Category Archives: Knit

Counting cable rows, Art&Craft Pop-up sale

While I’ve got this giant yarn on my needles, I thought I’d share the tip I learned from Norah Gaughan in her two-sided cables class at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. (That’s 2 CGFF-related posts in a row. It was a great trip!)

Counting cable crossings

How many rows has it been since I cabled? See the hole where my finger is coming out? That indicates last cable crossing. The first ladder next to my finger is from the cable row. The three other ladders over my finger are the three rows that followed. My thumb is pointing at the ladders, just to be helpful. This shows that I have worked the cable row and three more rows (actually rounds here). According to my pattern, it’s time for my next cable crossing!

Thanks to Biscuit (Bisquee) for helping. If you’d like to follow her on Instagram, she’s @thebiscuitreport. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram, I’m @pdxknitterati. I gave her a separate account so my account could be more focused; we’ll see how that works!

Don’t forget I’m giving away my Addi Turbo US 17 circular; see previous post for details and to enter for a chance to win it.

And I’m about to start the toe of this Super Cabled Christmas Stocking, after this last round of cables. Should be done today. Which is good, because I need it tomorrow. I’m teaming up with several local artists for pop-up Art&Craft Show and Sale.

Pop Up Flyer

There will be paintings, pottery, fused glass, jewelry (earrings, wrap bracelets, more), quilted items, greeting cards, and lots more.

I’m selling a lot of my design samples, because I need room for the next generation. And these deserve a chance to be worn in the world. Here’s some of what I’ll have there. If you’re local, come and say hi. I’ll be there on Friday (tomorrow), and my knits will be there throughout the weekend (although I’m hoping they’ll all be sold by the end of Sunday). Here’s a small sample of what I’m bringing. There’s a lot more…

Pop up knits

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.

Happy Thanksgiving, and meet Zephyr!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s been a great year, knit-wise. I’m grateful for a life of designing and teaching, and meeting lots of fun knitters along the way. Knitters are the best people! We don’t have to agree on everything to be able to knit together. (Steek? Yes! Kitchener? No!)

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is in full swing on Ravelry. Go join the group, use the coupon code giftalong2016, and join the KAL/CAL fun!

Zephyr Shawlette

I’m introducing another new design today. This is the Zephyr Shawlette, an asymmetric triangle knit on the bias. It’s named after the west wind. The lacy arrow represents the wind blowing west to east. The eyelets are like bubbles rising on the wind. I love that the yarn I used is called Bollicina, which is Italian for bubble. It’s 65% cashmere, 35% silk which makes it soooo luxurious. Sadly this yarn is discontinued, but any other fingering weight yarn will make an equally lovely Zephyr.

Zephyr wingspan

I had 550 yards, so this knit up into a gorgeous large wrap. The pattern is easily adapted to your yardage; it starts at the narrow point and grows from there.

Zephyr Shawlette gradient wingspan

Ann Berg test knit this for me with a Canon Hand Dyes William gradient, 460 yards of gorgeous shifting color.

Zephyr detail

And Rachel Nichols test knit this for me with the Fiber Seed’s Sprout fingering in Robin’s Egg, 480 yards.

Thanks for knitting, ladies! And thanks to Amanda Woodruff for tech editing. This is one of my favorite kinds of knitting, mostly stockinette so I can read blogs or my Kindle, or watch TV, and only pay close attention for a little bit. It would also be great for meditative knitting.

The pattern is on Ravelry, and it’s 15% offf through December 5, 2016, no coupon needed. But if you’re subscribed to my mailing list, you can get 20% off instead, with a coupon code from my newsletter. Let me know if you’d like to subscribe.

Trellis Vines Mitts

One more new release this week, this one through Knit Picks. I’m releasing a mitts only version of my Beanstalk Mitts and Scarf. It’s called Trellis Vines Mitts, and they coordinate with my Trellis Vines Stole Poncho.

Trellis Vines Stole Poncho

Same lovely lacy leaf and trellis pattern, using the same sport/dk weight yarn.

What else is going on? I’m taking a Harmony Singing by Ear class with Anne Weiss over at Artichoke Music in Portland. I’ve sung in her classes before; she is knowledgeable, supportive, and fabulous. I put class to use last weekend while singing with friends in church. I’m the low harmony on the verses of this version of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” Click this link if you want to listen.

