Happy Holidays





The Chilly Dog - 2016 Highlights


I can hardly believe that it has been five years since I started my crafty, blogging, business adventure! This year has been filled with a lot of ups, downs and lessons learned.

The ups...

When I started my business in 2011, my plan was to sell handmade items that I had created. I did not envision myself as a pattern designer, but that is what I have become. I will sell my 350th knit/crochet pattern by the end of the year!

And the blog has really taken off. In July I had my 1 MILLIONTH all time pageview. This year the blog is averaging over 2000 pageviews daily and will likely top out with nearly 800,000 pageviews for the year. To me this shows that if you create quality content, readers will eventually find you. 

The downs...

Even though it was not my primary focus, the online shop where I was selling my handmade items was actually starting to take off this year. Unfortunately, in early November, my web-host discontinued service without notifying sellers and my virtual shop was simply gone. It was basically the equivalent of having a brick and mortar shop burn down. I'm trying to look on the bright side, though. This was my sign from the universe that it's time to stop selling physical items and focus completely on writing.

The lessons learned...

1. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

The online marketplace is constantly changing, so it's a good idea to sell on multiple platforms. That's why I sell patterns on Craftsy, Ravelry and Etsy.

2. Not all social media is created equal.

Since Facebook began throttling how many people see posts created by business pages, my posts there no longer drive much traffic to my blog and shops. This year I had to take a hard look at which social media platforms are used by my target audience and which platforms could be used to reach a new audience. If you want to connect with me online, you'll find me most on Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest, and less often on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Self-publishing a book is the easy part, selling the book is harder.

Over the summer I compiled my first 30 knitting patterns into e-book form. It took me about two months to write and edit the book and file the necessary copyright protection paperwork. The Chilly Dog's Big Book of Knit Patterns is 118 pages of knitting goodness and is available for purchase and instant downloadable on Craftsy, Ravelry and Etsy. I haven't sold a copy yet, but I am confident that it will happen.

So what's coming in 2017?

On the blog I'll be starting off the year with a new Crafty Saturday Show and Sell link-up (although it may have a new name) to support other artists, crafters and small businesses.

In January I'm collaborating with Clover USA to bring you a fun giveaway and a series of tutorials using their oval knitting loom.

And of course I have a number of knit and crochet patterns that I am currently designing which will be added to my shops throughout the year for your yarn crafting pleasure.

And finally, my guiding principle...

I love to craft and learn new skills that I can incorporate into my creations. I take great pride in my work. Crafting often requires patience and attention to detail but with practice (and maybe some guidance and encouragement) everyone has the capacity to make crafting a relaxing and enjoyable part of their life.

The Chilly Dog is my place to share my crafting experiences, expertise and inspirations and I hope to guide, encourage and promote others in their creative endeavors because happiness is handmade!




The Chilly Dog's Guide to Holiday Gift Giving

I love supporting small businesses that are passionate about their products. I particularly love handmade items. So, this holiday season I'd like to share a list of some of my very favorite online shops.

No one paid to get on this list. These are indie shops I trust because I have personally purchased items for myself from the shops, I have purchased gifts for others from the shops or I have received a gift from the shop that a friend/ family member has purchased for me.


Row 1
AllAboutTheButtons - tape measures, knit wear, pins and more with buttons
RAINBOWFIBRES - stitch markers, roving, felting supplies, felted figurines
andersenpottery - yarn bowls, mugs, vases, shaving mugs, bowls
northandsouthshabby - vintage holiday figurines, vintage decor and coastal decor
KittyMineCrafts - yarn, roving and batts

Row 2
CatchingWaves - ethnic and boho necklaces, bracelets, earrings and felted art
HanjiNaty - earrings, hair accessories, pins boxes and coasters made of Korean Hanji paper
AudacityWear - semi precious stone boho earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants
enchantedplanet - pressed flower necklaces, bracelets and earrings
bkinspired - creative wood pyrography bookmarks, boxes, cards, flower presses and home decor

