Category Archives: Other craftiness

Wool Tinctures, cats, Nine Lives

It was a busy weekend!

Remember the dye project we bought from Abundant Earth Fiber? We loved meeting Lydia Christiansen and learning about her milling and spinning on Whidbey Island. Lydia’s entire inventory was stolen, along with her trailer, on her way to Stitches West, and she is working hard to get back up to speed. We wanted to support her business, and get to play with color, too!

Saturday was the day. My yarn is worsted weight domestic merino, and Lisa’s is DK weight 80/20 merino and Rambouillet.

I love how tidy this whole setup is. This plus yarn plus hot water.

Why yes, I’m dyeing my yarn in a Lego bucket. It’s usually the wastebasket in my studio. Lisa is classier, and is using a ceramic bowl.

This dye is exhausted!

My yarn is slightly semi-solid. Because I dunked one end in first? Insufficient stirring? It’s pretty, though.

Lucy approves! Thanks to Lucy and Lisa for hosting the fun.

It was a cat filled weekend. I was catsitting for both my kids, who were away on two different trips. This is MisMis. She’s very friendly…with people. She’s a great only cat.

And this is Gator. He’s very handsome, and very amiable, too. Gator is coming to live with us for a while, if he and Biscuit can get along. We’re just starting a slow introduction.

There’s been some growling and hissing on Biscuit’s part, but we’re not getting them face to face for a few days. Wish us luck!

Gator is currently chilling in my studio.

And! Speaking of cats, it’s time for the drawing for the Knit Picks Nine Lives Collection. The winner is: Margo! I’ve emailed her for her addy so I can send her the book. Thanks to Knit Picks for their support for Knitters with Kitters at Purringtons, and thanks to you for reading and playing!

36 hours in Ellensburg

One catch up post!

I spent 36 hours in Ellensburg, WA to celebrate a friend’s birthday the weekend before Knot Another Fiber Festival. It was quick but we packed in a lot of fun!

Saturday was LYS Day. I wasn’t near my LYS, but Ellensburg has a very nice shop, Yarn Folk. Ann Miner’s shop has lots of high quality yarns and is full of inspiring shop samples. I didn’t need any yarn (do I ever?), but I needed a shawl pin so I picked up this leaf pin by One of a Kind Buttons. (More about the book in a bit.)

There was a sheep to shawl exhibit by Thorp Mill at the rodeo grounds, and I met this sweet lamb, as well as some spinners and weavers.

In the afternoon Vickie and I took a beyond basics block printing class at Gallery One. Every time I play with block printing, it gets a little better. So much fun!

This particular class was about chine collé (like collage, adding contrast papers in the printing) and puzzle blocks (cutting your carved block into pieces so you can put it back together while using different colors for the different parts). In three hours we sketched and carved blocks, and tried these two new techniques.

Pictured above, top row: Carved block (it’s been cut and put back together), original test print. Bottom row: Chine collĂ© bird print, and puzzle block print. I’m looking forward to playing more with this block, or even re-doing it now that I know what I want it to look like.

In the evening we went to the college rodeo. Why yes, this was my first rodeo! It seemed about time my boots went to one.

Waiting

Birds on a wire

Matched set

I came home Sunday to teach a class, and picked up the new Mason Dixon Field Guide, Transparency.

I love the look of this Shakerag Top. (Thanks, Biscuit, for helping with the picture.) It’s knit with one or two strands of yarn to create the striping, but the yarn is all the same. This particular yarn is Jade Sapphire Sylph, a blend of cashmere and linen. I love linen and I love cashmere. It’s a little spendy, so I have to decide if I’m really going to make it. Also, deadlines! We shall see.

Knit on!

Carol Milne knitted glass, WWKIP wrap up

Remember Carol Milne’s knitted glass entrelac from Madrona? (More pictures in that link.)

carol milne glass entrelac

I sponsored a piece, and it just arrived in the mail, along with a postcard of Carol Milne wearing her finished creation last month. I think it must be pretty heavy when it’s all put together.

knitted glass carol milne

carol milne knitted glass entrelac

The glass is strung on an adjustable cord and is ready for wearing. The postcard says “A metaphor for the fragility of life and the power of social structure. Individual strands are weak and brittle on their own, but deceptively strong when bound together.” So true. And so cool!

Knit Pick-nic WWKIP

If you were following on Instagram last weekend (I’m @pdxknitterati over there), you already know that WWKIP Day was a bit damp, but fun. If you weren’t following, here are some pictures for you.

free yarn from knit picks
Knit Picks sponsored this Pick-Nic, and gave away project bags, yarn, and books. I had a trunk show, along with three other designers. Thank you, Knit Picks!

bacon and eggs scarf

We were greeted by this lovely KP person, wearing a bacon and eggs scarf.

Hannah Knit Picks finger puppets

Hannah loved these finger puppets!

