J’s Cardi F.O.- Yarn Along

J's pumpkin Cardi

J.’s Pumpkin Cardi was FAST- for me at least. One week!  I have never in my life knitted any item of clothing in a week.  J’s Cardi was based on Katrina Ballerina and is knit in one piece which I lengthened into another LCOEP and I changed the bottom pattern a little because I didn’t like the chunky looking bottom edging.  I used Berroco Vintage which for me was a bit of a gamble: acrylic yarn &possible squeakiness.  **Shudder**  Fortunately it was fine and as I said really really fast.

However I had a full two months before I could give it to J for her birthday, and I had grand plans for the dress I  wanted to make her to go with it so I procrastinated on finding buttons for it and I just hung it in the closet to wait for the right time.  It did finally get it’s moment in the light: she loves it and it looks sooo cute with her classy little Autumn Jersey Dress.

J's pumpkin Cardi and Autumn dress.

J’s pumpkin Cardi and Autumn dress.

I have been re-reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  Previously when I read this book it was as a mother of young children living in a village community with easily accessible and kindly woodlands and moors that my children were able to have some measure of freedom to explore.  Meanwhile they had friends who were never allowed to play outside a yard and then were never allowed to get dirty even in the yard: so they played video games and watched TV of course.  Now my kids are older our surroundings have changed as have their needs… I was hoping the second reading would be as inspirational to my as the first time but sadly it has just felt rambly and a desperately narrow-minded.  Part of the problem is mine: I have been learning more about food insecurity in America for a future home-school subject and when you know more about hunger in food deserts it makes “nature deficiency” sound like a first world problem.

I’m joining up with Ginny for a Yarn Along.



The Knitter’s Dilemma- Yarn Along

I am nearly done with my Margaret Dashwood Shawl.  It is going to be delicious.  But now I am planning my next project and I am stuck between two:

Knit Picks, Gloss Fingering in Hawk @ Sweet Little Wood1: I was firmly determined to make Meritance for me from Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in Hawk.  Its just my cardigan.  I wear this style ALL THE TIME but I have never tried to knit an every-day-wear for myself.  All my knits are special wear or specific outfit knits.  For the every day stuff I always go buy cheap cardigans from Target wear them out and throw/donate them when they get too far gone for me.  But…

Berroco Vintage in Curry @ Sweet Little Wood2: I went to Chico and there I found the perfect yarn for a Heliopath Vest which I want to make for a gift. The yarn store (Heartstrings) was delicious! One of the best stocked that I’ve seen since moving to CA and it was really really hard to decide not to buy random stash yarn!  There was Sweet Georgia which I’ve never come across before but was so temptingly yummy.  Sadly it was faaaaaarrrrrrrrr outside my price range! Instead I got Borrocco Vintage in Caramel: it is mostly acrylic which I usually avoid… squeaky yarn… SHUDDER.  It feels very nice though- not squeaky- and it is for a younger girl and summer wear so washing frequently will be an issue.

So now I’m stuck in that delicious dilemma.  I have patterns, needles and yarn for both… which to cast on… hmmm.

I am reading very little at the moment that isn’t quick and done in less than 5 minutes. I’ve been busy and traveling but I have still got Sylvia’s Farm on the back burner and a library copy of Folks This Ain’t Normal in my waiting list.  I’m linking up with Ginny today.

Have a wonderful downward slide to the weekend!

xx Joanna

Organizing My Palette- Yarn Along

Over the last few months my supply felting yarn from the Knit Picks Palette fingering range has grown from a modest 6 balls to a whopping great bag of different shades.  I’m not complaining… its amazingly versatile yarn.  And did I mention it felts… sweet.

A easy idea for a  yarn cataloging system.

But when I last needed a specific shade of fingering yarn (that felts!!!) I placed my order from Knit Picks and when it arrived I realized that:

1: I already had that shade.

2:  I had no idea what other colors I had because I hadn’t saved the paper labels and I had at least three other repeats in my big bag o’ Palette.

