Throwback Thursday- How Kathleen Learned to Knit

Who taught you to knit?

This is a question knitters are often asked . The answers vary; some folks are self-taught, others learned from family members, and many others others come to knitting in a more circular manner. I am one of those others.

friends for over 20 years
friends for over 20 years

It was Easter weekend 2006. I had gone off to a weekend craft retreat in Wisconsin with my friend Karen and group of other women, some who I knew well, others I was just meeting. I hadn’t really wanted to go at first. I wasn’t a quilter, and most of the women there were quilters or scrapbookers (something else I don’t do).  But Karen persisted. “It will be fun!” So I agreed to go on the condition she teach me to knit. I wanted to learn, and she’s an excellent knitter.

So off we went to Wisconsin. We stopped at a cute little Amish furniture store. I bought a nightstand from their sale room. We bought cheese. We arrived at the retreat house and prepped the food we were going to serve to the ladies for our community meal.

Noro Lily Solid color 20
Noro Lily Solid color 20

That evening, Karen presented me with a pretty ball of blue yarn (it was Noro Lily, a cotton-silk blend now sadly discontinued) and a set of bamboo knitting needles. She showed me how to do a long-tail cast-on, talking through each of the steps.  I took the yarn and needles from her, and after a few false starts  I more-or-less executed a perfect long-tail cast-on, which earned me a funny look. Then she showed me the knit stitch, which I also was able to do very quickly.  As in instantly and with almost no hesitation. So she politely asked me “Who taught you to knit“?  and I answered, “I’m not sure. Maybe my grandma? But she was a crocheter.”

Karen walked into the house and told our friend Dawn “B***CH already knows how to knit”!!!! We laugh about it to this day.

My mother MaryAnne when she was 21
My mother MaryAnne when she was 21

I called my mother that evening to ask if my Grandma had taught me to knit. She told me she taught me how to knit when I was really little. I have no memory of it, but my hands and brain knew what to do.

I remember her sitting and knitting, making a big green sweater for my dad. And a ripple afghan (which I have here in Minnesota at my house).  When she found out I was knitting, she gave me all her mother’s metal needles in the original rolls. Aluminum Boye needles from the 1960’s. I love having them. They are a touchstone.  I never really knew her mother. She died when I was two years old.


My mother passed away in 2013 and I miss her so much. I think of her every day, especially when I knit. It’s one of the best gifts she ever gave me.


Tomorrow: That ripple afghan. And maybe those metal knitting needles.



Wednesday Wonders Round-up: The Socks!

Joining Crochted Hex's Worked With ModeSock
Joining Crochted Hex’s Worked With ModeSock

One of the most satisfying things about making hand-dyed yarn is seeing the garments our customers create!

The marriage of yarn and project is  fascinating, we love to see how a pretty skein of yarn is utilized in the hands of a skilled knitter or crocheter.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 1.49.18 PM
Toes see 40% in MKY!

Right now on Ravelry there are 19 completed projects in ModeSock, 17 projects here and 2 more here.

The projects run the gamut; socks (of course), hats, cowls, sweaters, scarves,  and shawls. We’ve been featuring customer projects as Wednesday Wonders on our Facebook page.

(BTW: Have you “liked” our Facebook page?  Have you “liked” Annie’s Facebook page as well?)

Dan's Jesmond socks
Dan’s Jesmond socks

Jesmond Socks
Quietdanmn used the Mr Jesmond colorway from our “Midwife Speaking” collection for his beautiful socks.

The pattern is a hybrid; Dan combined several patterns to create his fabulous socks.

Nice job Dan!

Daryl Dixon for your feet!
Daryl Dixon for your feet!

Daryl Dixon Socks
Basketbagley used one skein of ModeSock in Daryl Dixon to knit her – what else? –  Daryl Dixon Socks.

The pattern is Hermione’s Everyday Socks by  Erica Lueder (FREE on Ravelry!)

Congratulations Tracy!

Random stripes, perfect socks!
Random stripes, perfect socks!

Mindless Sampler Socks
Worked up in a Mini Skein Set, Wolfgirl88 knit these lovely socks!

The stripes beautifully highlight each separate color of The Knitting Dead set.  The pattern is Slip Stitch Heel Basic Socks by Wendy D. Johnson.

Great job, Richelle!


Diana's Quiver Sock by Ellen Silva
Diana’s Quiver Sock by Ellen Silva

Our dear friend Twinsetellen designed a beautiful pattern specifically for ModeSock.

Diana’s Quiver creates a lovely fabric, perfect for showing off variegated yarns (like our own Semi-Precious colors!)  It’s a delightful pattern and a fun knit!

All these gorgeous socks make us want to cast on RIGHT NOW. What’s your favorite sock pattern? Have you used ModeSock? Share your projects with us in the comments!

Archer Mitts

Archer Mitts shown in Officer Grimes/Daryl Dixon and Michonne/Hershel Greene
Archer Mitts shown in Officer Grimes/Daryl Dixon and Michonne/Hershel Greene

If you get my newsletter, you received a link for the Archer Mitts last week.

If not, here’s your link now!

They’re fun mitts, and — unusually for a free pattern — this involves techniques that are a bit beyond basic.

Provisional cast on? ICord Bind Off? Short Rows? Grafting? Creating a Thumb Gusset?

These are all techniques that you can try out with this simple pattern. Note that I said SIMPLE, which is not the same thing as EASY!

IMG_0810I’ve fallen in love with mitts; they’re not just fun to knit, they’re warm and allow full movement for your fingers. These are worked up in ModeLuxe, but to be honest you can use any worsted weight yarn (although ModeLuxe IS killer soft and delicious to knit up…)

I’ve been quiet because I’ve been dyeing up HUGE amounts of yarn, it’s selling like crazy, and I have more yarn waiting for me at home to dye up when I get back.

IMG_2406Where am I? I’m in Cleveland, preparing to tape a few segments of Knitting Daily TV tomorrow, and looking forward to seeing old friends!

I’m excited, but this evening is devoted to sitting still so my nail polish can dry, and figuring new ways to suck in my chins.

And now, MORE pictures of the lovely Archer Mitts (I can see Daryl wearing these during one of these Georgia snowstorms, right?)