Category Archives: Completed Knitting Projects

Willy the Wily….WOLF!!

****UPDATE**** I’ve received several requests to share the pattern since it seems to be no longer available on Ravelry. Unfortunately, the pattern is not mine to share. I’d recommend trying to contact the designer directly through Ravelry if you’d like the pattern.

Crafty Little Secret - Willy the Wily Wolf sweater -
It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to knit my nephew a sweater for Christmas. He’ll be 2 in February so this year I wanted to make him something that he would think was fun. I somehow got it into my head that I wanted to make him a little grey wolf sweater, and the closest thing I could find that was close to what I was imagining was the Willy the Wily Fox knitting pattern. Turns out it’s pretty easy to convert a fox into a wolf.

I really wanted a soft, washable wool that would be nice and warm and feel soft on his skin, but I also wanted flecks of different shades of grey in the yarn. That, apparently, is a tall order. The pattern called for super bulky weight yarn but I just couldn’t find anything I liked in that weight. Why do they make so many scratchy yarns??? I ended up buying something lighter and doubling up the strands as I knit it. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down what yarn I bought so I can’t share that with you. Just trust me that it’s soooooooooooooooooooft.

And expensive. This might be the last year Ben gets a sweater. The little dude grows so fast that I’m sure it won’t fit him next year and I wasn’t that happy with the fit from the pictures my brother sent me. (The hood seems small and tight around his face, though now that I look back at some of the photos of the pattern on Ravelry, I think I should have expected that) It’s a lot of money to spend on something that he’s not really old enough to appreciate and won’t last very long.

Willy the Wily Wolf Sweater - Crafty Little Secret  -

I’m also not sure that I really love knitting sweaters. I don’t know what it is, but I’m truly terrible at assembling them. This sweater looked, ooooooooh about a million times better before I assembled it and picked up the stitches to add the dark trim. I even went through the effort of carefully blocking each piece. I might be a scarf/hat/mitten kinda girl. Hey, kids need mittens too, right? Maybe we’ll be scaling down next year.

Crafty Little Secret - Willy the Wily Wolf Sweater - www.craftylittlesecret.comThe pattern came together pretty well, though it’s a little light on the definitions and instructions. For instance, sometimes the pattern will just jump from Row 17 to like, row 38 or something. That tripped me up and I thought rows were missing until I realized that meant I was just supposed keep knitting as before for those missing rows. But really, how hard would it be to add an extra line that said “18-37: Knit all even rows, purl all odd rows” or whatever? Just to avoid confusion for dummies like me. The pattern did include instructions for picking up stitches and sewing up seams.

Crafty Little Secret - Willy the Wily Wolf Sweater - www.craftylittlesecret.comI used the buttons that I bought in Portland just over a year ago. I think they look cute on a little boy’s sweater and I’m not sure what else I would have used them for.

So there you have it. Willy the Wily Wolf. Cute sweater for a cute kid and would definitely be a great pattern a little more adept at assembly than I.


Ben’s Birthday Sweater!

My adorable little nephew had his first birthday this weekend and while I didn’t get his present mailed in time, I at least finished it in time for his birthday!

Paton's Hooded Cardigan knitting patternI really wanted to make him a little hoodie so I chose the free Paton’s Hooded Cardigan pattern in size 12-18 mo. (fingers crossed that it fits him!). Clearly, however,  this sweater does not have a hood. I ran out of yarn.

Paton's Hooded Cardigan knitting pattern size 12-18 moI was commissioned to make a sweater for my nephew by a friend of my brother’s who brought some amazing lamb’s wool back from Australia, so I only had a finite amount of yarn. It was hard to guess how much I’d need since I was altering the suggested color blocking and I think I made the arms too long. Oh well, it’s still pretty darn cute without the hood too.

Paton's Hooded Cardigan no hoodI carried the stripe along the chest and back but didn’t include it in the sleeves. I’d never knit this pattern before (and this is only my second sweater) so I wasn’t totally sure about the construction and how it would all come together. I figured if I did the stripe on the sleeves and it didn’t match up it would make the whole sweater look wonky so it was better to just leave it off.

