The Importance of Checking for Errata and the Power of Gauge

I taught a bag finishing workshop in a little shop about two years ago. . . my students were diligently working on something so the room was quiet and I was walking around checking on what people were doing. The shop owner was looking after the shop but she had stepped out to pick up coffee or sandwiches or some such. I was the only “official” in the shop. A woman walked in with a sweater project she was working on, a lovely lacy affair out of sparkly white yarn. She stood uneasily in the doorway of the classroom. She wavered and then said quietly, “Can someone help me with this?” Her eyes pleaded. She said, “I’ve been trying this one row now for 3 hours. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. It doesn’t look like the picture. I’ve tried everything.” So I gave it a try. It didn’t work for me either.

“Did you check the errata page?” I asked her. By this time the shop owner had returned and took over, leading the woman to the front of the shop and searching the magazine errata page for the sweater. There was a lengthy list of the errors in the pattern . . . She copied down all the corrections and they nearly filled one side of a letter-sized piece of paper.

It is very difficult to write a pattern that is free of errors, and the more complicated the pattern, the harder it becomes, multiply by 46 and it is very nearly impossible. Thus, my book, like most every book, has some typos we all missed, and some errors that got by us, as well as some things that are not so much errors as things I want you to know–such as which yarn companies discontinued a particular yarn in the year and a half between when they gave the yarn to me for a sample and the book came out. . .  more about items in this category in a minute.

I tell you these things to make my own plea that you all make it a habit to check the errata pages of any book, magazine, pattern singlet, indie design that you are working on, preferably before you begin working. Errata may not yet have been posted, but if there are any, you will see them.

I wish I could say that there is not a single mistake in the book, but alas, I cannot . . .

There is an errata page for Noni Flowers.  I have found some things myself and also rely on you knitters to alert me to things that got by me and the rest of us who worked on the book.

A knitter just wrote to me, for example, that the English Bluebell pattern, while correct, conflicts with the sample in the picture. The picture shows a stem with 1 main flower and 4 flowers along the stalk. . . the pattern has you make 5 flowers along the stalk. I was so focused on making sure the pattern was correct I never thought to count the blossoms. None of us did.

Please check the errata page. And please let us know if you find something. This allows us to list errors and inconsistencies and change future printings. To the first person who alerts me to a particular error, I will send a thank-you gift pdf pattern.

The Power of Gauge

Just after the book was released, I was poking around on the Amazon website and noticed the first review of the book by a knitter (thank you, Lynn!). It’s a lovely, laudatory review and I was thrilled. Lynn mentioned, in particular, the two-page spread about the power of gauge. She had carefully gotten out her ruler and measured the smallest flower and the largest one, offering their heights in inches to the reader of the review to give an idea of just how much of a difference gauge can make, with the smallest flower being less than an inch tall and the largest over 8 inches tall. In other words, she interpreted the picture as showing the Stephanotis at actual size on the page.

The spread in the book does not, however, show the flowers at actual size . . . And the trio of photographs that Sully and I worked on for these pages had a foot-long ruler in every photograph to help the knitter with an accurate sense of scale. These rulers were excised by the press. While I did not object to the rulers in the first two pictures being removed, the last ruler next to the largest flower was removed against my objections. As a compensatory measure,I mistakenly thought providing the needle size and yarn choices for each flower would go some distance toward replacing the ruler(s). I see that information is not sufficient in all cases to all knitters. I present to you now the three original photographs so you can see for yourselves that the smallest flower hovers around 2 inches (5cm) tall while the largest flower is nearly three feet tall.

Aside from practical considerations and its efficiency at conveying scale, one of the reasons I love this little ruler is that it belonged to my grandmother. As you can see, it was one of those little gifts that banks give out to good customers. I have lots of things like this that belonged to her: a mechanical pencil that advertise a Charlotte NC shoe shop long gone, my grandfather’s neurosurgery practice letterhead, the beginning of my grandmother’s memoir written on the backs of checks, a list of the books of poetry she read over the course of 50 years, novels that belonged to her own mother, a tiny collection of Shakespeare’s complete works (leather bound, each one scarcely 2 inches tall). . . I would have loved to work them into the book somehow . . . the books and the bell in the Forget-me-not pillow picture were hers. . .

My thinking, for including the rulers, was that all the book designer person had to do was make the rulers the same size and then we would see that all the flowers were correctly sized in relation to one another. Yes, I suppose it might be a little distracting to see the rulers and all the more so with the advertisement for Citizens bank and the 3% interest rate, etc., but perhaps you forgive me when you know it was my Granny’s ruler. And, besides, knowing the proper size of the flower is so much more important than a little visual fuss.

The yarn companies making business decisions to discontinue a certain yarn or color without consenting me is annoying but understandable. Crystal Palace Fizz no longer has Mink in its line up, so those who want to make sunflowers with dark centers my want to choose Black as a good substitute. Also consider that some sunflowers have bright yellow centers and so you should match that yellow with a yellow Fizz. Consult pictures of actual sunflowers for ideas.

