Category Archives: Knit

How to use yarn dominance to your advantage

I finished the quilted lattice band of the Heladas Hat that I’m knitting for the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, and moved on to the pinstriped body. The stripes are made with a combination stranded colorwork/slip stitch technique. But I noticed that the lovely stripes were sinking into the stockinette stitch so that they were barely visible. Hmmm.

I thought about yarn dominance in stranded colorwork, so I decided to change how I was carrying my yarns. I usually carry two colors in my right hand, and the position of the yarns doesn’t make much difference as long as they keep their relative positions. But it was making a difference in this case, so I switched. I had been carrying the main color in my favored (usual) throwing position, and the contrast color above because it doesn’t get used as often. Swapping them made all the difference. You can see that the first stitch of the contrast color stripe is kind of buried in the stockinette stitch, and above that they pop out. Yay!

heladas yarn dominance

I don’t particularly like carrying the MC in my non-favored throwing position; it’s a little more cumbersome. So for this project I’m carrying the CC in my left hand and picking it continental, which still puts it in the lower position, and lets the color pop.

Do you know about yarn dominance? It’s a fun fact and useful thing to know. Your particular knitting technique may end up making the upper yarn dominant instead of the lower; you’d have to check and see. But after you decide which one is dominant and like it that way, keep your yarns in the same relative postion as you knit your colorwork. Have fun!

And don’t forget that the pattern sale for the GAL ends on November 27 at midnight; the coupon code is giftalong2015. The knitting/crocheting/prizes continue until the end of the year.

Blocking, belatedly

I recently found this sweater at the back of my closet, mostly unworn. I finished this Heather Hoodie at Crafty Moms weekend in February 2011. It was designed as a vest, and I adapted it to include sleeves, because a jacket makes more sense to me than a bulky vest. This is one big bulky sweater, 9.5 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, which means 950 grams, or 33.25 ounces, or nearly two pounds. I think it felt too chunky for me to want to wear it often.

hoodie back

I recently blocked my Edin cardi. I wore it yesterday, and I’m completely happy with it. It’s a perfect fit. The fabric relaxed a bit and it feels like I’m wearing a cloud. Modeled pic someday!

But it gave me a brainstorm: What if I could get the monster cables on this Heather Hoodie to relax a bit, too? I just looked up the Ravelry page to get the link, and it says, “The cable pattern pulls in as you knit, but will relax upon blocking.” I can’t believe I never blocked it, but it was knit at a time before I became a blocking evangelist. Into the sink it went. It soaked up so much water (and ran some excess dye, too), it was really heavy when I hauled it out. I couldn’t just roll it in a towel and expect to get most of the water out, so I put it in my washing machine on delicate and spun it for 30 seconds at a time, rearranging often so it couldn’t stretch out.

heather hoodie blockingblocking

I patted it out to size, and immediately it felt smoother, nicer, more relaxed. The cables no longer pull in. Blocking is magic. Three days later, it’s finally dry, and it fits so much better. What? Two new (ish) sweaters to wear this season?

honey cardi wip

I’m feeling empowered. Maybe I should rip back the almost complete first sleeve on my abandoned Honey cardigan and make them the way I want them (fitted, not belled), and then I’d have three new sweaters…

Go me!

Indie designer: Yarn Intercept Designs

Heladas Hat

Last night I cast on my first Indie Design Gift-Along project, the Heladas Hat. I love the clever 2-color quilted lattice stitch on the wide band. A very fun stitch that adds a lot of interest!


The Heladas (frost) Hat is designed by Beverly S, yarnintercept on Ravelry. I’ve followed Beverly’s blog for many years; back in 2011 she even interviewed me for her blog!

Beverly is a middle school math teacher who also designs knitting patterns. She’s not afraid to use math in her design work! She designs accessories: hats, mitts, socks, and shawls. Her asymmetrical Bricktown Shawl is a very appealing use of slipped stitches and eyelets using two complementary yarns.



