Category Archives: Blogging

SEA-PDX Yarn Train

The annual Seattle to Portland Yarn Train arrived in town on Saturday, bringing Seattle knitters down south for a yarn crawl. I couldn’t meet the train because I was rehearsing with the Day Old Pastries, so I met up with Kathy at Knit/Purl.

Knit Purl

I met Kathy last summer at the Sock Summit Ravelry party, and we’ve been bloggy friends ever since. She was with her friend Chandria, and Denise, whom they met on the train. I offered to take the three of them across town to Twisted, my usual stomping grounds. But first, I needed to check in at the PDXKnitbloggers’ home base at the Starbucks kitty corner from Knit/Purl.


I found Cindy, Duffy, Judy, Susan…and a table covered with yarn.

AbstractFibers BFL

Susan was just back from TNNA, and she had a samples of her entire new Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn. Judy was trying to choose two coordinating colors for a design project. It was difficult, because they were all gorgeous!


We did make it over to Twisted. As we pulled up, my phone picked up a text message. It was a tweet from Twisted: “Love Stinks! Spend your Valentine’s day hexing your crappy ex with our Voodoo Doll kits! (Then go on a date with someone way hotter)” That made me laugh out loud. We went in asking for the voodoo dolls, and here they are, modeling in front of the wall of sock yarn.


Kathy bought some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran to make a Pippi hat. It will be her first color work. Fun!


I also ran into Debbi and her friend Susan, and Sharon (but I forgot to take her picture, sorry).


All that yarn shopping is exhausting! We had a very late lunch at Costello’s, down the street, and then headed to Yarnia. I’d never been to Yarnia before, so this was an adventure for me, too.


Yarnia is like Build-a-Bear for knitters. You choose thin fibers/colors you want to put together, and they are wound off together onto a cone to make the yarn of your dreams. Denise was in heaven! She got exactly what she wanted for a shawl project. With sparkle in it, of course. Here’s the winding machine in action. (There’s a cone of shiny stuff on the floor, feeding into the yarn on the cone, but I didn’t realize it when I was filming.)

There wasn’t time to visit any more yarn stores, so I chauffeured the happy knitters back to the train station. And I realized then that I didn’t buy any yarn at all! I’m just not much of a stasher. It was a fun day.

Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the States. Are you participating in any MLK Day activities? I’ll be at a workday for the Backpack Program; they provide weekend lunches for needy children at a local elementary school. (For some children, a federally-sponsored school lunch is their main meal of the day, and there is no school lunch on the weekend.) The Day Old Pastries will lead some singing at the event. If you’re local and looking for something to do, it’s from 1 to 3 p.m. at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 1425 NE Dekum, Portland, 97211.

Because we can…

The devastating earthquake in Haiti is on our hearts and minds. People are coming up with many creative ways to raise money to help. Me, I’m sending money *now*.

I made my donation through Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. The Yarn Harlot put up the Knitsignal (like the Bat-Signal), and we’re answering the call.

What else can I do?

Ravelry is making it easy for designers to donate proceeds from pattern sales towards Haiti relief efforts. I’m in. All proceeds from now until Valentine’s Day (February 14) from online sales of my new pattern, Hugs and Kisses OXO Cable Fingerless Mitts, will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. Because really, we need to show some love for our neighbors.

oxo 2

Knit on, my friends.

Faith, Hope, Love, Knitting


This book by Lorna Miser, the founder of Lorna’s Laces (a yarn company), is sweet.

I received this book from Peggy McMullen at the Oregonlive knit blog in exchange for sharing a free pattern for a single skein project. Peggy had a long list of books, and this is the one I chose.

The patterns are nice enough. (I previewed them on Ravelry before choosing my book. What a great tool!) I can see myself knitting several of them. But what I really like are the personal stories that accompany each of the 24 patterns. Many of the designs were originally knit for special people in Lorna’s life, and I enjoy seeing the thoughtful care that went into making these designs reflect something about those people.

Knit on!

Christmas sweaters

First, a disclaimer: I didn’t knit this.

Grant Butler over at the Oregonian/Oregonlive is collecting pictures of ugly Christmas sweaters. I don’t think mine is ugly; I think it’s kitschy cute! But I told him I’d send him a picture, anyway.

santa sweater

It’s so NYC. We lived in New York for 9 years, and this sweater at Nordstrom Rack just spoke to me. I think I’ve had it for 6 years or so, but I can’t remember.


I hate knitting intarsia, so I would never make something like this. But look at the detail! From the sequins on the gift and the beads on the hat…


To the beads for tire treads…


What’s not to like? What do you think? Cute? Ugly? Kitschy? Would you wear it? I love it. But only once a year.

One skein projects

My little purple Fetching mitts have gone AWOL. I’m sure they’re in a knitting or music bag, somewhere in this house, but for now I’m wearing these instead.


These are my Chunky Piano Mitts. The pattern is free here on my blog. They take less than 100 grams of chunky yarn, and they are fast!