I have learned from Shibui that Silk Cloud is no longer available in Blossom, the pale pink I used for the inner petals of the Fuchsia. Rowan Kid Silk Haze does offer an almost identical color, however.

As I learn more about these sorts of changes in yarn and yarn color line-ups, I will post on the Noni Flowers errata page. Again, please check before you knit. . .

Live Podcast TODAY, the next Noni KAL, and All Around Update


First, some exciting news that I should have been leading up to for weeks! I am appearing on Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski TODAY at 3:30. The show airs on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm EST and runs LIVE, with listeners invited to call in for 2 hours! (3 – 5 EST). I’ll be “on” from about 3:35 – 4:00 as the schedule appears. How to listen?  Go to and click on the button at the top of the page to “listen to the show live”. If you don’t make it to hear the show, it will be available a couple of hours afterwards HERE. Come & Listen Today!


The Fuchsia Gossamer Wrap Kits Are READY!

Now that your copy of Noni Flowers is nestled cozily in your knitting bag or, perhaps  it is sitting in a special place on the coffee table (I would be so happy), or it might yet be speeding toward you through the mail system, I have finished preparing kits for The Gossamer Fuchsia Wrap contained in the book so that we might do a little more knitting along with each other: This wrap (a perfect compliment to your summer wardrobe! and a most delicious thing to wear over bare shoulders on a cool summer night.

If you would like to order your kit from Noni, you can do so on Ravelry. I’ve got 2 colorways:  the pictured Peony & Blossom colorway (only 3 currently available)

And my new personal favorite, the fabulous Mulberry & Blush colorway (many in stock) that I love so much I am making it for myself.

The kit includes 3 skeins of the silk cloud wrap color, 1 skein each of the silk cloud green and lighter inner petal color, and, as my gift to you, a lovely organza project bag & free shipping.


What I’ve been up to . . .  and later this week . . .

Book activities are getting exciting! I spent last weekend in Sarasota Florida at A Good Yarn. Recently voted “BEST SHOP” in Sarasota, (not best yarn shop. . . but Best Shop) It is a fabulous store, one that inspires ideas just by glancing around.

I taught my first Art of Knitting Flowers class there and it was absolutely wonderful. What a great bunch of ladies!

More to come: Book signing & one-day Noni Flowers trunk show at The Yarn Spot here in Maryland on Thursday from 5 – 8. Come join us!

And Friday, another signing & flowers trunk show at The Old Town Yarnery in Fredericksburg VA. Saturday, I will be teaching a shortened version of my Art of Knitting Flowers workshop. There may still be space, so call to sign up.


Thank you note to those who have ordered Noni Flowers

It is less than a full day until the release of Noni Flowers.

The book has been getting some great press. We are collecting all of the reviews and other Noni Flowers news on the website News & Events page. The reviews have been more than I could have hoped for . . . in a word: raves! And I hear there are more to come, so please keep checking the page or look for updates on the Noni Designs Facebook page.

Nearly 1000 lbs of books (an entire palette with 60 cartons on it) arrived at my studio on Thursday morning early . . . so early that I was brushing my teeth at home when the call came that they were already at the studio (a full hour before the agreed to scheduled time!). You might be interested to see a video I took of the books arriving.

I was signing and shipping books until midnight on Thursday, back at it on Friday from 10 am until 7 pm.

And as I sat and signed the copies for shops and then signed and wrote personal notes in the copies for those of you who purchased copies of the books directly from me, I found myself very moved. A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have pre-ordered the book from whatever source. Your purchase will help make the book a success. Please share notices of the book with your knitting friends . . . and consider the book as a gift perfect for spring giving, a mother’s day present, a lovely and unusual gift for the avid gardener knitter, or perhaps for the avid gardener who just loves flowers enough to want to see pictures of them knitted.

My very special thank you to all of you who have ordered (and will order) from me directly through the Noni Flowers website. In this still difficult economy when every book is discounted by just about everyone even before it is published, you paid full price in order to support me directly. I hope all of you who ordered love my little thank you note Hibiscus Flower Pattern (available exclusively to those who purchase the book through the Noni Flowers site or from me at the Noni Studio, the MD Sheep & Wool Fest in May, and Rhinebeck in the Fall).

Thank you. Thank you.

Bag No. 4

This is the bag on the drawing board right now. . .

It will have 3 sizes. See the icy palette below. Each size will contain some black.

And the bags will be decorated with French Anemones.

Here is my sketch.

The top will be structured with a hex frame, the bottom with stiffener and no less than 6 bag feet, maybe more. She will have a black leather handle. Nickel findings.

She is elegant but also practical.

Who is she?

Bag No. 3

This pattern will contain 2 sizes and I do believe they might be able to nest, the smaller in the larger (how cool!). I will let you know once they are felted. The palette is delicious: one darker and one lighter tone in the same color. It will be a surprise which size is in pink and which orange.

Here is my sketch.

You’ve seen these frames before: check out Vintage bag  and Bowling Ball Bag for both sizes.

The hardware combination is going to be stunning!

