Category Archives: events

Ahoy, knitters!

I’ve just signed on to teach aboard the Zodiac, a schooner that sails out of Bellingham, Washington. This is in conjunction with Northwest Yarns of Bellingham. The 3 day cruise is July 31-August 2. It’s a nautical knitting cruise! And you get to learn to help sail the ship, too.

Zodiac, the schooner

(photo from the Zodiac website, used with permission, copyright Taylor Hodges)

The trip includes 4 knitting classes. Two of them will be brioche! We’ll use my Whale Watch Cap and Cowl pattern to introduce brioche and then learn increases and decreases.

Our other two classes will explore fancy stitches and herringbone braids (and simple stranded colorwork).

Are you game? Register here!

Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat 2023

Registration for Red Alder opens Sunday!

Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat is scheduled for February 16-19 in Tacoma, Washington. Classes are listed on the website now, as well as registration information. Registration begins November 13 at 10 am Pacific time.

I’m teaching four classes:

Petite Brioche, which is a quick start to 2 color brioche in the round,

Whale Watch Cap and Cowl, which is all about brioche increases and decreases

Planned and assigned pooling

Sheepy Steeky Coasters (cutting your first steek)

There are classes for knitting, spinning, weaving…more? Check out the website, choose your classes, and register beginning Sunday. The event is at the Hotel Murano, which is a beautiful venue full of glass art. Come knit with me!

Chihuly glass at the Federal Courthouse in Tacoma

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival 2022

Or OFFF, as we fondly call it. We missed 2020 and 2021, and lost our venue at Clackamas County Fairgrounds. This year found us at the Linn County Expo Center in Albany, Oregon. It feels a lot further away, 66 miles vs 20 miles, but I was glad it happened.

It was great to see so many fiber friends! (There were more, just not all pictured)

Scarlet, Kirbie, Seth, Rachel, Mary, Stefania, Shannon, Alice, Wanda

Lots of animals, and 450 fleeces for judging, and then for sale.

Upper left: Valentino, Breed Champion Romney, Topaz (Icelandic), lower left

Beautiful prize-winning knitting (4194 beads in the purple shawl, in 2 colors)

Both gourd art and coiling were new to me, but coiling is an old indigenous technique.

Gourd art + Coilng = WOW from Jane A. Wilson
Felted dolls by Carolyn St Clair Hibbard

This weaving by Jane Herbst features wool from 131 different sheep breeds.

I taught Petite Brioche, and the classroom was a definite upgrade! This is how I like to teach since the pandemic: Overhead camera so everyone sees my hands demo at the same time, and then I get to go around the room to fine tune with everyone.

You can see all of my OFFF pictures in this Instagram album here. There are a lot!

The other nice upgrade: All the vendors were indoors, in climate controlled splendor. Not quite as charming as being out on the lawn, but the possibility of being overtaken by a monsoon doesn’t exist, either. The weather was gorgeous this weekend, but that’s not always the case for OFFF.

Loot!

I don’t generally buy yarn until I’m ready to use it. That keeps my stash tidy, and is moth avoidant, too. So I generally buy other goodies at festivals. I came home with dryer balls (what pretty colors!) from Compass Moon Creations, an RBG-themed notions bag from Kirbie at Change Your Fate Creations (love that I can see what’s in it), a notions tin from Miss Purl so I can give it away as a bead tin at my Embellishment Cowl class at Vogue Knitting Live NYC in February, and a cute sheep necklace from Sheep Lady Charms (she was with Valentino the Breed Champion Romney, above).

I also bought this bookmark/bracelet loom from Craft Emporium PDX (Shannon and Lorajean). It’s a very teeny way of experimenting with weaving. In my copious spare time. But I’ve been dreaming about it ever since I saw it last month!

I did bring home a little yarn. It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? At least it’s not yarn support, which sits around making me feel guilty that I haven’t designed with it yet. This was just a trade (and I think it will be a little brioche confection). Or just something to dream with! Carolyn mentioned she wanted to learn brioche, so I traded her a copy of my book for this set of minis.

Speaking of my book, Brioche Knit Love is one year old today! Happy birthday, baby!

