6 Bits, words

Starting Strong

Knitters, don’t you just love all the promise of great things that starting a new project seems to hold?

Pick the pattern. Acquire the yarn. Get knitting!

Or maybe for you it is more akin to:

Struggle between 5 patterns… Waffle back and forth and back again between far too many yarn options…only to change your mind after returning from the Local Yarn Store… Start swatching…and then decide to skip the swatching and just go for it!

There are so many ways to begin a project. And why wouldn’t there be? We are, after all, unique individuals with so many clever ideas.

Today I invite you to listen to an episode on Starting Strong. It includes a free gift to download (and a simple easy way to have it delivered to your inbox if you live in the US)

So have a listen as you knit, or as you plan out your next project! Head here: https://www.podomatic.com/episodes/7815091

You can also get the show notes, iTunes link and download  by heading here & clicking on Episode 7: http://www.6bitsstorybooks.com/podcast/

Free PDF from 6 Bits Storybooks Podcast

fun, words

Smiles, Treasures & Springtime Fun!

Enjoying simple moments.

Sometimes they occur with needle and yarn, pencil and paper, sand and salt water.

Always with Ohana in tow.

There are moments where you have to look for moments to enjoy, really look! I am there with you Dear Reader as hard times try to elbow in and take over the day. That is when you have to dig in your heels and make your own fun, make your own smiling moments.

I have one to share today with you! It was one of the 5 Shares I posted last week. I received a few emails mentioning they started reading, clicked on a link and almost missed this fun activity! So in the hopes of giving you something small and simple to do that will yield little happy treasures I share this:

 Spring is finally sprouting here where I live! How about with you? I enjoy springtime for many reasons, and one is perhaps an odd tradition I have kept since just a little kindergartener that has evolved in to something so much more than as it started. I’d like to share that with you today and invite you to join in on a swap that stems from it…CLICK TO READ MORE IMG_0886


Aloha Friday: Lei Day!

On the mainland May 1st is May Day. Hurrah for Spring officially introducing herself!

All over Hawaii May 1st is Lei Day, a beautiful celebration of flowers and the lei.

The feeling you experience when given your first lei is akin to what royalty must feel on coronation day. At once you stand taller, smile brighter, and see more acutely the beauty around you. They make any celebration a better celebration with their colours and fragrance, their history and handmade traditions. Leis are given to kids graduating high school or kindergarten, moms and dads on anniversaries, anyone on their birthday or moment of honor. I never greeted anyone at the airport without a lei and a kiss.

Flowers are not just beautiful reminders of the souls and beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. They are treasures when there are grey days or long winters. They are the reward for making it to Spring. Today as you celebrate May Day, or like my family, Lei Day, why not make something bright to save or share?

Leis are certainly one way of brightening your day*. Adding colour to your home or work space can be a boost as well! It can be done with little bits around you right now! I made use of old swatches (Cascade 220 in white and Shepherd’s wool in a peachy colour) by simply doodling on them with yarn**! I liked taking time to play with the yarns in a different way, learning about them apart from knitting them. I know so many of us are busy, but invest in a little bit of playtime for yourself! Experiment and try yarn in a new way, even if only for a few minutes and you may find a surprising result: You are far more creative than you thought—even if you thought you were pretty darn creative!

So re-appoint some things: old swatches, leftover bits of beautiful yarn, your stolen moments. Together this trio can be powerfully inspiring!

On the note of inspiration, I wanted to share the story behind the Hawaiian flora and fauna colours from Cate. I enjoyed reading this short memory of time she spent in Hawaii.

Hoping you make today extra special, no matter what you call it or where you are! But wherever today finds you, i hope the sun is shining on you!


*I found a tutorial on a beautiful lei to make either by hand or sewing machine here!

** The gorgeous colour you see here is Anthurium on Helix and Penumbra bases. Anthurium is just one of the Hawaiian flora and fauna colour pallet new this spring from Infinite Twist. I can’t wait to share the Bougainvillea story with you… (you can see teasers of a few of the new colours in this collection here!}


5 Shares to brighten your day!



A handy new App released by Amy Herzog and the MakeWearLove team called Knitter’s Toolbox is a collection of knitting calculators that you may enjoy! Included in the app: button hole spacer, gauge widget, shaping placer and pickup calculator. Clean look, easy navigation, content I want and need make this little app with the just under $5 investment.

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An InstaLove: I found elyxyak

I am now completely smitten! Nothing to do with knitting, but HELLO!  *P a r i s*  and fun! I need both in healthy doses.

