Category Archives: Knit

RCYC 2016 Day 2

I won’t even pretend that I’ll be able to go to all 14 shops on the Rose City Yarn Crawl. I salute those who have already turned in their completed passports! I started my day with a trunk show, but not on the crawl.

Lantern Moon luncheon

Lantern Moon’s fabulous retreat began with a luncheon at McMenamin’s Kennedy School. I had a little trunk show for this room full of happy knitters before they headed off for Skamania Lodge. Also in this show were Brooke Sinnes (Sincere Sheep, you can see her at For Yarn’s Sake on Sunday) and Deb Accuardi (Chicken Coop Botanicals).

Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues is making the rounds! So fun for people to try things on.

The Lantern Moon crew was headed for a tour of Pendleton Woolen Mills in Washougal, WA. Two of the retreat attendees are wool-allergic, so they planned to hit a few stores on the Crawl and meet up with the group at Skamania. They had already been to Close Knit, so I recommended Twisted and Yarnia. Yarnia, so uniquely Portland, where they could choose their fibers and have them made into their own one-of-a-kind yarn. I ended up there later, and heard that they had made it in and made their yarns!

Yarnia

Yarnia’s offerings are sorted by fiber content. You choose your plies, and they are wound off together for you.

Yarnia

Yarnia also has pre-wound yarn, for those of us who can’t decide. (I’ve been one of those before.) I love how they display little swatches on the cones, and label the wool-free ones. I hadn’t been to Yarnia’s new location, so I really wanted to see it, and am glad I had a chance to visit. Their new space is lovely.

Yarntastic

Yarntastic is another new-to-me shop. It’s over in the Sellwood neighborhood, which is the far end of Portland from me. I was charmed by their yarn tree, seen here over Stacey Kok’s (Thoroughly Thwacked) trunk show display. What a lovely riot of color.

thoroughly thwacked

This little sparkly blue gradient set was calling my name, loudly. I’m still thinking about it. Hmmmm.

Shannon & Lorajean

I also stopped at Northwest Wools, which was mobbed by crawlers. I’m not really stalking Shannon and Lorajean, but wherever you go, there they are! Plus, I was picking up Girl Scout cookies from Shannon. If you need cookies, she’s your source. Nom.

Today I’m planning to go to Wool ‘n’ Wares to see rainbows and maybe sheep, and back to For Yarn’s Sake to see the Spincycle gals.

Spincycle Yarns

I bought this beautiful yarn from them last year, and realized later that it really needs a coordinating/contrasting color to make it sing. So I’ll bring my pretty pink/purples and audition the other colors with them. (Does this remind you of my color pop auditions for BangOutASweater? Seeing is believing!)

Where are you on the crawl today? Leave a comment. There may be a reward!

Rose City Yarn Crawl and trunk shows

It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year: Rose City Yarn Crawl! This year there are fourteen participating shops in the metro Portland area. The crawl begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 3, and ends at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. Are you ready?

I’ll be at two shops with trunk shows this year.

image
2014 trunk show with LJ and Frances

On Thursday, I’ll be at For Yarn’s Sake from 10 to 4 with fantastic local dyer Knitted Wit (Lorajean Kelley), and designers Shannon Squire and Debbi Stone. It’s a party!

fern shawlettesLast year at Twisted

On Sunday I’ll be at Twisted from 1 to 4 p.m. Stop by and say hello!

FO: Stopover BangOutASweater

Well, that was a hoot!

BangOutASweater FO

I knit this Stopover in 8 days, and then set it aside to wait for my color pop swap yarn to arrive in the mail. What a difference a color pop makes!

yarn swap bangoutasweater

The swap yarn arrived shortly after I got home from Madrona. (Go back to the previous two posts if you missed the Madrona fun.) I auditioned all but the purples, which were too dark against the lapis background. And I tried my green one more time.

bangoutasweater color swap audition

Orange, yellow, green? Yellow! It looks like daffodils and bluebells in spring.

stopover color pop

I’m super happy with this sweater. Thanks so much to bluecanarygirl (Ravelry) for organizing the yarn swap. The yellow makes my heart sing.