Have you been to any fiber festivals this fall? What was your favorite thing?

Coming soon: Brioche Buddies!

I’m teaming up with Shaina Bilow and Keith Leonard to bring you Brioche Buddies! We’ll spend a month exploring the loveliness that is brioche. Weekly classes will be via Zoom, and are limited to 40 participants. Registration went live yesterday, and there are 18 spots left. If you want to be part of this brioche extravaganza you should register now.

Classes will be recorded, and you’ll have access for a year. We’ll also have an option for recorded classes only. That’s a great option if the schedule doesn’t fit your schedule, or if the Live Zoom classes are sold out.

For the Brioche Buddies event, I’ll be teaching fixing mistakes,

and brioche increases and decreases, which is how we get the lovely patterning in 2 color brioche rib.

Shaina and Keith are engaging, experienced teachers. I met Keith at VKLive Columbus in 2019, and I met Shaina at VKLive Seattle 2022. Shaina and I taught at Knit Maine last month, and that’s where I learned that they’ve been buddies ever since she taught Keith to knit. All three of us will be teaching at VKLive NYC in February 2023. I’m thrilled to be joining this dynamic duo!

If you’re brioche-curious, and want to really get it down, this series is for you. You’ll have plenty of time to practice during the week between classes, and just keeping it rolling will help you gain the muscle memory for the rhythm of brioche. I hope you can join us!

Knit Maine 2022

After the Vogue Knitting Cruise and a few days in New York, DH headed for Portland, Oregon and I headed for Portland, Maine. Knit Maine (from Peacetree Fiber Adventures) was held at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, a 3 hour drive from Portland. It was like going to camp! North Coast Maine is a magical place.

Stairs at Haystack

It’s probably good that I didn’t know beforehand that I’d be taking my suitcases (2!) down these stairs to my room.

Stairs at haystack

And back up again at the end of our stay. And that I’d be up and down them repeatedly every day. I got my 10,000 steps every day, and a stairmaster workout, to boot!

With Louis, Shaina, and Christine Walker (Knit Maine organizer!)

Happy to be settling in!

Outside the dining hall at Haystack
Gathering area outside the dining hall
Morning Yoga at Knit Maine
Morning yoga
Wood shop at Haystack

My classes? In the wood studio. I taught Petite Brioche and Whale Watch/Brioche Increases & Decreases, as well as 3 other classes.

Cabana Boy colorway from Yarn Snob

My Planned and Assigned Pooling students loved the Cabana Boy colorway from Yarn Snob.

Fancy knit stitches
YO? YO! Fun and fancy stitches to dress up your stockinette.
thrumbelina thrummed slipper
Thrumbelina thrummed slippers
thrummed knitting
So much floof!
thrummed knitting

Jacquie didn’t love making the thrummed butterflies, and I mentioned that some people use the roving as a carry-along strip. Worth a try! As long as you get the result you want, you’re doing it right.

The days were packed with classes, but we also had time to shop in the market that was set up in the clay studio. Casey Ryder from Port Fiber had some beautiful yarns from Cashmere People, Spin Cycle and Harrisville Designs (and more?).

Madder Root Trundle Bag
Madder Root Trundle Bag

Madder Root had beautiful bags. I couldn’t resist this one. You know I love the night sky!

Louis Boria
Louis choosing colors from North Light Fibers

and Sven from North Light Fibers brought beautiful yarn, including Water Street, a DK weight 40/60 cashmere/merino blend that is making me dream of cushy brioche accessories. There was more, the offerings changed from day to day. I’m sure I didn’t see everything.

The weather was perfect, and there was time to explore the campus.

At Picnic Rock with Shaina, Kristin, and Cal
Rock stack at Picnic Rock
Stacked stones at Picnic Rock
Path through the woods at Haystack
Trail…
Found the beach!
beach at sunset
Across from the flagpole
Moonrise, full harvest moon
Moonrise, full harvest moon
stump
Even the stumps are beautiful
Knit Maine teachers
Teachers!

Louis Boria, me, Shaina Bilow, Kristin Drysdale, Casey Ryder, Christine Walker (Peacetree Fiber Adventures), and Cal Patch. Knit Maine featured classes in knitting, drop spindling, embroidery, sewing, needle felting…a nice mix of fiber arts.

