Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Vittorio Cowl


I’m so happy to finally be able to talk about this new design. Introducing Vittorio Cowl, designed for Shall We Knit? yarn store advent calendar and knit with 24 of Koigu’s mini skeins. It comes in two sizes and uses up all the yarn. Join in the advent calendar fun with this Missoni-inspired cowl, named for Vittorio Missoni who turned the fashion brand into a global powerhouse.

Note: This cowl was designed using Koigu ‘Minis’ which are labeled at 11 yds (10 m) each. On average, these skeinettes are longer than labeled and the cowl was designed to use up as much yarn as possible. Therefore, the overall yardage used is more than the equivalent of 24 skeinettes of the Koigu ‘Minis.’ If you are substituting yarn, please use the listed yardage rather than calculating from Koigu ‘Minis.’ You will use up almost every bit of yarn for this project, I finished with about 5 yards left (made up of bits of different colours).

In the photo showing the three cowls on the fence, the cowl on the left was knit using the Minis randomly, the one on the right was knit after having organized the Minis in a gradient. The cowl in the middle is the smaller size, knit with the Minis in random order.

Available to purchase through:
Ravelry: Click here
LoveCrafts: Click here
Payhip: Click here

Sauveuse des Anges


Outlander Knits is released today and I am so pleased to be part of an amazing group of designers with my design Sauveuse des Anges. Outlander Knits was edited by the amazing Kate Atherley. Thanks Gale Zucker for the stunning photographs!

Inspired by the stunning mustard coloured cape/cloak worn by Claire in Season 2, Episode 3 and named for the hospital she visits, this design is a lace capelet that can be worn tied with ribbons or using a pretty closure.

The lace patterns were selected based on the lace on the front of Annalise’s gown, worn at Versailles.

For a younger look that pays homage to kilts and aprons, the capelet can be worn over a short (or long) skirt, knee high boots, and fastened with JUL toggle closure.

Knit top down, the design begins with a stable edging of linen stitch and the linen stitch continues down the sides for a smooth edging. The shape is created using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl shaping between the lace patterns.

Foxy Stripes Cowl


I’m so please to announce that Foxy Stripes Cowl is now available!

In Fall 2019 I took a class with Bristol Ivy on “Knitting Outside the Box” and my mind was blown! She took us through a number of exercises to help our creative process and one of these was an exercise using Mad Libs. We each got three words and we were to use these to come up with a knitting concept.

I got ‘stripes,’ ‘cowl’ and ‘goofy’ and this cowl design was the result. Thanks Bristol! The yarn is the wonderful Blue Sky Fibers Woodstock Worsted.

Note: I used all but a few yards of the 3 skeins of Woolstok for my cowl. You may wish to purchase extra if you are using Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Worsted to ensure you have enough to finish the cowl.

Available to purchase through:
Ravelry: Click here
LoveCrafts: Click here
Payhip: Click here

Lá Bealtaine


Janelle Martin_MG_2886 sized watermarked
Lá Bealtaine
was designed for Wooly Wonka Fibers’ Celtic Year club, inspired by the Gaelic May Day festival Beltane – one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals at which special bonfires were kindled. Lá Bealtaine is the Irish Gaelic name for Beltane.

The pattern includes three sizes for this design: a shoulder wrap with buttons, a scarf and a rectangular stole.

Janelle Martin_MG_2933 sized watermarked

Wriggle Mitts


Knitting-Apr21-2019_MG_3011 scaled watermarked

The Wriggle Mitts were designed for Shall We Knit’s retreat in January 2019, using the featured yarn that attendees received in their goodie bag. Another local designer (Lynne Sosnowski) and I were challenged to each design a new pattern using Shibui Knits yarns. I created these mittens and Lynne designed a cowl called Portable Hole.

The mittens are knit with two fingering weight yarns held together to create a marled effect. The sample was knit using a chainette yarn (Shibui Knits Maai) and a beautiful hand painted silk mohair yarn (Riverside Studios Kidsilk).

If you don’t want to knit with two yarns held together, you will need 160 metres of a yarn that knits up to 7 stitches to 2.5 cm on 3.5 mm needles.

S Curve Cowl


I’ve neglected this blog since my mother passed away. Enough time has passed and I feel the designing bug returning so it is time to get back to posting about here about designing, knitting and books. With that in mind, I present the S Curve Cowl, a design that was designed for Shall We Knit?’s retreat in November 2017, using the featured yarn that attendees received in their goodie bag.

