Category Archives: Knit

Madrona class review

I took a short trip to Tacoma to visit the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I could only stay for one night, so I packed in all the fun!

I had two classes. My favorite was Designing with Lace Decreases with Evelyn Clark. The very first lace shawl I ever knit was her Shetland Triangle, so I was very pleased to be in this class. Where do the decreases belong, in relation to the yarn overs? Which decrease should you use? Well, it depends on what effect you want.

lace sampler

So much information packed into this little swatch. Notice that it does not mirror from left to right; we had lots of effects to sample! Do you want your decreases to outline your YO? Or a softer edge? Do you want your fabric to bias? (Separate your YO from your decrease.) If that biasing bothers you, consider a project in the round, which will balance out the biasing (as opposed to straight edges that won’t stay straight).

Evelyn had lots of samples to look at, and to explain. One thing she mentioned: Scallops are always stronger at the cast on edge than at the bind off edge. I’d noticed this when I designed my Rockaway Hat/Cowl, and it didn’t matter so much in that instance, but it was nice to know it wasn’t just me. (I could have swatched, but I just knit it up and said, “Oh, hey.”) But if you want to reinforce the scalloping at the bind off edge, you might try adding beads for weight there. Or forego scallops completely, and end with something else. Also, scallops are going to be offset by half a repeat (they won’t look the same at each end of your knitting) because the peak and trough of each wave is offset.

We were given the option of charting out a picture, just for fun. We talked about flipping lace motifs to knit them upside down (for top down knitting). I tried it with my leaf motif that I used in Garland. I showed it to her at the end of class, and she said that some motifs won’t work upside down, and she thought that my leaf might be one. I tried to knit it that night, but I fell asleep, so didn’t finish the flipped one.

leaf lace

But in my email the next morning, I found one from Evelyn, saying that she had thought about it, and knit it, and it really didn’t work. She sent me a picture, and it looks like an arrow! You can’t see the decrease lines at all (bottom of swatch, top chart).

inverted leaf evelyn clark

That, my friends, is a fabulous teacher. I had to figure out if there’s another way to make it work. It is completely different; I just wanted to know if I could. And that’s the mark of a great class, for it to be so thought provoking that you just have to figure it out.

inverted leaf lace knit

I had to use m1 increases and double decreases to get the lines to show up.

leaf lace flipped

It’s not pretty, but I just had to see if it could be done! Evelyn called this playing with lace “nerd knitting” and I am completely nerding out here. But it was fun.

This post is way longer than I anticipated…more in the next one.

Right tools for the job

I’ve been working slowly on my XOXOKAL Fern Shawlette, and I finally realized that I don’t like this yarn/needle combo. The yarn is Louet Gems Fingering, and the needles are Signature circulars. The needles are just a little too slick for this particular yarn. I’m switching back to my Lantern Moon ebony circulars, which is most likely what I used when swatching with this yarn before submitting it to Knit Picks for their Under 100 collection.

kntting needle swap(Slightly grainy pic under incandescent light, sorry.)

Ahhhh. Better. The ebony needles are a little grabbier than the metal, so I no longer feel like my stitches are slip sliding away. I normally love my Signature needles for lace shawls, but not with this yarn! One size does not fit all. I love my ebony needles, too, but not on a project with multiple YO’s that have to scoot from cable to needle. The Signatures were a better choice for those (Aloha Shawlette, Sophie’s Rose). And for the Criss Cross Hats, I’ve been using Hiya Hiya stainless steel circulars, either regular point or the sharps. I like them both, but probably like the sharps a little more. It’s a good thing to have a lot of needles to choose from! I bought several more needles because I’ve been leaving them in my projects as samples for some of my classes.

Do you have a favorite needle?

XOXOKAL

I’ve cast on for the February Hugs and Kisses KAL, now tagged XOXOKAL on Ravelry.

pdxknitterati fern shawlette

Four pattern repeats done on my Fern Shawlette. The beads are very subtle here, but they do show up better in real life.

pdxknitterati louet gems

The yarn is Louet Gems Fingering in Willow, 100g, and Miyuki Delica beads (tubes rather than seed beads) in Celery.