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image 3big wool picThe first in the Dream•Investigate•Discover series is on substitution! This PDF shares about the wonderful wool we love and other fibers you may consider substituting in its place. The pros and cons, the gains and losses, as well as just basic personalities of various fibers are included. It was the free gift for With∞Mel newsletter subscribers for April. If you missed the first mailing and  want to get this handy reference, which is not just a little guide but a creative exploration in thinking through substitutions, there is one last opportunity! A final April mailing goes out for new subscribers on 1 May, so HEAD HERE and be included. Subscribers have received free patterns, exclusive treats and coupons for patterns in the past, as well as helpful content to their inbox each month. We would love to include you!

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FullSizeRenderA useful treat! When I received theses little snips in my SpaceCadet Yarn Alliance Club shipment I thought “Awww, they are so cute!” Little did I realize in days and weeks to come I would be saying “AWWWW! They are so HANDY!” They really are! Well they really are both, handy and cute! There is something about the little SpaceCadet Guy that makes me feel good. Love him! The snips were one of those extra treats we receive in the club shipment ever so often that is always a well-appointed gift that looks like a treasure! These are created by Sarah Wilson, The Sexy Knitter and are available in her etsy shoppe.

image 5FullSizeRenderAnd last but not least a great little swap to share!  And I really do mean little!  THE AMNESTY ENVELOPE SWAP! Head here to read more about it and perhaps join! More details will post on the blog over the next week, but you can get an early start on it! Simply HEAD HERE and see what fun you can have with one little envelope!

I hope these little shares will brighten your day!

  Want to continue the sharing? Pass this post on to others! Lots of little handy social media share options are just below! Then take a moment and come back to comment!

May the sun shine on you wherever you are,


Other things that may interest you…

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April 25th, 1975 was a good day for me. I got my start in life. Today I celebrate that start and 40 year journey. I don’t feel young or old. Just happy and loved.


T H A N K F U L !

I am thankful for many things, the list brings such joy to me! On that list I include YOU!  When you read the blog, share your thoughts, knit my patterns, watch the podcast,

i t • m a t t e r s •  t o •  m e! 

To create and share things with you is a present I have daily, so mahalo!

Quickly to share:

  • There was a fun giveaway activity on Instagram where you all showed off your desks or “flat surfaces” where you work and create. Winner of the decadent camel skein is: needlesbythemarsh  Be sure to email me dear one to claim your prize!{connectingwithmel at gmail dot com} It is fun to connect with you on Instagram and I look forward to more fun to come!
  • Speaking of fun connections…and open to readers of the blog =) head over to Instagram now for a bit of birthday celebratory fun. Find a photo of Ikaika (the yellow sweater featured above) in any of my photos on IG and tag one person you would love to knit this pattern with in the comments below it. I will choose a duo to give the pattern to on Monday, April 27th when the pattern gets  it updates and the new kits release! Already have the pattern? You can still give the pattern to the knitter of your choosing and pick a different pattern! Enter as many times as you want, but only tag 1 friend per comment please
  • Not on Instagram? Still some fun here! Choose your 2 faves from the yarn photo below and share in the comments! The top choice will be added to the kit selections on Monday! image


Mahalo or your part in making my life fuller and more vibrant!



Sunshine in Stitches

Today I am sharing cheerful photos of a reknit I have recently finished. It was such a fun process, largely in part to the colour and personality of the yarns I was using. I know yellow isn’t for everyone to wear, but it certainly makes for a cheerful knit!

Ikaika was originally created with 2 strands of Helix held double. The effect was a quick beautiful knit in hand dyed yarn that I didn’t have to alternate skeins. The fabric was soft and warm and thick. Perfect for what I wanted.


But then I wanted something different.

Airy and light and suited for sparkling springtime moments that come after the stillness of winter.

Using Penumbra and Helix held together created an entirely different fabric as well as colour story.


My girls would squeeze the fabric coming off my needles and each time say “So soft!” “Softer than a kitten” “Squeally-squeal-squeal!” You know… noises you make when something is just that soft!

And then I met little ball buttons!



And I knew I needed one more thing to add to this sweater…


And I am tickled with the results! (and the loops around the ball are shown intentionally as the picture is part of the tutorial with the pattern on creating the closure)

Some little changes went in to this revamp in order to encourage the best traits of the yarn duo. For me having already knit this pattern gave me secure footing knowing what to expect. Armed with that understanding I could confidently tweak here and there and there… A bit more drape? …Will that alter the sleeves? And if so, how? …A lovely halo, yes, yes! But will that hide parts of the pattern or enhance?

I played a bit with swatching and comparing, repeated that exercise a few times and had a nice revamp! For those of you who already have Ikaika, your pattern will soon have an update that shares this alterknit version. On Monday, Cate of Infinite Twist will have additional kits so you can choose to knit this newer version or the classic version.

Tomorrow there will post a wonderful giveaway as YOU have the chance to help decide kit colours!

Hoping you have sunshine in your stitches today!


Looking for more?

