Category Archives: pattern design

Dreaming of Paris in May…

My latest design is out! It’s the May 2013 offering of the Twisted Shawlette Club.

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This is the Ooh La Lace Shawlette. You know I love Paris! A life-long love affair with all things French was the inspiration for this lacy edged shawlette. The knitting begins at the lower edge with waves of lace like a can-can dancer’s frilly petticoat, and continues with a row of iconic Eiffel Towers. This crescent shawlette is shaped with simple short rows, and finished with a garter stitch eyelet border at the upper edge. Ooh la la!

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I am thrilled to be this month’s designer for Twisted. Shannon and Emily are so lovely to work with, and they are always coming up with great club ideas. This month’s yarn was dyed by Raya over at Blissful Knits; this is her BFL Silk Sock in Platinum.

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After knitting the prototype, I realized there was a lot of yarn leftover, so I knit a larger version in Knitted Wit’s Shine in Brown Sugar.

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I love them both. Twisted Shawlette Club members get the pattern and Raya’s lovely yarn together as an exclusive. We’re trying a new thing with this club. The pattern is available separately from Twisted so you can knit one for yourself, right now. (Don’t we all love instant gratification?) You can pick it up in hard copy form at the shop, or use this link to the Ravelry pattern page to purchase it online. Knit one now and dream of Paris with me!

Things I’ve learned about lace knitting

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(Swatches for 4 shawls I want to knit. Right now.)

  • Swatching lace patterns is fun and addicting, and I like fussing with them to get the effect I want. Combine, alter, chart, swatch, refine, repeat.
  • Swatching in practice yarn is way better than repeatedly frogging and reknitting your “real” yarn. I switched to some light worsted yarn I had on hand. (White swatches in the picture.)
  • Swatching lace with heavier yarn will tell you a lot, but not everything. Swatching with leftover sock yarn is better, if fingering weight yarn is your goal. I wised up and bought a 50g skein of Louet Gems for swatching, because I needed a light color for a design submission. It’s the green ball in the picture, and it’s lovely to work with. I may have to get some more, to knit for reals.
  • Beads add lovely weight, drape, and bling to lace. I’m hooked (hah!) on the crochet hook method of adding beads.
  • Blocking is magic. (We already knew that, but it’s been reaffirmed, and can’t be said enough.)
  • An old black velvet dress makes a great background for a pale lace swatch photo. (No pic, it’s for a design submission.)
  • This elastic bind off is way better than the usual chain bind off, for lace that is going to be blocked: K2, * slip left needle into fronts of the 2 worked stitches on right needle and knit them off together through the back loop (like an ssk), K1, repeat from *.
  • And last of all: I’m a little obsessive.

PS: I blame Sivia Harding for this trip down the lace rabbit hole. I took her workshop last Sunday, and can’t stop playing with ideas. You can take her class at Twisted next Saturday, March 30. It’s from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about possible obsession!

New pattern: Starwood Cowl and Cuffs

It’s barely spring, but it’s still chilly around here. And I know that a lot of you are still having snow, so it’s not too late for a little warmth.

Starwood crop

This is Starwood, a cowl and cuff set. They’re knit in the round using a simple slip stitch pattern to create a colorful tweedy look. It only looks complicated; just one color is used per round. The pattern is easily adjusted for length and width. I knit this set with Knit Picks City Tweed DK, a blend of 55% Merino wool, 25% Superfine alpaca, 20% Donegal tweed. It’s not too heavy, but it has a wonderful drape. Just warm enough for early spring!

starwood detail

This pattern is available now, and will also be available through the Knit Picks IDP (Independent Design Program). See the pattern page for details.

And! Knit Picks is having a 40% off sale on selected colors of all their alpaca yarns, including City Tweed DK, through Wednesday, March 27. Pick three colors and cast on!

Spring has sprung/Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival is coming!

Ah, the first blush of spring. It made me think of this yarn, which has been waiting ever so patiently for inspiration. I’ve known forever that I want this to be long armwarmers, with a ruffled cuff, but just couldn’t see it yet.

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I don’t remember when it came to me. It’s from the now defunct Pico Accuardi Dyeworks, Francino, which is a lusciously soft 50% merino/25% bamboo/25% nylon blend. 100 grams/459 yards. The color is nude, and it reminds me of a maiden’s blush. I think Stevanie Pico hand painted this one. I’ve started playing with ideas for it. Wish me luck! Especially knitting the second one…

This makes me think of spring, too.

