Introducing: Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance is an adventure in planned pooling.

Space dyed yarns can be so pretty in the skein, but so jumbly when you knit them. Learn how to tame the color monster with planned color pooling. This Aran weight cowl in your choice of three simple stitch patterns will give you a quick jump start into planned pooling. Make the colors dance by adjusting your tension!

Instructions are given so you can find your magic number to cast on, in order to make the colors pool.

The Huckleberry Knits 2 Ply BFL Aran was specially dyed for this project. I used all of the skein, and the cowl measures 32″ x 8″.

I consulted with Scarlet Tang of Huckleberry Knits to come up with colors and a yarn base that would work well for a class. We chose her Rock Candy and Legion of Boom (Seattle Seahawks colors) colorways, shown here on her Willow fingering weight. (My first planned pooling cowl is on the left, knit with ancient Lorna’s Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies in Cat Bordhi Aha!, purchased at Sock Summit 2011.) We’re using a 2 Ply BFL Aran which isn’t one of her usual bases, but I love it! It’s soft and lovely to knit. This yarn will be available at For Yarn’s Sake, and I’m teaching a planned pooling class there on Sunday May 19.

I also knit a version in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Plushy. This skein has more yardage, but I chose to finish the cowl at 33″ x 6.5″, using 60% of the skein. It’s bouncy and fun to knit with, but a litle harder to get accurate measurements because it’s so wonderfully springy!

The Shall We Dance pattern is available through Ravelry download. It’s 10% off through March 31, 2019, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a 20% off coupon, so sign up if you want to be in on my special offers!

Everyone into the pool!

Thank you to Amanda Woodruff for tech editing.

Rose City Yarn Crawl

The 2019 Rose City Yarn Crawl is in the books, and it was fun as always!

It’s a tradition that we begin on Thursday with a big trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake. Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit, and designers Shannon Squire, Debbi Stone and I come with lots of pretties for oohing and aahing. This year was especially fun because we had just launched the Glow Up Knitted Wit collection, and we had many of the samples on hand.

Thanks so much to Anne Lindquist of For Yarn’s Sake for hosting us, and for supplying these beautiful rosé bubbles!

Lorajean got a little punchy by the end of the day, and put on ALL the cowls. There was a lot of giggling.

See my Instagram feed for more pictures from the trunk show and crawl.

On Friday I only made it to one shop, Twisted, and that was because I needed a 32” size 5 sharp circular for a design project.

Somehow, in the moment, it made more sense to buy the whole interchangeable sharp set. I have the regular set and love it, but sometimes you need pointier tips!

On Saturday I stopped by Close Knit. I love this knitting jewelry designed by Lisa Carney-Fenton of Hand Works. Alas, they’re made with brass, so my skin chemistry doesn’t agree with them. I’d love one in sterling silver, but that would be a very spendy special order.

I also went up to Vancouver to visit Blizzard Yarns, a shop that’s new to the crawl. It’s a lovely large space. They had multiple trunk shows going on, including one with Larissa Brown. I love her designs, and am waiting for her next novel to come out. She sets her stories in 10th century Iceland. Cool.

On Sunday I visited Fiber Rhythm and Crafts, which was new to me. I like their space in the old Ford Building; the building is brick with tall windows. I went there specifically because I wanted to try their reflective yarn. I want to knit a hat for DH for his pre-dawn/post-dusk walks. The reflective yarn is meant to be a carry-along with other yarn. I also bought a couple reflective buttons for good measure.

I didn’t mean to buy yarn on this crawl; I have a lot to work with already. But I was approached by a young lady, E, who offered me chocolate, and then proceeded to tell me about the wonders of her mom’s yarn (Art by Eve). The colors are all based on fairy tales. E is 12, almost 13, and a perfect spokesperson. I had to reward her presenation by making a purchase! I love how vibrant these colors are. (E was modeling a hat and cowl, but prefers not to be on social media yet.)

My final stop was at Starlight Knitting Society. Their expanded space is very inviting.

Remember this pin I bought at Knitty City in NYC 2 weeks ago? I didn’t realize until after I was home that Thao of Nerd Bird Makery is local here!

It was a pleasure to meet her. I bought another pin and a T-shirt. Pictures someday, maybe. Gotta pack up for Crafty Moms Weekend! (This month is astoundingly busy, but relaxing at the Oregon Coast is going to be good for my soul.)

48 hours in NYC

On top of everything else going on, we went to New York City for the weekend for a family gathering. It was a very quick trip! We did a few things between family events.

We were a block off Central Park on the Upper West Side.We woke up to light snow on Saturday morning, but not enough to keep us from a walk. The sidewalks and paths were clear, so off we went!

