Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here at Chez Yarnworks, we're settled in for a long winter blizzard. So far we've had only around 3" of the projected 12-18", but they tell us it's coming, so we're planning to stay home through the holiday and weekend!

I've taken this week off from work (other than responding to the occasional email), and am thoroughly enjoying a little girl time with my daughters while Daddy is at work. With any luck, the storm won't be too bad for him to make it home tonight! Today's agenda includes gift-wrapping, cookie-baking, hot cocoa, and, well, shovelling. Not necessarily in that order.

Oh and, of course, being me, I still have Christmas knitting to complete! The storm means a few extra days to complete a few of my projects though. Whew!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning when the girls will find all that Santa has left for them, and unwrap the bounty beneath the tree. There's a special magic about Christmas morning, isn't there?

Before I sign off for the Christmas holiday, I wanted to wish everyone, from our house to yours, a safe, warm, joyful, and magical Christmas. peeking!

(Photography by Digital Tapestry in Sioux Falls, SD. Thanks Cathy!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Save 20% Off Your Entire Order!

From now through Monday, save 20% off your entire purchase at Just use coupon code THANKS when checking out.

Offer only good on in-stock merchandise and does not apply to custom orders.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shhhh....No Peeking!

Today I am scoping out potential Christmas gifts online. Trying desperately to hide the screen whenever Miss Kate rounds the corner. I thought the above picture said it all very well!
I can't believe it's only November 25, and our Christmas pictures are done already! I'm actually feeling semi-prepared this year! Christmas pics are done, Christmas knitting has commenced, and I've even managed to do a little shopping. Only a bazillion other things to do in the next month, but today, we're not thinking about those things. You can't panic about Christmas until after the turkey is cooked, right?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

And The Winners Are....



You have won your choice of a free PDF copy of the Diamond Cable Fingerless Gloves or $5 off any of the Diamond Cable Fingerless Gloves Kit Options.

Please contact me with your email address and which prize you would like!

(Winners were determined using a Random Number Generator after assigning each entrant a number by listing them in Excel.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fingerless Gloves Pattern Giveaway!

Welcome to JL Yarnworks' first giveaway!
Prize: a free copy of the PDF file pattern for the Diamond Cable Fingerless Gloves shown above. Retail price: $4.50 OR $5 off the one of the kits available.

Winners: 5 winners will be drawn randomly from entrants by logging users in an Excel file and using a random number generator to choose the 5 winners.

How to Enter:

1. RT the Twitter post that brought you here. Or, tweet this:
RT @jlyarnworks Knit Pattern Giveaway: Diamond Cable Fingerless Gloves. See blog post for how to enter.

2. Write up a quick blog post sharing this giveaway and linking to this blog post. Feel free to use the above picture in your post. Once your blog post is live, leave a message here with a link to your blog post.
3. Do both 1 and 2 and get two entries!

Deadline: Midnight Central Time Sunday night (November 22, 2009)

Winners will be announced on this blog and contacted on Monday, November 23, 2009.

Good luck everyone!!!

New Pattern And Kits Available Just In Time For Christmas!

A couple days ago I listed a new pattern in my Etsy store: Diamond Cable Fingerless Gloves.

The pattern is available as a PDF file that will be emailed to you within 24 hours of payment received.

This is also available as a hard copy pattern with 50g of yarn.

Or, if you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for your favorite knitter, we have kits that include a hard copy of the pattern, 50g of yarn, a fully-lined drawstring bag, 5" double-pointed needles, a cable-needle, and a set of stitch markers.

Later today, I'll be posting about a pattern-giveaway for Twitter users and bloggers! Watch for it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cards, Cards, and more Cards

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit under the weather. Just a cold. The sniffles. Just enough to not want to do much except curl up in my chair and watch television all day.

But you know me; my hands need to be doing something. So I continued the weekend's theme and created some more cards. I used tiny colorful crochet thread and made mini granny squares and adhered them to some pre-scored cards. I managed to churn out 16 of them (4 of each color).

I added those to the cards I made during my weekend getaway. Here are some little sheep gift tags. They still need a hole punched in them and some ribbon, but otherwise, they're done.

And when I saw this giraffe stamp, I just had to have it. As a knitter, I know how often we give scarves as gifts. Someone would have to have a mighty long neck to wear them all! ;)

Of course, sock monkeys have fast become the cornerstone of my business. So they get some time in the spotlight.

And some nice, simple sheep. Very country.

