Coming soon, garter stitch zen

Remember this garter stitch “worry bead” knitting?

purple garter crescent

It grew up to be this:

Ships in the Night

The pattern is coming soon; it’s back from the tech editor and is being test knit.

You might remember that it was my zen project when Biscuit/BellaTrix/Bisquee was ill after her adventures in the fireplace. It’s probably the most soothing knit I’ve ever designed. It’s an absolute joy to wear, too. I wore it for the first time on Sunday, because I was worried about kitty again. She was really sick last week, and after three vet visits and worry about lack of appetite, obstructions, pancreatitis, and food alllergies, it turned out to be a UTI, mostly. She’s back to her happy self, and a little more snuggly and a little less naughty. She’s growing up!

But about the shawl: Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug. Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing.

Ships in the Night

The stripes are based on the Fibonacci sequence, so there’s a little bit of nerdy fun in there too. The current name is Ships in the Night for the way the stripes glide past each other, but I could also call it BellaTrix for this silly kitty. Even though her name is Biscuit. Pronounced Bisquee. What do you think?

Biscuit BellaTrix

Looking forward to sharing it with you soon!

Sheeper than Therapy retreat

Moving backwards to move forward! Before my meeting with the Boss, I was at St. Anthony’s Retreat Center in Three Rivers, California to teach at the Sheeper Than Therapy Guild’s fall retreat. We had a great time. The weather was perfect.

St Anthony's Retreat Center

We played with Log Cabin blocks

Log Cabin blocks

Braided Wristlets

Braided Wristlets

Braided Wristlets

And the fun stitches of the Tilt Shift Wrap

Tilt shift stitch

We finished up Monday morning with an overview of photography and editing on mobile devices (phone and tablet).

Sheeper Than Therapy group

This was a very fun group of knitters to hang out with! Many thanks to Ann for organizing, and to Susan for recommending me. Susan knit my 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl mystery shawlette, and met me during the crawl.

Susan and me

Want to know more about the weekend? Here’s Renee’s blog post.

While I was knitting there, we noticed something interesting on my yarn label. My fellow Pie Bird Claudia gave me this yarn many years ago. It’s lovely, lovely stuff: 65% Cashmere and 35% silk. So soft, and it knits up into an airy dream.

Bollicina label Fa Re

The name of the yarn is Bollicina, which means bubble in Italian. The label features the treble staff, with two notes, Fa and Re. Why? Google Translate tells me that “fare” means “to make” in Italian. So it’s a big musical pun!

Now I’m home, writing up four new patterns, and planning what happens next. Onward!

What Springsteen said to me

“You’re a dangerous woman.”

Springsteen n me

Who, me?

Bruce Springsteen was in town to promote his new autobiography, “Born to Run.” The event was at Powell’s Books, a large and wonderful independent bookstore here in PDX. We managed to get tickets (we crashed the first server, just like Sock Summit), but poor DH is out of town so a friend came with me.

The rules:

• The event is a meet and greet only. There will be no book discussion, booksigning, or performance.

• Springsteen will not sign anything during the event (books will be pre-signed). No memorabilia or other items are allowed.

• Please leave bags, backpacks, and personal items at home as these are not permitted at the event. Any personal items that cannot be pocketed will not be permitted in the event space. This includes backpacks, purses, shopping bags, etc. Only the book that ticket buyers receive at check-in will be allowed into the event space with ticket holders.

• You are allowed one posed photo with Bruce Springsteen. An employee of Powell’s will take the picture using your phone or camera.

Knitting in line

I don’t have a lot of clothing with pockets; I’m all about the skirts and boots! I wanted to take some knitting with me for waiting in line, and it had to be small to fit in my tiny jacket pockets. I’m not a sock knitter, but a half ball of yarn and a sock on the needles made sense. Of course, for me it was sport weight on size 2 magic loop. Look at that heel flap! I finished the flap, the heel turn, and started gusset decreases while in line.

