Category Archives: Blogging

Something A Bit Different 3KCBWDay5

Self-portrait: No Idle Hands

Truthfully, I’ve been searching for my knitting mojo for the last month or so. I’m not sure what I want to knit next. I think it’s partly because I’m pretty focused on music right now. No worries; it’s all part of the creative process…

A Knitter for All Seasons? 3KCBWDay4

How does local weather affect your knitting? That’s today’s question, and it sent me to my Ravelry project page to see what kind of seasonal knitter I am.

There are only two bulky wool sweaters, and I know I set both of them aside as the weather got warmer, thinking I’d finish them when cool weather came around again. I finished this Heather Hoodie cardigan (adapted from the Heather Hoodie Vest pattern) last year…

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…and this year’s bulky project was recently set aside and is waiting for next fall. I get suckered into thinking it will be a quick knit because the yarn is bulky, but it’s still an entire sweater. If I don’t finish by the end of winter, I don’t want to keep knitting with a pile of bulky wool when it’s warm out.

But you can knit light summer tops all year ’round, and wear them for three out of four seasons if you add a cute little jacket or cardi over them. This is a much better time investment. Also, tank tops and shells don’t have sleeves, and that makes them a quicker knit all around, even at a finer gauge. This is especially true if it’s a fairly simple knit; I can watch TV or read on my Kindle and knit at the same time.

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Accessories are always fun, and not usually heavy, even if they’re wool. I love designing accessories like hats, mitts, and shawls, because they’re quick and portable, and fitting is not as big an issue as it is for garments. Socks and slippers have a little bit of fitting, but they’re not too complicated. Most of my knitting is done with an eye towards design, so that takes up most of my knitting time. Here’s my latest pattern launch, Pointer Mitts and Hat, for the {Among Friends} Yarn and Fiber Club.

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Does your weather affect your choice of fiber? I love wool for most knitting, but when I look at all the summer tops I’ve knit I see a lot of cotton, and even some linen and hemp. I don’t mind the inelasticity of cotton, but linen was definitely a stringy challenge. It was all worth it, though, because the blocking was like magic. I washed and soaked this stiff linen tank in the sink after knitting it, and I could feel the fibers turning into the most wonderful slinky drapey fabric in my hands.

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So I guess I’m more of a summer knitter, all year ’round! How about you?

3KCBWDay3 Knitting Hero(ine)

I really got your curiosity going with yesterday’s picture post, didn’t I? I’m looking forward to showing you the rest of the story on Saturday. Yesterday’s post was brief because I was heading out of town for this.

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A quick dash down to San Jose to see Bruce Springsteen last night. It was a great show. Lots of stuff from his new album, Wrecking Ball, and an encore filled with wonderful old stuff. He’s a great storyteller through song.

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But I’m back home to slip in under the wire with my Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 3 post about my knitting hero, or heroine, as she happens to be. My Aunt Rose taught me to knit the summer I was 14. I spent the summer with her and her family, and she wanted to share her love of knitting with me. We went to her local knit shop to begin a project. My choice was a baby blue drop shoulder turtleneck pullover with some simple cables running up the the body. It was made out of Brunswick Germantown Worsted (how do I even remember that?). I knit it in the round on circular needles, although I’m not sure the instructions were written that way. Aunt Rose was teaching me to be the boss of my knitting from day 1! My first sweater was not quite to gauge, so it ended up being pretty big on me. It didn’t matter; I loved it anyway. Many years later, I felted it on purpose, and that’s when I learned a valuable knitting fact: knitting shrinks up more than it shrinks in! I had a short boxy sweater, which would have been perfect in the 1980′s. I wonder where that sweater is now? But I digress.

Aunt Rose is still knitting, and is part of a knitting group at her favorite yarn shop. We don’t see each other often, but we always talk knitting! The last time she was visiting, she found out that I didn’t own a swift and yarn winder, and insisted on getting me these tools. They’ve gotten a lot of service in the past 6 months; I’m really grateful to have them. This picture is from last fall; my desk isn’t nearly so tidy today.

