Category Archives: KAL

Gift knitting deadline looming near

Are you still trying to knock out last minute gifts for Christmas? (It’s too late for Hanukkah this year; all the candles have been lit.)

menorah and christmas stockings

Solstice? That’s even sooner than Christmas!

I don’t do deadline gift knitting; I don’t like the pressure. But I’m shopping through my ever-growing stash of knitted design samples for some very nice gifts.

If you’re the kind of knitter who thrives on holiday gift knitting, don’t forget about the Indie Design Gift Along. You can win prizes for participating, which is a bonus on top of getting your gift knitting done. The GAL/KAL/CAL runs through the end of the year; check out the action on Ravelry.

And here’s a very cute “T’was the Knit Night Before Christmas” to keep you amused…

Beads and Bead Aid giveaway, twinleafKAL2016

Have you signed up for the Twin Leaf Crescent KAL? Dyer Melanie Dilworth of Black Trillium Fibres tells you how in this post.

Twin Leaf wingspan

The KAL begins January 1, 2016, and runs through March. But we want the fun to begin earlier than that, so join us in the Black Trillium Fibres group on Ravelry for discussion and fun.

We’ll be giving away beads from Fire Mountain Gems to two lucky participants, and a set of Bead Aids to three lucky participants before the knitting begins. What color yarn and beads do you want to knit with? I generally stick with clear beads, but if contrast is your thing, go for it!

Lower edge detail

Special thanks to Sarah Lajoie, the maker of Bead Aids, for donating these for the giveaway. They make beading so much easier.

I’ll be knitting my Twin Leaf Crescent in Mallow, which is shades of mauvey-pink. I guess I should say I’ll be re-knitting it. I’ll be ripping out my original prototype so I can make it perfect.

twin leaf prototype

We had fun comparing these at knit nite last week. The gauge on this was too loose, I had a lot more decreasing in the lace section which made it narrower at the top than I envisioned (not enough wrap around), and the lovely top edging wouldn’t stand up. But I wasn’t ready to frog it all until I knew I had a better version. Melanie was kind enough to send me the Periwinkle gradient so I could work things out. Now I’m happy, and I can frog and re-knit the first one.

So join the KAL and knit along with me in January. It’s selfish knitting month. Or if you’re feeling unselfish, give the yarn/pattern combo as a gift to a very good knitting friend. Everybody wins! Details on the KAL are on Ravelry in the Black Trillium Fibres group. Sign up by December 22 to be in the beads and Bead Aid drawing. Are you dreaming of colors? Go!

Twin Leaf Crescent KAL: Sign up now!

Introducing….my new Twin Leaf Crescent Shawl.

Twin Leaf front

I designed this for Black Trillium Fibre Studio’s Q1 2016 Knit Along. It’s knit with Melanie’s gorgeous Lilt Sock gradient yarn, 85% Superwash Merino, 15% Mulberry silk. This yarn is heavenly to knit with, and the drape and hand of the knitted fabric is amazing. Beads are optional, but highly recommended, for additional drape and sparkle.

Twin Leaf back

This shawl is knit in the periwinkle colorway, five gradient shades of the loveliest blue-purple. The gradient kit is 165g, 675 yards, which makes a lovely large shawl that you can get cozy in. You’ll want to check out all the available colors; I had a hard time choosing.

Twin Leaf wingspan

The leaves on the lower edge…

Lower edge detail

are echoed at the top of the shawl. A ribbon of shell lace is set off by a garter stitch frame.

Twin leaf detail

The pattern is available exclusively through Black Trillium Fibres for the KAL that runs from January 1 to March 31, 2016. Check out the Ravelry page for info on the KAL, or the Black Trillium Fibres page for more info on ordering the yarn and pattern. Fun and prizes await. Treat yourself in the new year!

How to use yarn dominance to your advantage

I finished the quilted lattice band of the Heladas Hat that I’m knitting for the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, and moved on to the pinstriped body. The stripes are made with a combination stranded colorwork/slip stitch technique. But I noticed that the lovely stripes were sinking into the stockinette stitch so that they were barely visible. Hmmm.

I thought about yarn dominance in stranded colorwork, so I decided to change how I was carrying my yarns. I usually carry two colors in my right hand, and the position of the yarns doesn’t make much difference as long as they keep their relative positions. But it was making a difference in this case, so I switched. I had been carrying the main color in my favored (usual) throwing position, and the contrast color above because it doesn’t get used as often. Swapping them made all the difference. You can see that the first stitch of the contrast color stripe is kind of buried in the stockinette stitch, and above that they pop out. Yay!

heladas yarn dominance

I don’t particularly like carrying the MC in my non-favored throwing position; it’s a little more cumbersome. So for this project I’m carrying the CC in my left hand and picking it continental, which still puts it in the lower position, and lets the color pop.

Do you know about yarn dominance? It’s a fun fact and useful thing to know. Your particular knitting technique may end up making the upper yarn dominant instead of the lower; you’d have to check and see. But after you decide which one is dominant and like it that way, keep your yarns in the same relative postion as you knit your colorwork. Have fun!

