Dinosaur Tails {Fidget Toy} | Back to School Crochet Collection

Dinosaur Tails are the ultimate fidget toy. They’re quick, colorful, and fun!

A quiet fiddle toy- one that you’re not upset if they lose because it takes 10 minutes to make! These adorable dino tails can be spikey or loopy. Your kids will love to touch the soft cotton and feel the texture of the yarn. They can keep it in their pocket and hold onto it when they need to lower their energy. Of course, you might want to talk with your child’s teacher about the dinosaur tails first!


2017. The year of the fidget spinner. Did you know that many schools have a policy that bans fidget spinners now? As a former classroom teacher, I just can’t stand them! They’re loud, bulky, and a great source of grief when they are inevitably lost. Don’t you worry, because I have a solution for those wiggles!

These dino tails are inspired by a student I met last year. Some way, some how this student ALWAYS had a length of yarn. Her teacher would confiscate a blue one before lunch and after recess a pink one would appear. This child is wicked smart- she just can’t stop moving!


So these dinosaur are for you, sweet, sweet wiggler. They curl up in a disc that can go in your child’s jacket pocket. They’ve got loops and spikes that little fingers will love to poke. They’re light and soft and won’t bang on the ground when dropped. And when they lose them? Who cares! They take 10 minutes to make and a tiny bit of yarn. My guess is that if you invest your child in their color choices they will hang onto it for longer.


Disclaimer: Please talk to your child’s teacher about their Dinosaur Tail. Explain why you made it for them. Come to an agreement with your child and teacher about the rules for their fidget toy- my suggestion is that it stays in their pocket and if they use it more like a toy and don’t do their work it has to stay home.

The pattern is below with a full picture tutorial. Remember, you can find a printable one-page PDF of the pattern in my Ravelry store here. Each pattern this week is just $1!


~ 4-6 grams of worsted weight cotton in color one

~ 4-6 grams of worsted weight cotton in color two

~ 3.5mm (F) crochet hook

GAUGE: 4 single crochets to 1 inch. Gauge is not super important, but please make sure you are close so that you do not run out of yarn!

FINISHED SIZE: 4 inches when stretched

Use the hashtags #backtoschoolcrochet and #knittynattydesigns to tag your photos on Instagram!


Weigh your yarn to make sure you have enough for the Dinosaur Tails.


Chain 15.


Row 1: Sc inc in second ch from hook and each ch across. – 28 sc That’s two single crochets in each chain. Your work should already start curling like a tail!


Row 2: Ch 1, sc inc in each sc across. – 56 sc This will double your stitch count a second time- more curling!


Pick one of the following for Row 3. 

Row 3, Option 1- Loops

With Color 2, ch 1, *sc 1, ch 3, sk 1 sc; repeat to last two sts, sc 2. (Blue line in second picture shows skipped stitch.)


Fasten off. Weave in ends.


Row 3, Option 2- Spikes

With Color 2, Ch 1, sc, *sl st in next sc, sc in next sc, ch 4, sl st in third ch from hook, ch 1, sc in next sc; repeat from * to last sc, sc 1.

Fasten off. Weave in ends.


Happy fidgeting!

One-page printable PDF available here.

Check back tomorrow for the last pattern in the Back to School Crochet Collection!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Lunchtime Napkins | Back to School Crochet Collection

The Lunchtime Napkin is like a permanent love note. With care in every stitch, your child will think of you each time he uses it… well, one can hope!

The perfect size for small lunch boxes and little hands- make these Lunchtime Napkins for your kids in under an hour! What’s better than that? This pattern is designed to use up those leftover scraps from dishcloths. Also, cotton is 100% machine wash and dry-able, so they can get them dirty over and over again!


Was anyone else the child that wished their mom put a note in their lunch box like those moms do in movies? I’m not trying to shame my beautiful and wonderful mom, but a daily note is probably NOT anyone’s reality. What you can do is show your child a little bit of love each day with these handmade napkins.


These whip up so quickly- between 30 minutes and an hour’s time! Have your little one pick out their favorite colors from your leftovers bin and enjoy your scraft while making them happy too! Or… make a few for yourself *wink, wink*. I know I’ll use mine- they’re the perfect size to flip a coffee cup over to dry or to act as a giant coaster.

The pattern is below with a full picture tutorial. Remember, you can find a printable one-page PDF of the pattern in my Ravelry store here. Each pattern this week is just $1!


~ 5-7 grams of worsted weight cotton in Color 1

~ 5-7 grams of worsted weight cotton in Color 2

~ 5-7 grams of worsted weight cotton in Color 3

~ 4.0mm (G) crochet hook

GAUGE: 3.5 half double crochets to 1 inch. Gauge is not super important, but please make sure you are close so that you do not run out of yarn!

FINISHED SIZE: 5.5 x 4.5 inches

Use the hashtags #backtoschoolcrochet and #knittynattydesigns to tag your photos on Instagram!


Weigh your yarn to make sure you have enough for the Lunchtime Napkins.


With Color 1 ch 22.


Row 1: Hdc in third ch from hook and each ch across. – 20 hdc.


Rows 2-4: Ch 2, turn, hdc in each hdc across. – 20 hdc.


Join Color 2. I like to join the next color at the end of the row of the previous color. To do this, make the last hdc on Row 4, but before pulling through all three loops, wrap Color 2 on your hook and pull through all three loops with Color 2. The new color is joined! Cut Color 1.

Rows 5-8: Ch 2, turn, hdc in each hdc across. – 20 hdc.


Join Color 3. I like to join the next color at the end of the row of the previous color. To do this, make the last hdc on Row 8, but before pulling through all three loops, wrap Color 3 on your hook and pull through all three loops with Color 3. The new color is joined! Cut Color 2.

Rows 9-12: Ch 2, turn, hdc in each hdc across. – 20 hdc.

Fasten off. Weave in ends. Bon appetit!

One-page printable PDF available here.

Check back tomorrow for the next pattern in the Back to School Crochet Collection!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Pencil Grip | Back to School Crochet Collection

This Pencil Grip is the ultimate stash buster. Make it in all of your favorite colors!

A simple pencil grip to personalize your student’s school gear. These things whip up so fast that you’ll want to make them in all of your child’s favorite colors! The best part? You can use up those little bits of dishcloth cotton you’ve been hanging onto. It’s a win-win!