I made about 30 of each type. Currently, my cards are only available at shows. They make a nice addition to my product line and I do fairly well with them, even though I only make them a couple times a year and then stash them away. I've been toying with the idea of also offering them in my online stores, but I can't decide. Sell them individually like I do at my shows? ($2.75 for the smaller ones and $3.75 for the hand-knit and hand-crocheted ones.) Or sell them as sets or assortments? I find myself unable to answer these questions, so I end up just stashing them again for shows. At least if I only sell them at shows, I don't have to make them year-round. I absolutely love making them, but with all the other things I do (dyeing, beading, resin, sewing, etc.), there's just not a lot of me to go around. Welcome to my internal dialog. ;) What are your thoughts?
Today my oldest is off from school in observance of Veteran's Day. Our resident veteran went out last night and is now sleeping in, so I'm taking the girls out for some special Mom time. I hope you're able to squeeze in some quality time with your families today too. They make all the other stuff worthwhile!

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Much Needed Getaway

This past weekend was absolutely heavenly.

I had a huge blog post worked out in my head. But now that I'm here, I somehow feel that talking about it too much would take away the magic. So I'll let the pictures tell the tale.

The fields at sunrise.

This is us.

We are a wild and zany bunch.

But we also work hard. (Scrapbooking and other papercrafts.)

Finally, we were there for three sunsets....each different.

Can we go back next weekend? Please?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Miss Kate's Sock

As I shared in my last post, Miss Kate (age 3) has been begging me to knit her a pair of socks. I needed a bit of a palate cleanser (as Kathleen Taylor would say), so I cast on over the weekend. Of course, I still need to make another. But Miss Kate is VERY excited. Can you tell?

-Yarn: Patons Stretch Socks [50g, 239 yards, 41% cotton/39% wool/13% nylon/7% elastic]
-Colorway: Sugar
-Needles: Size US1 DPNs
-Pattern: Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe from Knitting Rules! (easy peasy...quickly becoming my favorite for plain socks)

The first sock only weighs 0.5oz, so with a 1.75oz skein, I'll have plenty left over...just not enough left for another pair. Maybe socks for my new godbaby? We'll find out gender in December, so maybe! Though I suppose I should wrap up this pair before I get ahead of myself. ;)

Miss Kate is such a ham!

This, dear friends, is why I knit.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween Weekend

It's been quite a week at Chez Yarnworks. For the past 2 months I've been working on this new pattern and a corresponding kit.

Forgive the photo was a quickly cell phone picture. (Please disregard the random foot in the picture. At least now you know why I will never model my sock patterns. hehe.)

The pattern and kit were set for release today. But, sadly, ONE crucial item that will be included in the kit was misdelivered and cannot be retrieved. (Darn college boys who live in my old house!) So I need to reorder this item. My best guess is that it will all be ready to go in 2-3 weeks, depending on delivery speed. I will keep you posted. The kit, for those who are curious, will contain the pattern for the above fingerless gloves, enough hand-dyed yarn to make them, a drawstring bag, 5" double-pointed needles, a cable needle, and stitch markers. If you want to claim one now, feel free to email me and I will let you know when they're available for sale.

So after trying frantically to figure out a way to get these to market, I decided to take the weekend off and do some personal knitting. Something I haven't had a lot of time for lately.

Miss Kate has been asking for socks, so these will be for her. This is the third cuff. The first two didn't fit her honkin' feet. Hoping it goes faster now that I have the right size. I think if I'm diligent today, I can get the pair done. But, again, she has huge feet for a 3 year old, so I'm not making any promises!

Size 1 DPNs, 56 sts they're a tad big I think, but 48 stitches wouldn't fit over her ankle. Wish me luck!
And, what I'm sure you've all been waiting for. Halloween pics! Miss May was Tinkerbell and Miss Kate was a pink fairy princess.

Mr. Yarnworks helped them carve Jack-o-lanters Friday night. On the left is Miss Kate's design. A nice, friendly, smiling pumpkin.
.. .
On the right is Miss May's pumpkin. A bit more to the Halloween theme...much like my old pumpkins looked when I was a kid.
This is such a great town for trick-or-treating too. From the one family that sets up a haunted house to the retirement community where the seniors sit in a semi-circle and encourage the kids to take more...

It was also beautiful weather for South Dakota in October. Lately we've had lots of rain and even snow. Last night was probably in the high 40s with very little wind. This was our street at 5:30pm.

Even the kids oohed and aahed at our sunset.

Geese flying south... A sign that it's not quite winter yet.

