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!

Wontons and crème brûlée

Not a usual combination, but there it is. Sue (Tango Mango) and Mimi came over today for some cooking fun. The idea was that we were going to make crème brûlée, but we knew we’d need lunch, and Mimi wanted to know how to fold wontons. Why not do both?

snacking

We started with a pre-cooking snack. Just to keep our strength up. As one does.

Sue pre-made the custard for the crème brûlée, so she poured it into the cutest shortie wide mouth mason jars and we set them to bake. You’ll have to go to her blog for the actual recipe.

I taught Sue and Mimi my Dad’s wonton folding method. Mimi showed us one that she knew. But only one.

pdknitterati wontons

Recipe is at the bottom of this post. If you want to see folding in action, that’s over at Sue’s blog, too. My hands were too busy, and messy, to take a picture.

pdxknitterati wonton soup

Lunch was delicious! We took an ice cream break at Salt and Straw before torching the crème brûlée.

salt and strawI don’t know these people, but they looked very happy with their ice cream.

We figured out the crème brûlée torch.

pdxknitterati crème brûlée

It was as good as it looks!

pdxknitterati crème brûlée

Here’s the recipe for the wonton soup. I like that it has bok choy and water chestnuts inside the filling; it lightens the texture and gives it crunch. Enjoy!

Wonton Soup
Makes enough for 6 hungry people

¼ lb peeled deveined shrimp, (frozen thawed is fine, and size doesn’t matter since it will be ground)
¼ lb ground turkey breast
6 medium to large shiitake mushrooms (3 for filling and 3 sliced for soup)
1 can sliced water chestnuts (half for filling and half to go in soup)
1 stalk green onion
3 to 6 stalks bok choy (half goes into filling; other half goes into soup) I like baby or shanghai bok choy. If you use the smaller bok choy, 6 stalks; if you use the really big long stuff, 3 is plenty)
snow pea pods, optional, amount of your choosing (I skipped these)

1 egg
¼ tsp five spice powder
½ Tablespoon oyster sauce

1 package wonton wrappers
1 48 oz box reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

Start your broth, water, 3 sliced mushrooms in a large soup pot. This can heat while you prepare wontons; when it boils bring it down to a simmer.

I have a small food processor, so I chop things sequentially. This also lets me avoid chopping the vegetables too finely; we want some crunch.

Chop and place into a large bowl: the shrimp, turkey (already ground), 3 mushrooms, ½ can water chestnuts, half the bok choy, green onion. Combine eggs, 5 spice, and oyster sauce and add to bowl, Mix all ingredients well. (does it need a little more 5 spice? give it a sniff; it should smell divine. I tried to measure but usually guess.

Fold wontons! I put a little less than a tablespoon of filling in each wonton. Fold on the diagonal, then use the back of your spoon to put a dab on the fold next to right side of the filling (on the outside), give a little twist and fold to bring the underside of the left side of the filling mound to the dab on the of the right side of the filling mound. Sounds confusing, I know. Sue took pictures of the process, so check here.

Bring broth back to a boil. Add wontons and remaining water chestnuts and mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes, reducing heat to a low simmer when soup begins to boil again (don’t want to jostle the wontons too much and have them fall apart!). After 4 minutes, add the remaining bok choy (sliced in 1 inch pieces on the diagonal) and pea pods. If you have extra shrimp, now is the time to put them in the soup, too. Stir occasionally to get the vegetables down into the soup. Soup is ready in about 3 more minutes. Don’t overcook; it gets sloppy!

If this is more food than you need, you can store the extra filling in the fridge for a couple days, and make fresh wontons again.

Bon appetit!

2015 Rose City Yarn Crawl Recap, finally

RCYC 2015 is in the history book. Yes, it was almost two weeks ago; I’m still trying to catch up with myself! I only made it to six of the 15 shops, but enjoyed each of the ones I did visit.

