Kork Nisses Discovered and Designed

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Every now and then I discover something that sparks a flurry of creativity. Perhaps “flurry” isn’t the word…more like a snowstorm! Over the Thanksgiving holiday I found these little cuties and rushed to click on the Free Pattern links.

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But when I did, there was no pattern to be found. Not even the website. For some reason, the pattern for knitting a Nisse had been removed and I could only find a paragraph written in Norwegian, which sadly I could not decipher.

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OK…so let’s try for a crochet version. Yes! A crochet pattern here indeed! But I wanted some changes…a slightly different single crochet fabric as well as a different shaped hat. So off I went in creating both a knitted pattern and a crocheted version of my very own!! I think my family thought I had fallen down a rabbit hole.

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Indeed it felt very much like being transported to another world. I eagerly looked up the definition of Nisse and this is what I found:

A tomte, nisse or tomtenisse (Sweden) (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈtɔ̀mːtɛ]), nisse (Norway and Denmark) (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈnìsːɛ] or Danish pronunciation: [ˈnesə], Danish plural nisser) or tonttu (Finland) is a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore today typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. It is generally described as being no taller than three feet, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color.

They often have an appearance somewhat similar to that of a garden gnome.[1]

–Wikipedia

How delightful! These would be the perfect mystery make for my knit & crochet students when we resumed classes after the holidays. And yes…they have enjoyed them immensely and now I can share the love with you all!

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Feel free to download either the Kork Nisse Knit pattern OR the Kork Nisse Crochet pattern. Or if you are multi-stitchual, grab both!

And I hope you enjoy the fun of making your own little village of Nisses! Share them on Ravelry if you can! I’d LOVE to see them!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Knitterly Arts Podcast!

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A creative life is rarely a straight arrow path. Perhaps precisely because it IS creative, the path is winding and circuitous, with many side trails leading off the main one which eventually brings you back on track or becomes the new main path.

This is how my own creative life has felt for nearly 20 years. I imagine it will continue. My love for all things yarn and all things art continue to be both what fascinates me and what sustains me. I’m sharing these two loves in a video podcast.

Knitterly Arts is a phrase that comes up in my head when I think about what I do. It encompasses the knitting and the drawing, crochet and painting. My intent for this podcast is to share my ongoing love of these endeavors, as well as how they speak to  me about life and living everyday with an Artful eye on everything.

All of the Knitterly Arts Podcasts will be hosted on You Tube and housed on a separate blog, which is actually one I used to post to a few years ago. You can subscribe to my You Tube channel as well as to Knitterlyarts.wordpress.com to receive notifications of each podcast. This will be the home for each episode’s Show Notes, links to everything I make reference to in the podcast.

If you enjoy either knitting or drawing, or just love making things in general, this Podcast is for you!

Artfully Yours,

Jennifer

Here’s the first episode. Be sure to click on the link above to access the Show Notes. All future Podcasts will only be announced on Knitterlyarts.wordpress.com. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice!

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“Three little pumpkins sitting on a rail…”

Well, that’s as far as my rhyming mind will take me today. I had thoughts of:

“One said, ‘Hey, won’t you go my bail?”

no, no, that won’t do! Or:

“One said, Hey, better check your e-mail!”

ugh. Not good.

So I’m just gonna leave it alone and offer you this FREE pattern to make a patch of pumpkins!

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You’ll need:

Chunky to Bulky weight yarn or several strands of yarn held together to create this bulk.

A Size J hook.

Some DK weight cotton and a size G hook.

Cinnamon Sticks and Stuffing.

That’s it!

Oh, and of course….my pattern! 

My students have been having fun with this, sending me pics of their  little pumpkins. Perhaps I’ll ask permission to share their photos with you. One gal added a leaf in with the Curly Cew! So fun!

So Click Here to download the PDF.

Or Click Here to access this pattern and all the other FREE patterns I offer.

Have a wonderful Fall day filled with Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Two New FREE Patterns to Crochet!

I am finally finished typing up and can now offer to you two new crochet patterns! FREE for the making!

Two things for warmth…one for your hands

SimpleCrochetHandWarmers

And one for your shoulders

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You could even crochet them with coordinating colors! Ooooohhhh….that would be fun!

