Category Archives: pattern design

Fern Lace Shawlette update

Beads and Lace

I’ve just updated my Fern Shawlette pattern to streamline it for classes. The i-cord edging, garter stitch body, and lace edging are now all on the same chart, and together in the instructions, instead of my previous modular approach.

I’m leaving both versions in the downloads section on Ravelry, so you can choose which way works better for the way you think! If you previously purchased Fern, you’ll find an update notice in your Ravelry library.

To celebrate this update, I’m offering 10% off the pattern through May 29. Use coupon code FernUpdate on the Fern Lace Shawlette Ravelry page here. Current newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your code.

I’m using this pattern at Virtual Knitting Live in June. If you’re taking this class, make sure you download the file that says “Fern Shawlette for classes 05.20” for the updated version!

Knit Circus The Night Sky

This showed up in the mail, just before the stay-at-home order took effect. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s from Knit Circus; the sparkle gradient is The Knit Sky, and the speckle is Mistress of Myself.

I bought these with an idea in mind, something I’ve been dreaming about for a year or more. I’m finally ready to play with it. My initial swatching looks promising. A shawl, and it’s *not* brioche. I know, unbelievable!

More later. Gotta go knit.

Kerfuffle Cowl update, and Kerfuffle Zoom class

Read to the bottom if you’re interested in class!

Young woman wearing snowflake colorwork cowlLarge cowl

I’ve updated the pattern for my Kerfuffle Cowl to streamline it for classes. I’ve been saying for years that I was going to do this, and now I have a little time to get it done. Here’s what I’ve changed:

  • Changed the needles to omit the smaller needle for the ribbing. Now the ribbing and the body both use the same larger needle. It works fine, and makes class that much more accessible.
  • Omitted the purl stitches in the first 3 and last 3 rows of the charted pattern. I was concerned about the edge flipping, but blocking takes care of that, and it’s one less thing for a new colorwork knitter to think about.
  • Added a larger 30″ size to the original 24″ size. Knitter’s choice!

The Kerfuffle cowl is a great project for first time stranded colorwork. There are only two colors used per round, and I’ve taken care that the motifs don’t have long floats that need to be trapped.

To celebrate this update, you can purchase the Kerfuffle Cowl pattern for 15% off through April 24, 2020 using the coupon code FRESH when you purchase it through Ravelry. Newsletter subscribers will have a 25% discount in the next newsletter. Not a subscriber? Sign up here!

Small cowl

I’m teaching a Kerfuffle Cowl stranded colorwork class through Zoom on Wednesday May 6, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The class is being organized by Fuchsia Troutman at Weird Sisters Yarn Shop. She’ll have class kits available, and a special pattern discount, too. Register here!

By the way, my May 2 Petite Brioche class is now full; thank you for your interest! This will be a great way to get into the swing of Zoom classes. I’m looking forward to being able to teach from home, and I hope you enjoy learning from home, too.

Three of my four Virtual Knitting Live classes are full (that was quick!). There are a few spots left in my Minerva Entrelac class, so if you’re interested in that, register now. VKLive link is here.

Let’s knit together, apart!

Introducing: Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL

Minerva is an entrelac cowl or scarf, knit flat. She’s a twist on my Athena Cowl, which is knit in the round. You can choose your pricing; see below.

Why knit a round cowl flat? To learn all the elements you need to know for any entrelac project, and to avoid a huge game of yarn chicken on a long scarf or loop cowl knit lengthwise! Entrelac looks like it’s woven, but it’s just a lot of squares and triangles, knit one at a time. You’ll want to knit just one more square…

Knit to the length you like! Samples shown in worsted weight yarn, but I’ll be knitting one in Huckleberry Knits American Dream DK for a KAL.

Short cowls, steam or wet blocked

100g/200 yards will give you a short cowl.

Noro Silk Garden, 115 g (2.3 balls)

I used 115g of Noro Silk Garden for the longer cowl. 200g/400 yards of Noro will give you a 60″ scarf or cowl.

Test knitter Paula Sadler’s Minerva Scarf, 4 balls of Noro Silk Garden

I’m planning a KAL during this time of social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Come knit with me at a distance! I’ll be posting the updates here on my blog. I’ll also be posting pictures on social media; I’m @pdxknitterati on Instagram, and PDXKnitterati on Facebook. Use #minervakal2020 and #pdxknitterati on Instagram. I’ll help you through the tricky spots!

