The Needle Bee



Make Money Teaching Crochet, a book review

Books, CrochetBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

If you have a passion for teaching others how to crochet and are thinking about creating a business  but need guidance on where and how to start, then I highly recommend getting a book like this written by a very experienced crochet teacher like Marie Segares.

Marie is the  host of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur podcast and owner of Underground Crafter. There is no question that starting a new business could overwhelming but in this book Marie is basically holding your hand and walking with you step by step telling what to do.

This book is packed with valuable information. It is divided in 5 sections:  getting started,  the business side of crochet like pricing and legalization of your company, marketing, preparing for your class, and resources to help you grow your business along with pro crochet tips related to each section.

What I like the most is how transparent the author is in her statements and the way the book is written in a plain and easy to read language. In my opinion, the book could be used as a reference for knitting or crochet because the business principles are basically the same.

Overall, this is a great book to have in your reference library or to give to someone who is starting to teach and want to learn more about the business side of teaching crochet. The current price in Amazon is $9.99 for the kindle version.

If you want to know more about Marie Segares please visit her website Creative Yarn Entrepreneur for more details about this book, links to the printable and ebook version  plus a 25% off discount through July 4, 2016 and a  virtual book tour in several blogs.

Note: I received a copy of " How to start a crochet business by Marie Segares" in exchange of an honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation in return. 

Free pattern plus knitting update

Books, Free Pattern, Knitting, Knitting PatternsBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

Hello Knitters!

It has been a few weeks since my last post but that means the needle bee here has been very busy knitting and spending time with family in the last few weeks of this year. The holidays are always busy here -especially when the kids are in winter break but I always try to squeeze a little bit of knitting at the end of the day no matter how crazy my day has been. You all know knitting makes me relax. It is a form of winding down and end my day.

I am excited to share the holiday gifts I completed during the elves work shop along KAL in Ravelry where a group of knitters joined a knit along and encouraged others to craft handmade holiday gifts from September 1st to November 30th. The goal of this KAL was to start and finish handmade holiday gifts with enough time to enjoy the holiday season without the stress. If you are thinking about knitting gifts next year, I suggest you start early like I did or join a KAL like the elves workshop along to make sure you are done early enough.


I also made a set of crochet roller coasters and a pair of socks for me after November 30th. For some reason I have been doing more crochet lately. Crochet is perfect for small gifts because it’s fast and you could have a cute gift using worsted weight yarn in just a few hours. I found this pattern and tutorial in Pinterest from the lovely website of Kirsten at


These coasters are so easy to crochet! This is a great pattern if you want to use your stash. I strongly suggest you visit Kirsten's blog for great patterns and tutorials. I just love her colorful patterns.

Another great news- I wrote my first knitted washcloth pattern (yay!! I am having a love relationship with washcloths lately). Click here for the Ravelry link of my free pattern. This pattern has a little texture and looks better when is knitted tightly. If you  are not a tight knitter, I recommend using one or two needle sizes smaller than you normally use when knitting with cotton yarn in worsted weight. I used Knitpicks Dishie cotton yarn, a lovely yarn to knit with and great stitch definition. The good news is that gauge is not critical for washcloths or dishcloths. They are a perfect project for beginners or if you just want to try a new pattern. They are also perfect for "on the go" projects.



Needle size- US7

Gauge = 5 St per in after blocked

Size-  about 8.5” square

Yarn- Dishie by Knitpicks. One ball is enough to make 2 dishcloths.

Size is not critical for this project.


Cast on 42 stitches

Knit 4 rows for the border (this will give you the garter stitch border)

Row 1- knit (RS)

Row 2- purl (WS)

Row 3- knit

Row 3- purl

Row 5- k3, *k1, p4, k1, repeat from*, to last  3 stitches, k3

Row 6- k3, * p1, k4, p1, repeat from*, to last 3 stitches, k3

Repeat the last 6 rows 8 more times. Just remember to knit the first 3 stitches of every row that form the border of the washcloth.


Repeat rows 1 to 3.

Knit the next 4 rows to make garter stitch border. Bind off loosely. Block lightly.


