color · Crafts · knits · Knitting

Chullos Anyone?

Polar Chullo” by Mary Ann Stephens
Ribbels Shetland Chullo” an adaptation of the above pattern using the Puffin mittens color chart found here.

I’m sure you all have seen this style of hat that is most connected to what Andeans wear in Peru known as the “chullo” or hat of the Peruvian Andes. It is their answer to a stocking cap and was born out of necessity to protect themselves from the harsh winters in the mountains of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. “Chullo” coming from the Aymara and Quechua languages has several meanings but in terms of knitwear it stands for the symbol of the Andes, a woven wool hat with earflaps.

Believe it or not, this head-gear was once considered a crude piece of clothing only worn by Andean Indians, a lower class of Peruvian society. It did come to designate certain groups living in the high mountains. The colors, patterns and weaves would indicate where each wearer was from much like Gansey sweater designs did.

Chullo’s history: Read here for more on its origins and traditions.

I have long been an admirer of this style and have yet to make one. Nonetheless, I have been drawn to its folk inspired style, colorful design and the infamous earflaps. They usually always include ties, a long tassel or pom-pom and are sometimes lined. Mmm, that would make it nice and cozy. Here is Mags Kandis’ version:

Chullo Cap” by Mags Kandis
Squishy Chullo Hat” by Adriana Hernandez

Okay, well I could go on and on showing you one great design after another, and there are many to choose from as evidenced from this plethora of designs on Ravelry. I think you get the idea. If you have made one or decide to make one, I would love to see pictures! I could share them as a follow-up to this post. It might inspire me to get busy and make one as well!

I hope you all are having the best weekend, filled with pumpkin picking, apple cider drinking, leaf watching, etc.! I have partaken in the apple cider and leaf watching, but not the pumpkin picking yet. We are having the most gorgeous day here today too filled with lots of sunshine and fall colors. It just makes you glad to be alive, right? Happy knitting.

Now go knit and do good.

P.S. I just had to share this last one:

Andean Chullo Hat” by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

Okay, I’m done.

xoxo Shannon


color · Crafts

a journey into dyeing

IMG_2931How do you like my somewhat crude setup? Hey it works, and we are having California weather right now where I live! So nice, not sure what I will do however when winter comes. But delving into natural yarn dyeing I am.

IMG_2932In my dye pot: a skein of 75% wool, 25% nylon fingering weight in a cochineal bath. It looks like it would come out a dark purple right? But lo and behold not to be. See below. This actually looks pinker than it really is. It is more of a lilac color. For those of you who might be wondering, cochineal is a parasitic insect found on the paddle cactus that is laid out to dry and ground up into a fine red powder. Or you can even buy the bugs themselves and extract the color that way.

IMG_2940 IMG_2939 IMG_2941I am really happy with the color and on my first try! So encouraging and doing it outdoors is very enjoyable. Any other newbie yarn dyers out there? Or experienced ones too. I would love any pointers/tips.

IMG_2936Meet my newest plant acquisition acquired at the local grocery store: “Cheyenne Spirit” Coneflower (Echinacea). I truly adore this color, and would love to find a way to replicate it in a dye pot.

DSCF4853 DSCF5511 DSCF6732 DSCF6764 DSCF7245 DSCF7277 IMG_1613DSCF7452DSCF7603Nature’s offerings and being able to curate and replicate these wondrous hues to me is nothing short of miraculous! Some of these flowers could be possible dyestuff. To which can be added, different tree barks, avocado skins, onion skins, walnuts, the roots and leaves of many plants, too many to mention and on and on. My next venture will be with Indigo. So stay tuned!

 [Update: the finished product:]

Woolful has featured several hand dyers of yarn in these podcasts.

Youtube video featuring Alternative Apparel’s dyeing process.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit”, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

xoxo Shannon

color · Crafts · design · Knitting · sweaters

Are you living a creative life?

Mollie Makes has featured a designer and told her creative journey. This has been the desire of my heart for some time, to be living the creative life. Just how to go about it can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing. So let’s find out shall we?

Here’s the story of well-known Etsy seller, Louise Walker of Sincerely Louise fame.


I’ve always loved her creations. I think one thing obvious about Louise is that she found a way to stand out, to be unique.  I also think this requires a certain willingness to take risks, to try something new or just go with what your gut is telling you.

What is it that keeps you from pursuing this creative life? Fear? Lack of confidence? Lack of time? I once read that you just have to start doing something and see where it takes you. I like it. It’s like you are being given permission to “just do it”.

Some more “creatives” I like:

Ashley of Woolful writes a successful knitting blog and prolific podcast where she interviews a lot of fiber folk, journals about her life on a farm living the creative life, and processing yarns from her wool.

