Category Archives: KAL

Yarn and laughter hangover

Monday’s Garland KAL cast on party at Twisted? Fun!

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I made party favor stitch markers:

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And Sarah, maker of Bead Aids, made me these beautiful earrings. Aren’t they stunning? She is very talented!

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They go perfectly with my shawl to be. (Better than the picture below would suggest; the color is much richer in person)

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And yes, there was a giant cookie, as promised!

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There’s still 2/3 of the cookie left…it was huge.

Also, I had this message from Sherecie on the PDXKnitterati Ravelry forum last week. It made me laugh out loud.

…so, I’m a really bad knit-a-long-er.
I couldn’t wait to cast on & thought I would get started last weekend. It was among other WIPs, so I thought I would knit on it a little, here & there, until the official cast on date & then work on it exclusively…

pdxknitterati, I think you need to add a warning message on this pattern… something like “This thing is hugely addictive” and “Let your other projects know you’re starting this & tell them you won’t be back to them until it’s done.”

I’m finished.
It’s blocking outside.
I’m in love with it.
I’m sorry I didn’t knit-along with all of you, but I will be watching and squeeing at all the pictures as you go!!

I did tell her she could knit another one with us. What’s your summer knit?

Garland Shawl KAL cast on day

It’s cast on day for the Garland KAL. I’m meeting with local knitters this evening at Twisted, 5-7 p.m. I’ll bring some appetizers, party favors, and a giant cookie tray that I picked up yesterday.

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Gee, should I bring a pizza cutter for it? But it seemed appropriate for a summer KAL.

Here are a couple tips for Garland, just to get started. First of all, the special bind off. It’s really stretchy, and makes it possible to block the leafy edging to its full glory. You can use a regular bind off, but it’s much easier to pin out with the stretchy bind off described in the pattern. (If you’ve already cast on, you can change mid-project. No one will look close enough to see that they’re not the same.)

Second tip: I like to put a marker between stitches 13 and 14 on the edging. That way I don’t have to count to know where to start the next leaf after the bind off row. It starts right at the marker.

Remember, there’s Garland KAL chatter in the PDXKnitterati group on Ravelry, so pop over there and join the party!

It’s Rose Festival here in Portland, and the weather has been uncommonly nice. Usually it rains for Rose Festival, but it’s been spectacular here. Remember this rose planting with the Royal Rosarians in 2010?

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Here’s the rose today:

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It’s really happy in its space!

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And I snapped this picture in my back yard last night at dinner. I think it’s St. John’s Wort; there’s a ton of it growing under my bamboo.

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I didn’t even realize the tips of the stamens were pink until I looked at the picture. Sweet!

Is it summer for you yet?

Shortcake, and yarn

I’m still between projects, trying to decide if I’m going to start something before the Garland KAL cast on Monday. I want to have the right needles free when it’s time to start!

The yarn is definitely ready. There was a drive-by yarning here Wednesday.

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My Peacock and Janet’s Moody Blues. And the beads I bought at Shipwreck?

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They look to be a perfect match. I have way more than enough. There are about 150 beads per strand, and I have 6 strands. I don’t know if you can tell, but the beads are clear, with a peacock lining.

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There is still time to join the KAL; we don’t cast on until Monday. The coupon code for the discount on the Garland Shawl pattern is GarlandKAL. Join us! And if you’re local in Portland, join us at Twisted this Monday evening from 5-7 for a cast on party.

What else is occupying my thoughts?

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Strawberry shortcake. (Please excuse the lighting; it was late at night.) Local strawberries are just coming into season, but I haven’t had any yet. I’ve been making do with California berries. Let’s just say I’m practicing for the real thing. Here’s my current shortcake recipe. They’re like my scones, only more butter, and no egg. Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, especially when they’re still warm from the oven. They also reheat well in the toaster oven.

Strawberry Shortcake
serves 8

2 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar (or more, to taste)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or both

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and 3 T sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and then blend them into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Combine milk and vanilla and add to flour mixture; stir until just combined.

Using your hands, gently divide mixture into 8 equal size balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 – 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Cool on a rack, just a bit. To serve, split a warm shortcake in two, and serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or both.

What’s your favorite summer dessert?

Garland Shawl cast on options

I’m planning my cast on for the Garland KAL. My prototype shawl is very wide and shallow. I’d like to make my next one deeper, like test knitter Rachel’s, but also as wide as it can be with the amount of yarn I have. I was conservative with Rachel’s test knit to make sure the deeper shawl would be wide enough with about 400 yards of yarn, even though the Cashy Lite was 495 yards.

How do you know if you should make the wider, shallower shawl, or the narrower, deeper shawl? Part of it depends on how you like to wear your shawl.

