Evolution in class planning

My new and improved Brioche Increase/Decrease class is set to debut this Saturday. I designed my new Deep End hat especially for this class, so you can get a lot of practice with both left and right leaning decreases during the 2 hour class. 

Deep End brioche hat
Deep End

I was chatting in a Petite Brioche class this past weekend, and someone asked if there would be a cowl version of this hat, because she didn’t wear hats and would rather knit a cowl. Well, there’s not a cowl yet, but I could see doing one. Not in time for this weekend, though!

Madrona Cowl

But! My Madrona Cowl uses the same kinds of increases and decreases, and it would be perfect for this class, too. So I’m expanding the class projects to be a choice of either the Deep End hat or the Madrona Cowl. I like that there are options in this class; that makes it better for more students. I always want to improve my classes, and this one has been especially fun to develop.

If you’re already registered for this class, I’ll be emailing you with the added option. And if you would like to register, the link is here. If you’re registering for class through Twisted, the pattern is already included in your class fee.

In order to make this work, I’ve updated the Madrona Cowl pattern with easier-to-read charts (thanks, Stitchmastery!). I’ve also changed the pattern language to use the more standard sl1yo terminology, which matches the language in the Deep End hat. No confusion in class! The pattern is available on Ravelry, and also on Payhip. Also, if you previously purchased the Madrona Cowl pattern through Ravelry, the updated version is in your library, as well as the older version.

I’m having a lot of fun teaching on Zoom. These pictures are from my Petite Brioche classes this past weekend. I took them near the end of class, so some people have already left. We had fun!

Petite Brioche is a great first step in 2-color brioche in the round. From there, increases and decreases are a logical next step. Come knit with me!

November Virtual Knitting Live

Registration is open for Vogue’s Virtual Knitting Live! I’m pleased to be teaching 4 classes, and giving my Blocking: It’s Magic lecture again.

Madrona Cowl, Deep End Hat

I have a new and improved version of my Brioche Increases and Decreases class, featuring my Madrona Cowl and Deep End Hat. Choose either project to learn these techniques.

Log Cabin Knitting

And I have a new Log Cabin Knitting class, where you’ll learn the technique and then see a lot of ways to play with it. This is easy knitting, if you’re looking for a mindless or meditative knit.

I’m also teaching Syncopation and Petite Brioche, which are always fun. I’ve been enjoying teaching at Vogue’s events; it’s nice to empower knitters to be the boss of their knitting!

I know it’s not the same as being together in person, but virtual events are much more accessible for most. Have you been to any virtual knitting events?

Fun with Knit Picks

First off, my Holiday Stockings pattern from Knit Picks has been free for one week (I think through Monday, tomorrow), during their 12 weeks of gifting event. You can find the pattern here. (Sorry for the late notice; I was waiting for one more Knit Picks related thing to include in this post, but it hasn’t happened yet. Rather than have you miss the pattern, I’m posting without it.) Sixty-eight days ‘til Christmas!

I designed this pattern for them a few years ago, and it has done so well for them that they bought it from me outright, rather than returning it to me at the end of its exclusivity period. Win-win!

These are knit with bulky yarn, so they’re big and they’re quick. Lots of room in there. They’re very similar to my Snowflake Christmas Stocking, which is knit with worsted, and has many more motif options for the cuff.

(there’s a bird motif, too, not shown here)

Also fun, here’s a YouTube link to the Facebook Live Zoom interview I did with Knit Picks this summer! It feels like a very long time ago.

Podcast: We’re Doing What We Love

The Dissent Cowl (pattern by Carissa Browning) is done! I steam blocked it this morning. I like this with the dot pattern folded to the inside, and just the dissent collar portion showing.

No makeup, sorry not sorry

It was best to knit this while looking at it, because it’s easier to maintain the patterning by reading the knitting instead of counting. Which meant I needed to *listen* to something instead of reading my iPad or Kindle while I knit. Game on.

Mary Chapin Carpenter has a new album out, The Dirt and the Stars, and it’s wonderful. A lot of it feels like it’s written especially for this time, so deeply introspective, but she’s been working on it for several years.

