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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gift-A-long 2014 - 25% off Pattern Sales! Knit or Crochet Your Holiday Gifts

Get 25% off any of these patterns (13 to choose from in my store) with the coupon code giftalong2014 during the GAL sale period - Thursday November 13th (8pm EST) through Friday November 21 (11:59pm EST). There are 3,822 patterns on sale from 293 Independent Designers!

Then come participate in the Indie Design GAL(short for Gift-a-long) on Ravelry. You will need to be a member of Ravelry to participate but that is free and Ravelry has so much to offer that you won't regret it! You can chat with designers and other crafters, play games, win prizes, and more importantly finish all the things!!!

 You are invited join us at to participate. 

There will be hundreds of prizes, beautiful projects, access to your favorite Indie Designers, and heaps of friendly, giftie chatter.  My gift to you is a 25% discount on these patterns when you use the coupon code “giftalong2014” from Nov 13 – Nov 21 EST. 

I hope you join the fun! Thank you for supporting Independent Designers!

Here are some more stats about the Gift-a-long

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Christmas is Coming!

Okay, so maybe I got started a bit early with Christmas when I started designing new Christmas stocking patterns in August! I was on a roll though and now have 4 new patterns.  
 I was inspired by the beautiful Selbu designs from Norway and incorporated "Endless Roses" into each of these stockings. This rose on the vines is a typical pattern used in Selbu mittens, gloves, hats and sweaters. The first pattern will be available in a new online magazine soon to be published. I will let you know when that comes out. The others are available through or

Let me introduce you to them. 

This is Endless Roses. It has a heel that I had not seen before knitting some bunad stockings from a Norwegian book. The rose trellis covers the stocking from cuff to toe. The heel is knitted as a flap and then the stitches are joined across the bottom by knitting two together so that it looks like it is grafted.

Here we have Diamonds and Roses. The diamond pattern is also commonly used in Selbu knitting. This stocking has a mostly plain foot. It is an easy to remember stranded repeat that goes quickly and is great for beginners to two-color knitting.

 And finally we have Spider in the Roses. Can you find the spiders? Hint: There is a big one right in the center. The others are being sneaky! Yes, the spider is a bit stylized but this is pretty much the pattern that has been used for many years in Norwegian knitting. The photo didn't show that this is really a dark green with the white but it also looks great in other colors. 

All of these patterns were designed with worsted weight yarn which will make a big stocking. Finished measurements are about 24" long and 16-17" circumference. I have made a couple of them in sport weight which comes out at about 18" long and 12" circumference. For an even smaller stocking you could use fingering weight yarn. 

Of course, the color combinations are up to you. Some of my test knitters tried these in blue and white which is beautiful. One used red and white for the main pattern of Spider in the Roses and green and white for the rest of the stocking. 

So do you need to make some new Christmas Stockings this year? Each pattern is $6 or you can buy the ebook which includes all 3 patterns for $13.50. 


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.

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

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Amaliya in red for February

I had so much fun designing and knitting this beautiful, textured set!  There is a capelet with a cowl collar that covers the shoulders and neck, a hat to warm the ears and either mittens or fingerless mitts for the hands.  The texture makes pockets on the inside to trap the warmth. The texture reminds me of the bark on our Ash tree. The set looked so good on our beautiful daughter, Amy, that I named it in her honor. 

Meet Amaliya !
The patterns are available on my web site. You can buy separate patterns for each piece or a combined pattern which includes all 4 pieces.


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