with others

Everybody Does It! Why not do it better?


Today there is a great post I want to share with you! Cate of Infinite Twist has gathered a variety of folks to share many different things with the same goal in mind:


The post I want to share is relevant to every knitter that breathes…since all breathing knitters do exactly this:

s u b s t i t u t i n g    y a r n

(If you have never ever once done this, please stop and head for the comment section, tell me all about yourself and when I can contact you for an interview!)

Here is an excerpt from Jill Wolcott Knits:

Yarn Substitution

We all do it. We see a pattern and then choose the yarn, or we choose the yarn, then find a pattern that will work. We have also likely had some less than glorious outcomes. So how do you make a knowledgeable and appropriate yarn substitution?

I think most knitters substitute based on what is readily available to them. They may be looking for a yarn substitution from their stash, or from their favorite yarn purveyor, or they may be looking for a less expensive option.

– See more at: http://www.jillwolcottknits.com/yarn-substitution/#sthash.NN1mjy01.dpuf


Remarkable-Wrapped-300x282 And remember: Post photos of your shawls and use #shawltogether so we can all see the amazing things others are knitting….not to mention hearing what they like about their shawl knitting adventure!

After you read Jill’s post head back here and comment on your best or worst substitution story. Know a friend that has a great story to tell about switching things up? Share this post with them! I want to hear the good, the bad and the hilarious!

collaborations, Fall Shawl Together, patterns

Yes, Really a blog post on wearing shawls

And it will be the first of several.


You mean Why am I writing about how to wear shawls or Why will there be several posts?

Several posts because I have several things to share and want you to feel as if “Hey, I want to try that!” instead of reading several things, thinking they are interesting and then being overwhelmed by the number of choices and never expanding your shawl wearing experience. (“Shawl wearing experience“!?!?!? Mel, are you lucid? Just roll with me…)

And the first part of that: why am I writing about how to wear shawls?  (You are full of great questions!)

Simple answer: I wear my shawls in lots of different ways. Long answer: I wear my shawl in lots of different ways since moving to the Mainland…mostly because I never really wore them on Kauai and now I pile them on like leis on graduation day. Not tracking me? See below:Love these faces!

I love these ladies! Cody and Casey on Casey's graduation day

I love these ladies! Cody and Casey on Casey’s graduation day


Imagine the girl on the left in knitted shawls instead of lovely floral leis.

OK so I am not quite that bad with my shawl layering, but I do layer them up!  I had quite a response when I shared a photo of layering them. Several emails asked about it and I thought maybe you might like to add a bit of new shawl wearing experiments to your fashion adventures.


Hand knit shawls work wonderful on their own in the usual way.

If we capture the shot in just the right light they even look pretty hip…



Jusssst kidding! We knitters know wrapping that pretty little triangle around our shoulders does not put us in to “granny mode” as my husband teases. But leaving the shawl like this for me is not always enough. I need texture combinations… and now that late summer here feels akin to winter in Kekaha, I also need warmth.




Experiment #1: Layer more than one shawl.

You can do this any which way You like, but here are things I try to keep in mind if I am trying to channel my inner fashionista and not my inner Minnie Pearl:

  • mix textures: garter & stockinette,  stitch patterns & garter OR stockinette
  • mix shapes: seen above I mixed crescent and triangle shapes keeping the slimmer on top and larger beneath
  • mix striped and solids, or solids with variegated
  • mix weights: light (fingering) & heavy (bulky), thick, robust, dense & holes or laces




Experiment #2: Layer shawls and Wraps or Stoles

I have so many of these wraps. They were the jackets of Hawaii for me. Grab a long piece of linen or cotton gauze-y material, toss it around your back and then over a shoulder and BOOM! You are set! Let’s just say I would need to wear every single one I own now (and did I mention I have a zillion) in order to keep warm just in the cool autumn air here on the coastal edge on North Carolina? So I started layering these guys up with my shawls. First to reconnect with the home I missed, but then because the material and the hand knit shawls actually look pretty rad. Oh, and just in case you have a beautiful pashmina wrap that you bought in Manhattan for way more than you should have spent on a year’s worth of accessories…and that wrap was used by the new cat as a play thing and you now need to cover up an area that looks…well it looks like a cat sharpened it’s claws on it… If You ever have that happen, layering will allow you to keep that accessory as part of your wardrobe. Here is how:

