What are you going to do with your Yarn Advent Calendar Mini skeins?

Look what I got! Yes, this is Pretty Strings’ amazing yarn advent calendar. When Karin, the inspired dyer, told me this year’s advent calendar is made up of five fading sets of five mini skein fades, I got all excited.

Now, the question is: “what now?” Usually, if you are anything like me, You excitedly open each package and hoard it in a special spot being happy just to possess these little treasures! However, just possessing them does not help them fulfil their role in life: to become something more than the sum of their parts.

Some people add these little mini skeins to their growing scrap yarn blanket. That is awesome! However, when care has been taken to assemble these gems into a cohesive colour story as has Pretty Strings’ and some other calendars I have seen, spreading them out and using them in a broader project that doesn’t honour the planning and care that went into making them, seems to be doing the mini skeins and their dyer a disservice.

So, I propose a specially designed project that uses the mini skeins and showcases the care that went into planning them.

When I received my Pretty Strings Advent Calendar or perhaps more accurately, when I heard that it contained 5 gradients that all formed a bigger gradient, my head started swimming with ideas. Before I even got my beautiful package, I had come up with the basic idea and once the package arrived, I was in a frenzy to finish up.

Now, to be clear, I haven’t opened any of the daily packages nor do I know what any of them contain, that would be cheating. However, having this delightful box in my grubby little hands (actually, they were really clean little hands, I would never touch yarn related goodness with grubby hands) just fuelled by enthusiasm.

There are two variations of the Adventus Scarf and Wrap pattern, but all are made using the same basic pattern:

  • cosy textured scarf (approx. 13 cm (5 1/4″) high by 83 cm (33″) long) shown at right,
  • lacy scarf  (approx. 18 cm (7 1/4 “) wide by 110 cm (44”) long) shown below left.

With the Pretty Strings advent calendar, you can choose to make either of these. Calendars with bigger skeins can make a bigger scarf or wrap.

The two variations are worked flat and are made exactly the same way. The main difference is in how they are blocked.

Of course, if you like, you can graft the ends of either together to make a cowl. If you larger mini-skeins (at least 10 g) you can also work the scarf in the round to make a cowl. The instructions for these variations are not included in the pattern, but the adjustments are easy to do. But that is a topic for another day.

Get the Adventus Scarf and Wrap pattern on Ravelry!

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New Yarn!!!

Excitement all around

How excited do you get when new yarn arrives in the mail? I don’t know about you, but I get pretty darned excited. Do you ever wonder how the yarn feels?

How does the yarn feel

Well, here is a glimpse of how excited the yarn gets about arriving at your house!

What do you think your yarns get up to when you aren’t watching. Tell me in the comments below!


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Beautiful Beginnings! Create a Super-Stretchy, Simple, Strong and Sleek Start to your Stretchy Knitting Project: The Two Needle Slip Stitch Cast-on

A tutorial for a super-stretchy, easy to do, tidy cast-on
with description, photos and a video.

My two favourite types of projects to make are lace shawls and socks. Depending on how you work them, either project may require a stretchy cast-on. The lace needs to be able to be stretched, sometimes vigorously, in order to open up the lace stitches and show off its beauty. Socks need to stretch around to the calf, especially when one has “fluffy” calves like I do.

I have tried lots of different stretchy cast-ons. The long tail cast-on is a great versatile and stretchy cast-on that I use a lot. However, when I want a super stretchy cast-on, I use the two needle slip stitch cast-on, TillyBuddy’s variation of Jeny Staiman’s stretchy slip stitch cast-on. While Jeny’s slip-knot cast on is super stretchy and strong, I had a heck of a time making it even and “sleek”. This variation adds the sleek back! I find it neat, tidy and very stretchy.

Features and Benefits:

  • Very stretchy.
  • Tidy.
  • Easy to do!
  • Can be used in the middle of your work.
  • As the name implies, this cast-on requires 2 needles, perhaps more if you are casting on to dpns (double pointed needles).
  • Requires a short tail: no trying to figure out how much of a tail to leave.


  • A bit complex to learn and remember even though it is easy to do.

The instructions sound long and complex when written out, but once you get the rhythm, the cast-on is fluid and relatively fast. You will also find a video showing how to do this cast-on below.

A Little Bit of Fun

We interrupt this blog post for a bit of fun:

Doing the Two Needle Slip Knot Cast-on

With the ball of yarn on your right, drape the yarn over your left needle with the tail end of the yarn behind the needle and going to the left, leaving a short tail (about 6 inches or 15 cm). Hold the tail down with your left forefinger. Allow the ball yarn to drape in front of the needle and to the right. With the right needle, go in front of the ball end and behind the tail stand from right to left. Rotate the needle tip up and to the right of the ball end. Scoop the ball end to the left and down, behind the tail end, pulling a loop of yarn down until the yarn around the left needle is snug. Slip the pulled down loop onto the tip of the left needle, without twisting it. Pull the ball strand down, away from the left needle to snug the new loop. There should be two loops on the left needle. Bring the ball yarn up, away from yourself, and continue over the left needle towards yourself until the two loops become one slip knot. That is one stitch cast on.

