Category Archives: Knit

Rose City Yarn Crawl trunk shows

The Rose City Yarn Crawl is just around the corner! The 2015 crawl runs from Thursday March 5 through Sunday March 8. There are 15 participating shops in the metro area, check the RCYC website for full details.

rcyc-logo-color-highres

I have the pleasure and honor of having two trunk shows during the crawl. On Thursday March 5 I’ll be at Wool ‘n’ Wares in West Linn from 1 to 5 p.m. They just moved downstairs in their building in December, and I’m looking forward to seeing their new larger space. On Sunday March 8, I’ll be at Twisted in Portland from 1 to 5 p.m. My home stomping grounds! Come by and say hello and see samples of my newest designs, as well as some older favorites, too.

Bonus time! Rose City Yarn Crawl is giving away free pdf downloads of last year’s RCYC pattern collection, through tomorrow, February 28. Hurry!

What else is going on? I’m slowly going through my older designs and updating and reformatting them for my current layout. Most of the time this also means making new charts (I used to chart in Excel; Intwined is so much nicer) as well. Each pattern takes two to three hours to make it flow and make it pretty. Why am I telling you this? If you already purchased these patterns, you can download the new versions. And if these patterns are new to you, you can get them at 20% off through March 7. Here are the designs that have reformatted patterns; use coupon code REFRESH for the discount on any or all of these. Go to the Ravelry page for the design; the Buy Now buttons don’t give the opportunity to enter a coupon code. Sorry about that!

pdxknitterati pointer mitts and hatPointer Mitts and Cap or Beret

zen rain shawletteZen Rain Shawlette

pacific shawlPacific Shawl

pdxknitterati log cabin blanketLog Cabin Baby Blanket

pdxknitterati pedi sockZigZag Lace Pedi Socks

oxo cable fingerless mittsHugs and Kisses OXO Fingerless Mitts

Are you participating in the yarn crawl? Come see me!

Book Review: Sock Yarn Shawls II

sock yarn shawls II

I have a review copy of Jen Lucas’ new book, Sock Yarn Shawls II: 16 Patterns for Lace Knitting. Jen and I share a love of fingering weight shawls of all shapes and sizes.

The book is organized by the size of the shawl. This is great, since many of us look at the yarn in our stash (yes, even I, the non-stasher, now have a stash) and wonder what we can do with the yarn we have. The categories in this book are small (single skein), mid-size (two skeins, either the same or coordinating colors), and large (at least 900 yards and more).

There are many different and fun constructions in this book, including the traditional top down triangle, bottom up crescent, half-pi and full pi (circular), so you won’t be bored, even if you knit them all. What I found most interesting were shawls where Jen plays with familiar constructions, like changing up the length of the short rows to narrow the shawl ends of Jasmine, a crescent shawl,

jasmine

or placing the usual 4 increases over two rows of a triangle shawl only out on the edges (no center spine) of Earth and Sky,

earth and sky

and combining constructions in Sparrow, which begins like a half-pi shawl, and then changes to a 3 sectioned shawl with two increase lines (like a triangle shawl with two spines).

sparrow construction

sparrow

Jen has an inventive mind! No matter what the construction, all the shawls feature lace and are very pretty. The lace instructions are shown in both chart and written form, and the pictures are clear and informative. This book is a definite winner. With so many construction styles, including some join-as-you-knit borders, you’re sure to find a shawl that will look great and teach you something while you knit it, too.

You can see all the shawls on the Ravelry page for this book. The book is available as an e-book through Ravelry, or as a hard copy through the usual outlets.

All images from Sock Yarn Shawls II by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2015; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free with the understanding that I would review it, with no promise of a positive review. My opinion is my own. The book is wonderful!

More Madrona

While classes are a central part of Madrona, they’re not the only reason to go. The market is full of yarn, fiber, books, and tools, and there are demonstrations going on in the rotunda. There is no admission charge for either of these things.

chicken boots knit project bag

I bought this very clever project bag from Saremy at Chicken Boots. The pocket shown here on the front is accessed from inside the bag, so your small items won’t fall out. Me? I’m using the pocket for my pattern, because the vinyl lets me see it, and it’s always accessible.

I met Henry and Roy Clemes through Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep. Clemes and Clemes make all sorts of wooden tools: Drum carders, combs, spinning wheels, looms, blending boards, even this Turkish spindle that Henry is demo-ing here.

Henry Clemes turkish spindle

Clemes and Clemes Turkish spindle

The cool thing about this particular spindle is that it comes with several arms, and you can use as many as you want to vary the weight from 2 to 4 ounces. They stack on the square shaft. It spins very nicely.

