Braided Wristlets Class Debut, singing, and more

I had a super busy weekend, and knittingly, this was the highlight.

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

I taught my new Braided Wristlets class at Twisted. I designed this pattern to be a workshop in herringbone and other braids, two color stranded knitting, and color dominance. We did cover all these things, and had a great time, too. And I made a good start on another one of these for me.

braided wristlet

I’ll be teaching this class at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. It will be an all day class on Saturday, September 24. Come and learn new skills with me!

But the weekend wasn’t all knitting. Sunday was Pentecost, and I organized and led music with the Pie Birds for worship. (The Pie Birds are a 3 part harmony group with guitars and mandolin: My friends Claudia and Becky and me.) So much work, so much fun. We sang Somewhere to Begin for the prelude; link provided if you want to give a listen. We closed the service with Turning of the World, with the congregation joining in.

We had a guest chorus from the Randolph-Macon Academy in Virgina sing for us. What a talented group of young people! They sang We Sing and All Creatures of Our God and King (not the version you might expect). Really wonderful. And they joined our choir for Spirit Come Down; it was so much fun to have all these voices singing with us.

I needed a recovery day on Monday!

PIe Birds mimosas

Bird update and Mother’s Day

It’s just like sending your kids off to college.

baby finches 2 weeks old

One day you think they’ll never be ready to leave. (Yesterday, Mother’s Day)

baby house finch

Should I stay or should I go? (This morning)

I was at the window this morning when Mama Bird came to visit. I stopped the video so I could adjust the exposure, and Junior took off! I went out and checked; the nest is empty, so both survivors are off to new adventures. So relieved after last week’s drama.

If you missed the first part of this bird saga, click here for more.

My kids came over yesterday and helped me clean out the garage. It’s a Mother’s Day tradition that they come help with gardening or firewood splitting or whatever, and then we cook. The garage was pretty grungy. Now it’s much better.

gin sampling

We did some gin tasting, and had lemon orzo pasta salad and Vietnamese chicken for dinner.

vietnamese chicken

A fun day of work and play.

Emma Bag

And they gave me this beautiful Emma bag from Grace’s Cases. It’s designed to stand up by itself. It’s tall enough for a folder of class handouts, roomy enough for class samples, and well organized with several pockets inside. This will be perfect for when I don’t need my entire rolling suitcase of samples.

How was your weekend?

Roundup: Classes, baby birds, knitting

Work first, then play:

pdxknitterati fern shawlette edge detail

I’m teaching a class on the Fern Shawlette tomorrow (Saturday May 7) at Twisted, 2 to 4:30 pm. A little lace, a fun sideways shawl construction, and beads!

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

Next Saturday (May 14) I’m debuting my Braided Wristlets class at Twisted, 2 to 6 p.m. We’ll cover simple stranded knitting, yarn color dominance, and several kinds of knitted braids.

elongated stitches sampler

And next week Sunday (May 15) I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches at For Yarn’s Sake. Put some pizzazz in your stockinette! Come take a class with me; it will be fun!

Over the Rainbow Cuffs

No time for class? This is a reminder that my Over the Rainbow Cuffs pattern is 20% off through May 8 (Sunday) with coupon code RAINBOW.

nest

While I was in Santa Barbara, a pair of house finches set up house in the willow wreath on my front porch. Not the best place for them, but what can you do after the fact?

newborn finches

The eggs hatched on April 24.

4 day old finches

Four days old.

Daddy brought take out home for dinner! #birds #housefinch

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

It’s been sweet to watch these little peepers for the last couple weeks.

But on Wednesday this week, there was a predator attack (guessing it was a crow), and two of the hatchlings were killed. I was pretty bummed. I know it’s nature and all, but these are my surrogate pets, right outside my dining room window. (Yes, I miss Mookie.)

Family time: Mom, Dad, 2 youngsters. #birds #housefinch

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

On Thursday, the two surviving chicks climbed out of the nest and up on/into the wreath. I’m not sure they were ready, but I think it’s pretty gross in the nest. I’ll spare you the details. The parents are still on duty, taking care of these two.

finch baby and momFinch baby and mom

finch baby and momFeed me!

finch baby and dadFinch baby and dad

finch baby and dadFeed me!

