Category Archives: KAL

Punchbowl Falls hike

At the beginning of the summer, I put Punchbowl Falls on my short list of must do hikes. I love waterfall hikes, but summer slipped away from me. No matter. September is perfect hiking weather here in Oregon.

This is about 4 miles, easy hiking. It begins at the Eagle Creek trailhead at exit 41 on I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge.

There’s a short spur trail about 1.5 miles in that goes to a view of 100 foot Metlako Falls. Pretty!

Metlako Falls

Punchbowl Falls falls (ha!) into a shallow area that is very popular in the summer. I waited for people to get out of my picture…

Punchbowl Falls

Lower Punchbowl Falls empties into a deeper pool. The water below is a gorgeous greeny blue color. (See all the tiny people up by the upper falls?)

Lower Punchbowl Falls

My friend V was my hike/photobomb pal.

Lower Punchbowl Falls photobomb

There is no westbound freeway access from exit 41 to return to Portland post-hike; you have to go east to Cascade Locks and turn around. While we were there, we went to Thunder Island Brewing and tried the pear cider from HR Ciderworks. Great cider, great view.

pear cider

We headed back west for a stop in Troutdale and dinner with V’s dad at the iconic Tad’s Chicken & Dumplings. I love that they never fixed their sign. Chic, indeed!

Tad's

On to knitting! The winner of the first week’s prize drawing for the Snowy Woods KAL is getting this in the mail:

snowywoodskal prize

Tiny scissors, tiny tree stitch marker, and some fun HiyaHiya yarn needles. Congratulations to Kelli! Kelli has finished her cowl already, and so has one other knitter. These are quick, addictive knits, perfect for gift-giving. It’s not too late to join the KAL; we still have 2 more weeks of prizes, and a finishers’ drawing, too. Check out the Ravelry thread for more info.

snowy woods knitalong

What’s on your needles? The seasons are changing!

Never run out of yarn with 2 tailed long tail cast on

snowy woods knitalong

We’re starting the Snowy Woods knit-along today, and I ask that you start with a long tail cast on. I love the long tail cast on for knitting. It’s stretchy yet firm, and it has definite knit side and purl side. You can choose which side to use as your public side. The only thing I don’t like about this cast on is guessing how long a tail you need to have before you start. There are a couple rules of thumb out there, like multiplying the width of your knitted piece by 3 (somehow related to pi and the circumference around your needle), or wrapping your yarn around the needle the same number of times as the number of stitches you’re going to cast on. but it can still be iffy. Who hasn’t experienced the heartbreak of being a few stitches short? Ouch.

I came across this fabulous method while I was researching cast ons for my Cast On, Bind Off class. You can use two balls of yarn, or both ends of a center pull ball.

Long Tail Cast On knit

Take the two strands of yarn and use both to make a slip knot about 6 inches from the end.

long tail cast on knit

Put this on your needle. This is not a stitch; it’s just holding your yarn together. Choose one of the strands to be the tail, and the other to be the working yarn, and proceed as usual with the long tail cast on. (This is the same as the thumb cast on, if you prefer to work it that way.)

long tail cast on knit

When you’re finished working the cast on, cut the tail (not the working yarn), leaving 6 inches to weave in. (I didn’t actually cut this here, because I use this piece of yarn for lots of demonstrations.)

long tail cast on knit

Turn and work your first row as you normally do. (Notice that the purl bumps are facing you on this row, because you were essentially knitting stitches on when making the long tail cast on.)

long tail cast on knit

When you come to the double slip knot, undo it (because it’s not a stitch) and continue working.

long tail cast on knit

You’ll have two more ends to weave in, but you didn’t run out of tail when you were casting on! I find this especially helpful if I’m casting on hundreds of stitches. No one wants to run out of yarn while doing that!

On the Snowy Woods Cowl, I want the bumpy side of the cast on (the purl side) to be on the public side of my knitting, and it will be if I use long tail cast on. That’s why I’ve specified which cast on to use. If you prefer to use a different cast on that will leave the smooth (knit) side on the first row, you may wish to adjust your rows so that you still get the right number of garter ridges on your edging.

Are you knitting along with the Snowy Woods KAL? I hope this is helpful to you!

