Help Us Choose a Birthday Colorway!

We’re so excited about our Second Birthday in the Knitcircus Studio, we’ve decided to do a special colorway to celebrate.  Last year, your votes picked a wonderful, deep, saturated colorway for the party and I hope this year we’ll have something just as exciting and fresh.

Please help us choose by leaving a comment here or on the Pinterest Board by this Friday, May 12th.

Here are a few of my favorite contenders (sources noted):

  1. c7244a09d4cd641feea80b904db8d5f6In Color Balance
  2. 3ad57a891b0155bddbbade265ce3d2a9Russian Color Palette site
  3. 449850aa8744e51299786e9a5cee05cdDesign Seeds
  4. 1e26c01521f2afcd524478d143f64f35EmptyFantasies on Pinterest
  5. 76182f4f84d5b4b4e2a8bf954879a180From Design Seeds

Please let me know which you like best or point me to a favorite color combo of yours!  We’ll be working up both a Gradient and a Speckled Handpaint for double the fun! One person who votes for the winning color will be randomly chosen to receive a free Speckle Handpaint of the color.


Celebrate with us at the Studio, 634 Grand Canyon Drive! June 16th join the fun for a party with live music by the Arbor Ensemble, cake and a pop-up shop with bags by Daddy Sews.

Saturday, take the adorable Hedgie class, NEW Smooth Operator Socks Class or Both with designer and yarn maven Susan B. Anderson.





Second Birthday Celebration June 16-17


It’s our birthday and you’re invited! June 16th 5-7:30 join us for a party at the Studio, 634 Grand Canyon Drive in Madison, Wisconsin.  We’ll have live music, prizes, a pop-up shop from a local maker, and cake!

Saturday June 17th we’ll have classes with Susan B. Anderson, a sidewalk sale and and more pop-up-shop action. Both days you can win prizes when you visit us. More class details coming soon!

We’re so happy to be in the Studio and hope you can join us to celebrate.


Come What May, by Susan B. Anderson

come what may

Hi, Knitters,

I’m so lucky to have Susan B. Anderson as a friend (and almost a neighbor!). She is one of the most talented designers you’ll ever find, and one of the sweetest people. If you’ve ever gotten to take a class with her or meet at a knitting event, you’ll know that she’s just as lovely and down-to-earth in person as she is on her blog.

photo: susan b anderson

We’ve been working on a project together for a while, and I’m happy to be able to announce that Susan has written a pattern exclusively for us, using a skein of Knitcircus Opulence fingering in Come What May to create an elegant shawl with a silvery beaded edge.

best side
photo:ryan berg for knitcircus

Susan tells the story of its inspiration best herself (from her blog):

As I sat with my friend, Jaala Spiro, having tea, pastries and knitting in my living room one morning she surprised me with several cakes of her lovely KnitCircus yarns. One of these cakes was the spectacular gradient called Come What May. There is just something about the rosy shade of pink moving into the sweet kiss of blush and ending with the lightest shade of gray.
The yarn cake was thrilling to hold in my hands and it was inspiring. I quickly cast on and knit the sweetest little lacey shawl that is not only simple and wearable but is a really fun knit to boot. The sections of the shawl keep you entertained while the gradient yarn motivates you to keep going to get to the next color.
The shawl is a semi-circular shape with stockinette, simple lace and eyelet sections that end with a beautiful eyelet ruffle. The shawl is finished with an elegant bind-off with silver-lined beads. The beads are always optional but they add so much to the look and feel of the finished shawl. The entire project is a pleasure to knit.
The yarn colorway is the single inspiration for the shawl so the name of the design has to be Come What May. The colorway, luxury yarn base, shawl design and beads are the perfect match.

We’re just thrilled with the way the design came out, and are offering Come What May kits so you can make a shawl just like Susan’s, either with or without beads.

photo: ryan berg for knitcircus

You can also find Susan’s beautifully-written pattern on Ravelry if you’d like to work from your stash.

photo: susan b anderson

The shawl shows off the soft color changes of the gradient so nicely;  I created Come What May last February when I was so tired of bare trees and snow and just longed for the colors of spring. And Susan is holding a giveaway on her blog; comment and you could win a Come What May kit of your very own ( just through this afternoon, so hurry!)

photo: ryan berg for knitcircus

Whether you just got a fresh pile of snow like we did or are already harvesting your rhubarb, I wish you all of the loveliness of spring,


Knitting in the New Year

Happy New Year, Knitters!

paper chains made by Belle

After a very busy holiday yarn season, we all took a week off to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.