Speaking of free, and one skein, Peggy and Mims at the Oregonlive knitting blog are featuring a free one skein knitting pattern every day from Nov. 28 through Dec. 24. My spiral rib hat was featured on Sunday, Nov. 29.

You can share patterns, too, as long as they’re available for free. And there are prizes for sharing!

What’s your favorite one skein project?

As luck would have it…

I’m pretty lucky! Bonnie picked me as the winner in her drawing for some yarn and her new pattern.

alpaca silk

This yarn is 50 grams/146 yards of Alpaca Silk in the Ice colorway from Blue Sky Alpacas. It’s a gorgeous shade of gray, and the silk in it gives it a beautiful sheen. It feels great, too.


See it glow? I love it!


The pattern is called Buttermilk Sky; it looks lovely. I”m looking forward to knitting this sweet little cowl.

Thank you, Bonnie!

Luminary panel musings


There were some interesting questions put to the Luminary Panel at Sock Summit. One that I found particularly intriguing was, “Why are there no knitters of color here?” I found it interesting on a couple levels. One is that I *am* a person of color, just not the color that the questioner meant. (I’m Asian-American, and I saw many other Asian-American knitters at Sock Summit.)

The discussion by the panel first delved into socio-economic issues; if food and housing is insecure, knitting is not going to be high on your priority list. Race is often tied to socio-economic status. Knitting in the US is primarily a recreational activity, and it can be quite spendy if you let it be! But I ran into an acquaintance right after the panel discussion, and she commented that she doesn’t have a ton of money, and that you don’t have to have a ton of money to knit. Another idea explored by the panel was that knitting isn’t a part of all cultures around the world. One could extrapolate that we should evangelize knitting and spread the word, but I don’t think all people should be forced to consider knitting for their leisure activity. It’s supposed to be fun. I think we should just say, “Here’s something I like. If you want to knit, I’d be glad to teach you.”

Who taught you to knit? Did you ask to be taught, or did someone offer to teach you? Or did you just find it intriguing on your own? As a child, I wanted to learn to knit because I was heavily into the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Deep in my heart, I wanted to be a pioneer girl. (Pretty funny for a Chinese girl.) In fact, part of the reason I still love my cuff-down socks on dpns is the whole pioneer sticks and string schtick; pioneer girls didn’t have two circulars or magic loop! (This reminds me of the “You can’t use the pedal when you play Bach because he didn’t” argument, although in that case I’d say, “He would have if it had existed!”)

I’m still knitting along on my ruffle tank, and swatching my colorful stealth project. And I think I’m going to start one of Cat Bordhi’s toe-up socks, just for review. And I’ve fallen in love with Lorelei from Twist Collective, but I don’t think I’ll start that right now! Just dreaming. I’ve noticed a good bit of start-itis in other bloggers that were at Sock Summit. Too many creative ideas all at once?

Besides start-itis, Sock Summit has had another effect on me. I had to buy another box to store my increased stash. Although the stash is growing, I’m still not a stasher at heart, so I’d like to share a skein from my Sock Summit goodies. This is from Deb Accuardi’s pre-summit lunch. The colorway is Cherry Mallow by CraftsMeow. It’s 100% superwash merino wool fingering weight yarn, 400 yards.

cherry mallow

If you’d like to play, leave me a comment telling me who taught you to knit. I’ll do the random number thing and pick a winner after August 23. Good luck; I’m looking forward to some wonderful stories!

Post-Sock Summit blues

Sock Summit is over; it’s time to go back to real life. What’s a knitter to do? I could go check out the Oregonian’s re-cap of the event here. I even saw myself in the video!



I could buy some more yarn! The Noro Silk Garden Lite wasn’t the right yarn for the new project in my head, so I went to Twisted to get some Silk Garden Sock. But I got distracted by this Jojoland Melody superwash, which is really soft. It also has a really long color run, and a very slow change to the next color. I think it will do what I want, but there’s only one way to find out. The S-word. Yes, swatch!


The colors are much richer than you see here; I can’t quite capture them.

I wanted to mention something that really struck me last weekend. Cat Bordhi began her class by having everyone give their names, and tell who taught them to knit. I love the honoring of the ones who came before. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, co-workers, Youtube! You can trace the lineage back, in much the same way that piano students can trace their teachers back to Mozart. Cat was also really good about crediting ideas, such as Judy Becker for Judy’s Magic Cast On and Magic Toe, and Jenny Staimann’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. It’s because of this that I can say that I learned my modified way of making an SSK (slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to purl, knit off together through the back loops) from Meg Swansen, who probably learned it from her mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann, and that was a modification of the SSK that was invented by…Barbara Walker. And so it goes.

Some other news: Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks, one of the Sock Summit sponsors, is closing their brick and mortar store. They’ll still have an online presence, but this is a big loss for Portland. I’m sad to see them go.

