Passel Shawl

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Starting with just a few stitches, this asymmetrical triangular shawl grows in size until the full textured panel is revealed, then builds an easy to work mesh lace alongside the panel until the full length is reached. Slipped stitch edges along the garter border give a clean and neat finish to this breezy piece.


Yarn: 435 yards total of Fingering Weight yarn. Shown in Phydeaux Aegypte (50% Alpaca/25% Linen/25% Silk), 435 yds per 100g) in Linen.

Gauge: 20 sts & 30 rows = 4 inches (10cm) in mesh stitch after blocking.

Needles: 4mm (US6) straight or circular needle for flat knitting or size needed to obtain gauge.

Notions: tapestry needle for weaving in ends, stitch marker.

Finished Size: 58 inches (147.25 cm) across wingspan, 46 inches (116.75 cm) along panel side, 33 inches (83.75 cm) along bind off edge.

Techniques Used: knit, purl, slipped stitches, k2tog, ssk, yarnovers, double yarnovers knit front & back, m1, m3, sl1 k2tog psso, knit through the back loop.


The bind off used is a knitted lace bind off, which you can view a tutorial for here:  Bind off: k2, slip left hand needle into front of both stitches, k2tog through the back loop, k1; repeat from to end.

The row gauge of the side panel is much shorter than the surrounding mesh, if you are winging the length, measure along the mesh side. That side will be the wingspan of the shawl.


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Scintilla Hat & Mitts Set

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Speckled, almost pixelated colorwork blends the coordinating colors of a miniskein set into this slouchy hat and matching mitts. With ribbing to ensure a good fit, this set is as much fun to knit as it is to wear.


Yarn: One Lorna’s Laces String Quintet Miniskein set, shown in Violin. 535 yds of Shepherd Sock in 5 colors.

Gauge: 34 sts & 40 rounds = 4 inches (10cm) square in colorwork pattern on larger needles.

Needles: 2.5mm (US1.5) for ribbing, 2.75mm (US2) for the rest, or size needed to obtain gauge. Use your preferred method for small circumference knitting: e.g. double points, magic loop or two-circulars.

Notions: 7 repeat markers, plus a different marker for the beginning of the round, tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Finished Size: Hat – To fit 19 inch (48.25cm) head. Hat is 11 inches (28cm) long from ribbing to crown. Mitts – 6.5 inches (16.5cm) around to fit hands up to 8 inches (20.25cm) circumference, and are 8 inches (20.25cm) long.

Techniques Used: knit, purl, k2tog, yarnovers, knit front & back, m1, stranded colorwork, reading colorwork charts.


Each String Quintet set contains different colors. Arrange your colors however you’d like, but consider contrast between colors when you do. If you have two similar colors, you might wish to keep them apart.

Check out my tips for colorwork here:

Because this set has both colorwork and single-color sections, be sure to spread out your stitches on the needle and keep floats loose enough so that colorwork will block to the same gauge as the single-color sections.

Both Hat and Mitts use an alternating knit/purl long-tail cast on. A tutorial is available here: The video demonstrates (k2, p2) rib – make sure for this project you cast on in (k1, p1).

The newest color should be kept dominant (see colorwork tips above).

For the hat I let floats go a max of 7 sts without catching, but for the mitts (where fingers could catch in a 7 st float) I caught them every 4 or 5 sts.

If you swatch for this set, I would recommend blocking your swatch with the yarns unbroken. That way you can unravel your swatch to use in the pieces. Yardage may be tight.


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Risk vs. Reward: The True Costs of Fiber Teaching


WARNING: This is a math-heavy post, if you want the TL:DR version… Teaching contracts have been getting progressively worse for fiber teachers, and I don’t want to work for nothing.


This hangs on my wall. I try to use it as a guiding force when I’m up against hard decisions. This is not to say that you always need to work for money. I love working for trade, and sometimes you work without compensation to learn some new skills, or gain practice that you can use in your future portfolio.


But some recent business interactions have brought this to the fore. What do you do when you’re not straight up being asked to work for free, but being asked to work for a rate that quite possibly will not even cover your costs let alone pay you a fair wage. I’m not a lucky person. I work hard to try to make my own “luck”. If something can go wrong, it probably will. I’m a misanthrope and a pessimist. I don’t expect people to look out for me. I look out for myself.


