Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Classes: Learn a new skill!

Is it your new year's resolution to improve your knitting skills or learn a new technique? I'm teaching a number of classes that will help you achieve just that!

January is a series of classes all about brushing up and improving the skills you already have to improve all of your knitting!

Jan 4- Measure to Fit
Learn how to measure yourself correctly, and then how to use those measurements and your gauge to make your knitting fit perfectly- whether its a sweater, a hat, mittens, or anything else.

Jan 11- Short Row Shaping
Give clothing that extra perfect fit with short rows- make the back of a collar stand a little higher than the front, or the seat of a sweater a little longer than the front, with this simple technique.

Jan 18- Finishing Skills
Learn to finish your knitting with a professional touch- sew neat and invisible seams, weave your ends in invisibly and securely, and block perfectly.

Jan 25- Anatomy of a Stitch (taught by Eileen)
Get the hang of "reading" your knitting, and learn to recognize and fix many common mistakes including dropped stitches.

February's series of classes are introductions to a variety of techniques and skills to take your knitting in new directions.

Feb 1- Cables
Get an introduction to cabled stitches- learn how they work, and get suggestions to start a cable project.

Feb 8- Lace
Demystify lace knitting by working with worsted weight yarn and big needles, and learn how lace knitting works so that you can translate your new skill into a project.

Feb 15- Colorwork
Do you love the colorful patterns of Norwegian sweaters? Learn about Fair Isle and Intarsia colorwork techniques and you'll be ready to tackle your own colorwork project.

Feb 22- Double Knitting
Learn to make reversible, double thick, colorful fabric that is perfect for scarves, hats, bags, and more.

Feb 29- Knitting with Beads
Want to add a little more sparkle to your knitting? Learn a few different methods of adding beads to your knitting and add something special to your next project.

You can sign up for just one class or a whole series- contact Sheepskate at 549 High St, Dedham, MA by calling 781-320-9276 to sign up.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gratuitous Holiday Knitting

Because this week has been vacation for me, I don't want to bore you with shopping or sales- I just want to share some of the adorably creative holiday knitting out there on the internet!

From Mochimochi Land- 

From the Handknit Holidays-along-

From Ravelry- these adorable coasters!

And for the nerdy among you- a snow covered TARDIS.

And lastly, in case you're still rushing around shopping for a knitter (or other stitcher) on your list, the Yarn Harlot has been posting fantastic ideas for gifts all month! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On the Needles

While I've been procrastinating on my holiday knitting, I have actually been knitting quite a lot- and so we have an update on four of my projects!

First up, the army of Yoda I hinted at last time- see those? Aren't they cute? I'm actually up to 5 now. Those are destined, along with a bunch of other amigurimi I have yet to make, to be wedding favors. So needless to say, between now and August, I'll be crocheting up a storm!

The other wedding project is also coming along, I'm now halfway through the pattern! And its beautiful, I can't wait to finish it.

I haven't touched my travel socks in awhile, in favor of the addictive hexipuffs, but I did finish the toe before I put them aside. Still exciting to be knitting on my own yarn finally!

Lastly, the hexipuffs, oh, the hexipuffs! I'm up to 21 total now, here are all the new ones since my last update- I've been having a lot of fun with little bits of my handspun yarn and some sock yarns I haven't used before from the mini-skein kits Sheepskate has.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Knitting

Are you slacking on holiday knitting as much as I am this year?

I gave up on trying to knit for everyone on my list years ago, but this year I still have a couple of small special things in mind- 2 to be precise. And I haven't started either one. I know, I know.

If you're not done with your holiday knitting either, join me this Wednesday night for fun and knitting, wine and snacks, and any help you might need with figuring out your projects! All the fun is at Sheepskate, 549 High St, Dedham, MA Wednesday Dec 7 from 6:30-9. Its a $10 drop in, or call 781-320-9276 ahead to reserve your spot!

So what am I doing instead of knitting my gifts? Well, I have been working on my veil and my hexipuffs, and an army of Yodas (more on all of that later this week). Instead I've been cooking! The last few weeks have been filled with frustrations as I had a series of failures with yeast breads. Yesterday I finally decided to give it another go, and tried a new recipe for pasta dough, and it worked! Rolled out easily, and I made a delicious butternut and ricotta ravioli with a pesto cream sauce. I realize pasta isn't yeasty, but my recent attempts at that have been sticky, too dry, and extremely thick, respectively.

