Category Archives: Other craftiness

Block printing redux

I’d been promising all year to teach my sister Sharon how to block print tea towels. When she saw my friend Sharyn’s bee block, she was ready to make her own!

So she did. But I also wanted her to have the full experience, from carving her own block, to mixing color, to printing.

She chose to carve a hibiscus blossom, plus a contrasting pistil and stamen.

I chose to carve a more stylized bee, to go with the flower block I made last month.

We ran out of time, so I still need to add my flowers to my bee towels.

But Sharon finished hers!

A fun afternoon, making beautiful and useful objects. Because who couldn’t use more tea towels?

Block Party!

I’ve been printmaking with a group of friends for several years, and our library of blocks keeps getting bigger. It’s really fun to get together to make stuff! This weekend’s retreat included tea towels, aprons, pennant banners, and cards.

Prints from four of the new blocks

My new block this year. It was a last day addition, so I haven’t printed it yet, but someone else did!

I was smitten with these bees. I’m going to carve another bee block to play with.

Into the groove! So much fun to play with color, and to be a bit more multi-craftual. What, no yarn?

We were outside Rhododendron, near Mount Hood. The leaves are beginning to turn.

Still pretty green, though. Happy November!

Quick trip to Sisters

Summer and time is running so quickly!

I went to Sisters to visit fellow Pie Bird Becky and her family. We went to a concert and made some music. We even remembered how to play our instruments, easy for me (just basic guitar) but Becky plays guitar, mandolin, and banjo, and it’s been a while.

Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius
Backyard music accompaniment
Our audience was wild

Becky works at Pine Meadow Ranch, the home of the Roundhouse Foundation, which focuses on projects that work with and through the arts. Their four program areas: arts and culture, environmental stewardship, education, and social services. She gave us a tour of the ranch, which is a working ranch and also uses the restored ranch buildings for artists’ residencies.

The restored round barn
Interactive art installation that makes colored light and sound when you move under it. Note the tile mural across the way…

Sisters (the town) is named for the Three Sisters mountains in the Cascade Range. The town hosts a quilt festival each summer, and that’s reflected here.

Tile “quilt” on the greenhouse by Kathy Deggendorfer
This year’s quilt garden contest winner by June Jaeger. See the 3 Sisters?
Detail from the quilt; I love the birds, and music notes in the snow creases
Detail of detail!
And the garden inspired by the quilt. I wish you could see it from above!
A panel from a 7 panel tile mural, designed by Rochelle Schueler and Lynn Adamo
Another panel
Horse shoe gate to the garden
Pencil shaving…as you walk around it, it looks like it unfurls
More art, from 2 different artists

There’s a lot more art, and sheep and cattle, too. It’s a beautiful and inspiring setting.

I’m home now, setting up classes for fall, and getting ready for the Vogue Knitting cruise and Knit Maine. Time is racing by!

I’m writing a book!

I just signed a contract to write a book! This is the summer project I’ve been hinting about, but I didn’t want to put it out there before the contract was signed. The book will be out in the fall, and it’s about knitting, of course. It will have 20 patterns for accessories and home items (you know I don’t design many sweaters), from simple to more challenging.

I’m looking for some test knitters for these small projects. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll email you back with more details.

I’m working with Library House Press, which is Marie Greene’s new publishing company. You may know Marie as Olive Knits, and also through her Knit Camp. She has published a couple books with a traditional publisher, and she decided to launch her own publishing company this year with her third book, Knit a Little. I have a copy, and it’s beautiful. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with.

DH and I did take a little time to stop and smell the roses this weekend. We biked over to Peninsula Park, where the rose garden is in full bloom.

I love how these buds are peeking through the spent blooms.

I noticed a split stitch in my knitting this afternoon. I didn’t want the yarn to break and run down the column, so I had to fix it. My cable hook was a little short, but I managed to squish them all on there. I was too lazy to go inside to get an extra hook or circular needle! All better now.

I’m teaching Brioche Doctor next month through Bazaar Girls; I can’t wait to show them this picture. That split stitch was 21 rows down! Come to class if you want to know how to fix this and other mistakes in brioche knitting!

I’m taking the summer off to work on my book. Classes will begin again in the fall. I’m looking forward to teaching both via Zoom and in person!

The Knitting Circle

You may have a knitting circle of your own; i certainly miss my knit nite crew! But the Knitting Circle I want to tell you about is something completely different.

During this pandemic summer, I had the opportunity to make video tutorials for a new venture, The Knitting Circle. It’s a place to learn about knitting, online. The website just launched last week. Now I keep seeing my face chatting away in their Facebook ads. Startling!