When I teach at a local yarn store, I charge a tiered fee to help make it easier for smaller shops to still bring in high-quality instruction, even if their class space isn’t large, or they can’t fill a 20 person class. I also find the tiered approach acknowledges how much harder it is to teach a class of 8 than it is a class of 25. My fee structure breaks down to this:

$70/class hour up to 10 students
$75/class hour 10-15 students
$80/class hour 15-20 students
$90/class hour over 20 students


So I submitted classes for a big event based on knowledge that their contract had been not unreasonable in the past, and got a teaching contract back that was appalling. A small per-student fee ($25 per student per 3 hour class), and no travel, no lodging, no per diem. My flight to this venue will run about $200, then there’s a shuttle from the nearby airport to the venue, which is $80, a conservative per diem for a place like this is $40 per day. With 3 days of teaching (2 full days and 2 half days, plus arriving a day before to be safe is 4 days. The group hotel rate is $179 pre taxes, so without even going into the number of students I can pull to this event that I’ve never taught at before, I’m already OUT OF POCKET $1156 (without taking hotel taxes into account. If I estimate those, I’m running $1200). To make my low-end standard teaching rate plus expenses, I would need to have an average of 16.4 students in each class. EACH AND EVERY CLASS. That means no wiggle room. No class cancellations, no classes with 14 people in them.


I wrote back and suggested that their financial model was untenable. They came back with a lower per-student fee ($22 per student per 3 hour class) and a $500 stipend. If you’re keeping track, for the 6 classes they accepted, with a max # of 26 students for each, that $3 difference per student comes out to just under $500. So they really didn’t give up much on their end. With the new stipend and reduced per student fee, it breaks down to needing 5.3 students per class to COVER COSTS, and 14.8 students to pay me my standard fee. With a contractual minimum of 5 students for a class to run, this means that if all my classes filled with just the minimum I would still be out of pocket. And the way the contract was written, if a class met it’s minimum it couldn’t be cancelled by the instructor. The class had to run. Again… not ok. So theoretically I could be stuck traveling, paying out of pocket for all the non-teaching costs, teaching the classes, and then still end up not getting paid enough to cover the costs.  I could also, theoretically be making twice my standard rate if all my classes fill (26 students is full for the purposes of this venue). But the likelihood of that seems slim.


I realize that an event like this carries inherent risk. There’s risk on all sides. The vendors hope that their costs of travel, freight, luggage, and booth fee will be covered in the merch they sell. The organizers pay for the venue, the workers at the event (this is why most events utilize volunteer work), their employees, their legal department, event insurance, and travel for their organizers to get to the venue. I am willing to take a risk that I might not make my ideal rate at a big event where I’m not the only draw. I can’t guarantee that there isn’t an amazing class taught by a super star that conflicts with my best class. That will bring enrollment down. But I draw the line at the possibility of having to PAY to travel somewhere, teach, and go home poorer. This is my job. This is not a charity.


So we went back to the negotiations. I got the contract adjusted so that by the cancel date if my enrollments aren’t up to a level of risk that I’m ok with I can walk away, not owe them anything, and dust my hands of the whole affair (aside from the guilt of disappointing the people who signed up for my classes and messing with their class schedules). It sucks. But it’s what I have to do to keep this business running. Some really great teachers didn’t sign the contract, some of them signed it anyway (risk and all), and some of them made their own negotiations. Everyone did what they felt they needed to.


There’s been some talk around the fiber community of teachers being seen as Divas for the #FairFiberWage discussions and for the things we require (travel, lodging in a private room, and a per diem or meals covered). Until you’ve done an event like these you have no idea. Your workday goes from the moment you step onto the show floor to the moment you lock yourself in your room and collapse in bed. You’re always ON, people stop you in the hallways and ask you questions. You’ve put an average of 30 hours of work into each class before it’s ready to teach. That’s work you did on spec. You don’t get paid for that. You just hope that you get to teach the class enough times to try to make up some of the cost of that time.


