Lakers hat


tapiolarolla @ whitedogknits

This hat was made specifically for a student at Grand Valley State University, in Michigan, but in the great lakes area we are all lakers. You can’t hardly chuck a rock in Michigan without it landing in some body of water. Though right now the water is starting to freeze over. And wherever there isn’t a standing body of water is covered in snow.

This was a self designed project, and by designed I mean I charted out the color work and more or less made everything else up as I went along.


The hat I left behind me


Jared Flood’s Skiff, by tapiolarolla @


I am not sure if anyone else has this problem, but I certainly have a difficult time finishing pieces meant for myself. This is especially true now that Christmas is quickly approaching. A scarf for grandma, a stocking for boyfriend, a headband for a sister.

As much as I love being able to give knit gifts, I wish I had more hats, sweaters and blankets!


Artist in focus: Ruth Marshall

Ruth Marshall creates hand knit animal pelts to raise awareness of animals endangered by the illegal skin trade. At the same time, she indirectly brings us to question our relationships with animals of all kinds, as can especially seen in her piece, “Rocky,” which has been modeled after her own house cat.

Marshall offers workshops, creates exhibits, writes books and engages in conservation efforts that seamlessly integrate knitting, animal rights and politics. In her workshops, she actually teaches a method of intarsia she developed herself  to use for these pelt pieces.

Clicking any of the photos will take you to the artist’s blog.


“Leadbeater’s Possum #1” by Ruth Marshall

RM.T.Tiger#2 copy

“Tasmanian Tiger #2,” by Ruth Marshall

"Ocelot Series," by Ruth Marshall, 2010-2011

“Ocelot Series,” by Ruth Marshall, 2010-2011

"Rocky," Ruth Marshall, 2005

“Rocky,” Ruth Marshall, 2005

Short Clip – Old Salts Knitting (1936)

Warm even when wet, oily unscoured wool was the historic top pick for sailor’s sweaters. Though these sweaters are usually though to have been knit by whatever women happen to be in the lives of the sailors, we can see in this short video that it was not unheard of for sailors to do some of their own knitting as well. Not that this is really all that surprising – between sailors’ extensive knowledge of knots and working with rope and how nice it is knitting during the down time on a sail boat.

Though the links for these videos were provided through Youtube, the British Pathe curates these and more historic videos and other short clips.

Fall/Winter 2014 Knitwear Trends

Wool-wrapt models flocked the runways for this upcoming fashion season.  Though knitwear is a staple for most winter runways, new developments in fashion preferences are always noteworthy. Who knows when a designer will trigger the development of a new style of cable, a new desired finished look or trigger a new preferred technique.

Major designers including, Barbara Bui, Celine, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Row have all played with the idea of knits elongated layers of dusty neutral tones. Again, features such as cables and ribbing act as standards, while the way that these designers manage to have these larger-than-life layers of knits maintain shape and drape is really quite astounding.

Barbara Bui

Barbara Bui



Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

Michael Kors

Michael Kors



Runway and contour knits are great to look at for inspiration when designing your own patterns, but they are also useful when looking at other designer’s patterns. Below are some patterns found on Ravelry that correspond with at least some of the themes seen in the knitwear on the Winter/Fall 2012 runway. Clicking on the image will take you to its project page.

Morgana by Marie Wallin

(c) Rowan Yarns, 2012

Structured but comfortable, this pullover designed by Marie Wallin for Rowan Tweed is completely gorgeous. If you really want this project to be “this season” switch out the wine colored yarn for a similar dusty-neutral toned purple, like Manos del Uruguay Fino’s Corsage. Or for a truly no fuss neutral, you can not go wrong with Madelinetosh Dandelion Yarn in Antler.


(c) villiputti

Knit up some ribbed or cabled leggings, or textured leggings like Outi Markkanen’s Pitsilegginsit shown above and wear them with a knitted tunic if you are feeling brave, or with a lesser fabric if you are more conservative.

(c) Joe Storie

(c) Joe Storie

I love everything about the Chloe cardigan by Jo Storie. Slubby, textured, grey, with an interesting shape and construction style. It doesn’t get much better than this.

