Category Archives: Knit

Thrumbelina KAL begins today!

We’re casting on for a Thrumbelina KnitALong today! This KAL is not a mystery KAL. All the information you need is in the pattern. We’re sharing questions, tips, progress…

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Before you cast on, you should read through your pattern for information on how to thrum. You can also watch my thrumming video on youtube.

I just made an extra tutorial on a tip for continental style knitters.

Just remember, it’s important to make sure your working yarn wraps around the thrum, rather than coming up underneath it.

continental thrumming

Edited to add: The Thrumbelina pattern is on sale for 25% off ($4.50 instead of $6) through the end of January. Click here to purchase through Ravelry. I meant to do this earlier, but I forgot! If you purchased this pattern during the month of January, I’ll be contacting you.

Who’s casting on with me? Come join the discussion in my Ravelry group!

Don’t worry; I’m still knitting the Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawlette KAL. But I’m caught up until the next clue comes out on Friday.

Knit on!

Beading your knits

We’ve cast on for the RCYC MKAL, but it’s not too late to join the fun! You can find the pattern on Ravelry, here.

We had a cast on party at Twisted last night.

MKAL cast on party

Such fun to meet MKALers in real life!

And here’s my garter tab cast on tutorial, in case you need a little help.

I actually cast on at home so I could be available to chat and help at the party, and I got a little inspired. There’s an option to add beads in clue 4 of the pattern, but I had extra beads, and so I decided to add some here. I’ll post a picture at the end of this post, in case you don’t want to see a spoiler. For now, I want to share several different ways of adding beads to your knitting. These methods are all for beading as you go, rather than pre-stringing.

My favorite method involves a simple tool called the Bead Aid. It’s a bit of jewelry wire, bent in the middle and polished at the ends, so it won’t snag your yarn. You can see mine in my beading tin.

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Simple and elegant! You can find it in a few local yarn shops (I know Pearl Fiber Arts has them), and online here (video on how to use it is here, too).

It’s the same principle as this tutorial from Romi Hill. (She used it in her Ice Queen pattern in Knitty Winter 2007, and I remembered!) You can DIY, but I’m happy with getting mine pre-made and polished. Whatever works for you, works.

You can also use the crochet hook method. This involves a very tiny crochet hook; mine is size 13/14, 0.90 mm. That’s a hook head less than a millimeter in diameter! I tend to split the yarn when I use this method, so it’s not my preferred method.

Laura Nelkin demonstrates the hook method, and also a clever way to use pre-threaded dental floss, in this video.

I tried the dental floss method, too, but I didn’t love it. It’s a great way to corral your beads, but I didn’t like having them hanging on the end of the floss; I had a hard time manipulating the wire and at the same time getting the beads where I wanted them to go. Your mileage may vary!

OK, here’s the info on where I put my beads. The first clue is rain, and I wanted raindrops on the k2tog decreases, but didn’t want to fiddle with two stitches *and* a bead, so I put them on the next row on the purl stitch that was the back side of the k2tog, just before working the stitch. I’d never placed beads on the wrong side row before, but guess what? The bead shows up where it belongs on the right side anyway. Win!

And now that I think about it, you can get the same result by placing the bead on the k2tog on the right side row *after* working the k2tog, so that it gets purled on the next row. Whatever is easier for you to work. Knitter’s choice! I’m used to taking the stitch from the left needle to add the bead before working the stitch. If you add the bead after working the stitch, you’ll have to take it (and replace it) to the right needle, which might be easier if you’re a lefty, but not for me, a righty.

I’m using size 8/0 Miyuki Delica beads. They’re tube shaped rather than round. My local bead store only had size 11/0 (too tiny), so I found these at Twisted. I should have looked there first, but I thought beads came from a bead store. Go figure. These are exactly what I wanted.

Spoiler pic below…

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beads!

Knit on!

KAL color musings

The Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL kicks off tomorrow morning. Here’s my new yarn…

RCYC MKAL colors

I’m using Knitted Wit Single Fingering, Tugboat and Clematis. I was going to use the paler color for the sky (MC), and the darker color for the roses, but…

What if the darker color is the sky at night, and the roses are white roses that look blue in the moonlight?

If I turn it around that way, the dark color would be the MC, and the MC is slightly predominant, and I LOVE this deep purplish blue/bluish purple…

Guess I’ll have to decide by tomorrow!

Just in case you need help with your garter tab cast on, I made a video just for you. (youtube link)

Hope to see locals at Twisted for the cast on party, Friday January 17, 5-8 p.m.!

