Category Archives: Knit

Fall favorites

mookie
Knitting with my assistant

raking
Raking leaves

catnap pdxknitterati
Catnaps

morse code cowl pdxknitterati
More knitting!

Fall is my favorite time of year.

Don’t forget, the Indie Design Gift-A-Long pattern sale ends tomorrow at midnight, Eastern Standard Time! Now’s the time to stock up on patterns for gift and selfish knitting. Use the code giftalong2014 for 25% off the specially featured patterns of nearly 300 independent designers on Ravelry. The details are at the Indie Design GAL group. There are already more than 200 posts in the FO picture thread! There are some great prizes being awarded, and a lot more to come.

giftalong 2014 pdxknitterati

My featured patterns for the GAL are here. From what I’m seeing, there should be a lot more Snowy Woods Cowls and Thrumbelina slippers making their way into the world. I’m looking forward to seeing them in the project pages.

Yay! For Yarn

One of the nice things about the Indie Design Gift-A-Long is the chance to get to know about other indie designers. I interviewed Kiri FitzGerald-Hillier, a designer from Brisbane, Australia. She’s the owner of Yay! for Yarn, an online yarn shop. We chatted via Ravelry message.

Kiri

What made you decide to start designing your own knitwear? How long have you been designing?
I have a small online yarn shop, through this I was given the opportunity to design for a small Australian knitting magazine, I came up with a few small, simple items and enjoyed the processes of coming up with my own ideas and seeing them in print! My Lorna Shawl was one of these designs and after a request from a few people on Rav and with permission from the publisher, I self-published this design on Rav. It was exciting to see completed projects and to have people purchase the pattern. Another Australian Craft magazine requested that I do some designs for them and from there I’ve just grown. It was probably the beginning of last year, after having some designs selected for Yarn magazine, that I started considering myself a ‘designer’, though I would still say I’m at the beginning with a LOT to learn!

Zaggin

I love your Zaggin’ Shawl. The short row construction is very eye-catching! How did you come to design it?
Thank you, this is one of my favorites as well, I can’t wait until next winter when I can actually wear it!
I love using short rows and the effects and different fabrics which can be created simply by changing knitting direction in different places. I had some left-over yarn from a cardigan I designed and I just started playing with a zig-zag pattern, after a few different trials (and a bit of frogging and re-starting), this design was created. I still haven’t finished the first prototype in the left over yarn, I got to a point where I couldn’t bear frogging it again, so restarted in a new yarn when I had the final pattern worked out.

Who taught you to knit? Do you come from a family of knitters, or are you a solo knitter?
My Mum found a second hand learn to knit pack of cards when I was little (it was a teaching resource from the UK from the 70’s I think), I think I was in my early teens when I taught myself from these. My Mum can knit she probably helped me a bit (she made me an amazing cabled jumper from handspun when I was 14 which I wore to death! and another cardi which I’m ashamed to say I refused to wear but these are the only two things I remember her knitting). I made a couple of things in my teens. I picked the needles up again when I was in my mid twenties and studying for a Visual Arts degree at uni, we had an assignment in sculpture class where we had to combine craft and art, I covered and knitted a dinner setting in brown acrylic yarn. About a year after that I discover a knitting magazine in a local newsagency, it was that that got me completely hooked. I think this magazine made me realise that there was a world of knitting – if there was a magazine then it meant others were doing it!

Do you do any other fiber-related crafting? Crochet? Spinning?

Just knitting. I’ve tried to learn crochet but so far have only mastered the granny square.

I see that your Etsy store is Kiri Moana Designs. Where does the name come from? (Is Moana your middle name?)
Moana (pronounce mow-an-uh) is my middle name, it’s a Maori name from New Zealand and means the sea, Kiri is also a Maori name. I was born in Australia but my Dad is from NZ. When I was born my parents still hadn’t come to an agreement on a name for me, Dad announced “her name is Kiri Moana”, Mum said, “Fine….SOMEONE bring me a cup of tea!” In NZ they’re pretty common names but in Australia they are quite unusual so I get lots of comments when introduced to people.

