Category Archives: Knit

Introducing: SeaScape Scarflette

Introducing my SeaScape Scarflette, a summery accessory knit in sport weight linen. Is it a scarf? A shawlette? You decide.

SeaScape long

This long narrow asymmetric triangle features a lacy edge inspired by the curl of the waves off Maui.

SeaScape

It can be worn long, loosely knotted, double wrapped…so many ways to add a little pizazz to your outfit.

Euroflax minis

The scarflette was inspired by a set of Euroflax Sport linen mini-skeins from Mason-Dixon Knitting. As soon as I saw this color set, I knew what it wanted to be. I took it to Maui in December and worked out the design while enjoying the view of Molokai from the lanai.

Euroflax minis in mason jarHand winding the balls three times made the yarn softer!

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! With mini-skeins, part of the fun is deciding in what order to use your colors. The longest, narrowest section is at the beginning, and features the most waves. The last section is short and wide, and features the bubbly eyelet pattern.

SeaScape 1

My first sample had pale green at the far end; the design sample has the mid-gray. I took the sample to Nashville to meet Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Ann Shayne, and she called it “deliriously pretty.” Thrilling!

SeaScape

The mini-skein set has 325 yards. You could also knit this with a single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitter Sarah Peery used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend. It also blocked beautifully.

seascape-sarah-cropSarah’s SeaScape before blocking, photo by Sarah Peery

The pattern is available through Ravelry; the pattern page is here. It’s 10% off through March 10, no coupon code needed. If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll receive a coupon code for 20% off. Want to join the list? Let me know in the comments.

More linen minis

I’ve fallen in love with linen, so there’s another linen mini-skeins design in progress. Come see a sneak peek; I’ll have the SeaScape Scarves and the new project with me at my trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday, March 2 for the Rose City Yarn Crawl!

Madrona 2017 bliss

Another Madrona Fiber Arts Festival has come and gone. As usual, it was wonderful. This is a picture heavy post, and the pictures are only barely edited, but I want to get this out before I jump into the Rose City Yarn Crawl, which starts on Thursday! I’ll be at For Yarn’s Sake all day Thursday sharing a trunk show with indie dyer Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit and designers Debbi Stone and Shannon Squire. Come say hi!

I took two classes at Madrona this year, and they were oddly related. The first was double knitting with Lucy Neatby. Double knitting involves working a double sided fabric that can look different on each side. The result is a squishy thick warm fabric.

double knitting sample

We worked this sample in the round. On the left you can see the front and back sides of the outside of my circular knitting. On the right is the inside, which in this case is a mirror image of the outside that’s shown on the left. But it doesn’t have to be, as you can see from the lower edge. We started with some ribbing, then moved into double knitting with one color (the white) on the inside and outside, and then moved to two colors. A logical progression.

Here’s an example of one of Lucy’s pieces; the inside and the outside aren’t exact mirror images. Her color choices are exquisite, too.

Lucy Neatby piece side A

Lucy Neatby piece side B

One side thing that was interesting was exploring how conventional purl stitches take more yarn than knit stitches, because the yarn travels diagonally across the needle instead of parallel to it. (Pythagorean theorem, hypotenuse!) This could cause your inside and outside fabrics to grow at different rates. In this case, using the Eastern combined knitting style would give a more even fabric and no “rowing out” on the purl rows. That makes sense.

But you could also purposely make the inside and outside fabrics grow at different rates; you can do more rows on one or the other and come up with some interesting corrugation. I’m looking forward to exploring that more, later. Thanks to Lucy for a really fun and thought provoking class!

Lucy Neatby

The second class I took was brioche knitting with JC Briar. I’vve been meaning to try brioche for over a year, and signing up for a class meant that I was really going to do it!

Brioche knitting

Brioche is also two sided knitting, and really squishy. This is the front and back of my class piece. We started out with single color brioche, and then moved on to two color brioche. I had tried single color brioche earlier this year, so that part was easy.

Adding a second color meant thinking a lot harder! When worked flat, it means working each row twice, first with one color, and then the other. You always start with color A when both yarns are at the same end. If they’re not at the same end, you need to catch up color B to color A. I found that it was easier for me to read my knitting than to read the written instructions. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me later!

The addition of increases and decreases (which must be done two at a time) makes gorgeously striking patterns in brioche. You can see from my class sample that I barely started them, but they’re working. They really cause the width to suck in!

JC’s handout shows what standard charting looks like; it’s not well suited for brioche. She also charted the classwork with her non-grid Stitch Maps system, which made it clear which stitches flowed into which stitches. It’s not really set up for brioche yet, but it was very helpful for class. Registration to use Stitch Maps is free, and a basic subscription is only $15/year, so I’m going to go ahead and sign up. I do love charts, and this could be a very helpful next step.

