Tag Archives: Knit

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?

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(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.

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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…

Life’s A(nother) Beach

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Not Hawaii; this time I’m at the Oregon Coast for our annual Crafty Moms Weekend. This is the 10th annual gathering. There are 12 of us this year; some of us are knitting, others are sewing, beading, making cocktails. It was glorious yesterday when we arrived, 60 and sunny.

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The sunset was gorgeous.

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And this morning’s view was equally lovely, through the window as I knit. I love the reflection of clouds on the wet sand.

I just got to the finishing on half a scarf, and figured out I should have cast on 2 more stitches than I did. I had 2 prototypes but I knit from the graph and didn’t check which one, because i thought they were the same width. Oops. 7452 stitches, to the frog pond…

But first! The winners of the Lantern Moon silk needle cases are…Sheila and Stephanie! I’ll email you to get your snail mail addys. I also want to give a shout out to Sheila for her beautiful Mergoum shawl design. So lovely!

Keeping it organized…

FO pic! Here’s my sister with her Webfoot Scarf, hot off the needles.

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Christmas was great, lots of family and friends. The kids gave me a Cuisinart ice cream maker, so tonight we had bourbon vanilla ice cream profiteroles with chocolate truffle sauce and bourbon caramel sauce. It was beyond delicious.

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Coming down to the end of 2012. It’s been a good year, lots of travel and knitting. Sometimes both at the same time! I’m looking forward to what happens next for PDXKnitterati. I have a few deadlines to meet, design-wise. How do you keep yourself organized? I like lots of lists. And for my knitting, there’s this:

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A different silk taffeta bag for each design project. All the bags go into my favorite around the house basket, Bindi by Lantern Moon. I think it’s been discontinued, but I love the size of this.

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What’s next on your knitting radar? Do you have a selfish project lined up for January after gift knitting through December? I’m having a pattern sale on Ravelry; all of my patterns there are 20% off through January 5. The coupon code to enter is MeMeMe as in, it’s all about ME (which really means you). Thank you for reading and knitting!

Steeking success

Our steeking class was small but brave. Naomi and Deborah did all their homework, and came to show their knitting just who’s boss. I also knit another Kerfuffle so I could cut right along with them. First, we marked our cutting line. This made it a lot easier to see where to crochet our reinforcement.

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Deborah was the first to cut.

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It’s always nice to have friends for support on your first steek! I cut next.

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And Naomi cut her steek, too.

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I brought bubbly, and we toasted our success! We picked up the stitches for the ruffle and headed home. Thanks to Naomi and Deborah, for doing all the homework, and for having faith that this little cutting exercise would work out!

Question for you: Would you rather steek and cut a swatch, or an actual project, like we did on Monday? There’d be homework either way, but a swatch would be a quicker, simpler knit. I’d love to teach a class like this again, and am wondering which way would make it the most enticing.

Onward! I finished my Kerfuffle that night, and blocked it the next day.

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The purple scarf is another Filigree, knit with MadelineTosh Pashmina. It’s sport weight, and it’s absolutely yummy. I knit it mostly because I wanted to see if there was enough yarn in a skein to make this, since the other Filigrees are knit with fingering weight. The answer is yes, I had plenty of yarn. And the sport weight version is just a little weightier, which is pretty cozy for winter. I’m not sure if this one is for me, or for a friend. We’ll see!

What’s next on the knitting agenda? I have a few design projects that are due in the next few months, so my home knitting will be focused on that. But for public knitting? I’m planning to knit another Filigree, and you are welcome to join me! I’m planning a knitalong, both through the blog and in person at Twisted during December. It’s a quick knit, one skein, a perfect gift. More details in the next post, after I get things figured out. I hope you’ll knit with me!

Shawlette inspiration

I have an idea for a shawlette, and I think it’s working out. I’m inspired by the color of this yarn. It’s HazelKnits fingering, can’t remember which version, or the color name. Geez, I’m a lot of help, aren’t I?

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It’s zipping along since this picture. And this fingering weight yarn feels really phat after knitting the laceweight shawl. Just sayin’. More later…

Oh! Don’t forget, my birthday pattern sale runs through tomorrow, Sunday September 9. Celebrate!

Ouch! But better…

It’s been decided. The lovely yarn from Sincere Sheep wants to be a Raspberry Vodka Lemonade. The cardigan is knit from the top down, beginning with a seed stitch collar.