If you have about 400 yards of yarn, your deeper shawl will probably be most comfortable worn centered on your back. The ends don’t provide a lot of overlap for wearing this like a scarf. Rachel’s shawl took 390 yards at 6 st/inch.

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If you use those 400 yards to make a shallower shawl, you’ll get more overlap at the ends.

If you have 450 yards or more, the shallower shawl will be super wide like my prototype. This one took 455 yards at 5 st/inch. (I’m planning to aim for 5.5 or 6 st/inch next time, for a slightly firmer fabric.)

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It’s luxuriously wrappable, but I don’t know that I’d wear it centered on my back. Maybe if I were taller…

I’m planning to split the difference this time and go deep *and* wide. How?

The pattern instructions tell you how many repeats wide to make your shawl, but you can easily customize this for the amount of yarn you have. This is because the shawl is knit from side to side. You start at the right end, increase towards the center back, and then decrease to the left end. With a little math, you can easily adjust the size of your shawl without fear of running out of yarn.

You’ll need a kitchen scale, one of my favorite knitting tools. Weigh your yarn before you begin. Half of this yarn will go to the increase section of your shawl, and half will go to the decrease section. Weigh your yarn after every 24 row repeat. (Weigh your yarn in grams, because it’s a more precise measure on the scale.) This will show you how much yarn each repeat takes. The amount increases gradually with each repeat, because you’re increasing the number of stitches with each repeat. You’ll need to figure in enough yarn for the center repeat, which has no increases or decreases, but the center repeat will weigh about as much as the repeat before and after it. When you are halfway through that center repeat, you need to have at least half your yarn left for the decreases! (You don’t really need to start weighing your yarn until the 7th repeat, but it doesn’t hurt to know the numbers.)

If you don’t want to do any figuring or customizing, go ahead and knit according to the pattern directions.

So, deep or shallow? What’s your Garland going to be? Beads? No beads? I’m going for beads! I like the bling, and the little bit of extra heft and drape they give the fabric.

I’m looking forward to getting my yarn, Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock. She’s dyeing today! Did you order yarn from Knitted Wit, or are you using your own? If you ordered from Lorajean, I’m tucking in a little goodie for you with your yarn.

KAL stitch markers

Looking forward to casting on, June 10!

Cast On Party June 10, and Bead Aid Winner

I am so looking forward to casting on for the Garland Shawl KAL. And I’m pleased to announce that we’re having a cast on party on June 10, from 5-7 p.m. (PDT) at Twisted in Portland. I’ll bring some wine and some munchies. Hope you can make it!

And if you’re not local, it’s a virtual cast on party, too. I’ll bring my iPad and see if we can use the chat function in the PDXKnitterati Ravelry group. I haven’t tried it yet, so it’s a whole new adventure.

Locals, let me know if you can make it. And everyone, please join us on Ravelry for ongoing conversation and let us know who you are, and what yarn you’re planning to cast on.

I’m using Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock. :swoon:

Don’t forget there’s a discount code for the KAL. If you don’t have a pattern yet, check the Garland pattern page for details. If you order just the pattern from me, there’s a $1 discount code through cast on day, June 10. If you order yarn through Knitted Wit by June 1, there’s a $2 discount code for the pattern. Only one more day to order from Knitted Wit! Due date is June 1, so she can get yarn dyed up for you in time for the June 10 cast on.

And! Drum roll please: The winner of the Bead Aids is Melinda, who said, “A BeadAid could make me enjoy the process which at the moment I don’t.” Melinda, I’m hoping this does the trick for you! It really helped me. Send me your snail mail addy and I’ll get it right out to you.

If you’re not Melinda, but you still want to try the Bead Aids, you can order them from Sarah, the maker, at her website. I know they’re also at Pearl Fiber Arts in Portland.

I’m not quite done with my Webfoot Shawl. But a blog post isn’t a blog post without a picture, so here’s one I found in my camera. I forgot to download it after my Orlando trip last month. I knew this view would be coming up, so I was at the ready with my camera!

Mount Hood

Mount Hood, on a slightly hazy day. Yes, I turned the camera on for 30 seconds, even though it was suppposed to be off. I’m such a rebel.

Back to my knitting!

From scarf to shawl: Filigree and Webfoot

I’ve been knitting, knitting, knitting. I re-figured the crescent shaping for Filigree so it can be a shawl in addition to the original scarf. It’s sweet.

