Merry Knitmas! New holiday knitting patterns

I have a pattern (or two, depending on how you look at it) in the new Knit Picks book, Merry Knitmas.

Aren’t they sweet? It’s a choose your own adventure pattern. I wanted to offer a choice of cuff motifs that looked fairly traditional. Three hanks of Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky can be knit up into two coordinating stockings.

I love how they styled these. Very homespun Americana. I love everything about these stockings. Christmas stockings are great first socks, because big yarn means that they knit up quickly. And you only have to knit one, so there’s no Second Sock Syndrome. The stubby toe on the short leg makes me smile. And you can’t even see where I snipped the yarn, frogged half the leg, and grafted it back together.

This is what they looked like when they came back from the test knitter, oops! I couldn’t show you yet when I posted about my grafting adventure this summer.) Not the proportions I intended.

And look: They’re on the cover!

The Merry Knitmas Collection has patterns for these stockings and a lot more holiday home fun! You can order it as a hard copy book, or as a pdf download from the Knit Picks site.

I’m having a little giveaway. Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me who you want to knit these stockings for. I’ll do a random drawing on October 18, and the winner will receive the Merry Knitmas e-book. Ready? Go!

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Knitting Guilds! Tigard, Portland…

Do you belong to a knitting guild? I just joined a brand new one, the Puddletown Knitters Guild. Link to Facebook site here; I don’t think there’s a website yet.

What is a knitting guild? It’s a place to share your love for knitting, and it is for all levels of knitters. There is always something new to learn, and something new to share.

Tigard Knitting Guild is our well established and wonderful guild, just outside Portland. I’ll be speaking there later this month, on October 19 at 7 p.m. Social knitting begins at 6 p.m. I’m talking about taking pictures of your knitting (and other things) with your iPhone or other mobile device. Make your pictures shine! Not a member? You can visit twice before joining.

Puddletown Knitters Guild is a new guild that is forming so there is an additional guild option for Portland area knitters. This is especially appealing for those of us on the east side of the Willamette River.

I’ll be the inaugural speaker at Puddletown Knitters Guild on Thursday, November 9. Social knitting begins at 6 p.m., and the meeting begins at 7. We meet at the Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark St. You can visit twice before joining this guild, too.

I’ll be speaking about my design process. I thought about it a lot this summer, because I designed four shawls! Come learn about what I do and why. And maybe how.

Hope to see you at either or both guild meetings!

On the nightstand: Stitch dictionaries!

I love perusing the knitting books at Kinokuniya, the bookstore inside Uwajimaya. I’ve picked up a couple stitch dictionaries there, both here and once in Tokyo. It’s usually possible to puzzle out the charted stitch patterns, even though I don’t read Japanese.

I recently picked up this book. There are stitch patterns and edging patterns, and the charts are clear and easy to read. The thought of a Japanese book about Shetland lace was kind of amusing, too.

But the more I looked at the book, the more I wanted to know what the text said. There was some text with each chart, but more intriguing was the text at the beginning of the book. I could see this page was trying to indicate that you could space your stitch patterns so they fit in your repeat. I think. I wanted to know!

I poked around inside the book, and found that the author’s name is Elizabeth Lovick. Hmmm. That’s a pretty non-Japanese sounding name. So I googled her, and lo and behold…

So I bought it! There’s a wealth of information in here. It has taken the place of the Japanese copy on my nightstand.

And apparently her name was on the front of the first book, too. I just couldn’t read it. I asked Son2 if this cover said Elizabeth Lovick, and he said yes. Or at least it was something like “Erizabesu Robikku” using Katakana (phonetic alphabet).

I’m using one of the edgings on a new shawl design. I’m pleased that I figured it out from the Japanese book, so it wasn’t a complete spending fail. (Just the sawtooth edging, not the shells.) More on that, soon.

And look! I have this on pre-order. In ENGLISH. (I must be learning.) Looking forward to receiving it, October 10. I took a class with Gayle Roehm at Sock Summit 2011, and she knows her stuff!

What’s on your nightstand?

OFFF report, belatedly

September flew right on by! A birthday, an anniversary (35 years!), a pattern in By Hand Serial #4, and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

I had the great good fortune to be the knitting judge at OFFF, and it was challenging and fun. I worked with two scribes, and made my way through a vast number of knitted goods. You may wonder what gets submitted most, and the answer is “shawls!” Which is right in my wheelhouse. There were also sweaters, scarves, cowls, and some doll clothes. One small blanket and a couple toys. My job was to make categories, comment on all submissions (thank you, scribes!), and then choose the best in each category. The laceweight shawl above was the best (in my opinion) knitted item.

The crochet judge chose this filet crochet dragon shawl as the best crochet piece.

And the felting judge chose this piece as the best felted piece.

Our job after that was to confer and decide best overall. They were all stunningly beautiful pieces, but in the end we chose lace, partly because that was this year’s theme, and then it came down to “how does it wear?”