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Miles and miles of seed stitch. Actually, five inches, or 3360 stitches (96 sts x 7 rows/inch x 5 inches). I started on Sunday evening while watching Game of Thrones, and continued Monday evening, reading and knitting. Seed stitch is mindless enough to multi-task; in fact it *requires* multi-tasking so as not to lose my mind! But by Monday night, I was in pain. My forearms were on fire. Time for a break and some ibuprofen.

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I was better by morning, so I went on to start the body. It has raglan shaping, as you see here.

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The collar and the left front edge look good so far! And I was relieved to see that my tiny gauge swatch didn’t differ from my stockinette gauge once I got the body started. The pattern is pretty intuitive so far, so I don’t need to look at the pattern at all. Happy mindless knitting!

I haven’t finished my Malabrigo merino project yet, but it’s on the home stretch. I don’t have to look at the chart for that any more, either. Woot!

There’s nothing like the joy of a new project on the needles. Let’s see if I can keep up the momentum. I’d love to wear this cute cardigan soon.

What’s new in your knitting world?

Love is the worst(ed)

I’m currently having a little love affair with worsted wool. In this particular case, Malabrigo Merino Worsted. It’s wonderfully wooly single ply worsted that comes in a huge assortment of colors, from semi-solids to interesting variegateds (some of which are too exciting for me). It’s also a little prone to felting, which can be a good thing, sometimes. I hope to make the most of that property, soon.

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(Whales Road, Polar Morn, Oceanos)

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(Violetas, Colorinche)

I went on a little color spree, because I need some colors to play with for my current project. (This doesn’t count as stash; it’s a design project, right?) I’m not a big fan of variegated yarns, but combined with a semi-solid, they tone down nicely and make it so I don’t have to choose a lot of colors for a mulit-color project. One variegated plus an appropriate semi-solid makes me look like a color genius! Which I’m not.

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Spring is definitely here in the Pacific Northwet, and we had a remarkable spell of warm sunny days. But we’re back to rain and chill, so I’m still happy to be knitting with worsted weight wool. It doesn’t even matter that much when it’s warm out, because I mostly knit accessories, and they’re not too hot for knitting here on most days.

Which brings me to a little worsted project you may like. This is my Rockaway 2-Way Beach Beanie/Cowl (ravelry link). I designed it for Created In Oregon: A Knitter’s Datebook 2012, published by Pico Accuardi Dyeworks. Sadly, PAD is out of business. (I loved their wonderful worsted that I used for this design.) Luckily for me and you, though, this means I can offer you this pattern now instead of waiting until 2013.

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One piece, worn two ways. It’s a hat! It’s a cowl! And it’s cute. It’s named for Rockaway, the beach town where we have Crafty Mom Weekend every year.

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(PAD Worsted on the left, Dream in Color Classy on the right)

A perfect little thing to knit right now, even though it’s worsted. Go to the pattern page or follow the Ravelry link if you want to play along.

One more item: The exclusive on Pointer is up, so that pattern is available through Ravelry download now, too. Another fairly quick knit before summer really sets in.

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Any hot plans for the weekend? I’ll still be knitting with worsted, even though it’s supposed to warm up!

Road trips, and swatching

The week has flown by! The weekend is here and I’m still on last weekend, which I began at Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, in the Columbia Gorge. This is spring on my side of the mountains…damp and cool.

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I always walk the labyrinth at Menucha. It helps me quiet my busy mind, and focus. A meditation and a revelation, perfect.

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I don’t remember ever seeing this much color in the mosaic stones before. I guess all that moisture can have its advantages.

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And Diane became a new spinner! I’ll pass along a spindle to her; I have more than I need.

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I went home Saturday night, and on Sunday morning I headed to the other side of the Cascade Mountains with my friend Vickie. We went to Kahneeta to hang out with her mom in her mom’s new RV. Nice digs.

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The landscape is completely different over there, sunny and dry.

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trees

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The cattails reminded me of spindles, with their loads of fluff.

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The cottonwoods were shedding their loads of fluff, too, and it made me think I should try to spin that…

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With all that fluff going on, you may ask if there was any knitting. Yes, a bit.

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I’m going to call this swatching, mostly because I’ve completely frogged it. I’ve started and ripped three times now, as I hone in on what I want from this piece. There have been a lot of “aha!” moments. I’m about to start my last (I hope) rip, because now I think I know exactly what this needs. This time. Real swatching would be smart, but I get so excited about getting started, I just jump right in. Oops. We’ll just call them “very large swatches.” At least this yarn can put up with repeated froggings. I may be impetuous and lazy, but I’m stubborn, too, and I will prevail…

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The original colors, below. It turned out that the pale green in the variegated didn’t pop against the gray, so I had to choose a new background. It’s Violetas, also in Malabrigo worsted.

