Category Archives: events

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…)

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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!

Madrona 2017 bliss

Another Madrona Fiber Arts Festival has come and gone. As usual, it was wonderful. This is a picture heavy post, and the pictures are only barely edited, but I want to get this out before I jump into the Rose City Yarn Crawl, which starts on Thursday! I’ll be at For Yarn’s Sake all day Thursday sharing a trunk show with indie dyer Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit and designers Debbi Stone and Shannon Squire. Come say hi!

I took two classes at Madrona this year, and they were oddly related. The first was double knitting with Lucy Neatby. Double knitting involves working a double sided fabric that can look different on each side. The result is a squishy thick warm fabric.

double knitting sample

We worked this sample in the round. On the left you can see the front and back sides of the outside of my circular knitting. On the right is the inside, which in this case is a mirror image of the outside that’s shown on the left. But it doesn’t have to be, as you can see from the lower edge. We started with some ribbing, then moved into double knitting with one color (the white) on the inside and outside, and then moved to two colors. A logical progression.

Here’s an example of one of Lucy’s pieces; the inside and the outside aren’t exact mirror images. Her color choices are exquisite, too.

Lucy Neatby piece side A

Lucy Neatby piece side B

One side thing that was interesting was exploring how conventional purl stitches take more yarn than knit stitches, because the yarn travels diagonally across the needle instead of parallel to it. (Pythagorean theorem, hypotenuse!) This could cause your inside and outside fabrics to grow at different rates. In this case, using the Eastern combined knitting style would give a more even fabric and no “rowing out” on the purl rows. That makes sense.

But you could also purposely make the inside and outside fabrics grow at different rates; you can do more rows on one or the other and come up with some interesting corrugation. I’m looking forward to exploring that more, later. Thanks to Lucy for a really fun and thought provoking class!

Lucy Neatby

The second class I took was brioche knitting with JC Briar. I’vve been meaning to try brioche for over a year, and signing up for a class meant that I was really going to do it!

Brioche knitting

Brioche is also two sided knitting, and really squishy. This is the front and back of my class piece. We started out with single color brioche, and then moved on to two color brioche. I had tried single color brioche earlier this year, so that part was easy.

Adding a second color meant thinking a lot harder! When worked flat, it means working each row twice, first with one color, and then the other. You always start with color A when both yarns are at the same end. If they’re not at the same end, you need to catch up color B to color A. I found that it was easier for me to read my knitting than to read the written instructions. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me later!

The addition of increases and decreases (which must be done two at a time) makes gorgeously striking patterns in brioche. You can see from my class sample that I barely started them, but they’re working. They really cause the width to suck in!

JC’s handout shows what standard charting looks like; it’s not well suited for brioche. She also charted the classwork with her non-grid Stitch Maps system, which made it clear which stitches flowed into which stitches. It’s not really set up for brioche yet, but it was very helpful for class. Registration to use Stitch Maps is free, and a basic subscription is only $15/year, so I’m going to go ahead and sign up. I do love charts, and this could be a very helpful next step.

JC Briar brioche scarf

This scarf pattern is in our handout, and I’ll be working at least part of it to try to perfect my 2 color brioche technique. I enjoyed this class, and just wish it had been an hour longer! Or all day…

Elongated stitches

Novelty stitch class

I also taught three classes at Madrona. My students were all great; they came well prepared and eager to learn. Rock stars! I taught a class on one of my favorite knitting techniques, knitting with elongated novelty stitches. We knit up this little sampler in class, using double and triple wrapped stitches and manipulating them into interesting patterns. These little gems can really dress up your stockinette!

Tridacna class

I taught a mini-class on the novelty stitch in my Tridacna Cowl.

Katey's Tridacna

Katey showed me her completed edging the next day. Nice work!

Blocking class

And I taught my blocking mini-class again. I love this class because it gets hands on, and really makes a case for blocking! (Photo by Gail Wasberg)

But Madrona isn’t just classes. There’s hang out time with other knitters/crocheters/spinners all over the hotel, and there are free demonstrations and workshops in the rotunda. The teacher talent show for charity helped raise over $12,000. And the market…

market finds

I came home with two treasures. The first is a little dish from Charan Sachar of Creative with Clay. He makes beautiful things, and I couldn’t resist. His vases and mugs are also whimsically lovely, like little cardigans complete with buttons.

The second treasure is a skein of red yarn from Abstract Fiber. I compared this red across four yarn bases, and the gray undertone of the yak base made this Lotus fingering (20/60/20 Yak/SW Merino/Silk) an even more perfect match for my red boots. I’m knitting another Zephyr because my sister really wants one!

Red Zephyr and boots

Spinning lesson

Carla McCoy from Pocket Wheels is a great spinning teacher. This is post-banquet; Anne Berk (Annetarsia) is getting her first treadling lesson. I’ve only spun on a drop spindle; I figured Anne could try this out. But the next day I tried it in the Pocket Wheel booth, and suddenly I was making yarn. So cool! And the little wheel fits in a tote bag.

Untangling

Madrona is a place where complete strangers help untangle each other’s yarn. This did get resolved, in about 20 minutes. Miraculous. The yarn was actually left over from these slippers, designed by Mary Scott Huff and worn by the happy knitter.

