Friday, December 14, 2012

Hobbit Knits - A Collection of Hobbit-Inspired Knitting Patterns

I am thrilled to announce the release of "Hobbit Knits - A Collection of Hobbit-Inspired Knitting Patterns".
PicMonkey Collage22
The eBook contains five patterns, each inspired by a different scene from "The Hobbit".
The "Pony Rides in May Sunshine" fingerless mitts are inspired by the beginning of Bilbo's long journey during which he finds adventures to be quite pleasant. When the travelling becomes more difficult later on, he laments that adventures are not all "pony rides in May sunshine". The mitts feature a cabled cuff and are knit from a cheerful, rustic DK-weight yarn, and are designed to protect one's hands during a long day of holding the reins of a pony.
The Elvish Singing Shawlette is inspired by the warm welcome given to Bilbo and his companions one warm June evening as he and his companions approach the Elvish outpost of Rivendell. This delicate lace shawlette is knit from a single ball of sock yarn.
SAM_1755 - Copy

The Pocketses Vest is inspired by a Hobbit's waistcoat, with a double breast to display plenty of nice brass buttons, as well as two small pockets, just large enough for concealing a magical ring. It is knit primarily in stockinette stitch using worsted-weight wool.
Pocketse side view

The Mirkwood Satchel features a sturdy linen-stitch body and a long, cabled strap. It also has a cabled pocket on the side and is closed with a zipper. This bag came to mind when reading about Bilbo and his companions needing to carry weeks worth of food and water on their trek through the gloomy, unwholesome Mirkwood forest.
The Beorn Cardigan had a cabled waistband, from which the upper and lower body are picked up and knit. This heavily cabled cardigan is inspired by the wide fireplaces, large mugs of mead, and toast with butter and honey that welcomed Bilbo and Gandalf on their journey home when the visited their friend, Beorn, at Yuletide.

All patterns are available for sale individually in my Ravelry shop. As well, the entire collection can be purchased at a discounted price - just click the "Buy Now" button below to be taken to Ravelry. You do not have to be a member of Ravelry to buy patterns from their site.

The patterns are also available in my Craftsy pattern store, as well as in my Etsy Shop.

I hope you enjoy browsing and knitting these patterns as much as I enjoyed designing them. After all, "If more of us valued food and cheer and song* above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

*And knitting, I would add.

The Giveaway!
I have a copy of the Hobbit Knits collection to give away! This contest is open to anyone, in any country, until Dec 30, 2012. Please leave me a comment and include your contact information, such as an email address or Ravelry ID.

UPDATE: Some people have had trouble leaving a comment on this blog. You may also enter the contest by emailing me your contact info at SarcasticStitches AT gmail DOT com, or by sending me a message on Ravelry. Sorry for the inconvenience!

What is your favorite scene from "The Hobbit"? Did you first read the book as a child or as an adult?

UPDATE Dec 30, 2012 - Congratulations to the winner of the eBook, Unwindle! I have gifted you the book on Ravelry. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Imbolc Pullover - Winter 2012 Knitscene!

I am delighted to have my Imbolc pullover included in the Winter 2012 issue of Knitscene!


This pullover features two sunburst-like lace hexagons inset into the sweater so that they wrap around the ribs at the left and right sides of the pullover, creating waist definition. Each hexagon is knit from the center out and bound off. The front and back are each knit flat to the bottom of the hexagon inset, at which point stitches are bound off at each side. The pieces are shaped to accommodate the hexagon inset, after which more stitches are cast on and the front and back pieces are worked to the shoulders. The sweater has a feminine deep U neckline. The cuffs, hem and neckline are trimmed in tidy 1x1 ribbing.


The sample was knit in the gloriously soft yarn from The Fibre Company called Road to China Light (65% alpaca, 15% silk, 10% camel, 10% cashmere; 159 yd [145 m]/50 g). I used 3.5mm needles and got a gauge of 25 sts and 32 rows to 4".

As the circumference of the hexagon inset is 27", an optional co-ordinating tam can easily be made by knitting two inches of stockinette stitch around the outer edge of a third hexagon, followed by decrease rows to reduce the circumference to 22", and ending with two inches of ribbing.

