Blog - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

Designing Cables

I often get asked about my “design process,” and I feel sheepish and inadequate and usually make up some kind of nonsense about being inspired by the colors of the turning leaves or the way the light hits the brick of a New York building. . . but since it’s just us, I thought I’d give you a peek into how my days really go, and my real design process (and hi-tech tools!)

I’m a knitter, and I’m a knitting teacher, and I also design sweaters. I think more like a knitter than a great artist, so mostly my designs are wearable sweaters that I would want to knit for myself.

In design I do use a lot of fancy schmancy computer tools like Excel for pattern grading, charting software, and Illustrator for schematics . . . but since I didn’t go to fashion school, I approach my designs with several other highly professional tools (like twist ties, old t-shirts, scissors, paper, and scotch tape).

I thought it would be fun from time to time to peek under the hood and look at some of my silly tools . . . today’s exploration:

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It’s Never Too Late: Fixing Your Knitting

Last month I was thrilled at the release of my first class with Interweave Patty’s Knitting Bag of Tricks (reviews found here), now I’m happy to announce my second: Advanced Fixes in Knitting.

Fixing Your Knitting

In this two DVD set (or digital download) we go over fixes on the needles in lace, cables, in the round, color work, shaping and more, AND fixes after your work has been bound off . . . that’s right, it’s never too late to fix your knitting!

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Fun at the Madison Knitters Guild Knit In

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get to return to one of the most awesome knitting guilds, Madison!

I spoke at the guild last year, and had this amazeballs view from the stage:

Madison Knitter's Guild

Madison Knitter’s Guild 2014 – – That’s what over 500 knitters looks like!

The guild is filled with some of the most mad skilled knitters I’ve ever seen in one place . . . so when they asked me back to be the keynote speaker and featured teacher for their annual event, I was thrilled!

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Tuesday Tip: Duplicate Stitch to the Rescue!

Tuesday Tip copyBy far the most powerful tool in the knitter’s toolbox is duplicate stitch (also known as swiss darning). There are so many fixes that can be done once you master this little darling. Furthermore, once you do, you will also have a much better understanding of the anatomy of your stitches.

Swiss Darning (Duplicate Stitch) Sock Repair

Heel of sock is nearly worn through. A wooden darning egg is helpful for this operation

Save Your Knitting : Duplicate Stitch to Prevent a Hole

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YOUR Top Ten Least Favorite Knitting Myths



Last year I wrote a post called My Top Ten Least Favorite Knitting Myths. Recently it’s been bopping around the internet and over 175 AMAZING comments were added.

What I loved the most about the comments, is how many of you clearly share my frustration with being told “always” or “never” or “right” or “wrong”. Out of the comments, I’ve put together YOUR top 10 least favorite knitting myths, the ones that were mentioned multiple times. (with comments by me in italics)

Top Ten Least Favorite Knitting Myths

#10: You Don’t Need to Learn to Knit If You Already Crochet
(Crazy, I’ve never heard this one, I knit and crochet. Can’t imagine what’s not AWESOME about knowing them both)

– that one kept me from learning to knit for a long time. I think I was afraid to learn to knit, as if my crochet skills would suddenly vanish.

#9:  You should sell your stuff and get rich
(I’ll just let the article on the myth of the million dollar “hand knit” biz speak for itself: )

– Oh wow you should quit your job and open an Etsy store for your knits. You’ll make so much money. Yeah…not quite.
– The person that says ”you should sell what you make” wouldn’t pay the price either.

#8: Continental Knitting is Faster
(Continental can be fast, but so can a lot of other styles. Lily Chin is a thrower, and she’s crazy fast. I’ve seen lever knitters knit like the wind)

– Continental knitting is just intrinsically faster. This is the biggest myth of all. Continental knitters cling to it like members of some cult.
– My pet peeve is when I’m told that if I switch to continental I’ll be able to knit faster.

#7: All Knitter’s want to knit faster
(This made me so happy to read. I also believe that focus on good form and creation of even stitches is more important than speed)

– Knitting isn’t a race to the finish line. Knit for the pleasure of the experience and savor it.
– Why would I want to knit faster? Knitting is not about instant gratification – at least to me

#6: There is a “right” and a “wrong” way to knit
(Everyone who’s ever taken a class with me knows how I feel about this. The only “wrong” in knitting, is when you did something you didn’t mean to do)

– “You are knitting the wrong way.”  . . . Tell any knitter they are “knitting the wrong way” and risk a needle in the eye.
-One (person) called me throwing the yarn ‘the stupid way’ to knit. Hard to bite my tongue sometimes.
– If it looks like knitting…………….lol

#5: Lefties should / should not mirror knit (this one had both sides representing!)
(This one had folks chiming in on both sides. What I’ve never liked is some of my students telling me that a right handed person taught them, and showing them NO options, just “do the opposite of me”. Some were very unhappy with being told what they could and couldn’t do. My only pet peeve is not showing a leftie multiple options and letting the KNITTER decide what’s comfortable, explaining the pros and cons of each option. Since I’m comfortable knitting forward, or backwards and don’t have a strong dominant hand, I always felt knitting was two handed. BUT, now that I’ve worked with so many lefties I see they are many different levels of left handed dominance. Here’s an interesting site about left handed dominance.)