The sweater fits perfectly, with a bit of ease but not a ton. It did not change size with blocking (I didn’t want it to). I did spin some of the water out of it, but I put it into the top loading washer in an up and down orientation so the spin wouldn’t elongate the body or arms. Short spin, rearrange, short spin. Pat out to dry.

The Lett-Lopi wool isn’t super scritchy; it’s like wearing a cloud. Except at the neck. I took the FO picture without a turtleneck under it, because I wanted to show the neckline (you can see a bit of my black T). But yesterday I wore it with turtleneck, and it was perfect.

Thanks to Mary Jane Mucklestone for a perfect pattern, and Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner at Mason-Dixon Knitting for dreaming up this very fun KAL! You can see a collage of FO’s over at the MDK blog; I see me in there! That post has links to all the help you’d ever need if you want to bang out a Stopover of your own. My Ravelry project page with notes is here.

Clara Parkes

Other recent fun? Clara Parkes was here to read from her new book, Knitlandia, at Powell’s in Portland last Saturday. Guess who won a Claramel?

knitlandia claramel

The green knitting in the photo is done! Time to block, and finish up the pattern. Reveal coming soon…

Madrona 2016: Class reviews

A little more Madrona. If you missed the Fun and Games edition, you can see it here. (Market, extras, a song.)

I took two classes this year: Latvian Fingerless Mitts with Beth Brown-Reinsel, and A Sense of Proportion with Franklin Habit.

latvian mitts

The mitts class was a full day affair, and packed with related technique and information. Sure, we were making a mitt, but at the same time we had a review of Latvian tradition, yarn dominance in stranded knitting, how to manage 2, 3, or 4 colors, half braids and herringbone braids, and the afterthought thumb. I had a passing acquaintance with all of these techniques, except for braids, which I loved. Kudos to Beth for excellent instruction and a very comprehensive handout.

latvian mitt

Here’s my class piece. Excuse the errors; this was more of a technique learning piece and color combo audition. Someday I’ll actually knit the mitts…

Franklin’s class was, as always, enlightening. He is always well prepared, and a great presenter. This class started with body proportions (think of da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, or Vitruvian Sheep per Franklin’s illustration), and then related them to proportions in three common knits: Hats, mittens, and socks. Example: Hats are generally worked until they are as tall as your hand (wrist to fingertip) before crown shaping begins. Second example: Your palm is a square, and the thumb hole on a mitt is halfway up the palm. I knew the first example, but not the second. I’ll be using that soon…

franklin speed swatch front

We talked about speed swatching in the round. Your gauge knitting flat isn’t always the same as your gauge knitting in the round. I knew this when I swatched for my BangOutASweater Stopover, so I swatched magic loop because I wanted to try two different color combos, front and back. But if you don’t need that much knitted real estate, you can speed swatch for gauge, color combinations, or new techniques. Basically, you work only the front half, and just carry the yarn across the back. (Make sure you leave enough slack so you can block the piece flat, or you’ll have to cut the yarn, which means you can’t re-use it.)

franklin speed swatch back

Clever, yes? I’ve used this technique before, but then Franklin added the step beyond: He mentioned using it to swatch just a wedge of a hat, to figure out vertical motif placement. I tend to think of swatching for stitch gauge, but it totally makes sense to use it to also make use of the row gauge. If you’re trying to center something vertically, you can know without knitting the whole hat first. Time saver!

So now I’m home, and taking my braids to the next level. What happens if you carry the yarn over the previous one? Under the previous one? Use the same color or opposite color for the braid? Follow the braid row with the same colors? Opposite colors? Only one way to find out…

braid speed swatch

Of course, I’m speed swatching my way through all the options.

braid speed swatch back

Thank you Beth and Franklin, for two great classes. I highly recommend them.

