The Needle Bee


Knitting Patterns

Vogue Knitting Live and Finished Projects

Knitting, Knitting PatternsBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

It has been a long time since my last post and I have a lot to share. I have been Focusing on my Wips and finishing all the gifts I said I was going to make. 

Going to Vogue Knitting live in NYC this year was an extraordinary experience for me. The yarn, the people, meeting Steven West, Heidi and Lana,  and the knitted garments in every floor were all very inspiring.  My phone unexpectedly stop working for several hours and I couldn’t take as many pictures as I had planned. But here are a few pics.

 wearing my Gaptastic Cowl I knitted last year!

wearing my Gaptastic Cowl I knitted last year!


I also took the “Good Measure “ class by Deborah Newton. This was an exceptional class and I highly recommend it. If garment fitting  has been an issue for you ( it has been for me especially getting good bust measurements) this class will help you a lot understand your body and take good measures for a successful knitted garment. 

Here is a picture with me and Deborah Newton  



Lets talk about finished projects.

Big, chunky and fast hand knits  that are also machine washable are my go to patterns for gifts.

The tasseled color block scarf  is the easiest scarf in the planet. I mean anyone can learn and knit this.  The pattern is free by Anne Weil. I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick in bulky weight. I purchased 2 balls of ivory and 1 navy to make the scarf and hat. I made this for my daughter just in time for our trip to NY. I also knitted a ribbed hat with a pom pom on the plane to match the scarf. The hat feel so cozy and warm. I love Lion Brand Wool Ease thick and quick. It is very affordable and it knits up fast. It feels good to the skin and easy to work with.


 this is not blocked, it looks much better on the head!

this is not blocked, it looks much better on the head!

I also finished a ribbed cowl for my sister. This is my first introduction to brioche. I love how squishy the fabric is knitted in Anzula Charcoal.  I think you can tell from this picture how squishy it feels. It almost looks like a double knit. I followed the Purl Soho fisherman stitch scarf pattern but then changed it up a little bit and made a cowl. My sister was so happy when she opened her package! Go up my Ravelry project page for more details. 


Below is a quick chunky crochet cowl I made for my friend. Crochet in one long piece with two strands of Tempo Jojoland Light Worsted yarn  with a crochet hook size 6.5 mm. Then sew the  cast on and bind off edges together. I didn’t write the pattern- I just got my stitch dictionary and went along with it and it was done in just a few hours !


When making gifts for adults I tend to go neutral- can you tell I like grey? Anyways, navy, grey and charcoal are always a good choice. Everyone likes these colors . Right? I will be back soon with more finished projects . Keep creating my friends !   

Meet knit designer Andrea Hilton.

Knitting, Knitting Patterns, DesignersBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

Hello Friends,

Today I bring you a great interview with knitwear designer Andrea Hilton. I met Andrea in the fiber muse sanctuary FB group hosted by Aroha Knits. Right away I checked her Ravelry page and her blog. Her designs and personality made my heart sing! I thought OMG I could laugh and talk to her all day. I am sure you will enjoy reading about Andrea's life and  her designs.

Tell me about yourself. How long have you been knitting?

I am a knitting addict. I truly wish knitting burned more calories so I didn’t have to perpetually fret and subsequently ignore the fact that this obsession of mine does NOT count as exercise. (Although I have taken up knitting socks while walking and so far haven’t stabbed my eye out with a teeny tiny needle. So there’s that.) Even my four-year-old knows how important knitting is to me. He always reminds me to pack my knitting whenever we take a trip. Not that I would ever forget.

I live in a super duper small town in (far) northern California near the Trinity River. It’s a quiet way of life without stop lights or traffic. Squirrels outnumber people. When I am not knitting, I manage a ridiculously oversized vegetable garden and orchard (you’d think we were trying to feed an army…), take long walks with my son, and spend the warm summer months floating in crystal clear bodies of water. I also work part time at a “normal” job to help pay the bills. I am fairly certain that I do an astronomical amount of dishes and picking up of ridiculously small Lego parts. (Remind me why toy manufactures haven’t invented a Lego vacuum yet…?)

As a working mother, I honestly do not have that much time to devote to knitting and designing. I carve out what I can and do my best. I have a to-do list that will always be longer than I am tall (although to my defense, I am quite short). I am proud of the work that I do and generally believe in myself. I know someday when my son is older and I have more time to devote to my craft, I just might make some progress on that list of mine.



What made you take the next step and start designing knitting patterns?

I started designing knitting patterns because I failed to do market research and actually thought it was a viable business plan.

(I will pause while you stop laughing and catch your breath.)

You can read all about my Big Start here, but basically I thought I could design a pattern once, sell it, and make money. This was nearly four years ago. I quickly learned it’s incredibly hard to be financially successful as a designer and actually sell patterns in a very oversaturated market. It takes a lot of hustle, perhaps more so than actual designing.

Pure determination and willpower has kept me going. Oprah said successful people do what they love. Well, I love knitting, so I’m hoping Oprah was right. (In the meantime, I drink wine to mitigate my lack of financial success and otherwise bolster my pride.)


What is your design process? Do you look at the yarn first and then think about the pattern? How do you find inspiration?