I started the Crawl on Thursday with a trunk show at Wool ‘n’ Wares. The lovely ladies there wore their Rosaria Shawlettes (my design for last year’s MKAL) to welcome me. Sweet!

pdxknitterati rosaria shawlette

Cali came by to say hi in person, wearing her lovely modified 2015 RCYC MKAL shawl. We had bonded through Instagram (are you on IG? I’m pdxknitterati) because I had diagnosed her non-lacy YO’s over there. Solution? YO in the other direction around the needle. Voilà, lacy YO’s! (Sorry for the blurry pic; it’s the only one I have.)

throwstyler

Sunday dyed her hair to match her beautiful shawl. That’s impressive dedication!

Sunday's shawl

This little guy was definitely a yarn crawler.

yarn crawler

I bought this Malabrigo Rastita to replace the yarn in the soon to be frogged project (see previous post). The color is very similar.

Malabrigo Rastita Sabiduria

My new Tilt Shift wrap made its unofficial debut. It’s very fun to wear. Here it is on Brigitte.

pdxknitterati Tilt Shift

We’re planning a KAL for it when the pattern is published, hopefully by the end of the month. It’s being test knit now. We’ll have a kick off party at Wool ‘n’ Wares when the time comes. Thanks to Vickee and Karen for hosting my trunk show, and for hosting the upcoming KAL kick off! Stay tuned for details…

On Friday, I visited Pearl Fiber Arts with Mary, and picked up some goodies for KAL prizes. I especially love these shawl pins.

shawl pins

We stopped for a macaron break at Nuvrei. They were fabulous.

Nuvrei macarons

I visited Close Knit on the way home and bought some locally made stitch markers (magenta, again), mostly because I wanted Sally Palin’s beautiful Kumori Cowl shadow knitting pattern. I can’t knit all the patterns I buy/get; there aren’t enough knitting hours. But I love them as research on new techniques, or just because they’re pretty.

On Saturday, Cathy and I went to Knitting Bee, where I chatted with Melanie of Black Trillium Fibres and made arrangements to get some of her DK weight Sublime yarn in her Tyrian colorway.

Black Trillium Fibres Tyrian

Hmmm, I definitely have red/purple on my mind.

We also visited For Yarn Sake and met Kate and Rachel of Spincycle Yarns. They dye their fiber before spinning it/having it spun, and then ply it.

Spincycle

I brought some home with me. Guess what color!

Spincycle Yarns

On Sunday I finished up the crawl with a trunk show at Twisted. Terri came by with her finished Fern Shawlette from the XOXOKAL. Mine isn’t quite done, but we both modeled them.

fern shawlettes

Debbi Stone and I posed in our 2015 and 2014 RCYC MKAL shawls, her Washington Park and my Rosaria.

RCYC MKAL shawls

A little more Rosaria shawl action:

Rosaria

Rosaria shawl

And I found the perfect person for my Webfoot Shawlette! She went home with both pattern and yarn (Hazel Knits Entice in Hoppy Blond).

Webfoot shawlette

It was a fun weekend; I wish I could have visited all the shops. Maybe next year. But I have plenty of yarn for now. I won the door prize basket at Pearl Fiber Arts!

Pearl Fiber Arts RCYC basket

This is a big basket of inspiration! I haven’t had time to really look at the contents; I was getting ready to head out of town. But I know I’ll be sharing some of this with my friends at our next knit night…

Did you participate in the yarn crawl? What’s your favorite thing that came home with you?

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?

Rose City Yarn Crawl trunk shows

The Rose City Yarn Crawl is just around the corner! The 2015 crawl runs from Thursday March 5 through Sunday March 8. There are 15 participating shops in the metro area, check the RCYC website for full details.

rcyc-logo-color-highres

I have the pleasure and honor of having two trunk shows during the crawl. On Thursday March 5 I’ll be at Wool ‘n’ Wares in West Linn from 1 to 5 p.m. They just moved downstairs in their building in December, and I’m looking forward to seeing their new larger space. On Sunday March 8, I’ll be at Twisted in Portland from 1 to 5 p.m. My home stomping grounds! Come by and say hello and see samples of my newest designs, as well as some older favorites, too.

