DMK Podcast Episode 30: Close to My Heart

Episode 30: Close to My Heart


In this episode I talk about a couple of skeins of yarn that have a special significance to me, and I’ll review a new collection of lace designs that have a unique heart motif. The technique segment talks about the importance of re-checking gauge in the middle of a project, even when you’re just switching from one type of knitting in the round to another.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Giveaways
  • What I’m knitting
    • FO: Honey Cowl pattern by Antonia Shankland, knit in White Bear Fibers Sport, Mother Earth colorway
    • WIP: Ka’ana Shawlette by Jennifer Weissman, knit in Miss Babs Yowza, Verrassing colorway
  • John C. Campbell Folk School: where I took the week-long dyeing and spinning class with Martha Owen
  • Our group on Ravelry—come join us for fun discussions about fiber crafts and to enter for giveaways.
  • Receive the Dark Matter Knits monthly email newsletter: exclusive coupon codes, news about patterns and the podcast, and more!
  • If you’d like to make a donation to the podcast (which helps immensely with hosting fees and prize mailing costs), you can do so using the button below:Donate Button

DMK Episode 23: Stepping Up the Game



Happy new year, everyone! As I commemorate my first year of podcasting—and give away lots of prizes to celebrate—I’m also reflecting on what I’d like to accomplish this year. And while we’re thinking about stretching and growing as knitters, I review Margaret Radcliffe’s essential, excellent new book The Knowledgeable Knitter.

Today’s technique segment shows how to avoid getting stairstep jogs when you are binding off stitches on successive rows, such as on a crewneck or scoop neck, or on an armhole.

Mentioned in this episode:

Dark Matter Knits meets Yarn Thing!


If you weren’t able to listen to my live appearance on Marly Bird’s Yarn Thing podcast earlier today, you can still catch it online. We had such a great conversation, including a total collapse into uproarious laughter over little boy underpants.

There’s an excellent summary of what we talked about here, and here’s a link to listen to the show itself.

Talk to you Friday in my own regular episode, peeps!

Boys’ knitting roundup #6

Let’s check in on what’s happening in the world of boys’ knitting patterns!

Sometimes people hesitate to knit for kids because they’re worried they’ll outgrow the knits even faster than you can make them. When that kind of fear hits, reach for the Beckley pattern, new from Marjorie Dussaud (who has designed a number of snappy boys’ sweaters).


Knit in a bulky-weight yarn, this shawl-collared sweater will work up very quickly. I love how the designer has used simple stitches to fashionable effect here. Even better: in all the photos, the kid looks very comfortable.

If you would like to tackle a garment with a little more texture, designer Lori Versaci again brings the fabulous with her new Open Star Kid pattern.


I love how Lori has used a lace stitch here to rugged effect. Given how hot most little boys’ temperatures run, having a little extra ventilation is an excellent plan.

And finally, if you need a quick accessory to take the chill off the changing seasons, check out Tin Can Knits’ Paddle pattern. One of 14 patterns in their forthcoming Road Trip book, this design exemplifies how well the Tin Can Knits team can take a classic design, modernize it, and offer maximum sizes (in this case, toddler through adult L).



Reviews of Kung Fu Knits have started to come out! My favorite so far appears in episode 53 of the Down Cellar Studio podcast (review begins at 15:15). The host, BostonJen, recorded a hilarious segment with her nieces and nephew in which they beg to hear the story again and to have all the things in the book knitted for them.

Knitters’ bounty

I suddenly have WAY too much yarn, and I’m going to use it to help build a well at an elementary school in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Now you are very confused. Let me explain. (No! There is too much. Let me sum up. —for you Princess Bride fans.)

If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know that a few days ago, a friend contacted me to let me know that unfortunately Yarn Harvest had gone out of business and that one of the owners was willing to give me all of their remaining stock, since he was moving out of town. (I know! I was gobsmacked.)

Yarn Harvest was a great business concept—recovering the yarn from second-hand sweaters and re-selling it—that unfortunately hit the skids when one of its major business partners (the Texas Fiber Mill) also went under. The whole story is, in part, a sad one of domestic fiber industry struggling against cheaper imports from elsewhere.

At any rate, Greg (one of the former owners of Yarn Harvest) very generously gave me all of their remaining stock, which is a LOT of yarn. There’s this …

photo 2

… which is just the fingering weight. And then there’s this …

photo 1

… which is all the rest—lace weight in the front and everything else behind (mostly DK, worsted, and Aran).

I cannot knit with all this yarn—though I will certainly be knitting with some of it. And that’s where the school in the DRC comes in.

My son’s fifth-grade class is raising money to build a well at the Nebobongo Primary School in the DRC (an unfortunately conflict-ridden but beautiful country in central Africa). The elementary school currently has no running water, so the well would improve the quality of the facility in a really important way.


The first 15 people to contact me with a copy of their receipt showing that they donated at least $20 to this great cause (follow the link in the previous paragraph) will each receive a bag of at least three skeins chosen from the yarn shown above.

Please understand a few things before you participate:

  • This is nice wool, but it is not merino, and some of it was not entirely unkinked before it was reskeined to be sold. The best way to picture it is to imagine what a nice vintage sweater feels like, and then imagine having its yarn all skeined up.
  • I’m afraid I can’t spend the time letting people choose what they’ll receive. You’re welcome to express some preferences when you email me, and I’ll try to honor them, but just understand I may not be able to match your preferences. Mainly this is just about supporting a great cause and getting an extra thank you in return.
  • Once the yarn is gone, it’s gone. If you’re the 16th person to email me, I hope you can still feel happy that you helped build a well for some sweet kids, even if no yarn is coming your way. (As soon as I see that I’ve received 15 emails about this, I’ll edit this post to let everyone know the yarn is all spoken for.)

When you get in touch with me, please send me your full mailing address so I can share the wealth right back!

Thanks, everyone…

Kung Fu Knits book launch and prize giveaway


Today I have very exciting news to share with you: on September 15, I’ll be releasing my first-ever knitting book, Kung Fu Knits, published by Cooperative Press.

Read on for more info about the book and how you can win a copy (and other prizes) in my pre-launch giveaway.

The book features six kung-fu-themed patterns for kids’ sizes 4–12 and a comic book story designed to light up your kid’s imagination and make them want ALL THE THINGS. (Honey, I knit for boys. I feel your pain. You have to make them want it, and this book will make them want it.)


The patterns are:

  • an entire kung-fu uniform (gi): jacket, pants, and belt (shown in photo above)
  • nunchuks (also shown in photo above)
  • throwing stars
  • a backpack to hold all the things

I’ll share more photos and information about how you can get a copy soon. For now, though, I want to tell you about my Kung Fu Knits pre-launch prize giveaway!

From now (August 7) through September 11, 2014, enter to win prizes by posting your favorite photograph of a child wearing one of your knitted or crocheted creations. Doesn’t have to be your child; can be a baby, or even your own child grown up. I just want to see your favorite photo of a kid wearing something you knitted or crocheted.

Post the photo in any of the following ways:

You may post one entry per social media site. (For example, you can post once on Ravelry, Facebook, and Instagram—you just can’t post twice on Ravelry.) I’ll draw for prizes from all the entries on September 12.

Here’s what you can win:

  • Grand prize: Signed paperback copy of Kung Fu Knits (which also comes with the digital download in your Ravelry library) and four skeins of Berroco Vintage (the yarn used for the patterns)
  • 3 digital/PDF copies of Kung Fu Knits
  • fantastic ninja project bag from Kicks and Giggles
  • equally fantastic ninja stitch markers from Bead Passion

Good luck—let’s see those photos!