I’ve been knitting and keeping an eye out the window. I hope they learn to fly soon; I worry about them!

Alexandra's gradient

I’m knitting with this yarn from Alexandra’s Crafts. It was two strands knitted into a blank and gradient dyed for a matching set; I had a hard time winding them. I tried to ravel and wind at the same time, but perhaps I should have rolled the two strands into a single ball and then rolled two balls from there, maybe? In any case, it’s very pretty.

alexandra's crafts gradient

These beads I pirated from my collection turned out to be not quite right, so I found the perfect beads.

alexandra's crafts

But I can’t show them to you in the knitting, because I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this project yet. I can tell you that watching the colors slowly change has been mesmerising!

Whew, long post! What are you doing this weekend? Mine is going to be busy, busy, busy…

Introducing: Over the Rainbow Cuffs

I had so much fun knitting my new Over the Rainbow Cuffs with these:

Going to the Chapel

Knitted Wit’s Gumballs (fingering weight 45 yard mini skeins) in the Going to the Chapel version of her Resplendent Rainbow theme. I knew I wanted twisty cuffs, and at first they were going to be short, and maybe have a matching hat. But then I decided I wanted longer, more elegant cuffs, and from there it was a slog of deciding how many stitches and how many rows to make the pattern repeat do what I wanted. I only started these four times. Or five. Or six. It’s a blur.

Over the Rainbow Cuffs

Have you ever noticed that a double rainbow reverses the order of color between the rainbows? Purple at the very top and the very bottom, red in the middle. When I decided I wanted longer cuffs, that meant a double rainbow. I had to rip out the original red beginning because it needed to be purple! Roy G Biv would have given me the wrong order. (Yes, these are things I think about.)

Double Rainbow Kona

These were a fun quick knit, once I figured out the double rainbow color sequencing and the row height. I like that these are longer than my usual cuffs. More rainbow fun! They’re fingering weight yarn, so they’re just right for transitional spring/fall wear.

These are a pretty quick project; I knit them on my trip to Santa Barbara.

Carpinteria fog

This cast on was the last, and it was the winner! Even if it was full of sunscreen.

OTR modeled rectangle

It’s not easy to take a picture of your own hands! This required a tripod, camera with timer and near field wi-fi, iPad to remote control the camera. I’m behind the tripod, weaving my arms through the legs. The things I do, for the love of knitting.

The pattern is available through Ravelry downloads here. Use coupon code RAINBOW for 20% off the $5 price, through May 8, 2016. Have fun!

Mookie, 2000 – 2016

It’s been a sad week chez PDXKnitterati. We had to say goodbye to our beloved Mookie a week ago Thursday. She was 16 years old, and part of our family for 12 years. She was the best cat ever.

sakura mookie

Mookie was a reluctant knitwear model, but she loved being around knitting.

Log cabin Mookie

Midnight Rosaria Mookie

knit supervisor mookie

She brought a lot of joy to our family.

tequila Mookie

hungry cat zone mookie

grad mookie

Although knitting was our favorite craft, we also dabbled in non-knitting projects.

top hat Mookie

mookie pillows

mookie shoes

Our kids are grown, but they have truly lost the last bit of their childhood with the passing of the family kitty. There is a cat-shaped hole in all our hearts. I still find myself looking for her in the house before I realize that she’s not here.

Princess Mookie Nguyen

Princess Mookie Nguyen, 2000 – 2016

Santa Barbara getaway

Earlier this month, I took a gal pals trip to Santa Barbara. We were celebrating a birthday (not mine).

Santa Barbara is a cute town! It’s the county seat for Santa Barbara County. The county courthouse is gorgeous.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

There are 360 degree views from the clock tower, and a view into the clock fromt the inside, too.

I meant to share this last week. Inside the clock tower. Time flies!

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

 

This mural depicting the history of the area is in the meeting room. Click to embiggen; it’s worth it.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The Santa Barbara Mission is also beautiful, and is next to a rose garden.

Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara Mission and Rose Garden

Santa Barbara is right on the water. We watched surfers, paddle boarders, and dolphins? Porpoises?

Another from last week. Dolphins or porpoises? Very cool, either way.