JC Briar brioche scarf

This scarf pattern is in our handout, and I’ll be working at least part of it to try to perfect my 2 color brioche technique. I enjoyed this class, and just wish it had been an hour longer! Or all day…

Elongated stitches

Novelty stitch class

I also taught three classes at Madrona. My students were all great; they came well prepared and eager to learn. Rock stars! I taught a class on one of my favorite knitting techniques, knitting with elongated novelty stitches. We knit up this little sampler in class, using double and triple wrapped stitches and manipulating them into interesting patterns. These little gems can really dress up your stockinette!

Tridacna class

I taught a mini-class on the novelty stitch in my Tridacna Cowl.

Katey's Tridacna

Katey showed me her completed edging the next day. Nice work!

Blocking class

And I taught my blocking mini-class again. I love this class because it gets hands on, and really makes a case for blocking! (Photo by Gail Wasberg)

But Madrona isn’t just classes. There’s hang out time with other knitters/crocheters/spinners all over the hotel, and there are free demonstrations and workshops in the rotunda. The teacher talent show for charity helped raise over $12,000. And the market…

market finds

I came home with two treasures. The first is a little dish from Charan Sachar of Creative with Clay. He makes beautiful things, and I couldn’t resist. His vases and mugs are also whimsically lovely, like little cardigans complete with buttons.

The second treasure is a skein of red yarn from Abstract Fiber. I compared this red across four yarn bases, and the gray undertone of the yak base made this Lotus fingering (20/60/20 Yak/SW Merino/Silk) an even more perfect match for my red boots. I’m knitting another Zephyr because my sister really wants one!

Red Zephyr and boots

Spinning lesson

Carla McCoy from Pocket Wheels is a great spinning teacher. This is post-banquet; Anne Berk (Annetarsia) is getting her first treadling lesson. I’ve only spun on a drop spindle; I figured Anne could try this out. But the next day I tried it in the Pocket Wheel booth, and suddenly I was making yarn. So cool! And the little wheel fits in a tote bag.

Untangling

Madrona is a place where complete strangers help untangle each other’s yarn. This did get resolved, in about 20 minutes. Miraculous. The yarn was actually left over from these slippers, designed by Mary Scott Huff and worn by the happy knitter.

Mary Scott Huff slippers

I found that Sally Melville has a love for boots too. Check these out:

Boots on the ground at Madrona

I’m going to close this post with more pictures to tide you over until next year. See you at Madrona?

Franklin Habit is ninja photo bomberFranklin Habit as photo bomber. Kilroy?

Canon Hand DyesCanon Hand Dyes booth

Galina KhmelevaWhen Galina comes over to help you choose your tahkli spindle. “This one dances too much!” With Pamela Grossman and Dusty the wonder pup.

Weaving shuttlesWeaving shuttles by Joel Grinstead

Turkish spindleAnd Turkish spindles, too

Creative with ClayCreative with Clay

young scotsmanYoung Scotsman with hand knit kilt hose

Madrona Rainier sunriseRainier at sunrise

New: Rain Chain Shawlette, ebook and yarn for you?

Back from Madrona, but it’s going to take a few days to be ready to properly blog about it. In the meantime, here’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you about for months!

Rain Chain Shawlette KP

I’ve been dying to wear this new piece for the last year, but I had to wait until it was published this month. This is my Rain Chain Shawlette.

Rain Chain Shawlette KP2

The shawlette is a sideways crescent triangle, one of my favorite shapes. It features a rain chain detail at the top edge, and spring flowers on the lower edge.

Rain Chain Shawlette in Velveteen

My prototype version features beads that look like raindrops both in the rain chains and in the flowers and edging, to add sparkle and drape. Instructions for bead placement are in the patttern.

Rain Chain Shawlette bead detail

The Rain Chain Shawlette is knit with Knit Picks Gloss Fingering, a 70/30 blend of merino wool and silk. The silk gives it a drape and a bit of a shine. This shawlette is in the new Knit Picks book, Little Luxuries, which is available as a physical book, and also as an e-book. The single pattern is also available from Knit Picks.

I”ve enjoyed looking through the book that just arrived; it includes 23 patterns for beautiful accessories such as shawls, cowls, hats, and mitts. All patterns use less than 100g of yarn.

I’m giving away a pdf copy of the Little Luxuries e-book, and 2 balls (100g total) of Gloss Fingering in the winner’s choice of color. Leave a comment and let me know which color you want to knit your Rain Chain Shawlette; color choices are here. I’ll pick a winner on Monday, February 27.

