Introducing: Dotty Cake

I’m in love with my new hat!

Dotty Cake is a fun to knit hat that combines herringbone braids and slip stitch dots. The crown is fairly flat, like that of a tam. The braids create sections, making the hat look like a layer cake! I find that the flat crown is more flattering on me than a traditional closely fitted beanie.

Dotty Cake is knit in the round from the bottom up. It’s a quick knit in worsted weight yarn. I used Knit Picks Chroma Worsted for this larger hat, in Natural and Pegasus.

This smaller hat is knit in Malabrigo Worsted in Sunset and Malamba. Only one color is used per round in the Dotty stitch sections. The pattern includes a video tutorial for the herringbone braids.

The hat is meant to fit with a bit of negative ease; I’m wearing the 19” hat on my 22” head.

The Dotty Cake pattern is on sale for 15% off through December 12, 2019, no coupon code needed. You can find the Ravelry page here.

Thank you to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Susan Schwartzenberger, Jae Tauber, and Nan Wagner. And thank you to my sister Sharon Hsu for taking pictures of me!

Yarnover in Minnesota, April 24-26

I’m teaching at Yarnover in Minnesota in April!

What’s Yarnover? It’s the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild annual meeting, and it looks like it will be a ton of fun. The weekend includes a banquet and keynote address by Franklin Habit, classes, a market, and the guild member meeting with guest speaker Susanna Hanson.

I’ll be teaching Herringbone Braids and Beyond (Braided Wristlets), and Brioche Pastiche (2 Color Brioche in the Round). You can see the whole brochure here.

So excited!

Indie Design GAL 2019 kicks off with pattern sale

It’s the sparkliest time of the year: The Indie Design Gift-A-Long starts on Tuesday! I’m one of 286 participating indie designers this year.

The Gift-a-Long is a multi-designer event through Ravelry to help you kick-start your holiday gift-making. It begins with a pattern sale, and then the fun and games begin on Ravelry, with KAL/CAL activity and prizes. Here are a few of my patterns that are included in the coupon sale portion of the GAL; you can see the rest (there are 20!) in the GAL bundle on my Ravelry designer page.

GAL 2019 collage

The pattern sale runs from Tuesday, November 26 at 8:00 pm US EST – Monday, December 2, 2019 at 11:59 pm US EST. The coupon code is giftalong2019 and it’s good for 25% off any of the participating patterns from all the designers.

The KAL/CALs will run from Tuesday, November 26 at 8pm (US-EST) through New Years Eve December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale.

You can see all 286 participating designers in this thread. I’m having a good time looking through the list and picking patterns I want to knit! Eventually. Or at least in my mind…

I don’t really gift knit for the holidays (too much pressure), but this is a great time to stock up on patterns for the knitting year! And participating in the KAL at a relaxed pace sounds good to me. How about you? Are you a deadline gift knitter?

I’m hosting this Thanksgiving year, so I’m in a whirlwind of prep. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Kaleidescopically beautiful

Coming soon, Dotty Cake, a hat that makes me think of Funfetti. Yes, really.

I designed this Dotty Cowl last year for Knit Picks, and I really loved the slip stitch pattern that I created for it. I knew it wanted to be used again. And I finally got around to it. It’s being test knit now, and has already been tech edited. I’m guessing I’ll publish it in early December, plenty of time to make a slew of them for gifts! I knit one in 2 days, and I think test knitter Ann is even quicker than I am.

It’s been a whirlwind of a November, with Vogue Knitting Live, Vogue Knitting Destination: Portland, a raft of full classes at Twisted, and a little time spent on a not-knitting project, too.

I took a block printing class last year with Leslie Nan Moon while I was in Ellensburg, WA. I liked my block, but knew I could do better. So I recarved my block a couple weeks ago, and love it so much more. Here’s a print from the first one.

And here’s a print from the revision:

It’s so much better! I’ll be using this for…something soon!

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year for DH’s family, so there’s a lot of last minute stuff going on, too. Gotta fly!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving, if you’re here in the USA?

VKLive Columbus

VogueKnitting Live Columbus was my first VKLive event, and it did not disappoint. I had a great time teaching, and seeing friends old and new.

Mount Hood at pre-dawn

My flight was early, but a snow delay in Chicago meant I missed the teacher meeting on Thursday night. Happy Halloween! That meeting is a great place for first time teachers to get to know the others, but Marie Greene of Olive Knits helped me catch up. Thanks, Marie! (We go way back to her blogging days when she used to live in Nebraska.)

The hallways were decked with samples from Vogue Knitting. Very inspiring; let’s knit more!

