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  • Sanders Mittens

    Remember when this image went viral last year as a whole mood for what was happening in the world? Well I’ve got a pattern for that!

    As soon as I saw this image of Bernie Sanders hunkered down in the cold with these cozy mittens, I knew it needed to be a knitting pattern. That very same day I pulled out a pencil and some graph paper to chart out a similar colorwork pattern as to the ones shown in the picture. By the end of the day, I had a Sanders Mitten and my version of the pattern was born.

    I wanted to make sure my mitten pattern would be available in at least two sizes, so I picked a totally different color palette for the second pair of mittens. Of course the smaller ones would be for me, so I went with pinks and reds. What I didn’t realize is that when I substituted in the red color, little hearts appeared!

    I also wanted to make sure the pattern would be beginner friendly, so the colorwork does not use more than 2 colors per row, has solid rows of knit in between each chart for a break, and no colorwork on the thumb or top decrease section. I also used a 9” circular to knit my mittens, which helped make the entire project just fly off the needles. A light blocking helps smooth everything out, and I recommend starting the second mitten right away so you won’t have second mitten syndrome, like I do a year later! I made the two sample mittens in the two colors but didn’t finish the respective mates. Now I need to find them and finish them! Thankfully my testers were able to finish a pair of mittens during testing, so the pattern is fully tested and edited.

    And there you have it, the Sanders Mittens knit pattern by Jenny GL! You can find the pattern on Ravelry here and on Etsy here. Make sure to tag me @kountingsheep and use hashtags #kountingsheep and #sandersmittens on Instagram if you post your project.

  • My Temperature Blanket Recipe

    Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. See the bottom of post for full disclosure.

    UPDATE: Full pattern released December 2, 2021!

    I have been getting a lot of interest on my half-finished Temperature Blanket from 2020 (I promise to finish it this year, wink wink). So I thought I would answer all the questions and give my basic recipe for how I am making one. When I finish my blanket, I will update this post with a link to the full pattern in my shop, but this will definitely get you started! I’m going to walk you through my process for picking colors, creating a temperature range, and helpful tips for making your own Temperature Blanket.

    One of the biggest factors to a successful Temperature Blanket is to pick colors you like. It does not have to be rainbow colors. However, make sure to choose a yarn that won’t be discontinued any time soon and comes in a wide range of colors. For my first blanket, I picked Knit Picks/We Crochet Brava Worsted yarn. It’s an affordable yarn that I’ve used before and enjoy working with, plus it comes in so many different colors. You’ll want to pick about 10 or more different colors, depending on the temperature range you want to create. Obviously the more colors you have, the more colorful and nuanced your blanket will be. Also make sure to add in a neutral color, like cream, gray, or black, to use as a Monthly Marker.

    The next thing you want to do is decide whether you want to record the high temps or the low temps for each day. For my blanket, I choose to focus on the high temps. It’s also important to create your own temperature range based on your local area, since some places don’t range in temperature as much as other places, or your temps may be more extreme (hot or cold) than other parts of the world. For example, I live in Arizona where it doesn’t really get below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the high during the winter and the summer can be as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit!

    Make a list of the colors you have and then divide up your temperature range amongst the colors. For my range, I did a 5 degree gap, since I wanted to make sure my blanket had a lot of colorful nuance. Here’s my Temperature range as an example:

    Mesa, Arizona Temperature Range

    • 115 and Above: Dove Heather
    • 110-114: Caution
    • 105-109: Seashell
    • 100-104: Rouge
    • 95-99: Cotton Candy
    • 90-94: Blush
    • 85-89: Seraphim
    • 80-84: Lady Slipper
    • 75-79: Freesia
    • 70-74: Tranquil
    • 60-69: Tidepool
    • 59 and Below: Hunter
    • Monthly Marker: Cream

    Another important factor to a successful temperature blanket is to not make it in one big row-a-day block, because 365+ rows makes for a way too long blanket. It’s better to break it down into panels or squares so that your blanket will come out to a more manageable size. This also means less work each day/week since you’re only working on a portion of the blanket at a time. For mine, I decided to do two panels. It works out almost exactly even to split it into the first half of the year and the second half of the year, including a starting row and the 12 monthly markers.

    The great thing about modern technology is that you can always access temperatures online. This is helpful for working on your blanket once a week or once a month, instead of trying to keep up daily if you’re like me and can’t commit to a daily year-long project. It also makes it easier to catch up should you fall behind, since you can always look up and record your temperatures for past dates. It also means you don’t necessarily have to do a temperature blanket for your current year! Pick a special year (like the year you were born or your child was born or you got married, etc) to help commemorate a milestone year you want to remember. I did go ahead and write down the daily temps in my notebook (or you can use a knitting project notebook like this) so I could cross them off as I worked that row and keep track of where I was for when I inevitably abandoned the project and came back to it.

    You’ve got your yarn, you’ve got your temp range, now it’s time to get started! I chose the crochet moss stitch for my blanket, and that will be the pattern I share below. I highly recommend making a gauge swatch with all of your colors in order, so you can see how they will work together, as well as to measure your gauge. Gauge is not essential for this project, but it’s helpful to know you won’t get a blanket that’s too big or too small. Get the full pattern including Temperature Tracking Chart on Ravelry here and on Etsy here.

    My Temperature Blanket (Crochet) Details

    • Finished Size: Panel – 18”/46 cm wide by 44”/112 cm long; Blanket – 40”/102 cm wide by 48”/122 cm long
    • Gauge: 16 sc and 16 rows = 4”/10 cm. Use a gauge tool like this to check your gauge swatch.
    • Hook: US Size H (5 mm) Clover Amour hook
    • Notions: Chibi yarn needle, scissors, tape measure
    • Yarn: Knit Picks/We Crochet Brava Worsted (100% acrylic; 218 yards/100 grams per skein) in 13 colors: 1-2 skeins in each color. See above for example colors. You could also get a couple sampler packs of Brava Worsted where all the colors are picked for you.