With my fibromyalgia issues, I am down for a minimum of a week after one of these weekend events. And I mean DOWN. Like, I need to be horizontal, with only upright breaks to make tea and food, I nap for 3 hours at a time during the first few days for my body to recover. So the fees I’ve come up with are meant to help cover the costs of the pre-teaching time and the post-teaching time. And with teaching, designing, and publishing I still don’t cover half the household costs. It only works because I’m in a partnership where my spouse doesn’t mind carrying the majority of the load. It’s really goddamn hard to make a living in this industry. It’s a struggle every day. I have my fingers in so many pies trying to pay the rent that sometimes it’s overwhelmingly complicated.


All I’m saying is…. what we’re asking for isn’t unreasonable. We’re reasonable people. We want to make a living and want to teach something we’re passionate about. None of us are millionaires. Just give it some thought. That’s all I’m asking for.


If you want a little more context of what’s going on, check out:



Mocárabe Cowl

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The beautiful tracery of honeycomb cables are accented by patches of eyelets in this gorgeous cowl. Turning the background of a traditional motif into negative space gives this cowl a wonderful juxtaposition of structure and drape.


Yarn: Approx 450 yds light worsted weight yarn. Shown in Mrs Crosby Carpet Bag (80% Superwash Merino Wool/20% Silk; Approx. 240 yards/100gm), 2 skeins ‘Sunset Regatta’.

Gauge: 22 sts and 48 rows = 4” in Garter st, after blocking. 32 sts and 34 rnds = 4” in Cable pattern, after blocking.

Needles: 4 mm (US 6) 24 inch (60 cm) circular neelde, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Notions: 4 stitch markers, plus a fth that looks different for the beginning of the round, cable needle if desired, tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Finished Size: 30 inches (76.25 cm) circumference, 10 inches (25.5 cm) tall, after blocking.

Techniques Used: knit, purl, k2tog, k3tog, sssk, yarnovers, double yarnovers, cables with instructions included: c2over2right, c2over2left, use of markers, knitting in the round.


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Peace in Our Time! or Can’t We All Just Yarn Along?

Carina Spencer recently posted a pic of the autofill on a google search….

Screenshot 2016-06-28 18.24.39

It was a totally strange thing to see “knitters are ruining this country” in the mix. So I googled it, and the first result is a self-admitted rant from a knitter who also crochets and has had a lot of bad feedback from other knitters about crochet.


So why did this even happen? What is the basis for this war? Does it go back to anti-imperialist sentiment and the conflict between Britain (which I assume is on the knitting side) and Irish Crochet (which was a serious industry for the Irish population during times of famine). If that’s the case, can’t we let that go already? Seriously….


Quinn1I love both crafts. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. And don’t doubt, you can make anything you want with either craft. While I prefer knitted socks, you can absolutely make crocheted socks. In fact, there’s a crochet sock CAL (crochet-a-long for those not in the know) going on right now. And if you want to make socks that are both knit AND crochet check out my free pattern for Quinn Socks (pictured right).


So back to the issue at hand. Why (WHY?!) is there such acrimony between the camps? We all use yarn. In fact, in some languages there isn’t even a difference in terminology for knitting and crochet. In Japanese stitch dictionaries you routinely find knitting and crochet patterns side by side.


I learned to crochet when I was quite young and I think it would be easier to manipulate one hook rather than two needles with my small and less-coordinated hands. I think knitting motions are easier to learn, but it’s harder to fix things when stuff goes wrong. Crochet is harder to learn the motions and stitches, but WAY easier to fix when you make a mistake.


You all know I’m CrossCraftual and I like doing all of the crafty things. Any way to use up this large stockpile of yarn, fabric, and supplies I’ve been collecting is a good thing. Also, it seems from the Survey Results that a lot of you are as well. And we don’t see the same conflict between sewing and yarn crafts. Is it because we use different materials? Is there a similar conflict between quilting and garment sewing?


Why do you think this division is still going on? Do you feel like it’s fading? Any thoughts would be welcome.



Promontory Point Cardi

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With clean lines and integrated details, this cardigan promises to be a wardrobe staple that you’ll reach for again and again. Featuring short rows for a proper shoulder fit, and ever-increasing fronts to wrap yourself up in or leave open for a flattering look, this cardi is feminine and easy-to-wear.


