Category Archives: KAL

Knitting au naturel, Addi Turbo giveaway

One of the things I learned in Carson Demers’ ergonomics class at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival is to take stock of your knitting, and try not to have all of your projects be the same. In other words, they shouldn’t all be fingering weight lace shawls on size 4 needles. That’s kind of hard for me, since usually I have two of these, one a thinking project (the current design conundrum piece) and one a non-thinking project (git ‘er done!). So for me, they’re same same but mentally different. I don’t usually think about having projects that are physically/ergonomically different.

Right now though, I have two projects that are physically very different.

Alpaca yarn

I’m knitting/designing with this two-ply fingering weight spindle spun alpaca from Peru. The yarn is a prototype from a women’s cooperative there. This isn’t what the end product yarn will always be like, but it’s pretty fun to work with.

mystery alpaca project

So soft, so fuzzy, so warm. And the romance of the story is awesome.

Super Cabled Christmas Stocking

My other project is my Super Cabled Christmas Stocking (expialidocious!). I gave away the original prototype last year to someone who needed one but didn’t have time to knit it, and was given the same un-knitted yarn in return. I recently saw this yarn in my stash, and decided to knit it again. Super quick! I think it will be done in 3 evenings. I’m already past the heel turn, and it’s only 9 rounds of instep to the toe shaping.

It’s funny how I’m knitting both of these projects with undyed wool. Maybe if my knitting projects are physically different, there still has to be something similar about them. Too funny.

Mini needle review: Last time, I knit the stocking with an Addi Turbo needle, US 17, 20 inches. The fat cord is brilliant in that the stitches don’t have to transition between a skinny cord and a fat needle, but this particular yarn doesn’t slide freely along the cable. Also, the very blunt tips made my cabling without a cable needle a little slower.

Addi Turbo US 17

I bought a Hiya Hiya Sharp US 17, 16 inches after the first evening’s knitting. I probably could have used a 24 inch needle (it doesn’t come in 20 inch) since the stocking circumference is 28 inches, and it would have longer tips (more comfortable), but I didn’t think of it. Still, things are going swimmingly, even with a regular skinny cable. No transition issues. And the longer, sharper taper on the tips are making the cabling easier, too. Win!

Rather than keep a needle that I’m not going to use again (since I have the new needles), I’d like to give these Addi Turbos away to one of you. Leave a comment on this post by Dec. 6, and I’ll pick a winner, USA only because of shipping for this one. These weren’t my favorite needles, but your knitting style and yarn may make them perfect for you.

The Super Cabled Christmas Stocking is one of the patterns I have on sale 25% off in the Indie Design Gift Along, and that sale ends tonight (Nov. 30) at midnight EST with coupon code giftalong2016 (scroll down to see bundle on this page, bundle only good through tonight). It’s also available through Knit Picks for $3.99, but won’t be in your Ravelry library. Knitter’s choice! I’ll keep this one pattern on sale through Ravelry at 20% off through December 6 with no coupon to entice you to knit it, and maybe with this Addi Turbo needle. Good luck!

Reminder: I’m having fun with my new email newsletter; let me know if you want to subscribe. Still not automated! So leave a comment for that, too, if you’re interested.

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…)

Introducing Tridacna Cowls and Necklace, KAL?

Tridacna? It’s a clam. It’s an inspiration!

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The scalloped edges of the elongated stitches in the Tridacna cowls and necklace mimic the fluted edges of the Tridacna clam’s shell. This cowl can be knit as a long infinity loop, a short cozy cowl, or a simple necklace. The longer cowl features yarn specially dyed by Hand Maiden Fine Yarn for A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, in colors inspired by the Tridacna clam. The short cowl and necklace are shown knit in two colors. Knitter’s choice! The pattern is written for DK weight yarn. Silk enhances the drape of these pieces.

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The long cowl can be worn in a variety of ways: Long, doubled, keyhole style.

tridacna necklace pdxknitterati

Not ready to knit an entire cowl? The necklace is a great introduction to this fun elongated stitch. There’s a link to a video in the pattern, too, if you need help with the stitch.

This pattern is available for $6 via pdf download through Ravelry. Pattern page is here. Use coupon code CLAM for 20% off through August 10, 2016. Do you want to do a KAL beginning August 20? Let me know through blog comment, Facebook, Instagram, or Ravelry.

tridacna clam

This is the photo that inspired the yarn that inspired the cowls. Murray Post took this underwater photograph of a Tridacna clam in Fiji. He’s the husband of Susan Post, the owner of A Good Yarn in Sarasota Florida. The Posts asked hand Maiden Fine Yarn to create a custom colorway, Clam, based on this photo. When I saw the photo and the yarn, I knew exactly what the yarn wanted to be.