A couple weeks ago I attended a week long training about teaching children with dyslexia. A huge component of the training was writing… IN CURSIVE! Cursive letters are nearly impossible to reverse as each letter is connected within a word. We didn’t have to take the instructor’s word for it; we got to practice our cursive letters and turn them in as homework! I even had to redo mine and turn it in a second time.


It was a no-nonsense training as you can probably tell! However, at the end of the week the facilitator brought out a bucket of pencil grips. There were fuzzy ones and jelly ones. There were cylinder shapes and ones with cups for your fingers. They were all colorful. She said that, as teachers, we should make writing as fun as possibleAbsolutely! Writing shouldn’t be a chore. With these soft and quick pencil grips, writing will be a pleasure.

The pattern is below with a full picture tutorial. Remember, you can find a printable one-page PDF of the pattern in my Ravelry store here. Each pattern this week is just $1!


~ 3-5 grams of worsted weight cotton

~ 3.5mm (F) crochet hook

GAUGE: 4 single crochets to 1 inch. Gauge is not super important, but please make sure you are close so that you do not run out of yarn!

FINISHED SIZE: 2.5 inches long

Use the hashtags #backtoschoolcrochet and #knittynattydesigns to tag your photos on Instagram!


Weigh your yarn to make sure you have enough for the Pencil Grip.


Chain 11.


Row 1: Sc in second ch from hook and each ch across. – 10 sc


Rows 2-6: Ch 1, sc in each sc across. – 10 sc


Fasten off. Cut yarn leaving a tail long enough to seam long sides.



Weave in shorter end.

Place a few swipes of hot glue on one side of the rectangle {indicated by black lines}. Take care to spread the hot glue as thin as possible to avoid bumps. Allow glue to dry completely.

Fold the rectangle in half with long sides together and glue on the inside.


Using longer tail, seam the long sides of the rectangle with a whip stitch. You might want to use a metal darning needle for this step.


Weave in end. This can be tricky! I found it best to weave the end on the outside of the pencil grip.


You might need to roll the grip onto the pencil. Happy writing!


One-page printable PDF available here.

Check back tomorrow for the next pattern in the Back to School Crochet Collection!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Easy Eraser | Back to School Crochet Collection

Easy Eraser is the very first design idea I had for the Back to School Crochet Collection. What child {or adult} doesn’t love a fun and simple school supply?!

This colorful eraser is perfect for little hands. Whether you’re making the eraser for your child or your student, you can customize the colors to match  his or her personality. These work great to wipe down personal dry-erase boards and fit nicely into a pencil box. The best part is… dishcloth cotton is 100% machine wash and dry-able. So make several for your little scholar and say NO to using old socks as erasers!


As a former Kindergarten teacher I know what a nuisance the personal dry-erase boards can be. Sure they are perfect for working quick math problems or practicing sight words, but the maintenance– ugh! I would always purchase sweet little wooden and felt erasers at the beginning of the year… but by the end of the week, a little someone would start to pull the things apart. Out of frustration I would say, “Use your hand or your sleeve or a tissue!” What a waste. No more!


I wish I had these cute little erasers in during the Kinder years. They are compact, colorful, oh… and so, so quiet. You can keep on re-using them because all they need is a quick bath once they get icky. Trust me, I’ve washed my own dishcloths out of Sugar and Cream on hot every week for years and they still look great!

The pattern is below with a full picture tutorial. Remember, you can find a printable one-page PDF of the pattern in my Ravelry store here. Each pattern this week is just $1!


~ 5-7 grams of worsted weight cotton in Color 1

~ 6-8 grams of worsted weight cotton in a Color 2

~ 4.0mm (G) crochet hook

GAUGE: 3.5 single crochets to 1 inch. Gauge is not super important, but please make sure you are close so that you do not run out of yarn!

FINISHED SIZE: 4 x 3 inches

 Use the hashtags #backtoschoolcrochet and #knittynattydesigns to tag your photos on Instagram!


Weigh your yarn to make sure you have enough for the Easy Eraser.


With Color 1 ch 13.


Row 1: Sc in second ch from hook and each ch across. – 12 sc.


Rows 2-9: Ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across. – 12 sc. Fasten off and cut yarn.


With Color 2, ch 13. Then repeat rows 1-9 above. DO NOT CUT YARN.


Attaching the rectangles:

Place the two rectangles together so that the chain edge of one rectangle is paired with the finished edge of the other rectangle. This will help when putting them together.


With Color 2 (still attached!), ch 1, then single crochet the two rectangles together by inserting hook into one strand from each rectangle, yarn over, pull through both strands, yarn over and pull through both loops.



When crocheting the short sides together, go in each row. You should come out with roughly 9 single crochets.


When crocheting the long sides together, go under the OUTER leg of the finished stitch and chain loop of the chain edge. For my first long side I used the front leg of the finished stitch since it’s the outer most part- shown in pink below.



Now crochet together the other short side. I found this to be the trickiest. Power through!


Finally, crochet together the last side- a long side. This time the OUTER most leg was the back leg of the finished edge.


Finish off with a sl st in the first sc.



Cut yarn. Weave in ends. You can just poke them inside between the two layers!


Happy easy erasing!

One-page printable PDF available here.

Check back tomorrow for the next pattern in the Back to School Crochet Collection!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Back to School Crochet Collection- Materials

Hello all! This week on the blog I’ll release a new crochet pattern EACH day. All patterns will be “back-to-school” themed and designed to use up scrap cotton.

Here’s what you need to know!


Gather your tools: leftover scrap cotton, a scale for weighing scraps, size F and G crochet hooks, a ruler for measuring gauge, scissors, and a darning needle. That’s it!


Scrap worsted weight cotton. You know all those dishcloths that used most of a ball of Sugar and Cream, but not all of it… that’s what these projects are designed for! So gather all those tiny balls of Peaches and Creme, Sugar and Cream, whatever worsted weight cotton you have and get your hooks ready!


Kitchen scale. I use this glass kitchen scale that I bought originally at Target and my compact scale from Amazon ALL. THE. TIME. They’ve become one of my most used knitting and crochet tools! You’ll use a scale this week to determine if you have enough left of scrap to use for pattern. Most of the scraps you’ll need are between 5-10 grams.


