Category Archives: Knit

Book getting closer to real

I finished the final design for my book last Wednesday night, just in time for our photo shoot on Thursday morning!

My publisher is in Salem, Oregon, so we met at Archive Coffee and Bar in Salem. Cute place. Nice coffee. I didn’t partake at the bar, but it looks impressive.

I can’t show you my actual knitting, so check out this artful blur. Yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Iris and Cackle.

More blur. But I’m looking forward to sharing these projects with you this fall! Progress on the book is coming along; I have two more items that need to be photographed, and then a bunch tutorial photographs. I’m not the photographer, so I’m not too fussed about that. But the patterns are finished, and the tech editing is also done, as of last week. Now I just need to do all the writing for the parts before and between the patterns. I’m on my way!

I also need to do some work for a video class that I’ll be recording in August, for a September event. Deadlines for that are coming up soon, too. I’m glad I can shift my work around to fit my very flexible schedule.

You know what doesn’t respect a schedule? Ripe produce! I picked plums at my friend Linda’s house, which meant I had to jam them right away. I made plum jam with ginger bits and bourbon. And because I couldn’t find a record of my final be all and end all recipe, except in Facebook comments on a post from last year, I’m noting this here. Sure Jell recipe, and at the end add a generous 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 cup Penzey’s Sweet Ginger Bits. Perfect.

Also, it was such a pretty picture, I ran it through the Waterlogue app to “paintify” it. Happy summer!

Scenes from the design studio

Currently on the needles, another piece for my book. I love these colors together, Iris and Cackle. These are on the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock base, but I’m not knitting socks!

I had to knit a small swatch and do some math to see if I had the right increase rate for what I want, and I didn’t. A wee bit of frogging ensued. Better now than 20 inches in. And say hello to my new split keyboard! It’s more comfortable for typing. It also has lifters to tilt them thumbside up. I’m still doling out my knitting time in 15 minute increments, but my forearm tendinitis is much better.

So how do I use math to know what I want the increase rate to be? Math and gauge tell me that I can have it shaped like either of these mock-ups.

Fewer increases per repeat
More increases per repeat

I cut both shapes from tissue paper, like making a muslin when sewing. I just didn’t have any fabric I wanted to sacrifice for the cause. I tried both these shapes on, and that told me that I want the second one. Okay! Normally I would just knit for a while and see how things are looking, but I don’t want to do that much knitting if it isn’t going to work out. That means I have to be smarter about how I design. I hope it all works out the way I think it will.

We went to St. Louis last week to celebrate Mom-in-law’s birthday. I had this lovely view on the way home.

Mt Hood, or Wy-East

I had some good knitting time on the plane,

but unfortunately had to frog 6 very long rows the next day when I found a stitch that had dropped, *under* the most recent increase/decrease row. (I think I knit the yo but not the stitch that it belonged to.) Ugh. I finished this project yesterday, a week later than I hoped I would. But it’s done!

Things are moving along. What are *you* knitting?

Mood board, and moody

When I started my book project, I was asked to do a mood board. What reflects my vibe/ What do I want my book to look like?

(Mood indigo? Moody blues?)

Looking at recent projects, I think you can tell I like a monochromatic palette, different shades of the same hue. And blue is big! I can’t have an all blue book (and why not?), but I can definitely have a monochromatic vibe.

(Blues, patiently waiting)

I just need to swatch what I’ve charted to make sure it works, and then this is off to Ann, who is sample knitting for me.

I’m funny with deadlines. I used to be a procrastinator, and somewhere along the way I’ve morphed into an all-in obsessive. Not good! There’s a lot of knitting that needs to happen, but slow and steady wins the race.

(If it’s going to be green, it will have a blue undertone!)

I need to do a better job balancing my knitting time. I didn’t listen to my body, and I have developed tendonitis in my forearms, which affects knitting *and* typing. You know, the things I need to do to get this book done! So I’m not knitting for 3 days, and minimally typing.

(Big project? No, a set of two projects.)

For now, I’m petting yarn, and sketching and charting things on paper. I’m on the last big design project for the book, and then I have three more small ones that should be easy. Should. I never know until I actually try to knit them!

Have you ever done a mood board? What would your mood board say about you?

Working like a busy bee

Lots of computer work today. Who knew that a lot of writing a book would involve organizing information via google forms and google sheets? Good thing I love a spreadsheet! I’m learning a lot about google forms, too.

I also did some knitting math to finish writing a pattern. Now I’m going to kick back for the evening and continue knitting with this beauty. This is my first time knitting with Malabrigo’s superwash Washted, which is much like its non-superwash counterpart, Worsted. I like it! Not quite as fluffy, but I chose it because this colorway wasn’t available on the worsted base right now.

I’ll start a new design project *tomorrow* when my brain is fresh. I have lots of options to choose from (these skeins are all designated for book projects.)

What’s on *your* needles?

I’m writing a book!