I taught Herringbone Braids and Beyond: Braided Wristlets on Friday morning, and met Kim, who I know on Instagram. It’s so nice to meet friends in person, finally.

I gave a lecture, Blocking: It’s Magic, in the afternoon. My PowerPoint presentation worked just the way I wanted it to, hooray! Well, almost. My Microsoft fonts didn’t carry over to the MacBook it was running on, but all the words were there. I win! The first time for anything always makes me nervous.

I had lunch with Kim and Colette at the North Market, and was sadly too full to have Jeni’s Ice Cream. Don’t worry, I made up for it the next day. Boozy Eggnog and Darkest Chocolate, a winning combination.

Statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger

This is how I felt after teaching and lecturing on Day 1. Woot! This statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger is outside the convention center; I’m not sure why.

I taught my Athena Entrelac Cowl, and Knitting and Designing with Favorite Shawl Shapes on Saturday. Those shawl shape knitters were really on the ball; they had lots of great questions and ideas.

On Sunday morning I taught my Brioche Pastiche Hat class. And my AV did not fail me. I brought speakers and we even had sound for the videos, yay! I had two backup plans, but they weren’t necessary. Now that I know what the equipment is, I’m good to go for VKLive NYC in January.

Along the way:

I met Nancy Marchant on Saturday, which gave me a chance to thank her for changing my knitting life. Her brioche books are the best! And she’s so down to earth; I really enjoyed talking with her. I love her advice for fixing brioche mistakes: Don’t make any!

I had a moment to chat with Franklin Habit. I have always been impressed with his classes; he’s consistently well prepared and has a great presentation style. We’ll meet up again in February at Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat. Registration begins November 9 at 10 am; come knit with us!

The market was packed with beautiful yarn, bags, buttons, and more. I loved this display at the Freia Handpaints booth. I want to wear this with a tiara…

Nancy had a couple samples she wanted to show Tina, including Bonfire from Leafy Brioche (on Tina). Perfection :sigh:

Michelle and Shelia (owner) at Urban Girl Yarns were charming and had lovely yarns, too! I’m not a stasher, or I would have indulged. My current work pile said no!

I did buy some interesting knitting needles; they’re made by Prym. They hav a drop shaped tip to avoid splitting yarn, and then transiton from round to triangular for better ergonomics. They have a good bit of flex to them, too. I’m looking forward to trying them. No picture yet; it’s too dark this morning.

Also exhibiting in the market: Melinda K. P. Stees from Image Knits. Melinda uses Photoshop to analyze photographs, and then uses fine gauge machine knitting to create gray scale images. Each stitch is a pixel. This kitty will have eyes duplicate stitched in golden yellow. Check Melinda’s website for more images.

It works in blue, too. This eclipse stunning. And check out the hands behind the eclipse.

Daniel was in my brioche class, and showed me his experiments with crochet grid to make a more stable fabric that isn’t as super stretchy as brioche. He’s made blankets and is working on a vest. Inspiring and fascinating.

And since this blog is my journal, I’m reminding myself what I wore this time around…

Clara Parkes kept me in good company on the way home. I finished this book on my last flight, and highly recommend it.

On to Vogue Knitting: Destination Portland next Friday! I’m teaching Brioche Pastiche, and it will be fun. But first, a creative weekend with friends.

How is your November going? Mine is…busy!

Stretchier bind offs for knitting

I recently received my Parquetry cowl sample back from Fiber Gallery.

When it arrived I decided that I wanted it to be…more.

So I frogged the old bind off and added more to the body of the cowl. And then I decided that I wanted an even stretchier bind off than the suspended bind off that I had used before. Apparently I was very relaxed when I cast on my Parquetry, and that edge was super stretchy! I went poking through Cap Sease’s Cast On Bind Off book, and learned the Russian Bind Off.

I love it! I made a video so you can learn it and love it, too.

Now I have several stretchy bind offs in my knitting tool kit:

Elastic Bind Off, which I like for edges on lace shawls

Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, which I like for binding off brioche rib

Suspended Bind Off, when just a little extra stretch is needed

And now the Russian Bind Off, when I want even more stretch!

Remember, you’re the boss of your knitting, and you can use whatever cast on or bind off you want in your project. You RULE!

Clara Parkes was here!

Clara Parkes came through Portland last Friday on a tour for her new book, Vanishing Wool. We saw her at Powell’s, our lovely independent bookstore.

While waiting for Clara, I noticed that Mary Mooney, our friend who works for the Oregonian and used to keep a knit blog there, had a blurb on the back of the book jacket. Go Mary!

