Category Archives: yarn

Blocking, belatedly

I recently found this sweater at the back of my closet, mostly unworn. I finished this Heather Hoodie at Crafty Moms weekend in February 2011. It was designed as a vest, and I adapted it to include sleeves, because a jacket makes more sense to me than a bulky vest. This is one big bulky sweater, 9.5 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, which means 950 grams, or 33.25 ounces, or nearly two pounds. I think it felt too chunky for me to want to wear it often.

hoodie back

I recently blocked my Edin cardi. I wore it yesterday, and I’m completely happy with it. It’s a perfect fit. The fabric relaxed a bit and it feels like I’m wearing a cloud. Modeled pic someday!

But it gave me a brainstorm: What if I could get the monster cables on this Heather Hoodie to relax a bit, too? I just looked up the Ravelry page to get the link, and it says, “The cable pattern pulls in as you knit, but will relax upon blocking.” I can’t believe I never blocked it, but it was knit at a time before I became a blocking evangelist. Into the sink it went. It soaked up so much water (and ran some excess dye, too), it was really heavy when I hauled it out. I couldn’t just roll it in a towel and expect to get most of the water out, so I put it in my washing machine on delicate and spun it for 30 seconds at a time, rearranging often so it couldn’t stretch out.

heather hoodie blockingblocking

I patted it out to size, and immediately it felt smoother, nicer, more relaxed. The cables no longer pull in. Blocking is magic. Three days later, it’s finally dry, and it fits so much better. What? Two new (ish) sweaters to wear this season?

honey cardi wip

I’m feeling empowered. Maybe I should rip back the almost complete first sleeve on my abandoned Honey cardigan and make them the way I want them (fitted, not belled), and then I’d have three new sweaters…

Go me!

Indie designer: Yarn Intercept Designs

Heladas Hat

Last night I cast on my first Indie Design Gift-Along project, the Heladas Hat. I love the clever 2-color quilted lattice stitch on the wide band. A very fun stitch that adds a lot of interest!


The Heladas (frost) Hat is designed by Beverly S, yarnintercept on Ravelry. I’ve followed Beverly’s blog for many years; back in 2011 she even interviewed me for her blog!

Beverly is a middle school math teacher who also designs knitting patterns. She’s not afraid to use math in her design work! She designs accessories: hats, mitts, socks, and shawls. Her asymmetrical Bricktown Shawl is a very appealing use of slipped stitches and eyelets using two complementary yarns.



I had been planning to cast on Beverly’s Frozen Spires Cowl. This lovely cabled cowl would be perfect for the extra skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted that’s left over from my Edin cardigan. Even better, I have an extra 1/5 skein from the sweater, so I can make this cowl one repeat bigger and even squishier than the original seen here.

frozen spires

And I still may. But right now, the hat is humming along. I’m using Malabrigo Arroyo in Purpuras and Borrajas, and I love the way it looks.

Malabrigo Arroyo purpuras y borrajas

Check out these designs and more on Beverly’s Ravelry designer page. And stock up during the Indie Designer Giftalong sale!

(All photos by Beverly S/Yarn Intercept Designs, except my cast on.)

FO: Edin cardigan

I love a good finished object! This is my Edin Cardigan, pre-blocking.

Edin, pre-blocking

I gave it a light steam block so I could take a photograph for the ChicKnits KAL. Here you can see that the band on the left is unblocked, and the one on the right is steamed a bit.

Edin bands

I love how the whole thing begins at the back of the neck.

Edin back neck

I wet blocked it 2 days ago, and it’s still drying in the sunroom.

Edin blocking

Almost dry! It relaxed a bit, gaining an inch in width and an inch in length, both of which are good things. (Did I wash and block my swatch? No. But I did swatch, and I use this particular yarn a lot, so it behaved according to plan.)

Here are the details:

Edin, design by Bonne Marie Burns of ChicKnits
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Continental Blue, 4.8 skeins
Needles: Hiya Hiya US 7
Began Oct. 13, finished Nov. 14. Quickest sweater ever for me.

I really enjoyed knitting this; Bonne Marie’s pattern is well written and easy to follow. Edin as a top down cardigan, mostly stockinette except for the lace bands that look like cables. So pretty! Stockinette is great for multi-tasking knitting; I did a lot of reading while knitting this.

Edin magic loop sleeve

I also perfected my magic loop technique while knitting the sleeves. I knit the first one last month in Sisters, Oregon, where my yarn was the same color as the sky.


At least on the first day. The next day was quite frosty in the morning.