Carpenter made a podcast with poet Sarah Kay, called One Story, to promote the album. It’s a great example of pivoting and adapting to our pandemic times. Normally a musician would go on tour to promote a new album. Instead we get to know about what she was thinking when she wrote the songs, and then a deeper dive at the end. All three episodes are great, but the third one really struck me. Titled “We’re Doing What We Love,” it has so much resonance for all makers of art and craft. They talk about heroes, mentors, impostor syndrome, and legacy. Give it a listen; I hope you love it as much as I did. You can listen to it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and who knows where else?

Lots of introspection on the album, but my favorite track is this sly, rollicking song about…Lindsey Graham.

So that’s what I’ve been listening to. And I’m reading the memoir “All I Ever Wanted” by Kathy Valentine, the bassist for the Go-Go’s. It’s a fast moving read, with lots of name dropping. Highs and lows and lots of music and drugs fueling it all. I’m just getting to the part where money changes everything, but I’m enjoying the upbeat 1980s music while I read.

Do you multitask while you knit? What’s your favorite thing to do while you knit?

VKLive from the student side

I sat in on a couple classes at Virtual VKLive this weekend. I enjoyed them both!

The first was Lucy Neatby’s 2 color double knitting in the round. I originally took this class in 2017 at Madrona, but I never did anything with it. Time for a refresher! I re-learned how it works, and several different ways to manage 2 yarns. It was fun, but it still doesn’t speak to me like brioche does.

I also sat in on Franklin Habit’s mosaic knitting class. I’ve done lots of slip stitch knitting before (most recently Half the Knit Sky), but not actual mosaic knitting, as defined by Barbara Walker. I learned a bit about how to chart mosaic knitting, and considered playing with different textures. All garter stitch? Garter on stockinette background? Stockinette on garter background? My personal preference is garter on a stockinette background, like in Half the Knit Sky and my Dotty Cowl and Dotty Cake hat.

I don’t love the waffle weave look of all garter stitch mosaic. And that’s when I realized…my Dissent Cowl is garter stitch mosaic. The waffle texture is most noticeable on the dot pattern at the beginning. But the collar portion is so iconic, it doesn’t come off as mosaic garter stitch. Well played.

The cowl is coming along nicely. It’s pretty intuitive knitting. I adjusted it to make it smaller, and the neck a little shorter. We’ll see how that turns out over all, soon. You know, of course, this just makes me want to knit a second one, with more modifications, but I don’t think I want to invest that much more time. So many things to knit!

What’s on your needles? I have this and Rio Calina, and maybe mitts to go with the Deep End Hat. I’m not feeling too excited about the mitts right now. I’m not sure I want mitts at this gauge? Would a cowl be more compelling? You couldn’t wear it with the hat (too much all together around your head/neck), but it would be a nice option for those who don’t wear hats. What do you think?

Biking and Zooming (new classes with For Yarn’s Sake)

Fall is here, and last Monday was a perfect day for a bike ride in the Columbia River Gorge. I went with some friends to bike through the Mosier Twin Tunnels, out past Hood River. They’re just on the other side of the Cascade mountains, the dry side, but it was a glorious day all around.

Eighteen Mile Island

The ride isn’t terribly long, maybe 8.5 miles out and back, but it’s hilly! It’s on a dedicated bike/pedestrian path that follows the old Columbia River Highway. You can see the (not that new) Columbia River Highway, Interstate 84, down below.

Eighteen Mile Island from the other side
Breathtaking diagonal geology across the river on the Washington side

This section of the old highway was abandoned in the 1950s when the new highway was built closer to the river. It was restored for recreational use in 2000.

Standing between the tunnels, looking east through the east tunnel

It felt so good to get out for a while!

We stopped for refreshment at Thunder Island Brewing’s new digs in Cascade Locks. They used to be down on the water, now they’re up on the main drag. Great view from the deck!

Cascade Locks is on the wetter, greener side of the Cascade mountains

It’s windy and rainy today (Sunday), but the forecast is for cool, drier weather this coming week. I’m on Day 4 of work; I spoke about blocking for the Puddletown Knitters Guild on Thursday evening, and have been teaching for Vogue’s Virtual Knitting Live all weekend. Busy busy!

I have a couple new Zoom classes through For Yarn’s Sake. We’re doing Petite Brioche on Sunday October 25 (I love teaching new brioche knitters!) and Braided Wristlets on Sunday November 8.