Size F and G crochet hooks. Three patterns use a 4.0mm size G crochet hook and the other two will use a 3.5mm size F hook. These Clover Armour hooks are my absolute favorite! You can find them at your local craft store, but Amazon has the best price.


Ruler for gauge. Although gauge will be listed, it’s not so important that you get it exactly right, just close enough so that you don’t run out of yarn. I like to use a rigid ruler when I’m measuring gauge. I like that this one from KnitPicks is clear.


Scissors and darning needle. You’ll need sharp scissors to snip those ends and a darning needle to weave them in. My preference for weaving in ends with crochet are these plastic large-eye needles from Susan Bates. They speed up my time weaving in ends because I don’t have to force the 4-ply cotton through a tiny eye. With crochet, I don’t need to be as accurate when weaving so the fact that the needle tip isn’t super sturdy doesn’t bother me. There is one seamed item that you might desire a metal darning needle.

Find the patterns each day here on my blog. If you like them, head to Ravelry to purchase a printable version for just $1! At the end of the week, all the patterns will be available as a collection for $3. I hope you enjoy them!

Check back tomorrow for the first pattern in the Back to School Crochet Collection!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Socks and Scraps

I have an exciting pattern announcement!

This week I finish a pair of socks, get a collection of patterns ready to publish, upgrade my organization, learn more about maintaining a positive attitude, and fail miserably at cooking. Enjoy!

Finished Objects

Finished 40-Yard Dash socks- fraternal twins!

I finished my first pair of 40-Yard Dash socks this week. This pattern is set to release August 30th in celebration of the first weekend of college football. The 40-Yard Dash socks are textured in the front and ribbed on the back of the leg. I absolutely love mine! I made this pair “fraternal twins”- meaning that the contrast colors are opposite for each sock.

I’ll share more details about the pattern as its release date approaches. I’m super excited for my first sock pattern to release!

WIP’s- Focus Projects

Next week the kids come back to school- ah!!! Try not to panic. To celebrate, I’m releasing a FREE pattern each day- right here on the blog. The Back-to-School Collection will feature five small projects for your children or students to use at school. Each project uses 15 grams or less of Sugar and Cream Cotton. These little items are perfect for using up all those dishcloth scraps!

Cotton scraps for the Back-to-School Collection.

I’ve been working this past week on designing, reproducing, taking pictures and writing the patterns for the Back-to-School CollectionI’m keeping each project a surprise until it’s release day, so make sure to follow me here and on Instagram to see them first! You can also purchase a printable PDF of each pattern for $1 on Ravelry. At the end of the week, I’ll put the whole collection {five patterns} in a bundle for just $3!

Second pair of 40-Yard Dash socks.

Between designs I’ve been working on my second pair of 40-Yard Dash socks. These were actually my original prototype. They are a bold, bright orange for my alma mater- the University of Tennessee. When I realized that not many people would love the crazy orange like me, I decided to switch my model to a more neutral navy and gray. Now that the model is done, I can work on the socks that represent my team pride! This sock pattern is set to release on Thursday, August 30th– the first weekend of college football.

Something New

I’ve always been an organized person, but this week I found myself trying a new strategy. I decided to make a weekly calendar that maps out my goals for each week. The calendar has all the tasks I hope to accomplish with room to fill in the details, since the week’s priorities can change.

My hope in making a calendar this way was to find balanceI’ve never made a calendar a format like this, one that let’s me look at my whole day to see if I’ve put too many tasks in a time frame. Making my calendar simple enough to fit on one page let me see the week as a whole and shuffle tasks around so that each day wouldn’t be overwhelming.

The key to this kind of organization is to think about what things you wish you were doing each week- like working out, cooking fresh meals, staying on top of chores, etc. Write them all down and find your main categories. Mine were household, health, beauty, media, spiritual, knit/crochet, and social.

Here’s a teensy snip of my calendar with categories on the side and days across the top.

Then assign all the tasks you want to do to a day of the week. Take a deep breath and look at your calendar as a whole. Are you trying to do too many household items on a day you have book club, after-school tutoring, and gym time? Can you scoot some items around to make each day realistic and achievable?

Once you find balance you create the mental space for flexibility. I know that I won’t do every single thing every bit perfect every week. Sometimes I might have a school event pop up after work on Thursday; but knowing what my goals are for Thursday evenings, I can plan to do those task the day before or after.

Having a plan puts me at ease. I talk more about this organization format in my Instagram stories- you can find it on my highlights here.

What God’s Teaching Me

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” – Psalm 51:10

This week I continued my study of attitude with a new plan called Improve Your Attitude from the Bible App. Day Two of the plan tells us that God looks at the state of our hearts. He doesn’t look at how clean our house is or how many likes we received on Instagram. God is in tune with our inner well-being.

I’ve been focusing so much on self-improvement and outer-organization before the school year starts because I know these processes keep me sane. What I haven’t taken the time to do is purify my heart and allow God to sooth my spirit.

When you’re a goal-oriented person like me, it’s hard not to make time with God another check mark on the daily to-do list. I love the feeling the green check on the Bible App gives me with each completed day of a plan! However, I’m not sure how to work on purifying and cleansing my heart.

Therefore, I just have to pray. Lord, show me where my heart is not pure. Reveal to me which areas of my life don’t align with your plans. Create in me the willingness to change. Grant me the desire to study your word.

What We’re Cooking

This week has been a major cooking FAIL. It took me until Tuesday to get a meal plan and grocery list to my husband {our resident shopper}. Then with his busy work schedule he couldn’t get to the store until late Wednesday night. Which resulted in Sonic on Tuesday and panic on Wednesday night.

Then Kent saved the day! He just told me not to worry about cooking the rest of the week. Wow. That’s love y’all. He went to the store, came home put the groceries away, and then cooked a delicious dinner {below}, and cleaned most everything up!

Grilled cheese with cheddar, goat cheese, and jalapeno jelly and tomato soup.