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I’m saving these garments that Aunt Rose knit when my boys were born; someday they’ll get used again, I hope! (But not too soon…)

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Do you have a knitting hero?

3KCBWDAY2–Photography Challenge

There’s a story here. I’ll tell you about it on Saturday. I promise.

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Gotta run!

Paying it forward, and other bloggy fun

I’m a fan of the blog Eskimimi Makes; she’s always creating something fun. Now she’s participating in a creative “pay it forward” project, and I am, too. Here’s the scoop, as slurped from her blog:

1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise. We all love getting surprises in the mail, right?

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you).

4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will chose the next person who comments…

Sound like fun? Want to play? If you would like to receive a little handmade gift from me at some point in the next 365 days and agree to take part on your own blog and pay it forward, then leave your details below. If you’re one of the first three respondents, you’re in! If you’re not in the first three, pop over to the blogs of the first three respondents here (remember, there are 48 hours after your comment appearing here for you to post the Pay It Forward on your own blog, otherwise I will move on to the next person). I’m happy to accept respondents worldwide, too.

Let’s do it!

What else is going on this week? It’s been a numbers heavy week. Taxes at the beginning (and they weren’t quite right the first time, so back to the accountant for a swap), and then tech editing for someone mid-week. Lots of numbers there, because the stitches have to add up, and the garment has to match the schematic! This is the only kind of math I like.

Here’s what I’m knitting this week. Can you guess what it is?

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Well, yes, it looks like a hat, and it would actually be a good one, because the stranded fabric is nice and dense and would keep the wind out. But it’s not a hat. It’s my homework for a class I’m taking on Sunday at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. The class is Eeek! Steeks! with Mary Scott Huff. I’m going to be cutting this knitting up…on purpose. I’m looking forward to it! There’s still room in the class if you want to come, too. Check out the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival website for more info. Not up for class? Come out for the market this weekend!

Also, do you see the little blurry picture on the laptop screen behind the knitting homework? It’s for the third annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week, which begins April 23. Do you want to play along? You’ll find the topics listed on this page. These links are all for Eskimimi Makes, so it’s a very Eskimimi post today!

Sharing the love…of knitting and yarn

I’m the winner of some delicious Blue Sky Alpacas Melange 100% baby alpaca yarn, and a copy of winter Interweave Knits, courtesy of Allison Haas, aka Alaskan Purl! Her design for her offset cable mittens is in this issue, and she is celebrating with a giveaway.

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The mittens are super cute, and begin at the tip with Judy’s Magic Cast On, instead of at the cuff. Clever!

The yarn photographs as brown, no matter how I set my white balance. It’s really more of a mustardy greenish yellow. It’s exquisitely soft.

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You can see in the last picture that it’s really much more complex. There are shades of green, yellow, and even red in the mix.

Allison has a winner with this pattern. Check out her blog at Alaskan Purl Designs. Thanks, Allison!

And…because I already have a copy of this issue of Interweave Knits, I’ll give away this copy to a randomly selected commenter. Leave your comment below. Contest closes at midnight on Wednesday (tomorrow).

PS: Does this mean I’m acquiring a stash? Yikes! To de-stash a little, I’ll also include this skein of ridiculously sunny Malabrigo Worsted. I used it for my relentlessly cheery bedsocks. 40 stitches around makes a quick knit!

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The first picture is truer in color than the picture of the socks. Want to knit with a smile? Comment below. Good luck!

Social by nature…

I was once described as “social by nature” in the NY Times. It’s true; you can google it! And here are some ways to find me with social media:

This blog, of course. And the Lantern Moon blog, too.

I’ve added a Facebook page for PDXKnitterati. I’m using it for all things knit- and fiber-related: blog posts, sales, contests, and more. You can find it here.

I tweet as @pdxknitterati, if you’re inclined to be part of the twitterverse.

There’s a PDXKnitterati Ravelry group, too!

Every once in a while I check to see how people find this blog. Mostly it’s linking from somewhere else, but the search terms that people use can be a riot. I was surprised to see that if you google “pum pum pum aloha aloha,” my blog is the number one search result. Must have been the thrummed knitting on vacation!

