Category Archives: Blogging

February Freebies

There are a few fun things I want to share with you.

First of all, Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat isn’t happening this year, but they’re doing a series of interviews with some of the teachers over the canceled retreat weekend of February 11 – 14. It’s free to watch, but you have to register first. You can register here to see/hear Sarah Larson (spinner, editor), Franklin Habit (knitter, designer), Anne Hanson of KnitSpot (designer, yarn purveyor), and Rebecca Mezoff (weaver and tapestry artist). I’m really happy that the good folks from Red Alder are reaching out to us as this pandemic lockdown continues. I’m looking forward to Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat in 2022! (That sounds like a long time from now…)

Second, how about a free pattern? Caitlin Hunter (Boyland Knitworks) is offering a cropped sweater pattern, Feel the Bern (Ravelry link), based on those meme-tastic mittens Senator Bernie Sanders was wearing on Inauguration Day. Her pattern hasn’t been tech edited, but it’s based on her Soldotna Crop pattern, which I found very easy to follow. Others have already posted finished sweaters on Instagram.

Imagine this yoke, but in browns, in that (in)famous mitten pattern!

Oh, not a freebie, really, but you might be interested in the Fiberuary challenge going on over on Instagram. Daily postings based on these prompts, and you can participate, too! Share a little about yourself, and learn about other knitters and crafters. Do as much or as little as you’d like. Look for the hashtags #fiberuarychallenge and #fiberuarychallenge2021

Okay, back to Sleeve Island for me!

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?

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?

Banging out Sleeves

I knit a sleeve yesterday. An entire sleeve. This is quick knitting, I tell ya! I’m on the second sleeve now.

stopover bangoutasweater one sleeve

I could have knit both sleeves yesterday; they’re that fast. But I took some time out to seam this pillow.

snowy woods log cabin trees

snowy woods log cabin firs

It’s another Snowy Woods Log Cabin Blocks pillow. I made it with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky for the Knit Picks IDP program. The pattern will be for sale on the Knit Picks site, as well as the the version that’s already up on Ravelry. More Snowy Woods! More Log Cabinning!

I also took time out to make these pillows. (Whoa. Just noticed they’re the same color as the log cabin pillow. We have a palette here.)

cat pillows

I was inspired to make these when I saw the cat pillows over at Mason-Dixon Knitting last month. The fabric was printed by Spoonflower. Now my grown kids can have their own cats at their respective abodes!

cat pillows with cat

I’m not sure what Mookie thinks of them. But I’m sure I’ll never get that little top hat on her again.

Apparently yesterday was a very Mason-Dixon Knitting day. The #BangOutASweater KAL, the cat pillows…and I learned to log cabin from the first Mason-DIxon Knitting book. I made this blanket way back in 2008-2009.

log cabin blanket

So thanks, Ann and Kay! You’ve changed my life!

Back to the sleeves…some people are already finished with their first KAL Stopovers, and starting a second one! I’m looking forward to starting the yoke patterning. Just have to power through this sleeve, first.

Lazy Sunday knitting: mega Kilter hat

I’m taking a cue from Kay and Ann over at Mason-Dixon Knitting, and having a Lazy Sunday. (If you don’t read MDK, you should. They’re back in force after a hiatus, and have been blogging DAILY. Delightful.)

I’m sitting in bed knitting and reading, with cat, at 9:45 a.m. Or I was, until I felt the need to make this post. I’m closing in on the top of a worsted weight version of my Kilter Hat, and winning a game of yarn chicken.

Kilter

It would have been a more exciting game if I hadn’t already finished once, and decided the hat was too short. I figured out via yarn scale and math that there was enough yarn to add one more section before the decreases. But I never trust the math until I’m really done.

kilter worsted

Done! But I had started wih a short skein of Malabrigo Rios (93g instead of 100), so this hat ends with a knit center instead of purl. I’m not even sure 100g would have given me one more section; it’s too close to call and I’d hate for the knitter to run short. But I like the way it looks! I think it will be knitter’s choice.

Why do I want a worsted weight Kilter? I taught a Kilter class at Twisted recently, and it was fun. But a worsted version would make for a quicker knit/less homework between class meetings, and would also make it more likely for the student to have a completed project at the end of the second class (fewer rounds to decrease in class). Everybody wins! I have a couple things to work out, and then I’m planning to update the pattern to include both weights. (And before you ask, I think bulky weight would be too…bulky.)

How was your Sunday? Lazy? Not? I hope it was lovely, either way.

Happy Thanksgiving

The turkey is in the oven, stuffed. The rice for the other stuffing (rice/oysters/Chinese sausage/water chestnut, my Dad’s recipe below) is cooking. The stock for gravy is simmering. It smells wonderful in here.

So I’m taking a moment to say thank you for reading! And for knitting, especially if you’ve ever knit one of my designs or taken a class with me. I love what I do, and love being able to help you knit, too.

Kilter Indiecita

I’m currently knitting a worsted/Aran weight version of Kilter. This is Malabrigo Rios in Indiecita. Loving it so far.

Hoping your day is full of family and peace, whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving.

