Blog - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher
Better SSK

Tuesday Tip – Matching SSK & YOs

Tuesday Tip copyRecently I ran a knitalong with Creative Knitting for my Fan the Flames Cowl. Since you know, I’m gonna pack it full of tips and tricks that aren’t on the page, I thought I’d share some of my favorites here.

Here I go over the two things that drives a perfectionist lace knitter crazy. How to make their SSKs match their K2togs and making their YOs match in size.  I’ll tell ya the truth, there are three different tricks to making your YOs match, this is just one of them (I teach all three in Patty’s Knitting Bag of Tricks!)

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Book Now – Caribbean Knitting Cruise

We’re going to the Caribbean Baby!
Caribbean Knitting Cruise

You’ve been patiently waiting (all right some of you not so patiently :), but here it is, we are ready for booking!

Caribbean Knitting Cruise

Dec. 5th-10th, 2015

Pack up your yarn, bathing suit and flip flops and join me, Melissa Leapman and Laura Nelkin as we sail and knit.

I’m insanely excited to be sailing with two fabulous designer / teachers (and all around awesome ladies), and I’m teaching some of my all time favorite classes.

I think I may end up designing a special little tank top just for the occasion!

Book now, because Melissa’s last cruise sold out FAST.

Click here to find out info on the cruise and to BOOK!
Click here for the full downloadable brochure.
Click here for a mail in registration form.

For more information, contact Ms. Joel Irby at (253) 815-6625 (Monday through Friday, 9-5 Pacific) or e-mail her at

Learn Blocking – Online Webinar

Online Knitting classes – Blocking

Knitting Webinar

Knitting Daily

It’s time for another Webinar. I’m returning to teach an encore performace (da, da, da, da!) of my blocking class

Blocking Techniques for Knitters


Use promo code: PATTYLYONS15 to get 15% off

shawl unblocked
shawl block
Spacer 20x20 pixels Blocking Techniques in Knitting
webinar with Patty Lyons. 
Why spend all that time knitting a garment, only to stop short of making it look great! Blocking is an essential part of finishing your garment off perfectly. Blocking evens out your stitches, sets your size, and in some cases can even mask your mistakes.  Patty has spent years teaching thousands of students to consider the importance of every step of knitting, such as yarn selection, gauge and blocking.In this webinar we will go over the three main methods of blocking (wet, steam and spray) and learn how to use all the tools such as blocking boards and wires. We will go over the importance of blocking your swatch and how we make choose our blocking method. We’ll also discuss blocking unusual shapes, special stitch patterns, as well as learn a bit about different fiber properties. Come on, don’t stop short of the perfect finish!
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  • Learn how to choose your blocking method.
  • Learn how to wet block, steam block and spray bottle block.
  • Master proper use of tools such as blocking board, wires, tailors ham, seaming roll, wooly board and more.
  • Explore how different fibers react differently to blocking methods.
  • Discover how to avoid common blocking mistakes that can ruin your garment.
  • Learn how to block unusual shapes as well as shaped garments.


  • Knitters or crocheters who are new to blocking.
  • Experienced knitters or crocheters who have not been happy with their blocking results
  • Knitters or crocheters who want to learn more about fiber properties.
  • Knitters or crochetrs who have always used the same method to block (with not always the best results).
  • Knitters and crocheters who have never used blocking wires.
  • Knitters and crocheters who want to learn how to block unusual shapes
  • Knitters and crocheters who want to avoid blocking disasters.
  • Knitters and crocheters who want their project to come out perfect every time!


Don’t miss out on the perfect pair to this class: Secrets of Yarn Substitution


I heart Vogue Knitting Chicago!!

Hello Chicago - p.lyons

The first sight of Chicago through the plane window made the city look like it was painted by Monet (very appropriate considering The Art Institute’s famous impressionist collection)

I always fall down on the job taking photos in Chicago. It is arguably one of the world’s most photogenic cities, with the lakefront and amazing architecture, every glance of downtown offers you a spectacular view . . . and then, there’s the lobby of the Palmer House!

Welcome to Vogue Knitting Live Chicago!