Row 3
Ceraminic - ceramic dishes, coasters, ornaments, earrings and buttons
joliefemmebydiana - scarves, bags, glasses cases, pillows and aprons
CarolaBartz - mixed media art, photo cards and prints, journals and notebooks and hand knit items
BohemianChicbead - beaded gemstone yoga, mala and boho jewelry
Dell Cove Spices - cocktail rimming sugar and salt, gourmet popcorn and flavoring, bbq rubs and tea

Row 4
AsspocketProductions - custom return address, ex libris, wedding and holiday rubber stamps
FourHappyFaces - frameable, printable downloads for home and gift-giving
Bungalow42 - bracelets, necklaces, earrings and anklets
Homeforglasslovers - fused glass jewelry, dishes and home decor
ThousandHillsSoap - handmade goat milk soap

Row 5
CartoCreative - cartography and typography art prints
forpawsandhome - cat toys
rhodyart - quirky holiday and greeting cards, mixed media art, magnets
DeeDeeDeesigns - ceramic tableware and buttons and jewelry
zuketeas - organic tea blends

Happy handmade holidays!



5 Knit Short Row Sock Heels


There are not many things cozier than a well made pair of hand knit socks. I have been knitting socks for years using heel flaps and afterthought heels but only recently discovered the sheer bliss of knitting short row sock heels.

There are two major advantages to knitting short row sock heels. First, the heels are much neater looking than heel flaps. Second, there's no need to go back and insert the heel after the rest of the sock is made as for afterthought heels.

There are five common short row techniques which are all easier than you may expect.
Earlier this month I shared tutorials for each  method. Now I'd like to take a moment to tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of each technique and tell you which are my personal favorites.

Yarn Over Short Row Sock Heel


The Yarn Over Method is my least favorite short row technique.

Pros - It's easy to see where the turning point is so you don't need to count or mark your stitches.

Cons - The diagonal join at the heel the loosest of all the methods and there is a very noticeable gap on each side of the heel that must be corrected when you finish your sock.

Wrap and Turn Short Row Sock Heel


The Wrap and Turn Method is the most commonly used technique for knitting short rows.

Pros - It's easy to find patterns that reference this technique and the diagonal join is tighter than the Yarn Over Method.

Cons - There is still a very noticeable gap on each side of the heel that must be corrected when you finish your sock.

Shadow Wrapped Short Row Sock Heel


The Shadow Wrapped Method uses simple "twin" stitches.

Pros - This is probably the quickest and easiest of all the short row techniques, the turning points are very clear without counting or markers and there is no gap at the side of the heel.

Cons - The diagonal join is significantly thicker on the inside of the sock than the other methods which can be a problem if you have sensitive feet.

Japanese or Pinned Short Row Sock Heel


The Japanese or Pinned Method requires the use of removable pins or markers to lift a strand of yarn up onto your knitting needles.

Pros - The diagonal join of this heel is by far the tightest and neatest of all the techniques.

Cons - The use of pins/stitch markers make this method slower and slightly more challenging than the other methods, especially if you are working with very fine sock yarn.

German or Double Stitch Short Row Sock Heel


The German or Double Stitch Method looks very messy as you are working it and then some sort of yarn magic happens transforming stitches that look like mistakes into a neat join.

Pros - This technique is speedy like the Shadow Wrapped Method, but the diagonal join is not as bulky.

Cons - The diagonal join is not as tight as the Japanese or Shadow Wrapped Methods.

I don't really care for the Wrap and Turn and Yarn Over Methods because of the gap that must be corrected at the sides of the heel. Also, the diagonal joins on both are a little looser than I like. So, I tend to stick with the Shadow Wrapped, Japanese and German Methods whenever I am knitting socks.

I use the Japanese or Pinned Method when I am knitting a solid colored heel. Even though it takes a little longer to work, the diagonal join is noticeably the neatest.

For heels made with variegated, lightweight yarn I prefer the Shadow Wrapped Method. The bulk of the diagonal join is not uncomfortable with a lighter yarn and I think this is the fastest short row method.

