Category Archives: yarn

Swatching and blocking, yarn and ice cream

Do you always swatch? Do you always wash and block your swatches? True confessions time here: I don’t always swatch, and when I do, I don’t always wash and block it. This has come back to bite me several times. Lesson learned! I’ve modified my approach: If the yarn is familiar to me, I might dive right in. A new yarn? It’s best to do my homework.

knitpicks galileo

This is Knit Picks Galileo in a deliciously plummy color called Urchin. It reminds me of these shield urchins I saw last December.

shingle urchins hawaii

But I digress.

This ia a new to me yarn. It’s sport weight, a 50/50 blend of Merino and Bamboo viscose. Two ply. It’s deliciously bouncy and round to knit with. Occasionally I’ll split the yarn with the Hiya Hiya Sharps that I’m knitting with, but I want that pointy tip for the lace stitches I’m working. It’s a reasonable trade-off.

The ballband recommends a size US 3-5 needle. I started with a 7, just for grins, because it’s going to be lace. Definitely too floppy. I swatched with a 6, and it felt pretty good, but I thought I’d push the envelope and swatch with a 5, too. It felt a little full on the needle, but surprise! It was my favorite of the three blocked swatches. It relaxed a lot from the bouncy knitted piece, but it also had more of the structure it needed to make this lace behave. So glad I swatched AND blocked in this instance. I’ve been knitting like crazy, and I’m halfway done with the project. No pictures; it’s a secret for now.

Speaking of plummy, my friends offered me plums from their super-productive tree again this year. I picked two colanders full, which was enough for two batches of jam.

yellow plums

I thought I’d come up with my perfect plum jam last summer. That was before I had some plum bourbon jam on a mini-doughnut at Pip’s Original Doughnuts. And over the year I’d also decided that I like a more traditional pectin set for plum jam. (Pomona’s is still my go-to for strawberry, and no pectin at all for raspberry.)

pdxknitterati bourbon plum jam

After the first batch, I went for the trifecta of favorite things: Plum, bourbon, crystallized ginger. Heaven. Not particularly boozy, but a extra depth of flavor that plain plum jam doesn’t have.

Notes for myself:

6 cups chopped plums
1/4 c water
Bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 box Sure-Jell pectin for less sugar (pink box) mixed with 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to boil.

Add
4.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Boil 1 minute per pectin package drections, water bath process for 10 minutes (sea level).

Yum.

I must be an extravagant measurer, or maybe I should re-measure my plums after the first simmer, which I don’t, but I always end up with a bit more jam than I’m expecting. I can only process 8 jars with my stockpot/orange silicone trivet setup, and that’s my expected yield. Maybe it’s the added bourbon, ginger, water? Anyway, the extra jam goes into a jar and into the fridge. I had extras from 2 batches in the fridge, so I did this.

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Plum bourbon jam ice cream. It was a good reason to use the ice cream maker the kids gave to me a couple years ago. And they were coming for dinner!

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Tastes as good as it looks!

Inspired by Erica’s recipe, but I doubled it and adjusted it for sweetness:

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup plum bourbon jam
up to 1/4 cup sugar, to taste

Mix milk, cream, jam. Taste! Adjust sweetness as desired. Process in ice cream maker 25-30 minutes. This is a soft set; I put the ice cream in a storage container in the freezer for a couple hours before serving for a firmer set. Delicious. In a perfect world I might make a custard base for a smoother texture, but that would mean more work. I wonder if I’d like it with half and half instead of cream? This is like swatching, with food! But I’m guessing that laziness will win out, and this simple version is probably how it will always happen at my house.

I think this would be spectacular with strawberry balsamic jam, with some additional sugared strawberries thrown in. Just sayin’.

So, extravagant swatching, blocking, measuring, eating! What is your extravagance this summer?

Pink…yarn, wine, and a PDX bridge ramble

I’ve just bound off and blocked a new design project.

Black Trillium Lilt

Such pretty leftovers! And they kind of go with my wine.

Black Trillium Lilt

I’ve loved every moment of knitting with this gorgeous gradient kit from Black Trillium Fibres. It’s Lilt, an 85/15 superwash merino/silk blend. Very nice. I’ve been intrigued by gradients recently, but this was my very first adventure with one. I’ll be back for more.

It’s a gorgeous day for blocking outdoors. And after my bird poop blocking incident, I’ve devised a way to protect my knits. I can’t show you what I’m blocking, but here’s the scoop.

screen for blocking

I had a roll of this fiberglass screen material in my basement. Once upon a time, I was going to make simple screens to put in our casement windows when they were open. Long story short, it never happened, and then we replaced all the windows a few years ago. (54 windows. Ouch. Love the new ones.) So I cut off a piece and laid it over my blocking project. I put a few extra pins in the project to hold the screen up above it, and a few more pins to hold down the corners. Perfect! And no bird pooped on it…this time.

