The Needle Bee



The Risen Cardigan

Knitting, CrochetBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

Today's post is about the Risen Cardigan by one of my favorite designers Melanie Berg.  If you are looking for an easy project with minimal design but entirely boring, you might want to consider this pattern. This cardigan was relatively easy to complete. I like the simple lines and plain stockinette stitch design in the body with the interesting reverse purl stitch pattern  in the cuffs and bottom.  This is a seamless sweater worked top down and doesn't require buttons.

I started this project in late October 2016 when I visited A good Yarn store in Sarasota, Fl. I found this beautiful yarn made by Baah (la jolla) in the color champagne.. So yes, it took like 9 months to complete but that is what happens when you start several projects at the same time. 

This was my first time knitting the reverse purl pattern stitch shown on the collar and cuffs. I have to say that it was very interesting and easy. The entire sweater took almost all 3 skeins ( I still have about 30 yards left). You can find more details and pictures in my Ravelry project page here.


Whenever I start a big project like this with a yarn that is new to me, I read the entire pattern to make sure I understand how it's constructed and to understand the schematics. I knit and block a big swatch. I let it rest  and then look at it the next day to make sure I like how the yarn feels.

One thing I forgot to do was to alternate the skeins as I was knitting to avoid uneven color tones. You can see what I mean here in this picture. The right front is lighter than the rest of the sweater. This is very common when you knit with hand dyed yarns because not all skeins are identical. 

I used the wet blocking method and used blocking mats and pins. 

Like I said, this is the second sweater I knit so I am not an expert at all. One last thing I will do when I knit my next sweater/ cardigan is to add more width to front side. A little extra fabric of at least 1 inch to each front side will make the sweater a little bigger. This garment is meant to be open without buttons so it should be ok. Overall, I am very happy with this sweater, I am sure it will be my go to sweater this fall.

A Crochet Basket:

This week I found two old skeins of tape yarn in my stash. This is the a ribbon yarn that is used to knit or crochet ruffle scarves. So I decided to make a small basket for my current crochet projects. The basket was super fast to crochet, I used single crochet stitches with a size 6.0 mm hook and a pattern from one of my crochet books. There are many free crochet patterns like this in Ravelry . For example: the is free and very cute.. What do you think? I like it. So if you have some old bulky yarn and don't have a pattern in mind, a basket like this is a good choice.

Happy Knitting,


October 2016 favorites 

Crochet, KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

October is one of my favorite months of the year. If you live in Florida, I am sure you were enjoying the last few weeks. We've had many pleasant and breezy mornings and nights perfect for knitting or crochet. But today I want to share a few of my favorite things this month.  So let's begin:

1-An entire day at A Good Yarn Store in Sarasota, FL. I took a class with Ann Budd at a good yarn Sarasota a couple of weeks ago with Ann Budd- she is so knowledgeable! If you are hesitant about "set in" sleeves,  you might want to consider a class like. By the way,  The Knitter's Handy book of Top Down Sweaters is an excellent resource. It's like having Ann next to you holding your hand in every step of creating your own sweater ! What else is better than spending an entire knitting surrounded by great people and yarn?



















2-My new swift and ball winder by Knitpicks. They are affordable and are well made. I don't -know why I waited so long to buy a yarn swift really!




































3-Cables and more cables. Have you seen the new Woolens book by Jared Flood  at Brooklyn Tweed? It's a book of knitted accessories full of cables and rich designs. I saw this book when I went to A Good Yarn store. The book is one of those you want on your coffee table. It has gorgeous photography and design. There are so many patterns here I want to knit!

















4-Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co. It's a little pricey at $65 but I know I could use it a lot. The inside of this bag is perfect for anyone who likes to knit pr crochet a lot.


















5-Starbucks Pumpkin spice latte- grande. A great companion to any knitting or book! I am not counting calories when I go to Starbucks ok.

6-Homemade corn bread. The recipe is from the Joy of cooking book. I baked a pan of this bread twice this month. It's yummy!



















Ok that's it for now! I will be back this week with some Knitting progress and new podcasts that I found in the last few weeks. For now, enjoy the fall season and happy knitting!

Disclaimer: note I am not associated with the products or companies mentioned above. All opinions are my own.

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. 

