Category Archives: Knit

River and sky #4catbordhi

I’m trying to get excited about my emPower People bandana, but I’m just not. I think it’s even frowning at me! I had hoped to finish it and use it for special election Tuesday next week, but I’m just not feeling the love. I’m going to put it aside for now.

I need to work on my Half the Knit Sky KAL; I’m trying to finish by the end of August. I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s a lot more knitting than I expect, because the yardage on this Huckleberry Knits gradient is so much longer than on my original KnitCircus gradient.

I love how subtle the color shift is.

If you’re knitting along, please post a picture on Instagram or Ravelry so you can be in this week’s prize drawing. I’ll pick a winner over the weekend.

My Rio Calina #4catbordhi is calling my name. I love how quickly this river moves along, big stitches, bold cables. I’m trying to be random with the cables and go with the flow, but those two long lines heading to the left are just begging for an intervention!

What is your knitting telling you to do?

Onward!

New on the needles: Rio Calina

Well, I didn’t find 2 skeins of worsted in my small stash, but I did find 2 skeins of fingering weight that I could use doubled, for a roughly worsted equivalent.

This is Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering Multi in their Springwater colorway. One of them seems more purple than the other, but that just means that the blend will be that much richer.

The pattern for the Rio Calina cowl is a gift from Cat Bordhi. The cables are meant to be random, like a river. I’m not very good at being random. I like rules; that’s how I design. I’m trying to be intentionally random here, which is testing me a bit, but for Cat Bordhi, I’d do it. Thank you, Cat, for encouraging me to go with the flow.

I cast on while Carole was visiting for wine o’clock in the backyard; she was working on a quilt while I was knitting. It would be sweet to knit this only when I’m with friends, either in person or in virtual Zoom knit nights. But that may not work during our pandemic social distancing. We’ll see how strong the pull of the knitting is. I now have 3 projects on the needles, so I can rotate…randomly?

Cat Bordhi is such a shining light; I’m so sad that the knitting world will soon be without her. If you missed her grace-filled post, it’s here.

Do you want to knit along? You can see posts with #4catbordhi on Instagram and other social media. I’ll be knitting, over here.

WIP it, WIP it good

You know I’m pretty much a monogamous knitter. I like having one, or at most two, projects on the needles. That makes it easier for me to get things done. Right now I have two projects, my Half the Knit Sky KAL and the emPower People Brioche Bandana. Oh, didn’t I tell you about that one?

The emPower People Project is “a craftivism project aimed at uniting crafters of all mediums to engage people across communities to spark conversation, engagement and action in the political process to uphold social justice and human rights.“ Link here. The project is a bandana to knit, crochet, Tunisian crochet, or sew as a catalyst for conversation and change. And now there’s a brioche knit version by Nancy Marchant, so I decided to try it. You can download your pattern at the link, but the version of the brioche pattern on Ravelry is currently much more complete than the one on the website.

OK, two projects on the needles. But now comes word that Cat Bordhi is dying of cancer. She has always been such a bright light in the knitting community with her brilliant inventive mind and warm personality. Her grace-filled post is here. She’s offering the gift of her Rio Calina cowl pattern to everyone. She says, “It teaches you to let go and allow the spatial brilliance and inherent grace of nature create a unique stream of cabled rivulets. I like to imagine that this technique can soothe and heal all manner of troubles…and is so so beautiful to watch emerging. And I would love for thousands of knitters to be knitting this design…it is truly beautiful.“

How can I say no to that appeal?

I met Cat Bordhi at Sock Summit 2009. I had a six hour class on different sock architectures with her. Such a great teacher.

It was in this class that I met Elizabeth DeHority, when she shared her Cat Bordhi Aha yarn with me. Elizabeth was on a Make a Wish-type trip for Sock Summit, and I had the honor of knowing her for a few years. She passed away in 2015.

Sock Summit blog post here, if you want a blast from the past.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking through my stash to see if there are two matching skeins of worsted.

Petite Brioche update: beginning and end of rounds

I’ve just updated my Petite Brioche pattern. I’ve been teaching this class a lot lately. The beginning/end of the round is always the most confusing spot for new brioche knitters, so I wanted to make it easier. I think this does. Also, it makes teaching easier for me, too!

Of course, the pattern links to video tutorials, so I had to make new tutorials! The new pattern has new links, my tutorials page has new links, and my handouts are getting new links. A lot of work for a free pattern, but it’s a labor of love for this brioche evangelist.