With Christmas and Hannukkah so close, it was a whirlwind, with matzo ball soup and candles at my parents’ then  our family’s traditional homemade Swedish Meatball Christmas Eve dinner here. Every year, we make up a new 12 Days of Christmas song to reflect the events of the year, so this one included “nine baseball players,” “three weeks of clouds,” and “A Sasha under the tree.”

this little hat was a gift from my mom, handknit and fairly traded

After The Best Christmas Ever(tm), with brunch at our place and dinner at Mom and Dad’s, we took a whirlwind trip to Michigan to check out Mike’s dad’s tree, 12 feet tall with more than a thousand ornaments. Little Buddy found the pickle.

Then two days and two cakes of celebrating Li’l Buddy’s birthday. German Chocolate cake is a family tradition, and it’s an old-fashioned one, with egg separating both for the cake and the frosting. But man, is it worth the time. The kids who came over for a sleepover (just a few this year) got homemade chocolate cupcakes with ganache.

And then it was New Year’s Eve, and frankly, my dears, we were partied out. I snuggled up in our new flannel sheets with a laptop and Dr. Who (season 3, David Tennant, now my favorite Doctor) while Lil Buddy hung out with friends and MIke and Belle puzzled the evening away.

IMG_1703 If you’re puzzlers, I highly recommend this particular one, the Fairytale Fantasia. I have never seen a more intricate, detailed picture, though its complexity isn’t for the faint of puzzle-heart.

And now it’s 2015! Today we’re back to work in the Lair for one big day before the weekend, doing exciting end-of-2014-things like inventory and taxes. But we’ve got a new year of yarn creating and knitting!

Knit this Year 

I took a few luxurious moments to revisit my favorite projects on Ravelry, and though my knitting time is limited these days, a girl can dream! Here’s what I’m hoping to work up this year:


Moyen Age; this is my dream sweater to knit for myself this year. I just find this delicate design by Hada Knits captivating, and it looks good on all of the Ravelers who’ve posted photos.


Knotted Pine, by Alicia Plummer; love these cables, with just enough texture and changes to keep it interesting.


My mom loves the Manly Scarf in progress Mike, so she requested a version for herself using the 100% cashmere Trapeze yarn I dyed for her for Christmas. A (Wo)manly scarf! This pattern uses a classic texture pattern for a timeless effect and it’s perfect car or waiting room knitting.


Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s patterns always intrigue me, and I’d love to try the unusual stitch in her Moko-Moko cowl.


Of course, Susie Anderson is on the list, with her 50-Row Shawl I’ve been itching to try. A worsted-weight shawl would be so comfy in the winter.


Dandelion Days cowl; big surprise, I love the combination of cables and lace in this compelling cowl.


In fingering, I’m going to try the Ici Paris Beret for my mom; she loves Paris, and I’ve been curious about the Eiffel Tower Stitch for years.


I want the Zag-Edged Scarf for myself; the combo of garter stitch and a nice edging looks like a sure winner for the actual knitting time I have, which is usually while playing Big Bang Clue or watching Modern Family with our own family.


Et Frais would make a perfect use for our gradient yarns in the 25g balls. That texture looks super fun.


The Accelerating Stripes mitts, of course, would make a perfect canvas for some Gradient Stripes action. Belle would love a pair of these.

For socks, I always use Susie Anderson’s How I Make My Socks or Wendy Johnson’s toe-up basic slip-stitch heel pattern, but this year I’d like to try the Fleegle heel with the Time Traveler Socks and some nice patterning with RPM, like Cindy did in our KAL earlier this year.


Kirsten Kapur creates lovely patterns and I’d love to knit up her Snow Drops and Snap Peas shawl, as well as my perennial favorite, Cladonia.


What are you knitting this year?

Have a great one,


Magpies, Homebodies, Nomads, Curls and Yowza

Hi, Knitters,

This time of the year makes me smile. I love the cold, crisp air and leaves on the ground, the opportunity to cook soups and stews (we had homemade chicken soup, lentil soup and beef stew this week) and the chance to wear handknits daily. It’s also a precious few weeks between kids’ sports seasons, so we can actually be at home both weekend days.