It’s a pleasure becoming reacquainted with this pattern of mine. It’s not difficult, but it does require paying a little attention, and also pausing to add two beads on most right side rows.

pdxknitterati bead tin

I’m using my trusty Bead Aid to add beads to my knitting, and managing my beads with my bead tin. Do you bead your knits? One of the KAL prizes for the weekly drawings is a set of Bead Aids. I know someone will love theirs as much as I love mine!

There’s still time to join the KAL; we’ve only just started casting on. And the Criss Cross patterns are still on sale for 20% off with coupon code WEAVE, through February 10.

February 2015 KAL

KAL details here.

For a little more fun, I’m giving away 2 patterns from this collection here and on Instagram. To enter, leave a comment and let me know which is your favorite! If you already own your favorite, let me know that and your hoped for pattern. On Sunday, February 8, I’ll draw a name from here, and a name from Instagram. (Do you Instagram? I’m PDXKnitterati over there, too.) You can find names of these patterns in this post.

When I’m not working on my Fern Shawlette, I’m being lured by the siren song of a new to me yarn.

malabrigo rastita solis

This is Malabrigo Rastita, a DK weight slightly felted single ply yarn. I am enchanted by it. This color is Solis, a mix of greens and blues. Not quite as blue as this picture would lead you to believe, and knitting at night it looks only green, but by daylight it is gloriously both.

I can’t show you what I’m making with it yet, but I have already knit through one 100g hank, and I’m not bored with it at all.

OK, comment time. Let me know your favorite pattern from the XOXOKAL set! And anything else you want to comment on.

Hugs and Kisses KAL: Casting on soon!

It’s official: Debbie4 named the February KAL on Ravelry: Hugs and Kisses KAL (the shawls/cowl/hat hug your shoulders/neck/head, and the Criss Cross patterns have “kisses” (x’s)

February 2015 KAL

It includes all seven of my patterns released in January 2015, and also the Hugs and Kisses OXO Fingerless Mitts, just because the name fits. Ravelry links below:

Criss Cross Beret

Thrumviator
Criss Cross Hat
Criss Cross Mitts
Hugs and Kisses OXO Cable Fingerless Mitts (not new, but the name fits!)
Fern Lace Shawlette
Sophie’s Rose
Reversi Cowl

Edited to add: Win one of these patterns! Details in next post.

Don’t forget, the discount code for all Criss Cross patterns is WEAVE, good through February 10. And the code for Reversi is DOTDASH, good through January 31.

We’ll cast on February 1. Choose your knit, and join the KAL in this thread in my Ravelry group. I hope you can join us. We’ll have chat and weekly prize drawings. It’s a pretty small group so far, which makes your chances of winning a prize HUGE. Knit on!

New Criss Cross Accessories patterns

Done! The Criss Cross Accessories Collection is now available on Ravelry. I’m really pleased with this collection.

pdxknitterati criss cross hathat

pdxknitterati criss cross beretberet

pdxknitterati criss cross mittsmitts

The patterns are available either singly or as a set of three. To celebrate the launch of this set, use the coupon code WEAVE at checkout through February 10 for 20% off either a single pattern:

hat

beret

mitts

or the e-book. These patterns are also eligible for my February KAL. Come over to the Ravelry group to join the fun! Link to KAL thread here.

Coming soon: Criss Cross Hat, Beret, Mitts

I fell in love with a stitch pattern back in November, and I’ve had a great time playing with it. It’s my adaptation of a stitch pattern I saw in a Japanese stitch dictionary.

pdxknitterati criss cross stitch

It’s kind of like a cable, except the stitches go through each other, instead of in front or behind each other.

pdxknitterati criss cross hat

The first thing I did was try it on a beanie hat in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Indigo; I was teaching a circular hat class at Twisted and wanted to mix things up for myself. A little extra thinking on how I wanted to place my crown decreases, and it was done. Cute! But this style hat doesn’t look great on me, and I really wanted a hat for me.