If you don’t have a back yard, this *is* your back yard! I really wanted to build a snowman after seeing all the frolicking.

So my sister-in-law and I went back in the afternoon and created Diana, named after the nearby playground.

I also stopped in at Knitty City, hoping that Nancy Ricci would be there. She worked at Close Knit when she lived in Portland.

We had a quick, great catch up. The shop is lovely, with a nice selection of yarns from all over, including this home favorite of mine.

I had a nice chat with owner Pearl Chin, too. And I had to bring a few things home, including these.

I love this pin; I’ve seen this on T-shirts but I don’t wear T’s very often. This pin can go everywhere. Perfect!

On Sunday, DH wanted to do something we could only do in NYC, so we went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning

It was very moving, and overwhelming. I didn’t take many pictures, but wanted to remember this memorial wall.

We came home Sunday night. Back to knitting!

I’m getting ready for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. I’ll be at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday March 7 with a trunk show featuring me, Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbie Stone. You can see our Glow Up Knitted Wit samples in person. Come say hi!

Missing our Yadi

We lost our Yadi last week after a brief but devastating illness. He was two (two and a half?) years old. He came into our life last summer, July 25, 2018, from Purringtons Cat Lounge.

We got him as a companion for Biscuit. They got along famously, almost always in each other’s orbit.

Bisquee was teaching him to be a blocking supervisor.

He could also supervise knit design work on his own.

He loved denuding tinsel balls, and wandering around with them, sounding like Chewbacca.

He loved getting up on the kitchen counters, so we never left anything out. He still had to check to make sure, though. And he was Naughty Yadi at Piano and Pinot last summer, craving those lemon bars.

I finally gave him his own Instagram account, @yadiyadayada in January, after having him share Biscuit’s account, @thebiscuitreport.

We all miss him terribly. He was sweet (Captain Cuddles) and funny (Naughty Yadi) and a great friend for Biscuit. Seven months is a short time to have a cat, but long enough for them to capture your heart.

Introducing Oregon Sky

I’m delighted to introduce my new shawl design, Oregon Sky. It’s a collaboration with local dyer Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit.

And a cast of thousands. Or at least 10.

From Lorajean:

What do you get when you put a brand-spanking-new Knitted Wit rainbow and ten uber-talented designers in a room? Glow Up Knitted Wit! The ten-pattern collection, along with five gorgeous colorway combos, drops on Friday, March 1st, 2019. You can get the whole pattern collection for $33 through April 1, 2019, and all patterns will also be available from the individual designers, as well as through Ravelry In-Store pattern sales for our LYS partners.

You can get the yarn on the Knitted Wit website. The hardest part will be choosing which complementary full skein you want!

We came up with a transcendent new rainbow, which we called Glow Up, and paired a Gumball Sixlet of it with a smattering of full skeins of Fingering. We reached out to some of our favorite designers, and asked them to make some magic, and oooh, wow, did they ever! Check out the amazingness created by ​Makenzie Alvarez, Michele Lee Bernstein, Kira Delaney, Marie Greene, Stephanie Lotven, Lisa Ross, Joshua Ryks-Robinsky, Shannon Squire, Debbi Stone, and Angela Tong! Each designer chose a contrasting skein and created a rainbowriffic masterpiece.

You can purchase the whole Glow Up Knitted Wit collection as an ebook, or you can purchase patterns individually. The collection is a great deal, $33 for 10 patterns. If you only want Oregon Sky, I’m offering a 10% discount on Ravelry through March 10, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a discount code for 20%. Not a subscriber? Subscribe here!

There will be KALs and CALs over on Instagram. More on that later. For now, dream of rainbows!

I’ll have Oregon Sky at our multi-peeps trunk show during the Rose City Yarn Crawl, at For Yarn’s Sake this Thursday, March 7, 10 am to 5 pm. I’ll be with Knitted Wit’s Lorajean Kelley, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbie Stone, who also have designs in the Glow Up Knitted Wit collection. Come say hi if you’re local!

Madrona: That’s a wrap!

The 20th, and very last, Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat was last weekend. It was perfect, and perfectly wonderful. This community of fiber artists just feels like home. I had the honor and pleasure of both teaching and being a student, as well as a happy shopper and fiber socializer. Here’s a taste of the weekend. It’s a long post. Savor it, because it’s the last Madrona post!

I taught two classes, Brioche Pastiche hat, and YO? YO! Fancy Stitches.

My brioche class was the best it has ever been. The students were ready for adventure, and did a great job learning brioche rib, and then adding increases and decreases. They also learned to fix mistakes.

The fancy stitches class made samplers like this one, and Ann from last year’s mini class brought me this vintage pattern with a version of one of the stitches we do.

She also wore her Tumbling Leaves shawl. I love it when people show me their projects from my designs!

