A Tisket, A Tasket…


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… I made a little basket!  The little purple bunny, ahem, “candy basket” is my latest quick crochet project:


It’s made out of “tee cakes” yarn, which is really fun, chunky, and recycled!  I made it over the course of about 2 hours or so, and I’ll be sharing the know-how in an upcoming class at Knit New Haven.  It only required chaining and single crochet, and a nice fat US N hook, so beginners will love it.  Of course Lil One immediately saw the petite dimensions and concluded she had to have one to tote around all manner of bunnies and things.  I finished it and immediately thought how cute it would be as a slip cover for a potted african violet for Mother’s Day.  My Grandma, who taught me how to crochet, would have loved to dress up her favorite flowers in colourful little crochet baskets.  Did I mention it’s made out of recycled tee shirts?  Washable, cotton goodness.  In any case, it was an easy project, and I’m sure it would make a great presentation or caddy for any number of things.


Lil One is a super stuffed animal mommy, can’t you tell?  Just don’t know how I’m going to pry the sample away from her… perhaps I can squeeze a second one out of the leftover yardage tonight.


Paradigm Shift


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Hello again.  I know.  What happened to all those posts on the show, and patterns and new ideas, and… well, designing?  As I celebrated my Spring Trunk show coming together, I also began working more hours both at the store and at home on the actual designing and knitting.  It has caused what I would consider a paradigm shift.  The rules of what we have grown to expect and rely on have changed.  I can’t say it is bad or good, just a change that we all have to get used to.  For me, it has meant experiencing for the first time since Lil One was born, being away from my family to work.  I love being more involved in the “knit scene” and getting a little bit of the social side of myself in gear again, but I do miss the ease of being strictly at home and being able to act a little more impulsively.  Hmmm…. I think I’ll go write a little something for the blog now.  You catch my drift, no?

Yup, that’s what it is. I feel strangely disorganized in my new more regimented schedules.  My creative side is always chugging along, but sometimes the hours and opportunities do not materialize to make it all happen fast enough and share it with everyone.  Somehow the flow of how things happen has gotten knocked out of whack.  So, I apologize for the delay, but I promise I will find my footing again and hopefully blog more things than ever down the road.  For now, bear with me, and let me catch up on a few things.


The trunk show was fun, and I think, successful.  I extend my gratitude to Knit New Haven for hosting it, and to all who attended and encouraged me.  It was so rewarding to see all of the designs properly styled and displayed, and for the first time I felt I could see the Guistinello Design “look” emerging.  As I considered what it is that tied the items together, it struck me that it was a balance of delicate detail and elegance that communicate both femininity and confidence all at once.  Curiously this is a core idea of feminism I’ve always held – being a strong woman means embracing feminine traits and building on our inherent strengths, not trying to pretend we’re men!  I couldn’t be happier to see my inner beliefs start to emerge as a point of view in my designs.  I don’t consciously design to tell a story, but I find as an artist, the simple act of creation somehow eventually communicates the thoughts of the artist anyway.  Here are a few of the mannequins with some new patterns and new samples in the shop:


The centerpiece of the designs was of course the newly released “Sorella Robina“, and appropriately in the center of the photo.  On the left, a new rendition of my old favorite “Scarlet Sparkler” done up in a fresh new pale green with sparkling turquoise beads.  Lastly, on the right, is version three of a new free crochet pattern aptly dubbed “3 Half Double Mobius“, which gives all the details for the variations I’ve been developing for this form over the past few months. All of the details for yarn, sizes and pattern details are on my Designer Page on Ravelry.

I also have to send out a special thank you to my testers who helped refine and polish the patterns as well as producing beautiful samples of their own.  “Amandapalmtree” tested and made this lovely long sleeve version of the Sorella Robina:


And “nutmegknitter” did a great job putting “Miss Adler’s Cowl” through its paces and created this lovely spring version:


As I move ahead, there’s actually a lot more crochet happening, and I hope to share all of that with you very soon.  I have about 8 WIP going right now, and an equal number of FO to get photos of as well… Oh my!  One step at a time, right?

Right now, I’m headed outside to enjoy the warm spring weather and work on my second favorite thing – the garden.

Around the corner…


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Hey!  Guess What?  The Spring 2013 Trunk Show at Knit New Haven is just around the corner!  I’m super excited to share all the spring knits starting on Saturday.  From sweaters big and small, to jewelry and elegant accessories, I’m happy to say, I think everyone will find something to love.  My trusty mannequin has been helping me decide how to display things, and I’m tidying up patterns, tags and ravelry entries like mad.  Here’s a little peak at the “looks” I’m putting together for Saturday:


If you aren’t a local, that’s ok!  I’ll be taking pictures, blogging and sharing as much as I can here in digital land for the next two weeks too!

