Category Archives: yarn

OFFF 2014 is just around the corner

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is coming right up! September 27-28, and there are workshops on Friday, September 26, too. I’m teaching two classes, Blocking on Friday afternoon and Tink Drop Frog: Fixing Mistakes on Saturday afternoon. These are expanded versions of classes I teach in yarn shops, and we’ll have three hours to go through even more fun and demonstration on both of these topics. I hope you’ll join me.

If you’ve already mastered these knitterly topics, there are a lot more fiber-related classes available; you can see the full list here. Taking classes at OFFF is fun, and encourages the organizers to keep offering them from year to year. If you want more knitting classes, sign up for knitting classes! The same goes for spinning, weaving, felting, livestock management…The early registration deadline requires a postmark by September 5. This is the make or break day; if a class doesn’t have the minimum number of students by the registration deadline, the class won’t be offered. You can sign up for classes at OFFF, but only if they make the minimum by the early deadline, so why wait?

What else is fun at OFFF? Well, there are the adorable animals.

shetland

baby

And the vendors! I love shopping the booths at OFFF. I’ve purchased spindles, yarn, fiber, books. There are vendors both outside on the lawn, and in the exhibition halls. (These pictures are from previous years.)

UntitledKnitted Wit on the lawn

Untitled
Sincere Sheep, on the lawn

StitchJones
StitchJones inside

And you can always find people to knit and spin with.

turkish

spinners

So mark your calendar, and I’ll see you there, either in class, or shopping, or on the lawn spinning or knitting, or?

And here’s a teaser for you: My Snowy Woods Cowl KAL casts on September 1. I’m extending the discount on the Snowy Woods pattern through Thursday September 4; use the discount code FROST when checking out to get $2 off your pattern. Here’s the link to the pattern page on Ravelry. You can join the KAL on my Ravelry page for chatter and support.

snowy woods cowl

Check back tomorrow, September 1, to learn how to avoid running out of tail for your long tail cast on!

New Snowy Woods Cowl pattern and KAL

The Snowy Woods Cowl pattern is now available! Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” was the inspiration for this piece. It is knit with heavy worsted to Aran weight yarn, and can be made in several lengths.

snowy woods cowl

snowy woods short

The shortest version takes just one skein of yarn. The medium and long versions require two skeins.

Snowy Woods Cowl

Snowy Woods Cowl

My favorite is the long cowl, doubled. It feels especially luxurious around my neck.

Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit dyed her Aran weight Superwash Merino in a special colorway for me, Snowy Woods. We’re celebrating this pattern release with a knitalong and hope you’ll join us! The pattern is $2 off with the coupon code FROST. If you’d like to order yarn for the KAL from Knitted Wit, she’ll ship for free with code Shipnow. Both of these offers are good through September 1, 2014. Don’t wait too long, though; we’re casting on September 1!

snowy woods kal
KAL colors Tupelo Honey, Cedar, Snowy Woods, Oregon Sky.

You can purchase the pattern through Ravelry (click the link). Don’t forget to use your coupon code FROST for $2 off, whether or not you want to participate in the KAL.

New to cabling? I’m having a 2 session class at Twisted in Portland September 30 and October 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Here’s the link to my Ravelry group for the KAL. We’ll cast on September 1. I hope you’ll join us!

Spinners, weigh in! #tourdefleece

So, spinners, do you have a yarn goal in your head before you start spinning? The reason I ask:

image

This is my first real yarn. I’ve played with the spindle before, but this is 4 ounces of fiber, turned into about 75 yards of single ply. I spun this on my Jenkins Turkish spindle.

It appears that I have made two different yarns here. When I started, I was trying to make a heftier single than my default accidental laceweight. Some of this yarn does that; it’s kind of like Malabrigo Worsted in heft and twist.

image

The later yarn from this spinning is thinner and twistier, because I was afraid my fat singles were underspun. This thinner yarn would be great plied because some of that twist would reverse in the plying, right?

image

This was all a grand experiment. But it’s like I have two different yarns in the same skein. And the first fatter singles weren’t underspun after all. The twist is lovely after washing and drying.

