Category Archives: events

LYS Day on Saturday!

Do you have a local yarn store that you love? We have nine (ten?) lovely yarn stores here in the Portland metro area; we are blessed! A local yarn store is a little bit of heaven, a place where you can see and touch and sniff the yarn before you buy it. A place where you can take classes or get a little help. It’s in our best interest to keep these shops in business!

Saturday April 21 is LYS appreciation day, and shops all over the country are planning special events and offers to lure you in. If you are in the Portland area, Mary Mooney of the Oregonian’s knit blog is doing a great job of keeping track of who’s offering what. Check here!

I’m doing a little promotion with the two shops where I teach. At For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton, if you purchase 2 skeins of Worsted weight yarn to make my Cannon Beach Cowl, you’ll get a coupon code to download the pattern from Ravelry for just $1. For Yarn’s Sake carries Woolfolk Får, the luxuriously soft chainette yarn that inspired this design. Another great choice is Manos Maxima, which is a fluffy single ply. Go shop and see!

At Twisted, if you purchase 2 skeins of fingering weight yarn to make my Fibonacci and Fan shawl, you’ll get a coupon code to download the pattern from Ravelry for $1. I used Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock for this version. Twisted has a whole wall of indie dyer sock yarn; what better way to support your LYS than buying local yarn?

I know that not all of you are local to Portland. I’d like you to support your local yarn shop, too. If you’re not in Portland and you’d like to participate, email me a copy/phone pic of your receipt dated April 21 for either of these two offers, and I’ll send you a coupon code, too. Share the love! My email is pdxknitterati (at) comcast (dot) net. You know the drill!

I’m leaving DH and Biscuit in charge here this weekend; I’m going to visit a friend for her birthday. But I’ll be stopping at the LYS in her town to do a little shopping, too!

Crafty Moms 15.0, plus FlexiFlips needle review

This past weekend was the 15th annual Crafty Moms weekend at the Oregon Coast, whoa. Fifteen years of friendship and fun.

Fifteen years of beautiful sunsets and walks on the beach, and projects we may or may not remember.

I’m putting the rest of the pretty scenic pictures at the end of the post, so I can talk knitting at the beginning.

I started Anna on her first brioche project. Petite Brioche, of course! Funny how her colors match her clothes. Everyone has a palette, right?

I finished my green brioche design project (no pix yet) and went back to my Nymphaea Shawl. This one is in Bumblebirch Heartwood, Atlantic and Hellebore. The colors might seem familiar to you; I used them in my Tumbling Leaves Shawl, too. It’s a very different look when you feature the blue instead of the green.

(Love this view)

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the rest of the beads, so I didn’t get very far. Oops.

The blue/brown yarn is Malabrigo Mechita in Cielo y Tierra (Sky and Earth). Perfect name.

I sketched and charted an idea for this yarn combo, but it wasn’t cooperating in the swatch, so I set that aside, too.

I’ve been wanting a pair of worsted weight socks, and I’ve been wanting to try Skacel’s new FlexiFlips needles. They come in a set of 3; these are US5. They’re like dpns except they’re flexible in the middle. One end has an Addi Rocket tip, and the other has an Addi Turbo tip, so you can choose your desired pointiness. I like the pointier of the two tips.

The idea is that you hold the work on 2 needles, like using 2 circulars or magic loop. The third needle is the working needle. This means you have one fewer needle than when working on dpns, and no flappy needles as in 2 circulars, and no loopy ends as in magic loop. I don’t mind dpns, but one fewer interruption in the knitting is nice. And I don’t mind magic loop, but that gets a little dicey with brioche and the YOs.

Verdict: I like them! I cruised through most of a cuff down sock, pausing only to puzzle out how I wanted to arrange the heel/gusset stitches. What I’m not loving is that this blue yarn is leaving dye all over my hands. I look like a Smurf.

