So, so close, yarn chicken!

19 said yes, 19 said no. Ever the optimist, I forged on. And this is how close I got:

pdxknitterati yarn chicken

I made it! With 3 inches to spare. Just enough to sew in the end. It wasn’t really high stakes, because I would have just moved to the next color a little early, but I love a good game of yarn chicken. At least when I WIN.

Speaking of win, I did the random number thingy with the yes voters, and the winner is the 5th yes, Lindarumsey. I’m sending her an email to figure out what to send her, yarn, pattern, or other. Thanks to all for playing, and congrats to Linda!

Congrats also to pdxknitter, who won her own game of yarn chicken with 18 inches to spare. Woot! And sending good vibes to the Yarn Harlot, who is playing a much higher stakes game of yarn chicken

A little game of Yarn Chicken (contest), classes

Edited to add: Contest closed! See next post for the results and winner.

I’m playing a little game of yarn chicken. Do you think there’s enough yarn left for me to get 1050 stitches? Yes or no. Leave a comment, and I’ll do a random drawing from the correct answers when I find out. Winner gets something fun from my stash!

yarn chicken pdxknitterati

Yarn chicken is always more fun with wine, yes?

In other news, I’m teaching three classes at Twisted next week: Monday Cast On, Bind Off, Saturday Tink Drop Frog and Blocking. I know it’s summer and you’re not sure you want to be playing with wool, but we have air conditioning! Sign up now and make it happen!

Tiny harvest is tiny

The blueberry crop is still going strong, despite the best efforts of the birds and squirrels to make me share. The new raspberry plants have given me almost a dozen berries. I wasn’t expecting any this year, so it’s all bonus.

raspberry blueberry

I ate the first raspberries immediately, and then I saw Sue’s raspberry post. Wish I’d seen it earlier. What a great way to make a tiny harvest special! I had to try it. Click the link for her gorgeous photo.

raspberries and chocolate

No, they’re not giant raspberries, but isn’t it cool how close my iPad can get without zooming?

Monday we went for a short hike from the Hoyt Arboretum up to Pittock Mansion. I always think of hiking as something you do elsewhere; it’s so nice to have very local options. This is inside Portland’s city limits.

maidenhair fernMaidenhair fern

buzzWhy hello there! (What kind of flower is this?)

hikers

And of course, any outing with Sue, Mimi, and Kelly means food! We had lunch at Pho Tango in Hillsboro. Fabulous!

bun bo hueBun bo Hue

spring roll

I always thought the vegetables were garnish, just eye candy, but Mimi says you eat them wrapped around the spring roll. That makes a spring roll way more interesting.

yucca and coconut

Mimi made dessert. Yucca and shredded coconut tossed with toasted sesame seeds and a bit of sugar and salt. Sounds odd, tastes great!

Summer is in full swing here. It’s supposed to be 100 degrees (fahrenheit) this weekend. Time to water…again.

Sunriver getaway

After the busyness of TNNA and Ryan’s graduation, I headed to Sunriver in Central Oregon for a mid-week rendezvous with friends. I stopped at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters to drop off a look book, and chatted with Paula, Nancy, and Ivy, but forgot to take a picture. Oops!

I had two full days in Sunriver. They were both gorgeous. We kayaked on Wednesday.

kayak Hosmer South SisterSouth Sister from Hosmer Lake

Hosmer Lake is gorgeous. Tons of birds, including red winged blackbirds, yellow headed blackbirds, and a magnificent bald eagle that flew right over our kayaks. I didn’t bring a zoom camera, just my phone, so no bird pix!

Bachelor and lenticular cloud

I watched this lenticular cloud develop all day next to Mt. Bachelor.

kayak hosmer lake

South Sister Hosmer Lake

I love the way the wind distorts the once straight jet trails. You can see that the water is pretty shallow here at the upper end of the lake. We couldn’t paddle up the creek; it was too shallow and muddy. It’s been a pretty dry winter, which isn’t good.

Hosmer Lake panoramaSouth Sister, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor is hiding on the right

damselflies

Lots of blue damselflies, but it’s hard to catch a picture from a drifting kayak!

We hiked along the Deschutes River near Benham Falls on Thursday.

deschutes river

Deschutes River

This turn in the river is an awesomely beautiful spot.

It sounds great, too.

But it wasn’t all play. I brought my knitting. Of course!

knitting

On Thursday night I sat in the hot tub under a canopy of stars. And I saw two shooting stars (meteors). Lucky? I think so.

Friday I came home and picked my first ripe raspberries. These are from the two new shrubs the kids planted for Mother’s Day.

raspberry blueberry

I also see that the birds have been busy while I’ve been away!

bird strike

Guess I should have picked more before I left. Oh, well. It’s been busy around here!

How is your summer so far?

Blocking: A cautionary tale

You know I’m a big believer in blocking hand knits. It makes such a difference in the finished piece.