Portland bridgesSteel, Broadway, Fremont Bridges

We’re having a very lovely summer in Portland. I walked the downtown bridge loop with a friend the other morning. It’s 2.7 miles from the Hawthorne Bridge to the Steel Bridge on the East Side Esplanade, over the Steel, along Waterfront Park on the west side, and back over the Hawthorne.

public pianoPlay me!

A picture perfect day. And we also took a little side trip to see the new Tillikum Crossing bridge, which is scheduled to open September 12. It’s for pedestrians, bicycles, and light rail. No cars. So pretty.

Tillikum Crossing

Yellow plums are ripe; there will be some plum bourbon jam in my near future. What’s on your needles or in your kitchen this summer?

TNNA wrap up

So late, I know! It’s been busy here. First of all, this happened yesterday:

grad

CollegeKid2, Computer Science, summa cum laude. We had to take his picture on the Jumbotron, because we were too far away from the stage to get a non-blurry zoom pic. Yay, technology!

So, TNNA. It was fun! Lorajean (Knitted Wit) had a double booth with three designers featuring designs with her yarns: Debbi Stone, Shannon Squire, and me. Here’s my corner:

pdxknitterati corner

We used my Pointer Hat and Mitts to feature Targhee Shimmer DK and Worsted at Sample It. I knit the hat sample on the plane. There’s nothing like the power of a deadline!

pdxknitterati pointer hat

sample it (just before the doors opened for Sample It)

We saw a lot of people come through the booth! StevenBe loved my Snowy Woods Cowl and LJ’s special Snowy Woods colorway.

snowy woods

Jen Lucas came by to say hello. She was at TNNA to do a book signing with her latest book, Sock Yarn Shawls II.

Jen Lucas

Sometimes you have to leave Oregon to see the Oregonians!

Marie and Vivian from Tangled PurlsMarie and Vivian from Tangled Purls in Salem

Sonia from StashSonia from Stash in Corvallis

Jackie from Northwest Wools was there, too, but I didn’t catch her picture. Somewhere on Instagram is a great picture of her napping in Skacel’s yarn teepee!

Skacel teepee

Skcel teepee inside

I sold all my look books (catalogs) and took orders for more. Yay! There were so many lovely yarns and I am inspired to design. all. the. things. I wore my new Summertime Blues for most of the weekend; it was the perfect weight for the air conditioned convention center.

Summetime Blues pdxknitterati

My favorite thing I bought over the weekend? This cute project bag from Binkwaffle. (Product research, right? I want them to do a pdxcarpet bag…they probably think I’m nuts.)

binkwaffle bag

You can hang it on your wrist and keep knitting as you walk. Reversible, and no hardware other than the giant grommit to pass the handle through. No snags!

I’m so grateful to Lorajean for having me in her booth. I got her a Pyrex bowl to feed her pyrex obsession as a thank you…

LJ and FJ

What a fun crew! JJ Foster was also there; she reps for LJ and also had her Buttonhole! Buttons in the booth.

Shannon JJ Me

elevator panorama (Elevator pano of all the booth babes)

An exhausting, fun, productive weekend. Now I’m back to work, but I’ll share the rest of these pics…

Jeni's Sun popped corn and darkest chocolate ice creams. So good.

Jul buttonA cool way to use a Jul button to wear a small triangle shawlette.

feltedFelting!

And the obligatory #pdxcarpet and Mount Hood pix, of course.

pdxcarpet

Mount Hood

New: Summertime Blues Wrap

I’ve just released my Summertime Blues pattern. This wrap/poncho is a perfect summer accessory. Knit in fingering weight yarn, it is light and sleek and swingy, especially in a wool/plant fiber blend. It features two sets of lacy leaves, twining up the side.

pdxknitterati summertime blues

I knit this with Knitted Wit’s Shine, a 50/50 merino tencel blend. It’s a gorgeous, shimmery, drapey wonder.

The length and width of this wrap are easy to customize to your perfect size. The wrap shown is 21″ wide by 31″ long, modified from the instructions which are for a 19″ wide wrap.

pdxknitterati summertime blues

This pattern is available on Ravelry, page link here: Summertime Blues Use coupon code BLUESFEST for 20% off through June 7, 2015.

I just finished knitting a second one, same color, but with beads. A little shorter, because I’m shorter than my model! I’ll be wearing it at TNNA this weekend. What are your plans? More knitting?

