Category Archives: Knit

Cast on tricks, fixing mistakes, and classes at OFFF

The Go Tell the Bees KAL is underway, and we’re having a grand time chatting over in the Ravelry thread. It’s not too late to join the KAL; we’re knitting at our own pace and just having fun. Some of the tips that have come out of the cast on thread are particularly helpful, so I thought I’d share them here.

I chose the cable cast on for the beginning of this project, which starts at the lower edge. Why not use a long tail cast on? Because the cast on is huge, 350-400 stitches. I’d hate to run out of yarn just before my goal.

Why not use the two ended long tail cast on? Because I’m using a gradient/ombre ball of yarn, which means that the other end is a different color. I thought it might be pretty that way, but I tried it and it wasn’t at all pretty.

Also, the first row after a long tail cast on is the purl/bumpy side, which is part of why it wasn’t pretty, for this particular pattern. The first row after a cable cast on is the knit/smooth side, which is what I wanted.

The tip for any long cast on is to use markers to help you count. You can place them after every 20, or 50, or whatever number of stitches, and then not have to count all the stitches at once after you’re done. Much better than long counting, and coming up with a different number several times.

If you think ahead while you’re casting on, you can place the markers at your stitch repeats. Figure out how many stitches are outside the repeat and add them to the first section, then place the following markers to note your repeats.

A very common error is either missing or dropping a YO. You don’t notice until you’re on the next right side row, when you don’t have enough stitches between markers to work your repeat. I posted this in the last post, but I think it bears repeating. Here’s how to fix it:

I once took a class in fixing mistakes, and that teacher said you should count on the WS rows to make sure you have the right number and kind of stitches. Me, I’d rather relax on those WS rows and deal with mistakes on the next RS row. Both ways work, but I use those WS rows for reading or chatting!

I’m going to be teaching two of my favorite classes at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. This year’s festival runs from Friday Sept. 22 (classes only on Friday) through Sunday Sept. 24. The theme at OFFF this year is lace, and you know I love that!

I’m teaching Tink Drop Frog, Fixing Mistakes: Lace Edition on Saturday Sept. 23 from 9:30 to 12:30. We’ll be learning ways to fix lace mistakes when you’ve noticed them in the same row, a row or two later, or even later than that! This is an empowering class; you are really the boss of your knitting when you can use these techniques.

I’m also teaching Be Manipulative, Elongated Novelty Stitches on Sunday Sept. 24 from 1:30 to 4:30. The honeybee stitch from Go Tell the Bees is just one of the stitches we’ll be practicing. If you like the lacy look of these stitches, come learn them with me!

Rescuing a dropped YO at WWKIP Day

It was a jam packed weekend! I was a guest designer at the Knit Picks WWKIP Day Knit Pick-nic, where I worked on my Go Tell the Bees KAL.

I love how my mannequin Lacey has my yarn ball tucked into her decolletage. I’m knitting with Knit Picks Stroll Gradient in Ice Sculpture. The project is well under way. While I was knitting, I noticed an error because I was one stitch short in one of my repeats. Usually this happens because I dropped a YO while purling back on the wrong side row. I don’t count stitches on the WS rows; this is my time to chat or watch tv or read. I find the mistake on the next right side row.

Do you have to rip/tink back two rows to fix this? NO WAY. I’d never get anything done. I made a video of this easy fix. It was a chilly day here in PDX, so I’m wearing my Beanstalk/Trellis Vines mitts sample, trying to get warm.

Hope this helps!

The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind. We saw Ira Glass (This American Life) at the Schnitz, I had my Go Tell the Bees KAL party at Pearl Fiber Arts, and I sang with my harmony singing class at a benefit for Artichoke Community Music. Whew!

How was your weekend? Did you knit in public?

WWKIP Day, KAL party, non-yarn chicken

It’s shaping up to be a knit-packed weekend here in Portland, Oregon! Knit Picks is having a WWKIP (Worldwide Knit in Public) Day event this Saturday, June 10. I’ll be one of the guest designers there; come say hi if you’re local! It’s from 1 to 3 p.m. at Overlook Park. Refreshments, door prizes, and yarn sampling!

