Category Archives: classes

New Classes: Darn It! and Brioche Doctor

I’ve been having so much fun mending my knits, I decided to develop a class to share the love. Darn It! There’s a Hole in My Knitting makes its debut at the March Vogue Virtual Knitting Live. Registration for VKL is now open:

I’m also teaching Brioche Doctor: Fixing Brioche Mistakes, another new class. And I’ll be teaching Petite Brioche and Syncopation, and giving my lecture on Blocking: It’s Magic! A full slate of fun for me, and for you, too.

I had a great time teaching Petite Brioche for Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop on Saturday, so much brioche success! My next class in the series is Deep End: Brioche Increases and Decreases on Saturday March 6, which is coming right up. You can choose your project: Deep End Hat, Deep End Cowl, or Madrona Cowl, and the pattern is included in the class fee. Register here.

So much going on around here. Onward!

Sleeve Island Dreams

The end is in sight! I finished one sleeve, and am well on my way on the second one. Actually, I’ve knit two sleeves already. I realized I didn’t like the fit of the first one when it was 2/3 finished, so I started the second one, adding 6 stitches over all. That’s the finished sleeve you see. Then I ripped the first one all the way back to the yoke and started it over to match the second sleeve. I wish I had added 8 stitches, but I made a math error, and I’m not going back!

We’ve decided to skip the patterning at the wrist; it’s just a place to snag fingers on the stranding inside. This isn’t a particularly grippy yarn (Berroco Vintage Worsted), so it’s definitely a consideration.

But you know this means my mind is wandering along to the next project. I’m swatching!

This isn’t the real yarn for this project; I just wanted to know what would happen, and get an approximate gauge for fingering weight yarn.

It’s really a square; it’s just easier to manage on a circular needle when it gets this big. I’m thinking of a pastel floral garden. I started another block in a dark green single ply from my stash, and it’s just not living up to the dream, so I’m doing a little online yarn shopping…

What’s on your needles? Something new, or something that needs to be finished? Or both?

Brioche classes with Bazaar Girls!

I’m so pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching a series of brioche classes with Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium! We’ll begin with Petite Brioche, 2 color brioche in the round, in February. We’ll work our way through more advanced techniques in following months. I’ll walk you through step by step until you’re a brioche pro!

Blue brioche headband

Petite Brioche is a gentle introduction to 2 color brioche rib. We begin with a simple long tail cast on, so there’s no special fussing to get started. I want to make sure you have a successful experience.

The first class is Saturday, February 20, from 11 am to 1 pm Pacific time. The Bazaar Girls shop is in Port Townsend, Washington, but through the magic of Zoom, you can take this class from anywhere in the world. Come knit with me!

New class: Brioche Doctor! Fixing Brioche Mistakes

We love knitting brioche. But sometimes things happen. I’m launching a new Zoom class, Brioche Doctor: Fixing Mistakes in Brioche. We’ll go from finding simple missed yarn overs all the way through frogging and getting back on the needles. Class will be on Saturday, February 13, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Pacific time. Registration is through Twisted Yarn Shop.

We’ll be working with a flat 2 color brioche swatch, but even if you’ve only ever done brioche in the round, this should be pretty accessible for you. I love new classes, and I think this one will be lots of fun. Come tink, drop, and frog with me!

To the frog pond, happily

I knit the hat on the left, while developing the hat on the right (pattern next week; I just need pictures). The first hat wasn’t what I wanted, so I frogged the crown and re-finished it as a cowl. Yes, you *can* frog brioche and get it back on the needles!

Side conversation: I’m working up a Brioche Doctor version of my Tink Drop Frog fixing mistakes class; I’ll let you know when that goes live.

Done. I love these leaves, and I had enough yarn leftover to knit one more cowl. I decided to play with the smaller leaf that I worked out for the blue hat. But! What if I made it a longer (wider) loop, too? That’s really my preferred cowl style, long and hanging down, not so much up around my neck. I’d need this yarn back to do that, though.

To the frog pond! You know that brioche is a two sided fabric, in separately worked layers. Did you know you can frog one color at a time, leaving the other color behind? This looks so cool, like a frilly petticoat peeking out under a skirt.

Almost there…

I have the new cowl about halfway done, which means it’s the traditional time where I start second and third guessing myself. Should I make the leaves even smaller? Do just I add this version on to the existing cowl pattern, or make a new pattern? I think the answer to that depends on how much extra work goes into it. Right now it’s just using the new smaller leaf from the hat, but if I make the leaves even smaller, it would be a ton of work to redo the chart and written instructions *again*, so it would want to be a separate pattern. Diminishing leaves, diminishing returns?