Cirilia Rose’s New Book

photo courtesy STC Craft/Jared Flood

Now is the perfect time to curl up with a new book, and  designer Cirilia Rose has just come out with a lovely one: Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads; a Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style.

photo courtesy STC Craft/Jared Flood

Author Cirilia Rose (above) introduces the concept of a “bricoleur;” drawing on a rich array of geographic and historic sources to create originality. As Brand Ambassador for New Zealand mill Woolyarns, former Creative Director for Skacel Collection, host of The Fiber Factor and former photo stylist and media person for Berroco, Cirilia brings lots of style experience to the table.

MagpiesHomebodiesandNomads_p041 CROPPED
photo courtesy STC Craft/Jared Flood

The text shares Cirilia’s passion for curating her own style, watching trends and putting together a story for photoshoots. She translates her world travel, packing experience and styling into a thoughtful, organized explanation of how you, as a knitter, can choose colors and styles to create your own stylish persona.

photo courtesy STC Craft/Jared Flood

She divides the book into three sections, the Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads of the title. Magpies text and patterns focus on using precious bits of yarn or decoration, Homebodies on both home decor projects or pieces to wear around town, and Nomads on styles inspired by Cirilia’s travels to places like Amsterdam and Iceland and versatile pieces to anchor your packing for trips.

The book includes 25 women’s sweater, accessory and home decor patterns, all with Cirilia’s distinctive, fashion-forward style. The Coterie Cardigan, Heima slippers and L’Arbre hat and mitts modeled by Cirilia above all called out to me. The sweaters definitely trend toward smaller figures (not all of us can go without undergarments) but there’s plenty to try among the accessories for every body type. You can find all of the patterns on Ravelry here.

Stories from Cirilia’s life and travels enrich the book, like a section on thrift shopping, and I loved the Canon section on recommended reading for both fashion and knitting techniques. Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads gives us a unique and engaging book from one of handknitting’s young stars.

Thanks to Stewart, Tabori and Chang for letting me review it!


Curls collage

Just wanted to mention that Hunter Hammersen has a new book out, too, that will be available for preorder today! Curls explores all different ways of creating fun, gauge-free shawls.

And one last fun pattern:

photo:Susan B. Anderson
photo:Susan B. Anderson

Susan B. Anderson just released one that looks like such relaxing fun to knit! The Yowza Weight-It shawl incorporates worsted weight yarn, garter stitch and ruffles in what looks like a delightful way. I really, really want to cast on for this, but I have to finish at least ofne of the deadline projects on my needles first!

What a fun time to be a knitter!


Leaf Lace, KAL’s and Good Times

In the Lairaerialist corrie lothlorien much better

It’s March, so we have a new featured color in the shop; it has to be green, of course, and my whizz-bang office manager Chris named this soft gradient Lothlorien. We both fell in love with this pale blue-green to deep forest shadows yarn. Available for a limited time on any of the in-stock fingering bases in the shop.

It’s a busy time in the Lair, with much excitement form Susan B Anderson’s lovely blog post; thank you so much, Susie! Have a great time at Vogue Knitting Live Seattle!

And we’re getting ready for new yarn clubs and Yarn Con in just a few weeks, so much dyeing, drying, processing and packaging going on! Amy J and I certainly appreciate Chris’ organization and energy in keeping it all rolling.

Weekend knitting:

As soon as the Olympics wrapped up, my sweater-knitting mojo seemed to wrap up, too. I’ve bound off the bottom of my Argo, but seem to have stalled at the sleeves. In true multi-knitter fashion, I of course decided that starting a small, easily-finished project might jump-start the knitting juice again.

While checking out all of the finished Ravellenics projects, I came across the Fingerless Gloves Leaves wristwarmer pattern, by Valentina Georgieva. What is it about leaf lace that’s just irresistible every single time?

This was a perfect chance to try out a worsted-weight 50-g gradient. I’ve been toying with making these part of the Kniticricus repertoire, and I have to say, it was pretty fun to knit. What do you knitters think? Would you like smaller worsted-weight gradients for matching mittens and such?


This is how much I knit over the weekend; this morning I finished the top ribbing and am working on the thumb now.

