Introducing Nerio

Meet Nerio, my latest (and 21st*!) release with Quince & Co. yarns. These quick-knit socks feature a deceptively simple lace pattern reminiscent of dragon scales. Toe-up construction with an afterthought heel keep the knitting flowing so these little beauties will practically hop (or should I say fly?)  off your needles. 

Nerio can be purchased as an individual pattern ($5.50 USD ) or as part of the five-pattern Tern 2018 collection ($18.00) from the following sources:

Ravelry | Ms. Cleaver | Quince & Co.

*And the third to be styled with that skirt!

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Selfish Stitching

Stem Stitch
Hubby socks
Doctor Who Project Bag
Mini Skein
Selfish Sock
Start Where You Are Embroidery
Selfish Socks

I have, to a certain extent, turned my hobby into a job. It's certainly not my full-time job, but it does have responsibilities and deadlines, etc. that knitting for oneself just doesn't has.

The danger of turning one's hobby into a job is losing the joy you had in that activity in the first place. Burn out for artists is nothing new, and it's nothing new to me. I watched myself go through it with theatre and it wasn't something I wanted to go through again with knitting. 

In the past six months, I have been working more intensely on my knit design work than I have since I started doing it back in 2010. It's been exciting and challenging, and at times frustrating. But the thing that has kept me grounded is selfish-stitching. Doing something just because I want to, with no deadline at the end of it, no need to sell anything, has been imperative. It doesn't even have to be something for me (for example, I knit Mr. Cleaver a pair of socks), it just has to be something I want (not need) to do. 

When I started selfish-stitching, I had thought to limit it to Sundays, but my methodology has shifted somewhat. It's now more about when I need it, or there's a found moment, rather than anything scheduled. Little moments of joy sprinkled throughout my week.

You can see the joyful fruit of my labors above. A beautiful embroidery of encouraging words stitched, in part, with my daughter; simple socks for a grateful recipient; less simple socks for me; a project bag in a fabric that always makes me smile; and a teeny tiny skein of yarn, spun just to feel fiber between my fingers. Things both useful and purely decorative.

I'm proud of all the other things I'm working on, the things I can't show you yet. They've expanded my skills as a knitter and a designer. They are beautiful and I can't wait to share them. Each one of my designs holds a special place in my heart, but each one of these little "just because" projects does too. 


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Introducing Barbe

Barbe Socks, Designed by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations
Barbe Socks, Designed by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations
Barbe Socks, Designed by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations
Barbe Socks, Designed by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations

A downside to designing knitting patterns is that you spend an awful lot of time knitting for other people - samples in the sizes you'd never fit in, that sort of thing. So when you have a legitimate knitwear need for yourself? Well, that's where self-publishing comes in handy.

My sock drawer has been looking a bit sad lately, and so, I introduce to you - the Barbe socks!

Despite the fact the socks photographed above, in a lovely Permission Tree Farm Piggy Sock Yarn, were made in a few weeks, this pattern is actually several years in the making! It's my habit to only  knit socks while traveling due to their general portability and I began knitting a pair of socks with the same winding cable motif out of the leftovers of a sweater when traveling in late 2011. I finished that pair of socks, only to find that Sock #1 and Sock #2 weren't remotely the same size.

Somewhat disheartened by this, I put away the socks for a few years (like you do). This year, with my resolution to fight the entropy  I pulled out those old socks, determined to make a matching pair. Well, the finished pair ended up matching in size, but were a bit too large for me and were gifted to Mr. Cleaver.

I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound, so I found some suitable sock yarn in my stash to make another pair and figured, hey, why not make a pattern out of it while I'm at it?

Not content to do anything halfway, Barbe is available in five sizes from 6" to 10"/15-25.5 cm in circumference, so the unisex styling can fit feet of all sizes.

Worked from the toe-up with a short row heel (the easiest heel in my humble opinion), and the simple to work, but fancy to look at, spiraling cables Barbe would make a great introduction to sock-knitting and/or short rows. Barbe works equally well as a sock drawer builder for when you want a quick knit with a little something more. The ribbing throughout also makes for a nicely fitted sock.

Pattern Details 


Foot Circumference (unstretched): 6 (7, 8, 9, 10)”/ 15 (18, 20.5, 23, 25.5) cm. To be worn with approximately 1-1½”/2.5-4 cm negative ease for best fit and display of cables.


One skein Persimmon Tree Farm Piggy Toes SW [100% Superwash Merino]; 560 yds [512 m] per 113 g or approximately 350-520 yds of sock yarn for one pair, dependent on finished width and length. Sample as shown uses approximately 375 yds.


