an anniversary and a facelift

Or, should I say, a blog-iversary!

This little blog turned five years old last week, and while I don’t post as frequently as I used to, I still love having a space to share my creative work. And I hope that you have enjoyed reading the posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

To celebrate the milestone, I’ve given the blog a bit of a facelift: a new blog header! I know how much you all loved looking at Coco wrapped up in my Augusta Shawl pattern, but it was high time (past time) for a new header that better reflects my blog and my designs in a more professional manner.

Thank goodness for the graphic design talents of my good friend, Elizabeth Green Musselman of Stitch Definition. She dreamed up the header that you see above, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

Here’s to five more inspired years!
Have a great week,
xoxo Danielle

sledding trails hat

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Hi all! I hope that, wherever you live, your winter has been passing quickly (and tolerably)!

It still gives me the same thrill every time I’ve got a new pattern to share, and today is no exception. Meet my Sledding Trails Hat!

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This was one of those designs that came to me rather quickly, but only under very specific conditions, if you will. A few months ago, I felt inspired to do another hat design, but I also felt that it needed to be more traditional in style. As we all know, I like a lot of texture in my patterns, and what’s more textured (or traditional) than German twisted stitch patterns? The exact pattern took me a few tries to design. But I eventually settled on what you see here: ribbed panels offset by beautiful, winding cables that reminded me of (you guessed it!) the trails that sleds carve into newly-fallen snow.

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(Aside #1: I have some fond, and not so fond, memories of various sledding adventures as a child, so every once in a while as I was knitting the samples, I found myself giggling at those memories.)

(Aside #2: the more scientifically-minded among you might say that those cables look a lot more like DNA strands than sledding trails in fresh snow. I know, I know.)

In keeping with the feeling of tradition (and maximum use-ability), I wanted a snug beanie fit that hugged the ears and the crown. I’m a big fan of the foldover brim for double the ear coverage! So you’ll find that this pattern is sized with negative ease to fit tightly and perfectly for whatever sledding adventures might come your way. The pattern also includes three sizes for children, small adult heads, and large adult heads, to suit everyone in the family!

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Next, I needed the right yarn to make the texture pop and bring my idea to life. Luckily, I had two great options this time around. The green sample that you see above is knit in the wonderful Spirited Fibers Merino SW, a 100% merino, worsted-weight yarn. I’ve used this yarn before, for my Lakeview Hat, and I love working with it now as much as I did then. It is a high-quality, tightly spun, solid-colored merino yarn that is smooth to knit with and so soft to wear. I particularly love this “Mojito” colorway, but then again, people with green eyes and red hair are probably partial to green yarn!

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(And if you’re in the Pittsburgh area during the weekend of March 4-6, 2016, you can see this sample in person at the 12th Annual Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Show, in Sue Coffrin’s Adirondacks Yarn booth! Sue is the distributor of this lovely yarn, and she has many gorgeous samples to check out.)

I also knit another sample in the hardworking Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarn, in their rich “Cranberry” colorway. I love this yarn: it holds up beautifully during knitting and loads of wear, it comes in a huge variety of colors, it washes well without losing any quality, and is widely available. Here’s a snapshot of my red hat:

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As you can see, the design translates well across many solid colors. I would definitely recommend staying with more solid-colored yarns, so as not to lose the texture of the stitch pattern. Since red is my mother’s favorite color, I had to send this hat to her. (Besides, she was a co-adventurer on some of those sledding trips and her memories are as vivid as mine haha!)

Finally, any good traditional hat needs a really good pom-pom, and I made one for each of my samples. I used the largest pom-pom maker that I could find from Clover to make that pom really stand out! The pom-pom is completely optional, and you’ll find that the hat pattern spirals nicely into a simple crown closure that is both elegant and easy.

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That’s it! I hope you enjoy this little cutie as much as I do, and I hope that it keeps you warm on the very coldest and most blustery days.

As usual, the pattern is available for purchase on MWD here and is also available on Ravelry here (but you don’t need a Ravelry account to purchase the pattern).

And as always, a hearty thank you to my friend, Elizabeth Green Musselman of Dark Matter Knits, for her keen editing and lovely layout skills. And thank you to Andrew for his great photography skills. In another life, he was a knitwear photographer HA!

Until we chat again, stay warm folks!

xoxo Danielle

happy holidays!