– You simply can’t learn to knit because you are left-handed – that stupid teacher!!!!
-That all knitters should be taught right-handed knitting because knitting uses two hands. Right.
– “Yarn and needles aren’t handed, so knitting isn’t handed” as a reason to teach left-handed people to knit right-handed. . .
– The myth that left-handed people have to knit backwards in a “left-handed way”!!!
– Left-handed people can’t learn to knit from right-handed knitters, or have to do everything backwards, or can’t knit…

#4: Never Knit Your Boyfriend a Sweater . . . and the answer is
(This one had some truly hilarious comments. Maybe wait on the cashmere???)

– Never knit ANYTHING for a boyfriend, until there is a ring on your finger. Words I have sworn by since the Scarf Incident of 1999.
– That must be why I tend to knit something for each of my lovers quite early on in the relationship: the hope that they won’t stick around past their welcome.
– I knitted my husband a jumper…. but he is still here!
– My ex-husband took the sweaters with him. Surprising, since he hardly ever wore them.

#3: Knitting is for old ladies.
(What – EVER!! I can’t believe this one won’t die)

– Why is knitting associated with old? Like everyone is always so impressed that a young 20’s knits and I’m just like why???
–  “knitting is for grannies.” . . . The only possible response to it is, “would that I could knit half as well as my granny.”

#2: Men don’t knit
(Reader warning – some of the comments are hilariously sassy. Read at your own risk 🙂 )

– My husband assures me that his dangly bit has never interfered with his knitting.
– Guy’s Doesn’t Knit and if they knit, they’re gay. Well, you know, I knit, I crochet, I tat, I spin, I love yarn, I’m straight… I don’t know why a crochet or a knitting needle should have a sexual preference correlation? Do you have sex WHILE knitting or crochet?

#1: (Paul Shaffer’s drum roll here) When it comes to knitting, you should ALWAYS . . .

– ALWAYS beware of any ‘rulisms’ that contain the words ALWAYS or NEVER. (LOL)
– The only NEVER in knitting is NEVER believe ALWAYS. The only ALWAYS in knitting, is ALWAYS be wary of NEVERS in knitting.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. It’s amazing how many people still have crazy ideas about knitters.

Stay strong – knit the way you knit – knit the way that makes you happy – and remember

NEVER believe ALWAYS!!

Knit on!

Patty’s Purls of Wisdom is BACK!

Doctor-is-In-Lucy-PeanutsDear Abby for Knitters! – SHE’S BAAAACK

Knitter’s Advice Column

I’m so excited to announce my knitter’s advice column will be back and gracing the pages of Creative Knitting.

I need letters from you amazing knitters out there.

Coming soon . . .  A knitter’s advice column called “Patty’s Purls of Wisdom.” We are looking for great, funny, interesting e-mails to feature from great knitters. We are here to talk about ANYTHING: techniques, tips, how-tos, knitting etiquette, lifestyle questions, you name it. Doesn’t matter how silly you think it is (in fact, we encourage the silly, as it helps us keep our life in perspective).

Questions like:

– What’s the best short row method for a scarf?
– What are the tricks to keeping your sanity when knitting lace?
– How do you avoid killing your spouse when he moves your shawl off the couch making your delicate stitches slip off the needle and your stitch markers tumble to the floor?

Please write them in letter form, just like the old letter’s to Dear Abby. We’d love to feature the full letter in the column, not just the questions, so have fun with it! Let’s all learn from each other and let’s start talking knitting! So e-mail your questions to:

E-mail Patty’s Purl’s of Wisdom (

We look forward to reading your letters, and stay tuned for the first column of “Patty’s Purls of Wisdom.”

Tuesday Tip: Extra Stretchy Bind Off

Tuesday Tip copyLast fall 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.

The words “bind off loosely” can cause much frustration to knitters.  A stitch is wider than it is tall, so OF COURSE, when it lies down on it’s side for a bind off, it can’t possibly reach the next stitch. It needs a little help

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Vogue Knitting Live turns FIVE! (and other tales of knitting)

January is a big month for a knitting professional. First up there’s our annual trade show TNNA, and just days later, came the show I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time – Vogue Knitting Live New York (5th year anniversary show!!!)