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I had 22 grams (80 yards) of yarn left after this, and I wanted to see if I could tweak the design to use a little more of the yarn. There was enough to make it two repeats wider, but that same crescent shaping brought me perilously close to using the entire skein of yarn. I don’t want to be that close, because we all knit differently, and I don’t want you to run out of yarn just before finishing. Do-over! I ripped out the crescent shaping and changed the rate of decrease to make the curve just a little shallower. Both shawls are about the same depth at the center back. I finished with 18 grams (64 yards) of yarn left after this wider shawl. That’s the biggest I can get without making it shallower than I want.

ETA: Just cleaned out my knitting basket, and found a second bit of yarn left from the smaller shawl. It was really 32 grams (116 yards) of yarn leftover, which was why I wanted to make a larger version. I remembered it as being about 30 g left, but I didn’t see that extra bit when I went to weigh my leftovers to write this post. Carry on.

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The new Filigree pattern will have instructions for the scarf, the narrower shawl, and the wider shawl.

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Now I’m knitting a shawl version of Webfoot. I’m knitting the wider shawl for this pattern. Since the narrow and wide shawls are about the same depth and take close to the same amount of yarn, you may as well make it wider for better wrapping around yourself! But here’s my question: If you were purchasing the pattern, would you want the instructions for both shawls, even if there were no picture for the smaller shawl, in case you have a more limited amount of yarn? I really don’t want to knit a smaller one, but I’ll already have the numbers for it since it’s the same shaping as Filigree. Is it better to have more options, even when they’re not pictured?

I should be finished with both patterns next week. A few more photographs, and the patterns will be ready to roll. Remember, if you’ve purchased the previous Webfoot and Filigree Scarves pattern, you’ll receive both the Webfoot and Filigree shawl/scarf patterns as updates when I re-publish these as separate patterns.

And then we’re on to the cast on for the Garland KAL on June 10! How many of you KAL participants are local? Maybe we could have a knit together moment…

Don’t forget to leave a comment on this previous post if you want a chance to win a set of Bead Aids.

Just knitting over this holiday weekend. It’s rainy and cool. How about you?

Planning a KAL; knit Garland with me!

Thanks for the warm welcome for my new Garland Shawl pattern! It was even on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list on launch day. I happened on it late that night, so who knows how high it went? It was a special thrill to see this!

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I’m really looking forward to hosting the Garland Shawl KAL. I’ve picked my yarn color. I thought I’d be knitting a narrower version of Garland in the same Spring Green as my wide version, but I changed my mind and will be knitting with Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock, another lovely green with blue undertones.

I’ve shopped for beads. There was an impromptu trip to Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA (quite the mothership of beads) last week. I was hoping for size 6/0 or 8/0 Delica beads (they’re little tubes), but they only had size 11, which are too tiny for this project. I bought 6/0 Czech seed beads instead. I’m hoping one of these two colors work. And I bought a few other things, too…

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I’ll be using my Bead Aid to place beads in my Garland. I like this method so much better than the crochet hook method because I don’t accidentally split my yarn while pulling it through the bead. Here’s a chance for a lucky someone to try Bead Aid: Sarah gave me a set of two to give away on the blog. If you’d like a chance to win them, tell me in the comment section. I’ll pick a random winner on May 31. If you don’t win, there’s still time to order some from her; we’re casting on June 10. You don’t have to be part of the KAL to enter, but I’d love it if you’d knit along with me!

I’m planning a blog post on how to get the most mileage out of the yarn yardage you have. And I’m hoping you’ll join my PDXKnitterati Ravelry group; it will be easier to have back and forth discussion over there rather than on the blog. We’ve already got the ball rolling over there. Come join the fun! Not a Raveler? I’ll still answer questions here, too, but it feels like a party on Ravelry.

If you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit, you should know that orders are due by June 1. We’ll ship on June 5 for a June 10 cast on. I’m planning to make some stitch markers to send out with those orders, just for fun.

Not sure about knitting shawlettes? Mary Mooney gives you seven good reasons to knit one. Hey, we’re a trend!

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win the Bead Aids. Or comment on anything else you want to discuss. Knit on!

Garland Shawl and Knit Along

Presenting my newest design, the Garland Shawl!

Garland is a crescent shaped shawl, knit from side to side. The lacy border is knit at the same time as the garter stitch body, which increases from one end to the center and then decreases to the other end. Optional beading along the leaves’ center veins adds sparkle and weight for drape. This shawl can be knit as a wide, shallow crescent, or a deeper, more traditionally shaped crescent. Knitter’s choice!

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The wider shawl is like a big hug. This one is knit in Spring Green, a special order color for the upcoming KAL.

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The narrower shawl sits comfortably on the shoulders when centered, and looks good at a jaunty angle, too. This one is knit in Golden Delicious, and was test knit by Rachel Nichols. Thank you, Rachel!