Baba’s turkey stuffing

2.5 cups uncooked rice (i like brown medium grain, but whatever you have is fine)
3 Chinese sausage
2 8 oz jars of fresh small shucked oysters, drained and cut in half if they seem large
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch on diagonal
1 onion, chopped
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 eggs, scrambled
1 tbsp soy sauce

Pre-cook rice, along with sausage. (Lay the sausage on top of the rice when you turn the heat down after it boils; they will be perfect.) When rice is done, remove sausage and slice 1/4 inch on diagonal.

Now it’s time to really cook!
Scramble eggs separately, so they’ll be pretty ribbons later. Saute onion and celery in 1 tbsp oil. When onion is soft, add Chinese sausage and water chestnuts and cook until heated through. Remove from pan. Add oysters to pan and cook until they are just barely done (there will be a lot of moisture in the pan). Begin adding rice, one cup at a time, working it in. The rice will soak up all that lovely oyster juice! Add everything else back into pan, including scrambled eggs, and cook until well incorporated. Sprinkle a bit of soy sauce for color (go lightly!). Salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the turkey, or not!

This is basically fried rice, with oysters and chinese sausage. yum….

This Old House

I’m a fan of the Alameda Old House History blog. Doug Decker does a great job of detailing the history of buildings in Portland’s Alameda neighborhood. He recently invited people to post pictures of favorite old houses, so I thought I’d post mine here and link back over to his blog post.

this old house

This is the house I lived in until I was 7. At that time, it was a slightly ramshackle Victorian house over in Portland’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Based on a house history by Barbara Grimala in the late 1980s or early 1990s after the family sold the house, here’s what I know. This Queen Anne Vernacular style house was built for Napoleon Bonaparte Pendleton in 1892. He lived there until he passed away in 1920. At the time of his death, he was living there with his wife Hattie, and Americus V. Pendleton’s widow Sara (love these names).

My grandmother and her husband purchased the house in 1943. During the time my family lived there, it was set up as a two family house, with separate living quarters upstairs and downstairs, with a kitchen and bath on each level. I’m guessing it was already divided when my grandmother bought it. My extended family lived there. My grandparents lived downstairs, and my aunt and uncle and cousin lived in what was most likely the front parlor downstairs, next to the winding staircase.

On the staircase, there were casement windows at each of the landings; the lower landing’s windows were small and at the perfect level for little girls pretending to be princesses. You can see the windows under and next to the porch roof. The upper landing window was taller. Each of these windows had squares of colored glass surrounding the main clear glass in the center of the window. Upstairs, the living room/dining room (pocket doors between!) belonged to my parents, my brother and sister and me. Across the hall was my bachelor uncle. My other uncle, aunt and cousin had the room at the end of the hall. That’s a lot of people! After my baby sister arrived, my parents bought the other house that I grew up in.

The picture above is from the early 1990’s, when I was home visiting from New York. I had always dreamed of owning this house and renovating it, but it was not meant to be. The house was sold after my uncle (the last family member to live there) passed away, and a subsequent owner did the renovation. It was gorgeous from the outside, with all the meticulous trimwork. The current tenant let me in to look around, and I was a little sad to note that all the original cedar bullseye moldings and doors had been painted white. (My current old Portland house, circa 1921, has pale walls and mahogany trim, as you can see in my previous post’s Christmas stocking mantel picture. We added the mantel and fireplace surround to match the rest of the trim in the house.)

I was in the neighborhood last year, and swung by to see the old house. I don’t know what happened, but the grande dame is looking tired.

old house

A lot of the shingles are missing, the porch railings and balusters are rotting, the stone wall has fallen, and one of the windows upstairs at the back (bedroom, I think) is boarded over. Poor old house. But I have a lot of happy memories of growing up there, and going to my grandparents’ home for weekly dinners after moving out. And this is where my favorite aunt first taught me to knit! I learned more properly from her when I was 14, but this is where it all started. (This is the downstairs parlor auntie, Aunt Rose. Click her name for that story.)

Thanks to Doug Decker at Alameda Old House History for the thought-provoking, memory-eliciting prompt!

Do you have a favorite old house, or an old house story? Please share!

(Notes: The first picture is a scan of a photo I took in the 1990’s, before digital photography. The second picture is digital, so you can zoom in and see more detail.)

Nashville: Music, Music, Knit!

Nashville. So much music. So. Much. Fun. There is so much musical talent in this town, both old and new, and so much respect for the history of it all. From the young people playing for tips at the honky tonk bars on Broadway hoping to be heard over the beer fueled partyers, to the old pros playing clubs like the Station Inn to a respectful audience who came for the music, to the Country Music Hall of Famers playing the Grand Ole Opry, showing us that they still have it. So wonderful.

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The Jones. We were pulled into Layla’s Bluegrass Inn on Broadway by the sound of their kickass rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” as we were walking by at midnight.

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John Jorgensen Bluegrass Band at the Station Inn. My reaction: “They look like math teachers!” Great music, fun show.

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Little Jimmy Dickens at the Opry, still singing at 94. Love the spangly suit.