The dye washes off my hands pretty easily, but now that I’m home the project is in time out. According to my dyer friends, I should treat the yarn with a good bath and some citric acid and heat. It’s a pretty big skein; I could:

  • Finish knitting the socks and then treat them
  • abandon this sock and just reskein and treat the rest of the yarn, hoping there’s enough for a pair
  • or frog the sock and reskein and treat all of it, then knit

What would you do? I’m afraid to wash some but not all of the yarn; there’s a good chance I’d end up with two different colors.

I also tried a small brioche sample with the FlexiFlips, and I liked them for that, too. Mmmm, brioche. I don’t know that I’d want to buy a set in every size; they’re $24/set. Maybe one more set in a reasonable sock size? This is breaking my 5 year sock knitting hiatus!

Now that I’m home, I’m back to knitting Nymphaea. This is the shawl for the Fall Shawl Retreat with me and Laurinda Reddig in November. I want to have a sample in semi-solids; the original is in gradient mini skeins. I may want one in a continuous gradient, too. It’s a pretty simple and zen knit!

As promised, more pictures below.

What’s wrong with this picture?

When you don't have an iron, you make do. #justlikethepioneers

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

We didn’t have an iron

Sunset

Gorgeous Monday morning

Nature signs her handiwork with a flourish

Leftovers for Monday morning breakfast. Here’s to friends!

Catching up! RCYC, Lantern Moon Retreat

Still catching up…March began with a trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake to kick off the Rose City Yarn Crawl.

I took two whole pictures. But I had fun! It’s a group trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake with Knitted Wit (Lorajean Kelley), Shannon Squire, and Debbi Stone, and it’s become a tradition, with bubbles.

I didn’t go yarn crawling; instead I packed my bags to head out for the Lantern Moon retreat in Sisters, Oregon on Saturday.

It snowed a little at the beginning of the week, just enough to be pretty but not a problem.

Is showing up at an event wearing the same sweater the same as showing up in the same gown? Nah, it’s way more fun. This is Virginia in her Stopover, and me in mine. (Pattern by Mary Jane Mucklestone.)

I taught a version of my Tink Drop Frog: Lace Edition to two lovely groups of knitters, and also gave a blocking lesson. Susan B. Anderson taught a shawl design class, and a sock class.

Artist Kathy Deggendorfer (left) was our speaker on Monday evening. She told us about her process when painting with watercolors (color first, then lines come after), and how she uses those images on other products or in other media (clay tiles, for example). She opened her studio for us the next day and showed us what she was working on (shhh, it’s a secret). Karin purchased this original watercolor of chickadees, and I went home with a chickadee tile.

Wednesday I had the opportunity to join the retreat students for a block printing class with Valori Wells at the Stitchin’ Post.

I had chickadees on my mind, so I traced a photo off my phone and made a chickadee block for printing.

I was really happy with how it turned out. This was my fourth experience with block printing, but my first with fabric instead of paper. And each time is a little better as I figure out positive/negative space.

The gift baskets were amazing. Here’s a sampling of what was in them, but not everything!

This soap is a work of art, and smells divine.

We had afternoons off to relax (hello, spa!). On Wednesday afternoon I went on my favorite walk in the woods with my friend Becky, who moved to Sisters with her family 2 years ago. Becky is one of my Pie Birds; I love singing with her and Claudia.

Looks like cake

Madrone

Scars of last summer’s Milli fire

Putting this here so I know what to call it next time I’m trying to explain how to find it!

It was a fabulous retreat. If a small (about 30 people), luxurious knit-focused retreat with lots of time to relax is what you’re looking for, you should definitely check this out next year. Thanks to Lantern Moon for inviting me to teach!

Madrona wrap up, fall shawl retreat coming

It’s been a wildly knitterly month, and I’m just now coming up for air. Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, Rose City Yarn Crawl, Lantern Moon Retreat, and a side trip to Skamania in between, whew!

Back to the beginning: Madrona!

