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.

Herzblut Scarf


Herzblut Scarf glamour shot

I’m thrilled to finally release Herzblut Scarf. This scarf has been ready for a while but I was saving it to release during the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long 2014. This scarf is perfect for chasing away winter blues. Select a brilliant jewel tone like the deep red shown in the sample or something that will make you smile on a grey day. The scarf is designed to take advantage of the generous yardage of Wollmeise ‘Pure 100% Merino Superwash.’

Sinuosity Shawl


Back view of shawl
The Sinuosity Shawl went live a few weeks ago, but somehow time flew and I never managed to post a blog entry for it. Sinuous waves flow through the body of this top-down, triangular shawl, highlighted by the luster and drape inherent in the longwool fibres of the Blue Faced Leicester fibre (String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn ‘Bluestocking’). If substituting yarn, select a wool blend that has contains silk to achieve the same amount of drape.

Construction Note: Sinuosity Shawl begins with a lace “tab,” a common method for beginning top-down, triangular shawls. As the Sinuosity Shawl has a panel down the centre, the tab “strip” is longer. A link to instructions for this technique is provided in the Links section of this pattern. Instructions are included for both a narrow (shown in sample worn by model) and wide (shown in edging close up) edging option.

Note: Sinuosity Shawl is part of Gift-A-Long 2014. My bundle of participating patterns is a collection of accessories – perfect for your holiday knitting. Happy knitting and gifting! 25% off these during the GAL sale from November 13-21 with the code “giftalong2014”. Learn more about Gift-A-Long 2014 here.

Reflections on the Design Process, part 3


This past week was the first week of Stained Fingers Dye Camp at Indigodragonfly’s studio. I wasn’t attending but three of my friends did and had a blast! I went along to Haliburton and took the week to work on some new designs and make progress on others. Plus I had the opportunity to show off my designer in residence project to Kim and Ron in person!

I’ve made a bit of progress on this project in the past month, completing 8 repeats so far of the 12 row chart for the body. So the countdown is on – although there are 39 more repeats to go before I get to finish the stole with the other edging. Knitting on this project has slowed down a bit with other design deadlines taking precedence.
Linen and silk stole stitch detail

I want to talk a bit about my inspiration for the stitch pattern used for the body of this piece. Although I’ve blogged about the edging first, when I was working on the concept for this design, it was the body stitch pattern that I needed to establish first. Only then would I be able to come up with an appropriate edging design.

When I originally doodled some ideas for for this design, the only idea I had was that I wanted something with strong vertical lines. You may not see them clearly yet in the photos of the stitch pattern but, once it’s blocked, the vertical elements will be clear.

With that in mind, I started paging through stitch dictionaries and my files of stitch pattern images saved on my computer. Early on I came across the image below on a Pinterest board and knew it was perfect but had difficulty finding a chart or written instructions.
Russian stitch pattern
I kept looking and finally found instructions I thought might be what I was looking for – except they were in Russian! The chart that accompanied the written instructions was confusing but I started tackling it and after a few swatch attempts was getting something that occassionally showed signs of being the stitch pattern I hoped for. Over the month of February, I kept plugging away, changing a stitch here, a yarn over there but wasn’t making the progress I hoped for. I was ready to throw in the towel and use a different stitch pattern – and then fate intervened. A friend gave me a leaflet to browse, Berroco #344, Berroco Folio™, and there down the front panel of Iwi was my stitch patttern (and even stranger in almost the same colour as my yarn)!

I quickly flipped to the charts and within moments understood my mistakes. Once I got home, it was the work of moments to fix my charts and start a new swatch. Success! I was all ready to go with the body of the design and at that point, I could move on to create the edging. The zig zag pattern in the edging was selected to mirror the body stitch pattern and tie the two elements together.

Reflections on the Design Process, part 2


Where did June go? One minute it was early in the month and I had started my Artist in Residence at Shall We Knit? and suddenly it’s July. I never got back here to the blog to post about the stitch patterns used in the design I was working up in Indigodragonfly Linen Silk. I have to state, yet again, how much I love this yarn! It feels lovely to knit with and the drape is fantastic.