Rain Chain Shawlette gradient

The prototype before the prototype was knit with an end to end gradient from Alexandra’s Crafts.

Fibonacci and Fan

And now finally! The winner of Knitted Wit Victory Sock yarns to knit Fibonacci and Fan is Rhea Kohlman. Her pick? Snowy Woods, which is the color that launched the entire snowy line. Good choice! Rhea, I’m emailing you to get your addy.

So many things to knit! So many things to blog. Back soon, I promise.

Do you read while you knit?

Are you a monogamous knitter, or do you like to have many projects going? I usually have two projects, or three at the most.

More linein minisNext on the needles

I like to have one thinking project, which is usually a design project. I have to work on it at home in peace and quiet, and there’s a lot of ripping and re-knitting as I figure things out. It helps to take good notes!

Red ZephyrJust off the needles, a multi-tasking dream

And I like to have one project that is good for multi-tasking, where I can read, watch TV, or chat at knit nite. Usually the design project becomes a multi-tasking project, after the kinks get worked out and then it’s easy knitting all the way. I like to design things that are good for multi-tasking or meditative knitting, where you don’t have to be tied to the instructions for every stitch or row. This is the kind of knitting I like best.

I read a lot of blogs while knitting, and I like to read on my Kindle. I prefer Kindle to physical books, because it lies flat, and I just have to tap or swipe to turn the page. The last time I read a physical book, I tapped the page and nothing happened!

Burials

I’ve been enjoying Mary Anna Evans’ Faye Longchamp mysteries for many years now. I just had the pleasure of reading an advance review copy of Burials, her latest which is coming out on March 7. Faye Longchamp is the scrappy protagonist. Originally from Florida and the descendant of a slave, she’s a smart archaeologist who is something of a murder magnet. She and her hunky husband Joe are always involved in discovering who did it, and how. We learn about archaeological procedure along the way. I was sorry to get to the moment where the murderer was revealed, because I didn’t want the book to end. Fortunately, I’ve just pre-ordered the Kindle edition so I can read it again in my preferred format. Why buy a book I’ve already read? It’s only $6.99, less than 2 cups of fancy coffee, and I’ll catch all the things I missed when I was reading the pdf on my iPad. If you’re looking for a smart, fun read, try this one. The book works as a stand alone story, you don’t have to start at the beginning of the series. But if you want the backstory later, or you want to start at the beginning, Artifacts, the first book in the series, is only 99 cents for the Kindle edition. And on iTunes, it’s free, at least for now. I’d be envious, though, because you’d get to see the character development of my lovely friend Faye. (She seems real to me!)

In the notes at the end of Burials, the author talks about the Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma, the setting for the novel. This Native American historical site dates back to 1400 AD. Some of the finds there include cups, pottery, tools, and textiles. Of particular interest is a bit of lace. Click here to see a picture and learn more about this lace. I had not associated lace with Native American culture, so this was fascinating to me. Can you imagine someone finding a piece of your knitting 600 years from now? What would they make of it? Would they think it was mainstream, or something special for ceremonial purposes?

OK, off to bed. I’m at Madrona, and teaching tomorrow. Blocking first!

Rosaria edge detail

Good night!

Sweater: Top down or bottom up?

Saw this on IG and had to share so I can come back to it and remember.

Nancy Ricci is knitting a sweater that is written to be knit from the bottom up, but she prefers top down. So she started with sleeves and a provisional cast on for the body, worked the yoke, and is now in full control of the placement of waist shaping and overall length.

I think I’d take it one step further. Use a provisional cast on for the upper sleeve, and then you’ll have full control over sleeve length, too. Karen Templer of Fringe Association wrote about it in her post here.

Brilliant plus brilliant equals 2xBrilliant! Or is that Brilliant squared?

Stopover collage

I’d mash all this up for the next sweater. Unless it’s a third Stopover. After knitting two, I already know the length and shaping. Yes, I’m still thinking about a third one (charcoal gray with a rainbow color pops), but it wouldn’t happen until fall, if at all. Spring is just around the corner, and there are visions of shawlettes dancing in my head!

Would you go to these lengths to get your sweater just right?

Nashville and knitting

Catching up with myself here…DH and I went to Nashville for a few days of fun last week. He was on his way to Bowling Green, KY for a project, and had to pass through Nashville, so why not?

I met up with Ann Shayne at Mason-Dixon Knitting world headquarters. I’m so impressed by how she and Kay Gardiner have developed MDK from a longtime blog between friends to this new creation. They’re dabbling in all sorts of knit-related fun: publishing booklets, blogging, community forum, YARN.