Murray says:
“I took this picture is of a Tridacna, or giant clam in Fiji. They are quite beautiful, with a fleshy mantle that extends out of its shell. The small black dots around the rim of the mantle are primitive eyes, that sense light and shadow. As you approach, they retract their mantles and close their shell, though once they’re any size, the shell can’t close all the way. Tridacna means 3 bites, and they were once farmed and consumed only by the village chiefs. The largest I’ve seen was over 5 feet wide. This guy is bit larger than a football.”

Thank you to the Posts for the beautiful yarn and inspiration!

Larger photos are on my PDXKnitterati Tridacna pattern page, here.

Inspinknity Blocking Wires Review

I bought some Inspinknity blocking wires a few months ago, in anticipation of.blocking my Twin Leaf Crescent. I had knit two of these before (one prototype, one FO) and had not loved the blocking process.

old twin leaf blocking

Scallops are hard to block! Last time I used straight blocking wires across the top, and three pins in each scallop to try to avoid a point. It was not fun trying to get all those scallops pinned out.

twin leaf blocking

This time, I used straight wires across the top again.

inspinknity twin leaf

The Inspinknity wires come in two weights, and I went with the ultra-thin wires, which are meant for lace. I threaded the Inspinknity wires along the edge of my scallops, right where the reverse stockinette edge meets the stockinette leaf. This gave me a continuous edge to pull out with pins.

twin leaf blocking closeup

twin leaf blocking

It was the easiest scalloped pin out ever! The wire kept the pinning from making things to pointy, although I did use 2 pins per scallop to get the desired shape. The high points between the scallops bounced up and were easy to place, too.

inspinknity wires

These wires are memory wire, and they’ll take whatever shape you pin out. When you’re done, they bounce back to straight. They’re stored as circles to save space. I’m hooked! Or pinned. I’ll be using these again.

twinleafkal2016 begins

I knit this shawl with yarn from the frogged prototype which had been wet blocked before. I didn’t try to get the kinks out of the yarn before reknitting. My stockinette looked a little wonky before blocking, and I hoped it would block out.

twin leaf reknit

It didn’t all even up. For some reason, it doesn’t show as much in the lace section.

I’ve re-knit a lot of yarn before, but not necessarily after wet blocking. On chunkier yarns, I don’t think it matters as much. But for this fine, smooth fingering weight, it would have been better to re-skein, soak, and hang it to straighten it out before re-using. Live and learn! I’m not frogging to re-knit again. I’m just going to call it character, or prosecco bubbles.

Do you use blocking wires? I’m in love with these!

FO: Stopover BangOutASweater

Well, that was a hoot!

BangOutASweater FO

I knit this Stopover in 8 days, and then set it aside to wait for my color pop swap yarn to arrive in the mail. What a difference a color pop makes!

yarn swap bangoutasweater

The swap yarn arrived shortly after I got home from Madrona. (Go back to the previous two posts if you missed the Madrona fun.) I auditioned all but the purples, which were too dark against the lapis background. And I tried my green one more time.

bangoutasweater color swap audition

Orange, yellow, green? Yellow! It looks like daffodils and bluebells in spring.

stopover color pop

I’m super happy with this sweater. Thanks so much to bluecanarygirl (Ravelry) for organizing the yarn swap. The yellow makes my heart sing.

The sweater fits perfectly, with a bit of ease but not a ton. It did not change size with blocking (I didn’t want it to). I did spin some of the water out of it, but I put it into the top loading washer in an up and down orientation so the spin wouldn’t elongate the body or arms. Short spin, rearrange, short spin. Pat out to dry.

The Lett-Lopi wool isn’t super scritchy; it’s like wearing a cloud. Except at the neck. I took the FO picture without a turtleneck under it, because I wanted to show the neckline (you can see a bit of my black T). But yesterday I wore it with turtleneck, and it was perfect.

Thanks to Mary Jane Mucklestone for a perfect pattern, and Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner at Mason-Dixon Knitting for dreaming up this very fun KAL! You can see a collage of FO’s over at the MDK blog; I see me in there! That post has links to all the help you’d ever need if you want to bang out a Stopover of your own. My Ravelry project page with notes is here.

Clara Parkes

Other recent fun? Clara Parkes was here to read from her new book, Knitlandia, at Powell’s in Portland last Saturday. Guess who won a Claramel?

knitlandia claramel

The green knitting in the photo is done! Time to block, and finish up the pattern. Reveal coming soon…

Madrona, fun and games edition

Madrona was, as always, a magical experience. This was my first time teaching there. My blocking class was full, and my students came ready to learn about swatching, washing, and blocking all the knits. It was fun!

