Holiday yarn bombing

There’s another wave of knitterly (and crocheted) public art in Portland. Downtown Portland is featuring holiday sweaters for some of the statues downtown. Here’s the schedule for Monumental Attire. I went to check out the first wave of sweaters, but unfortunately someone has made off with most of it.

This deer still has her sweater and leg warmers:

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But I think someone stole the sweaters off the otters:

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Someone definitely stole most of the cardigan off “Allow Me” leaving one sleeve behind (because they couldn’t get it past the umbrella?), but the sleeve is gone now, too.

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The next wave begins Thursday, November 21, and you may need to hurry if you want to see it before vandals make off with it! “Kvinneakt” is scheduled for a sweater this week, and she looks like she could use it. A bit chilly out there. (Do you remember this statue from the”Expose Yourself to Art” poster, which featured future Portland mayor Bud Clark?)

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As part of the festivities, there is also an ugly sweater contest, a party to celebrate it, and a request for donations for Transitions Project, an organization that helps people transitioning from homelessness to housing. You can read all the details here.

Portland: It’s a quirky town and I love it. I’m especially loving the desire to share knitting and do something good at the same time. That’s Portland in a nutshell! Now if only vandals would stop making off with the art.

Knit on…

Thrumviator!

Picture this…

It’s post-apocalypse, and now you’re experiencing the devastatingly cold nuclear winter…how will you keep your noggin warm?

Thrumviator 1
(How does Alex always look so darn cute?!)

Presenting Thrumviator, a thrummed aviator hat. It’s my design in Alex Tinsley’s book Doomsday Knits: Projects for the Apocalypse and After, which will be published by Cooperative Press next month. This hat is guaranteed to keep your head warm.

Thrumviator 2

Because, you know, thrums! Those wonderful bits of wool roving that you knit into your woolies for extra warmth.

Thrumviator 3

The earflaps help, too. Sooooo cozy. This hat begins at the very top, and grows out in four directions, like the four winds. They’re blowing mighty chilly out there, but you’re warm in thrum heaven.

Thrumviator 4

This hat was designed with Knitted Wit Silky ‘n’ Plied, and Knitted Wit merino roving. The silk in this yarn adds the luxury you need to pamper yourself in a cold, cold world. Scrumptious. Look for kits in her shop right now and be ready to knit next month!

You can find Thrumviator on Ravelry here. You can order Doomsday Knits from Cooperative Press here. It’s available in either e-book (pdf) or book + pdf. And you can see the full blog tour schedule here.

I love being part of this project with all these creative designers! And the fabulous photographer, Vivian Aubrey. I always know my knits will look their best if she’s on board.

Next up on the blog tour? Alex’s “Oh Bondage!” on her blog, Dull-Roar. Check it out!

Weekend Rock Star

I had a stellar weekend. A friend asked me to accompany her to Ladies Rock Camp here in town. It’s a weekend day camp for women, and the tuition helps provide scholarships for Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls summer and after school programs. I had fun and did a good thing at the same time!

Campers have their choice of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, or vocals. No experience necessary. On Friday you form a band with a variety of instrumentalists depending on what kind of music you’re interested in playing. There are two sessions of instrument instruction, a couple workshops, and the rest of the time is devoted to band practice. You write a song with your band, and perform it on Sunday. Quick work!

I wanted to do something that I might use in real life, so I opted for vocals. I wanted to improve my singing and presentation skills. Becky wanted to see if there was an inner rocker hiding behind her mandolin (they put her with the guitar class). She was in my band, and we liked her sound so much that she had emergency surgery for her mandolin on Saturday morning and had a pickup installed so we could amp her!

I’ve written a couple songs before, and I’ve had bits of lyrics running through my head for a song called “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away.” We took it and ran with it.

Here’s our band: She Let Her Sassy Out. Hannah on keyboards, Bobbi Sue on drums, Becky on electric mandolin, and me on vocals.

She Let Her Sassy Out

Are we having fun or what?

Sassy 2
(photo courtesy of Teri Untalan, my vocal coach)

The camp showcase was at Mississippi Studios, a local music venue. It was so cool having professional lighting, sound, and roadies. It is amazing how much you can accomplish over one intense weekend; all the bands sounded great! We had fun with “How Can I Miss You” (mp3 link here, if you’re interested). I may have to do this again next year…it’s for a good cause!

It was hard to go back to real life on Monday. But I’m back to knitting this little sweater for Lorajean’s baby girl, due in 8 days. Almost done!

In Threes

I have two design projects to work on, and I’m teaching at Twisted on Saturday. We’re doing entrelac in the round (my Athena Cowl), and blocking. Both classes are full, so we’ll probably do both of them again soon.

What’s up for your weekend?

Fall back…

You’d think that gaining an extra hour would give me some bounce, but I feel like I can’t quite catch up on sleep! I’m tired earlier and wake up earlier than I want to because it’s light outside. Give me another week and I’ll have my act together.