Today, heartened by that success, I decided to give bread another go- and today I made an "American Sandwich Bread" a simple white bread with milk and honey- and it rose (!) and baked (!) and now I'm just waiting for it to cool to give it the real test- eating! There's a grilled cheese sandwich in my near future!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hand Knit Movember

I’m auctioning off my mustache on ebay to support the Movember cause! This cause means a lot to me because my dad has been fighting prostate cancer for about 5 years, and "men's" cancers receive far less attention and funding than "women's" cancers. So get a prostate exam, and bid on my Mo!

That's right, this hand knit mustache is up for auction, and 100% of the selling price will be donated to Movember!

And because I know you’re going to ask- yes, you can knit your own, pattern here, and yes, the designer gives express permission to sell a mo for charity. (And yes, I’d love it if you tell all of your philanthropist friends about my little auction!) And, if you feel inclined to donate, that’s good too. Its a good cause.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I've been knitting...

...and knitting. Quite a lot lately, actually, which is a nice change! I actually finished something- my sweater, that was my train knitting until it got too bulky, which meant the hood took as long as the whole rest of the sweater- but its done now, and so soft and snuggly and warm, and I'm so glad I'll be able to wear it all winter! Gypsy Wools Gaia Bulky (organic supersoft Merino) is sooooo yummy to be covered in!

I've also been making hexipuffs lately on the train, I'm up to 7. Its fun pulling out these little bits of leftovers to revisit in puff form! And as if I'm not addicted enough, I'm working on making mini skein kits and sample puffs for Sheepskate... and of course one of those kits is going to have to come home with me. This is really just enabling my stash acquiring... *sigh*

And finally, I've started a brand new project- knitting my wedding favors! Since Ryan and I are such space nerds, we're going to give out space themed amigurimi to our guests. I'm starting with Yoda, and I've already finished one. He doesn't have eyes yet, but isn't he cute? And the pattern's free, which never hurts!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Loofah, Washcloth, or Potholder- A Perfect Gift!

The full directions for this free pattern are included in this post, but if you prefer you can download a pdf copy. download now
Use any worsted weight cotton or cotton/linen blend to make these quick and easy circular washcloths! Use them flat as potholders as well, or braid some yarn and thread it through the eyelets, cinch it closed around a bar of soap and use as a loofah for a luxurious washing experience.

Mercerized cotton works great for washclothes and loofash, because it is exfoliating to wash with, a softer cotton (like Lily & Cream) works great for potholders because it creates a dense and not slippery texture.

Pair one of these loofahs with a bar of boutique soap, and you have a quick, inexpensive gift that will bring a little touch of luxury to each day for the receiver. Perfect for the holidays, hostess gifts, etc. 

Washcloth/Potholder/Loofah gift knit
Jen Stone-Gerardy – –
Gauge: 20st/4inches on size 8 needles (note- you can use yarn at another gauge, your loofah will just come out larger or smaller than the approx. 8” diameter that this gauge produces.
Cast on 19 sts.
Row 1: Knit one row and turn
Row 2: K3, yo, k15- 1 st remaining on needle.
Row 3: Turn, placing yarn to the back of the work, and knit to the end of the row. Do this for all odd numbered rows.
Row 4: K3, yo, k15- 2 sts remaining on needle.
Row 6: K3, yo, k15- 3 sts remaining on needle.
Row 8: Bind off 3 sts, k2, yo, k12- 4 sts remaining on needle.
Row 10: K3, yo, k12- 5 sts remaining on needle.
Row 12: K3, yo, k12- 6 sts remaining on needle.
Row 14: Bind off 3 sts, k2, yo, k9- 7 sts remaining on needle.
Row 16: K3, yo, k9- 8 sts remaining on needle.
Row 18: K3, yo, k9- 9 sts remaining on needle.
Row 20: Bind off 3 sts, knit to end of row.
Repeat Rows 1-20 7 more times.
Bind off all stitches.
Sew up the seam to make a circular dishcloth, and pull the center hole tight.
Wash and block so that it lays flat.
For loofah- make a braid long enough to go around the whole cloth. Thread it in and out of the centermost set of holes created by your yarn overs, tie the ends of the braid together, put soap in the middle and pull tight around it. Wash with the soap inside for an exfoliating luxurious washing experience!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November Classes!