So I started my own system for cataloging the yarn I had.  I wish I’d started doing this a year ago because it seriously saves me time.  When I get a ball of yarn I cut off a little 2 inch segment and tape it on the appropriate page of my sketch book.  In this photo is a specific page for Palette yarns because I have enough of that specific yarn to warrant it.  Others just go on a page by yarn weight (lace, fingering, aran, worsted, bulky etc) with a little bit of washi tape.  I write the color and name of the yarn on the tape and if i have more than one ball/skein I can write the number of balls or yardage available.  When I am contemplating a pattern I can flick through my catalog of yarn to see what I have.  And then when I run out of the yarn I can easily pull the washi and snipping of yarn out leaving a space for another ball.  Its not a perfect system but it works for me… and maybe you?

My reading has been a little slap-dash, squeezed into nooks and crannies between more physical tasks.  I have been reading (and being read too when M. feels like it) To Speak Well of God by John Pople.  The Bible reading planner we follow takes us through the old testament once and the new testament twice through the year divided into three daily readings so the end of the year always sees us reading Job, Malachi and Revelation before January starts the planner over afresh in Genesis, Psalms and Matthew.  I’m not sure if it is the reflective nature of the time in which I am reading through Job or just the wonderful mysteries to be picked apart in it but Job has always been my favorite book of the Bible to study and it fills my thoughts often in it’s themes of accepting God’s absolute authority.  M’s favorite book is Revelation and he finds that if he starts looking for uses of a symbol in prophecy he almost always finds something useful in Job.  To Speak Well of God is an amazing book and so insightful.  Some bible expositors can get bogged down in sounding too “educated” which sometimes makes the subject more difficult than it needs to be.  Pople’s writing style is intelligent but totally readable and if you have ever read a few chapters in Job and scratched your head or thought of it as just a long catalog of men speaking half truths before you get to God’s somewhat mysterious speech this book is full to brimming with totally bible based answers.

I’m linking up with the lovely Ginny over at Small Things.

Happy Wednesday to you all and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!



Gifty- Yarn Along

As with most my crafts… I’ve been making hand made gifts all this week.  Its my passion.  The thing that gives me the most joy.  I guess if I did that 5 Languages of Love  gift giving would be pretty high on my list.  However I have worked myself into a corner with gifts:  I actually don’t enjoy being given thoughtless stuff.  I don’t like to receive stuff- any old stuff-  I like gifts that mean something to me or to the giver.  I would rather get a thoughtful heartfelt card than a diamond ring (except from you M.- don’t you get any funny ideas- you still have to buy me a diamond ring AND give me a heartfelt card).  I ‘recon there are probably others out there like me who feel cold opening a gift picked up in a rush or panic with no real thought put in.  Seriously if the cosmic forces ever bring the moment where (strangely) you feel its necessary to get me a gift  and it comes to buying something in a rush: don’t bother.

So on my finished list this week:

  1. The delicious but tedious Ombre Cowl for my mother-in-law’s birthdayOmbre Cowl

  2. A set of 5 travel needle tidys (again for my mother-in-law)Felted Needle Cozies: MIL Gift @ Sweet Little Wood

  3. 9 Gnome Home Pens from a Tiny Owl Knits Pattern for my little Hobbit/Hogwarts loving girlsGnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

Two seconds after the Gnome Home Pens were officially theirs they started customizing them!

Gnome Home Pens @ Sweet Little Wood

 Twisted beards are so last season… all the fashionable gnomes are wearing braids you know.

Gnome Home Pens @ Sweet Little Wood

 Some times a gnome’s eye sight needs a little help in the darkened corners of the burrow! (my personal favorite!!)

Gnome Home Pens @ Sweet Little Wood

And for those long walks through winding caverns when you head home from a night at the pub… head lanterns…

There are utility belts and tiny leather satchels in the dreaming.

I’m still slogging through S but I have had no time this week even to pick it up as my in laws have been visiting … longing to finish it now.