While winter days start to get longer after the Winter Solstice in late December, the sun's strength doesn't noticeably return until early February, which is celebrated as the Irish festival of Imbolc, which derives its name from the ancient Irish i mbolg, meaning "in the belly", referencing the newly-pregnant ewes. The two sunbursts reference the "doubling" of the strength of the sun, as well as the date of Imbolc, which falls on February 2nd: 02/02.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Amma's Scarf - Canadian Cancer Society Fundraiser

I am happy to announce the release of a very special pattern!

This One Too

The "Amma's Scarf" was designed for my mother in honor of her 65th birthday. She helped in choosing the yarn and stitch patterns. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of this scarf pattern will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. This means that the entire purchase price, minus transaction fees, will go towards cancer research and improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

The scarf features a scalloped lace pattern at the ends, and uses a garter-stitch diamond lace pattern through the body of the scarf to show off the beautiful tonal variations of this variegated yarn. The pattern includes both charted and written directions for the lace patterns. Please note that the yarn used to knit the sample has a lot of drape (think 100% silk or rayon), so if you use a yarn that has more bounce, such as wool or acrylic, you may need more yardage to make a full-length scarf.

This One

Amma’s Story
When my son was learning to talk, “Grandma” was too much of a mouthful for him, so he dubbed my mother “Amma,” a title she was more than happy to carry. She was delighted to be a grandmother, and even more delighted that she was in such good health that she could enjoy the company of an active toddler.

Two years prior, I told my mother that I was expecting her first grandchild. Not long after this, she told me that she had breast cancer. She was treated and fully recovered. Five years later, I told her that I was expecting another child. Only weeks later, she told me that she had again been diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, she is once again cancer-free with a good long-term prognosis. Happy Birthday, Mom, and many more to come!

The pattern is available on Etsy, on Craftsy or on Ravelry. You can also purchase the scarf through Ravelry by clicking the button below:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Irresponsible Tam

I am thrilled to have my Irresponsible Tam included in the special Accessories 2012 issue of Knitscene magazine! I'm honored to be included with such an amazing collection of patterns, especially for my first ever pattern to be published in a conventional print magazine.

This hat was inspired by those that were popular in the early part of the 20th century. I had a lot of fun browsing through antique knitting and crochet patterns online to find out how the original berets were made (just like today, there's top-down or bottom-up patterns, as well as those knit flat and those knit in the round).

The name of this hat comes from the female love interest in Meredith Nicholson’s 1905 book, “The House of a Thousand Candles”, in which the young heroine wears her jaunty red tam at an “irresponsible tilt”.

The color was inspired by another line from the same book: "There is something jaunty, a suggestion of spirit and independence in a tam-o'-shanter, particularly a red one."

Photos are courtesy of Knitscene magazine.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Coffee and Cream Beanie

I had a lot of fun working up the pattern for this little coffee-themed beanie.

One, 100g ball of white yarn is divided into three smaller balls, two of which are dyed with coffee. One ball gets a quick dye in weaker coffee to produce a pale brown, while the other is dyed more slowly in stronger coffee to produce a darker brown shade.

The colorwork pattern is inspired by the swirling shapes made by cream as it is added to a hot cup of fragrant coffee. The white crown of the hat represents the cream; the light and dark brown swirls are the coffee as it mixes with the cream; and the white ribbing at the bottom of the hat represents the thick-walled white ceramic mug holding the coffee.

This hat is knit from the bottom up and worked in the round.


Teen or Small Adult (Medium Adult, Large Adult)

To Fit Head Circumference: 20 (22, 24)"/51 (56, 61) cm

Finished Hat Circumference:19 (21, 23)"/48 (53, 58.5) cm

Finished Length: 8 (8.5, 9)"/20 (21.5, 23) cm


1(1, 1) ball Patons Classic Wool, 100% wool (210 yds/192 m) per 100g/3.5 oz ball) in color 00202 Aran. Divide into three balls: one dyed light brown, one dyed dark brown, and one left undyed. Dyeing instructions are provided at the end of the pattern.