Clemes and Clemes blending board

Roy was in the rotunda doing demonstrations. Depending on how you feed the fiber into the drum carder, you can get fiber prepped for worsted or woolen spinning. I had no idea. He made these rolags (for woolen spinning) on the blending board. Meg from NW Handspun Yarns stopped by and showed me how she was spindling long draw from a rolag. I’ve only spun worsted yarns, so now I’m very curious. Luckily, Roy sent me home with these rolags. Thanks, Roy!

I had fun talking to people who have knit or are knitting my designs, and saw some of my designs in the wild.

Jami's Rosaria

Jami from Knitting Bee was wearing her Rosaria Shawlette.

Anne's Aloha shawlette

Anne was wearing one of the three(!) Aloha Shawlettes that she knit. (Anne was in my lace class, too.)

Laurinda, me, Sara

And it was great to connect with other knitters/spinners I know. I had lunch with Laurinda Reddig, designer of last year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet Along, and Sarah of Bumblebirch Yarns. (photo by Laurinda)

I also spent time with Nadine Foster and Judy Becker (of Judy’s Magic Cast On) in the rotunda. They came up on the Traveling Ewe‘s luxury motor coach. What a great way to travel; all that knitting time while someone else does the driving! Although long solo drives are where I work on my harmony singing…

I had a great view out my hotel window. Mt. Rainier was just a tease on Thursday, but Friday’s sunrise featured a pink mountain

mt rainier sunrise

mt rainier

which made a grand appearance a little later, and then disappeared into the clouds again.

Did you miss my lace class review? It’s in the previous post, here.

Were you at Madrona? I hope you had as much fun as I did. I could only go overnight this year; too many things on the schedule. I’ll go again next year, and try to stay longer!

Madrona class review

I took a short trip to Tacoma to visit the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I could only stay for one night, so I packed in all the fun!

I had two classes. My favorite was Designing with Lace Decreases with Evelyn Clark. The very first lace shawl I ever knit was her Shetland Triangle, so I was very pleased to be in this class. Where do the decreases belong, in relation to the yarn overs? Which decrease should you use? Well, it depends on what effect you want.

lace sampler

So much information packed into this little swatch. Notice that it does not mirror from left to right; we had lots of effects to sample! Do you want your decreases to outline your YO? Or a softer edge? Do you want your fabric to bias? (Separate your YO from your decrease.) If that biasing bothers you, consider a project in the round, which will balance out the biasing (as opposed to straight edges that won’t stay straight).

Evelyn had lots of samples to look at, and to explain. One thing she mentioned: Scallops are always stronger at the cast on edge than at the bind off edge. I’d noticed this when I designed my Rockaway Hat/Cowl, and it didn’t matter so much in that instance, but it was nice to know it wasn’t just me. (I could have swatched, but I just knit it up and said, “Oh, hey.”) But if you want to reinforce the scalloping at the bind off edge, you might try adding beads for weight there. Or forego scallops completely, and end with something else. Also, scallops are going to be offset by half a repeat (they won’t look the same at each end of your knitting) because the peak and trough of each wave is offset.

We were given the option of charting out a picture, just for fun. We talked about flipping lace motifs to knit them upside down (for top down knitting). I tried it with my leaf motif that I used in Garland. I showed it to her at the end of class, and she said that some motifs won’t work upside down, and she thought that my leaf might be one. I tried to knit it that night, but I fell asleep, so didn’t finish the flipped one.

leaf lace

But in my email the next morning, I found one from Evelyn, saying that she had thought about it, and knit it, and it really didn’t work. She sent me a picture, and it looks like an arrow! You can’t see the decrease lines at all (bottom of swatch, top chart).

inverted leaf evelyn clark

That, my friends, is a fabulous teacher. I had to figure out if there’s another way to make it work. It is completely different; I just wanted to know if I could. And that’s the mark of a great class, for it to be so thought provoking that you just have to figure it out.

inverted leaf lace knit

I had to use m1 increases and double decreases to get the lines to show up.

leaf lace flipped

It’s not pretty, but I just had to see if it could be done! Evelyn called this playing with lace “nerd knitting” and I am completely nerding out here. But it was fun.

This post is way longer than I anticipated…more in the next one.

Right tools for the job

I’ve been working slowly on my XOXOKAL Fern Shawlette, and I finally realized that I don’t like this yarn/needle combo. The yarn is Louet Gems Fingering, and the needles are Signature circulars. The needles are just a little too slick for this particular yarn. I’m switching back to my Lantern Moon ebony circulars, which is most likely what I used when swatching with this yarn before submitting it to Knit Picks for their Under 100 collection.

kntting needle swap(Slightly grainy pic under incandescent light, sorry.)