I had been planning to cast on Beverly’s Frozen Spires Cowl. This lovely cabled cowl would be perfect for the extra skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted that’s left over from my Edin cardigan. Even better, I have an extra 1/5 skein from the sweater, so I can make this cowl one repeat bigger and even squishier than the original seen here.

frozen spires

And I still may. But right now, the hat is humming along. I’m using Malabrigo Arroyo in Purpuras and Borrajas, and I love the way it looks.

Malabrigo Arroyo purpuras y borrajas

Check out these designs and more on Beverly’s Ravelry designer page. And stock up during the Indie Designer Giftalong sale!

(All photos by Beverly S/Yarn Intercept Designs, except my cast on.)

Indie Design Gift-Along: Let’s get this party started!

Last year’s Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry was so much fun, I’m particpating again this year as both a designer and a knitting participant.

GAL2015 mosaic

These are just a few of the 20 designs I’m including in the event.

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.

The pattern sale runs from Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm US EST. The KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 19 at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Thursday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

Here’s a link to my featured patterns for this event; scroll down to the Giftalong 2015 bundle (fuzzy Thrumbelina picture) and click. The discount is 25%; use the code giftalong2015 at checkout. Remember that it starts working tonight (Thursday, Nov. 19) 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.)

Ready, set, KNIT! (or crochet…)

Are you knitting gifts for the holidays?

FO: Edin cardigan

I love a good finished object! This is my Edin Cardigan, pre-blocking.

Edin, pre-blocking

I gave it a light steam block so I could take a photograph for the ChicKnits KAL. Here you can see that the band on the left is unblocked, and the one on the right is steamed a bit.

Edin bands

I love how the whole thing begins at the back of the neck.

Edin back neck

I wet blocked it 2 days ago, and it’s still drying in the sunroom.

Edin blocking

Almost dry! It relaxed a bit, gaining an inch in width and an inch in length, both of which are good things. (Did I wash and block my swatch? No. But I did swatch, and I use this particular yarn a lot, so it behaved according to plan.)

Here are the details:

Edin, design by Bonne Marie Burns of ChicKnits
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Continental Blue, 4.8 skeins
Needles: Hiya Hiya US 7
Began Oct. 13, finished Nov. 14. Quickest sweater ever for me.

I really enjoyed knitting this; Bonne Marie’s pattern is well written and easy to follow. Edin as a top down cardigan, mostly stockinette except for the lace bands that look like cables. So pretty! Stockinette is great for multi-tasking knitting; I did a lot of reading while knitting this.

Edin magic loop sleeve

I also perfected my magic loop technique while knitting the sleeves. I knit the first one last month in Sisters, Oregon, where my yarn was the same color as the sky.


At least on the first day. The next day was quite frosty in the morning.

Sisters morning

While I was in Sisters, I had the opportunity to meet up with Sarah and Paula at the Stitchin’ Post. Good times.

Sarah me Paula

I have 1.2 skeins left of this glorious blue yarn, and I’m planning to make a cowl in the Indie Designer Gift-Along on Ravelry, which starts Thursday. I’ll post about that in a few days.

Taking classes, teaching classes

It was a whirlwind weekend, but all good things. On Friday I took a class with Ann Budd at Twisted. The topic? Shadow knitting.

shadow knitting

The motif is visible only at a certain angle. I’m looking forward to using this technique in a design! And I met Cindy, Ann’s event coordinator. She asked Twisted owner Emily to introduce us, because she’s knit my Thrumbelina slippers several times.

thrumbelina cindy

She fell in love with my Sophie’s Rose Shawlette that I was wearing, and bought yarn and pattern at Twisted. It’s going to be beautiful.