I just signed a contract to write a book! This is the summer project I’ve been hinting about, but I didn’t want to put it out there before the contract was signed. The book will be out in the fall, and it’s about knitting, of course. It will have 20 patterns for accessories and home items (you know I don’t design many sweaters), from simple to more challenging.

I’m looking for some test knitters for these small projects. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll email you back with more details.

I’m working with Library House Press, which is Marie Greene’s new publishing company. You may know Marie as Olive Knits, and also through her Knit Camp. She has published a couple books with a traditional publisher, and she decided to launch her own publishing company this year with her third book, Knit a Little. I have a copy, and it’s beautiful. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with.

DH and I did take a little time to stop and smell the roses this weekend. We biked over to Peninsula Park, where the rose garden is in full bloom.

I love how these buds are peeking through the spent blooms.

I noticed a split stitch in my knitting this afternoon. I didn’t want the yarn to break and run down the column, so I had to fix it. My cable hook was a little short, but I managed to squish them all on there. I was too lazy to go inside to get an extra hook or circular needle! All better now.

I’m teaching Brioche Doctor next month through Bazaar Girls; I can’t wait to show them this picture. That split stitch was 21 rows down! Come to class if you want to know how to fix this and other mistakes in brioche knitting!

I’m taking the summer off to work on my book. Classes will begin again in the fall. I’m looking forward to teaching both via Zoom and in person!

Knit, knit, knitting this week

It’s a knit filled week! I’m speaking and teaching for the San Diego North Coast Knitters Guild on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were hoping it would be in-person, but at commitment time their venue wasn’t open yet. So Zoom it is! We know how to have fun, no matter what.

On Friday at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern, I’m chatting with Amy Snell/Devious Knitter on her podcast, Would Knit Be Fun. Amy is an excellent designer/teacher with a great knowledge base. Come join us! You can sign up at this link.

After these events, I have just one more class before taking a summer break. I’ll be teaching Brioche Doctor via Zoom for Bazaar Girls on Tuesday, June 22. You can register here. The listing says 10 am to 1 pm, but it’s a 2 hour class, so we’ll get that straightened out this week. I’m pretty sure it’s at 11.

And I can finally tell you about my new project…in my next post! Tuesday, I think.

It’s a holiday weekend here. DH and I took an unexpected trip out to Hood River; the place we wanted to hike yesterday was overrun with people, so we just kept driving east.

The clouds are prettier on the other side of the Cascades! At least they were yesterday. It’s the wind…

Mt. Adams, Columbia River

A stroll instead of a hike, and lunch. Perfect.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

Classes: Get ‘em while you can!

I have a couple big projects to work on this summer, so I’m cutting back on my teaching schedule. If you’re itching to take one of these classes, do it now!

Petite Brioche at Virtual Vogue Knitting Live: There’s still room in my Petite Brioche class on Saturday, May 15. If brioche is on your bucket list, Petite Brioche is a great place to start.

Darn It! Mending Your Knits: Tuesday May 18 via Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop, and Saturday May 22 via Twisted Yarn Shop. Weekday or weekend, I’ve got you covered!

Advanced Tink Drop Frog (Lace Edition): Sunday May 23 via For Yarn’s Sake.

Brioche Doctor: Fixing Brioche Mistakes: Tuesday, June 22 via Bazaar Girls (link coming May 20 or so).

I’m taking a chunk of time to work on a big project, and I’m looking forward to telling you about it, once I get some final details ironed out.

And summer’s coming; we want to get outside! I’ve had both my Covid vaccinations, and I’m starting to see friends and family in real life. I had a road trip with friends up the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River last weekend. We had a year’s worth of stuff to catch up on.

Mt. Adams
A big winding oops (it all worked out)
Stirrings by Ann Fleming

I saw this bronze at Gallery 301 in Hood River, and I’m in love. She’s so serene, and she knows that kitchen magic. I’m not sure where she would go in my house, though.

Looking west from Hood River

We drove home on the Old Historic Columbia River Highway (it’s been closed due to landslides, but it’s open again).

Horsetail Falls, right off the highway

I used to bring the kids out here to play in the splash pool on hot summer days, before we had air conditioning in the house. It’s also the trailhead for a favorite hike.

Horsetail Falls splash pool
Vista House on Crown Point

Vista House is currently closed to visitors, but the views are still inspiring.

Looking east toward Beacon Rock from Crown Point on the Columbia River
Salmon and scallop poke, and favorite bubbles!

And I was home in time to celebrate Mother’s Day with the family. The kids came over and made 2 kinds of poke, and we made pineapple fried rice to go with it. (Tossing the pre-cooked rice with fish sauce before it goes into the wok makes it so good.) It was great to be back in the kitchen with them, after a long year of distancing. A perfect cap to the weekend.

