Category Archives: yarn

Entrelac madness

I just noticed that Twisted’s sale of the week is all about long color repeat yarns. These are my absolute favorite yarns for entrelac; it looks like you’ve changed colors a million times, but the yarn has done all the work for you!

My Infinity Entrelac Infinity scarf can be knit with any weight yarn, from fingering to Aran. The Mochi line is perfect for these, both Mini Mochi

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mochi cowl

and Mochi Plus. Schoppel-Wolle’s Unisono and Gradient would work, too.

My Athena Entrelac Cowl is meant to be knit in a worsted weight yarn, but Aran is fine. This one is in Mochi Plus. Again, Schoppel-Wolle’s Unisono and Gradient would work, too.

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And my Entrelac Socks are meant to be knit in sport or DK. Zauberball’s Starke 6 (sport weight) would work (these are not Zauberball).

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To make the most of this opportunity, I’m offering 20% off any or all of my three entrelac patterns. Use the code entrelac on the Ravelry pattern page for Athena Cowl, Infinity Entrelac Infinity Scarf, and/or Entrelac socks, now through August 11.

Showtime at TNNA!

I’m not at TNNA…at least not in person. But I’m there in spirit! My Filigree Shawls are at Knitted Wit’s booth for Sample It. Lorajean just snapped this pic for me.

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This is my scarf design that I reworked with a crescent shawl shaping to showcase Knitted Wit’s beautiful Shine yarn (50/50 merino/tencel). I liked the scarf, but I love the shawl. Shapings for scarf and shawl are both included in the pattern.

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The shawl comes in two sizes.

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I love its sister shawl and scarf, Webfoot, too.

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If you’re at TNNA, stop by and see Filigree in person at Sample It tonight, or in Knitted Wit’s booth during the show. Have a great show, all! And have some Jeni’s ice cream for me…

If you’re not at TNNA, you can still knit your own. I’m knitting one for me, right now.

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The siren song…

…of yarn! I’m usually a monogamous knitter. At most, I’ll have two projects, if one takes more brain power than can be managed at knit nite. You should always have some simple knitting for social occasions.

I’m knitting away on my Garland shawl for the KAL. I have six repeats done, and am expecting there to be 17 total. Don’t hold me to that number; my scale will help me figure it out when I get closer to the center. (And the color is much more vibrant than this in real life.)

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I have the pattern memorized, but I don’t know that I’ll be knitting this away from home. It’s about the beads. Having a little dish of beads next to me is just an opportunity to spill! I could probably manage it at knit nite, but not in a car or on the go. So I need a knit nite type of project to take with me.

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This is the beginning of a Filigree shawl for me. It’s Knitted Wit Shine in Silver Lining. I knit a smaller version of this when I designed it for Lorajean to take to TNNA, but I really want a bigger one for me. I have the 20 stitch lace edging repeat mostly memorized, and the pattern PDF lives in my phone, too, so it’s pretty easy to take with me. Once I get to the short row shaping, it’s super simple. Perfect take-along knitting.

But wait, there’s more. I have an idea for another shawl design. I’ve gotten as far as charting out the lace I want. And this Knitted Wit Bling is begging to be cast on, at least for swatching. (Look at the sparkles!) What’s a knitter to do?

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My drawer of fingering weight yarn is overflowing. Casting on would be the responsible thing to do, in order to reduce the stress on the yarn in the drawer. Right? Right? Hello?

How many projects do you have on your needles?

Shortcake, and yarn

I’m still between projects, trying to decide if I’m going to start something before the Garland KAL cast on Monday. I want to have the right needles free when it’s time to start!

The yarn is definitely ready. There was a drive-by yarning here Wednesday.

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My Peacock and Janet’s Moody Blues. And the beads I bought at Shipwreck?

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They look to be a perfect match. I have way more than enough. There are about 150 beads per strand, and I have 6 strands. I don’t know if you can tell, but the beads are clear, with a peacock lining.

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There is still time to join the KAL; we don’t cast on until Monday. The coupon code for the discount on the Garland Shawl pattern is GarlandKAL. Join us! And if you’re local in Portland, join us at Twisted this Monday evening from 5-7 for a cast on party.

What else is occupying my thoughts?

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Strawberry shortcake. (Please excuse the lighting; it was late at night.) Local strawberries are just coming into season, but I haven’t had any yet. I’ve been making do with California berries. Let’s just say I’m practicing for the real thing. Here’s my current shortcake recipe. They’re like my scones, only more butter, and no egg. Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, especially when they’re still warm from the oven. They also reheat well in the toaster oven.

