Book getting closer to real

I finished the final design for my book last Wednesday night, just in time for our photo shoot on Thursday morning!

My publisher is in Salem, Oregon, so we met at Archive Coffee and Bar in Salem. Cute place. Nice coffee. I didn’t partake at the bar, but it looks impressive.

I can’t show you my actual knitting, so check out this artful blur. Yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Iris and Cackle.

More blur. But I’m looking forward to sharing these projects with you this fall! Progress on the book is coming along; I have two more items that need to be photographed, and then a bunch tutorial photographs. I’m not the photographer, so I’m not too fussed about that. But the patterns are finished, and the tech editing is also done, as of last week. Now I just need to do all the writing for the parts before and between the patterns. I’m on my way!

I also need to do some work for a video class that I’ll be recording in August, for a September event. Deadlines for that are coming up soon, too. I’m glad I can shift my work around to fit my very flexible schedule.

You know what doesn’t respect a schedule? Ripe produce! I picked plums at my friend Linda’s house, which meant I had to jam them right away. I made plum jam with ginger bits and bourbon. And because I couldn’t find a record of my final be all and end all recipe, except in Facebook comments on a post from last year, I’m noting this here. Sure Jell recipe, and at the end add a generous 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 cup Penzey’s Sweet Ginger Bits. Perfect.

Also, it was such a pretty picture, I ran it through the Waterlogue app to “paintify” it. Happy summer!

Time out, time shift

I took a break on Sunday and Monday, since weekends aren’t a real thing around here lately. On Sunday DH and I took a walk on Mt. Tabor, an extinct volcano cinder cone. I’ve probably posted pictures from there before, but there we were again!

One of the reservoirs on Mt. Tabor, inactive now

Our city water used to be held in reservoirs on Mt. Tabor, but now they’re underground. The city kept the old reservoirs because they are beautiful and add to the atmosphere of this city park.

There’s currently a piano at the top of Mt. Tabor. I’m not sure why it’s there, but it’s available for public play.

And there’s one place at the top to peek at Mt. Hood, through the trees.

On Monday, I went hiking with the kids in MacLeay and Forest Parks. I love that there are easily accessible green spaces in the city.

Tiny waterfall on Balch Creek
Watching water skimmers and crayfish
Tinier waterfall
This must have made a heck of a noise when it split the other tree
The leaves were nearly fluorescent

The weather has been beautiful this past week. And now it’s back to work. One more thing to design for my book. Things are moving along. Tech editing is under way. Our first photo shoot is this week; I’m looking forward to it. There are still a few things to finish knitting, for a later shoot. And then a lot of work putting it all together. I’m pretty excited about this!

Onward!

Scenes from the design studio

Currently on the needles, another piece for my book. I love these colors together, Iris and Cackle. These are on the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock base, but I’m not knitting socks!

I had to knit a small swatch and do some math to see if I had the right increase rate for what I want, and I didn’t. A wee bit of frogging ensued. Better now than 20 inches in. And say hello to my new split keyboard! It’s more comfortable for typing. It also has lifters to tilt them thumbside up. I’m still doling out my knitting time in 15 minute increments, but my forearm tendinitis is much better.

So how do I use math to know what I want the increase rate to be? Math and gauge tell me that I can have it shaped like either of these mock-ups.

Fewer increases per repeat
More increases per repeat

I cut both shapes from tissue paper, like making a muslin when sewing. I just didn’t have any fabric I wanted to sacrifice for the cause. I tried both these shapes on, and that told me that I want the second one. Okay! Normally I would just knit for a while and see how things are looking, but I don’t want to do that much knitting if it isn’t going to work out. That means I have to be smarter about how I design. I hope it all works out the way I think it will.

We went to St. Louis last week to celebrate Mom-in-law’s birthday. I had this lovely view on the way home.

Mt Hood, or Wy-East

I had some good knitting time on the plane,

but unfortunately had to frog 6 very long rows the next day when I found a stitch that had dropped, *under* the most recent increase/decrease row. (I think I knit the yo but not the stitch that it belonged to.) Ugh. I finished this project yesterday, a week later than I hoped I would. But it’s done!

Things are moving along. What are *you* knitting?

Mood board, and moody

When I started my book project, I was asked to do a mood board. What reflects my vibe/ What do I want my book to look like?

