Gift Knitting Like A Boss

Gift Knitting Like A Boss


Fiberistas, Break out the stash, It is that time of year again. Time to make your list, check it, and the stash, twice.

We are officially just shy of 6 months from Christmas.

If you are like me, you are gonna want to do what you can to offset any of the normal holiday stress, gift those hand knits like a boss, and actually drink that spiked eggnog for recreation not therapy.

Fiberista, It is time to do some planning…

No worries. I got you.

Today, I give you the UrbanGypZ’s Guide to Slaying Holiday Gift Knitting Like a Boss.

First, here is a post detailing my very best left brain system for out right making a production schedule for this years Holiday knitting.

10 Steps to Beat Overwhelm: Christmas gift Ideas to start knitting NOW!!!

And here is another post with some additional tips for you to work faster, and prevent overwhelm.

Tis the season: Plan your Christmas knitting NOW!

Even though we are almost 6 months out, here are some tips to help you knit faster.

Six Secrets You Should Know If You Want To Knit Faster

I also keep a running Pinterest Board with insanely cool gift ideas to knit/crochet and even felt.

This year Fiberista, I dug deep within my OCD and have made a holiday planner just for your knitting projects!!! It is a free download.

So make that list, check it twice and go make some art to share this year. By all means if there is a project you think I need to add to my Pinterest board, leave me a comment below with a link if you have one and I will make sure it gets pinned in the Merry Knitmas Board.

UrbanGypZ's FREE Gift Like A Boss Holiday Planner

Something I made to help you get your shit together and slay your holiday gift knitting like a boss.

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Creative Ways for Working with Handmade Yarn

Creative Ways for Working with Handmade Yarn

Working with hand dyed and handspun yarn can be a pain in the ass. I get it! When I was selling handed yarn it was the one question I was asked the most often…What can I make with this.

It is one thing to fall in love with an interesting yarn, an another thing altogether trying to find a patter that will work with it. And if the yarn is handmade chances are there is only a small amount of it. Maybe even not enough for much of a project.

For the last 10 years I have been studying ways to work with the handmade yarns that I love so much. It was a way to provide resources to my yarn customers. But it also is a way for right brain knitters/crocheters to find creative expression painting with yarn. I have written what I call anti-patterns that were created with handmade yarns in mind. So here are my best anti patterns, knitting theories and creative techniques to help you use your handpainted and handspun yarn into fiber art.

How I Make a Sweater

How I Make a Sweater

I am totally blaming it on Susan and Mary.

I mean don’t get me wrong I love diving head first into complex color work and cabled sweater patterns. The kind that challenge me to work complex charts, learn new seaming or construction methods, or stitch patterns that keep me on my toes. THOSE patterns always feel like a huge accomplishment when I am done. It is like a runner’s high.

But that is really not how I make my sweaters.


You see Mary and Susan were my first knitting teachers, and they taught me to knit using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears book as a text book for the community class in Birmingham, AL. We brought in a sweater that we loved and recreated it taking measurements, calculating gauge, and analyzing drape.

In the last 10 years, my sweaters are made to replace what is to be tossed from my closet (let me just say, I am a bit behind of replenishing my wardrobe). And most of the time I use the method that I was taught in Mary and Susan’s class. It insures a great fit (because I am using a sweater that I already know fits me). I have an unusual body shape and have always struggled to get a good fit when using patterns.

But I have to say, as a right brain knitter, Knitting without a pattern is great for working handspun yarn as well as painting with yarn methods. I have found that as I gather my yarn by weight as oppose to by yardage, I had a better chance of not running out as well as compensate for using different yarns with different gauges. I wrote about that here.

Have you ever made a sweater without a pattern? What are your favorite methods? Share your ideas! Leave me a comment below.




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Studio Awesome Challenge Day 24: WIPs I am on the fence about

Studio Awesome Challenge Day 24: WIPs I am on the fence about

There is another pile in the WIP stash that is way larger than I would like. And to be honest, I am using this blog post to really suss out my feelings about each.

Now I know everyone is going to have an opinion about saving the projects I am about to list. And while I appreciate the input, just know in the end I am really just going to go with my gut.

