The Knitting Dead

I’m not a natural-born zombie lover, as many knitters seem to be.

The Knitting DeadPerhaps it was my upbringing among fundamentalist Free Methodists (several of whom could have passed for Zombies, but let’s keep my father’s side of the family out of this)

So It took me a while to settle into a love of The Walking Dead.

My criteria for loving a TV show has—so far—been simple; No Sweaty Men.

This one rule has kept me safe from many testosterone laden series and bad reality shows. But evidently I have overcome my rule and have come to love TWD.

Who knew? I’m usually a Downton Abbey / TCM kind of woman.

I think what swayed me toward TWD was the brilliant after-show, Talking Dead, which is hilarious and sweetly earnest, hosted by the incredibly charming Chris Hardwick (@nerdist on Twitter who also hosts @Midnight on Comedy Central after The Colbert Report M-Th.) Once I watched a few episodes of Talking Dead, I had to go back and see the entire Walking Dead from episode one. Lots of good knitting between the cringing and eye-gouging.

So here I am, loving this gory, zombie laden, not-very-logical TV show (why on earth did they not just head to an island in Season 1?) where there’s barely enough water to drink, let alone have a full bath.

One of my favorite scenes in the entire series is in episode 1, when Rick meets Morgan and Duane and takes them to the station house for a good, hot shower.
Yep, I love me a good ‘make-over’ montage! Give me CLEAN any day!

And, of all the places to look for inspiration for colorway, The Walking Dead is a hard one! But I’m up for the challenge. I’ll do it for Herschel (who I feel would have appreciated some good knitting!)

Each week I’ll bring out a new colorway based on a character, location or event from TWD which inspires me, and these will be available in all our ModeKnit Yarns (ModeSock, ModeLuxe & ModeWerk.)

I’ll be creating these colors each week, so join me as I strive to find some wooly beauty in the gory details of The Walking Dead!

And feel free to make suggestions, I’m all ears!

Straighten Your Knocker

Knocker Askew

Knocker Askew

Everything that is good in Sherlock’s life can be found behind the door at 221B Baker Street.

His friendship with Watson, his music, his books, his kitchen full of experiments & forensic samples, Mrs. Hudson’s motherly ministrations — 221B is Sherlock’s haven.

It’s his place of retreat, his place of celebration, his morning cup of tea which magically appears each day, an area of quietude.

Proof of Mycroft's Visit

Proof of Mycroft’s Visit

It’s not tidy. It’s actually rather dusty and messy; painted faces and bullet holes in the wall, eyeballs in the tea…

But it IS home—slightly askew, a little tarnished—but familiar and loved. And that necessary off-centeredness lies at the root of Sherlock’s love/annoy relationship with his brother.

Mycroft, the type of sibling who would balance Sherlock’s checkbook without invitation, insists on straightening the knocker on the front door whenever he visits.

Straighten Your Knocker Colorway

Straighten Your Knocker Colorway

Sherlock insists on moving the knocker back to it’s slightly off-center position (could there be a maternally driven formula* for the angle he chooses?)

And this is how one can tell which brother was the last to enter 221B Baker Street.

Straighten Your Knocker brings all of the rich, masculine colors of the portal into Sherlock’s world together into one beautiful colorway.

Slippy Cowl in Bristol South Pool & Straighten Your Knocker

Slippy Cowl worked up in Bristol South Pool & Straighten Your Knocker in ModeLuxe

Deep browns, bronze yellows, black and a hint of scarlet; all wrapped up in a rich palette that would please any gift recipient who only wants “brown” (while also satisfying the knitting partner who wants a bit more excitement!)

Available in ModeSock, ModeLuxe and ModeWerk (fingering & worsted) this is a colorway that can bring folks who love simplicity and order together with folks who thrive on complexity and nuance.

Shown here paired with Bristol South Pool in the slippy cowl, Straighten Your Knocker is a colorway that can stand alone, or play VERY well with others.

Unlike Sherlock.

Have you enjoyed these eight blog posts about the eight 221B Colors? You can always order a mini-skein set of all eight colors (in ModeSock or ModeWerk Fingering)

Walking Dead

STAY TUNED for the next installment of our NO SPOILERS! series when The Walking Dead returns on February 9th!

Slippy Cowl Kit
Color 1
Color 2

*(After all, his mother, M.L. Holmes is the author of the book, The Dynamics of Combustion, not to be confused with The Dynamics of an Asteroid by James Moriarty)

You Have Two Weeks

I’m always so torn at Valentine’s Day.  I love chocolate (too much!) and I love flowers, but if I’m going to be showered with gifts I’d love to get something less fattening and longer-lasting than the traditional Valentine’s Day haul.