OK, back to my knitting. Trying to finish up a pattern…What are you doing this weekend?

Crafty Moms Weekend catch up

The weekend before the yarn crawl was the 13th annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast. That’s a lot of tradition!

The Beanstalk Poncho that I wore Sunday?

Terri, me, M

I seamed it at Crafty Moms weekend.

beanstalk seam

I was going to use mattress stitch, but my blocking wires left a loopier and rufflier than expected edge, and I didn’t want to take up even more fabric in the seam allowance. Those holes ended up being perfect for slip stitch crochet. I didn’t have an appropriately sized crochet hook, but I had this little repair hook, and that did the trick.

Twin Leaf at Crafty Moms

I almost finished my Twin Leaf Crescent for the Black Trillium KAL, which wraps up at the end of this month on Ravelry. The view beyond the window was pretty, too.

wrap bracelets

Carole made the bracelet on the left for me with beads we bought at Shipwreck Beads on the way home from Madrona. The middle one is hers. And I made the one on the right, but I don’t love it. The orange beads with the brown leather don’t make me happy. So I’ll frog it and do it again, later.

It was rainy and not rainy, as is customary on the Oregon Coast. So there was walking and not walking!

rope and sea creatures

The ocean likes beading, too. I think these beads may be anemones?

Here’s a little live action…

Crafty Moms weekend at the #oregoncoast. Sometimes you have to go outside.

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

sunset

It was a very relaxing weekend with 16 Crafty Moms!

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.

The love of music

In 2000, DH sent me to piano camp as a birthday gift. We were both taking music lessons (piano for me, guitar for him), and read Noah Adams’ book, Piano Lessons: Music, Love and True Adventures. The description of Adams’ week at Sonata Piano Camp as an adult student inspired DH to surprise me with the same.

music quilt detail

It turned out to be the gift that kept on giving. I went many more times after that. I made great friends, and even improved my piano skills. One of my new friends attended with her mom, Betsy. Betsy was my duet partner in 2001. She was an amazing woman: A college math teacher, marathon runner, downhill ski racer, knitter, quilter.

music quilt 2

When Betsy was dying in 2012, I sent a note along with a CD of her playing at Sonata, including the duet that we played. It arrived the morning she passed away. Last year her husband was deciding what to do with some of her things, and wanted to know if I would like her music quilt.

music quilt

I love the composition of this, how she took the simple repetition of the black and white star blocks and personalized it with a music theme. The one brown star at the bottom left. The heart that balances it visually. The music staff border fabric. The embroidery around the top edge: “I love music, in around and, under the stars”. It is a beautiful piece of hand quilted art, expressing our love of music both visually and in words. I am so honored to receive this. I’m glad I knew Betsy, and I’m glad to have this quilt to remember her by.

duet partners

Here’s our duet from 2001, Pastorale by Stecher, Horowitz, and Gordon. Betsy is playing primo, and I’m secondo.

My time is mostly devoted to knitting and designing now, with not much piano. Guitar and singing with friends is my current musical outlet. But every once in a while, I sit at the bench and play pieces I learned at camp…

If you’d like to know more about Sonata camps, here’s their website. All levels of playing welcome. And here’s an article from the NY Times; my roomie Katie Hafner wrote it in 2002.

Edited to add: Here’s a note from my friend Becky, Betsy’s daughter.

I am Betsy’s daughter. Michele and mom always had a special connection thru knitting and friendship. The CD Michele refers to contained a few songs from the sonata concert. The odd thing was the mailman brought it at 8 am the day she passed away and the receptionist said he never came before 2 pm. My mom had been unresponsive for 16 hrs but when I played the CD her eyebrows raised and she smiled. My stepfather Alex kept the letter that arrived with the CD. This past summer he asked me if he thought Michele would enjoy having the quilt. I immediately said yes they contacted Michele for confirmation. i am glad that my mom’s creativity is in the home of a fellow knitter and music lover.

Thank you, Becky!

Knitted shoes?

Well, they’re not really knitted. But I can put a picture of knitting on my shoes!

pdxknitterati ZX FLUX knit shoes

pdxknitterati knit shoes

This isn’t quite what I want, but you get the idea. Anything is possible.

pdxcarpet shoes zx flux

I just ordered these shoes for DH’s birthday, using the Adidas mi ZX FLUX photo print app on my iPad.

pdxcarpet shoes zx flux

It’s Portland’s beloved iconic airport carpet, soon to be replaced but not forgotten. DH loves this kitschy carpet, and now he’ll have shoes to remember it by. (Seriously, there are all sorts of souvenirs you can buy with this print on it, including socks and wall hangings. This carpet has its own website and instagram account.)

What about your cat?

pdxknitterati mookie shoes

Yep, possible.

cat zx flux shoes

Favorite photo from vacation?

zx flux beach shoes

Sure!