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Well, we’ve got the baking nearly squared away around here, with my very favorite gingerbread cookies being finished up yesterday. Decorating isn’t my strong suit, but they still taste good 🙂 And I’d say that we could use a little snow to get us in the “White Christmas” mood, but I don’t think that that’s going to happen with 70+ degree temperatures!

I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, and a New Year filled with creativity, good health, and lots of laughter.

Happy Holidays!
xoxo Danielle

one year old

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December 13th again already! How the last year has flown.

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Happy happy happy first birthday to my sunny, funny boy, who has taught me more about love, laughter and patience in the last 365 days than in all my previous years put together.

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His birthday sweater is Oscar, knit in Madelinetosh Vintage (colorway “Baltic” to match his eyes), size 12-18 months, with three “leather” buttons sourced by my mom from our favorite button racks. 🙂

Happy weekend!
xoxo Danielle

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 keep the pattern sale love going?

As you might recall, I wrote last week about the indie designer gift-a-long sale.  Well, that sale is set to end tonight at midnight, but I decided to extend AND expand my pattern sale for those of you just picking up your knitting this weekend 🙂

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. (Be sure to check out the full list, it’s enormous.) 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 25% off ALL of my self-published patterns (click HERE to view) from now until midnight Eastern on Monday, November 30th with the coupon code: CYBER.

Happy Holidays and Happy Knitting!
xoxo Danielle

2015 indie design gift-a-long

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Howdy, everyone! I’m happy to say that I’m participating in this year’s Indie Designer Gift-A-Long!

What is that, you say?

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 335(!!!) independent designers. From November 19th at 8pm (EST) through November 27th 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 November 19 through December 31, 2015. 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.

When I was deciding which of my patterns to include in the Gift-A-Long, I focused on designs that could be knit up quickly as holiday gifts, since we all know how quickly those last few weeks of the year seem to fly, right?

They are (in no particular order):

Zuni Shawl

Lakeview Hat

Grace’s Sweater

Avery’s Sweater

Syringa Shawl

Avian Shawl

Winesap Mitts

and the Shipshape Shawl

To get the 25% discount on my Gift-A-Long patterns, just purchase the patterns you want directly from my Ravelry shop between 8 pm US EST on Thursday, November 19th and 11:59 pm on Friday, November 27th, using the coupon code giftalong2015 at checkout.

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

Here’s to a fun and productive season of knitting and crocheting!
xoxo Danielle

autumn morning cardigan

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Greetings, all! I’m very glad to say that I come bearing a new pattern! Meet my Autumn Morning Cardigan!

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The AMC (as I’ve taken to calling it for efficiency’s sake) is a seamed set-in sleeve cardigan. Don’t you sometimes just want a traditional sweater with all of the trimmings?

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My inspiration for the design was two-fold. First, I wanted to design a seamed, set-in sleeve garment because I hadn’t done it before. Our closets are filled with this type of garment and I wanted/needed to understand its construction better. Second, I came across a beautiful cable stitch pattern (a couple of years ago, at this point) and I knew that I would modify it and use it someday in a design. Today is that day!

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(Although I don’t have a picture of it included here, the cables on the fronts and back line up at the shoulder seam, something my Type-A+++ personality finds particularly pleasing. And of course the cables flow into the ribbing pattern at the hem !)

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As I began to come up with the design in my head, I thought about, but ruled out, a number of features (including a longer length, like a car coat, and doubled or folded cuffs). I knew, however, that I had to have a shawl collar. A particularly cozy detail, the proper shaping of this collar was also a learning experience for me and I have discovered the following: knitting a ribbed shawl collar takes a loooooong time!

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Finally, the finishing touch for the cardigan was already sitting in my notions box: five glowing, perfectly smooth Italian leather buttons from (where else?) Tender Buttons. I think that the photographs do a great job of showing how well the buttons set off the tweedy flecks of the yarn.

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Speaking of yarn, how about some actual details on this design? I designed the cardigan as part of Knit Picks’ Independent Designer Partnership and the cardigan features Knit Picks’ Wool of the Andes Tweed yarn. The colorway is the aptly-named “Down Heather,” which casts a lovely grey-taupe tone. While this yarn is technically worsted- to aran-weight, I knit it down to almost a DK- or light worsted-weight gauge to get the cables to really POP! The yarn happily withstood the increase in tension and created a defined fabric that is still very soft.