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

 

pelican

Pelicans are bigger than I thought.

poppies and Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are right across the water. These are not the islands of Channel Island cast on fame.

We spent a day on the beach at Carpinteria. The fog rolled in during the afternoon, so it was warm and cool at the same time. The water was cold! I re-designed this knitting project three times on this trip. It’s finally done, pictures in an upcoming post.

Carpinteria beach knitting

There are a lot of wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley on the other side of the mountains behind Santa Barbara. We took the opportunity to sample the local offerings. But first, aebelskivers (pancake balls) in Solvang, a Danish-themed town.

solvang windmill

aebelskivers

old gringo boots

And these boots were quite tempting, too. But on to the wine!

Deep Sea Winery

Figgie at Brander Winery

Too much wine for Figgie?

Millie at Brander Winery

Millie reminded me of my Mookie.

J Ludlow Winery

While we were tasting at J Ludlow in Los Olivos, we met fellow tasters Lori and Bob. Bob makes his own moonshine, distilled from merlot. He shared some moonshine with us; this one was cinnamon flavored. It was DELICIOUS. Thanks, Bob!

moonshine!

A very fun trip.

knit leaf coasters

I came home and knit these coasters as a gift for our hosts, and will get them into the mail this coming week. Onward!

Inspinknity Blocking Wires Review

I bought some Inspinknity blocking wires a few months ago, in anticipation of.blocking my Twin Leaf Crescent. I had knit two of these before (one prototype, one FO) and had not loved the blocking process.

old twin leaf blocking

Scallops are hard to block! Last time I used straight blocking wires across the top, and three pins in each scallop to try to avoid a point. It was not fun trying to get all those scallops pinned out.

twin leaf blocking

This time, I used straight wires across the top again.

inspinknity twin leaf

The Inspinknity wires come in two weights, and I went with the ultra-thin wires, which are meant for lace. I threaded the Inspinknity wires along the edge of my scallops, right where the reverse stockinette edge meets the stockinette leaf. This gave me a continuous edge to pull out with pins.

twin leaf blocking closeup

twin leaf blocking

It was the easiest scalloped pin out ever! The wire kept the pinning from making things to pointy, although I did use 2 pins per scallop to get the desired shape. The high points between the scallops bounced up and were easy to place, too.

inspinknity wires

These wires are memory wire, and they’ll take whatever shape you pin out. When you’re done, they bounce back to straight. They’re stored as circles to save space. I’m hooked! Or pinned. I’ll be using these again.

twinleafkal2016 begins

I knit this shawl with yarn from the frogged prototype which had been wet blocked before. I didn’t try to get the kinks out of the yarn before reknitting. My stockinette looked a little wonky before blocking, and I hoped it would block out.

twin leaf reknit

It didn’t all even up. For some reason, it doesn’t show as much in the lace section.

I’ve re-knit a lot of yarn before, but not necessarily after wet blocking. On chunkier yarns, I don’t think it matters as much. But for this fine, smooth fingering weight, it would have been better to re-skein, soak, and hang it to straighten it out before re-using. Live and learn! I’m not frogging to re-knit again. I’m just going to call it character, or prosecco bubbles.

Do you use blocking wires? I’m in love with these!

Aura e-book winner, Chinatown exhibit in PDX

Trellis Vines Stole Poncho

Stole vs Poncho: The readers have spoken! It sounds like it was a good idea to hedge my bets and have Trellis Vines be wearable both ways. I am currently wearing mine as a poncho, but glad to have the flexibility to unlace it later. I do love how ponchos stay on my shoulders.

Thanks to everyone for commenting. Random.com has spoken, and the 29th commenter is the winner of the Aura e-book! I’ll send Juanita an email to let her know.