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It’s my March CSY yarn from Knitted Wit. It’s Bling, in Fuchsia Basket. I was at her house the other day to help her label yarn, and I named this one. There are four shades in this month’s CSY, all different percentages of the same dye, so they’re gradations of the same color. Sakura, Plum Blossom, Carnation Nation, and Fuchsia Basket, in order of intensity. Is one coming to you? I love the bling in Bling; it’s hard to see it in this size picture, but it sparkles in the full size pic on my iPad. You need to get some and see for yourself!

These colors also remind me that cherry blossom time is coming, along with the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in Hood River, April 19-21. It’s the third year for this festival, organized by Yvonne Ellsworth of Lavender Sheep. There is an enticing market which is open to the public, and admission is free. There are also great classes. I learned to steek last year in Mary Scott Huff’s class. Now I’m scheduled to teach two classes there, an expanded version of Tink Drop Frog (fixing mistakes, and more tips and tricks), and the Thrill of the Thrum, which will be a guided tour through my Thrumbelina slipper pattern, as well as a history of thrumming, practice thrumming, and lots of ideas on how else to use it.

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I hope you can come to the festival! Please sign up for workshops; they can’t happen unless we have a minimum number of students for each one.

But now, just a little more winter before we get into full on spring. I went cross country skiing with friends on Sunday at Teacup Lake on Mt. Hood. It rained at the end, but it was a fun outing.

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My 30 year old skis still work fine. They don’t get out much. Yes, those are old school 3 pin trap bindings. Relics!

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There are even more ancient ones on display in the little lodge.

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And this gray jay/camp robber/whiskey jack was happy to share our lunch. It came with a bunch of friends!

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What are you knitting for spring?

Rose City Yarn Crawl trunk show tomorrow

I’m getting my hand knit designs ready to show. Here’s what’s on my blocking wires right now; it was time to freshen up!

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This is my Infinity Entrelac Infinity Scarf, the Mini Mochi version. Come see it and lots more of my designs, and me, at Twisted tomorrow (Thursday) from 3 to 5 pm. I’ll be holding down the fort with Chrissy Gardiner!

Trunk Show at Twisted for Rose City Yarn Crawl

A few more notes on the crawl:

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I’m going to have a mini-trunk show at Twisted on Thursday, February 28, from 3 to 5 p.m. I’ll be teaming up with the fabulous Chrissy Gardiner for two hours of fun! I hope you can stop by and say hello.

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The Daffy Taffy Twists pattern is up and available for you, for free! Knitted Wit‘s Gumballs mini-skeins are perfect for this, and leftover sock yarn works in a pinch, too. Tuck a little lavender inside the stuffing and make sachets! I’d suggest catnip to make catnip toys, but I never want Mookie to have an excuse to chew yarn. You can decide for your own cat, though…

And last of all: Today, Monday, February 4, is the last day to pre-order your limited edition 2013 RCYC tote bag. They’re cute, with the RCYC logo on the front, and participating store logos on the back. What are you waiting for? Are you a procrastinator like me? I’m ordering mine right now!

Coming soon: Doomsday Knits!

The year is 3015…

The polar ice caps have melted and the deserts expanded, leaving the Earth a seared, crusty Hell. Meanwhile, nuclear fallout has blocked the sun, plunging the world into a new ice age. (Yes, at the same time.) While we were distracted by the weather, the Singularity showed up and a race of intelligent computers enslaved mankind… who have all but died out thanks to a new, extra virulent virus created by zombie aliens. Really uptight, controlling zombie aliens. Who spy on us all the time. Oh, and they also drive tricked out cars around the desert and wear leather jackets.

The question on your mind?

“What should I knit?!”**

That’s the premise behind Doomsday Knits, the upcoming book from Cooperative Press. It’s a collection of garments and accessories inspired by the post-apocalyptic genre of film, literature, and fashion. These cutting edge fashion pieces will be just as at-home in your closet today as they will be in the dystopian wastelands of tomorrow. With full-on editorial fashion photography shot everywhere from deserts to urban ruins, this book will be as beautiful and enjoyable to look at as the garments are to wear. With a healthy helping of tips, trivia, tidbits, and recommended media, it’ll be just the thing for all you sci-fi-geek knitters out there as well as the fashion-obsessed.

The coolest part, for me? I have a design in it. Another thing I can’t show you yet! But I can say that I used this elegant yarn: Knitted Wit‘s Silky ‘n’ Plied in Brown Sugar, which is 55% merino wool, 45% silk worsted weight blend.

brown sugar

The knitting is done and the pattern and knitted piece have been sent off to Alexandra Tinsley, the editor of this fine collection. I’m looking forward to seeing it in print!