The shawls are knit with fingering weight yarn. I used Knitted Wit‘s Cashy Lite, a wonderfully squishy blend of 80% merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon, 495 yards/115g/4 oz. Charts and line by line instructions for the lace edging are included.

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To celebrate Garland’s release, Lorajean (Knitted Wit) and I are having a knitalong. Place yarn orders with Knitted Wit by June 1st; orders will ship June 5th in time for the June 10th cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards, and a coupon code for $2 off the pattern on Ravelry. Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/knittedwit/sets/72157633152678746/ to see all the yarn colors available, write in the color name when checking out. If you want the same color I used for the wider shawl, ask for Spring Green. It’s not in the flickr set; it’s special for this project because I love it so much, I’ve convinced LJ that we should do it. It’s a great color, fresh and lively, and not too neon or acid. Think happy new growth green!

If you’d like to participate in the KAL with your own yarn, use the code GarlandKAL and you’ll receive $1 off your pattern purchase, now through June 10, 2013. Note: In order to use a coupon code, you need to go directly to the Garland Shawl pattern page on Ravelry to make your purchase.

Let’s knit! Leave a comment and let me know you’re in!

I’m Blocking in Sunshine, oh oh

Apologies to Katrina and the Waves. But that’s the song that popped into my head as I was blocking test knitter Rachel’s shawl this morning. Another gorgeous day here.

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Rachel’s is the Green Apple version lower in the picture. My original wider shallower prototype in Spring Green is above it.

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I met with Rachel at Pearl Fiber Arts last night for the pickup. Cindy, PFA’s owner, loves the extra length on the shallow version, but she’s a lot taller than I am! Photography is set for Monday. I was hoping to do both Garland and Filigree, but see where I am in my Filigree knitting?

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Frogged the whole thing and started over. I forgot one of my self-imposed rules for crescent shawls: I always want an odd number of repeats, so one motif will be at the center back. As I began working the crescent, I noticed that the center was *between* motifs. D’oh! Do you think I can be done and blocked by Monday afternoon? Knit like the wind!

I’m enjoying these Signature circular needles. The tips are nice and pointy, which is great for lace. The stitches flow smoothly over the join between cable and needle. I usually knit with wood, which is a bit more grippy, so I’m concentrating on not losing my stitches off these slick metal needles. The cable is more flexible than I’m used to; I may have to give magic loop one more try. All in all, it’s been an enjoyable experience, and I get to do it all over again on my frogged shawl. Good thing I’m having fun. The needles were a gift from Sarah when she was here in town. Sarah is one of the fastest, most prolific knitters I know. She’s very talented. I was floored by the gift, but I’m not giving them back!

What are your favorite needles?

Coming soon: Garland Shawl and KAL

Spring has arrived in PDX. The trees have gone through their pink and white blossomed glory, and are settling nicely into green. My knitting has, too.

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This is a sneak peek at Garland, my upcoming design. I was inspired by my awakening garden, and by Sivia Harding’s Sideways Lace Shawl Design class in March. Put the two together, and the result is a leafy lace border on a sideways crescent shawl. Optional beads along the leafy ribs add a bit of bling.

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I am so happy that I finally found the perfect use for this gorgeous skein of Cashy Lite from Knitted Wit. It had been through two previous design starts. The first was nearly done when I saw a nearly identical shawl at my LYS. The second will require two skeins, and I only had one of this very special color from Lorajean’s first CSY in 2011. Third time’s a charm! And the yarn has held up like a champ, even after two froggings.

The pattern is written and is going through a final test knit. I’m hoping to publish it next week after photographs. And best of all, Lorajean and I are planning a June KAL. I’ll have a discount coupon code for participants, and an extra special coupon code if you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit. More on that next week, when the pattern goes live.

Place orders by June 1st, orders will ship June 15th in time for the June 21st cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards. Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/knittedwit/sets/72157633152678746/ to see all the yarn colors available, write in the color name when checking out. If you want the same color as mine, ask for Spring Green. It’s not in the flickr set; it’s special for this project because I love it so much, I’ve convinced LJ that we should do it. It’s a great color, fresh and lively, and not too neon or acid. Think happy new growth green!

I love the added sparkle that beads give to this design. They remind me of dewdrops on morning leaves. I started by using the crochet hook beading method that I learned from Sivia way back at the first Sock Summit. It’s pretty efficient, but I tend to split my yarn with the tiny crochet hook while pulling it through the bead about 20% of the time. My knit nite buddy Sarah sent over some of her new Bead Aids to try out. I am a convert! I have not split my yarn at all since moving to this new method. It’s a great tool, and I highly recommend it.

I’m looking forward to publishing the pattern next week. Do you want to knit along? Have you ever added beads to your knitting?