Liesl of Buckaloo View writes in a very fresh and honest way about her knitting, sewing, yarn dyeing and podcasting.

Shannon of Very Shannon out of Canada who designs knitting and sewing patterns and has published some great knitting books. It seems she is able to accomplish quite a lot and do it in a very appealing way.

Kate Davies of Kate Davies Designs who resides in Scotland of all places! Who wouldn’t be inspired living there?! Her timeless, spot-on designs always show a lot of creativity, great color and pattern work. Her Funchal Moebius is among some of my favorites of her work.

And these are just to name a few!

I encourage all of you to go for it, just do it and don’t be afraid. Until next time.


color · Crafts · design · knits · Knitting · sweaters · texture · wool

Aaah, the magic of color!

You know it really is magical and to think I was once intimidated by it! I have always loved and been drawn to color and lots of it. That’s why knitting is so great. Not only do we get to play around with color and make beautiful patterns appear but there is texture involved which gives us such great visual and tactile qualities. And that makes everything even more interesting, right?

DSCF8474Here is the missing third color of the aforementioned Icelandic Sweater I told you about here as well as the pattern I am making. I chose the pullover on the left. What do you think? Bit off more than I can chew? Maybe, we’ll see!

       And sitting amongst the ajuga and lavender is my newest project on the needles: a scarf knit in Ito’s Sensai and Kinu, stranded together . The color way is Prune. Pattern consists of knitting five rows and purling five rows. Easy peasy. But since the yarn is so unique and beautiful it makes for an interesting combination. In case you aren’t familiar with these yarns, the Sensai consists of 60% mohair and 40% silk; Kinu is 100% silk. I for one, have never knit with mohair so this is a first for me. And I am glad to be doing it since this has been one of my goals: to try mohair and other different fibers. What are some unique yarns you all have worked with? I would love to hear about them.  

A few Fair Isle faves from Ravelry:


This armwarmer pattern “Ratjetoe” (Dutch for hodgepodge) by Cello Knits would be a great first-time color project with a little ribbing thrown in on top and around the hand and thumb. Use up those color yarns in your stash as well. It is free until June 14th!


Love this three-quarter length sleeve Fair Isle Cardigan by Debbie Bliss. This would definitely be for the more advanced knitter. I am intimidated by this project but how satisfying it would be to finish, right?


And you can’t go wrong with a matching set such as this one! The Fair Isle Scarf, Hat & Mittens pattern by Rosemary Drysdale is also free here. The skill level is listed as “easy” and it only requires two colors. Not bad! I love it, it’s a classic.

Now go knit some color and do good.

Crafts · Knitting · Photography

New Beginnings

Hello all! It’s been a loooong time, and I’ve decided to give this blogging thing another try. I’m still drawn to this venue, it still intrigues me. The thought of being able to put ideas, designs, thoughts, images out there for all of you to see. To share what inspires me, and maybe you can share what inspires you. We can all benefit. So let’s give it another go, what do you say?

I don’t know if any of you have seen this video Woolful put out the first of this year. It is beautifully done, and I just had to share it with you.

I could watch it over and over, how about you? Also, check out their latest podcast interview with Shannon Cook of Very Shannon. They are so proflific, putting out weekly episodes. So much good stuff online these days. Here are a few more sites/podcasts I really like:

Cast-On – If you haven’t already heard, Brenda Daynes is podcasting again. Yay! Love her.

Never Not Knitting – Really enjoy Alana Dakos’ quirky knitting stories, knitterly offerings and of course her beautiful knitwear designs.

New Hampshire Knits – This is a new one I recently learned about and am really enjoying her knit news and great sense of humor.

The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show – Love this new one as well, lots of great info. for all of you crafty entrepreneurs out there.

My latest FO off the needles:

DSCF8222Cream Scarf: bulky weight, knit up in an organic merino wool using a pattern called Pillar Stitch on each end of the scarf and Moss Stitch for the body. This yarn is dreamy to the touch.

Currently, I am working on an Icelandic Sweater (I know, pretty ambitious of me!) using the wonderful Alafosslopi yarn by Lopi in a bulky weight with these color ways (minus the lovely Wollemeise I recently acquired):


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This has been interesting and fun to knit, really not too challenging as of yet. The pattern does promise however more extensive patterning on the yoke and just above the cuffs on sleeves. I was going to show you the pattern, but iPhoto is not cooperating today!

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I’ve got a little swatching going on here with some new Plucky Knitter yarn (Traveler DK in color ways Chamomile and Green Goddess) I picked up at Stitches South last month in Nashville. This yarn is soooo nice to work with. It has a great hand to it, nice sheen and really good stitch definition. Sorry for the seemingly noticeable color difference between the two groups of photos. The bottom group gives a truer representation.