pdxknitterati criss cross beret

Next up: the slouchy beret. It’s a thing, you know. This is Malabrigo Rios in Azules. Even more thinking about how to arrange crown decreases (I think you’ll really like it), and I love it. It looks good on Bobbi, my model, and it looks cute on me, too!

pdxkitterati criss cross beret

But what happens if you need a bigger one? If you have a big head? So I knit another one in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Black Forest, with more stitches. Looks great, but you know what? In wet blocking, the bottom band of the beret gets super stretchy, so you don’t really need more stitches to get a beret that fits a larger head. The diameter of the beret is a tad bigger, but not anything to write home about. If you want a little extra slouch, knit the large size, but the circumference of the band is hugely malleable. I put some elastic in the band on both the smaller and larger versions, and both fit my largish head just fine.

pdxknitterati criss cross beret

And then I knit one in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Moss to check my numbers, while I was on vacation. It still needs blocking.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

Unless a hat is super special (like Thrumviator, or Pippi), I like to have matching mitts to justify the pattern. Here’s the first version of the mitts in Indigo, like the beanie. I used a peasant thumb, because I didn’t want to mess with the criss cross stitch pattern. It worked great.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts and beret

Since I made the blue beret for me, I wanted matching mitts. Done. And check out those lovely crown decreases.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

I made a green set for my friend Carole for Christmas, because she loved the yarn color (Moss). I knit them with a larger needle, because the original mitts were a bit snug on her. The pattern repeat is large enough that you can’t easily change the number of stitches to adjust sizing. But when she put one of the mitts on upside down, I decided it was time to rethink the peasant thumb (which also looked a little sloppy at larger gauge).

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

I made this set in Malabrigo Rios, as a Christmas gift for my niece. (The blue Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere that I originally gave her with a promise of mitts was too heavy for this pattern, and also excess dye was crocking all over my hands and needles. Not happy with that one. Couldn’t find Azules in Rios again, so I opted for Solis, which is green. She can have her choice of these, or the Indigo pair. Her mom (my sister) is hoping she chooses Indigo, so she can have the green for herself. Go Ducks!) I used my favorite increased thumb gusset. Careful planning meant it didn’t interrupt the stitch pattern at all. Fits like a dream. The cuffs are a little longer than necessary, though.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

One more time! I knit the mitts once more in Moss, with a thumb gusset, and adjusted the overall length which required adjusting the stitch pattern. Perfect. I do all this messing around, so you don’t have to!

Patterns are all with my tech editor right now. I’m going to set them up as individual patterns, but you’ll be able to purchase them either individually, or as a set of two or three patterns, with discounts for sets. Coming soon! And the Criss Cross accessories will be eligible for February’s KAL, too.

Have you ever fallen in love with a technique or stitch pattern, and had to play it out to the nth degree? That happened to me with entrelac, and with my favorite leaf motif (Big Leaf Scarf, Garland, Autumn Scarf, a couple other projects in the works or hibernating.) I think I’ve finally played out this stitch pattern for me; that was a lot of knitting! Now it’s time to cast on something new…

Malabrigo Reversi Cowl

Mmmmmm, Malabrigo. This sumptuously squishy cowl is knit in the round with two coordinating colors of Malabrigo Worsted, a lovely single ply merino yarn. Cleverly slipped stitches look like Morse code, but it’s not saying anything except, “Wear me!” Only one color is worked per round. Reversing colors halfway through gives you two looks with one quick flip. You can easily adjust the length and height of this cowl to suit your fancy.

pdxknitterati reversi cowl

This pattern is available for $6 USD via download through Ravelry, Reversi Cowl link here. To celebrate the launch of this pattern, I’m offering 20% off with coupon code DOTDASH.

pdxknitterati reversi cowl

I took this picture last fall, just before I bound off. I love the contrast between the cowl and the Japanese maple leaves!

I’m planning a February KAL through my Ravelry PDXKnitterati group. You can knit along with me, any of my patterns released this month. So far the patterns are:
.
pdxknitterati sophies roseSophie’s Rose

fern shawletteFern Lace Shawlette

thrumviator hatThrumviator

Reversi, shown above,

and my newest design, which should be published next week, Criss Cross Beret, Hat, and/or Fingerless Mitts. I’m looking forward to showing you these, soon. There’s a very cool stitch pattern as a theme.