I spent the weekend over on the sunny side of the Cascade Mountains, visiting good friends who have fled the gray rainy side. They’re happily ensconced in their new town. We hiked up Umtanum Creek Canyon on Sunday. The sage looked and smelled wonderful, and the mountains look very different over there.

Umtanum Creek hike

We passed an abandoned homestead, complete with the remains of an apple orchard.

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I wonder what this stone was for?

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The still parts of the creek reflect the mountains, gloriously.

Umtanum Creek hike

There are beaver dams along the creek. Most impressive.

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I had a great time, and it was kind of depressing driving back under the cloud cover into the rain. Sigh.

October is over, and that means it’s time to give away books! Thanks for all your comments. The winners of the 2013 Swish Pattern Collection for KnitPicks are:

purple penguin and Lillian Henegar.

Congratulations! I’ve emailed you your ebooks. I hope you enjoy knitting from them!

In other news, I saw my first Christmas ad on TV last week, the Monday before Halloween. Blergh. But it’s definitely holiday season in the stores already. I was in my local Fred Meyer and saw this:

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I think that’s cheating. Gluing felt reindeer on an acrylic sweater isn’t the same as digging through closets (or thrift stores!) and coming up with the perfect egregious Christmas sweater. And paying $24.99 for the privilege of faking it? Meh.

I just finished a design project and am mailing it off today. Another is gone to the tech editor. And the yarn for a new one just arrived. I’ll start…after I finish a baby sweater for Lorajean’s impending bundle of joy. Two weeks to go! I started to knit a Baby Surprise Jacket, but it just wasn’t speaking to me. Now I’m knitting In Threes by Kelly Herdrich. I’ve knit one of these before, it’s quick and cute.

What’s hot on your needles now? Do you have an “ugly” Christmas sweater? I have a cute one! Picture in December, when it’s seasonally appropriate.

Autumn waterfall hike

September was hugely rainy, and I was mourning the lack of closure to a spectacularly beautiful summer. October brought back clear skies, but cooler temperatures. I’ve been deadline knitting/designing non-stop for the past month, and feeling the need to get outdoors before the rain returns! I wanted to re-do the waterfall hike we took in July, because the twin waterfalls were a little lacking in water then. Susan and I headed there on Monday, but at the last minute I opted for the Horsetail Falls loop instead, because Pony Tail Falls is more dramatic. Same exit on the freeway, turn right instead of left! The Columbia River Gorge has many options.

The hike begins at Horsetail Falls. I used to come here a lot in the summers when the kids were little. They’d play in the splash pool; it’s nature’s air conditioning.

Horsetail Falls

The trail goes upwards along five switchbacks, and then levels out. About half a mile in is Pony Tail Falls.

pony

I love this one, because you can go behind it.

Pony Tail Falls

Ponytail Falls

Further along the way is Middle Oneonta Falls.

Middle Oneonta Falls

We met a couple hikers who encouraged us to take a side trip to Triple Falls. This one has been on my list for the last two years, so we did it. It was an extra 1.6 miles out and back from the trail we were on.

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Spectacularly beautiful! It was definitely worth the trip.

thrill seekers

Can you see the two hikers at the top of the falls? I think they had to cross over on that log. I am not so adventurous.

mossay

The moss was really lush; this tree looks like a mossy spider.

flowers?

Flowers? No, just bloomed out mushrooms.

shrooms

more shrooms

Four waterfalls on a four mile hike, a great afternoon in the Columbia River Gorge. We’re lucky to live so close to so much beauty. And on the way home, we made a quick stop at Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls

Now I’m back to working on a new design project. Can I just say that I love giant graph paper?

tools

Charts are fabulous. Do you prefer charted instructions, or line by line? What are you knitting now? Are you ready for fall?

Autumn Scarf is live! and a giveaway

My latest design is out! It’s the Autumn Scarf (Ravelry link), part of the 2013 Swish Pattern Collection for KnitPicks. This ultra-long scarf looks great doubled around your neck, and is cozy and comfortable in worsted weight superwash merino wool Swish. It begins with a provisional cast on at the center neck, and is knit out to one leafy end, and then the other. The leaves are my favorite part.

autumn scarf

autumn scarf kp long

I told you it was long! (photo from knitpicks)

I’m really pleased to have a design in this collection. The collection includes six items, all created for Swish: four sweaters, a throw, and my scarf. Check it out here. All of the patterns are available as individual downloads, and also in an ebook and softcover book.

And the cool thing? I have two ebooks to give away. Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post; tell me what you want to knit first from this ebook! I’ll pick winners at random after October 31.

I’m having a great design year. Next up is a design coming out in Doomsday Knits from Cooperative Press in December. It’s called Thrumviator. I’ll leave it to your imagination for now, but you can probably guess that it involves thrumming! Mmmm, squishy cozy thrums. I have two more designs that will be published in December, and two by the end of January. This is the fun part, because most of the work is done, and I’m just waiting to see it happen. I’m looking forward to sharing all of these with you.