Sisters morning

While I was in Sisters, I had the opportunity to meet up with Sarah and Paula at the Stitchin’ Post. Good times.

Sarah me Paula

I have 1.2 skeins left of this glorious blue yarn, and I’m planning to make a cowl in the Indie Designer Gift-Along on Ravelry, which starts Thursday. I’ll post about that in a few days.

Knitters’ tea party, prize winners

Tea and knitting, a winning combination. When a table is set with yarn as part of each place setting, you know it’s going to be good. (Yarn is from my stash, which needed thinning. Everybody wins!)

tea and yarn

My buddy Carole and I put on a knitters’ tea for a friend’s fund raiser in Salem on Sunday. I brought a small trunk show with me so knitters could touch and feel and try things on. I forgot to take a picture, sorry.

plum deluxe tea

Our teas were from Plum Deluxe: Andy Hayes is an online tea blender and purveyor based here in Portland. Our two teas were Afternoon “High Tea” Tea, a lightly caffeinated tea with notes of peach and pear, and Everything is OK Herbal Tea. They were both delicious. The teas arrived in this signature purple packaging, which smelled wonderful! I kept sniffing it. Andy also provided us with a goody bag of 2 teas as a door prize. And his postcards made our table that much prettier; you can see them in front of the yarns in the table picture above. Thank you Andy!

As always, we began with scones, butter, clotted cream, and jam. The jams are from my kitchen; we had yellow plum bourbon, red plum with Krupnik (a spiced honey liqueur), and strawberry balsamic. Again, I forgot to take a picture, but I was busy!


Next come the savories: Clockwise from left: Cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad in lettuce cups, pear and gorgonzola crostini, caramelized onion and feta tarts.

Conversations about knitting, and then come the sweets. First,

pdxknitterati trifle mini wine glass

English trifle in mini wine glasses. I love these little glasses, we use them for lots of desserts. Carole and I each have a set, so we have 24 readily available. And she gave some to her other friends, too, so we have at least 48 if we need them! That’s smart gifting…

high tea sweets

The rest of the sweets: Clockwise from upper left: chocolate chip shortbread, pumpkin tarts, lemon bars, and chocolate truffle drops in the center.

pdxknitterati knitters tea

It was a lovely afternoon with knitters. Note that Donna on the right is wearing her Zen Rain Shawlette. I love it when knitters wear my designs! Thanks to all for a fabulous time.

And now, drum roll please: The winners of the Lobelia Shawl-inspired giveaway are: Emme for the Mint Mojito yarn and a copy of my Fern Lace Shawlette pattern, and Noreen for the Huckleberry yarn and Pacific or Lobelia. I’ll be in contact with you to arrange your prizes! Thanks to everyone for their very kind comments. Thanks for playing!

Lobelia shawlette pattern and yarn giveaway

Thanks for the warm welcome for Lobelia! I love this shawl and shawlette, and I’d like to share the love.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

lobelia shine tugboat

As you can see, Lobelia looks great in both gradients and semi-solids. I have these two lovely semi-solids from Knitted Wit from my stash. Both are 4 ounce skeins of fingering weight 100% superwash merino. I’m not sure of the yardage, but I’m guessing that there is at least 437 yards in each skein (label is for 100 yards, but these are heavier than that).

knitted wit superwash merino fingering

Sooooo, the giveaway. One skein of yarn in the color of your choice, plus a pdf download of either Lobelia, or one of my other single skein shawl/shawlette patterns. Which color speaks to you? Mint Mojito? Or the purple, whose name I’ve forgotten? Huckleberry, maybe? Which pattern? Leave a comment and let me know which color/pattern combo is calling your name!

To make this easier, here are links to my single skein shawls/shawlettes. You can also click their names on the sidebar.

Lobelia (bottom up crescent) (sideways)
Webfoot (bottom up crescent)
Filigree (bottom up crescent)
Ooh La Lace (botom up crescent)
Fern Lace (sideways)
Zen Rain (top down, wide, shallow, fun!)
Pacific (top down extended wingspan triangle)

I’ll choose a winner at random for each color on Monday, November 9. Remember, you need to name both a color and a pattern for your entry to be valid. Have fun and good luck! And remember: The Lobelia pattern is still on sale for 20% off with coupon code GRADIENT through Sunday, Nov. 8.

ETA: Winners posted! Congrats to Noreen and Emme.