Rolling up my sleeves and getting to work in the kitchen. Here’s the recipe for my favorite turkey stuffing. My Baba (daddy) used to make it this way. I love that he used to just make things up, and suddenly we had our own Chinese version of an American tradition. I miss him lots, since 2001.

Chinese Sausage/Oyster/Water Chestnut Rice Stuffing, enough for a 15-20 lb turkey
2.5 cups uncooked rice (I like brown medium grain, but whatever you have is fine)
3 Chinese sausage (lap xuong)
2 (two) 8 oz jars of fresh small shucked oysters, drained and cut in half if they seem large
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch on diagonal
1 onion, chopped
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 eggs, scrambled (if you want it to be prettier, cook separately before adding so you have ribbons of scrambled egg)
1 tbsp soy sauce

Pre-cook rice, along with sausage. (Lay the sausage on top of the rice when you turn the heat down after it boils; they will be perfect.) When rice is done, remove sausage and slice 1/4 inch on diagonal.

Now it’s time to really cook!
Sauté sausage, onion, and celery in 1 tbsp oil. When onion is soft, add oysters and cook until they are just barely done (there will be a lot of moisture in the pan). Add water chestnut and eggs; cook ’til eggs are done. Beginning adding rice, one cup at a time, working it in. You may not use all the rice. When you have enough rice worked in (so that the ratio of rice to goodies looks right), add a bit of soy sauce for color (go lightly!). Salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the turkey, or not!

This is basically fried rice, with oysters and chinese sausage. yum….

I hope you’re having a peaceful weekend with people you love. Lots of time to knit while waiting for a turkey to roast. And then the mad rush to make gravy. Cheers!

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: Ships in the Night Shawl

It finally stopped raining, so I had the chance to photograph my newest shawl design: Ships in the Night.

Ships in the Night

This was my comfort knitting when Bisquee/Biscuit/BellaTrix/Trix was ill after her adventures in the fireplace. It’s probably the most soothing knit I’ve ever designed. So much zen garter stitch, with just enough Fibonacci sequence thrown into the striping that you don’t fall asleep knitting. “Ships in the Night” refers to the Fibonacci stripe patterns gliding past each other. I knit mine with two coordinating skeins of Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock yarn.

Ships in the Night shawl wingspan

It’s an absolute joy to wear, too. Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug.

Ships in the Night Shawl

Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing. Ella is much taller than I am, so it’s not quite as engulfing on her. Your mileage may vary. You could also wear it bandanna style, with both ends hanging in front. I did that yesterday.

For long-time readers who want to know: Bobbi is away at college, and Ella stepped in to help me out. Thanks, Ella!

The pattern is available through Ravelry, pattern page here. I’m offering 20% off the price of the pattern to subscribers of my new newsletter through November 15. Have you signed up? Leave a comment below if you’d like to. You’ll also receive my Lobelia Shawl/Shawlette pattern, free.

I’m hoping you’ll love this comfort knitting. It’s election week here in the USA, and I think many of us could use a chill pill right about now!

Madrona 2017

First off: If you’re looking for my blog post about signing up for my newsletter, there’s a link at the bottom of this post.

The schedule is up! The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival is February 16-19 (President’s Day weekend), and registration for classes opens on the morning of November 10. I am super excited to be teaching my class, Be Manipulative: Elongated Novelty Stitches, on Saturday afternoon.

Elongated Stitches class

I love how these stitches give my knitting a little extra zing. I’ve used these in many of my designs such as my Criss Cross Accessories, Tilt Shift Wrap, Sophie’s Rose and Aloha Shawls, and my Tridacna Cowls. We’ll knit a sampler in class, and then you’ll be ready for them to dress up your knitting, too.

I taught a mini class on blocking at Madrona last year, and we’re planning to have it again this year, as well as another class if the schedule holds. Mini class registration will be in January.

As I said in my previous post on Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, I love taking classes and learning new things, including extra things that aren’t the focus of the class. Who knows what might come up?

Besides classes, Madrona has a wonderful market, demonstrations, evening entertainment, and lots of opportunities for knitting and spinning with friends old and new. A little something for everyone. Are you planning to go to Madrona? It’s one of my favorite events of the year, and I hope to see you there.

As promised: If you’re looking to sign up for my new newsletter, here’s the link to the post about that. There’s a free pattern as a reward for your efforts. I just sent out the first wave, and I think it looks pretty spiffy. There were a couple bounced emails, so if you’re Trish or Mary and you didn’t get the newsletter email, please give me your email addy again. Thanks!

