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.

Trampoline

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

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

Introducing Tridacna Cowls and Necklace, KAL?

Tridacna? It’s a clam. It’s an inspiration!

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The scalloped edges of the elongated stitches in the Tridacna cowls and necklace mimic the fluted edges of the Tridacna clam’s shell. This cowl can be knit as a long infinity loop, a short cozy cowl, or a simple necklace. The longer cowl features yarn specially dyed by Hand Maiden Fine Yarn for A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, in colors inspired by the Tridacna clam. The short cowl and necklace are shown knit in two colors. Knitter’s choice! The pattern is written for DK weight yarn. Silk enhances the drape of these pieces.

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The long cowl can be worn in a variety of ways: Long, doubled, keyhole style.

tridacna necklace pdxknitterati

Not ready to knit an entire cowl? The necklace is a great introduction to this fun elongated stitch. There’s a link to a video in the pattern, too, if you need help with the stitch.

This pattern is available for $6 via pdf download through Ravelry. Pattern page is here. Use coupon code CLAM for 20% off through August 10, 2016. Do you want to do a KAL beginning August 20? Let me know through blog comment, Facebook, Instagram, or Ravelry.

tridacna clam

This is the photo that inspired the yarn that inspired the cowls. Murray Post took this underwater photograph of a Tridacna clam in Fiji. He’s the husband of Susan Post, the owner of A Good Yarn in Sarasota Florida. The Posts asked hand Maiden Fine Yarn to create a custom colorway, Clam, based on this photo. When I saw the photo and the yarn, I knew exactly what the yarn wanted to be.

Murray says:
“I took this picture is of a Tridacna, or giant clam in Fiji. They are quite beautiful, with a fleshy mantle that extends out of its shell. The small black dots around the rim of the mantle are primitive eyes, that sense light and shadow. As you approach, they retract their mantles and close their shell, though once they’re any size, the shell can’t close all the way. Tridacna means 3 bites, and they were once farmed and consumed only by the village chiefs. The largest I’ve seen was over 5 feet wide. This guy is bit larger than a football.”

Thank you to the Posts for the beautiful yarn and inspiration!

Larger photos are on my PDXKnitterati Tridacna pattern page, here.

Braided Wristlet class at OFFF in September

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

August already?! My thoughts are turning toward fall. I’m looking forward to the 20th annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. The theme this year is braids and bands, so I’m teaching my Braided Wristlets class on Saturday, September 24. I designed this pattern to be a workshop in herringbone and other braids, two color stranded knitting, and color dominance, all in a manageable little package for your wrist. Come knit with me! Registration for this class is here.

OFFF is always a big part of my September. Classes, shopping, and visiting the animals in the barn…heaven!

Shawl shapes, Bellatrix, Lacey

I’m playing along with the 5 Shawls, 5 Days challenge. Each day, we knit a mini shawl to explore the different shapings. It’s not too late to join, I think.

Of course, I can’t just follow directions. I have to play with them; I’m a designer!

winged triangle

The first day’s shape is the top down triangle shawl. I’ve knit this shape before, and if my yardage is limited, I like to knit the winged triangle (longer ends via additional increases on the WS rows). This way the shawl grows wider faster than the traditional triangle shawl, and is shallower. Great for not pointing directly at your butt, and it also gives you enough width to get a nice wrap around your neck or shoulders before running out of your single skein of precious luxury yarn.

The second day’s shape is the 3/4 shawl. It’s three triangles instead of the usual two on a traditional triangle shawl. I don’t love this shape, so I didn’t knit it. But many years ago I did a frankenstein version of this shape, with the extended ends of the winged triangle on the outer two triangles.

failure

It was a big fail (my fault, completely). Here’s a picture so you can laugh, and here’s a link to the blog post I did at the time, Big Cup o’Fail. Don’t worry; it got better. I frogged the whole thing and ended up designing the Zen Rain Shawlette.

zen rain shawlette

This would be a winged triangle, but with a center panel to automatically add some width and avoid a pointed center. See how much you can play with shawl shapes?

The third day’s shawl shape is a crescent. I have designed several crescent shaped shawls, but they’ve all been from the bottom up.

crescent shawl shape

I like it! It’s a lot simpler than short rowing from the bottom up. I’m using this particular swatch to play around with striping, and I want to play with an edging, too, so it’s still on the needles.

Two more shapes coming. I’ll keep you posted.

Bellatrix(fuzzy low light picture of her sticking her tongue out. sassy!)

In other news: The cat formerly known as Trix has a name! In the end, she wasn’t a Biscuit, either. DH said, “Maybe her name is Trix.” That was her shelter name, but I thought it was too short. She’s pretty tricksy, though. So her name is now Bellatrix. It means female warrior. It’s also the left shoulder star in the constellation Orion, one of the two constellations I can identify in the night sky. I’m calling her Bellatrix or Trix most of the time, and it seems to fit. “Trix” also sounds like the litte squeak she makes when she tries to meow. She doesn’t have a voice! She may have lost it when she was sick; I’ve never heard her meow.

Lacey

Also, this is Lacey! Thank you for all your suggestions, for both the mannequin and the cat. Random.org says that commenter number 3 is the winner, so Chris Pugsley will be getting a copy of Aura. But Paula Johnson actually suggested Lacey, so I’m offering her a choice of one of my PDXKnitterati patterns via Ravelry download. Bonus prize!

Keep knitting, and here’s a picture from yesterday. Ahhhhhh.

spinnakers on the columbia