Category Archives: pattern design

I’m Blocking in Sunshine, oh oh

Apologies to Katrina and the Waves. But that’s the song that popped into my head as I was blocking test knitter Rachel’s shawl this morning. Another gorgeous day here.

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Rachel’s is the Green Apple version lower in the picture. My original wider shallower prototype in Spring Green is above it.

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I met with Rachel at Pearl Fiber Arts last night for the pickup. Cindy, PFA’s owner, loves the extra length on the shallow version, but she’s a lot taller than I am! Photography is set for Monday. I was hoping to do both Garland and Filigree, but see where I am in my Filigree knitting?

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Frogged the whole thing and started over. I forgot one of my self-imposed rules for crescent shawls: I always want an odd number of repeats, so one motif will be at the center back. As I began working the crescent, I noticed that the center was *between* motifs. D’oh! Do you think I can be done and blocked by Monday afternoon? Knit like the wind!

I’m enjoying these Signature circular needles. The tips are nice and pointy, which is great for lace. The stitches flow smoothly over the join between cable and needle. I usually knit with wood, which is a bit more grippy, so I’m concentrating on not losing my stitches off these slick metal needles. The cable is more flexible than I’m used to; I may have to give magic loop one more try. All in all, it’s been an enjoyable experience, and I get to do it all over again on my frogged shawl. Good thing I’m having fun. The needles were a gift from Sarah when she was here in town. Sarah is one of the fastest, most prolific knitters I know. She’s very talented. I was floored by the gift, but I’m not giving them back!

What are your favorite needles?

Same song, second verse…

I was hanging out with Lorajean the other day, labeling Knitted Wit yarn and fiber, because that’s how we roll. She was looking for something to feature at TNNA’s Sample It in June. I offered to re-work my Filigree scarf into a shawl, using her Shine merino/tencel yarn. Game on! This is a nice way for me to be present at TNNA since I can’t go this time, and a pretty way to highlight Shine.

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I’m knitting this in Knitted Wit Shine, colorway Silver Lining, which feels very appropriate for Filigree. In this picture from yesterday I’m 2/3 done with the lacy border, but in real life I’m way past that. I’m halfway done with the short row (no wraps!) crescent shaping. I should be finished tomorrow, and then I can block and measure, and update the pattern.

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Right now the pattern for Webfoot and Filigree Scarves includes both lace edgings. It’s a little confusing for linking on Ravelry. I’m planning to separate this pattern into two patterns, one for each edging. Each pattern will have instructions for shaping a long shallow scarf and a deeper, more traditionally shaped crescent shawl. If you’ve already purchased this pattern through Ravelry by the time I issue the update next week, you’ll get both the Webfoot and Filigree pattern updates as two separate patterns.

What else? More flowers are blooming in the garden. The clematis on the trellis on the front of my house is very happy this year.

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The first iris opened two days ago. The purple ones bloom first, and the yellow ones will bloom soon after that.

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This columbine self-sowed itself into the bed of irises. I don’t mind.

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By the way, this thing?

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It’s an alligator scute.

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Scutes are bony plates (osteoderms) inside an alligator’s skin. Inside, not under. They make the skin hard to penetrate, and they may also be involved in the alligator’s temperature regulation system. All that basking in the sun to warm up…

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OK, back to knitting! I want to finish this Filigree Shawl, and I also want to swatch a couple things to take to Amy Singer’s class on Saturday. Did you know Amy Singer of Knitty fame is coming to Portland? She’s doing three classes for Twisted on Saturday: Random Cables, Making the next Monkey (what makes a great pattern), and All About Knitty. There’s still space if you’d like to come. Call Twisted to register.

Happy spring!

Coming soon: Garland Shawl and KAL

Spring has arrived in PDX. The trees have gone through their pink and white blossomed glory, and are settling nicely into green. My knitting has, too.

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This is a sneak peek at Garland, my upcoming design. I was inspired by my awakening garden, and by Sivia Harding’s Sideways Lace Shawl Design class in March. Put the two together, and the result is a leafy lace border on a sideways crescent shawl. Optional beads along the leafy ribs add a bit of bling.

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I am so happy that I finally found the perfect use for this gorgeous skein of Cashy Lite from Knitted Wit. It had been through two previous design starts. The first was nearly done when I saw a nearly identical shawl at my LYS. The second will require two skeins, and I only had one of this very special color from Lorajean’s first CSY in 2011. Third time’s a charm! And the yarn has held up like a champ, even after two froggings.

The pattern is written and is going through a final test knit. I’m hoping to publish it next week after photographs. And best of all, Lorajean and I are planning a June KAL. I’ll have a discount coupon code for participants, and an extra special coupon code if you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit. More on that next week, when the pattern goes live.

Place orders by June 1st, orders will ship June 15th in time for the June 21st cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards. Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/knittedwit/sets/72157633152678746/ to see all the yarn colors available, write in the color name when checking out. If you want the same color as mine, ask for Spring Green. It’s not in the flickr set; it’s special for this project because I love it so much, I’ve convinced LJ that we should do it. It’s a great color, fresh and lively, and not too neon or acid. Think happy new growth green!

I love the added sparkle that beads give to this design. They remind me of dewdrops on morning leaves. I started by using the crochet hook beading method that I learned from Sivia way back at the first Sock Summit. It’s pretty efficient, but I tend to split my yarn with the tiny crochet hook while pulling it through the bead about 20% of the time. My knit nite buddy Sarah sent over some of her new Bead Aids to try out. I am a convert! I have not split my yarn at all since moving to this new method. It’s a great tool, and I highly recommend it.

I’m looking forward to publishing the pattern next week. Do you want to knit along? Have you ever added beads to your knitting?

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!