Karen in brioche class wore her gorgeous deep purple Summertime Blues wrap.

And Jennifer from last year’s Athena Entrelac class showed me her Athena, knit with her handspun alpaca. Brilliant!

Do you plan your retreat attire around your knits? I do! Left to right: Meander Cowl (it was really all about those leopard print boots that I wanted to wear to the teacher talent show, so I switched to my planned pooling cowl later that day, which also pulled the browns together), Lucky Star (the rainbow version), and Garland Shawl. On Sunday I wore my gradient gray and pollen Lucky Star, but alas, no pic.

I took an all day class on Bohus knitting with Susanna Hansson on Saturday. This knitting style from Sweden was the basis of a cottage industry in response to the Great Depression; the Bohus Stickning cooperative operated between 1939 and 1969. The style features stranded colorwork with both knits and purls in fine gauge wool and angora.

Do the purl bumps make a difference? You bet they do! See the difference? The first time I came to a round with purls, I actually giggled in delight. I hadn’t realized that the purl bumps would appear in the contrasting color from the previous round; it wasn’t obvious from the chart.

Here’s my Blue Shimmer cuff start, along with one of the class samples. These are my US size 1 Lantern Moon ebony dpns; I worked the ribbing on US size 0 needles. Not my comfort zone, but it’s so pretty.

And here’s a smattering of student projects! I really enjoyed this class, and would highly recommend it.

But there’s more to Madrona than just classes. The market was full of inspiring and useful things.

This Hazel Knits Lively DK from the Fiber Gallery is going to be a brioche project in the near future. I love how these two colors, Paisley and Plum Glace, go together.

And this Blue Moon Fiber Arts Plushy in Clusterfact (also from the Fiber Gallery booth) is going to be another adventure in planned pooling. I just can’t stop…

The Canon Hand Dyes booth is always inspiring; her colors are beautiful.

I bought this Chicken Boots notions bag to corral my essentials in my big tote; this made it much easier to find my wallet without carrying the bulk of my purse. I, um, may have also acquired a matching Double Double project bag, my favorite style. I had to get it now; Saremy is not going to continue making bags; she’s launching her Sew Sew video livestream on YouTube.

I enjoyed knitting and chatting with people throughout the retreat. It’s really the people who make Madrona such a delight. Here are a few examples.

I met Zina, the knitter of this wonderful hat. She gathered the mountain goat fluff on a hike, but didn’t know how to spin. The story of how she processed the fluff, including Judith MacKenzie offering to spin it for her(!) is on her blog here.

At the teacher showcase, I chatted with Heather, who said that she wanted to learn to crochet, but she was having a hard time because she’s left-handed. I was so pleased to tell her that crochet designer Laurinda Reddig was going to be demo-ing in the Rotunda the next day, and that she could help her because she’s left handed too. I saw Heather two nights later with her spinning wheel near the fireplace, and she said that Laurinda had helped her with crochet.

I ran into Cecillie moments later, and she told me that she was having difficulty showing her left-handed friend Elizabeth how to crochet. Aha! I popped back over to Heather, and then Heather, a crocheter of all of one day, was showing Elizabeth how to get things going. That’s the spirit of Madrona.

Cecillie, Heather, Elizabeth

I met Pamela several years ago at Madrona. She is a brioche fiend! I introduced her to Sarah Hauschka last year; Sarah taught us linked double knitting, which is like working both colors of brioche in the same pass. The fabric is slightly different than brioche, which Sarah discovered over the course of this year. (There was a long thread on Facebook about it!)

Suzanne Pedersen and Cornie Talley created and sustained this beautiful fiber arts community called Madrona. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it! Thank you, Suzanne and Cornie. ❤️

I’m also pleased that there will be a fiber retreat next year in the same venue. John Mullarkey and Rebecca Edwards are launching Red Alder in 2020. I’m looking forward to seeing it grow!

beet and orange quinoa salad

This is so pretty, and if you’ve got oranges hanging around from holiday gift baskets, this is a great way to use them!

Winter Beet and Orange Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

2 roasted beets, or if you’re lazy like me, one 8.8 oz package pre-cooked Love Beets, cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar or honey
1 cup drained rinsed chick peas
4 oz baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 fresh oranges, peeled, trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces

Rinse quinoa in a strainer under running water, then combine with 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cover. Set timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from heat, fluff with fork and let cool.

Make dressing: Combine olive oil, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, and agave in a measuring cup and whisk to blend.

Combine cooked quinoa in a mixing bowl with chick peas and baby spinach. Add salad dressing and toss lightly. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the cut up beets and orange pieces. Toss gently and serve. (Serves 4 as a main dish, or more as a side dish.)

No picture; we ate it!