The site has blog posts and instructional videos. Due to the pandemic, the teachers made videos in our home studios. I learned a lot about lighting, recording, and editing! They turned out well. Some of the videos are free, and some are premium pieces that require a subscription to watch. The subscription is $49/year, but there’s a special offer for $2 USD for the first year. For that price, I’d subscribe! I think if you sign up for their newsletter, you’d get the offer, or you can claim it through their Facebook ad. I’ve posted their ad on my Facebook page to make it easier for you to find.

Use the link below to get to the site; this is just a picture!

Here’s a link to my blog posts there; they are free content but link to free or premium videos. These are all complete blog posts, no subscription needed to read them.

So why would you want to subscribe to The Knitting Circle, when there are a million videos on YouTube? Curation. The teachers on the site are carefully chosen; we’re experts! My teacher cohort includes Jen Lucas, Corinna Ferguson, Mary Beth Temple, and Jill Wright.

The Knitting Circle is a venture from TN Marketing; they also have sites for sewing, quilting, photography, RV restoration, bowling, and more. They are also the new owners of Craftsy.

I’ve enjoyed working with them, and I learned lots of new skills this summer. Having a knitting studio at home is coming in handy! All of my Zoom classes are there, and my own videos are getting better and better, too.

How has pandemic living changed how you work?

Maskmaker, maskmaker, make me a mask…

Oh, why not just break into song?

Pfaff sewing machine

My lovely old Singer 306K still needs service, and it would take 2.5 weeks to get it back. So I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine. Sewing masks is a lot more fun when my thread doesn’t break every six inches.

An IG friend gave me some elastic, so I got back to work. Check out these fabric combos. Most were just languishing here in my stash, from when I thought I wanted to quilt.

Face masks blue stars Chinese scriptChinese script and blue stars

Face masks purplePurple florals

Fabric samples Music!

Fabric samplesMartinis and stars, a trade from friend Sharyn for some elastic

I had enough elastic for 50 masks. I’m making 20, and I shared elastic with my mask-making friends. They’re going to family, friends, and nurses. Many hands make light work!

I’m still using the Deaconess mask pattern, but I’ve changed my dimensions to make them a little taller based on fit on DH. I’m now cutting my fabric to be 6.75” (.75” taller) x 9”. When I run out of elastic, I could start making masks with ties, or I could just get back to my knitting.

Also Covid-19 related: Have you heard about Going on a Bear Hunt? It’s a way to engage families who are out walking. Leave a bear in your window! We saw many bears on our walk last night.

Going on a bear hunt

Bisquee is guarding the house with Tedward and Dr. Bear.

Teddy bears

Dr. Bear’s mask is on point!

Stay home, save lives, sew masks

You’ve probably seen the slogan, “stay home, stay safe.” But that’s not strong enough. It’s not all about us. “Stay home, save lives” is a stronger statement, and addresses the greater good.

But what if you *have* to go out for that rare trip? Grocery shopping? Pharmacy pickup? Or if your work has been deemed essential? I think a face mask is in order. Even if it doesn’t protect *you* from everything, it helps protect *others* from us. And it makes us all remember to keep a distance, and not touch our faces. I’m in.

Face masks

I spent a recent afternoon sewing masks using this pattern. It’s simple, and it works. They’ve added a version with ties, since elastic is in short supply these days. Also, people who have to wear them for long periods say that the elastic can be irritating behind the ears. I experimented with elastic and ties.

Face masks

Top to bottom: Elastic, beading cord, ribbon ties.

Elastic: I cut 1” elastic lengthwise to make 1/4” strips. It frayed a bit, but I think it’s done fraying. I’ll put a few drops of Fray Chek on the edges, but not all over because it has to be able to stretch. This is the only elastic I had in the house, and now it’s all gone.

Beading cord: I have a small supply of this. If you make knots at each end, there’s a better chance it won’t slip out of your seam. And if you cut the pieces a little long (7.5” between knots) the wearer can tie a loose knot in the cord to shorten it up to the right size. Too short, and it will be uncomfortable, so it’s nice to be adjustable.

Ribbon ties: I tried this before the second pattern was added to the website, so I just put ties at the corners. I used 14” lengths, but 16” is going to be better as far as having enough to comfortably manipulate the ties. I don’t advise lightweight ribbon like this, though; it wants to tangle. This ribbon was from when Son1 went to camp, 24 years ago. I had to put his name inside his clothes!

Singer sewing machine and catHow do you use this thing?

I don’t think Bisquee had ever seen the sewing machine before! I don’t sew much.

Face mask model

Success! But my sewing machine is having tension issues, so I’m going to have to figure out what’s going on inside the tension knob. YouTube to the rescue!

More on this lovely old sewing machine in this blog post here.

Edited to add: the 6” x 9” masks are fine on me, but short on DH, so I’m increasing the size to 6.75” x 9” for a little more coverage. Onward!