Knitting-Apr21-2019_MG_2991 scaled watermarked

Lynne Sosnowski and I were challenged to each design new pattern using the same yarn. I created this buttoned cowl and Lynne designed Benmiller Rendezvous Mitts.

This cowl is knit with two fingering weight yarns held together to create a marled effect. The sample was knit using a hand painted, speckled yarn (Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino KPPPM) and the luscious and decadent Filatura Di Crosa Superior.

The contrasting trim at the end of the cowl is achieved by knitting with the hand painted yarn only. The length of the cowl can easily be adjusted by knitting additional repeats of the main stitch pattern.

Patterns for period drama lovers


I love period dramas and will happily watch a marathon of Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, The Miss Fisher Mysteries or The Paradise. Many of these feature fantastic knit or crochet garments and all have inspired designers with their aesthetic. Here are some of my picks for those who desire a bit of vintage style with their knitting/crochet.

Flapper Cloche by Megan Nodecker

Flapper Cloche by Megan Nodecker


Pride and Prejudice Mittens by Christelle Nihoul

Pride and Prejudice Mittens by Christelle Nihoul


Sanguinaria yarn bag by Naomi Parkhurst

Sanguinaria yarn bag by Naomi Parkhurst


Paris 1925 by Marie Greene

Paris 1925 by Marie Greene


Parisian Delight by Andrea Rangel

Parisian Delight by Andrea Rangel


Ninetta Neckwarmer by Nina Machlin Dayton

Ninetta Neckwarmer by Nina Machlin Dayton




In Case of Draughts by Hunter Hammersen

In Case of Draughts by Hunter Hammersen


Nola Cloche by Hilary Smith Callis

Nola Cloche by Hilary Smith Callis


Bellocq by Marnie MacLean

Bellocq by Marnie MacLean


Lady Sybil's Crescent by Michele DuNaier

Lady Sybil’s Crescent by Michele DuNaier


What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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Saying Thanks


Black Friday Cyber Monday sale at Eclectic Closet Knitwear 20% off

The worlds converged – Gift-A-Long2016 and Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday are all happening at once this year. Want to find the best deal on my designs? All the details on my sale, which coupon to use and links to the designs are here.

Thank you for all your support of my designs and small business.

Indie Designer Gift-a-long sale collage

Indie Designer Giftalong


The 2016 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long has begun and the forums are buzzing. I have selected 20 of my designs that are 25% off from today until November 30 at 11:59 pm with coupon code giftalong2016. The collage below is the one I developed to promote my bundle of sale patterns.

Indie Designer Gift-a-long sale collage

Join today! There are thousands of prizes to be won, lots of chatting in the GAL threads and holiday knitting/crocheting to be completed.

From the Ravelry Group:
What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. From November 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2016 at midnight US EST there will be fun games, contests, and 8 KAL/CALs that will help you get your holiday knitting done with companionship and fun! From November 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm US EST to November 30th at 11:59pm US EST tons of indie designers will be discounting between 5 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event.

You can find a list of the 335 participating designers, with photos, here. For easy searching on Ravelry, view the bundles here.

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, we encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting and a link to your project page. KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you’ve got to post to win!

KAL/CALs will run from November 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2016 at midnight US EST, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have tons of prizes and great conversation, plus a lot of other fun, so pull up a chair and join us!

80skeins collated all the stats and created the amazing infographic below. The organizers have put a lot of effort into this event, I think we’re going to blow last year out of the water.

giftalong 2016 infographic






The Secret Way of Patterns


This is both a happy and sad story but I’m hoping that readers can help this story have an exceptional ending.

Miriam wearing The Secret Way of Patterns

Miriam wearing The Secret Way of Patterns

My niece Miriam (7 years old) wants to be a fashion designer (and the Prime Minister of Canada but that’s another story). She spends a great deal of time drawing outfits and has had very distinct opinions on fashion style for several years. I thought it would be a great activity for us to start designing knitting patterns together and Miriam agreed.

Early in 2016 we went out to a local coffee house to discuss what Miriam wanted for her cowl. She made some initial sketches and we went through one of my Japanese stitch pattern books together, with Miriam marking down the number of the patterns she liked for about 20 pages before she got overwhelmed. She then narrowed the selection to 5 or 6 patterns after which we discussed how she’d like the cowl knit.