I also played with the mystery fiber that was at my house (leftover from a kids’ felting experiment). I used my Kundert top whorl spindle because it can handle a much bigger cop. The single was twisty, and then I wound a two-strand plying ball with my ball winder so I could ply it on the spindle. It’s pretty, yes? It’s only about 16 yards, 2 ply worsted to Aran weight. But pretty consistent! I like the barberpole look in the skein, but I’m not sure I’d like it knit up.

image

I think all of this means that I need to decide what I want this BFL from Knitted Wit to be, before I start spinning it.

image

I think because it has so many colors and I don’t want barberpole, I should aim for either a fat single ply, or a skinny yarn I can chain ply to preserve the color runs. I’m not sure which one I’m more likely to be able to do successfully.

This is as much fun as planning a knitting project. Everything is possible, until you start and then doors start to close…

Spinners, help me out. Am I on the right track?

New pattern: Beanstalk Scarf and Mitts

Beanstalk is live! Cathy Woodcock at Lantern Moon gave me a skein of Indochine to play with last February. I wanted to design something that made the most of this single skein of luscious yarn. That something turned out to be a skinny scarf.

pink

I love the way the stitch pattern blocks out in silk. But a scarf alone didn’t seem to be enough, so I designed some coordinating mitts. Just one more skein!

beanstalk set

right

The thumb gusset grows out of one of my favorite leaf motifs, the same one that I used in my Garland shawl.

beanstalk mitts - Copy (800x533)
This photo is from Sarah Peery, who test knit this set for me.

More information about this pattern is on the Beanstalk pattern page, and on the Ravelry page.

To celebrate the launch of this pattern, I’m offering it for half off through July 22. Use the coupon code BEANSTALK when you check out; here’s the link to purchase through Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member). Go forth and knit!

(Anyone interested in a KAL?)

Tour de Fleece?

Lots of stuff in the works: Design project at test knitter and tech editor (mmmmm, Indochine), design project that’s in time out after two tries, design project that’s just fun fabric to knit, design idea that wants a drapey yarn that’s being dyed up (hello, Knitted Wit Shine!), design proposal that’s cooking in my head, and an upcoming pattern re-release that needs a sample and some math in an alternate yarn. So since I don’t have anything to show you from that list at this moment, what should I show you?

image

Spinning. Of course.

It’s Tour de France season, and that mean’s it’s also Tour de Fleece. I don’t really spin, but all the pretty pictures in my Facebook and Instagram feeds got me inspired. I have a couple spindles, but I was frustrated that my singles get skinnier and skinnier as I spin. My aim for TdF is just to play with techniques and try to get fatter yarn.

I’m working with my lovely Jenkins Turkish spindle; I can control the speed more easily than with my Kundert top whorl spindle, which is really fast. My yarn looks better so far, but far from perfect.

image

I chain plied the previous skinny single and a new fatter single. (I think it’s merino and silk. Label is long gone.) One feels like string, and the other feels like yarn. Happier with the new stuff! But a long way to go before I get any consistency.

I saw Lorajean (Knitted Wit) this morning and picked up yarn for the sample I need to knit up, and she sent me home with this:

image

Corriedale pencil roving. So far, it’s easier to spin with (longer staple? already uniform width?); I’m drafting it it just a little bit, and experimenting between park and draft and draft as I spin. It’s all research, right?

image

I like what I’m getting so far. I don’t know if I’ll keep it as a single or chain ply it. I’ll figure that out later.

If you’re wondering why I chain ply instead of two ply, it’s because I don’t have a lazy kate (although I could jerry-rig one; I have before), and also because chain plying keeps the space dyed colors intact instead of mixing them. My sense of order is pleased…

Are you doing Tour de Fleece? Any hints for me and my quest for fatter singles?

