Trillium season, and knitting

I’ve spent the past week continuing the big studio project, purging what used to be the kids’ closet. Twenty years of kids’ schoolwork…buh-bye. Rock and magnet collections? Gone! The best stuff went to friends’ kids, so that was fun to curate. Now it’s time to get back to work.

But first, a walk in the park…Forest Park. I went on a hike there yesterday with friends. It’s 5,157 acres inside the city of Portland, which makes it the largest urban forest in the United States. I’d never been there before, and I’m a native Portlander!

It’s trillium season in the Pacific Northwest.

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image These are one of my favorite wildflowers.

image Oxalis

image Fiddlehead ferns

image Salmonberry

image I have no idea what these are.

image I love these fungi taking over this log.

Now I’m back to my knitting, working on a design to use the leftover yarn from my Aloha Shawl. And planning the Aloha Shawlette and Shawl KAL! Sharon (Stitchjones) and I are excited to be working on this KAL together. You can use her gorgeous Pai Mei Sock yarn in Rainbow Shave Ice and Warm Sand, or you can use your own yarn. The pattern is still $2 off through April 10; use the coupon code ALOHA to purchase. And swing by the KAL thread on Ravelry!

Is it spring in your neck of the woods yet?

Aloha Shawlette KAL

Aloha! Sharon Spence (Stitchjones) and I are planning a KAL for Aloha; would you like to knit along with us? Easy breezy knitting, and I think we’ll have some prizes, too. I’ll set the KAL up in my Ravelry group; conversation is easier there than on the blog. Those of you who participated in my Rose City Yarn Crawl KAL know that I love a good KAL! If you’re not a member of Ravelry, you should join. It’s a free membership, and there are lots of wonderful resources there.

You can choose to knit the smaller shawlette

Aloha Shawlette

or the larger shawl.

Aloha Shawl

Sharon Spence (Stitchjones) is taking orders for yarn for this KAL; orders are due by next Thursday, April 10 so you can have yarn in hand for the cast on Monday, April 21. You are also welcome to use your own yarn. But hey, it’s Rainbow Shave Ice!

Aloha Shawl back2

I’m extending the $2 off sale on the pattern through April 10, to coordinate with the yarn order deadline for Stitchjones. Use the coupon code ALOHA at checkout for the discount.

Most of the knitting for this is very relaxed, and relaxing! Stockinette and garter stitch and the spirit of aloha. You could even knit it at a knit night. The pattern progresses at a nice pace, and the lacy parts come at just the right time to pique your interest.

Aloha details

Is a knit-on border new to you? It was new to me, and it was fun! I like learning a new skill through a project, and this one was easier than I thought. Why did I wait so long?

Are you in? Please say yes! Get your supplies ready, and we’ll cast on April 21!

Introducing the Aloha Shawlette and Shawl

Last fall Sharon Spence of Stitchjones asked me to design a shawlette with her Pai Mei Sock yarn in a variegated color for her 2014 Yarnageddon Club. She had a Hawaii theme in mind, and she knows how much I love Hawaii.

I love variegated yarn, but I love it even more when it’s combined with a semi-solid. We settled on these colors, which I got to name: Rainbow Shave Ice and Warm Sand. Perfect!

Aloha Shawlette

Aloha can mean hello, goodbye, or just be a friendly greeting in general. The Aloha shawlette looks good coming and going! It features rainbows, leis, and waves. Knitting begins at the center back neck (note the three lacy flowers here), continues through the rainbows and shellflower leis, and ends with an edging that is knit onto the live stitches at the end. The shawlette uses 2 half skeins of Pai Mei Sock. The yarn is available from Stitchjones.

Aloha Shawlette back

The shawlette is a nice size both on the shoulders and worn bandanna style, but the result made me so happy, I had to have a full size shawl, too. More rainbow, more happy!

Aloha Shawl

The pattern includes instructions for both the shawlette and shawl. It is available through my Ravelry page, and will be on sale for 33% off the usual price through April 7. Visit the Aloha Shawlette/Shawl pattern page and use the coupon code ALOHA to make your purchase. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Aloha Shawl back2

Aloha details (Detail of shellflower lei and edgings for shawlette and shawl)

Studios are springing up…

It’s spring, and my crafty compadres are creating great studio spaces. Knitted Wit has just moved into her new studio/dye space. I visited her there yesterday and helped label some yarn, but didn’t think to take pictures. Here’s her pic from the outside, with her spiffy yarn ball curtains.