Of course, she had clear ideas about the direction the knitting should be done (along the length), the length of the cowl, how the patterns should go together (in bands) and the way the patterns should be repeated. She quickly narrowed down the smaller patterns to go between the larger motif but it took a bit of work before she finally managed to get it down to a final selection.

I swatched the patterns and that resulted in more fine-tuning and a change in how the smaller motifs were ordered between the larger one. After another swatch, Miriam was satisfied and I was ready to begin knitting on her cowl.

Miriam's sketch for her cowl

Miriam’s sketch for her cowl

Miriam wanted her cowl knit in a cream colour, with large blue buttons so she could wear it multiple ways. The result is the shorter sample which she is modeling in the photos. I knit this over the summer and part of it was done while in Haliburton (Ontario). My friends and I had rented a cottage there while they attended Indigodragonfly’s Stained Fingers Dye Camp. Kim McBrien Evans saw the piece and asked what I was working on and I told her the story behind the pattern. Kim got very excited and wanted to support Miriam in her design work and offered yarn support for the adult version of the cowl, which she is wearing in the photo of her and Miriam.

It was decided that the design would be “launched” at the Knitter’s Fair (held each September by the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Guild) in the Indigodragonfly booth. I was really excited because that meant I could take Miriam to the show and she could see her design on display, meet Kim and get inspired for our next design collaboration by looking at all the yarn.

Knitting was done, the pattern was written up and all was on track. Miriam named it “The Secret Way of Patterns.” We were going to have to do the photo shoot after the event but excitement was building for Miriam and I, as well as for my mother, Miriam’s grandmother. Other family members had seen the cowl since it was finished but Miriam hadn’t seen it. The plan was for it to be a surprise for her a day or two before the show. But this is where the story gets very sad.

Mom wearing Vieux Carré Stole

My Mom wearing Vieux Carré Stole

Three days before the Knitter’s Fair my mother passed away very suddenly due to health complications from a long term illness. None of us were expecting that and it was devastating to all of us, but especially to Miriam and her brother. It’s difficult to lose a grandmother at any age but it’s especially traumatic when you are under the age of 10. Friends scrambled together to get the sample to Kim for the show but we weren’t sure if Miriam and I would attend. Friday night I showed the cowl to Miriam and she suddenly started crying. I asked why and she said “Grandma won’t ever get to see it, how will she know I’m a designer now?” Luckily I was able to reassure her that Grandma did see it and thought it was beautiful. And in the end we attended the Knitter’s Fair together and Miriam got to meet Kim, show off her first design and feel like a designer for the first time, although it was very bittersweet. And even though we both felt very sad, we still had the photo shoot this past Saturday and Miriam did a great job.

Kim and Miriam at KW Knitter's Fair

Kim and Miriam at KW Knitter’s Fair

Now here’s where I’m hoping some of you can help make this story have an exceptional ending. My mother had asked that Learning For Humanity be listed as the charity for those wishing to make a donation in her name – she believed so much in education. My mom taught me to dream and passed on her love of crafting to both Miriam and I. She was always very supportive of my designing and was so excited that Miriam and I were designing together. In fact, the photo of my mother used for her funeral is her wearing my Vieux Carré Stole, a design I knit as a gift for her.

Miriam and I want to honour and remember my mother by supporting Learning For Humanity and inviting many others to support it as well. We’ve decided that 100% of the money from pattern sales of The Secret Way of Patterns will go to support the installation of Learning For Humanity educational systems in schools in Zambia until the end of 2016. Miriam is hoping that we could sell several thousand patterns (she’s hoping to raise enough to cover the costs of one school – I told her that we would need to sell 8,000 patterns to do that).

So our request is this – can you help us give this story an exceptional ending? You can buy the pattern here or make a direct donation (and receive a charitable receipt) here.

Miriam wearing The Secret Way of Patterns on a swing


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My Knitting Patterns

Audrey II

Angular Path Scarf

Cartouche Stole

Fossetta Cowl

Fossetta Hat

Sargaço Shawl

Whitman Hat

Every Which Way Cowl

Every Which Way Hat

Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts

Gothic Forest Scarf

Valencia Scarf

Branching Path Cowl

Flower Bell Stole

Whitman Cowl

New Tech Cowl

Vieux Carré Stole

Stacks Socks

Anna Perenna Shawlette

Taming of the Fox

Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves

Amplification Stole

Combs Cowl

Mindfulness Cowl

Tipsy Scarf

Gridwork Scarf
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