What do you say to Bruce Springsteen, that hasn’t been said a million times before? In my case, it was, “Would you hold my sock?” (Definitely inspired by the Yarn Harlot.) But when it was my turn, the handler looked at my needles and told me I couldn’t go up with knitting needles. So I took the needles out, because I really wanted Bruce to hold my sock. Here’s our exchange.

Me: Would you hold my sock?

Bruce: (looks bemused)

Me: I had to take the needles out; they wouldn’t let me have them near you.

Bruce: You’re a dangerous woman…with those needles!

He had the sock; I had the yarn ball in my pocket. We’re connected by yarn! So we took our picture, and I thanked him for coming before they sent me on my way. 10 seconds, totally worth it.

Springsteen n me at Powell's

I just found out that you can make gifs and videos from the live photos on newer iPhones. So here it is; I love how Bruce is wiggling the sock. Too cute!

Springsteen sock wiggle gif

As I said, I’m not really a sock knitter, so I may never finish this sock. I’d have to put it back on the needles, for starters. So I think it will go in a shadow box with the picture, and we’ll call it good.

The Oregonian was there talking to people who were waiting in line, and I ended up in their video. I’m at the 26 second mark, in my Webfoot Shawlette in Hazelknits Entice, Hoppy Blond.

OK, back to knitting!

Belated OFFF report, onward!

It came; it went! The weather was perfect at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival last weekend.

Wristlet class picture

On Saturday, I taught my braided wristlets class. A lot of fun in such a small piece of knitting!

Sunday was my play day. Here’s my small haul, which I’ll explain as we go. Picture does not include the sheep cheese and goat cheese; they’re in the fridge. Or the tea.

OFFF loot

That little wooden yarn ball? It’s really a needle minder, but I bought it to use as a shawl pin. It’s magnetic, so it doesn’t poke through my shawl. It worked great on my stockinette based shawl. I bought it from Maria, A Needle Runs Through It. I bought one of her needle minders for my bead tin last year. Very handy.

Miss Purl tin

Speaking of my bead tin, I’m upping my game with this tin from Miss Purl. It goes with my sock monkey tool bag.

Bead tin

It’s all set up with my other needle minder.

Blissful Knits

Raya at Blissful Knits had this cute mini bar setup. I bought a couple minis to swatch with.

Blissful Knits minis

Such happy colors!

Three Fates

I bought this sparkly fingering weight gradient from Stephania at Three Fates Yarn. Just because I liked it.

Knitted Wit

And I loved the cheery color pops on this Aran weight yarn from Lorajean at Knitted Wit. Colorway is called Macaron. Yum! I’ve knit with Lorajean’s Aran before, my long Snowy Woods Cowl, and I love how “chewy” it feels to knit with. This will be a quick hat for someone, I think. Or a short cowl. Or…

Plum Deluxe

I was pleased to see Andy Hayes of Plum Deluxe. This was his first OFFF. I love his teas, and was running low on my favorite, so I bought it (Oregon Breakfast Tea) plus two more. The strawberry Earl Grey is fantastic.

30 breeds blanket

I visited the exhibit hall, and saw two very impressive blankets. This one has wool from 30 breeds.

30 breeds blanket key

And here’s the key.

Sheep blanket

This blanket is a little more fanciful.

Anna's Fern Shawlette

Anna took my Fern Shawlette class last year, and entered it in the exhibition this year. She did a very lovely job.

Back out to the lawn!

Stacey and Tami

Tami (right) was helping out at Stacey’s booth, Fierce Fibers (formerly Thoroughly Thwacked). Tami was spinning from the fiber around her neck. Nice!

Fierce Fibers gradients

Stacey has been playing with gradients. These laceweight cakes are lovely. They’re actually all the same, just wound inside out or outside in. It really makes a difference in how you see them.

Aloha Stitch Jones

I noticed the Aloha Shawlette that Sharon Spence (StitchJones) knit, hanging in the booth. I originally designed this using Sharon’s yarn. It all goes around!

Chicken spinning wheel

I loved this chicken spinning wheel.

