Category Archives: events

Astoria StitchFest: Check!

Last weekend’s first ever Astoria StitchFest was a delight. It was a small event, but very nice. The weekend began with a delightful Stitch Feast at the Baked Alaska, right on the river. We had a little show-and-tell fashion show after dinner.

The classes were held in the light and bright rooms above the Liberty Theater, across from the historic Hotel Elliott. Mary Scott Huff and I taught knitting, and Laurinda Reddig taught crochet. I taught Cast On Bind Off, Slip Stitch Cowl Design, and Blocking: It’s Magic. I think everyone went home with new skills.

blocking with pdxknitterati

I had a free afternoon, so I sat in on Mary Scott Huff’s Sassy Selbuvotter class. She is a fabulous teacher, and also fun to hang out with! Here’s the beginning of my mitten.

selbuvotter

Classic Selbuvotter (mittens in the traditional style of the town of Selbu, Norway) have a gusset thumb, but these sassy mitts will only have a slot thumb. I was curious about Norwegian mittens, because I had knit these many years ago.

selbu mitten

These are the Selbu Mittens from Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski. The have a fake gusset (no increases, just patterning to look like a gusset) and a slot thumb. They’re kind of a mix of thumb techniques. My next Selbuvotter will have a traditional, real thumb gusset, because I like the way they fit!

Astoria sits at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a fun mix of the old and the new. I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but I popped on down to Coffee Girl for lunch on Saturday because my singing buddy Claudia loves it, and used to sing there.

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I didn’t realize that Coffee Girl is right on a pier that houses the West’s oldest cannery building.

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I worked at a salmon cannery on Kodiak Island for five summers to pay for college. We even canned for Bumble Bee. This brought back all sorts of memories.

cannery workers

We didn’t look quite like this, but aprons, hair nets, and steel toed rubber boots were the uniform!

pier 39 astoria

Canneries were a big part of Astoria’s history. Even the waste baskets on the streets downtown acknowledge this.

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Mary and I had rooms at the Grandview Bed & Breakfast, a very interesting Victorian house. My room was breathtakingly gorgeous, with lace draperies around the bed, and at the entrance to my sitting room

grandview b & b

which was a great place to relax.

Grandview b&b

The sitting room had a view of the Columbia River, and the bridge that crosses to Washington.

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Many thanks to Bonnie Lively and LeAnn Meyer, the organizers of Astoria StitchFest. I had a fabulous time, and hope that all the participants did, too. I’d love to do this again next year, and you should come, too!

It’s a wrap! OFFF 2014

What a glorious weekend: Slightly chilly mornings (sweater weather!) giving way to sunny afternoons and smiling crowds. Perfect. I taught Blocking on Friday, and Tink Drop Frog (how to fix mistakes) on Saturday. My students were charming and eager to become the bosses of their knitting! We blocked my Snowy Woods KAL cowl, among other things.

Snowy Woods Cowlbefore blocking

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Sunday was my play day. I headed for the barns first, and I was not disappointed. This is Amy with one of the angora goats from The Pines Farm. Mohair on the hoof! Amy is wearing a sweater knit with mohair, and it is the most decadently soft fabric, with a luminous halo.

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Can you even see where you’re going?

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Haircut day!

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The coat of an angora goat grows an inch per month. These goats are shorn every six months, now and in March, but they still won’t be cold this winter!

I was captivated by this display at Upstream Alpacas.

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naturals?

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or colors? I liked them both.

Natural colors are not boring.
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For me this year, the fiber and spinning supplies were most enticing. Maybe because I already have more yarn than I can knit. No matter. Look at these spindles. The gateway drug to spinning.

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Spindles at Carolina Homespun

I have several drop spindles, but haven’t yet heard the siren song of the wheel. Then I saw people trying the HansenCrafts miniSpinner. Look how portable this is. I had to try it, too. See my blue yarn?