And a nice spooky moon to finish off our Halloween evening.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roving Sneak Peek

Yep, JL Yarnworks is now dyeing roving! Each braid is 4oz of Merino Wool, dyed with the same professional grade acid dyes I use on my yarns.
Stay tuned to my Etsy store. I'll be cleaning up the photos of the individual rovings and listing tonight as I go. If a particular braid interests you, feel free to email me for first dibs. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

North Country Fiber Fair 2009

It's time once again for the North Country Fiber Fair in Watertown, SD!

The great news is that JL Yarnworks has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year. The bad news is that I had an emergency tonsillectomy on Labor Day and have been pretty much out of commission for the past two weeks. I'm still not feeling up to par, but am packing what I have and hoping for the best!

If you are a local fan, please try to make it out to the fair! It's a small fiber show, but great fun. The vendors I met last year were all absolutely fabulous! But if you try to chat me up and all I can do is croak back at you, please be patient with me. My voice is still a bit fried and I'm afraid after 2 days of manning my booth, it's going to be totally shot! I can't wait though. I had great fun at this show last year and know that this year will be just as wonderful!

I hope to see you there!

(I will be putting the Etsy store in vacation mode and zeroing out most of my inventory on until Monday to avoid double sales. Be back soon!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Fall Knitty Is Up!

Can you find my magnets hidden on the "Cool Stuff" page?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Yesterday, I promised you some surprise news today!

The news is that my magnets are being featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Knitty!

Sadly, Knitty has been delayed and will not be available until tomorrow. Anyone familiar with Knitty knows that it is a professional and comprehensive online publication that requires many many man hours to put together. From bringing together talented designers and trendy patterns to educational articles, book and product reviews, tips and techniques, Knitty truly is the bees knees. I feel exceptionally honored to have my magnets featured amongst their "cool stuff."

Since the issue hasn't been published yet, I don't know which magnets they are featuring or if they will be sending readers to My Etsy Store or to I will say that I currently have more magnets listed on and that it's easier and cheaper to order larger quantities there due to the flat-rate shipping available on

I've been working to add to my magnet selection so that there's something for everyone. Currently, I have sock monkeys, knit stitches, buttons (below), measuring tapes/rulers (great for stitchers and teachers alike!), sheep, and border collies. I'm always looking for new varieties. As always, feel free to make suggestions.

Also, in the very near future (this weekend perhaps?), I will be adding hairclips with sock monkeys, sheep, and bunnies on them! I'm very excited about what's coming this fall to JL Yarnworks. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Not So Secret Gardens, Scary Mantis, and Surprises

It hasn't been a secret around here that one of my favorite parts of home ownership is the ability to have my very own garden. There's just something empowering about being able to grow your own food. And watching the kids pick their own veggies and eat them straight from the garden just makes my day. I can't wait until next year when our garden is full-strength and not just something we threw together in late June once we'd moved in. But here are a couple of highlights...

My stunted purple bell pepper. It's a tiny little plant trying to put out a full-sized pepper. We'll just have to wait and see if it gets to full-size. But I'm enraptured by the beauty of it. Maybe it's just because I'm a purple girl, but I love it.

Swiss chard was our biggest surprise this year. None of us had ever tried it before finding a small tray of it at our local greenhouse when I was throwing our garden together. Even if it didn't grow for us, I figured it was a chance to try it to see if it was even worth growing. Nutritionally, I knew it was phenomenal, so definitely worth the dollar and some change for a taste-test. Well, I nearly wasn't able to plant it! Miss Kate kept eating the leaves and FORBADE me from planting her food! I was able to get it into the ground and we've been harvesting since. The dog dug up 3 of the 4, but we still have this very strong yellow-stemmed plant that has held together many salads. Definitely something we'll be doing every year from here on out! Plus, it's just a really pretty plant, isn't it?

With the garden and our new yard have come some visitors my kids never got to see in our old yards. We're a bit more out in the country now and have garter snakes, praying mantis, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, moths, and so much more sharing our yard with us. One of our favorites is what Miss Kate calls the "Scary Mantis" despite many attempts at correcting her. Here's one such scary mantis. :)

Miss May found this grasshopper on our front porch today too and was very excited.

So what's this about "surprises," you ask? Ahh.. Well I don't want to say just yet. It'll be official tomorrow, so I'll totally spill the beans then. But here's a tiny hint of what I've been up to lately. A peek at what my workspace has looked like for the better part of the last two weeks...