Introducing: Cherry Blossom Wrapture

Cherry blossoms on my mind! This log cabin themed shawl is a generous 17” deep by 98” wide. You don’t have to knit yours to be that wide, but I LOVE how big this is.

This wrap starts at the center with a leafy square, knit in the round. A log cabin knitting-style frame is added, flat, and then the ends are worked out from each half of the square. I knit mine in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, 2 skeins of Ticklish (white with speckle), and a skein each of Cherry Blossom and Fresh Cut.

It’s so lovely to wrap yourself up in!

This pattern is available through my Ravelry shop here, and through my Payhip shop here. Use coupon code BLOOM for 15% through April 23, 2021 on either site. Newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your special offer.

Love that center square!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Jacqueline Lydston, Nan Palmer, and Sylvie Bedard.

Signs of Spring: Birdwatcher and Cherry Blossoms

The Birdwatcher (pattern by Casapinka) is underway. I moved up to a US5 needle, knit for a while, and steamed it to get an idea how wide this will be. It’s approximately 39” and I’m aiming for 40”. I’m hoping that the stockinette portion will be just a tad wider than the chevroned edge, and I think it will be. Or not! Again, do as I say, not as I do. I like the fabric I’m getting, and it may just have a little less ease than I was planning. I don’t want to go up another needle size, and I don’t have enough yarn to go up another size in the pattern.

There are supposed to be 4 repeats of that chevron pattern, but I stopped at three. The bottom of the sweater is supposed to be 12” to the armhole, and I want it to be 9. I don’t want chevrons halfway to the armhole; I want it to be more of an edging. I think three repeats will be enough! Also, I was ready to stop paying attention. Now it’s just stockinette to the armhole, which is gives me room to think about other things. I’m glad I’m alternating skeins every 2 rounds; I can definitely see a bit of stripeyness as I’m knitting the stockinette section.

My log cabin wrap is done and blocked! I took some pictures in the back yard, but the modeled pictures are coming soon. My sister modeled for me, and we were lucky to catch the last of the cherry blossoms on a neighborhood street. We went downtown, too, but the trees there were no longer very pink!

Just not the right look for the photo shoot. I really have had cherry blossoms on my mind, so I think this pattern will probably be called Cherry Blossom Wrap. Look for it at the end of the week! For now, let me share pictures from a couple weeks ago downtown. This was the hoped for backdrop for our photo shoot, but I wasn’t ready when it was ready.

What are you knitting this spring?

Adventures in knitting math

I finally sat down and finished my second Katie’s Kep. This is the free (for now, until the next Shetland Wool Week pattern is released later this month) pattern by Wilma Malcomsen for Shetland Wool Week. I reduced the stitch count by 15%, one 24 stitch repeat, and it came out to 19.75” unblocked (above). After wet blocking, it’s a perfect 20”, or 85% the width of my first hat. My first hat was a great big gauge swatch!

The first one was 23” after blocking. I gave it to a friend for her birthday, so that worked out perfectly. The second one is the lower one in the picture. On to the next project!

And what was that blue swatch in the first picture? I had a ball of Juniper Farms Zooey, and I wanted to see if it would work for Casapinka’s The Birdwatcher sweater that I posted before. Yes, it could knit to gauge. No, I didn’t like the fabric; it was going to be denser than I wanted for this easy breezy top.

So Rio Calina did get frogged. I had knit about 12” before losing interest. Frogging 2 strands held together and rewinding is a bit of a pain, but it got done.

After frogging, I have 2 100g balls that are 357 yards each. The Birdwatcher pattern calls for 2 400 yard balls. Hmmm. The pattern calls for knitting 12” to the armhole, and it’s about 20” tall overall. My cropped sweaters are usually 9” to the armhole. The missing 3” would be about 15% of the total sweater; backwards that means that my sweater would be 85% of the required yardage. 85% of 400 is 340; my skens are 357…so close. Should I?

Well, it would be an adventure. Adding to the adventure is that the two balls are slightly different in color, so I want to alternate balls every other round. Why not every round? Because it’s worked in the round bottom up to the armhole, and then splits to work flat. I’d be changing every other row at that point, not every row, so it makes sense. I think.

One more piece of adventure: I didn’t really swatch. I cast on to see how I’d feel about that every other round change, knit 10 rounds, and found that I had twisted at the join. Even though I checked 3 times! Ugh. When I took it off the needles, I found that it was a little small (pretty lazy gauge swatch) so I cast on again with a larger needle, and metal instead of wood to make it even looser. We’ll see what size that ends up being in a bit. As you know, I don’t mind ripping things out.

Do as I say, not as I do! A sweater should really have a reasonable gauge swatch, if fit is an issue. But this sweater is meant to be worn with 4-6” of ease, so fit isn’t too critical. As long as it’s not too small, it should be okay. The complicating factor is my limited yardage. But I’ll keep playing with this until I figure out what my next design project is. I think better when my hands are busy!

I say I don’t do math, but it appears that I do…

Knit on!