This cardigan is knit from the collar down, with increases at 4 points to shape the entire upper body. The Right Front is worked in Welt Stitch, and the rest in Stockinette Stitch. The stitches are then split and sleeve stitches are set aside. Underarm stitches are cast on to rejoin the body below the armholes. The body is knitted down, with both fronts increasing continuously to the bottom hem, where Welt Stitch is worked all the way around. Sleeve stitches are then picked back up (including from the underarm cast on) and the sleeves are knitted down to the cuff, also edged with the Welt Stitch.


Yarn: 1380[1540, 1710, 1870, 2030, 2190, 2350] yards of fingering weight yarn. Shown in Baah! La Jolla (100% Superwash Merino Wool, 400 yds/115 gm) in color ‘Thyme’.

Gauge: 26 sts & 36 rounds = 4 inches (10cm) square in Stockinette after blocking.

Needles: 3.25mm (US3) needles or size needed to obtain gauge. You will need a 32-40 inch (76-102cm) circular needle and your preferred method for small circumference knitting: i.e., double points, magic loop or two-circulars.

Notions: 4 markers, tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Finished Size: XS[S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X] corresponding to finished bust circumference of approximately 34[38, 42, 46, 50, 54, 58] inches (86[97, 106, 117, 126, 137, 146]cm). Because the design has an open front, the back measurement (half of bust) is more important than full bust circumference. If you are particularly busty, you might want to knit a smaller size than your full bust circumference to better fit your back measurement. Design is meant to fit with about 2 inches (5 cm) of positive ease. See schematic for exact measurements.

Techniques Used: knit, purl, k2tog, ssk, Right-leaning Lifted Increase, Left-leaning Lifted Increase (see notes), m1L, m1R, m1P, short rows, use of markers, Stockinette stitch, reverse Stockinette stitch.

  • Shown in Size Small on 36 inch bust.
  • You can use any Short Row Method you want so I have abbreviated WSR for Work Short Row. For instance, if you are using the Wrap & Turn method, WSR is the stitch you would wrap. If you are using the Shadow Wrap method, WSR would be your doubled stitch. Just remember that on following rows you will need to treat your SRS (Short Row Stitch) according to your chosen short row method. For instance, with wrap & turn you would knit your wrap and your wrapped stitch together. For a tutorial on Shadow Wrap Short Rows, view tutorial here:
  • For Right and Left Lifted Increases, see tutorial video here:


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Pattern Buying Survey Results

Hey all, sorry this has been so long in coming. I had been offered some analysis and was waiting for it. But it’s not coming any time soon, so here is the data and my thoughts about it. You can click on each question to see the visual breakdown of the responses.


Question #1: What is your primary craft (choose one)?

Knitting — 92.46%
Crochet — 4.22%
Sewing — 2.42%
Other — 0.90%  (responses included quilting, weaving, rug hooking, and spinning)

Despite my efforts to get some other crafts with a significant contribution, this survey leans very heavily toward people who are primarily knitters. So take all of this with a grain of salt for any other crafts.


Question #2: What are your secondary or other crafts? (Select as many as apply)

Knitting — 8.95%
Crochet — 50.04%
Sewing — 55.76%
Quilting — 22.37%
Other — 27.42% (responses included painting, weaving, spinning, drawing, embroidery, needlepoint-including cross stitch, rughooking, beadwork, collage, jewelry making, sculpture, tatting, lacemaking, papercrafts, felting, patternmaking, metalwork, digital painting, dyeing, glass working, kumihimo, calligraphy, scrapbooking, stained glass, screen printing, bear making, art journaling, pottery, woodworking, origami, leather crafting and photography)

Wow…. you all have a WIDE variety of crafts. I was pleased to find that so many knitters also crochet! I suppose it means that our efforts at hybrid knit/crochet patterns have a potential audience. If I can get some deeper analysis on this one I’d like to see if the respondents who sew as well as doing yarn crafts trend a particular way when it comes to question #12.


Question #3: Have you purchased any patterns (digitally or in print) in the last 6 months?