English/throwing


Continental/picking (I’m a very awkward continental knitter, but you’ll get the idea)

The older videos are still linked on the tutorials page; they still work. You can pick whichever makes sense with the way you think and knit. The Brioche Hat Trick patterns aren’t being updated; you can choose which way you want to work your beginning/end of rounds.

Hope this helps!

Sneaker Wave! Coming soon…

Earlier this spring, Knit Picks gave me the opportunity to try out a new yarn, Chroma Twist Bulky. I love Chroma Worsted, so I jumped at the chance. I chose this color, Narwhal.

I knew I wanted to make some bulky mitts, based on a recipe I dashed off on a piece of paper for my friend Vickie back in 2012. I thought it would be a fairly simple process of reverse engineering the picture she sent me back then.

Reader, I knit the first mitt 4 times, fussing with needle size, cable frequency, cable placement, thumb gore increase options (lifted/m1/other) and rate of increase, and more. Sometimes designing is more engineering than art. But after that, the second mitt was easy. Behold, a vertically centered cable that is neither too tight nor too loose.

I asked for 2 skeins, knowing I wanted to design a matching hat. It was going to be a basic ribbed hat with a single cable as a feature, but the cable didn’t look nearly as impressive on the bigger field of a hat, compared to a single cable on a mitt. MORE CABLES, PLEASE.

And thank you.

I’m really pleased with the finish on the crown.

I loved knitting with this yarn; it’s big and chewy like bucatini pasta. It’s plied rather than a single ply, which gives it more durability than my beloved Chroma Worsted. And it knits up fast! The color is a gentle gradient back and forth; I played around a bit to make sure the mitts had some shading, because the first one I knit was all one color, no thank you. It went to the frog pond and I started from the other end of the skein for the next attempt.

I also played with my hat so that it would begin with the darker shade next to my face, because that’s the shade I liked best.

I’m just going to make these as one size fits most, which is not my usual. Both the hat and the mitts are very stretchy because they’re basically just ribbing. If I add more stitches, it will throw off the perfect symmetry. If you really wanted to change the size a bit up or down, you could do it by changing the needle size. I liked the fabric best on US 9, but US 8 made a great fabric, too. The ball band recommends a US 10, so it’s all covered.

I’ve written the pattern, and it’s been tech edited already, too. I’m looking for a few test knitters for the hat, or mitts, or both. Drop me a line if you’re interested. The hat takes 100g/127 yards, and the mitts take the same. And they’re quick!

Half the Knit Sky: First prizes

The KAL continues! My magenta is shading into a deep, deep purple. That will be followed by a deep blue; I’m looking forward to seeing that, too.

I did a random drawing for the cast on prize, and marleneknitter on Instagram is the winner! Marlene, please message me your snail mail addy through IG, and I will send you the yarn bras.

But also! Arlene (scrapquilts989 on Ravelry) finished her shawl, and she added beads, too. Definitely a double achievement! So as first finisher (and a spectacular one at that), I’m sending her a Knit Picks circular needle, because you can never have too many shawl appropriate needles. It’s a US3, 32 inch metal needle; I’m using one and I love it. The join transition is perfect for the stars; no catching at the join. Arlene, please message me your address through Ravelry.

OK, that’s a lot of coincidence: Winners are Marlene and Arlene, and both are from Canada. Knit on!

The Half the Knit Sky pattern is now available on the Knit Picks site through their Independent Design Program. I’m glad to make it available through more channels. Here’s the link to purchase the pattern there.

Keep cool, and keep knitting!

Half the Knit Sky KAL: cast on prize drawing

The KAL has been underway for a little while, and so it’s time for a prize! Please post a progress pic by the end of Friday, July 24. Everyone who has posted at least a cast on and several rows will be eligible for the drawing. I’ll be looking on Ravelry and on Instagram for your pictures. Don’t forget to hashtag your Instagram pictures so I can find them! #halftheknitsky

The prize: 2 yarn bras to hold your yarn. I am trying one of these for the first time, and I love it. Usually my center pull cakes go conical as I use them, but this seems to be keeping my yarn in shape. You can see it on the white cake here. I’m using the gradient from the outside, so no bra for that one.