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Nathan East playing bass with Vince Gill on guitar. A great story: It was Nathan’s first time playing at the Opry, and he confided to a friend that he was a bit nervous. Friend (whose name I didn’t quite catch) owns a suit that belonged to Carl Perkins. He offered up the suit for the show, and so here’s Nathan, wearing Carl Perkins’ suit, standing on that circle of flooring preserved from the Ryman Auditorium, playing at the Opry. The old and the new, so wonderful.

Nights were all about listening to music, and days were filled with more music-related activities. We toured the Ryman Auditorium (so much history!), the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Historic RCA Studio B.

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Windows at the Ryman

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For you fans of the TV show Nashville, the (teeny!) dresses that Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton wore onstage at the Ryman.

onstage at the Ryman
I stood on the stage at the Ryman and played a single G chord. (It costs $10 for a pic, at which point you can also have your buddy take a pic for you. I liked this pic by DH better.)

Cool things at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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My friends and I often sing “Turn Your Radio On” by the Blue Sky Boys, so I was thrilled to see this banner and mandolin.

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Webb Pierce’s Silver Dollar Bonneville convertible customized by Nudie Cohn of Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors. Six-shooter door handles, a saddle between the front seats, steer horns…

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Piano
The piano (Kimball?) that Priscilla Presley had refinished in gold, and gave to Elvis on their first anniversary.

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Taylor Swift’s first sparkle guitar, and the MacBook she used to edit her first video.

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DH outside the RCA Studio B, where the signature Nashville sound was developed. Elvis recorded many hits here. The sound in here is amazing, a perfectly acoustically dead room, no reverb. Everything is so perfectly clear. You can read more about it here.

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This is Floyd Cramer’s piano in Studio B, part of that Nashville sound. Elvis played it, too. And I touched it. It was the 37th anniversary of his passing, so I played a silent glissando in his memory.

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Music, old and new. Stephanie Layne was our guide for the studio tour. I chatted her up after the tour. She’s a singer-songwriter from Minnesota, and put out an album in 2012. Check out her music; you can find her on iTunes and more. I’m listening on Spotify right now. Stephanie was a great guide, too, and a wealth of information. Did you know that Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You”? Whitney Houston had a big hit with it, too. Dolly has earned over $25 million dollars in royalties from that song. Whoa.

What else? Well, this is a knitting blog, so here’s the knitting content. I met up with the delightful Ann Shayne of Mason-Dixon Knitting. We went to Pinewood Social for breakfast and knitting. (She’s knitting a Honey Cowl. I’m swatching for the next fun design.) We talked about knitting, making jam, Nashville, life…

bloggers

I had this amazing fried chicken biscuit, which was all that and so much MORE. I gave up after half.

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There’s a bowling alley at Pinewood Social, and along the wall there are these cans with fun printed labels in several colors, arranged in a mosaic. They are rearranged from time to time. I especially liked these.

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A very fun morning. A very fun long weekend. And my very fun souvenir:

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Right now I’m in Sisters, Oregon, for a trunk show and knitalong at the Stitchin’ Post, and the boots fit right in.

How was your weekend?

The Opinionated Knitter

Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote a book with that title, but aren’t we all just a bit opinionated? Here’s your chance to know a bit more of what I think about knitting, designing, and teaching. I was featured on Robin Hunter’s blog, How to Become a Professional Knitter last Friday, but am only catching up to myself today! Click the link and get to know me…

Aloha detail

And here’s a sneak peek of an upcoming design.

Ah, mystery! What’s new on your needles? Mine are strangely empty, but not for long.

Claramel! and a whirlwind weekend…

I had a great weekend, full of knitting and blogging fun. Saturday afternoon I taught Tink Drop Frog at Twisted, a class on how to identify and fix mistakes. I love teaching this class; it’s very empowering for students. We had two knitters who had very different knitting; all the knit stitches were twisted! The fascinating thing was that each had arrived at this look by very different paths. One was knitting all her stitches through the back loop. The other was purling with the yarn running clockwise instead of counterclockwise around the needle; this commonly happens with continental style knitting because it’s easier to pick in that direction. So we talked about ways to keep or change that (Eastern Combined Knitting, anyone?), because ultimately knitting is about how to get the look *you* want. And then we learned about tinking, laddering down, and how to get your knitting back on the needles when you frog. And yes, I’m aware that this paragraph confirms my knitting nerdiness.

After class I headed down to Powell’s Books to hear Clara Parkes read from her new book, The Yarn Whisperer. Clara is smart, charming, and witty. She had a little knitting limerick contest to give away some of her famous Claramels, and I won one! I *think* it was chocolate and espresso; I *know* it was delicious.

yarn whisperer

I’m looking forward to reading my autographed book!

Clara Parkes

On to the next event! Local journalist, blogger, all around great guy George Rede has a Voices of August feature on his blog, with guest bloggers all month. This was my second year guest posting on his blog. George has a meet-up for his guest posters, and it is so much fun to meet the other bloggers in person!

That was quite the afternoon/evening. But it was all good. Sunday was a little bit calmer. It was gorgeous out, but I had to take a nap between events, so I missed the sunshine! The day ended with the kids over for wonton soup. (Recipe in the linked post.)

wonton soup

How was your weekend?