Denise's NeedleWorks

Denise's Needleworks

Location: Ames, Iowa, United States

I am wife to Jeff, homeschool mom to 8, a knit and crochet teacher and totally addicted to knitting, crocheting and other fiber arts. After knitting, crocheting and sewing my own clothing from the age of 10 on, I studied textiles & clothing in college. That lead me to 25 years of custom dressmaking and alterations work, while sewing, knitting and crocheting for my growing children. I have worked in the yarn industry for the past 3 years and have been designing my own knitting patterns. Visit my web site at Find me as DeniseInIowa on

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Free Craftsy Mini-courses

Want to learn some new techniques to improve your knitting?  

 Have you checked out  

Craftsy has some great video classes for knitters, crocheters, sewers, quilters, bakers and many other crafts. The class is yours to watch again and again. Now is a great time to try out one of their FREE mini-courses!

Here are two of the free classes I have taken and really enjoyed.

  • Know Your Wool: Do you wonder where your yarn comes from? Learn about different types of wool and the individual characteristics of each.
  • Short Rows: Don't fall short because you find short rows intimidating! Learn four different techniques to creating short rows, and discover how they can make shaping a knitted garment a snap.
  •  Check out all of the other free Craftsy mini-courses by clicking here.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Craftsy Surprise Sale Today Only!

I wanted to let you  know that Craftsy is running a Surprise Sale today, Monday - 4/8/13.  Sale has been extended!
Sale ends at midnight ET, Tuesday, April 9.

ALL classes are priced between $9.99 and $24.99. 

That's up to 75% off original prices! But this deal only lasts one day! 
Check it out at

Thursday, April 04, 2013

I discovered the classes on last summer. Since then I have taken several classes and really enjoyed them.

Craftsy is having a spring sale now through April 8th. There will be different classes discounted each day. Some of them up to 75% off!  Check it out here! Don't forget to check again each day.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Needle & Notion Clearance

The end of the year inventory will need to be counted soon! I need to reduce my inventory before then so all needles and notions are 30-50% off through December 31st. I will give you a great discount and you can help make my work go more quickly. How is that for a good deal?!?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Piles of Alpaca Baby Sweaters

 From mid-July through mid-September I was working on a batch of alpaca baby sweaters for Provenance Mill Clothiers. They sent me a big bag of yarn and said to knit as many as I could from it. The pattern is appropriately called Meemaw's Lovebug Jacket. It is certainly a cute little jacket for a cute little child. These will  be finished off with a colored ribbon at the waist.

I started off by making 4 white sweaters.
When I ran out of white yarn I started knitting up the gray.

When I had finally knit as many as I could with the yarn supplied there were 6 cute little sweaters.
It is hard to tell in these pictures but there are actually 3 different sizes. In the white, I made 2 smalls, 1 medium and 1 large and in the gray there is a small and a medium. It is interesting how different the alpaca fibers can be. The white was very soft and behaved nicely for me. The gray, on the other hand, was more wiry and had a mind of its own! The stockinette section at the bottom curled itself up so tightly that I could hardly get at the stitches on the needle!

After washing and blocking they are all so soft and beautiful! They are a wonderful heirloom piece to hand down through the generations. The finished sweaters are all available through Provenance Mill Clothiers.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Knitting

I know most people would say it was too hot to knit in the summer or they don't knit in the summer because they don't need warm things to wear in the summer heat. I am one of the other kinds of people who have to knit or crochet no matter what the weather is. Of course, you can always make something small like mittens or socks or something light weight like a shawl or a summer sweater or top. I knit anything, pretty much any time.

So, I have been working on some small things but also so larger ones as well. For instance, I made two diaper soakers in wool for my granddaughter. My daughter uses cloth diapers and these soakers replace the plastic pants that I used with my kids. They breathe well and are much cooler on baby's bottom which is great for them in Las Vegas.

