Tag Archives: columbia gorge fiber festival

Have some class(es)!

I spent all day Sunday learning about Sideways Lace Shawl Design in an inspiring workshop with designer Sivia Harding. She’s a perfect teacher, patient and full of great tips. This particular crescent shawl construction is new to me. It’s nice to have more options. I loved the class, and have fallen down the rabbit hole with many, many ideas. How to choose just one?

(Some of my stitch dictionaries. Sivia has more than I do…)

Swatch! I know, the S word. But after frogging the same bit of yarn 3 times, I realized that I should really swatch on something other than the good stuff. Now I’m playing with swatch #5, in a dk weight yarn and size 7 needles. I’m saving my lovely Knitted Wit Cashy Lite for the real thing.


I love taking classes. It’s so much fun to learn something new with a group of people who love the same thing you do. I’ve done this with piano (camp), and do this with knitting. Books and videos are great, but they will only take you so far. Sometimes you just need to see it live in front of you, and discuss it with your friends! Have you taken knitting workshops? What do you think?

I’d like to take this opportunity to put in another plug for the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, April 19-21. There are some great classes available, but they can only happen if enough people sign up for them. Yvonne, the organizer, needs to know by April 1 whether there are enough students to make a lot of these classes happen. I’m scheduled to teach two classes, the Thrill of the Thrum (thrummed slippers), and Tink Drop Frog (finding and fixing mistakes), an expanded version of the class I teach at Twisted, with more tips and tricks. I’ve taken classes from instructors Mary Scott Huff (steeking) and Deb Accuardi (drop spindling) before, and enjoyed them both. You can see a full list of classes and instructors here.

Besides the classes, there is a wonderful marketplace loaded with fiber goodies, and a treasure hunt based on Chrissy Gardiner’s fabulous book, Indie Socks. Entry to the marketplace is free.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my stitch dictionaries are calling! As is the S word. And really, swatching is pretty fun when you’re playing with design ideas. It’s not like knitting a gauge swatch at all…

Spring has sprung/Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival is coming!

Ah, the first blush of spring. It made me think of this yarn, which has been waiting ever so patiently for inspiration. I’ve known forever that I want this to be long armwarmers, with a ruffled cuff, but just couldn’t see it yet.


I don’t remember when it came to me. It’s from the now defunct Pico Accuardi Dyeworks, Francino, which is a lusciously soft 50% merino/25% bamboo/25% nylon blend. 100 grams/459 yards. The color is nude, and it reminds me of a maiden’s blush. I think Stevanie Pico hand painted this one. I’ve started playing with ideas for it. Wish me luck! Especially knitting the second one…

This makes me think of spring, too.


It’s my March CSY yarn from Knitted Wit. It’s Bling, in Fuchsia Basket. I was at her house the other day to help her label yarn, and I named this one. There are four shades in this month’s CSY, all different percentages of the same dye, so they’re gradations of the same color. Sakura, Plum Blossom, Carnation Nation, and Fuchsia Basket, in order of intensity. Is one coming to you? I love the bling in Bling; it’s hard to see it in this size picture, but it sparkles in the full size pic on my iPad. You need to get some and see for yourself!

These colors also remind me that cherry blossom time is coming, along with the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in Hood River, April 19-21. It’s the third year for this festival, organized by Yvonne Ellsworth of Lavender Sheep. There is an enticing market which is open to the public, and admission is free. There are also great classes. I learned to steek last year in Mary Scott Huff’s class. Now I’m scheduled to teach two classes there, an expanded version of Tink Drop Frog (fixing mistakes, and more tips and tricks), and the Thrill of the Thrum, which will be a guided tour through my Thrumbelina slipper pattern, as well as a history of thrumming, practice thrumming, and lots of ideas on how else to use it.


I hope you can come to the festival! Please sign up for workshops; they can’t happen unless we have a minimum number of students for each one.