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There’s still time to help launch her studio via her Indiegogo Community Supported Yarn campaign. She’s offering lots of cool perks as thanks.

Lavender Sheep has just moved and is creating her new studio space, with both a wet studio and a dry studio.

My turn! I’ve been using one of the boy’s bedrooms here as an office (most recently it was CollegeBoy2′s bedroom). I’ve been purging it and finally got it patched, painted, and organized. Let’s see, it’s only been three years since he left for school…although to be fair he has lived at home the past two summers.

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Here’s the view from the door. Very inviting. There’s a comfortable futon sofa/bed. I write from this desk overlooking the back yard. The shelves to the right of the desk have my printer and my very handy swift and winder. The light from these south and east facing windows is beautiful. And yes, that’s a Darth Vader bank on the dresser. He’s still menacing, all these years later.

My beloved IKEA Expedit shelves are now right where they belong instead of in our bedroom, and I re-organized them, too.

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My sewing machine will move in, once I’m finished moving a few more things out.

It’s been a very productive week. And I finished a pattern, which goes live on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’m knitting Jami Brynildson’s Rock Creek Shawlette before working on more new designs. It’s pretty relaxing knitting someone else’s design once in a while! I’m using Juno Fibre Arts’ Alice, which is 70/20/10 Baby Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere and very luscious. The color is Campion.

rock creek 1

My new studio rug makes a great backdrop!

How was your week?

The Opinionated Knitter

Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote a book with that title, but aren’t we all just a bit opinionated? Here’s your chance to know a bit more of what I think about knitting, designing, and teaching. I was featured on Robin Hunter’s blog, How to Become a Professional Knitter last Friday, but am only catching up to myself today! Click the link and get to know me…

Aloha detail

And here’s a sneak peek of an upcoming design.

Ah, mystery! What’s new on your needles? Mine are strangely empty, but not for long.

Crafty Moms 12.0, a guitar, and a Tauriel winner

Yes, the 12th annual Crafty Moms weekend! I looked back in my Shutterfly albums, and the very first crafty spring beach trip was in 2003. There were four of us moms then, and we took our 4th graders and our spouses with us. The next year we ditched the kids and spouses. The group has waxed and waned in the following years; this year we had 15 moms.

I love this time away so I can reconnect with friends, and also work intensively on projects. This year, I knit most of the second version of a shawl that will be published at the end of the month.

mimosa

I can’t really show you what it looks like, but here are several other things I’ve designed during past Crafty Moms weekends.

pacific
Pacific Shawl

breezy
Breezy Market Tote

2 way rockaway
Rockaway 2-way Beach Beanie/Cowl

I loved this group of young adults hanging out on the beach.

sunset love

It was a pretty rainy weekend, with a few sunbreaks.

seagulls

rainbow

lone seagull

I’ve done some songwriting on previous Crafty Moms weekends, too. Not this time, although I was hoping my new travel guitar would arrive before I left. Missed me by 4 hours! And I had too much knitting on deadline, anyway. But this is what I found when I got home.

Taki and Minnie

It’s the Limited Edition Holden Village Taylor GS Mini Guitar on the right. I’ve named her Minerva (Minnie for short), and she has a huge sound for such a little thing! The top is old-growth Engelmann Spruce from near Holden Village in the North Cascade Mountains in Washington. The trees were harvested as part of a mine remediation project that will clean up the creek there. Part of the proceeds from the sale of each of these guitars will go to El Porvenir and Living Waters for the World. El Porvenir has a special place in my heart since I worked on a service trip with them in Nicaragua in 2012. You can read more about the guitars here and here. The combination of a fundraiser for El Porvenir plus tonewood from Holden Village (a place I’ve never been, but a place that inspired Marty Haugen to write Holden Evening Prayer, a gorgeous piece of liturgical music that we’ve sung on Women’s Retreat and at church) pushed me to order this guitar.

inlay

Larry Breedlove designed a beautiful 12th fret inlay that portrays water flowing from between two mountains. There’s a lot of inspiration in this little package, and a lot of win for everyone.

Speaking of win: We have a Tauriel winner. There were 195 comments, wow! The winner is Lynne Phelps; I have sent her an email to get her info to Bonne Marie. Thanks all, for reading and commenting. And I hope all the rest of you download and knit this wonderful pattern!

How was your weekend?