Really, I just need to finish knitting this so I can move on to a couple shawl ideas that are buzzing in my head. It’s time to get 2021 on the road!

VKLive from both sides again, and Inauguration Day 2021

I had a great weekend teaching at VKLive. I love teaching, and it was especially fun to teach my revamped YO? YO! Fun and Fancy Elongated Stitches class. I got to become reacquainted with some of my favorite designs.

I also had the chance to be a student again, this time in Laura Nelkin’s Beaded Brioche class. Two of my favorite techniques in one class!

Laura explained how she decides where to bead her brioche stitches (hint: make a pattern swatch first and visually decide where you want them). She went on to show how to either place beads via crochet hook or pre-string them. The beads in this sample are placed, but I used my trusty Bead Aid. rather than a crochet hook. In real life I’d like more contrast than there is here, but I was working with leftovers from other projects.

I usually place my beads *before* working a stitch, and couldn’t visualize how to do this on a brioche knit stitch. Laura places her beads *after* working the stitch. That makes a lot more sense for brioche; then it’s just like placing beads in any other knitting. Easy peasy! I’m looking forward to adding beads to my next brioche shawl or scarf.

I also attended the Rowan High Tea (BYO beverage); it was fun to learn about all the ways tea is enjoyed in different regions in the UK. And I knit this peach while watching! It’s stuffed with yarn scraps that I collected while sewing in ends. Reduce, reuse, recycle! The pattern is free from Anna Hrachovec at MochiMochiLand, if you’d like to knit your own peach. Mine is knit with Malabrigo Worsted on US3 needles, so it’s not as tiny as hers. You can see it in the second picture, which gives a better sense of scale. I used my Flexi-Flips which made it work up very quickly; I was done before the tea ended!

I‘ve finished the colorwork on DH’s Dreyma, yay! I worked the short rows using the German short rows that I learned in classes with Bristol Ivy and Ana Campos at December’s VKLive. One thing that was slightly confusing was that we learned to make and resolve short rows either on the right side (knit) or the wrong side (purl) but we didn’t discuss resolving short rows made on the purl side but resolved on the knit side when knitting in the round. I found this tutorial by Patty Lyons which worked fairly well, but one of my short rows resulted in a hole…that I’ll just sew up later. Git ‘er done!

I’ve divided for the sleeves and body, and it’s just stockinette for miles for a while. This is perfect for knitting while waiting for classes to start, or during Zoom meetings, or even while reading. But I must admit, I was too captivated by the inauguration ceremonies this morning to knit. Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris!

Pearls and pjs

Leftover bacon/arugula/pear/blue cheese pizza with poached egg for breakfast. Soooo good. My favorite aunt (the one who taught me to knit!) sends me pears every year, and these are spectacular.

Have a great day!

Katie’s Kep, encore

I had my first Katie’s Kep class on Sunday for For Yarn’s Sake, and we had a great time. We started off with a chat about size and gauge. I think that’s especially important with this project, which is prescribed to be 22” around. You can see how much smaller my second kep will be, and you can also see how lovely the fabric is after blocking. Blocking is magic, both for this yarn and for stranded colorwork in general.

Even though I’m reducing the circumference, the top will still have this lovely six pointed star. Math!

The hat pattern is free from Shetland Wool Week if you’d like to make your own. Also, I’ve added a third stranded colorwork Zoom class through For Yarn’s Sake on February 28 for this project. Register here, if you’d like to start your kep with me and a small group of knitters. We’ll talk about sizing, gauge, how to manage your yarns, yarn color dominance, and more! If you need yarn, For Yarn’s Sake also has kits for this project in 5 colorways. I found that very helpful!

Shetland Wool Week also has patterns for a cowl and fingerless gloves that coordinate with this hat; you can purchase them here.

I find the small color pattern repeats in each round to be very soothing, meditative knitting. Not a bad thing in these turbulent times. So far, 2021 is on a pace to outrun 2020. Yikes.

Katie’s Kep: FO! and VKL class winner

I just finished knitting Katie’s Kep, the free Shetland Wool Week pattern from 2020.

The crown is definitely the star of the show. Absolutely gorgeous. Both of these pictures are pre-blocking.

I didn’t knit to gauge, but I’m not willing to knit a hat on smaller than US3 needles. The hat is supposed to be 22” but mine is 23” instead, and 9” tall. I don’t swatch for hats. I go by Meg Swansen’s maxim that the hat will fit *someone*! My first hat is a great big gauge swatch.

