Category Archives: Blogging

Christmas sweaters

First, a disclaimer: I didn’t knit this.

Grant Butler over at the Oregonian/Oregonlive is collecting pictures of ugly Christmas sweaters. I don’t think mine is ugly; I think it’s kitschy cute! But I told him I’d send him a picture, anyway.

santa sweater

It’s so NYC. We lived in New York for 9 years, and this sweater at Nordstrom Rack just spoke to me. I think I’ve had it for 6 years or so, but I can’t remember.


I hate knitting intarsia, so I would never make something like this. But look at the detail! From the sequins on the gift and the beads on the hat…


To the beads for tire treads…


What’s not to like? What do you think? Cute? Ugly? Kitschy? Would you wear it? I love it. But only once a year.

One skein projects

My little purple Fetching mitts have gone AWOL. I’m sure they’re in a knitting or music bag, somewhere in this house, but for now I’m wearing these instead.


These are my Chunky Piano Mitts. The pattern is free here on my blog. They take less than 100 grams of chunky yarn, and they are fast!

Speaking of free, and one skein, Peggy and Mims at the Oregonlive knitting blog are featuring a free one skein knitting pattern every day from Nov. 28 through Dec. 24. My spiral rib hat was featured on Sunday, Nov. 29.

You can share patterns, too, as long as they’re available for free. And there are prizes for sharing!

What’s your favorite one skein project?

As luck would have it…

I’m pretty lucky! Bonnie picked me as the winner in her drawing for some yarn and her new pattern.

alpaca silk

This yarn is 50 grams/146 yards of Alpaca Silk in the Ice colorway from Blue Sky Alpacas. It’s a gorgeous shade of gray, and the silk in it gives it a beautiful sheen. It feels great, too.


See it glow? I love it!


The pattern is called Buttermilk Sky; it looks lovely. I”m looking forward to knitting this sweet little cowl.

Thank you, Bonnie!

Luminary panel musings


There were some interesting questions put to the Luminary Panel at Sock Summit. One that I found particularly intriguing was, “Why are there no knitters of color here?” I found it interesting on a couple levels. One is that I *am* a person of color, just not the color that the questioner meant. (I’m Asian-American, and I saw many other Asian-American knitters at Sock Summit.)

The discussion by the panel first delved into socio-economic issues; if food and housing is insecure, knitting is not going to be high on your priority list. Race is often tied to socio-economic status. Knitting in the US is primarily a recreational activity, and it can be quite spendy if you let it be! But I ran into an acquaintance right after the panel discussion, and she commented that she doesn’t have a ton of money, and that you don’t have to have a ton of money to knit. Another idea explored by the panel was that knitting isn’t a part of all cultures around the world. One could extrapolate that we should evangelize knitting and spread the word, but I don’t think all people should be forced to consider knitting for their leisure activity. It’s supposed to be fun. I think we should just say, “Here’s something I like. If you want to knit, I’d be glad to teach you.”

Who taught you to knit? Did you ask to be taught, or did someone offer to teach you? Or did you just find it intriguing on your own? As a child, I wanted to learn to knit because I was heavily into the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Deep in my heart, I wanted to be a pioneer girl. (Pretty funny for a Chinese girl.) In fact, part of the reason I still love my cuff-down socks on dpns is the whole pioneer sticks and string schtick; pioneer girls didn’t have two circulars or magic loop! (This reminds me of the “You can’t use the pedal when you play Bach because he didn’t” argument, although in that case I’d say, “He would have if it had existed!”)

I’m still knitting along on my ruffle tank, and swatching my colorful stealth project. And I think I’m going to start one of Cat Bordhi’s toe-up socks, just for review. And I’ve fallen in love with Lorelei from Twist Collective, but I don’t think I’ll start that right now! Just dreaming. I’ve noticed a good bit of start-itis in other bloggers that were at Sock Summit. Too many creative ideas all at once?