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click the link above for free fun!

giveaways, KAL, words

Quince & Co. KAL & GIVEAWAYS! {yes, plural}

I know most of you have seen the newest collection Scarves, etc. 4 from Quince & Co. The book curates an interesting range of projects, beautiful and unique, interesting and classic.

Were you aware that Quince was hosting a KAL for the collection in their Ravelry group? It officially begins on  Monday, March 9th, 2015, ends Monday, April 6th (end of day). There are not just lovely things to knit, but a generous prizes! 3 winners will be chosen to receive a $50 gift certificate to quinceandco.com What if I shared you could win some awesome things before it even starts? Interested? Keep reading…

I plan to join in and my yarn is already caked! What about you? Want to make some new friends as you knit something beautiful?


Making Pomaika’i was fun, both times I knit it. The original time I used Egret and Kumlien’s Gull. The colour choices were not a stretch for me at all, as readers of this blog well know.

What was a stretch was to come!

Jerusha, Project/Design Support Manager for Quince, emailed me to say:

I hope you love the color combo Pam picked…I think it’s really cool and vintage-y.

When she said “Pam” picked out the colour combo I would be getting I very loudly and shrilly squealed. I am a great admirer of Pam Allen. She is not just a brilliant knitter and business woman, but upon hearing her speak to our group at the Maine Knitting Pipeline retreat, it became obvious she is a thoughtful and wise woman as well. I was so eager to begin my work!






Receiving the Yarn!


..but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was way out of my comfort zone.

I can totally do more than one colour in knitting you know.

I knit a striped sweater in several colors of grey once!

I did! I did!

But for the most part I think I am wild and crazy if I use white and grey… or perhaps grey and black.

And then…





I felt I wasn’t up for the task.

Until started knitting…

and fell in love!

And then I realized: 


And by “realized”, I really mean it was re-confirmed to me. 

I also discovered I can be a much bolder knitter than I once thought!

Even now my cakes of yarn prepped for the Q&Co. KAL are visual reminders of that! No grey in this knit!

So what about you?

Are you more of a {Kumlien’s Gull and Egret} or {Barolo and Lichen} or even something different?


Head over to our Ravelry group and join in on the Pomaika’i My Way thread. Read about the giveaway and different ways to enter! 3 Pomaika’i patterns will be given away as well as 1 $10 gift certificate.

There is even some information on how to win the yarn you need to knit the whole shawl in colors YOU love best!

All details are shared on the With∞Mel forum so be sure to have a look! This is a quick one! Winners will be chosen Sunday night March 8th and announced and awarded treats Monday the 9th! Don’t worry! Q&Co ships out their supplies so fast, if you win and want to join in the KAL you will be fine!

learn, Uncategorized, words

Substitution in Knitting

This topic is a far reaching as there are colours of yarn with which to knit! And the possibilities only begin with colour! But colour does make a HUGE difference in the vibe your knitting gives. Just look at the two different versions of the Pomaika’i shawl. Same yarns, different colors. Completely different moods.

Substitution in knitting matters. I have been preparing for some time for a class I am teaching at the Carolina Fiber Frolic on this very subject.

There are so many reasons to knit a pattern in the yarn recommended. The designer often has a host of thoughts and insight for pairing the pattern with the yarn. Obviously they make a great team.

When you dig in to the reasoning behind that and understand the yarn to pattern relationship it really frees your creativity to twirl and leap and dance…without falling off the stage in to the orchestra pit. Have you been there? Are you feeling me? Yeah buddy! That has been me so many times. (Ever substituted faux fur or eyelash  for wool? I know I can’t be the only one who thought that would be a great idea….)

Perhaps you haven’t made alterations to a pattern before, except the colour of your yarn. Or maybe you switched brands but kept the fiber content identical not feeling that taking that big leap was something you were prepared to do. Or it could just be you haven’t had the need or seen a reason to substitute.

I want to learn together, experiment alongside you, if you are interested. No pressure, just a bit of learning at our own pace.

And then maybe later you’ll join me for a bit of stretching and leaping…maybe? For now lets just enjoy learning a bit together.

Let’s start the conversation, here and on Ravelry.

For here, let’s try a poll! (I know! I know! POLLS! But they are fun to make and quick to get an overview from and so I made one up below!) It is just 2 quick questions, so let your voice be heard!

And once you are done with that, head over to the Ravelry group! There are some fun things to share on the forum thread marked Some New Fun: Substitution in Knitting.

As always, thanks for dropping by and Aloha Friday!


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Gimme 20! And I’ll make you a superhero!

Quick?! What is better than a fast, cheerful knit?

A fast cheerful free knitting pattern?

C l o s e !

A fast, cheerful, free knitting pattern you can use to teach someone how to knit!

Seriously, BE A HERO!

Even better:

Be that hero in 5 easy steps!  

