Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Fast-Tastic Knitting!

November 19, 2015
Dearest Knitters,

I am so excited about this new Craftsy class, I just want to bust!

First some background:
I am not only a hand knitter, I am also a machine knitter. Years ago when I first started designing for knitting publications, the deadlines came so fast and furious that I had to find something to help speed up my knitting so that I could meet them.
I bought myself a very simple knitting machine and after I’d gotten over the learning curve, it made all the difference in the world. I could do yards of stockinette in literally minutes. Stockinette sleeves for a sweater? 20 minutes. Ditto a sweater back with side shaping and interior darts; done in 20 minutes.
But there is that learning curve and at the time I needed help in the form of lessons. So I bought Susan Guagliumi’s book “Hand Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitting” and her videotape by the same name. The videotape was especially helpful, as seeing the techniques in motion is key for learning.
 In these lessons I learned everything I needed to know to use my machine which is a simple and basic plastic bed LK 150, and coincidentally is the same machine Susan used in her video to demonstrate.
It’s been about 18 years since discovering Susan and I no longer own a VHS machine, so imagine my delight when I saw her lessons have come to Craftsy!!!!


“Machine Knitting: Essential Techniques” is the perfect class to take if you already own or are thinking about investing in a simple machine like the one I use. So many knitting machines are purchased and then just stored away under a bed and forgotten, but these lessons will help get you over that learning curve and make your machine an essential part of your knitting repetoire.
Susan takes students through the basics of setting up the machine, showing what the parts do and then takes us right into the knitting. We learn to cast on, increase and decrease, do eyelets for lace, short rows and bind off.
We then take off into some other skills including ribbing, cables, and some alternative cast ons.
Then comes a very important lesson on troubleshooting which will make all the difference in your machine either becoming part of your knitting bag-o’-tricks, or living forlornly under a bed. Learn to fix mistakes, recognize when something is going wrong, take care of cast-on problems and essentially jump over the roadblocks that take the joy out of machine knitting. This is the part of the class that you will refer to over and over and is absolutely worth it’s weight in gold.
Let me just re-iterate, the lessons Susan teaches are for a simple, non-electric, non-computerized model knitting machine. Personally, I enjoy hand knitting too much to get into anything fancier. The machine is there for me to speed up the easy parts of the knitting, and then I hang my project back onto hand knitting needles for the fun/more difficult details.
So dear knitters, if this sounds like the machine knitting class you’ve been wanting to try, get it on sale using this link for a 33% discount.
Happy machine knitting!!

Rockin’ Your Stockins’: Cute and Cabled!

September 17, 2015

Do you love the look of over-the-knee socks but are a new knitter or DPN (double pointed needle) impaired?

No Need to knit in the round…

Work these beautiful cabled stockings flat on two needles then kitchener a seam up the back! Knit in sport-weight wool, these beauties will keep you cozy through fall and winter.

Here’s the pattern for just $6.75:

Yarn is here.

Cabled Two-Needle stockings



Whip Your Knits at Lambtown!

September 16, 2015

If you’ll be in or around Dixon, California the weekend of Oct 3-4, 2015, join me at the Lambtown Fiber Festival for my very popular “Whip Your Knits into Shape” fitting class! Read the description by scrolling down here.

Ready to sign up for classes?

Do it here.


Craftsy: More than just Knitting

December 29, 2014

 As a teacher for, I enjoy the little perk of being able watch any of the classes offered, so in the coming weeks I’ll be doing reviews of classes that interest me.

Some of the classes that have caught my eye are of the cooking variety (did you know Craftsy offers cooking classes?!), and this is my first of several cooking reviews.

A Better Cook in Ten Dishes

I wish I’d had access to a class like this when I was just starting out cooking. Back in the days when one could dial 411 for information, I called in asking how to bake a potato.

I’m only a slightly better cook now and still need help from time to time which is why I loved reviewing this class.

 Martha Holmberg takes the student through ten dishes that not only render a lovely and tempting finished product, but she also points out techniques that normally would only be learned at the elbow of a seasoned cook. This is the kind of teaching in which following along and backtracking to watch over and over is so wonderful with the Craftsy platform.

Martha starts us off with a beautiful salad; how to choose the greens, what flavors to combine, and gives us a basic recipe for dressing that she riffs on to create all kinds of yummy flavors.

 For me, this segment is worth the price of admission to this class, as I have a refrigerator door full of commercial dressing bottles. What I would prefer instead is to have several bottles of basic ingredients and create any of the wonderful dressing suggestions Martha gives us.

  She then takes us through eight gorgeous entrees, including but not limited to, Salmon in a Packet, Garlic Crusted Pork Roast, Lasagna, Braised Chicken with Apples, and hi-lo versions of two cheese dishes made with her Basic Bechamel sauce.

 She brings it all home with a lovely Fruit Crisp and Ice Cream for dessert.

 There is nothing difficult about her recipes and Martha gives wonderful tips on choosing produce, fish, cuts of meat and other ingredients, which to me is as important as how to prepare them.

  All in all, this is a class I highly recommend for the advanced beginning to intermediate cook. Great information, excellent presentation!


Gabrielle Two Ways

October 17, 2014

The thing I’ve always appreciated about sewing patterns is that they more often than not give several versions of the same garment; with long and short sleeves or none at all.

I like to follow this idea in my own knitting patterns so that I give my own customers the most value that I can. If I love the way a style looks on me, you can bet I’ll want to make it again in another color and/or configuration, which defrays the cost of the pattern.

Gabrielle is one such pattern that I think works very well.

Below, Gabrielle as a jacket and as a vest.


Both ways Gabrielle is well fitting, flattering and office appropriate. Not only that, she knits up so fast on size 10US needles and Cascade Pacific Chunky.

Enjoy your knitting!


Vogue Knitting Fall 2014 #24 Duster Coat-Part Deaux

September 23, 2014

Thanks all for the nice responses to the post about my #24 Duster Coat in the current issue of VK.

I have photos of the coat when in progress that I’ve posted below.

Boho1Here is the original sketch submitted to VK along with the chart I made for the tribal patterning and the first sleeve.

The theme was 70’s bohemian and that brought to mind the movie Dr Zhivago and the fantastic coats and costumes worn therein. Perfect inspiration for this project!


Here are the completed fronts.  Getting the neckline the way I wanted it so that the collar would fit in correctly was a challenge. Ripped a couple of times before I figured it out.


Here is the completed back. My decrease lines can be seen easily. It looks like a lot of knitting, and it was, but the bulky yarn and size 10US needles helped it fly along.

boho4boho5The finished coat.

The large button is actually decorative. I bought a set of three large hooks and eyes to close the front securely.

I love this coat with it’s fit-and-flare shape ; so flattering to so many body types.  I’ll be making up a slightly different White Lies Designs version for Stitches West in February. Of course I’ll post photos here when it’s ready.

Vogue Knitting Fall 2014 #24 Duster Coat

September 18, 2014

Check out the coat I designed for the Fall issue of Vogue Knitting!

Boho Coat-Joan McGowan-Michael

Boho Coat-Joan McGowan-Michael

This issue is on newsstands now or can be ordered through .



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