Note***This pattern is intended for personal use only. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Email: theneedleb@

Ravelry: theneedlebee

Most of the items listed below were made for Christmas gifts using worsted weight yarn (except for the socks). Please click in each item# for pattern details (they are all FREE patterns). Items 1 to 7 were part of the Elves Workshop along KAL.

the needle bee free pattern
the needle bee free pattern
the needle bee holiday gifts
the needle bee holiday gifts
 Rose city rollers

Rose city rollers

These socks were part of a KAL with my knitting hangouts group. Well, they are done and they are perfect for Florida because I wear knitted socks while I am in my house or to go sleep (I like how they make my feet feel soft the next morning). I used the magic loop method with US size 0 kniting needles and Deborah Norville sock serenity yarn. I might add a pom pom just for fun. What do you think?

Book Update:

I have been reading a lot lately. One of my favorite books this year was “eat, pray, love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I also watched the movie but I have to give my honest opinion- I enjoyed the book more than the movie. Julia Roberts did a great job as an actress (she always does) but the movie content lacked the details and uncertainty the book has.

A few weeks ago I read Elizabeth’s latest book “Big Magic, creative living beyond fear” which is an awesome book for anyone- whether you are a creative person or not. I believe everyone has a passion deep inside they might not even be aware of it.

My reading goal of 24 books this year was completed. Actually, I surpassed this number and so far I have read 25 books. I normally update my Goodreads page as soon as I am finished reading or listening to a book without realizing the total number of books on my “read” shelf. This number might be Ok to many book lover's but to me is just amazing considering I read only 11 books last year. This new year I plan to read 36 books. I also added a link to my Goodreads page on the right side of this page. Feel free to connect with me,  I love to talk about books and learning about new book releases!

But there is more to come. Just as knitters love KALS (knit alongs), they also love to read and join book alongs or read alongs (similar to a book club). Starting next month in January and for the entire year 2016, I will be participating inthe Year of Willa Catherwhich is a book-read along group hosted by the EWE university group in Ravelry. Members of this group will be reading a different book by Willa Cather and crafting a project ( sewing, crochet, knitting, or weaving) inspired by Cather or her novels. I will keep you updated on this as I read along.

Well, this will be my last post this year. I have several projects on the needles right now that I must get back to. Remember the color affection shawl  by Veera Valimaki and the featherweight cardigan  by Hannah Fettig I told you on this post? Yes, those WIP’s are waiting for me to knit!

I wish you all a healthy and happy new year 2016 and lots of Yarn!

Happy Knitting!!!


Knit Purl Pray,  a book review

Books, KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

   I purchased the Knit Purl Pray book during my visit to the NYS sheep and wool festival  in Rhinebeck, NY last month. As you may already know, I love books (especially knitting books) so of course I had to check several of the books at the sale table. Somehow, the colors and design  of this book caught my attention. 

I was lucky enough to meet the author and knitter- Lisa Bogart who also signed my copy. Let me tell you this book is not only full of biblical inspirational quotes, it is also funny! I enjoy books that are entertaining and keep me connected with the author. This little book has that and more. Lisa Bogart also shares her passion for knitting and sometimes you might even feel she is inviting you to her living room  to knit with her. After all, knitting with friends is always better and good for the soul!

Just like its cover says, the book has 52 devotions for the creative soul, 140 pages and a few patterns. What I like about this book is that you can have it by your night table and read one devotion a day or read them in order one a week. Can you tell knitters don't like rules? However you decide to start reading this book, you will feel Lisa’s love for knitting. I think the book cover is so cute that it decorates my table.

 I really recommend this book. There are many ways we can connect our passions with God and one of them is to read inspirational books that remind us of how God is in our lives every day bringing us strength and joy through the things we love.

XoXo, Brenda!

Knitting and Reading

Books, KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment


“This post is part of the 31 days of knitting challenge which is part of the Write 31 Days challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. Don't forget to subscribe and get updates of new posts by email or follow me on social media.

Day 20- Knitting and Reading

I remember a few years I hardly read any books. I was always busy and my reading consisted of a few magazines and emails. But that was a busy time of my life when my boys were babies and you know, life just happens. Then a couple of years ago when I started knitting again, somehow I started listening to podcasts and audiobooks while driving to work. I also bought a basic kindle and read during my lunch time. Then 12 months later, I had read 12 books. The next year I read 17 books. This year my goal is to read 24 books and I am very close to that number!

