Category Archives: Knit

Introducing: Lucky Star

It’s been a super productive fall, and it’s not over yet! Here’s the latest off my needles.

Lucky Star is a crescent hug of garter stitch stripes, interspersed with an intriguing star stitch. The shawl is knit from the top down, then finished with Old Shale lace for a scalloped edge. Designed to use mini skeins in coordinating colors, you can knit a rainbow, or a subtle gradient shift. You can use fewer, larger mini skeins, if that’s what you have. You could even use a continuous gradient cake. The garter stitch makes this a most meditative knit…or a multi-tasker’s dream.

This gradient version is knit with 2 Knitted Wit Sixlet gradient packs in Carbon, and a skein of Victory Sock in Pollen. Thank you to Knitted Wit for the beautiful yarn!

This rainbow version is knit with a single rainbow Sixlet pack, and a skein of Victory Sock in Box of Macarons.

Test knitter Ann knit hers with a gradient set with more yardage. Lovely!

This design uses my new Better Garter Tab Cast On for Top Down Crescent Shawls.

The Lucky Star pattern is available through Ravelry, pattern page here. It’s 10% off through October 31, no coupon necessary. Newsletter subscribers get 20% off with coupon in newsletter. Sign up here, if you haven’t already!

PDXKnitterati’s Better Garter Tab Cast on for Crescent Shawls

I have a new shawl design, Lucky Star. It features an elongated garter tab cast on at the beginning, designed to minimize the hump that can occur at the center neck of top down crescent shawls.

Many crescent shawls have this visible hump in the middle; it’s a function of construction and stitch pattern. A short garter tab results in more rows right under the center, creating a hump.

Garter stitch is less humpy than a stockinette based stitch, because the height of the stitches is more compressed. I like to use garter stitch at the center neck of my crescent shawls.

Elongating the garter tab can help smooth out the center. If you add YO’s along the edge of this elongated garter tab, it visually mimics the YO’s along the top edge of the shawl. It also adds flexibility to the center of the shawl neck.

I find this works better if you make a tab long enough to pick up in every other garter ridge as shown in the bottom shawl pictured above. See how this gives those first rows a little more width to stretch out and relax?

Let’s do it! My sample is in garter stitch.

Decide how many working stitches you’d like to have on the first real row of your pattern. Call this N. These are the stitches you’ll use in your patterning. (Don’t include the stitches you’ll increase into at the beginning and end of the row.)

Cast on 3 sts for garter tab. If N is even, knit 2(N) rows. If N is odd, knit 2(N – 1) rows.
Next row (RS): K3, turn work clockwise. *YO, pick up and knit in second ridge from needle, rep from * until you have N sts counting from the YO if N is even. If you want N to be an odd number, end with a YO. Turn clockwise and pick up and knit 3 sts along cast on edge. Now you have N+6 sts. (3 sts on each end, and N in the center.)
Next row (WS): K3, pm, yo, k(N), yo, pm, k3. (For stockinette stitch, purl the N working stitches on this row.) You have N+8 sts: N working sts, and 3 garter stitches and a YO increase at each end.

Here’s a video tutorial.

Now you’re ready to work your shawl. The small bit of hump can usually be blocked out, depending on your stitch patterning. Blocking is essential for top down crescent shawls. And a biasing stitch pattern can still make a hump. Lace where the YO’s are not right next to the decreases can cause biasing, which makes lovely scalloping, but you don’t want it right next to your garter tab beginning. Start with some plain garter at the neck, and gradually move into your stitch pattern after several rows.

Much better! I used this cast on for my Lucky Star Shawl. Many thanks to Ann Berg for test knitting the pink version shown here.

Introducing: Madrona Cowl

What’s next on my hit parade? A snuggly warm cowl. Winter is coming!

Madrona trees are native to the Pacific Northwest. They have gorgeous peeling bark, shiny leaves, and little berries. This brioche knit cowl features leaves and optional small bobble-like berries. I knit most of the blue cowl (no berries) last February while at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, and the name seems to fit. I started the green version at the Lantern Moon retreat in March; it has berries on the vertical columns. Lots of good memories in these!

This cowl is worked in the round from the bottom up. The pattern has lots of links to my brioche knitting tutorials, which you can also find on my tutorials page here.

I loved knitting these cowls, but I wanted to wait to publish the pattern until after summer. And then I forgot to include them in my photo shoot last month with Erin, so it was DIY time. A camera remote control is a fabulous tool!