So, here is the list of the not-so-sures

The DOT shawl

Love the pattern, love the yarn base, even love the color (my own hand dyed sock single)That is until I try to wear this shawl and realize it the same color as the vests the DOT wear when fixing the roads in traffic. I may over dye this one. Not sure.

I am not even sure what this is

I think it is a traveling woman shawl and my hand dyed seacell sock. Love the pattern and how the yarn is knitting up. But I just don’t think I would really wear this. Maybe a different shawlette? I really do not need more shawlettes…

The weird hoodie shawl thing

I want to love this pattern. And actually, I kind of do love it. But for what ever reason this looks weird on me. Not sure what it is. It is something in the wrap part. It is too small a circumference maybe? Or the width is wrong. I may just from it and redo the wrap part to be open ended. This is a stashbuster using primarily my hand dyed worsted weight yarn.

The traveling shawl from hell

This was the product of a Ravelry group I belonged to. How this was supposed to happen: everyone in this round robin group picks a shawl and ships it along with instructions, supplies and a notebook. Each member works a little on everyone’s shawls and before passing it on to the next person. What ended up happening: People were not mailing shawls. Plus my entrelac shawl was too confusing for some. Hell happened when I received a shawl that reeked of smoke. Since I received it directly from the shawl’s original owner, I did not feel I could say anything. I worked as much as I could stand (after airing it out for 3 days, and hitting it with fabreeze) and passed it on. However the next knitter in line was pregnant and chastised me for smoking around someone’s shawl (I do not smoke). The owner of the smoky shawl swore on a stack of bibles she did not smoke. WTH?!?!? I dropped that group like a hot potato. I got my shawl back mid round. It was a hot mess and missing about half my supplies. I am still damaged by the whole incident. So, do I finish and infuse the project with my own good mojo? Or rip it back and repurpose the yarn? I’m torn. It is made with my hand dyed sock yarn.

The sweater that worked in theory

This is another one of those genius construction sweaters that is knit in the round side to side using short rows. I still think this construction could work, if I can get the gauge right. The gauge is hard to resolve on this kind of sweater. And what the hell was I thinking with these ridiculous clown buttons?

The reality behind one of my favorite images.

I have used this image all over my branding. It is this kind of painting with yarn that is at the core of my creative message. But the truth is that is it a failed vest design. There is a problem with the arm holes. They are in the wrong place and the wrong size and construction. I think the fix for this project is to unravel the arm edging and graft the holes close making this a circular shawl.

Another Clapotis

Okay, I may have to frog this one. I might not have enough yarn to finish it. It is the discontinued Suede yarn from Berroco. Love the color and drape. But I will definitely be bummed if I don’t have enough to finish. I think I did have enough at one time. Not sure at what point I lost the rest. The pattern is here.

One of the 471 leafy shawlette patterns

I am not sure which one of the dozens of leaf edged shawls this is, but I will know it when I see it. I love the look of the shawl but not sure it I will wear it. Love how my hand dyed silk/merino is working up in this pattern. Not sure if I will finish this, but I do think this yarn is best suited to some pattern exactly like this. I am just not sure what I will do.

The 20 year sweater

No lie I have been trying to recreate this sweater for almost 20 years. As in notes on recreating this sweater are from my first knitting class in Birmingham in 1997. And it seems like I have successfully recreated the back although in a different(better) stitch. Love the yarn (Elisabeth Lavold) love the sweater, but is it something I would wear today? Am I too middle aged to pull off a bolero? Yes folks, I just admitted I actually may have aged out of one of my WIPs…

I know the point of a studio purge was to not be on the fence about WIPs. What can I say, I guess 9 out of 80 is an improvement…

Tomorrow We are looking at the perpetual WIPs.


Joining me in the 31 Day Studio Awesome Challenge?

I am posting progress and info on setting up my studio over the next 31 days. I will not be blitzing my main email list daily…but if you DO want an email notice when daily posts go live, sign up here:

Studio Awesome Challenge Day 22: WIPs That Are Staying In The Project Basket

Studio Awesome Challenge Day 22: WIPs That Are Staying In The Project Basket

YAY!! welcome to the first day of Week of WIP flash.