Road trip with the Traveling Ewe

It was a fiber-full weekend! On Saturday I went on The Traveling Ewe‘s inaugural road trip. JJ Foster is putting together fiber-related tours, and this one was grand.

image

How awesome that the license plate on our bus said “YARN”? Too funny. Our trip took us out of rainy Portland to the drier side of the Cascades. We shopped at Knot Another Hat in Hood River, a very lovely store with a view of the Columbia River.

image

image

image

We had lunch at Celilo. I’m thinking these hefty picks through my sandwich would make very cute little knitting needles.

image

From there we hopped back on the bus and visited Cascade Alpacas of Oregon, which has a cute little yarn shop and even cuter alpacas. Thomas demonstrated spinning and weaving for us.

image

image

And Connie told us about raising alpacas.
image

Can you get more bucolic than this?

image

Snack time!

image

This cria (baby alpaca) is 2 days old.

image

And this cria is 3 hours old. Check out the wobbly walk!

Our last stop was at Mt. Hood Winery. We sampled some wines, and had show and tell with the day’s purchases. (Angela wins. She did some major shopping!)

image

image

Melissa is going through a blue-green knitting phase. All her yarn seems to match.

image

Mt. Hood made a valiant effort to peek through the clouds. All in all, it was a fun day! JJ Foster has a knack for planning. We had just enough time at all the places we visited, and the bus was a great venue for chatting with other knitters. I’d do this again! You can, too. The next trip is August 16, and will visit Corvallis and Eugene. More details here. Bring knitting you can multi-task with, because you’ll be chatting and laughing the whole time.

Sunday’s fiber fun? Open studio at Knitted Wit; Lorajean is doing this on the second Saturday and fourth Sunday of each month. Stop by and craft, and shop, too. This weekend Lorajean was getting ready for Tour de Fleece. Me? I just knit. Oh, and we are coming up with a very cool color for a pattern I’m releasing soon. I edited and formatted two patterns this weekend. Lots of fun things in the works; I’m looking forward to showing them all to you. Soon!

image

Fiber appreciation starts early!

How was your weekend?

She Who Watches

Last week, I did a quick camping overnight at Washington’s Maryhill State Park. It’s about 2 hours from home, on the other side of the Cascade Mountains. I drove through that area a couple months ago; you may remember my fascination with wind turbines.

image

Still fascinated.

Here’s the daylight view, with knitting.

image

I met up with my friend Vickie so we could visit Tsagaglalal, She Who Watches.

image

She’s a Native American petroglyph that was etched and painted into the rock perhaps 250 to 300 years ago. She Who Watches is located in what is now Columbia Hills State Park in Washington, and is only viewable through a guided walk with the park.

image

Along the way, one can also see other pictographs (rock paintings, as opposed to etchings or carvings).

image
Salmon Shaman

she pano edit

She Who Watches is at the end of this guided walk. Very cool! There are also some petroglyphs that have been relocated to this park from Petroglyph Canyon, which was flooded when the Dalles Dam was built.

image

You can read more about these petroglyphs and pictographs here.

The knitting? It’s the second knitting of the Lantern Moon Indochine, this time in the color Viridian. This piece is done and blocking. On to the companion piece! All will be revealed, soon.

In other news, the blueberries are early this year! Ripe and ready for picking. I made my first cobbler of the season from my favorite recipe that I’ve been using since 1986. You can find the recipe here.

image

It was deiicious, as usual. We had it a la mode, in the back yard, as a belated Father’s Day celebration.

image

What did you knit this weekend? Did you go to Black Sheep Gathering? I’ve never been, but some day…

Just enough yarn

It’s so satisfying to have just enough yarn…

just enough indochine

There was just enough in this ball of Lantern Moon Indochine to finish my project, leaving only 18 inches to spare. Glad I didn’t have to rip out that last repeat. I’ll show you what I made, but first I have an idea to coordinate with it. Soon!

A little more beachiness before moving on. What’s got the seagulls all in a twitter on top of Haystack Rock? Oh, just a couple of eagles looking for lunch…

Just before this, all the common murres took off in a big cloud, fleeing the rock. Apparently they’re the first course for lunch because they’re easy pickings. The gulls eventually ran the eagles off, but it took a while.

I finally found a good clump of starfish; I was getting a little worried that they weren’t as much in evidence as they were last August.

starfish clump at haystack rock

There’s an epidemic of starfish wasting disease on the west coast this year, and it’s made its way to Oregon. I hope the starfish don’t all die out. The ones I saw looked healthy.