So – because my husband and I have a long-time, pragmatic marriage – he actually likes it when I tell him what would most appeal to me for Valentine’s Day. And I’m happy to accommodate!

I present you with my 2014 Valentine’s Wish List. I honestly don’t expect to get all (or any) of it, but I figure if Gerry has good, firm hints I’m more likely to wake up on Feb 14th with something I can fully enjoy!

Remember, there’s nothing more satisfying to a gift giver than the knowledge that their gift is appreciated and loved. Sometimes a well-placed hint can make this possible!

Work Bags

snap1Oh, Snap!

Namaste is an amazing company.

They support good causes, they make some of the most beautiful vegan ‘leather’ bags around, and they truly GET crafters & their needs!  This year high on my list are the Oh, Snap! bags.

I am (in)famous for carrying around various ziplock bags filled with yarn and projects-in-process. Sometimes I seem to be more bag than knitter once I get all my work spread out. But not only is it a waste of plastic bags, they just look shabby.

Cool colors!

Cool colors!

The Oh, Snap! bag is roomy, easy to get into, and – best of all – see through! I love to see what I’m working on, and show stuff off without taking it out of the bag! It comes in a variety of colors, in sets of 2 or 3 bags.

Reusable and STRONG, I have one long-wearing green one that’s taken the place of at least 20 ziplock bags!

The Wristlet In Red

The Wristlet In Red


Looking for something less crafty, but just as utilitarian? I can HIGHLY recommend the Wristlet as one of the most useful small bags I’ve ever owned!

It’s well designed,with multiple zippered pockets and credit card slots and a useful wrist strap. Along with the pockets are two separate compartments in the purse (I use one for personal items, the other for knitting tools) and to top the whole thing off it’s absolutely charming.

wristletThe exterior is made of PVC-free vegan faux leather, the interior  of PET microsuede in gray (made from recycled plastic bottles)

I am constantly getting compliments on this cunning little purse, and have no problem carrying it at a dressier occasion. If you have been wanting to give Namaste Bags a try, this is a great ‘trial bag’, and—highlight this sentence when you print this out to leave on your significant other’s pillow—the Wristlet would make a GREAT GIFT!

Reference Book

Like many knitters, I have dozens of stitch dictionaries and pattern libraries on my shelf. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to get a new one, what could possibly be new?

Melissa Leapman’s The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook is remarkable. I will admit I got a free copy, but if I didn’t believe that this was one of the most useful books you can get, I wouldn’t write about it!

Melissa Leapman's book is a MUST HAVE!

Melissa Leapman’s book is a MUST HAVE!

Not only is The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook filled with different motifs (as you’d expect) Melissa offers excellent suggestions for USING the motifs in an actual garment, with tips on charting for a neckline, fitting motifs into a schematic and decreasing while remaining true to the stitch pattern.

This is a book every knitter should have!

And if you can acquire it as part of your Valentine’s Day festivities, then everyone is happy!


My Little Boy…

Still single, hm.

Still single, hmmm

…is not so little any more.

Max is 16 on January 31. And he’s tall.

He’s taller than I am, and shows every indication of growing taller. He was named (in part) after my uncle Jim Bob (his real name was Max Hurl) who was 6’6″, so he has a way to go!

I’m not sure what we did to get such a loving, funny, happy, easy-going, sometimes kind-of-lazy, brilliant, not-as-hard-working-as-his-sister (who is?), WONDERFUL son, but we did. And we’re proud and happy and absolutely joyous.

Max's First Birthday

Max’s First Birthday

When the American Cancer Society ran a series of ads a few years ago (“The Official Sponsor of Birthdays”) I would cry every time I saw one (heck, I cry at coffee ads)

In our house we treasure Gerry’s birthdays (he has one next week, in fact!) but we treasure ALL of the milestones we didn’t think he’d be seeing – like Max’s 16th birthday!

Because we live in a city with good mass transit, not great parking in our immediate neighborhood, and a teeny-tiny garage, neither Hannah nor Max are driving (or has even taken driver’s ed.)

So this birthday isn’t the same milestone it might be for a driving kid. But it’s a milestone none-the-less.

Maybe, instead of a car, I’ll buy him a new bus pass?

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, a gallery of our beautiful boy.


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Mary’s Maids

Mary's Maids

Mary’s Maids

Mary’s Maids
#7 in the 221b Series of Colors
Sherlock, Season 3, Episode 2

“It’s a fact, I believe, that brides tend to favour exceptionally plain bridesmaids for their big day.”– Sherlock Holmes

Could there be any question that there would be a celebration – a wedding – and, perhaps, a murder? They go hand in hand in the world of Sherlock Holmes & John Watson (& Mary Watson, née Morstan)

From John Watson’s Blog

“John can’t be with you today as he is on his Sex Holiday. Sorry, honeymoon.”
– Sherlock Holms blogging for John Watson

Mary's Maids

Mary’s Maids

Mary’s Maids is a celebration of purple (sorry, Lilac) in subtle, semi-solid beauty! This colorway would work beautifully with any other color in the 221B series – or with many of our Semi Precious colors.