Happy campers!
swag

Christine is such an excellent organizer. She had Knit Maine tote bags ready for each participant, with supplies for their classes. Also in the bags? These mugs, and a center pull ball winder from Katrinkles. ETA: T-shirts, and a copy of Taproot magazine. (I had partially unpacked, and things got separated!) A skein of yarn from Moss Fibers, specially dyed as The Maine Event colorway, was the parting gift. I’m looking forward to making something special with it.

The fun didn’t stop when we left Haystack; we still had to get back to Portland.

You can get a lot done on a 3 hour bus ride

That’s a wrap on my epic east coast adventure! I’m so happy I had the opportunity to teach in such a variety of settings. What a great way to start autumn knitting. Now I’m gearing up for virtual and in-person teaching. Looking forward to a fiber-filled fall!

NYC part deux/anniversary plans

I only had 3 days between the Vogue Knitting Cruise before heading to Maine. Going home would have turned two of those days into travel days, so I made a plan to stay in NYC instead. It was also my birthday, so DH came out to celebrate with me.

We took walks, explored parks, relaxed, and saw Hamilton and Six. Six is the story of the wives of Henry VIII, reimagined as a sing off in which each wife tells why her lot was the worst. I love Tudor history, so that was very fun. The music is very catchy, and I’m still listening to it and singing along with the soundtrack.

Hamilton was all that fun and more! It’s a masterpiece. I hadn’t seen Hamilton or listened to the soundtrack before attending, but it wasn’t a problem. Also, I recognized many main characters from Outlander, haha! Washington, Lee, LaFayette. The Battle of Monmouth (and General Lee’s retreat). No Jamie Fraser in the musical, though.

Empire State Building from Bryant Park

I loved knitting in Bryant Park; it was just the relaxing afternoon I needed. Bryant Park is right behind the flagship New York Public Library.

with Patience

The iconic stone lions outside the library are named Patience and Fortitude.

Fortitude

A couple days before I left for my epic East Coast adventures, DH came to me and said that he had been planning a surprise for our anniversary, but had been persuaded to make it not a surprise. Confusing? He wanted us to renew our vows, and had been talking to my pastor. (He doesn’t do church, but he’d met her once a few weeks before.) She recommended that he ask me, because vows should be consensual and not a surprise. Makes sense! So we had a phone chat with her while we were in New York, planning for a small ceremony in a favorite park in Portland on our anniversary, the day after I’d get home from Maine. (Nonstop fun, right?) We didn’t want a big to-do; my September was full enough!

These are not the rings we seek

Since we were in New York, I got a wild hair to see if the jeweler that made my anniversary band (7th anniversary a very long time ago) was still in business. (We lived in Queens back then.) He had passed away, but his grandson now runs the business. We had a nice visit, and ordered white gold bands, each with a single tiny diamond. They wouldn’t be ready for the ceremony, but we borrowed their ring sizers as stand-ins.

It all worked out. The kids came to help us celebrate. DH and I had lovely tributes for each other. (I called him a romantic hidden inside a curmudgeon.) We renewed our vows with updated versions of the original ones. It was a small and perfect event!

Peninsula Park Rose Garden

But that happened after Knit Maine, so I’ll head back to the east coast…in the next post.

Introducing: Whale Watch Cap and Cowl

samples knit in Anzula for Better or Worsted

Whale Watch is two patterns in one! It features a 2-color brioche cap and cowl, knit in the round from the bottom up. I designed this set as a quick start teaching piece for my 3 hour classes, beginning with 2 color brioche rib, and then introducing simple increases and decreases. Whether you prefer cowls or hats, I’ve got you covered.

Frolicking whales and soaring gulls will keep you entertained at sea, at the beach, or anywhere!

samples knit in Malabrigo Rios

Pattern uses worsted weight yarn in 2 contrasting colors. The yardage is close, but you can get a large hat and tall cowl with 200 yards of each color, if you match my gauge. The pattern includes instructions for both the cap and the cowl. The cap can be knit in 2 sizes, and there are two different ways to finish the crown.

taller cowl above, shorter cowl below

The pattern is on sale for 15% off through June 20 with coupon code ORCA. It is available through Ravelry here. You can also purchase this pattern from my Payhip store here; the same code works in both places.