Besides start-itis, Sock Summit has had another effect on me. I had to buy another box to store my increased stash. Although the stash is growing, I’m still not a stasher at heart, so I’d like to share a skein from my Sock Summit goodies. This is from Deb Accuardi’s pre-summit lunch. The colorway is Cherry Mallow by CraftsMeow. It’s 100% superwash merino wool fingering weight yarn, 400 yards.

cherry mallow

If you’d like to play, leave me a comment telling me who taught you to knit. I’ll do the random number thing and pick a winner after August 23. Good luck; I’m looking forward to some wonderful stories!

Post-Sock Summit blues

Sock Summit is over; it’s time to go back to real life. What’s a knitter to do? I could go check out the Oregonian’s re-cap of the event here. I even saw myself in the video!



I could buy some more yarn! The Noro Silk Garden Lite wasn’t the right yarn for the new project in my head, so I went to Twisted to get some Silk Garden Sock. But I got distracted by this Jojoland Melody superwash, which is really soft. It also has a really long color run, and a very slow change to the next color. I think it will do what I want, but there’s only one way to find out. The S-word. Yes, swatch!


The colors are much richer than you see here; I can’t quite capture them.

I wanted to mention something that really struck me last weekend. Cat Bordhi began her class by having everyone give their names, and tell who taught them to knit. I love the honoring of the ones who came before. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, co-workers, Youtube! You can trace the lineage back, in much the same way that piano students can trace their teachers back to Mozart. Cat was also really good about crediting ideas, such as Judy Becker for Judy’s Magic Cast On and Magic Toe, and Jenny Staimann’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. It’s because of this that I can say that I learned my modified way of making an SSK (slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to purl, knit off together through the back loops) from Meg Swansen, who probably learned it from her mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann, and that was a modification of the SSK that was invented by…Barbara Walker. And so it goes.

Some other news: Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks, one of the Sock Summit sponsors, is closing their brick and mortar store. They’ll still have an online presence, but this is a big loss for Portland. I’m sad to see them go.

(Ravelry name) is knitting her own wedding veil, and she had several teachers and students at Sock Summit knit on it. That will be a wonderful keepsake! And maybe she should get in touch with the woman who made this amazing wedding dress.

That’s the news from here. Knit on!

Sock Summit Sunday

This is a short post, because I’m exhausted! I’ll have more tomorrow, when I’m awake and can take pictures of all the cool things that followed me home. But for now, a Sunday recap.

I invited my friend Joanne to come to the market this morning. She was about to pay the $2 entrance fee when I noticed that there were luminary panel tickets available. She decided to buy one, which meant she’d be a student, which meant she wouldn’t pay the market fee. And then the staffer told us that someone had donated their tickets because they couldn’t come, so they gave one to Joanne. Winner!

We did a quick tour, and then settled in to shop. Here’s the yarn play pen at Woolstock.

play pen

While we were ogling the Malabrigo Sock yarn at Webs, someone stopped to admire my shawl. It was Amy Detjen! She remembered meeting me at a Stitches West or two, way back. I think she liked the shawl because it matches her hair!


I made a couple purchases (you’ll see them in tomorrow’s post), and so did Joanne. Then it was off to lunch and the luminary panel. Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, Lucy Neatby, Deborah Robson, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, and Anna Zilboorg, all in one place. As I type this list, I realize that I’ve had classes with four of the nine: Priscilla, Meg, and Anna at Stitches long ago, and Cat this weekend. I’m pretty lucky!


It was flabbergasting to learn that Barbara Walker invented the SSK. Before that, the left-leaning decrease was skp (slip 1, knit 1, psso). That’s elemental. And listening to the panel discussion, I was struck again by Anna’s graceful spirit.

The day ended with cake to celebrate Elizabeth Zimmermann’s 99th birthday. All the panelists were asked what was the biggest influence EZ had on their knitting. Meg was last, and she simply said, “You are in charge of your knitting.” I remember reading that as “You are the boss of your knitting,” but either way, that’s EZ’s biggest influence on my knitting, too. I say it all the time when I’m teaching. Thank you, Elizabeth.