*Put your left index finger under the left needle, immediately to the right of the stitch just cast on. Slip the ball yarn under that finger from left to right, up behind the left needle and over it, towards yourself, letting it drape over the front of the left needle. Hold the yarn on the needle and pull your index finger out. Slip the right needle into the loop left by your finger, from the back to the front. Rotate the needle tip up and to the right of the ball end. Scoop the ball end to the left and down, behind the tail end, pulling a loop of yarn down until the yarn around the left needle is snug. Slip the pulled down loop onto the tip of the left needle, without twisting it. Pull the ball strand down, away from the left needle to snug the new loop. There should be two loops on the left needle. Bring the ball yarn up, away from yourself, and continue over the left needle towards yourself until the two loops become one slip knot.

Repeat this process from the * until all the stitches have been cast on.


Posted in Beautiful Beginnings: Casting-on, Knitting, Technique, Uncategorized, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Knit Now: Mod Squares Blanket Pattern!


Mod Squares KN 3 Pin

©KnitNow 2018


OK, the title of this post sounds like a directive to knit this Mod Squares Blanket (and please take it as such if you are inclined to do so!) but is actually meant as a description.

I am thrilled that my pattern for the Mod Squares Blanket is included in Issue 92 of Knit Now (available Thursday, August 23rd. 2018). Kate Heppell and her team at Knit Now were a pleasure to work with and have done a great job of pulling together this lovely magazine!

The Publication: Knit Now Magazine with two bonuses


KN Issue 92

There are some amazing patterns for you to try in this issue including the Mod Squares Blanket and some gorgeous sweaters and accessories. The magazine includes a bonus book with a whole load of Christmas projects and a gift knitting planner so that you can start knitting now and not be frantically knitting till midnight on Christmas eve or wrapping half-finished projects to put under the tree (not that either of those has EVER happened to me or to you, wink, wink). And because Knit Now is always going the extra mile, they even include two pom pom makers so that you can embellish all the things!


You can check out a sneak peek of Knit Now Issue 92 (all images of the magazine ©2018 Knit Now)

Knitmas KN   Pompom makers

The Blanket: Mod Squares Blanket Easy Style and Comfort!

Mod Squares 1 PinThe Mod Squares Blanket is a super cosy and snuggly garter stitch based blanket that is also a fashionable and thoroughly modern accessory for your home. Hence the name, it is mod, that is modular and fashionable and it is square, both the shape of the motifs and the warm, traditional cosiness you get from a knit blanket. In the 60s the hip youth were called mod and those who were traditional and comfortable were called square.

Mod Squares Blanket is an easy knit and as a bonus, all of the joining is done as you knit and almost all of the ends are woven in as you work as well. When you are done knitting there are just a handful of ends to weave in and the blanket is ready to be blocked! I have made some videos for the techniques used so that you can see how easy it is: Joining Knitting as You Go, 

The Yarn: Rico Essentials Merino Aran Superwash

I loved knitting this blanket from Rico Essentials Merino Aran Superwash. It is a soft, squishy merino yarn with a beautiful drape, available in tons of saturated colours. It was a pleasure to work with and the 50 gram balls are so easy to work from without tangling or rewinding.

Also, a reliable rumour has it that Knit Now readers get an exclusive discount for this yarn from Deramores! Check it out in the magazine.

How to Get a Copy of Knit Now of Your Very Own

Knit Now is available at newsstands, grocery stores and other stores throughout the UK. It is also available in limited stores throughout the rest of the world. If you are not in the UK, you can order your physical copy through MoreMags or get a digital copy through PocketMags, the App Store (for iPhone and iPad) and GooglePlay. Of course, the digital copies don’t come with the free pom pom makers but include all the other goodies.


The Giveaway: One Physical Magazine to Give Away!KN Issue 92

Which brings me to a giveaway: Knit Now has kindly offered a copy of Issue 92 for a giveaway for one of my lovely readers (yes, specifically for you!).

Note this giveaway is restricted to Canadian and US entries.

To enter

  1. Follow @MagdaMakes and @KnitNow on Instagram.


  1. Leave a comment below and tell me something you like or love about the Mod Squares Blanket! (1 entry)
  2. Comment on this Instagram post with something you like or love about the Mod Squares Blanket!  (1 entry)
  3. Repost the Instagram post with the hashtag #ModSquaresBlanketGiveaway (2 entries)
  4. Subscribe to MagdaMakes A Close-Knit Community Newsletter (3 entries)

The contest ends on August 23rd at noon EDT. Good luck!


Posted in Colour work, Knitting, Pattern, The Many Faces of Colour Work, Yarn | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Save Time Finishing! Weaving in Ends as You Go on Purl Rows

I am essentially lazy and am willing to spend hours figuring out how to save myself (and you) ten minutes.