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There’s always a fleece sale on Sunday. The woman who lured us in here said that the first time she went, she bought two fleeces. And she didn’t have a spinning wheel, just a drop spindle. Uh-oh.

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I bought a Kromski…

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Kromski niddy-noddy, not a wheel! I wanted an upgrade from my one yard niddy-noddy; this one is a two yard model.

I did buy one skein of yarn, from Huckleberry Knits.

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It’s Teri’s fault. I loved the glowing colors in her Glitz on the Ritz shawlette, so I had to check out this dyer, too. Oh, and see Sherece’s Hitofude? Teri knit that for her. What a great friend!

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All in all, a perfect weekend. I spent some time with Lorajean and the divine Miss F in the Knitted Wit booth.

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You have to start them young!

Did you go to OFFF? What tickled your fancy?

OFFF 2014 is this coming weekend

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is this weekend. I’m really looking forward to it! I’m teaching on Friday and Saturday afternoons, and playing the rest of the time. The weather report is looking decent as of this moment, which would be great after last year’s monsoons.

Things I’m looking forward to:

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Knitted Wit’s booth. Always lovely things there, and this year she’s debuting her Cotton Candy yarn, 100% merino super bulky. You can see my Big Leaf Scarf and pattern in her booth this weekend.

Big Leaf Scarf

Hanging out with the Portland Spinnerati group. Always entertaining, and always inspiring!

spinners

I went to the group’s meet-up at the Oregon Historical Society for Worldwide Spin In Public Day last Saturday. I was the only drop spindler in a group of wheels, but it was all fun.

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I’m also looking forward to shopping, and visiting the animals. For a much more comprehensive list of things to do at OFFF, see Mary Mooney’s post on the OregonLive Knitting blog. If you see me, say hello!

Snowy Woods Cowl

What’s on my needles? I’m almost done with my Snowy Woods Cowl that I’m doing for the knitalong. This is the last official week of the KAL, so there’s one more prize to be drawn next week. This week’s prize? Stitch markers, made by me. These feature leaves, snowflakes, and the blue of the custom dyed Snowy Woods colorway from Knitted Wit.

pdxknitterati stitch markers

This cowl is coming with me to OFFF, where it will be part of my blocking class on Friday, 1 to 4 p.m. There’s still a little room in the class, and there’s no homework! Registration is onsite only at this point.

Are you going to OFFF, or another sheep and wool festival near you? Who’s going to Rhinebeck? (Someday, me…)

OFFF 2014 is just around the corner

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is coming right up! September 27-28, and there are workshops on Friday, September 26, too. I’m teaching two classes, Blocking on Friday afternoon and Tink Drop Frog: Fixing Mistakes on Saturday afternoon. These are expanded versions of classes I teach in yarn shops, and we’ll have three hours to go through even more fun and demonstration on both of these topics. I hope you’ll join me.

If you’ve already mastered these knitterly topics, there are a lot more fiber-related classes available; you can see the full list here. Taking classes at OFFF is fun, and encourages the organizers to keep offering them from year to year. If you want more knitting classes, sign up for knitting classes! The same goes for spinning, weaving, felting, livestock management…The early registration deadline requires a postmark by September 5. This is the make or break day; if a class doesn’t have the minimum number of students by the registration deadline, the class won’t be offered. You can sign up for classes at OFFF, but only if they make the minimum by the early deadline, so why wait?

What else is fun at OFFF? Well, there are the adorable animals.

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baby

And the vendors! I love shopping the booths at OFFF. I’ve purchased spindles, yarn, fiber, books. There are vendors both outside on the lawn, and in the exhibition halls. (These pictures are from previous years.)

UntitledKnitted Wit on the lawn

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Sincere Sheep, on the lawn

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StitchJones inside

And you can always find people to knit and spin with.

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spinners

So mark your calendar, and I’ll see you there, either in class, or shopping, or on the lawn spinning or knitting, or?