Yes — 96.82%
No — 3.18%

This question was basically to weed out whether I was on the right track with the questions I was asking. In a bunch of forums I’ve seen people say that they NEVER buy patterns. I wanted to see whether those people were just LOUDER in forums or if they really represented a large portion of the knitting population. I do realize that there is probably some bias in this, since I, as a seller of patterns, created and promoted this survey. But still accounting for that, it seems that the majority of you do buy patterns either digitally or in print.


Question #4: Do you prefer your patterns…..

Digitally — 50.62%
In Print — 5.95%
Both — 43.43%

This was interesting… I would interpret these results as that you all prefer digital patterns, but if you can get a print (so you don’t have to print them yourself, or have a hard copy to file and refer to) in addition to the digital you certainly wouldn’t turn it down. But it does appear that for the internet-based audience that this survey attracted, print patterns aren’t really what you’re buying.


Question #5: What would make you most likely to buy a pattern?

Q5 Screenshot

I thought the best way to see this one was with the screenshot. Take this as you will. I take it as “keep showing your work through as many channels as possible”, and that newsletters are more important than I gave them credit for. 😀


Question #6: Where do you look for patterns? Rank in order of preference

Local Yarn Store (this includes Ravelry In-Store Sales)
Google Search

Ravelry is far and away the first choice, and Local Yarn Stores are definitely second. After that it gets fuzzy between Craftsy and Google Searches, but catalogs are pretty clearly not your go-to to find patterns.


Question #7: In general, what order do you find a pattern/yarn?

I choose the yarn, then I find a pattern to make it. — 31.47%
I choose a pattern, then find the yarn to make it. — 68.53%

This is pretty self explanatory. But still interesting.


Question #8: In general, do you buy a pattern before you’re ready to use it?

Yes, if I like the pattern, I buy it. — 77.39%
No, I will buy the pattern when I’m ready to start the project. — 22.61%

I really wish I had the same survey done 3 years ago. I feel like there was more pattern impulse buying then, I wonder what it would be like if I did this survey 3 years from now….


Question #9: Would you buy a pattern because it’s designed by someone who’s (whose) patterns you’ve used before?

Yes, I know their pattern writing style, so I’m more comfortable. — 77.79%
No, this has no bearing on whether or not I buy a pattern. — 22.21%

With this question I was trying to see if there was any kind of brand loyalty when it comes to buying patterns. Looks like there is.


Question #10: Do sales or promotions influence whether you buy a pattern before you need it?

Yes — 72.27%
No — 27.73%

Again, I would love to see how these responses collate with the responses from question #8. I wonder if those who buy a pattern because they like it are more likely to buy stuff because it’s on sale or not.


Question #11: When looking for a pattern will you….

…pay for the pattern if it’s the RIGHT pattern. — 88.72%
…use a free pattern if it’s close enough to what you want/need. — 11.28%

Looks like you all are willing to put in the time to find the right pattern and again, that you all are not the people who NEVER buy patterns. It does make me think that tagging and describing a pattern might be very important if you all are trying to find the RIGHT pattern.


Question #12: What do you consider the TOP PRICE you’ll pay for each of the following types of patterns?

Standard Accessory (hat, gloves, shawl, cowl, etc..)
Complex Accessory (lace shawl, a cape, etc..)
Garment (sweater, vest, skirt, etc..)
Home Decor (blankets, pillows, etc…)
Toy (amigurumi, stuffed animal, etc…)

OK, this was super interesting. So it breaks down to this:

For a standard accessory the high price range is $5-$6.99. Definitely not more than that.
For a complex accessory the high price range could be higher. Maybe more in the range of $6.99-$7.99. The ranges between $5 and $9 account for nearly 75% of responses.
For a pair of socks, the high price range is definitely lower. Somewhere around $5.
For a garment, the high range is definitely higher than accessories, which I’m glad to see, since they require a lot more work on the designing side.
In general it looks like people are more likely to use free patterns for home decor or toys than any other patterns (although socks are a close third).


Thanks again to everyone who took the survey. I just need to line up the drawing prizes (some of them are coming from other people), and I’ll notify the winners via email.





Call to Action: Flat Stanley needs you!

Hey friends, you may remember way back when my nephew Tanis needed help with his Flat Stanley project. Knitters stepped up in a remarkable way. Can you help me again?

This is Nate…6102-NFunny1

Nate has colored in a Flat Stanley and could use your help getting some photos of Flat Stanley all over the world.