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On our way back over the mountains, we stopped up at Timberline Lodge for the view. Here’s Mt. Jefferson from the parking lot:

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(Love that sky!)

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And Mt. Hood out the back window of the lodge, near the bar.

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The bar window is pretty cool looking, too.

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And now mama bird is home, for a while.

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What’s up for you this weekend? I think the boys (young men) are going to help me whip the back yard into shape. It’s Mother’s Day, and that means they’ll do it, even if it’s not their favorite thing to do! Don’t worry; I’m making a fabulous dinner as their reward…

Oh, the joy…

of a new project on the needles! I’ve felt overwhelmed by choices lately; those empty needles saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” How to decide what to cast on? I really need something fairly mindless as take-along knitting, but the siren song of a new design project is calling more loudly than anything else. So here’s the yarn…

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I love the grayed green that plays so nicely with the rose. Luscious!

How about you? Do you need a new project? Something for Mom, perhaps? Lorajean (Knitted Wit) has some really cute pedicure sock kits in her Etsy shop, Falkland sport yarn and pattern and nail polish, lots of different colors to choose from. There’s still time to knit them, or just give your knitting mom the kit!

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Not into pedi socks? There’s enough yarn to make regular socks instead, if that’s your way. The best part is that it’s my pattern, ZigZag Lace Pedi (or not!) Socks. They look like this:

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Here are a crop of Falkland sport socks, including (l to r) Seafoam Sock, ZigZag Lace Pedi Sock, Entrelac Sock.

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Come cast on with me! What will your new project be?

Crafting Balance: Knitting and Music 3KCBWDay7

Day 7 of Knit and Crochet Blog Week is all about crafting balance. The original question had to do with knitting and crochet, but I don’t really crochet much. I use it for edgings and now for steeking, but don’t really intend to go much further. I’m a knitter! And an occasional beader, too.

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But I do look go back and forth between knitting and music. You can tell from my blog header that making music is important to me. Music is the reason this post is late: Sunday was a music day for me, and I needed some time to recover.

My knitting has taken a back seat to music for the past couple months. I was so moved by my experience in Nicaragua that I wrote a song about it. I was inspired by the warmth of the people in the Nicaraguan village where we worked, and also by the group that I was with. The other inspiration was the moon. In the northern hemisphere, a crescent moon looks like the letter C. Closer to the equator, that crescent moon looks like the letter U. It’s the same moon, but it’s all a matter of perspective. The song is called “Grace Unforeseen,” and here are the lyrics (link to recording below lyrics):

Grace Unforeseen
Words/music © Michele Bernstein, 2012

God sent us to meet you, to lend you a hand
We started as strangers; now we are friends
We don’t share a language; smiles were our words
We met each other through the grace of the Lord

The moon shines on me, and shines on you
As you gaze at the moon, maybe I’m gazing too
We are friends around the world

Your lives are so humble; so are your homes
You made us feel welcome, with smiles so warm
“Pueblo” means village, people not a place
Your wealth is each other, your families’ embrace

The stars shine on me, and shine on you
As you wish on a star, maybe I’m wishing too
We are friends around the world

We thank God for water, sunshine, fresh air
The gift of each other, people who care
God calls us to service, in giving, receive
From sisters and brothers–grace, unforeseen

The sun shines on me, and shines on you
God smiles on me, and smiles on you too
We are one in God’s own world

We celebrated our trip in church on Sunday, and I sang this song with some friends. I had a technical issue with my recorder on Sunday so this version (link to recording) is from a practice session. We were outside on a sunny day; you can hear the birds and kids wandering through.

If you look at the word amateur, you’ll notice that the root of the word is love; amateur musicians pursue music out of love for it. I won’t say we’re ever perfect, but we love what we do. Before recorded music, the only way to hear music was in real time. You could go to a performance, or you could get together to make music. It was perfectly natural. Now that we have recorded standards, it’s much more intimidating to make music; we think we have to be as perfect as the music we hear. But music is so ephemeral. At the end of a song, do you remember a fleeting wrong note, or the overall feeling that was conveyed? I’m still learning to get past my perfectionist tendencies, and I think I’m getting there. Finally!

Thanks for reading along. The third annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week has been fun for me, and I hope it was for you, too.

And how was your weekend?