This was perfect. Light, airy, floaty, and the stitch pattern was well displayed when worn. Congratulations to the winner! (I don’t even know her name…)

I did a little shopping, and was astounded by the tiny Bee Hummingbird spindles Ed Jenkins is making, even smaller than his Kuchulus. I haven’t spun with the Kuchulu I picked up at Sock Summit 2011, so no new spindle for me! Good thing, because you had to enter a drawing to win the chance to puchase one. My friend Leigh got one, and she’s very pleased.

Chatted with Stacey at Fierce Fibers about an idea for another gradient shawl, inspired by some things I saw at OFFF that were NOT knitted. Cross-pollination of ideas, right?

And bought some notions from Maria from A Needle Runs Through It in the Knitted Wit booth. I love useful little things!

Don’t forget the animal barns! I never made it to the bunny barn, but my goddaughter E joined me in the main barn.

And I taught two classes, Fixing Lace Mistakes and Elongated Novelty Stitches. It was a very full weekend! Still trying to catch up.

Onward!

By Hand Serial: Puget Sound

It’s out today! And now I can show you my new design, Puget Sound, which is in the current issue of By Hand Serial. (All photographs from this issue by Karen DeWitz, courtesy of Andrea Hungerford.)

I put together my favorite things about Puget Sound: Sunshine and waves, seagulls, the Olympic Mountains, and a little bit of rain. I’m very pleased with the positive/negative seagulls; they are my favorite part.

Puget Sound is a half-pi shawl, a half circle that wraps you in a hug. I used Hazel Knits Entice MCN in Hoppy Blond and Splish Splash, and it is decadently glorious.

Andrea Hungerford, the creator of By Hand Serial, knit her version in blues, Twilight and Frost. I love the monochromatic shading here.

This issue of By Hand features makers in the Puget Sound area of Washington, where water meets earth meets sky. It’s a big issue with lots to love, including some of my favorite yarn makers: Hazel Knits, Spin Cycle, and YOTH. Tolt and Churchmouse Yarns and Teas are two of the featured shops. You can order this issue online, or find it at select yarn shops. I know my usual haunts Twisted and For Yarn’s Sake are carrying it here.

I love this Fern and Feather sweater by Jennifer Steingass. I hope I can squeeze in some time to knit one for me. But it’s a little busy around here. I have a design out for test knitting, a design out for tech editing, two presentations to work on, and I’m judging knit entries and teaching this weekend at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

There’s still a little room left in my classes. Saturday morning’s class is the advanced version of my Tink Drop Frog class; this one features fixing mistakes in lace. You can sign up on site (pre-registration is closed), but there’s a bit of homework. If you’re interested, let me know and I can send you the homework assignment.

Sunday afternoon’s class is on Elongated Novelty Stitches; stitches that are made with extra yarn overs and other manipulations. I’ve added the honeybee stitch from my Go Tell the Bees shawl to the class. No homework! Register at check in.

OFFF also has animals in the barn to admire, classes and demonstrations, exhibits, and lots and lots of vendors to visit. Hope to see lots of fiber folk there!

Birthday wildfire and hurricanes

Hurricane Harvey fundraiser update: Thank you for participating in my fundraiser! I just sent the proceeds to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. I’m paying the PayPal and Ravelry fees, so all the pattern sale money goes to the fund.

I’m also matching the donation with a donation to UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Their US Disaster Response fund will provide relief beyond Houston, and I wanted to spread the love a little further. What I like about UMCOR is that all donated funds go towards the specific relief goal. Administrative costs are raised through One Great Hour of Sharing, and don’t come out of the disaster relief donations.

I’m really touched by the knitting community’s efforts. There are many designers raising funds for disaster relief, and I’m happy to be a part of it. I’ve purchased several patterns, too. Put it all together and we’re a mighty force!

Today is my birthday, and it’s a strange one. The beautiful Columbia River Gorge is ablaze with a wildfire caused by teens playing with fireworks in the tinder dry forest. It started Saturday on the Eagle Creek trail, and is now at about 5000 acres. (Edit, noon 9/5/17: 10,000 acres.)

Punchbowl FallsPunchbowl Falls in 2014

I hiked here in September 2014; pretty pictures in blog post here. It won’t look like again this for a long time. Right now, Multnomah Falls is surrounded by fire, and the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge is threatened. My heart is breaking for one of my favorite happy places.

Ash is falling here in Portland, 40 to 50 miles away.

Even closer to home, Biscuit isn’t feeling well, so I’ve laid out a buffet to tempt her appetite. Not working yet. She was at the vet yesterday (Labor Day!) and if she doesn’t perk up today, will be back there tomorrow.

So happy birthday to me. Pray for rain for the fires, and good thoughts for relief workers, firefighters, and the Biscuit, please!

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fundraiser

The photos of the devastation in Houston are heartbreaking, the result of unimaginable rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. I’ve been looking into charity efforts, trying to figure out how to help.

