Category Archives: Knit

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?

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!

Happy birthday to me pattern sale

It’s the anniversary of my 29th birthday. Again! To celebrate, I’m having a pattern sale. 29% off all patterns that are available from ME in my Ravelry pattern store. Because today, it’s all about me. Heck, it’s all about me, all weekend! This sale is good through Sunday, September 7, Pacific Daylight Time. Use the coupon code BIRTHDAY to get your discount.

The only pattern you don’t want to use this code for is the ZigZag Lightning Cowls; they are still celebrating their launch with the code ZIGZAG through September 9, which gets you a slightly bigger discount.

ZigZag Lightning Cowls

What else is going on? It’s the first week of our Snowy Woods KAL.

snowy woods knitalong

It’s such an addictive knit that yarndiva1 is already binding off. Binding off the longest version! I’m not that far yet; here’s a progress picture from Wednesday. I was downtown, and found a very cooperative model.

snowy woods cowl

snowy woods cowl, on otter

It’s not too late to join the Snowy Woods KAL. We are having fun discussing this in my Ravelry group. Come on over!

Malabrigo Quickie: ZigZag Lightning Cowl

Fall is in the air, at least here in Portland. It’s time to start thinking of ways to keep warm!

ZigZag Lightning CowlShort ZigZag Lightning Cowl

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong ZigZag Lightning Cowl

These are my new ZigZag Lightning Cowls. Knit with Malabrigo Merino Worsted, they’re featured this month as a Malabrigo Quickie pattern.

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong cowl, doubled

Either of these cowls can be knit with two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in coordinating colors. I love the colors in Malabrigo’s variegated yarns, and pairing a variegated with a semi-solid is my favorite way to make them both shine. I’ve used a slip stitch pattern, so you are only working one color per row. A simple cable maneuver creates the zigzag effect.

ZigZag Lightning Cowls

Are you new to cabling? I’ve made a video tutorial for you! It shows how to make the zigzag lightning cables both with and without a cable needle. You can see it here.

The ZigZag Lightning Cowl begins with a long tail cast on. Do you avoid this cast on for fear of running out of yarn? Fear no more, because there’s a way to ensure you never run out of yarn for this cast on; I wrote about it in my previous post.

This pattern is available through Ravelry; here’s the page link. To celebrate its launch, I”m offering it for $2 off through September 9. Use the code ZIGZAG to get your discount.

Thanks to Malabrigo for the pretty yarn to play with!

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!