New Snowy Woods Cowl pattern and KAL

The Snowy Woods Cowl pattern is now available! Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” was the inspiration for this piece. It is knit with heavy worsted to Aran weight yarn, and can be made in several lengths.

snowy woods cowl

snowy woods short

The shortest version takes just one skein of yarn. The medium and long versions require two skeins.

Snowy Woods Cowl

Snowy Woods Cowl

My favorite is the long cowl, doubled. It feels especially luxurious around my neck.

Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit dyed her Aran weight Superwash Merino in a special colorway for me, Snowy Woods. We’re celebrating this pattern release with a knitalong and hope you’ll join us! The pattern is $2 off with the coupon code FROST. If you’d like to order yarn for the KAL from Knitted Wit, she’ll ship for free with code Shipnow. Both of these offers are good through September 1, 2014. Don’t wait too long, though; we’re casting on September 1!

snowy woods kal
KAL colors Tupelo Honey, Cedar, Snowy Woods, Oregon Sky.

You can purchase the pattern through Ravelry (click the link). Don’t forget to use your coupon code FROST for $2 off, whether or not you want to participate in the KAL.

New to cabling? I’m having a 2 session class at Twisted in Portland September 30 and October 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Here’s the link to my Ravelry group for the KAL. We’ll cast on September 1. I hope you’ll join us!

Oregon coast weekend, symmetry, and more

I went to the coast for a retreat this weekend. It rained torrentially, except for about an hour after dinner on Friday. I hadn’t been to the beach in Gearhart before, so I took a quick walk to see what there was to see…

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a gorgeous sunset

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Tillamook Head, to the south

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Interestingly textured seaweed

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And these very interesting things. They look like tubes of tapioca. I had never seen them before, so I put the picture up on Facebook and appealed to the power of the interwebs. The answer came back quickly, from the 9 year old daughter of a friend. (Concidentally, the very same kiddo who was the recipient of the Gryffindor sweater that needed a new home a few months ago.)

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They’re squid egg sacs. More info here, if you’d like. I love science…

We did a little cardboard loom weaving on retreat.

weaving

My piece says a lot about me. I like symmetry. I like a plan. I’m currently designing a knit piece, and symmetry plays a lot into what I find appealing. Is this the sign of a tidy mind? It’s not a sign of a tidy house!

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My friend’s piece was a lot more free-form than mine. That says a lot about her, too. The fact that there’s room for both in this group? That says a lot about the world!

There were 15 of us; the Lodge can house up to 26. If you’re looking for a group getaway spot on the Oregon Coast, I highly recommend The Lodge at Gearheart’s Little Beach. It overlooks an inlet, but beach access is a short walk down the road.

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Another week of the Aloha KAL done, and it’s time to pick the next winner. This week’s prize?

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These totally fun wine glass coasters. Very aloha! It’s not to late to join the KAL. I’m guessing it will run at least 2 more weeks. More info here.

How was your weekend? I frogged a design prototype, and figured out how to make it better. Symmetrically, of course…

Purling back backwards tutorial

Aloha edging

I’m working the knitted on border of my Aloha Shawlette for the Aloha knit-along. The border is 4 to 6 stitches wide, and it’s tedious to turn my work after every row. The solution? Purling back backwards. You can do it, too.

Edited to add: Some people call this knitting back backwards, or KBB. I’ve seen it referred to both ways. For me, what I think of as knitting back backwards would result in garter stitch. I’ve never done garter stitch with this non-turning technique, but it’s possible, too. I just haven’t needed it yet.

I’m almost done with the shawlette; this is a quick and easy knit! But it’s not to late to join the KAL. You can be part of the chat and prize drawings through my Ravelry group. I’ve just drawn the first prize winner; JBTCat will be getting these fishy stitch markers.

fish stitch markers

You can make stitch markers like these, too; check out my tutorial here.

There are a few more prizes in store, including yarn and a mystery fun thing. Come join the fun!

Doomsday Knits patterns available

The patterns from Doomsday Knits are now available individually! That means you can knit Thrumviator, solo.

Thrumviator 1

Thrumviator 2

Here’s the Ravelry link.

In other knit news, the Aloha KAL is progressing quite nicely. If you’re knitting along, be sure to post a picture in the progress pic thread by tomorrow (Sunday) night for a chance to win a prize in the first drawing. Progress can be as simple as the yarn you purchased, all the way through a finished object! I’ll pick a winner on Monday morning. The progress pic thread is here.