Introducing: Lobelia Shawl and Shawlette

Remember the lovely gradient yarns I showed you this summer? Two of them turned into the Lobelia Shawl and Shawlette.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawl

This is the Lobelia shawl in KnitCircus Thrilling, Starry Night. I used a 150g/575 yard skein and loved every inch of it. The continuous gradient shades gently through the lacy lobelia flowers. 150 grams makes a shawl you can really get cozy in.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawl

But what if you only have a standard 100g/400 yard skein? This is the Lobelia shawlette in KnitCircus Greatest of Ease, Come What May, 400 yards. Not quite as big, but very lovely. Perfect when you need a little something.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

Not into gradients? Lobelia also looks great in a semi-solid color.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

This is the Lobelia shawl knit in Knitted Wit’s Shine in Tugboat, 50/50 Superwash Merino/Tencel.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawl

These shawls begin at the lacy edging. The crescent is shaped with simple short rows. No wrapping at the turns is required. I’ve used this this shaping before, in my Ooh La Lace, Filigree, and Webfoot Shawls. This one is slightly modified from that classic shaping, in order to not run out of yarn before finishing the crescent shaping. I learned a new trick!

This pattern is available for $6 USD. Link to the Ravelry page is here. Pattern is 20% off with coupon code GRADIENT through November 7, 2015.

So, over the summer I knit three versions of this shawl, using 1385 yards. That’s more than 3/4 of a mile! And I have another gradient project in the works…mmmm, gradients!

Cruise control knitting

I worked on six designs this past summer, and now it’s time for a little (almost) mindless knitting. I had a sweater quantity of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in my stash.

Malabrigo Merino Worsted Contintental Blue

It wasn’t meant to be stashed; I was going to make Lempster when I saw it in Knitty last year. But it never happened. This is why I try not buy yarn until I’m absolutely ready to cast on. The road, the good intentions…you know.

But at knit nite earlier this week I was talking about my Honey Cardigan that I just can’t get the enthusiasm to finish.

honey cardi wip

I don’t know; is it the bell shaped sleeve that I already know I don’t like? I’m almost done with the first one, and it’s meh. I need to rip the sleeve out and start that part over as something more fitted. But you know how exciting an old project is.

I didn’t want to have to keep my eyes glued to a chart for Lempster, so I went hunting on Ravelry for a sweater at 18 sts/4inches. I’ve cast on for Bonne Marie Burns’ (ChicKnits) Edin. This is a raglan that starts with a provisional cast on at the center neckband. After the neckband is set, stitches are picked up and the raglan shaping begins. I got that far on Tuesday night so I could take this to jury duty on Wednesday morning. This is perfect knitting for me; a little bit of (easily memorized) lace to hold my interest, and lots of stockinette between markers so I can read while I knit.

Edin raglan shaping

There’s a lot of hanging out and waiting in the jury pool room, a perfect place to knit. Last night I made it to the point where the sleeves are separated out. What’s your go to cast on for the underarm portion on a raglan? I’ve used the simple backwards loop cast on before, but I hate how it stretches out when you go to work it on the next round. I remembered that I learned a different cast on in a sweater shaping class with Faina Goberstein last winter at Madrona. I was so captivated by it that I did a little video on my iPhone, and it was still there. I’ve uploaded it to YouTube so you can use it, too. You can hear class going on in the background. Sorry, no pretty manicure in this video!

It makes a firmer edge, which I like. It still stretches a bit as you work the first row, but it’s much better.

raglan cast on

Edin wip

After separating out the sleeves, it feels like this is going much quicker, and it was already quick! Wish me luck in keeping up this pace. I really want to wear this. I know that this soft single spun yarn will get pilly with wear, but I’ll put up with that because I love it, and I can always use one of those sweater shavers to tidy things up. Do you have a recommendation on those? I have an ancient Sweater Stone, but I’ve never liked it…

Snowy Hat Collection is live!

snowy woods hat

I’m pleased to be one of the six designers of the Snowy Hat Collection by Knitted Wit. My contribution is the Snowy Woods Hat.

snowy woods hat detail

The pattern is available individually, or in the Snowy Hat Collection e-book, or in the Snowy Hat Collection kit from Knitted Wit (limited time offer).