Squire Brooms

These handmade brooms by Squire Brooms were quite a hit. Kirby is watching her broom being made, and she even got to help with the sewing.

Kirby's broom

Ready to ride! Or sweep…

Jenkins spindles

The Turkish spindles from Jenkins Woodworking are always gorgeous.

And what’s a trip to OFFF without a trip to the barn?

Icelandic wool on the hoof

Icelandic wool on the hoof. Let’s bang out another sweater!

Siri and huacaya

Alpacas, Suri and huacaya.

Whew! So much fun. And now I’m off to teach at the Sheeper than Therapy Retreat in Three Rivers, CA.

Sheeper than Therapy

Catch you on the other side!

OFFF tomorrow!

Ready? Go! I’ve got my patterns printed, and class samples ready for my Braided Wristlets class tomorrow (Saturday) at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. It’s an all day class, 9:30 to 4:30, so I won’t have much time to play. Which only means that I’ll have to go back on Sunday, which promises to be a gorgeous day. Win! Come to the registration booth at 9 if you want to join us tomorrow.

pdxknitterati braided wristlets go ducks

Here’s my wristlet variation, since you’ve seen the others several times recently on the blog. Instructions for this variation are in the pattern, too.

Last week I was over in Sisters to visit friends who recently moved away. We worked on a song I’m writing; it’s about tumbleweeds, or really about friends moving away. This is number four in the last 2 years. Ouch! The song started in my head after V moved away, but is finally coming together now, a couple years later.


But it wasn’t all music. There was some trampoline time.

And a lovely walk along Whychus Creek.

Whychus me

With a view of the Three Sisters by day…


Sisters sunset

And night! We took the kids to watch the sunset and moonrise; they were conveniently at the same time and the moon was nearly full. The kids thought they needed to use our phones for flashlights, but the moon was so bright…nope!

Sisters sunset collage

Do you use Layout? It’s a free app from Instagram, and it makes great collages. It works great with my iPhone, and the only complaint that I have is that it doesn’t play nicely with my iPad; it doesn’t show me the pictures I’m choosing from until I click the blank space where it should be. But I can work around that.

Hope to see you this weekend, knit and spin peeps!

Enabling your inner knitter

Looking around the blog universe, Facebook, and Instagram, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who feels euphoric about September knitting. Social media is full of posts about new cast ons. I’m here to enable you! I love teaching people to be the boss of their knitting. I’ve filled out my teaching schedule at Twisted and For Yarn’s Sake here locally; you can see my classes on my teaching page here.

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

I’m also looking forward to teaching at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival on Saturday, September 24. We’re making braided wristlets, with several kinds of braids worked in, as well as lessons on color and yarn dominance, and managing your yarn for stranded knitting. Class description is here; “out of stock” just means that pre-registration is over. You can sign up on-site at OFFF; class starts at 9:30 a.m. Come a little early if you want to pick up yarn from Knitted Wit for this project; she’ll have these colors kitted up for you.

And I’m really excited to be teaching at the Sheeper than Therapy retreat in Fresno, CA, at the end of the month. We have a full slate of fun classes for the weekend: Log Cabin Squares, Braided Wristlets, the Tilt Shift Wrap, and Photography with iPphone/iPad. Looking forward to it!

All in all, September is a knitting whirlwind. I love it! What’s on your needles? Are you going to OFFF?

On your mark, get set, September!

happy birthday

I love September. It’s my birthday and wedding anniversary month. Lots of good celebrations are ongoing.

September is also the beginning of knitting season. I knit year round, but somehow September knitting feels more special. And I’ve been quite inspired this past couple weeks, finishing two shawls and charting out two more. The two finished shawls are variations on a theme. I noted that the bind off was too tight on the first of these in a previous post, so I had to tink the entire edge after the shawl was dry, and re-knit the bind off. I still need to re-block the shawl.

frogged bind off

I want to share my favorite elastic bind off with you; this bind off makes your edge as stretchy as the rest of your knitting.