But now, just a little more winter before we get into full on spring. I went cross country skiing with friends on Sunday at Teacup Lake on Mt. Hood. It rained at the end, but it was a fun outing.


My 30 year old skis still work fine. They don’t get out much. Yes, those are old school 3 pin trap bindings. Relics!


There are even more ancient ones on display in the little lodge.


And this gray jay/camp robber/whiskey jack was happy to share our lunch. It came with a bunch of friends!


What are you knitting for spring?

Eeek! Steeks! 3KCBWDay6

Last year during 2KCBW, I mentioned that I was going to learn to steek. I had all my research done and my game plan mapped out. All I needed to do was to “just do it.” But nothing happened. Eventually I realized I needed something to force me into it, so I signed up for a steeking class at my LYS. Unfortunately, I was the only person to sign up (chickens!), so the class was canceled. I thought I was off the hook. Then came the word: Mary Scott Huff, author of The New Stranded Colorwork, was going to teach a steeking class at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. It was time to commit!

Mary is an absolutely fabulous teacher. She’s funny, warm, down to earth…and fearless. Which you’d have to be, if you’re telling people that they’re going to cut up their knitting.


Apparently I had the right idea last year: steek on a swatch that you don’t care about. This works with the Tink Drop Frog class that I teach, too. There’s no emotional investment when you’re experimenting on a swatch! Perfect.

We learned 3 steeking techniques. The first used simple stitching to mark and reinforce the steek. Recognize this picture from Tuesday? The green yarn marks the cutting line, and the red thread is the reinforcement.


The first cut is the scariest, but Cathy wasn’t scared.


Me, neither. It’s a swatch!

first cut

The edge isn’t terribly stable, but it’s good enough that you can pick up and work an edging, a couple stitches in from the edge. This is an edge that you’d want to cover with seam binding or something similar. I’ve picked up and knit a garter stitch edging; see how the steeked edge turns to the back of the fabric?


The second steek used crochet to stabilize the edge. This is similar to the the one that I read about in Knitters magazine last year. I love how tidy it looks. (Look at all those blades! Are you feeling nervous?)


And look! I’m cutting!


This edge feels more stable than the sewn one. It’s good for armholes and button bands that will roll to the wrong side of your knitting. And in good non-superwash wool, it will eventually felt to itself and you won’t have a care in the world. It doesn’t need to be covered. You could choose a coordinating color for the crochet stitches, and have that be a secret feature on the inside of your knitting.

On to the third steek! This one was sewn by machine. It’s not as pretty as the crocheted one, but it’s very stable and would work for any kind of yarn, including a non-sticky wool or other fiber that wouldn’t hold as well with the other two methods. My personal favorite to work is the crocheted steek, but the machine sewn steek would work for everything, and the crocheted steek might not. (Hmmm, I don’t have a picture of this one. I must have been too ready to cut!)

All in all, a wonderful and empowering class. And after class, we got to check out Mary’s samples from her new book, Teach Yourself VISUALLY Color Knitting, that’s coming out next month.



After class, Cathy and I celebrated.


(See the crocheted steek with the garter stitch edging done?)

I was singing in church that morning, so I only had 30 minutes in the market before class time, but I did manage to say hi to Brooke (SincereSheep) and Lorajean (KnittedWit). Brooke is wearing her Pointer hat!


All right; you’ve seen my steeking adventure. Do you want to steek? Let’s do it!

Paying it forward, and other bloggy fun

I’m a fan of the blog Eskimimi Makes; she’s always creating something fun. Now she’s participating in a creative “pay it forward” project, and I am, too. Here’s the scoop, as slurped from her blog:

1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise. We all love getting surprises in the mail, right?

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you).