photo by Stefan Lombard, by Stefan Lombard,

The Snowy Hat Collection is a true Portland collaboration. Local hand-dyer Knitted Wit created 6 new snowy-inspired yarn colors, 6 Portland designers created unique and wearable hat patterns inspired by these new colors, and local ceramics company jamPDX created mugs to coordinate with the collection. Kits will be available for a limited time through Knitted Wit starting October 1st, and they include the following:
• one skein either Knitted Wit Worsted OR Targhee Shimmer Worsted in your choice of one of six Snowy colors:
o Cedar – green
o Lump of Coal – dark grey
o Winterberry – red
o Tinsel – light grey
o Snowy Woods – blue
o Frozen – turquoise
• one Ravelry code for download of Ebook, which includes 6 patterns:
o A Salty Salute – Star Athena
o Drifted – Debbi Stone
o Siskiyou – Lee Meredith
o Snowy Peaks – Shannon Squire
o Snowy Woods – Michele Lee Bernstein
o Winter Crocus – Katherine Leek
• one jamPDX Snowy Mug
• three hand-blended teas from Happy Rock Coffee
• 10% of proceeds from the sale of kits through 12/31/15 will go to Raphael House of Portland, a domestic violence agency and emergency shelter.

I designed my hat as a companion piece to my Snowy Woods Cowl, which features additional intertwining cabled trees as well as the fir trees on this Snowy Woods Hat.

snowy woods cowl for hat

Here’s the whole hat collection:


I hope you knit a Snowy hat! I’m especially in love with the crisp texture of the Targhee Shimmer Worsted (80/20 Super Wash Targhee Wool/Silk). Enjoy!

A couple more OFFF finds

I taught my Fern Lace Shawlette class at OFFF, and showed my students my Altoids tin bead management system.

pdxknitterati bead tin

I’d noticed that my Bead-Aid wasn’t sticking to the top of my magnet as well as I would like. The enameling on this magnet from my kids’ magnet set was pretty, but interfering with function. When I saw needle minder magnets from A Needle Runs Through It in the Knitted Wit booth, I had to have one.

needle minder

I chose the sheep. Of course. These are actually meant for cross stitch, but they’re perfect for Bead-Aids, too. Maria also makes beautiful project bags. Go check out her Etsy shop!

pdxknitterati bead tin

Perfect fit, and the magnet is super strong so my needle is NOT going to get lost. If you want to make one of these to corral your beading equipment, all you need is an Altoids tin, magnet, Bead-Aid, and a short bead tube. If you want to get fancy, put a piece of fun foam or bead mat in the bottom so your beads don’t rattle so loudly. Keep most of your beads in the tube, and pour out about 20 at a time. If your tin gets dumped, you won’t lose ALL your beads!

What else did I get?

Alexandra's Crafts  Double Knit Sister

From local dyer Alexandra’s Crafts, this a gradient dyed sock blank made up of two strands of fingering weight knit double. Normal knitters would knit perfectly matching socks.

Alexandra's gradient

Me? I don’t love knitting socks, but I love fingering weight accessories. This will be some kind of scarf/stole, shading from one end to center and back out again. It’s Duffy’s Fault. I don’t know what the thing is yet, but Duffy made me buy it, and that will be the name. Eventually. Other deadline knitting has to happen first. Queue it up!

I have a new design coming out October 1. It’s a fun Portland designers group project, and I’m really looking forward to showing you one of the many things I knit this summer.

I also have a new shawl design coming out, probably next week. I’ve knit it in two sizes, both in gradient yarns, and also a non-gradient version. They’re like children; I can’t decide which one I like best!

My needles have been super busy, and now you get to see at least some of the fruits of my summer. Soon…

Even more gradient yarn, and pretty food

knit circus come what mayKnitcircus Greatest of Ease, Come What May

The pink is shading ever so gently, getting paler and paler. Heading into cream (why does this look like dessert?); the gray will come later. Pink and white roses, gray rain clouds? Whatever, it’s gorgeous.

Black Trillium Fibres Periwinkle

This is waiting in the wings. Black Trillium Fibres Lilt, in Periwinkle.

In the meantime, there’s been a lot of pretty food! I hosted my annual Pinot & Piano fun-raiser a couple weeks ago. I provide piano and dessert. My co-hosts provide wine and music. It all comes together in a lovely evening for 16 guests. This year’s desserts:

flourless chocolate torteFlourless Chocolate Torte

puff pastry pear tartPuff Pastry Pear Tart, served with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

pomegranate panna cottaPomegranate Panna Cotta

These aren’t as big as they look; they’re served in mini wine glasses.

mini wine glass dessert

Love these glasses for presentation!

baking bagels

Last week Sue (Tango Mango) taught us how to make bagels.


We had them for lunch!

panna cotta

And panna cotta with raspberry sauce for dessert.

What pretty things are you making? Knitting? Food? Other?