Category Archives: cat

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!

January: Resolutions or Goals? Classes!

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, because I know I won’t keep them. Why set myself up for failure? But I do like to set knitting goals for the year. This year, I plan to learn brioche knitting. I bought a book last year, and never even opened it. So I signed up for a class with JC Briar at Madrona next month. Gonna get it done!

But along came a Knitstrip project from Mason Dixon Knitting, a quick little one color brioche scarf, knit flat.

Brioche Scarf

That was easy! I loved the squishy Malabrigo Rasta so much, I decided I needed a cowl. In the round. Wait for class?

Brioche in the round

Nah. It was slightly more confusing with the purl stitch, but I worked it out. But I didn’t like the dimensions of this particular one skein cowl. It was too chunky at the back of my neck as a small circumference cowl, so I’m knitting an earband or hat (we’ll see!) directly off it from the bind off. Biscuit is helping.

I’m looking forward to learning to work with colors, increases, and decreases in brioche knitting at Madrona. And I’m looking forward to *teaching* at Madrona, too! I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches on Saturday, February 18.

Elongated Stitches class

I love how these add pizazz to a simple stockinette project. I’m also teaching a blocking mini-class on Thursday morning, and a mini-class with just a couple novelty stitches (Tridacna Cowl) on Saturday morning. The whole Madrona schedule is here.

The other knitting that I’ve been doing a lot, from the teaching end, is stranded colorwork. In the past couple weeks, I’ve taught Braided Wristlets (stranded colorwork and Latvian braids)

Braided Wristlets Class

Bucket List Coffee Accessories (stranded colorwork and crocheted steeks)

Bucket List steeks

And Kerfuffle Cowl (stranded colorwork).

Leann's kerfuffle

Leann was so happy about class, she stayed up late that night and finished her cowl. She did a great job. (Thanks for sharing your picture with me, Leann!)

Stranded colorwork is nice and warm, because it has two layers of yarn on every row. Just right for the snowy weeks we’ve had. Ready to thaw out now!

Icicles

Do you have knitting goals for this year? What do you want to learn?

Snow Day, Snow Sale

Still snowy here in PDX. Ordinarily we don’t get much snow, and when we do get some, it usually gets covered by freezing rain. Not this time! We can actually play in it and with it for a few days.

Snowy Biscuit

Biscuit is wondering what the heck happened to her landscape. Why is everything white?

Snow Day Sale

To celebrate the snowy wonderland, I’m having a sale with all my patterns that include the word “snow.” All of these are 20% off through January 16, 2017 with coupon code SNOWDAY. Snowy Woods Cowl, Snowy Woods Hat, Snow Woods Log Cabin Blocks, and Snowflake Chriatmas Stocking. The hat is especially quick knitting, and you could be wearing one by tomorrow. Get your knit on!

Fibonacci and Fan collage

Fibonacci and Fan is still on launch sale 10% off, no coupon, or 20% off with newsletter subscribers’ coupon, through January 23. I used Knitted Wit Victory Sock in Cedar and *Snowy* Cedar, more snow! And there’s a chance for you to win some Snowy yarn, see previous post. It’s quite the snowy week around here.

A few more snowy pictures…

PDX Bike

Snowy tree

Snowy trees

Stopover to Aloha

Is my Stopover done?

Stopover red aloha

Nah, who knits with Lopi in Hawaii? Well, me, just for a bit, but I also brought some linen to play with. This is the Euroflax Sport mini skein set from Mason Dixon Knitting, in Sea.

Euroflax minis

Euroflax minis in mason jar

I think they are spot on with the colors! I had an idea for this set, and after six swatches, I think it knows what it’s doing.

Aloha knitting

It’s on hold, now that I’m home, and cold! But the plan is set.

Stopover sleeve

I knit a sleeve on the flight home, stopped to prep for Hanukkah and Christmas, and knit the other sleeve in the last couple days. I didn’t have my row counting stitch marker with me on vacation, so I made do with a piece of contrast color yarn, flipped from front to back or back to front each time I made an increase. One must make do with the tools at hand. I think I actually like this better than the row counter; it’s very visual.

Stopover three tubes

I now have three tubes, and am headed toward something resembling a sweater. I am really looking forward to wearing this! In the meantime, here are some vacation pictures because, aloha.

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

The full moon coincided with the beginning of our time on Maui, and you know how I am about the moonset. So glad I took my real camera with me; the iPhone can do most things, but not this.

