Design Inspiration Revealed: Susanna IC’s Vernice Shawl

KnitCircus_July2015_ConnieWardPhotography-115 (1)Susanna IC has built her reputation on beautifully-designed shawls, and has had patterns published in many leading knitting magazines, including Twist Collective and Wool People. She designed the stunning Vernice Shawl for our Fall Collection: in the first of a series, she shares her inspiration and design process for us in a mini-interview.


  1. How did you choose the kind of project you designed?

I wanted to create a smaller, one skein shawl with some fun textures throughout; something that would be quick to knit but still interesting to work on, a perfect gift project. Of course, this being a Knitcircus project, the design also had to play well with beautiful gradient yarns.


  1. What was the biggest challenge of designing this project?

The inspiration for Vernice came from the brilliant colors of the skein, which reminded me of the changing seasons, and the design progressed easily from there. I wanted to work with interestingly textured lace stitches that would reflect the colors and textures of autumn foliage. The biggest challenge came while trying to decide which color to start with.


  1. What was your favorite part of the process?

While the more difficult decision had to do with which color to work with first, the red or the blue, the color progression was also my favorite part of the design process. In the end, I decided to start with the blues to reflect the color of clear sunny sky and to finish with the reds that look much like autumn leaves.


  1. Your favorite thing about the finished piece?

I am very happy with the way the textured stitches interact with each other, creating interesting shapes throughout the lace border. I also like how versatile the size of this crescent is: it can be worn around the shoulders as a traditional shawl, yet at the same time the elongated shape makes it possible to wear open like a long scarf.

Here’s where you’ll find the:

Vernice Pattern

Vernice Kit

Knitcircus Fall Collection

You can find all of Susanna’s designs on Ravelry, join her Ravelry Group and check out her website,!


New Pattern: My Darling Wristwarmers

Hey, Knitters!

my darling mitts in the snow
my darling mitts in the snow

It’s such a busy time in the Lair, working on a huge, secret project and getting the Gradient Club orders out, but last weekend, I took a little time to make my daughter a knitted treat. These little wristwarmers knit up so fast and were such potato-chip knitting (can’t make just one) that I had to share them with you.


One of the schoolteachers in my grown-up knitting class brought in mitts similar to this and asked if she could knit some new ones. Knit flat, no thumb gusset, seamed up the side, worsted weight…as it turns out, perfect beginner mitts! When I bound them off, the finished purple mitts were instantly claimed by my darling daughter. She loves them, and I love that she loves them!


So I called them My Darling Mitts, after my sweet tweenager. My li’l darlin’ girl hasn’t had an easy run of it, and has endured years of sickness and other health challenges. I don’t know if we finally found the right pieces of the puzzle or she’s just growing out of some of it (please, please, please yes) but she’s seemed really happy lately. Not sick, not sad, but energetic, hopping about, hugging us, crossing her eyes, making jokes.


So here’s to my lil darlin.’ I wish everyone the best health and happiness for the new year. These mitts have some very happy mojo in them to pass on!

Take care,


PS I forgot to mention that the yarn is Knitcircus Harlequin in the Tiny Princess colorway. You could easily substitute any light worsted yarn like Tosh DK, Berocco Vintage or Malabrigo Rios.

Knit Yourself a Little Something


Knit yourself a little something…or something big, and really exciting. There, I said it, knit something for you!

I know that gift season is coming up, and even if you’re  tell yourself you’re a hardened non-gift knitter, you still secretly have a list in your mind like this: Flatso for Belle, have Mom tell you her perfect hat silhouette, finally finish that sweater for Little Buddy, knit DH a hat to match the scarf he got last year, recreate the ski socks Great-Grandma knit for Dad…

And those are wonderful goals, and you’re sure they would love them, when you get to them (though it might not exactly be in time for the holidays; isn’t it more fun to get a gift when you’re not expecting it?).