I've updated my class schedule for the next 2 months! Here are the next 3 classes coming up, you can find the full schedule on my Classes page. Call or email Eileen at Sheepskate to sign up for any of these! 781-320-9276 or email

Wed 11/9: Dyeing with Koolaid- Dye your own skein of superwash sock or worsted weight yarn in a rainbow of brilliant colors using Koolaid! You'll lean how to dye yarn without harmful chemicals or a big mess- and you'll keep your skein to make something completely unique with! Class is $35 plus yarn to dye.

Wed 11/16: Loofah Holiday Gift- Want a quick gift for everyone on your list this year? Make a circular washcloth with a scalloped edge using cotton yarn. If you prefer a loofah, you can cinch the circle closed around a bar of soap. Pair this with a bar of fancy soap for a quick gift that will give the most luxurious shower experience! Class is $20 plus materials.

Wed 11/30: Hexipuff Madness- Have you seen the Beekeeper's quilt? It's takingravelry by storm, and it's a brilliant way to use up little bits of leftover yarn, have a quick and easy take-along project, and end up with a gorgeous puffy knitted quilt! Learn how to make these fun and addictive 'puffs in this class. Class is $20 plus yarn- bring your own scraps, or buy our $25 kit that includes the pattern and 10 mini skeins.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Oh, what a month! You've already seen the launch of 2 new yarn lines, Chubby Bunny and Worsted Wooly, and now finally, here's #3- Shirley. I've been wanting to do this line for awhile now, because Shirley is an homage to one of the greatest artists I've ever known- my grandmother.

She was a spectacular quilter, and her use of color is really mind blowing. I learned so much from her, and now, as I look at photos of her quilts to pick out my colorways for Shirley, I'm paying attention to her work in more detail than ever before, and I'm learning even more. 6 colorways in the shop and counting, each named for the quilt that inspired it, and with a photo of that quilt on the lable.

And the knitters at Knot Hysteria with Stephanie Pearl-McFee will be the very first people to get their hands on it! I just shipping a big box full of Shirley and alpaca fiber for their retreat!

Shirley is a moderately soft yarn, but it has sheen and loft, and makes a wonderful texture in knitting. It also makes excellent hexipuffs- I know, because I knit my very first hexipuff this week as a swatch for Shirley! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October Winners!

My October contest has ended- and we have some winners to announce! All winners may choose the pattern they would like from my patterns page, or from ravelry if they prefer. Congratulations!

Via Twitter- @HeatheryDoune is the winner! Thanks for retweeting and for following @Knitolution!

Via Facebook- Kitty Crab is the winner! Thanks for being a fan of my page!

Congrats to the winners, and we'll do another contest soon!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Project Update

One new project started, one almost done, and one chugging along slowly but surely-

I cast on my new train knitting last week, a new pair of socks, this one knit from my Mir Sock Yarn in Aurora. I'm using my standard sock pattern, and I may or may not throw in some pattern stitches when I get past the toes. So far I love the way this is knitting up!

My sweater is almost done! After the heartbreak of having to rip the sleeves out completely, I've recovered and now have sleeves, yoke, and part of the hood finished. Just another foot of hood and then some kitchener stitch, and I'll have a warm fuzzy AWESOME sweater in time for winter!

I'm still making progress on knitting my veil, trying to do a row a day as much as possible. Its grown a fair bit since the last time I took a photo, and its onto one circular now which makes it a lot less of a pain than it was with 2! Also, the lighting on my kitchen table when I took the photos today was just spectacular, and it really brings out the texture of the lace in the most satisfying way.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Meet Worsted Wooly!

Another new yarn line!

Worsted Wooly is a luscious, squishy singles that's on the heavy side of worsted weight. It knits up quickly and is moderately soft. Because the yarn is not plied, it lends stand out texture to cables and other textured stitches. Its perfect for hats, scarves, mittens, and slippers!

So far, the only color available is October in Maine, but I'm dying up a storm- so expect more colors in the next week.

October in Maine is full of rich jewel tones that mimic the changing colors of a New England fall. It reminds me of jumping in piles of leaves as a child!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Introducing Chubby Bunny!

I'd like to introduce my newest yarn line, Chubby Bunny!

Chubby Bunny is a quick-knitting bulky wool yarn. It is 4 ply and evenly spun. It is not a super soft yarn, but its a perfect outerwear or cabling yarn if you have sensitive skin, and it felts beautifully! When felted it makes a dense, soft, fuzzy fabric perfect for bags, placemats, and rugs. The colors in Chubby Bunny are inspired by beautiful places in the world.

Approximately 4oz and 62yd per Ball.

Recommended needle size U.S. 10-11
Recommended gauge 10 st over 4 inches.