My 2016 knitting and crochet goals

Crochet, KnittingBrenda Reynoso Pena2 Comments

A few days ago I was writing down my family and personal goals and comparing them to last year's goals. I was very happy with my results but it also made me think about my crafty goals (note: I don't like to say New Year Resolutions") because it makes feel like those resolutions never get accomplished.  So I started thinking about my knitting and crochet goals. Honestly, I didn't have any formal crafty goals. Well, this year I decided to be careful and commit to a few goals that are both achievable and exciting.

I also like to have a guide or map that I could follow with a "by or a due date" like the knit alongs (KAL) and reward myself with a little gift. I got the project bag in the picture below from Halcyarn for myself as a reward for completing my holiday gift knitting on time. This little bag is perfect for your sock project or small project. I am currently knitting the color affection shawl by Veera Valimaki. You can find the details in my project page in Ravelry here. img_1321

I have to say that I am loving garter stitch. It is easy and perfect for knitting while watching tv. So here are my knitting and crochet goals:

Spring to Summer 2016

1- take a knitting class with a designer 2- start the master knitter program by the TKGA or certified instructor program by the CYCA. I need to research more and make a final decision on which program to choose.

3-learn Tunisian crochet and other crochet techniques.

Fall to Winter 2016

4- finish holiday gift knitting by november 30th.

5- finish the "building in color blanket" by Michelle Hunter by December 

Overall, I think these are goals that I am able to complete and if I don't ? well there is always another time. Do you have any knitting or crochet goals? I will love hear what they are.

Let's  welcome a new year full of health, love and joy and all the yarn and knitting we wish for!

Crochet again!

Books, CrochetBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

I don't remember exactly  when I learned to crochet. I am sure it was after I learned how to knit many years ago when I was in second grade  (you can do the math if you want to) but it was back then when my mom had crochet doilies covering the end tables of our living room  and doilies were in almost every home I visited. I remember using only crochet thread in white or beige size 10 and a tiny 1.0 mm crochet steel hook and following the diagram of a pattern on a magazine. In many instances, I designed my own pattern or made clothes for my dolls.

My mom taught me the basic stitches but pretty soon I was on my own. By the time I was 11, I had made about a dozen doilies and  had embroidered several dresses in cross stitch  for my little cousin. By the time I was 15, I started selling embroidered linen doilies with crochet edges and tea towels to my friends' moms.

These are some of the doilies I made for my mom. Today, they sit in my closet. I guess you can say they are vintage!

Here are a few of my embroidered pieces used to cover the serving trays. We had a set for holidays, for coffee , etc.... They are from the 80's lol!

But all of that happened when I was living in Dominican Republic. Today,  things are a  lot different. We have stitch dictionaries, lots of yarn choices, pretty patterns, nice hooks and notions , project bags and You tube.  I had none of these when I was in  school (just 2 crochet hooks, embroidery and crochet thread and no internet!)

Somehow, I got the crochet inspiration again and recently started  a chevron blanket. This blanket is super easy  and it is going fast. I found this project in Ravelry by Rachel C. Creations but I'm making a few changes. I am going to use  3 different colors ( I am using Tempo Jojoland in worsted weight and a crochet hook size J) . I am also going to create an ombré  effect starting with gray and ending with navy in a extra large size.  I want a big cozy blanket to wrap myself in on my couch or bed. You can find details on my Ravelry page .

Having  a project with thick yarn and a big hook gives the illusion of a lot of progress. I guess I needed a change because knitting with lace yarn for a while has gotten kind of boring. On the plus side, it is good to have knitting and crochet going on at the same time. Your hands will thank you for it.

So what else is going on?

Summer vacation is finally here! With 3 boys in 1st and 3rd grade, reading is a big subject here in my house. I have been a little obsessed lately with Modern Mrs. Darcy book recommendations. Thank you Michelle from actually knitting for mentioning this in your podcast. I also enjoy Mrs. Darcy tips and tricks on how to get more reading in your life and book suggestions. I  mean this lady knows her stuff! I even got my son into "the boxcar children" series after reading her book list for children. Luckily, my boys like the series and we are all reading along.  Did I mention she also has a podcast? She is the host of  " What book should I read next podcast.

So what do you think? Do you like to crochet ?

Keep the craft going my friends !