Lana'i Cat Sanctuary

We had a couple stellar day trips. One was to the Lāna’i Cat Sanctuary (512 cats!) on the next island over. Fun day, with two ferry rides, drinks at the Four Seasons, and some tide pooling on a very beautiful beach.

Whale spout off Lana'i

We saw three whales playing near a sailboat in the sunset from our ferry back to Lahaina.

Family 2016

My favorite day included a hike to the Nakalele Blowhole. This is Mother Nature at her most impressive.

Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Blowhole Maui

Rainbows everywhere! (If you’re curious about the gifs, I’m using an app called Motion Stills, free from Google, that makes gifs from iPhone “live photos.” It has image stabilization, which is awesome. It can also make short videos from the same photos.)

Maui sunset

We really enjoyed the wraparound lanai on our rental condo. We had views of Lana’i and Moloka’i. Erosion has taken away the beach, but we were there for the views, including monk seals and green turtles swimming past. A perfect getaway.

knitted wit cedar and sprinkle

Sneak peek at a new shawl design debuting in January. Until then, aloha!

Four Seasons Lana'i

Free kitty knit patterns

These kitty knit patterns have come across my Facebook, Instagram, and blog reader feeds. Do you feel the need to knit a kitty?

The Window Cat, Sara Elizabeth Kellner

The Window Cat is available on Ravelry, courtesy of designer Sara Elizabeth Kellner of Rabbit Hole Knits.

Tiny Window Cat by Sara Elizabeth Kellner

Tiny Window Cat is the mini version, also courtesy of Sara.

Mini Kitty Pouf by Molly Rivera

And this Mini Kitty Pouf is a bigger cat, free only until December 12, through Knit Picks. Kudos to designer Molly Rivera for a cute and hugggable kitty pattern.

Biscuit and Mookie

I don’t think these kitties are for your kitty. Biscuit doesn’t seem to want a plush cat for herself!

Knitting away: Kilter Hat, Christmas, Hanukkah, Addi Giveaway

December is always such a busy month! Our pop-up show/shop was a great success. I sold all but one of my knit pieces, and am happy to know that they’re going to be well loved out in the world.

Kilter

One piece was my Kilter Hat, which looks great on my friend Sharyn.

Kilter

I put it on my Facebook page, and now I’m knitting one as a gift for Mom (DH’s mom) at her request in Malabrigo Rios. I’m not usually a deadline gift knitter, but I really want this to be in her hands before she heads to Antarctica later this month. I got this much done at knit nite last night. Knit like the wind!

Kilter Coco

The color is Coco, which makes me giggle, because that was Biscuit’s name, between Trix and BellaTrix.

Super cabled Christmas Stocking

I also finished my Super Cabled Christmas Stocking on Thursday and sold it along with its red sibling on Friday. Quick work!

Knit nite

Knit night last night was fun, and Biscuit participated fully. Note that she has a chair, and I’m sitting on the floor.

I haven’t decorated my house for the holidays yet. I’m wary of putting up my usual mini-tree because I keep catching Biscuit on the piano. I wonder how she’ll behave with menorah candles? This is my usual setup:

Christmas Hanukkah

And will she pull down the stocking holders from the mantel? One of these moose weights could knock her out.

pdxknitterati christmas

Guess we’ll find out…

Addi Turbo giveaway: The winner according to Random.org is commenter number 1, Anne Westbrook. Anne, I’m sending you an email to get your snailmail addy…for your Addi! Congratulations.

Onward!

Coming soon, garter stitch zen

Remember this garter stitch “worry bead” knitting?

purple garter crescent

It grew up to be this:

Ships in the Night

The pattern is coming soon; it’s back from the tech editor and is being test knit.

You might remember that it was my zen project when Biscuit/BellaTrix/Bisquee was ill after her adventures in the fireplace. It’s probably the most soothing knit I’ve ever designed. It’s an absolute joy to wear, too. I wore it for the first time on Sunday, because I was worried about kitty again. She was really sick last week, and after three vet visits and worry about lack of appetite, obstructions, pancreatitis, and food alllergies, it turned out to be a UTI, mostly. She’s back to her happy self, and a little more snuggly and a little less naughty. She’s growing up!

But about the shawl: Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug. Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing.

Ships in the Night

The stripes are based on the Fibonacci sequence, so there’s a little bit of nerdy fun in there too. The current name is Ships in the Night for the way the stripes glide past each other, but I could also call it BellaTrix for this silly kitty. Even though her name is Biscuit. Pronounced Bisquee. What do you think?

Biscuit BellaTrix

Looking forward to sharing it with you soon!

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!

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