In my previous post I spoke a bit about wanting to have attached edgings and graphical designs and this is what I showed you:
New design using Indigodragonfly Linen Silk
The piece shown is unblocked but you can see that the edging features these strong graphical elements – diamonds and zig-zags. The edging is comprised of elements from several different “vintage” stitch patterns, a few of which are found in an 1849 Ladies’ Needlework book epublished by Interweave Press. Vintage instructions, like the ones in this ebook, are provided as written instructions. What you see in the photo above is the 7th version of the edging – the one with which I’m finally happy.

Designing with any stitch patterns often requires a lot of swatching but I find vintage instructions require many more versions to reach a “finished” state. Often the instructions don’t exactly match the illustration (if there is one) and stitch repeats aren’t often indicated and usually I am combining multiple elements. In the case of the edging shown, I combined elements of 3 separate vintage edgings, added a section of a lace “insertion” and then tweaked until I ended up with something that looked “right.”

The diamond shape in the unblocked edging looks misshapen; with blocking it will appear more diamond-like. The zig-zags will be sharper and the outside edge will have points rather than scallops. I’ve put quite a lot of knitting into this over the past month and I’ve finished 6 repeats of the body of the stole. I’m so pleased with how the piece is coming together and in the picture below (taken a few weeks ago) you can see one repeat of the design I’ve selected for the body.

New design from Janelle Martin in Indigodragonfly Linen Silk

Happy Knitting!

Artist-in-Residence at Shall We Knit?


Janelle Martin with her designs on display at Shall We Knit?
I was honoured when Karen at Shall We Knit? asked if I would participate in their Artist-in-Residence program. I’m among good company; in April 2013 designer Linda Choo’s work was on display and, in February 2013, Kathryn Matthews was featured.

Janelle Martin designs
For the month of June, my designs are on display in the gallery space on the second floor of the shop and each Saturday I’ll be on hand at the shop to answer questions, offer advice and chat about the new design I’m developing as part of my residency. Indigodragonfly sponsors the artist-in-residence and I’ve decided to create my design in their lovely Linen Silk. The drape and feel of this yarn has to be experienced in person. I’m using a luscious spring green – Türtljägr: For When Frögschläger Just Won’t Do. For now, all I’ll say is that I’m designing a stole with the same construction as my Vieux Carré Stole (the light blue stole in the photo below).

Janelle Martin designs

Stop by Shall We Knit? this Saturday or the next and say hi! I’ll be at the shop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Janelle Martin designs

P.S. Thanks for the photos Dad!

Anna Perenna Shawlette


Light Fingering Version, Tanis Fiber Arts Silver Label Mulberry Silk
My newest design – Anna Perenna Shawlette – is now live!

This shallow shawlette is worked from the bottom up, with crescent shaping produced using short rows in garter stitch. The upper edge is finished with an I-cord bindoff. The shawlette pattern includes instructions for five yarn weights and two sizes for the heavier weight yarns.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now!

Discover the Pictoral Adventure!

Don’t Ask Y Socks


Don't Ask Y Socks
Toe up, unisex socks worked in medium to heavy fingering weight yarn. This Japanese stitch pattern has very minimal stretch and to compensate, extra stitches are added both during the heel turn and before working the heel flap.

Written to be worked on two circular needles, the pattern can easily be done on dpns or magic loop. The fourteen page pattern includes both charts and written instructions.

Price: $5.00

Click here to: add to cart. To check out, click here: show cart.

Prefer to purchase this pattern via Patternfish? Click here.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Don't Ask Y Socks

Yarn: 375 (400, 400, 500) yards/ 343 (366, 366, 457) meters any MCN blend (Merino, Cashmere, Nylon) fingering weight yarn with 8 sts/inch.