Free pattern for newsletter subscribers

Coming soon: the PDXKnitterati newsletter! What’s in it for you? Hot news about new designs, new classes, and what I’m up to next. I’ll offer discounts on new designs, just for subscribers. And as an extra thank you, you’ll also receive a coupon for a free copy of my Lobelia Shawl and Shawlette pattern through Ravelry.

Lobelia Shawl

If you’d like to sign up, please leave a comment below (your email won’t show publicly, but I can see it), or email me at pdxknitterati(at)comcast(dot)net (replace the at with @ and the dot with a period, and you’re all set). I plan on sending newsletters once or twice a month; I don’t want to overwhelm either of us. And I won’t share your email with anyone. Yes, I’m going to learn to automate the sign-up process, but not today!

Ships in the Night

I have two new designs in the pipeline, nearly ready to publish, and I’ll be offering discounts only through the newsletter. I’ve been wearing this one a lot; it’s my current favorite.

Don’t forget, comment or email me to subscribe, and I’ll put you on the list. Thank you!

Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival recap

Well, that was a whirlwind fun weekend! I went to The Dalles (where?!), Oregon for the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival this weekend, and had a blast. Three classes, chatting with knitters, and shopping…I’m one tired pup.

My first class was Happily Ever After (ergonomics) with Carson Demers. Lots of information on where we get our stress while knitting, and ways to alleviate it. For someone like me who knits for hours every day, this will go a long way towards making me a more comfortable knitter. Easiest takeaway: Take breaks! Avoid the death grip, match the right needles with the right yarn, have a variety of types of projects. And more.

My second class was Lace Doctor with Patty Lyons. I fix mistakes in my lace all the time, but usually in the same row, or a few stitches on the next right side row. I knew it was possible to fix an entire section of lace (several stitches/rows), but hadn’t had the need to do it. This class MADE me do it.

Before Lace Doctor Before. See how that center chevron is all wonky?

Ready to Rock and Roll Lace Doctor

Ready to rock and roll!

Halfway there! Lace DoctorHalfway there!

After Lace DoctorAfter: All better!

This was exactly the experience I was looking for. I’ll offer my own take on lace fixing (and probably simple cables, too) in advanced Tink, Drop, Frog classes in 2017.

My third class (whew!) was Two Sided Cables with Norah Gaughan. Wow. We knit several cable swatches and learned what kind of cables lend themselves to cables on the reverse side. These are not just reversible cables (usually made in ribbing), but cables that look completely different on the front and back. A whole new world! I bought Norah’s book and have been paging through it and dreaming big.

Norah Gaughan cable book

One of the things I love about taking classes is incidental learning, things that aren’t the focus of the class, but come up in passing during class. In my cable class, I was sitting in front of Carson Demers and Mary Scott Huff (both fabulous knitters and teachers). Mary had learned the alternate cable cast on in another class with Norah, and proceeded to play with it and discovered a way to make it look like a tubular cast on.

Super Tubie Cast On

Mary’s swatch on the left, mine on the right (my edge is a little taller than Mary’s, a result of on-the-fly what-iffing.) Carson suggested changing the cast on from cable to a knit cast on to make it lean less on the first row. I’ll try it and share later. Totally tubular.

Mary and Carson are both teaching at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in February, and so am I! So thrilled to be in their esteemed company. More on that later.

This was an inspiring weekend, class-wise. I have a lot of new ideas to play with, and look forward to sharing with you. But wait, you say…What about the market? A fiber festival must have a market, right?

Yes, of course. A few pictures, for fun.

Alpha B Hipster B

Dyer Alpha B was in the Knot Another Hat booth with several of her yarns. I picked up this Hipster B Aran weight from her; it’s 100% merino, not superwash, slightly crunchy, and milled on Whidbey Island, WA. The color is called Sink Back Into the Ocean. It’s a little more green than it shows on this gray day, and has a wonderful tonal quality.

Bumblebirch

Sarah of Bumblebirch and helper Felicia were super cute as bumblebees.

Bumblebirch Heartwood

I picked these three colors of Heartwood (fingering weight 75/25 superwash merino/nylon): Atlantic, Honey, and Crush. I have a shawl I’ve been dreaming about for 2 years, and I hope two of these colors will make it happen. Honey and Atlantic, or Honey and Crush? We shall see…

Czech glass buttons

I fell in love with some Czech glass buttons, and bought the two little dragonfly buttons you see here. One will be the closure on a wrap bracelet (I bought beads last week), and the other? Not sure yet.