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Both are simple designs using basic crochet stitches. I designed them for my beginning to intermediate crochet students and they have LOVED them!!

I hope you do too! (Remember, these are FREE! My treat!)

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The Simple Crochet Handwarmers are made with worsted weight yarn. I love them best with variegated wool, but solids and heather yarns would be perfect too!

The Big Hook Shoulder Hug is made with Super Bulky Yarn. Works up fast and fits most sizes. Smaller sizes can be achieved easily by using different weight yarns.

As always, my patterns offer detailed instructions, lots of tips for tricky parts, and variations you can do to make multiples of the pattern for many hours of crochet enjoyment!

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**Be sure to visit my patterns for purchase on ETSY!

 

Cast On

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Here’s where it all starts. Make a slip knot and begin.

Cast on a desired number of stitches and then work the rest of the piece from there.

There’s no way around it really. You have to cast on. Even if it’s only two stitches. Or two hundred. This is how we begin.

BriocheCastOn

Yet it can cause a good bit of consternation. Which cast on should I use? The pattern may or may not say. If I’m designing, I must consider which one will yield the desired edge both in stretch and in braid. For folks new to knitting, the cast on, once left behind for rows of knit and purl, is often forgotten when the next project is begun. How did I cast on? If I use Long Tail, then just how much yarn do I need to leave in order to have enough for the cast on? So many questions and uncertainties.

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It is true also in drawing and painting. How shall I begin? Where do I start on the page? What medium will I start with? Do I fill the whole page? or only part of it? If I start here, will I have enough room for the subject? For some, this very beginning part can create such a storm of questions that paralysis sets in all too soon.

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Yet for me, the beginning is perhaps the most exciting part. Two needles, or a hook, and some lovely yarn. A blank page and a pen. Such possibilities. Anticipation. A bit of chocolate helps!

Even if the initial idea gets frogged only a few rows into it, or the sketch needs to be started over again, the fun is in the diving in, the beginning, the start of something new. This is one of the many reasons I love making things. Each and every day I have an opportunity to start something fresh and new and exciting and different,  in yarn or paint, on needles or in a sketchbook, with a hook or with a canvas.

EmbroideryStart

Looking around at my studio right now I might have to admit to too many beginnings. I know I will finish them. I usually do. All in good time.

But right now, I just have to start a new crochet design that’s been banging around in my head. It all began with casting on another shoulder cozy (first photo) and in no more than four or five rows my fingers knew this yarn was wanting to be crocheted into something else entirely.

Ok. So here we go. Starting something new. Again.

Perhaps you can start something new today! I’d love to hear about it if you do!!

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Notes on the above photos: First photo’s yarn has now been frogged and is being crocheted into a new vest design. Second photo is the start of a brioche cowl I have finished and plan on teaching in October (watch for details about the classes in my monthly Knitterly Arts Newsletter!) Third photo is a line drawing of a recent visit to our Ciener Botanical Gardens. Fourth photo is the beginning foundation chain and first rows in a recent crochet design I hope will be available in pattern soon! Fifth photo is my first foray into embroidering my own drawings. Should be fun!

Fiber As Medium

FreeformJewelArt

Making lines with a pen is grand. Splashing on a little watercolor is divine. But drawing and painting with fibers seems to take artistic expression to a different plane altogether.

Freeform crochet allows me to create lines for sure. As I choose the yarns in all their varied colors and textures, it’s as if my palette of watercolor has expanded exponentially. Abstraction gets worked into form and shape…something that can be worn.

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I started this piece as a demonstration for a Freeform Crochet class I taught recently at Knit One Smock Too. I love communicating the basic tenants of freeform fiber work: No pattern. No rules. No boundaries (only the ones you dictate for the piece you decide to make).

FreeformFrontOutside

For some folks, the magnitude of the choices available to you are staggering and perhaps at first, a little paralyzing. We work with that. We start slowly. Even though we dive into our stash of fibers and just begin. A motif. A bullion circle. A stitch pattern.

Then add on. Whatever stitch. Whatever yarn. Any color, texture, direction.

Scrumbling to our heart’s content. Making shapes of we know-not-what.