(Ravelry name) is knitting her own wedding veil, and she had several teachers and students at Sock Summit knit on it. That will be a wonderful keepsake! And maybe she should get in touch with the woman who made this amazing wedding dress.

That’s the news from here. Knit on!

Sock Summit Sunday

This is a short post, because I’m exhausted! I’ll have more tomorrow, when I’m awake and can take pictures of all the cool things that followed me home. But for now, a Sunday recap.

I invited my friend Joanne to come to the market this morning. She was about to pay the $2 entrance fee when I noticed that there were luminary panel tickets available. She decided to buy one, which meant she’d be a student, which meant she wouldn’t pay the market fee. And then the staffer told us that someone had donated their tickets because they couldn’t come, so they gave one to Joanne. Winner!

We did a quick tour, and then settled in to shop. Here’s the yarn play pen at Woolstock.

play pen

While we were ogling the Malabrigo Sock yarn at Webs, someone stopped to admire my shawl. It was Amy Detjen! She remembered meeting me at a Stitches West or two, way back. I think she liked the shawl because it matches her hair!


I made a couple purchases (you’ll see them in tomorrow’s post), and so did Joanne. Then it was off to lunch and the luminary panel. Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, Lucy Neatby, Deborah Robson, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, and Anna Zilboorg, all in one place. As I type this list, I realize that I’ve had classes with four of the nine: Priscilla, Meg, and Anna at Stitches long ago, and Cat this weekend. I’m pretty lucky!


It was flabbergasting to learn that Barbara Walker invented the SSK. Before that, the left-leaning decrease was skp (slip 1, knit 1, psso). That’s elemental. And listening to the panel discussion, I was struck again by Anna’s graceful spirit.

The day ended with cake to celebrate Elizabeth Zimmermann’s 99th birthday. All the panelists were asked what was the biggest influence EZ had on their knitting. Meg was last, and she simply said, “You are in charge of your knitting.” I remember reading that as “You are the boss of your knitting,” but either way, that’s EZ’s biggest influence on my knitting, too. I say it all the time when I’m teaching. Thank you, Elizabeth.

What a great weekend! On the way out, I ran into Barbara Walker. I admired her sweater, and thanked her for coming. She thanked me for coming, too.


Sock Summit: Saturday wows

Saturday at Sock Summit. I knew this would be a long day for me. Six hours of Dancing with Socks with Cat Bordhi, plus the Ravelry party tonight.

Cat Bordhi’s class was a huge winner. She’s a great teacher. She walked us through her short row heel turn method, Judy’s Magic Cast On, a Bosnian garter stitch toe, a formula for a perfect fitting sock from the toe up, and how to turn all of that upside down for a cuff down sock. Along the way, she also taught us a cure for the wobbly SSK line of decreases, and a better way to finish off the yarn tail at the end of a project.

cat bordhi

Here are the sample socks I worked on during class. The one on the right is a Coriolis. It was easier than I expected it to be! Note the garter stitch toe. The sock on the left is following her Upstream architecture.

pathways sox

Isn’t this yarn cool? It’s Bullfrogs and Butterflies from Lorna’s Laces, and the colorway is called Cat Bordhi Ah-ha. The short color runs make it easy to see what’s going on with the stitches from row to row. I didn’t have this yarn, but before class Elizabeth announced that she had bought some, had it wound into two balls, and someone was welcome to try the second ball. I did, and I loved it. Thank you, Elizabeth!


Oh, we also learned a stretchy new bind-off. It’s called Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off (JSSBO) by Jennifer Staimann, and it’s great. I can’t tell you more, because we’re sworn to secrecy. It will be in the next issue of Knitty. Keep your eyes peeled for this winner!

I sat next to Melinda (gldelx on Ravelry) during class. I didn’t realize it was gldelx until we swapped some stitch markers, and she gave me a card with her Ravelry name on it. She’s local here, too.


During lunch I met Kathy Elkins (on the left) from Webs. It was nice to meet her in person; we follow each other on Twitter.


The Ravelry party this evening was great. We all got swag bags with cool stuff in them. I’ll post an inventory and picture after I get a daylight shot. I hung out with old and new friends, including Sam and Kathy (I thought I had a picture with Kathy, but it’s not in the camera).


And GlennaC and Chrissy Gardiner (of the wonderful Toe-Up sock book).

glenna chrissy

Check out Glenna’s cool knee socks.

glenna sox

step knit

Deb interviewed Jess for the At the Kitchen Table podcast.

jess deb

And I met Jess (frecklegirl on Ravelry); and got to pose with her and the Bob finger puppet! Note our Ishbels.

jess bob

Bobbie, Leila, and Tami are trying to get me to spin. I’ve been successfully resistant. Then Leila pulled out the Turkish spindle, and showed me how it makes a center pull ball of yarn when you’re done. Uh-oh…


And I love this Dianna shawl that Kristin was wearing.


Lantern Moon was one of the cashmere sponsors. Thanks for a great party! Here’s Sharon, Joel, Sally, Sarah, and Jess.

LM peeps