I had a Zoom knit nite last night, so I had time to do some knitting. I’m about to start the second star stitch row. These are a little tricky to do, but so worth it in terms of effect! And of course there’s a video link in the pattern.

Post your pictures, and I’ll draw a winner on Saturday morning!

Brioche trifecta

Apparently I’m living my best brioche life today. This morning I got up early and took a VKLive class with Nancy Marchant, Lacing Up Brioche.

I learned 2 ways to make eyelet holes in my brioche, the double yarn over method, and the release purl method. Brilliant! I bought Nancy’s book back in March, but had yet to open it. I just needed someone to make me pay attention. It was 7 a.m. here for me, and 4 p.m. for Nancy in Amsterdam. There were students all over the world; thank you Zoom!

Here’s a better look at my swatch, with the light shining through.

Brioche item 2: I also taught a Petite Brioche class later in the morning; these are always fun. Twenty new brioche knitters sent out into the world!

Brioche item 3? I’m test knitting a hat for Hunter Hammersen. I saw her call for test knitters on Twitter, and her sample was so pretty I couldn’t resist. It’s knitting up nicely in Malabrigo Rios. The variegation in the dark color doesn’t show much on the public side, but the inside is spectacular.

It’s been a very brioche day. But not to worry, I also got a few rows in on my Half the Knit Sky KAL.

I just finished the next increase row, so my smile is getting bigger!

Tomorrow I’m teaching brioche increases and decreases, and Petite Brioche again on Sunday. Lots more brioche going on!

brioche knitting

If all this talk of brioche makes you want to learn, there are still a few spots in my classes *next* weekend through the Peacetree Fiber Adventures online retreat. I’m teaching Petite Brioche and Next Steps in Brioche: Increases and Decreases. Check it out!

Half the Knit Sky KAL: Casting on

I sat down and knit for just over an hour, and here’s what I have. I’m really happy with it, and I think it’s smiling back at me! I actually cast on twice. At first I used a US 4 needle, but it felt too loose and floppy for me by Row 15, so I took it out and used a US 3 instead. It really depends on your yarn. I used a US 4 for my Knit Circus shawl, and a US 5 for my Knit Picks version. As long as you get a fabric you like, you’re golden.

My white yarn has a yarn bra; I’m trying this out because my center pull yarn cakes tend to go conical after a while, and I would like to have it not fall apart. No bra for the gradient; I’m working from the outside on that one.

I really love the subtle speckles on the MadelineTosh Stormborn. Just enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to overwhelm the brightness of the stars.

We have a nice bit of chatter going on in the Half the Knit Sky KAL thread on Ravelry; come join in if you’re able to use Ravelry. I’ll be posting here on the blog, there on Ravelry, and also on Instagram.

This is one of my two current projects. Weird for me, because I usually only have ONE. I’m test knitting a brioche hat for Hunter Hammersen; her sample looked really pretty and I couldn’t resist. I even had several appropriate yarn combos in my stash. I’ll show you this project after it’s something more than brioche rib. Soon!

How many WIPs do you have?

Half the Knit Sky KAL: Choose your yarn

I’m looking forward to the Half the Knit Sky KAL. We’ll knit from now through the end of August, at your pace. Please let me know if you’re knitting along; I’ll do random draws for prizes as we go.

To be eligible for a prize, post a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #halftheknitsky, or post a picture in this linked Ravelry thread and make a project page using the halftheknitsky tag. You can even post in the comments of a KAL blog post like this one, and I’ll make arrangements to get a picture from you!

What are you knitting with? I thought about just cheering you on from the sidelines, but I decided to knit one more version of this shawl. It’s such a simple and satisfying project, it will be a perfect multi-tasking knit.


I stopped at For Yarn’s Sake the other day and came home with this. It’s a Huckleberry Knits sock weight gradient cake in Practical Tactical Brilliance, and MadelineTosh Twist Light in Stormborn. Why yes, I’ve used this gradient colorway before.

I used a DK weight version for my Aspen Leaf scarf, and I loved it. For the shawl, I’m going to start with the magenta at the center, moving through the purple and blue, and end with the green at the bottom of the shawl. I’m hoping it looks like the aurora borealis at the horizon.

I was poking around to double check the name of the photographer of the inspiration photo for this project, Nikita Maykov, and found a time lapse video version. Here’s a link; it’s mesmerizing.

I’ll be casting on this coming week; how about you?