I believe I’ve said before that when Kent cooks he doesn’t just put food on the table, he goes above and beyond. Wednesday we didn’t just have grilled cheese and tomato soup, oh no. We had grilled cheese with cheddar with a layer of goat cheese and bit of jalapeno pepper jelly- YUM. Kent even plates his food so it looks delicious too. Again… why do I even bother to cook?!

Brownies from scratch.

There is one thing I managed to make right this week. While Kent is passionate about cooking, I’m in love with sweets. When the husband requested brownies and we didn’t have any mix in the pantry, I knew I could shine! This brownie recipe from Life Love Sugar really was easy. She made a point to develop a recipe that didn’t need any melting, saucepans, or unnecessary steps.

So much sugar and oil!

Next time I make these I would consider using less sugar and oil or maybe more cocoa powder. There’s something just a bit too sweet and not chocolate-y enough for my sweet tooth. The other interesting thing about this recipes is the super particular measurements. 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp of baking powder… have you ever? That just tells me that the baker worked super hard to get the recipe just right. While I’d give them a 6 on flavor, the texture is a perfect 10!

What I’m Reading

I’m 80% of the way through with A Spool of Blue Thread, which means I should finish the book this weekend. I’m glad it’s not taking me another two weeks to complete it like I thought it would!


I’ve already got my next book downloaded onto my Kindle- Broadcasting Happiness by Michelle GielanAll the teachers in my school district gathered on Wednesday for our back-to-school convocation. We had the pleasure of hearing Michelle speak about positivity. Since my devotional study the past two weeks have been about attitude, it couldn’t be more perfect that God had placed another message giver right in front of me. I loved Michelle’s message that our positive tone can set the stage for others. I can’t wait to share what I learn from this book!

Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

All About Attitude

I’m one week back at work and feeling the stress!

Somehow I ended up with three finished objects this week. I’m close to finishing my colorful Flatiron Shawl. I talk about color-dominance in my Christmas stocking, how to keep a positive attitude by re-framing your thoughts, what a busy week does to cooking, and my thoughts on a novel. Enjoy!

Finished Objects


One Christmas stocking down and one to go! I finished my Steamer Train stocking by Ursula Almeida. It turned out incredible. I need to get the next one going… with school starting next week, my brain is going to melt away. This next one will take me much longer to complete.


I made only one modification on this pattern. The designer has the after-thought heel opposite the seam, which just didn’t look right to me. After moving the heel to center the seam… I know exactly why she did that. In order to center a heel over a round change you need to cut both of your yarns and join them back in- or else you’ll be very sad when you go back to pick out your waste yarn! Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I moved the heel, because now the back of the stocking is truly the back.


I also finished my #slaythestash2018 July project. I had these two beautiful skeins of ballet-pink silk ribbon. I used a knitty.com pattern circa 2003 called Twins-Anna to create two bralettes. These sweet little things are really tiny… and I’m, ahem, not incredibly gifted in that area. However, they are perfect for wearing at home on a knit-filled Saturday; which is exactly what I intended for them.


The rules for Slay the Stash say that you must use your yarn down to the last three yards. Even after two bras, I still had a good bit left. I made this sweet newborn headband with my leftovers. No pattern, just chained about 12 inches, single crocheted one round, then did shells. For my flower, I used the “Basic Rose” pattern by June Gilbank. This silk yarn is so special, I might just have to keep it until I have a baby of my own.


One more FO for the week {thanks to long professional development sessions!}- a hat I will give my brother for Christmas. The pattern is a simple 2×2 rib and available for FREE. I made the same same hat for my husband back in February. This time around I decided to make some mods to the decreases. Instead of the four decreases the pattern calls for, I adjusted the counts to have five decrease points. You can see how I did that on my Ravelry project page.

WIP’s- Focus Projects

Flatiron Shawl by Toni Lipsey

My Flatiron Shawl has continued to make me smile this week. I’ve made it to the third color- a bright, sparkly pink. Somehow, this color makes the funky, rainbow in the middle blend in a bit. I absolutely love it now! I’d like to finish it in the next few days so that I can block and wear it during the long, chilly hours of teacher professional development next week.

Sneak peek of my sock design coming in late August.

My new sock pattern is out to testers and I’ll finish up one of the pairs I have going this weekend. You won’t see the pattern release until the end of August. For now, just a blurry teaser, but follow the hashtag #knittynattydesigns to keep an eye on my testers’ WIPs!

Something New

My recent FO, Steamer Train, has me puzzling over a colorwork technique- color dominance. Take a closer look at the last section of my colorwork. Can you tell how the green not only contrasts with the white, but physically pops up? Hmm… not sure if that’s the color I wanted to dominate.


I’ve watched a few videos from fair-isle guru’s Arne and Carlos. They talk about color dominance depending on which hand you use to hold your yarn. It’s not as much about color contrast as it is about stitch definition. So, in this instance, I held my green yarn in my left hand to knit continental and my white yarn in my right to knit English-style {my preference when knitting most things}. I think I’ll try switching those colors in my hand for the next stocking and see what happens. It will be an colorwork experiment!

What God’s Teaching Me

Attitude. That’s the theme of my “back-to-work” week.

After my two glorious months off {teacher life}, I had to go back to work this week. I knew my attitude could be negative, especially given that the first two weeks consist of professional development. I wanted to combat that! I wanted to reap as much as possible from my training and not let the long hours of sitting and listening take away my joy.

I found a simple 5-day plan on the Bible App called “All About Attitude” and it really helped keep me in check. I read the message each morning before work. The part that stuck out to me the most was this: “For some, choosing our attitude starts with choosing our words. Instead of saying, ‘I have to,’ we start saying, ‘I get to.’”

So I started saying to myself: “I get to become an expert in teaching dyslexic students this week.”

“I get to go to work each day to support my lifestyle.”

“I get to work in a field that I feel helps others.”

Give it a try! It’s quite effective.

What We’re Cooking

This week was all about survival. We had Hamburger Helper one night. Kent sauteed some mushrooms to fancy it up a bit!


I pulled some chicken frozen with onions and diced green chiles to make an easy taco meal.

Next week we’ll be back to our routine- I meal plan, Kent shops, and I cook a few times. I’m hoping to gear in a healthier direction {a.k.a more veggies and less cheese} too!