Barbe is available for purchase via the following methods:

Ravelry  //  Ms. Cleaver Creations  //  Love Knitting 


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5th Annual National Pie Day Pie-Luck & Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel

Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel
Serving Up Pie
Sweet Pie Sampler
Valentine's Day Cherry Pie
On the needles
Roses and Snow
Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel

For the fifth year in a row, my knitting friend and I gathered at Casa Cleaver to celebrate National Pie Day with lots and lots of pie.

Due to the seemingly never-ending snow and some scheduling conflicts, our group was slightly smaller than usual, but we still managed to have 11 kinds of pie represented. There was a spicy meat pie, lentil shepherds pie, empanadas, cauliflower quiche, chocolate tart with hazelnut crust, nutella/banana, raspberry ribbon, ginger pear, lemon meringue, cherry and blackberry.

Much pie was eaten, much tea was drank, and much knitting was done. We also managed to cover all 70 toes present with hand-knit socks.

I intended to make my traditional cherry cup-pies, but due the lack of tasty ingredients in unbaked pie-dough, my baking assistant started losing interest and I went for simple(r), by making a regular pie and using a heart cookie cutter for the top crust, which would make a great valentine's day dessert, methinks.

I also tried out a new recipe that I've been dreaming of for a while, inspired by my much-beloved Katie Cakes from Chicago. While I'd like to try one at least one more iteration before I'd call it final (adding a bit of cinnamon and clove to berries), it was pretty delicious, so I thought I'd share it here.

Blackberry Pie with Lemon Streusel:


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening or unsalted butter
  • up to 1/2 cup of cold water


  • 4 cups blackberries (boysenberries would work great too), fresh or thawed frozen berries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • zest of one lemon

Pre-heat Oven to 350 Degrees F.

Mix together flour and salt for crust. Using knives or a pastry cutter, cut in shortening until mixture resembles course meal. Add cold water a small amount at a time, until dough holds together. Separate into two equal-sized balls. Flatten balls into discs and wrap separately in plastic wrap and place in fridge for about 30 minutes, or at a minimum, while filling and streusel is prepared.

Mix together filling ingredidents and set aside.

Mix together streusel ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Roll out chilled dough for bottom of pan. Insert pie filling. Roll out dough for top of pan, making a lattice structure is recommended.

Sprinkle streusel on top. It seems like a lot of streusel, but I'd recommend using it all as the pie expands slightly while baking.

Put in oven and bake for 1 hour, or until pie bubbles. Briefly broil top to brown if needed.


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Works in Progress

Sock in Progress
Good Night Sleep Tight in Progress
Good Night Sleep Tight Sketch
Box of Swans Island Yarn

Nature, and my hands apparently, abhor a vacuum. 

I know I said I was in-between projects, but now it seems like I have so many ideas that I don't know what to do with myself. 

I picked up a half-finished pair of socks from over two years ago and am about one episode of Jeopardy! + one episode of Doctor Who  away from finishing that long neglected sock later this evening. And in a fit of productivity, I wrote up a multi-size pattern for it, like you do. Pending some good light for photos and some Adobe time this weekend, we may have an unexpected new pattern out soon! (It looks more interesting on, believe me.)

I got my new backing fabric for my embroidery piece and am being perfectionist over the "font" (as much as handwriting translated to stitching can be a font). Being a perfectionist, it's slow going and contemplative, which is how I like my embroidery to be.  

When I picked up my embroidery fabric, I also picked up my backing and batting for my quilt. I still need to attach the border to the top, and sweep the floor before I try basting anything, but I feel like it's coming along nicely. I think I'm going to hand quilt it, in a super simple way. I'm too scared to try out machine quilting just yet. at least, i'd prefer to be some practice in on a pillow top or something first before I dove into a whole quilt. 

Last and not least, my box of yarn arrived from Swans Island this week, which means I can start swatching. I've got plans for two women's sweaters, a spring/summer cardigan and a fall/winter pullover that I can't wait to start working on. And then there's the shawl ideas in my head, and LMC's second birthday is coming up soon and I have  to make something for that, and.. well you get the picture.

What's keeping your hands busy these days?



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Spilt Milk & Cookies

Sock Gauge Fail I may have been named one of Knitscene's "8 Designers to Watch in 2012," but it doesn't mean that I'm not capable of a spectacular knitting fail every now and again.

[See that shameless little plug I did there? Wasn't sure how to work that in. ;)]

Take for example exhibit A up there. I've always prided myself on even gauge, but both of those socks up there are same yarn, same pattern, and yes, the same needles. Unlike my pal Aimee, my tools aren't to blame it was all me. It's like an inch shorter at the foot and the cuff.