Note: if you don't wish to dye your own yarn, you can use Patons Classic Wool in the following amounts and colors:25 (27, 30) g of 00202 "Aran" (white)20 (22, 24) g of 77514 "Sesame" (light brown)10 (11, 12) g of 00227 "Taupe" (dark brown)

US Size 7/4.5 mm dpns

US Size 6/4.0mm dpns

Darning Needle

Stitch marker

Mild laundry soap

Materials and Equipment For Yarn Dyeing:

12 tablespoons instant coffee, divided

2 teaspoons alum (available at large grocery stores or bulk food stores)

1 teaspoon cream of tartar (available at large grocery stores or bulk food stores)

Large pot

Microwave and large microwave-safe dish (optional)

Measuring spoons and cup

Large stir spoon

Waste yarn - use smooth, non-felting, pale yarn (white acrylic is ideal)


This pattern is available for sale on Ravelry for $5.00 CAD!

Monday, February 27, 2012


A walk through the woods in the winter requires a good, warm hat. This pattern is for a very warm winter hat made from recycled, left-over or hand-spun yarn. This lined hat is knit from the top down and is suitable for nearly any gauge of yarn.

The main color and contrast color must be knit from yarn approximately the same weight. The liner yarn can be the same weight or a slightly thinner yarn. A liner knit at a slightly loose gauge will still trap plenty of air and be warm to wear. The liner is also an excellent place to use small amounts of warm, luxury yarns, especially those in colors that may not be to your taste.

The gray sample hat measures 22" / 56 cm in circumference and was knit on US 8 / 5.0 mm needles using gray 100% lambswool, white 100% wool and green 100% cashmere, all of which were recycled from thrift store sweaters.

The white and pink sample hat measures 18" / 46 cm in circumference and was knit on US 2 / 2.75 mm needles using 1 50g ball of Patons Kroy Sock yarn (75% wool, 25% acrylic), 14 g of unknown variegated sock yarn (100% acrylic), and about 20 g of recycled 100% cashmere.

The PDF pattern for this hat is available for sale on Ravelry for $4.50!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thousand Kisses Socks

I am very excited to be a part of the Winter 2012 issue of Petite Purls magazine! My Thousand Kisses socks are included in this issue, along with many other great patterns, all of which are available at the Petite Purls website for free!

These socks were inspired by the pair that I made my older child for his first day of school. Because I had been a stay-at-home mom for his entire life, he had never gone to daycare or had any experience with long, regular separations from home and family, so the transition to full-day, every-other-day kindergarten was wrapped in some anxiety for both of us.

In the weeks leading up to The Big Day, I made a special pair of socks for my son. Surrounding the top of the socks was a band of traditional Fair Isle OXO motifs, but I explained to him that they were hugs and kisses. When he started to tear up in the back of his kindergarten classroom as I tried to make my way to the door, I put some extra hugs and kisses into my hand and patted them into his socks. After that, he was (mostly) ok.

The sock pattern on the Petite Purls website is the expanded and updated version of that original pair, which were long ago worn through and outgrown. I was even fortunate enough to be able to make a second pair for my younger child, and plan on making her another pair for when she starts Kindergarten in 573 more days...but who's counting?

The name of these socks was inspired by the thousands of stitches (kisses) in each
sock, as well as by the Leonard Cohen song called "A Thousand Kisses Deep."Like most Leonard Cohen songs, I love it to bits, but get the feeling that I'm missing a layer or six of the meaning that he's written into the lyrics. My take on it is summed up at the end of the second verse:

And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep:
You ditch it all to stay alive
A thousand kisses deep

This, to me, speaks to the bittersweet feeling that many parents, especially stay-a-home parents, have that the sacrifices involved in child raising have diverted them from the path they imagined for themselves, but are surprised to find themselves a thousand kisses deeply in love with their children and with life as a parent. It may be a slightly cynical view of parenting, but that's how I was feeling at that period in time.

How did you feel when your children started school, or do you remember how you felt on your own first day of kindergarten?