This is a subtle, ladylike colorway, nothing too extravagant. Charming, likable, not unlike Mary herself.

But there’s some depth there, too, something entirely unexpected.

The Final Color for Season 3?
The last 221b Colorway will be released in a week..!

Mini Skein Sets

Are you intrigued by the colors in the 221B series? Like to try them, but can’t decide which one to pick? Why not pick ALL EIGHT in a mini-skein set!

The 15gr mini skein = 462 yds, total (enough for a pair of fingerless gloves) and the 30gr mini skein set = 926 yds total (enough for a scarf & hat, or shawl).

Mini Skein Sizes
Type of Yarn

A Week of Wonderful News


Yesterday we heard that Andy (née Hannah) has been accepted into one of her most desired schools!  I read about Earlham and it seemed like such a great match for her (they have a minor in Outdoor Education, and a fabulous Japanese Studies program) and once our family visited we all felt the pull of this lovely, Quaker school.

IMG_0049She’s applied to several other schools, and we’re crossing our fingers for a few in particular, but this is a huge weight off of her shoulders as we all feel that Earlham would be a tremendous fit for her, body and soul!

Of course, when we visited the school in Southern Indiana, we couldn’t help but notice that our hotel was built in the shape of a swastika… 

But we prefer to believe it was in honor of the Hindu symbol.

Stackpole Bolero Book

The first part of my advance for my Stackpole book arrived, so NOW it feels official!

I’ve been working up garments for this project, I have a few finished and the rest pretty well mapped out.  It’s all due in June, which will be a bit of a push (especially with other commitments I have this Spring) but not impossible.

I haven’t submitted designs to any magazines this Spring so I can devote my entire design focus on the Shrugs & Boleros book.

Knitting Daily TV

I’ll by flying out to Cleveland in late Feb to appear on Knitting Daily TV! I haven’t been on the show in several years (except for a cool web appearance I did with Vickie Howell) so I’m REALLY looking forward to it!  I guess it’s time to get my hair done again…

It’s so easy when working from home to forget that other people have eyes, too!

Interweave Knit Lab

The registration has opened for Interweave Knit Lab in New Hampshire, May 15-18, and I’ll be teaching again!  I love the Knit Lab students, they’re so informed and courageous, and if you’re on the East Coast this will be my only teaching gig there this year!  So please join me for one of my classes – you can find all of them listed here.

Yarnover & Shepherd’s Harvest

As much as I love Knit Lab, it means I’ll be out of town during Shepherd’s Harvest this year [sad trombone] but ModeKnit Yarn will be there!  We’ll have booths at both Yarnover  (April 26) & Shepherd’s Harvest (May 16-18) this spring! Come on out and feel up some great yarn!

221B Sets Ready to Ship!

Another most exciting aspect to the day is that I FINALLY finished dyeing up large amounts of the two final colors in the 221B Series, and have put together sets to ship! I apologize for the several days delay in getting these out, but I feel it was definitely worth the weight!

These last two colors are based on points in the last two episodes of Season 3 of Sherlock, but I chose incidents which won’t impact on the plot (NO SPOILERS!)  The colors will be revealed after each episode airs in the US (Central Time)

But if you can’t wait…

The 8-skein sets feature all of the colors in the 221B series, and are available in either ModeWerk Fingering or ModeSock.  Choose 15gr/58yd skeins (120 gr/460yds total) or 30gr/116yd skeins (240 gr/930yds total)

Mini Skein Sizes
Type of Yarn

Now I just have to work up some patterns for the 8 Mini Skein Sets!

I Will BURN You!



#6 in the 221b Series of Colors
Sherlock, Season 3, Episode 1

“I will burn you. I will burn the HEART out of you.” – James Moriarty

I know, I know, that delightful quote was from 2 seasons ago.  And it was John in the bonfire. And Moriarty ostensibly had nothing to do with it.

But when else was I going to get such an excellent chance to use that brilliant tag line along with such a compelling image? Plus - FIRE!

From John Watson’s Blog

“But then the whole kidnapping/bonfire thing happened. And he saved my life, of course. And I went to say thanks and… I was hooked. He’s like a drug. He told me about the terrorist plot and I was hooked. I had to help him.”

Poor John, I’m beginning to wonder how he ever got out of Afghanistan without Sherlock.
Or maybe he got through Afghanistan because Sherlock wasn’t around..?