I took two classes, but I’ll write about them in a later post because I’m using new knowledge from both classes on a little project, and I want to put all of it together for you. Curious? Watch this space! This post is about everything else. To tide you over, here’s a link to the class I took with Evelyn Clark last year.

Last Wednesday I was packing for Madrona, and I caught myself thinking, “Don’t buy any more fingering weight yarn.” (The bin is full.) And then I heard myself say out loud, “Unless it’s gradient!”

Sincere Sheep

So apparently I had to buy some gradient yarn. This is from Sincere Sheep. I bought just the gradient on Thursday, and the next day went back for a coordinating solid. And two days later I found myself buying beads from Bead Biz to go with them! This will be a fun design project.

Janine Bajus FeralKnitter

Janine Bajus was our speaker on Friday night. Very inspiring. As she wrapped up her talk, I was compelled to write down these 3 ideas, plus the big question.

You get to do what YOU want.
There is no one right way to do it.
You won’t know if it will work until you swatch.

What is holding you back?

I chatted with her on Saturday about her strikingly beautiful shawl, which actually isn’t finished yet. She wore it on Friday, the steek cut but not edged. Holding just fine! Now that I think about it, it would be cool to leave it that way, as a representation of the journey.

Carol Milne

I met glass artist Carol Milne. She’s well known for her knitted glass sculptures. Her current project is a glass entrelac dress. Glass entrelac? Yes. She knits the squares with wax cord, and makes a clay molds which are used to make the glass pieces.

knit wax for glass carol milne

pamela

New buddy Pamela Grossman tried on the beginnings of the dress. Pretty cool! You can sponsor a glass entrelac square, and when the June exhibit is over, Carol will send it to you. I want one! Check out her Facebook page for details. (It’s not up on her website yet.)

GS Mini

What else? I had a fabulous hotel room with a great view. And a fainting couch! I brought Minerva, my GS Mini, as a diversion. Last week when my #BangOutASweater gauge swatch lied to me, I started writing lyrics in my head. It’s to the tune of Blowing in the Wind. I’m sharing them with you here. If you use them anywhere, please credit them to me. And yes, I used the singular “they.”

Knitter’s Lament
Michele Lee Bernstein, PDXKnitterati

How many times must a knitter cast on
Before the swatch doesn’t lie?
How many swatches must one knitter frog
Before they break down and cry?
How many swear words will one knitter say
While knitting the umpteenth try?

The answer my friend, it’s all about the gauge
The answer is all about the gauge

How many binges must one knitter watch
On Netflix, to finish a sleeve?
Second sleeve, second sock, second mitt, second cuff
Our boredom must be relieved
How many times do we itch to cast on
Before our ends have been weaved?

The question my friend: What’s next in the queue?
What project is next in the queue?

How many times have you given a gift
And were told, “But wool makes me itch”?
How many gifts have been tossed in the wash
To felt, and shrink each precious stitch
Yes, but how many times have you given a gift
And seen the lives you enrich?

The answer my friend: It’s for the love of yarn
We do it for the love of yarn.

How many ways can a knitter make socks?
Up from the toe… Or down from the cuff?
How many ways can we learn to cast on
Before we know all the stuff
How many classes will we knitters take
Before we call it enough?

The answer my friend: It’s time to confess
At Madrona, we are obsessed.

As you can see, I had a fun time at Madrona! I’m knitting away on the little project I want to show you, using Latvian braids (from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s class) and speed swatching and proportions (from Franklin Habit’s class). Stay tuned for a class review! Here are a couple peeks out my window while you’re waiting…

Friday sunrise

Rainier peeking Friday

Bang Bang BangOutASweater!

stopover knitting done

I finished all the knitting on my Stopover last night! Monday to Monday, and done. Except for the color pops. I’m waiting for my swap of color pops to come in the mail, and I’ll duplicate stitch them when I choose a color!

stopover rolled neck

Mods: I made a rolled neck edging because I don’t want Lett-Lopi ribbing at my neck. I skipped the last row of colorwork, knit a round with my neck color. Changed to smaller needles (US9) and knit 7 more rows (so 8 rows total). No neck decrease, just kept the stitches left over from the colorwork section. Bound off with larger needle (US10.5). It makes a lovely rolled edge, and the neck hole is not tight around my neck.

I knit the whole thing one size larger, to compensate for my difference in gauge. I used the sleeve cast on number for the next smaller size, and continued the increases until I reached the right number.

Still need to graft the underarms, weave in ends, add color pops, wash and block. But I’m calling this 99% finished. All the knitting is done!