And here’s a teaser for you: My Snowy Woods Cowl KAL casts on September 1. I’m extending the discount on the Snowy Woods pattern through Thursday September 4; use the discount code FROST when checking out to get $2 off your pattern. Here’s the link to the pattern page on Ravelry. You can join the KAL on my Ravelry page for chatter and support.

snowy woods cowl

Check back tomorrow, September 1, to learn how to avoid running out of tail for your long tail cast on!

Astoria StitchFest 2014

Do you love knitting and/or crocheting? Do you love the Oregon Coast? Here’s a winning combo for you: Astoria StitchFest. This is a brand new event October 10-12 in Astoria, Oregon. I’ll be teaching there, along with Sivia Harding, Mary Scott Huff, and Laurinda Reddig.

I’m teaching Cast On/Bind Off, Blocking, Entrelac, and a new class, Slip Stitch Designing. I’m especially stoked about sharing the magic of slip stitch knitting, which results in colorful patterning, but only one color is worked per row. Here’s an example of a slip stitch cowl I designed.

starwood detail

I hope you’ll come join us in Astoria this fall. More details about the classes, the StitchFeast dinner on Friday, and places to stay in Astoria are on the website.

Road trip knitting

I’ve been on several road trips lately, but I’ve been the driver on all of them. I’m a great multi-tasker (knitting while reading or watching TV), but I draw the line at knitting and driving. Fortunately, there’s a new way to road trip. JJ Foster, local knitter/instructor/former LYS owner/hospitality professional has come up with a fun concept: The Traveling Ewe.

The Traveling Ewe is a new tour business focusing on knitters, crocheters and spinners. The Traveling Ewe will offer a new fiber-focused day trip every other month, starting with the Columbia Gorge Adventure on June 28th. Fiberistas will board a swanky luxury coach and head to Hood River for an inspiring day of crafting, eating and shopping. There will be time at Knot Another Hat, lunch at Celilio, a trip to Foothill Fibers Alpaca Farm and Store and, to end the day, a glass of wine on the sunny patio at Mt. Hood Winery . Tickets for this event are available at the Traveling Ewe website.

This sounds like a perfect field trip for me, and no yellow schoolbus! I’m planning to go. Come join the fun!

Mt Hood at Timberline

The sight of Mount Hood still thrills me every time, even though I grew up in Portland. This is an old picture out the back window at Timberline Lodge. The last time I drove out I-84, I kept looking in my mirrors for a view of the mountain. It will be much safer snapping a picture when I’m not the driver!

2014 RCYC: It’s a wrap

And it was so much fun. I had a trunk show with Lorajean of Knitted Wit at For Yarn’s Sake on Saturday.

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Frances is definitely a yarn baby! She’s wearing the sweater I knit for her.

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I also met baby Sophie, for whom the yarn and my Sophie’s Rose shawl are named. (I’m wearing the shawl here.)

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Grace’s favorite color is coral, from head to toe. Check out her coordinating hat, cardigan, and shoes. She is lucky to have a mom who loves to knit for her. They were picking up more coral yarn!

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After For Yarn’s Sake, I had a trunk show at the Knitting Bee. Laurinda Reddig, the designer of the mystery crochet along shawlette, was there, too.

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Jeanette did both the knit and crochet alongs, one for her and one for her mom.

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And Melanie from Black Trillium (center) was also having a trunk show of her lovely yarns. Jami is the owner of the Knitting Bee, and she’s rocking her very pretty Rosaria Shawlette.

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Here’s an object lesson for you. Did you swatch for the MKAL? I didn’t; I usually use my size 5 needles for fingering weight shawls, and am happy with the result. I know you’re supposed to wash and block your swatch, but do you? Laurie didn’t, either, and her red and white Rosaria turned red and pink when she soaked it to block. (We’re here with her friend Theresa, who turns out to be the sister of a friend of mine from college.)