What would you put on your shoes? I’m going to knit a better swatch and go from there…

Oregon coast weekend, symmetry, and more

I went to the coast for a retreat this weekend. It rained torrentially, except for about an hour after dinner on Friday. I hadn’t been to the beach in Gearhart before, so I took a quick walk to see what there was to see…

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a gorgeous sunset

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Tillamook Head, to the south

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Interestingly textured seaweed

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And these very interesting things. They look like tubes of tapioca. I had never seen them before, so I put the picture up on Facebook and appealed to the power of the interwebs. The answer came back quickly, from the 9 year old daughter of a friend. (Concidentally, the very same kiddo who was the recipient of the Gryffindor sweater that needed a new home a few months ago.)

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They’re squid egg sacs. More info here, if you’d like. I love science…

We did a little cardboard loom weaving on retreat.

weaving

My piece says a lot about me. I like symmetry. I like a plan. I’m currently designing a knit piece, and symmetry plays a lot into what I find appealing. Is this the sign of a tidy mind? It’s not a sign of a tidy house!

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My friend’s piece was a lot more free-form than mine. That says a lot about her, too. The fact that there’s room for both in this group? That says a lot about the world!

There were 15 of us; the Lodge can house up to 26. If you’re looking for a group getaway spot on the Oregon Coast, I highly recommend The Lodge at Gearheart’s Little Beach. It overlooks an inlet, but beach access is a short walk down the road.

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Another week of the Aloha KAL done, and it’s time to pick the next winner. This week’s prize?

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These totally fun wine glass coasters. Very aloha! It’s not to late to join the KAL. I’m guessing it will run at least 2 more weeks. More info here.

How was your weekend? I frogged a design prototype, and figured out how to make it better. Symmetrically, of course…

Purling back backwards tutorial

Aloha edging

I’m working the knitted on border of my Aloha Shawlette for the Aloha knit-along. The border is 4 to 6 stitches wide, and it’s tedious to turn my work after every row. The solution? Purling back backwards. You can do it, too.

Edited to add: Some people call this knitting back backwards, or KBB. I’ve seen it referred to both ways. For me, what I think of as knitting back backwards would result in garter stitch. I’ve never done garter stitch with this non-turning technique, but it’s possible, too. I just haven’t needed it yet.

I’m almost done with the shawlette; this is a quick and easy knit! But it’s not to late to join the KAL. You can be part of the chat and prize drawings through my Ravelry group. I’ve just drawn the first prize winner; JBTCat will be getting these fishy stitch markers.

fish stitch markers

You can make stitch markers like these, too; check out my tutorial here.

There are a few more prizes in store, including yarn and a mystery fun thing. Come join the fun!

Over the Cascades, again

Last Friday I headed over the Cascades again, but this time in Oregon. It was a music getaway weekend with friends, but before everyone arrived, I had a trunk show at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters.

Stitchin Post (photo by Sarah Peery)

We had a great time! It’s always fun to meet knitters in person, and see hand knits up close. The Stitchin’ Post is starting a KAL of my Garland shawl today, so I left a couple samples for the week.

On to music! My new guitar made her debut with my fellow Pie Birds, Claudia and Becky. We played and sang and laughed, a perfect weekend.

The kids dyed eggs while we played more music.

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And what does any good yarnie do with that leftover egg dye?

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Of course. I bought a skein of white yarn at the Stitchin’ Post. It’s Juniper Moon Farm Sabine, 30% Royal Llama, 30% Merino wool, and 40% cotton. I was hoping for all animal fiber, but this was luscious. I wound off yarn in approximately 25 yard hanks (around my arm, one uses the tools at hand!). We dip dyed it, squeezing out excess dye after each dip, and then microwaved the yarn for 2 minutes to set the color. A quick rinse after it cooled, and then dried overnight. I was going to wind it into balls after they dried, but decided to leave them as mini-skeins to preserve the color runs. Aren’t they sweet?

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On Sunday, Claudia and I walked along Whychus Creek. This creek has been restored, and was the subject of the Two Rivers, Three Sisters quilt exhibit that we saw in Portland last year. This panel was my favorite. (Just had to show you, because it took me a while to find this picture in my archives!)

Whychus quilt

Here it is in real life…

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Whychus Creek, near Sisters, Oregon

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On the way home, we stopped at Black Butte Ranch so I could get a proper picture of the mountains we saw while driving.

Mt. Washington Mt. Washington

image Three Sisters (Middle Sister is not visible from this viewpoint) and Belknap Crater in foreground

The sight of a snowcapped volcano always takes my breath away. Such beauty in this world, and we get to live in it. :sigh:

In knitting news, I’ve started my Aloha Shawlette for the KAL. It’s going pretty quickly!

aloha kal day 1

How was your weekend? And what are you knitting?