Blog

Knitting
  • A few changes

    If you have found this blog, I'm impressed! I'm sorry to have neglected it so much over the past year, but I just didn't have time to maintain it anymore. As you can see, I have consolidated my knitting business (formerly Mary Marie Knits) with my pattern shop (Cara Corey Designs) and my blog, so that you can find all of it in one place. When I went to the Craftcation business and makers conference last year, I got some good feedback about how all of my business names were confusing, so I thought I would do my best to simplify. And it feels a lot better to have done it. 

    The downside to consolidation is that I lost a lot of my categorization of blog posts, so I now have a lot of broken links to deal with. And I need to reorganize my recipes because that was one feature I really liked! But in general all of the posts are still here and you can subscribe with my link to get new posts. 

    Last year was a really hard year to do anything new. Having a 4 and 1-year-old took all the energy I had. But I am really excited to get back to making more knit items and patterns. And I am most excited to put more effort into teaching classes, which has been good for business and good for my soul. My knit rope basket and crochet blanket classes have been doing really well, and I have more ideas for classes to expand on those skills. I'm always open to more ideas for classes. In fact, most of my classes came from student requests. 

    So here's to more making in 2018. P.S. I'm also excited to share that my rope basket class is available as a kit!

  • New knits for fall

    Even though the seasons don't change much around here, I am finding myself so ready for fall. Bring on the sweaters and football!

    I have just added some new products to my Etsy shop that will be perfect come colder weather.

    Super chunky knit cowls


    Reversible slouch hats


    Lightweight fingerless gloves

    I've also started offering my most popular sized pouf, the extra large (approximately 18x13 inches), in a thicker knit that resembles my rope poufs.

    It comes stuffed with foam, but if you go with the stuff-it-yourself option, it looks like this.

    I also have been at work for a long time on a homemade yarn that resembles the rope. I love the look of the rope, but need a more consistent, higher-quality product. I think I have finally figured out how to do it, and hopefully soon I will be able to start replacing some items with that yarn.

    So my shop is kind of in transition right now, but I'm really excited for new products and what's yet to come.

    Miss Harper has been helping model my baby legwarmers.

    It's fun to watch her keep growing into the next size. And thanks to my lovely sister Megan for modeling my other knit products. She sure makes them look good!

  • My rope baskets in Parade

    I don't know if any of you still get a print newspaper, but you probably remember the Parade magazine insert on Sundays. This Sunday they are doing a big story on the handmade movement, and they were nice enough to mention my rope baskets!

    Go here for the full story. 

    Go here for the slide show that includes my basket. 

    I still sell my baskets on Etsy: Small / Large / Set of two

    Or, if you'd like to make your own, I sell the pattern on Etsy and Ravelry

    Of course the handmade movement is nothing new to me, but it's nice to see it get some attention. 

  • What's new for 2015

    I've changed so many things in my shop lately that I can't even remember what it used to look like! But really I have the same items I've always carried, just with some improvements.

    For starters, all of my yarn poufs and stuff-it-yourself kits now come with a sewn bag rather than a drawstring bag. The bag makes a pouf with a perfectly rounded shape, and it has a Velcro closure that makes it easy to add more stuffing.

    These poufs also have a drawstring closure on the knit cover so that the cover can be easily removed for washing and put back on. I'm still mulling over adding a similar closure to the wool cord poufs, but they are much easier to open/close to begin with that I'm not sure they need anything different.

    Speaking of wool cord, I finally settled on a yarn that I really love for these poufs, and it comes in 22 gorgeous colors.

    It's been really fun making these poufs in a variety of colors for customers.

    This is the burnt orange.

    I also added some new colors to my regular yarn offerings, so there are 20 to choose from instead of 16.

    What kept me crazy busy in December was having items in 3 local stores (see links on the sidebar). I'm almost to the point of having to reduce my online offerings so that I have time to make hats and cowls. So, to save that precious, toddler-free work time, I've been working on making bigger knits that work up really quickly.