We’ll have weekly prize drawings during the KAL; show me your progress and you’ll be entered in the drawings! I’m looking for a clever name for this KAL. Leave me a suggestion either here or on the Ravelry PDXKnitterati discussion board, and if I pick yours, there’s a prize for you.

Let’s go!

Pick your poison

pdxknitterati dpn magic loop two circs

That’s a lot of pointy bits! Kind of like my cat when I’m trying to get her into the carrier.

I recently taught a circular hat class at Twisted. It’s a pretty basic hat, knit bottom up beginning with some ribbing, then stockinette, and K2tog decreases to close up the crown. At some point, we move to dpns, because that’s how the pattern is written.

I remember when I knit my first hat (it was about 24 years ago), I was terrified of the dpns, so I just worked the last several rounds back and forth, and then sewed the seam shut. CHICKEN!

Malabrigo Rios

Now dpns are an old standard for me. I like them; they’re very Little House on the Prairie. They look scary, but you only use two needles at a time. I tell my class it’s a Jedi mind trick. The other needles? “Those are not the needles you are looking for. They do not exist at this moment.”

There’s been some interest in using two circulars, or magic loop, so I was asked to demonstrate those two methods, too. I don’t use them, so I taught myself a couple nights ago. Easy peasy.

pdxknitterati magic loop

I had a nice flexible cable on my HiyaHiya 32″ needle, so magic loop wasn’t so bad. I could see using this, and might on my Honey Cardigan sleeve, when I get to decreasing. I think I’d like the cable to be slightly longer, maybe 40″ or so.

pdxknitterati two circulars

Two circulars? I can do it, but I don’t like the needle ends flapping around. It seems like an alien octopus. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

What’s your favorite method for small diameter knitting?

New year, new knits?

On New Year’s Eve I picked up my previously abandoned Honey Cardigan project, and found that it really only needs sleeves. The body increases are finished, and it’s long enough, so I finished the bottom edge in garter stitch.

honey cardi wip

It’s supposed to have applied i-cord all the way around the body and neck edges, but I know I’ll never finish that. I’ll crochet around the fronts and neck instead. I’m working on the first sleeve, and I think it will go pretty quickly in simple stockinette. Perfect multi-tasking knitting. I’ll finish the sleeves with the same garter stitch border as the body.

honey cardi bottom edge

I certainly don’t want to set this aside for another year. Apparently I began this in Feburary 2013 (thanks Ravelry, for keeping me honest). And in the realm of “do as I say, not as I do,” I didn’t wash and block my gauge swatch, so this is an adventure all around.

malabrigo arroyo purpuras

I’m hoping to cast on Joji Locatelli’s Even Flow cardigan after this one is done. I bought the yarn last fall when Twisted had a big delivery of Malabrigo. You have to jump if you want a sweater quantity of Mal!

dream in color classy with cashmere

I may be getting ahead of myself, though. I gave my niece a ball of lovely yarn and a promise of mitts for Christmas, and I do need to finish that, both for the gift, and because I want to publish the pattern! This Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere turned out to be a little too heavy for what I wanted to make. Also, it was leaving blue dye all over my fingers, and my wooden needles, too. I had to go back to Twisted and buy more yarn, this time a skein of Malabrigo Rios.

Malabrigo Rios

They’re both listed as worsted, but the Classy knits up a lot heavier than the Rios. Back on track now…

japan new year stamp

This is sweet. The Japan new year stamp for the year of the sheep shows a sheep that has finished the scarf it was knitting 12 years ago, the previous year of the sheep. Or maybe the sheep has knit oodles of project since then. Hard to tell. But check out the detailing: The yarn ball label with the character for sheep on it on the old stamp, and the circular needle with the crochet hook behind it on the new stamp. Fun! This must be the year to Buy. All. The. Wool.