Rosaria edge detail

I love blocking my knits outdoors in the summer. Last month, just before TNNA, I finished my second Summertime Blues and took advantage of the very fine weather to block it in the back yard. And for the first time ever, a bird pooped on my knitting. Crap! And I do mean crap. I spot cleaned it, but there was a definite stain. No time to wash and re-block, so I wore it anyway. It was clean, just spotty!

Summetime Blues pdxknitterati

Today I washed and re-blocked, but no luck. I think the sun baked it in. It’s small, not too noticeable (there are some darker dye spots in this semi-solid, but they’re blue, not greenish), and it’s on the back, at least the way I wear it.

pdxknitterati summertime blues

So there you have it. Did I block it outdoors today? You betcha! What are the odds that it would happen again? I think I just dodged a bullet there!

Speaking of blocking, I’m teaching Blocking, It’s Magic this summer and fall:
Twisted in Portland, Saturday July 11, 2:30 p.m.
Wool ‘n’ Wares in West Linn, Saturday August 1, 2 p.m.
Twisted in Portland, Monday August 31, 5:30 p.m.

And I’m doing a short presentation on blocking for the Tigard Knitting Guild on August 20, 7 p.m.

Clearly, I’m a blocking evangelist! Do you block your knits?

TNNA wrap up

So late, I know! It’s been busy here. First of all, this happened yesterday:

grad

CollegeKid2, Computer Science, summa cum laude. We had to take his picture on the Jumbotron, because we were too far away from the stage to get a non-blurry zoom pic. Yay, technology!

So, TNNA. It was fun! Lorajean (Knitted Wit) had a double booth with three designers featuring designs with her yarns: Debbi Stone, Shannon Squire, and me. Here’s my corner:

pdxknitterati corner

We used my Pointer Hat and Mitts to feature Targhee Shimmer DK and Worsted at Sample It. I knit the hat sample on the plane. There’s nothing like the power of a deadline!

pdxknitterati pointer hat

sample it (just before the doors opened for Sample It)

We saw a lot of people come through the booth! StevenBe loved my Snowy Woods Cowl and LJ’s special Snowy Woods colorway.

snowy woods

Jen Lucas came by to say hello. She was at TNNA to do a book signing with her latest book, Sock Yarn Shawls II.

Jen Lucas

Sometimes you have to leave Oregon to see the Oregonians!

Marie and Vivian from Tangled PurlsMarie and Vivian from Tangled Purls in Salem

Sonia from StashSonia from Stash in Corvallis

Jackie from Northwest Wools was there, too, but I didn’t catch her picture. Somewhere on Instagram is a great picture of her napping in Skacel’s yarn teepee!

Skacel teepee

Skcel teepee inside

I sold all my look books (catalogs) and took orders for more. Yay! There were so many lovely yarns and I am inspired to design. all. the. things. I wore my new Summertime Blues for most of the weekend; it was the perfect weight for the air conditioned convention center.

Summetime Blues pdxknitterati

My favorite thing I bought over the weekend? This cute project bag from Binkwaffle. (Product research, right? I want them to do a pdxcarpet bag…they probably think I’m nuts.)

binkwaffle bag

You can hang it on your wrist and keep knitting as you walk. Reversible, and no hardware other than the giant grommit to pass the handle through. No snags!

I’m so grateful to Lorajean for having me in her booth. I got her a Pyrex bowl to feed her pyrex obsession as a thank you…

LJ and FJ

What a fun crew! JJ Foster was also there; she reps for LJ and also had her Buttonhole! Buttons in the booth.

Shannon JJ Me

elevator panorama (Elevator pano of all the booth babes)

An exhausting, fun, productive weekend. Now I’m back to work, but I’ll share the rest of these pics…

Jeni's Sun popped corn and darkest chocolate ice creams. So good.

Jul buttonA cool way to use a Jul button to wear a small triangle shawlette.

feltedFelting!

And the obligatory #pdxcarpet and Mount Hood pix, of course.

pdxcarpet

Mount Hood

The right tools make knitting so much easier

Back from TNNA and working hard! I’ll do the write up in my next post, but for now I’m knitting away on a lace project obsession.

signature vs addi

I started this last fall, and set it aside because of other deadlines. When I picked it up a couple days ago, it was on a set of Addi Turbo needles. I started knitting and felt like I was fighting to make the lace stitches and m1 increases. The tips were just not pointy enough. Let’s look a little closer…

signature vs addi close

You can see that the tips on the Signature needles (blue) are a bit pointier than the Addis (silver). You wouldn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but it does. These are the regular Signature tips, not the stiletto.

I don’t think I would have put up with fighting the lace stitches for thirty 300 stitch rows last fall. I’m guessing I was knitting on the Signatures, and used the Addis as a stitch holder when I switched projects. I have a habit of swapping needles like that, but I should really make a note of it when I do. Last fall was a long time ago, too long ago to remember details.