The Mason-Dixon Knitting gals are one step ahead of me; they’re donating all proceeds from their Ravelry pattern sales through August 31 to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, a fund established by Houston’s mayor and housed at the Greater Houston Community Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity. This is brilliant.

I’m following suit. From now through Saturday, September 2, 2017 (midnight PST), I’m donating all proceeds from my Ravelry sales to the same Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. If you’ve been thinking about buying a pattern, now is a great time to make it count a little more. Here’s a link to my patterns on Ravelry.

I know we as knitters want to help. Cash donations are the best way to get help to where it’s needed. While we’d love to knit something to help, Houston doesn’t need our knitted goods. Mary Mooney of the Oregonian suggests other ways to help.

I’ll be making a donation to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and hope you’ll help me make it that much bigger.

Linden Leaf, knit with Mason Dixon Knitting’s Euroflax mini skeins, in Forest.

SeaScape Scarflette, also knit with Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Euroflax minis, in Sea.

All my Ravelry patterns are included in this effort, but I wanted to highlight the MDK connection. Thanks for your help.

Eclipse 2017: Path of Totality

Well that was stellar! And lunar. And solar…definitely awe inspiring!

Pinhole camera made with knitting needle and paper on hand

I trekked down to Salem to view the eclipse from Willamette Valley Vineyards. They were in the path of totality; Portland was at 99%. That tiny, tiny 1% makes a big difference.

DH stayed home; he’s not as geeky about these things as I am. I wanted the sun to disappear completely. It did not disappoint.

It was so uplifting to share this awe-inspiring event with an enthusiastic group of people. So much positivity. We wrote and sang “Path of Totality” to the tune of Age of Aquarius. Fun and funny.

Of course I brought my knitting. Bag by Chicken Boots (Saremy), needle keeper by A Needle Runs Through It (Maria), bead needle by Bead Aid (Sarah), bead tin by Miss Purl (Danielle), yarn by June Pryce Fiber Arts (Cheryl), beads by Bead Biz (Jean)! It’s like another group of friends beyond the ones I was actually sitting with.

People’s phones kept going off with emergency alerts. Turn off your ringers, please! Yes, rock climbing. Check out this link for an amazing photo; it’s not mine so I don’t want to publish it here. Rock climber silhouetted by eclipsed sun at Smith Rock.

I don’t pretend to have a camera good enough to get a picture of what it really looked like; I’m leaving that to the professionals. This is what it looks like from an iPhone.

So cool to see Venus out during the day. The sun is completely eclipsed here, but the phone camera can’t catch it. It was a dark circle surrounded by intense twinkling light. It was easy to tell when totality hit; a collective gasp went up and our eclipse glasses didn’t let any light through. It was equally easy to tell when it was time to put the glasses back on. So bright! Those two minutes of totality went by all too quickly. Just a tiny sliver of sun seemed like complete daylight.

The sun was about halfway back for this picture. Hard to tell.

Traffic home was a bear. But it was worth it. Biscuit and I caught up with Game of Thrones the next day. She likes dragons; I think because they sound like her. Kind of raspy and squeaky. Bisqueak!

Did you chase the eclipse, too?

Gradient yarn, planning ahead

Next design project: A shawl with this gradient kit. With beads!

The yarn is from June Pryce Fiber Arts, 7 100 yard mini-skeins of MCN. The beads are from Bead Biz; I’ve met them several times at Madrona.

I want to use two minis as contrast to five skeins used as gradient. I thought about using the two darkest as the contrast, but I don’t think there’s enough tonal contrast between either of those and the third darkest skein. (You know this trick, right? Use the “tonal” filter on your phone camera to check for tonal contrast.)

But if I take the two lightest skeins for contrast, both of those look great across the rest of the gradient range.

If there’s enough of the darker of the two light ones, it can be contrast to all of the five gradient series, and the lightest skein can be a ruffle at the very end.

Knitting away over here, and awaiting the eclipse!

And I’ve updated my Snowflake Christmas Stocking pattern with new motifs and uploaded it to Ravelry. Christmas is just around the corner, right?

Sneak peek: Tumbling Leaves Shawl

At least that’s what I think I’m calling it. Let me know if you have a better idea!

This is a wide crescent shawl, knit from the top down with two skeins of Bumblebirch Heartwood Fingering in Hellebore and Atlantic (75/25 Superwash Merino/Nylon, 100g/463 yards each).

I love the way the blue eyelet rows squiggle, and I love, love, love the leaves.

Remember the stripe swatch? I think the one I chose (second from the top) worked out perfectly!

The pattern is off to the tech editor, and I’m looking for a few test knitters. I’m hoping I can get this out in September, which is knitting season! Of course it’s always knitting season at my house. But this last week, especially. Hot and hazy out (thanks, Canadian wildfires), so I’ve just been hiding out at home. Knitting!

How about you?