Stitch-Alongs: YAL edition

Still dreaming of sweaters. I perused the Fasten Off Yarn-Along sweater offerings, keeping in mind sweaters for me, and for DH. He deserves a sweater, too! Maybe for his birthday in January, though. No gift knitting pressure, right?

photo copyright UkeeKnits

I really like the yoke design on Big Crush by UkeeKnits (Payhip link). It’s simple, meaningful, and sweet. It’s knit top down, Aran weight, so it would be quick. The pattern has 3/4 length sleeves, so there would have to be some “mannifying” adjustments, but overall it looks great.

photo copyright Mona Zillah

This is Snowflake Man by Mona Zillah, aka bunnymuff (Payhip link). It’s knit top down, looks to be about DK weight yarn at 22 sts/4 inches. I’d have to pick some quieter colors for DH, but the math is already done as far as making it DH-shaped.

photo copyright Paola Albergamo

While I was looking through all the YAL offerings, I came across Paola Albergamo’s designs. She has several brioche pieces, and they are fun and inventive! The buttoned poncho is very cool looking, and looks like it would be fun to knit.

You can look at all the patterns from participating designers in the Fasten Off YAL here. It’s searchable by designer name, and by type of project. Use the code FO2020 for 25% off any of these patterns through December 5.

Now I have to make some decisions, and buy some yarn! Hope you’re settling in to a cozy knitting season, too.

Stitch-Alongs: GAL edition

Catching up after Thanksgiving, and dreaming of knitting! So what does a designer look for, when perusing the offerings in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, and the Fasten Off YAL? Something I wouldn’t design myself! I just ran through the offerings on Ravelry for the GAL. I’m dreaming of a yoke sweater, since apparently I like to knit them. You know I had a Love Note (designed by TinCanKnits) infatuation this year; that one was top down and a dream to knit, three times!

photo copyright Kay Hopkins

This is the Puget Sound Pullover by Kay Hopkins, aka Knit for the Soul (Ravelry link). The colorwork is done with mosaic knitting, which means one color per round. And it’s top down, so all the fun happens at the beginning. DK weight, sounds good.

photo copyright Crissy Jarvis/Amanda Scheuzger

Can a yoked sweater be even more enticing to me? This is Helenium by Amanda Scheuzger, aka HandMaineKnits (Ravelry link). Worsted weight, bottom up, so a little bit heavier, but oh, that brioche yoke! My Stopover sweaters (designed by Mary Jane Mucklestone) were also bottom up, with that exciting joining of 3 tubes to get to the yoke.

I bought both patterns, and they’ll hang out in my library while I dream of knitting. I’m still planning to look at patterns in the Fasten Off YAL, too, but that sale goes on a bit longer. The Ravelry sale ends Monday at midnight EST; use code giftalong2020 for 25% off any of the included designs by 250 participating designers. Nothing like the power of a deadline! Have you taken advantage of the GAL sale?

Next up: I’m going to peruse the YAL offerings. I’m being supervised by Calvin…and Darth Vader.

Thanksgiving recap

For those of you who wanted to know how the buttermilk brined, spatchcocked turkey went: It was fantastic. The kids said it was the best turkey they’ve ever had. Calling that a win!

Someone had to guard the turkey from the cats as it came to room temperature before roasting. Good job, Phil!

The turkey roasted up beautifully. I tented it with foil for the last half hour.

It is so hard to get a decent picture without natural light! And yes, a petite serving, but that’s what happens when I’m in the kitchen all day, and tasting as I go. Have to make sure it’s good! My Dad’s stuffing? Stellar.

I opened a special bottle of wine for the occasion, and sent half of it off with the kids. In a mason jar. Classy! But I wasn’t ready to give up the bottle/label yet. This was part of the swag from the solar eclipse watch at Willamette Valley Vineyards in 2017,

Great memories!

Pumpkin pie for dessert.

And breakfast!

We were happy to share dinner with the kids, picked up distantly from the porch. And we Zoomed with DH’s family in the morning.