Bonus time! Rose City Yarn Crawl is giving away free pdf downloads of last year’s RCYC pattern collection, through tomorrow, February 28. Hurry!

What else is going on? I’m slowly going through my older designs and updating and reformatting them for my current layout. Most of the time this also means making new charts (I used to chart in Excel; Intwined is so much nicer) as well. Each pattern takes two to three hours to make it flow and make it pretty. Why am I telling you this? If you already purchased these patterns, you can download the new versions. And if these patterns are new to you, you can get them at 20% off through March 7. Here are the designs that have reformatted patterns; use coupon code REFRESH for the discount on any or all of these. Go to the Ravelry page for the design; the Buy Now buttons don’t give the opportunity to enter a coupon code. Sorry about that!

pdxknitterati pointer mitts and hatPointer Mitts and Cap or Beret

zen rain shawletteZen Rain Shawlette

pacific shawlPacific Shawl

pdxknitterati log cabin blanketLog Cabin Baby Blanket

pdxknitterati pedi sockZigZag Lace Pedi Socks

oxo cable fingerless mittsHugs and Kisses OXO Fingerless Mitts

Are you participating in the yarn crawl? Come see me!

Book Review: Sock Yarn Shawls II

sock yarn shawls II

I have a review copy of Jen Lucas’ new book, Sock Yarn Shawls II: 16 Patterns for Lace Knitting. Jen and I share a love of fingering weight shawls of all shapes and sizes.

The book is organized by the size of the shawl. This is great, since many of us look at the yarn in our stash (yes, even I, the non-stasher, now have a stash) and wonder what we can do with the yarn we have. The categories in this book are small (single skein), mid-size (two skeins, either the same or coordinating colors), and large (at least 900 yards and more).

There are many different and fun constructions in this book, including the traditional top down triangle, bottom up crescent, half-pi and full pi (circular), so you won’t be bored, even if you knit them all. What I found most interesting were shawls where Jen plays with familiar constructions, like changing up the length of the short rows to narrow the shawl ends of Jasmine, a crescent shawl,

jasmine

or placing the usual 4 increases over two rows of a triangle shawl only out on the edges (no center spine) of Earth and Sky,

earth and sky

and combining constructions in Sparrow, which begins like a half-pi shawl, and then changes to a 3 sectioned shawl with two increase lines (like a triangle shawl with two spines).

sparrow construction

sparrow

Jen has an inventive mind! No matter what the construction, all the shawls feature lace and are very pretty. The lace instructions are shown in both chart and written form, and the pictures are clear and informative. This book is a definite winner. With so many construction styles, including some join-as-you-knit borders, you’re sure to find a shawl that will look great and teach you something while you knit it, too.

You can see all the shawls on the Ravelry page for this book. The book is available as an e-book through Ravelry, or as a hard copy through the usual outlets.

All images from Sock Yarn Shawls II by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2015; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free with the understanding that I would review it, with no promise of a positive review. My opinion is my own. The book is wonderful!

More Madrona

While classes are a central part of Madrona, they’re not the only reason to go. The market is full of yarn, fiber, books, and tools, and there are demonstrations going on in the rotunda. There is no admission charge for either of these things.

chicken boots knit project bag

I bought this very clever project bag from Saremy at Chicken Boots. The pocket shown here on the front is accessed from inside the bag, so your small items won’t fall out. Me? I’m using the pocket for my pattern, because the vinyl lets me see it, and it’s always accessible.

I met Henry and Roy Clemes through Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep. Clemes and Clemes make all sorts of wooden tools: Drum carders, combs, spinning wheels, looms, blending boards, even this Turkish spindle that Henry is demo-ing here.

Henry Clemes turkish spindle

Clemes and Clemes Turkish spindle

The cool thing about this particular spindle is that it comes with several arms, and you can use as many as you want to vary the weight from 2 to 4 ounces. They stack on the square shaft. It spins very nicely.