(Mood indigo? Moody blues?)

Looking at recent projects, I think you can tell I like a monochromatic palette, different shades of the same hue. And blue is big! I can’t have an all blue book (and why not?), but I can definitely have a monochromatic vibe.

(Blues, patiently waiting)

I just need to swatch what I’ve charted to make sure it works, and then this is off to Ann, who is sample knitting for me.

I’m funny with deadlines. I used to be a procrastinator, and somewhere along the way I’ve morphed into an all-in obsessive. Not good! There’s a lot of knitting that needs to happen, but slow and steady wins the race.

(If it’s going to be green, it will have a blue undertone!)

I need to do a better job balancing my knitting time. I didn’t listen to my body, and I have developed tendonitis in my forearms, which affects knitting *and* typing. You know, the things I need to do to get this book done! So I’m not knitting for 3 days, and minimally typing.

(Big project? No, a set of two projects.)

For now, I’m petting yarn, and sketching and charting things on paper. I’m on the last big design project for the book, and then I have three more small ones that should be easy. Should. I never know until I actually try to knit them!

Have you ever done a mood board? What would your mood board say about you?

Working like a busy bee

Lots of computer work today. Who knew that a lot of writing a book would involve organizing information via google forms and google sheets? Good thing I love a spreadsheet! I’m learning a lot about google forms, too.

I also did some knitting math to finish writing a pattern. Now I’m going to kick back for the evening and continue knitting with this beauty. This is my first time knitting with Malabrigo’s superwash Washted, which is much like its non-superwash counterpart, Worsted. I like it! Not quite as fluffy, but I chose it because this colorway wasn’t available on the worsted base right now.

I’ll start a new design project *tomorrow* when my brain is fresh. I have lots of options to choose from (these skeins are all designated for book projects.)

What’s on *your* needles?

I’m writing a book!

I just signed a contract to write a book! This is the summer project I’ve been hinting about, but I didn’t want to put it out there before the contract was signed. The book will be out in the fall, and it’s about knitting, of course. It will have 20 patterns for accessories and home items (you know I don’t design many sweaters), from simple to more challenging.

I’m looking for some test knitters for these small projects. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll email you back with more details.

I’m working with Library House Press, which is Marie Greene’s new publishing company. You may know Marie as Olive Knits, and also through her Knit Camp. She has published a couple books with a traditional publisher, and she decided to launch her own publishing company this year with her third book, Knit a Little. I have a copy, and it’s beautiful. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with.

DH and I did take a little time to stop and smell the roses this weekend. We biked over to Peninsula Park, where the rose garden is in full bloom.

I love how these buds are peeking through the spent blooms.

I noticed a split stitch in my knitting this afternoon. I didn’t want the yarn to break and run down the column, so I had to fix it. My cable hook was a little short, but I managed to squish them all on there. I was too lazy to go inside to get an extra hook or circular needle! All better now.

I’m teaching Brioche Doctor next month through Bazaar Girls; I can’t wait to show them this picture. That split stitch was 21 rows down! Come to class if you want to know how to fix this and other mistakes in brioche knitting!

I’m taking the summer off to work on my book. Classes will begin again in the fall. I’m looking forward to teaching both via Zoom and in person!

Knit, knit, knitting this week

It’s a knit filled week! I’m speaking and teaching for the San Diego North Coast Knitters Guild on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were hoping it would be in-person, but at commitment time their venue wasn’t open yet. So Zoom it is! We know how to have fun, no matter what.

On Friday at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern, I’m chatting with Amy Snell/Devious Knitter on her podcast, Would Knit Be Fun. Amy is an excellent designer/teacher with a great knowledge base. Come join us! You can sign up at this link.

After these events, I have just one more class before taking a summer break. I’ll be teaching Brioche Doctor via Zoom for Bazaar Girls on Tuesday, June 22. You can register here. The listing says 10 am to 1 pm, but it’s a 2 hour class, so we’ll get that straightened out this week. I’m pretty sure it’s at 11.

And I can finally tell you about my new project…in my next post! Tuesday, I think.

It’s a holiday weekend here. DH and I took an unexpected trip out to Hood River; the place we wanted to hike yesterday was overrun with people, so we just kept driving east.