Lovely as usual. I took one class and taught three.

Above, my swatch from Tuck, Twist, and Roll with Candace Eisner Strick. Lots of fun bits to add to dress up your knitting. I especially liked the twisted cast on, a little different than the one I’ve used before.

I taught a class with my Athena Entrelac Cowl, and mini classes on sassy novelty stitches and blocking. I love designing knits that are relaxing and zen to knit, with just enough excitement to keep your interest. Dressing up knits is fun!

But Madrona is more than classes, much as I love them. I saw glass artist Carol Milne in the Rotunda, and she was finger knitting with wax loops, the first step in her knitted glass pieces. I saw how she first wrapped the wax around a knitting needle to form the loops, then looped them together to form knitted fabric. From there it’s cast in plaster, wax melted, glass poured, and then broken out. It’s quite a process, but the resulting work is so beautiful.

I was really looking forward to picking up my new project bag from ChickenBootsUSA. This size, the Double Double, is great for a 2 cake project, and I love the Blue Kitty fabric. The clear bottom means I can tell which project is in the bag (I’m a big bag swapper). The interior pocket keeps my notions separate from the knitting. Perfect. This is my fourth, but probably not last, Chicken Boots bag.

I got to visit my Nymphaea Shawl at the Bead Biz booth. I designed this for Bead Biz last year. Laurinda Reddig designed a crochet Nymphaea at the same time.

Side note: Laurinda and I are teaming up for a Nymphaea Fall Retreat, Nov. 9-11 in the Columbia River Gorge. Come knit or crochet your own beaded shawl with us! Details at this link.

Back to Madrona, also very striking in the market: Tammy Burke’s scarf using planned pooling. What a cool thing to do with a variegated yarn! Briefly, you make a swatch to see how many stitches you get from each color in your repeat, and then plug the numbers into this planned pooling website. Play around with it and figure out how many stitches to cast on to make your colors pool into an interesting pattern. Tammy’s scarf is crocheted, but you can also do this with knitting. We’ve been having an interesting discussion via Instagram. I love the connections made at Madrona, and how they carry through during the year.

Someday (hopefully next year) I want to take a class from Galina Khmeleva, Orenburg Lace master. She is both funny and wise.

Kate Larson was one of our speakers, and she shared her journey of art, fiber, and farming. She shared some of her Border Leicester locks with me; they just want to jump into being yarn!

We had a grand time! I love dressing for Madrona, too. Having the right things to wear with your knits is important. And no, I’m not taller than Franklin Habit, but I was trying to capture his legs. Extra legs. (He brought them to show off some new leggings he designed for Skacel.) I do love his sartorial sensibility, too.

OK, back to my knitting. More blogging soon. Have you been to any knitting events lately?

Indie Design Gift-A-Long 2017

The fifth annual Indie Design Gift-A-long is live on Ravelry!

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion through Ravelry to help you kick-start your holiday gift-making. It begins with a pattern sale, and then the fun and games begin on Ravelry, with KAL/CAL activity and prizes. You don’t have to belong to Ravelry to buy patterns, but you do have to join if you want to participate in the KAL/CAL games and prizes. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale.

The pattern sale runs from Tuesday, November 21nd at 8:00 pm US EST – Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 11:59 pm US EST. The KAL/CALs will run from Tuesday, November 21 at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party December 31 at midnight (US-EST). The sale discount is 25%; use the code giftalong2017 at checkout. Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

These are just a few of the 20 designs I’m including in the sale portion of the event. You can find all 20 designs here; scroll down to the Gift-A-Long 2017 bundle and click.

Here’s the list of all 311 participating independent designers. I’m pleased to be in such a creative group!

New this year: We’re having an Instagram Challenge. Here are the prompts, and I can’t wait to see the pictures! Use the hashtags #giftalong2017 and #gal2017 to share your pictures, and to search to see what everyone else is up to. I’m pdxknitterati on Instagram; what’s your IG name?