Community Supported Yarn goes big time

My friend Lorajean Kelley is the owner and powerhouse behind Knitted Wit, a source of gorgeous hand-dyed yarns. Many of my designs are inspired by, and knit with, her yarns. She’s been dyeing all this loveliness in the 760 square foot home she shares with her husband and 3 children, mostly on the back patio. Her business has grown so much in the past seven years that she needs to move it out of her home and into a real dye studio.

2 ziggys

(Lorajean’s boys in my This Little Ziggy vests in Knitted Wit Polwarth/Silk DK)

Here’s where you get to be part of the action. Knitted Wit has an Indiegogo campaign (similar to Kickstarter) running to fund the startup costs of moving to a studio. She needs some basic equipment that can’t come from her home (stove, washing machine, sink) as well as the installation of the equipment. She’s not asking for a handout: If you invest in the campaign, there are some very nice rewards. It’s like a down payment on more gorgeous yarn and fiber.

If you go to the Indiegogo site, you’ll see that she’s fully funded and more. Her first goal was met within 24 hours. That says a lot about her product, and our willingness to support her growth! But it’s not to late to invest. There are still great perks at most levels, and it will all go to enhance Lorajean’s ability to make MORE YARN.

I’m going for the semi-solid CSY option. You?

Stopping by Woods

…on a snowy evening. That was the theme for the most recent Poet’s Club shipment from Woolgirl. I was one of two designers for this month’s kit (originally scheduled for December, hence the snow theme). Carrie Sullivan (Irishgirlieknits) designed the hat.

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I designed this bonus piece, the Snowy Woods Cowl featuring trees and more trees.

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(Modeled photos by Vivian Aubrey)

The yarn is DK 100% Superwash Merino Wool from Oink Pigments in the Robert Frost Colorway. With hints of blue and brown, it suggests the woods in snow.

snowy woods detail

Spring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest. The first cherry trees are blooming, as are the daffodils and crocuses, but winter is hanging on in many parts of the country. This cowl is a quick knit; I hope that some club members are able to knit and wear this soon.

The Snowy Woods Cowl is a six month exclusive for the Woolgirl Poet’s Club; it will be available here in late August. Just in time for knitting for next fall and winter!

What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Winter? Spring? Are you still wearing your woolies?

Tauriel by Chic Knits

Edit 3/19/14: We have a winner! See this post for details.

A few weeks ago, Bonne Marie Burns of Chic Knits sent me an email asking if I could suggest someone to help her with a photo shoot the next day, because her usual helper was not available. I told her I could do it, and so I did.

The photo shoot was at Laurelhurst Park, although it could have been anywhere.

Tauriel

This is Tauriel (Ravelry link), a very lovely cardigan. (Photos by Bonne Marie Burns)

Tauriel back

I especially love the cable along the back neckline. And the fact that this is knit seamlessly, so when you’re done knitting, you’re done!

It was a cool, cloudy morning, which made the lighting magical, and it didn’t even rain on us…much. I learned some new tricks about staging and lighting, and got to know Bonne Marie better. A very good morning!

And here’s the fun part: Bonne Marie is giving away a pdf copy of this beautiful pattern through my blog. If you’d like a chance to win this pattern, leave a comment on this post, and let me know your favorite thing about this design. The cables? Neckline? Seamless construction? The chance to feature the perfect button that’s been rolling in your stash? Something else?

I’ll take comments through Monday, March 17, and draw a winner at random on Tuesday. Good luck!

Free pattern: Bamboo Rib Coffee Cozy

For the past several years, Lorajean (Knitted Wit) and I have been teaming up to donate yarn and patterns to the prize baskets for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. This year, I designed a coffee cup cozy to knit up with her Gobstoppers, mini-skeins of worsted weight yarn.

bamboo rib coffee cozy

You don’t have to win a prize basket to get this pattern. I’m offering it for free. You can download it here: Bamboo Rib Coffee Cozy

You can also download it from Ravelry, if you’d prefer.

bamboo rib cozies 2

One mini skein will make one cozy. These are also a great way to use up leftover worsted weight yarn.

In case you missed last year’s pattern, it’s the Daffy Taffy Twists. These are high fiber, calorie free treats; you can stuff them with fiberfill or catnip or lavender for sachets. This pattern is also free.

daffy

The year before we donated hat kits. This Ziggy hat pattern isn’t free, but it’s super cute, and not expensive!

ziggyhat 1

I wonder what we’ll do next year…