What a great weekend! On the way out, I ran into Barbara Walker. I admired her sweater, and thanked her for coming. She thanked me for coming, too.


Sock Summit: Saturday wows

Saturday at Sock Summit. I knew this would be a long day for me. Six hours of Dancing with Socks with Cat Bordhi, plus the Ravelry party tonight.

Cat Bordhi’s class was a huge winner. She’s a great teacher. She walked us through her short row heel turn method, Judy’s Magic Cast On, a Bosnian garter stitch toe, a formula for a perfect fitting sock from the toe up, and how to turn all of that upside down for a cuff down sock. Along the way, she also taught us a cure for the wobbly SSK line of decreases, and a better way to finish off the yarn tail at the end of a project.

cat bordhi

Here are the sample socks I worked on during class. The one on the right is a Coriolis. It was easier than I expected it to be! Note the garter stitch toe. The sock on the left is following her Upstream architecture.

pathways sox

Isn’t this yarn cool? It’s Bullfrogs and Butterflies from Lorna’s Laces, and the colorway is called Cat Bordhi Ah-ha. The short color runs make it easy to see what’s going on with the stitches from row to row. I didn’t have this yarn, but before class Elizabeth announced that she had bought some, had it wound into two balls, and someone was welcome to try the second ball. I did, and I loved it. Thank you, Elizabeth!


Oh, we also learned a stretchy new bind-off. It’s called Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off (JSSBO) by Jennifer Staimann, and it’s great. I can’t tell you more, because we’re sworn to secrecy. It will be in the next issue of Knitty. Keep your eyes peeled for this winner!

I sat next to Melinda (gldelx on Ravelry) during class. I didn’t realize it was gldelx until we swapped some stitch markers, and she gave me a card with her Ravelry name on it. She’s local here, too.


During lunch I met Kathy Elkins (on the left) from Webs. It was nice to meet her in person; we follow each other on Twitter.


The Ravelry party this evening was great. We all got swag bags with cool stuff in them. I’ll post an inventory and picture after I get a daylight shot. I hung out with old and new friends, including Sam and Kathy (I thought I had a picture with Kathy, but it’s not in the camera).


And GlennaC and Chrissy Gardiner (of the wonderful Toe-Up sock book).

glenna chrissy

Check out Glenna’s cool knee socks.

glenna sox

step knit

Deb interviewed Jess for the At the Kitchen Table podcast.

jess deb

And I met Jess (frecklegirl on Ravelry); and got to pose with her and the Bob finger puppet! Note our Ishbels.

jess bob

Bobbie, Leila, and Tami are trying to get me to spin. I’ve been successfully resistant. Then Leila pulled out the Turkish spindle, and showed me how it makes a center pull ball of yarn when you’re done. Uh-oh…


And I love this Dianna shawl that Kristin was wearing.


Lantern Moon was one of the cashmere sponsors. Thanks for a great party! Here’s Sharon, Joel, Sally, Sarah, and Jess.

LM peeps


Sock Summit Friday

I didn’t have classes today, so I arrived at the market at about 11 a.m. I cruised through the market, looking for the elusive perfect shawl pin. I almost bought a nickel/silver one in the shape of a treble clef, but eventually found an ebony spiral pin that I liked better. It has two points on it, and I thought it felt more secure than the pins with just one point. Even if I haven’t played the piano in months, I still like my ebony! I bought it from this young man at purrfectly catchy designs. You can see it in his hand.

shawl pin

This woman won an awesome door prize today: UK Knit Camp in Scotland next year. She has to pay her own airfare, but I think it’s worth it! I’m so jealous.

brit camp

I met Jo from BritishYarn yesterday; she was quite jet-lagged but happily knitting away on a pi feather and fan shawl.


Today was Guinness World Record Day. The previous record of simultaneous knitters was set in June of this year by 256 Australian knitters. We had over 900. Sorry, guys.


