While I was on vacation with my family in Myrtle Beach, I stopped in Knit-n- Purl and saw Samana sampled on a mannequin form. For me, it was knitting project love at first sight… 

This Berroco pattern calls for Linus yarn which the store didn’t sell but I was told Modern Cotton by Berroco would  work just as well. 

I cast this on after finishing my Aquae tank. I had 4 false starts mainly because this is only the 2nd lace project I’ve ever knit. 

Samana is constructed by knitting 2 panels (a front and a back) and the sleeves are built into those panels and then it gets seamed at the shoulders and sides, leaving space for your arms to go through on each side.


I’m knitting my Samana in a deep teal color. It was difficult to capture the color in daylight. 

I’m getting the pattern gauge on size 7’s. A few things to note about this pattern:

  • If you are less experienced with lace knitting, like myself, be sure to visit the Ravelry page for Samana and look at the comments before you start. Trust me, it will save you from a headache and probably 4 false starts.
  • If you use Modern Cotton to knit this pattern, becareful because the yarn is a bit splitty.
  • You may want to convert the chart I to written instructions. Once, I did that, I found my rhythm within the pattern.

    I hope to finish this top in a few more weeks so that I can get started on my first sweater of the Fall/Winter season.

    WIP to FO?? Could it be so?! Progress on my Aquae tank

    This Aquae tank is taking me for-ev-er to finish… And, I played a bit of yarn chicken to boot.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t the winner…

    I started this tank back in the end of April thinking ‘no sweat…I’ll have this finished in a month’, when in reality, I got bit hard by the sewing bug and I’m still feeling the after effects. But I’m not complaining by any means.  Warning: Digression to follow… Within the last 2 months, I was fortunate to be able to upgrade my 10 year old mechanical HV Prelude to a gently used computerized HV Sapphire 930. I was able to get it in great condition in an EBay auction for 1/3 of what it cost brand new!  While I’ve also been keeping my eyes on a used HV Diamond Deluxe and also the Ruby Royale, I have to say I’m very pleased with the Sapphire 930.

    Back to knitting.  So I was down to the ribbing of this tank and if I didn’t cut the ribbing in half to about 5-7 rounds, I would not have enough gray yarn to finish the arm hole edgings and neckline.  Fast forward a few days later and a few different trips to JoAnn Fabrics and no luck finding more Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn in the light gray that I used for the tank.  So, I had to think fast and hard so that I didn’t delay the completion of this tank any longer.  I had a good bit of the royal blue color leftover and I decided to use that color to edge the armholes and neckline.  Overall, I’m pleased with my decision.

    Can’t wait to start my next project!

    WIP: Aquae Tank by Hilary Smith Callis


    After much back and forth as to which summer project I wanted to start knitting first, I chose this cute Aquae tank and began knitting it on March 8th, 2016.

    As you can see, it hasn’t gotten much love and has been very slow going for me.  Only because I’ve recently started sewing and that has taken up a lot of my time. 

    *Shameless plug alert* Check out my sewing endeavors HERE at Flannel+Fleece Handmade.

    And, it probably has some to do with the fact that I’m doing a 3 stripe sequence instead of the 2 stripe sequence that the pattern calls for. 

    I chose to do a 3 stripe mainly because I wanted to use stash yarn and I had 6 skeins of this Lily Sugar n’ Cream yarn in gray, blue, amd green (2 of each colorway) that I wanted to use up.  I originally bought the yarn to crochet up a beach tote, but I like what I’m now using them for much better.

    The pattern is very well-written, however, this isn’t a mindless knit.  At least not at first.  It can be mindless when doing the stripes themselves but just make sure you follow the increasing/decreasing closely.

    My goal is to finish this for May which will be just in time for more consistently warmer weather here in Western PA.


    Subtle shade shifting gradients- A brief description of my technique


    While most of my ombre gradients feature noticeable shade shifts, I have now introduced a more subtle gradient.  While I am still in the testing phase of choosing colors, some colors lend better to this technique than others. I will still incorporate 4 shades of a single color into these gradients but they will have a much more blended affect. 

    Without going too much into the proprietary stuff, the technique I have been using is to first separate each skein into 4 sections. Then I pre-soak my yarn for about 20 mins. While the yarn is soaking, I fill up my pot with water and measure out my color with the darkest depth of shade in mind that I want to achieve. (Personally, I do my dyeing based off of volume and not weight.  I don’t weigh my dye powder in grams.  That’s just my preference.  Each of my gradients is hand-dyed so there are no dye lots. To each their own!) If I want the depth of shade to be dark, I add an amount of dye powder that will produce that.  If I want the depth of shade to be light, I adjust for that as well.  You go after the look you want to achieve- it’s that simple.  Once that is simmering amd close to a boil, I then add one end section of the pre-soaked yarn to my pot.  This is where it can get tricky if you don’t pay close attention.  Then, I pick that section up with my *heavy duty gloved hand* and dip it a few more times.  After about a minute or so, I then add the next section and repeat the process as I did for the first section until I get through all sections.  

    This method would work well with sock blanks as well and could help save some time as far as prepping the yarn goes.

    And here is the finished result for a custom order that I had: 


    Looking forward to sharing more colors with you!


    Another serving of Oatmeal please!