I went with my mom and one of my sisters to the Oregon Historical Society to see the exhibit on Portland’s Chinatowns. I didn’t know that the first Chinatown was on Southwest 2nd Avenue; I thought it was always on the North side of Burnside where it is now. Lots of interesting artifacts and pictures. We even saw Mom’s grandmother in a picture of the Portland Chinese Women’s Club Anniversary Celebration from 1948. Cool! The exhibit runs through June 21. Admission is free if you’re a Multnomah County resident, and not a lot if you’re not.

grandmothers

Speaking of grandmothers, here’s a picture that has both of my grandmothers. It was taken at an event in 1938 or 1939. The Chinese community was protesting the sale of US scrap iron to Japan before the US entered World War II. Lily Lee on the left, Violet Wong on the right. (Family friend in the middle.) There were other pictures from this event in the Chinatown exhibit. It was interesting to be able to place this family photo in historical context, and even more interesting to see family members as activists!

It’s been a busy few days. How was your weekend?

Introducing Trellis Vines; Aura e-book giveaway

I’ve been dying to wear this new piece for the last six months, but I had to wait until it was published last week. This is my Trellis Vines Stole and Poncho.

Trellis Vines Stole

It’s a long rectangle of lacy loveliness. You may recognize the lace pattern from my Beanstalk Scarf and Mitts, and also from my Beanstalk Poncho.

Trellis Vines detail

When I fall in love with a stitch pattern, I tend to use it in several designs before moving on. In this case, I’ve used it as an allover pattern, rather than as a single beanstalk. It’s more work for the knitter, but I think it’s worth it.
Trellis Vines Stole

It makes the piece wearable as a stole, where a single beanstalk would look lonely. It also makes the hemline scallop!

Trellis Vines Poncho

And you know I love a rectangular poncho worn on the diagonal. Tilt Shift, Summertime Blues, Beanstalk Poncho. I have five ponchos in my wardrobe right now. This one is probably my last for a while. At some point, ponchos won’t be as fashion-forward as they are currently. I wanted this piece to be wearable long beyond, so I’ve designed it so that it can be laced up with ribbon for a poncho, or no ribbon for a stole. Covering my bases; I’m bi-wraptual!

Trellis Vines is knit with Knit Picks Galileo, a sport/dk weight 50/50 Merino wool/bamboo blend. The bamboo gives it a swingy drape and lovely sheen.

Trellis Vines is in the new Knit Picks Spring 2016 Collection, Aura, which is available as a hard copy book or an e-book. Here’s the Ravelry link to all the designs. Trellis Vines is also available as an individual download from Knit Picks.

I’m giving away a pdf copy of the Aura e-book. Leave a comment and let me know how you’d wear Trellis Vines. Stole? Poncho? Both? What makes your heart go pitty-pat? I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, April 2.

Trellis Vines Stole

Introducing: Braided Wristlets

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

It’s all about the braid. These cuffs are a little workshop in stranded color knitting and braids. Three types of braids are featured: Latvian herringbone braids, half braids that resemble chain links, and half braids that resemble twisted rope. They are knit in the round, from the bottom up. DPNs, magic loop, two circulars: knitter’s choice. Choose three colors and get knitting! I can’t seem to stop. I’ve knit four pairs and I’m almost done with my fifth. It’s still chilly enough in Portland that these make sense!

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

The pattern calls for less than 60 yards of each of three colors. (These are Knitted Wit Double Bubble mini skeins.) Instructions are written, with a video tutorial on the knitted braid technique.

The pattern is available as a pdf download through Ravelry for $6. Ravelry pattern page link here. To celebrate this pattern’s release, use coupon code BRAIDS for 20% off through April 4, 2016.

I’ve knit these with 3 kinds of DK weight yarn. My favorite so far? Knitted Wit Double Bubble DK. The twist on this yarn is nice and tight, which is less prone to split, and gives the braids lovely definition. Lorajean will have yarn kits for this in her etsy shop soon (today, I think).

pdxknitterati braided wristlets go ducks

Go Ducks! Once you know how to knit the braids, you can adapt these to your heart’s delight. I learned the herringbone braid in a Latvian Mitts class with Beth Brown-Reinsel last month at Madrona, and was enchanted by the possibilities. A series of “What if I do this? Or this?” led to these definitely not-Latvian wristlets.

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, test knitters Lisa Yarrow and Kim Winter, and Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit for the beautiful yarn.

I’m teaching a class with this pattern at Twisted on Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. We’ll learn about stranded knitting with two colors and managing your yarns so they don’t tangle, yarn color dominance, and braids. Contact Twisted to sign up!