Today I am sharing with you the projects that I consider my Works in Progress (WIP). These are the ones I intend to finish. No, really…

Okay, this post is gonna be picture heavy post. Because I have…



Wait for it…




24 WIPs on the needles. Egad.

And I am talking projects that are a hell yes, love the yarn, love the garment, ready to finish this right NOW. They meet all the criteria to make the cut and land back in my project basket right, next to the sofa in the studio. Queue the movies, let’s settle into some work.

So, without further adeu here they are…minus spinning, weaving, perpetual projects, and projects I am on the fence about…those posts will be coming later this week.

The Green Seed Stitch Sweater

I have been working on this sweater…no lie.. since 2004. Long enough for the yarn label design to have changed. It is all wool, miraculously a color I still like and really just lacking sleeves at this point. It is based on Sonnet from Knitty. and kind of a recreation of one of my absolute favorite sweaters of all time.

The Girly Kitten Sweater

This yarns is acrylic. It is actually an acrylic that is surprisingly soft and not at all bad to knit with. I think I picked it up at A.C. Moore. I wanted to make an easy to launder sweater in girly kitty like colors. Like a big snugly. This sweater is also based on the Sonnet pattern. I love the easy to knit one big sideways piece for the body, add sleeves.

The Bitterroot Shawls

I love this pattern. I was using it to make these samples for my booth (back when I was doing shows). I still love theses and intend to finish them even though I really do not need more shawls I don’t wear. I do, however need to spend an afternoon untangling the yarn.

The Cute As Hell Hippo

I NEVER make stuffed animals. But I just could not resist this insanely cute crochet hippo. I am using a bunch of my own hand dyed sock weight single ply. The instructions are 40+ pages long!! I am not sure I have all the pages. But once I spend an entire afternoon organizing and reprinting the missing pages, I am totally putting them in a binder.

The Handspun Awesome Shawlette

I snagged this alpaca/silk roving out of the shop and spun up this yummy lace weight yarn. I am not sure I even remember what pattern this is. I think I was working off an app on my ipad. I am also prepared to rip it back and start over if I need to. I know another shawlette I do not need. But I seriously can’t imagine this yarn as anything else.

Ooooo look another shawl...{**sigh**}

This pattern is from a Mirasol pattern booklet circa 2009ish which I am not seeing on Ravelry. I am using a Noro Kureyon, but in this weight and size may actually be a shawl I would wear.

The Japanese Tunic

I love working Japanese patterns. I fell in love with this one after seeing it on Ravelry. It took me months to track the pattern down. The yarn is another one of my hand dyed in a silk linen blend.

The Summit Shawl

I love love love this pattern. It is nothing short of pure engineering genius. A challenge to wrap my left brain around, but it is fairly easy to get into the rhythm. I want to finish it just because it is a joy to knit. The yarn is for Mirasol.

The Heathered Stripy Sweater

This sweater was an exercise in combining yarn and recreating one of my favorite sweater shapes. I am not sure I remember which sweater I was recreating…

Handspun Gauntlets

I am so close to finishing these. Both yarns are hand spun by me. The brown an alpaca, the colorful and merino bouclé. No pattern, just making it up as I knit.

The Jewel Dragon Scarf

I started this scarf this summer. It is another well engineered pattern. Challenging, but a joy to knit. Really looking forward to finishing this one. I am using yarn I from my friend Gale of Gale’s Art.


I love the Clapotis pattern. I am using some of my hand dyed single ply yarn.

Entrelac wrap

This is the second one of these I have made. I actually wear the other one quite a bit. I just need to add a ruffle around the edge and add a button. The yarns are a handspun alpaca merino silk blend and a merino single ply lace, both spun and dyed by me.

Japanese Boot Sock/Stir-up/Leg Warmer Thing

I am not sure if I will even wear these. But they have been crazy fun to make. From one of my Japanese pattern books I am not seeing on Ravelry, made from one of my hand dyed sock yarns.