Ahhhh. Better. The ebony needles are a little grabbier than the metal, so I no longer feel like my stitches are slip sliding away. I normally love my Signature needles for lace shawls, but not with this yarn! One size does not fit all. I love my ebony needles, too, but not on a project with multiple YO’s that have to scoot from cable to needle. The Signatures were a better choice for those (Aloha Shawlette, Sophie’s Rose). And for the Criss Cross Hats, I’ve been using Hiya Hiya stainless steel circulars, either regular point or the sharps. I like them both, but probably like the sharps a little more. It’s a good thing to have a lot of needles to choose from! I bought several more needles because I’ve been leaving them in my projects as samples for some of my classes.

Do you have a favorite needle?

XOXOKAL

I’ve cast on for the February Hugs and Kisses KAL, now tagged XOXOKAL on Ravelry.

pdxknitterati fern shawlette

Four pattern repeats done on my Fern Shawlette. The beads are very subtle here, but they do show up better in real life.

pdxknitterati louet gems

The yarn is Louet Gems Fingering in Willow, 100g, and Miyuki Delica beads (tubes rather than seed beads) in Celery.

It’s a pleasure becoming reacquainted with this pattern of mine. It’s not difficult, but it does require paying a little attention, and also pausing to add two beads on most right side rows.

pdxknitterati bead tin

I’m using my trusty Bead Aid to add beads to my knitting, and managing my beads with my bead tin. Do you bead your knits? One of the KAL prizes for the weekly drawings is a set of Bead Aids. I know someone will love theirs as much as I love mine!

There’s still time to join the KAL; we’ve only just started casting on. And the Criss Cross patterns are still on sale for 20% off with coupon code WEAVE, through February 10.

February 2015 KAL

KAL details here.

For a little more fun, I’m giving away 2 patterns from this collection here and on Instagram. To enter, leave a comment and let me know which is your favorite! If you already own your favorite, let me know that and your hoped for pattern. On Sunday, February 8, I’ll draw a name from here, and a name from Instagram. (Do you Instagram? I’m PDXKnitterati over there, too.) You can find names of these patterns in this post.

When I’m not working on my Fern Shawlette, I’m being lured by the siren song of a new to me yarn.

malabrigo rastita solis

This is Malabrigo Rastita, a DK weight slightly felted single ply yarn. I am enchanted by it. This color is Solis, a mix of greens and blues. Not quite as blue as this picture would lead you to believe, and knitting at night it looks only green, but by daylight it is gloriously both.

I can’t show you what I’m making with it yet, but I have already knit through one 100g hank, and I’m not bored with it at all.

OK, comment time. Let me know your favorite pattern from the XOXOKAL set! And anything else you want to comment on.

Hugs and Kisses KAL: Casting on soon!

It’s official: Debbie4 named the February KAL on Ravelry: Hugs and Kisses KAL (the shawls/cowl/hat hug your shoulders/neck/head, and the Criss Cross patterns have “kisses” (x’s)

February 2015 KAL

It includes all seven of my patterns released in January 2015, and also the Hugs and Kisses OXO Fingerless Mitts, just because the name fits. Ravelry links below:

Criss Cross Beret

Thrumviator
Criss Cross Hat
Criss Cross Mitts
Hugs and Kisses OXO Cable Fingerless Mitts (not new, but the name fits!)
Fern Lace Shawlette
Sophie’s Rose
Reversi Cowl

Edited to add: Win one of these patterns! Details in next post.

Don’t forget, the discount code for all Criss Cross patterns is WEAVE, good through February 10. And the code for Reversi is DOTDASH, good through January 31.

We’ll cast on February 1. Choose your knit, and join the KAL in this thread in my Ravelry group. I hope you can join us. We’ll have chat and weekly prize drawings. It’s a pretty small group so far, which makes your chances of winning a prize HUGE. Knit on!

New Criss Cross Accessories patterns

Done! The Criss Cross Accessories Collection is now available on Ravelry. I’m really pleased with this collection.

pdxknitterati criss cross hathat

pdxknitterati criss cross beretberet

pdxknitterati criss cross mittsmitts

The patterns are available either singly or as a set of three. To celebrate the launch of this set, use the coupon code WEAVE at checkout through February 10 for 20% off either a single pattern:

hat

beret

mitts

or the e-book. These patterns are also eligible for my February KAL. Come over to the Ravelry group to join the fun! Link to KAL thread here.