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

Braided Wristlets is one of my favorite classes to teach. It dips into beginning colorwork knitting, tonal contrast, yarn color dominance, and of course, the very fun herringbone braids. Links to the For Yarn’s Sake classes are here. Are you ready to learn a new skill?

RBG in the neighborhood

Last week, this street mural of RGB popped up in the neighborhood. Pretty awesome! A group of neighbors painted it overnight.

She’s getting a lot of attention in the neighborhood and on social media. Cool!

Inspired by RBG, I decided I need to knit a Dissent Cowl (Ravelry link). Pattern is by Carissa Browning; she’s donating pattern sale proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union. There’s a crochet version, too, in case you prefer that. I’m knitting mine with Hazel Knits Lively DK, in Jam Session and Nickel, both out of stash. (Stash means I bought yarn for something, but decided it wasn’t the best yarn or color choice for the project, so I set it aside. I don’t usually buy yarn without a specific intended purpose.) The red is even deeper and plummier than this picture.

This has been an interesting knitting year. I don’t usually have much time to knit other people’s designs, but pandemic stay-at-home and a little bit of designer’s block made me knit other things while awaiting inspiration. So far I’ve knit 3 Love Note sweaters (Tin Can Knits), I’m working on Cat Bordhi’s Rio Calina cowl, and now this Dissent Cowl. At least the Love Note sweaters weren’t instigated by grief and loss. Sigh.

Speaking of grief and loss, one of my knitting students passed away last week. Judy Clymer Welles was a founding member of my knitting guild. She was hoping to live long enough to vote in the November 3 election, but decided to make a difference by writing to voters in swing states before she passed. She’s in the NY Times today, story by my piano camp roomie Katie Hafner. It’s a small world, isn’t it?

Onward. May RBG’s memory be a blessing, and Judy’s too.

Deep End class and discount

Deep End brioche hat

My Deep End brioche hat class has just been listed at Twisted. This class will teach you brioche increases and decreases in a jiffy! Most of the techniques are introduced in the first patterning round. The class is not a beginning brioche class; you should already know how to knit brioche rib. The Deep End pattern is included in the class fee. Registration link here. Class is on Saturday, October 24, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Pacific time.

If you want to knit Deep End but don’t need a class, you can still purchase the pattern, and the introductory discounts are good through tomorrow, October 8. Purchase through Ravelry or Payhip.

WordPress has just chosen to force me into using their “new” block editor today. They’ve been trying to do this for a long time; I like the old editor just fine. Now I have to learn a new thing, and I’m not sure I have the mental bandwidth this week. Ugh! Aaaaand the preview tab doesn’t work. I hate change…grumble grumble grumble. Well, I’m going to go ahead and post; hope this looks okay!

Introducing: Deep End

Deep End is a 2 color brioche hat knit in the round from the bottom up. One side features a large staghorn motif, the other side uses a variation of the gull stitch. I like wearing the staghorn on the side, but you can style it any way you want.

I designed this hat as a teaching piece for my classes. You’ll learn both left and right leaning brioche double decreases on the first patterning round; it’s like jumping in the deep end of the pool! After that it’s oodles of brioche rib before the next increases and decreases.

Two crown options are included. Choose the quadruple decreases for a challenge, or go back to the shallow end of the pool with familiar double decreases.

This pattern is available through Ravelry. It’s on sale for 10% off through October 8, no coupon code needed.

This pattern is also available through Payhip, and it’s on sale there, too.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitter Ann Berg.

I’m teaching a Zoom class with this pattern through Twisted on Saturday October 24. If you’d like me to email you when registration goes live, leave me a comment. (Coordinating all aspects is like a dance, and the pattern has to go live before the class can go live. One step at a time!)

Frogging brioche tutorial

Is it possible? Can you frog brioche? Of course. It’s getting it back on the needle that’s tricky. I’m here to help! I’ve had a lot of experience frogging…(for newbies: frogging means rip-it, rip-it, rip-it).

You can rip one row/round at a time, alternating colors, but it’s just as easy to rip them simultaneously. The trick is to rip until you’re close to where you want to end up, and then tink (un-knit, knit spelled backwards) the last row or round, one stitch at a time, picking up each stitch as it’s freed from the yarn. This is also how I frog regular knitting.

After I made this video, I frogged this project completely, because it’s a little too big. But I wanted to show you how it worked, before completely undoing it. It turned out to be just a big swatch!