Knitters are some of the most generous people in the world, and that’s why I’m so happy to count myself among them. But sometimes, we can go a bit too far. I literally did not keep one thing that I knit for the first three years, instead lavishing my finished objects on friends, my Sister-in-Law (a knitter, so she appreciated it) and the toddlers blowing me kisses and dropping whole cartons of eggs on the tile floor. And, let’s be honest, the scarf I knit for my brother out of gray Noro Kureyon looked fantastic, but did he really want to wear that scratchy fiber on his neck? My mom proudly wore the hat I made, cleverly combining glitter and alpaca yarn, but she maybe shouldn’t have.

My kids did love their fun fur fleece-lined scarves, and my husband wore the Malabrigo hat I made for years, so I’m not trying to tell a knitted-gift horror story. Knitted gifts bring people closer. But, really, when I looked around, the only knitted items I owned were the scarf and purse that my lovely sister-in-law had given me at Christmas. That’s just not right; in fact, it’s kind of embarrassing when people hear that you’ve been knitting away for years and taken classes and you don’t have one of your own scarves to toss on when you go out to eat, to the PTO meeting, or the Knitter’s Guild meeting, for heaven’s sake!

So, yes, knit your sister that shawl, and your teenager the black ribbed hat, buck the curse and make your boyfriend a beautiful cabled sweater. Finish mittens for the school social worker to give out.  Dishcloths for everyone!

I’m not going to go all crazy and tell you to knit for yourself exclusively. But you are a knitter, and you’ve learned to read a chart, and to use a cable needle, and how to block a shawl, and maybe finally gotten a handle on gauge, and you deserve something good. Knit something for you every other project, or every fourth, but make a promise that you will knit something for yourself at predictable intervals and stick to it.

You deserve to use that special skein of yarn you bought on your trip, try out a drop-stitch pattern, tackle a complicated lace chart or make a perfectly-fitting sweater, simply for the satisfaction of doing it, not to please anyone else or beat a holiday deadline. Chances are, you do a lot for the people in your life, and it will add to everyone’s quality of life if you’re happy.

Knitting something just for you is the best kind of gift, because you not only get the surprise of a finished object, but are involved every single stitch of the way. Revel in it! Don’t hide your knitting for yourself away because it’s “not important, it’s jut for me.” Set aside the time, tell yourself that you just finished the scarf for Porchlight, and now it’s time to concentrate on and enjoy your Monkey Socks. Take a deep breath and let the guilt flow out of you. You are knitting for yourself, and that’s worthwhile. Because you know what, Knitter? You’re worthwhile, too.

Balm to the Soul Knitalong

Today’s the day, the start of the Balm to the Soul Shawlette KAL! The pattern includes directions for both DK and worsted-weight yarn, taking only 220 yards of worsted or 300 of DK. You begin with a nice stockinette section to get used to the increase pattern, then add a bit of texture, and filnally, finish with one lace repeat.

This is going to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see the projects unfold!

Here’s my DK version, worked in Berroco Vintage DK. The worsted lilac shawl above is in local favorite Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mills‘ Mer Maid kettle-dyed yarn.

We’ll have prizes and surprises throughout the KAL, which goes until August 1; here’s the first one now!

A big prize for a lucky finisher: two skeins of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in the color Damask, more than enough to complete another shawlette!

Please join us in the KAL for some good ol’ summer fun.

Winter fun.

  Tudor ruffles sipping tea perfect
We're less than two weeks from the Winter 2010/2011 Issue! We've got 19 new patterns for you, plus more techniques from Wendy Johnson, the Choose It and Use It–Hand Dyes article from Nicole Feller Johnson, and a bouquet of surprises, things Knitcircus has never done before!

And some fun news: Michelle Miller, of Fickleknitter Design, has generously given us a copy of her new e-book, The Lace Collection, including 15 lace patterns! We're going to give it away when our online newsletter goes out next week, so please sign up in the box above left if you'd like to find out more!

  Pivot1S copy Shown here: Michelle Miller's Pivot Shawl, from Knitcircus #6. You'll find this and 14 other scintillating designs in the new downloadable book!

Take care,