Category Archives: Knitspiration

Knitspiration – Red Birds in Snow

More snow’s in the forecast – could you use a little knitspiration?

Red Birds in Snow 1959 composite
Red Birds in Snow by Adolf Dehn, 1959

Our snow is over (for now) on the Eastern Seaboard, but there’s a blizzard forecast for the Midwest.  I love snow, but I’m sure most folks have had enough of it.

Photo: Snowy Perch by Nate Zeman

We feature Red Birds in Snow because it’s a nice nod to our state bird here in North Carolina, the cardinal, which gives a lovely burst of color to the monochrome landscape.  I also love it because it’s a good reminder that noticing the things around us is a good antidote to the winter doldrums. Seeing something so bright in an otherwise gray day can snap the world back into focus.

When we’re feeling trapped behind closed doors, it’s important to notice the things around us to bring texture and color back into our lives. These designs are perfect examples. Continue reading Knitspiration – Red Birds in Snow

Knitspiration – Peter Rabbit

In honor of Beatrix Potter’s birthday, how about a little knitspiration?

Peter Rabbit Colors


Helen Beatrix Potter was born 149 years ago today.  She had great success as a scientific illustrator and conservationist, but is best known today for her children’s books.  Everyone has a favorite.  Mine is Peter Rabbit.  It’s such a nice mix of home and hearth – Peter’s mother even knits! – and mischief, as Peter gets himself into one fix after another.

Although I have enjoyed her work as both a child and a parent, I also enjoy her artistic talents.  Her use of color is inspirational.  From soft leafy-greens…

Whisper Lace Mitts
Little Victory Mitts in Whisper Lace

To the bright colors of the farm.

Falling Jewels Tee in Cotton Supreme
Falling Jewels Tee in Cotton Supreme

From fresh pastels of Spring…

Horseshoes and Twists Too Vest in Bamboo Pop
Horseshoes and Twists Too Vest in Bamboo Pop

To warmer tones of a cozy home.

Fireplace Cardigan shoulder blog
Fireplace Cardigan in Amphora

Beatrix said, “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”  I think we all know the same is true each time we pick up a ball of yarn.  We hope all your crafting adventures are as enthralling as those Beatrix Potter wrote about.

Knitspiration – Bannai Taku

It’s a glorious Monday morning.  How about a little knitspiration?

Bannai Taku 09 Bicycle with chips

I have no idea what this piece by Bannai Taku is called.  It’s difficult to find information about this Japanese illustrator’s work, since I don’t speak Japanese.  But something about this speaks to me.

Some of it is the fresh colors

Cotton Supreme DK Seaspray
Cotton Supreme DK Seaspray

And some of it is the spirit of freedom in the outdoors.

Hagakiri Tee in Cotton Supreme
Hagakiri Tee in Cotton Supreme

It brings a feeling of lightness and peace.

Daffodil Top in Garden 10
Daffodil Top in Garden 10

When’s the last time you climbed on a bike and just rode?  Were you still a child?  Did you feel like you were flying?

Pixie Skirt in Bamboo Pop
Pixie Skirt in Bamboo Pop

Can you still capture that sense of joy in the world around you?

Diagonals Tee in Llamalini
Diagonals Tee in Llamalini

I hope that sometime today, you’ll step outside and pause for a moment.  Look up.  Take a deep breath. Let your mind be still and be in the moment.

Then take another deep breath and move through your day with a smile.

Edited to add: A reader who cycles informs us that the Japanese text for our cycling illustration translates to… Cycling.  Thank you for letting us know!

Knitspiration – Mast and Lines

Shall we have some Monday Knitspiration?

Mast and Lines with chips
Mast and Lines by Morris Blackburn (1902-1979)

The geometry is perfect here – the angles and colors, the twists of the sails.

Cotton Supreme for Masts
Cotton Supreme
Ladder Scarf in Cirrus Cotton
Gossamer Shawlette in Cotton Gold
Art Deco Stole in Mohair Mountain
Cornelia Lattice Cowl Poems Silk
Lattice Cowl in Poems Silk

The masts and lines of Blackburn’s piece call to mind the waves of Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton’s Lattice Cowl above.  The combination reminds me of a family favorite poem, Sea Fever by John Masefield.  It’s read beautifully here by Tom O’Bedlam.

