No. 5: Sewing Fuchsias To Your Wrap

Today we sew Fuchsias to the Gossamer Wrap!

If you have been working in Silk Cloud, you have noticed how delicate your Fuchsia are.  I hope you have wired the petals as I suggested you do last week. If you have done this, you will see that the blossoms seem more sturdy, they keep their shape, but they are also squashable – a good thing if you get into the car and lean back on a fuchsia that is dangling so fabulously down your back. Wouldn’t want to be jabbed in a most uncomfortable way by a petal as you speed toward the opera!

What follows is a brief, illustrated guide to the process of embellishing your wrap.

1. Lay your wrap out on a large clean surface.

2. Gather your supplies: regular “sewing” or silk pins, scissors, sharp (rather slender) darning needle).

3. You have a choice to make. You can sew your Fuchsias to the wrap with a strand of Silk Cloud (or your wrap yarn) or sew them on with sewing thread.

Either is a perfectly respectable choice. I chose Silk Cloud in the color of the wrap. I made this choice because I didn’t want the stitches that hold the flower to the wrap to be visible. It might seem logical to use the fuchsia stem color. . . but then those tiny green stitches might show. I left my yarn live from the bind off (see the first photo above) and used it to sew the first Fuchsia on the wrap corner.

3. Using the sewing pins, secure your flower stems in place, then perfect the arrangement, before setting to work on one Fuchsia.

4. With the wrap still on the table, sew the flowers on one-at-a-time until all are secured, removing pins as you go.

But how do we hide the wrap color stitches on the Fuchsia itself? I used the stems like a little subway for the needle and thread: I traveled with the needle through the stem until I reached the destination for a stitch, momentarily emerged to catch just a thread of the wrap before traveling again through the stem subway to the next stop. Securing stitches were made–that is, the finishing off knots and such–in the wrap fabric toward the bottom of the wrap so as to be least visible and then the tail was woven back into the stem of the Fuchsia.

5. Check to make sure that your stitches are invisible on the back side. . . If they are not, consider re-doing.

LA! It’s ready to wear. I can’t wait to see your pictures!

Please post pictures of your finished or in-process wrap in your Ravelry project pages and link to the Gossamer Fuchsia Wrap KAL.

If you are posting your finished/in-process wrap on your Facebook page, please tag Noni Designs.

Anouk & Vianne . . . and The First Winner of Bag Naming Contest Introducted!

If you participated in the Ella Coat Knit-a-Long you know her as Moo2Moo, the fascinating lady of notable wit who made an amazing Ella Coat AND wrote the charming, funny notes that kept us all reading to the very end.

She beguiled me with her description of the 2 bags I offered for naming in my recent bag naming contest. . . I thought of the two bags (known to you then as Bag No. 3) as good enough to eat, sweet candies, and Moo2Moo (her name is Amanda) captured not only the sweetness of these bags but the relationship between them. [For those of you who wrote descriptions of the other bags, I have not forgotten about you. I will announce those winners when those patterns are released.]

Without further ado, I introduce to you Anouk & Vianne!

Here is the description of these delicious bags:

Mythical chocolatier Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk were weavers of magic, capable of transforming simple, every-day ingredients into mouth-watering works of art. Ginger, salt, cinnamon, gold . . . elements previously disparate surprise and delight the senses. These bags, like the chocolate confections of Vianne, are more than the sum of their parts, more than simple chocolate, simple bags: Anouk is small and playful, teaming with vibrant energy; Vianne is more refined and formal. You admire her across the room though she has said nothing. She is captivating. Both move with ease through cities, through gardens mysterious with fog, through windswept landscapes.

I have put the pattern up on Ravelry if you are interested in purchasing the PDF. If you would like the whole beautiful kit for Anouk, including the paper pattern, I have it available (domestic shipping included) for $90. I also have kits for Vianne–perfect knitting or everyday bag! Write to me for information at

After reading Moo2Moo’s/Amanda’s notes, her lovely description . . . I started to wonder, just who is Moo2Moo/Amanda? I scoured her Ella Coat page for clues and couldn’t even figure out what she looks like. I asked her for pictures. .  . and she sent me a portrait of herself.