The clouds are prettier on the other side of the Cascades! At least they were yesterday. It’s the wind…

Mt. Adams, Columbia River

A stroll instead of a hike, and lunch. Perfect.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

Ginger Chocolate Scones, redux

I’ve been making chocolate chip scones for decades. The ancient recipe lives on my refrigerator, and is getting harder and harder to read. It used 4 tablespoons of butter, and milk. They were nice, but not particularly luxe. Along the way, I’ve modified things a bit.

Ginger Chocolate Scones

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

2 cups flour (not whole wheat; I used unbleached white)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (not soda)
1/2 tsp salt

8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) cold butter

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup candied ginger bits (I like Penzey’s)

1/2 cup half and half (just barely, or it will be too wet)
1 egg, scrambled

Combine dry ingredients and stir. Cut the butter into pieces and then blend them into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. Stir in chocolate chips and ginger. Scramble the egg into the half and half, and then pour it into the flour mixture. Stir until blended, then knead on floured surface about 10 times. Form three balls with the dough. Pat out balls into circles about 7 inches in diameter, slightly mounded in center. Cut each circle into six pieces. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just golden. Cool on rack. EAT! To reheat, warm in toaster oven on lowest setting.

Makes 18 dainty scones.

One step closer to letting you know about my new project! Soon.

Classes: Get ‘em while you can!

I have a couple big projects to work on this summer, so I’m cutting back on my teaching schedule. If you’re itching to take one of these classes, do it now!

Petite Brioche at Virtual Vogue Knitting Live: There’s still room in my Petite Brioche class on Saturday, May 15. If brioche is on your bucket list, Petite Brioche is a great place to start.

Darn It! Mending Your Knits: Tuesday May 18 via Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop, and Saturday May 22 via Twisted Yarn Shop. Weekday or weekend, I’ve got you covered!

Advanced Tink Drop Frog (Lace Edition): Sunday May 23 via For Yarn’s Sake.

Brioche Doctor: Fixing Brioche Mistakes: Tuesday, June 22 via Bazaar Girls (link coming May 20 or so).

I’m taking a chunk of time to work on a big project, and I’m looking forward to telling you about it, once I get some final details ironed out.

And summer’s coming; we want to get outside! I’ve had both my Covid vaccinations, and I’m starting to see friends and family in real life. I had a road trip with friends up the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River last weekend. We had a year’s worth of stuff to catch up on.

Mt. Adams
A big winding oops (it all worked out)
Stirrings by Ann Fleming

I saw this bronze at Gallery 301 in Hood River, and I’m in love. She’s so serene, and she knows that kitchen magic. I’m not sure where she would go in my house, though.

Looking west from Hood River

We drove home on the Old Historic Columbia River Highway (it’s been closed due to landslides, but it’s open again).

Horsetail Falls, right off the highway

I used to bring the kids out here to play in the splash pool on hot summer days, before we had air conditioning in the house. It’s also the trailhead for a favorite hike.

Horsetail Falls splash pool
Vista House on Crown Point

Vista House is currently closed to visitors, but the views are still inspiring.

Looking east toward Beacon Rock from Crown Point on the Columbia River
Salmon and scallop poke, and favorite bubbles!

And I was home in time to celebrate Mother’s Day with the family. The kids came over and made 2 kinds of poke, and we made pineapple fried rice to go with it. (Tossing the pre-cooked rice with fish sauce before it goes into the wok makes it so good.) It was great to be back in the kitchen with them, after a long year of distancing. A perfect cap to the weekend.

Introducing: Cherry Blossom Wrapture

Cherry blossoms on my mind! This log cabin themed shawl is a generous 17” deep by 98” wide. You don’t have to knit yours to be that wide, but I LOVE how big this is.

This wrap starts at the center with a leafy square, knit in the round. A log cabin knitting-style frame is added, flat, and then the ends are worked out from each half of the square. I knit mine in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, 2 skeins of Ticklish (white with speckle), and a skein each of Cherry Blossom and Fresh Cut.

It’s so lovely to wrap yourself up in!

This pattern is available through my Ravelry shop here, and through my Payhip shop here. Use coupon code BLOOM for 15% through April 23, 2021 on either site. Newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your special offer.

Love that center square!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Jacqueline Lydston, Nan Palmer, and Sylvie Bedard.