Bloom

What is your favorite item to design?
Cardigans and shawls/scarves. I love the completion of something like a cardigan pattern, so much work goes into them that it’s such a sense of achievement when the pattern is finally complete. I don’t have many yet available on Rav but I have a couple coming out in the next two issues of Yarn magazine and have a few more in the works. I’ve always like maths and love that I’ve found something where I can combine my creative side with my love on numbers!
I love playing with manipulating fabric in shawl designs, I find shawls are a great place to play with ‘what-if’. I have a chunky scarf design in testing at the moment, one of my regular testers made the comment “Great!! Another adventure coming up, I can tell!” which I love! I find with shawls I start out with a plan, get bored with the repetition of the plan and suddenly I’m going off in a different direction, pattern or colour. I have a few more designs still in the planning stages which I can’t wait to see where they end up. I’ve really only just started seriously designing so I feel my best work is still to come.

What is your favorite knitting technique? (Cables, lace, colorwork, other)
I’ve always loved cables but only have one pattern out the uses them – I think I’ve decided that my next design idea will have cables! Actually I love lace and colourwork as well ;) I really love the possibilities of short rows and they just keep showing up in my designs. Really anything that creates an interesting fabric, that said I’m happy knitting stocking and garter stitch as well…. Just give me some yarn and a pair of needles and I’m a happy little knitter! Hmm… I think the only thing I’ve come across that I’m not so keen on is picot edges – I love the look but get bored knitting them. And steeks are something I’ll probably never try, I don’t trust my sewing skills enough to believe that it will hold the fibres and stop them from fraying.

Do you have a favorite yarn/fiber?
I love love love anything from Dream in Color, the colours they create are beautiful! I do prefer natural fibres and prefer wool and wool blends and cottons.

Are you knitting anything in the Indie GAL?
Summer Girl – knitted headband by Monika Sirna accidentally fell into my cart earlier this week. We’re at the end of a very hot spring and the start of what promises to be a very very hot and humid summer in Brisbane, that said I still like to make something for my children’s birthdays. My son’s is next week and I’ve made him an orange hat – Paper Planes by Amy van de Larr (at his request), I saw this headband and decided it would be perfect for my daughter, her birthday is just before Christmas, she loves playing fairies and princesses so I thought this would be a great dress-up.

Thanks, Kiri!

You can check out Kiri’s designs on Ravelry here, and her blog, Yay For Yarn, here.

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long pattern sale goes through midnight Eastern Standard Time, November 21. And the fun and games and knit and crochet alongs continue through the end of December. Check the Ravelry group for more information!

Indie Design Gift-A-Long

It’s been quiet on the blog, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been knitting and planning. I have several prototype projects in progress, a couple design proposals out, and I’ve set up some fun in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long.

giftalong 2014 pdxknitterati

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion through Ravelry to help you kick-start your holiday gift-making! It begins with a pattern sale, and then the fun and games begin on Ravelry, with KAL/CAL activity and prizes. You don’t have to belong to Ravelry to buy patterns, but you do have to join if you want to participate in the KAL/CAL games and prizes.

The pattern sale runs from Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm US EST. The KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 13 at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Wednesday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

Here’s a link to my featured patterns for this event. The discount is 25%; use the code giftalong2014 at checkout.

Ready, set, KNIT! (or crochet…)

Are you knitting gifts for the holidays?

Potpourri post, Autumn Scarf pattern sale

A little of this, and a little of that.

autumn scarf

My Autumn Scarf is now available from me through Ravelry downloads, as well as from Knit Picks. I’m pleased to have it available both ways, especially if you’re a knitter that likes to keep your pattern pdfs in your Ravelry library. And! From now through November 15, the Ravelry download is $1 off if you use the coupon code AUTUMN at checkout. That means it’s $3.99 instead of $4.99. I wore this pumpkin colored scarf yesterday with my basic black everything else, and felt perfectly ready for Halloween!

pdxknitterati thrumbelina

A few weeks ago, the owner of Knitters Dream in Pennsylvania featured my Thrumbelina slipper pattern at her grand re-opening of her shop. She used her angora roving, which is a 50% angora rabbit/ 50% merino roving. Doesn’t that sound like a heavenly combination? And they turned out so nicely, too!

pdxknitterati kerfuffle cowl

I taught intro to stranded colorwork at Stash in Corvallis on Saturday. We had a lot of fun, and all students are well on their way to a beautiful cowl.

The class and program list for the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma was posted yesterday. I’m planning to go again this year; how about you? Mark your calendar for November 18, which is when registration goes live!

And here’s one more retreat that is calling my name. It’s new this year, the History Unwound Retreat in Colonial Williamsburg, VA. History plus textiles? Right up my alley. Could I possibly make it to both of these retreats?