I’m knitting a second hat, with one fewer repeat of the body stitch pattern. My kit from For Yarn’s Sake has enough of all the CC yarn for a second hat, if I buy an extra ball of the main color, which I did. (There are 5 colorways to choose from.)

I’ve adjusted my cast on, too. I know how to get the crown to work out, based on my reduced number of stitches. Math tells me that my new hat will measure 19”, which gives me some negative ease to help keep it on my head. I might try to remove a few stitches to make it a bit shorter…or not. When it stretches out to accomodate my 22.5” head, that will also make it shorter. Fabric has to come from somewhere! My hats are generally 8” tall.

I’m teaching a Zoom class for For Yarn’s Sake this Sunday, and again later in the month, based on this pattern. (Classes are full. Should we schedule a third class?) We’ll start the class with a discussion on gauge! We’ll also talk about swatching, or not, and ways to adjust the size of the hat. I’m really looking forward to it!

In other class news, I’ve picked a winner for a free class with me at January Vogue Knitting Live. It’s Lauri T! I’ll email her and let her know that she’ll be in my YO? YO! Fun and Fancy Elongated Stitches class. I’m pretty excited about that one, too. I just re-vamped the handout for class, adding more fun stitches. We won’t get through them all in 2 hours, but the handout is a good reference and jumping off point. Congratulations, Lauri!

What new knitting skill do you want to learn in 2021?

Vogue Knitting Live January 2021

I’m thrilled to be teaching at Vogue’s Virtual Knitting Live in January. It feels like a lifetime since I taught in NYC last January, in very different circumstances! Someday, we’ll all knit together in-person again, but for now this will do. We’ve been doing virtual events since May, and it’s going pretty smoothly. For the January event, Vogue is adding some very NYC flair, including a virtual fashion show.

I’m teaching Tink Drop Frog/Fixing Mistakes, Syncopated Brioche/Syncopation Shawl or Scarf, Minerva Entrelac Cowl, and YO? YO! Fun and Fancy Elongated Stitches. And! I’m giving away a spot in one of my classes. Leave a comment and let me know which class you’d like to take if you win, and why. I’ll pick a winner on January 5. You can also leave a comment on my Dec. 29 Instagram post, Facebook post, Twitter post, and/or in reply to my newsletter! I’m PDXKnitterati everywhere…

Good luck!

December VKL: That’s a wrap!

I had a whirlwind of classes with Virtual Vogue Knitting Live, both as a teacher and as a student. I took the morning after to knit in bed with the cats.

They didn’t seem to mind.

I taught four classes, and took three more. My first class was Exploring the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible with Gayle Roehm. I’ve used Japanese stitch dictionaries for years, but it’s so great that Gayle has translated some of Hitomi Shida’s books into English (no more guessing, or avoiding the stitches I couldn’t figure out). And learning about the Nihon Vogue Knitting Dictionary app with stitch definitions? Priceless. But it’s free. Look for Nihon Vogue in the app store, and choose the one with knitting needles.

Knit Companion on my iPad was a perfect way to see and enlarge the class handout, so I didn’t have to squint or juggle pieces of paper. You can open any PDF in Knit Companion, and the basic app is free for iOS and Android. I use it for knitting patterns all the time.

My second class was Short Rows with Bristol Ivy. She’s very detail oriented and nerdy about symmetry, which is perfect for me. We stacked 5 kinds of short rows: No action (holes!), wrap and turn, yarn over, Japanese slipped (with locking stitch markers), and German short rows. I liked the German short rows the best. And this is a sign that I’ve watched too many episodes of CSI: When I hear GSR I think “gunshot residue” before I think “German short rows.” Ha!

I took a second class on short rows with Ana Campos. I wanted to master these silly things that I’ve been avoiding! Bottom to top: Yarn over short rows, wrap and turn short rows, German short rows. All look pretty tidy from the front.

From the back it’s another story. You can definitely see the yarn overs and wraps on the bottom two. The German short rows are tidy, front and back. They take a little adapting when substituting them in a pattern, but that’s manageable. If both sides of the knitting are going to be visible, this is the way to go. If not? I’d be perfectly happy with wrap and turn.

I finished the weekend by teaching a Log Cabin Knitting class. I had a couple students that I know in real life, so that made it even more fun! Now it’s on to Hanukkah and Christmas and New Year’s projects. I have more fairy lights to knit, some baking to do, and calendar and cards to order from Shutterfly. Just keep swimming!