It was a joy and a thrill to take classes AND teach a class at Madrona this year. I hope I can do both again next year.

glass dress at murano

chihuly bridge of glass

A little more ambiance from the weekend…

Madrona, fun and games edition

Madrona was, as always, a magical experience. This was my first time teaching there. My blocking class was full, and my students came ready to learn about swatching, washing, and blocking all the knits. It was fun!

I took two classes, but I’ll write about them in a later post because I’m using new knowledge from both classes on a little project, and I want to put all of it together for you. Curious? Watch this space! This post is about everything else. To tide you over, here’s a link to the class I took with Evelyn Clark last year.

Last Wednesday I was packing for Madrona, and I caught myself thinking, “Don’t buy any more fingering weight yarn.” (The bin is full.) And then I heard myself say out loud, “Unless it’s gradient!”

Sincere Sheep

So apparently I had to buy some gradient yarn. This is from Sincere Sheep. I bought just the gradient on Thursday, and the next day went back for a coordinating solid. And two days later I found myself buying beads from Bead Biz to go with them! This will be a fun design project.

Janine Bajus FeralKnitter

Janine Bajus was our speaker on Friday night. Very inspiring. As she wrapped up her talk, I was compelled to write down these 3 ideas, plus the big question.

You get to do what YOU want.
There is no one right way to do it.
You won’t know if it will work until you swatch.

What is holding you back?

I chatted with her on Saturday about her strikingly beautiful shawl, which actually isn’t finished yet. She wore it on Friday, the steek cut but not edged. Holding just fine! Now that I think about it, it would be cool to leave it that way, as a representation of the journey.

Carol Milne

I met glass artist Carol Milne. She’s well known for her knitted glass sculptures. Her current project is a glass entrelac dress. Glass entrelac? Yes. She knits the squares with wax cord, and makes a clay molds which are used to make the glass pieces.

knit wax for glass carol milne

pamela

New buddy Pamela Grossman tried on the beginnings of the dress. Pretty cool! You can sponsor a glass entrelac square, and when the June exhibit is over, Carol will send it to you. I want one! Check out her Facebook page for details. (It’s not up on her website yet.)

GS Mini

What else? I had a fabulous hotel room with a great view. And a fainting couch! I brought Minerva, my GS Mini, as a diversion. Last week when my #BangOutASweater gauge swatch lied to me, I started writing lyrics in my head. It’s to the tune of Blowing in the Wind. I’m sharing them with you here. If you use them anywhere, please credit them to me. And yes, I used the singular “they.”

Knitter’s Lament
Michele Lee Bernstein, PDXKnitterati

How many times must a knitter cast on
Before the swatch doesn’t lie?
How many swatches must one knitter frog
Before they break down and cry?
How many swear words will one knitter say
While knitting the umpteenth try?

The answer my friend, it’s all about the gauge
The answer is all about the gauge

How many binges must one knitter watch
On Netflix, to finish a sleeve?
Second sleeve, second sock, second mitt, second cuff
Our boredom must be relieved
How many times do we itch to cast on
Before our ends have been weaved?

The question my friend: What’s next in the queue?
What project is next in the queue?

How many times have you given a gift
And were told, “But wool makes me itch”?
How many gifts have been tossed in the wash
To felt, and shrink each precious stitch
Yes, but how many times have you given a gift
And seen the lives you enrich?

The answer my friend: It’s for the love of yarn
We do it for the love of yarn.

How many ways can a knitter make socks?
Up from the toe… Or down from the cuff?
How many ways can we learn to cast on
Before we know all the stuff
How many classes will we knitters take
Before we call it enough?

The answer my friend: It’s time to confess
At Madrona, we are obsessed.