Oh and the other surprise? This past weekend I was diagnosed with strep throat. But instead of it getting better with antibiotics, it got worse! Monday, I had an emergency tonsillectomy to remove what my ENT called the largest tonsil he's ever seen. He seemed shocked that I was still able to breathe, so he got me in right away. I'm still quite sore, am fairly well drugged up on narcotics, and really really wish I could snarf down some pizza or something right now instead of runny mashed potatoes like tonight's dinner. BUT, I do feel better overall and am expecting to heal quite nicely now. I'm also hoping that much of my illness these last couple winters will not plague me this winter now that my tonsils are gone. I'm only telling you this so that you know that if this blog post or any correspondence with me over the next couple days is...well...."off" know to blame it on the narcotics. You'd do me that favor, right? :)
I'll be back tomorrow with the big news. It's very exciting for JL Yarnworks! I can't wait to share!

First Day of School

Miss May is now in the 1st grade. Miss Kate will be starting preschool soon, but has been in a preschool specifically geared to kids ages one and two before, so this year isn't anything super special. EXCEPT, that Miss May is now in a new school district with all new kids, and she's THRILLED! See?

Nerves of steel, that one! These pictures were taken just before heading to school and she was stoked. Her new school has 10 fewer children per class, and only has Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Her new principal is very involved, yet laid back. We absolutely love the potential that this new school has.

We're not so thrilled that she's growing up so fast. No, not thrilled at all.

We ARE thrilled and big sister and little sister still get along so well. This is a very normal pose for them. Totally naturally and not prompted by Mom at all. I swear!
We also had a nice surprise about a week before school started. A visit from my step-son, Austin! He's almost 15, stands about 6'1" now, and is such a darling you'd hardly know he's a teenager! :) We don't see much of Austin mostly because he's such an active, athletic kid with games and friends and other obligations over the weekends, but we truly wish he had more time to hang out with us! He's SUCH a good kid. He even humored the little ones with over an hour of kicking the soccer ball around the backyard while waiting for Dad to come home. Then, of course, they whooshed off to do "guy things." Hehe.

Thanks for hanging out with us Austin. We love you and hope to see you again very soon!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scrabble Tile Pendants for Fiber Artists

After a much needed summer break, I'm back with renewed vigor!

Our new house has been absolutely fabulous this summer. The girls have a nice big backyard to play in, and we've been taking full advantage! The downside is that I've stepped away from JL Yarnworks for awhile and had entirely too much on the JL Yarnworks' agenda to pull it off seamlessly.

The good news is that I am rested and ready to dive back in to Fall!

For starters, I have product laying around that isn't listed on either of my websites! I'm pretty sure that breaks a cardinal rule or two, so I'm working to fix that. I've started with my Scrabble Tile Pendants since I'm also planning an advertising push highlighting them starting September 1st.
Above is an example of one of the ads that you might find on Ravelry or elsewhere very soon!
Click on it to go to the pendant page on!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Knits in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I've been collecting pictures of knits (and crocheted pieces) in the newest Harry Potter movie. I thought perhaps these photos would be helpful to others, so I'm listing them here. If you have links to add or find knits I've missed, please leave a comment and I will add them! I've skipped a couple of the super tiny stitches, plain knit cardigans and such. They're obviously machine knit and I don't feel there's enough really spectacular or unique about them to include them in the list.

Hermione's Hat & Fair Isle Scarf (my attempts at patterns: hat and scarf): 1, 2, 3, 4,

Ron's Brown Striped Hat and Fair Isle Sweater: 1,

Quidditch Sweaters: 1, 2, 3,

Luna's Furry Sweater: 1,

Neville's Fair Isle Vest & Hermione's Fair Isle Cardigan: 1,

Hermione's Gray Tailored Cardigan: 1,

Ron's Striped Cardigan: 1, (There's got to be a better pic out there than this!)

I'm also fairly certain that Lupin, Tonks, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were wearing some nice knits as well, but I couldn't find any decent screen shots. Perhaps when the DVD comes out, it will be easier to grab those images.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Hermione's Fair Isle Scarf

Months ago I promised that I was working on the pattern for Hermione's Fair Isle Scarf to go with her Cable & Eyelet Hat. It's high time I deliver, huh? After seeing the movie, it appears that there may be a couple more patterns in the scarf before it repeats, but I don't have a photo to go from. If anyone does, please send it to me so I can work up a better chart!!

Here's a bit of the sample. In the move, my camera batter charger was lost, but I will update with a better picture soon!

And the chart. The pattern is a 12 stitch repeat. If you do this in a tube, you'll need to cast on a multiple of 12. In my sample, I cast on 84 on US6 16" circular needles and joined in the round. I used all Paton's Classic worsted weight yarns except for the green which is Nature Spun in Grecian Olive. Instead of using movie-appropriate colors, I just used what I had on hand, so feel free to use whatever you like! Click on the chart for a larger view.

To purchase a Twilight-inspired pattern for gothic gloves, visit my Etsy store!