I like simple patterns and modern (but not too weird) designs. Less is more. I tend to select stitches with texture but not busyness. I typically stay away from intricate cables. They’ve never appealed to me.

Like all designers, I probably spend way too much time flipping through stitch dictionaries, swatching and generally trying new things. I keep a Knitting Journal where I jot down my ideas and stitch patterns that I want to incorporate into future designs. Then I throw all my Nice, Neat Organization out the window when I impulsively buy yarn that I frantically whip into something generally unplanned.

What do you like to knit when you are not designing? Do you have a needle preference?

My personal knitting queue is painfully long. I knit two “for fun” knitting projects this past year: Rosemont by Hannah Fettig (a cardigan) and Sheltered by Andrea Mowry (a poncho). I loved both! Designing sweaters is well beyond my skill level at this point, but I love knitting them.

I finally broke down and bought a ChiaoGoo Twist needle set this past spring for my birthday. The skies have parted and the sun is beaming down on me! These things rock. I love knitting on sharp, metal needles and will likely never go back to wood or bamboo. They take too much time. I also like Addi Turbo Lace needles!


Where can people find you? Ravelry? Instagram? Blog?

Folks can find me all over the place! I have a Ravelry Group and am on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. My blog, Life, is This Knitted here. Always stop by if you need a good laugh. I will do my best not to disappoint.

I hope you enjoyed Andrea's interview as much as I did. I love meeting new people in the knitting community.

Happy Knitting!

Easy and quick: the Gaptastic Cowl

Knitting, Knitting PatternsBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

I feel good. I have completed a pair Rose city rollers socks for my cousin and a cowl in the same month. The Gap-tastic cowl is done, blocked and ready for the cold days ahead. The temperatures are slowly dropping here in Florida and I can't wait for our short winter to wear my knitted accessories. 

It is obvious why this free  pattern is so popular all over Instagram and Ravelry. Not only this is a friendly beginner's pattern, it is also a great project to pick up when you are watching TV or just talking with friends. It is so soft! I used 3 skeins of cascade 128 bulky in charcoal and us13 circular needles. At first, I wasn't sure if 3 skeins was too much yarn, but I decided to keep knitting and just have a nice chunky cowl. After blocked, it got bigger! 32 in long and 19 in wide.  You can find details in my Ravelry page. But I love it's much I am going to knit another one for my daughter. Thank you  Jen Geigley  this free pattern. 

I guess I have a new cowl for next year's trip to the sheep and wool festival in Rhinebeck. Ready for some inspiration? I am bpknits2 in Instagram and search for #gaptasticcowl. Happy Knitting!

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!!!


The Woven Slip Stitch

Knitting, Knitting PatternsBrenda Reynoso Pena2 Comments

Are you familiar with the Woven Slip Stitch?Theneedlebeecitycape1 Today I want to show you my progress on one of the projects that I will complete in this 31 days challenge. Here is the city cape by purl soho in Malabrigo Rios, you can find the free pattern here. The pattern is knitted using the woven slip stitch which is similar to the linen stitch but the woven slip stitch is a little thicker giving you a more textured and dense fabric. City Cape Purl Soho The instructions below are from the Purl Bee website. You can find details for the free pattern here. Woven Slip Stitch Pattern Row 1 (wrong side): Sl1, *k1, sl1wyib, repeat from * to last stitch, k1. Row 2 (right side): Sl1, knit to end of row. Row 3: Sl1, *sl1wyib, k1, repeat from * to last stitch, k1. Row 4: Repeat Row 2. Repeat Rows 1–4. (The Woven Slip Stitch is worked over an even number of stitches.) - See more at: the Purl Bee by Purl Soho website.

Here is my swatch after blocking. A little note on your gauge swatches: always attached the tag or label of yarn to your swatch and write you gauge and needle size for future reference! Woven Slip Stitch Right Side Wrong Side of W. Slip stitch Special instructions are given in this pattern to always slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in the front. This gives a nice straight edge and makes I-cord edging easier to attach (more about i-cord edge after I finish the neckline). Photo Oct 03, 2 30 50 PM My city cape is looking like cape! a few more rows and I will start shaping the yoke and neckline.

Happy Knitting!

Bootstrap socks by Lara Neel

Knitting, Knitting PatternsBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

A few months ago I wanted to take a sock class to learn more about sock construction. So I decided for Lara Neel craftsy class Socks my Way. This is a wonderful class. Lara really explains different toes and heels that you can apply to any sock no matter if it is a toe up or cuff down. I like the analysis behind the formulas used to determine the number stitches used to customize your socks. Who doesn’t like custom made socks?


These socks are very cute, no wonder they are so popular in Ravelry. They are cuff down, with the balbrigganheel. The heel turn needs grafting (grafting is not my favorite thing) which explains why I have not finish them. As you can see, I am also knitting these socks using magic loop- two socks in one circular needle.

This is my first time using Regia 4-fädig Color sock yarn. I am loving my Hiya Hiya red lace size US-0, 40 in circular needles. They are sharp and comfortable with an almost invisible joint.  I have heard very good reviews about Regia, it is not as soft as I thought but it is durable and it washes really well.

You can see details of this yarn here in my Ravelry project page. My goal is to finish these socks by the end of October 2015. I guess I have to get my notes on grafting the heel and start working the instep.