Le sigh...

I plan to knit a third sock and see which one it matches up to (fortunately I have enough yarn), but I needed a little break first (especially since I suffered that sock defeat and a Superbowl loss on the same evening).

[SOCK UPDATE ADDENDUM: I recounted the rows on both socks and it seems that my ability to count and not gauge was the issue. On sock one I did a cable feature every 7th row and on sock two I did it every 6th - shorting myself by several rows]

Cookie Monster Cardi

For something completely different, I started this muted Taos cardigan. The official color name is "blue note," but I have dubbed it Cookie Monster blue. I started it last night at knitting and since it not secret knitting, I'll be sharing my progress as I go along (and check one solid-colored cardigan off my knit-a-lution).

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A Sock Story

The first pair of socks I ever knit I made for Mr. Cleaver and to the joy of any crafter who gives a handmade gift, over the last 4 1/2 years he has loved them to death. I mean, look at these things.


I've darned them twice, and tried to appease him with a new pair of socks, but to no avail.The new socks were nice socks, he wanted another pair of house socks.

So in the past month or so he has taken to wearing that first pair over another pair of socks, just to keep wearing them.

As touched as I am by this, decided that a suitable replacement must be made.

I mean, look at these things!


For the past few months, I had been on the lookout for a suitably thick and suitably manly sock yarn, but didn't find anything just right. Then Quince released their winter heathers and I though"bingo!" and picked up a skein of kumelien's gull and kittiwake in chicakdee at Knitwit, with a plan to do some kind of stripe.

Eventually I decided on this salt and pepper pattern, which had the added bonus of making the insides double-cozy because of the floats and I ended with up just enough of main color to finish two man-sized socks.


Technically, I knit three socks, but sock #1 didn't fit right, so  I ripped it out. Fortunately try #2 and its mate received full husband approval.

And since I am the nicest of wives (particularly with grateful recipients such as these), I let Mr. Cleaver have this Christmas gift a whole month early.


He's worth it. And a girl can hope these last over 4 years too!


PS: Did you know you can get 20% of any the patterns in my shop through the end of the day Monday (November 28 at Midnight EST) Just use the code "smallbiz."

PPS: And did you know you can find out about pattern releases and sales right as they happen by signing up for the mailing list or following me on Twitter?

PPPS: And did you know that if you sign up for the mailing list by Dec 15th, you'll get access to an exclusive free pattern? I'm knitting it up right now and it's going to be pretty awesome. Just sayin'  :)

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Little Things

Some things I've been making lately:

Andersonville Socks
Basil Rosemary, Mint and Camomille
New Lunchbag

Maple Walnut Granola:

  • 3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or nut of your choice)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choosing)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbl warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250°F.

In a large bowl, mix together syrup, sugar, oil, water and salt until throughly combined. Add in oats and nuts and and mix until coated.  Pour oat mixture unto a  lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet or pan.

Bake from 1½ to 2 hours or until oats are dry and brown. Remove from oven and cool. Stir in fruit and place in a sealed container.

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Don't Think I'm Gonna Make It

Andersonville Socks

I've been participating in an Sock UFO (Un-Finished Object) Knit-A-Long in the Maine Knitters group on Ravelry. It was the KAL for the Month of March. I don't think I'm gonna make it by the end of the night....

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Hubby Socks

Hubby Socks II

I don't often knit for Mr. Cleaver because he's not really a hat or scarf kinda guy and after hearing about the "boyfriend curse," he's nervous about the idea of a sweater, even though we've been married for two years.

I do knit things for him from time to time, and Mr. Cleaver is appropriately grateful for the items, case in point - Hubby Socks I.

Hubby Socks I

Long before this blog began,  I knit Mr. Cleaver a pair of socks. These were the first pair of socks I ever knitted. I think I did them on size 3 needles or something ridiculously large like that. Mr. Cleaver wears them as house socks/slippers and has been wearing them almost every night for nearly three years.

Unsurprisingly, they've gotten a little worn.  Once I saw you could see the tips of his toes through some stretched stitches in the socks I decided it was time for a new pair.

Hubby Socks II

These are were knit toe up on size 1 needles in a k2, p1 rib with a short row heel, which is to say I improvised. The yarn is the particularly lovely-feeling Shibui Sock in stone from Purl Diva.  It pooled a bit oddly, but it feels so nice!

Of course Mr. Cleaver let me know that I'd pry his old socks from his cold dead toes, so we've agreed the new pair is for regular day wear.

As for the old socks? I managed to squirrel them away for a half an hour  to darned them, so  now they're good as new.  :)

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