What I’m Reading

A Spool of Blue Thread took an unexpected turn this week. I’m just over 50% of the way through the book and into Part Two. It’s an intriguing book because I still don’t see any clear plot or direction. We continue to follow different characters paths… and them BAM something happens that I didn’t expect, but I won’t spoil it.


Even without a clear direction, this book is so comforting to me. I can’t put my finger on why it makes me nostalgic- since Whitshank family is not like my own. It might be because the author makes the characters’ problems so real and undramatic. I find myself nodding in agreement to their mundane thoughts. I’m reading it very slowly… just 10 or so pages each night. It might take me two more weeks to finish at this rate!

Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Totes and FO’s

It’s been a busy two weeks of travel- Vegas, California, and Nashville!

These past weeks I finished a pair of socks, released my Float Tote pattern, started a new design, ate yummy food, and panicked about the return of the inevitable- work. Enjoy!

Finished Objects

These shorties are a Christmas gift!

My July socks are finished! When I left for vacation two Saturdays ago they were barely started. I knit on them in restaurants, casinos, cars, and Disneyland. They are a pair of shortie socks in striping Hufflepuff colors. The black yarn for toes, heels, and cuffs came from Gynx yarn in her BFL blend in the colorway “Black Hole”. The self-striping is from Brazen Stitchery and called “Hufflepuffs are Fantastic Finders”.

WIP’s- Focus Projects

Adding the second color to my Flatiron Shawl.

My second Flatiron Shawl has gotten some love these last two weeks. I’ve faded in the second color- a crazy, bright rainbow by Vice Yarns. I’m not so sure what I think about the pairing of the darker rainbow with the brighter rainbow… but I’m not pulling it out yet! This is going to be one bold shawl.

Textured front of my next design- a sock!

I’ve also been concentrating on a new design- my first socks! The sock features an easy-to-memorize texture pattern and contrast heels, toes, and cuffs. I will go into more detail later on as the pattern won’t be released until the end of August.

Something New

IMG_5191 (1)

The Float Tote pattern is live!!! You can now purchase the Float Tote for $5 on Ravelry. This bag is designed for your colorwork projects. It’s simple to crochet {with just one stitch} and works up quickly with yarn held double and a J hook!


I learned so much writing this pattern. I know now {just a smidge!} how much work it takes! I have so much respect for full-time designers, especially the ones that write garment patterns. I’m so grateful for my friends and the crochet community on Instagram for helping me test this pattern. It was so much fun and I’ve already started to design more items!

What God’s Teaching Me

Pray for me. The summer of dreams has come to an end.

I’ve spent nearly every day since June 1st in introverted bliss. {I’m a teacher and take the summers off.} My daily goals were working out, knitting, and writing about knitting. I’m not sure I’ll ever have another summer like this one. I was nearly in a depressive state the Friday before our first trip thinking about the end of summer. I still had a two weeks until work started back at that point, mind you. However, the coming weeks are going to be stressful… I give you: ONE MONTH OF EXTROVERSION.


These next few weeks are going to be marvelous, as have been the last two. I don’t think I have to explain to fellow introverts why I just miss my house and my routine. {Introverts would probably nod in solemn understanding that I secretly, sort of would have been relieved if my trips got canceled.} Let me explain.

Two weeks back I had the pleasure of vacationing in Las Vegas and California. We got see my mother-in-law and my brother and go to Disneyland. All things I love! But… immediately when we returned home Sunday night I washed my clothes and packed again.

I left Tuesday morning for Nashville. {Yes, I did plan these back-to-back trips myself. Why do you ask?} I was so looking forward to seeing my parents and my Bliss Yarns family. I also get to go to SSK! But… right when I return I have to go straight back to work.

This part I didn’t plan. When I planned these two back-to-back trips, I did so with the understanding that I would have a week buffer until work started again. Just days after I’d finalized my flight, I found out that I would need to attend a workshop during this week that I’d thought would be my final days of summer vacation. Now, it’s going to be a super-informative learning experience on a topic that I feel is very important; still I am so bummed.

The following week I’ll be starting back at my school (lots of new staff and a new principal) PLUS my mother-in-law and brother-in-law are coming into town for a week AND we’re having a party. Okay breathe. All you extroverts are thinking right now, “Why is she complaining about four super fun weeks in a row?” I’m not trying to vent, I’m trying to prepare.

One whole month of travel, people, changing routines, more people, different time zones and new people… Let’s get back to my bought of sadness two Fridays ago. Kent {dear husband} thought it would be fun to move our flight to Las Vegas up a day earlier. In theory, that would be fun! Another day in Vegas, more time to spend with his mom, more things we could see.

I just couldn’t change plans that quickly. I was supposed to have one more day at home before my summer literally unravels. I needed that one more day at home!!! It wasn’t just a day’s difference in travel to me; it’s the start of a whole month that’s no longer the quiet summer I’ve been enjoying. I entered into a spiral of sadness for summer ending, guilt for preventing my husband and mother-in-law from starting the vacation early, and shame for needing this one last day to feel ready for the month of extroversion.

I wonder how many others are like me and panic at the thought of change. I’m not always aware of my stress levels, and sometimes have to analyze my own outward behavior to sense what’s going on. Why am I cleaning everything in sight? Why can’t I fall asleep? Why am I just sitting here staring at the wall and petting my dog?

Yup… for nearly an hour I just laid on the couch {not even knitting!} and cuddled with my dog and radiated sorrow. I mourned the end of my summer. I analyzed why I was feeling so bummed. I prayed to be more extroverted. I pumped myself up for vacation. Then the little rain cloud lifted and I typed this up- and felt so much better! {Not energized enough to go to on vacation a day early- ha!}

How funny that my blessed situations bring me stress, but I do have some ways to deal with them. I’ve gone the long way around this week, but this is where God and I have been chatting. In the next few weeks I’ll be relying on Him immensely. I don’t always have access to knitting, writing, exercise, chocolate, or bubble baths {my top five external stress relievers}, but I always have His comfort. Pray for me y’all. I will need it.

What We’re Cooking

I remembered this time to take plenty of food pictures on vacation!


Even though my husband and I are both in our late 20’s… and have no kids… we decided to do a character brunch at Disneyland! We got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Pluto. It was so much fun and the food was good too!