Pressed Leaves


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I love my steam iron.  I love yarn that loves my steam iron.  From the very start, Sorella Robina was a design that, in my heart, I knew had to be made in a cooperative yarn that could handle my obsession with blocking and primping with steam.  Don’t get me wrong, the acrylic blend I used before was lovely and shiny, but now that Spud & Chloe “Sweater” has entered my life, I could never go back.  A cotton-wool blend that I could press my leaves with.  Yeah!  Not only is it machine washable and goes in the dryer, just look at how crisp and articulated this neckline is:


This is the final short sleeve version of the soon to be published “Sorella Robina“, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s all come together. This design pushed me to learn so much, and there were times when I wondered if I’d ever get it all organized.  Perfectionism combined with creativity can be a curse.  Now that I see all that work as a final sample sweater, and all those neat little brackets of numbers in my pattern, I am just so happy that I kept at it.


So, the details:  The final pattern, for sizes 32-46 inch bust, will include a short and long sleeve version, and also modification information for both petite and tall sizing.  The sample shown took five skeins of the Spud & Chloe Sweater for a size 38 Tall.  As a tall individual, I feel that there is no “average” size, so I wanted to provide knitters with as much  information as possible to achieve a truly couture fit.  That is, after all, one of the reasons I got into this whole garment making thing in the first place – nothing store-bought ever fit right!

The pattern will be released on March 9th, and the samples debut at Knit New Haven for the Spring Trunk Show the same day!

FO – Iris Mudra Cuff


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Just a quick post for a quick project:  My Iris Mudra Cuff.


I got a kit for this little “sparkly” at my LYS, and it is a great way to get a little “knit-isfaction” without any fuss.  It’s called the Mudra Cuff, a Laura Nelkin Design, and the kit came with everything except the size 0 dpn needles.  It was nice to just have it all together ready to knit on a whim.  It’s all i-cord, but the beads keep it from dragging on and on.  I finished my bracelet over two evenings, and love the result.  Of course, anything that involves sparkly crystals is bound to be a hit with me 😉 !


I’ll be teaching a jewelry knitting class over a Knit New Haven and we’ll be using this kit as a spring-board, so check out the Class Schedule if you’d like to join me and knit a little sparkle too!

Miss Adler’s Cowl


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I watch a lot of tele. whilst I knit and crochet.  And as you may have already deduced, I love anything involving Sherlock Holmes.  I’ve enjoyed many of the film versions including Holmes played by Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett and my current weekly date with Jonny Lee Miller on “Elementary” (although I am equally excited to see Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson in that case).  Well, while I was working away to create a fun one-skien wonder to inspire my crochet students and fans alike, I was watching the newest BBC rendition of Holmes, simply called “Sherlock“.  I am smitten, again.  Somehow the creators of this version kept a visually Victorian vibe in the show, while completely updating the stories and characters to 21st Century London.  The characters are wonderfully authentic, recognizable from the original, yet fit seamlessly into a modern universe of internet searches, blogs (yeah!) and modern-day science.  I love both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson.  Really well done!  We flew through two seasons in a few nights, loving every minute.

Interestingly, this blend of classic, intricate, old world texture, with contemporary, fun and colorful interpretation is exactly what I gravitate toward in my own designs.  I feel like I was really inspired in this particular design by the show, and specifically by the beguiling character of Miss Irene Adler.

MissAdlerCowlMiss Adler’s Cowl is a quick and easy crochet eyelet cowl finished with a fanciful ribbon to snug it in and keep the cold from sneaking in under your chin.  It takes just one skein of DK yarn – in this case, Malabrigo Silky-Merino in “Archangel”.  See, I told you I would be turning those cakes into cozies!  With luck, the pattern will be ready to launch March 9th for my Spring Trunk Show at Knit New Haven.


So, hats off to Sherlock for helping me see my work in a new way, and keeping me entertained as I knit and crochet through the nights!

What have you been watching whilst stitching?  Drop me a note in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Snowbound, Day 4


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I had grand plans of posting new knits and news about yarn, but all of that must be set aside for just a moment because of all this SNOW!  It started out as a picturesque powdery snowfall on Friday with kids home from school and everyone expecting a pretty good amount of snow. pictureperfect

Hey, we’re from New England, nothing to get crazy about.  Those newscasters always try to drum up the drama and scare everyone, right?  Well, not this time.  We had a true blizzard here, and by the next morning this was the view out my kitchen window.kitchensnow

We had 40 inches to be exact.  I know I haven’t seen that much since ’78.  You could stack my three dachsies up and they still couldn’t see over the top of it!  So, Saturday morning, a 3′ x 5′ slot was carved out for the little weenie dogs to do their thing, and the rest of us just accepted that staying inside was the best idea.   This was the state of my car as of Saturday Evening (and that post sticking out just above the snow is my four foot fence).


