Category Archives: cat

What hump? Better crescent shawl garter tab cast on

I’m back! We took a wee trip to Scotland. And Barcelona. And St. Louis! More on all of that when I get myself sorted. I did manage to visit one yarn shop while I was away, Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh.

Jess’ shop is tiny and packed with beautiful yarn, much of which she dyes herself. I bought only one skein, this lovely British BFL fingering; the color is Pappy’s Garden.

I wish I had bought a coordinating color, but I needed the bag and yarn to fit in my purse because we were hiking the Salisbury Crags that afternoon after a visit to the Scottish Parliament. Packing in the fun! (The bag is wrinkled from being crammed into my purse, true story.)

I took a new shawl design project on this trip. I didn’t have a lot of knitting time, but it kept me occupied on planes and trains. When I got home, I decided I didn’t like how the later stitch patterns were playing with each other. Or were not playing with each other, really.

I asked Biscuit what she thought. “To the frog pond!” she squeaked. I agreed, but not before tackling another issue that was bugging me.

My first try at this had a hump in the middle. Sometimes these block out, and at the beginning of my knitting it looked like it might.

But it seemed to look worse the further I got. Since I was going to frog it anyway, I wanted to try to avoid the hump on the next version.

This is so much better. The difference? A much longer garter tab cast on.

My first one was very short, because the numbers worked. But there were so many stitches concentrated right there at the beginning, and a short, unyielding garter tab. Hump! Even worse, when I tried to straighten it, it folded over.

Besides the longer garter tab, I added YOs between the picked up stitches along the edge of the garter tab. This serves two purposes. It adds a stitch between the picked up stitches, which gives a little more stretch. And it mimics the YOs that are going to continue along the edge of the shawl.

I’m back on track, and it’s flying along.

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation after a vacation? Catching up!

Drum roll…the winner of the Delicate Details e-book is Terri Oliver. Thanks to everyone for commenting and playing along!

Coming soon…puffins!

Wool Tinctures, cats, Nine Lives

It was a busy weekend!

Remember the dye project we bought from Abundant Earth Fiber? We loved meeting Lydia Christiansen and learning about her milling and spinning on Whidbey Island. Lydia’s entire inventory was stolen, along with her trailer, on her way to Stitches West, and she is working hard to get back up to speed. We wanted to support her business, and get to play with color, too!

Saturday was the day. My yarn is worsted weight domestic merino, and Lisa’s is DK weight 80/20 merino and Rambouillet.

I love how tidy this whole setup is. This plus yarn plus hot water.

Why yes, I’m dyeing my yarn in a Lego bucket. It’s usually the wastebasket in my studio. Lisa is classier, and is using a ceramic bowl.

This dye is exhausted!

My yarn is slightly semi-solid. Because I dunked one end in first? Insufficient stirring? It’s pretty, though.

Lucy approves! Thanks to Lucy and Lisa for hosting the fun.

It was a cat filled weekend. I was catsitting for both my kids, who were away on two different trips. This is MisMis. She’s very friendly…with people. She’s a great only cat.

And this is Gator. He’s very handsome, and very amiable, too. Gator is coming to live with us for a while, if he and Biscuit can get along. We’re just starting a slow introduction.

There’s been some growling and hissing on Biscuit’s part, but we’re not getting them face to face for a few days. Wish us luck!

Gator is currently chilling in my studio.

And! Speaking of cats, it’s time for the drawing for the Knit Picks Nine Lives Collection. The winner is: Margo! I’ve emailed her for her addy so I can send her the book. Thanks to Knit Picks for their support for Knitters with Kitters at Purringtons, and thanks to you for reading and playing!

36 hours in Ellensburg

One catch up post!

I spent 36 hours in Ellensburg, WA to celebrate a friend’s birthday the weekend before Knot Another Fiber Festival. It was quick but we packed in a lot of fun!

Saturday was LYS Day. I wasn’t near my LYS, but Ellensburg has a very nice shop, Yarn Folk. Ann Miner’s shop has lots of high quality yarns and is full of inspiring shop samples. I didn’t need any yarn (do I ever?), but I needed a shawl pin so I picked up this leaf pin by One of a Kind Buttons. (More about the book in a bit.)

There was a sheep to shawl exhibit by Thorp Mill at the rodeo grounds, and I met this sweet lamb, as well as some spinners and weavers.

In the afternoon Vickie and I took a beyond basics block printing class at Gallery One. Every time I play with block printing, it gets a little better. So much fun!