Mary Scott Huff slippers

I found that Sally Melville has a love for boots too. Check these out:

Boots on the ground at Madrona

I’m going to close this post with more pictures to tide you over until next year. See you at Madrona?

Franklin Habit is ninja photo bomberFranklin Habit as photo bomber. Kilroy?

Canon Hand DyesCanon Hand Dyes booth

Galina KhmelevaWhen Galina comes over to help you choose your tahkli spindle. “This one dances too much!” With Pamela Grossman and Dusty the wonder pup.

Weaving shuttlesWeaving shuttles by Joel Grinstead

Turkish spindleAnd Turkish spindles, too

Creative with ClayCreative with Clay

young scotsmanYoung Scotsman with hand knit kilt hose

Madrona Rainier sunriseRainier at sunrise

Counting cable rows, Art&Craft Pop-up sale

While I’ve got this giant yarn on my needles, I thought I’d share the tip I learned from Norah Gaughan in her two-sided cables class at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. (That’s 2 CGFF-related posts in a row. It was a great trip!)

Counting cable crossings

How many rows has it been since I cabled? See the hole where my finger is coming out? That indicates last cable crossing. The first ladder next to my finger is from the cable row. The three other ladders over my finger are the three rows that followed. My thumb is pointing at the ladders, just to be helpful. This shows that I have worked the cable row and three more rows (actually rounds here). According to my pattern, it’s time for my next cable crossing!

Thanks to Biscuit (Bisquee) for helping. If you’d like to follow her on Instagram, she’s @thebiscuitreport. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram, I’m @pdxknitterati. I gave her a separate account so my account could be more focused; we’ll see how that works!

Don’t forget I’m giving away my Addi Turbo US 17 circular; see previous post for details and to enter for a chance to win it.

And I’m about to start the toe of this Super Cabled Christmas Stocking, after this last round of cables. Should be done today. Which is good, because I need it tomorrow. I’m teaming up with several local artists for pop-up Art&Craft Show and Sale.

Pop Up Flyer

There will be paintings, pottery, fused glass, jewelry (earrings, wrap bracelets, more), quilted items, greeting cards, and lots more.

I’m selling a lot of my design samples, because I need room for the next generation. And these deserve a chance to be worn in the world. Here’s some of what I’ll have there. If you’re local, come and say hi. I’ll be there on Friday (tomorrow), and my knits will be there throughout the weekend (although I’m hoping they’ll all be sold by the end of Sunday). Here’s a small sample of what I’m bringing. There’s a lot more…

Pop up knits

Coming soon: Indie Design Gift Along 2016

It’s looking like a tradition: The third annual Indie Design Gift-A-long is beginning on Ravelry this week (Tuesday).

gal2016

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 2016 bundle (Summertime Blues poncho picture) and click.

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 22nd at 8:00 pm US EST – Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm US EST. The KAL/CALs will run from Tuesday, November 22 at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party, Thursday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details. If you want to preview all 300+ designers before the sale begins, that thread is already open here.

The sale discount is 25%; use the code giftalong2016 at checkout. Remember that it starts working Tuesday, Nov. 22) at 8 p.m. Eastern, which is 5 p.m. Pacific. (When we lived in New York, my PDX Mom would always ask “What time is it there?” when she called me. Twenty years later, and we still joke about it.)

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. Grab some patterns, participate in the KAL, and just have fun!

Ready, set, KNIT! (or crochet…)

Eek, steeks, like a BOSS, and tea

I had the pleasure of teaching my Bucket List Coffee Accessories class last week and this week at Twisted.

steek promo

This class covers the basics of two color stranded knitting, knitting a steek, reinforcing a steek, and CUTTING the steek. Not for the faint of heart, but knitters are brave! And it’s such a quick knit, it’s not so scary after all.

Crocheted Steek prep

Here’s the before picture: Steeks reinforced with single crochet.

Cutting the steek 2

Cheri makes the CUT!

Steek cut done

And done. Check out John’s double mug rug; a clever way to avoid magic loop/2 circulars/dpns. He used a 16 inch circular needle and will have two mug rugs after he cuts that SECOND steek. Brilliant!

Afterward, we celebrated with bubbly, and worked on finishing our edges. A total win for all. I love teaching knitters to be the boss of their knitting, and what’s more boss than steeking?

Have you cut a steek before? Or is it on your bucket list? My Bucket List pattern provides full instructions for your first steeked project, in a small user-friendly project. Go for it!

In between class last week and this week, I planned, prepped, and served high tea for 60 with my bestie Carole on Saturday. A few pictures, so I can find them later!

High tea

The room

Kerri's tea cup

It all begins with scones, clotted cream, jam (no scone pic, too busy!). This tea cup is from my friend Kerri in Massachusetts.

High tea savories
Savories

Pumpkin mousse shooters high tea
Pumpkin mousse shooters

High tea sweets
Sweets. There was a fruit plate, too, but it went out the kitchen door before I could get a picture.

It was a very lovely afternoon, a welcome respite from an ugly election season. More civility, please.

Thanks to those who have signed up for my new email newsletter! I’m exploring Mail Chimp and figuring out how it works. It’s pretty spiffy! If you haven’t joined the newsletter yet, and you’d like to, tell me in the comment section below. You’ll receive a newsletter once or twice a month with news and special offers, and my Lobelia Shawl pattern as a thank you for signing up.

Knit on!