Strawberry Shortcake
serves 8

2 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar (or more, to taste)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or both

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and 3 T sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and then blend them into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Combine milk and vanilla and add to flour mixture; stir until just combined.

Using your hands, gently divide mixture into 8 equal size balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 – 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Cool on a rack, just a bit. To serve, split a warm shortcake in two, and serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or both.

What’s your favorite summer dessert?

Garland Shawl cast on options

I’m planning my cast on for the Garland KAL. My prototype shawl is very wide and shallow. I’d like to make my next one deeper, like test knitter Rachel’s, but also as wide as it can be with the amount of yarn I have. I was conservative with Rachel’s test knit to make sure the deeper shawl would be wide enough with about 400 yards of yarn, even though the Cashy Lite was 495 yards.

How do you know if you should make the wider, shallower shawl, or the narrower, deeper shawl? Part of it depends on how you like to wear your shawl.

If you have about 400 yards of yarn, your deeper shawl will probably be most comfortable worn centered on your back. The ends don’t provide a lot of overlap for wearing this like a scarf. Rachel’s shawl took 390 yards at 6 st/inch.

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Photo May 13, 3 26 34 PM

If you use those 400 yards to make a shallower shawl, you’ll get more overlap at the ends.

If you have 450 yards or more, the shallower shawl will be super wide like my prototype. This one took 455 yards at 5 st/inch. (I’m planning to aim for 5.5 or 6 st/inch next time, for a slightly firmer fabric.)

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It’s luxuriously wrappable, but I don’t know that I’d wear it centered on my back. Maybe if I were taller…

I’m planning to split the difference this time and go deep *and* wide. How?

The pattern instructions tell you how many repeats wide to make your shawl, but you can easily customize this for the amount of yarn you have. This is because the shawl is knit from side to side. You start at the right end, increase towards the center back, and then decrease to the left end. With a little math, you can easily adjust the size of your shawl without fear of running out of yarn.

You’ll need a kitchen scale, one of my favorite knitting tools. Weigh your yarn before you begin. Half of this yarn will go to the increase section of your shawl, and half will go to the decrease section. Weigh your yarn after every 24 row repeat. (Weigh your yarn in grams, because it’s a more precise measure on the scale.) This will show you how much yarn each repeat takes. The amount increases gradually with each repeat, because you’re increasing the number of stitches with each repeat. You’ll need to figure in enough yarn for the center repeat, which has no increases or decreases, but the center repeat will weigh about as much as the repeat before and after it. When you are halfway through that center repeat, you need to have at least half your yarn left for the decreases! (You don’t really need to start weighing your yarn until the 7th repeat, but it doesn’t hurt to know the numbers.)

If you don’t want to do any figuring or customizing, go ahead and knit according to the pattern directions.

So, deep or shallow? What’s your Garland going to be? Beads? No beads? I’m going for beads! I like the bling, and the little bit of extra heft and drape they give the fabric.

I’m looking forward to getting my yarn, Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock. She’s dyeing today! Did you order yarn from Knitted Wit, or are you using your own? If you ordered from Lorajean, I’m tucking in a little goodie for you with your yarn.

KAL stitch markers

Looking forward to casting on, June 10!

Planning a KAL; knit Garland with me!

Thanks for the warm welcome for my new Garland Shawl pattern! It was even on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list on launch day. I happened on it late that night, so who knows how high it went? It was a special thrill to see this!

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I’m really looking forward to hosting the Garland Shawl KAL. I’ve picked my yarn color. I thought I’d be knitting a narrower version of Garland in the same Spring Green as my wide version, but I changed my mind and will be knitting with Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock, another lovely green with blue undertones.

I’ve shopped for beads. There was an impromptu trip to Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA (quite the mothership of beads) last week. I was hoping for size 6/0 or 8/0 Delica beads (they’re little tubes), but they only had size 11, which are too tiny for this project. I bought 6/0 Czech seed beads instead. I’m hoping one of these two colors work. And I bought a few other things, too…

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I’ll be using my Bead Aid to place beads in my Garland. I like this method so much better than the crochet hook method because I don’t accidentally split my yarn while pulling it through the bead. Here’s a chance for a lucky someone to try Bead Aid: Sarah gave me a set of two to give away on the blog. If you’d like a chance to win them, tell me in the comment section. I’ll pick a random winner on May 31. If you don’t win, there’s still time to order some from her; we’re casting on June 10. You don’t have to be part of the KAL to enter, but I’d love it if you’d knit along with me!