Most knitters are also readers. They listen to books and knit or spin. So today I want to share a book that I have been listening by Gretchen Rubin, Better than Before, Mastering the habits of our everyday lives. This is a quote from book: Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

I have read a lot of self help books, but this book made think differently. I compared the way the author defines Habits with my everyday life and couldn’t agree more. When you listen to this book, you can hear the author talking to you! I had a few “of course that’s me” moments listening to this book. When you find a hobby you like and you are intentional about it, you develop self discipline. This is what happened to me with knitting and books. I really recommend this book to anyone seeking advice to develop good habits and help dropping bad ones. What books are you reading now?

Reminder.... is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click here . Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Finding time for your passions

Books, Lifestyle, ProductivityBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

31 days of knitting find time for your passionsA few years ago, one of my friends asked me: how do you it all? how do you find time to take care of a house, husband, work full time, and raise 4 kids. She even asked me if I had a cleaning service (I wished I had one I thought)! So, I genuinely answered her, “no I don’t do it all”, I just prioritize, organize, plan and with time everything becomes a habit.

Most working women feel exhausted at times (me included) due to busy schedules and piles of daily laundry that seem to take over our lives leaving zero time for ourselves because by the time we get to our free time, we are probably just too tired and exhausted to do anything.

Now lets face it, finding some "ME" time is difficult. So whenever I find those pockets of time, I really enjoy them and try to make the most of it.

I recently read a wonderful book that explains very well how to make time for you. The book is by Jessica N, Turner, The Fringe Hours-making time for you, and I agree with the author, when you make time to fulfill your passions, you become a better mother, wife, friend. One of my favorite quotes from this book is:

Balance isn’t easy, but fighting for it is always worth it. While life is busy, it shouldn’t get to the point of being overwhelming. Make balance a priority in your life. By doing so, you are saying that your time is valuable and that you are in control.

In my opinion, balance is always out of reach if you are not careful, you have to prioritize in life and say no to things that are not essential if you want to be successful in finding balance. Yes there may be times when life happens and things don’t go as planned. But sometimes doesn't mean all the time. So whenever things don't go as planned, take a deep breath and keep going. Your daily habits like organizing, planning and carefully selecting what you want to be part of- will make you a disciplined person. Eventually with time, those habits will be part of your life to the point where you won’t feel as if you were trying to make it a habit anymore. It all comes down to practice. A habit is a skill that gets better with practice. The more you practice a skill the better you become at it.

If you like painting or like to play an instrument, you don't need 5 hours everyday just a few times a week to paint or play that instrument. The same goes for sewing or knitting, reading or writing. You don't have to have 3 hours a day of ME time, just a few minutes a day will do the job. It doesn't matter if your free time is early in the morning before the kids are awake, or late at night, a little time to have tea or coffee and read or knit will make you feel you got some part of the day for you and more relaxed. So go and get some more ME time and do more of what you love!

A look at my knitting bookshelf

Books, KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment


Every knitter needs a few good reference books and stitch dictionaries books. I love books but I also understand I can’t have every book that is published. Usually, I only buy reference books and sometimes magazines. I don’t really buy pattern books unless I know for sure I am going to knit at least 3 items from that book. Instead, I go to Ravelry and buy the single pattern.

Before I purchase a book I read customer reviews and blogger’s reviews. I like how the Knitting Scholar website by Deb Boyken  has been reviewing books since 2008 and it is one of my go to website to find out more about new book releases.

So today I am going to share my small stash of books currently on my bookshelf.

The Principles of Knitting: June Hemmons Hiatt …  Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting. Here is a classic book with over 700 pages, I can say this is the encyclopedia of knitting full of information for every knitter at any level. In this book you can find different knitting methods, construction and fabric, pattern designs, and working on a project details. In summary, the books is an excellent reference book to keep at home, my only complaint is that there aren’t any color pictures of graphics but that really doesn’t bother me because the instructions are clear and easy to read.