(Re) introducing Rain Chain Shawlette

Rain, rain, rain. And then the flowers bloom!

This is my Rain Chain Shawlette. I designed it for the Knit Picks Little Luxuries Collection two years ago, and now it’s available on Ravelry, too.

The Rain Chain Shawlette is a sideways end to end knit, and both edges have interesting detailing. It was inspired by the kusari doi, the traditional copper rain chain of the Japanese garden.

The Rain Chain Shawlette is worked flat from end to end to form a gentle crescent shape. It features a built in I-cord top edge with a garden “rain chain” motif, garter stitch body, and a floral design for the bottom edge. Optional beads create raindrops on the rain chain.

I love end to end shawl construction. It’s easily adjustable to the yardage you have; you increase to the halfway point of your yarn, and then decrease back down to the end. A yarn scale comes in handy! Or you can just knit it to the specified width. The pattern is written for 100g/440 yards of Knit Picks Gloss Fingering, but I could see adding a third 50g ball to make it 150g/660 yards. I’m the boss of my knitting!

To celebrate the re-launch of this shawl, I’m offering it at 10% off the Ravelry price through February 28, 2019, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a 20% coupon code; subscribe here. Newsletter coming soon.

I’m back from Madrona, and still catching up! Madrona post is coming next. It was so. Much. Fun.

iPhone photography workshop review

Gale Zucker, knitwear photographer extraordinaire, was in town last weekend for TNNA. We worked out a way for her to do a workshop here through the Puddletown Knitters Guild. It was great!

I’ve taught iPhone knitting photography before, and wanted to take Gale’s class to see what more I could add to my toolbox. I’m pretty good with basic photography and composition, and adept with the editing apps. But she’s got a GREAT eye, and that comes from talent and years of practice. I’ll keep working at it!

We practiced making a flat lay, and also went outside to practice on each other. Here’s the evolution of my flat lay.

First, just laying it out with a sheer background.

I added a Bullet Journal for interest, keeping the limited color palette.

She said to throw in something that you might think was ridiculous, and these pompoms were ridiculous. But something about that color pop was intriguing.

So I added this color contrasty fake succulent. And I liked it. Except for the hole in the middle.

Here’s the finished, edited picture. I like it much better than the picture that is currently on the Concentric Bed Socks pattern, so I’ll be changing that up, eventually.

I’ll be incorporating new tips into my iPhone knitting photography class. The next one is scheduled for March 24 at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton. Come play!

By the way, Knit Circus has just put together a yarn kit for Concentric Bed Socks. They have several color options, too. These are fabulously luxurious, absolutely gorgeous gradients combined with a semi-solid for heels and toes. Lovely.

Check out this Love is Love and Bedrock combo. Sweet!

Hope you’re staying warm and toasty! We’re having a little snow event here in the Pacific Northwest. I hope it doesn’t mess up my Madrona plans next week. Fingers crossed!

Happy Lunar New Year!

Gung hay fat choy! It’s the year of the Boar (or Pig, but I think boar sounds nicer somehow).

Red envelopes with lucky money for the kids. Traditional foods…some friends asked me for this recipe, so I’m stashing it here. It’s pretty much a stew of different fungi! Feel free to mix and match according to your tastes and what you can find.

Jai
(Usually vegetarian but my Mom likes oysters and chicken broth in it)

1 oz dried lily flowers
1 oz shredded fungus (the ones we use looked like sliced black/gray leather strips)
4 bean curd sticks (dried)
10 black/shiitake mushrooms
8 red dates (dried. I don’t like them, but Mom does)
1/4 c fat choy (dried. Looks like black steel wool)

Soak the above ingredients for 2 hours or overnight.

2 T oil
1 Or 2 slices fresh ginger
3 oz fermented red bean curd (nom yee) (comes in jar)
3 oz fermented white bead curd (foo yee) (comes in jar)
3 C water
3 C chicken broth (or you can use all water)
12 oz canned gingko nuts
5 oz sliced water chestnuts (small can)
2 T brown sugar
3 T oyster sauce
3 T white wine
2 C shredded nappa cabbage
2 oz bean thread (dried)

Two 8 oz jars fresh small oysters (optional)

Presoak the first set of dry ingredients, separately, 2 hours or overnight. Rinse well. Cut and discard any hard portions. Cut bean curd sticks into 2” lengths.

Pour boiling water over bean thread to soften. Drain and cut into 3” lengths.

Heat oil in a large pot. Add ginger and bean curds; saute for a minute or so. Add 2 C water and break up bean curd. Add the rest of the water and broth. Add all other ingredients except oysters.

Simmer for one hour. Add drained oysters and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Makes a lot! Serves at least 8. Enjoy!

Back with knitting soon.