The Madrona Cowl pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through October 19, no coupon needed. But! As always, newsletter subscribers will receive a 20% off coupon in my upcoming newsletter. Sign up here, if you haven’t already!

Happy cozy knitting!

Introducing: Concentric Slipper Socks

I had so much fun designing the Concentric Cowl. What else could I design with such sproingy goodness?

Concentric Slipper Socks, of course!

These are knit from the cuff down using 2 strands of worsted weight yarn held together for a quick and cozy knit. You can use magic loop, 2 circulars, or double pointed needles; knitter’s choice! Alternating bands of knits and purls create a scrunchy fabric that traps warm air at the ankle.

(Women’s medium sock with 4 purled ankle bands, on top of women’s large sock with 3 ankle bands)

These slipper socks can be knit in three women’s sizes, or for a small man’s foot, based on the available yardage in Knit Circus’ Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient 50g cakes. Four cakes are needed to achieve 2 slipper socks with matching gradient shading, since the yarn is held double. Sample shown in Thanks for all the Fish colorway.

These slipper socks would also be cute knit with two different yarns held together for a marled effect. Your imagination is the limit!

This pattern is available through Ravelry; link here. As always, newsletter subscribers will receive a special discount coupon. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here!

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, and test knitters Jacqueline Lydston, Denise Delagarza, and Ann Berg. And thanks to Knit Circus Yarns for the inspiringly gorgeous yarn!

OFFF 2018 weekend and brioche inc/dec tutorial

It was a glorious transition into autumn. What better way to celebrate than with a fiber festival? Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is done for another year.

I spent Friday afternoon judging the knitting entries. This piece was the winner of several awards, including the top award for the festival.

It’s handspun from Jacob wool (this year’s featured breed), hand knit, with 1300 beads, and perfectly blocked. I loved everything about it. (Shawl pattern is Moon Shadows by Romi Hill.) I found out afterward from the knitter that she had lost at yarn chicken the week before, and had to spin more yarn to finish. She took this off the blocking wires the night before the judging. Close!

This was the felted Grand Champion. It demonstrates wet felting, needle felting, and probably other techniques I don’t even know about. Exquisite.

This felted entry used Jacob wool, which I thought was brilliant.

This embellished knit coat was also knit from handspun. I loved the detail in it. The pattern is by Anna Zilboorg from her Splendid Apparel book. I took this class with Anna just before her book came out.

Saturday I taught Favorite Shawl Shapes in the morning. So much fun! I’m planning to teach this class again, but I may give it a better name. Shawl Design 101? What would sound even more enticing?

I taught Brioche Pastiche in the afternoon. It was interesting that many had tried brioche before but not succeeded. I’m glad to help make new successful brioche knitters! Most had a good grasp of 2 color brioche rib in the round by the end of class.

I’ve just made a video tutorial of brioche increases and decreases. These are the ones used in the hat, but handy for all brioche.

Sunday I went back to shop and play! The weather was perfect.

My favorite purchase? This yarn chicken pint glass from JaMPDX. Yarn chicken is my life!

I also picked up this gorgeous yarn set from Knitted Wit. It’s Victory Sock in Pollen, plus two Sixlet gradient sets in Carbon. Plus two more mini skeins in Ghostly, but I may not need them. I’m knitting one more version of my Lucky Star Shawl, but with two Sixlets instead of one for a deeper, wider shawl. It’s going quickly; I hope to be done knitting by the end of this week.

More eye candy from Sunday:

Stacey’s Fierce Fibers booth, including a splendid version of my Rosaria shawl. Look at those gradient cakes! We’re using her yarn for our Nymphaea Retreat in November.

Speckled gradient cakes from Boss Kitty. I bought some of their cat-eared stitch markers. Mine glow in the dark!

I loved this rug on display with one of the vendors in the main pavilion.

And of course there were animals. Goat? Sheep? I’m never sure. Cute, though. (Goat.)

Bunnies are easier to recognize, yes?

Alpacas!

And humans. Amanda and Margaret representing Puddletown Knitters Guild. Hi, ladies!

A very fun weekend. Now I’m back at home working. More knit fun to follow. How was YOUR weekend? Welcome, fall!

Knitting for the near future

I’ve been knitting up a storm.

Here’s a sneak peek of my newest shawl, coming soon. It’s called Lucky Star. You may now have a Madonna song running through your head. You’re welcome.