Also, the winners of the Thrumbelina patterns are…

Lucinda and jrbecca! I’ll be sending patterns along through Ravelry shortly. The Thrumbelina KAL begins on Tuesday, January 21. Pop over to the Ravelry discussion and tell me what yarn/fiber combo you’re planning! Here’s mine. This is Knitted Wit Merino single ply in Winter’s Night, and her merino fiber in Turks and Caicos.

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(Gee, I wonder what my favorite color is?) Are you ready to cast on? I am, and I am!

Recess 24/7 this weekend

I was going over my upcoming weekend with DH, and he turned to me and said, “Your life is like 24/7 recess!” Well, it is a pretty sweet extended weekend I’ve got lined up. Knitting, music, celebration…

Friday is the RCYC MKAL cast on party at Twisted, 5 to 8 p.m. Refreshments and prizes! Come knit with me!

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Saturday I’m teaching Tink Drop Frog, how to fix mistakes at Twisted, from 1-3. I love teaching this class; it’s very empowering to new-ish knitters. There’s still space in class, if you want to register.

My baby turns 21 on Saturday, too. Where did the time go?

Sunday I’m singing with my music besties (The Pie Birds, aka the Divas) in church. Monday, even more of us (The Day Old Pastries) are singing at this MLK Day Remembrance and lunch packing event. The NE Portland Backpack Program provides weekend lunch sacks for children at risk for hunger who don’t have the school lunch program on the weekend. During the 2012-2013 school year we are providing about 5,000 weekend lunch sacks (11,000 lunches) to 164 children at four locations. Come sing with us, and pack lunches with us! The event is free, but bring a can of chili to donate. We’ll be at Maranatha Church, NE 12th Ave between Skidmore and Mason in Portland, from 1-3 p.m. Details here.

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Tuesday, the Thrumbelina KAL begins! Two more days to enter to win a copy of the Thrumbelina pattern. Check out the blog post for details.

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for: The winner of this lovely Knitted Wit single fingering yarn (silver lining and madge)

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is…Samantha from Eugene! Go check out her blog here. Congratulations, Samantha!

I hope you’re with me for part or all of this weekend fun, in person or via the interwebs! Looking forward to it all.

RCYC KAL begins in one week! Parties and more…

Can you believe it? One week until the cast on for the Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawlette KAL. The official cast on date is Friday January 17; the first clue will be released that day. If you’re local to Portland, I’d love to knit with you! I’m having a cast on party at Twisted from 5 to 8 p.m. We’ll have refreshments and prizes; drop by any time and knit a bit with us. I’m thrilled to be the designer of this mystery shawlette!

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I’m also knitting with the KAL/CAL group at the Knitting Bee on Sunday January 26, from 1-3 p.m., and bringing a little trunk show there, too.

And Lorajean (Knitted Wit) and I are planning a trip to For Yarn’s Sake on Friday, January 31 during their KAL time, 4:30 to 6 p.m. I love having these opportunities to knit with you; knitters are the nicest people.

I’m ready to cast on! Well, I will be, once I get my yarn from Knitted Wit next week. This is what happens when you hang out with a dyer.

color samples

I changed my colors, because I finally realized that I’ll get the sample back next year. My new yarn colors: clematis and tugboat.

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This is not the actual yarn, just the color. The yarn will be Knitted Wit Single Fingering, rather than this plied sample. Lorajean gave me yarn for the KAL, but now she’s talked me into the blues. I asked her if she wanted the silver lining and madge back, and she said that I should give it away on the blog! This is your chance to win these two skeins of gorgeous yarn. Leave a comment by midnight January 13 to enter to win. (Fine print: Winner must be a USA resident, so I can mail it out quickly in case s/he needs it for the KAL.) Thank you, LJ!

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I hope you’ll be knitting along with me. And when we’re finished with the KAL, I hope to see you on the crawl with your beautiful shawlette! I’m also hoping that we can get a group picture at the Yarn Ball on February 26. That will be a rainbow of awesome! Rose City Yarn Crawl is also giving away prizes in conjunction with the KAL and CAL; more info on that later. The actual yarn crawl dates are February 27 through March 1, and includes 18 Portland-area yarn shops.

Here’s the scoop on the KAL: The pattern is available through Ravelry here for $6. You’ll receive a pre-MKAL information sheet telling you about yarn and dates. Every week beginning January 17 the pattern will be updated with the next clue so you can download it.

The RCYC group on Ravelry is here: Pop on over and see what colors people are choosing in the pre-MKAL thread!