And I asked her some questions to try to get a little peek into her life. I asked her the typical knitterly question of when did you learn to knit? Here’s what she said:

My great grandmother taught me to knit cotton dishcloths when I was somewhere between 6 and 8 years old. It was boring as hell and something I quickly abandoned, preferring to spend my time with my nose buried in a book, any book, something I’ve never grown out of. Last summer [my emphasis!] a friend came to stay bringing with her a scarf she was knitting. She wanted to knit a tea cosy as a gift for her sister and so we surfed and found Ravelry and a veritable deluge of tea cosy patterns. I fell in love with Debbie Birkin’s Owl Tea Cosy despite not having knitted anything in about 3 decades, nor owning a tea pot or even being a tea drinker.  We took a trip to Hobbycraft (a craft department store) and came home armed with the necessary materials (and quite a lot of totally unnecessary things). After that I watched quite a lot of YouTube videos in order to learn how to cast on and to remind myself how to knit. With each new technique I’ve needed I’ve found a YouTube video to suit.

Where are you from, I asked her next. . . and tell me your story:

I’m originally from Yorkshire (bleak rolling moors, huge mills and lots and lots of sheep – parts of it are just as they appear in Wuthering Heights) then I moved to Bristol (the worlds greyest city) for University where I emerged with a BSC. Hons Microbiology and a rather unexpected biological development of my own.  Six weeks after siting my final exam the OH and I got married and two months after that (daugher no. 1) arrived in the world. After that we moved to London which served only to confirm that I hate big cities, I’m not overly keen on small ones either. Shortly after that we moved to a cottage in North Wales where our closest neighbours are sheep, sheep and more sheep. The garden is full of chickens and we’re surrounded by green fields. Best of all you can see the stars each and every night. Birds sing all around us and at night you hear the hoots of owls and the swift whoosh of air as you’re buzzed by the local bats. The house is heated with coal stoves and warm and cosy all year round. This is my forever home.

Take a look at the landscape behind Amanda’s lovely daughters and cute dog! I’m ready to move myself!

What do you do when you are not knitting?

When I’m not knitting (which is the vast majority of the time) I take the dog for long rambles through the countryside, occasionally I remember to weed the garden, spend time with the children and make tons and tons of jam from pretty much anything I can get my hands on, I even joined my local Country Market Co-operative to get rid of the surplus. In between times I work full time at a local primary school which is the single most fantabulous job in the world….. although its a bilingual school and I’m not [bilingual], so I spend a fair amount of time improving my Welsh so I can reply when children ask “Gallau mynd i’r ty bach os gwelwch yn dda?” (can I go to the toilet please). My first school outing was to a Jamborii where the staff had to go up on stage to sing the Welsh National Anthem……. which meant much crash revision on the coach trip….. even with the words on paper I was scuppered, especially when one of my co-workers told me the first couple of lines were My Hen Laid a Haddock, one hand oiled a flea. Even now that’s the first thing that pops into my head.

What is your favorite food?

My favourite food has to be Mexican, although chocolate comes a close second… and bacon crisps (which my husband finds hilarious because I’m most definitely vegetarian).

And your favorite flower?

Honeysuckle. They seem to survive no matter what the weather is like here. The wind rips the heads of pretty much everything else. I like crocuses too just because they’re so cheery and hint at spring weather.

Favorite place?

Any windswept green open space with nothing but granite outcrops for miles on end – it reminds me of my childhood. Failing that, the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls–its a truly magnificent place and like stepping back in time a century or so.

I asked her with whom she would like to have coffee (famous person, famous deceased person?). I confided that I want to have coffee with my Uncle Henry, my grandmother, and Cesare Milan. This was her response:

Cesare Milan? He reminds me of George Michael back in the Wham days.

And her answer to the question made me wish I’d confessed different people because her answer was so intelligent. I thought maybe I’d like to have coffee with Milton, but I think I would rather be a fly on the wall when my professors from the grad school days (Ted Leinwand or Marshall Grossman–they, after all, can quote Paradise Lost by book and line!) had coffee with Milton. . . Here’s what Amanda said:

If I could have coffee with anyone it would be Marie Curie – how on earth did she come up with the idea that zapping people with radiation would be beneficial to them? I’d also love to have met Jim Henson (creator of the Muppets) but I doubt I’d have drunk anything for laughing.

When I asked her for some pictures, she sent me these. . .

I was delighted by these pictures and asked Amanda where they were taken. She answered thus:

They were taken on a photoshoot for WightLink Ferries which came about totally by accident after I filled in a questionaire pretending to be a dog whilst very bored on a ferry crossing.  If you download the following brochure we’re on Page 3.