Clara gave a great introduction musing on the changes in the American wool industry post-World War II. It’s a little sad, but it’s also uplifting to know that there are those of us who care about it and want to support good wool. Her book chronicles her Great White Bale project, when she bought a bale of unprocessed Saxon Merino wool and used it to learn the process of yarn production. The bit I’ve begun has me captivated already; I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

As soon as Biscuit lets me have it back. We’re also sharing the Goodwool Ambassador pin.

Spectacular autumn in the Pacific Northwest

Mother Nature and the weather have conspired to make this fall one of the most colorful in recent memory. It’s so beautiful I almost can’t stand it. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures so I can remember this on gray winter days.

DH and I went for a short hike at Wahclella Falls yesterday; the trail re-opened in August; it had been closed since the Eagle Creek fires in September 2017. Still beautiful, and worth the wait.

Munra Falls at the beginning of the Wahclella Falls Trail

Tanner Creek

Wahclella Falls approach

Wahclella Falls (East Fork Falls above)

Gotta have a selfie!

Mushrooms growing on a burned log

A gentle reminder

And here are some pictures from just around the neighborhood.

The view out my studio window…it’s amazing I get anything done!

How’s fall where you are? Spring?

Knitting season is in full swing

And so are knitting classes. My schedule is set for the rest of this year. Here’s the lowdown on local and not so local offerings:

First, a heads up for locals who want to learn brioche: I’ve added a weekday Petite Brioche class at Twisted on Tuesday, November 19, 11 am. Sign up now; these fill quickly.

Brioche increases and decreases

Hopscotch scarf

I’m also teaching two intermediate brioche classes at Twisted on Saturday, November 16: Next Steps in Brioche (increases and decreases), and Hopscotch (syncopated brioche scarf). These are great if you have the basic brioche rib in your toolkit already. Same sign up link!

I’m teaching Shall We Dance, my planned pooling cowl at For Yarn’s Sake on Sunday, November 17. Sign up and info here.

And that’s it for the local classes! Further afield, I’ll be in Columbus for Vogue Knitting Live November 1-3. And at Vogue Knitting Destinations: Portland on November 15.

And looking into next year? I’ll be at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC in January! Registration is now open; if you’re planning to go, I’d love to see you there, January 17-19.

I’ll be teaching at Red Alder Fiber Retreat in Tacoma February 13-16; Red Alder is the new retreat following Madrona, which has retired. Class listings are up so you can start planning, but registration isn’t live yet. I’m very pleased to be part of this new adventure, and hope you’ll come be a part of it, too.

I love classes; there’s so much more to them than the stated project or skill. We share a lot of tangential knowledge, too. It’s like being immersed in a different language.

What new knitting skill do you want to learn?

A belated OFFF report

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival was fabulous, as always! This late September event never fails to delight.

I had a full class for my Brioche Pastiche hat on Saturday morning, very fun. The power of group learning is strong! And then I met friends for lunch and zipped around to see the sights.

Icelandic on the hoof

I love the real-ness of Icelandic wool, and you can’t get more real than this! He’s from Ten O’Cock Farms in Beavercreek, OR.

A bunny parade brought some bunnies out of the barn so they wouldn’t be overlooked. So soft.

And there was shopping. This lazy kate was strangely mesmerizing. The woodworker, Dave Yocom, has been coming to OFFF for a long time; I’ve been admiring his bowls for years.

I bought this DK weight gradient (Practical Tactical Brilliance) and speckle (When You Said Hi, I Forgot My Dang Name) from Scarlet Tang of Huckleberry Knits. I’m having a grand time trying to make an idea come to life; we’ll see if it pans out.

And I bought two more shawl pins from One of a Kind Buttons. I love these little clay pins; they stay nicely in my shawls and help keep me together.

The day was swiftly drawing to a close, so I went to see the kids running their kids (ha!) through the goat obstacle course. Very fun. How had I missed this event for so many years?

At this point in the afternoon, the skies darkened and the thunder and lightning began. I made it to my car in time for torrential sleet-filled rain. Whoa. September fun!

I went back on Sunday afternoon because I wanted to see the judging results upstairs in the pavilion. This was the Grand Champion winner, and I think it won by a mile.

A 100% silk knitted lace shawl. Coleen Nimetz raised the silkworms, unreeled the silk cocoons, spun and plied the yarn, dyed it, and knit this masterpiece.

The tiny size 11 delica beads are almost gilding the lily, but they’re perfect, too. Congratulations to the winner!

Also? I loved this felted fox by Dana Nishimura. And I just noticed the flowers on its chest when I zoomed in to look more closely.

Also not to be missed: The ladies in the Knitted Wit booth! They had been shopping together, clearly. Hi Shannon, Maria, and Lorajean!

It was a grand weekend, and it feels like a long time ago, but it’s been less than a month. Tempus fugit!