    These hats are made from super thick Peruvian wool. I love working with this yarn. I came up with a beanie, a slouch hat and a roll brim hat that are really cute and flattering.

    And I've also been selling a lot of arm knit cowls at Studio 333 Downtown. They come in two sizes, small (single loop) and large (double loop).

    Still on my to-do list this year: add a medium-size pouf to my Etsy shop, add more patterns to my pattern shop, and list baskets and rugs made of wool cord. They are pricier than the cotton rope, but I found after so much frustration trying to dye the rope and work with its inconsistency, that wool cord was the way to go.

  • Arm knit cowl pattern

    I'm happy to say that my first knitting class went very well. We had a huge turnout — 16 people. Which is a challenge as far as helping each person goes, but it was fun to see that many cowls come together in all different colors.

    I put together a tutorial for the class and I thought I would make it available here in case anyone wants to give arm knitting a try. It's certainly helpful to have the in-person instruction of a class. But there are a lot of helpful YouTube videos that are great if you are trying to teach yourself.

    Download the PDF here.

    The pattern shows you how to make either a single loop or longer double loop cowl.

    I'm thinking that teaching more classes could be a really great next step for me in my business. So I'm trying to come up with more ideas for quick and easy projects. After churning out so many of the same design it's fun to put on your super creative hat sometimes!

  • Stripey baby leg warmers

    Unfortunately, the now-defunct Goodsmiths site has finally come down. So a lot of my blog projects that had been published there have disappeared. I'm not going to try to save all of them, but I would like to re-post some patterns that I have posted on Ravelry, and add some new ones. 

    I'm gonna start with this baby leg warmer pattern because I enjoyed making these so much for Harper when she was a baby. 

    They're made with a fuzzy acrylic yarn that is machine washable and comes in a lot of great colors. You can knit them up plain or go with the stripe sequence I came up with. And if you like that yarn, you can also get my pattern for stretchy leg warmers that will grow with your kiddo from my Etsy pattern shop

    Stripey baby leg warmers
    sized for 0-3 months
    make 2

    Materials:

    • Lion Brand Jiffy yarn in colors: grape (A), country green (B), silver heather (C), and dark grey heather (D), (or any combination of 4 colors you like)
    *Note: Lion discontinued this yarn :( but there are other similar yarns out there. Because of the fuzziness, these were in the bulky category. 

    • Size 10.5 straight knitting needles

    • Yarn needle to sew up seams

    Instructions:

    Cast on 18 stitches, leaving a 14-inch tail so you can sew up the seam at the end. Using a stockinette pattern (knit one row, purl one row), follow this stripe sequence:

    5 rows A

    4 rows B

    2 rows C

    3 rows D

    2 rows A

    3 rows C

    1 row B

    4 rows D

    3 rows A

    2 rows C

    Bind off on your last row of C. Using your yarn needle, weave in any loose strings to the back side of the piece and snip off the ends. You can actually use these ends to carefully sew up the seam, matching the colors on each side. But if you don't have the patience for that (half the time I don't!), you can just use the long tail from the beginning of your work to sew up the seam. 

    To make plain leg warmers, follow these instructions. You will only need one skein per pair. 

    0-3 months 
    Cast on 18 stitches. Knit in stockinette pattern until piece measures  7 inches. Bind off. 

    3-6 months
    Cast on 20 stitches. Knit in stockinette pattern until piece measures 8 inches. Bind off. 

    6-12 months
    Cast on 22 stitches. Knit in stockinette pattern until piece measures 9 inches. Bind off. 

    Finishing

    With right sides facing, use the long tail of yarn you left at the beginning of the piece to sew a seam all the way up to the top. You can use mattress stitch, or your favorite seaming stitch. Then snip off any extra yarn and turn the leg warmer right-side-out. Repeat with the second one. 

    *If you don't want a seam, you can always knit with DPNs or a magic loop instead. 

  • Cozy knit reversible cowl

    Here's another freebie pattern that I absolutely love for fall and winter. This cowl is super warm and cozy, and the bonus is that it is ribbed on one side and bobbly on the other. You can wear it long like a scarf, or doubled up around your neck. Or you can even pull it over your head like a hood or lower on your shoulders like a shawl.