OK, go check out the collection, and then leave your comment for a chance to win the ebook. Let me know what you want to knit first!

It’s Rhinebeck weekend

aka NY Sheep and Wool Festival. No, I’m not there. But this video makes me want to be there. So much wool! So much joy! Gale Zucker is a fabulous photographer.

While we’re on the subject of wool, Knit Picks is giving away a color sampler of their Palette yarn. That’s all 150 colors! It’s 100% wool, plied fingering weight. I’ve knit with it before and love my finished object. Which I can’t show you yet. (A recurring theme around here lately.) Go enter to win! You do have to
have a US or Canada mailing address to win.

And because I think all posts should have a picture, here’s Mookie, asleep on my yarn.

Sleeping Mookie

Have a great weekend, wherever you are!

Claramel! and a whirlwind weekend…

I had a great weekend, full of knitting and blogging fun. Saturday afternoon I taught Tink Drop Frog at Twisted, a class on how to identify and fix mistakes. I love teaching this class; it’s very empowering for students. We had two knitters who had very different knitting; all the knit stitches were twisted! The fascinating thing was that each had arrived at this look by very different paths. One was knitting all her stitches through the back loop. The other was purling with the yarn running clockwise instead of counterclockwise around the needle; this commonly happens with continental style knitting because it’s easier to pick in that direction. So we talked about ways to keep or change that (Eastern Combined Knitting, anyone?), because ultimately knitting is about how to get the look *you* want. And then we learned about tinking, laddering down, and how to get your knitting back on the needles when you frog. And yes, I’m aware that this paragraph confirms my knitting nerdiness.

After class I headed down to Powell’s Books to hear Clara Parkes read from her new book, The Yarn Whisperer. Clara is smart, charming, and witty. She had a little knitting limerick contest to give away some of her famous Claramels, and I won one! I *think* it was chocolate and espresso; I *know* it was delicious.

yarn whisperer

I’m looking forward to reading my autographed book!

Clara Parkes

On to the next event! Local journalist, blogger, all around great guy George Rede has a Voices of August feature on his blog, with guest bloggers all month. This was my second year guest posting on his blog. George has a meet-up for his guest posters, and it is so much fun to meet the other bloggers in person!

That was quite the afternoon/evening. But it was all good. Sunday was a little bit calmer. It was gorgeous out, but I had to take a nap between events, so I missed the sunshine! The day ended with the kids over for wonton soup. (Recipe in the linked post.)

wonton soup

How was your weekend?

Barbara Walker knit auction

Pieces of knitting history are being auctioned off later this month. Barbara Walker is auctioning off some of her amazing knits. You know, Barbara G. Walker, knitting luminary, author of Knitting from the Top and all those lovely stitch treasuries? Barbara Walker, creator of the SSK? (Betcha didn’t know that.)

Schoolhouse Press is handling the auction. I scrolled through the pdf catalogs, and for a moment I thought BGW23 in the first catalog was the sweater she was wearing when I met her. I did a search on my blog and found this picture:

Barbara Walker

Close, but not the same. Good, because otherwise I’d want it. Badly. But I did enjoy revisiting my Sock Summit post from 2009. Remember the luminary panel? :sigh: (I love that my blog is my journal; it’s much easier to search than my old paper journals.)

I have mixed feelings about the auction. It’s very cool that you can own a gorgeous piece designed and hand knit by Barbara Walker. But it also seems like there should be a knitting museum somewhere, to house treasures by all knitting luminaries, kind of like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wouldn’t that be cool?

I win! and win…

Remember the 10,000 frogged stitches?

frogged!

There were more along the way, but I finished my secret project, wrote it up, and it’s off to a test knitter. Hooray! I love the finished object, and I think you will, too. I look forward to sharing it with you…next year.

I wish I had some knitting to show you. And actually, I do.

Saturday was busy with secret knitting and blocking in the back yard, since the sun has returned. But then at 11 p.m. I realized that I needed a gift for Lorajean’s baby shower at my house on Sunday. I had seen this cute pattern a while back, and while I’m not sure how functional these booties are, they at least say, “Hey, I’m going to knit a gift for Franny Jean, but for now, look how cute these are!”

chaussons mignons

They took an hour, tops, Saturday night. A definite win. I used leftover yarn from my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade cardi. Full details on mods are on my Ravelry project page.

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And one more win: I won a drawing on Jen Lucas’s blog. The prize is this book, Free Spirit Shawls by Lisa Shroyer. It’s lovely! Lots of pretty shawls, but even more important, great reference material on shawl shapes and construction.

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And Jen threw in an extra book, 150 Scandinavian Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone. Lots of traditional and some more unusual motifs in here. I can see using them in scarves, cowls, and even Christmas stocking cuffs.

Now that I have a breather from deadline designing, I am looking forward to a leisurely perusing of these books. Thanks, Jen!

What did you do this weekend?