The cardigan is knit as you would expect for a traditional cardigan: flat, in pieces, and from the bottom up. The collar is worked after the shoulders are joined. The sleeves are set in, after which the seams are finished, the collar is pressed, and the ends dealt with. Because I prefer them, the shoulders are joined with a three-needle bind off, but you could easily seam them with a mattress stitch. And you’ll find waist shaping as well in this design, to enhance the fit.

In addition to all of the information you’ll need about yarn, materials, gauge, and sizing (including sizes up to a 50″ chest), the pattern includes written instructions as well as charts and schematics. For their professional layout skills and keen technical editing, I must thank Elizabeth Green Musselman and Maureen Hannon of Stitch Definition. I can’t recommend them enough.

For these gorgeous photos, Andrew was the master photographer once again. We had the perfect, flat, grey autumn light on the day that we took the photos, and I didn’t drive him too crazy making him go out 4 times to reshoot the same thing over and over and over…..(It was a good hair day! Strike while the iron is hot!) I love how the stones in the background set just the right tone, complementing the texture and color of the cardigan. Would it surprise you to know that, actually, I was kneeling on my driveway next to my garage door? Ahh, the glamorous life. 🙂

I am so thrilled with how this design turned out – it is exactly as I had pictured it all those months and months ago. It fits beautifully and will take a proud place in my closet. I hope that you love it as much as I do!

To learn more about the pattern or to purchase it, you can click over to the MWD page here or you can purchase it through Ravelry here.

Happy Happy Knitting!
xoxo Danielle

rhinebeck 2015

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I just realized that I never blogged about my Rhinebeck day! Oops. It was a great day to pet the yarns and catch up with friends like the talented yarn dyer Christine Link of SkeinnyDipping Yarns, the gifted designer Natalie Servant, and the lovely Sue Coffrin of Adirondack Yarns. But somehow, I managed not to get any photos of them!

I must have been too busy capturing the beautiful scenery, which started crisp, sunny, and very cool, but faded to clouds and bluster by the afternoon:

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One of the highlights for me had to be getting two books autographed by Nancy Shaw, the author of “Sheep in a Jeep” and other fantastic children’s books. “Sheep in a Jeep” is one of Jackson’s favorite books, and I was beyond excited to meet Nancy in person and tell her how loved her books are.

Until next time, knitters (and I’ve got some fun new things coming up), enjoy the autumn season and Happy Halloween!
xoxo Danielle

annual rhinebeck sale!

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Peek-a-boo! Jackson is popping out of the pumpkin patch to say hello and Happy Autumn! 🙂 (And thanks for the awesome photo, Nana!)

Well, it’s already THAT time again, when crafters will be gathering en masse next weekend in Rhinebeck for the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. To celebrate, I’m extending my annual Rhinebeck pattern sale for an entire week!

From now until midnight EDT on Monday 10/19/15, get 25% off ALL Makewise Designs patterns. Just use the coupon code rhinebeck when you check out.

Happy knitting and Happy Rhinebeck! 🙂
xoxo Danielle

apple pie time

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Hi all! I hope that Summer treated you well!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already Autumn, but early Autumn means apple pie time around here, so I got to work yesterday in the kitchen. You might recall that I first wrote about our family apple pie recipe here.

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I call the above scene “yes, I’m making a mess. Bear with me.” (There was probably also a shih tzu lurking invisibly nearby).

My mom had sent me eight enormous “20-ouncer” apples for this year, and it turned out that I only needed three of them to make one Thanksgiving pie.

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As you can see from the above, my crust-making skills still leave something to be desired, but I’m hoping that the taste won’t suffer as a result 🙂

I used three more of the apples to make two “drunches,” as we call them in my house. I baked off one drunch to enjoy now and one to put in the freezer for later.

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A drunch may not be much to look at in the beauty department, but it sure is delicious. The good part about these is that you can still get that apple pie flavor/crust/effect, but in a smaller portion if you don’t need to feed a crowd. It’s just a single crust folded loosely up around half a pie’s worth of apples. I’m not sure where the word “drunch” comes from, but as you can see it’s really just like a free form galette. Does anyone else call these “drunches”?

Hope everyone has a great early Autumn weekend!
xoxo Danielle