I’ve been knitting and writing like crazy, of course.  Yesterday, I did finally venture outside and Lil One had ample snowball material to play with… and jump on 😉 !

jumponitWe did make a channel down the driveway, and the main road which we live on was plowed finally.  Here’s the boys after around 3 hours of work just about to break through the end of our long driveway.

boysinsnowOf course, a car still can’t fit through it, but it did bring peace of mind that we aren’t totally trapped!  Many of our neighbors on the side streets still aren’t plowed out.

Today, day 4 of this snowbound situation, it rained most of the day.  Needless to say it was so disgusting I couldn’t even bring myself to take a picture.  No school again tomorrow, and we still haven’t uncovered the car.  Oh well!  Back to the spring knitting (the bright spot), and maybe another round of cooking, cleaning and sacking out to watch a movie with the family.  I’m just going to focus on the cute, happy moments and try to ignore the rest!

happysnowgirlIf you are also in the hard hit areas, we offer our sympathy and prayers.  Keep safe, and may you have lots of extra yarn to keep busy while we wait!

Spring Layer Cake


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Chasing away the cabin fever can be tough once the holidays pass.  As a knitter, I’ve turned to the hopeful colors and textures of spring yarn as I prepare for the Guistinello Designs Trunk Show at Knit New Haven.  I’ve been winding up lovely cakes of colorful yarn with warmer weather knits in mind.  Here’s just a taste of the spring layer cakes I’ve been lining up to create a delicious and bright set of samples of my favorite designs for the sunny days ahead:


I have been very busy writing and knitting like crazy to make it a beautiful collection for Spring 2013.  The yarns include (top to bottom) shiny “Bamboo” from Be Sweet, Malabrigo’s heavenly “Silky Wool”, a luxurious bamboo-wool blend from the exquisite palette of Tucker Woods Yarns, and finally the easy-going, clear colored, cotton-wool blend, “Sweater” from Spud & Chloe.  I’m so excited to see it all knit up and ready to wear.  The show begins March 9th , so click on over to Knit New Haven to get all the details!

The classes I’ll be teaching at KNH will also provide a little something for everyone, not to mention keeping us distracted while we wait to get outdoors again!  Learn to knit or crochet in one of the beginner classes, or sign up to explore beaded jewelry, crochet embellishments, and even a great “knitting 911” class.  Curious?  Check it out here!

I hope to be back with tempting sneak peeks, and more class and project updates, so stay tuned!

Unwrapped: 2012 finally stitched up.


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I finally got to sifting through the many photos taken over Christmas, and I want to share with y’all the knitting related fun that happened around Christmas.  First of all, I was overjoyed to see my Sister wearing her “Sorella Robina” sweater I’d made her, and looking so beautiful.


Not only was it nice to see something I’d made worn, but something I had designed with her in mind.  I was also thrilled that it fit.  Grading a pattern is one of my toughest challenges.  When I design for myself, it’s no big deal – I know my shape and stats by heart, and I don’t mind trying it on every inch of the way!  Well, my Sister lives far enough away that I was really going on standards and some measurements I took.  I am so happy that I was really able to accomplish this strictly by the numbers.


She styled the whole outfit really beautifully too, I think.  I loved the skirt and sparkly jewelry, and of course the flowing red hair just sings with that leaf green color. This was on of those holiday gifts that was a feeling, rather than a thing.  Love you, Sis!

I did a very minimal amount of actual gift knitting this year.  Two little bits actually.  They technically complete the 2012 year in knitting.  The first was a gift card holder that I made from the “Card-igan” pattern.  It was a cute way to dress up a gift card, and pretty easy to follow.  I think I ended up converting it to a JMCO and working in the round, but the pattern is a good little gem to keep on hand for last minute gigs.


Then, I did a few ornaments for the teachers and Lil One (because she had to have a purple star too – eye roll).  This was a clever little pattern.  The way the star points kind of zig-zag is really nice.  I think I accidentally modified it a bit because I was chatting with my KNH Stitch ‘n’ Bitch gang at the time, but it came out looking right, so I didn’t worry.  Here is Lil One’s star on the tree.


The last little Holiday surprise in my knitting world was receiving a package of Sundara Aran Merino in the Arabian Nights colorway that a very generous raveler sent to me right before Christmas.  Knitters and ravelry are awesome!  Sundara actually sent me a skein at the exact same time, (she is also awesome) so I ended up being able to not only finish my Wombat Tunic sweater, but I even added short sleeves.  That FO will be shared really soon!