Are you ready to cast on? Do you want to win yarn? Leave a comment, in either case!

Thrumbelina KAL, and a winner

Just in case you need more fun knitting this month, I’m having a Thrumbelina KAL beginning January 21.

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My good friends at Lantern Moon are having their spring retreat at Timberline Lodge this year, and as part of their goodie bag they are sending Thrumbelina kits to their participants for a pre-retreat KAL. The lucky retreat participants will have cozy toes in a gorgeous setting in April. I can’t go, but I’ll have cozy toes here at home, and so can you.

fireside thrumbelina

This is a great introduction to thrumming. What’s thrumming? Working bits of wool into your knitting as you go. So cushy! I had a thrumming class at Twisted last Monday. Look at all the squishy fiber on the table. Thanks for thrumming with me!

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I’m coordinating the KAL through my PDXKnitterati Ravelry group; join the group and it will be in your Ravelry forums. I’m giving away two copies of the Thrumbelina pattern before the KAL begins; leave a comment on this post by January 15 if you’d like a chance to win.

Speaking of winners, I have a winner of the Under 100 Knit Collection from Knit Picks ebook. It’s Laura, who commented on December 30. Laura, I’ll be in touch! Thank you all for playing along; I loved learning about your favorite 2013 knits.

Still knitting like a madwoman clearing the needles for upcoming KALs! And still dreaming of Lempster, but I don’t think I can do it. I have a design due soon, and I should do that first. Not a bad problem to have, though.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to win a copy of Thrumbelina!

Happy new year hike

A perfect time to blow out the cobwebs! We went hiking in the Columbia River Gorge on Saturday. Drove out from under the fog bank to see Mt. Hood in the distance:

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We took the same hike we did last July. There’s more water now, but the snowpack is way below normal, so still not overwhelming.

Upper McCord Creek Falls:

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On the way up, we looked down on Elowah Falls:

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Same falls, from ground level. I love the snow ledge. Lots of people out this weekend!

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I’ve decided that 2014 will be the year of the purge. There’s too much stuff in the house. DH found these items in the back of a closet.

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A Gryffindor sweater I knit for Kid2, maybe a dozen years ago. I’m sending it to a friend who will love it. And here’s a lone mitten from 1991.

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I knit 8 pairs of these, as birthday party favors. Knit flat (I didn’t know how to use dpns back then), seamed up the side. Bugs Bunny buttons, of course.

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Oddly enough, I knew exactly where the mate was. These won’t be purged, though. I may have to frame them. Or at least keep them in my sample box.

I have big plans for painting my knitting studio, and then organizing all my crafty stuff in it. Right now my organizer bins are in the room off our bedroom, but it’s coming in to my studio, along with my sewing machine. I love these IKEA bins. They’re not this tidy right now…

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What are your crafty plans for 2014? And don’t forget, I’m picking the winner of the Under 100 Knit Collection ebook tonight. More lovely things to knit!

January is selfish knitting month: cast on with me!

After the frenzy of gift knitting (which I don’t do…), January is traditionally selfish knitting month. (And I’m using the term selfish in the most positive way: for your SELF!) What are you going to knit? Are you casting on something new, or trying to finish something already on the needles? I need to finish something to clear my needles before this.

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I’m planning to knit the Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery KAL, so I can have this shawlette for myself. My original will be a sample somewhere for the next year, and I want one for me NOW. Will you be knitting along with me? You’re invited! Check out the RCYC group on Ravelry for ongoing details.

I’m also having a Thrumbelina KAL. If you were lucky enough to register for Lantern Moon’s April retreat, you’ll be knitting your own Thrumbelinas along with me before the retreat so you’ll have cozy toes when you go to Timberline Lodge. No kick off date yet; we’re working out details. But you don’t have to be going on this retreat to knit along. The more the merrier for the KAL, as far as I’m concerned. More thrums for everyone!

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And I need to get started on a new design, due in March.

All three of these upcoming knits are fun, but technically for me they’re work, so they’re not really selfish knitting. What about something that’s just for me? I guess finishing the current knit is all about me (my own knit of my new shawl design debuting in February), so that counts. But I’m also dreaming of casting on Lempster from Knitty. While I’ve been dreaming, my friend Sarah has knit two of them! I received some gift cards to Twisted for Christmas, so they may kick start my Lempster. Am I crazy? Can I get all these knits done in a timely manner? There’s only one way to find out!