This particular class was about chine collé (like collage, adding contrast papers in the printing) and puzzle blocks (cutting your carved block into pieces so you can put it back together while using different colors for the different parts). In three hours we sketched and carved blocks, and tried these two new techniques.

Pictured above, top row: Carved block (it’s been cut and put back together), original test print. Bottom row: Chine collé bird print, and puzzle block print. I’m looking forward to playing more with this block, or even re-doing it now that I know what I want it to look like.

In the evening we went to the college rodeo. Why yes, this was my first rodeo! It seemed about time my boots went to one.

Waiting

Birds on a wire

Matched set

I came home Sunday to teach a class, and picked up the new Mason Dixon Field Guide, Transparency.

I love the look of this Shakerag Top. (Thanks, Biscuit, for helping with the picture.) It’s knit with one or two strands of yarn to create the striping, but the yarn is all the same. This particular yarn is Jade Sapphire Sylph, a blend of cashmere and linen. I love linen and I love cashmere. It’s a little spendy, so I have to decide if I’m really going to make it. Also, deadlines! We shall see.

Knit on!

Knitters with Kitters

I had the pleasure of hanging out with 16 knitters, and a group of kitters, last night. It was the first ever Knitters with Kitters event at Purringtons Cat Lounge. It sold out quickly. I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last!

We had some great product tie-in. Stacey from Knit Picks came with copies of their 9 Lives Collection, a very fun book of patterns. The photographs for this 2017 book were shot at Purringtons! We had a copy for each of the attendees, and then a drawing for a cat-themed tote bag, and a set of interchangeable needles.

Lucky is my kitty halo!

Cats can help crochet, too.

They’re very social, and would like to go home with you. All the kitties at Purringtons are available for adoption; they’re from Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood. The cat café is an opportunity for them to get social skills before adoption. Our Biscuit is from Purringtons, too; she was adoption #194. Purringtons is now up to adoption #528.

A good time was had by all, knitters and kitters both.

I have an extra copy of 9 Lives that I’d like to share. Is it calling your name? Leave a comment below and let me know. You can also leave a comment just to leave a comment, but if you want the book, please say so! I’ll draw a name next Saturday, Cinco de Meow-o. (Ouch!)

If you’d like an extra chance to win, sign up for my newsletter here; I’ll send one out next week after Knot Another Fiber Festival. Busy busy! (If you’re already signed up, you’re in! Just reply to the email when it comes.)

At loose ends seeking new project, and a book winner

First of all: Drumroll! The winner of the Japanese Shetland Lace Knitting book is…carrotmusic, aka Karen. Congratulations!

I just bound off my last (for now) brioche project. It’s the cowl I started before I took the deep dive into the brioche hats. (Hats are currently being test knit, and the pictures coming in are lovely.)

I’m looking forward to wearing this cowl. Although Biscuit thinks that it belongs to her.

There *is* precedent for cats and cowls! (Mookie in my Sakura cowl, 2016.)

My needles are currently empty, and I’m not sure what to knit next. I need to get back to my beaded 2 color version of my Nymphaea shawl (shown here in a lovely purple gradient from June Pryce Fiber Arts, available from Bead Biz.)

I’m knitting it in green and blue, the same colors as in my Tumbling Leaves, but with Atlantic as the main color and Hellebore as the contrast color. Yes, I loved these colors in Bumblebirch’s Heartwood so much that I’m using them again! But I don’t need this shawl until Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September when the pattern returns to me, so it’s not urgent.

I was hoping to do a Snowy Woods Log Cabin blanket for the #fringeandfriendslogalong, but that was derailed by my brioche obsession. It’s late in the logalong game, but I’m tempted to knit a pair of Karen Templer’s Log Cabin Mitts (free pattern, just published on her Fringe Association site). After knitting the log cabin blocks, there’s a mitered square thumb, which looks cool. I haven’t done a log cabin block with a mitered square in it yet, so that would be exciting. I just looked in my stash, and this may be do-able. Either 3 shades of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, or a single color shifting skein of Noro Taiyo (which isn’t very soft…).

Or should I be restrained and just knit some log cabin washcloths from the Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide #4? They’ve elaborated on their pick up method a little bit since the blankets in their original book, which is where I learned to log cabin. I need to see if I like the new way better. Only one way to find out!

What’s on your needles? Inspire me!