I’ll be knitting with this Knit Picks Stroll Gradient cake in Ice Sculpture; it’s my Go Tell the Bees KAL knitting. (Click for Ravelry link)

And I’m having a a Go Tell the Bees KAL party at Pearl Fiber Arts on Sunday June 11 from 1 to 3. Fierce Fibers dyer StaceyKok will be there with some of her lovely gradient cakes, too. Again, if you’re local, come knit with me! (RSVP to Cindy at the shop; space is limited.)

And here’s a recipe that I’d like to share; we had this on Memorial Day. It’s a family favorite. (Hey, look, chicken that’s not YARN CHICKEN on the blog!)

Vietnamese Chicken Wings or Drums

Ingredients

Marinade
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce) I use 3 Crabs brand. Red Boat is also good, and it’s gluten-free if that’s an issue.
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup rice vinegar
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
1 rounded tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 large flat of chicken wings (about 20 wings), cut into 3 sections, discard tips, or 1 flat drumsticks (about 16)
2 tsp cornstarch, combined with 2 tsp cold water
1/2 bunch cilantro

In a quart-size jar with tight-fitting lid, combine marinade ingredients. Seal and shake until sugar is dissolved.

Marinate wings/drums in sauce about 4 hours in refrigerator.

Grill wings/drums on medium-low temp to brown and cook through, turning every 5 minutes. Drumsticks take about 25-30 minutes. I’ve never used wings, so you’re on your own for timing. They’re traditional, though.

While grilling, put about half the remaining marinade into a sauce pan and bring to boil.

Add cornstarch/cold water mix to thicken a bit, I used about 2 teaspoons of corn starch.

Chop up fresh cilantro.

When wings/drums are done, put in large bowl, pour in some thickened glaze and stir. Arrange on platter and garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!

Introducing: Go Tell the Bees, pattern and KAL

And we’re live! My Go Tell the Bees pattern is now available through Ravelry. (If you’re a newsletter subscriber, don’t forget to use your coupon code for 20% off. If you’re not a subscriber and want to be, let me know in the comments.) This shawl was inspired by the title of the upcoming book in the Outlander series, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.” I’m not sure who’s gone, but the title is highly evocative.

This crescent shawl begins at the lower edge and features lacy honeycombs and bees. This is the 645 yard shawl version above.

And this is the smaller 430 yard version. You’ll definitely want at least 430 yards; I used nearly every scrumptious bit of mine.

The pattern has been tech edited and both sizes have been test knit. We’re having a KAL beginning June 11; you can sign up for the KAL in my Ravelry group here. I hope you’ll knit along with me! I’m having fun picking prizes for it already.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I did, you can order Renai in many colors from Fierce Fibers. This is a lovely single ply fingering weight yarn. Stacey is offering it at 10% off through June 30, 2017 with coupon code MICHELEBEE10.

I’ve been very impressed with the color and non-kinkiness of Stacey’s gradient yarns, so I asked her about her process. Here’s what she had to say:

I started looking at the various decisions a dyer needs to make in order to create a good quality gradient. The obvious requirements were that the color change can’t be abrupt, there can’t be white spots and there can’t be any kinkiness to the yarn. Solving these problems really fired up my inner engineer and after months of development I started releasing a small set of gradients in the fall of 2016. I dug deep and bought the best equipment I could afford so I can make my own knitted blanks. This means I can make any yarn into a gradient and I’m not limited to blanks from a manufacturer. I can make my blanks to any yardage, any gauge and any width I choose (which if you can believe will affect the “fade” of your gradient).

Getting rid of the kink took considerable work. Frogging the blanks immediately while wet is a whole other set of possible failure modes that had to be solved. I also discovered that after some time, no matter what you do, certain yarns just have too much memory and can’t be straightened without herculean effort. Anyone who also spins knows there’s just a point where the yarn you’ve made, can’t be undone. So believe it or not, my blanks have a “fresh by” date!