  1. Save the PDF below to your handy electronic device or go WAAAAY old school and print it! (Whaaaat? Like paper?!)
  2. Gather hero gear in a little bag: a few pieces of chocolate, knitting needles and 3 balls of spare bulky yarn…or get yourself some Elara! I knit this in 3 balls of Elara and LOOOVE it!
  3. Repeat step 2 once more because we have to be a hero TO someone to really be a hero, you dig?
  4. Head to the nearest place where there are people…coffee house, library, bookstore, work and look for someone who needs you {Interrupting Mel interrupts herself here to say: YOU are a Knitting Superhero and could really make someone into a Superhero too. Don’t be stingy! Share your awesome self! Look around for that face that you connect with because you know that they need some knitting creativity introduced to them}
  5. Walk up to that {perhaps complete} stranger and say “I have a gift for you! Want to be the next Knitting Ninja?” Then slowly show them the ropes and get them started on this scarf.

Then you have to tell your new protégé “Now we must multiply our crew!” and both of you start over from step #1 above. Give your newbie knitter a wee bit of time to eat their chocolate before this part though, k?

Bear in mind you can print the pattern below, gather the materials and make a sweet little Learn To Knit gift to give this holiday! I would urge you to enclose a thoughtful note telling the recipient you will share how to use these things over a cup of tea at their earliest convenience. You know you have enough stash to teach 87% of your city’s general population how to knit, so liberate yourself from the clutches of unused stash and school up some folks to knit in the new year!

Here are the specs:

Finished Measurements

60” [152.5 cm] by 6” [15.24 cm]


Yarn Elara by SpaceCadet (100% Superwash Merino 3-ply; approx 120 yds/100g)

•2 skeins in Dark Skies for MC

•1 skein in Lemon for CC

Needles  •One 40” circular needle in size US 11 [8mm] or size to obtain gauge

Notions •Tapestry needle or crochet hook to secure loose ends when finished

Gauge 11 sts x 26 rows for 4 inch in garter stitch after blocking

Stitches Used ==>>ONLY Garter stitch<<== (my Kryptonite!)

Here is the PDF: Gimme 20! Scarf

Download it and either be a superhero today to one person, or share this post every where you can and be that hero to many! I make it easy with share buttons below! Go on! Take a leap and let your hand knit cape fly in the breeze as you share the knitting love!

Happy Knitting!

helps, words

Gift Ideas for Knitters

{Errr…rather “Gift Ideas that You, Dear Knitter, can pass on to a loved one to help them shop!” but that blog title wouldn’t fit so well in the title line!}
I am not knitting many gifts for people, I never do. I AM planning on giving knitting and yarn treats to others though, to be an ambassador of yarn and fiber arts! Join me this weekend for the start of what I hope to be easy ideas to share the love of Yarn Life this season 😉 And when I say “join me” I mean sit down and watch me do a few things…that’s right! The podcasts airs again this weekend! Is anyone excited? These will be simple fun ideas for us to showcase the joy and beauty of our passion, or as others may be inclined to mis-label it: “our hobby”
Apart from this fun there are also a few ideas that qualify as those gifts this time of year “that keep on giving”. There are some awesome treats perfect for knitters (though these may actually be perfect for YOU my knitting companion, so forward this post to your significant other…there is a handy share button at the bottom of the page!)
Here are 3 treats that are so rad they would make any knitter burst into squeals of joy:

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Now if you are looking for a few ideas to keep knitters (or yourself!) happily knitting after the holiday has passed allow me to share 3 simple solutions that may be what you are looking for:
Hold on to your kilt: A kit that arrives all at once with supplies for 3 perfect accessories to knit your way out of Outlander doldrums! So many Outlander fans are waiting for April 4th to arrive—knit your days away with a collection of exclusive materials and treats inspired by the hugely popular Outlander series, one goody ais a project bag a la JAMMF!  Details Here! 


An equally awesome club for those of you hooked on socks or are just incredibly awesome and unique: Critter Sock Club Membership! This winter, Infinite Twist is offering a three-month club of thick and wooly sock kits with stranded sock patterns inspired by cozy Japanese house socks. Designed for maximum cuteness and wearability, each sock pattern features an animal face on the toe, and a wearable motif on the leg. And it is packed with goodies to boot! Use the “WithMel” code when you order and see what awesome extras come to you! And all for under $100! Pop over Here to become a member! I did and can not wait to get my first parcel!


And one of my favourite treats that keeps on giving…one I signed my daughter up for 2 years ago is the Space Monster Club (Talya and I take turns with the OUT OF THIS WORLD goodies!). To hear me chat more about it be sure to listen to the podcast that aired Dec 3rd. Sign-ups for this club start Friday Dec 5th.
Okay My Friends! I did my part to help your loved ones with last minute gift ideas! =) Be sure to let me know what you get!
And remember, look for some fun new adventures starting with this weekend’s podcast!
My best aloha to you!