Until something presents itself in our minds. A scarf? A hat? A purse? A vest?

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Then we begin to work the abstraction into a shape needed for whatever we want to make it into. For this one, an open yoke. Then add a mesh bottom with more freeform trimming the edge. Asymmetry. Whimsical. Fun.

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And then I have to draw it…the lines of the yoke work.

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But it is also translatable to watercolor. An abstract piece on paper.

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But I prefer the original item, fashioned from two hands, a hook, and various fibers. From humble, leftover, stringy beginnings to a wearable piece of art.

Dreamy Poncho Revisited

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Several years ago I designed this poncho from leftover yarns in my stash. It is one of my favorite things to wear when the temperatures turn cool and is often a conversation starter. Sometime last year I started a second one using all greens and have just recently finished it. While it is still too warm here to wear, it sits on Genevieve (my dress form) waiting for the day to be taken out for a twirl.

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It is  truly a dream to knit from beginning to end. I love to play with color and this gave me the opportunity to see what could be done with one color. I had no idea I had so many variations of green yarns! Even the variegated greens offered delightful pops of blues and other colors here and there to add a little spice. You are never bored with this knit! Every color and texture provides a new vista as you work the simple stitches.

I love wearing this both ways:

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As a poncho, with points down the front and back. (Please disregard the NON-matching skirt Genevieve is wearing!)

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Or as a cape (or wrap). The collar adds just enough drama to the simple construction and finishes it off nicely at the neck.

GrDreamyCollarBack

For this version of the poncho/cape, I changed a few things. The original pattern was written with this in mind, so I didn’t have to make many changes at all to the pattern. I just added the new photos, and a few extra tips to make the knitting it up even simpler. Here’s what I did differently in this version than in the first one:

GrDreamyStitches

The original version had only garter and stockinette stitching alternated back and forth or to suit the type of yarn used. This made for very quick knitting, especially since you are using size 11 needles.  But for this version I wanted to add a variety of stitch patterns, especially when I worked with the smoother yarns. So I randomly chose garter, seed, stockinette, basketweave, two-color rib and so on to add interest and texture in the body of the poncho.

GrDreamyCollarFront

The original version had edges knitted in stockinette. This allowed the edges to roll and I do love rolled edges! But for this one, I decided to work the edges in garter stitch so that they would lay flat.

GreenDreamyLaceUp

The original version was laced up (one of my favorite features of this design!) using organza ribbon. This version has grosgrain ribbon for the laced up front. You could certainly use buttons or any other closure here, but I really like the added detail and color you can achieve with the laced up look.

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From now until the end of September, I’m offering this pattern for $1.00 off its regular price to those who purchase the pattern through my ETSY shop. If I knew how to offer a discount on  Ravelry I would certainly do it. But for those of you who see this offer here on my blog or via Instagram, you can use the code DREAMYKNIT to receive $1.00 off!

And I would LOVE to see a photo of your Dreamy Poncho once you’ve knitted it! I know of a couple of them that are in the making right now and I can’t wait to see their versions. I’ll share them with you when I receive their pic!

For now…may all your Knitterly Dreams come true!

Knitting Up the Un-Ravelled Sleave…

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After last week’s move of three kids into their new “homes”, I’ve needed this week to mend.  Oldest daughter is now happily situated at Wingate University for her final year. Middle son is LOVING his first days as a freshman at East Carolina University. And youngest is enjoying her new “big kid” room she moved into across the hall.  My hands seemed to need soft cozy fibers as much as I could possibly give them this week. With every knitted stitch and crocheted loop, it felt as if the very fibers of  my being were being knitted back together; the unravelled, frayed ends woven in and smoothed out. Even the enormous task of weaving in the ends on a recently finished project (pictured above and below) was soothing and enjoyable.

GreenDreamy&Painting

Shakespeare wrote: “Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care…” Although he speaks of “sleep” as the agent of healing here, his choice of words intimate that knitting has that quality of mending what care often frays. All too often my life feels like the first picture. It’s good to know that is only ONE side of the matter. There IS another side…one with beauty, order, structure and functionality. Actually, I see beauty in the underside too, even with all the ends hanging loose!

