of this blanket and that coordinated with Nina’s nursery. No matter who you are knitting for, there are countless color combinations that will work beautifully! As just one example, I made a black and white copy of the first photo to show how well the design works in a neutral palette like charcoal and white:

Finally, let’s talk finishing. The back of the blanket will be seen frequently, and the side borders are picked up separately from the body of the blanket, so the design includes instructions to achieve this tidy finished edge of slipped stitches:

(You can also see how the back of the herringbone pattern has a neat, almost shadow-like effect with the slipped stitches.)

So that’s it! A cozy new design that I’m so glad to send out into the world and to wrap around my growing girl. Autumn is upon us and I hope that you enjoy knitting up this project on a cool evening.

As always, the pattern is available for purchase on my website here and on Ravelry here.

Happy Knitting,
xoxo Danielle