On Saturday at Twisted I taught my new class on photographing and editing on the iPad or iPhone (more description in previous blog post). We had a blast. Last night I taught Athena (entrelac in the round, easier than flat entrelac IMHO). I’m scheduled to teach both of these at Stash in Corvallis this coming Saturday.

athena entrelac cowl

And just now I registered for classes next February at Madrona Fiber Arts. I’m registered for Beth Brown-Reinsel’s Latvian Fingerless Mitts class, and Franklin Habit’s A Sense of Proportion: A Glorious Compendium of Methods for Knitting without Tapes and Rulers.

I love learning new techniques, and it’s fun to learn them in an interactive setting. Knitterly camaraderie is great, and lots of tips and tricks come up that aren’t even part of the class. Best of all is observing excellent teaching and incorporating even more of that into my classes.

turkish spindle spinning

Books and videos are a great way to pick up techniques, too, but there is definitely something to be said for being able to ask a question in real time. I have several books on spindling, but it wasn’t until I was in a session with Sari Peterson of Twists and Turnings that I really understood when I should overspin (evidently for plying), and that the yarn I was spinning to knit a shawl (with single ply) was probably going to be too twisty since I wasn’t planning to ply it. Guess that will be for a plied yarn now…

Do you take knitting classes? Why or why not?

Knitters’ tea party, prize winners

Tea and knitting, a winning combination. When a table is set with yarn as part of each place setting, you know it’s going to be good. (Yarn is from my stash, which needed thinning. Everybody wins!)

tea and yarn

My buddy Carole and I put on a knitters’ tea for a friend’s fund raiser in Salem on Sunday. I brought a small trunk show with me so knitters could touch and feel and try things on. I forgot to take a picture, sorry.

plum deluxe tea

Our teas were from Plum Deluxe: Andy Hayes is an online tea blender and purveyor based here in Portland. Our two teas were Afternoon “High Tea” Tea, a lightly caffeinated tea with notes of peach and pear, and Everything is OK Herbal Tea. They were both delicious. The teas arrived in this signature purple packaging, which smelled wonderful! I kept sniffing it. Andy also provided us with a goody bag of 2 teas as a door prize. And his postcards made our table that much prettier; you can see them in front of the yarns in the table picture above. Thank you Andy!

As always, we began with scones, butter, clotted cream, and jam. The jams are from my kitchen; we had yellow plum bourbon, red plum with Krupnik (a spiced honey liqueur), and strawberry balsamic. Again, I forgot to take a picture, but I was busy!


Next come the savories: Clockwise from left: Cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad in lettuce cups, pear and gorgonzola crostini, caramelized onion and feta tarts.

Conversations about knitting, and then come the sweets. First,

pdxknitterati trifle mini wine glass

English trifle in mini wine glasses. I love these little glasses, we use them for lots of desserts. Carole and I each have a set, so we have 24 readily available. And she gave some to her other friends, too, so we have at least 48 if we need them! That’s smart gifting…

high tea sweets

The rest of the sweets: Clockwise from upper left: chocolate chip shortbread, pumpkin tarts, lemon bars, and chocolate truffle drops in the center.

pdxknitterati knitters tea

It was a lovely afternoon with knitters. Note that Donna on the right is wearing her Zen Rain Shawlette. I love it when knitters wear my designs! Thanks to all for a fabulous time.

And now, drum roll please: The winners of the Lobelia Shawl-inspired giveaway are: Emme for the Mint Mojito yarn and a copy of my Fern Lace Shawlette pattern, and Noreen for the Huckleberry yarn and Pacific or Lobelia. I’ll be in contact with you to arrange your prizes! Thanks to everyone for their very kind comments. Thanks for playing!

Class spotlight: iPad/iPhone photography and editing, Athena entrelac

I just got home from teaching a new class at Twisted. It’s Photographing and Editing Your Knits (and more!) with iPad and iPhone. I use my iPad to edit photos from my camera, iPhone, and iPad for all my pattern pictures. People have asked me how I do this, and that’s how this class was born. The class is not just for knitters; it’s perfect for anyone taking or editing pictures with an iDevice.