And guess what? I posted my sweater on the Team Sasquatch Silver, Bronze and Agony of Defeat thread and got a message in my inbox telling me I’d won a prize; any pattern on Ravelry! Since I didn’t even know there was a prize, what a thrill!


My choice? The Caviar Dress by Yoko Johnston, another Contiguous pattern. Not sure about making the whole dress, but I do love a good tunic-length sweater.

Weekend Fun

I’ve been making this Allrecipes hot chocolate with good success on the many frigid days of this winter.  Sunday morning, Belle and I hosted a hot chocolate party for Grammy and Buppa; I stirred the cocoa, sugar and milk, while she whipped up homemade vanilla whipped cream. We set the table with white plates and napkins and felt very sophisticated. One of these days, I’d like to try a hot chocolate with melted chocolate bar rather than a cocoa base.


Knitcircus is honored to support two upcoming KAL’s!

Sarah Wilson, The Sexy Knitter, encourages knitters to find their inner diva with her stylish patterns, and Knitcircus will be providing a prize; a choice of any one yarn from the shop for a Ravelry KAL finisher! The current KAL is for Sarah’s Lonicera Cowl and Grimhilde socks.

We’re also tickled to be part of the ongoing KAL in the Cookie Crumbs group, for fans of Cookie A’s gorgeous sock patterns! Watch for more info about the prize you could win there.

Cool Bag


A sweet treat; I couldn’t resist this little Squirrel project bag, from Knitting by the Mile Designs. She’s got all sorts of fun, quirky fabrics, and if you’re a Dr. Who fan, will find many designs to love! My fingerless gloves-in-progress definitely enjoy their stylish ride!

Take care and knit away,


Knitcircus Podcast #41 and Hitch Giveaway

No matter which weather is currently attacking you, Amy and Jaala have got some laughs.

Listen on Libsyn or iTunes


Giveaway! Leave a comment on the blog or the Podcast Facebook Page anytime between now and when the next podcast is released to be eligible to win a copy of HITCH: PATTERNS INSPIRED BY THE FILMS OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK, generously provided by editor Stephannie Tallent and Cooperative Press!

Mentioned this episode:

Argo Sweater

Contiguous Method

Hunter Hammersen’s upcoming book: Curiosity Cabinet Volume 3

Susan B Anderson’s new E-book: Mary, Millie and Morgan

Design Sponge

Design Seeds (this is the correct word Jaala was looking for)

Woven Scarves book from Interweave Knits

Habu Textiles

Mollie Makes Woodland Friends

Four Baby Goats video

Quince and Company


Under the Gunn


Vogue Knitting Live Seattle

DownEast sweater

Sweaterrific, Reynard and Millie

This Olympics was a little rough around the edges, but I’m going to miss watching the amazing slopestyle skiers, graceful ice dancers and plucky skeleton riders. I especially rooted  for the Olympians with kids!


But thank goodness for the Ravellenics; I never would have had the confidence to try the Contiguous method, which I now love, and to even attempt a full Argo sweater in 18 days without this event! The sweater lacks sleeves, but I honestly came much closer to finishing than I would have guessed.


sweater selfie

You may notice a little ring of lighter brown at the bust; the kettle-dyed yarn didn’t come out as dark as I wanted, so I dipped the whole body in a pot of dye yesterday; planning on touching it up in the next couple of days. While it dried, I felt so weird without a sweater to knit that I cast on my next project, DownEast, be Alicia Plummer. This experience may have converted me to a sweater knitter!

Exciting News: Reynard

Guess what? Kirsten Kapur used a set of Knitcircus Matching Socks for her new Reynard socks pattern! I’m a huge fan of Kirsten’s work; her Cladonia and Andrea’s Shawl  are two of my favorite designs of all time, and she creates beautifully-thought-out patterns for everything from sweaters to hats to wristwarmers, using lace, cables and colorwork. 


photo: Kirsten Kapur for Through the Loops

These cuff-down socks start with a lovely picot cast-on, then you get to do the gorgeous twist-stitch section with a subtle bobble. The design makes a pretty wave at the bottom of the patterned section.


photo: Kirsten Kapur

Once you work that part, you’re done with the charts and can enjoy watching the colors change as you work your way down the foot.  I just love that intricate twist-stitch pattern on Reynard and she showcased the yarn beautifully. Thanks so much to Kirsten for choosing to work with Knitcircus Yarns!