I’m linking up with Ginny again this lovely raining Wednesday.

xx Jo


Monday Project: Adaptable Gnomes

Saturday was the day where little owls across the planet were settling down in the branches of their TOKmas trees to share gifts and celebrate all things Tiny Owl Knits.  Its the day they Hoot and Holler and drink hot sweet stuff and nibble little treats sent by their friends.  I’ve had so much fun joining in the swap and I just need to say thank you to Walterbear for the lovely package she sent me: I have finger-less mitts!! Hoot Hoot!!

I've had so much fun joining in the swap and I just need to say thank you to Walterbear for the lovely package she sent me: I have finger-less mitts!! Hoot Hoot!! 

Part of the Tokmas swap rules was that one of your gifts would be TOK related and my spoilee had in her wish list Stephanie Dosen’s adorable “Gnome Home DPN Holders” which featured in my secret knitting (remember the lovely spilling bundle of gnome hats?).  Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the 5 little gnomes that flew off with a helpful owl to Canada but I have gone wild with ideas to use the pattern for!.   The pattern is sooo easy and sooo fun!

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

First I made my mother in law some needle tidy’s inspired by the Gnome Home pattern:

Felted Needle Cozies: MIL Gift @ Sweet Little Wood

My mother in law is not whimsical in the least but I thought she might find some needle tidy’s useful because she does travel and knit a lot.  As I say this was “Inspired By” so its only loosely related… I just used some of the same felt-able fingering wool (from Knit Picks) and knitted up a few rectangles 12/14/16 stitches wide and about 4 inches long, sewed them into a tube and felted them around a pencil or several pencils where they needed to be bigger.  The largest rectangle (16 st wide) fits 10 mm needles when stretched a little.  Basically whatever size and shape you leave the wet felted wool in it will stay in.

THEN (and this is really really fun) I adapted the pattern for a Gnome Home for BIC pens:

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

These are for my girls.  I used Stephanie’s pattern but shortened the body of the gnomes to 2 inches.  The felting takes care of any other size issues!  I used BIC crystal pens and cut off the little arm on the lid to make the lid fit on nicely.

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

Once everything was perfectly dry a little bit of hot glue on the bottom of the pen and on the lid holds all the knitting to the pen parts.  It is not a permanent fix (so then you can move it to another pen later).

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

How darn cute are they?

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

xx Jo



Velvet Pincushion Balls- Yarn Along

I’m linking up with Ginny over at Small Things for her midweek Yarn Along.

Manos del Uruguay and S by J. J. Abrams- Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

Not a lot of knitting achieved this week as I’ve been rollin’…  rollin’ with the Manos del Uruguay in the deliciously mossy “Velvet Pincushion”.  Seriously: I want the job of whoever it is that gets to think up the names for balls of wool!  Its a beautiful fine handspun which is for a special project I can’t reveal because my family read this blog… all will be revealed but not for a looong time… sorry.  I don’t have any tools for making balls so I just do it by hand.  I actually don’t mind rolling my own (as it were) because then I get a center feeding ball which is sooo much more pleasant to use than the usual ball chase…

ME: knitting peacefully in my own little world innocently pulling on ball of wool…

BALL: jumps around till it escapes the bag/bowl/basket/box it was placed in…

ME: knitting peacefully in my own little world innocently pulling on ball of wool…

BALL: winds its way around any available chair legs, my legs, family’s legs picking up any detritus from the floor as it goes…

ME: knitting peacefully in my own little world innocently pulling on ball of wool…

BALL: makes it’s way into the most filthy dust-bunny full corner it can find and proceeds to pick up any detritus it finds….

ME: knitting peacefully in my own little world innocently pulling on ball of wool…

BALL: artfully drapes itself across the path where one of the family are about to walk… trips up daughter/husband (delete appropriately) and gets hopelessly wedged into item of furniture requiring some minor surgery to remove…

ME: “Hey watch where you are….  oh dear.”