Coming soon: Criss Cross Hat, Beret, Mitts

I fell in love with a stitch pattern back in November, and I’ve had a great time playing with it. It’s my adaptation of a stitch pattern I saw in a Japanese stitch dictionary.

pdxknitterati criss cross stitch

It’s kind of like a cable, except the stitches go through each other, instead of in front or behind each other.

pdxknitterati criss cross hat

The first thing I did was try it on a beanie hat in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Indigo; I was teaching a circular hat class at Twisted and wanted to mix things up for myself. A little extra thinking on how I wanted to place my crown decreases, and it was done. Cute! But this style hat doesn’t look great on me, and I really wanted a hat for me.

pdxknitterati criss cross beret

Next up: the slouchy beret. It’s a thing, you know. This is Malabrigo Rios in Azules. Even more thinking about how to arrange crown decreases (I think you’ll really like it), and I love it. It looks good on Bobbi, my model, and it looks cute on me, too!

pdxkitterati criss cross beret

But what happens if you need a bigger one? If you have a big head? So I knit another one in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Black Forest, with more stitches. Looks great, but you know what? In wet blocking, the bottom band of the beret gets super stretchy, so you don’t really need more stitches to get a beret that fits a larger head. The diameter of the beret is a tad bigger, but not anything to write home about. If you want a little extra slouch, knit the large size, but the circumference of the band is hugely malleable. I put some elastic in the band on both the smaller and larger versions, and both fit my largish head just fine.

pdxknitterati criss cross beret

And then I knit one in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Moss to check my numbers, while I was on vacation. It still needs blocking.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

Unless a hat is super special (like Thrumviator, or Pippi), I like to have matching mitts to justify the pattern. Here’s the first version of the mitts in Indigo, like the beanie. I used a peasant thumb, because I didn’t want to mess with the criss cross stitch pattern. It worked great.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts and beret

Since I made the blue beret for me, I wanted matching mitts. Done. And check out those lovely crown decreases.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

I made a green set for my friend Carole for Christmas, because she loved the yarn color (Moss). I knit them with a larger needle, because the original mitts were a bit snug on her. The pattern repeat is large enough that you can’t easily change the number of stitches to adjust sizing. But when she put one of the mitts on upside down, I decided it was time to rethink the peasant thumb (which also looked a little sloppy at larger gauge).

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

I made this set in Malabrigo Rios, as a Christmas gift for my niece. (The blue Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere that I originally gave her with a promise of mitts was too heavy for this pattern, and also excess dye was crocking all over my hands and needles. Not happy with that one. Couldn’t find Azules in Rios again, so I opted for Solis, which is green. She can have her choice of these, or the Indigo pair. Her mom (my sister) is hoping she chooses Indigo, so she can have the green for herself. Go Ducks!) I used my favorite increased thumb gusset. Careful planning meant it didn’t interrupt the stitch pattern at all. Fits like a dream. The cuffs are a little longer than necessary, though.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

One more time! I knit the mitts once more in Moss, with a thumb gusset, and adjusted the overall length which required adjusting the stitch pattern. Perfect. I do all this messing around, so you don’t have to!

Patterns are all with my tech editor right now. I’m going to set them up as individual patterns, but you’ll be able to purchase them either individually, or as a set of two or three patterns, with discounts for sets. Coming soon! And the Criss Cross accessories will be eligible for February’s KAL, too.

Have you ever fallen in love with a technique or stitch pattern, and had to play it out to the nth degree? That happened to me with entrelac, and with my favorite leaf motif (Big Leaf Scarf, Garland, Autumn Scarf, a couple other projects in the works or hibernating.) I think I’ve finally played out this stitch pattern for me; that was a lot of knitting! Now it’s time to cast on something new…

Malabrigo Reversi Cowl

Mmmmmm, Malabrigo. This sumptuously squishy cowl is knit in the round with two coordinating colors of Malabrigo Worsted, a lovely single ply merino yarn. Cleverly slipped stitches look like Morse code, but it’s not saying anything except, “Wear me!” Only one color is worked per round. Reversing colors halfway through gives you two looks with one quick flip. You can easily adjust the length and height of this cowl to suit your fancy.

pdxknitterati reversi cowl

This pattern is available for $6 USD via download through Ravelry, Reversi Cowl link here. To celebrate the launch of this pattern, I’m offering 20% off with coupon code DOTDASH.

pdxknitterati reversi cowl

I took this picture last fall, just before I bound off. I love the contrast between the cowl and the Japanese maple leaves!

I’m planning a February KAL through my Ravelry PDXKnitterati group. You can knit along with me, any of my patterns released this month. So far the patterns are:
.
pdxknitterati sophies roseSophie’s Rose

fern shawletteFern Lace Shawlette

thrumviator hatThrumviator

Reversi, shown above,

and my newest design, which should be published next week, Criss Cross Beret, Hat, and/or Fingerless Mitts. I’m looking forward to showing you these, soon. There’s a very cool stitch pattern as a theme.

We’ll have weekly prize drawings during the KAL; show me your progress and you’ll be entered in the drawings! I’m looking for a clever name for this KAL. Leave me a suggestion either here or on the Ravelry PDXKnitterati discussion board, and if I pick yours, there’s a prize for you.

Let’s go!