In order to minimize the finishing work for my Kitties on My Lap Blanket patternI give instructions to join the motifs and to weave in the yarn ends as you work. The yarn ends are woven in as you work the right side knit rows to hide the ends on the back of the blanket and the motifs are joined as you work each motif.  This means that when you are finished knitting the blanket, you are almost done with the finishing. You save several hours of seaming and weaving in ends!

After knitting a lovely version of the Kitties on My Lap Blanket as a wedding present, lovely knitter Betty (Bettyilene on Ravelry), asked if there was a way to weave in ends on a purl row similar to the method I used on knit rows in the pattern.

bettyilene’s lovely Kitties on My Lap Blanket! ©bettyilene

If the purl row is on the wrong side (like in stockinette fabric), absolutely. In fact, there are at least two ways of weaving in the ends on a purl row. If it is on the right side, the weaving in will definitely show. If someone has figured out how to do this without it showing, please leave a comment below!!!

As when weaving in ends on a knit rows, weave in the old colour on the row where you are changing yarns, weave in the new colour on the next purl row. You can finish weaving in on the next knit row if you have more yarn end to weave in.

Also, as when weaving in ends on a knit row, pierce the yarn when you first start to weave in to further secure the end.

For both methods, pull the end taut after working to even things out and then stretch the fabric to maintain appropriate stretch one blocked.

I will be demonstrating by weaving in a contrasting colour on a solid background to make it easier for you to see. The weaving in is much more visible than if you were weaving in the yarns at an actual colour change.

Watch the video or follow the instructions below the video.

Method 1:

When you work the first stitch, pierce the yarn end to secure.

*Purl one stitch.

Lift the yarn end up between the needles and the working yarn, purl the stitch. Drop the yarn end.

Repeat from * until you have woven in enough yarn to make you comfortable. If you still want to weave in more yarn at the end of the row, weave in as for a knit stitch.

Method 2:

Work the first stitch on the row, piercing the yarn end as you do.

*Before working the next stitch, flip the yarn end over the working yarn from right to left and leave hanging on the purl side of the work.

Purl the next stitch.

Repeat from *.

Note: For both methods, alternatively, insert the right needle tip into the next stitch as if to purl, then life the yarn end over both needles and finish the stitch.

Try both methods and see which you prefer, both in terms of doing the movements and in terms of how the finished product looks and behaves.

Before you block your piece, pull the end taut to even things out and then pull the fabric out to where it will need to stretch to. This will ensure that the weaving in is neat and that the stretchiness of the fabric is maintained.







Posted in Cheats and shorts cuts, Finishing, Knitting, Technique, Tutorial | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grasker Hat is live on Ravelry!

I am thrilled to announce that the Grasker Hat is live on Raverly. That’s right, you can go to Ravelry right now to buy and download your very own copy of this eye-catching Icelandic-inspired hat. It is such a fun hat to knit and to wear. The extra warmth from the floats of the colourwork and from a snug gauge make it warm and cosy! You will feel fantastic wearing it and knitting it.

The pattern is only $3.00 until midnight Eastern Time on September 21st, 2017.

The pattern comes in sizes from newborn to adult large, so you can make one for every member of your family or everyone you know for that matter.

Inspired by Icelandic designs, this hat was designed for a friend who saw an Icelandic style hat at a Halloween pumpkin based event and wished she had bought it. Accordingly, the hat is named after the Icelandic word for Pumpkin: Grasker.

Three colours of superwash light worsted weight wool are used to create this hat. It is knit brim up with a twisted rib for extra beauty and elasticity. Small needles are used to create a warm fabric with a tight gauge. It is especially important to swatch for this hat or to adjust for the stitch count if you are knitting the hat at a different gauge.

Note: The Grasker Hat pattern has charts in the original colourway, written instructions and alternative grey scale charts for working the colourwork in whatever colours you prefer. It is not necessary to print all the pages, read through the pattern and print only the pages that make sense to you.



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So Much Support

In my last post I wrote about the amazing test knitters that helped to make the Grasker Hat pattern better. But they are not the only people who make my designs and my life better. There is my ever supportive family, my son and especially my husband, who hears about the designs, gets asked endless rhetorical questions about them and even does an initial but thorough proof read of some of my work.

There are my delightful fellow knitters, students and staff at my LYS, YarnForward. They are always supportive and a source of constant inspiration.

There is also my super Tech Editor, Madeleine Susan, who ensured that the pattern is correct and complete.  She checked to make sure that all the figures and words worked and she did it quickly and efficiently.

My amazing model Casey, who is clearly a natural born model and with whom I had a ton of fun during the photo shoot. She made the hat look so great.

And my friend, KrisBKnits who inspired this design in the first place. And to all of my other wonderful, caring friends.

As I am working on the last little bits to make sure everything is ready to roll on Tuesday, September 19, I am so thankful for this supportive network. Without them this pattern would never have come to pass.

Thank you all! I cannot express my gratitude enough to all of you!

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