It took me a few days (or five to be exact) to recover from the excitement. So much yarn, so many friends, such many incredibly brilliant students it’s hard to sum up.

Here’s my recap in a nutshell. I did a TERRIBLE job remembering to take pictures, but in my defense, I taught 4 classes in two days at TNNA and 7 classes in three days at VK Live, so . . . yeah, I just forgot.

Let me go out of order and give a shout out to the AMAZING fifth anniversary of  . . .

Vogue Knitting Live

I’m so proud to have been a teacher for all five years. This year I was blessed to have nearly 200 students in seven amazing classes. Here’s a few pics (like I said, I didn’t take many). For all you West Coasters, we’re coming your way next! Join us in April

TNNA – The First Building Better Business Day!

Just days before VK NY, I was in sunny Phoenix for TNNA. It was beautiful and I hardly ever got to go outside. I went with my pal Zontee Hou (amazing marketing guru), who was also there to teach at the first Building Better Business Day. It was great to meet so many other professionals (shop owners, designers, wholesalers, reps, teachers) who wanted to strengthen their businesses.

I was only home from vacation for a few days before TNNA, but I did manage to bind off my brand new extra small version of the Windsor Cardi (pattern available on Ravelry)

Windsor Cardi p.lyons

Here are a few shots from the weekend:

Just so you know how professionals on a showroom floor at our trade show behave . . . please enjoy this video of Cat Bordhi


Squeeeee — New Season of Knitting Daily TV!

Me & Vickie Howell

Vickie is either really listening or thinking “wrap it up”

Knitting Daily TV
Check your local listings. I’m on episode 1 & 13 of the new season.

Last October I flew out to film a couple of segments for the new season of Knitting Daily TV. The crew was fantastic, and Vickie Howell was so welcoming and funny and great to work with. 

Here’s, by FAR, my favorite Vickie moment . . . I’m pretty good with timing a filmed segment. I prepare and I have a good internal clock.  As I’m filming my first segment with Vickie, I can tell by her questions, I’m doing fine on time, so I start to slow up a bit. Well, of course, Vickie has an ear piece so the producer can talk to her and give her wrap it up cues.  I’m just at the end of my segment and I say about the technique I’m demoing, “Want to know how”, and just then Vickie gets the wrap it up cue, but she knows I can finish the segment in one take so she says to me “Yes, tell me, and quickly”.  I LOVE HER SO HARD!

Here’s a teaser for the two episodes I’m on. The new season begins on Jan 15th, so check your local listings.  You can click here to find where it plays in your area. I book end the season on episode 1 & 13

Episode 1401

To purchase single episode click on picture below

Knitting Daily TV Episode 1401

Knitting Daily TV Episode 1401

Episode 1413

To purchase single episode click on picture below

Knitting Daily TV Episode 1413

Knitting Daily TV Episode 1413

Click HERE to purchase the whole season

Here’s a few backstage shots. Hope you enjoy the show!


Knitter’s New Year’s Resolution

new year's baby

Okay, I know, it’s not 1916, I wanted to change it to 2015, but one of last year’s resolutions (to learn Photo Shop), clearly never came to be.

A new year, brings a new list of  . . .

Knitter’s New Year’s Resolutions!

1) Stop procrastinating

okay, so based on the fact that I’m writing this on Jan 3rd instead of Jan 1st, I might have already missed that one.

2) Steek without tears

Although it’s possible that the tears slightly felt the wool making for a more stable steek prep.

3) Devote one day a week to be my “learning day”

A teacher needs to commit to continuing education. I have a giant pile of books to read and new knitting techniques to master. You all want fresh class content, so I gotta keep up with ya :).

3) Knit for pleasure

The only drawback to making your living playing with yarn, is it’s really easy to find that you haven’t knit one stitch that isn’t for a video, a class or a magazine for a year and a half.

3) Wipe the dust off my spinning wheel and make some yarn

I know this isn’t really a “knitter’s resolution”, but get off my back.

4) Devote one day to swatching . . . really, every week

Swatching is fun, swatching is dating your yarn, playing the field, messing around. I get sent yarn all the time from generous yarn companies to try. I want to have a regular (I’m gonna say Tuesday) day of cracking out the Stitchionaries and playing with yarn.

5) Stop telling my husband “As soon as I finish this row” when it’s time to (fill in blank), a) leave the house, b) eat, c) go to sleep.

Okay, everyone knows I’m not keeping that one 🙂

What are your “Knit Year’s” Resolutions?