I’m planning a blog post on how to get the most mileage out of the yarn yardage you have. And I’m hoping you’ll join my PDXKnitterati Ravelry group; it will be easier to have back and forth discussion over there rather than on the blog. We’ve already got the ball rolling over there. Come join the fun! Not a Raveler? I’ll still answer questions here, too, but it feels like a party on Ravelry.

If you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit, you should know that orders are due by June 1. We’ll ship on June 5 for a June 10 cast on. I’m planning to make some stitch markers to send out with those orders, just for fun.

Not sure about knitting shawlettes? Mary Mooney gives you seven good reasons to knit one. Hey, we’re a trend!

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win the Bead Aids. Or comment on anything else you want to discuss. Knit on!

Garland Shawl and Knit Along

Presenting my newest design, the Garland Shawl!

Garland is a crescent shaped shawl, knit from side to side. The lacy border is knit at the same time as the garter stitch body, which increases from one end to the center and then decreases to the other end. Optional beading along the leaves’ center veins adds sparkle and weight for drape. This shawl can be knit as a wide, shallow crescent, or a deeper, more traditionally shaped crescent. Knitter’s choice!

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The wider shawl is like a big hug. This one is knit in Spring Green, a special order color for the upcoming KAL.

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The narrower shawl sits comfortably on the shoulders when centered, and looks good at a jaunty angle, too. This one is knit in Golden Delicious, and was test knit by Rachel Nichols. Thank you, Rachel!

The shawls are knit with fingering weight yarn. I used Knitted Wit‘s Cashy Lite, a wonderfully squishy blend of 80% merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon, 495 yards/115g/4 oz. Charts and line by line instructions for the lace edging are included.

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To celebrate Garland’s release, Lorajean (Knitted Wit) and I are having a knitalong. Place yarn orders with Knitted Wit by June 1st; orders will ship June 5th in time for the June 10th cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards, and a coupon code for $2 off the pattern on Ravelry. 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 I used for the wider shawl, 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!

If you’d like to participate in the KAL with your own yarn, use the code GarlandKAL and you’ll receive $1 off your pattern purchase, now through June 10, 2013. Note: In order to use a coupon code, you need to go directly to the Garland Shawl pattern page on Ravelry to make your purchase.

Let’s knit! Leave a comment and let me know you’re in!

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.

borders

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!

Dreaming of Paris in May…

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

ooh la lace bronze

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!

Feedly’s a winner! and 5 years of PDXKnitterati means you could be, too

I’ve posted about my angst over Google’s impending shutdown of Reader. I’ve tried several alternatives, and really just wanted something as quick as Google Reader’s titles view for skimming through blogs. Feedly was pretty good, but only offered a titles view in a browser, and I do most of my reading on an iPad. They asked for feedback from Reader refugees, and it sounds a lot of us were looking for this option.

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As of this morning, Feedly’s iPhone and iPad apps now have a Title Only view. Talk about responsive! It’s not an April Fool’s joke. I’ve updated my apps and I. Love. It. I’ve played around with it, and it does what I want. I think it may be even better than Reader; I haven’t figured out all the shortcuts yet. You may have issues with Feedly on a computer, because it requires an extension on your browser, but the extension issue doesn’t bother me. Feedly is working on cloning Google Reader’s API, and says that the transition will be seamless when Reader shuts down on July 1. Sounds good to me. Done!

Hmmm, knitting content. I can’t show you what I’m knitting right now. Sometimes design work means nothing to show, for months and months! But it’s spring, I have a new blog reader, and I just realized that I’ve been blogging for five years as of March 17. That went by in a flash! To celebrate, I’d like to share some yarn with you, because that’s what knitters do.

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This is Knitted Wit Silky ‘n’ Single, worsted weight, 60% Merino/40% Silk, 220 yards, 100g. I don’t know if this color has a name, I got it from Lorajean’s Community Supported Yarn club last year. It hasn’t told me what it wants to be, but maybe it will tell you!

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And this is Three Fates Yarn Eponymous Sock, 2 ply 100% superwash merino, 400 yards, 100g, color Mulch. I chose this rich brown yarn at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival last fall because I had a brown project in mind, but I ended up using a different yarn. I can’t show you that project, either, until later this year, but it turned out just right. But I digress.

Hmmm. Tell me what you think each yarn wants to be, and I’ll do two random drawings to choose the lucky winners. I’ll take comments through next week Monday, April 8. Good luck!