Don’t forget, I have three newly re-released patterns on sale with coupon code at check out:

fern shawlette

FERN for 20% off Fern Lace Shawlette

sophie's rose shawlette
ROSES for 20% off Sophie’s Rose

thrumviator hat

THRUM for $1 off Thrumviator

I’m thinking of doing a re-release KAL with these knits in February through Ravelry after I finish last year’s knitting this month. Check out the Ravelry thread here. Why join a KAL? Fun, camaraderie, and prizes! I’ll be knitting another Fern Shawlette, this time with the beads I didn’t have time for when I knit the prototype. I’ll be using Louet Gems, and these lovely Miyuki Delica beads that I originally swatched with.

What’s on your needles? Are you knitting out the old, or knitting in the new?

Kilauea Iki volcano hike, beaches

A little more aloha: On our trip to the Big Island last month, we made a day trip to Kilauea to hike the Kilauea Iki (small Kilauea) crater. This was the site of a huge 1959 eruption. All is calm now.

fern forest

The 4 mile hike starts off at the edge of the crater, going though a beautiful forest with glimpses of the crater below.

kilauea iki crater hawaii

CollegeKid noted that the floor of the crater looks like “a giant brownie pan.” Why yes it does.

kilauea iki crater hawaii

But it’s not as smooth as it looks when you get down in the crater. These brownies are cracked!

kilauea iki and halema'uma'u

You can see the steam rising from Halema’uma’u, the crater inside the larger Kilauea caldera, on the other side of the Byron Ledge. You definitely know that you’re standing on an active volcano. Science rocks!

Pu'u Pua'i and Halema'uma'u

The blown out cinder cone between Kilauea Iki and the larger Kilauea caldera is Pu’u Pua’i (gushing hill). It doesn’t look that big from the edge of the crater, but when you get down into the crater, it’s a different story.

Pu'u Pua'i Kilauea

The kids decided to see what it looked like up top.

Kilauea Iki crater Hawaii

The second half of the hike crosses the crater floor. It was pretty windy the day we were there. The floor is mostly barren, but little bits of vegetation are making their way back. Steam rises from vents in the floor. After crossing the floor, there’s a climb back up to the crater’s rim. The trail is forested again, and the birds do a great job of singing but keeping out of sight. This is a great hike! I liked it even more than the one we did last year, and that was good, too.

punalu'u black sand beach

On our way back from Kilauea, we stopped at Punalu’u, a black sand beach. Yes, the volcanic sand really is black! And the water looks very blue by comparison.

punalu'u honu

Hawaiian green turtles (honu) come hang out here. It was pretty late in the afternoon, so we didn’t stay long. We wanted to get poké from Da Poké Shack on the way home, and watch the sunset from our lanai.

kona sunset

We made it with 15 minutes to spare.

We spent time on two other beaches on this trip. We visited Kahalu’u in Kailua-Kona, twice (second time because it beat sitting in traffic trying to go somewhere else). This is very civilized with a parking lot, concessions, and the easiest snorkeling ever.

convict tang hawaii convict tang

urchins urchins

pencil urchin hawaii pencil urchin

You can even just walk around on the rocks and see fish in the water, but that was so tempting that we had to get in and snorkel anyway.

K4 honu Kahalu'u

K8 honu Kahalu'u

Apparently this year they’ve started numbering the honu. I’m curious if it’s always the same one up on the beach. Guess I’ll have to go back to find out.

manini'owali kua bay

The other very fun beach is Manini’owali at Kua Bay. The water is spectacularly pretty here, as is the white sand beach. The waves are pretty strong in the winter, and the ocean pulls the sand offshore. Next month there will be a lot less beach. It all comes back in the summer.

santa hats kua bay

I dubbed these guys the Santa Society. There were three of them; I’m not sure how they kept their hats!

We came home just before Christmas, for a whirlwind of Hanukkah and Christmas parties. I’m happy to be home, but I do miss the warm sunshine.

yellow billed cardinal

And these guys. Yellow billed cardinal. They’d come after breakfast and pick up any crumbs we left on the lanai. Tidy is as tidy does!