Kiss the Sky Scarf

Another beautifully engineered pattern. Such an unusual stitch pattern, I look foreword to diving back into this one. Made with another of my hand dyed sock yarns

Another acrylic yarn project

And it is a crazy big afghan. It is based on the popular hexagon blanket from a Japanese pattern book. I wanted an afghan I would really use snuggled on the sofa with cats. With cats is code for it better be machine washable because they will inevitably puke on it. I don’t hat the yarn, but it is some what acrylicy.

The Portland Sweater

I love love love traditional looking cabled sweaters. And I bought this gigantic pile of no name Italian yarn from my favorite discount shop with a cozy cabled seater in mind. I am in the process of ripping back and starting over on this pattern because the gauge is off. I had a moment of panic this week when I could not find the majority of the yarn. I had no freaking idea where it was, the last time I remembered seeing it was two years ago at the old house. Spent about an hour tearing the studio, garage and hall closet apart looking in all the languishing boxes from our move. Was almost in tears once I finally found it. THIS is why I am organizing the hell out of the studio in the first place.

My Favorite Everyday Sweater

Another exercise in recreating a favorite sweater. This sweater was my everyday sweater for YEARS. It sprouted a giant hole a couple of years ago and my wardrobe has been at a loss ever since. I am determined to finish this one pronto. I am using an off brand yarn that I got at the annual fiber and equipment rummage sale held every year in Black Mountain, NC.

Slipper Sample

This project actually has a deadline and is next in the queue. I am testing out this yarn for the felted slipper class I am teaching next month. It felts weird, but I am thinking the way I calculate the numbers for the pattern will accommodate for that.

The Sophie Digard Inspired Shawl

I have been working on this for a couple of years too. It is inspired by Sophie Digard’s GORGEOUS work. I lost a pile of medallions in the move. Once I found them again, I realized I can actually see the finish line on this project!!

The Cat Bed

This is some of my first hand dyed yarn. And it is kind of ugly, but it is perfect for a cat bed. I am thinking I will continue making it once I change out the hideous metal needles. Because Kitty loves his hand make beds. Why I thought I needed a stitch counter for this, I have no idea.

The Hand Spun Sweater Experiment.

I pulled together several of my favorite hand spun two ply and decided I wanted to make a sweater based on a sweater in my closet that I love. I am game for continuing on, but I kind of think I am missing some yarn for this. I decided I did not like the stripe on the chest.

The Super Cool Mobius Lace Panel Hoody

This pattern was in Vogue Knitting ages ago. Let me just say that judging from the Ravelry page, it seems as if the pattern photo is not accurate to how this hoodie wears in real life. I love the construction, love the how this yarn knits up. I could have sworn I had started the front panel. And it seems like I am short some yarn. So we will see if I am even able to finish this.

The only scary plastic yarn I will knit

This is the only time I will ever suck it up and work with hideous acrylic yarn. We are talking don’t sit next to the fire because this will melt kind of yarn. This is a blanket my grandmother was working on. She passed before she finished it. And unlike me, she was a one project at a time kind of girl. She did have some stash which I inherited and in turn, found new homes for. But this project for what ever reason needed to be completed. I have a feeling I know why. So I am going to just suck it up and finish the last few rows, put it together and wait for the signs.

So there they are the 2 dozen that totally made the cut. Tomorrow we are gonna get a look at the ugly.

Joining me in the 31 Day Studio Awesome Challenge?

I am posting progress and info on setting up my studio over the next 31 days. I will not be blitzing my main email list daily…but if you DO want an email notice when daily posts go live, sign up here:

The Only Hat Pattern You’ll Ever Need

The Only Hat Pattern You’ll Ever Need

It is full on fall here in NC. And with the holidays fast approaching, I know many of you are in hat making mode. So I though today I would share with you my go to hat pattern. (plus one of you asked me about it…thank you, Susan, for the post idea).

So today’s post is short and sweet. Here is the link to the free revelry download for the only hat pattern you’ll ever need. It is actually a hat formula, meaning it will work with any size yarn, needle and noggin.

Heck yeah…take me to that awesome pattern…


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