Birthday wildfire and hurricanes

Hurricane Harvey fundraiser update: Thank you for participating in my fundraiser! I just sent the proceeds to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. I’m paying the PayPal and Ravelry fees, so all the pattern sale money goes to the fund.

I’m also matching the donation with a donation to UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Their US Disaster Response fund will provide relief beyond Houston, and I wanted to spread the love a little further. What I like about UMCOR is that all donated funds go towards the specific relief goal. Administrative costs are raised through One Great Hour of Sharing, and don’t come out of the disaster relief donations.

I’m really touched by the knitting community’s efforts. There are many designers raising funds for disaster relief, and I’m happy to be a part of it. I’ve purchased several patterns, too. Put it all together and we’re a mighty force!

Today is my birthday, and it’s a strange one. The beautiful Columbia River Gorge is ablaze with a wildfire caused by teens playing with fireworks in the tinder dry forest. It started Saturday on the Eagle Creek trail, and is now at about 5000 acres. (Edit, noon 9/5/17: 10,000 acres.)

Punchbowl FallsPunchbowl Falls in 2014

I hiked here in September 2014; pretty pictures in blog post here. It won’t look like again this for a long time. Right now, Multnomah Falls is surrounded by fire, and the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge is threatened. My heart is breaking for one of my favorite happy places.

Ash is falling here in Portland, 40 to 50 miles away.

Even closer to home, Biscuit isn’t feeling well, so I’ve laid out a buffet to tempt her appetite. Not working yet. She was at the vet yesterday (Labor Day!) and if she doesn’t perk up today, will be back there tomorrow.

So happy birthday to me. Pray for rain for the fires, and good thoughts for relief workers, firefighters, and the Biscuit, please!

Eclipse 2017: Path of Totality

Well that was stellar! And lunar. And solar…definitely awe inspiring!

Pinhole camera made with knitting needle and paper on hand

I trekked down to Salem to view the eclipse from Willamette Valley Vineyards. They were in the path of totality; Portland was at 99%. That tiny, tiny 1% makes a big difference.

DH stayed home; he’s not as geeky about these things as I am. I wanted the sun to disappear completely. It did not disappoint.

It was so uplifting to share this awe-inspiring event with an enthusiastic group of people. So much positivity. We wrote and sang “Path of Totality” to the tune of Age of Aquarius. Fun and funny.

Of course I brought my knitting. Bag by Chicken Boots (Saremy), needle keeper by A Needle Runs Through It (Maria), bead needle by Bead Aid (Sarah), bead tin by Miss Purl (Danielle), yarn by June Pryce Fiber Arts (Cheryl), beads by Bead Biz (Jean)! It’s like another group of friends beyond the ones I was actually sitting with.

People’s phones kept going off with emergency alerts. Turn off your ringers, please! Yes, rock climbing. Check out this link for an amazing photo; it’s not mine so I don’t want to publish it here. Rock climber silhouetted by eclipsed sun at Smith Rock.

I don’t pretend to have a camera good enough to get a picture of what it really looked like; I’m leaving that to the professionals. This is what it looks like from an iPhone.

So cool to see Venus out during the day. The sun is completely eclipsed here, but the phone camera can’t catch it. It was a dark circle surrounded by intense twinkling light. It was easy to tell when totality hit; a collective gasp went up and our eclipse glasses didn’t let any light through. It was equally easy to tell when it was time to put the glasses back on. So bright! Those two minutes of totality went by all too quickly. Just a tiny sliver of sun seemed like complete daylight.

The sun was about halfway back for this picture. Hard to tell.

Traffic home was a bear. But it was worth it. Biscuit and I caught up with Game of Thrones the next day. She likes dragons; I think because they sound like her. Kind of raspy and squeaky. Bisqueak!

Did you chase the eclipse, too?

Busy as a bee

Buzz! I’m watching my test knitters’ projects develop on the Go Tell The Bees projects page on Ravelry, and planning for a fun KAL. Pattern coming June 1, KAL begins June 11.

I found some cute bee stitch markers that will make a sweet prize.

I’m working on a design to coordinate with a crochet friend, and Biscuit is marginally impressed. She helped with the math.

I’m dreaming of a shawl in blue and yellow yarns. Which blue? Which yellow? I don’t know yet. What do you think?

And after changing my mind several times on how this combo will play out, I think I have a plan.

I’ll just be over here in my corner with lots of graph paper!

And in the middle of all that, I spent the weekend out at Edgefield for my friends’ wedding. No wedding pix; I was hopping busy that day! But I was blessed to sing with my beloved Pie Birds during and after the wedding. So much fun.