I Will Burn You Colorway

I Will Burn You Colorway

I WILL BURN YOU is not a colorway for the faint-of-heart.

It’s rich, deep, and has a medium-length color change which WILL cause you some grief if you’re expecting tiny little color change bursts.

In other words, this color WILL BURN YOU!

But fire is exciting, no?

Wondering what’s next in Season 3?
The latest 221b Colorway will be released in a week..!


AND while we’re at it, check out our two latest patterns based on Episode 1 of Season 3, Sherlock!  Both kids are available in either ModeLuxe or ModeWerk, in ANY of our Semi Precious or 221B Colors.

The Well Traveled Chullo Kit

The Well Traveled Chullo Kit

The Molly Hooper Cowl

The Molly Hooper Cowl Kit



Old Fashioned Villain

Old Fashioned Villain

Old Fashioned Villain

Old Fashioned Villain
#5 in the 221b Series of Colors
Season 2, Episode 3

“Every fairy tale needs a good Old Fashioned Villain.” – James Moriarty

Consulting Detective, meet Consulting Criminal. Or, as we like to call them in the US, Hedge Fund Managers. James Moriarty, like any child, is much harder to deal with when he’s bored. And who’s the most famous master-child-minder in London? Yes, John Watson.

From John Watson’s Blog

“Jim Moriarty was the total opposite to Sherlock but they were also so very alike. He was a consulting criminal. People came to him and he arranged whatever they wanted. And while they talked, I stood there wearing enough explosives to kill all of us. I was the only one who seemed even aware of this.”

Old Fashioned Villain Colorway

Old Fashioned Villain Colorway

It seems simple, just black, right?

But look deeper, there’s some grey, a bit of cream, even some sharp red hues that move toward a scarlet (or is it cerise?)

That’s because an Old Fashioned Villain isn’t as simple as one might think.

Perfect for your favorite Consulting Knitter.

Season 3′s colors are almost here!
Tune in tomorrow…

Bristol South Pool

Bristol Pool

Bristol South Pool

Bristol South Pool
#4 in the 221b Series of Colors
Sherlock, Season 1, Episode 3

Everybody into the pool?

I understand the dialogue was riveting, the tension so thick you could cut it with a laser, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off that beautiful blue pool – The Bristol South Pool, to be exact.  I so wanted someone – ANYONE – to dive in.  Or at least throw the bomb jacket or a gun into the pool.  A waste.

From John Watson’s Blog

“I could see the look in Sherlock’s eyes – a flash of, not anger, but hurt. For a second, he looked like a little, lost child. I should have been horrified that he’d even doubt me for a second but, to be honest, it was so refreshingly human of him. He actually did value our friendship. He did, despite himself, care. Then he saw the explosives on me and he realised what was happening.”

Bristol Pool Colorway

Bristol Pool Colorway

I have to struggle to keep all of my colorways from being different shades of blue, I love the color so much!

What I particularly love about THIS blue colorway, Bristol South Pool, is that it’s so changeable.

Who can plumb the depths of a ‘bad guy?’
Tune in tomorrow…

Available NOW!

Can’t Wait for all of the colors to be made available after Episode 3, Season 3 of Sherlock? You can order all 8 colors as 15gr or 30gr mini skeins to craft your own 221b creation!

Mini skeins will be available in ModeWerk Fingering, a beautiful superwash merino with brilliant color!  If you’d like to order a set of mini skeins in one of our other yarns, email me for more information!

221b Mini Skeins In ModeWerk Fingering

Yellow Dragon Circus

Yellow Dragon Circus

Yellow Dragon Circus

#3 in the 221b Series of Colors
Season 1, Episode 2 – The Blind Banker

Theatrical Performance or Art Installation?

A basic rule of thumb for asking a girl on a date is DO NOT LET YOUR FRIEND SHERLOCK ARRANGE THE VENUE. At this point in their relationship John was still figuring this out, and in his defense, it was probably flattering to receive a full 5 seconds of the great man’s full attention.

Still, a date’s a date – and this one was – stunning – and not in the best way.

From John Watson’s Blog

“Sherlock was, of course, his usual rude and arrogant self, ignoring Sarah. Until she pointed out that Soo Lin had already translated part of the code. Sherlock rushed out to do God knows what, leaving me and Sarah to be kidnapped. The date really hadn’t gone well.”

Yellow Dragon Circus Colorway

Yellow Dragon Circus Colorway

A complex colorway with depth and regular changes, if you allow Yellow Dragon Circus to have it’s own way, this yarn will OWN YOU.

But that’s part of it’s beautiful mystery!

A simple color with complex undertones?
Tune in tomorrow…