The castle itself is a magnificent motte-and-bailey dating back roughly 1000 years. It has breathtaking views and a working donkey powered water wheel. Its a fabulous place for long walks and great for your thigh muscles as there are several hundred steps to go up and down as you wander along the ramparts and through the gardens. The day we visited co-incided with an English Heritage re-enactment weekend so we got to see cloth being woven, hand spinning and a very early spinning wheel in action. [My] daughters were more taken with the working black smith forge, which was set up in the middle of a field, and the gentleman in full battle dress wearing boots handmade by the chap who makes boots for the Yeomans guarding the Tower of London. The level of craftsmanship demonstrated and the sheer passion for history made this a superb day out and rekindled a childhood desire for a spinning wheel….. which I’m in the process of sourcing, not that I’ve let on to [my husband] yet. I’m waiting for his workshop and lathe to arrive before I drop that particular bombshell.

Amanda sent pictures of her chickens which you can picture in her garden:

I thank Amanda for answering my questions, sending such great pictures, and writing such lovely project notes and bag descriptions! I know we are all looking forward to her next set of Knit-A-Long project notes!

Like the Book, Write a Review . . . and you could win . . .

For all you Noni & Noni Flowers book fans, I’ve got a special opportunity for you!

I have been working on annotating 2 copies of my book, adding notes about the different plants, the photographs, things that didn’t make it into the book, or that didn’t fit in the book, some secrets. . . confessions of a passionate gardener-knitter you might say.

Here’s an example: The fabulous curved tulip leaf in the photograph that graces the cover of the book was from my own garden. We were photographing many of the flowers in Springtime almost exactly a year ago. On photoshoot mornings, I scoured the garden for foliage I could use in the photographs–sometimes I was digging under snow!. The foliage for the Clematis was carefully wrested from an icy patch on the morning of one shoot.

The Chicory stems I collected on the side of the road–I had passed the flowers looking for good stems, each one better than the last . . .

I had to turn around and go back, pulling off onto the shoulder.

That morning was hot, I remember, even so early. The stems are very tough and I couldn’t break them with my hands. I had to use my car keys. . .


I am going to give these two special books away. . . here is how you make yourself eligible to win one of them!

Write a detailed, review that helps knitters and/or gardeners understand why you like the book, and why the reader will want to purchase the book. Post it on the the Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble websites.

It’s that simple.

1 book will be given to an Amazon review. 1 book will be given to a Barnes & Noble review. If, by some crazy fluke, the same name is drawn for both books, I will draw again until we have two different winners.

If you’d like your review do a bit more good for Noni Flowers, you can:

  • LIKE the book on the Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble websites
  • Post a link to the review on your Facebook page and Tag Noni Designs

Preparations, Photoshoot, MD Sheep & Wool

Preparations and Plans for Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest

It’s raining here today. . . slow, heavy drops that sink into the soil and make my iris last and last. The late-blooming fancy tulips I paid big bucks for are still fabulous in this cool weather. . . but I am hoping that the rain rains itself out by Thursday. . .

Because I have been madly preparing for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival as I have a booth at the Festival this year!  For those of you who are local enough to come to the festivities and fun, my booth is a tent “on the hill” in location N-20. What this means (at least as I could tell Sunday as we walked across the Howard County Fairgrounds to see where everything was) is that if you come in the main gate and walk straight up the hill toward the highway, you will probably be able to see the back of my booth as you walk up the hill toward me – I am hanging a big banner of the cover of my book on the back of the tent.

Take a look here at the map of the fairgrounds. I am one of the “outside North vendors”.

My advice?  Arrive early, stay late, come both days, plan to have a great time.

Here are the treats I will have at my booth:  the New Noni!–2 of the new bags will debut at the festival. If you can’t come to the festival and you can’t wait for your LYS to order them in, I have complete custom kits, hardware kits, and the patterns will be up on Rav very soon!

The NEW Ella’s Going out Bag causes a sensation where ever she goes . . .

The French Anemones will be in their own pattern at the Festival . . .

There will be one other new bag  . . . come to see!

I have beautiful Noni kits for The Creeping Phlox Clutch, and The Gossamer Fuchsia Wrap PLUS the samples that were photographed for the book will be live and in fiber at the show.

And, of course, THE BOOK will be there with me in quantity.