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Laurie’s Rosaria is really pretty, but it’s not what she intended. At least it happened serendipitously! Will I wash and block my swatch before my next project? Probably not, but just be advised that this can happen.

How do you know if something is your color? Apparently Carissa and I were choosing based on our nail polish on Thursday at Close Knit. She recognized me at the Knitting Bee. Or she recognized my manicure…

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On Sunday I went out to Black Sheep at Orenco to pick up a shawl pin from Rod Wallace, aka Toolman. While I was there, I ran into Rachel, who is test knitting for me. Or she will be, once I write the pattern up. Almost done, but I’ve been a little busy!

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We decided to get a glass of wine at a nearby wine bar. Bubbly seemed to be in order.

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A birthday party arrived right after us, so we sang happy birthday and they shared cake and wine with us. Happy 50th birthday, Robert! (I think that’s what we sang…)

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A perfect end to the yarn crawl! I made it to 11 shops and bought a little something at each one. Here’s my stash. Some magazines (somehow I don’t feel as guilty about magazines as I do about yarn hanging around), a bit of work related yarn (white Cascade 220 for easy to see teaching demos and and Gina for entrelac class), some non-work yarn (the ombre/gradient Freia in the colorway that matches my mani, the blue MadelineTosh Dandelion which is wool and linen, and the pastel Mochi for a baby gift), some square needles to try, and some miscellaneous tools.

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And here’s my stash via the Waterlogue app. I wish I could paint, but this is the next best thing.

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Did you participate in the yarn crawl this year? What was your favorite find?

Along the crawl I saw more Rosaria shawls, always a thrill. I’m chuffed that so many people knit my design, and that it was the first ever MKAL for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. I’m putting the rest of my Rosaria pictures from Saturday and Sunday at the end of this post, so keep scrolling. And if you haven’t knit one, you still can! The pattern is now available with pictures through Ravelry.

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Debbie

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Camille

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I don’t know your name, but your shawl looks familiar!

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Paula

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Four more!

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Lovely earth tones at the Knitting Bee

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Steffanie

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Beth

Thanks for knitting along!

Seeing double, triple, quadruple…

No, it’s not figure skating. It’s Rosaria!

I am getting such a thrill seeing so many people wearing their Rosaria knitalong shawlettes this weekend on the Rose City Yarn Crawl. My design, interpreted hundreds of ways.

yarn ball

The first sightings were at the Yarn Ball on Wednesday night.

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kelli, feliciacakes

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Here’s Samantha, who won yarn from me and knit Rosaria for her mom.

samantha

Some of the Rosaria were still on the needles at the Yarn Ball. See the knitter on the right in the front row of the group picture? I ran into her the next day at Pearl Fiber Arts. She had finished her knitting, blocked it on the hotel rug (no pins, even!) and was wearing it when I saw her. That’s dedication!

stephanie

I made it to five shops on Thursday, and three on Friday. I saw more Rosaria along the way.

twisted rosaria

naked sheep rosaria

happy knits rosaria

clara twin

What else have I seen?

arm knit cowl

Emily’s mom rocking the arm knit cowl at Twisted. (I’ve spaced out on her name; I’m sorry.)

jeanne carver

Jeanne Carver from Imperial Stock Ranch brought a lamb to Twisted.

team usa sweater

And the iconic USA team sweater from the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Sochi! These were designed by Ralph Lauren, and knit with Imperial Yarn.

bumblebirch

I met Sarah, the dyer of Bumblebirch Yarns, at Pearl Fiber Arts.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I’m having trunk shows at For Yarn’s Sake from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Knitting Bee from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Come by and say hello!

Never too late…

to learn a new thing! This is my first ever granny square. Crocheted!

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I used to crochet a long time ago, but my only project was a ripple afghan I made for DH when we were dating, back in the Dark Ages. All acrylic, shades of cream and brown.