And don’t forget that the pattern sale for the GAL ends on November 27 at midnight; the coupon code is giftalong2015. The knitting/crocheting/prizes continue until the end of the year.

Indie designer: Yarn Intercept Designs

Heladas Hat

Last night I cast on my first Indie Design Gift-Along project, the Heladas Hat. I love the clever 2-color quilted lattice stitch on the wide band. A very fun stitch that adds a lot of interest!

Heladas

The Heladas (frost) Hat is designed by Beverly S, yarnintercept on Ravelry. I’ve followed Beverly’s blog for many years; back in 2011 she even interviewed me for her blog!

Beverly is a middle school math teacher who also designs knitting patterns. She’s not afraid to use math in her design work! She designs accessories: hats, mitts, socks, and shawls. Her asymmetrical Bricktown Shawl is a very appealing use of slipped stitches and eyelets using two complementary yarns.

Bricktown

Bricktown

I had been planning to cast on Beverly’s Frozen Spires Cowl. This lovely cabled cowl would be perfect for the extra skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted that’s left over from my Edin cardigan. Even better, I have an extra 1/5 skein from the sweater, so I can make this cowl one repeat bigger and even squishier than the original seen here.

frozen spires

And I still may. But right now, the hat is humming along. I’m using Malabrigo Arroyo in Purpuras and Borrajas, and I love the way it looks.

Malabrigo Arroyo purpuras y borrajas

Check out these designs and more on Beverly’s Ravelry designer page. And stock up during the Indie Designer Giftalong sale!

(All photos by Beverly S/Yarn Intercept Designs, except my cast on.)

Indie Design Gift-Along: Let’s get this party started!

Last year’s Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry was so much fun, I’m particpating again this year as both a designer and a knitting participant.

GAL2015 mosaic

These are just a few of the 20 designs I’m including in the event.

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.

The pattern sale runs from Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm US EST. The KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 19 at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Thursday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

Here’s a link to my featured patterns for this event; scroll down to the Giftalong 2015 bundle (fuzzy Thrumbelina picture) and click. The discount is 25%; use the code giftalong2015 at checkout. Remember that it starts working tonight (Thursday, Nov. 19) 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.)

Ready, set, KNIT! (or crochet…)

Are you knitting gifts for the holidays?

FO: Edin cardigan

I love a good finished object! This is my Edin Cardigan, pre-blocking.

Edin, pre-blocking

I gave it a light steam block so I could take a photograph for the ChicKnits KAL. Here you can see that the band on the left is unblocked, and the one on the right is steamed a bit.

Edin bands

I love how the whole thing begins at the back of the neck.

Edin back neck

I wet blocked it 2 days ago, and it’s still drying in the sunroom.

Edin blocking

Almost dry! It relaxed a bit, gaining an inch in width and an inch in length, both of which are good things. (Did I wash and block my swatch? No. But I did swatch, and I use this particular yarn a lot, so it behaved according to plan.)

Here are the details:

Edin, design by Bonne Marie Burns of ChicKnits
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Continental Blue, 4.8 skeins
Needles: Hiya Hiya US 7
Began Oct. 13, finished Nov. 14. Quickest sweater ever for me.

I really enjoyed knitting this; Bonne Marie’s pattern is well written and easy to follow. Edin as a top down cardigan, mostly stockinette except for the lace bands that look like cables. So pretty! Stockinette is great for multi-tasking knitting; I did a lot of reading while knitting this.

Edin magic loop sleeve

I also perfected my magic loop technique while knitting the sleeves. I knit the first one last month in Sisters, Oregon, where my yarn was the same color as the sky.

image

At least on the first day. The next day was quite frosty in the morning.

Sisters morning

While I was in Sisters, I had the opportunity to meet up with Sarah and Paula at the Stitchin’ Post. Good times.

Sarah me Paula

I have 1.2 skeins left of this glorious blue yarn, and I’m planning to make a cowl in the Indie Designer Gift-Along on Ravelry, which starts Thursday. I’ll post about that in a few days.

The seamy underside of knitting…

Shannon Squire had a post recently on Instagram about (not) sewing in ends. We all like to put this off. Sometimes we just tuck the ends in and do the photo shoot without actually doing the finishing work! The dirty little secrets of knit designers…

tilt shift seaming

The other day I was seaming the Tilt Shift Wrap that I knit during my KAL this spring. I finished the knitting, blocked the piece, but set it aside in favor of deadline knitting. In the time between then and now, I lost the leftover ball of yarn! Two searches later, success, and I could do my seaming.

Let’s talk about seaming for a minute. My options on this long stockinette seam were either mattress stitch, or a crocheted slip stitch seam. While I love a good mattress stitch seam, it wasn’t the right choice for this piece for me. The yarn is lovely DK weight Malabrigo Rastita. The weight of the wrap is going to be on that seam on my shoulder, which makes it pull a little bit. When I pulled on the seam, you could see the zigzag of the mattress stitch, which wasn’t attractive.