One more sunset!

haystack rock sunset gulls

Haystack Rock and Needles at sunset

cannon beach sunset

Back to my knitting, again! The pink Bling is back on the needles, round 2.

backyard knitting

Lantern Moon Indochine yarn…and the coast

I forgot that I have a little ball of Indochine, Lantern Moon’s 100% silk sport weight yarn. Cathy gave it to me when I was on my way up to Madrona in February. I meant to use it in class, but didn’t, and then it got tucked away when I got home. This is a sample color; I don’t see it on their website now.

I brought it to the coast to play with. It’s lovely and luminous; it catches the light and shines it right back at you.

Indochine

My impression so far: This is a gorgeous yarn. It’s 100% silk. There are 12 individual strands, three groups of four. Even with all those strands, it’s not splitty to work with at all, and knits like a dream on a US size 5 (3.75 mm) needle. I tried it first on a 7 hoping for a loose lace, but the stitch definition is much better on a 5. So far, I love it. It comes in 50g/134 yard skeins; Lantern Moon shows it on their website for $19.50/skein. A bit spendy, but oh, so lovely! I’m trying to make a little one skein project out of it; I sure wish I’d brought my yarn scale with me. I guess if there’s not enough, I’ll just have to frog it and have the pleasure of knitting up this yarn again in another incarnation. But for now, I’m counting on the magic of blocking…

I brought four design projects to play with, and I’ve charted three, but this one is the one that has captured my attention. Doesn’t everyone take their knitting on vacation? It’s not Paris, but Cannon Beach is pretty sweet this time of year. I didn’t bring a kite; this is the next best thing.

indochine kite

I found these tiny sand dollars on the beach; that’s my anniversary ring next to them for scale.

sand dollars

I decided to chase the sunset last night, but it wasn’t an original idea.

haystack rock sunset chasers

It was worth it though. I used my Lumix GF6 for this next picture. The rest of the pictures are iPhone5, except the sand dollars, which was iPad. Different toys, um, tools, for different reasons.

sunset haystack rock

And I took a panorama shot with my phone, which turned out nicely, too.

haystack rock sunset pano

Back to my knitting!

Over the Cascades, again

Last Friday I headed over the Cascades again, but this time in Oregon. It was a music getaway weekend with friends, but before everyone arrived, I had a trunk show at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters.

Stitchin Post (photo by Sarah Peery)

We had a great time! It’s always fun to meet knitters in person, and see hand knits up close. The Stitchin’ Post is starting a KAL of my Garland shawl today, so I left a couple samples for the week.

On to music! My new guitar made her debut with my fellow Pie Birds, Claudia and Becky. We played and sang and laughed, a perfect weekend.

The kids dyed eggs while we played more music.

image

And what does any good yarnie do with that leftover egg dye?

image

Of course. I bought a skein of white yarn at the Stitchin’ Post. It’s Juniper Moon Farm Sabine, 30% Royal Llama, 30% Merino wool, and 40% cotton. I was hoping for all animal fiber, but this was luscious. I wound off yarn in approximately 25 yard hanks (around my arm, one uses the tools at hand!). We dip dyed it, squeezing out excess dye after each dip, and then microwaved the yarn for 2 minutes to set the color. A quick rinse after it cooled, and then dried overnight. I was going to wind it into balls after they dried, but decided to leave them as mini-skeins to preserve the color runs. Aren’t they sweet?

image

On Sunday, Claudia and I walked along Whychus Creek. This creek has been restored, and was the subject of the Two Rivers, Three Sisters quilt exhibit that we saw in Portland last year. This panel was my favorite. (Just had to show you, because it took me a while to find this picture in my archives!)

Whychus quilt

Here it is in real life…

image

Whychus Creek, near Sisters, Oregon

image

On the way home, we stopped at Black Butte Ranch so I could get a proper picture of the mountains we saw while driving.

Mt. Washington Mt. Washington

image Three Sisters (Middle Sister is not visible from this viewpoint) and Belknap Crater in foreground

The sight of a snowcapped volcano always takes my breath away. Such beauty in this world, and we get to live in it. :sigh:

In knitting news, I’ve started my Aloha Shawlette for the KAL. It’s going pretty quickly!

aloha kal day 1

How was your weekend? And what are you knitting?