Annual family picture, 2020 style

I’m hoping for a more normal Thanksgiving next year, but we have much to be thankful for, now. Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

Fasten Off Yarn-Along

Here’s the scoop on the new Fasten Off Yarn-Along! The event runs from November 25 (9 pm Eastern) to December 31, 2020. The pattern sale period is from November 25 to December 5. I’m quoting from the official website:

“The Fasten Off Yarnalong event (“FO2020” for short) grew out of a need to have an off-Ravelry alternative to the annual Independent Designers Giftalong. Many designers and stitchers would love to participate there, but either can’t or won’t, due to Ravelry’s serious accessibility problems 🔗. But nobody wanted to miss out on the discounts and the sense of community and fun which that event brings; and designers didn’t want to miss out on the end-of-year sales boost, and what is essentially a great awareness campaign for them.”

There are 93 designers participating in the YAL. You can participate on the Fasten Off YAL page on Facebook, follow the Fasten Off YAL Instagram account, follow the Fasten Off YAL Twitter account, and discussions on the FO YAL’s event server on Discord. Holy cats, do I feel old typing that and figuring out what it means…but I’m game for some new fun! FB and Instagram I can handle, so Discord is just one new thing, right?

Here’s my page for the YAL. I have 20 patterns included in the sale; they’re the same 20 patterns that I have in the Indie Gift-a-Long sale on Ravelry. Coupon code is FO2020 through my Payhip shop for the YAL; the sale runs from November 25 to December 5. (Choose whichever way to purchase is more convenient for you. If keeping a Ravelry library copy is important to you, you can purchase my GAL patterns through Ravelry; the code is giftalong2020 over there.)

You can double dip with your projects in both the GAL and the YAL. More opportunities for prizes! Use the hashtags #FastenOff2020 and #FastenOffYAL to participate on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. See the Fasten Off YAL website for a full rundown on details.

Okay, back to what’s cooking! Our Thanksgiving plans are to make a lovely dinner, and leave it packed up on the porch for the kids to pick up and take home. DH and I will dine here, with cats watching. We’ll go back to celebrations next year, I hope. If it’s super nice out, we could dine in the back yard, but I don’t think it will be warm enough. Or dry enough.

Since we’re not having the usual, the traditional, the must-always-be-the-same…I’m going to roast a smaller buttermilk brined turkey. I’ll spatchcock it so it’s a quicker cooking bird, per Samin Nosrat. Check out her video; she makes it look so easy! Then it’s back to our traditional dishes. We’ll have our favorite stuffing (my dad’s recipe, which is basically Chinese sausage and oyster fried rice, with water chestnuts, celery, onion), roasted brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. And gravy of course. Cranberry sauce is on its way from Cousin Gwen in NY.

I’m starting to think about classes in real life in the second half of 2021. I hope we have a handle on Covid-19 by then! I’m encouraged by the news of vaccine development; now there are 3 in the pipeline. I love teaching, both in person and via Zoom, but it would be so nice to have a choice of formats! For now, I’m thankful that I can still teach knitters to be the boss of their knitting, either way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Indie Design Gift-A-Long

It’s the sparkliest time of the year: The Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry starts tonight! I’m one of 250 participating indie designers this year.

The pattern sale runs from Tuesday, November 24 at 8:00 pm US EST – Monday, November 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm US EST. The coupon code is giftalong2020 and it’s good for 25% off any of the participating patterns from all the designers.

The KAL/CALs will run from Tuesday, November 24 at 8pm (US-EST) through New Years Eve December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale. You do need to be a member of the GAL group to win prizes.

You can see all 250 participating designers in this thread. I’m having a good time looking through the list and picking patterns I want to knit! Eventually. Or at least in my mind…

I don’t really gift knit for the holidays (too much pressure), but this is a great time to stock up on patterns for the knitting year! And participating in the KAL at a relaxed pace sounds good to me. How about you? Are you a deadline gift knitter?

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about an alternative knitalong, in case you’re not able to use Ravelry…or if you want to do it in addition to Ravelry! You can use your same projects in that KAL, too. I’ll have the same patterns available with a different discount code on my Payhip store. I’m not really sure about all the social media channels for sharing that KAL, but I’ll find out and put that in my post, too.

Onward!

A little frogging

Yes, you *can* frog and recover your brioche knitting.

I accidentally added an extra couple rounds of brioche rib after finishing the leaves; I was wondering about that as I was binding off. Oops.