In Anaheim {outside of Disneyland} we discovered a super cool food spot. It’s called the Anaheim Packing District. It’s a huge building packed with different restaurants. There was Asian, sandwiches, gelato, pizza, you name it. Kent got to try hot pot for the first time and I played it safe with grilled cheese and tomato soup- yum! We even found a local brewery with Geeks Who Drink trivia.


In California Adventure you can enjoy alcoholic beverages- hehe! My mother-in-law got me on a Bloody Mary kick during our trip. This is one of the most artistic ones I’ve had.


What used to be Ariel’s Grotto got a face lift and Pixar name- Lamplight Lounge. Although the renderings are terrifying {creepy fake people!} the restaurant itself is beautiful. We sat on the lower deck on comfy couches and had fresh donuts with chocolate/hazelnut and sweet dipping sauce.

What I’m Reading

Honestly, I haven’t opened a book or listened to an audiobook or podcast in the last week. I’ve still got A Spool of Blue Thread on my Kindle and Jurassic Park on Audible.

Since I’ve been spending the week at my parents house, I thought I’d be recharging from my previous busy vacation with podcast after podcast. In reality I’m just hanging out at Bliss Yarns from open to close- the best way to fill my soul! Anyhow, I wanted to share my favorite podcasters’ current episodes that I’ll be catching up with soon:

Katie from Inside Number 23

Amber from The Yarn Hoarder Podcast

Amy from the Stranded Podcast

Dianne from Suburban Stitcher

Trysten and Christy from The Girls in the Yarn Cafe

Whew! I’ve got a lot to watch- yay!

Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Silk and a Sous Chef

Happy Friday! We’re off to Las Vegas and Disneyland tomorrow!

Another week with no FO’s… but more stockings, a new project, tips for creating knit charts, some of my favorite scripture, Kent’s cooking, and a new book. Enjoy!

Finished Objects

None… again. Hopefully some projects will drop off the needles next week after my vacation!

WIP’s- Focus Projects

“Steamer Train” by Ursula Almeida

I’ve been putting an hour or so into my Christmas stockings each day. I love seeing the picture come to life with each chart. Colorwork is so satisfying! This week I made it through the trains on my Steamer Train stocking. This project won’t come with me to Las Vegas or California next week, but it will come home with me to Tennessee the week after.

Artyarns Silk Ribbon for #slaythestash2018

With a new month comes a new #slaythestash2018 project. This time I pulled one of the oldest yarns in my stash. It’s a 100% silk ribbon I purchased sometime in high school. I have a very vague memory of being on a family vacation and my family kindly accepting my new hobby by stopping at a farm/yarn store. I had no clue what I was looking for and ended up buying these two little hanks. I’ve never known what to do with ribbon yarn.

Start of my Twins- Anna bralette.

The yarn is light as air, but tricky to knit. I wanted to make something special and delicate with these skeins. I decided I’d make a bralette! I wasn’t looking for a revealing pattern, just something simple and camisole-like. I just wanted the perfect little layer for wearing under t-shirts on a lazy day at home. Not snug enough to bind, but providing enough coverage that I could answer the door without crossing my arms over my chest. I found the Twins- Anna pattern in the deep archives of Knitty.com. So far so good! I’m making a few changes that I’ll be sure to highlight when I post my finished product.

Something New

Float Tote- coming July 10th!

My Float Tote pattern is set to release next week {now available!}, so I’ve begun working on a new pattern. This will be a pair of knitted socks with a texture pattern that requires a chart. Ah! Charts!

I’ve been making my own charts in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets for years. However, for a knitting pattern that I plan to publish… I needed to step up my game.

Can I just say, “Thank you, Craftsy.” A quick Google search on “how to make my own knitted charts” lead me to this Craftsy article. Included are five great sites for making knitted charts. Two of which look perfect for what I need.

What God’s Teaching Me

This week I found myself seeking peace and comfort. I start scrolling through my YouVersion Bible App at all the image quotes I had made with favorite verses. Each of these verses meant so much at the time. They were either extremely applicable to my life at the moment or they were so striking I just had to save them. Here are a few of those verses. I hope one stands out to you and helps get you through this season.

What We’re Cooking

Sunday we enjoyed the third meal from my freezer prep: Cheesy Tortellini with Ground Beef. It was pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, it was yummy! It’s the kind of home-cooked comfort food you might crave at times. I think what turns me off this recipe is not the taste- it’s the expense of tortellini. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong aisle, but I can only find Buitoni tortellini, and that’s $7-9 a bag. The expense of the meal just doesn’t match the taste.

Remember the rubbery chicken from last week? I couldn’t stand to eat it or to let it go to waste. So I decided to form a rescue. First I picked off all the Tuscan toppings to eat on their own (mmm!). Then I warmed the chicken in the microwave long enough that I could shred it. I tossed them in a pan with some taco seasoning. Finally, I put them in the oven on top of tortillas and cheese. These came out muy bueno.

My husband, Kent, made a decision this week to try the Keto diet. This diet is heavy on protein, fat, and veggies and includes little to no carbohydrates. No sugar? No bread? Help!!!

It turned out to be a great thing for me though! Kent went off to the grocery store to buy food for his new meal plan. Then he cooked. And then I got to eat it! I present to you Kent’s cooking.

Spicy cheddar biscuit {made with almond flour} with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and arugula.

Above you’ll see broccoli with a creamy, cheese sauce and bacon paired with a grilled steak.

Chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese, jalapenos, and cheddar cheese; then wrapped in bacon and paired with asparagus.

Kent is such a natural in the kitchen. He’s actually humming to himself and SMILING while he cooks. He either combined a few recipes or didn’t use one at all, and trusted instinct to make a good meal. Someone tell me why I’m the one that usually cooks?!

Above, Italian sausage with peppers and onions alongside haricots verts cooked in garlic.

I enjoyed playing sous chef so much. I loved that I didn’t have to think, just follow the directions my husband gave me. I’m also an excellent dishwasher, thank you very much. We played to our strengths and we had fun together in the kitchen! I hope we can continue working together once school starts back up.

What I’m Reading


After a few nights of browsing through my local library’s digital collection, I came across A Spool of Blue Thread. It caught my eye right away because of the loose connection thread has to yarn- of course! I’m only a little ways in, but it’s a cute book so far. It features a family with a slew of kids and real world problems.