Are you knitting gifts for the holidays? My little secret, which is not really a secret: I don’t like deadline pressure, so I knit all year and then “shop” out of my knits for gifts. You can do that, too, starting this week. Grab some patterns, participate in the KAL, and just have fun!

Ready, set, KNIT! (or crochet…)

Madrona registration begins this Thursday!

The class schedule is up! The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival is February 15-18 (President’s Day weekend) in Tacoma, WA, and registration for classes opens on the morning of November 9. I am super excited to be teaching my class, Athena Entrelac Cowl, on Thursday afternoon.

Athena is a great way to learn entrelac. I like to teach entrelac beginning with entrelac in the round, because there are fewer units to learn (base triangles, left and right leaning rectangles, no side triangles). I also teach how to purl back backwards (some call this knitting back backwards), without turning your work. Handy on these little stockinette units! As a fun bonus, I’m updating my Athena Cowl pattern with an option to include some entrelac knit flat, if you’re up for a little more challenge.

I’m also teaching my mini class on blocking again, as well as a mini version of my elongated stitches class, if the schedule holds. Mini class registration will be in January.

Besides classes, Madrona has a wonderful market, demonstrations, evening entertainment, and lots of opportunities for knitting and spinning with friends old and new. A little something for everyone. Are you planning to go to Madrona? It’s one of my favorite events of the year, and I hope to see you there.

Also on Thursday: The first meeting of the new Puddletown Knitters Guild. Social meeting starts at 6, program starts at 7. We’re at the Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark Street in Portland, and you can visit twice before joining. I’m the speaker! I’ll be talking about my design process.

Cheers!

OFFF report, belatedly

September flew right on by! A birthday, an anniversary (35 years!), a pattern in By Hand Serial #4, and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

I had the great good fortune to be the knitting judge at OFFF, and it was challenging and fun. I worked with two scribes, and made my way through a vast number of knitted goods. You may wonder what gets submitted most, and the answer is “shawls!” Which is right in my wheelhouse. There were also sweaters, scarves, cowls, and some doll clothes. One small blanket and a couple toys. My job was to make categories, comment on all submissions (thank you, scribes!), and then choose the best in each category. The laceweight shawl above was the best (in my opinion) knitted item.

The crochet judge chose this filet crochet dragon shawl as the best crochet piece.

And the felting judge chose this piece as the best felted piece.

Our job after that was to confer and decide best overall. They were all stunningly beautiful pieces, but in the end we chose lace, partly because that was this year’s theme, and then it came down to “how does it wear?”

This was perfect. Light, airy, floaty, and the stitch pattern was well displayed when worn. Congratulations to the winner! (I don’t even know her name…)

I did a little shopping, and was astounded by the tiny Bee Hummingbird spindles Ed Jenkins is making, even smaller than his Kuchulus. I haven’t spun with the Kuchulu I picked up at Sock Summit 2011, so no new spindle for me! Good thing, because you had to enter a drawing to win the chance to puchase one. My friend Leigh got one, and she’s very pleased.

Chatted with Stacey at Fierce Fibers about an idea for another gradient shawl, inspired by some things I saw at OFFF that were NOT knitted. Cross-pollination of ideas, right?

And bought some notions from Maria from A Needle Runs Through It in the Knitted Wit booth. I love useful little things!

Don’t forget the animal barns! I never made it to the bunny barn, but my goddaughter E joined me in the main barn.

And I taught two classes, Fixing Lace Mistakes and Elongated Novelty Stitches. It was a very full weekend! Still trying to catch up.

Onward!

By Hand Serial: Puget Sound

It’s out today! And now I can show you my new design, Puget Sound, which is in the current issue of By Hand Serial. (All photographs from this issue by Karen DeWitz, courtesy of Andrea Hungerford.)

I put together my favorite things about Puget Sound: Sunshine and waves, seagulls, the Olympic Mountains, and a little bit of rain. I’m very pleased with the positive/negative seagulls; they are my favorite part.