For heels made with a heavier, variegated yarn I go with the German or Double Stitch Method. It's fast like shadow wrapping, but the diagonal seam is not as thick.

No matter which technique you prefer, the nice thing about short row heels is that you can easily substitute your favorite method into any sock pattern that uses short rows.

Happy knitting!




Crafty Saturday Favorites: Diana's Choice

Getting Shopping Done Early





Knitting Tutorial: Shadow Wrap Short Row Heels

Here's a little knitting secret that I would like to share. Once you learn how to knit socks using a short row method, you will likely never make heel flaps or afterthought heels again. They look much neater than heel flaps and there is no need to go back and insert the heel after the rest of the sock is made as in afterthought heels.

At first, the idea of short rows seems a little mysterious, but in my opinion they are easier and actually speed up the sock knitting process.

There are five common short row techniques:
Today, the final tutorial in the series, the Shadow Wrap technique.

For all short row methods, the heel is worked across half of the sock's stitches. You'll notice my round ends at the center of my heel stitches. I am going to slip my non-heel stitches onto a stitch holder for demonstration purposes, but normally you can just keep them on a spare dpn.
Row 1 (RS): Technically this is only a half row and we will work the other half later. Knit to the last heel stitch,
with the right needle, pick up the right leg of the stitch below the remaining stitch.
lift the leg up onto the left needle,
knit the lifted leg and slip the stitch from your right needle to the left,
now it looks like there are two stitches coming out of the same knit stitch (sometimes this is called a twin stitch), turn.
Row 2 (WS): Purl across until one stitch remains,
slip the stitch from your left to your right needle,
with the left needle pick up the "bump" beneath the slipped stitch,
purl the lifted strand,
slip the purled stitch and the slipped stitch from the right needle back to the left, this is another twin stitch, turn.
Row 3: Knit across to one stitch before the twin,
with the right needle lift the right leg of the stitch below the next stitch up onto the left needle,
knit the lifted strand,
slip the knit stitch from your right needle to your left, it's another twin stitch, turn.
Row 4: Purl across to one stitch before the twin,
slip one stitch,
lift the "bump" below the slipped stitch with your left needle,
purl into the lifted strand,
slip both the purl and the slipped stitch from the right needle to the left (another twin stitch), turn.
Repeat Row 3-4 for the desired length. Since Row 1 was a half row, knit to the center of the heel.

for my example I have six twin stitches on each side of the heel and six regular stitches at the center of the heel.
Now it's time to work the other half of the heel.

Row 5: Again this is a half row and we'll work the other half later. Knit to the first twin stitch,
knit both strands of the twin together,
with the right needle lift the right leg of the stitch below the next twin onto the left needle,
knit the lifted strand and slip it form the right needle to the left,
now you have a triplet, turn.
Row 6: Purl across to the first twin,
purl both strands of the twin together,
slip the next twin to the right needle,
lift the "bump" beneath the slipped twin with the left needle,
purl the lifted strand,
slip the triplet from right to left, turn.
Row 7: Knit across to the triplet,
knit the strands of the triplet together,
lift the right leg of the stitch below the next twin onto the left needle,
knit the lifted strand,
slip the knit stitch back to the left needle, turn.
Row 8: Purl to the triplet,
purl the strands of the triplet together,
slip the next twin from left to right,
lift the "bump" under the slipped twin,
purl the lifted strand and slip the purled stitch and the slipped twin to the left needle, turn.
Repeat Row 7-8 until there is one triplet left on each side of the heel. Since Row 5 was only half a row, knit back to the center of the heel.
The remainder of the sock is worked in rounds so I moved my held stitches back onto a dpn.

You need to work one final round to finish the heel.

Rnd 9: Knit to the first triplet, knit all the strands of the triplet together,
knit across the stitches that were held,
knit the strands of the next triplet together,
knit to the end of the round.

The heel is complete.
Here's the heel from the side.


To wrap up my series of short row heel tutorials, in my next post we'll look at all the heels, side by side and I'll tell you which ones are my favorite.