Elastic Bind-off
K2. * Insert left needle into fronts of these 2 sts from left to right and knit them off together through the back loops (like making an SSK). One st bound off. K1; repeat from * until one stitch remains on right needle. Cut yarn and fasten off.

I’ve already used this on my second shawl, and blocking went much better! Tight bind offs haven’t been an issue for me previously, but the new-to-me construction of these two shawls requires a really stretchy finished edge. As I’ve said elsewhere, I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

The next two shawls use another new-to-me construction. I’m almost done swatching the first chart, and I’m in love. I’m not quite sure how I want to publish these four pieces yet, which is why you haven’t really seen them. The two finished ones are out on a design submission, and the two planned ones will be out on another submission. If they aren’t chosen I’ll self-publish them in October, either individually or as an e-book collection, maybe? What do you think? I’m looking forward to sharing them with you no matter how I do it!

Biscuit BellaTrix

To distract you in the meantime, here is a picture of Biscuit/Bisquee/BellaTrix with something polka dotty on her nose. Litter, maybe?

Knit on!

Do you listen to that little voice?

The one that says, “That bind off may be a little tight.” Or, “I don’t think that bump is going to block out.” Or whatever.

That little voice knows best. Sometimes It takes a while for me to pay attention to it. A lot of times I don’t listen because it often pops up when I’m nearing the end of a project, second-guessing myself.

frogged bind off

I should have listened about the bind off. It was too tight, and it really showed when I was blocking my garter stitch project. I tinked the bind off after the shawl dried, all 470 or so stitches. Ouch. Now I have to re-block the whole thing to get the edging right. But it will be gorgeous.

not quite it

And recently, I frogged this.

airplane knitting

Airplane knitting, and a knitter across the aisle! I had worked on it all the way to St. Louis and back earlier this month, and the more it grew, the less I liked it. That hump at the center neck was becoming more and more pronounced, and it was never going to block out nicely. I listened to the little voice, but I should have listened much sooner. Oh, well. All frogged, and working up nicely in a different design. Or at least I think it is.

This is pretty much my process. It starts with an idea, and I plan it out. Start knitting, see what I do or don’t like, and adjust as I go. Trial and error. I make the mistakes so you don’t have to!

Does that little voice speak to you? Do you listen?

Garter stitch mania

I’ve knit a lot of garter stitch during the past week. 800 yards of fingering weight yarn is a lot of knitting! I’ve really enjoyed it.

garter mania

Of course, there was that moment when I was 80% done, and I thought, “But what if I do it a different way?” So there will eventually be another version, a variation on a theme. I think I’ll like them both. I’ll let you know when I get closer!

Biscuit and her nerf dart

This little minx is feeling much better this week. Thanks for all your good thoughts. She’s still not 100%, but she has plenty of joie de vivre at 85%. I have now ordered sturdier new fireplace screens and hidden all the toilet paper.

She’s the smartest cat we’ve ever had. But definitely not a snuggly lap cat. Oh, and I think we’ve finally figured out her name. Again. Biscuit. Pronounced “BiskwEE” because it’s French. Really.

Garter stitch as worry beads

purple garter crescent

I’m working out a new design idea, and it’s fairly mindless. Garter stitch makes a great worry bead. I love these two colors together; they’re from Lorajean at Knitted Wit. The variegated is Rose City (I think it was a special for the Rose City Yarn Crawl?) and the purple may be Her Majesty (label long gone, if I ever had one).

Rows and rows of garter stitch, so soothing as I wait by the phone.

gray BellaTrix

I was startled to see that BellaTrix was going gray last week. Her brilliant white fur was changing color. Apparently she got into our bedroom fireplace (screens are not enough barrier), and spread it around when she tried to groom herself. This made her sick, so she has been to the vet several times this week.

BellaTrix lamp

Although she wasn’t feeling well, she was still pretty active and chipper at times, but not eating. Yesterday she had an x-ray. No blockage. But her liver is only 20% of normal size. She’s back at the vet today for more tests, and I’m worried.

BellaTrix nerf dart

Please send good thoughts her way. Meanwhile, I’ll keep knitting.

purple garter st