In the poem, John Masefield wishes for “a merry yarn.”  It may not be the kind that he’s thinking of, but we wish you much merry yarn as well.

Happy knitting.





Knitspiration – The Long Fence

How about a little summer in the midst of winter?

The Long Fence by Romare Bearden
The Long Fence by Romare Bearden (1986)

Romare Bearden (1911-1988) has a special place in my heart.  He hails from my hometown of Charlotte, NC, just down the road from Universal Yarn.  He moved to New York and contributed to Harlem’s vibrant arts scene in the 30’s and 40’s, often using imagery from his home state.  Romare Bearden was that fortunate artist who gained respect and recognition in his lifetime, with his works displayed in important collections around the globe.  If you’re ever in Charlotte, take a pleasant stroll through Romare Bearden Park – then come up the road and see us.

His use of color is inspiring.

Uptown Worsted pinwheel


The bright colors…

Northanger Abbey_blog
Northanger Abbey Shawl in Garden 10
Goldenrod in Flax
Goldenrod in Flax from Back to Natura
Seashells Hoodie in Deluxe DK Superwash from Fall Classics
Seashells Hoodie in Deluxe DK Superwash from Fall Classics

…with more natural tones.

Timbers Hat in Uptown DK
Timbers Hat in Uptown DK from e-book Mountain Ridge Knits
Emerald Isle Lap Blanket in Deluxe Worsted from 50 Knitted Gifts
Emerald Isle Lap Blanket in Deluxe Worsted from 50 Knitted Gifts

So many choices.  So many directions to explore.

Happy knitting!




Knitspiration – Happy Birthday Miss Jones

How about a special birthday Knitspiration?

Rockwell Happy Birthday Miss Jones colors
Happy Birthday Miss Jones – Norman Rockwell 1956 – with Deluxe Worsted Superwash

What I love about this picture – and about all of Norman Rockwell’s work – is that it tells a story.  The eraser on the floor shows that her students wrote on her board in a rush and then had to scramble back to their seats.  The eraser on the student’s head shows that maybe they’re not always little angels.  And the fact that Miss Jones isn’t bothered that they’ve ruined all her multiplication problems shows that she’s the kind of teacher who values her children’s high spirits and appreciates their thoughtful intent.

Heather birthday tiara
You may address me as “Your Majesty.”


Today is my birthday, and like Miss Jones, I recognize this as an opportunity to reflect on generosity and intention.  I am truly fortunate to have the kind of co-workers here at Universal who will bomb my office with streamers and present me with the traditional Universal Yarn Birthday Tiara.


This is a time to be thoughtful and ask: what opportunities can I seize in my life to show un-asked for care to others?  Am I showing generosity to myself as well as to others?

Twist Collective – Aphelion in Good Earth

Today I will practice gratitude for the abilities that I have – to think, to craft, and to love.  And I will be grateful, too, for those who appreciate those gifts.

knitwear Fall Winter 2013 kite-cardigan Deluxe Chunky
Interweave Knits – Kite Cardigan in Deluxe Chunky


What will you do today to bring joy to yourself or someone else? Whether you create a garment or a moment, know that what you do has value.

Twist Collective - Scribe Mittens in Deluxe Worsted
Twist Collective – Scribe Mittens in Deluxe Worsted

Happy knitting.



Knitspiration – Frozen Waterfall

If the groundhog is right, we’re in for six more weeks of winter.  As lovers of yarn, we are undaunted!

Frozen Waterfall colorsWe’re going to embrace our inner Elsa and love those cool tones.


We’re going to pull out the needles and hooks and savor every moment!

Isadora in Poems Chunky
Isadora in Poems Chunky


Skyscraper Shawl in Classic Shades Big Time


Cruelty-Free Wrap in Bamboo Bloom
Lotus Shrug in Whisper Lace

How about you?  What will you make with your six weeks?