As you can see, I had a fun time at Madrona! I’m knitting away on the little project I want to show you, using Latvian braids (from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s class) and speed swatching and proportions (from Franklin Habit’s class). Stay tuned for a class review! Here are a couple peeks out my window while you’re waiting…

Friday sunrise

Rainier peeking Friday

Bang Bang BangOutASweater!

stopover knitting done

I finished all the knitting on my Stopover last night! Monday to Monday, and done. Except for the color pops. I’m waiting for my swap of color pops to come in the mail, and I’ll duplicate stitch them when I choose a color!

stopover rolled neck

Mods: I made a rolled neck edging because I don’t want Lett-Lopi ribbing at my neck. I skipped the last row of colorwork, knit a round with my neck color. Changed to smaller needles (US9) and knit 7 more rows (so 8 rows total). No neck decrease, just kept the stitches left over from the colorwork section. Bound off with larger needle (US10.5). It makes a lovely rolled edge, and the neck hole is not tight around my neck.

I knit the whole thing one size larger, to compensate for my difference in gauge. I used the sleeve cast on number for the next smaller size, and continued the increases until I reached the right number.

Still need to graft the underarms, weave in ends, add color pops, wash and block. But I’m calling this 99% finished. All the knitting is done!

This was a quick fun knit. Sweater is 40.5 inches around, a nice sweatshirt-y fit. Now that I know what it’s like, I can see making one more fitted, but not too fitted. But I have other things to work on right now.

I’m getting ready for Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I’m teaching a mini-class on blocking on Thursday. You KNOW I love blocking! Are you going to Madrona? Hope to see you there!

New pattern: Meander Cowl

Pattern launch! Introducing the Meander Cowl. Read down for Ravelry coupon code…

In between banging out a sweater and pillow and poncho, I’ve also been blocking and finishing Meander Cowls. Remember this from last month?

meander cowl collage

I also knit a fingering weight version of it, this time in Delicious Yarns Sweets Fingering, Green Tea colorway.

Meander Cowl fingering weight single

Meander Cowl fingering weight doubled

It’s even airier than its sport weight cousin. I love them both.

These elegant infinity cowls are knit flat with one 100 gram skein of fingering or sport weight yarn, then seamed to form a loop which can be worn single or doubled. The lace and cable pattern meanders back and forth along the length of the cowl, creating zigzag edges.

Meander sport weight single

Meander sport weight doubled

The Meander Cowl pattern is available for $6 as a pdf download through Ravelry. Meander Cowl link here. To celebrate its release, I’m offering 20% off with coupon code MEANDER through February 22, 2016. I hope you knit one! It’s light and airy and perfect for winter or spring.

Meander cowls

Sweets Fingering and Two Sweets Sport from Delicious Yarns feature a pop of color that wanders across the lace and cables. Blocking brings out the best in the airy zigzag lace. This cowl would also be gorgeous in a semi-solid color. Each skein of Delicious Yarns is dyed by hand, and is unique. My original cowl is on the bottom of the picture below, and my test knitter’s cowl is on the top. So very different, but both are gorgeous.

Delicious Yarns Sweets Fingering

Here’s the Green Tea, before winding. So pretty!

stopover sleeve and prosecco

It’s starting to feel like spring here. Yesterday I was banging out a sleeve in my back yard! I wore the green Meander, and it was perfect. No coat. Odd for February, but the sunshine was a pleasant surprise. How’s your weather?

Banging out Sleeves

I knit a sleeve yesterday. An entire sleeve. This is quick knitting, I tell ya! I’m on the second sleeve now.

stopover bangoutasweater one sleeve

I could have knit both sleeves yesterday; they’re that fast. But I took some time out to seam this pillow.

snowy woods log cabin trees

snowy woods log cabin firs

It’s another Snowy Woods Log Cabin Blocks pillow. I made it with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky for the Knit Picks IDP program. The pattern will be for sale on the Knit Picks site, as well as the the version that’s already up on Ravelry. More Snowy Woods! More Log Cabinning!