I’ve been listening to Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. It’s much more technical than I remember. Have I gotten dumber since I listened to the book a couple years back? Probably! I still find the book fascinating. Any author of fiction novels will put their own spin on fact, but there’s an exorbitant amount of research that goes into science-fiction. Some truth is in there!

While I’ve enjoyed re-reading the book, I was so disappointed in the new movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I won’t spoil the plot, I promise. There were several elements that just didn’t work for me. One, it was cheesy… a common pitfall among sequels where the writers just tried too hard to be funny. Two, it was intense. There was too much “up” time {i.e. waiting anxiously while certain dinosaur attack is imminent} and not enough down-time to build the plot and characters. Three, even for a movie about dinosaurs there were too many unbelievable parts. The ending? Just… no.

Please, don’t make another movie Universal… oh wait this is a planned trilogy. Hopefully they can clean this movie up and make another great one (like with the first Jurassic World).

Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

KonMari and No Knitting

Happy Friday, y’all!

This week I start another Flatiron Shawl, talk about needlepoint, link some amazing Instagram tips, discuss a hot religious topic, reveal my kitchen mess-up, and dive deep into the philosophy of tidying. Surprisingly there’s not a stitch of knitting in sight this week. I still knit, I promise. Enjoy!

Finished Objects

None this week! I’ve got quite a few long-term projects on-the-go.

WIP’s- Focus Projects

Rainbow colors for my second “Flatiron Shawl”

I’ve started a second Flatiron Shawl by Toni of TL Yarn Crafts. I loved my first one so much that I’d picked out this yarn before I even finished it. This time I’ll be following the pattern more accurately- all design features implemented. I have three colors that I will fade and might choose a fourth color for the border. This will be the perfect simple project to bring with my on my trip to Las Vegas and California next week. Yarn and project details here.

The start of my “Flatiron Shawl” by Toni Lipsey.

I’ve also been making myself stitch on my dad’s Georgia belt for one hour each day. Although I do love needlepoint, I find myself drawn towards my Steamer Train stocking when I want to craft with a bit of concentration.  However, I’m always happy while I spend the hour methodically stitching on the belt. My dad is going to love it!

Beginnings of the University of Georgia belt I will gift to my dad for Christmas.

Something New

When I started my Instagram account last August, it was really because I wanted to start this blog. Opening the account was going to break my two-year hiatus from social media, and I didn’t take that lightly. I really wanted more people to talk to and share my knitting with- and to start building an audience for this blog.

Until this last month, I was approaching Instagram all wrong. I wanted knitting to be the focus, so I never shared my face or personal details. I didn’t even have my name attached to my account. {The first few months I even tried to remain anonymous… and wouldn’t you know that Instagram helped my friends find me- ah!}

I decided I would put more effort into helping my Instagram account grow (and hopefully my blog in turn) and THE PERFECT DISCOVERY CAME ABOUT! I had just started following Toni Lipsey {the maker behind TL Yarn Crafts and designer of the “Flatiron Shawl“} when she began her Instagram live series about Instagram itself! She puts all of her live videos on YouTube so I will link them below.

  1. “5 Steps to a Killer Instagram Profile” – Video here.
  2. “7 Steps to Master Instagram Hashtags”- Video here.
  3. Week 3 Toni talked about what to post when you don’t know what to post- not yet uploaded.
  4. Week 4 Toni talked to Lee of Coco Crochet Lee- not yet uploaded.

If you’d like to increase your reach, these videos are MUST WATCH! In the last two weeks, Toni’s tips have helped me grow my followers by 40%. I’m still small potatoes (like itsy, bitsy fingerling ones), but I’m shocked by the impact her simple tips have made. Give them a watch! You won’t regret it.

What God’s Teaching Me

A few weeks ago my husband and I had a heated discussion about heaven and hell. Yup, we don’t agree on this subject. In fact, there are several hot topics that we have differing opinions about. We talk about them though. We were raised in different churches and bring our unique upbringings into the mix. It can be upsetting, but also informative. We challenge each other with our knowledge of the Bible and beliefs about God. These debates usually end with some scripture-searching.

But, for some reason God brought this discussion about heaven and hell back on my heart this week. How does one “get” into heaven? {Should I be capitalizing Heaven?!}

My current belief* is that only one thing separates saved people (going to heaven) from those who are not saved (going to hell)- the belief that Jesus Christ saved you from your sins. (See John 3:18)

When I voiced this to my husband he said something along the lines of… “So that means that if a serial murderer believes in God that he will go to heaven over someone who volunteers every Saturday at the animal shelter, but doesn’t believe?” Yup, I think so.

Ouch. This is really too much for our human hearts to comprehend. How can someone so “bad” get accepted somewhere so “good”? And what about all the people who are really, truly, genuinely good?

This is why we are human and God is God. I know that I couldn’t make decisions like that… “Well you did cheat on your wife, but you asked for forgiveness and you believe in me. You’re in!” But wait, I’m not God!

Sometimes I wish that the Bible was more clear on what is acceptable and what is not. I often desire for God to send down another Ten Commandments, and then, BOOM- cut and dry. But God is God.

If it was actions that got people into heaven then the “bad” people would not have a chance. Not even the “sort of okay” people. Only the really, really good people that probably died of a plague at two months old {therefore having minimal time in which to sin} could uphold the values of our Lord.**

See, grace is not black and white. Mercy is not straightforward. Forgiveness is a jagged line.

Thank God {literally} that he sent his son to save us from our sins. He created a pathway to him that IS achievable even by the most mediocre among us. Even by the ones who have strayed. Especially by the souls who have been hurt.

I think God wanted me to recall this conversation with my husband so that I could remember the great mercy that I operate under each day. Last week, when I was beating myself up for not going to church, my gentle Father was saying to me, “Church is not a direct solution. I’ve given you the path to me, now take it.”

This is a touchy subject. We want to believe that we are righteous enough for the good place. No matter how many days a week we go to church, how many prayers we say before meals, or how many highlights we put in our Bibles can amount to a number that will atone our sins. I wish I knew the magic “get into heaven” formula, but for now the best I know is to believe.