A chain will grace the smaller bag, allowing you to carry her as a handbag and also as a shoulder bag. The larger frame arc is tall enough to put over your shoulder.

The bottom of the bag will be structured with bag feet available in nickel, gunmetal, and antique brass, the same finishes as the frames. You can add sparkle or not as you prefer, but you will definitely want to use either a turnlock or fancy snap to close the frame, deeply curved to match the arch of the frame

Pick one name for both, or allow them both personalities. . . might they be sisters? A mother/daughter pair? Devoted friends? Traveling companions?

I will be on tenter hooks to see what you come up with!

Bag No. 2

This diminutive bag is very structured. She is rather understated in a palette of greys with sparkles in abundance toward her base as though she were dipped in stars.

She is the perfect evening bag. . . and she might not come out to play until this Fall. I have not decided yet.

She’s looking for a lovely namesake. . . who will appreciate her.

All of these bags will be available as full kits as pictured or as custom kits as soon as they are released.  .  . stay tuned for updates about where to get them first!

Bag No. 1

The color palette I have chosen is black.  I will make two samples: one will be made in black beaded silk. The other sample will be black wool (felted) with clear sparkles.

The bag will have 4 bag feet in the same finish as the frame: antique silver.

The hardware is exquisite. . .

Here is a peek at my sketch.

And here is a hint of the beautiful frame with a matching chain attached.

The bag is in the 6 – 7″ wide where it meets the frame and about 7″ tall from bottom to frame.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Bag Naming Contest!: Pick the Lady, Tell the Story, Win!

I have designed my new Spring/Summer bag collection and I am, I must confess to you, in love with these bags.

One of my favorite, and often vexing, parts of this process, is naming the bag.

I have, in recent past, followed a trajectory of travel titles such as Nomad–didn’t that bag look sort of like a glam version of the historically ubiquitious hobo wrap on a stick!?

Bedouin–didn’t this remind you of those fabulous Persian bags that were used for everything from water to foodstuffs to clothes? We know them as pillows. . . but they are bags!?). But these are large bags, meant for adventures. Pack everything you will need, put the strap over your shoulder, and get on the road.

This collection of bags is more ladylike. There will be a slouchy bag in the mix, eventually, but she is the only one not yet on the drawing board. . .

Each bag has a clear identity . . . but I have not yet been able to apply the right name to her.

With the one exception of Ella’s Going Out Bag.

The bag is small-ish. Ella wears clothes with no pockets to weigh her down and the Going Out Bag has the same sort of mentality. She loves to dance. She is all ruffles and even French Anemone flourishes (real-looking as a Noni Flower should be!). In white, she could get married or lead the attendants to their places. In bright mossy green with hot colored petals she’d draw every eye on the streets of New York. In mint with blushing petals, she looks good enough to nibble. She is, in short, delicious. Nevertheless, she is flexible and can go anywhere, from gay frolick through the botanical garden, to garden party, to the cinema. She is even the best friend of girly little girls.

To name the other bags . . . I need your help!

I am having a contest. I have 4 bags to name. Here are the contest rules (imagine stern voice, thus the all caps and bold!).


1. The name of the bag must be that of a female literary heroine or wonderful character from Literature. I say Literature with a capital L . . . no bodice rippers, no pulp fiction, no vampire tales. I think I might just have heard a groan, but I’m standing firm.

Peruse your shelves. . . open those boxes from the university days, browse your local book shop. You can pick an inspiring heroine from children’s literature.

Madeline comes to mind . . .though I’m not sure she’s quite right for any of these bags . . . as she is a bit too likely to throw a cute bag in the ditch while climbing over a fence and then, perchance, forget where she launched it (as my son has done with his favorite blue cap two days in a row. . . I’ve been in the all-too-familiar-to-moms position of driving back to all those places we just were to find it [we did, both times, but I digress]. Prove me wrong about Madeline if you must. . . Read no. 2.

2. You must defend your choice: It is not enough simply to yell out the name of a female character. STELLA!  STELLA!  No, you must convince us that you have chosen well. Tell us the story of the personality of the bag and the heroine (as I have done above about our Ella) in 200 words or less. What is most important is that you capture the character of the bag and the heroine.

3. Finished, lovely entries must be received as a comment on the particular bag no later than midnight EST April 13, 2012, no exceptions! I will be creating a separate Blog Posting for each bag. These separate postings will divulge the colors I have chosen for the samples, along with key elements. I will also post my sketches of each bag. I will start posting tonight at 5pm EST and also at the same time on my Facebook page. . . All bags will be posted by tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5pm. I will be fielding questions you might have here below in the comments and also on a Wednesday night (abbreviated 9 – 9:30 pm EST) Ravelry Live Chat (formerly for the Ella coat).

4. What you WIN!!!  Not only will the winning entry for each bag see the winning description in the pattern itself and on the Noni website, but the winner will receive a Noni kit for that particular bag (a delicious prize!). Noni reserves the right to edit the winning entry for space considerations if necessary. The colors and size of the bag in the kit will be the sole discretion of Noni Designs, Ltd.

Good luck!