I had some help. If you don’t remember how to frog and get your brioche back on the needles, you can check out my video tutorial here. And there are lots more tutorials of all kinds on my tutorials page.

All done! Now it’s mimosa time…

The Leafy Origami Cowl pattern is coming in December. I think I may knit one more, withe the colors reversed, just for fun. Knit on!

Leaf season

The leaves on my maple tree outside my studio window are nearly gone. It’s been a glorious season. I still have leaves on my mind, though.

Coming soon: Leafy Origami Cowl. This worsted weight project is flying along!

The stitch pattern makes the fabric fall into mountain and valley folds, like origami folds. It’s a fun rhythmic brioche knit.

Blocking makes a big difference on this piece!

I’m looking for a few test knitters who are experienced with brioche increases and decreases. This project takes some special attention on a few of the rounds because the markers need to move forward or backward by 2 stitches to keep things orderly. Of course, I made a video tutorial for moving the markers!

Let me know if you’re interested! I’m hoping to publish this pattern in early to mid-December.

Binding off in the round

I was just finishing another cowl knit in the round, and I realized that I haven’t shown you how I like to finish my bind off. It’s very neat and tidy.

Easy peasy. Now I’ve shown you my favorite ways to begin *and* end your project in the round. If you missed my post about joining to work in the round, here it is again:

And yes, the new project is yet another brioche cowl. Going on a deep dive here. I just can’t get enough! Sneak peek coming soon.

The Knitting Circle

You may have a knitting circle of your own; i certainly miss my knit nite crew! But the Knitting Circle I want to tell you about is something completely different.

During this pandemic summer, I had the opportunity to make video tutorials for a new venture, The Knitting Circle. It’s a place to learn about knitting, online. The website just launched last week. Now I keep seeing my face chatting away in their Facebook ads. Startling!

The site has blog posts and instructional videos. Due to the pandemic, the teachers made videos in our home studios. I learned a lot about lighting, recording, and editing! They turned out well. Some of the videos are free, and some are premium pieces that require a subscription to watch. The subscription is $49/year, but there’s a special offer for $2 USD for the first year. For that price, I’d subscribe! I think if you sign up for their newsletter, you’d get the offer, or you can claim it through their Facebook ad. I’ve posted their ad on my Facebook page to make it easier for you to find.

Use the link below to get to the site; this is just a picture!

Here’s a link to my blog posts there; they are free content but link to free or premium videos. These are all complete blog posts, no subscription needed to read them.

So why would you want to subscribe to The Knitting Circle, when there are a million videos on YouTube? Curation. The teachers on the site are carefully chosen; we’re experts! My teacher cohort includes Jen Lucas, Corinna Ferguson, Mary Beth Temple, and Jill Wright.

The Knitting Circle is a venture from TN Marketing; they also have sites for sewing, quilting, photography, RV restoration, bowling, and more. They are also the new owners of Craftsy.

I’ve enjoyed working with them, and I learned lots of new skills this summer. Having a knitting studio at home is coming in handy! All of my Zoom classes are there, and my own videos are getting better and better, too.

How has pandemic living changed how you work?

Introducing: Deep End Cowl

Taller cowl

When I designed the Deep End hat as a teaching piece for my brioche classes, a knitter asked if I would also design it as a cowl, because she doesn’t wear hats. Voilà!

The Deep End Cowl is a 2-color brioche cowl, knit in the round from the bottom up. It features a large staghorn motif flanked by an adaptation of the gull stitch, echoing the curves of the staghorn.

You’ll learn both of the decreases on the first patterning round and have the option of one more; it’s like jumping in the deep end of the pool!

Shorter cowl, like a mock turtleneck

Cowl requires 80 (100) yards/73 (92) meters dark color, 60 (80) yards/55 (73) meters light color worsted weight yarn for shorter (taller) cowl. I knit both of these with the leftovers from my Deep End hats. They’re knit with Malabrigo Rios.

Taller cowl allows tucking top or bottom, or not, if your neck is longer than mine!

I love knitting these; they’re my comfort knitting. Most of the rounds are just plain brioche rib, and the increase/decrease pattern is easily memorized. I may knit a couple more!

The pattern is available through Ravelry here, and also through my Payhip shop here. It’s on sale for 10% off through November 17 with coupon code DEEP.

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