MDK wall of yarn

This is the wall of yarn. My Euroflax mini-skeins used to live here, and now they’re all grown up.

SeaScape

It looks great on Ann! It’s a long skinny…scarf? Shawlette? Scarlette? What would you call it? Ann called it “deliriously pretty” in an Instagram post; I was pretty chuffed by that. Pattern coming soon.

 

These are samples of the Breton Cowl from Field Guide Number 1. The Shibui yarn is heftier than I thought (quick knit!), and really pretty. The favorites queue is getting longer! Thanks to Ann for a fun morning of knitting and chat.

Breton Cowl

I made a quick trip to Craft South the day before in search of yarn to swatch for a design idea. This is a sweet shop that carries fabric and a small but exquisite selection of yarn.

Craft South entry

Craft South yarns

While I was there I met Hannah Thiessen, @hannahbelleknits on Instagram. So fun to meet online knitting friends in real life!

Hannah at Craft South

And Craft South is near a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop, so I got to introduce DH to his first Jeni’s experience.

Jeni's

I may have acquired some red boots that day, too. But it wasn’t an all knitting trip. We saw Sister Sadie, an excellent 5 piece bluegrass band at the Station Inn, and A Prairie Home Companion at the Ryman Auditorium. Nashville is a fun city; I’d love to visit again.

At the Ryman
Those stained glass windows at the Ryman!

Red Zephyr and Biscuit

Right now I’m knitting away madly on a red Zephyr Shawlette to go with my new boots. This is Hazel Knits Entice, Vamp colorway.

Zephyr and boot

I love how the Zephyr arrow echoes the heart on the boot. I’m trying to finish this to take to Madrona next week. Knit like the wind…a zephyr!

Musings on a pink hat

I’ll admit, I was conflicted about the pink hat. I don’t like using the word “pussy,” and I didn’t want to trivialize a march that was meant to address serious issues. The Pussyhat Project just didn’t speak to me.

Guess what @doctorphilbernstein is knitting? #knitting #knitstagram

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But a friend in DC wanted a hat, and DH offered to help. A chance to teach DH to knit? OK!

Pussyhat pussycat

The hat was finished, modeled, and sent off to Rita in DC.

Rita

Still, I had no interest in a hat of my own. Until Friday night, when I finally realized the optics of a sea of pink hats. A message of solidarity that didn’t need words. An answer to the red baseball cap, but handmade, and a play on the very words that had offended me.

Brioche in the round

I cast on at midnight, knit for an hour, and wondered if I could finish in the morning. Malabrigo Rasta, in Sabiduria. Recycled twice off the experimental brioche rib cowl I had knit earlier in the week (a single skein Rasta cowl turns out to be too bulky for comfort when that small).

Brioche pussyhat

I finished at a pre-march brunch. Brioche rib is very stretchy, so even at 40 sts it was a little big, but serviceable. (Rita’s hat was 48 sts with a K1P1 rib.)

March on Washington: Portland

I gave another Sabiduria hat to L on the left; it never fit me and the pinkish purple was the right color. And I gave a Sabiduria headband to a neighbor. Color, color, color. A sea of pink/purple.

Women's March

Under umbrellas.

Do I love the hat? Not really, But it served a purpose. Here are a few links that help explain how I feel.

NPR, on the pink hat as a reply to the red hat.

Mason-Dixon Knitting, on knitting being a big part of this story.

And a very informative Buzzfeed post by Abby Franquemont with answers to those who wondered if these hats were made in the USA.

Pussyhat Mosaic

I borrowed this image from Abby’s post; it says that it’s a mosaic made from Ravelry images of the hats. I’m trying to find the source and will give credit when I find it. (Edited to add: the mosaic was made by Casey, Ravelry’s webmaster/programmer extraordinaire. Well done!)

Did you knit a hat? Did you march?

Update: Well, knitters (and crocheters) definitely got noticed. Here’s Time Magazine’s cover:

Time Magazine cover

And The New Yorker magazine for next week.

New Yorker magazine cover

Way to be seen and heard, yarnies!

January: Resolutions or Goals? Classes!

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, because I know I won’t keep them. Why set myself up for failure? But I do like to set knitting goals for the year. This year, I plan to learn brioche knitting. I bought a book last year, and never even opened it. So I signed up for a class with JC Briar at Madrona next month. Gonna get it done!

But along came a Knitstrip project from Mason Dixon Knitting, a quick little one color brioche scarf, knit flat.

Brioche Scarf

That was easy! I loved the squishy Malabrigo Rasta so much, I decided I needed a cowl. In the round. Wait for class?