(c) Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

(c) Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

Jared Flood’s Hayward is the last example I will give here. Simple construction with a relaxed a clean looking finish, just another pattern I want to knit and promptly fall asleep in after weaving in my ends.

Hiking Socks

Carp Lake 1

Knitting and self sufficiency go together like hiking and socks. So why not lump all of these things into one back county camping post? Over labor day weekend, I had the good fortune to hike all over the muddy expanse of the Copper Country’s Porcupine Mountains. Needless today, there is a certain fuzzy feeling that comes with knitting in the middle of nowhere. Above is a photo of Cloud Lake, once known as Carp Lake – the former home of the Carp Lake Copper Mine.

thimble berry 1

knitting 1

Here is the hiking sock, a easy and durable worsted sock knit up in Plymouth Encore’s Worsted Colorspun Yarn in Copper drift. The yarn varies from a bright yellow, to  a coppery orange to a muted brown, all which are tied together with a constant blue. Like Lake Superior, Carp Lake and all of the waterways in between weaving their way through the Copper Country Landscape.

lone rock 1

 The hiking sock pattern will be posted to the blog after I finish my pair of socks.





Trendy Knitting

It is easy for knitters to get caught up in knitting. Yarn choices, patterns, techniques – there are almost too many things to learn about, and ways to improve your products. Because of this, it is also easy for knitters to forget about the non-knitting population. What does knitwear mean to the non knitter? Somewhere between the scratchy feel of their grandmothers’ acrylic afghans, the tragic-comedy that is the ugly sweater and the common questioning of the necessity for hand-knit-anythings, they seem to be missing out on something.

However, luckily enough for them this trend seems to be changing. Now there are options to buy hand knit sweaters and other pieces at all different price points. You can contract independent knitters online, you can find ready made and designer pieces on Etsy, there are new high end boutiques like &Daughter and Needle. There are $200 sweaters, look books, sexy photos and seasonal colors to be had by all.






Knitters, too, don’t seem to be missing out on this knitting fashion trend. While there has been the innate promise of trendy patterns from Vogue Knitting, gorgeous patterns that meld traditionalism and modern flair from Rowan and seemly infinitely searchable one-off patterns on websites such as Ravelry – trendier options are now riding in on the waves of Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and the like. Wool and the Gang is one of these stores. They offer ready made knits as well as the patterns and yarn to make them, all while sourcing materials with care and stressing the importance of environmental sustainability.

Wool and the Gang

Wool and the Gang


There is also Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, that showcases (and sells) an idealized knitter’s word of… well, yarns and teas. If that weren’t enough, their store is located on a quaint Washington island.

So what does this mean for the knitters and those who love knit wear? The internet presence and communal atmosphere for knitters  are there, certainly. We are also getting quality, variety and an quantifiable sense of “being in.” Those who buy boutique hand knit sweaters benefit from us benefiting from these things too, and they benefit without needing to care about the larger picture. Some folks just like knitwear. If people want to knit to be trendy, awesome. If I can personally propagate sustainable fashion while doing what I love and wearing the clothing I like anyway, great.  Count me in.


Knit for Nicks

Stevie Nicks is looking for a new shawl to be designed by one of her fans.

From, where Nicks has made the request:

Designers can submit a ready-made shawl design or a sketch. Both should include a written description about why they think this shawl would be appealing to Stevie Nicks. The selected artist will receive $2,000 of which they will be required to produce their final piece.

A professional photograph of Stevie Nicks wearing the shawl will be taken for the selected artist to include in their portfolio. The photograph and winner will receive an official feature on and across her social channels, potentially being seen by millions globally.

Also from talenthouse:


Image courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

“In 1968, a very handsome boy brought me a poncho from South America. I knew it was magic and that some day I would copy it in chiffon or leather or beaded material. I realized that wearing a poncho or a long shawl gave me something to work with up on the stage. Big movements, big twirls, you need to be seen from far away. So I made that a big part of my stage clothes. It became totally intertwined in my fashion style.”
– Stevie Nicks

Nicks’ style of shawl tends to lean towards the light and airy, usually being made from embroidered silk, chiffon or lace. It would certainly be a great and rewarding challenge for experienced knitters to design a shawl that would meet Nicks’ witchy-bohemian specifications.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of