Kaleidescopically beautiful

Coming soon, Dotty Cake, a hat that makes me think of Funfetti. Yes, really.

I designed this Dotty Cowl last year for Knit Picks, and I really loved the slip stitch pattern that I created for it. I knew it wanted to be used again. And I finally got around to it. It’s being test knit now, and has already been tech edited. I’m guessing I’ll publish it in early December, plenty of time to make a slew of them for gifts! I knit one in 2 days, and I think test knitter Ann is even quicker than I am.

It’s been a whirlwind of a November, with Vogue Knitting Live, Vogue Knitting Destination: Portland, a raft of full classes at Twisted, and a little time spent on a not-knitting project, too.

I took a block printing class last year with Leslie Nan Moon while I was in Ellensburg, WA. I liked my block, but knew I could do better. So I recarved my block a couple weeks ago, and love it so much more. Here’s a print from the first one.

And here’s a print from the revision:

It’s so much better! I’ll be using this for…something soon!

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year for DH’s family, so there’s a lot of last minute stuff going on, too. Gotta fly!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving, if you’re here in the USA?

More Brioche, LYS Day

Mmmmm, brioche. It’s been quiet around here, but that’s because I’ve been doing a deep dive.

I’ve gained new skills frogging two color brioche and getting it back on the needles. It’s actually easier than it sounds. I do it by ripping until I’m close, and then tinking a row of both colors at the same time, picking up each stitch as I go. It’s just a variation on how I frog single color knitting; that controlled tink of the last row is key! I’ll eventually make a video, but if you’re desperate, give it a try.

Syncopated brioche knitting

I’m also teaching myself syncopated brioche. This is so much fun. Basically, you change the knit and purl columns instead of staying in the normal brioche rib pattern. You do have to consider what’s happening on the other side of the fabric, if both sides are going to show. I’m having fun with this, and look forward to using it on…something. Soon!

In case you’re wondering, the yarn is Knit Picks Chroma Worsted, in Pegasus. I love this colorway; I used it to design my Dotty Cowl last year (free pattern from Knit Picks here).

I’ve been playing with more block printing on fabric. I’m kind of in love, here. We did these at Vickie’s in Ellensburg last week, but I carved two more blocks when I came home. The small circle is for making a contrast cener to the flower block. Looking forward to printing these.

Carved rubber block for block printing

And! Are you celebrating your local yarn shop this Saturday? It’s LYS Day, which is a great time to support your local fiber sources. There are events and special promotions on that day.

For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton has a mini skein deal for you: Purchase a set of minis and you’ll get a coupon code to get my Lucky Star pattern for $2. (The pattern is very adaptable to whatever yardage minis you have.) Not local to For Yarn’s Sake? If you purchase a set of minis from your LYS on Saturday (4/27/19) and email me a copy of the receipt, I’ll send you a coupon code for the same deal. Cool beans!

OK, I’m heading back to brioche land. Knit on!

Crafty Moms Weekend 16.0 (2019)

One more time! We had a spectacularly beautiful weekend on the Oregon Coast. Great weather, beautiful sunsets, camaraderie and crafts. I’ll put the scenic photos at the end. Yarn and other craftiness first!

Brioche and Bellini breakfast

I brought three knitting projects, but I only worked on one of them. I spent a day trying different ways to reverse the colors on the new section, and I’m finally happy with how it’s working out. It was a technical challenge.

Now it’s just a matter of finishing it! I may have to set it aside for a bit; another project has a deadline and needs to get underway.

Laurie was crocheting unicorns. So cute!

Sharyn brought supplies for block printing on tea towels. I brought some of my previous blocks, and carved a new flower block. I purchased these bags last year in Sisters during the Lantern Moon retreat, but hadn’t gotten around to printing them yet. Done!

This is pretty easy, and lots of fun. I see more of this in my future!

This was our 16th year at Rockaway Beach. The house looks right over the water so it’s perfect for any weather. But this year it was sunny all weekend.

Twin Rocks

This cloud bisects the sun

This one does, too

We stayed Friday afternoon through Monday morning. It would have been hard to go home on such a gorgeous day, so I didn’t! I had a free night expiring soon at Tolovana Inn in Cannon Beach, so Carole and I headed north for an overnight there. It was so warm that I bought a sundress and walked barefoot on the beach.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

The afternoon low tide was perfect for tide pooling.

We only saw two sea stars; I hope they’re coming back.

The anemones look pretty healthy!

The moon was nearly full, and the early morning moonset was gorgeous to behold.

It clouded over as the day went on, but that made it easier to head home. It was a perfect weekend!

Bisquee missed me. A lot.

And today (Friday), we brought this guy home. He’s 2 years old. His shelter name was Frumpkin. That’s got to go. But I don’t know what to call him yet. Working on it…

The fun never stops around here!