We talked about how to use your phone (and there are always new tricks that you didn’t know), and basic rules of photography. Then we practiced editing with Snapseed and Instagram. It was really fun and I’m looking forward to teaching this class again soon!

Speaking of which: I’m scheduled to teach at Stash in Corvallis next Saturday. One of the classes is this photography class, and the other is Athena, my entrelac-in-the-round cowl.


Sign up for one or both! I’m also bringing a trunk show so you can see my newest designs. We need a few more people to sign up for classes, especially for Athena, to make this road trip happen. I’m really hoping it works!

If you’re local to Portland, I’m also teaching Athena this coming Monday evening at Twisted. Contact them to register there.

And now for your amusement, Athena! This statue of Athena is at the Parthenon in Nashville, TN. Who knew there was a Parthenon in Nashville? Who knew it was right by our hotel?! We saw it when we were there over Labor Day weekend. It’s a full size replica of the Parthenon in Athens. I had to take a picture knowing that it would be used with an Athena class post.

Athena Parthenon Nashville

The statue is 42 feet tall.

Athena Parthenon Nashville

The statue of Nike (Victory) in her hand is 6 feet tall.

Parthenon Nashville

But I digress. I’m teaching a lot this fall, and hope to see you in one of my classes. Come say howdy!

Introducing: Lobelia Shawl and Shawlette

Remember the lovely gradient yarns I showed you this summer? Two of them turned into the Lobelia Shawl and Shawlette.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawl

This is the Lobelia shawl in KnitCircus Thrilling, Starry Night. I used a 150g/575 yard skein and loved every inch of it. The continuous gradient shades gently through the lacy lobelia flowers. 150 grams makes a shawl you can really get cozy in.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawl

But what if you only have a standard 100g/400 yard skein? This is the Lobelia shawlette in KnitCircus Greatest of Ease, Come What May, 400 yards. Not quite as big, but very lovely. Perfect when you need a little something.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

Not into gradients? Lobelia also looks great in a semi-solid color.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawlette

This is the Lobelia shawl knit in Knitted Wit’s Shine in Tugboat, 50/50 Superwash Merino/Tencel.

pdxknitterati lobelia shawl

These shawls begin at the lacy edging. The crescent is shaped with simple short rows. No wrapping at the turns is required. I’ve used this this shaping before, in my Ooh La Lace, Filigree, and Webfoot Shawls. This one is slightly modified from that classic shaping, in order to not run out of yarn before finishing the crescent shaping. I learned a new trick!

This pattern is available for $6 USD. Link to the Ravelry page is here. Pattern is 20% off with coupon code GRADIENT through November 7, 2015.

So, over the summer I knit three versions of this shawl, using 1385 yards. That’s more than 3/4 of a mile! And I have another gradient project in the works…mmmm, gradients!

Tilt Shift FO, fashionably ahead of the game

pdxknitterati tilt shift

Fall is in the air, and I’ve been wearing the heck out of my Tilt Shift Wrap. I knit this last spring during the Tilt Shift KAL. It’s just the right weight for a moderately cool/warm fall day. (Great for spring down under, too!) I finally had a chance to have DH take an FO pic, and I love it.

I was shopping at Macy’s recently, when I saw this display.

ponchos at macy's

Ponchos. Lots and lots of ponchos. I’ve never pretended to be remotely fashionable, but apparently I’m spot on and ahead of the curve. Remember last spring I was trying not to use the word “poncho” so I called my Tilt Shift a wrap instead? I’m pretty over that. And now I have two Tilt Shifts at my disposal.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

Plus two Summertime Blues

pdxknitterati summertime blues

Summetime Blues pdxknitteratithis one with beads, and a little bird poop stain. A valuable blocking lesson!

There’s one more poncho in my collection, but I can’t show it to you until next spring. I think you’ll like it. I *love* it, but I can’t even wear it in public yet. :sigh:

So for now I’ll wear the ones I have. I love my shawls, but these ponchos stay on my shoulders really well, which is great when I’m teaching. How about you? Are you into the poncho?