Color work, two ways

I’m teaching two classes at Stash in Corvallis on Saturday. One is an introduction to stranded color knitting, and the other is slip stitch cowl design. Both techniques let you play with color, but in very different ways.

swish

Stranded color knitting involves carrying two (or more) colors across the row/round with you. We’ll talk about how to manage your yarns without a tangled mess, among other things. How do *you* manage your yarns? One in each hand? Drop and pick up the working yarn as you go? Two on the left? Two on the right? It’s a little different for everyone, so I’m curious what works for you.

I’m a thrower; I carry my yarn in my right hand. I took a colorwork class with Anna Zilboorg at Stitches way back in the 90’s. In preparation, I taught myself to knit continental style (hold yarn in left hand, pick with right needle) so I could carry one color in each hand. I was pretty pleased with myself, although it was a bit awkward. When I got to class, Anna showed me how to carry both colors in my right hand, which was a lot easier for me. That’s what I do now. Here’s a video tutorial, if you’re interested.

pdxknitterati knitting

Slip stitch knitting means you get to play with color, but you only work with one color per row/round. This can be a little more relaxing for the novice color knitter, and it’s very pretty. We’ll be swatching some of these patterns, and then designing our own slip stitch cowls. Here’s the one I’m knitting now:

pdxknitterati slip stitch cowl

Have you tried both kinds of color work? Do you have a preference? And please do tell me how you like to manage your yarns for stranded colorwork.

I think there’s still some room in class on Saturday, if you want to come play hands on!

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.

bumble bee logo

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.

astoria

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

imageafter blocking

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?

New classes for fall

I’m teaching several new classes this fall. I’m most excited about this one, because it has the most possibilities: Slip Stitch Cowl Design. It’s an intro to slip stitch knitting, and we explore this fabulous colorwork technique that uses only one color per row/round.

pdxknitterati knitting

Using only one color per row/round makes it really easy to manage your yarn. We also explore how light and dark colors interact with each other, and why. After the introduction to slip stich techniques, we figure out how to apply this to a simple cowl. A tiny bit of math, and you’re the designer of your own cowl! My ZigZag Lightning Cowls are based on this slip stitch technique. Remember, it’s only one color per row/round!

ZigZag Lightning Cowls

This class is being offered at the first ever Astoria StitchFest on Sunday, October 12, and at Stash in Corvallis on Saturday October 25.

beanstalk scarf and mitts

I’m also teaching an introduction to lace class using my Beanstalk Scarf. It covers basic lace stitches, and working with written instructions and charts. It also includes a fabulous knit-in i-cord edging. This class is offered at Twisted in Portland on Tuesday October 14 and at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton on Sunday November 2.

snowy woods cowl

My third new class is an intro to cables class, using my Snowy Woods Cowl pattern. This class covers cabling with and without a cable needle, twisted stitches, and using charts and/or written instructions. It also features the two-ended long tail cast on, which prevents you from running out of tail before you run out of cast on. This 2 session class is offered at Twisted on Sundays November 16 and 23.

I love teaching knitters new techniques, and how to be the boss of their knitting. Come join me and rule the world!

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:

booth

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…)

New pattern: quick knit Big Leaf Scarf

Knitted Wit has a new super bulky yarn, and she asked me to design something fun with it. She gave me some blue yarn, but I saw the color she was knitting, and I coveted it right off her needles!

Big Leaf Scarf

This is the Big Leaf Scarf. It’s a series of leaves, knit end to end. I knit mine on size US 17 needles. Big leaves, big fun! This color is called Sea Glass. The yarn is Knitted Wit Cotton Candy, 100% merino wool, 250g/140 yards/skein.

Big Leaf Scarf detail

It only took two days to make this scarf. I think it would be great for quick and easy holiday gifting.

Big Leaf Scarf

The pattern is available for $6 USD through Ravelry. Use the coupon code BIGFUN for $2 off through September 24.

What else is going on? I had a great weekend with friends at the coast, helping celebrate a birthday. On Friday we kayaked down the Nestucca River to the ocean (but not too close; no ocean kayaking for us!) and back.

kayak

The weather was gorgeous all weekend. (This is the other Haystack Rock, at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City.)

Haystack Rock Cape Kiwanda

Haystack Rock Sunset Cape Kiwanda

I even did some knitting on my Snowy Woods KAL!

snowy woods kal

We just had the second weekly prize drawing for the KAL. Here’s this week’s prize: A notebook with part of “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” printed on the cover.

snowy woods notebook

There’s still time to join the KAL. One more weekly prize drawing, and then we’ll have a grand prize drawing for the finishers!

How was your weekend? Did you knit?