**Prose shamelessly swiped from Alex’s Kickstarter page, here.

Lots more secret knitting going on! The year is off to a great start. I still want to do some selfish knitting for me!

Nose to the grindstone

January was supposed to be Selfish Knitting Month, but I haven’t started anything for myself. I’m working on a design for Twisted’s Shawlette Club instead. When inspiration strikes, you have to run with it!

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I can’t show you what I’m working on, but it is gorgeous and I love it. I even have a name for it. (Sometimes coming up with a name is the hardest part of designing.) The yarn is a luxury fiber from Blissful Knits, and it is decadently wonderful to knit with. How’s that for vague, but enthusiastic? I’m nearly done knitting the prototype, and will be sorry to no longer have this yarn running through my fingers. But you can have it running through your fingers if you sign up for the club! The first club package goes out in March; my design is in the second package, in May. I love sock yarns, but I’m not much of a sock knitter. Shawlettes are a perfect way to use these lovely yarns without knitting socks!

But I do want to knit something for me this month, too. I need a new cardigan. My Central Park Hoodie is pilly and no longer fit to wear in public. Help me decide what to knit next! I want a top-down cardi that I can knit fairly quickly. I’m thinking of DK or worsted weight yarn. Shalom? Tea Leaves? I don’t want anything with a really wide yoke, though. Help!

Have *you* found the perfect selfish knitting project?

the week that was

When I was jamming and knitting at Vickie’s house last week, she showed me a couple yarns that she had picked up. She wanted to make some cabled fingerless mitts with a bulky yarn, but the pattern she had chosen didn’t work at that gauge. Hmmmm. I have a free fingerless mitt pattern at that gauge, but no cable.

So I thought about how to add that cable, jotted down some notes for her, and voila! Her cabled fingerless mitt.

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Do you want to knit these? I’m planning on re-writing the (very brief) pattern, which was more of a dashed off recipe at the time. It’s on the to-do list…

What else happened this last week? I finished this Snowflake Christmas Stocking at knit nite.

green stocking

I started it a long time ago when I was teaching a class. I found it in my UFOs (unfinished objects!). All it needed was an i-cord hanging loop and weaving in all the ends. It’s actually a quick knit in heavy worsted weight yarn; I had just forgotten all about it. Now it’s done, and it’s going to be a gift.

I’m also working a Webfoot scarf for my Silver and Gold Filigree KAL. It’s Webfoot instead of Filigree, but it’s definitely gold! I was planning to knit Filigree in silver, but it turns out that I need this particular scarf for someone. Are you knitting along? I know that there have been some KAL sales through Ravelry, but I haven’t heard from KAL knitters. I’d love to know how you’re doing. Don’t forget, there’s a drawing after December 25 for a skein of fingering weight yarn for KAL finishers.

And last but not least?

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A bunch of thrums, waiting for a knitting project. It’s a lot easier to thrum when the thrums are made up ahead of time. I think a lot of people are knitting Thrumbelina right now; I’m seeing patterns fly out the digital door! ‘Tis the season for the gift of warm feet. This just makes me want to thrum some more. I was wearing my Thrumbelina slippers today, and they are still very cozy. I like wearing them with socks, because they’re slightly more cushy that way, and it puts off having to launder them.

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(old pic, just so you know what I’m talking about)

I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet! And we are celebrating Hanukkah, too.

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Are you gift knitting? How’s it going?

Go Ducks! Knit Lace!

That seems like a non-sequitur, but I can explain. I was inspired by two things for my latest design: a picture in a stitch dictionary that looked like duck feet, and some beautiful Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn in a glorious color named hoppy blonde. I knew I wanted to make a scarf/shawlette that would fit right in at an Oregon Ducks football game.

I’m not much of a football fan, but DH and I, and our eldest son all went to the University of Oregon, so I’m vaguely paying attention. The Ducks have been having some swell seasons lately. Right now they’re 10-0 this fall.

I started this project on our trip to Europe in September. A tiny setback was that the charted pattern in my stitch dictionary didn’t yield the results in the picture. But I figured it out. I *am* the boss of my knitting.

I love how this turned out. But what if you’re not a Duck fan? You could pretend that they’re just diamonds, not duck feet. Or…you could knit lace. I designed another version for non-Ducks.

This one was knit in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, Jam Session. I love it, too.

Both versions are included in the pattern. They’re both worn bandana style, so the widest part of this very shallow crescent is at the front, with the tails brought around again. You can wear it loose, or add a stick pin for stability.

Pattern purchase information is here. It’s a quick knit with one skein of sock yarn, and would be great for holiday knitting!