Free pattern soon: Boxed Hearts Coasters

You know I’m teaching at this Virtual Retreat next week, December 1 & 2, right? I’m teaching slip stitch knitting, featuring this cowl and mini-stocking. We’ll also review the elements of top-down sock knitting, so you’ll be ready for the real thing. No time next week? You’ll have access to the recorded video classes for 60 days after the event. I’m teaching with Corrina Ferguson; she’s teaching her Jovia Shawl, and beautiful edgings. Jen Lucas is our moderator. The event includes patterns for all these items. The current discounted price is $50, and you can use the code Michele10 for an extra 10% off. Register here!

Boxed Hearts Coaster, Yarn Chicken Pint (by JaMPDX)

While I’m there at the Craftsy/Knitting Circle studios, we’re going to have a Live event on Tuesday, November 30 at 12:30 pm Central/10:30 am Pacific. I designed these coasters specifically for this event, and I’m going to teach Jen Lucas how to reinforce and cut a steek! The pattern for this will be free; you can learn along with Jen. Check out the Facebook pages for The Knitting Circle or Craftsy to watch. (Knit these after the event; I don’t expect you to knit and cut these within the hour!)

You know you want to do this! And it makes 2 coasters at the same time. Two chances to cut a steek, too!

But first, Thanksgiving. Thank YOU for being part of my epic knitting journey!

Photo credit: Bonne Marie Burns

And thanks to Bonne Marie for taking this fabulous picture of me at Weird Sisters Yarn Shop! The trunk shows/book signings have been so much fun. I have one more scheduled, at Wild Knits in Salem, Oregon on December 4.

Onward!

Free Pattern: Swizzle Cowl

I recently designed the Swizzle Cowl for Knit Picks, for their Twelve Weeks of Gifting. It’s available today!

Knit with Muse Fingering and Aloft Kid Mohair held together on US10/6mm needles, it’s a quick knit for you or a loved one. The Swizzle Cowl pattern has instructions for 3 sizes, so whether you like your cowls close to the neck, long and double looped, or somewhere in between, I’ve got you covered.

Here’s a closer view of the stitch pattern from my submission swatch. Apparently I never took a picture of the finished cowl! It’s in a box here, somewhere…

I’m really pleased to have TWO patterns in this year’s Twelve Weeks of Gifting. My Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket is the other one.

One other Knit Picks item going on…I’m knitting a version of my Cherry Blossom Wrapture shawl with Knit Picks Hawthorne, so I can offer the pattern through their IDP (Independent Designer Partnership) program.

Knit Picks Hawthorne in Camellia, Poseidon, and Italian Ice Speckle

The Poseidon and Camellia have a blue undertone, but the speckle has more of a yellow undertone that I expected. (The joy of choosing color online!) Poseidon plays well with both of the other colors, but I wasn’t sure about the Camellia with the speckle. So I’m making the log cabin frame around the speckled center in Poseidon instead of Camellia. The pink will be a pop, and begin further away from the big speckled center. I think it will work. We’ll find out soon…

Original colorway

This just means rearranging my blocks/logs. If I don’t like it when I get there, I’ll get some Bare (natural) and swap that in. Hope I don’t have to!

An epiphany!

I was looking at a Knit Picks call for design submissions, and it said that the designer needs to have a USA, Canada, UK, or Australia shipping address. I knew they shipped to USA and Canada, but the rest was news to me. Hello!

Knit Picks is carrying my book, Brioche Knit Love, and where it would cost me $80 to ship to Australia via the post office, their rates are much better. So if you’re in the UK or Australia and want my book; check it out. My publisher doesn’t have distributors there, so this is a great way to get access. And it works for Canada, too. We do have a Canadian distributor (Julie Asselin), but I don’t know if books are in Canadian LYSes yet.

Currently sold out, but they’ve ordered more!

Knit Picks featured me in their email newsletter last month; that was thrilling.

It’s supposed to go on their blog this month; I’ll post a link if/when that happens. For now, I’m chuffed that my book can get to some other countries! It can travel internationally, even if I can’t, yet.

Improving my steek

I was perusing Mary Jane Mucklestone’s 150 Scandinavian Motifs the other day, and I was struck by her steek setup.

She uses a six stitch steek, but the two center stitches are the same color. This makes it clear where you cut: between the two stitches that are the same color. Easy peasy!

My first forays into steeking used a checkerboard pattern. I use single crochet to reinforce my edges. I’ve tried slip stitch crochet, too, but I like the way single crochet looks, better. Trial and error, right? The checkerboard pattern kept me on my toes, as far as seeing where to crochet my reinforcement; the color alternated with every stitch.

On my next steeking pattern, I decided to use striped columns, so I was always crocheting into the same colors. Better. But not symmetrical as far as the edge stitches go.

The double center line makes it super clear. Yes, it’s the same as far as crocheting under 2 different color legs, but this makes my heart go pittypat. In a good way. The steek edges are the same color, where I pick up my edgings, so they look the same. That’s a win for me. Symmetry! You can use whatever steek arrangement you like; I like this one best. So far…

If all goes according to plan, this pattern will be offered free via Craftsy/The Knitting Circle for a Live Event on Tuesday, November 30. I’ll keep you posted. I love these little projects for teaching, learning, and gift giving! And I’m glad I learned something, too.

