Category Archives: Knit

Introducing: Dotty Cake

I’m in love with my new hat!

Dotty Cake is a fun to knit hat that combines herringbone braids and slip stitch dots. The crown is fairly flat, like that of a tam. The braids create sections, making the hat look like a layer cake! I find that the flat crown is more flattering on me than a traditional closely fitted beanie.

Dotty Cake is knit in the round from the bottom up. It’s a quick knit in worsted weight yarn. I used Knit Picks Chroma Worsted for this larger hat, in Natural and Pegasus.

This smaller hat is knit in Malabrigo Worsted in Sunset and Malamba. Only one color is used per round in the Dotty stitch sections. The pattern includes a video tutorial for the herringbone braids.

The hat is meant to fit with a bit of negative ease; I’m wearing the 19” hat on my 22” head.

The Dotty Cake pattern is on sale for 15% off through December 12, 2019, no coupon code needed. You can find the Ravelry page here.

Thank you to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Susan Schwartzenberger, Jae Tauber, and Nan Wagner. And thank you to my sister Sharon Hsu for taking pictures of me!

Kaleidescopically beautiful

Coming soon, Dotty Cake, a hat that makes me think of Funfetti. Yes, really.

I designed this Dotty Cowl last year for Knit Picks, and I really loved the slip stitch pattern that I created for it. I knew it wanted to be used again. And I finally got around to it. It’s being test knit now, and has already been tech edited. I’m guessing I’ll publish it in early December, plenty of time to make a slew of them for gifts! I knit one in 2 days, and I think test knitter Ann is even quicker than I am.

It’s been a whirlwind of a November, with Vogue Knitting Live, Vogue Knitting Destination: Portland, a raft of full classes at Twisted, and a little time spent on a not-knitting project, too.

I took a block printing class last year with Leslie Nan Moon while I was in Ellensburg, WA. I liked my block, but knew I could do better. So I recarved my block a couple weeks ago, and love it so much more. Here’s a print from the first one.

And here’s a print from the revision:

It’s so much better! I’ll be using this for…something soon!

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year for DH’s family, so there’s a lot of last minute stuff going on, too. Gotta fly!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving, if you’re here in the USA?

VKLive Columbus

VogueKnitting Live Columbus was my first VKLive event, and it did not disappoint. I had a great time teaching, and seeing friends old and new.

Mount Hood at pre-dawn

My flight was early, but a snow delay in Chicago meant I missed the teacher meeting on Thursday night. Happy Halloween! That meeting is a great place for first time teachers to get to know the others, but Marie Greene of Olive Knits helped me catch up. Thanks, Marie! (We go way back to her blogging days when she used to live in Nebraska.)

The hallways were decked with samples from Vogue Knitting. Very inspiring; let’s knit more!

I taught Herringbone Braids and Beyond: Braided Wristlets on Friday morning, and met Kim, who I know on Instagram. It’s so nice to meet friends in person, finally.

I gave a lecture, Blocking: It’s Magic, in the afternoon. My PowerPoint presentation worked just the way I wanted it to, hooray! Well, almost. My Microsoft fonts didn’t carry over to the MacBook it was running on, but all the words were there. I win! The first time for anything always makes me nervous.

I had lunch with Kim and Colette at the North Market, and was sadly too full to have Jeni’s Ice Cream. Don’t worry, I made up for it the next day. Boozy Eggnog and Darkest Chocolate, a winning combination.

Statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger

This is how I felt after teaching and lecturing on Day 1. Woot! This statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger is outside the convention center; I’m not sure why.

I taught my Athena Entrelac Cowl, and Knitting and Designing with Favorite Shawl Shapes on Saturday. Those shawl shape knitters were really on the ball; they had lots of great questions and ideas.

On Sunday morning I taught my Brioche Pastiche Hat class. And my AV did not fail me. I brought speakers and we even had sound for the videos, yay! I had two backup plans, but they weren’t necessary. Now that I know what the equipment is, I’m good to go for VKLive NYC in January.

Along the way:

I met Nancy Marchant on Saturday, which gave me a chance to thank her for changing my knitting life. Her brioche books are the best! And she’s so down to earth; I really enjoyed talking with her. I love her advice for fixing brioche mistakes: Don’t make any!

I had a moment to chat with Franklin Habit. I have always been impressed with his classes; he’s consistently well prepared and has a great presentation style. We’ll meet up again in February at Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat. Registration begins November 9 at 10 am; come knit with us!