Knit related: I’m sketching for a little design project. I think I’ve gotten my little selfish knitting binge done, and it’s back to work! Oh, but I’m also knitting some worsted socks. For me. They’re a relentlessly cheery take-along project, or TV-watching project.

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What’s in a name? I’m PDXKnitterati everywhere

I just changed my username over at Ravelry. I’m now pdxknitterati over there. I think it’s easier to remember than MicheleLB. (How many L’s in Michele? Why random letters LB? huh?) If you know my blog, you know my Ravelry name, and my twitter ID, too. Come follow me down the garden path!

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Still swatching, and charting, and I think I have a plan for the next design. What I don’t have is some good mindless knitting that I can just pop into my knitting bag for those spare moments. I’ll get to that…soon. Maybe some big fat worsted weight socks! What’s your “on the go” knitting project?

It’s knitting time!

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Today’s question on 2KCBW: “Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. “

Looking back over past couple weeks, here’s where I’ve knit:

  • On airplanes. I got a lot done; it was a cross-country trip.
  • While teaching a class at the LYS (waiting for students to get to the next instruction point).
  • In the chair at the ophthalmologist’s office. (I thought about asking her to take my picture, but decided that she already thinks I’m odd enough.) Also in the waiting room, and while waiting for my vision to return to normal so I could drive to work.
  • At knit nite. This is the best!
  • While watching Castle with the Teen, or watching Glee on my laptop
  • In church…(it really does help me focus)

I find I tend to knit more when I’m waiting, or traveling, or doing something else, as it keeps me from being impatient and helps me to focus. If I’m just home, I tend to surf the internet instead. But when I really need to get something done, I’ll pop in a dvd and that’s just enough to get me to sit still and knit. I watched the Tudors series from Showtime on dvd, and that was highly productive for knitting. Knit nite is fun for knitting, but there’s a lot of distraction there, too. It’s good to have the time set aside, though.

My favorite knits are not quite mindless, but not projects that take a lot of concentration, either. I like a good multi-tasking knit project. I can even knit and read on my Kindle! I find that stitch markers are a great help; I can knit along until a marker lets me know that I need to pay attention for a moment. Here’s the current knitting:

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Yes, it starts with a ruffle!

What’s your favorite kind of knitting?

This is the last of the Second Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week posts. It’s been really fun! I think I’ve knit less this week because of all the blog reading and writing, but I’ll catch up next week. Big thanks to Eskimimi for planning this, and for all the fun topics!I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along.

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Something to aspire to…

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Do you know everything there is to know about knitting? Probably not. Do I know everything about knitting? Definitely not! Today’s 2KCBW topic asks us what pattern or skill we’d like to tackle. For me, that skill would be steeking. Yes, I want to cut my knitting. With scissors. Really.

I have a plan for this, though. I’m certainly not going to start with an Alice Starmore Fair Isle sweater. That would be foolish. No, I’m thinking of something much smaller. Teddy bear sweater? No, smaller, still. A swatch. Just a swatch. Because no one will feel bad if things go awry. (I teach a class on fixing mistakes, and I have students bring a bulky swatch that we can torture. Much less threatening than trying to learn to fix mistakes on your current beloved laceweight project. The techniques are the same, but the anxiety level is quite different.)

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I’ve started my research. The second Mason Dixon Knitting book has a good hand-holding walk-through of the process. And Rick Mondragon discusses reinforcing steeks with crochet in Knitter’s magazine, Spring 2002. (Yarn pictured is from the aforementioned underbed boxes of leftovers. No new purchase here!)

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(I’m still thrilled that I met the MDK ladies and got my book autographed!)

Have you steeked? Does it require reinforcement with crochet or machine stitching? I don’t see a reference to reinforcement in the MDK book…Discuss!

Also: How do you learn new techniques? As you can see, I go and read up on things. (I did this with parenting, too. It worked pretty well.) I google search and YouTube. Taking a class would be good, but my LYS doesn’t offer one in this. Hey, maybe I should teach it…after I learn how!

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