Hello, hello!

We have some N-E-W-S for you!

Midwest Needles has decided to move to big cartel in the form of the following shops:

www.otilliescloset.bigcartel.com – here you can find hand-knit jewelry, reproductions of vintage patterns, and creative repurposed vintage clothing

www.hellotricotee.bigcartel.com – here you can find hand-knit home accessories, featuring the Doxie Door Draft Dodgers, and other home goods

You can also follow our new blogs of the same names!  🙂

www.otilliescloset.com and www.hellotricotee.com

We hope you find us on twitter and facebook, too!!!

So, that brings us to the sale!!!  Please use code, “AWESOME” at our etsy shop to receive 30% off all our products!!!  And we’ll even send you an extra lil’ coupon for our shops (15%) with your purchase!!!

We think you guys are tops, first rate even!  We appreciate all your support and love and encouragement!!!  We hope you follow us on our new adventures!!!


kerith & kate

Hello again!

As you may remember, my parents spent Father’s Day up in the mountains doing a little photo shoot for me (I forgot to take pictures of a sweater that took me a million years to make).  And, boy, did they take it seriously…!!!!

Ok!  I’d like to note that my parents REALLY focused on the “Scandinavian” aspect of the sweater, and found really great places to take pictures of the sweater in what may look like Norway (actually Loveland Pass, Dillon Lake, and Idaho Springs, CO)!!!  But they took no photos of the details or the stitches of the sweater!!!  But I’m ok with that!!!  Because they spent Father’s Day together having fun and making an adventure out of the fruits of my labor!!!!  🙂



Happy Father’s Day!!!


For a while now, my dad has been really wanting a traditional Norwegian sweater, but as some of you may know, they cost roughly $400-$500 (hand knit, of course).

Well, clearly, this is out of my budget (even though my heart wants to pay it), so I decided I would make one for him instead!  I’ll use a traditional Scandinavian pattern, order the yarn direct from the source, and get crackin’.  It’s LIKE he bought it from the ol’ motherland, it’s just my little hands that are doing the work!

Upon doing research, I stumbled upon this beauty!  A KIT!  PERFECT!  It’s Icelandic, but it was the most accessible for what I thought would work for my dad (and me), so I ordered it!!!  No only do you get all the yarn you need to make the sweater, you get a complete book of about 20 scandinavian patterns!

I ordered everything right before Christmas so I didn’t want to get started!  I wrapped up the yarn and the book for my dad and put it under the Christmas tree!  He was so happy to receive a box of yarn!!  🙂

My parents came to visit at the end of May, so I made sure I had it done by then.  The pattern was easy to follow and moved quickly.  It was PERFECT!  My dad was born to wear that sweater!   I was in such a zone, I took ZERO pictures of my progress!!!  And off my parents went with my very best work ever!!!  And no proof I made it!!!

And fast forward to today, Father’s Day!!!  My parents live outside of Boulder, CO, and I received this little gem of a photo from my mom and her cell phone:

My parents drove up to the mountains (Idaho Springs, I believe) this morning to do a little “photo shoot” of my dad in his sweater!  My mom says she has 30 photos total!!!  I can’t wait to share them with you!!!

Happy Father’s Day to all you handsome dads out there!!!



Kerith’s Kitchen…


Remember me? I’m Kerith!  And I’ve been an absentee member of Midwest Needles for a few months!  But please…let me explain!!!

My husband and I bought a house a year ago in Milwaukee, and, well…you know how it goes, just a few months later, I was offered a position in Chicago I just couldn’t refuse!!!!

We planned on renovating the house as we could, doing it ourselves and planning every little step to make the perfect place, but that changed once we realized we would be moving…!

So, we went into hyper-speed and made a few compromises…

Here’s what we started out with…



Yes, we have several things to discuss here…

1.  Yes, that is carpet on the floor.  It was a nice office/outdoor type of carpet.  Very clean (I hope you sense the sarcasm);

2.  Yes, that is an avocado green electric stove.  One might say, “AWESOME!  RETRO!  VINTAGE!”  I say, “Could I please have an oven door that does not take two hands to open and close?”

3.  Yes, that is a peach sink;

4.  Yes, those curtains have mushrooms on them (not in a cute way); and

5.  Yes, the lamp/fan is a classy combination of wicker, gold, and yellow and orange flowers.

Then, it turned into this:

After we moved in, I spazzed out, to put it lightly, and took all the doors off all the cabinets because the kitchen was so dark, it was making me claustrophobic.  We lived with the kitchen like this for almost a year.  We got a new fridge (the old one was from the 80s) and my husband’s parents gave us their “old” stove, which was about 30 years newer than what we were previously working with, so we were more than happy to accept.

We tested a little area to see what was under the carpet, and sadly, the carpet was glued down to a linoleum floor, under which was just floorboards…  😦

  We covered up the square we cut out of the floor with this rug because we didn’t know what else to do!  We’re super classy.  And as you may remember…JT loves a good photo opportunity!!!

Oh, oops!  How’d she sneak in there!!!??!!  That’s our little Ginger Snap!  We finally caught her with the camera  (p.s. you also get a nice close up of our kitchen carpet)!

What we did:

1.  New floors;

2.  New hardware on the cabinets;

3.  New appliances;

4.  New counters;

5.  New sink;

6.  Crown molding; and

6.  New paint EVERYWHERE (trim, tile, wall…)

And here it is!  It’s about 98% done, just a few minor things to fix up!  Pre-heatin’ the oven for some cookies!!!



And the cookies will go right there on the cake stand!