The market was packed with beautiful yarn, bags, buttons, and more. I loved this display at the Freia Handpaints booth. I want to wear this with a tiara…

Nancy had a couple samples she wanted to show Tina, including Bonfire from Leafy Brioche (on Tina). Perfection :sigh:

Michelle and Shelia (owner) at Urban Girl Yarns were charming and had lovely yarns, too! I’m not a stasher, or I would have indulged. My current work pile said no!

I did buy some interesting knitting needles; they’re made by Prym. They hav a drop shaped tip to avoid splitting yarn, and then transiton from round to triangular for better ergonomics. They have a good bit of flex to them, too. I’m looking forward to trying them. No picture yet; it’s too dark this morning.

Also exhibiting in the market: Melinda K. P. Stees from Image Knits. Melinda uses Photoshop to analyze photographs, and then uses fine gauge machine knitting to create gray scale images. Each stitch is a pixel. This kitty will have eyes duplicate stitched in golden yellow. Check Melinda’s website for more images.

It works in blue, too. This eclipse stunning. And check out the hands behind the eclipse.

Daniel was in my brioche class, and showed me his experiments with crochet grid to make a more stable fabric that isn’t as super stretchy as brioche. He’s made blankets and is working on a vest. Inspiring and fascinating.

And since this blog is my journal, I’m reminding myself what I wore this time around…

Clara Parkes kept me in good company on the way home. I finished this book on my last flight, and highly recommend it.

On to Vogue Knitting: Destination Portland next Friday! I’m teaching Brioche Pastiche, and it will be fun. But first, a creative weekend with friends.

How is your November going? Mine is…busy!

Stretchier bind offs for knitting

I recently received my Parquetry cowl sample back from Fiber Gallery.

When it arrived I decided that I wanted it to be…more.

So I frogged the old bind off and added more to the body of the cowl. And then I decided that I wanted an even stretchier bind off than the suspended bind off that I had used before. Apparently I was very relaxed when I cast on my Parquetry, and that edge was super stretchy! I went poking through Cap Sease’s Cast On Bind Off book, and learned the Russian Bind Off.

I love it! I made a video so you can learn it and love it, too.

Now I have several stretchy bind offs in my knitting tool kit:

Elastic Bind Off, which I like for edges on lace shawls

Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, which I like for binding off brioche rib

Suspended Bind Off, when just a little extra stretch is needed

And now the Russian Bind Off, when I want even more stretch!

Remember, you’re the boss of your knitting, and you can use whatever cast on or bind off you want in your project. You RULE!

Fall Shawl Retreat, done!

Just back from a very pretty weekend in the Columbia River Gorge. It was my second Fall Shawl Retreat at Quinn Mountain with Laurinda Reddig of ReCrochetions. We had a great group of knitters and crocheters working on their Lucky Star and Star Bright shawls.

I made a small sample to use for our blocking demonstration; we had blocking wires from Fiber Dreams. I should have brought an extra blocking mat; my sample was wider than I anticipated!

Knit Picks donated our needles and hooks. I really like the finish on the nickel plated needles, and they’re just pointy enough. The joins between the cable and needle are very smooth. The wooden interchangeable needles are nice, too.

They also donated this wonderful swift for winding our yarns; that made things go a lot quicker!

Twisted donated rainbow stitch markers, rainbow unicorn scissors, and needle gauges. Good tools make knitting and crocheting so much more fun! Thanks so much to all our sponsors.

I stayed overnight in Camas, which is a very cute little town.

Last year this statue modeled the beginning of my Nymphaea Shawl. This year she’s wearing Shall We Dance, my planned pooling cowl.

I brought my newly re-finished Parquetry Cowl, too. I changed my bind off, because why not learn a new thing? I’ll post about the Russian Bind Off in a separate post, after I make a video tutorial.

Here are a few more views at Quinn Mountain:

And the view from Cape Horn up the Columbia River Gorge towards Beacon Rock was so stunning I had to stop and take a better look!

How was *your* weekend?

Fussing with finished knitting

Do you ever go back and adjust things, after you’ve finished? Or are you all for good enough and done? Apparently I’m a fusser.

My Parquetry Cowl sample came back to me, and I decided I wanted it to be just a little more…more. So I frogged the ending and I’m adding a half repeat, which will make it 8 inches tall instead of 7. It will look about the same, but there will just be a little more squishiness to enjoy.

I wasn’t sure what needle I had used, and I wanted to use the same material to keep consistent gauge. Ebony? Stainless? I scrolled through my phone to see if I had taken any progress pics.

Bingo! Looks like my Hiya Hiya stainless. Ravelry and the pattern told me it was a US size 6. No guessing here! Did I re-use the yarn that had previously been knitted into the cowl? No. I had plenty left over, and the previous steam blocking left the yarn a bit kinky. I don’t mind knitting with kinky yarn, but I didn’t want it to mess with my gauge. Fresh yarn was a better choice.