Have you ever discovered a better way to do something, and it was so simple it made you laugh out loud?

Slip-sliding away

Oh, look! I’m knitting something that’s *not* brioche!

This is my slip stitch sampler cowl. I’m teaching a class for a virtual retreat for Craftsy/The Knitting Circle, November 30 – December 2. Slip stitch knitting is a great way to do colorwork, using just one color per row/round. No yarn juggling! I’m also teaching a session on sock knitting, using a mini-sock to go through all the steps for a cuff down sock. The sock features a slip stitch pattern on the leg.

It’s perfect for holding a tiny trinket, or as an ornament.

I’m teaching with Corrina Ferguson, and Jen Lucas is our host. Corrina is teaching some shawl and edging magic. You can find more details here. The price is currently super low; you’d pay this much for the patterns alone. And if the dates don’t work for you, you also have access to the videos for 60 days after the event.

We’ll be teaching from the Craftsy studios, which will be a new experience for me. I made some videos for The Knitting Circle from my home studio during the 2020 lockdown, but I’ve never been to their studios before. While I’m there, I’ll be doing a fun little steeking project for them, too. I’m working out the details, which I’ll let you know soon.

Pattern play!

I’m also designing a slip stitch bed sock, which isn’t part of the retreat. I think it’s going to just be stripes, because I love how the stitch pattern pops. It’s been fun playing with my options.

Have you played with slip stitch knitting before?

Oh the places I’ll go…

At least, I hope I will! I’m planning to teach at several knitting events in 2022, and I hope they all happen. I’ve already mentioned Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat, February 17 – 20. And then…

I’m teaching at Yarn Over, the annual retreat for the Minnesota Knitters Guild. This was supposed to happen in 2020, and you know what happened to that year. This event is April 29 to May 1, and I’m teaching brioche and herringbone braids.

I’m teaching on a cruise for Vogue Knitting at the end of August. We haven’t chosen the class yet, but there’s time. Norah Gaughan is the other onboard teacher, and we’ll be visiting with Bristol Ivy in Portland, Maine. The *other Portland!

I have several more irons in the fire, so I’ll keep you posted as we go. I’m vaccinated and ready to roll.

Coming right up via Zoom, next week I’ll be the special guest for Makers’ Nite on Tuesday, November 2 at 5 pm Pacific. Makers’ Nite is a fun, monthly, online hangout event from Makers’ Mercantile LYS. “Bring your spinning, crochet, knitting, weaving, sewing, felting, tatting (did we forget anyone?) and spend some time with your fellow Makers.” You can come hang out with us! Here’s the link to register; it’s free but registration is encouraged. I’ll be chatting about my book, and whatever else Kyle Kunnecke decides to ask me about.

I’m at For Yarn’s Sake this Saturday from 1 to 2:30 pm, if you’d like to come by and get your book signed. I’ll have all my samples with me, so you can see them in real life.

Ann Miner of Yarn Folk in Ellensburg, Washington hosted my very first book party last Saturday, and we had a great time! (I forgot to actually take a picture with Ann, though.)

Kathy Temple (left) brought her beautiful Oregon Sky Shawlette
Look, it’s Yoga Nan in real life!
Talking cowl construction…

And I even had a chance to hike with my friend Vickie. She really wanted me to see the larch trees up at Blewett Pass, and now I know why.

on the Swauk Forest Discovery Trail, an easy 2.5 mile loop

These deciduous conifers turn bright yellow in autumn, before shedding their needles. Gorgeous. A great weekend getaway, all around.

What are you doing to enjoy autumn (or spring, down under?)? I love the changing seasons. And are you planning to be out and about next year?

Brioche Knit Love book parties!

Happy happy official publication day to Brioche Knit Love!

I’m having a little book tour to celebrate Brioche Knit Love. Come see the samples from the book, and I’ll sign your book, too! You can pre-order your book from these shops.

Oct. 23: Yarn Folk, Ellensburg WA, 10 to 11 am

Oct. 30: For Yarn’s Sake, Beaverton OR, 1 to 2:30 pm

Nov. 6: Weird Sistsrs, Portland OR, 1 to 2 pm

Nov. 20: Knot Another Hat, Hood River, OR, 1 to 2:30 pm

Nov. 21: Northwest Wools, Portland OR, 1 to 2 pm

Dec. 4: Wild Knits, Salem OR, 1 to 2:30 pm

Come say howdy!

Not local? Ask your LYS to carry it. If they don’t, you can also order it directly from the publisher, Library House Press.

Knit happy, knit brioche!

Coffee Breakers Shawl

Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat in February

It’s been a while since I’ve been to an in-person event. I have really missed that energy! Now it’s time to plan, hoping that the pandemic will have calmed, but keeping health and safety in mind.

Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat is scheduled for February 17-20 in Tacoma, Washington. This will be the second year of this show; the first was in 2020, and 2021 was canceled. The first one was fabulous, and I have no doubt that 2022 will be equally great. Covid policies are in place, but they may change as conditions change. Your safety is Red Alder’s priority.

Classes are listed on the website now, as well as registration information. Registration begins November 6 at 4 pm Pacific time.

I’m teaching four classes:

Brioche Pastiche, which is a quick start to 2 color brioche in the round, and increases and decreases

Syncopation, 2 color syncopated brioche knit flat

Minerva Entrelac Cowl, learn to knit entrelac, flat

Designing with Favorite Shawl Shapes. This class sets you free to dream up your own shawls.

Just being swift for Mary Scott, Red Alder 2020

I’m pretty excited to think about actually going places next year. May it be so!

Playing with slipped stitches

I know we use the heel stitch to make the heel of socks a bit thicker; slipping every other stitch gives us a double layer of yarn over the heel. So for a bed sock, why not used slipped stitches to make the whole thing doubly thick and cozy?

I finished one, almost. I won’t commit to grafting that toe until I’m done playing with my stitch patterns! I have a Dotty slip stitch pattern on the leg of the sock, but I didn’t want that underfoot. Even though this is intended to be a bed sock (worsted weight, warm), I didn’t want those bumps on the sole. At first I tried using the double stitch stripe on the whole foot, but it was hard for me to carry the floats loosely. I put them just on the sole.

But the heart wants what the heart wants. As you can see, now I’m trying the stripes on the leg first, to see if I can keep things loose enough there. If yes, then I can do it on the foot, too. I kind of love the idea of vertical stripes on leg and foot, and a band of horizontal stripes across the gusset shaping. (Partly because working the decreases into the vertical stripe pattern seemed like a pain in the…foot? But I’ll think about it again when I get there on the second sock.) Also, I want the purple foot stripe to begin right after a purple gusset stripe, and end right before the purple toe. I don’t like the purple bar floating against the orange background. See how nice it looks snugged up to the ribbing on the second sock?

Do I want to explain all of this in a pattern, or just make these for myself for fun? It would be a quick gift knit.

I love these colors. Malabrigo Rios, in Lavanda (purple) and Archangel. It feels like fall to me. And I’m sitting here in the backyard, making the most of a gloriously sunny day. Rain tomorrow!

Brioche Knit Love: putting it all together

The final projects of Brioche Knit Love combine all the techniques we’ve been learning throughout the book. We now get to play with both worsted and fingering weight yarn. (I like to teach using worsted weight, so you can see your stitches better. Now you’re ready for the fun stuff.)

I wanted this chapter to be beach themed, in honor of my beloved Oregon Coast. But the book is coffee themed, so I had to rename all the projects with that in mind, too. I think that was the hardest part of making this book!

(knit in Malabrigo Rios)

This is the Cappuccino Cowl, a study in syncopated brioche. It was originally called Coast Range, after the mountains between Portland and the coast, but now the peaks are peaks of foam on a cappuccino. You can wear it with either light or dark peaks pointing up.

(knit in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted)

The Seafoam Latte Scarf combines increases and decreases with a syncopated crest of the wave. The working name for this piece was Beachcomber. I do love the thought of Seafoam Lattes, though.

(knit in Hazel Knits Entice MCN)

The Coffee Bean Trivia Cowl is a bandana style cowl that is knit flat from the lower point until it’s wide enough to join to knit the neckline in the round. This is a very easy to wear piece. And the yarn is sooooo soft. The working name of this was Kelpie, because I thought it looked like a kelp forest underneath the waves. I decided that the little roundels could also be tiny coffee bean trivia shells, as in this post. (Check the link for a fun free project, the Victoriana bracelet.)

(knit in Huckleberry Knits Gradient, and Madeline Tosh Twist Light)

Seagull Flight may be my favorite project in the book, but it’s so hard to choose. And it’s always been called Seagull Flight, from the very beginning. This one just rolled off my needles. I knew what I wanted it to look like, and I knew the basic layout. It’s a half-pi shawl, and very easy to knit.

How did I get it to fit my coffee theme? A flight of coffee. Done.

The final project in the book is actually two projects. You can knit Coffee Breakers as either a cowl or a shawl. (Working name was Surf’s Up)

(knit in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock)

The cowl is easy to wear, and takes about half as much yarn as the shawl.

(knit in Hazel Knits Entice MCN)

And the shawl takes two skeins of fingering weight yarn; it’s sooooo squishy. I love how it feels around my neck, especially in this yarn. (Thanks to Ann Berg for knitting this sample for me!)

I hope I’ve enticed you to try brioche knitting! I’ll be with you every step of the way. Brioche Knit Love has photo tutorials, as well as a link to video tutorials. All the designs are accessories, and mostly small and easily accomplished. The projects start from the very beginning, and build on your skills, one at a time. If you already knit brioche, you can knit the easier projects as quick gifts, and knit the projects from the last chapter with confidence.

You can see all 21 designs from the book here.

Brioche Knit Love is available through local yarn shops, and from the publisher, Library House Press. Local yarn shops can order from our distributor, Sommer Street Associates. The book’s official publication date is October 19, but pre-orders are shipping, and I know several knitters have already received their copies!