And that’s why I’ve been absent!  I hope you’ll forgive me…



If you are anything like me you normally have about 5 projects going on at the same time.  Yesterday since I finally had time to myself I managed to knock three of them off my list and I thought I’d share my favorite one with you, dear blog readers.  I know the web is filled with furniture make-overs but I never get tired of them!  In fact, Thursdays are my favorite day on Design*Sponge for just that reason.  My husband’s grandmother gifted us this old chair and I thought it might be my perfect starter re-upholstering project.  I’ve covered my simple kitchen chairs before but I wanted to do something serious.

As you can see…when I like something I pretty much become obsessed with it and right now it’s chevrons!  I found the fabric at Premier Prints awhile ago and actually a photo of the same fabric is the backdrop on our blog!  I sort of want to cover everything in my house in a different colored chevron fabric.  Maybe that’d be too much?

I was pretty bad at taking photos during the process so it isn’t really that much of a tutorial…but I’ll tell you a little about the process.  First, this is how it looked before.

Typical doctor’s office waiting room chair.  The fabric was a super sturdy, brown, scratchy material. Ugh.  It definitely begged for a refresh.  First step was removing the ugly, old fabric.

This took quite awhile.  Upholstery staples can be tricky to remove but I found prying them up with a flathead screwdriver first, and then pulling them out with a pliers worked best.

I separated all the fabric pieces and used them as a pattern.  I was kind of surprised at how crappy the original pieces were cut…no straight lines there!  In any case since I was dealing with something dimensional that would require stretching I found this more helpful than relying on measurements.

Some of the pieces were sewn together before being put on the chair (again…no pictures…sorry!)  and one of those little details is the piping that lines the seat cushion.

The piping looks like the following picture and you can find it for sale by the yard in the home decor section of Joann’s.

This was THE trickiest part of the whole project and I know it’s kinda lumpy in places but I’m still pretty proud of how it turned out.  First you have to sew the piping in a skinny piece of fabric and THEN sew that to the fabric on the base. Tricky but makes for a nice finish.

To remove and reattach the top part I needed to use a hex key for the special bolts.  Taking it apart was easy but it was a little trickier to match the holes back up!

All in all I learned SO much by doing this and apparently this chair has a partner that’s on its way to our home.  I can’t wait to recover that one as well!

A couple other things to mention:

1.  I hope you don’t think it’s gross but I kept the same cushions that were underneath the fabric.  I just didn’t feel ready to attempt or that it was necessary to change those out.

2.  I hadn’t intended to have the chevrons’ directions be opposite from each other on the top portion versus the seat – but I like it!  I was only trying to make the most economical use of the fabric I had.

3.  Even though I love this fabric I don’t think I’ll use it for the second chair.  It was waaayyy too stretchy and I think is the reason for some of the lumpiness in parts.  This kind of project needs something sturdier.

I think when I do the second chair I’ll write up a nicer tutorial for you…in case you want ideas on how to tackle one yourself!!

Caribbean Lust.

Last week my husband and I flew to the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean.  We both teach and our respective schools were on Spring Break.  It was an anniversary trip of sorts since we made it through our first year of marriage – something to celebrate for sure!  Last March at almost the exact same time we eloped to Dominica – also in the Caribbean.  Now, let me be honest here…I’m a Midwestern homebody through and through.  My happiest moments are under a ratty blanket on the couch with the biggest mug of chamomile tea.  I don’t mind the snow and winters (although like anyone, this time of year gets unbearable) But somehow I’ve managed to marry an adventurous man who needs sunshine and waves nearby….and Lake Michigan doesn’t cut it.

We don’t own a house or property and don’t have any babies so…this has become our thing.  I guess love really does make you step outside your comfort zone doesn’t it?  Never in a million years would I picture myself willingly swimming in an ocean, hiking rainforests, snorkeling, etc.  But we have the best time on these trips.  We refuse to be the typical tourists who lay on the beach and sip drinks with tiny umbrellas.  Instead we stay in small guesthouses, eat food cooked at someone’s roadside bbq, walk with rastas with blue eyes, and tire our muscles.  The highlight of this trip for sure was being convinced by a young native of Soufriere that we could hike the hardest mountain on the island – Petit Piton.  Needless to say I have never felt that level of exhaustion before.  My thighs are finally on the mend a week later!  Both of us cried tears of exhaustion and joy when we landed back on the ground.  Most of the climb was straight up and at some points there was a tattered rope to hoist us up. I made it to the shoulder of the mountain and freaked out.  Allen and Liley (or Dr Feelgood, our guide, who climbed almost the entire mountain barefoot) continued to the summit.  When we came back down Liley pointed to how far I had gotten and said I should be proud.  I can honestly say that I am.

This trip we also decided to shoot film….here’s a few highlights.  Check out the octopus shot Allen got underwater!


Market in Castries


Cascara Guesthouse in Soufriere


Liley aka Dr Feelgood at the top of Petit Piton




Compulsive craft is all about the idea of constantly needing to create or try out a new project.  Currently I have 5 projects on needles, one chair I’m in the process of recovering, and countless lists for future projects in my head.  A couple weeks ago we were waiting on a new shipment of yarn to come in and I felt so anxious without any to work with!  So I started making icords out of scraps.  I neglected to take any pictures during their making because they knit up just so fast!  I started thinking about what I could do with them and during my messing around I came up with these necklaces.  What do you think?  Would you like to see something like this in the shop?  Leave a comment below!  I’m the kind of person that likes simple accessories to jazz up an outfit and I think these might be just the right thing…


If you want to learn how to make an icord check out this simple video.