Aloha KAL 2

I’m through the second shellflower lei, which is the last one for the small version of this shawlette.

And this is incredibly late notice, but I’m teaching a class on the Sophie’s Rose Shawlette at For Yarn’s Sake this afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. There’s still room in the class, if you want to come by and walk through the construction of this piece.

sophie's rose detail

I’ll be knitting all weekend, and watching our Portland Trailblazers’ playoff game against the Houston Rockets. Yes, I’m a fair weather fan, and have no idea what’s going on. The last 5 minutes of last night’s game were pretty exciting, though. How about you? Big weekend plans?

Over the Cascades, again

Last Friday I headed over the Cascades again, but this time in Oregon. It was a music getaway weekend with friends, but before everyone arrived, I had a trunk show at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters.

Stitchin Post (photo by Sarah Peery)

We had a great time! It’s always fun to meet knitters in person, and see hand knits up close. The Stitchin’ Post is starting a KAL of my Garland shawl today, so I left a couple samples for the week.

On to music! My new guitar made her debut with my fellow Pie Birds, Claudia and Becky. We played and sang and laughed, a perfect weekend.

The kids dyed eggs while we played more music.

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And what does any good yarnie do with that leftover egg dye?

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Of course. I bought a skein of white yarn at the Stitchin’ Post. It’s Juniper Moon Farm Sabine, 30% Royal Llama, 30% Merino wool, and 40% cotton. I was hoping for all animal fiber, but this was luscious. I wound off yarn in approximately 25 yard hanks (around my arm, one uses the tools at hand!). We dip dyed it, squeezing out excess dye after each dip, and then microwaved the yarn for 2 minutes to set the color. A quick rinse after it cooled, and then dried overnight. I was going to wind it into balls after they dried, but decided to leave them as mini-skeins to preserve the color runs. Aren’t they sweet?

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On Sunday, Claudia and I walked along Whychus Creek. This creek has been restored, and was the subject of the Two Rivers, Three Sisters quilt exhibit that we saw in Portland last year. This panel was my favorite. (Just had to show you, because it took me a while to find this picture in my archives!)

Whychus quilt

Here it is in real life…

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Whychus Creek, near Sisters, Oregon

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On the way home, we stopped at Black Butte Ranch so I could get a proper picture of the mountains we saw while driving.

Mt. Washington Mt. Washington

image Three Sisters (Middle Sister is not visible from this viewpoint) and Belknap Crater in foreground

The sight of a snowcapped volcano always takes my breath away. Such beauty in this world, and we get to live in it. :sigh:

In knitting news, I’ve started my Aloha Shawlette for the KAL. It’s going pretty quickly!

aloha kal day 1

How was your weekend? And what are you knitting?

Road trip over the Cascades, part 1

Sorry for the radio silence last week; I took two road trips totalling about 850 miles. Both trips went to the other side of the Cascade Mountains, the sunnier, drier side, with a stopover at home in between.

The beginning of the week took me to Ellensburg in Central Washington. I went to help Vickie celebrate her birthday; we had a grand time. We caught a bit of the lunar eclipse on Monday, but it clouded over before totality, so no blood moon for us.

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On Tuesday we visited a wind farm. The wind was blowing at a constant 35 miles per hour, the perfect speed for generating electricity! These turbines transform that wind into power for 80,000 homes. I love how these look; they are stark and somehow mesmerizing.

Each blade is 129 feet long.

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I know wind farms are controversial in some places, but there’s a lot of wind and not many neighbors in this part of the state, so it seems to make sense to have this kind of renewable energy here.

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We hiked a trail at Cave B Resort. It’s above the Columbia River next to the Gorge Amphitheater. The views are spectacular. Keep going down the gorge, and you’ll make it to the river. We turned around here due to time limitations.

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I nearly stepped on a snake. Whoops!

We made a quick stop (it was really windy!) at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park above the Columbia River to check out the petroglyphs. These were relocated here to save them from the rising water after the Wanapum Dam was built four miles downstream.

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Sheep?

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The next morning we took a stroll on the banks of the Yakima River. The river takes a wide turn here.

We saw this truck remnant in the woods.

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I headed home Wednesday afternoon to get ready for the next trip on Friday. More on that in the next post. For now, it’s time to cast on for the Aloha Shawlette KAL! Are you knitting along with me? Come check out the chatter on Ravelry.

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!