To say this venue is a special place, doesn’t quite cut it. I’ve taught in hotels and conference centers all over the country, but none of them welcomes you with this. Vogue Knitting Live Chicago at The Palmer House is truly magic!


My first night there I taught “All About Stripes” to an amazing group and it really started my show off right

All About Stripes class - p.lyons

Things just kept getting better as I headed to the market Friday night after another wonderful day of teaching.  As I got close to the entrance I saw one of my designs had made it onto the Vogue Knitting mannequin!! SQUEEEEE!!!!!

Vogue Knitting Sweater - p.lyons

I headed into the market to ooh and ah at the fiber art:

Fiber Art: Vogue Knitting Chicago. plyons Fiber Art: Vogue Knitting Chicago. plyons









Anna Hrchovec

Anna Hrachovec – Mochi Mochi


After seven classes I was both exhilarated AND exhausted all at the same time.  My amazing students give me so much, and I even got a wonderful bracelet from a student from Istanbul,


and this card from another . . . it sums up how I feel about my students, the other teachers, and the entire staff of Vogue Knitting Live


If you missed it . . . don’t worry, you can still join us in New York in January.  Believe me, it’s worth it.  See you all in Jan!

Another fabulous Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool!

It’s been a crazy month, and I’m sitting in a hotel room in Chicago at Vogue Knitting Live (more on that later), and I saw my file of wonderful Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool pictures and realized . . . oh yeah, I was going to post those.

Since I’m 15 hours of teaching deep, with six more to go, and I can barely keep my eyes open, I’m just going to post some pretty pictures and say this . . . if you’ve never been to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool, seriously, go. It’s always the third weekend in October, the sky is always blue, the leaves are always perfect, the sheep are always adorable, the food is always great and the yarn . . . well the yarn is . . . YARN!

I did wear my newest sweater, the Highrise Vest (onsale on my Ravelry page)

Highrise Vest - patty lyons

and in honor of my favorite weekend of the year, I posted my Rhinebeck Hat and Rhinebeck Wristers on my Ravelry pattern store!

Rhinebeck Hat - patty lyonsRhinebeck hat - patty lyons









Rhinebeck wristers

And now . . . onto the sheep. Road trip to

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool


On the Road to Rhinebeck!!!!

Rhinebeck 2014 patty lyons

The pond in front of our dream cottage in the woods

Rhinebeck 2014 patty lyons

Hammock time!


Rhinebeck 2014 patty lyons

A quick stop at the winery for supplies!

Rhinebeck 2014 patty lyons

The leaves are perfect

Rhinebeck 2014 patty lyons

How did I get here???

Rhinebeck 2014 patty lyons

Leaping Llamas!

Rhinebeck 2014 patty lyons




Rhinebeck 2014

Last glance before we leave!

Goodbye for now, see you soon sheepies!




Dream Weekend: Maine + Sweaters + Lobsters = Make Wear Love


Is it possible to be homesick for a place that isn’t your home? It can when that place is as special as coastal Maine and you just came back from spending a weekend teaching with amazing students in the company of amazing fellow teachers in a most AMAZING location at the Make. Wear. Love retreat.

From the first glance at the coast and our lighthouse home, I knew this was going to be an incredibly special weekend – but I had no idea how special.










Make Wear Love retreat – sweater love and proud of it!

The retreat is the brain child of Amy Herzog to spend a weekend focusing on sweater making, and helping students put what they learned through Custom Fit in action (if anyone out there in blogland doesn’t know about Custom Fit, click the link – seriously, your sweater knitting life will never be the same), but it was SOOOO much more than that.

I think what spoke to me as a “technique nerd”, was Amy’s welcome comments that first night. She mentioned the much noted statistic that there are more knitters than golfers, yet one big difference is golfers don’t apologize. They don’t apologize or feel “silly” for the time and money they spend working on perfecting the thing they love. This comment was like a bolt out of the blue for me. As someone who has made their life’s work exploring what others might find to be “minutia” (like the technical details of how our stitches are formed and how to form them better), I felt more than just validated, more then just appreciated, I felt understood – and so did every knitter in that room.