If you have been holding out to get your copy, now is your chance to get an in person signed copy. I will be signing books at the official Book Signing on Sunday from 11:45 – 12:15 in a tent next to the Information Tent, but I will also be signing books at my booth anytime.


Monday was the photoshoot for the new 2 new bags and 1 flower I will debut at the show. I am also re-releasing my Winter 2011 bags, Cornucopia and New York. They will come out at the Festival with new covers and will be there in the felt for you to see.

Looking Ahead: Photoshoot Photo Journal, Bag Sneak Peak, & Gossamer Wrap KAL Update

Photoshoot Photo Journal:  Tune back in later in the week for a photo journal of the photo shoot and some sneak peaks of the new bags! For those who are eagerly awaiting the announcement of the new bag names and, consequently, the contest winners, I am carefully going through the entries one more time and will post the winners shortly.

Gossamer Wrap KAL Update: We will begin on May 7th! Look for a Gossamer Wrap preparations blog tomorrow as well as a KAL preparations e-mail in your in-box sometime later this week. If you have not yet gotten your supplies, I have beautiful kits in the studio with your names on them. AND I will have the kits at Sheep & Wool as well.

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.


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!

Week 11: Finding The Perfect Closure

I’ve been lurking in the Rav forum peeking at what people are doing and seeing some amazing amazing Ella Coats!  I want to own them all for myself, I have to confess! And I want, even more, to see a convention of Ella coats. What a sight that would be!

I could see, already in Week 10, that there is discussion of closures. The right closure for Ella is rather like searching for the right button. It is no easy task. Fortunately, Ella can be worn open for a while or closed just under the bust for a nice effect. The waist detailing also suggests a nice location for an interim closure.

In other words, there is time to find the right thing. . . Sometimes the search takes a while and requires a few false starts or tries. I have, myself, not found quite the right thing for my two Ellas: Red Stripes Ella and Pewter Ella.

I have tried the JUL spiral bridge closure on both. It is dramatic and striking. In short, fabulous. But it is also heavy. Pewter Ella, being a bit more sturdy than Red Striped Ella could handle it. She’s got a very elegant strength to her. So, the closure has moved to Pewter Ella’s back, where it makes quite a statement.

I want something easier and lighter for the front closure. I looked at (and re-produce here) some of the pictures of closures that people have put up in the Rav forum.

There is the conventional subtle cord-covered hook & eye. I took these from one of Beth’s posts. . . These are great if you really don’t want a closure to show. Perfect for the ruffle on both sides Ella.






And here is a little bit fancier version for the person who wants the closure to show but is content to let those curls nestle amongst the ruffles. I also found a gold version when I was poking around on the internet sites that offer frogs.

Want something still traditional but a little fancier? Try this one. I bet you can get it in just about every color there is. Don’t really want it to show, maybe put all the hoo haa on the inside. so just the knot is visible (or not).






Here are some more of the more ubiquitous frogs . . . some smaller and more subtle than others. Picking frogs is like picking buttons (or light fixtures). . . you have to see it on the coat. . ..





I liked this flower frog. . .




This seemed one that would look great nestled amongst ruffles. . . I can see this on a bag, too.

And then there are the fancy, really unusual frogs. . . like the white one below (also available in black). This is a frog that is meant to be the center of attention. I would say one just under the bust. Two at the most. One under the bust and the other at the waist detail.





And then there are the frogs that look as though they could be worn with fancy buttons. Perhaps folks with ruffles on one side and simple plackets on the other would want to choose one of these types. . .

I’m still on the hunt myself, so as I find options I am considering myself (along with decorations), I will post about the search. In the meantime, please keep posting pictures of your beautiful coats and the closures you are considering. You can always use a shawl stick or a wooden cable needle to close your coat in the meantime.

On another note, in the live chat last Wednesday I asked people if they had any particular desires when it comes to bags. I’m in the middle of designing my new collection for Spring and Summer and wondered if there was overwhelming consensus. . . it was ruffles.

SO, I have designed Ella’s Going Out Bag. . . festooned with ruffles and French Anemones . . . I’m casting on later today. And as soon as she can be seen, I’ll post sneak peak pictures on Facebook. She will debut at MD Sheep & Wool Festival in the Noni Booth.

Check back on Wednesday for the first posting about the next Noni KAL:  A beautiful summer project from Noni Flowers.