Vogue Knitting the ultimate knitting book another great reference book! I remember when I ordered this book back in 2002 from Borders Books and Music store. This is the first knitting book I purchased and I just can’t get rid of it. It includes a good introduction to pattern design and finishing touches.

The Knowledgeable Knitter by Margaret Radcliffe. When the The Knitmore Girls reviewed the this book in Episode 304 I knew I had to purchase this one. I also got a kindle version just in case I need it when I am not at home! The author really explains detailed information of knitting sweaters and why you need to understand what the knitting schematics really mean. I really like the case studies in this book, it is like having a teacher at home holding your hand through a knitting workshop.

Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard. I love this book because it is pretty and full of pattern designs to knit flat and  in the round. One of the best features is the spiral bound, I promise you will love this one!

2-at a Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. This book taught me how to knit two socks at time in one circular needle. It is spiral bound which is great and the instructions are very easy to follow.

The Knitter's Life List: To Do, To Know, To Explore, To Make ...ok this is not a reference book, it is more of an inspirational book. I only purchased this book because of the pretty pictures and list of things that I want to learn about knitting but haven’t tried yet.

As you know, not all knitting books are easy to read in digital form but when it comes to space and accessibility , the kindle is your best friend. Here is a list of the my digital bookshelf (pdf and kindle format) currently in my ipad.

Kindle Knitting Books    

Sock Knitting Master Class -by Ann Budd, Innovative techniques + patterns from top designers is a great book that explains how to knit top down and toe up socks with pretty pictures and easy to follow instructions.

Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog. I got this book with hopes of one day design my own sweater. I think Amy will give me what I need to know about fitting and shape in this book.

Cast On, Bind Off  54 Step - by- Step Methods by Leslie Ann Bestor. I love trying new techniques when it comes to binding off. I can say that I am a picky knitter when it comes to the last step which is binding off. This handy book has easy step by step with great photos when it comes to choosing the perfect cast on or bind off.

And lastly The Knowledgeable Knitter by Margaret Radcliffe. Like I said, I also own a paper copy of this book because It is awesome. details above.

PDF Books

Sock Architecture by Lara Neel. This book is awesome! after reading and listening to excellent reviews all over the knitting world, I just had to get book. If you are not afraid of math and are willing to try new heels and toes, then you have to get this book. Have you taken Lara’s craftsy class?  well I did. this book is a great companion to  Socks My Way: Heel & Toe Variations - Craftsy class by Lara Neel. I am currently finishing the bootstrap sock pattern and can’t wait to finish because I want to try every heel and toe in this book.

Annetarsia Knits: A new Link to Intarsia by Anne Berk. I like to see Intarsia in knitted garments but I was always afraid of this technique. Anne takes this approach to the next level with great information and step by step instruction.

So, what do you think I am missing here? Which books do you currently have or are thinking to buying in the future? I will love to hear your comments.

Cable Left, Cable Right book review

Books, KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

Cable Left Cable Right As you may have noticed, I love books, going to the bookstore and checking out new book releases. I received a digital copy of  “Cable right, cable left: 94 knitted cables” from Storey Publishing via for review.

If you like cables or are tired of the same old cables you see all the time, then this book is a great purchase. If you are just starting to knit or are a true beginner and not familiar with charts, then I will just wait. I think this is more for an intermediate knitter or advance beginner who is familiar with cables already.

The book is  just over 200 pages and divided in 7 chapters containing basic simple cables, angles and curves, braids and puzzles, fillers, ribbing, and allover pattern cables, beaded cables, colorwork cables, and design considerations where the author explains how to balance cables horizontally and vertically, decreasing and increasing, etc.

What I like about this book (and all books by Judith Durant) is how detailed the instructions and charts are.


  1. Every design has a chart and a beautiful picture
  2. An explanation of where the design looks best
  3. Symbols for charting
  4. Offered in spiral print and digital


  1. Limited pictures of the back of the pattern, there are just handful of reversible patterns

I can’t wait to try a few patterns (a hat or scarf) maybe.

In summary, this is an  excellent book about knitted cables with beautiful pictures, instructions and charts. The author explains how each cable is constructed  and the best use for that cable or design. This is a great addition to any knitter's library.

Happy Knitting!