    Use hashtag #mytemperatureblanket and #kountingsheep when sharing your progress on social media! You can also tag me @kountingsheep on Instagram for a chance to be shared in my Stories. Link your project on Ravelry here.

    Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that when you make a purchase through the link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All pictures and opinions contained in this post are my own.

  • Change Your Mind Shawl & More

    I keep forgetting that I’m trying to revive my blog and post more regularly. But this pandemic has been a whirlwind the last few months, and I took a designing break to give myself permission to just craft for myself. I also took a detour back into sewing, and I’ve been selling and donating cloth face masks. You can shop for them in my Etsy store here.

    I did break my designing hiatus to release the Change You Mind Shawl pattern and help raise funds to donate to a charity doing the work to fight police brutality in America. 50% of pattern sales through June 30th will be donated to Campaign Zero. If you are interested in learning more about doing the work of dismantling racism in your own life, a good place to start is with these books on Amazon (affiliate links): Me and White Supremacy or How to Be Antiracist. Here is also a helpful list of ways to actively put your words into actions.

    Change Your Mind Shawl was born out of a happy accident because I couldn’t decide on what pattern to create or colors to use. Sometimes momentary indecision can lead to a creative breakthrough. Instead of ripping out my work, I just kept going. It’s rare when I don’t plan out a design beforehand, so it was fun to let the creating happen as I knit. The simple garter stitch makes for a soothing project while the eyelets and color changes add just the right pop of fun.

    Change Your Mind Shawl is an elongated triangle shawl that uses 3 colors of fingering weight that fade from dark to light. The fading sections use rows of eyelets to create both a lace pattern and a shift in colors. This shawl is a great way to use 3 special fingering weight yarns from your stash. And if you change your mind about the colors, you can always make another one! Grab your copy of the pattern on Etsy here.

    The last thing I want to mention is that I have decided to move my pattern testing group over to Slack instead of Ravelry, due to the redesign that has made Ravelry inaccessible for people with certain disabilities, since the design is highly triggering for migraines, eye strain, seizures, and other health concerns. If you would like to join my new tester group, please follow this invite link here. Slack is an app you can download on your phone that allows users to create private work groups and chat threads to collaborate and work together. It’s also easier to upload and share files and photos, as well as receive notifications. If you are interested in testing knit and crochet patterns for me, I would love to have you join and come say hi in the general chatter thread!

    Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission when you shop through the link at no additional cost to you. All opinions and pictures in this post are my own.

  • New Pattern, Free Pattern, Yarn Destash and More!

    So much has been happening in the world right now, and it can be pretty scary for a lot of people. For me, turning to my crafting has been a comfort when my anxiety is heightened. That’s why I have a bunch of yarn related sales and a freebie to share with you today!

    First up is a free pattern! I’m offering my Miss Priss Hat Pattern for free on Ravelry from now until next Thursday, March 26th. This pattern comes in 3 sizes, toddler, child, and adult, and has two embellishment options, flower or bow. Download a free copy of the pattern on Ravelry here!

    Next is a new pattern release, Neurodiversity Shawl! This crochet shawl was created in collaboration with Operation Social Justice set up by GamerCrafting yarns, and the pattern is inspired by my autistic daughter and our neurodiverse family. Through the end of March, 20% of all sales of this pattern will be donated to Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). You can find more info about the pattern on Ravelry here and Etsy here.

    In addition to a new pattern and a free pattern, all my other self-published patterns are 50% off through the end of March! This is a great opportunity to grab some new patterns to try something new or do some gift crafting or even just make a special big project, like a blanket, for yourself. Use code spreadkindness at checkout on Ravelry here. Discount automatically applied on Etsy for all patterns here. *Please note that the Neurodiversity Shawl donation will be based on the original price, not sale price. So you get a discount while still helping a great cause!

    And finally, I’m have a huge yarn destash on Ravelry! I’m running out of space to store yarn, so these yarn babies need to find new homes! Expand your stash for a deeply discounted price while helping relieve my stash. Also, all yarn orders over $35 get automatic free US domestic shipping. Shop the destash sale here.

    However you choose to spend your unexpected downtime or isolation right now, I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy. It’s my hope that by spreading a little bit of kindness that we can bring a little glimmer of light and hope during this dark time. Happy Friday and happy crafting!

    PS>I also wanted to mention that if yarn and patterns aren’t your thing, you can support my work directly by buying me a virtual “coffee” on Ko-Fi here. Every little bit helps my family get through this difficult time right now, and I appreciate all types of support!

  • First New Pattern of 2020!

    ***Post updated with new pictures August 2020*** It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on the blog here, but I’m happy to be back today to announce my first new pattern of the decade: Baby Fade Blanket!

    This fun crochet pattern uses 3 colors of yarn to create a “fade,” moving from lightest to darkest. This pattern also works great with 3 different colors of yarn for a color blocking effect. I’ve been having so much fun mixing and matching shades of colors that I’m already almost finished with my third blanket!

    Do you have patterns that you return to over and over again, especially when needing a last minute gift? Well I can tell that’s what the Baby Fade Blanket pattern is going to be like for me. The easy, repetitive stitches make for great mindless crocheting (or maybe even meditative) at home or on the go.

    Also side note, I had my third baby last November. He makes the cutest little blanket model. With two older sisters, he’s going to get used to pink; however, I made a green version just for him.

    Grab your copy of the Baby Fade Blanket today! Available on Etsy here and Ravelry here. Check out the Ravelry page for a special coupon code available for release weekend only.