This was a quick fun knit. Sweater is 40.5 inches around, a nice sweatshirt-y fit. Now that I know what it’s like, I can see making one more fitted, but not too fitted. But I have other things to work on right now.

I’m getting ready for Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I’m teaching a mini-class on blocking on Thursday. You KNOW I love blocking! Are you going to Madrona? Hope to see you there!

New pattern: Meander Cowl

Pattern launch! Introducing the Meander Cowl. Read down for Ravelry coupon code…

In between banging out a sweater and pillow and poncho, I’ve also been blocking and finishing Meander Cowls. Remember this from last month?

meander cowl collage

I also knit a fingering weight version of it, this time in Delicious Yarns Sweets Fingering, Green Tea colorway.

Meander Cowl fingering weight single

Meander Cowl fingering weight doubled

It’s even airier than its sport weight cousin. I love them both.

These elegant infinity cowls are knit flat with one 100 gram skein of fingering or sport weight yarn, then seamed to form a loop which can be worn single or doubled. The lace and cable pattern meanders back and forth along the length of the cowl, creating zigzag edges.

Meander sport weight single

Meander sport weight doubled

The Meander Cowl pattern is available for $6 as a pdf download through Ravelry. Meander Cowl link here. To celebrate its release, I’m offering 20% off with coupon code MEANDER through February 22, 2016. I hope you knit one! It’s light and airy and perfect for winter or spring.

Meander cowls

Sweets Fingering and Two Sweets Sport from Delicious Yarns feature a pop of color that wanders across the lace and cables. Blocking brings out the best in the airy zigzag lace. This cowl would also be gorgeous in a semi-solid color. Each skein of Delicious Yarns is dyed by hand, and is unique. My original cowl is on the bottom of the picture below, and my test knitter’s cowl is on the top. So very different, but both are gorgeous.

Delicious Yarns Sweets Fingering

Here’s the Green Tea, before winding. So pretty!

stopover sleeve and prosecco

It’s starting to feel like spring here. Yesterday I was banging out a sleeve in my back yard! I wore the green Meander, and it was perfect. No coat. Odd for February, but the sunshine was a pleasant surprise. How’s your weather?

Banging out Sleeves

I knit a sleeve yesterday. An entire sleeve. This is quick knitting, I tell ya! I’m on the second sleeve now.

stopover bangoutasweater one sleeve

I could have knit both sleeves yesterday; they’re that fast. But I took some time out to seam this pillow.

snowy woods log cabin trees

snowy woods log cabin firs

It’s another Snowy Woods Log Cabin Blocks pillow. I made it with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky for the Knit Picks IDP program. The pattern will be for sale on the Knit Picks site, as well as the the version that’s already up on Ravelry. More Snowy Woods! More Log Cabinning!

I also took time out to make these pillows. (Whoa. Just noticed they’re the same color as the log cabin pillow. We have a palette here.)

cat pillows

I was inspired to make these when I saw the cat pillows over at Mason-Dixon Knitting last month. The fabric was printed by Spoonflower. Now my grown kids can have their own cats at their respective abodes!

cat pillows with cat

I’m not sure what Mookie thinks of them. But I’m sure I’ll never get that little top hat on her again.

Apparently yesterday was a very Mason-Dixon Knitting day. The #BangOutASweater KAL, the cat pillows…and I learned to log cabin from the first Mason-DIxon Knitting book. I made this blanket way back in 2008-2009.

log cabin blanket

So thanks, Ann and Kay! You’ve changed my life!

Back to the sleeves…some people are already finished with their first KAL Stopovers, and starting a second one! I’m looking forward to starting the yoke patterning. Just have to power through this sleeve, first.

Banging along…obsessed

I was trying to balance my projects, but this #BangOutASweater KAL has me obsessed. Sometimes you have to give in to the momentum. I’ve been knitting like a fiend for the past couple of days. I’m feeling a little twitchy without this in my hands. I may have knitted at a few stoplights. Or not. I’ll never tell. But I finished the waist shaping on Tuesday.

latte bang

I was out and about on Wednesday, but managed to knit over post-gym coffee, and then in the evening. The body is done!

stopover sleeve begins

On to the first sleeve. The cast on looked enormous, and I have small wrists, so I started with 4 fewer stitches (next smaller size). It will catch up as I go; I’m making the longer sleeve length.

winter is coming bang out a sweater

This picture is from Kay Gardiner’s Instagram account. Check out the hashtag #BangOutASweater to see all the Stopovers in progress.

#bangoutasweater instagram

I’m pdxknitterati over there, too. Knit on!