4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will chose the next person who comments…

Sound like fun? Want to play? If you would like to receive a little handmade gift from me at some point in the next 365 days and agree to take part on your own blog and pay it forward, then leave your details below. If you’re one of the first three respondents, you’re in! If you’re not in the first three, pop over to the blogs of the first three respondents here (remember, there are 48 hours after your comment appearing here for you to post the Pay It Forward on your own blog, otherwise I will move on to the next person). I’m happy to accept respondents worldwide, too.

Let’s do it!

What else is going on this week? It’s been a numbers heavy week. Taxes at the beginning (and they weren’t quite right the first time, so back to the accountant for a swap), and then tech editing for someone mid-week. Lots of numbers there, because the stitches have to add up, and the garment has to match the schematic! This is the only kind of math I like.

Here’s what I’m knitting this week. Can you guess what it is?


Well, yes, it looks like a hat, and it would actually be a good one, because the stranded fabric is nice and dense and would keep the wind out. But it’s not a hat. It’s my homework for a class I’m taking on Sunday at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. The class is Eeek! Steeks! with Mary Scott Huff. I’m going to be cutting this knitting up…on purpose. I’m looking forward to it! There’s still room in the class if you want to come, too. Check out the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival website for more info. Not up for class? Come out for the market this weekend!

Also, do you see the little blurry picture on the laptop screen behind the knitting homework? It’s for the third annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week, which begins April 23. Do you want to play along? You’ll find the topics listed on this page. These links are all for Eskimimi Makes, so it’s a very Eskimimi post today!

Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival

This past weekend was the first ever Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in Hood River, Oregon. This event is the brainchild of Yvonne Ellsworth of Lavender Sheep, and sponsored by local yarn store Knot Another Hat. There were classes in spinning, knitting, and fiber selection. I wasn’t able to take classes this weekend, but I did drive out to visit the market on Saturday. I saw lots of fiber friends, old and new.

Knitted Wit (Lorajean) was hosting my patterns in her booth. Thanks, LJ! I see my blue Pacific Shawl as a bit of window dressing here.


Lorajean’s Baby O was having a fine time crawling over this suitcase. Hours of entertainment!


I sent the new Sakura cowl and mitts with her, too. I liked my pattern so much that I knit another on Saturday and wore it on Sunday.


It looks good on everybody! (I can’t believe Mookie let me do this.)


Spindlewood had some very lovely hand spindles. I did manage to resist, but only because I haven’t been spindling at all. These could manage to tempt me back, though.


Cheryl Newhouse from New Hue Handspuns had the coolest little spinning “wheel,” the miniSpinner from Hansen Crafts. It’s electricity driven by a foot pedal so she doesn’t have to treadle (she spins huge amounts of yarn). It’s a very small setup, but it’s highly efficient!


I met another single-L Michele. This is Michele LeBlanc from Toots LeBlanc. They specialize in unique woolen blends in all natural colors, using fiber from animals raised on small family farms in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. Lovely stuff.


I stopped in at Knot Another Hat‘s booth, and saw lots of Lantern Moon bags, baskets, and notions in their center display. I also saw a swing bucket bag in a fabric I hadn’t seen before,and now there’s a new thing on my must-have list. I didn’t get a picture of it…what was I thinking?!


And I ran into Stevanie Pico from Pico Accuardi Dyeworks and Sarah, the owner of Knot Another Hat. Both were knitting away on their Lantern Moon ebony circulars.


I generally don’t buy much at festivals, because I like to have a plan for the yarn before I buy it, and I like to decide that just before casting on. But this came home to me:

luxe b

One skein of Alpha B‘s Luxe B fingering weight, 50% superwash merino, 50% silk. The color is stainless steel, with lots of shades of gray in it. It has a lovely sheen, and it’s really soft. No, it won’t be socks! I have a new design on the needles, and this will be another version of it. Anne Morrow, the dyer, didn’t want to be in the picture, so here’s a picture of the rest of the Luxe B yarn. Mine is on the bottom right!


It sounds like this was a successful event, and I’m looking forward to it coming around again next year. How was your weekend?