The rules required that we use two (how many? two!) straight needles for this endeavor. No circulars, no sock heels on dpns. Two Straight Needles. Luckily, I had these Lantern Moon blondwood needles at home. Knitting had to be cast on before we entered the ball room.


Why yes, that’s my new Sock Summit tote! And my never-to-be-completed dishcloth, just before we started in earnest.

straights bag

I can’t show you any pictures from the 15 minutes we were knitting. One must not jeopardize the record by putting down the needles to pick up a camera! The Oregonian newspaper had a video on their blog, though. I saw myself; that was pretty amusing.

After the Guinness event, I worked in the Knitted Wit booth. Some friends dropped by. Here’s Heather in her Central Park Hoodie.


And here are the Michelles, whom I met last year at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. We’ve been known to congregate over at Twisted, which seems to be a Michelle/Michele magnet. Michelle in the middle taught me Judy’s Magic Cast On last year; I just re-learned it so I’ll be ready for class tomorrow.


I made a couple forays out of the booth to check out market happenings. There was a needle-felting demonstration today.


This gentleman (Brian?) at the Skacel booth is knitting 7 pairs of socks (14 individual socks!) on a 120 inch needle. He says he doesn’t get tangles. You can read more about his multi-sock knitting adventure on the Skacel blog. I was impressed by his organizational skills!

14 socks

Angora Valley Fibers is going to demonstrate knitting socks on a sock knitting machine on Sunday. We had a little preview, because they’re across the aisle from Knitted Wit.

sock machine

Remember that I’ve said that I don’t stash? Somehow I found myself with a bag of Noro Silk Garden in my hand after I saw a beautiful Lady Eleanor stole walk by. The colors in the bag of yarn were exquisite. Can you guess what happened next?

After thinking about it for a while, I put the bag back in the bin. I don’t really need a new project. The yarn isn’t especially soft (but it is eye-poppingly gorgeous). I’ll go back in the next day or two and see if it’s still there. If it is, it’s meant to be mine. If not, I didn’t really need it. I’m leaving it up to fate! But I did buy a new pair of Dansko clogs, to replace my ancient ones. I bought them from Shannon. I met Shannon last year at Lorajean’s baby shower! Small world. And look: she knitted her dress, and it’s awesome!


Okay, time to sleep. I have an all day class with Cat Bordhi tomorrow…

Sock Summit: I can’t stop smiling

Today was the first “real” day of Sock Summit. It looked like a very smooth launch.

My friend Anna and I had a three hour class in the morning with Star Athena, Sock Design Workshop: Know the Rules, then Break Them. This was a great class. Star is a big fan of the gauge swatch; she says that they don’t lie. I still think mine do, but I’ll keep making them. I usually make design decisions by trial and error, and keep ripping back if I don’t like what I have. I hadn’t really thought about making a long continuous swatch before, but it’s a great idea. We also went over different ways of approaching design, and worked on designs of our own. Star also went over different avenues to publishing (magazines, books, internet, self-publishing). I came out of class with several design ideas and am happy I took the class. Thanks, Star!

I peeked into the market during lunch (vendor perk!) and said hi to Shannon and Emily from Twisted. They thought they should win a prize for yarn density in the booth. That’s a lot of color packed in there.

twisted gals

In the afternoon, we had Hooked on Beads with Sivia Harding. This was a one hour class, so it was pretty basic. We learned how to add beads in our knitting without pre-stringing them, and learned when each method is appropriate. We also looked at some of Sivia’s amazing beaded knitting. Webs provided crochet hooks and beads for the class (thank you!) which was a very nice surprise.


hooked 2


I know this is not the world’s most exciting swatch, but hey, I’m just trying to get the technique down without splitting the yarn!

Where are all these people going? To the market opening, of course!

market opening

I did a quick walk through the market; I’ll be back to shop and work in the booth tomorrow. I did buy a Sock Summit tote bag from the bookstore right away, though. I didn’t pre-order swag, and I think they’ll run out of what’s left pretty quickly. The bag has organizing pockets on the front AND back. I’ll be using it tomorrow; today I had to carry two bags to bring all my class supplies, and I felt pretty disorganized.