I opted to use a crochet slip stitch seam for my Tilt Shift Wrap. Very tidy, even with a little pull on it. It disappears into the ditch of the seam on the right side. Perfect.

tilt shift seam sunshine

This is not to say that this is the perfect seam every time. When I seamed my Summertime Blues wrap, I used mattress stitch. That wrap is knit in Knitted Wit’s Shine, a fingering weight yarn, and there isn’t as much weight on the seam. Knitters are thinkers! You are the boss of your knitting; choose what works best for you in each case.

While I’m thinking of it: The pictures above were taken in direct sunlight. Pretty harsh lighting, but I wanted to use the first picture on Instagram, and title it, “We’ll Seam in the Sunshine.” Most of the time I prefer indirect light; it makes pictures prettier.

tilt shift seam 2

I’m teaching a class this fall on using your iPhone/iPad for photographing your knits and editing your pictures. It’s not just about knits; the information is good for other photography, too. I’m teaching it at Twisted in Portland and Stash in Corvallis. Click the workshop and classes tab at the top of this page for dates. Come play!

Looking forward to wearing this Tilt Shift soon. Fall is in the air. Bring out your knits!

bee wine glass not perigord

Hey wait; that’s mine!

Upcoming classes, and catching up the blog

It’s been super busy here since I came home from Port Ludlow, Edmonds, Ellensburg. I feel like there’s a mega-post about that road trip that needs to happen, but I haven’t had a chance to process it yet. So I’m going to jump ahead and let you know what’s going on now, and then work backwards. We’ll pretend it’s ballroom dancing or something…

May is shaping up to be a busy month. I’m doing a workshop for the Tigard Knitting Guild on May 9. We’re going to play with mosaic slipped stitch knitting. In the morning we’ll learn how it works, and in the afternoon we’ll design something with it! This is such a great way to play with color, but we only use one color per row. No carrying, no floats.

pdxknitterati knitting

On May 16, I’ll be down in Salem teaching at Tangled Purls. I’m teaching two classes. The first is Blocking: It’s Magic from 10 to noon.

Rosaria edge detail

In the afternoon I’m teaching beginning stranded colorwork with the Kerfuffle Cowl from 1:30 TO 4 p.m. Contact the shop to register for either of these.

pdxknitterati kerfuffle cowl

I’ll also have my trunk show there all day! We’ll have a meet and greet between classes, so come take a class or just say hello.

I’ve been knitting like mad this month. I’m working with Knitted Wit’s new Targhee Shimmer yarn, 80/20 Targhee/silk in DK and worsted weights. The wool is sourced 100% sheep to skein in the USA. I designed a Criss Cross Cowl in Kiss and Teal (to go with the Criss Cross mitts and hat and beret) with the worsted, pattern coming soon. This color is amazing, but it doesn’t photograph well. In real life, it’s a very rich aquamarine, like a deep blue-green emerald.

pdxknitterati criss cross cowl

I knit a pair of Pointer Mitts with the DK, in Liberally Bleeding Heart.

pdxknitterati pointer mitts

These are going to TNNA, the The National Needlearts Association trade show at the end of May. There will also be a Pointer cap to go with the mitts, but a sample knitter is doing that one for me. And a Sophie’s Rose Shawlette in Knitted Wit’s Single Fingering, in Enchanted Forest and Salted Caramel which I’m not knitting, but I’ll block it. Thank goodness for sample knitters!

I’ve also been diligently knitting on my Tilt Shift KAL project. Two skeins down, one left to go. This is very relaxing knitting for me, because it’s 80% stockinette. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and watching TV with it. The KAL has been going on all month, and should be wrapping up this week.

Tilt Shift KAL

I don’t know that I’ll have mine done by then, because I have a design project to finish before TNNA which is higher priority because it has a deadline. Click, click, click…

I also blocked my Fern Shawlette that I knit for my previous KAL. Finally! You’ll note that I’m artfully hiding the ends I have yet to sew in.

pdxknitterati fern shawlette

In my spare time (ha!) my friends Carole, Suzanne, and I put on a tea for 60 on Saturday. Planning, shopping, cooking, plating, serving. And no pictures of the event; I was too busy kitchen wenching. But Sue from Tango Mango came and did a presentation with her collection of vintage purses, which was very cool. Here are just a few.

princess mary purseNote the floral detail at the bottom.

vintage beaded bags

And then there was an Earth Day event on Sunday that required folding some origami cranes, among other things…

origami cranes for earth day

I’ll do a report on the Strung Along Retreat soon. It was great. But I have to wash and block my little swatches from Clara Parkes’ class before I can blog it!

What have you been up to while I’ve been away?

Tilt Shift Wrap KAL party at Wool ‘n’ Wares this Friday

The Tilt Shift KAL begins tomorrow, April 1. Today is the last day to get the special price on the pattern. See pattern page for details.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

I’m hosting the KAL through my PDXKnitterati Ravelry group. Come join for fun and prizes!

And for those who are local, I’m having a cast on/KAL party this Friday April 3 at Wool ‘n’ Wares in West Linn from 1 to 4 p.m.

Hope to see you, in person or on the interwebs!