Sample: Zen Yarn Garden ‘Serenity 20’, (400 yds/366 meters; 70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon; 4 oz/113 grams per skein) 1 (1, 1, 2) skein(s) in Toffee Crunch

Don't Ask Y socks

Finished Sizes (after blocking):
Small, (Medium, Large, X-Large)
Circumference of foot – 6 (7, 8, 9) inches/15 (17.5 , 20 23) cm, unstretched
Fits up to – 8.5 (9.5, 10.5, 11.5) inches/21.6 (24 , 26.7 , 29.2) cm, stretched
Leg Length – 5.5”/14 cm, measured from end of heel flap

Other possible yarns:
• Handmaiden Fine Yarns ‘Cashbah’, (355 yds/325 meters; 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 4.06 oz/115 grams per skein).
* The Sanguine Gryphon ‘Bugga’, (412 yds/377 meters; 70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon; 4 oz/113 grams per skein).
• String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn ‘Caper Sock’, (400 yds/366 meters; 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 4 oz/113 grams per skein).
• Indigodragonfly ‘MCN Sock’, (375 yds/343 meters; 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 4.06 oz/115 grams per skein).
• Creatively Dyed Yarn ‘Luxury’, (360 yds/329 meters; 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 4.44 oz, 126 grams per skein).
• Tanis Fiber Arts ‘Purple Label Cashmere Sock’, (400 yds/366 meters; 70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon; 4.06 oz/115 grams per skein).

Other Materials:
• Stitch markers (2)
• Glow line tape (to mark current row on chart – optional)
• Tapestry needle

Skills Required:
• Increasing and decreasing
• Knitting in the round
• Toe up sock construction
• Short rows/wrap & turn
• Lace
• Following charts
• Blocking

Hard (paper) copies of this pattern can be ordered from Shall We Knit?

Once payment has been received, you will receive a link to download a PDF of this pattern.

Cartouche Shawl


I’m thrilled to announce the release of Cartouche Shawl pattern in the Deep Winter 2011 issue of I started working on this shawl in April 2010 and submitted it in September to Knitty. Then the waiting began! I was over the moon when it was accepted and now it’s released and I can finally show photos of it.

The original photo shoot was done in fall and so the shawl had to be reshot to go with the deep winter theme. I’ve included both photo shoots here so I could show off my lovely friends (thanks Anita and Alana!) and the fantastic photography of Shawn.

I was paging through Japanese stitch dictionaries and found the main pattern used in this shawl. It reminded me of an Egyptian cartouche and I visualized it in a deeper vibrant red, the colour of life and victory for Ancient Egyptians.

In this top-down shawl, the stitch patterns flow seamlessly one into another. To accomplish this, transitional charts are used. These are marked as such and must be followed with extra care as stitch patterns are altered to flow into the next design.

The shawl is worked in Koigu KPM, one of my favourite yarns, but can be worked in any fingering or laceweight yarn. Several of my wonderful test knitters knit their shawls in laceweight and they are absolutely stunning.

The pattern on includes only the charts; however, I know many people prefer to work from written instructions. These are available for download as a PDF here.

Price: Free!

Skill Level: Advanced

Yarn: 1,400 yards of fingering weight, wool or wool blend yarn with a gauge of 5.5 sts/inch; preferably in a semi-solid or solid colour.

Sample: Koigu Premium Merino (100% Merino Wool, 175 yds / 160 m per 50 gram skein); colour 2120, Red, 8 skeins.

Finished Size:
Width: 72 inches
Length at center: 37 inches
Note: Measurements given for shawl after blocking.

Other Materials:
* Yarn needle
* Stitch markers (4)
* Cable needles (2)
* Glow line tape (to mark current row on chart)
* Fine cotton thread in contrasting colour for life-lines
* Tapestry needle
* Waste yarn in constrasting colour for grafting rows
* Blocking wires and pins

Skills Required:
* Increasing and decreasing
* Lace
* Following complex charts
* Blocking


Chart B1
Row 11 – should begin “yo, k1” and the last two stitches should be “k1, yo.”

Row 17 is missing a yo in stitch 15.

