Tag Archives: kal

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?

From scarf to shawl: Filigree and Webfoot

I’ve been knitting, knitting, knitting. I re-figured the crescent shaping for Filigree so it can be a shawl in addition to the original scarf. It’s sweet.

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I had 22 grams (80 yards) of yarn left after this, and I wanted to see if I could tweak the design to use a little more of the yarn. There was enough to make it two repeats wider, but that same crescent shaping brought me perilously close to using the entire skein of yarn. I don’t want to be that close, because we all knit differently, and I don’t want you to run out of yarn just before finishing. Do-over! I ripped out the crescent shaping and changed the rate of decrease to make the curve just a little shallower. Both shawls are about the same depth at the center back. I finished with 18 grams (64 yards) of yarn left after this wider shawl. That’s the biggest I can get without making it shallower than I want.

ETA: Just cleaned out my knitting basket, and found a second bit of yarn left from the smaller shawl. It was really 32 grams (116 yards) of yarn leftover, which was why I wanted to make a larger version. I remembered it as being about 30 g left, but I didn’t see that extra bit when I went to weigh my leftovers to write this post. Carry on.

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The new Filigree pattern will have instructions for the scarf, the narrower shawl, and the wider shawl.

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Now I’m knitting a shawl version of Webfoot. I’m knitting the wider shawl for this pattern. Since the narrow and wide shawls are about the same depth and take close to the same amount of yarn, you may as well make it wider for better wrapping around yourself! But here’s my question: If you were purchasing the pattern, would you want the instructions for both shawls, even if there were no picture for the smaller shawl, in case you have a more limited amount of yarn? I really don’t want to knit a smaller one, but I’ll already have the numbers for it since it’s the same shaping as Filigree. Is it better to have more options, even when they’re not pictured?

I should be finished with both patterns next week. A few more photographs, and the patterns will be ready to roll. Remember, if you’ve purchased the previous Webfoot and Filigree Scarves pattern, you’ll receive both the Webfoot and Filigree shawl/scarf patterns as updates when I re-publish these as separate patterns.

And then we’re on to the cast on for the Garland KAL on June 10! How many of you KAL participants are local? Maybe we could have a knit together moment…

Don’t forget to leave a comment on this previous post if you want a chance to win a set of Bead Aids.

Just knitting over this holiday weekend. It’s rainy and cool. How about you?

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!

I’m Blocking in Sunshine, oh oh

Apologies to Katrina and the Waves. But that’s the song that popped into my head as I was blocking test knitter Rachel’s shawl this morning. Another gorgeous day here.

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Rachel’s is the Green Apple version lower in the picture. My original wider shallower prototype in Spring Green is above it.

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I met with Rachel at Pearl Fiber Arts last night for the pickup. Cindy, PFA’s owner, loves the extra length on the shallow version, but she’s a lot taller than I am! Photography is set for Monday. I was hoping to do both Garland and Filigree, but see where I am in my Filigree knitting?

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Frogged the whole thing and started over. I forgot one of my self-imposed rules for crescent shawls: I always want an odd number of repeats, so one motif will be at the center back. As I began working the crescent, I noticed that the center was *between* motifs. D’oh! Do you think I can be done and blocked by Monday afternoon? Knit like the wind!

I’m enjoying these Signature circular needles. The tips are nice and pointy, which is great for lace. The stitches flow smoothly over the join between cable and needle. I usually knit with wood, which is a bit more grippy, so I’m concentrating on not losing my stitches off these slick metal needles. The cable is more flexible than I’m used to; I may have to give magic loop one more try. All in all, it’s been an enjoyable experience, and I get to do it all over again on my frogged shawl. Good thing I’m having fun. The needles were a gift from Sarah when she was here in town. Sarah is one of the fastest, most prolific knitters I know. She’s very talented. I was floored by the gift, but I’m not giving them back!

What are your favorite needles?

Coming soon: Garland Shawl and KAL

Spring has arrived in PDX. The trees have gone through their pink and white blossomed glory, and are settling nicely into green. My knitting has, too.

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This is a sneak peek at Garland, my upcoming design. I was inspired by my awakening garden, and by Sivia Harding’s Sideways Lace Shawl Design class in March. Put the two together, and the result is a leafy lace border on a sideways crescent shawl. Optional beads along the leafy ribs add a bit of bling.

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I am so happy that I finally found the perfect use for this gorgeous skein of Cashy Lite from Knitted Wit. It had been through two previous design starts. The first was nearly done when I saw a nearly identical shawl at my LYS. The second will require two skeins, and I only had one of this very special color from Lorajean’s first CSY in 2011. Third time’s a charm! And the yarn has held up like a champ, even after two froggings.

The pattern is written and is going through a final test knit. I’m hoping to publish it next week after photographs. And best of all, Lorajean and I are planning a June KAL. I’ll have a discount coupon code for participants, and an extra special coupon code if you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit. More on that next week, when the pattern goes live.

Place orders by June 1st, orders will ship June 15th in time for the June 21st cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards. 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 as mine, 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!

