Pure Romance Inspired Cash Bag

January 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Colorwork, Organization

Pure Romance Cash Bag

Original Pattern by The Gypsy. Feel free to share, but please do not sell the pattern! Thanks!

In Indianapolis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you have the awesome opportunity to be able to go to the zoo with free admission when you bring a canned food item. Given that today was the coldest day in two years, I decided to forgo the zoo trip and knit something. This super simple pattern will make a fabulous cash bag for my Pure Romance business, or a super cute little clutch for your afternoon out. Enjoy!




CO: Cast On

BO: Bind Off

RS: Right Side

K: Knit

STS: Stitches


Materials Needed:

Size US 11 knitting needles

A: One Skein Dark Grey

B: One Skein Bright Pink

(Or whatever colors your stash is begging you to work with)

Yarn Needle

Buttons, Velcro, Bows, or whatever you want to use to help the bag stay shut and look pretty.


With A, CO 40 STS. Knit 4 rows. Switch to B.

With B, K 2 rows. Switch to A. With A, K 4 Rows.

Switch to B. K4 rows. Switch to A. K 4 rows.

Switch to B. K6 rows. Switch to A. K 4 rows.

Switch to B. K8 rows.

Switch to A. K 8 rows. Switch to B. K 4 rows.

Switch to A. K 6 rows. Switch to B. K 4 rows.

Switch to A. K 4 rows. Switch to B. K 4 rows.

Switch to A. K 2 rows. Switch to B. K 4 rows.


Holding strands A and B TOG, BO.


Weave in CO ends. (Both yarns)

Thread needle with both strands from BO. Weave ends through the end stitch from BO row to end of 18th

row. (End of 3rd to last B stripe) (You are just trying to camouflage it.)

Lay piece flat with RS up.


With CO edge, fold first 3 A stripes away from you. This will be the opening flap.

What is not folded is the bag.

Fold this section in half and seam. Flip RS out. Add any buttons, velcro, bows, etc- whatever suits your fancy to keep it closed and make it pretty.

Knit Happy!

Smart Color Choices

November 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Colorwork

I absolutely love using color everywhere and every way that I can. One big thing that many people forget is that color can and does have purpose! Using a smart color choice can help add pizazz and personality to any yarn craft! There are SO many simple ways that color can add something new to an ordinary item. Hats, scarves, gloves, blankets, dishcloths, socks, sweaters, hand warmers- EVERYTHING! Every pattern can be suited for an infinite number of recipients just by switching colors!


Are you low on gifts for the holidays? Simple Garter Stitch hand warmers can be a great unisex gift for anyone- the comfort of gloves mixed with the ability to use a smart phone, swipe a bus pass or keep a grip on that latte would make lots of people happy! A simple coaster set used in a person’s or couple’s favorite colors are a wonderful housewarming gift! (You can add place-mats if you want to go all out!) The beauty of these gifts is that they are simple and easily personalized with the right color scheme. You can even make a stash-buster weekend out of it by knitting or crocheting up a whole bunch of these items for a stock-pile of ready-made gifts!

In an effort to help bring a bit more smart color to yarn crafts, I have compiled a list of color combinations based on anything from the color wheel to pop culture.


Basic Color Mates: (Based on the color wheel- these colors automatically compliment each other. These colors are found opposite of each other on the color wheel!)

Red and Green

Blue and Orange

Yellow and Purple


Harry Potter Houses:

Gryffindor: Red and Gold

Hufflepuff: Yellow and Black

Ravenclaw: Blue and Bronze

Slytherin: Green and Silver


Sports and Academics:

Indiana University: Cream and Crimson

Purdue University: Black and Gold

University of California: Blue and Gold

Columbia University: Blue and White

University of Texas: Orange and White

Indianapolis Colts: Blue and White

Chicago Cubs: White, Red and Blue

New York Jets: Green and White

Obviously, this list could go on forever. Be sure to utilize your favorite search engine to find whatever team or university colors you need!


Pop Culture and Other References:

Sure, everyone won’t get it. But YOU will. And that is what is important!

Blue and White are terrific snow references.

Red and Blue and Green and Blue are great for Mario and Luigi!