    Cozy knit reversible cowl

    Materials

    • 3 skeins Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn in cranberry (or your favorite color)
    Other super bulky yarns would work great for this, too.

    • Size US 15/10 mm straight knitting needles

    • Yarn needle to sew up the seam

    Instructions

    Cast on 32 stitches.
    Row 1: K1P1 across.
    Row 2: Knit.
    Repeat these two rows until the piece measures 52 inches. Bind off on last knit row, leaving a long tail to sew up the seam.

    With right sides facing and using the long tail of yarn, sew up the seam using mattress stitch or your favorite seaming stitch. Weave in any ends and turn the piece right-side-out.

    *You could also just leave the piece as a scarf and make it longer or shorter. Up to you!

  • Super bulky cowl

    If you're looking for a project that works up quickly (a la the arm-knit cowl), try this one. I can have one of these babies finished in half an hour!

    At first this project came up out of necessity — my other cowl patterns were just taking too long to make, especially when I needed to make lots of them for shows. But now I think I would make this cowl anyway, just because it is so cute and so warm.

    Super bulky cowl

    Materials

    • 4 skeins Lion Brand wool-ease thick and quick yarn in navy (or your favorite color). *Note: 2 skeins is actually just the right amount for this cowl, but you will have to separate them into 4 equal parts to make the cowl.
    Other super bulky weight yarns would also work great for this.

    • Size US 50/25 mm knitting needles (the biggest they have, baby)

    • yarn needle to weave in ends

    Instructions

    Start by holding 4 strands of yarn together and tying a knot in the end. Leave a few inches of tail and then cast on 6 stitches.

    Work in garter stitch (knitting every row) until the piece measures approximately 48 inches. Bind off, leaving about 12 inches of tail to sew up the seam.

    Tie another knot on the end of the tail and then use it to seam the two ends of the cowl together. I usually just do this part with my hands. When you're done, you can cut off the knots from both tails and then use the yarn needle to weave any remaining ends into the cowl. I usually make a few knots just so the seam is nice and secure. Then snip off any extra yarn.

    The garter stitch pattern makes this cowl nice and stretchy, so you can wear it doubled up or let it hang longer like a scarf. 

  • My first class on Skillshare!

    I feel like my personal motto these last few years has been "be brave." So when I'm afraid to do something I try to keep that in my head. And so even though the idea of filming myself teaching a crafts class was a little overwhelming, I decided to do it anyway!

    I recently published my first class on Skillshare. If you're not familiar, Skillshare is an online platform where you can pay a monthly fee to take as many video classes as you want. A lot of them are crafts/DIY related (knitting, calligraphy, drawing, etc.), but a lot of them are things like editing in Photoshop or getting more followers on Instagram. Good stuff!

    One of my most popular patterns on Etsy and Ravelry is for a rope basket, so I decided to flesh that one out and explain in more detail for my first class. I really think it helps to see someone knitting the stitches and doing all the different steps in real time. 

    So, if you want to take my class, you can enroll here. You should be able to use that link to get your first 3 months of Skillshare for $.99. BONUS: The first 25 students can take the class for free! 

    As intimidating as this was, I still really enjoyed it and am already thinking about what classes I can teach next. :)

  • New items and new classes!

    Some of my most popular items lately have been for kids (or adults who want to tap into childlike whimsy, apparently), so I have started offering them on Etsy. These animal hoods have been a big hit, so I'm making them in fox, bear, bunny and cat. 

    And these adorable crowns come in 3 sizes (baby/toddler, child and adult).

    I'm also beyond thrilled that some super huge yarns have become available commercially (mostly at Michaels craft stores). And so I have been using them to make arm-knit cowls and these new giant hats.

    If you want to make your own hat, here is the pattern. I've also made it available as a class on Skillshare. And I added a class on how to make your own wool cord for giant knitting projects. Holiday gifts, maybe?

    I'm super excited to get to work on some more projects with these jumbo yarns. They are awesome!