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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.)
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
We drove home on the Old Historic Columbia River Highway (it’s been closed due to landslides, but it’s open again).
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.
Vista House is currently closed to visitors, but the views are still inspiring.
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.
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.
The Birdwatcher (pattern by Casapinka) is underway. I moved up to a US5 needle, knit for a while, and steamed it to get an idea how wide this will be. It’s approximately 39” and I’m aiming for 40”. I’m hoping that the stockinette portion will be just a tad wider than the chevroned edge, and I think it will be. Or not! Again, do as I say, not as I do. I like the fabric I’m getting, and it may just have a little less ease than I was planning. I don’t want to go up another needle size, and I don’t have enough yarn to go up another size in the pattern.
There are supposed to be 4 repeats of that chevron pattern, but I stopped at three. The bottom of the sweater is supposed to be 12” to the armhole, and I want it to be 9. I don’t want chevrons halfway to the armhole; I want it to be more of an edging. I think three repeats will be enough! Also, I was ready to stop paying attention. Now it’s just stockinette to the armhole, which is gives me room to think about other things. I’m glad I’m alternating skeins every 2 rounds; I can definitely see a bit of stripeyness as I’m knitting the stockinette section.
My log cabin wrap is done and blocked! I took some pictures in the back yard, but the modeled pictures are coming soon. My sister modeled for me, and we were lucky to catch the last of the cherry blossoms on a neighborhood street. We went downtown, too, but the trees there were no longer very pink!
Just not the right look for the photo shoot. I really have had cherry blossoms on my mind, so I think this pattern will probably be called Cherry Blossom Wrap. Look for it at the end of the week! For now, let me share pictures from a couple weeks ago downtown. This was the hoped for backdrop for our photo shoot, but I wasn’t ready when it was ready.
I finally sat down and finished my second Katie’s Kep. This is the free (for now, until the next Shetland Wool Week pattern is released later this month) pattern by Wilma Malcomsen for Shetland Wool Week. I reduced the stitch count by 15%, one 24 stitch repeat, and it came out to 19.75” unblocked (above). After wet blocking, it’s a perfect 20”, or 85% the width of my first hat. My first hat was a great big gauge swatch!
The first one was 23” after blocking. I gave it to a friend for her birthday, so that worked out perfectly. The second one is the lower one in the picture. On to the next project!
And what was that blue swatch in the first picture? I had a ball of Juniper Farms Zooey, and I wanted to see if it would work for Casapinka’s The Birdwatcher sweater that I posted before. Yes, it could knit to gauge. No, I didn’t like the fabric; it was going to be denser than I wanted for this easy breezy top.
So Rio Calina did get frogged. I had knit about 12” before losing interest. Frogging 2 strands held together and rewinding is a bit of a pain, but it got done.
After frogging, I have 2 100g balls that are 357 yards each. The Birdwatcher pattern calls for 2 400 yard balls. Hmmm. The pattern calls for knitting 12” to the armhole, and it’s about 20” tall overall. My cropped sweaters are usually 9” to the armhole. The missing 3” would be about 15% of the total sweater; backwards that means that my sweater would be 85% of the required yardage. 85% of 400 is 340; my skens are 357…so close. Should I?
Well, it would be an adventure. Adding to the adventure is that the two balls are slightly different in color, so I want to alternate balls every other round. Why not every round? Because it’s worked in the round bottom up to the armhole, and then splits to work flat. I’d be changing every other row at that point, not every row, so it makes sense. I think.
One more piece of adventure: I didn’t really swatch. I cast on to see how I’d feel about that every other round change, knit 10 rounds, and found that I had twisted at the join. Even though I checked 3 times! Ugh. When I took it off the needles, I found that it was a little small (pretty lazy gauge swatch) so I cast on again with a larger needle, and metal instead of wood to make it even looser. We’ll see what size that ends up being in a bit. As you know, I don’t mind ripping things out.
Do as I say, not as I do! A sweater should really have a reasonable gauge swatch, if fit is an issue. But this sweater is meant to be worn with 4-6” of ease, so fit isn’t too critical. As long as it’s not too small, it should be okay. The complicating factor is my limited yardage. But I’ll keep playing with this until I figure out what my next design project is. I think better when my hands are busy!
Back in 2012, I took a steeking class with Mary Scott Huff at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival (blog post here). It was fabulously fun, and I learned 3 ways to secure my steek. My favorite was the crocheted steek, so that’s what I use. I’ve been thinking of ways to fine tune them, though, so I decided to sit in on Mary’s class yesterday morning via Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop. It did not disappoint.
Top picture, going around from right to left: One full stitch in the center with slip stitch crochet reinforcement through the two stitches on each side of it; half of each center stitch reinforced with slip stitch crochet through the stitch next to it; and half of each center stitch reinforced with single crochet to the stitch next to it.
Bottom pictures are a closeup of the single crochet reinforcement going through half of the center stitch and half of the stitch on each side.
Here’s what I found: Leaving a whole stitch in the center means messier ends. But it also means security. I’m a belt and suspender kind of knitter, I want to make sure things won’t fall apart. Today’s exercise showed me that it won’t fall apart. Probably. Heh. There are many ways to secure a steek, and none of them are wrong if you get the result you want! I’ve seen a one stitch steek on an Icelandic sweater, and I’m too chicken to try it.
What I was really wondering about was the bulkiness of my crocheted steek, since I’ve been working with worsted weight yarn. Best answer? Use a lighter weight yarn to crochet the reinforcement, like I did with these swatches. If I pick a coordinating color, single crochet makes a lovely finished edge without any more fuss (bottom 3 pictures on collage above). If I’m trying to minimize bulk, like maybe behind a zipper, slip stitch crochet works well. Picking up a ribbing or other edging in the column of stitches a couple stitches away from the cut edge forces it to turn back, like a seam allowance, and all the ends are hidden either way.
But enough about my crochet steek fussiness. Here’s a new one (I had previously read about it in Modern Daily Knitting). A needle felted steek! Look at this: all business on the front…
Fuzzy party in the back! It holds beautifully. I’d probably want to do something to make that edge look more finished, though.
What a fun way to spend a morning! But now it’s on to other tasks…still knitting away on the log cabin wrap; I have 4 more logs to knit, and then I’m done. Tech editing is done, too. I’ll check in with my test knitters, but look for it mid-April.