Sari Peterson

There was a lot more to the market, including my favorite spinner/spindle peddler Sari of Twists and Turnings. And Grace of Grace’s Cases (maker of my current favorite teaching bag). And Stacey of Fierce Fibers, who is playing with gradient cakes.

Fierce Fibers gradient cakes

and so much more!

Okay, time to get back to work. Thanks for visiting CGFF through this blog post. See you there next year?

Coming soon, garter stitch zen

Remember this garter stitch “worry bead” knitting?

purple garter crescent

It grew up to be this:

Ships in the Night

The pattern is coming soon; it’s back from the tech editor and is being test knit.

You might remember that it was my zen project when Biscuit/BellaTrix/Bisquee was ill after her adventures in the fireplace. It’s probably the most soothing knit I’ve ever designed. It’s an absolute joy to wear, too. I wore it for the first time on Sunday, because I was worried about kitty again. She was really sick last week, and after three vet visits and worry about lack of appetite, obstructions, pancreatitis, and food alllergies, it turned out to be a UTI, mostly. She’s back to her happy self, and a little more snuggly and a little less naughty. She’s growing up!

But about the shawl: Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug. Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing.

Ships in the Night

The stripes are based on the Fibonacci sequence, so there’s a little bit of nerdy fun in there too. The current name is Ships in the Night for the way the stripes glide past each other, but I could also call it BellaTrix for this silly kitty. Even though her name is Biscuit. Pronounced Bisquee. What do you think?

Biscuit BellaTrix

Looking forward to sharing it with you soon!

What Springsteen said to me

“You’re a dangerous woman.”

Springsteen n me

Who, me?

Bruce Springsteen was in town to promote his new autobiography, “Born to Run.” The event was at Powell’s Books, a large and wonderful independent bookstore here in PDX. We managed to get tickets (we crashed the first server, just like Sock Summit), but poor DH is out of town so a friend came with me.

The rules:

• The event is a meet and greet only. There will be no book discussion, booksigning, or performance.

• Springsteen will not sign anything during the event (books will be pre-signed). No memorabilia or other items are allowed.

• Please leave bags, backpacks, and personal items at home as these are not permitted at the event. Any personal items that cannot be pocketed will not be permitted in the event space. This includes backpacks, purses, shopping bags, etc. Only the book that ticket buyers receive at check-in will be allowed into the event space with ticket holders.

• You are allowed one posed photo with Bruce Springsteen. An employee of Powell’s will take the picture using your phone or camera.

Knitting in line

I don’t have a lot of clothing with pockets; I’m all about the skirts and boots! I wanted to take some knitting with me for waiting in line, and it had to be small to fit in my tiny jacket pockets. I’m not a sock knitter, but a half ball of yarn and a sock on the needles made sense. Of course, for me it was sport weight on size 2 magic loop. Look at that heel flap! I finished the flap, the heel turn, and started gusset decreases while in line.

What do you say to Bruce Springsteen, that hasn’t been said a million times before? In my case, it was, “Would you hold my sock?” (Definitely inspired by the Yarn Harlot.) But when it was my turn, the handler looked at my needles and told me I couldn’t go up with knitting needles. So I took the needles out, because I really wanted Bruce to hold my sock. Here’s our exchange.

Me: Would you hold my sock?

Bruce: (looks bemused)

Me: I had to take the needles out; they wouldn’t let me have them near you.

Bruce: You’re a dangerous woman…with those needles!

He had the sock; I had the yarn ball in my pocket. We’re connected by yarn! So we took our picture, and I thanked him for coming before they sent me on my way. 10 seconds, totally worth it.

Springsteen n me at Powell's

I just found out that you can make gifs and videos from the live photos on newer iPhones. So here it is; I love how Bruce is wiggling the sock. Too cute!

Springsteen sock wiggle gif

As I said, I’m not really a sock knitter, so I may never finish this sock. I’d have to put it back on the needles, for starters. So I think it will go in a shadow box with the picture, and we’ll call it good.

The Oregonian was there talking to people who were waiting in line, and I ended up in their video. I’m at the 26 second mark, in my Webfoot Shawlette in Hazelknits Entice, Hoppy Blond.

OK, back to knitting!