I was expecting to be inspired by working with incredible teachers like Amy (who made knitters embrace the thing I love to make more than anything – sweaters) Clara Parkes (obviously to say she “wrote the book” on everything about yarn is not just an expression – if I could crack open her head like a walnut and extract everything she knows about yarn . . . but that’s creepy, so instead I’ll just bask), Kim McBrien Evans (who created such amazing yarn with the most brilliant colors and equally brilliant names – seriously BRILLIANT), and Gwen Bortner (a woman proud to call herself a technician, and damn does she know some cool tricks!), but I didn’t anticipate how inspired I’d be by the 80 spectacular knitters who showed up to learn.

The weekend was filled with such laughter, relaxation and ah ha moments, it’s impossible to sum up, so I’ll just share one story and then let the pictures speak for themselves. I was there to teach “Improve Your Knitting”, that meant we spent hours just focused on better ways to form the stitch, tension your yarn, create increases and decrease, blah, blah, blah.  We weren’t “making” anything (except better knitters), but wow were these knitters energized and brilliant students.

There were two friends Cindy and Britta who took the time to show me just how much their knitting had changed since taking my class (something that brings me more joy then I can say).  Cindy showed me a swatch and said, pointing the the bottom half “look, this is the swatch I made before your class, and here (pointing to the top half) is my knitting after your class.  Can you see the difference?”.  After a moment of dumbfounded silence I nearly yelled ” What am I, hard of seeing? Of course I can see the difference!”.  These pictures don’t quite capture it, but . . .

"Before" she then used it as a swatch for finishing class

“Before” she then used it as a swatch for finishing class


After. Note the size difference from the back and how neat and perfect her stitches are.













The next day, Britta was in my class.  I was walking around the room watching people knit and giving feedback, and I made a small suggestion to Britta on a change she might make to how she was tensioning her yarn. She screwed up her face and stared at her knitting with the intense concentration of a golfer trying to perfect her put (see it all comes full circle).  By the first break she showed me proudly the perfect stitches she made. Here they both are proudly displaying their knitting. They have a right to be proud.

Cindy showing off her "after" swatch.

Cindy showing off her “after” swatch.

Britta beaming with her brilliant knitting

Britta beaming with her brilliant knitting










Then there was the knitter who decided to start her sweater over once she took Kim’s class, knowing she COULD get the neckline she wanted, the knitter who told me she would never look at yarn the same way again after taking Clara’s class, the knitter who seamed her VERY FIRST ever sweater together after taking Gwen’s class, and the knitter, after knitter, after knitter, who told stories of how they made the sweater they love thanks to Amy’s classes.

I teach at a lot of shows and guilds where you spend 3 – 6 hours with knitters. Spending three days, talking, listening, laughing and eating Lobster with knitters . . . that’s a whole different, wonderful ballgame.

Here are a few pictures to enjoy. I hope when the traffic noise and crazy life of NYC gets too much, I can close my eyes and see the coast, smell the air, feel the grass under my feet and hear the click of needles and the laughter of happy knitters.

p.s. If you want to know how AWESOME it is to spend an entire weekend exploring sweaters in a beautiful place, I hope you can join me at Camp Stitches this year. I blogged about my last time here.





Sketch Inspiration Station

Sketch Inspiration Station



Lobster Bake

Lobster Bake



Candlepin Bowling

Candlepin Bowling

What a way to spend an afternoon

What a way to spend an afternoon

Secret Knitting Nook!

Secret Knitting Nook!


Tuesday Tip – Measuring Gauge









Tuesday Tip copyYeah, yeah, yeah (you’re probably thinking), I know I need to make a gauge swatch. This isn’t about the need or even the how, but the what the heck do you do when . . . .

Measuring in Knitting – The X-Ray

So as many of you that have taken my gauge class knows, I’m not a fan of just measuring the entire width of a swatch to get your gauge. This method (for me) has proven to be very inaccurate, especially when designing a garment in negative ease where the gauge will really matter.

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Design Inspiration: A Day At The Beach Scarf

Designing Knitting Stitches


So where does inspiration come from? From a sunset, a beautiful field, a work of art . . . a laundry hamper.