My book is responsible for the conspicuous lack of crafting and knitting this week: I am currently reading S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst.  I am utterly consumed.  I cannot describe the book to you.  I cannot tell you what the plot is I just know I MUST read it.  I MUST know what happens.  It is a real thing, a living real thing in my head…. okay… breath… start at the beginning:

I was in the book store… with a gift card and a 25% off discount.  I had been given a gift and I was going to buy a book that day. No question.  Which is in itself so exciting: I love getting new books.  And I found this book in a black case mysteriously giving nothing away on its cover and looking so tempting but the whole thing was plastic wrapped so I couldn’t flip through it and figure out if I’d like it.  So I used my phone and looked it up on Goodreads– I find  Goodreads wonderful for scoping out a book before putting down good hard money on it.  The first review I clicked open captured me and I realized I had to have S.  

Manos del Uruguay and S by J. J. Abrams- Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

When I got my book home cut away the plastic and removed the black case I held in my hand a stinky old musty library copy of a book called The Ship of Theseus AND someone had been writing all over  it AND they had left loads of notes and postcards shoved into it making it all bumpy!  I have been like an addict ever since but the book is so involved and complicated to read that you need two hands free, no distractions and possibly a note book beside you to keep track of things in.  Other than the Bible (and perhaps the 50 times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice)I have never spent so much time with a book! I have only made it 1/3 of the way through despite picking it up every time I humanly could over the last week… I am totally in love with it.  I just have this fear that J.J. Abrams who loves his weird unsolvable mysteries (think “LOST” and “FRINGE”) is going to leave me wondering and totally incapable of solving his impossible puzzles!

Manos del Uruguay and S by J. J. Abrams- Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood


xx Jo


New Designs in Snapdragon Shop

Hello precious friends!  I hope your Thanksgiving was beautiful!  Such a wonderful holiday but I am now wondering if its better to just scarf down all that pie really fast so it is out of sight and no longer taunting me with it’s cinnamon goodness or to meter it out and eat sensible portions… I never have been good at pie rationing.

I’ve got some new designs going up over at Snapdragon Snippets: great paper-crafting SVG shop with Wintry Christmassy yumminess!

SweetLittleWood.yarnandneedles-1.1 SweetLittleWood.vintagebaubles-1.1 SweetLittleWood.snowglobe-1.1

These designs will also be available through my Etsy store soon!

xx Joanna

May The Stitch Count Be Ever In Your Favor- Yarn Along

 I’m linking up with Ginny over at Small Things for a Yarn Along.

I took K. and three friends to see the (annoyingly) next to last installment of The Hunger Games.  K. saw the last one with a few of her friends and on the way home from that showing they had the grand plan of going all together to the next one.  As I seem to be the only parent of the bunch who takes her children to the movies I am the default driver to these events.  I didn’t like the third book AT ALL.  So seeing it over two excruciatingly long movies was not for me.  So I dropped 4 excited, chattering teen girls at the all you can eat Chinese buffet followed by the cinema and took myself off for a few hours.

knit along Amanda

I happily discovered that M. had come to town to meet me so we had dinner and then settled into the Coffee Shop Which Must Not Be Named But Has Taken Over The World , had all I could drink caffeine, great company (I’m an introvert so good company = one person who I am totally and utterly comfortable with), Amanda and my clicking needles.  It would have been perfect if it hadn’t been for the fact that I realized after finishing the back fronts and one sleeve up to the yoke that I wasn’t going to have enough wool to finish it.  No kidding- after my last knitted debacle I was uber careful with gauge… well it didn’t work.  I am about 6 balls of wool short! SIX!  How did that happen?  I double checked everything wondering how it all went so wrong and I had it right and should have had more than enough I still cant figure it out!  So Amanda is frogged. And I’ve gone off knitting…

 I have been browsing through a book I stumbled upon at my local independent bookstore: Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini.  Its not revolutionary and is not full of new information but I like her style (lovely photography) and I love the ethos.  Really it is for absolute beginners at living more off the land.  I heard someone fault of this book for not being time practical… which is the truth of going frugal or green.  It requires work.  More work.  Of course it would be easier to roll up to Safeway and buy a tub of peanut butter.  Of course it would be less work to buy bread.  Of course mending clothes is going to be more time consuming than just buying more.  Its a choice you make pretty much every day: Am I going to get out there and break up the soil and plant or am I going to thank my grocer for shipping in all that stuff for me.

