Ideas for Small but Special Christmas Gifts: Little Felted Snowman

Over the years I’ve occasionally added felting articles to Dances with Wools, but except for mittens, not very many actual patterns. Several years back, I subscribed to another fiber arts blog, Crafts n Coffee, and while I enjoyed my explorations over there, the site appears to be no longer active. This adorable needle felted snowman made its appearance, and it looked like so much fun to make that I saved the photo for future crafting. It’s simple enough to make without a pattern, and if you’re not into needle felting, the two balls that make up this little guy could be made by wet felting some fleece (rolling it around between the hands like making dryer balls or cat toys.)  My granddaughter wants to call him, what else, Frosty!


Harvest Afghan

C284FCDB-4DD2-410A-848E-FF7CF45A23E1The blend of textures and colors in this cozy afghan make it a perfect fall or winter project, its variations offering much more interest than one that is uniform throughout. And, once it games no some size, it’ll keep you cozy while working. The yarns are from Bernat and a size 8(US) 36 inch circular needle is suggested.  The pattern is accessible free of charge from Yarnspirations.




Click here for pattern

15 Homemade Swiffer Cloth Patterns

It’s so wasteful to use and discard those disposable  covers for the Swiffer mop, convenient though it may be. Solution:  TipNut has listed 15 different ways to make reusable Swiffer cloths; guilt free mopping. And great for using up leftover yarn. img_1002Yay!! I’ve been using the washable pads provided with my Shark floor steamer, and just toss them in the washer instead of the trash can (and landfill).


Little Christmas Extras to Knit

While hopping about on the web this week, I’ve discovered several cute, traditional Christmas patterns, and thought it’d be helpful to list them in one place. Cute as package decor or on the tree. Just in case you didn’t have enough to do this week! Click on the word pattern to access each.



Christmas Sweater Ornament pattern.


Snowflake Ornament pattern.


Celestine Star pattern


Rudolfino pattern


Polar Bear Ornaments pattern




Basic Top Down Socks in Various Sizes


sheepknits3.jpgHere’s a handy fingering weight, basic sock pattern with instructions for women’s, men’s, and kids’ sizes. I like to keep this as a reference, adding various cuff and instep patterns to suit my current project. It saves so much time because I don’t have to hunt around for the proper formula. It’s my go to pattern most of the time. It’s easily adaptable for magic loop, which is my favorite method for socks.

On the subject of sock sizes, here’s a link to my master sizing chart, based upon  foot measurements.

Size: Child M (Child Lrg/W Sm, W Med, W Lrg/M Sm, M Med, M Lrg)
Materials: 200 (250, 300, 350, 400, 450) yards of fingering weight yarn

US 1 (2.25mm) double-pointed, two circulars, or one long circular needle, or size to obtain gauge
Gauge: 8 sts and 10 rounds = 4 inches square in St st
Pattern stitch
1 x 1 Ribbing

Round 1: * K1, p1 *, rep from * to * around.

Rep round 1 for patt.

Basic top-down sock 
Cast on 52 (56, 60, 64, 68, 72) sts using the desired cast-on. Join, being careful not to twist.
Work 1 x 1 ribbing until piece measures 1 inch from beg. (Every round: * K1, p1 *, rep from * to * around. )

Continue even in St st until piece measures 5.5 (6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8) inches from beg or desired length to top of heel.

The heel is worked over 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) sts.

Next row (RS): K 13 (14, 15, 16, 17, 18) sts, turn.
P across 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) sts.

Heel flap

Row 1 (RS): * K1, sl 1 *, rep from * to * across.
Row 2 (WS): Sl 1, p across.
Rep rows 1 and 2 until you have worked 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) rows in total.

Turn  heel

Row 1: K across 15 (16, 17, 18, 19, 20) sts, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3: Sl 1, k to 1 st before gap, ssk (1 st from each side of gap), k1, turn.
Row 4: Sl 1, p to 1 st before gap, p2tog (1 st from each side of gap), p1, turn.
Rep rows 3 and 4 until you have worked all heel sts, ending if necessary on the last rep with k2tog and p2tog. 16 (16, 18, 18, 20, 20) sts remain.

Next round: KI 8 (8, 9, 9, 10, 10) sts. Using an empty needle, k 8 (8, 9, 9, 10, 10) sts. Rotate work and with the same needle, pick up 13 (14, 15, 16, 17, 18) sts along side of heel flap.
Work across 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) sts of instep.
Pick up 13 (14, 15, 16, 17, 18) sts along other side of heel flap using an empty needle. K rem 8 (8, 9, 9, 10, 10) sts. The heel is now complete and the round begins at the center back heel.