Don’t forget White and Green for Yoshi!

Black, White and Silver could be a KISS tribute!

Red, White and Blue could be a Who tribute!

Black, Red, and just a little White would make a FABULOUS Rocky Horror Picture Show reference! (Or even Sweeney Todd, if you did it right!)

Red and Yellow for Winnie the Pooh!

Blue, Magenta and White for Dance Dance Revolution fans!

Red and White for Coca Cola!

Black and Yellow for Batman!

Green and White for Green Lantern!

Brown and Yellow for Curious George!

Yellow and Black for PacMan!

Pink and Green in neon hues would make an awesome Fresh Prince of Bel Air reference!

Orange, Yellow and Brown for Resse’s!

Pink and Black for Pure Romance!

Red and Silver for Smirnoff!

Red, Blue, White with a little Yellow for Ernie! (You know? Burt’s buddy!)

Pink and White for Candy Land!

Blue and Yellow for the Human Rights Campaign!

Light Blue and Yellow for Gleeks!

Black, White, with a little Green for Beeltejuice!


As you can tell, the lists REALLY CAN go on forever! Add a little new life to your tried and true patterns using smart color choices!


Until next time, Knit Happy!!!

Year of Stash Socks 2011 Challenge (by Deb Wunder)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Advanced

Since I knit (and crochet) in public a lot, I am often asked why I knit and crochet.  The short answer is usually that, “It’s cheaper than therapy and I have socks (or whatever I am working on) when I’m done.”

When asked about spinning (I will use a drop spindle in public), the answer is that, “It’s cheaper than therapy, and I have yarn when I’m done.”

In truth, though, I knit and crochet because it’s what I do.  It’s what I’ve done ever since my parents taught me when I was a kid.  And, yes, I said parents.  My mother taught me to knit, but Pop taught me to crochet. (Pop also taught me the joys of geometrical design, but that’s another column.)

Like many craftspeople, I have my strengths and weaknesses.  My strengths are my color sense, and my love of textural knitting.  My weakness is designing, although I can claim one of the first toe-up sock patterns on the Web (“Deb’s Almost-Easy Toe-Up Sock),”  at Socknitters.com.

Currently, my favorite things to knit are socks, shawls, and shawlettes.  My favorite designers are many:  Wendy Johnson, Cookie A, Vickie Howell, Ysolda, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Mary Ann Beattie, and many others.  I have at least five projects going most of the time, and I switch back and forth depending on mood, event I will be at, and whether I can do the pattern from memory, or need a printout or proximity to a computer.

My current main project is the Year of Stash Socks 2011 Challenge.  This challenge involves making at least one of the offered patterns each month, or a “plain vanilla sock” of one’s choice.

When I am not plying needles or hooks, I am either making beaded jewelry, writing (I’m a freelance writer by trade), reading, walking, or some combination of the above.  I live in Brooklyn, NY, with a roommate and two cats, and I love to show off my city, wander through parks and museums, and try most of the ethnic foods so readily available in New York (Indian and Hispanic are particular favorites).

I look forward to meeting many of you online, and possibly in person if you are ever in New York City.


Knit Intarsia (by Connie Johnston)

March 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Colorwork

Knit Intarsia:

Intarsia is actually a woodworking term, where it refers to inlaying different colours or types of wood to create a design.

Intarsia is also a knitting technique used to create patterns or designs with more than one colour in a block or section. The intarsia sections can be any shape or design you like.

From my perspective there are 4 types of intarsia knitting.

  1. Knit a picture as you knit the garment – such as a truck on the front of a boys sweater, or a heart on a girls sweater. The pattern is provided on a graph.
  2. Create a geometric design over a whole garment such as tumbling blocks as per a Kaffe Fassett design.
  3. Let your mind take over and knit in a freeform way using many colours as I do on all or part of your garment or art piece.
  4. Icelandic Intarsia – where all the work is completed in garter stitch only.

Unlike Fair Isle knitting, in intarsia the yarn is not carried across the back of the work. You knit with a separate length of yarn for each block or section of colour

Knit Intarsia – basics:

Straight vertical stripes are the simplest intarsia design to create. After the first row, the pattern is continued by always knitting each stitch in the same colour as the previous row, changing colours at the exact same point in each row.