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*I finished this updated version of my design/pattern called Dreamy Poncho! Oh how I wish it would get cool enough to wear this thing! So many greens that are truly yummy!

*The painting behind me seems to go with the Poncho so well!! It is of the field at the top of our neighborhood. I painted it a few years ago when the morning glory’s were in bloom. I noticed several days ago on my walk that they are blooming now. I love the seasons, the change in colors, the varying greens in the landscape as well as in fibers.

New Knitted Shawl Design*

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Pas de Deux Shawl

designed by Jennifer Edwards

available for purchase on ETSY

Designing and knitting a shawl mirrors life in uncanny ways. You begin with an idea, sketched out, roughly drawn and planned. Knitting begins, slowly working out stitch counts, rows, frogging stitches (and rows!) until it takes the shape you were aiming for.

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Then you knit. Just knit. And knit…working the parts where you can nearly knit on auto-pilot. Stockinette, some garter stitch, a wee bit of counting.

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And then you hit the edge. Ahhh…the edge…that part of utmost importance to the overall look of the shawl, but one which requires your utmost attention. Lots and lots of stitches to work with. As a designer, I want this part to really sing! My original idea for the edging was slightly different. The knitting itself began to “speak to me” changes in my initial plan. So I went with it, and I’m so glad I did.

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I find all this reflected in each day, week, month, and year. So many designs (plans), small and large, that begin with a flurry of planning and excitement then giving way to the everyday living out the established design. Somewhere along the way, either subtly or not-so-subtly, we are redirected. Following where our intuition takes us will often yield a more beautiful outcome. It all sounds so neat and tidy. But we, the knitters, know all the linked stitches, the frogged passages, the weaving of ends, and the blocking. This is the “everyday” stuff of life, the more monotonous parts of being entranced by beauty.

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The title of this shawl came to me as I thought of how the two colors danced together in a way similar to the ballet between two people, each taking the stage separately and then coming together for a final, beautiful adagio.

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I also like how this shawl stays on your shoulders. Instead of a straight edged triangle, this shawl continues around your neck in a semi-circle fashion while still laying flat down the back. I hope you can see this in the photos.

Tea&Shawl

I also hope you will knit this shawl! I knitted mine with Saucon Sock, in color “Carnation”, which has a lot of cotton in it, perfect for spring and summer. The second yarn is Louisa Harding Yarns, Noema. But I can’t wait to knit it in a wool for fall and winter. If you give it a go, I’d love to see your final shawl!:)

Thank you to everyone who purchases one of my patterns!! I write into each pattern a lot of extra helps and tips along the way to help you be successful in your knit and/or crochet adventure!

Happy Knitting!

-Jennifer

Pointier Points & Other Weighty Matters

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I mean, who really cares about whether the points on a knitted washcloth are pointier than previously knitted? I certainly don’t care one way or the other…but therein lies the fun of it all!

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So, I finally finished my Hitchhiker Shawl, and oh what a nail-biting finish that was! Only about 2 1/2 inches of yarn left on the bind off! Just barely enough to weave in. But that’s all I needed! 🙂

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At the same time, I had been merrily knitting washcloths  my latest obsession, and the thought occurred to me that I could, quite possibly, make the points on my washcloths just as pointy as the points on the Hitchhiker.

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Eureka! It worked! Using the clever little Kfb, turn, purl one, knit one, pass the purled stitch over, worked like a charm to add a bit of pointless pointiness  to the Almost Lost Washcloth. ‘Tis fun, no?

SocksFinish&Start

Other oddments I’ve enjoyed immensely of late are finishing socks…

SoccerfieldSocks

…turning cart heels at soccer games…

ToeExcitement

…the thrill of toe knitting (not to be confused with knitting with your toes)…

Tea&Shawl

…drinking tea and eating a cupcake in a new way whilst finishing the knitting of a shawl design (typing up pattern for offering on Etsy soon!)…

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…starting a crocheted circular vest…

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…and finishing it in a few days time…

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…and working on a sweet little project I’ll tell you more about soon!

Pointless Pointiness and all manner of frivolity is very sustaining and enriching to one’s life!

I hope you have a bit of frivolity in your day today!