Decrease for the gusset — round 1

Needle 1: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Needle 2: Knit all sts.
Needle 3: Knit all sts.
Needle 4: Ssk, k1, k to end.
Decrease for the gusset — round 2

Knit all sts.
Rep rounds 1 and 2 until 52 (56, 60, 64, 68, 72) sts remain.
Work even on these sts until piece measures 5.5 (6.5, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9) inches from the back of the heel, or 2 inches less than desired total foot length.

Shape Toe

Round 1

Needle 1: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Needle 2: Ssk, k1, k to end.
Needle 3: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Needle 4: Ssk, k1, k to end.
Round 2

Knit all sts.
Rep rounds 1 and 2 until 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) sts rem.
Rep round 1 until 12 (12, 16, 16, 18, 18) sts rem.
K to the end of Needle 1. Cut yarn and graft toe.
Weave in ends and block.

My Favorite Felted Mittens Pattern

photo: LGP

This past winter, I knitted, felted and sold about 20 pairs of felted mittens at pre-holiday craft fairs. I don’t mind making socks on circular needles, but not mittens – guess the hole for the thumb bothers me, I dunno. Anyway, I use the 2-needle pattern below, but I make the mittens much larger than if they weren’t about to be felted. That means, for a child, I make a small adult size. For men, the bigger medium or largest  size. You have to use your judgement and know your yarn. Use your judgment for women.  For felting, I’ve found that Paton’s 100% wool worsted weight gives me predictable results. It is readily available, inexpensive, knits up beautifully, and comes in many lovely solids and blends. Yarns made specifically for felting shrink too much for this application.

Traditional two needle mittens work up quickly, and suit everyone from child to adult. Use up your yarn stash and knit a pair of mittens in a different color for everyone in the family.
Sizes: small child, medium child, large child, adult

# Materials: #5 and #7 needles
# 200 yards of worsted weight yarn
# 1 stitch holder
# 2 stitch markers
# tapestry needle

Gauge: 5 sts = 1″ on #7 needles

Cuff: With smaller needles, loosely cast on 24(28-32-36)sts. Work *K1, P1,* ribbing until piece measures 2 1/2 (3 1/2, 4, 4 1/2)”. Change to larger needle.

Hand: Row 1 (right side): K2, inc in next st, K to last 3 sts inc in next st, K1. Row 2 Purl. Continue working in SS until piece measures 1″ (1 1/4, 1 1/2, 2″) from end of ribbing, ending with a P row. For the last 3 sizes only Work 2 more rows. (SS)

Thumb Gusset: Row 1: K12 (12-14-16-18), place marker on needle; inc in each of next 2 sts, place marker on needle: K12 (14-16-18) sts. Row 2: and all even rows Purl. Row 3: K to marker, sl marker, inc in next st; K to st before next marker, inc in next st, sl marker, K to end. Repeat Rows2 and 3 until there are 8 (10-12-14) sts between the markers; end by working Row 2.

Divide for Thumb: K12 (14-16-18), drop marker; K8 (10-12-14)sts for thumb, and then place thumb sts on holder; K 12 (14-16-18) Work even in SS until work measures 4″ (5 1/2 -6-7″) from start of Hand, ending by working a purl row.

Top Shaping: Row 1: *K2, K2tog; rep from* across. Row 2: Purl. Row 3: *K1, K2tog, rep from * Row 4: Purl. Row 5: K2tog across; break yarn, leaving 18″ end. Thread yarn into tapestry

needle, run needle through remaining sts. Slip sts off needle, pull yarn up tightly and fasten securely. leave yarn for sewing.

Thumb: Sl sts from holder to needle, purl one row. Work even in SS until thumb measures 1 1/4 ( 1 3/4-2-2 1/4″) ending with a purl row. Next Row: K2 tog, rep across row cut yarn leaving 12″ end finished the same as above. Fold mitten and sew seams.

Your mittens will be comically large and floppy. That’s OK, that’s what you want. Follow your best felting instructions until they shrink to size. I’ve been known to throw wet mittens in the dryer, medium setting, to get to where I want them.

Good luck, happy knitting , let me know how you do!

(updated 2/2/11)

Historic Knitting: Our Boys Need Socks

Red Cross poster circa 1918. Reproduced and available for purchase at The Library of Congress online shop.

As during the War Between the States, knitting played an important role on the home front, providing those left behind with a purpose, and those fighting with a few comforts. The American Red Cross played a vital role in organizing knitting drives across the US.

Below is a link to the socks pattern distributed to volunteer knitters by the Red Cross. This page features a clip of one of the newspapers in which the pattern was originally made available to the public. There are numerous other vintage patterns available on the net.