*I say “current belief” because this was not always how I felt; and it may not always be how I feel. My knowledge about God is constantly evolving as I study, meet new people, listen and have discussions about hot topics.

**Sidenote- has anyone watched The Good Place with Kristen Bell? It’s a hilarious show with a comedic depiction of heaven. You should totally watch it right now!

What We’re Cooking

Turkey Black Bean Chili bubbling in the crockpot.

Sunday I made the second meal of my big freezer meal prep- Turkey and Black Bean Chili. I was worried about the taste because the first chili recipe I made from New Leaf was extremely bland. This one was incredible! The fact that the meat was turkey didn’t take away any flavor at all. We enjoyed ours with Frito’s and cheddar cheese.

Frito’s and cheddar are always a good thing.

On Tuesday we had Tuscan Garlic Chicken– one of my favorite and easiest chicken recipes. It’s essentially a dump meal. You just prep the chicken with garlic, salt, and pepper and then dump the other ingredients on top. I just make sure to buy sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes quartered.

Tuscan Chicken before cooking… before it all went wrong.

Something happened with the chicken this time. I took one bite and spit it immediately out {attractive, I know}. The chicken was so chewy and rubbery that I worried it was under-cooked. I looked at the chicken and it wasn’t pink. I’d also checked the internal temperature with a thermometer and it was 164 degrees Fahrenheit, even after sitting out of the oven for a few minutes {recommended temp. is 165}. I turned to a Google search and it appears that I may have over-cooked the chicken, oops!

That has never happened to me with this recipe before. I’m not sure what I did differently and wonder if it’s the quality of chicken that I purchased. After one weird bite of meat, I can’t stand to finish my food, so I ate all the artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes on top- yum! Kent ate all of his chicken though, and just said it was a bit rubbery- he’s too kind. Have you ever had a chewy chicken incident?

What I’m Reading

I read a book from start to finish this week- are you impressed? I was!


The book is The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It’s a pretty short book and quick to read. It’s packed with tips on changing your lifestyle to decrease the volume of your stuff so that you have more things you truly enjoy. Kondo insists that you must declutter your house in one fell swoop, but I have to take this advice with a grain of salt. I need breaks when I clean and organize.

Yet, I decided to go ahead with the KonMari method of tidying with my clothes. I hope you will allow me to take over this reading section with some pictures and reflection on tidying.

The first step to tidying clothes is to take all of your tops (ALL. OF. THEM) and put them on the floor. Luckily I have a large bed to put them on.

All my tops (t-shirts, tanks, hang-up tops, sweaters) spread across my bed.

Then you glance at the sheer volume of shirts that you own and try not to panic at the task ahead- pick up each and every item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” I’ve done a decent amount of paring down in the last year, but “JOY” was never a parameter I used to declutter. This time, instead of looking at what I wanted to get rid of, I was looking for what I wanted to keep. This was a surprisingly quick process, although not particularly easy.

The beginning of the discard pile- all the tops that don’t spark joy.

It was hard not to feel wasteful looking at the large pile of tops I was going to give away. “I wish I hadn’t bought these in the first place,” I found myself thinking. But Kondo warns not to think this way. “There is a reason why each of your belongings came to you… send it (your clothes) off joyfully with words like, ‘Thank you for finding me…'” {from the chapter titled Your possessions want to help you}.

I repeated the process in the recommended order- tops first, then bottoms, hung-up clothes (dresses and jackets mostly), socks, underwear, bags, accessories (mostly scarves for me!), clothes for specific events (I had swimwear and dance clothes), and shoes. I stopped taking pictures after I got to socks because I got so wrapped up in the process- I was having fun! Pulling everything out and sort it into piles of “sparks joy” and “doesn’t spark joy” only took about an hour and a half. That’s when I took a break to force myself to eat lunch {I really wanted to keep going}.

When I went through my possessions I really didn’t have trouble decided if something sparked joy. I looked at the top or dress or shoe in question and thought, “How do I feel?” If I felt things like “Ooh, that’s so comfy.” or “Those heels make me feel beautiful.”- I tossed it into the KEEP pile. If I had to wonder a bit longer… “Every time I want to wear this dress I have to make sure I don’t eat a heavy meal.” or “These shoes are too painful now to even walk to the car.”- it became one with the giveaway pile.

My completed piles- KEEP on the left and GIVEAWAY on the right.

Tidying didn’t become uncomfortable until my husband walked in and saw my two giant piles. “Which one are you keeping?” he asked. KonMari warns that it’s more respectful to your family and friends if you complete the process without them seeing what you’re getting rid of- she’s right. Kent laid on our bed as I started bagging up the giveaway pile in trash bags. “Oh I loved that dress on you!” he’d say. Or, “You’re getting rid of things I bought you,” he’d whine. Talk about emotional stress. 

I made myself stand my ground. “I’m not changing my mind about anything in this pile.” I declared while pointing to the giveaway pile. The truth is that only you know how your clothes feel on you. I wasn’t wearing any of the clothes, shoes, and accessories in my giveaway pile anymore. At some point they’d made me feel incredible- that’s why I bought them! Every season we grow and change. When we bring in new stuff that is more “us,” we’ve got to let go of the old.

Still, I felt a twinge of guilt in my heart as I drove a trunk-full of things to Goodwill the next day. What if I’m getting rid of something I need? HA! I remembered that in those bags were a blazer, five pairs of dress pants and four pencil skirts “just in case I have an interview.” What?!! I’m a teacher… I do not need these clothes. I’m not planning to change fields anytime soon, but if I do I’m going out to buy myself a brand-new outfit that makes me feel confident now; I’m sure not wearing the dreary brown dress pants I bought five years ago.

When I go look in my closet and drawers now, do you know what I see? I see space. I see symmetry. I see a line-up of items that I could close my eyes and pull something off the hanger and know that I would totally wear that- right now! Do you know what this feeling is? It’s magic. It’s the magic of tidying {as KonMari has coined}. All those items that I was no longer using were noisy and burdensome. They called out to me with Catholic-mom-guilt, “Why don’t you use me, Natalie?!” Now my items are quiet and orderly. They are happy to be mine just as I am happy to wear them.

Needless to say, I think you should read this book. At the very least, it’s changed my relationship with my clothing. I wonder what it can do for you.

Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty