Coming soon: Go Tell the Bees

Remember this cake of gorgeous gradient yarn?

It grew up to be this shawl. This is Go Tell the Bees. It was inspired by the title of the upcoming book in the Outlander series, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.” I’m not sure who’s gone, but the title is so evocative, I had to do something with it.

This crescent shawl begins at the lower edge and features lacy honeycombs and bees. It is knit with either 430 or 645 yards of fingering weight yarn.

Here’s the smaller 430 yard version. Why yes, those are the ends hanging out. I should sew them in soon!

The pattern has been tech edited and is being test knit. I’m planning to publish it on June 1. We’re having a KAL beginning June 11; you can sign up for the KAL in my Ravelry group here. I hope you’ll knit along with me! I’m having fun picking prizes for it already.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I did, you can order Renai in many colors from Fierce Fibers. Stacey is offering it at 10% off through June 30, 2017 with coupon code MICHELEBEE10.

If you’d like to be notified when the pattern is published, subscribe to my email newsletter. You’ll get a special discount on the pattern, too. Just let me know in the comments, and I’ll add you to the list.

Looking forward to June!

Catching up with May

How did half of May fly by so quickly? I see that I last posted here on May 1, but I’ve been having fun over on Instagram. It’s so easy to post a quick photo with a short caption. I’m pdxknitterati over there, too; here’s a link to my profile if you’d like to follow me there.

So to catch up here:

I’ve been madly knitting gorgeous gradients from Fierce Fibers, designing a crescent shawl in two sizes. More about that in the next post.

I picked the winner of the linen mini-skeins for the Linden Leaf scarf. Congratulations Sharon Brown! I’m sending you an email to get your addy.

And I love it when you send FO pictures! I had the pleasure of teaching at the Sheeper than Therapy retreat in central California last fall. One of the classes was for my Tilt Shift Wrap. Ann Berg sent me this picture of several successful finishers. Thanks, Ann!

On the non-knit side, I’ve been obsessed with baking bagels. I’ve been experimenting with whole grain and different amounts of yeast/kneading/boiling times, and now I’m getting the size and texture I want. Yay!

And I had the opportunity to sing with my fellow Pie Birds in church, and will be singing with them in a wedding soon, too. Here’s a recording of us singing Bird Song, written by Heather Masse.

Cheers!

Introducing Linden Leaf Scarf

Spring is definitely here, and Linden Leaf is a warm weather accessory knit in sport weight linen. Something between a scarf and a shawlette, it’s a welcome way to dress up your spring/summer wardrobe.

Like its sister SeaScape Scarflette, Linden Leaf is a long narrow asymmetric triangle. This one features a lacy edge of tumbling leaves.

It can be worn long, loosely knotted, double wrapped…so many ways to add a little pizazz to your outfit.

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! I used a Euroflax mini-skein set from Mason-Dixon Knitting. The mini-skein sets are sold out at this time, but new color sets are in the works for late spring/early summer. Just in time for a quick summer knit! And single color Euroflax Sport linen can be found at many LYS’s and online.

The mini-skein set has five 65 yard skeins totaling 325 yards. A single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards, will also make a nicely sized scarf. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitters Ann Berg and Rachel Nichols used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY DK, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend, 284 yards. It also blocked beautifully. The linen is slightly crisper, and a bit more open.

This pattern is available through Ravelry, Linden Leaf pattern page here. It is 10% off through May 7, 2017, no coupon code needed, or 20% off for PDXKnitterati newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber but want to subscribe? Tell me in the comments!

Linden Leaf is a sister pattern to my SeaScape Scarflette. The construction is the same; the difference is in the edging. Leaves or waves? Do you love both? See below for special combination pricing.

Options:
10% off Linden Leaf, no coupon through May 7
20% off Linden Leaf with newsletter subscriber coupon through May 7
25% off for SeaScape/Linden Leaf bundle with newsletter subscriber coupon through May 7
20% off for bundle of SeaScape and Linden Leaf with coupon code BUNDLE no time limit (put both in your cart on Ravelry, add the coupon, and it will apply the appropriate discount)

If you’ve already purchased SeaScape, the appropriate bundle discount will be applied so your net price will reflect the proper amount.

And now that you’ve read to the end: I’m giving away a Euroflax Sport mini-skein set in the same Earth colorway to one lucky newsletter subscriber. Not a subscriber but want to be one? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’ll pick a winner after May 7.

Thank you to tech editor Amanda Woodruff and test knitters Ann Berg and Rachel Nichols.

Book winner, upcoming new designs

Thanks for all your well wishes for Biscuit. After a month of not feeling well, and bloodwork and followup on Saturday, she woke up Sunday and was her sassy old self. Hungry, playful, active. It’s like someone flipped a switch. We’re very happy that she’s feeling better.

The random number generator says that the winner of By Hand, Portland ME edition is Tami H. I’m emailing her so I can send her this beautiful book! But not the cat, who looks alarmed at the suggestion.

New and coming: I’m really enjoying knitting with this beautiful gradient, Saigon Cinnamon, from Fierce Fibers. I’m almost done with the first sample, 600 yards of Renai fingering weight. I’ll also be working up a 400 yard version so there will be options.

This shawl features lace and this very fun honeybee stitch, an elongated novelty stitch. So much impact for very little work! I’ll be looking for a few test knitters soon; leave a comment if you’re interested in test knitting, and I’ll fill you in on details.

Also coming, even sooner: Linden Leaf, a linen scarf featuring a pretty leafy edge. Test knits are done, tech edits are done. I just need to do the photo editing and tidy up the pattern. Later this week, perhaps? I’ll have a little discount here on the blog, and a bigger discount for email newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber and want to be one? Leave me that info in the comments, too, and I’ll add your name to the list.

Onward!

By Hand Serial: From Portland to Portland (review)

I’ve been savoring a new book series, By Hand. This new venture features maker communities around the country.

Author Andrea Hungerford writes:

In this day and age, many of us are searching for community–a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity, a desire to share our passions with others. As a sense of community becomes ever more elusive, we look for ways to build our own. A community of makers–those who find joy in creating with their hands, minds, and hearts–gives us a chance to share and celebrate our ideas and passions.

Thus we have “making communities”–areas areound the country where makers with a common ethos work and, in turn, are inspired by each other–and we are “making communities,” even where physical proximity isn’t possible, by sharing our stories and journeys and images with each other.”

I love this concept. Although Andrea has a strong knitting focus, not all the makers featured in the books are fiber artists. The first lookbook focuses on Andrea’s home town of Portland, Oregon, which is my home, too. Some of the featured makers are:

  • Indie dyers Amy Lee Serradell of Canon Hand Dyes and Sarah Kurth of Bumblebirch
  • Yarn companies Woolfolk, Brooklyn Tweed and Shibui Knits
  • Other non-fiber artists including ceramicists JaMpdx (Jenn Gauer and Megan Radick, pastry artist Anna Henrick, and paper artists Tess Darrow and Kara Yanagawa of Eggpress Design and Letterpress. And more!

A visually stunning visit to Timberline Lodge was a non-fiber highlight for me. This whole book felt like a visit with friends, some of whom I have not yet met. The book also includes 3 knitting projects, a fabric project, and a recipe. I’ll be spending more time with these.

Andrea’s second book focuses on the other Portland, Portland and mid-coast Maine. There is so much fiber and textile history in that part of the country, and it is also the home of a resurgence of the industry. I wondered if I would like this book as much as the first Portland book, since I’ve never been to Portland, Maine. This did not disappoint.

The table of contents reads like a who’s who of fiber all-stars; designers that you know and love, and yarn companies that you recognize from your LYS. Hannah Fettig (Knitbot), Clara Parkes, Bristol Ivy; and yarn companies Swan’s Island and Quince and Co. There are instructios for 6 knitting projects, 2 sewing projects, and a family recipe for Cinnamon Swirled Orange Bread. Yum!

Andrea is working on her third book, which will visit Nashville, Tennessee. You know I love Nashville. I am really looking forward to purchasing this issue!

I’d like to thank Hannah Thiessen, whom I met in Nashville at Craft South, for putting me in touch with Andrea Hungerford here in Portland, and thank Andrea for the review copies of By Hand, too. I’d also like to share the fun. Who would like my review copy of Lookbook #2, Portland, Maine? Let me know in the comments. I’ll pick a winner after next Sunday, April 23.

Thanks also to my helpful assistant, Biscuit. She’s been under the weather for the past two weeks; we don’t know what’s going on with her, but she’s had many visits with our favorite vet. Send good thoughts her way?

Disclosure: Andrea Hungerford provided these review copies for me. All opinions are my own. I loved them!

Technique Tuesday, and new yarn

It’s been quiet around here, but things are moving along behind the scenes. Sometimes if I haven’t posted for a bit, I just need a jump start, so here’s an increase that I ran across recently.

If you’ve ever used KFB, knit in the front and back of a stitch, you know it’s an easy way to increase. It’s easy, and great for garter stitch where the bump from the increase doesn’t show. In stockinette, it does show, and you have to decide if that bump is a bug or a feature. But I recently ran across YarnSub’s post on Knit Front Slip Back (KFSB), which avoids the bump, and thought it was worth sharing. You can click the link for pictures and a video, but basically it’s knit in the front of the stitch, go into the back of the stitch as for KFB, but just slip that back of the stitch to the right needle without working it. Voilà!

It does have a directional lean to it, though, so if I wanted paired increases with one leaning the other way, I’d choose my favorite left and right leaning lifted increases. My other favorite paired increases are M1 (make one) increases by working into the back (right leaning) or front (left leaning) of the bar between stitches.

So many ways to get things done! What’s your favorite increase method?

Currently on the needles for a design project, this drop dead gorgeous 600+ yard gradient cake from Fierce Fibers. This color is Saigon Cinnamon, but every time I look at it, I think of Thai iced tea. I’m through the hard thinking on this project, and about to hit cruise control. Ahhhhhh. It’s a crescent shawl, with conventional lace and a fun new lace motif made with elongated stitches. I’ll work up a 400 yard version, too. Details soon.

What’s on your needles?

Organizing via project bags, Crafty Moms weekend 14.0

Last weekend was the 14th annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast. It was pretty laid back, with some crafting, and some not! But great to get together with this group that met because our kids were in elementary school together, a long time ago.

I brought several projects to work on, because knitting is both work and play for me. Design projects, books for review, mindless knitting…and I shared some quick lessons in crochet, magic loop, and magic knot.

Lately I’ve been using Binkwaffle bags, one for each project, and then piling the collection into a larger bag or basket for transport around the house or out for travel. I like the smaller Dumpling bags for one or 2 skein projects, but last week I bought one larger Dumpling bag for a 3 skein bulky project (done and ready for secret pattern writing!). It’s too big for most days, but it came in handy this weekend.

These fabric bags are squishable but still have enough body to stand up by themselves while I’m working out of them, and the loop handle is great if you want to walk and knit at the same time. The large grommet for the handle to loop through means no yarn snagging. And the reversible fabrics are fun.

Guess which one Biscuit likes best?

I brought a couple mindless projects, which are great for social knitting. I finished a Kilter hat and started my replacement red Zephyr shawlette; I gave the original red Zephyr to my sister for her birthday. It was better than having her wait for me to knit the eventual replacement; this will be done…someday.

I spent some time reacquainting myself with the brioche stitch that I learned from JC Briar at Madrona. I had planned to knit only a couple repeats of this scarf pattern from the class handout, just to learn how to work the increases and decreases, but it’s really pretty and kind of addictive. I’ll just keep knitting as long as it’s engaging.

Dark side of brioche knitting

I can now tell where I am in the pattern, and don’t have to think so hard about the selvedge edges any more. I know that the increases and decreases only happen on the light side of the fabric, with the light yarn. But I’m operating a lot on instinct rather than reading the pattern, and can’t explain why it works. So I’ll keep going for a while!

My selvedges were wonky for the first few rows, and there’s one dark strand of yarn crossing where it shouldn’t, but otherwise things are looking pretty good. Onward!

The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places on earth. Watching the waves clears my mind, and walking on the beach makes me look at everything with a different eye. I’ll close with some pretty pictures, so you can feel like you were there, too.


This dog wandered into my picture and made it infinitely better. Serendipity!

A gift from the sea.

Transportation for sea life!

These pelagic gooseneck barnacles caught a ride on this tree. They’re a little dried out, not as spectacular as the ones I saw a couple years ago.

It was stormy when we arrived, so the next few days saw the beach littered with these pyrosomes, pelagic colonial tunicates. Weirdly pretty, but apparently no longer alive.

Wouldn’t this make a great gradient yarn?

Spectacular sunset this evening. #craftymomsweekend

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

And here’s your nine seconds of Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. Looking forward to the 15th annual Crafty Moms Weekend next year!

Book Review: In Search of the World’s Finest Wools

What’s your favorite luxury fiber? Cashmere? Qiviut? Taewit? What?

I received a review copy of this beautiful book, In Search of the World’s Finest Wools by Dominic Dormeuil, photography by Jean-Baptiste Rabouan. It’s a tribute to the growers and producers of the world’s finest fibers. Dormeuil is the Chairman of the House of Dormeuil, a fabric house that was founded in 1842.

My first instinct was to page through the book, just to enjoy the stunningly beautiful pictures. We are treated to travel through Greenland, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Ladakh, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and Peru.

I knew Qiviut came from the arctic musk ox, but what does that really mean? I didn’t realize that the musk oxen in Alaska came there via a 1954 breeding and conservation program in Canada and Alaska. I’d heard the romantic tales of plucking the tufts of fiber from the shrubbery that the musk oxen rub against in an effort to shed their double fleece in the spring.

What I didn’t know is that there are wild musk ox in the Kangerlussaq tundra of Greenland, which was the focus of the qiviut chapter. There, the musk ox are hunted as game for food, and the the fiber brings additional revenue to the hunters. (The climate does not support agriculture.) Before the opening of a wool production workshop in 1997, the skins were discarded; now there are several workshops that process the skins for the wool. Food and luxury fiber from the same animals, excellent.

The book focuses on eight luxury fibers. Two come from wild sources (qiviut and vicuña), and six from domesticated animals: two from sheep (Shetland and Merino), and four(!) from goats (cashmere, pashmina, taewit, mohair). I’m especially in awe of the goats; the luxury of their fiber is a direct result of the inhospitable climate in which these small hardy animals live.

The existence of these luxury fibers is dependent on a way of life that is threatened by industrial progress. The book is a beautiful celebration of both the animals and the people who bring us their wool.

Shetland Sheep with moorit bronget markings
We’re more familiar with sheep’s wool, such as this Shetland sheep of Scotland,

and this half shorn merino sheep in Tasmania.

The book closes with a chapter on the vicuña of Peru. Vicuña were hunted almost to extinction in the 1960’s, and have made a tremendous comeback due to a protection program initiated by the Peruvian government, and newer techniques for shearing without killing. The wild vicuña featured in this chapter are protected, and gently corralled for shearing via a 300 person human chain. How nice is that?

From wild to nomadic to farms to wild again, this book is a beautiful celebration of the source of the luxury fibers of the world. I enjoyed the visual tour, and learning about the people and the animals. I highly recommend it!

A teaser: Have you heard of Taewit goat wool from Kyrgyzstan? I hadn’t. It’s most likely a cross between the Kyrgyz goat and the Orenburg cashmere goat. I’ll let you imagine just how wonderful that must be.

I received this book in exchange for review. All opinions about it are my own. All pictures are my photographs of the book, so they’re not as nice as the book! Thank you to Firefly Books for the opportunity.

Scenes from a Yarn Crawl

Another Rose City Yarn Crawl is in the rear view mirror. I had a great time, even though I didn’t make it to all 13 shops.

I started out at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday in a group trunk show with Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbi Stone. Such a great way to kick off the crawl. A big thank you to Anne Lindquist for having us!

Marlene and Terri came by to show off their Tilt Shift Wrap and Fern Shawlette.

Leigh Anne wore her Fibonacci and Fan, knit with Knitted Wit’s Cedar and Snowy Cedar in Victory Sock.

Tami and I compared our Braided Wristlets.

And Sunday came by with her heavily modified RCYCMKAL cowl that matched her hair. Cool!

I made it to 3 shops on Friday: Twisted, Close Knit, and The Naked Sheep.

JaMPDX and Knitted Wit had a trunk show in the Twisted Annex, across the street from the shop. This space is also Twisted’s classroom space, where I teach.

The Knitted Wit wall in the shop was quite the rainbow.

At Close Knit, I swooned over colors with Sarah Kurth of Bumblebirch. Plotting and planning!

And I checked out Lisa Carney-Fenton’s clever designs that hide yarn ends inside an i-cord edging.

The pompom window at The Naked Sheep!

Sharon Spence of Stitch Jones showed me her new merino/silk worsted weight single ply. Scrumptious.

I visited two shops on Saturday: Wool ‘n’ Wares and Northwest Wools. I’d say I was slowing down, but there was a lot going on at Wool ‘n’ Wares!

The theme of this year’s yarn crawl was Portland Pastimes. And raising chickens in your yard is one of those pastimes. I loved the feathers on this partridge cochin hen.

There were five trunk shows inside Wool ‘n’ Wares, including Hula Hut Yarns (Cathei Baynes)

Scarlet Tang of Huckleberry Knits (love this Mithril and Bigger on the Inside combo)

Sivia Harding with her latest shawl design, which uses beads with several different shapes/finishes.

Not pictured: Miss Purl (I did buy her stitch markers and cute tin, picture later in post), Carl Herndon Woodworking (I love his seam rippers and his tabletop swifts), and the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild. Full house!

Fellow Pie Bird (singing buddy) Claudia was working at Northwest Wools, so we had a quick catch up. She tried on my new SeaScape Scarflette, and it looked smashing on her.

On Sunday I went back to For Yarn’s Sake for Sincere Sheep’s (Brook Sinnes) trunk show. I fell in love with her new silk/merino lace weight. The blue (St. Bart’s) called my name, very loudly, and then the green followed.

I put it all together with this gray Cormo, but now that I have it home, I realize that I forgot to check for tonal contrast. I blame the yarn fumes. I think the wonder fluff needs something either darker or lighter; this gray is too close.

No worries; for now I just like looking at the glowing colors.

I finished my crawling at the Knitting Bee, but I forgot to take a picture!

Here’s most of what came home with me. Biscuit approves.

Yarns from Sincere Sheep, Hazel Knits, Knitted Wit; lidded pint glass from JaMPDX, Dumpling bag from Binkwaffle (my third!), stitch markers from Miss Purl, and more needles and locking stitch markers. Wait, more project bags and needles? Yes, this normally monogamous knitter has more design projects than usual, which means I need more tools to corral them.

Next year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl will be March 1-4, 2018. Mark your calendars!

In other news, I’ve picked a winner for the Rain Chain Shawlette giveaway. Friday V will get a pdf copy of the Little Luxuries e-book, and 2 balls of Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in Clover. Congratulations, Friday!

Introducing: SeaScape Scarflette

Introducing my SeaScape Scarflette, a summery accessory knit in sport weight linen. Is it a scarf? A shawlette? You decide.

SeaScape long

This long narrow asymmetric triangle features a lacy edge inspired by the curl of the waves off Maui.

SeaScape

It can be worn long, loosely knotted, double wrapped…so many ways to add a little pizazz to your outfit.

Euroflax minis

The scarflette was inspired by a set of Euroflax Sport linen mini-skeins from Mason-Dixon Knitting. As soon as I saw this color set, I knew what it wanted to be. I took it to Maui in December and worked out the design while enjoying the view of Molokai from the lanai.

Euroflax minis in mason jarHand winding the balls three times made the yarn softer!

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! With mini-skeins, part of the fun is deciding in what order to use your colors. The longest, narrowest section is at the beginning, and features the most waves. The last section is short and wide, and features the bubbly eyelet pattern.

SeaScape 1

My first sample had pale green at the far end; the design sample has the mid-gray. I took the sample to Nashville to meet Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Ann Shayne, and she called it “deliriously pretty.” Thrilling!

SeaScape

The mini-skein set has 325 yards. You could also knit this with a single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitter Sarah Peery used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend. It also blocked beautifully.

seascape-sarah-cropSarah’s SeaScape before blocking, photo by Sarah Peery

The pattern is available through Ravelry; the pattern page is here. It’s 10% off through March 10, no coupon code needed. If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll receive a coupon code for 20% off. Want to join the list? Let me know in the comments.

More linen minis

I’ve fallen in love with linen, so there’s another linen mini-skeins design in progress. Come see a sneak peek; I’ll have the SeaScape Scarves and the new project with me at my trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday, March 2 for the Rose City Yarn Crawl!