Yep, you heard me right. Sometimes inspiration comes from the weirdest places.  A little over a year ago, my husband David and I were at an adorable Inn In Woodstock New York, and I just loved the laundry hamper.  It was a cool basket with a kind of weird swirley pattern.

Even though I was on deadline at the time for another sweater (more on that hoodie at a later date), I picked up my needles and started playing around to see if I could recreate it. I tried traditional cables, and lace stitches, and finally, I just invented a weird twisted stitch pass over thingy that I quite liked.

1 Basket

Laundry Basket

2 Swatch

Stitch it Inspired








Does the stitch look exactly like the basket?  Not at all, but that’s not the point. The basket was a jumping off point that made me pick up my needles.  I stopped trying to “match” it when I got something on my needles that said “hey, stop, look at me, aren’t I cute?”

Since I loved the way it added a certain structure to a really floopy silk, and the swatch trapped air in a pleasing way, I thought, scarf or shawl???  How bout scawl or sharf. That’s when you can’t quite make up your mind so you design a really wide scarf that can stretch out over your shoulders, or squinch up around your neck.  Also, it’s easy to adjust at any length or width because it’s a 4 stitch repeat.

So if you want to make one for yourself,

Here ya go (click on the picture or name for more info, or the “buy now” to .  . . well, you know)

Day at the Beach Scarf

Why New York City is Like Your Family


I woke up with my head full of deadlines, and then I turned on NY1 for my daily dose of weather on the 1s, and “In the Papers”, and I realized what day it is. I’ve never written about 9/11, in part because of how politicized it has become and the terrible things that have been done in it’s name, but I went onto Facebook and saw this really wonderful video posted by my brilliant friend Francesca. (you can watch it here).

New York City after 9/11

It made me remember what it was like to come to the city when it was so beat up and broken. I posted this on Facebook:

“I moved to NY for a job (the amazing show The Last Five Years). I arrived on Dec 3, 2001. It was 12 weeks after 9/11 and the city was still on fire, the subways were a mess, people downtown still wore masks, the city was hurting, and the people were amazing. It’s hard to describe what it was like, but it was sad and wonderful and beautiful. We’ve lost a bit of that spirit of kindness that existed in those months following the attack, but it still comes back when we need it the most. I’ll never forget how amazing people were during the city wide blackout that happened two years after 9/11. I forgot who said it, but when asked why there was virtually no rioting or crime during the blackout (the city was ravaged by crime during the citywide blackout in the 70s) someone said, because New Yorkers now know the difference between a tragedy and an inconvenience. I saw that spirit of kindness again after Sandy.

We all complain about NYC from time to time. It can be a hard place to live in, but it can also be unspeakably beautiful. I love New York. Thanks for taking me in when you were broken.”

It started me thinking about New York and how frustrating, wonderful, difficult, exciting, ridiculous, brilliant, horrible, and magical it is to live in this city.  You hate and love this place. It infuriates and delights you. It’s like your family.

Just like your family, it’s not perfect, but it’s yours. You understand it when others don’t. You can complain about the insane rents and home prices, but when someone outside the city says “but you can get a mansion in (fill in the blank) for that price”, you say “but then I’d have to live in (fill in the blank) and not NYC.” You can complain about the city, but you are defensive when non New Yorkers ask you “how can you live there?”

After all, just like your family, you can complain about it, but up comes your dukes if anyone else dares to do the same (I think that’s what bugged me so much about the tourist family I wrote about in my subway rant). So just like your family you might take the city for granted from time to time.

So on this day, let’s take a minute to thank our city for everything it gives us. Through all the craziness of the last 13 years, I can still say – I Love New York.

Tuesday Tip – Better Bind Off

Tuesday Tip copyWhen Bad bind offs happen to good people.

When you bind off do you get something that looks like a noose at the end of your knitting? Does it bug you as much as it does me?

Better Bind Off

First let’s take a look at what a regular bind off leaves you with:


Not an enjoyable edge!

Ah, but to paraphrase Jason Robert Brown’s Last Five Years (movie coming out soon!), we can do better than that!

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