When you wish to change the colour bring the new colour up under the old, and trap the old yarn between the new yarn and the knitting which reduces the risk of a hole at ajunction of two colours.

The twisting and changing of yarns always occurs on the wrong side of the work.

Getting this right reduces the risk of holes at the colour changes and is the most important technique to master.  

Do try to keep your tension consistent as you switch colours and to not knit too tightly or too loosely with a new colour although blocking will improve slight uneven tension in the knitting.

Learn to manage many yarns in one row without too much tangling. The yarns will tangle, so it is a matter of working out the best way for you to manage them. You can use bobbins or use lengths that are more manageable. Run your fingers through the yarns as you do to reduce the problem works well if using many short lengths of yarn.

Weave in the ends of the yarn as you go where possible.

Swiss darning can be used to change a section if you wish.

  1. When knitting a picture – to change the colour of a section of the design.
  2. If you missed a colour change add it when garment is completed.
  3. Embellish an intarsia knit

Knit Intarsia – work a simple design:

Create a washcloth using the intarsia technique:

Knit a wash cloth in cotton in two colours with a stripe knitted up the centre 15 stitches using the intarsia method.

  1. Cast on 45 stitches with an appropriate needle for the cotton being used.
  2. Knit 15 st white, 15 st red, and 15 st white.
  3. Knit to the desired size.
  4. Cast off


  1. Knit 16 rows
  2. Reverse the colour sequence – knit 15 st red, 15 st white, and 15 st red
  3. Repeat 2 times more or till the wash cloth is the size you wish it to be
  4. Cast off

Create a scarf using the intarsia technique:

Knit as above with wool or mohair yarns and an appropriate needle size and continue with the 16 rows of each sequence until you have the right length for a scarf.

Knit Intarsia – work a simple charted design: coming next!

In the Shadows (by Jen Chambers)

June 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Colorwork

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Have you discovered Shadow knitting yet?  It’s a lot of fun and makes for some interesting discussions with folks who see your project.

When viewed from the “normal” straight down angle, your knitting looks like a colorful ribbing project.   You can use any colors you wish, but contrasting colors work best.   Alternating colors every 2 rows.

The fun comes in when you change the angle of view.  Looking at a 45 degree angle at your project, and you’ll discover some clever knitting and purling! 

Found this great little book called Shadow Knitting by Vivian Hoxbro.    The book contains very nice detailed patterns for winged shawls, squared bags, a matching cap and scarf, vests, sweaters, and Japanese-style kimonos.  $14.93 on Amazon.

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Beautiful Basketweave (by Aubrey Mayes)

May 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Stitches

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One of my favorite stitch combos is the Basket-weave Stitch. I couldn’t believe that something so pretty was SO simple! The Basket-weave Stitch is a great stitch to add a little extra flair to some of the more commonly knit objects, like scarves, and adds great texture without adding extra thickness.

All there is to the Basket-weave is switching between Garter Stitch and Stockinette Stitch.

To start the Basket-weave, you’ll want to Cast On in a multiple of 8 stitches (I suggest against a variegated yarn, as it can look a bit too busy. Some variegated yarns that are different shades and values of a single color can work, but you have to be careful.).

Row 1: Knit all stitches.

Row 2: Knit 4, Purl 4, Repeat until end of row.

Row 3: Knit all stitches.

Rows 5 and 7: repeat row 2

Rows 4, 6, and 8: knit all stitches.

Row 9: Purl 4, Knit 4 Repeat until end of row.

Row 10: Knit all stitches.

Rows 11, 13, and 15: Repeat row 9.

Rows 12, 14: Knit all stitches.

Row 16: Repeat Row 2.

Continue the repetition until your project is complete! Yes- it is that easy!

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Four Fabulous Tricks for Knitting in the Round (by Robyn Devine)

May 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Advanced

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It may seem like an advanced move, but knitting in the round can be mastered by beginner knitters with ease. And by adding it to your knitting bag of tricks, you will open up an entirely new world – one of hats, sweaters, and socks!