The Minerva pattern is available through Ravelry Minerva Entrelac Cowl or Scarf (Ravelry link).

Let me know if you’d like to learn entrelac with me. I’ll post soon about choosing yarn and getting started.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Kristine Alcade, Ann Berg, Anne Fields, and Paula Sadler.

Edited to add:

All Minerva KAL 2020 posts:
Introducing Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL
Minerva KAL: Choosing your yarn
Minerva KAL: Casting On
Minerva KAL: Base Triangles
Minerva KAL: Tier 2
Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2

Minerva and KAL coming soon!

I’ve decided that this version of my upcoming Minerva Cowl is as long as I want it to be! I like my cowls to be about 34” long; they fall well on me there. Right now this is 35”, but I couldn’t resist that last color I was knitting. I’m ready to give it a little steam block, and then seam it with a 3 needle bind off. I started with a provisional cast on, so that will be easy.

I know there’s not enough yarn to get to 56”, which is what I’d want for a double loop cowl, so I’m stopping now!

I’ll be releasing this pattern soon, with free and paid options, and having a virtual KAL via social media. Would you like to learn entrelac? It’s really fun, and looks really clever. Stay tuned for more info!

Aspen Leaf backstory

I think it’s fun to document how I get from an initial idea to the finished product when I design. Here are some pictures along the way to my Aspen Leaf scarf.

I knew I wanted a series of leaves, so I started out playing with some Hazel Knits DK Lively that I had purchased on a whim. It was a bit lightweight for a scarf. I also decided it needed to not be 2 semi-solid colors together; that would be a lot of knitting the same thing over and over again. (I do love the yarn, just not for this particular project. Back to the waiting bin it goes.)

I picked these two colors of Malabrigo Worsted. At first, I used the variegated for the MC, but the color speckles made it so that I couldn’t “read” the leaf. So I flipped it and made the orange the MC. I decided this leaf was going to be too long and skinny.

Also, the skinniest point between the leaves was going to be too narrow compared to the rest of the scarf, so I started planning for a background of syncopated color reversal on each side of the leaf.

I tried making the leaf shorter and more compact overall, but all those decreases stacking so closely together meant that the top of the leaf pooched out, like a bra cup. THIS IS NOT A BRA.

The syncopated color reversal wasn’t a bad idea, but it had too much visual weight and was taking attention from the leaf, which should be the star of the show. I’d have to make it narrower.

Short bottom, tall top. Halfway to success! I like the leaf, but the syncopated background was now too narrow. I knew what I needed to do.

This sample is in Malabrigo Rios, a superwash plied worsted weight yarn. I liked it! Happy leaf, happy background, which serendipitously looked like butterflies. I would have knit it up, but I thought it would be more fun if the main color for the leaves could be a gradient.

I went to Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival looking for the perfect worsted weight gradient. No luck, but this DK weight gradient from Huckleberry Knits was too pretty to pass up. Scarlet was happy to find a coordinating color for my background.

Since I already had it planned out, this was perfect vacation knitting for me last December. The pattern is pretty easy to memorize.

And I love how it turned out! You can see this one in person at my Rose City Yarn Crawl trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton, Thursday March 5. Scarlet (Huckleberry Knits) will be there with it on Friday, March 6, too.

I did knit a worsted weight version, eventually. This is Knit Picks Chroma Worsted in Pegasus and Natural. I seem to be having a thing for rainbows. Again, fairly mindless travel knitting for me in January and February. (Still not blocked yet; I’ll get there eventually! Then the lines of the last blue leaf will straighten out a bit.)

And the Malabrigo Worsted? I didn’t want to frog that a fourth time, so I used the rest of it for a Dotty Cake hat sample. And after photographing it, I gave it to my Mom-in-law for Christmas, because she admired it at Thanksgiving. Perfect.

And that’s the story!

A Tale of Two Decreases

I just made a video tutorial for an alternate version of a left leaning brioche decrease.

The center decrease shown is a right leaning decrease. The one on the right is a left leaning decrease, and it’s fine for most purposes. But it shows a lot of the dark colored wrap of the stitch that is passed over. Most of the time, this doesn’t bother me.

But sometimes, like in my Aspen Leaf scarf, I want the left and right leaning decreases to mirror each other more closely.