Fibers: 100% Wool
Care: Hand Wash, lay flat to dry

To begin with, Chubby Bunny is available in 2 colors, Midnight in Napa and Waves of Tahiti, but I'm dying more as quick as I can! I will have 2 more yarn lines coming out this month as well. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October Contest!

I want to do a big giveaway this month! You can enter up to 5 times, once by each method outlined below. There will be a winner from each, and each winner will win their choice of any of my patterns! You can view all of my patterns on the patterns tab on my website. Enter by midnight EST on October 19th, all winners will be chosen randomly.

Enter up to 5 times, once by each of these methods!
Blog- Follow my blog- near the top on the right hand sidebar, you'll see a button that says "Join this site with google friend connect"- click this, and join my blog! Then leave a comment on this blog post to be entered.
Ravelry Group- Join my ravelry group, then comment in the thread about this contest!
Twitter- Follow me on twitter, @Knitolution, and re-tweet any of my tweets about the contest.
Facebook- 'Like' my facebook page, and comment on my wall about the contest, or comment on any contest post on my page to enter.
Email List- Join my email list, then send an email to to enter.

Its that simple! Enter once or 5 times, and good luck!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shop Update!

New stuff in the shop- gorgeous alpaca and alpaca/merino batts for spinning and felting (sooo soft and fluffy), and new handspun yarns in a variety of colors and textures!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

October Classes

Its a little late, but finally I've got the class schedule out for October! Hurry and sign up for these classes- several start next week! As always, full details are on my classes page

Wed 10/12, 10/26: Drop Spindle Spinning- Have you ever wanted to spin your own yarn without purchasing all the expensive equipment? Here it is. Jen will provide you with two 2 hour classes. The cost is $80 including supplies (drop spindle and 4oz Shetland wool). You will go home with a great skill and an original skein of yarn! We will begin with staple length, drafting, spinning with the spindle supported, and gradually put it all together. While you practice, we'll talk about technique and different types of preparation. In the second class, we'll ply your singles and talk about "normal" and "navajo" plying. We'll also talk about different sheep breeds and other types of fiber, and the benefits of different types of spinning and plying. After you finish plying, you will wash your skein and take it home! You can also sign up for just one class, and if you already have a spindle and fiber, you can pay less without supplies.

Wed 10/5: Washcloth/Loofah Holiday Gift Class- Want a quick gift for everyone on your list this year? Make a circular washcloth with a scalloped edge using cotton yarn. If you prefer a loofah, you can cinch the circle closed around a bar of soap. Pair this with a bar of fancy soap for a quick gift that will give the most luxurious shower experience!

Tues 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25: Cable Scarf- Want to learn how to do all those fancy Aran cables? Fear not, this class will take you gradually from simple cables on up until you're ready to take on the most complex designs. In the process you'll make a unique and intricate scarf, which is a perfect holiday gift!

Wed 10/19: Surprise Class!- Details of this class will be posted once everything is confirmed. Rest assured, its one that's been requested repeatedly and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Eileen offers a number of other classes as well, please visit her website to see the rest of her options! All classes are pre-registration and pre-pay. Refunds will be given if classes are cancelled due to low participation. Each class has a minimum of 3 and max of 8. Please register as early as possible so that we can prepare for each student. Call 781-320-9276 or to register.

I also offer private lessons, both at Sheep Skate in Dedham, and in Cambridge. Please email me if you want to set something up!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2-at-a-time, Toe up, Short row heel Socks on 2 circular needles

That mouthfull is the latest pattern I've added to my ravelry arsenal! Its the pattern I use for basic socks, usually my take along train/car/bus knitting- no thinking involved (other than remembering to increase when I'm supposed to...)

These socks can also be embellished any way that strikes your fancy- cables, lace, etc, or you can use the pattern as a reference for techniques- how to do a toe up sock, how to knit socks 2 at a time on 2 circulars, how to make a short row heel.

I wrote this pattern because its what I teach in my sock knitting classes, and also because I'd been on a search for such a combination without finding it. The 2 at a time socks were top down, or the short row heel socks were on DPNs, etc. I'd been knitting socks this way for awhile, but its hard to explain to someone who's never knitted socks: Cast on and do the toe using this resource, then use another resource for the heel, still another for the bind off, etc.

If you aren't on ravelry, or don't want to mess with the link above, you can buy the pattern directly here ($0.99)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Project Update

Two projects have taken the majority of my knitting time lately- my sweater, and, when I'm being good, my veil. The veil is coming along nicely, albeit very slowly... the sweater... well, the sweater was going along swimmingly until I had the sleeves an inch from finished and discovered they were WAY too wide.

So I had to rip back to only 4 inches or so. That'll teach me to blindly follow the pattern increases when I'm following directions for the wrong size after changing the gauge! So, I'll be re-knitting the sleeves and then finally, finishing the sweater. Along with, hopefully, knitting at least a row a day on the veil.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sheepish Adventures: Episode I

Or Episode IV for my fellow nerds. I had almost forgotten about this adventure's "sheepish" nature, until the photos surfaced recently. This summer, I went to the Newport wine festival. Why? Because wine, sunshine, sailing, beaches, and a weekend away from home are all most excellent.

Now, unfortunately there weren't any sheep themed wines at the festival, though I'm sure there must be somewhere. If not, let's get on that!

But, there was a sheep themed Scotch, Sheep Dip. And to be honest, I like Scotch even more than I like wine. Its a good scotch too. If I remember correctly, its a blend of something like a dozen different types and ages of scotch. I'm no expert at describing whiskey flavors, so I won't try and embarrass myself, but it was smooth, flavorful, with none of that pucker inducing rubbing alcohol aftertaste.

And what better place to enjoy a nice glass of scotch on a sunny afternoon? On a reclining swing, of course!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Teaching Spinning

This week I got to teach Beginning Drop Spindle Spinning at Sheepskate! Its always fun to teach beginners and help them achieve that lightbulb moment where everything starts to make sense. We finished and plied a little tiny mini skein in the class, and sent students home with plenty of fiber to practice with- they'll be back on Wed, Sept  28, and then spinning will be offered every other Wed evening at Sheepskate. Come and learn or brush up your skills! Beginners can buy kits that include a spindle and 4oz of Shetland Wool top.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Annie Modesitt or: The Common Cod Strikes Again

Last Friday kicked off a new guild year with the Common Cod Fiber Guild! We have a new board (of which I am the membership chair), a new room (more intimate and with room to spread out projects we're working on!), and a new enthusiasm for the guild programming and new events between our speakers.

Annie Modesitt came to talk to us about No Wrong Way to kick off the season. We started the night by feeding her- "camping" in the Stata Center before the meeting. During the meeting members shared summer knitting wins and woes, we started planning our first between speaker get together- "make your own duct tape dummy". Then Annie started telling her story- and kept us laughing for the next hour! She was a delightful speaker & a joy to hear from. My favorite tidbit was her comparison of the trials and tribulations of knitting a sweater to a marriage- priceless.

After the meeting I got a look at some really spectacular knitted hats she brought- using Millinery wire to keep a wide brim. There was a great photo taken of the guild board wearing these hats, but not on my camera, so stay tuned! Hopefully I can get a copy soon.

I'm excited to see the next evolution of the guild as the season progresses!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Beautiful Things

This week two wonderful people have sent me photos of projects! First, London Fetish Fair sent me photos of the sweater she knit from Mary Maxim vintage patterns she bought from me last year. Its gorgeous! I hope she keeps up the knitting... I can't wait to see where the mix of vintage and modern takes her next.

Next, Cloth Diaper Club sent me this photo of the most adorable sheep that she needle felted! The body is some of my sweet superfine Merino locks. She has incredible talent! So cute.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cable Sampler Scarf

I've finally got my Cable Sampler Scarf available as a Ravelry download! It's a cable scarf to take you from simple 4 stitch cables up to a complex aran motif. 4 different cable patterns and the transitions between sections create a beautiful balanced scarf- whether you’re learning cables or just want an interesting scarf to knit! Perfect for a holiday gift!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Extreme Double Knitting

I'm thrilled to help spread the word about the impending release of my incredibly talented friend Alasdair's book, Extreme Double Knitting. You can pre-order it now from Cooperative Press for a discount, and you should- even if you don't think you're crazy enough to ever attempt his patterns, it is a book worth owning for the sheer mind blowing inspiration of his work.

I'd be willing to bet that in 10 years, Alasdair will be to double knitting what Kaffe Fassett is to colorwork, or Alice Starmore to cables. Maybe 5 years. Maybe one. Don't believe me? Check out the photos on his blog. Or, scroll through my old entries- remember this photo from Fiber Camp back in March? That's Alasdair, holding several of the designs that will be in the book. You can also get a few of his patterns individually on ravelry.

Alasdair- keep being awesome! Your work inspires me.