Getting started with knitting in the round can seem tricky on the best of days, but with just a few tips and tricks you can be joining to work in the round in no time at all. When I began my circular needles journey, these four tips helped me immensely.

Trick #1 – Make sure your circular needle is shorter than your finished circumference. If you’re knitting a hat for a 20” head, grab 16” long circular needles. If you’re knitting a sweater for someone that’s 36” around, be sure you’re not using your 40” long needles. Seems self-explanatory, but I spent many frustrated hours fighting with needles that were just a bit too long for projects I was working on. When in doubt, go a bit shorter – you’ll never regret it!

Trick #2 – Cast on one extra stitch. When you join for working in the round, knit that last stitch you cast on together with the first stitch you cast on. You will have the correct number of cast on stitches, and you will have a much less noticeable join for your work.

Trick #3 – When casting on a large number of stitches, to ensure you don’t twist them (and create a Mobius on accident!) knit the first few rows of the pattern before joining. You’ll have a much clearer view of joining your stitches together, and you can use your tail to sew up that open spot later.

Trick #4 - Use a different color stitch marker to mark the beginning of the row. When you are using stitch markers to mark decreases, increases, pattern changes and the like be sure your “beginning of the row” marker is a different color, shape, or size. This will help you more easily distinguish it from your other markers.

With these four simple tips, you will find yourself knitting around and around before you know it! You can use this new-found skill to whip up some sweaters for all the folks in your life, hats to keep their noggins warm, and maybe even donate a few things to a local charity!

Seven Tips for Lace Knitting (by Ina Gilmore)

February 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Stitches


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The first time I knit lace, I didn’t know it was lace.  It was a big project for a beginner: a Feather and Fan striped afghan for a dear lady who minded the cold.

Back then I thought lace knitting was old-fashioned and impractical. Like doilies knit with very fine yarn and needles usually by an elderly aunt. Carefully kept in a drawer most of the year, only brought out for special occasions: like during her visits! So, had I known, I probably would have not made that afghan. And missed out on making an elderly friend very happy.

Today lace stitches are incorporated into knitted articles as small as dishcloths and baby booties, or as large as afghans and shawls.  The patterns can be simple for beginning knitters or complex for the most advanced knitter. You can choose a pattern with a small lace trim, or one that’s all lace.

So, if you’re thinking of knitting lace, what are some tips for the novice lace knitter? Whether you consider yourself a beginner or an advanced knitter, before you cast-on for your lace project consider:

    • Choosing your pattern wisely. I tend to divide lace patterns into two categories: those where the rows alternate between lace and straight knitting or purling — and those where every row is lace knitting. In general, the patterns with the alternate rows are less complex. If you’re starting a project with long rows like a shawl, consider how many stitches will be in the row. When you’re knitting long rows, you may want to choose a pattern with alternate rows. And if you prefer knitting to purling, when there are 500 stitches in a row even an experienced knitter may yearn for every other row to be knit rather than purled!


    • Knowing how to read your knitting stitches. Reading your knitting is a lot like reading a book. Initially, you learn the letters (individual stitches).  With practice you learn to read words (groups of stitches making a pattern such as a leaf). Because lace patterns — with frequent increases and decreases — more likely result in dropped stitches, checking your work by reading the stitches saves time while reducing the frustration of repeatedly ripping your work and re-knitting.


    • Counting early and often. Lace projects can be challenging. The pattern can be complex, or maybe it just takes more concentration than a non-lace project. And frequent interruptions can make even an experienced knitter consider an easy project difficult.  Double-checking your stitches by counting frequently can reduce the stress of a complex pattern, increasing your success.


    • Looking closely at the pattern to make sure you can knit all the stitches. Lace stitches incorporate various kinds of increases, decreases, and may even have you knit or purl in the back of a stitch.  Feeling comfortable with all the stitches involved can make your knitting easier.