Chart B2
Row 5 – The cable at stitch 11-12 & 27-28 is crossed the wrong way. It should be a C2BP.

Row 37 – Second stitch from beginning and the end should be a purl.

Chart B3
Row 15 – Second last stitch should be a purl.

Chart D2
Rows 36-38 – the Flower in the middle of the first and last shape are dropped one stitch down. The flower bud should start on row 37 and end on 39.

Row 42 – the first stitch is missing from the chart. It should be a purl.

Updated Charts:
Revised Chart B1
Chart B2 revised

Photographer: Shawn Miller, Distractions in Focus
Models: Alana Krause, Anita Cloutier

Taming of the Fox


My first pattern published with a yarn company has been released! Taming of the Fox, a lace sock pattern, was released as part of the literary-themed Winter 2010 collection from Sanguine Gryphon.

When I first saw this colour (Between Good and Evil), the first thing that came to my mind was the image of a fox, and I knew the yarn called out for a design that somehow incorporated a fox. I soon found a stitch pattern that reminded me of sheaves of wheat, and the following passage from the inspirational story Le Petit Prince was instantly brought to mind.

My design is a tribute to friendship and the faith one fox placed in a little boy. The fox forever looks out over his wheat fields and listens to the wind.


“Nothing is perfect,” sighed the fox.
But he came back to his idea.
“My life’s very monotonous,” he said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me.
All chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike.
And in consequence, I am a little bored.
But if you tame me, it’ll be as if the sun came to shine on my life.
I shall know the sound of a step that’ll be different from all the others.
Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground.
Yours will call me, like music out of my burrow.
And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder?
I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me.
The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad.
But you have hair that is the color of gold.
Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me!
The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you.
And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”


So the little prince tamed the fox.
And when the hour of his departure drew near—

“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

“It’s your own fault,” said the little prince.
“I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you…”

“Yes that is so”, said the fox.

“But now you’re going to cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes that is so” said the fox.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.”

From Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Price: $5.00

Click here to: add to cart. To check out, click here: show cart.

Prefer to purchase this pattern via Patternfish? Click here.

Skill Level: Intermediate

• The Sanguine Gryphon ‘Eidos’, 4 oz/400 yds, 100% superwash merino, 1 skein, shown in Beyond Good and Evil
• The Verdant Grypon ‘Eidos’, (420 yds/384 meters; 100% merino; 3.74 oz, 106
grams per skein).
• Koigu ‘Painter’s Palette Premium Merino’, (175 yds/160 meters; 100% merino; 1.76 oz/50 grams per skein).
• Wollmeise ‘Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin’, (510 yds/466 meters; 80% merino, 20%
nylon; 5.29 oz/150 grams per skein).
• Socks that Rock ‘Lightweight’, (360 yds/329 meters; 100% merino; 4.48 oz/127
grams per skein).
• Indigodragonfly ‘Merino Sock’, (390 yds/357 meters; 100% merino; 3.53 oz/100
grams per skein)
• madelinetosh ‘tosh sock’, (395 yds/329 meters; 100% merino; 4.02 oz, 114 grams
per skein).
• Tanis Fiber Arts ‘Blue Label Fingering Weight’, (420 yds/384 meters; 80% merino, 20% nylon; 4.06 oz/115 grams per skein).

Needles: (2) US 1/2.25 mm, 16”/40 cm circular needles or size to obtain gauge

One set of four US 2/2.75 mm double-pointed needles for the cuff (or a needle two sizes larger than that used for main part of the sock)

Gauge: 34 sts and 46 rnds = 4”/10 cm in St st (unblocked)

Finished Measurements:

* Foot circumference (unstretched): 6.5 (7.5, 8.5)”/16 (19, 21) cm
* Foot circumference (stretched): 9.5 (10.5, 11.5)”/ 24 (26, 28) cm
* Foot length: Variable
* Leg Length: 5.5”/13.75 cm, measured from end of heel flap


* Stitch Markers (2)
* Cable Needle
* Tapestry Needle

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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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