You know that hump that happens at the center neck of top down crescent shawls? I didn’t want that on Lucky Star, so I’ve worked on minimizing it. I’m making a tutorial on how to do that. It’s coming soon, too. I’m debuting it in my Favorite Shawl Shapes class at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this Saturday morning.

I’ve been knitting little samples for class, too. We’re going to have fun talking about shape and design.

You can still register for this class on-site. You can knit these little shapes, too!

What are you knitting now?

On the cusp of fall

Oh, Labor Day! Farewell summer, welcome fall…

I ran away with my knitting last week. Good thing I brought more than one project; I lost at yarn chicken on this Mitered Crosses Blanket square. I just needed 2 more green garter ridges, probably about one yard of yarn. I considered using the red as an accent stripe, but it would have been too much. One garter ridge, yes. Two garter ridges? Christmas! I had to finish at home.

This is for a group blanket project through Mason Dixon Knitting. #mdkteamblanket2

My other project is a slipper sock. I’m using 4 50g balls of KnitCircus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient (worsted weight), colorway Thanks for all the Fish, to double strand the socks. They are glorious. (Picture from KnitCircus site, since I forgot to take a picture before I started knitting.) I finished the first one at the coast. Good thing it was time to go home; I was out of knitting!

No real sneak peek on the sock yet; the excitement is on the cuff! I knit mine using the magic loop technique, and Biscuit thought that was pretty interesting when I tried it on. I’ll be looking for test knitters soon. Would you like to knit slipper socks? They’re really quick! This one took me one day.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

It wasn’t all knitting last week. I love walking on the beach. This one was a solitary walk, just me and the seagulls.

Lone sea star at Chapman Point

I saw a lone sea star. Five years ago, there were hundreds of sea stars here. Sea star wasting disease killed many of them, but they’re starting to come back. I’m glad.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

It was a perfect getaway.

Now I’m swinging into knitting season! I have several new designs coming soon. The first is this cowl, which is also designed with KnitCircus Ringmaster Gradient, this one in Fig and Prosciutto. Look for it later this week.

Fall brings more teaching opportunities, too. I’ve got my schedule mostly set at Twisted and For Yarn’s Sake; you can see it here.

There’s still room in my Favorite Shawl Shapes class at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (pre-register by Sept. 8).

And a few knitters’ spots left at our Nymphaea Fall Retreat (Nov. 9-11).

What are you knitting this fall?

Nymphaea Retreat registration is OPEN!

Registration is open for the Nymphaea Shawl Retreat! The event is November 9-11 at Quinn Mountain Retreat in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. It’s a small retreat, so you’ll get lots of attention as you start your Nymphaea Shawl. Register soon, because there are only 16 spots, 8 each for knitters and crocheters.

You can choose to knit or crochet your shawl; my knit version or Laurinda Reddig’s crochet version. We designed these shawls as a collaborative project with Bead Biz.

The retreat fee includes a jumbo skein 150g/645yards of Fierce Fibers Abyss (50/50 merino/silk) in a continuous gradient. Choose your main color: Surf and Sand, Dragonite, Hummingbird, or Tide Pod (clockwise from upper left). You’ll also get 50g of a coordinating color for the contrast bands. And beads from Bead Biz, specially selected by Laurinda and me.

You’ll get your shawl started, and learn different ways to add beads to your knit or crochet, how to change colors, knit or crochet edgings, and blocking, which is essential for lace.

Cost for the retreat is $225, which includes yarn, beads, 2 days of breakfast, lunch, and instruction. But don’t worry; there will be free time for you to explore, too. Register with Recrochetions, link here. If you’ve purchased a Nymphaea kit from Bead Biz, there’s a discount for the retreat. More information at the link too, including lodging options.

I hope you can make it!

Madrona Farewell

As you may know, Madrona Fiber Arts Festival is one of my favorite events of the year. I’ve been going to Madrona for many years, and teaching there since 2016.

Last week, founder Suzanne Pedersen emailed to let the Madrona community know that 2019 will see the 20th Madrona Festival, and it will be the last. She and co-founder Cornie Talley will be retiring this beautiful event.

If you’ve never been to Madrona, please make plans to join us in February! Madrona is more than a festival; it’s a community. There are classes, amazing speakers, a well-curated market, a teacher talent show that raises funds for charities, and lots of places for people to just hang out together and share knowledge and joy.

