Category: knits

Turn it Upside Down

I’ve been knitting up a bunch of Market Bags for my Etsy shop (which is LIVE, by the way!). I’m using the Ilene Bag as my base pattern. Here are my alterations if you want to make your own!

Start from the top, casting on 100 stitches, then knit in garter for about 8 rows. Start the lace pattern (Row 1: Knit, Row 2: K2TOG, YO) and do that at least once with smaller needles before switching to larger needles.

When you’re done with the stretchy lace portion, switch back to smaller needles for decreases. I put markers evenly to make 4 sections (every 25 stitches) and make the following decreases:

  • Row 1- Knit
  • Row 2- SM, SSK, Knit across to last 2 stitches before marker, K2TOG, SM

If I want eyelets in the bottom of the bag as the original pattern had, I do this on the decrease rows:

  • Row 2- SM, K2TOG, YO, K2TOG, knit across to last 4 stitches before marker, K2TOG, YO, K2TOG, SM

I repeat until I get down to 8 stitches, then tie up the bottom.

This allows me to pick up from the top wherever I want my handles and how wide. I usually pick up 12 stitches on the handle, then decrease every other garter row until I have 8 stitches, garter stitch until my handle is long enough, increase every other row until I’m back up to 12 stitches, then join on the other side using Kitchener join for garter. Sometimes I’ll make a really skinny handle, decreasing to 4 or 6 stitches.

You can check out my Market Bags on Ravelry. Or if you just want to buy one, check out Fire Tower Knits!

Unexpected places I’ve found yarn (that I actually wanted to knit with)

Tuesday Morning

They don’t have that much yarn, but usually I can find a few skeins of Lion Brand and Paton’s at discounted prices. I’ll often find skeins of yarn I’ve never heard of before. The key here is to look at the labels, noting fiber content, yardage, and dye lots. Occasionally I find some jewels. Just the other day I found several hanks of a merino wool yarn in blended reds and blues. Last year I found a linen blend I’d never seen before, skeins originally $15 a piece marked down to $4. I may have bought all they had.

(Tuesday Morning actually has a pretty extensive crafting aisle, so it’s always worth a look.)

TJ Maxx

This one is much more hit-or-miss, but occasionally you’ll find yarn in the home goods aisles. Last year I found these giant balls of red-and-green and beige-and-gold cotton yarn. I think they were meant to be Christmas decor as-is, but you can’t give this girl a ball of cotton yarn and tell her not to knit with it. I’m making these mini washcloths. So far I’ve made about 16 and I haven’t made a dent in the ball yet.

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Thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army

You’re likely to find bags of mostly Red Heart, usually halfway unraveled. But sometimes you’ll find a treasure, a little bag of Mad Tosh or maybe even a set of bamboo needles! It’s like a treasure hunt! (I’ve also found a lot of great cross stitch supplies at thrift stores, too.)

Goodwill Online

Did you know Goodwill has a website?! There’s a bit more competition now than there was a few years ago, but you can find some really cool things on there! The crafts section is always full of goodies. Keep in mind you’ll have to pay for shipping.

A few years ago I scored this lot of vintage yarn of Belastraw and Strawtex. It definitely wasn’t your everyday yarn. It felt like… well, straw. But it was pretty cool. I knit up a couple bowls (I didn’t felt them) and a Medano Bag that I still use!

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Reddit

There are quite a few knitting and yarn resources on Reddit: r/knitit, r/casualknitting, and r/yarnswap to name a few. I love these subreddits because they’re a bunch of people just like me! People there want to know what you’re working on, are happy to answer your silly questions, and are likely to share your dread about running out of a specific dyelot right before casting off a baby blanket you’ve been working on for a week. Sometimes, too, someones able to help you out!

A couple years ago I needed a specific color of Kelly Green yarn to add a duplicate stitch detail to a hat. I didn’t want to buy a whole skein of yarn for such a tiny detail, so I sent out a request on r/yarnswap. I very nice Canadian sent me some scrap yarn she had lying around, along with a couple boxes of Smartees!

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Take a little trip to Waxahachie

Back in May, we visited Waxahachie, TX for a wedding. I was pleasantly surprised at all their cute downtown area had to offer! There were plentiful antique and pickers’ shops and lots of yummy smelling places to eat. We went during Cinco de Mayo, so there were lots of people out and live music playing. It was super enjoyable and we definitely plan to go back!

Places we loved:

Chaska House Bed and Breakfast – We stayed in the Hemmingway room! It was quiet, comfortable, and had some great collections to look through. The owners are super sweet and the breakfasts were delicious! Let them know if you’re bringing a little one, and they’ll make sure breakables are put away.

College Street Pub – It’s small and dark inside and they’ve got a nice patio in the back. They have local craft beer, yummy food, and a bar cat.