    • Using a knitting lifeline allows you to partially unravel your knitting when needed without dropping stitches. Crochet cotton or embroidery floss are two favorites. You want a line that will easily slip onto your stitches without leaving fuzz behind. Two links you may find helpful:  a post on lace lifeline tips, and a video on using a lifeline (scroll down to the subsection Fixing Mistakes to find the video Using a “lifeline.”)  Bonus Knitter’s tips: Experienced knitters often choose white or natural (light beige or tan) thread or yarn as the lifeline. The lighter colors are less likely to bleed onto the lace fabric. And they avoid waxed dental floss because it can leave pieces of wax when it’s removed.


    • Choosing a pattern that has either written instructions only or both written directions and a chart if you’ve never knitted from a chart before.  Written instructions allow you to learn to read the chart while you work, and help decrease mistakes when those symbols are confusing.


  • Knitting a swatch first allows you to double-check your knitting gauge, and choice of yarn and needles.  Lace often has a three-dimensional aspect. You may or may not care for the way a particular yarn or size needle alters the pattern from the designer’s.  Knitting a swatch first can save you frustration because knitting a small swatch in the long run is easier than starting a pattern and deciding a few inches later it’s just not right.

Depending upon your situation one or more of these tips can increase your lace knitting success. ..and remember to Knit Lace Happy!

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Exorcising Color Work (by Aubrey Mayes)

February 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Colorwork

I know from my experience and the experiences of knitters around me that color work has a lot of demons. All these fancy, demonic words, like Fair Isle and Intarsia can cloud a lot of really straightforward concepts. I know that even some veteran knitters don’t do color work, just because of how scary the prospect seems. Today, I just want to try to make it seem less scary. These tips are not advanced color knitting, just basic, beginner steps to the wonderful world of color.

Let’s start with my personal favorite, Fair Isle. Fair Isle knitting is not only beautiful to look at, but can be really fun to knit once you get the hang of it. It does require a little more concentration than knitting in one color, but the finished object will be well worth it. I started looking for videos on Youtube, like I always do when starting a new technique, but I soon discovered that no one was really explaining it well. Sure, they made it look impressive and flashy, but it’s difficult to see the technique through that. I’m going a step further, to show the process, rather than the flash.

When knitting in Fair Isle, you need to remember a few things. Firstly, you should always use the Stockinette Stitch when knitting Fair Isle.  You will need a clear Right and Wrong side to your project. Secondly, you will need to remember that Fair Isle knitting should use no more than 3 colors, and, depending on yarn weight, only 2. Since the yarns are carried across the Wrong side, that side will become the back or inside of the object. If you have too many yarns carried across the back, the object will become heavy (and overly warm if it is a wearable object).

Before you cast on, you have to know how to read your pattern chart. This is very simple. Use the key on your pattern for less obvious marks, like you would on a map. If there is only a difference in color, and there are only two colors, there will not usually be any specific markings. You will need to reference your key for additional color and stitch information when necessary. Unless otherwise stated in your pattern, you should begin your chart in the bottom right corner. Reading from right to left, look at how your row is worked, taking note of both color and stitch changes. Go on to the next row, reading from left to right, noting the same information, and that’s all there is to it!

Now, cast on your project. Unless otherwise stated in your pattern, you will begin your chart on the row immediately following cast on. Follow your chart stitch by stitch. I have trouble sometimes remembering where I am on a chart, so I like to tick off every few stitches on my chart and sometimes, for short patterns, even right it out in numbers. For example:

“Row 4: knit 8 sts in white, 3 in black, 8 in white.

                                                5:Purl 8 sts in white, 3 in black, 8 in white.

                                                6:K6W, 7B, 6W.

                                                7:P6W, 7B, 6W.”

            “But how do you add the second color?” This is where most people get skittish. Do not cut the strand of yarn on the first color. When it comes time to add the second color, make sure you are on a WS row. Simply let go of the first color, take the second color, leave a short tail, and simply use the new strand to continue knitting or purling the row. That’s all there is to it! That’s not so hard, is it? Then, when you need the first color again, let go of the 2nd color and continue knitting with the 1st, carrying it along the WS. (Make sure you carry on the same side when doing the knit AND purl stitch.) It will come quite naturally once you get the hang of it.