Baby cardigan knitting patternI used Moda Vera Pure Wool 8 ply, the blue is colorway 47 and the teal is colorway 37. Do you think I would keep track of how much yarn I actually did use in case someone wanted to replicate this? No, of course not. I definitely don’t knit as much as I sew so remembering what details I should be tracking is a bit of a learning experience for me.

The collar was relatively easy to add, which was nice because I’d never made an alteration like that to a knitting pattern before (wipes brow with sigh of relief). I just followed the pattern and cast off the neckline as detailed in the pattern. Instead of adding a hood though, I counted the number of stitches around the neckline (I think I had 62), then I made a K1, P1 [repeat] rib that was 6 rows long and sewed it on.Paton's Hooded Cardigan baby knitting patternIn addition to the collar alteration, another first for me with this project was blocking! I wrapped a bulletin board in a towel to use as my base then spritzed the sweater with a bit of cool water and pinned it in place on the board. I probably should have blocked each piece individually before assembling the sweater, but I didn’t think of it then. So instead I blocked in two stages; the body of the sweater first, then the arms in a second step. The blocking definitely helped keep the collar from folding over and corrected some wonkiness along the button placket.

[ASIDE: All this knitting talk reminds me – you can find me on Ravelry as CraftyLilSecret].

Happy birthday Ben! Sorry your present is late, but something tells me you won’t hold it against me…..

Knitting Pattern: Chunky Green Cowl

I really can’t go near my favorite San Francisco yarn store, Imagiknit, without buying something. The struggle is usually to limit myself to just one yarn, if I don’t have a specific project in mind!

On my last trip I picked up this gorgeous Malabrigo yarn. I’ve been thinking about making the leap into chunky knitting lately (up until now, I think the largest needles I had ever used were a US 10) and this yarn was enough to entice me!

solis_malabrigoRastaThese pictures really don’t capture the depth and gorgeous color saturation with this yarn. It’s a gorgeous aquatic swirl of lime green with the deepest teal blue. All the colors in this line were beautiful and it was almost impossible to choose just one! Luckily, a quick look in my wallet usually makes it seem a lot more possible…

Since this was $22/90 yards I could only afford one skein and had to make sure I made something that I would definitely wear. The yarn was also so incredibly soft I wanted to make sure that whatever I made would be worn right against my skin.

So, without further ado, I reveal my Chunky Green Cowl.

SAMSUNGOnce again, the picture above is washing out the color and not doing it any justice whatsoever. The photo below is really the one that is closest to what it looks like in reality.


I did a garter stitch on single point needles until I ran out of yarn. I put a single twist in it before I stitched it together to turn it into an infinity scarf.

2013-03-08 15.46.24

Here’s the pattern: Enjoy!

Yarn: Malabrigo Rasta (100% Merino Wool)
Yardage: 90 yards
Weight: Chunky
Needles: US 16, single point

CO 20.
Row 1: K 20.
Repeat until out of yarn.

Put in a single twist by joining the front side of one end to the back side of the other end to make an infinity scarf. Join using Kitchener stitch.

Holiday Project Roundup!

It was touch-and-go for a while there, but I actually managed to finish all my holiday projects in time for Christmas! The main focus of my attention this year was my niece/nephew, scheduled for arrival in early February. The lucky little guy or gal will the be recipient of the first sweater I’ve ever completed! Turns out they’re much easier to finish when they’re miniature…


I’m so proud of how it turned out! I used the Debbie Bliss Baby Reefer Jacket pattern with a couple changes. I thought it would be easier for both me and the parents to forgo actually button closures on the front in favor of decorative buttons sewn to the front with hidden snap closures on the underside.

Also, I’m not big on counting rows when I knit. I kinda just knit until it looks “long enough”. This cause a problem for me when it came time to add the ribbing that forms the double breasted front of the sweater. The pattern called for me to cast on “x” number of stitches to start the ribbing, but I hadn’t followed the instructions for the length of the stockinette portion. Instead, I just picked up the stitches and knit the ribbing right onto the sweater. This resulted in a slightly different neckline on the sweater, but I think it’s still pretty cute!