What’s your selfish knitting for January? If you need some inspiration, go look through the Doomsday Knits and Under 100 Knit Collection sets. And don’t forget, I’m having a giveaway of the Under 100 ebook. Leave a comment on the previous post to enter to win. Happy new year!

Under 100 Knit Collection: book launch and giveaway

I’m so pleased to have one more pattern published this year. It’s my Fern Shawlette, and it’s part of the Under 100 Knit Collection from Knit Picks which goes live today. Each of the 30 projects in this book takes 100 grams of yarn or less. Hats, socks, scarves, shawlettes, mitts, accessories…all my favorite things, and all knit up very quickly.

Here’s my Fern Shawlette, as shown in the book.

Fern KP

And here’s Fern, in a lighter color so you can see the detail. (Thanks, Bobbi, for modeling!)

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The Fern Shawlette is knit with 100g (or less) of fingering weight yarn. This is Knit Picks Palette, 100% Peruvian Highland Wool. It’s a lot like Shetland, and knits up to be light and airy. Beads are optional on this piece.

You can order this book from Knit Picks as an ebook, or as a print book. The patterns are also available individually. I’ve had the pleasure of paging through the print copy for the past week, and I’m giving away a copy of the ebook here on my blog. More on that in a bit.

I’ve had a fun knitting year; here are the designs I’ve published or had published in 2013.

2013 design mosaic

Daffy Taffy Twists, Starwood Cowl & Cuffs, Filigree Shawl
Garland Shawl, Ooh La Lace Shawlette, Webfoot Shawl
Autumn Scarf, Fern Shawlette, Thrumviator

2014 is off to a great start. The cast on for the first ever Rose City Yarn Crawl KAL mystery shawlette I designed begins January 17 (are you going to participate in the KAL?) and I have another piece that will launch during the crawl, too. I have a club knit coming out at the end of January, and I’m also designing another club knit for March. I may be having a Thrumbelina KAL, too. My fingers will be flying; come knit with me!

To celebrate the debut of the Under 100 Collection, I’m giving away a copy of the ebook. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me about the best thing you knit in 2013. I’ll pick the ebook winner on January 6. Good luck!

Puff, the magic…pastry

My go-to dessert for holiday parties this season has been a simple pear tart. Fresh sliced pears on a bed of puff pastry, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar before a little turn in the oven. (Please excuse the kitchen lighting; it was dark out. As usual.)

pear tart

Paired (peared? hah!) with my favorite bourbon caramel sauce, this is a heavenly dish. My favorite aunt sends me pears at Christmas, and many of them have gone the way of the tart. I”m saving some for cranberry pear bourbon jam, though.

I was reading blogs today, and saw Tango Mango’s decadent chocolate swirl buns, yeasty buns full of chopped chocolate. I was tempted, but feeling much too lazy to make a yeast dough and wait for it to rise. Luckily, I had one last puff pastry sheet in the freezer, so I did a mashup of her chocolate swirl buns and her pain au chocolat. (If you like to play with food, you really need to follow her blog.)

Here’s the result.

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Chocolate pinwheel puffs
Yield: 9 pretty puffs, and two not so pretty ones

Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 egg
sprinkle of sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a little non-stick spray in the bottom of a standard muffin tin to keep melted chocolate from sticking. (I didn’t, and only had a little sticking.)

Thaw puff pastry, and then use a rolling pin to roll out dough to about 12″ by 12″, not a lot thinner, mostly just to roll out the creases. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the surface. I’m guessing on the amount, you could go way heavier if you want. Let your conscience be your guide. Mine looked like this. (sorry, more kitchen lighting)

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Roll the dough up into a tube. Scramble the egg to make an egg wash, and brush some on the edge to seal the roll. Slice the roll into 1 inch pieces. Place the pieces into the muffin pan. They look like they’re too small for the pan, but they’ll puff up. The two end pieces won’t be pretty; you can add additional chocolate chips to make up for it. Brush the pinwheels lightly with the egg wash, and sprinkle them with sugar if you’d like. I didn’t, but the sparkle and crunch would be a nice addition.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Eat the not quite so pretty end pieces first to hide the evidence.

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Enjoy your pinwheels while paging through Doomsday Knits. Oh, I think I forgot to tell you: Doomsday Knits is live!

Doomsday Knits

You can order your ebook for immediate delivery, or ebook and hard copy. Hard copies will ship in January. I’m looking forward to sniffing the ink in my printed version, but I’m enjoying my ebook NOW. My Thrumviator is in this book, and now that I’m back in Portland, I could really use one!

Thrumviator 2

Happy knitting, and happy munching!