Pattern Play

Speaking of desirable patterns, if you haven’t seen it yet, Susan B. Anderson has a lovely new doll e-book published by Quince and Company, called Millie, Mary and Morgan.


Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge for Quince and Company

I was able to see and touch the little dolls when visiting Susie a couple of months ago and they are just the pinnacle of everything a handknitted doll should be. They’re the perfect size to hold and play with, have sweet little faces and she crafted such cunning details into the clothes. The little sweaters have their own buttons (but not too many, so easy to get on and off), you can do colorwork or stripes in the skirts; of course, they need fancy dresses, and the tiny shawls are the kind of accessory that would have made my 8-year-old self jump up and down.

And right now, she’s holding a giveaway with a copy of the e-book and six skeins of Quince and Company yarn!

It looks like we’re getting another taste of the polar vortex, so everybody stay warm and drive safe,


Topsy Turvy Winner, Sheep and Shop


Thanks a million to everyone who commented on the desirable designs in Susie’s new book! Many of you reminded me with your snowmen that it’ time to cast on some gifts. 

The winner of the wonderful Topsy Turvy Inside Out Knit Toys is Jennifer G! She’s been notified.

Check out more fun on the Topsy Turvy Blog Tour (and more chances to win) tomorrow with Wendy Bernard, of Knit and Tonic!

Shop Update


A lot of my Lair time lately has been devoted to getting Yarn Club orders ready; almost everyone in the Summer Gradient Club and half of the Matching Socks members’ packages are mailed! But we did get in a shop update this weekend, with a focus on sparkly yarns, in regular and Matching Socks gradients, and a bunch of laceweight gradients and yummy kettle-dyes, too. I’ll be adding more daily all this week…



NEW! Double Gradient; starts and ends with the same color. Shown in AphroditeImage



Spring Morning Matching Socks in NEW Merino/Cashmere/Nylon Opulence base. Image


Lots of reds/browns/purples/burgundies for autumn, like this Warm Brick skein.

Sheep and Wool



Last Saturday, Amy and I made the scene at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival! So many wonderful vendors there, I can’t wait to tell you all about it in my next blog post. 🙂


Friday Favorite Things

I’m constantly inspired by Susan B Anderson’s blog, and I love how she talks about yarns and tools she finds herself using over and over again. Her post on Little Skein in the Big Woods got me so excited that I ordered a set of her markers to try them out.

So, here’s the first of an occasional blog series featuring tools, shows, podcasts and yarny goodness that I love, and I hope you’ll enjoy them, too!

The Fiber Factor

Project Runway is always so much fun, and the cool kids at Skacel have created a knitting version of this popular reality show, called The Fiber Factor!

Hosted by Karin Skacel, and designer Cirilia Rose, the show challenges designers to use Skacel yarns in different challenge formats to show off their inspiration and techniques. Even better, all of the 12 competitors will be able to complete in all of the challenges, so you don’t have the heartbreak of watching your favorite designer get cut before their time. Guest judges for the challenges include knitting world luminaries like Clara Parkes, Franklin Habit, and of course, our own Amy Detjen, among many others.

Videos are released at the beginning of each challenge, then the designers send in video updates of their progress during the allotted challenge time, followed by judging, so there’s new action on the site often!

Several of the designers, like Challenge 1 winner Talitha Kuomi, Jennette Cross and Natalie Larson, were featured in Knitcircus Magazine, so I kind of feel like I discovered them, and have a special fondess for their designs. 🙂

Velvet Hippo Stitch Markers


You guys may know that I have a small stitch marker obsession. Maybe because their smallness sets off a lifelong fascination with miniatures. When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was a little book, (sadly now out of print) which showed you how to make tiny dollhouse furniture from household objects. The thought that everyday objects like a toothpaste lid could become a lamp, or sponges could make little couches, seemed just as magic to me as the enchanted Turkish delight in Narnia.

One of my favorite workers of charming miniatures in the form of beaded stitch markers is Victoria Cannon, with her Velvet Hippo Dose and Half-Dose stitch marker sets. She also has special raglan-sweater kits, and tiny marker sets for your socks! Above, you’ll see how they come on a sweet, hand-lettered and hand-ribboned card, that opens up to show the happy beaded WIP jewelry within


My favorite little treat for myself is a dose of Velvet Hippo!

Have a great weekend and happy knitting,