Almost done! And because I’m really a fusser, I edited the pattern to add the half repeat ending to it, too. If you recently bought Parquetry from my Ravelry store, you will have received an email regarding an update. But don’t worry; the previous pattern instructions work well, too. BTW, Parquetry is still on sale for 10% off through October 11, 2019.

Also in the fussy column: I decided that my very cropped Soldotna Crop wanted to be just a little longer, too. So I frogged the ribbing at the bottom and added one repeat (6 rows) of the dot stitch pattern, gaining 3/4 of an inch. That’s really all the MC Iris I had left, so that’s long enough! Not worth purchasing another skein for any more length, and it’s perfect now. I’m really happy with it.

So…do you fuss? Tell all!

Re-introducing: Parquetry

I designed Parquetry last spring for The Fiber Gallery for the Puget Sound Yarn Tour. It’s just come back to me, so I can now introduce it here.

I designed it to be a simple and easy knit. Garter stitch and simple brioche stitches combine to form the checkerboard pattern, like a parquet floor.

Knit cowl with cat in reflection

I used two coordinating colors Of Hazel Knits Lively DK. I think this was the first time I used their DK, and I liked it so much I used more of it for my Soldotna Crop. It’s great yarn to knit with. But you can use any heavy DK/worsted yarn for your Parquetry. Just adjust your needle size to get a fabric you like.

The pattern is now available on Ravelry, link here. And it’s 10% off through October 11, 2019, no coupon code needed.

Happy knitting!

FO! Lucky Star redux for Shawl Retreat Oct. 11-13

I finished my Lucky Star just in time for Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

Nothing like the power of a deadline! It went to be in Laurinda’s ReCrochetions booth as a promo for our Seeing Stars Fall Shawl Retreat at Quinn Mountain. There are just a couple spots left, so if you’re looking for a small retreat in a beautiful setting, sign up now.

I’m featuring my better garter tab for top down crescent shawls, which helps reduce the hump that can occur at the center neck. Who wants a humpy lumpy neck? Not me!

I’ll also be showing how to make your stars even bigger! Laurinda was inspired to design her Star Bright shawl based on my Lucky Star shawl, and I was inspired to make even bigger stars based on her Star Bright. Synchronicity!

This year we’re featuring yarn from Mosaic Moon at the retreat; the colors are shown above on the right. Mine is the Pear colorway. I hope you can join us. Register here!

Nymphaea Shawl FO number 3!

I started this shawl for the Nymphaea Fall Shawl Retreat last year, and set it aside sometime after my last post about it in November 2018. Other design projects were calling my name. You can see my progress up to that point in the previous blog post, with lots of thoughts about color and beads.

So when the Bead Biz ladies asked if they could borrow my sample for their shows, I decided now would be a good time to finish!

I was already on the 10th repeat of the ZigZag Lace pattern, and that was about where I wanted to end up. There’s enough yarn left for at least another partial repeat, maybe a half? But deadlines are deadlines, so I finished the 10th repeat and went on to the edging.

I was planning to use the dove gray pearl beads on the edging, but the yarn in the Soft Kitty colorway was tabby striping, and the beads weren’t really adding anything to the story. So I ripped back and changed to peacock beads, to pick up the teal from the last repeat. I love it.

The finished shawl is so beautiful; can I really stand to let it out of my custody to go to west coast shows with Bead Biz?

Sure, as long as it comes back soon. The yarn is from Fierce Fibers, her Abyss base (with silk!) in the Surf and Sand gradient. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Finally!

The original shawl was knit with a mini skein gradient.

The second shawl was knit with 2 435 yard semi solid skeins from Bumblebirch. (Lots of CC left over.)

And this third shawl was knit with a 650 yard gradient from Fierce Fibers, plus a 50g skein of contrasting yarn.

I love them all!

Color is a funny thing

Color is a funny thing. I learn a lot about it by trial and error.

I bought these two skeins of of Malabrigo Worsted to play with some more brioche ideas. I wanted the multi-color to be the main color, and the Polar Frost to be the contrast color.

But the multi doesn’t really stand out here, or look very organized.

The back side is a little more cohesive; you can tell where the stitch columns are. This made me think that the semi-solid should be the MC, and the multi should be the CC. But this combination doesn’t really have much spark.

So I bought more yarn. This is how a non-swatcher accumulates a stash, by the way.

Now we’re cooking! I like this orange on the right side.

And because of the contrast with the bright orange, the multi-colored wrong side looks more cohesive, too.

What am I making? I’m just playing with a couple brioche ideas right now. We’ll see how it turns out!