The right tools make knitting so much easier

Back from TNNA and working hard! I’ll do the write up in my next post, but for now I’m knitting away on a lace project obsession.

signature vs addi

I started this last fall, and set it aside because of other deadlines. When I picked it up a couple days ago, it was on a set of Addi Turbo needles. I started knitting and felt like I was fighting to make the lace stitches and m1 increases. The tips were just not pointy enough. Let’s look a little closer…

signature vs addi close

You can see that the tips on the Signature needles (blue) are a bit pointier than the Addis (silver). You wouldn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but it does. These are the regular Signature tips, not the stiletto.

I don’t think I would have put up with fighting the lace stitches for thirty 300 stitch rows last fall. I’m guessing I was knitting on the Signatures, and used the Addis as a stitch holder when I switched projects. I have a habit of swapping needles like that, but I should really make a note of it when I do. Last fall was a long time ago, too long ago to remember details.

I’m also noticing that my gauge with the Addis was looser than with the Signatures, even though they’re both metal. I ripped out the 8 rows I knit these past couple days, partly because of gauge, and partly because of a better idea for some math issues.

Now knitting speedily and happily on the Signatures! They’re the right tool for this project for me. But I have a whole arsenal of needles, because it really depends on the yarn and the kind of knitting. It’s good to have choices! Metal, wood, pointy, blunt…

Do you have a variety of needles, or one particular favorite? What works for you?

(PS: Thanks again to Sarah for the lovely Signatures she gave me several years ago!)

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?

Like Savoire Faire

I’m everywhere! (Who knows/remembers this cartoon?) I’m feeling a little scattered, and focused at the same time. A lot of knit-related stuff going on this month!

Last Saturday, I did an all day workshop for the Tigard Knitting Guild. What a fun bunch of knitters! We did slip stitch mosaic knitting: The basic how to, first flat and then in the round, with several patterns to try. In the afternoon, students designed and started either hats or cowls with this technique.

pdxknitterati knitting

Ha! Those pattern samples were secret gauge swatches! They’d be more accurate over a larger number of stitches, but it was a good starting point. Everyone started on their designs, which I hope to someday see finished and out in the wild.

Tomorrow I’m teaching in Salem at Tangled Purls. Blocking in the morning, stranded colorwork in the afternoon, a trunk show all day, and a meet and greet between classes.

cowl (375x500)Kerfuffle Cowl, stranded colorwork

Non-stranded (slip stitch) and stranded colorwork, bookends to my week. Fun!

I have a new design, Summertime Blues, that I just finished knitting; it’s off to the test knitter and tech editor. I used Knitted Wit’s Shine, a 50/50 merino tencel blend that I’ve knit and loved before. It has great drape and luster. Photos next week; my model is as busy as I am!

I’m getting ready for the TNNA trade show in Columbus at the end of the month; I’ll have some designs featuring Knitted Wit’s yarns in the Knitted Wit booth (including Summertime Blues, when I’m not wearing it). Cindy (@blackmoondog) knit this version of Sophie’s Rose for us, and I blocked it yesterday.

sophie's rose enchanted forest

Knitted Wit’s Single Fingering in Enchanted Forest and Salted Caramel.

sophie's rose blocking

Delicious!

I’m closing in on the last set of criss crosses on my KAL Tilt Shift. This was on the back burner while I finished Summertime Blues, but I’m back on it now. I’d love to get this finished and blocked today so I can wear it this weekend, but it’s all weather dependent. Yesterday was a glorious blocking day, sunny and warm. Fingers crossed!

What have you finished lately?

Music, knits, food, yarn: a quick Seattle trip

I made a quick trip to Seattle at the beginning of the week to meet up with the Piano Babes. We met (mostly) in 2000 at Sonata Piano Camp, and have been friends ever since.

We went to a very interesting concert by the Nord Trio at the Nordic Heritage Museum: Piano, violin, accordion. Yes, accordion. The concert opened with selections from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, and the accordion was beautifully expressive. This is not polka music!