Clemes and Clemes blending board

Roy was in the rotunda doing demonstrations. Depending on how you feed the fiber into the drum carder, you can get fiber prepped for worsted or woolen spinning. I had no idea. He made these rolags (for woolen spinning) on the blending board. Meg from NW Handspun Yarns stopped by and showed me how she was spindling long draw from a rolag. I’ve only spun worsted yarns, so now I’m very curious. Luckily, Roy sent me home with these rolags. Thanks, Roy!

I had fun talking to people who have knit or are knitting my designs, and saw some of my designs in the wild.

Jami's Rosaria

Jami from Knitting Bee was wearing her Rosaria Shawlette.

Anne's Aloha shawlette

Anne was wearing one of the three(!) Aloha Shawlettes that she knit. (Anne was in my lace class, too.)

Laurinda, me, Sara

And it was great to connect with other knitters/spinners I know. I had lunch with Laurinda Reddig, designer of last year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet Along, and Sarah of Bumblebirch Yarns. (photo by Laurinda)

I also spent time with Nadine Foster and Judy Becker (of Judy’s Magic Cast On) in the rotunda. They came up on the Traveling Ewe‘s luxury motor coach. What a great way to travel; all that knitting time while someone else does the driving! Although long solo drives are where I work on my harmony singing…

I had a great view out my hotel window. Mt. Rainier was just a tease on Thursday, but Friday’s sunrise featured a pink mountain

mt rainier sunrise

mt rainier

which made a grand appearance a little later, and then disappeared into the clouds again.

Did you miss my lace class review? It’s in the previous post, here.

Were you at Madrona? I hope you had as much fun as I did. I could only go overnight this year; too many things on the schedule. I’ll go again next year, and try to stay longer!

Madrona class review

I took a short trip to Tacoma to visit the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I could only stay for one night, so I packed in all the fun!

I had two classes. My favorite was Designing with Lace Decreases with Evelyn Clark. The very first lace shawl I ever knit was her Shetland Triangle, so I was very pleased to be in this class. Where do the decreases belong, in relation to the yarn overs? Which decrease should you use? Well, it depends on what effect you want.

lace sampler

So much information packed into this little swatch. Notice that it does not mirror from left to right; we had lots of effects to sample! Do you want your decreases to outline your YO? Or a softer edge? Do you want your fabric to bias? (Separate your YO from your decrease.) If that biasing bothers you, consider a project in the round, which will balance out the biasing (as opposed to straight edges that won’t stay straight).

Evelyn had lots of samples to look at, and to explain. One thing she mentioned: Scallops are always stronger at the cast on edge than at the bind off edge. I’d noticed this when I designed my Rockaway Hat/Cowl, and it didn’t matter so much in that instance, but it was nice to know it wasn’t just me. (I could have swatched, but I just knit it up and said, “Oh, hey.”) But if you want to reinforce the scalloping at the bind off edge, you might try adding beads for weight there. Or forego scallops completely, and end with something else. Also, scallops are going to be offset by half a repeat (they won’t look the same at each end of your knitting) because the peak and trough of each wave is offset.

We were given the option of charting out a picture, just for fun. We talked about flipping lace motifs to knit them upside down (for top down knitting). I tried it with my leaf motif that I used in Garland. I showed it to her at the end of class, and she said that some motifs won’t work upside down, and she thought that my leaf might be one. I tried to knit it that night, but I fell asleep, so didn’t finish the flipped one.

leaf lace

But in my email the next morning, I found one from Evelyn, saying that she had thought about it, and knit it, and it really didn’t work. She sent me a picture, and it looks like an arrow! You can’t see the decrease lines at all (bottom of swatch, top chart).

inverted leaf evelyn clark

That, my friends, is a fabulous teacher. I had to figure out if there’s another way to make it work. It is completely different; I just wanted to know if I could. And that’s the mark of a great class, for it to be so thought provoking that you just have to figure it out.

inverted leaf lace knit

I had to use m1 increases and double decreases to get the lines to show up.

leaf lace flipped

It’s not pretty, but I just had to see if it could be done! Evelyn called this playing with lace “nerd knitting” and I am completely nerding out here. But it was fun.