I’ve been reading the Rose City Yarn Crawl threads on Ravelry, and Laurinda Reddig, designer of the Crochet-ALong shawlette, says that if you can crochet a granny square, you can crochet her shawlette.

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I’m still not convinced. The granny square was easy to figure out. I clearly don’t know which way I’m going with the shawlette. Lucky for me, I’ll see her Friday at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton at their KAL/CAL group, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Knitted Wit (Lorajean, dyer of my project yarn and so much more) will be there, too. Come see us!

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I had a great time at the Knitting Bee last Sunday. It’s really fun to knit with other knitters (and crocheters), and the most inspiring and intimidating thing? Seeing all these people knitting MY PATTERN. So far, they seem to like it! I really love seeing all the different color combinations, too. Check them out on Ravelry!

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Other knitting? The office peeps from Lantern Moon came over last night to cast on for the Thrumbelina KAL. We have new thrummers! I finished my first slipper, and have just started the second. It’s not too late to join us. And the pattern is still on sale for 25% off through the end of January. That’s tomorrow!

What’s on your needles? You know what’s on mine!

Beading your knits

We’ve cast on for the RCYC MKAL, but it’s not too late to join the fun! You can find the pattern on Ravelry, here.

We had a cast on party at Twisted last night.

MKAL cast on party

Such fun to meet MKALers in real life!

And here’s my garter tab cast on tutorial, in case you need a little help.

I actually cast on at home so I could be available to chat and help at the party, and I got a little inspired. There’s an option to add beads in clue 4 of the pattern, but I had extra beads, and so I decided to add some here. I’ll post a picture at the end of this post, in case you don’t want to see a spoiler. For now, I want to share several different ways of adding beads to your knitting. These methods are all for beading as you go, rather than pre-stringing.

My favorite method involves a simple tool called the Bead Aid. It’s a bit of jewelry wire, bent in the middle and polished at the ends, so it won’t snag your yarn. You can see mine in my beading tin.

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Simple and elegant! You can find it in a few local yarn shops (I know Pearl Fiber Arts has them), and online here (video on how to use it is here, too).

It’s the same principle as this tutorial from Romi Hill. (She used it in her Ice Queen pattern in Knitty Winter 2007, and I remembered!) You can DIY, but I’m happy with getting mine pre-made and polished. Whatever works for you, works.

You can also use the crochet hook method. This involves a very tiny crochet hook; mine is size 13/14, 0.90 mm. That’s a hook head less than a millimeter in diameter! I tend to split the yarn when I use this method, so it’s not my preferred method.

Laura Nelkin demonstrates the hook method, and also a clever way to use pre-threaded dental floss, in this video.

I tried the dental floss method, too, but I didn’t love it. It’s a great way to corral your beads, but I didn’t like having them hanging on the end of the floss; I had a hard time manipulating the wire and at the same time getting the beads where I wanted them to go. Your mileage may vary!

OK, here’s the info on where I put my beads. The first clue is rain, and I wanted raindrops on the k2tog decreases, but didn’t want to fiddle with two stitches *and* a bead, so I put them on the next row on the purl stitch that was the back side of the k2tog, just before working the stitch. I’d never placed beads on the wrong side row before, but guess what? The bead shows up where it belongs on the right side anyway. Win!

And now that I think about it, you can get the same result by placing the bead on the k2tog on the right side row *after* working the k2tog, so that it gets purled on the next row. Whatever is easier for you to work. Knitter’s choice! I’m used to taking the stitch from the left needle to add the bead before working the stitch. If you add the bead after working the stitch, you’ll have to take it (and replace it) to the right needle, which might be easier if you’re a lefty, but not for me, a righty.

I’m using size 8/0 Miyuki Delica beads. They’re tube shaped rather than round. My local bead store only had size 11/0 (too tiny), so I found these at Twisted. I should have looked there first, but I thought beads came from a bead store. Go figure. These are exactly what I wanted.

Spoiler pic below…

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beads!

Knit on!