Plum Heather Baby Soaker
Rosewood Baby Soaker
I also make some mittens and socks for Afghans for Afghanistan. They will go to the street children of Kabul.
Orange Amaliya Mittens

Socks for a4A
And the large things that I have been working on were crochet baby blankets for our prayer shawl group. They will go to new babies that are baptized in our church. This white one has been delivered already and I have almost finished another one in blue, green and white.

Crochet Baby shells blanket

And I have a Norwegian sweater started that I haven't picked up quite as often recently but I am still going to be working on it over the summer. 

Brown Sirkler Norwegian Cardigan
My fingers will be busy! So if you see me knitting at the Fourth of July celebration, say hello!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Provenance Mill Clothiers commission knitting

Provenance Mill Clothiers
I am privileged to be a knitter for a company that sells the most beautiful, heirloom baby sweaters, hats and booties. The yarn is made from the alpacas that they raise, the buttons and the beautiful box that the sweater is comes in are all handmade here in the US. The sweater even comes with a certificate that tells who did each part of the process and places to record each recipient as it is handed down through the generations.

I love knitting for babies! (In case you hadn't noticed that already.) Alpaca is one of my favorite fibers to work with. It is so soft and comes in many beautiful, natural colors. So far I have knit 3 of these vintage style sweaters for Provenance using the same pattern in sizes 1, 2, and 3. One gray and two tan. The pattern says that they can be worn buttoned either in the front or back. The customer will choose buttons and a ribbon color to go through the eyelets in the collar and for some smocking at the top of the ribs.


 Front. The blue yarn is marking the buttonholes. More details are on my project page.


The tan sweaters both looked the same so I will just post one picture. Project pages here and here.

I wish you could feel these. That is what really makes them special!

Shop Hop and Baby Surprise Knit Along

The end of April my knitting group and I went on a Shop Hop. There were 6 shops in our area that were hosting with prizes and goodies at each shop. We didn't make it to all of the shops but it was fun to go to some of the shops that I hadn't been to.One of the members of our group had her first grandbaby on the way so was looking for yarn to knit Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket. It is a fun little sweater that is knit all in one piece with shaping for the sleeves. When you are done you fold it up like a piece of origami and sew it together across the top of the shoulder and sleeves. Ingenious little piece of engineering!

I bought some Kramer Perfection, an acrylic/wool blend yarn that is machine washable at the Ames Knittery for my sweater. Hopefully, it will be large enough for my grandbaby to wear this next winter. Here is more information about my project.

Faroese Shawls

Back in February, my knitterly friends and I decided to knit Faroese Shawls together.  These shawls originate in the Faroe Islands northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway.  They have a specific features and shaping that is unique to them. Traditional Faroese Shawls are always knit from the bottom up in garter stitch, they have a center panel that is wider at the bottom of the shawl, and there is shaping at the shoulders that helps the shawl lay over your shoulders just right and stay there. The shawls usually have a bit of lace along the bottom and often have lace patterns continuing up the center panel.  They are beautiful in their simplicity.

I started with the pattern Lilta Dimun from Cheryl Oberle's book Folk Shawls. The yarn I used was a fingering weight that was very grayed, muted colors and I had decided I wanted something a bit brighter so I got out the food coloring and started a little dyeing project with the yarn.

The two on the left are done with Wilton food coloring and the right one is a mixture of  red and blue McCormick drops.  The photo doesn't do it justice. It is a nice plum purple.  I liked that one the best so started dyeing the yarn. It took a LOT of food  coloring drops! I had 2 skeins and ended up running one of them through the dye process twice and the other one three times to get what I wanted. It is beautiful!

Here is the finished shawl. More information

The others in the group were still knitting on their shawls so I decided to make a second shawl. This one is from a pattern by Elizabeth Lovik called Torshavn Shawl.  I finished all but weaving the last few stitches together and blocking it and then got sidetracked by other projects. I need to get back to it and finish those details so I can wear it. It is also a lovely shawl. More information