Puget Sound is a half-pi shawl, a half circle that wraps you in a hug. I used Hazel Knits Entice MCN in Hoppy Blond and Splish Splash, and it is decadently glorious.

Andrea Hungerford, the creator of By Hand Serial, knit her version in blues, Twilight and Frost. I love the monochromatic shading here.

This issue of By Hand features makers in the Puget Sound area of Washington, where water meets earth meets sky. It’s a big issue with lots to love, including some of my favorite yarn makers: Hazel Knits, Spin Cycle, and YOTH. Tolt and Churchmouse Yarns and Teas are two of the featured shops. You can order this issue online, or find it at select yarn shops. I know my usual haunts Twisted and For Yarn’s Sake are carrying it here.

I love this Fern and Feather sweater by Jennifer Steingass. I hope I can squeeze in some time to knit one for me. But it’s a little busy around here. I have a design out for test knitting, a design out for tech editing, two presentations to work on, and I’m judging knit entries and teaching this weekend at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

There’s still a little room left in my classes. Saturday morning’s class is the advanced version of my Tink Drop Frog class; this one features fixing mistakes in lace. You can sign up on site (pre-registration is closed), but there’s a bit of homework. If you’re interested, let me know and I can send you the homework assignment.

Sunday afternoon’s class is on Elongated Novelty Stitches; stitches that are made with extra yarn overs and other manipulations. I’ve added the honeybee stitch from my Go Tell the Bees shawl to the class. No homework! Register at check in.

OFFF also has animals in the barn to admire, classes and demonstrations, exhibits, and lots and lots of vendors to visit. Hope to see lots of fiber folk there!

Cast on tricks, fixing mistakes, and classes at OFFF

The Go Tell the Bees KAL is underway, and we’re having a grand time chatting over in the Ravelry thread. It’s not too late to join the KAL; we’re knitting at our own pace and just having fun. Some of the tips that have come out of the cast on thread are particularly helpful, so I thought I’d share them here.

I chose the cable cast on for the beginning of this project, which starts at the lower edge. Why not use a long tail cast on? Because the cast on is huge, 350-400 stitches. I’d hate to run out of yarn just before my goal.

Why not use the two ended long tail cast on? Because I’m using a gradient/ombre ball of yarn, which means that the other end is a different color. I thought it might be pretty that way, but I tried it and it wasn’t at all pretty.

Also, the first row after a long tail cast on is the purl/bumpy side, which is part of why it wasn’t pretty, for this particular pattern. The first row after a cable cast on is the knit/smooth side, which is what I wanted.

The tip for any long cast on is to use markers to help you count. You can place them after every 20, or 50, or whatever number of stitches, and then not have to count all the stitches at once after you’re done. Much better than long counting, and coming up with a different number several times.

If you think ahead while you’re casting on, you can place the markers at your stitch repeats. Figure out how many stitches are outside the repeat and add them to the first section, then place the following markers to note your repeats.

A very common error is either missing or dropping a YO. You don’t notice until you’re on the next right side row, when you don’t have enough stitches between markers to work your repeat. I posted this in the last post, but I think it bears repeating. Here’s how to fix it:

I once took a class in fixing mistakes, and that teacher said you should count on the WS rows to make sure you have the right number and kind of stitches. Me, I’d rather relax on those WS rows and deal with mistakes on the next RS row. Both ways work, but I use those WS rows for reading or chatting!

I’m going to be teaching two of my favorite classes at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. This year’s festival runs from Friday Sept. 22 (classes only on Friday) through Sunday Sept. 24. The theme at OFFF this year is lace, and you know I love that!

I’m teaching Tink Drop Frog, Fixing Mistakes: Lace Edition on Saturday Sept. 23 from 9:30 to 12:30. We’ll be learning ways to fix lace mistakes when you’ve noticed them in the same row, a row or two later, or even later than that! This is an empowering class; you are really the boss of your knitting when you can use these techniques.