Here’s Saigon Cinnamon just after dyeing, before drying and being wound into a cake. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting with Stacey’s yarn for these shawls.

Let’s knit!

Busy as a bee

Buzz! I’m watching my test knitters’ projects develop on the Go Tell The Bees projects page on Ravelry, and planning for a fun KAL. Pattern coming June 1, KAL begins June 11.

I found some cute bee stitch markers that will make a sweet prize.

I’m working on a design to coordinate with a crochet friend, and Biscuit is marginally impressed. She helped with the math.

I’m dreaming of a shawl in blue and yellow yarns. Which blue? Which yellow? I don’t know yet. What do you think?

And after changing my mind several times on how this combo will play out, I think I have a plan.

I’ll just be over here in my corner with lots of graph paper!

And in the middle of all that, I spent the weekend out at Edgefield for my friends’ wedding. No wedding pix; I was hopping busy that day! But I was blessed to sing with my beloved Pie Birds during and after the wedding. So much fun.

Note the red boots and newly finished second Red Zephyr Shawl!

We made good use of the soaking pool, and my MDK tote.

Wine tasting on the balcony. Cheers!

Coming soon: Go Tell the Bees

Remember this cake of gorgeous gradient yarn?

It grew up to be this shawl. This is Go Tell the Bees. It was inspired by the title of the upcoming book in the Outlander series, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.” I’m not sure who’s gone, but the title is so evocative, I had to do something with it.

This crescent shawl begins at the lower edge and features lacy honeycombs and bees. It is knit with either 430 or 645 yards of fingering weight yarn.

Here’s the smaller 430 yard version. Why yes, those are the ends hanging out. I should sew them in soon!

The pattern has been tech edited and is being test knit. I’m planning to publish it on June 1. We’re having a KAL beginning June 11; you can sign up for the KAL in my Ravelry group here. I hope you’ll knit along with me! I’m having fun picking prizes for it already.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I did, you can order Renai in many colors from Fierce Fibers. Stacey is offering it at 10% off through June 30, 2017 with coupon code MICHELEBEE10.

If you’d like to be notified when the pattern is published, subscribe to my email newsletter. You’ll get a special discount on the pattern, too. Just let me know in the comments, and I’ll add you to the list.

Looking forward to June!

Catching up with May

How did half of May fly by so quickly? I see that I last posted here on May 1, but I’ve been having fun over on Instagram. It’s so easy to post a quick photo with a short caption. I’m pdxknitterati over there, too; here’s a link to my profile if you’d like to follow me there.

So to catch up here:

I’ve been madly knitting gorgeous gradients from Fierce Fibers, designing a crescent shawl in two sizes. More about that in the next post.

I picked the winner of the linen mini-skeins for the Linden Leaf scarf. Congratulations Sharon Brown! I’m sending you an email to get your addy.

And I love it when you send FO pictures! I had the pleasure of teaching at the Sheeper than Therapy retreat in central California last fall. One of the classes was for my Tilt Shift Wrap. Ann Berg sent me this picture of several successful finishers. Thanks, Ann!

On the non-knit side, I’ve been obsessed with baking bagels. I’ve been experimenting with whole grain and different amounts of yeast/kneading/boiling times, and now I’m getting the size and texture I want. Yay!

And I had the opportunity to sing with my fellow Pie Birds in church, and will be singing with them in a wedding soon, too. Here’s a recording of us singing Bird Song, written by Heather Masse.

Cheers!

Introducing Linden Leaf Scarf

Spring is definitely here, and Linden Leaf is a warm weather accessory knit in sport weight linen. Something between a scarf and a shawlette, it’s a welcome way to dress up your spring/summer wardrobe.

Like its sister SeaScape Scarflette, Linden Leaf is a long narrow asymmetric triangle. This one features a lacy edge of tumbling leaves.

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

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! I used a Euroflax mini-skein set in the Forest colorway from Mason-Dixon Knitting. The mini-skein sets are back in stock, and new color sets have been added. Just in time for a quick summer knit! And single color Euroflax Sport linen can be found at many LYS’s and online.