Farm Luck Soda Fountain – In downtown Waxahatchie, we stopped by to cool off and get a snack after walking around the square. Great sandwiches, ice creams, and fancy sodas!

Farmhouse – A cute shop we happened upon in downtown Waxahachie. They have home decor, soaps, postcards, gifts, and YARN! This was a happy surprise. I hadn’t intended on doing any yarn shopping this trip, but when I happened upon this beautiful booth by Ewe2Yarn, I knew I couldn’t go home empty handed. I’ve already knit up a couple hats with her beautiful Alpaca, Merino Wool, and Silk blend yarn.

Brain on Vacation

I’ve knit about 15 of these market bags, it’s the Ilene Bag on Ravelry. I’ve been using Sugarwheel from Hobby Lobby; it’s a soft, colorful yarn that’s perfect for these.

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Then I switched yarn and lost my mind. I found Sinfonia on clearance for $1.27 and picked up 3 skeins. It’s great! Mercerized cotton, bright colors, clearly durable. It’ll be nice to have some bright solid options, I thought.

But something happened to my brain when I switched yarns, and I CAN NOT figure out how I’ve been finishing this damn thing. I’d made some changes to the handle construction, but after knitting 15 of them, suddenly I can’t remember how I was doing it. I ended the pink bag with a Purl bind off. That clearly wasn’t right, so I frogged it and ended with a Knit bind off. That seemed right, but when I went to add the handle, the bind off was so tight that I knew I’d done something wrong… or maybe it was the yarn? Honestly I don’t know. I gave up trying to figure it out and just made it work, but it’s definitely not like the other 15 I’ve knit. It’ll be fine – no one’s really going to know the difference except me – but I’d like to remember what I was doing.

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I’m reopening my Etsy shop. There’s nothing there right now, but I’m hoping to get it up and running this weekend. Or maybe next week. (Update: I listed some things!) Life with a 2-year-old is hard, guys. Anyway, you’ll find lots of these Market Bags and a bunch of other things once I get around to taking pictures and writing up descriptions of them all. I have SO MUCH cute stuff.

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OMG. You know what? I’d been knitting the bags top-down! I was casting on at the top and finishing at the bottom, then picking up stitches from the top to add the handle! No wonder it wasn’t feeling right! Sheesh. Mystery solved.

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And now I’ve somehow messed up the handle. I swear, this bag started out wrong and is determined to end wrongly. It’s probably because it’s pink. I don’t care for pink, but it was on clearance… I’m going to make it work.

Becoming a Process Knitter

I love Process vs Product Knitting from Knit-Purl discussing different motivations behind knitting (or really creating anything). Product knitters knit for the item itself – the final product is the motivation as it’s something they want to wear or use. Process knitters knit for the knitting itself and are less motivated by what the finished project will be.

I’ve been almost solely a product knitter. I knitted cute hats that I wanted to wear, bags I wanted to take to the beach, and shawls that I envisioned myself wearing but never quite mastered.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been knitting for over 10 years, or maybe it’s because I have a baby now and anything else takes so much more effort, but suddenly I don’t care so much what the end result is – I just want to knit. I have such a big yarn stash, most of it bought for projects I can’t remember, that I just want to get it OUT of my stash and INTO something finished.

This has been such a freeing evolution in my knitting. Because I don’t care what the end result is, I’ve been knitting things I never knit before, learning new techniques, and finding new things to love. Previously, deciding what to do with a few skeins of yarn took hours of searching through Ravelry patterns, hemming and hawing about what something would look like when finished or how it would fit. Now I just make sure I have enough yarn and I cast on! Suddenly knitting is back to being purely enjoyable and relaxing. Knitting is truly self care again.

Consequently, I’m going to have a shit-ton of knitted goods to sell at the Farmers’ Market this fall.

Knit a Dice Bag

I’m knitting dice bags to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network during Extra Life on October 25th. Want to help me out? Please donate on my Extra Life page.


Making dice bags is incredibly simple. I used this Dice Bag pattern on Ravelry as a start, and after making a few, I’ve come up with my own recipe of sorts.

Multicolored Dice Bag

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Minecraft Creeper Gloves

My nephew is obsessed with Minecraft. And for good reason – it’s an awesome game! I knew I wanted to knit him something Minecraft related for Christmas, and these Creeper Gloves just popped into my head one day. They are so simple to make! Just knit up some basic gloves, make a simple Creeper chart (or use mine), duplicate stitch your Creeper, and you’re done!

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Knit a Logo Hat!

My fiance is from Dallas originally and is a diehard Dallas Stars fan. So when they updated their official colors and logo, I knew I had to knit him a custom Dallas Stars hat.

The process of setting up your logo correctly can be a little tricky, but if you have some photo manipulation software experience (like Photoshop), you can figure it out. I also recommend learning Duplicate Stitch as opposed to trying to insartia knit the logo.

Follow along with a logo of your choice to knit your own custom logo hat!

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