I’m also noticing that my gauge with the Addis was looser than with the Signatures, even though they’re both metal. I ripped out the 8 rows I knit these past couple days, partly because of gauge, and partly because of a better idea for some math issues.

Now knitting speedily and happily on the Signatures! They’re the right tool for this project for me. But I have a whole arsenal of needles, because it really depends on the yarn and the kind of knitting. It’s good to have choices! Metal, wood, pointy, blunt…

Do you have a variety of needles, or one particular favorite? What works for you?

(PS: Thanks again to Sarah for the lovely Signatures she gave me several years ago!)

New: Summertime Blues Wrap

I’ve just released my Summertime Blues pattern. This wrap/poncho is a perfect summer accessory. Knit in fingering weight yarn, it is light and sleek and swingy, especially in a wool/plant fiber blend. It features two sets of lacy leaves, twining up the side.

pdxknitterati summertime blues

I knit this with Knitted Wit’s Shine, a 50/50 merino tencel blend. It’s a gorgeous, shimmery, drapey wonder.

The length and width of this wrap are easy to customize to your perfect size. The wrap shown is 21″ wide by 31″ long, modified from the instructions which are for a 19″ wide wrap.

pdxknitterati summertime blues

This pattern is available on Ravelry, page link here: Summertime Blues Use coupon code BLUESFEST for 20% off through June 7, 2015.

I just finished knitting a second one, same color, but with beads. A little shorter, because I’m shorter than my model! I’ll be wearing it at TNNA this weekend. What are your plans? More knitting?

Criss Cross, encore

I’ve added a cowl pattern to my Criss Cross Accessories Collection.

pdxknitterati criss cross cowl

This is in Knitted Wit’s new Shimmer Worsted yarn. It’s 80/20 Targhee and silk. The wool is all sourced and processed in the USA. It’s bouncy, slightly rustic, and a pleasure to knit with. This color is called Kiss and Teal. Fun!

Any single pattern from the collection is $6, or you can purchase the entire collection for $10. Here’s a link to the Ravelry page.

Knitted Wit’s Shimmer comes in DK weight, too. I think I showed you my Pointer Mitts I knit with Liberally Bleeding Heart.

pdxknitterati pointer mitts

Both of these are going to TNNA for Sample It and Cash and Carry through Knitted Wit. They’re great yarns.

pdxknitterati sophie's rose

This version of my Sophie’s Rose in Knitted Wit’s Single Fingering (Enchanted Forest and Salted Caramel) is going as a display model. (Thank you, Cindy, for knitting! It blocked like a dream.)

And I have one more new design, in Knitted Wit’s Shine, but that’s not ready to show you until tomorrow, maybe. It’s very lovely. So lovely, I’m knitting another version for me, with beads. Racing to see if I can get it finished! Halfway there and counting…

What are you knitting now?

Like Savoire Faire

I’m everywhere! (Who knows/remembers this cartoon?) I’m feeling a little scattered, and focused at the same time. A lot of knit-related stuff going on this month!

Last Saturday, I did an all day workshop for the Tigard Knitting Guild. What a fun bunch of knitters! We did slip stitch mosaic knitting: The basic how to, first flat and then in the round, with several patterns to try. In the afternoon, students designed and started either hats or cowls with this technique.

pdxknitterati knitting

Ha! Those pattern samples were secret gauge swatches! They’d be more accurate over a larger number of stitches, but it was a good starting point. Everyone started on their designs, which I hope to someday see finished and out in the wild.

Tomorrow I’m teaching in Salem at Tangled Purls. Blocking in the morning, stranded colorwork in the afternoon, a trunk show all day, and a meet and greet between classes.

cowl (375x500)Kerfuffle Cowl, stranded colorwork

Non-stranded (slip stitch) and stranded colorwork, bookends to my week. Fun!

I have a new design, Summertime Blues, that I just finished knitting; it’s off to the test knitter and tech editor. I used Knitted Wit’s Shine, a 50/50 merino tencel blend that I’ve knit and loved before. It has great drape and luster. Photos next week; my model is as busy as I am!

I’m getting ready for the TNNA trade show in Columbus at the end of the month; I’ll have some designs featuring Knitted Wit’s yarns in the Knitted Wit booth (including Summertime Blues, when I’m not wearing it). Cindy (@blackmoondog) knit this version of Sophie’s Rose for us, and I blocked it yesterday.

sophie's rose enchanted forest

Knitted Wit’s Single Fingering in Enchanted Forest and Salted Caramel.

sophie's rose blocking

Delicious!

I’m closing in on the last set of criss crosses on my KAL Tilt Shift. This was on the back burner while I finished Summertime Blues, but I’m back on it now. I’d love to get this finished and blocked today so I can wear it this weekend, but it’s all weather dependent. Yesterday was a glorious blocking day, sunny and warm. Fingers crossed!

What have you finished lately?