    I finished my 3rd Oatmeal sweater by Jane Richmond a month ago and the more I knit them, the better they get.

    I knew going into my 3rd that I wanted to make it roomier as the pattern is originally intended for a close fit or negative ease.

    I decided to use Paton’s Classic Wool Bulky in their Green colorway. It was the perfect mossy green that I had been searching for. When I knit my gauge swatch, I was getting 3 stitches per inch. Knowing that the pattern called for 2.75 stitches per inch. So that meant that if I just picked a size from the pattern, with my gauge being .25 stitch per inch off, my sweater would end up smaller than the intended measurements of the sweater. But, I wanted the opposite effect and really loved that yarn. That’s where the math came into play…

    Before I get into the math part of it, I purchased this class from Craftsy Yarn Substitution Made Easy with Kellie Nuss. There is a chapter in the video in which she discusses the math behind the substitution and using ratios to determine what size you will need to knit of a given pattern with the current gauge of your yarn that you are using. It was super helpful for me and totally worth the cost of the class just for that information (in my opinion) due to the size of my yarn stash!

    So knowing that this time around I wanted an oversized fit, I knit the size 44. That size provided a finished bust measurement of 37.25″. That measurement gave me about 2″ of positive ease.

    While I love the overall fit, I wish the neckline wasn’t as wide as it is.  But for now, this sweater looks greater over top of a long sleeved flannel.

    Who knows…a 4th Oatmeal may very well be in my future!


    Pittsburgh Indie Knit & Spin 2016 attendees PLEASE READ Re: Etsy Card Reader

    Yesterday during the 2016 Pittsburgh Indie Knit & Crochet show, Etsy’s card reader was giving some of us vendors problems. One problem I encountered was when swiping a credit or debit card, it was saying it couldn’t read the card. It didn’t happen on every credit/debit transaction, but I’m trying to be as proactive as I can. So then, I would try again and it eventually ended up working. Because of that, it may have caused duplicate payments. When I heard yesterday that it caused duplicate payments for another vendor, I requested Etsy to call me back and they did yesterday evening. At that time, I was told that it didn’t look like anyone was duplicate charged. At this time, I ask that you please check with your bank or online banking to make sure that you didn’t get duplicate charged. If you did and both charges have posted, please contact your bank to dispute one of those charges. Unfortunately, this happened to me before and my bank advised in order to dispute one of the charges, the duplicate would need to be in posted and not pending status. Please accept my sincerest sorry for this issue. Unfortunately, Etsy doesn’t accept phones calls so I have requested that they call me ASAP tomorrow. Again, I’m really sorry for any headaches this may have caused you.

    Take care and thanks,
    Karen Bachman

    A Crafty, Crafty Christmas & A Reflection of 2015


    Well, it’s almost 2016 and as I sit here and reflect back on 2015, I have to say that I’ve accomplished a lot with regards to my crafting – both new and known.  Earlier this year,  I taught myself how to draw (better) and even learned how to paint with watercolor – all thanks to Creativebug.  It was both awesome and fun.  It’s always nice to have other creative outlets to break up the monotony of the usualities of knitting/crocheting.

    Mid-way into the year brought me to try my hand at a few other things: a Kickstarter campaign, knitting my first short-sleeved summer sweater and my first Custom Fit sweater, learning how to hand-card punis (spinning fiber), and having my very first ombre gradient sock yarn wholesale deal with Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh.

    Moving into Fall was awesome because it was filled with 3 more completed sweaters!  I was pretty addicted to knitting the Oatmeal sweater by Jane Richmond so much so that I made 2 and am currently working on a 3rd!  I also got to pick raspberries and can my own jam which is what I’ve been longing to do for a while now.  And lastly, I tried Periscope.  I lasted 3 scopes before it got to feel more like a chore.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.  But it did help me discover that I may one day start my very own video podcast….stay tuned🙂

    And last but not least, we are here.  The end of December. While I feel like 2015 lasted a good bit, the month of December sure felt like it flew by.  Maybe that’s because I was on a complete hand-made mission.  I spent many a December night up until sometimes 1 / 1:30 am making these gifts.  I had 10 days off of work for the holidays and my time off , every day of it, was spent doing some sort of Christmas crafting.  This year was also the first year I decided to hand-make my Christmas cards and was so thankful that Creativebug had some awesome watercolor how-to videos that I was able to put to great use.

    For the past 2 years, I’ve been gifting my family with hand-made crafts.  In 2013, it was Christmas wreathes and no-sew blankets, and in 2014, it was crocheted ornaments and hand-made spa goodies.  For this year’s theme, I decided to go with “comfort” items.  I decided on cozy hand-knit slippers (another awesome class on Creativebug), hand-poured soy candles, plaid infinity cowls, and home-made raspberry jam.  I gifted each of the women in my family with these items and they loved them! Altogether, I cranked out 12 pairs of slippers, 6 plaid infinity cowls, 12 jars of jam, and 15 candles.  Lastly, I cranked out 4 painted reindeer feet canvases for the grandparents from my son and for my sister’s son.

    Crafting is such a big part of my life and I am so thankful for it.

    So thank you, 2015, you were great.

    Stay crafty, my friends & here’s to an even craftier 2016!


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