I’m looking forward to using this pattern for my class on the Vogue Knitting cruise at the end of August. I’ll also be using it at Knit Maine in September. I love that it’s all-in-one, both cap and cowl. I’m streamlining!

Thanks to tech editor Jen Lucas, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, and Melissa A. Rowe.

Knit Maine this September

I’m looking forward to spending a beautiful long weekend in Maine, teaching at Knit Maine September 8-11 with PeaceTree Fiber Adventures. It’s at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. I’ll be teaching with five other teachers: Kristin Drysdale, Casey Ryder, Cal Patch, Shaina Bilow, and Louis Boria. Gaye Glasspie of GGMadeIt will be there to party with us, too! You get to choose your classes from these any/all of these teachers. It looks like there are only 3 spots left, so hurry!

I’m teaching Petite Brioche, Brioche Increases & Decreases (with my new Whale Watch hat and cowl pattern, I think), Thrumbelina thrummed slippers, YO? YO! Fancy stitches, and Planned Pooling. Currently plotting and planning the yarn with Keith Leonard (Knits All Done/YarnSnob) for the planned pooling class; it’s so gorgeous.

I’ve been to Maine once before, to Sebasco Harbor for one of DH’s work retreats. Such a beautiful place.

How far in advance are you planning your life? It’s weird to be planning things again, after Covid lockdowns. I know the virus is still out there, and I’m trying to strike a balance between caution and life. Knit on!

Crowning glory

I have crowns on my mind. More hat crowns.

For Better or Worsted MCN from Anzula Luxury Yarns, yum

I love a pretty crown on a hat. This one hits all the right notes. It’s for the hat and cowl pattern that I’m designing for the class I’m teaching on the Vogue Knitting Cruise in August. The class covers beginning 2 color brioche rib in the round, and brioche increases and decreases. Does this sound like Brioche Pastiche? Yes and no! This set includes a cowl, for non-hat wearers. An a nautical theme!

Malabrigo Rios, a favorite yarn for brioche

This crown is slightly simpler, but the overall effect is the same. I just sent the pattern off to my tech editor, and I’m looking forward to moving on with these designs.

There are a few spots left on this cruise. Do you have to cruise with us to knit this hat and/or cowl? Of course not. But it would be really fun! Here’s a list of the places we’re going.

I’ll show you the whole set soon, after tech editing. I love them!

Brioche Pastiche, even pastichier

I had a fabulous time in Minnesota last month, teaching for the Minnesota Knitters Guild Yarn Over event. This was supposed to happen in 2020, and it finally happened in 2022. It was a whirlwind event; I flew in on Friday, taught on Saturday, and flew home on Sunday.

Brioche Pastiche

One of the classes I taught was Brioche Pastiche, a three hour introduction to two color brioche rib, increases and decreases. I originally designed this hat with a spiffy four section crown. I thought it would be fun to update the pattern with an alternate crown, but first I had to design it. I was still knitting it at the retreat; I finished it when I got home.

I made it one leaf taller before beginning the crown shaping

and gave it a swirlier, flowery top. It’s just a tiny bit taller than the original hat (more leaf rounds, fewer decrease rounds).

I’ve updated the pattern and run it past my new tech editor. I’ve also updated the language in the pattern to be a little closer to standard. If you previously purchased Brioche Pastiche, you should be receiving a message through email and/or Ravelry that there’s an update available. This will give you both the original crown and the new crown. If you’re interested in purchasing this pattern, use coupon code GLORY for 15% off through May 22 on Ravelry and Payhip.

And! It’s also part of the Brioche Hat Trick ebook on Ravelry, in case you want a LOT more brioche. (The ebook is only available through Ravelry for now. If you’ve already purchased the ebook, you’ll get the Pastiche update without needing to repurchase.)

Thanks to the Minnesota Knitters for inspiring me to get this done! (If you were in my class, you’ll get this update, too.)