The mini-skein set has five 65 yard skeins totaling 325 yards. A single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards, will also make a nicely sized scarf. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitters Ann Berg and Rachel Nichols used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY DK, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend, 284 yards. It also blocked beautifully. The linen is slightly crisper, and a bit more open.

This pattern is available through Ravelry, Linden Leaf pattern page here. It is 10% off through May 7, 2017, no coupon code needed, or 20% off for PDXKnitterati newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber but want to subscribe? Tell me in the comments!

Linden Leaf is a sister pattern to my SeaScape Scarflette. The construction is the same; the difference is in the edging. Leaves or waves? Do you love both? I’m offering special combination pricing: 20% off for bundle of SeaScape and Linden Leaf with coupon code BUNDLE.

If you’ve already purchased SeaScape, the appropriate bundle discount will be applied so your net price will reflect the proper amount.

And now that you’ve read to the end: I’m giving away a Euroflax Sport mini-skein set in the same Forest colorway to one lucky newsletter subscriber. Not a subscriber but want to be one? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’ll pick a winner after May 7.

Thank you to tech editor Amanda Woodruff and test knitters Ann Berg and Rachel Nichols.

Book winner, upcoming new designs

Thanks for all your well wishes for Biscuit. After a month of not feeling well, and bloodwork and followup on Saturday, she woke up Sunday and was her sassy old self. Hungry, playful, active. It’s like someone flipped a switch. We’re very happy that she’s feeling better.

The random number generator says that the winner of By Hand, Portland ME edition is Tami H. I’m emailing her so I can send her this beautiful book! But not the cat, who looks alarmed at the suggestion.

New and coming: I’m really enjoying knitting with this beautiful gradient, Saigon Cinnamon, from Fierce Fibers. I’m almost done with the first sample, 600 yards of Renai fingering weight. I’ll also be working up a 400 yard version so there will be options.

This shawl features lace and this very fun honeybee stitch, an elongated novelty stitch. So much impact for very little work! I’ll be looking for a few test knitters soon; leave a comment if you’re interested in test knitting, and I’ll fill you in on details.

Also coming, even sooner: Linden Leaf, a linen scarf featuring a pretty leafy edge. Test knits are done, tech edits are done. I just need to do the photo editing and tidy up the pattern. Later this week, perhaps? I’ll have a little discount here on the blog, and a bigger discount for email newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber and want to be one? Leave me that info in the comments, too, and I’ll add your name to the list.

Onward!

Technique Tuesday, and new yarn

It’s been quiet around here, but things are moving along behind the scenes. Sometimes if I haven’t posted for a bit, I just need a jump start, so here’s an increase that I ran across recently.

If you’ve ever used KFB, knit in the front and back of a stitch, you know it’s an easy way to increase. It’s easy, and great for garter stitch where the bump from the increase doesn’t show. In stockinette, it does show, and you have to decide if that bump is a bug or a feature. But I recently ran across YarnSub’s post on Knit Front Slip Back (KFSB), which avoids the bump, and thought it was worth sharing. You can click the link for pictures and a video, but basically it’s knit in the front of the stitch, go into the back of the stitch as for KFB, but just slip that back of the stitch to the right needle without working it. Voilà!

It does have a directional lean to it, though, so if I wanted paired increases with one leaning the other way, I’d choose my favorite left and right leaning lifted increases. My other favorite paired increases are M1 (make one) increases by working into the back (right leaning) or front (left leaning) of the bar between stitches.

So many ways to get things done! What’s your favorite increase method?

Currently on the needles for a design project, this drop dead gorgeous 600+ yard gradient cake from Fierce Fibers. This color is Saigon Cinnamon, but every time I look at it, I think of Thai iced tea. I’m through the hard thinking on this project, and about to hit cruise control. Ahhhhhh. It’s a crescent shawl, with conventional lace and a fun new lace motif made with elongated stitches. I’ll work up a 400 yard version, too. Details soon.

What’s on your needles?