Note the red boots and newly finished second Red Zephyr Shawl!

We made good use of the soaking pool, and my MDK tote.

Wine tasting on the balcony. Cheers!

Book winner, upcoming new designs

Thanks for all your well wishes for Biscuit. After a month of not feeling well, and bloodwork and followup on Saturday, she woke up Sunday and was her sassy old self. Hungry, playful, active. It’s like someone flipped a switch. We’re very happy that she’s feeling better.

The random number generator says that the winner of By Hand, Portland ME edition is Tami H. I’m emailing her so I can send her this beautiful book! But not the cat, who looks alarmed at the suggestion.

New and coming: I’m really enjoying knitting with this beautiful gradient, Saigon Cinnamon, from Fierce Fibers. I’m almost done with the first sample, 600 yards of Renai fingering weight. I’ll also be working up a 400 yard version so there will be options.

This shawl features lace and this very fun honeybee stitch, an elongated novelty stitch. So much impact for very little work! I’ll be looking for a few test knitters soon; leave a comment if you’re interested in test knitting, and I’ll fill you in on details.

Also coming, even sooner: Linden Leaf, a linen scarf featuring a pretty leafy edge. Test knits are done, tech edits are done. I just need to do the photo editing and tidy up the pattern. Later this week, perhaps? I’ll have a little discount here on the blog, and a bigger discount for email newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber and want to be one? Leave me that info in the comments, too, and I’ll add your name to the list.

Onward!

By Hand Serial: From Portland to Portland (review)

I’ve been savoring a new book series, By Hand. This new venture features maker communities around the country.

Author Andrea Hungerford writes:

In this day and age, many of us are searching for community–a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity, a desire to share our passions with others. As a sense of community becomes ever more elusive, we look for ways to build our own. A community of makers–those who find joy in creating with their hands, minds, and hearts–gives us a chance to share and celebrate our ideas and passions.

Thus we have “making communities”–areas areound the country where makers with a common ethos work and, in turn, are inspired by each other–and we are “making communities,” even where physical proximity isn’t possible, by sharing our stories and journeys and images with each other.”

I love this concept. Although Andrea has a strong knitting focus, not all the makers featured in the books are fiber artists. The first lookbook focuses on Andrea’s home town of Portland, Oregon, which is my home, too. Some of the featured makers are:

  • Indie dyers Amy Lee Serradell of Canon Hand Dyes and Sarah Kurth of Bumblebirch
  • Yarn companies Woolfolk, Brooklyn Tweed and Shibui Knits
  • Other non-fiber artists including ceramicists JaMpdx (Jenn Gauer and Megan Radick, pastry artist Anna Henrick, and paper artists Tess Darrow and Kara Yanagawa of Eggpress Design and Letterpress. And more!

A visually stunning visit to Timberline Lodge was a non-fiber highlight for me. This whole book felt like a visit with friends, some of whom I have not yet met. The book also includes 3 knitting projects, a fabric project, and a recipe. I’ll be spending more time with these.

Andrea’s second book focuses on the other Portland, Portland and mid-coast Maine. There is so much fiber and textile history in that part of the country, and it is also the home of a resurgence of the industry. I wondered if I would like this book as much as the first Portland book, since I’ve never been to Portland, Maine. This did not disappoint.

The table of contents reads like a who’s who of fiber all-stars; designers that you know and love, and yarn companies that you recognize from your LYS. Hannah Fettig (Knitbot), Clara Parkes, Bristol Ivy; and yarn companies Swan’s Island and Quince and Co. There are instructios for 6 knitting projects, 2 sewing projects, and a family recipe for Cinnamon Swirled Orange Bread. Yum!

Andrea is working on her third book, which will visit Nashville, Tennessee. You know I love Nashville. I am really looking forward to purchasing this issue!

I’d like to thank Hannah Thiessen, whom I met in Nashville at Craft South, for putting me in touch with Andrea Hungerford here in Portland, and thank Andrea for the review copies of By Hand, too. I’d also like to share the fun. Who would like my review copy of Lookbook #2, Portland, Maine? Let me know in the comments. I’ll pick a winner after next Sunday, April 23.

Thanks also to my helpful assistant, Biscuit. She’s been under the weather for the past two weeks; we don’t know what’s going on with her, but she’s had many visits with our favorite vet. Send good thoughts her way?

Disclosure: Andrea Hungerford provided these review copies for me. All opinions are my own. I loved them!