So having sat for the whole two and half hours waiting for the endless movie to end I thought about how much more fun it would be to have a knitting competition instead that doesn’t involve a load of adolescents killing each other!  So I’ve designed a logo:

Stitch Count Ever In Your Favor  @

 I think it’ll be great.

xx Jo

Pattern Building for Bikers Yarn Along

Harley Davidson’s and knitting aren’t something often mentioned in the same post but… here you find it!

M. has a Harley gifted to him by my sweet sister when we went to Tennessee this summer.  Its so very funny: he gets endlessly ribbed at work for riding a purple motorbike!  this time of year on mornings which are warm enough not to frost he wants to ride his bike but is a little put off by the cold which is pretty pervasive on a bike- the freezing air rushes up under the chin piece of his helmet and cut through almost any clothes worn.  Most biker scarves make you look like bank robber or Isis extremist- covered in black with just the eyes showing. I can’t show you a current photo because I managed to wear out both of my camera’s batteries without recharging… duh.

Knitting & A Day at Small Creek, Northern California @ Sweet Little Wood

Knitting at the beach.

So I’ve been working on knitting M. a multiple temperature scarf which rides low across the shoulders and sits nicely flat under the edge of his snug leather jacket fits snug around the neck then rides high up his chin and lower face.  The knitted part is easy but he doesn’t like scratchy stuff against his neck so I have had to design it out of cotton.  And then as I’ve mentioned before he is a hot/cold/hot sort of guy and he bike to work in the cold and comes home when its about 30 degrees warmer so the scarf needs to meet those needs too.

Its going to be a gift for his birthday but annoyingly he already knows all about it because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut!  So he will read this and know more… again… Sigh.  I’m on prototype 3 but it is almost there.  It will have multiple linings which can be swapped out depending on the temperature.  I will share the pattern when it becomes finalized if anyone is interested… it could be I have a dorky biker husband who would rather wear a knitted cowl than a scary Isis style skull scarf and no one else would ever bother but maybe if there is one other knitter out there who is a total nerd addicted to his or her other half’s comfort…

I’ve been reading Days of Splendor Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey (another library digital copy… do you see a theme emerging?) I am quite frankly sickened by it.  The decadence and ignorance written in first person narrative.  Not really a fan but: I. Just. Keep. Reading. It.  Why is that?  I have thousands of books I want to read that would educate me and make me happy but I seem to be compulsively reading a book I don’t enjoy.

Can anyone recommend a good fictional book with a bit of historical accuracy that wont make me feel like guillotining the characters?

Getting late in today but I’m linking up with Ginny at Small Things.

xx Joanna

Secret Knitting Yarn Along

I’m linking up with Ginny over at Small Things for a Yarn Along.

Amanda continues as I pick her up whenever I have time but most of my knitting has been taken up by a SECRET PROJECT… no no no not THAT secret project. This is a different secret project and it has to do with tiny owls.  Tiny knitting owls.

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

I have joined in with Tiny Owl Knits on Ravelry  for TOKmas– a sweet gift exchange with a little woodlandy-fairytale flavor.  My favorite flavor.  So my secret friend… I am feverishly finishing you some little somethings to make you smile!  In fact I thought I had done with the knitting part but I have had to come back to it.  But as you can see- I have a fire and a basket of wool so all is right with the world.

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

I haven’t managed to pick up a book that has held my attention this week but I am trying to work my way through The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  Which is lovely.  Very vivid storytelling with a gentle melodic feel.  The problem is when I am very interested in my knitting projects I have less time to hold a book in my hands…  Instead I am just enjoying the way a bundle of gnomish hats look!

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood