Osprey Distaff

This distaff, or “wristaff,” was born out of sheer necessity. I’ve been spending more time with spinning, and it’s incredibly helpful to have a tool to keep the roving out of your spun yarn. I played around with a few techniques to make it as seamless as possible.

Osprey Wristaff, detail shot

The pictures were taken at Wolf’s Neck State Park. There’s an island just off shore that’s protected as a sanctuary for roosting ospreys and watching them interact was quite the lesson in bird drama. And it didn’t hurt that blowing off every other thing I probably should have been doing Monday afternoon to take pictures with my husband at the beach made me feel just a bit like I was borrowing the freedom of those birds.

Osprey Distaff (click to download pattern)

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Update 4/14/12

A few people have kindly pointed out some errors in my pattern–those have been corrected in the document linked above. Thanks to everyone who test-knits my patterns and lets me know where I’ve made mistakes–it really helps me offer a better pattern for everyone else.

Knit to the Last Yard

I forgot my knitting when I went to visit my folks last week. My mother, a newer knitter who has caught the fever in a bad way, took pity on me and bought me a few skeins of yarn.

I’m pleased with what I came up with for one of the skeins, particularly because I finished with just barely a yard left. I love it when project yardage works out so perfectly. And I think I’m a new fan of cowls over scarves because (a) they stay out of the way and (b) they take less time and yarn to make.

This pattern is almost too simple to bother writing up, but if you’re looking for a pleasant, mindless project that’s great for relaxing, this one might be a good fit.

Basketweave Cowl

Basketweave cowl


  • Cascade Yarns Quatro, 220 yd. / 100 g. (1 skein)
  • U.S. size 8 16″ circular needle


5 st / 5 rows = 1″ in Stockinette stitch


CO 48

  • Row 1: (k4, p4) repeat across.
  • Row 2: (p4, k4) repeat across.
  • Repeat rows 1 & 2 once.
  • Row 5: (p4, k4) repeat across.
  • Row 6: (k4, p4) repeat across.
  • Repeat rows 5 & 6 once.
  • Repeat rows 1-8 until work measures 24 inches, ending with a row 8.

Sew ends together.

On the top edge, pick up one stitch for each row. Working in the round, *k2, s1, k1, psso. Slip these three stitches back onto the left needle and repeat from * around. When 3 stitches remain, break yarn and pull through. Sew in ends. Repeat i-cord on bottom.

Bifrost Beret

Many, many apologies for the delay on this promised pattern. I have excuses for not putting the pattern up, but since they mostly involve a preference to watching Torchwood and knitting over formatting images in a Word document, you don’t want to hear them.

Either way, here’s the promised pattern!

Bifrost Beret

(Click to download or print.)

Bifrost Beret - Link opens PDF pattern

Knitting On the Fly

I hate hats. By which, of course, I mean that I love them to pieces but they have an irritating way of defeating me. Frequently. When my mother gave me some purple  yarn to make baby hats for October to raise awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome, I cringed inside. More than a little.

I picked up another skein from her excellent LYS while I was visiting her knitting class, though, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The bulky, soft alpaca was more delicious than any yarns I can afford on a regular basis and I figured it was worth the effort of mastering a few baby hats just for the chance to work with the yarn.

The lovely thing about bulky yarn is that beautiful things just sort of fall off your needles. You cast on and it seems like only an hour later you have a hat…or three. My success with the baby hats inspired me to pick up the intriguing and slightly odd variegated yarn I found in the bargain bin at the same LYS. It was surprisingly pleasant to work with for an inexpensive wool/acrylic blend, and I think it had a little bit of magic stored up in it because the tam just came together, hitting that Goldilocks ratio.

The first tam I ever made is bigger than my entire head. The second one barely covers my ears. I made one in there that fit my youngest sister, but it didn’t come out quite the size I was aiming for. This lovely bit, however, was just right.

You can’t really tell from the wet, blocking project how nicely the color runs work up at this length, but I was quite pleased. Once it’s dry and properly photographed, I’ll be putting up the pattern for it, so come back sometime next week for the Bïfrost Beret.

Hydrating Hydrangeas

So…the Guild of Rookie Designers called. They revoked my membership card.  I dialed up the League of N00b Designers, and even they were hesitant to accept me back when they heard why the Guild gave me the boot.

LND Rep: “Let me get this straight: your strategy for organizing pattern notes for a new design consists of two regular notebooks, a graph paper notebook, and a box of loose paper, and you’re surprised that you can’t find the notes for your latest pattern?”

Me: “Well, in my defense, I did just move…”

I was about thirty seconds from trying to reverse engineer the pattern from the finished product when I decided to leaf through the magazines I had stuck in my bin of projects-in-progress. I just about leaped up to turn a somersault when a loose piece of graph paper fell out with the hydrangea stitch and eyelet rib…until I noticed that I was missing my notes on how to build the bottom. Unfortunately, that was the only part of the pattern I knew I would have to rework to try to remember what I had done.

I really don’t remember getting the graph paper to work out the stitch on, but the only reason I can imagine that I would use loose-leaf graph paper instead of doing the work in my notebook is that I had already packed my notebook before the move, but my husband hadn’t packed his. If all of my pattern-note-taking-books were packed, there was one other place I might look: the sticky note app for my computer.

I had to dig what felt like piles of random urls, bits of shortcode, knitting tutorials, fiber fair dates, and writing ideas, but sure enough, at the bottom of the mess I found a piece of gobbledygook that no one else in the world would understand the meaning of. Thank goodness I worked up this design recently enough to remember what my notes meant.

With no more ado (as this simple pattern has already had more ado than it’s due), enjoy this quick and simple water bottle cover.

Hydrating Hydrangeas (Click to download or print)

Avonlea Shoulder Bag

Avonlea Shoulder Bag

My first attempt at designing a bag was a bit…over-zealous, shall we say? Seeded side panels are picked up from and sewn together with a basket stitch gusset, then topped with a wide cabled band. The pattern is designed to include a lining and a zipper, but the criss-cross construction of the sturdy, double-knit straps would make it easy to do without the zipper.  The straps are designed to be grafted at the top using a double-knit Kitchener stitch.

Avonlea Shoulder Bag

Update 1/7/2012: I’ve decided to start charging just a small amount for this pattern. The straps use some unusual techniques, which means a lot of tech support. Charging for the pattern is how I can keep enough free time in my schedule to answer questions and provide good support. Happy knitting! -MW

Get the pattern now!

Update 2/23/2013: Thanks to Ravelry user Nemotinek for pointing out a discrepancy between the picture and the instructions. Here’s the errata for the Avonlea Cable…

Row 6: k2, p2, cf, p3, cf, p2, k2
Row 14: Repeat row 6