I’m also teaching Be Manipulative, Elongated Novelty Stitches on Sunday Sept. 24 from 1:30 to 4:30. The honeybee stitch from Go Tell the Bees is just one of the stitches we’ll be practicing. If you like the lacy look of these stitches, come learn them with me!

Scenes from a Yarn Crawl

Another Rose City Yarn Crawl is in the rear view mirror. I had a great time, even though I didn’t make it to all 13 shops.

I started out at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday in a group trunk show with Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbi Stone. Such a great way to kick off the crawl. A big thank you to Anne Lindquist for having us!

Marlene and Terri came by to show off their Tilt Shift Wrap and Fern Shawlette.

Leigh Anne wore her Fibonacci and Fan, knit with Knitted Wit’s Cedar and Snowy Cedar in Victory Sock.

Tami and I compared our Braided Wristlets.

And Sunday came by with her heavily modified RCYCMKAL cowl that matched her hair. Cool!

I made it to 3 shops on Friday: Twisted, Close Knit, and The Naked Sheep.

JaMPDX and Knitted Wit had a trunk show in the Twisted Annex, across the street from the shop. This space is also Twisted’s classroom space, where I teach.

The Knitted Wit wall in the shop was quite the rainbow.

At Close Knit, I swooned over colors with Sarah Kurth of Bumblebirch. Plotting and planning!

And I checked out Lisa Carney-Fenton’s clever designs that hide yarn ends inside an i-cord edging.

The pompom window at The Naked Sheep!

Sharon Spence of Stitch Jones showed me her new merino/silk worsted weight single ply. Scrumptious.

I visited two shops on Saturday: Wool ‘n’ Wares and Northwest Wools. I’d say I was slowing down, but there was a lot going on at Wool ‘n’ Wares!

The theme of this year’s yarn crawl was Portland Pastimes. And raising chickens in your yard is one of those pastimes. I loved the feathers on this partridge cochin hen.

There were five trunk shows inside Wool ‘n’ Wares, including Hula Hut Yarns (Cathei Baynes)

Scarlet Tang of Huckleberry Knits (love this Mithril and Bigger on the Inside combo)

Sivia Harding with her latest shawl design, which uses beads with several different shapes/finishes.

Not pictured: Miss Purl (I did buy her stitch markers and cute tin, picture later in post), Carl Herndon Woodworking (I love his seam rippers and his tabletop swifts), and the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild. Full house!

Fellow Pie Bird (singing buddy) Claudia was working at Northwest Wools, so we had a quick catch up. She tried on my new SeaScape Scarflette, and it looked smashing on her.

On Sunday I went back to For Yarn’s Sake for Sincere Sheep’s (Brook Sinnes) trunk show. I fell in love with her new silk/merino lace weight. The blue (St. Bart’s) called my name, very loudly, and then the green followed.

I put it all together with this gray Cormo, but now that I have it home, I realize that I forgot to check for tonal contrast. I blame the yarn fumes. I think the wonder fluff needs something either darker or lighter; this gray is too close.

No worries; for now I just like looking at the glowing colors.

I finished my crawling at the Knitting Bee, but I forgot to take a picture!

Here’s most of what came home with me. Biscuit approves.

Yarns from Sincere Sheep, Hazel Knits, Knitted Wit; lidded pint glass from JaMPDX, Dumpling bag from Binkwaffle (my third!), stitch markers from Miss Purl, and more needles and locking stitch markers. Wait, more project bags and needles? Yes, this normally monogamous knitter has more design projects than usual, which means I need more tools to corral them.

Next year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl will be March 1-4, 2018. Mark your calendars!

In other news, I’ve picked a winner for the Rain Chain Shawlette giveaway. Friday V will get a pdf copy of the Little Luxuries e-book, and 2 balls of Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in Clover. Congratulations, Friday!