I also took time out to make these pillows. (Whoa. Just noticed they’re the same color as the log cabin pillow. We have a palette here.)

cat pillows

I was inspired to make these when I saw the cat pillows over at Mason-Dixon Knitting last month. The fabric was printed by Spoonflower. Now my grown kids can have their own cats at their respective abodes!

cat pillows with cat

I’m not sure what Mookie thinks of them. But I’m sure I’ll never get that little top hat on her again.

Apparently yesterday was a very Mason-Dixon Knitting day. The #BangOutASweater KAL, the cat pillows…and I learned to log cabin from the first Mason-DIxon Knitting book. I made this blanket way back in 2008-2009.

log cabin blanket

So thanks, Ann and Kay! You’ve changed my life!

Back to the sleeves…some people are already finished with their first KAL Stopovers, and starting a second one! I’m looking forward to starting the yoke patterning. Just have to power through this sleeve, first.

Banging along…obsessed

I was trying to balance my projects, but this #BangOutASweater KAL has me obsessed. Sometimes you have to give in to the momentum. I’ve been knitting like a fiend for the past couple of days. I’m feeling a little twitchy without this in my hands. I may have knitted at a few stoplights. Or not. I’ll never tell. But I finished the waist shaping on Tuesday.

latte bang

I was out and about on Wednesday, but managed to knit over post-gym coffee, and then in the evening. The body is done!

stopover sleeve begins

On to the first sleeve. The cast on looked enormous, and I have small wrists, so I started with 4 fewer stitches (next smaller size). It will catch up as I go; I’m making the longer sleeve length.

winter is coming bang out a sweater

This picture is from Kay Gardiner’s Instagram account. Check out the hashtag #BangOutASweater to see all the Stopovers in progress.

#bangoutasweater instagram

I’m pdxknitterati over there, too. Knit on!

Knitty knitty bang bang

Having fun so far with the #BangOutASweater project. Sometimes planning and dreaming is the most rewarding part.

green lopi pop

I didn’t love the spring green Lopi that I chose for my color pop when I swatched with it. Through the magic of duplicate stitch, I auditioned several other colors to see if I could find something I liked better. I used six different Malabrigo worsted colors that were leftovers in my stash.

malabrigo color pops

Purple, yellow, red (actually Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride)
Moss, orange, apple green

I’m leaning towards the yellow, so I tried that by itself.

yellow malabrigo pop

Maybe. Maybe just a little too much? I also like the moss, which is almost the same color as the original Lopi, but maybe a bit softer.

I asked for opinions on Instagram, and they’re all over the map! Some people liked the idea of using All THE COLORS, which could be fun, too. I may just knit the MC and not put the pops in, and then duplicate stitch them in afterwards. That would have two advantages: One fewer color to manage on that row, and I could swap out colors whenever I wanted to, like a necklace. Crazy? Maybe not!

With all this prep, how could I go wrong? I cast on yesterday morning. The contrast color borders were looking disconcertingly pastel, but all was well once I got to the main color. It looks like a blue valentine!

Lopi Valentine

But it was also looking suspiciously small. My gauge had dropped to 14 st/4″ rather than the perfect 13 st/4″ on my swatch. Grrrrr. I frogged it. I think my gauge swatch is laughing at me from downstairs. Swatches lie!

Lopi frog pond

I don’t want to use a bigger needle, so I’ve cast on the next size up. That will compensate for the difference in gauge, and it should come out the size I originally intended. Hopefully my gauge doesn’t switch back! But it’s looking pretty steady, and the fabric is neither too dense nor too holey. I’m on my way to banging out this sweater.

It’s a good thing it’s not a race, because I’m also in the middle of banging out a poncho. More knitting, more fun! I’m designing with this gradient set from Three Fates Yarns.

Three Fates Eponymous Sock Time Lapse

It’s pretty wild having a project in Aran weight and two projects in fingering weight at the same time. (I’m leading the Black Trillium Fibres Twin Leaf Crescent KAL this quarter, too.) But I’m enjoying them all. Knit like the wind and bang out all the knits!