This post is way longer than I anticipated…more in the next one.

Right tools for the job

I’ve been working slowly on my XOXOKAL Fern Shawlette, and I finally realized that I don’t like this yarn/needle combo. The yarn is Louet Gems Fingering, and the needles are Signature circulars. The needles are just a little too slick for this particular yarn. I’m switching back to my Lantern Moon ebony circulars, which is most likely what I used when swatching with this yarn before submitting it to Knit Picks for their Under 100 collection.

kntting needle swap(Slightly grainy pic under incandescent light, sorry.)

Ahhhh. Better. The ebony needles are a little grabbier than the metal, so I no longer feel like my stitches are slip sliding away. I normally love my Signature needles for lace shawls, but not with this yarn! One size does not fit all. I love my ebony needles, too, but not on a project with multiple YO’s that have to scoot from cable to needle. The Signatures were a better choice for those (Aloha Shawlette, Sophie’s Rose). And for the Criss Cross Hats, I’ve been using Hiya Hiya stainless steel circulars, either regular point or the sharps. I like them both, but probably like the sharps a little more. It’s a good thing to have a lot of needles to choose from! I bought several more needles because I’ve been leaving them in my projects as samples for some of my classes.

Do you have a favorite needle?

The love of music

In 2000, DH sent me to piano camp as a birthday gift. We were both taking music lessons (piano for me, guitar for him), and read Noah Adams’ book, Piano Lessons: Music, Love and True Adventures. The description of Adams’ week at Sonata Piano Camp as an adult student inspired DH to surprise me with the same.

music quilt detail

It turned out to be the gift that kept on giving. I went many more times after that. I made great friends, and even improved my piano skills. One of my new friends attended with her mom, Betsy. Betsy was my duet partner in 2001. She was an amazing woman: A college math teacher, marathon runner, downhill ski racer, knitter, quilter.

music quilt 2

When Betsy was dying in 2012, I sent a note along with a CD of her playing at Sonata, including the duet that we played. It arrived the morning she passed away. Last year her husband was deciding what to do with some of her things, and wanted to know if I would like her music quilt.

music quilt

I love the composition of this, how she took the simple repetition of the black and white star blocks and personalized it with a music theme. The one brown star at the bottom left. The heart that balances it visually. The music staff border fabric. The embroidery around the top edge: “I love music, in around and, under the stars”. It is a beautiful piece of hand quilted art, expressing our love of music both visually and in words. I am so honored to receive this. I’m glad I knew Betsy, and I’m glad to have this quilt to remember her by.

duet partners

Here’s our duet from 2001, Pastorale by Stecher, Horowitz, and Gordon. Betsy is playing primo, and I’m secondo.

My time is mostly devoted to knitting and designing now, with not much piano. Guitar and singing with friends is my current musical outlet. But every once in a while, I sit at the bench and play pieces I learned at camp…

If you’d like to know more about Sonata camps, here’s their website. All levels of playing welcome. And here’s an article from the NY Times; my roomie Katie Hafner wrote it in 2002.

Edited to add: Here’s a note from my friend Becky, Betsy’s daughter.

I am Betsy’s daughter. Michele and mom always had a special connection thru knitting and friendship. The CD Michele refers to contained a few songs from the sonata concert. The odd thing was the mailman brought it at 8 am the day she passed away and the receptionist said he never came before 2 pm. My mom had been unresponsive for 16 hrs but when I played the CD her eyebrows raised and she smiled. My stepfather Alex kept the letter that arrived with the CD. This past summer he asked me if he thought Michele would enjoy having the quilt. I immediately said yes they contacted Michele for confirmation. i am glad that my mom’s creativity is in the home of a fellow knitter and music lover.

Thank you, Becky!