Need something a little simpler? This next tip is just for you! Maybe you’re just looking to try some simple stripes, or even just starting a new ball of yarn. There are SO many different ways to do this- I’m about to tell you my favorite, and probably the most simple. Starting at the end of a row, leaving a short tail, snip off the first yarn. Make a slip-knot. (I like to do this by holding my left hand in front of me with my thumb up and index and middle fingers pointing to the right. Starting at the top, loop the yarn around your middle and index fingers once from back to front. Push the strand between your middle and index fingers inside the loop, pull off, and tighten. Voila, slip knot!) Slip the strand of the first yarn through the slip knot of the second yarn. Tighten. When tightening, make sure the knot goes all the way up to the needle, and that your new yarn is attached snugly.

            Key points for Color Knitting;

  • Pay good attention to the chart and pattern for color AND stitch information.
  • Always make sure the new yarn is joined snugly.
  • Always add new yarn on the WS.
  • Be sure to weave in all ends. I like to make a small knot on the WS before weaving them in if the FO will be used a lot.
  • Remember that color work is only as scary as you make it.
  • It may take a few tries to get it right, so don’t be afraid to frog it. Just make sure the 2 colors don’t get tangled.
  • When carrying a color, make sure the strand doesn’t have to go too far unsupported.


I hope this helps you! Be sure to email me at thegypsy@naughtyknitterz.com if you have any additional questions!

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Knitting MittenThumbs – The Debate (by Ina Gilmore)

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Advanced, Stitches

Where are you in the knitting mitten instructions for thumbs debate?

The other day, I was astonished at how passionately two knitters were debating.   Knowing both of them, it’s not surprising they were passionate.  What surprised me was the topic of their debate: knitted thumbs.  Each was absolutely convinced her favorite thumb was “the best,” and other ways of knitting thumbs just don’t fit right. It took the calming influence of another knitter to put the discussion in perspective.

She noted while she preferred one type of thumb, her husband another. Perhaps, she calmly asked, it depends upon our individual hand shapes?  Or even what we do with our hands when we use the mittens? Maybe this is a case of individual preference?  Since I’ve usually made only one type of thumb for myself, this discussion started me thinking:  Just how many different thumb types are there? And are there times one would be better than another?


So, what are the types of knitting mitten instructions for thumbs?


Peasant Thumb: Often considered the simplest thumb to knit. Knit without a gore, or wedge-shaped insert, this thumb is often preferred when a complex color pattern is used. The peasant thumb allows the pattern to continue without interruption. The thumb is knit slightly into the palm, so the mittens are either left-handed or right-handed. There’s no adjustment in mitten width for the thumb. The thumb tends to be flat.



Peasant Thumb

                      Gore Thumbs: Knit with a gore either in the side seam (side seam gore) or slightly into the palm (normal gore or normal thumb). The side seam gore thumb will not interrupt the knitting pattern, while the normal gore thumb interrupts it. The side seam thumb makes the mittens identical, so it’s often used for knitting young children’s mittens. If either is made in circular knitting (no side seam) and a stockinette stitch, the mitten will rotate so these two types of thumbs may be indistinguishable. This can give more flexibility to the mitten, because thumbs don’t grow out either of the sides of hands, or directly under the index fingers. The mitten body is narrower above the thumb than below it. For many folks, this feels like a more fitted mitten.  The thumb tends to be rounder than the Peasant Thumb.

Stiches for thumb gore

Stitches for thumb gore




Side seam gore thumb








Normal gore fingerless mitten

Normal gore fingerless mitten










Norwegian Gore Thumb: Knit with a gore and a peasant thumb, this thumb also interrupts the color pattern. In Norwegian mittens, though, this interruption is often incorporated into the color pattern. The mittens are either left-handed or right-handed.  While this mitten has a thumb gore, the mitten body continues above the thumb with the same number of stitches. This thumb also tends to be a flatter thumb.



Color pattern interruption for thumb gore


Norwegian thumb

Norwegian thumb






Many knitters view these as two types of thumbs (those with or without gores) or four types of thumbs.

Do you have a favorite?


About the Author: Ina Gilmore

Ina Gilmore learned to knit as a child.  She enjoys sharing her knitting adventures, tips and techniques. You can find her online at her knitting blog, The Knitting Yarn, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theknittingyarn, and on Ravelry as theknittingyarn.

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