Brioche in the round

Nah. It was slightly more confusing with the purl stitch, but I worked it out. But I didn’t like the dimensions of this particular one skein cowl. It was too chunky at the back of my neck as a small circumference cowl, so I’m knitting an earband or hat (we’ll see!) directly off it from the bind off. Biscuit is helping.

I’m looking forward to learning to work with colors, increases, and decreases in brioche knitting at Madrona. And I’m looking forward to *teaching* at Madrona, too! I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches on Saturday, February 18.

Elongated Stitches class

I love how these add pizazz to a simple stockinette project. I’m also teaching a blocking mini-class on Thursday morning, and a mini-class with just a couple novelty stitches (Tridacna Cowl) on Saturday morning. The whole Madrona schedule is here.

The other knitting that I’ve been doing a lot, from the teaching end, is stranded colorwork. In the past couple weeks, I’ve taught Braided Wristlets (stranded colorwork and Latvian braids)

Braided Wristlets Class

Bucket List Coffee Accessories (stranded colorwork and crocheted steeks)

Bucket List steeks

And Kerfuffle Cowl (stranded colorwork).

Leann's kerfuffle

Leann was so happy about class, she stayed up late that night and finished her cowl. She did a great job. (Thanks for sharing your picture with me, Leann!)

Stranded colorwork is nice and warm, because it has two layers of yarn on every row. Just right for the snowy weeks we’ve had. Ready to thaw out now!

Icicles

Do you have knitting goals for this year? What do you want to learn?

Snow Day, Snow Sale

Still snowy here in PDX. Ordinarily we don’t get much snow, and when we do get some, it usually gets covered by freezing rain. Not this time! We can actually play in it and with it for a few days.

Snowy Biscuit

Biscuit is wondering what the heck happened to her landscape. Why is everything white?

Snow Day Sale

To celebrate the snowy wonderland, I’m having a sale with all my patterns that include the word “snow.” All of these are 20% off through January 16, 2017 with coupon code SNOWDAY. Snowy Woods Cowl, Snowy Woods Hat, Snow Woods Log Cabin Blocks, and Snowflake Chriatmas Stocking. The hat is especially quick knitting, and you could be wearing one by tomorrow. Get your knit on!

Fibonacci and Fan collage

Fibonacci and Fan is still on launch sale 10% off, no coupon, or 20% off with newsletter subscribers’ coupon, through January 23. I used Knitted Wit Victory Sock in Cedar and *Snowy* Cedar, more snow! And there’s a chance for you to win some Snowy yarn, see previous post. It’s quite the snowy week around here.

A few more snowy pictures…

PDX Bike

Snowy tree

Snowy trees

New: Fibonacci and Fan Shawl, yarn giveaway

It’s a snow day here…time to knit! It started snowing last night and we’ve got about 10 inches of snow at my house.

Snowy Tree

I loved knitting my Ships in the Night shawl, but as I was finishing it, I thought: What if I arranged the Fibonacci stripes differently? Once the idea was in my head, I had to find out.

Fibonacci and Fan

And I love it! More geeky numbers! This time, the stripes grow at the same rate, and look like ripples in a pool of water.

Fibonacci and Fan is my new top down crescent shawl. It features garter stitch stripes in an increasing Fibonacci sequence, and ends with a scalloped Old Shale lace edging, which is sometimes called Feather and Fan. The knitting is simple and very zen. I knit mine with two coordinating skeins of Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock yarn in Cedar and Snowy Cedar. Two skeins of 4 ounce/420 yard fingering weight yarn will get you on your way.

Like its sister shawl, Ships in the Night, Fibonacci and Fan is fun to wear. Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug.

Fibonacci and Fan 2

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 can also wear it bandanna style, with both ends hanging in front.

To make this launch even more fun, Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit is offering 2 coordinating skeins of yarn to one lucky winner, in the winner’s choice of color plus the “snowy” version of that color. Leave a comment by January 18 telling me which color calls your name, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for the yarn. These are the snowy colors:

Snowy Colors

It’s hard to tell on these little cards, but you can get a better idea of the snowy colors by looking at the Snowy Hat collection on Ravelry that we did in 2015. (The pictures are not mine, so I’m not posting them here.)

I can’t give yarn to everybody, but the pattern is available through Ravelry, and is 10% off through January 23, no coupon code required. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll have a coupon code in the next newsletter for 20% off. Not a subscriber but want to be? Add that to your comment and I’ll get you signed up.

Talk to me! I’m snowed in and waiting to hear from you. So is Biscuit. She’s not impressed with snow, or the snowman I brought her.

Don't you bring #pdxsnow to your #cat @thebiscuitreport is not impressed.

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