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And of course I just had to share what is going on in my garden. It’s spring, right? From top to bottom, the lovely Rhododendron, (they are outstanding this year), luscious Hostas, Evening Primrose, Lavender and Ajuga, and the ever pretty Petunias. How is your garden growing?

In other knitting news, I am excited to be starting a new job at my LYS in Louisville, KY called A Yarn Crossing. If you are ever in the area, please stop by for a visit and a chat! We will soon be getting in a new shipment of Madenlintosh!!

Go knit. Do good.

Crafts · Knitting · Reading

“the knitting circle”, books, and knitting podcasts


I just finished this great book, “The Knitting Circle” by Ann Hood, and I wanted to share it with you. It is a very touching story about love, lost love,  knitting and its therapeutic benefits and friendships. This was a fast read and so enjoyable. I cried several times through it so consider that a fair warning; have hankies at the ready. It is so well written and gives you courage when you think you can’t put one foot in front of the other.

This is Ann Hood’s only knitting novel that I know of. Of course there is her fairly new book, “Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting” which I have also read and thoroughly enjoyed. Other books by her:

  1. Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine
  2. Waiting to Vanish
  3. Three Legged Horse
  4. Something Blue
  5. Places to Stay the Night
  6. The Properties of Water
  7. Ruby
  8. Do Not Go Gentle
  9. An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life: Stories
  10. An Italian Wife
  11. The Obituary Writer: A Novel
  12. The Red Thread: A Novel
  13. Comfort: A Journey Through Grief

Two of my favorite things: knitting and reading. How many of you listen to audio books? I haven’t gotten into this much yet, I still enjoy holding the actual thing and flipping the pages. Call me old fashioned, but it just seems more authentic and enjoyable. Of course, you can’t knit at the same time you are holding a book but then there is always finding a way to prop it up, right? I do love to listen to knitting podcasts while I knit (Stitcher is a great venue for this). Here is my list of favorites:

  1. Cast On by Brenda Dane (even though she has stopped recording new programs, her long list of archived shows are wonderful).
  2. Electric Sheep (Hoxton Handmade) (she also has seemingly ceased to record new shows, but again listen to her archives).
  3. imake by Martine, a Guernsey girl who talks about all of her craft exploits.
  4. Craft Lit by Heather Ordover – a great place to hear narration of classic novels as well as Heather talk about various subjects including knitting.
  5. Never Not Knitting by Alana Dakos who gives us her knitting updates, projects she is working on, tips, etc. as well as offering guest speakers from time to time.
  6. A Playful Day by a London girl, very enjoyable, lots of knitting talk and love that British accent!

Any other podcasts out there I should know about? Do let me know, I would appreciate it! Happy Tuesday!

xoxo Shannon

Crafts · Knitting · Travel




DSCF7667 DSCF7668 DSCF7669 DSCF7670 DSCF7671Can you believe all of this came from one shop?! So much inspiration, so much color, almost too much to take in.

My husband and I recently went on a trip alone to Asheville, NC. I love. this. town. It’s beautiful for starters, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2002 it was named the “Happiest City for Women” by Self magazine and in 2003 voted one of the “Best Places to Reinvent Your Life” by AARP. It is a hip, happening place with a vibrant downtown. Earth Guild is also based here, a great shop full of all kinds of craft supplies such as leather, roving, yarn, needles, yarn dye, etc. anything you could ever want to start making something! I also found the best little yarn shop called Purls Yarn Emporium. It might have been small but it was mighty with a great selection of yarn. I could have spent all day there and why I did not take any pictures to show you I don’t know! Of course I bought yarn at both places, see below:

Lanaloft was purchased at Earth Guild and is a worsted weight spun and dyed by Brown Sheep Company out of Mitchell, Nebraska. Colorway: Mulling Spice (a great color for fall, don’t you think?). Hand wash, lay flat to dry or dry clean. Net weight: 3.5 oz (100 grams), approx. 160 yards per skein; gauge: 4.5 stitches per inch; size 8 needle. I love any yarn made by Brown Sheep. Their yarn is always dependable with great colors and great quality.

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This Malabrigo sock yarn came from Purls. Can you believe this is all I bought from here?! It was very hard to exert self-control, but do it I did. Now if hubby had not come along, more damage might have been done. This loveliness is a kettle dyed pure super wash merino wool that is machine washable in cold water, dry flat;  approx. 440 yards, 3.5 oz with 8 stitches per inch; needle size, US 1-3.  Can’t wait to see what lovely socks this will produce!

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Evidence of the beauty.

I hope you have enjoyed my journey through a small part of North Carolina. If you want to see some beautiful fall color, now would be the time to do it. Take care, have a cup of tea for me and do a little knitting. You won’t be sorry.

xoxo Shannon