Criss Cross, encore

I’ve added a cowl pattern to my Criss Cross Accessories Collection.

pdxknitterati criss cross cowl

This is in Knitted Wit’s new Shimmer Worsted yarn. It’s 80/20 Targhee and silk. The wool is all sourced and processed in the USA. It’s bouncy, slightly rustic, and a pleasure to knit with. This color is called Kiss and Teal. Fun!

Any single pattern from the collection is $6, or you can purchase the entire collection for $10. Here’s a link to the Ravelry page.

Knitted Wit’s Shimmer comes in DK weight, too. I think I showed you my Pointer Mitts I knit with Liberally Bleeding Heart.

pdxknitterati pointer mitts

Both of these are going to TNNA for Sample It and Cash and Carry through Knitted Wit. They’re great yarns.

pdxknitterati sophie's rose

This version of my Sophie’s Rose in Knitted Wit’s Single Fingering (Enchanted Forest and Salted Caramel) is going as a display model. (Thank you, Cindy, for knitting! It blocked like a dream.)

And I have one more new design, in Knitted Wit’s Shine, but that’s not ready to show you until tomorrow, maybe. It’s very lovely. So lovely, I’m knitting another version for me, with beads. Racing to see if I can get it finished! Halfway there and counting…

What are you knitting now?

Tilt Shift Wrap pattern release and KAL

The Tilt Shift Wrap is live!

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

This wrap features an intriguing woven cable that is knit through itself rather than simply crossed. It is knit flat in one piece with DK weight yarn, then folded and seamed. An edge cable mimics the undulations of the tilting stitches. Complicated? 80% of the rows are just soothing stockinette stitch. This design is perfect for semisolid tonals.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

You could call it a poncho, but I don’t want to give you flashbacks to the 1970’s. So we’ll call it a wrap, and just keep that P word our little secret.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

The pattern includes a link to a video tutorial for the woven cables. Easy peasy!

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

To celebrate this pattern launch, I’m offering $1 off through March 31. Get it while it’s hot! Use coupon code CABLE for the discount. Here’s a link to the pattern page.

I’m hosting a knitalong (KAL) through my Ravelry PDXKnitterati group beginning April 1. And we’re planning an in-person get together at Wool ‘n’ Wares, for those who can make it. I’ll post details on that soon. Edit: Wool ‘n’ Wares KAL party will be Friday, April 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. They’re located at 21580 Willamette Drive, West Linn, OR 97068. Be there if you can!

I knit the green version in Malabrigo Rastita, color Solis. It’s a lovely single ply, slightly felted yarn. Sarah Peery knit the purple version in Black Trillium Fibre Studio Sublime, color Tyrian. Three 100g skeins of either will make a nicely sized wrap. Thanks to Sarah for knitting (and photographing), and Melanie at Black Trillium Fibre Studio for the lovely yarn.

Hope you’ll come knit along!

Knitting in time out…

on the way to the frog pond.

I took some knitting to our annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast last week. I had 5 skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo in Purpuras that I bought to knit a sweater, and realized I would never get around to the sweater. I only needed 3 skeins for the second sample knit of my new design (coming soon). I had knit through one skein of Arroyo, and started the second skein. These yarns aren’t the same color. Rookie Malabrigo mistake; I should have checked more closely when I bought them.

Mal mismatch

So I opened the skens and compared colors, and chose the next one to knit. And that’s when I realized…these yarns aren’t even the same weight. I think some Rios (worsted weight) got tagged as Arroyo (sport weight). I have 3 skeins of the heavier, and two skeins of the lighter. Unfortunately, I need 3 skeins for this project, and I started with one of the lighter skeins, which means…

No go. Rats.

Malabrigo Rastita Sabiduria

After coming home, I consoled myself by picking up some Malabrigo Rastita at Wool ‘n’ Wares during my trunk show for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. Very similar color, and I checked color AND weight before purchasing!

What did I do at Crafty Moms weekend, without this project? I worked on my Fern Shawlette for the XOXOKAL,
pdxknitterati fern shawlette

enjoyed some magnificent sunsets,

beach sunset 2

Twin Rocks sunset

walked on the beach with friends,

crafty shadows

ring around the sun(ring around the sun, and Twin Rocks)

pelagic gooseneck barnacles(pelagic gooseneck barnacles on driftwood)

pelagic gooseneck barnacles(gooseneck barnacles and acorn barnacles)

gooseneck barnacles on driftwood

and played with beads. I was very pleased with this beaded, knotted necklace and earrings,

bead play

and these earrings, too.

earrings

Carole made these sweet necklaces and earrings.

necklaces

And Lisa made a bracelet and necklace at her first Crafty Moms weekend.

Lisa's necklace

We had 14 moms at the beach, and all had a good time! This was the 13th year for some of us. It’s always nice to spend some time away with friends. How was your weekend?

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.

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!