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!

Fall Shawl Retreat, done!

Just back from a very pretty weekend in the Columbia River Gorge. It was my second Fall Shawl Retreat at Quinn Mountain with Laurinda Reddig of ReCrochetions. We had a great group of knitters and crocheters working on their Lucky Star and Star Bright shawls.

I made a small sample to use for our blocking demonstration; we had blocking wires from Fiber Dreams. I should have brought an extra blocking mat; my sample was wider than I anticipated!

Knit Picks donated our needles and hooks. I really like the finish on the nickel plated needles, and they’re just pointy enough. The joins between the cable and needle are very smooth. The wooden interchangeable needles are nice, too.

They also donated this wonderful swift for winding our yarns; that made things go a lot quicker!

Twisted donated rainbow stitch markers, rainbow unicorn scissors, and needle gauges. Good tools make knitting and crocheting so much more fun! Thanks so much to all our sponsors.

I stayed overnight in Camas, which is a very cute little town.

Last year this statue modeled the beginning of my Nymphaea Shawl. This year she’s wearing Shall We Dance, my planned pooling cowl.

I brought my newly re-finished Parquetry Cowl, too. I changed my bind off, because why not learn a new thing? I’ll post about the Russian Bind Off in a separate post, after I make a video tutorial.

Here are a few more views at Quinn Mountain:

And the view from Cape Horn up the Columbia River Gorge towards Beacon Rock was so stunning I had to stop and take a better look!

How was *your* weekend?

Fussing with finished knitting

Do you ever go back and adjust things, after you’ve finished? Or are you all for good enough and done? Apparently I’m a fusser.

My Parquetry Cowl sample came back to me, and I decided I wanted it to be just a little more…more. So I frogged the ending and I’m adding a half repeat, which will make it 8 inches tall instead of 7. It will look about the same, but there will just be a little more squishiness to enjoy.

I wasn’t sure what needle I had used, and I wanted to use the same material to keep consistent gauge. Ebony? Stainless? I scrolled through my phone to see if I had taken any progress pics.

Bingo! Looks like my Hiya Hiya stainless. Ravelry and the pattern told me it was a US size 6. No guessing here! Did I re-use the yarn that had previously been knitted into the cowl? No. I had plenty left over, and the previous steam blocking left the yarn a bit kinky. I don’t mind knitting with kinky yarn, but I didn’t want it to mess with my gauge. Fresh yarn was a better choice.

Almost done! And because I’m really a fusser, I edited the pattern to add the half repeat ending to it, too. If you recently bought Parquetry from my Ravelry store, you will have received an email regarding an update. But don’t worry; the previous pattern instructions work well, too. BTW, Parquetry is still on sale for 10% off through October 11, 2019.

Also in the fussy column: I decided that my very cropped Soldotna Crop wanted to be just a little longer, too. So I frogged the ribbing at the bottom and added one repeat (6 rows) of the dot stitch pattern, gaining 3/4 of an inch. That’s really all the MC Iris I had left, so that’s long enough! Not worth purchasing another skein for any more length, and it’s perfect now. I’m really happy with it.

So…do you fuss? Tell all!

Re-introducing: Parquetry

I designed Parquetry last spring for The Fiber Gallery for the Puget Sound Yarn Tour. It’s just come back to me, so I can now introduce it here.

I designed it to be a simple and easy knit. Garter stitch and simple brioche stitches combine to form the checkerboard pattern, like a parquet floor.

Knit cowl with cat in reflection

I used two coordinating colors Of Hazel Knits Lively DK. I think this was the first time I used their DK, and I liked it so much I used more of it for my Soldotna Crop. It’s great yarn to knit with. But you can use any heavy DK/worsted yarn for your Parquetry. Just adjust your needle size to get a fabric you like.

The pattern is now available on Ravelry, link here. And it’s 10% off through October 11, 2019, no coupon code needed.

Happy knitting!

FO! Lucky Star redux for Shawl Retreat Oct. 11-13

I finished my Lucky Star just in time for Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

Nothing like the power of a deadline! It went to be in Laurinda’s ReCrochetions booth as a promo for our Seeing Stars Fall Shawl Retreat at Quinn Mountain. There are just a couple spots left, so if you’re looking for a small retreat in a beautiful setting, sign up now.

I’m featuring my better garter tab for top down crescent shawls, which helps reduce the hump that can occur at the center neck. Who wants a humpy lumpy neck? Not me!

I’ll also be showing how to make your stars even bigger! Laurinda was inspired to design her Star Bright shawl based on my Lucky Star shawl, and I was inspired to make even bigger stars based on her Star Bright. Synchronicity!

This year we’re featuring yarn from Mosaic Moon at the retreat; the colors are shown above on the right. Mine is the Pear colorway. I hope you can join us. Register here!