  1. Lay out the material, stole, wrap
  2. Scoop the ends so you have a “C” shape
  3. Lay the hand knit over it oriented to be on top
  4. Criss cross the material
  5. Tie it
  6. Repeat for other side

You can wear it wrapped stole like and feel warmer and pretty chic with the layering. The knots at either end help anchor the wrap, which makes me very happy. (“WHAT? Fashionable AND functional? You jest!”  I do not…)





**Trick: I will use a Clover cable needle to secure the whole thing if I want to wear it as a scarf-wrap-thing. The indent on the cable needle is sick! It is as if the little guy was created to make my wardrobe an easier thing to manage! it’s also light and won’t harm my knitting or neck. I also don’t feel bad for covering it up as I sometimes do with decorative shawl pins and such…not to mention I seem to never loose these cable needles but the fancy shawl stick…those guys have legs of they own and seem to run away constantly.

I now am issuing a challenge! TRY THIS! see how you can mix up your shawl wearing experience with these first two suggestions. Snap a picture and share! Use #ShawlThingWithMel and #shawlalong if you post on twitter and Instagram.

Love the striped shawl featured? It is my HAPA pattern. The kit from Infinite Twist includes yarn, pattern and a few other goodies if you use the “withmel” code at checkout! Want just the pattern? Head here!

There are more ways to wear shawls coming up as I am part of the Fall Shawl Together hosted and created by Infinite Twist! This incredible event is more than learning about shawls, you can learn a bit of colour theory from Cate, the Proprietress of Infinite Twist. That tutorial will help you with creatively pairing more than just yarns to use for knitting, but also how to combine items for this post about layering shawls! And keep an eye out for a few more layering ideas and experiments to try with your shawls! Don’t miss a post! Simply pop over to the sidebar (see those 3 horizontal lines over there on the left? Give them a click and then just find a follow button that suits your fancy!)

Aloha for now!

Beautiful People, collaborations

A Part of Something Bigger


It is my ABSOLUTE.

Absolute what?

Absolute EVERYTHING of course!

It is the best shade of the sky,

the perfect colour for hair,

my favourite t-shirt’s stripes,

my yarn and fiber of choice…

It is to me comfort.

It also is comfortable.

Comfortable isn’t always a good thing though. We don’t stray from our cushy spot, our minds aren’t challenged, they aren’t pushed to experiment. In knitting, I see the truth of that as I am confused by things aside from grey.

For instance, when I needed to create a bold look to knit Hapa I came up with this:


And that combo was a  – – – s   t   r   e   t   c   h  ! – – –

My first choice was grey and dark charcoal. My brain almost popped coming up with DoveCôte Grey and Spooky Purple as the handspun combo.

Cate is the mastermind behind the colorful combos of Hapa as seen here:


Cate and I chatted a lot about colour for Hapa and several upcoming projects. She taught me a lot. She has incredible insight with colour, but is able to break concepts down in to steps to follow, thoughts to consider and activities to practice. She shares a great lesson on her blog (photo below from Infinite Twist Blog)Gradient of Helix Mini-skeinsCate’s post The Perfectly Colorful Shawl kicks off an amazing collaboration of The Fall Shawl Together: a collection of designers, bloggers and podcasters sharing and teaching interesting elements about the shawl! This Thursday, October 16th, I weigh in on ways to wear your shawls that move your shawl from functional wardrobe pieces to focal fashion accessories. So get to know Cate, the mastermind behind beautiful things at Infinite Twist. You can visit her blog and study colour with her. As you play with ideas you can listen to a 2 part interview I did with her earlier this year. The interview is a great opportunity to gain insight about Cate, but to have a more comprehensive view on life in and around Shanghai which couldn’t be done in simply one hour:


Or head directly here: My Audio Feed and listen to parts 4 and 5

===>>> If you enjoy meeting interesting people, hearing them express what motivates them to create and discover as well as their take on everyday things apart from their craft, then you will be stoked about another interview that posts tomorrow! Here is a hint of who that may be: hint…hint... <<<===