We’ve got a quick turnaround this time though. We need photos back by Friday, May 6.

Just print Nate’s Flat Stanley out (this link opens a pdf file), and take a photo of him somewhere. If you’re going somewhere awesome in that time, take him on vacation. But even if you’re just staying at home, a photo of him where you live would be awesome. Send the photos to me, miriam AT mimknits DOT com. Just put Flat Stanley in the subject line so I can make sure they don’t end up in spam.

Thank you!
Miriam & Nate

Bits and Bobs of News

I’ve got so many irons on the fire these days that I’m feeling a little frazzled trying to coming up with a coherent format for all the news I want to share. So we’ll go with a list. I LOVE lists!

  1. sockbook-542x600It’s been making me crazy happy since it arrived in the post yesterday, so I wanted to share with you all that the Footie Socks pattern has been translated into Japanese and has been published in a curated collection by Amirisu!

    If you, or someone you know needs some great sock patterns in Japanese, this collection is wonderful! They have a great variety of socks styles, heels, and constructions.

    And the photos are absolutely gorgeous! Plus they’ve got kits 😀

  2. One of my favorite fabrics, Essex Linen from Robert Kaufmann, has just been released in a metallic yarn-dyed line! It’s amazing! I saw it in person at the Craftsy Instructor Summit and the sheen is subtle and manages to perfectly skirt the line between casual and refined. I’m trying to figure out what I want to make with it so I can order some yardage.
  3. tarkhandress01From BRAND NEW linen, to SUPER OLD linen…. The Tarkan Dress has been identified as the oldest known garment. It’s a 5000 year old linen dress from Egypt. It’s pretty amazing to think about the hands that spun the flax, wove the fabric, and made the tiny pleats. It was discovered in a tomb in 1913, but not identified until 1977.

    The discovery of this piece started me on a dig that also yielded this fascinating page of other historical garments found in graves.

    And for us sewing geeks, here’s how to reconstruct the Tarkan Dress. Pretty amazing.

  4. I got back from Chicago and YarnCon this week. I had a great time with my good friend Amanda and got to explore some textile hotspots there. If you’re going to Chicago, aside from the great yarn stores, check out Textile Discount Outlet. It was like a treasure hunt for fabrics and sewing miscellany! I spent a couple hours wandering around, and bought some silk and lace to make a slip along with a new Craftsy class I signed up for before I left called “Sewing Lingerie” (affiliate link).

    I also stopped by Soutache, which is just such a cheerful and wonderful place. All the beautiful vintage and antique display pieces hold buckles or tiny embellishments, so you can wander and explore and find surprises. The best kind of store.

This week I need to start gearing up for some new classes I’m teaching at Vogueknitting Live in Pasadena next month, and hopefully release a new pattern that’s been tech edited and just needs a layout and a final review.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!


p.s. the inimitable Stephen West has declared April to be International Shawl Month. Tag stuff with #shawlmonth. And if you want one of my shawls for it, use the code AllTheShawls2016 and you can get 20% off any of my shawl patterns.

SPRING!! Thank God!

IMG_20160315_131731The last week in Utah has seen a sleeveless day, a blizzard, and back to normal spring weather. All of this is normal for Spring in the high desert, but it’s made me start thinking about my garden and green growing things. I walked around downtown yesterday running some errands and the flowering trees are in bloom. I saw a bright yellow forsythia right next to a weeping cherry tree and it was so cheerful I stopped and looked at it for a minute.


The new beginning of the season always has be thinking about new projects too. I have a stack of sewing (a lawn/voile quilt top, and some new spring dresses) planned, and some hybrid crochet/sewing projects to work on during the weekends, but for now I’ve cast on a new sock project for an upcoming Dragonfly Fibers club shipment. I love the joy and excitement that comes with a new project, and I think you do too. So from now until the end of the month (31-March, Midnight Mountain Time), I’m offering 20% off all the patterns (and collections) in my Ravelry Store. I hope you start something new! If you’re looking for ideas, how about a Daelin Shawl, it works up quickly in a sport weight yarn, and would be a nice addition on a chilly morning walk. Or how about a Nesoi Tee if you’re planning ahead to your summer wardrobe.