Before the show, we briefly poked around in the Finnish design exhibit, and of course I went looking for fiber fun in the Norwegian folk art rooms. I was not disappointed.

spinning wheels and carding benchspinning wheels and a carding bench

drop spindlesdrop spindles, and a stone whorl from the Iron Age

Selbu mittensSelbu mittens

embroidered mittensembroidered mittens

bobbin lace bobbin lace

And my favorite thing: A man’s folk costume from the Setesdal region, 1920.

norwegian folk costume There is a very traditional sweater under the vest.

sleeve detailsleeve detail

norwegian steeked sleeve You know this sleeve is steeked! Beautiful.

The weeekend also included a beautiful full moonrise,

full moon rising

a windy walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park and along the shoreline of Elliott Bay (downtown Seattle)

EchoEcho

Elliott Bay

Elvis sighting at the PIElvis sighting (see him?)

windy!Windy!

and lots of beautiful food. I won’t post it all, but if you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of it. (I’m pdxknitterati over there, too.)

beet salad at lola

I’m lucky to know this group of very smart, talented women.

On my way home, I stopped at Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation. It is a beautiful shop.

Tolt Yarn

I came home with some souvenirs.

tolt yarn souvenirs

The white yarn is sourced locally in the Snoqualmie Valley and spun at Green Mountain Spinnery. The purple yarn is from Green Mountain Spinnery, so they’re cousins. It’s called Mewesic, so it fits the theme of the Piano Babes weekend. Both are DK weight. I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but they look and feel good together, a little rustic but wooly. I bought the mug for DH; he gets a souvenir, too.

So that was the weekend. Now knitting, knitting, knitting, trying to finish a design sample. Soon!

How was your weekend?

Anna Zilboorg’s Splendid Apparel

just landed in my mailbox!

splendid apparel

Looking forward to savoring this one. It will be like a trip back to History Unwound! Click the link if you missed my review of that wonderful event.

Gotta run. Off to Seattle for some fun with the Piano Babes. I’ll check out the book when I get back…

Upcoming classes, and catching up the blog

It’s been super busy here since I came home from Port Ludlow, Edmonds, Ellensburg. I feel like there’s a mega-post about that road trip that needs to happen, but I haven’t had a chance to process it yet. So I’m going to jump ahead and let you know what’s going on now, and then work backwards. We’ll pretend it’s ballroom dancing or something…

May is shaping up to be a busy month. I’m doing a workshop for the Tigard Knitting Guild on May 9. We’re going to play with mosaic slipped stitch knitting. In the morning we’ll learn how it works, and in the afternoon we’ll design something with it! This is such a great way to play with color, but we only use one color per row. No carrying, no floats.

pdxknitterati knitting

On May 16, I’ll be down in Salem teaching at Tangled Purls. I’m teaching two classes. The first is Blocking: It’s Magic from 10 to noon.

Rosaria edge detail

In the afternoon I’m teaching beginning stranded colorwork with the Kerfuffle Cowl from 1:30 TO 4 p.m. Contact the shop to register for either of these.

pdxknitterati kerfuffle cowl

I’ll also have my trunk show there all day! We’ll have a meet and greet between classes, so come take a class or just say hello.

I’ve been knitting like mad this month. I’m working with Knitted Wit’s new Targhee Shimmer yarn, 80/20 Targhee/silk in DK and worsted weights. The wool is sourced 100% sheep to skein in the USA. I designed a Criss Cross Cowl in Kiss and Teal (to go with the Criss Cross mitts and hat and beret) with the worsted, pattern coming soon. This color is amazing, but it doesn’t photograph well. In real life, it’s a very rich aquamarine, like a deep blue-green emerald.

pdxknitterati criss cross cowl

I knit a pair of Pointer Mitts with the DK, in Liberally Bleeding Heart.

pdxknitterati pointer mitts

These are going to TNNA, the The National Needlearts Association trade show at the end of May. There will also be a Pointer cap to go with the mitts, but a sample knitter is doing that one for me. And a Sophie’s Rose Shawlette in Knitted Wit’s Single Fingering, in Enchanted Forest and Salted Caramel which I’m not knitting, but I’ll block it. Thank goodness for sample knitters!

I’ve also been diligently knitting on my Tilt Shift KAL project. Two skeins down, one left to go. This is very relaxing knitting for me, because it’s 80% stockinette. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and watching TV with it. The KAL has been going on all month, and should be wrapping up this week.