I love the added sparkle that beads give to this design. They remind me of dewdrops on morning leaves. I started by using the crochet hook beading method that I learned from Sivia way back at the first Sock Summit. It’s pretty efficient, but I tend to split my yarn with the tiny crochet hook while pulling it through the bead about 20% of the time. My knit nite buddy Sarah sent over some of her new Bead Aids to try out. I am a convert! I have not split my yarn at all since moving to this new method. It’s a great tool, and I highly recommend it.

I’m looking forward to publishing the pattern next week. Do you want to knit along? Have you ever added beads to your knitting?

Merry Christmas!

I finished my Silver and Gold KAL project. It wasn’t the lovely silvery yarn from Knitted Wit. I decided to knit another Hoppy Blonde Webfoot for a UO Duck fan, instead. Gold! And I finished a couple days go. It’s blocked and wrapped, and waiting to be gifted. No picture, though; it was dark when I wrapped.

I also gave my Madelinetosh Pashmina Filigree to a dear friend. Two knit gifts, and only one on deadline. Perfect.

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If you participated in the KAL and would like to enter the drawing for a yarny prize, please contact me by Dec. 31 to let me know. I saw the pattern sales go out, but haven’t heard from you! It’s been a busy month, I know.

We started our Christmas Day with mimosas and Cinnamon Roll Waffles. After seeing this on the web, we had to try it. They were pretty tasty!

cinnamon roll waffles

Wishing you a peaceful day. How are you spending it? We’ll be having 14 at dinner tonight. Prime rib is in the oven and smells heavenly already…Mookie can’t wait!

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Zen Rain KAL

Thank you for your kind comments about Zen Rain! I’m really pleased with this design, and even more pleased that we’re having a knitalong.

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For those of you knitting along, what yarn are you going to use? I’m currently on the ruffle of my third shawl (this one is for me, me, me). It’s knit with Alpha B’s Luxe yarn, 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.

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But to be fair, I should be knitting along with you! I’d happily knit another one of these; I just have to decide what to use. I’m not much of a skinny yarn sock knitter, but I do have a small collection of sock yarns, so I’ll pick one of those. I can hear you wondering, why does an avowed non-sock knitter have a collection of sock yarns? I picked up several at Deb Accuardi’s pre-Sock Summit luncheon a couple years ago (I really hope she does another luncheon this year), and I also have some from yarn clubs. It will all get used, somehow.

What do you think of a girly-girl pink, extravagantly ruffled Zen Rain? I have this gorgeous skein of 100% Rambouillet single ply from Knitted Wit; it’s part of her Community Supported Yarn/Fiber club. Berries were her inspiration for this first delivery.

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Let me know what you’re using. If you’re not in the KAL yet, but would like to be, let me know. I’ll give you a discount coupon code to use at the Ravelry checkout; the code is good through June 4. And I just started a Ravelry group so we can all post pictures and discuss as we go. Are you on Ravelry? The group is PDXKnitterati

Note: I think you have to go through Ravelry to have the option to use a coupon code. The Ravelry pattern page is here.

Cheers,
Michele

Let’s knit!

Introducing…Zen Rain

When I learned that there would be a Sock Summit in 2011, I knew that I wanted to design something special with sock yarn to commemorate the occasion. I wanted a shawl that would be a souvenir of Portland, where it rains, and rains, and rains. I asked Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit to dye a cloudy gray sky for me, and she did it with Bling, which is merino, silk, and silver.

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This is Zen Rain. I was inspired by rain running down a window.

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It’s shallow, and really wide, with a girly-girl ruffle. The extra wingspan lets the ends twist in a riot of ruffles, if you’re inclined to wear it that way.

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You can also knit it with a more sedate ruffle, if you insist.

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You can purchase this pattern through Ravelry on the pattern page now, or at the Knitted Wit booth at Sock Summit in July. I’m hoping the only rain we see at Sock Summit is Zen Rain!

Would you like to do a Knitalong? I’m thinking it would be a fun June project. The pattern will be $6, but if you’d like to participate in a KAL, let me know in the comments and I’ll send you a coupon code for $1 off the pattern, now through June 4.

Thanks to Rachel Nichols, Tami Hawes, and Christina Morales for test knitting for me.

What is a sock

What is a sock start, but a gauge swatch?

Yesterday’s foray with the Bleeding Heart Shur’tugal left me cold. That big blobby pool of pink just didn’t make me happy. The spiral reversed direction between the ribbing and the dragon scale pattern, and the area where it reversed was like a big pink eyeball. I couldn’t take it, so I ripped it out.

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The pattern calls for 64 or 72 stitches. I had already reduced it to 56 stitches on size 1 needles because I’m using STR Mediumweight instead of Lightweight. I knew if I increased to 64 stitches, I would have to knit on size 0 or 00 needles. No way. So I went the other direction, and cast on 48 stitches on size 2 needles. (ETA: I thought they were 2′s, but they’re still 1′s! I guess I can switch back to my new Lantern Moon blondwood Sox Stix, since they’re the same size as these Brittany Birch.)

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(Please excuse the harsh lighting. The sun actually came out, hooray!)

What a well behaved spiral. Just what I wanted, and it looks a lot like the spiral on the designer’s revised pattern for Shur’tugal. (Ravelry link for the updated pattern, but I don’t think you can get it elsewhere. Join Ravelry; it’s free!)

So I’m much happier. The sock is a little snugger, but still big enough for my leg and my foot. And there’s no pink eyeball. Ahhhhh.