I stopped by Lantern Moon’s booth, because Cathy and Diana are so much fun. Cathy’s in my knit group!

LM booth

One of the really fun things about knitting events is meeting bloggers from far away that you “know” but have never met in person. I briefly met Jessica, with whom I’ve been chatting about our respective Tokyo adventures this summer. Carrie was working at the market information booth. I met Heather at the Knitted Wit booth. And I met Cristi in the market, too. She’s just as fun in person as she is online. Cristi was wearing her Charlotte’s Web shawl, and it is even more gorgeous in person.


And doubly fun is hanging out with the local PDX Knit-Bloggers. I saw Tami, Melissa, Bobbie, Duffy, Adam, Rachel. And maybe more, but it’s a blur!

pdxkb table

By the way, I ran into Deb, and she had my yarn from yesterday’s lunch! I’m so happy that my wandering yarn has found its way home.

I missed the opening reception tonight; it was sold out when I registered. Some openings were available yesterday/today, but I had already booked a rehearsal with my singing buddies since I thought I was free. And we really needed to sing.

If you’re local and couldn’t get into classes, come to the market! There are demonstrations going on in the market all day long, and entry to the market is only $2 per day if you’re not a student. And the shopping is awesome, too.

We’ve only just begun…

The first day at Sock Summit isn’t the first day. You can pick up your registration packet, and set up your booth if you’re a vendor. Classes start tomorrow (Thursday), and the market opens for a student preview in the afternoon.

Even so, it was a very Sock Summit day today. I started at Deb Accuardi’s pre-summit yarn-tasting luncheon at her restaurant, Gino’s. Lunch was wonderful, four courses paired with wine and yarn. The room was filled with happy knitters.

lunch 1

lunch 4

lunch 2

And the swag was amazing. Chrissy Gardiner donated a copy of her new book, Toe-Up!, for each of the knitters there.

lunch swag

Deb put together swag bags with Portland info, a gift card to Knit/Purl, coffee or tea, and this button.


The yarn was incredible! The yarn with the first course was from Stevanie Pico at Abundant Yarns. It was inspired by a caprese salad, and the colorway is Insalata Accuardi. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of it, because it didn’t make it home with me! I’m hoping it was found under the table, or in Lorajean’s box o’ fun. I’ll find out tomorrow.

Accuardi Insalata

Here’s the rest:

yarn swag

The blue/green yarn is “Jules Verne”, dyed by Larissa Brown for Abundant Yarns. The pink/brown/cream is “Ladies Who Lunch” by Knitted Wit (Lorajean). It was inspired by the tiramisu dessert, but to me it looks like chocolate and raspberries with cream. The multi-color brown/green/red/everything is “Pheasant” by Abstract Fibers. It was inspired by Deb’s pheasant, and meant to go with the quail and warm potato salad. And the pink and lavender yarn is “Cherry Mallow” from Crafts Meow. I can’t tell you the story on that, because Lorajean and I had to leave before dessert was served. It was time to set up the booth.


It was pretty quick work! We have Lorajean’s yarn and fiber, felted hats from Attitude Hats, stitch markers from Marilyn (but I don’t know her business name, will find out), books and felting fiber from Leigh Radford, and my patterns. I’m in very good company. We’re ready to roll tomorrow. After set-up, we went to Lantern Moon’s vendor party at McMenamin’s Kennedy School. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. I even met Jess (Frecklegirl) from Ravelry.

LM party

LM party 2

And here are the Sox Stix girls! They’ll be roaming the market, creating buzz for Lantern Moon’s sock needles. The needles come in silk taffeta bags, and the Sox Stix girls are wearing taffeta pants inspired by those bags. Same same, but different!

sox stix girls

Tomorrow’s agenda: Sock Design Workshop with Star Athena, Hooked on Beads with Sivia Harding, and a tour of the marketplace. But for now, sleep…