Last year at Madrona, I met Sarah Hauschka (inventor of magic loop!), and she taught me linked double knitting: brioche knitting holding a color in each hand, which meant all stitches could be worked in the same row. Astounding. She showed me as we sat in the Rotunda, just hanging out. My brain was too full to really take it in (and no pictures, darn it), so I introduced her to my friend Pamela Grossman, who took to it like a duck to water. This is an example of the happy sharing that is part of the Madrona experience.

The spirit of Madrona will live on, as we continue to share our love of the fiber arts. But this will be your last chance to have the Madrona experience in person. Mark your calendar for February 14-17. It will be a very special weekend.

Summer knitting reckoning: Knit, or not?

Oh, the siren song of a new project! It’s so easy to be seduced away from the current ones, isn’t it?

I like to have two projects at any given time. One is usually a design project I’m working out, and it stays at home. The other is a simple knit that I can take to social occasions, or traveling. Usually the design project turns into the take-along knit, because that’s the kind of thing I like to design. Simple but elegant.

Right now I have five projects on my needles. That’s probably too many, so here are my reasons for not working on them…

This is the Nymphaea shawl sample that I’m knitting for our fall retreat. It’s a simple, rhythmic knit with beads every fourth row. This was great travel knitting on a trip to St. Louis last week; it’s simple enough to knit on planes, even with beads. I was planning to finish it in time to use as a promo for the retreat when registration opens August 1, but clearly it won’t be done by then.

I have a non-gradient sample of it already, so I could continue to knit this gradient version at the retreat, using it to demonstrate techniques. I made a spreadsheet to figure out how to distribute my three different sets of beads (I love spreadsheets!), so it’s all planned out. Check!

This is a shawl that I was knitting for a design proposal. It’s simple and lovely and fun to knit. I was just going to make a swatch, but it was so much fun that I didn’t want to stop knitting it. I got all the way to the bottom edging, where I need the stitch markers. Note my symmetrical marker setup. This, plus the aforementioned spreadsheet, probably tells you a lot about the way I think! This design didn’t get chosen, which means I don’t need to finish it right now. Check!

This is the beginning of a white linen top that I’m making up as I go. I want it to have a lace pattern at the hem, a split back, and otherwise be a pretty basic T shape. But honestly, I don’t know if I have the time or inclination to actually knit an entire top in fingering weight linen right now. I don’t think it will be finished for this season, so I’m declaring it a backup project…for next year. Check!

The blue/brown shawl I was knitting in Scotland? It’s in permanent time out. I didn’t like how the design was turning out, but I’ve frogged this single ply yarn twice and it is definitely looking a little ragged. I’m going to take some of those ideas and re-work them with the yarn I bought from Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh.

I ordered the gray to go with the blue; the mint was too exciting for me. It’s not here yet, so I don’t have to think about it for a bit. Check!

This is what I’m working on right now. It’s a fall/winter cowl in Knit Circus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient, 150g. The color is Fig and Prosciutto. The yarn is round and bouncy and fun to knit. I was about a third of the way through when I decided it needed a little something more than what it was, so I ripped it back down and am enjoying the yarn just as much the second time. It won’t take long to finish, and it’s a great multi-tasking knit.

So really, it looks like I have ONE project that I’m actually working on. And several (Nymphaea, linen top, miscellaneous shawl) that I can work on at my leisure. See? I’m a monogamous knitter, whether intentionally or not. There are a few other design ideas knocking around in my head, too, and I’ll pick one up as my thinking project at home, while one of these other projects turns into the mindless project.

What’s on your needles? How many projects are you actively working on? Helpful knitting cats wanna know! Speaking of which…

We’ve added this little guy to our household. He’s two years old, and he’s charming. His shelter name was Gerkin, but we think he’s going to be named Yadi, for Yadier Molina, the St. Louis Cardinals catcher. We have had several baseball-themed cat names, including Mookie (Wilson) and Jess (Jesse Orosco). We adopted Yadi from Purringtons Cat Lounge, alma mater of Biscuit, Gator, and Mis Mis.

He has a tiny white spot on his chest, and a tinier one on his belly that we didn’t know about until after he came home.

Biscuit is occasionally hissing at him, but mostly getting along. This picture is from introduction day, which was Day 3 in our house. Much calmer than the introduction to Gator (son’s cat who was visiting for 2 months). Maybe she thinks Tyler is going to come take this one away, too?

Now to see if Yadi is ok with yarn. My studio door stays shut while I figure this out!