Tilt Shift KAL

I don’t know that I’ll have mine done by then, because I have a design project to finish before TNNA which is higher priority because it has a deadline. Click, click, click…

I also blocked my Fern Shawlette that I knit for my previous KAL. Finally! You’ll note that I’m artfully hiding the ends I have yet to sew in.

pdxknitterati fern shawlette

In my spare time (ha!) my friends Carole, Suzanne, and I put on a tea for 60 on Saturday. Planning, shopping, cooking, plating, serving. And no pictures of the event; I was too busy kitchen wenching. But Sue from Tango Mango came and did a presentation with her collection of vintage purses, which was very cool. Here are just a few.

princess mary purseNote the floral detail at the bottom.

vintage beaded bags

And then there was an Earth Day event on Sunday that required folding some origami cranes, among other things…

origami cranes for earth day

I’ll do a report on the Strung Along Retreat soon. It was great. But I have to wash and block my little swatches from Clara Parkes’ class before I can blog it!

What have you been up to while I’ve been away?

Rosaria shawlette pattern release

It’s been over a year since the Rosaria shawlette had its moment of fame at the 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl Yarn Ball. Time flies!

yarn ball

Originally an exclusive for the Rose City Yarn Crawl, the pattern is now available from PDXKnitterati through Ravelry.

pdxknitterati rosaria

pdxknitterati rosaria

The new pattern includes instructions for enlarging the shawlette, and for optimum placement of beads. Lots of beads.

Rosaria edge detail

To celebrate the re-launch of Rosaria, I’m offering $1 off through April 15, 2015 with coupon code rosegarden. Rosaria pattern page here. If you haven’t knit Rosaria yet, now is the perfect time! It requires two coordinating skeins of fingering weight yarn. Its half-pi construction means minimal fussing with stitch counts.

Have fun! What’s on your needles? I’m working on my Tilt Shift Wrap for the #tiltshiftkal.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

We had fun at the cast on party last week!

tiltshiftkal party

And I have one more design project on the needles. And two in my head. And a sample that needs to be knit. And, and, and…How about you?

Barbie’s fashionable knit wardrobe

This is adapted from a post from 2009. There’s some good stuff back in the archives!

I’ve had this booklet/magazine that’s been on my knitting shelf for what seems like forever.

booklet

This one is a 1965 reprint of a magazine originally published in 1952. It used to belong to my Aunt Vivian, who gave it to me when I was in high school. I remember knitting these slippers!

slippers

My Thrumbelina Thrummed Slippers have a very similar super simple shaping.

thrumbelina thrummed slippers

Check out this dress:

dress

Aunt Vivian used to make clothes for our Barbie dolls. Does this look familiar?

that dress

The sash is long gone. I found this dress, along with some other treasures, at Mom’s house. The other items are from more doll clothing booklets, and I have those, too. Check out what a fashionably dressed Barbie was wearing in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. Stylish sheath dresses:

sheaths

Mohair winter coat, scarf, hat:

the pink

A sequined shell:

shell

And this half of a skater outfit. I love the mohair edging on this. I wonder where the fabulous flared skirt went? I always wanted one just like it for me. I remember sewing dresses with full circle skirts with my Aunt Rose (who later taught me to knit); I loved twirling in them. In college I made a simple full circle skirt with a drawstring waist…out of a bedsheet!

skater

Check out this elegant skirt.

skirt

Especially the waist shaping!

shaping

Aunt Vivian loved to knit and crochet. She made lots of clothes for our dolls, and vests for us. In her later years she knit many, many hats for the homeless. Aunt Rose taught me to knit when I spent the summer with her when I was 14. How lucky was I? Two aunts with crafty skills, one on each side of the family.

Who taught you to knit?

Tilt Shift Wrap KAL party at Wool ‘n’ Wares this Friday

The Tilt Shift KAL begins tomorrow, April 1. Today is the last day to get the special price on the pattern. See pattern page for details.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

I’m hosting the KAL through my PDXKnitterati Ravelry group. Come join for fun and prizes!

And for those who are local, I’m having a cast on/KAL party this Friday April 3 at Wool ‘n’ Wares in West Linn from 1 to 4 p.m.

Hope to see you, in person or on the interwebs!