Expert knitters may also want to avert their eyes from the mess that is the underarm seam. The seams up the side of the sweater turned out really well but it got awkward once I had to start stitching the arms. It looked like I should do Kitchener stitch, but I only know how to do that off needles (a nice video tutorial, here). So I just sewed it.

I also sewed up a few of my signature hand sewn felt aplique onesies, keep your eyes out for a tutorial soon (sorry for the poor quality of the images, I took them on my phone)!

SAMSUNGFinally, I wanted to make a little something for my boyfriend’s family for Christmas this year so I made some spiced candied nuts and knit up a couple Christmas birdie ornaments.

I’m not sure where the nut recipe is from originally, but it’s similar to this one from Martha Stewart. I just left out the egg, allspice and chili powder. Instead of baking them, I tossed them around in a pan with the sugar stirring constantly until they browned (about 15 min), then tossed them with the salt, spices and an extra tablespoon of sugar. Warning, these are like crack.


The birdie ornament is a free pattern download from Ravelry that I posted about earlier. I made two versions of this ornament, one following the pattern and one chicken instead of robin. I actually think the chicken turned out much cuter (and easier, as it didn’t involve any color change)! For the comb I just crocheted a single chain about an inch and a half long then stitched it on scrunched up like an inch worm. Easy peasy!

Lobster Mittens (Free Pattern!)

One of the most complimented clothing items that I own is a prized pair of mittens I picked up at the end of a pier in Halifax, Nova Scotia. These bad boys, featured prominently in the bad ass photo below, occasion comment from strangers nearly every time I wear them.

A few months ago, my boyfriend’s friend was in San Francisco visiting and gushed over the mittens. Having recently taken up knitting again two years ago I said to myself, “Self, now is the time to recreate the lobster mittens”. And here you have it folks, the lobster mittens replica.

I’m pretty pleased with how they came out! And they’re my first intarsia pattern that actually worked! You can find the pattern for the lobster intarsia for free at the end of the blog. I knit this on worsted weight yarn using off-white, red and a wee bit of black (just for the eyes) and I think I was on about a US7 needle.

Now, here’s the place I’d love to be able to write out an amazing tutorial for producing the perfect intarsia. Only problem….I don’t actually know how to do them properly, I just kinda made it up. There are plenty of good tutorials online to help you though. I did come up with a couple tips while doing this one though.

1. It’s way easier to do intarsia neatly if you’re not knitting in the round. I normally do mittens on double-pointed needles but to make these mittens I opened the pattern up then sewed a seam down one side to connect front to back on the mittens at the end.

2. I found it easiest to have three balls of yarn going when knitting the lobster; two balls of the off-white and one of the red. I would knit to the lobster, drop the first off-white and switch to the red. Then I’d knit the lobster section of the pattern, and when I hit the edge, switch to the second ball of off-white. What this did was kept me from having to carry yarn along the back of mitten. Last time I tried to do that, I didn’t keep proper tension and the adorable toque featuring copulating deer that I had made was way too small for the intended recipient with no stretch at all.

Please don’t reproduce this pattern on your website. If you’d like to feature this pattern, please link back to this blog post. Thanks!

Sorry it is not more of a tutorial, but I feel there are many more qualified on the web than I on this particular subject. I’m not sure how to post a link to a downloadable .pdf file for the pattern, so you’ll just have to go off this until I figure it out.

So that’s it folks! Go forth and knit!


There aren’t usually many overlaps between the scientist-by-day and crafter-by-night sides of my life. For instance, one of the daily worries for a scientist is getting scooped, when someone publishes what you’ve been working on before you do.

Recently, I’ve been scooped in my crafting too! For instance, I’ve been working on some little amigurumi knitting projects out of KnitWit by Katie Boyette (I highly recommend it by the way, lots of cute projects with simple, easy to follow directions).

Here are a couple of my projects from that book:


Vampiric Panda

But doing all these amigurumi projects got me thinking…..what amigurumi niche remains to be filled that I could practice my pattern making? And then I thought of it – of course! I could knit little amigurumi lab equipment toys!!!

However, a quick search on Etsy told me that my idea was not as original as I thought. Scooped!!! 😦 Anyway, you should check out the toys in ButterflyLove1‘s store, they’re adorable!!

ButterflyLove1’s amigurumi beaker – adorable!