The Brioche Unwrapped Decrease moves that wrap out of the way before passing the slipped stitch over. Very tidy! Thanks to Xandy Peters for dreaming this up. I’ve made my own video tutorial, because I want to make sure it will always be available when I link to it in a pattern.

Brioche Unwrapped Decrease tutorial link

Here you go! If you don’t like the unwrapped decrease, you can always use the other left leaning decrease. You’re the boss of your knitting!

Introducing: Aspen Leaf

Aspen Leaf is ready to rock and roll!

Aspen Leaf is a leafy brioche scarf. Butterfly wing-shaped wedges are introduced in syncopated brioche as the leaves narrow and widen. The leaves are especially glorious in a gradient main color, and a speckle or semi-solid makes a nice background. The leaf pattern repeats 10 times using two 4 oz skeins of DK weight yarn. You could easily substitute two 4 oz skeins of worsted weight yarn for a slightly wider scarf with fewer repeats.

Sample shown in Huckleberry Knits DK Gradient (Practical Tactical Brilliance) and Huckleberry Knits American Dream DK (When You Said Hi, I Forgot My Dang Name). Gauge is not critical in this stretchy fabric, but it can affect size and yardage requirements. Work for a gauge that gives you a pleasant fabric, not floppy nor tight. Knit as many leaves as you like, depending on how much yarn you have.

This was my relaxing vacation knit in December. Brioche, relaxing? Yes; once you’ve knit a leaf or two, the shaping is easy to remember. You should have experience knitting brioche before knitting Aspen Leaf.

I took it to VKLive NYC last month.

We had a good time!

I’m knitting one more for myself in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted; it’s a little wider and will have 8 leaves, according to my yarn scale. No yarn chicken here!

This pattern is available through Ravelry. It’s 10% off through February 14, 2020 as a valentine to you. Happy knitting!

Syncopation encore, and VKLive NYC

I finished a third version of my Syncopation shawl just before VKLive NYC. I wanted to wear it there, and I did!

This version is a size/shape between the original shawl and scarf, so a bit wider/less deep than the original shawl, and not as long and skinny as the scarf. I scrunch it a bit at the neck so the point will fall at center front; rolling the scrunch means that some of the reverse color from the other side shows at the neck, which I love.

I’ve added instructions for this size/shape to the pattern, which is available on Ravelry. If you purchased the pattern, you should have received an email letting you know about the update so you can download the latest version. Or if you’re one of my new brioche students, you can just buy it now…

I wore it a lot! I was wearing it when I met up with Ann and Kay from Mason Dixon Knitting in the Knitty City booth, and when I saw Lorajean and Shannon in the Knitted Wit booth, and when I was teaching on a slightly snowy Saturday. It’s a good travel companion, easy to put on and wear.

Bright lights, big city! The NYC show was BIG, with a very different feel than the Columbus show. We were at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, with classes all over and a market on TWO floors.

Here’s a view from the balcony; take this and multiply by two. It was packed with product, and with shoppers.

I taught 5 classes to great students. And I gave my lecture, Blocking: It’s Magic. Once I figured out that the computer wasn’t touch screen, my PowerPoint presentation went very smoothly! (So used to my iPad; I forget…)

This sign was going up during the day, and I decided the question needed to be: Who’s Afraid of PDXKnitterati!

This is my new Aspen Leaf Scarf (pattern coming soon). The colors from Huckleberry Knits have Hamilton-themed names: Practical Tactical Brilliance and When You Said Hi I Forgot My Dang Name.

This picture is as close to Hamilton as my scarf was going to get.

On a whim, I tried to get a ticket to Hamilton in the cancellation line. I got THISCLOSE; they ran out 2 people ahead of me. But it was fun hanging out for a bit, chatting with people from Atlanta and Honolulu who were hoping to get in.

I wasn’t on the hunt for yarn this weekend, which made my limited time in the marketplace a little more manageable, but I really wanted a knitty souvenir. I bought this swatch necklace from Porterness Studio; it’s perfect! I’m wearing it all the time.

Happy tired teachers at the end of the last day. And more random photos below.

Mochimochiland

Carol Milne glass art

GettingPurlyWithIt Nancy

IndieUntangled

Safiyyyah, aka DrunkKnitter

I stayed overnight, and took a walk in Central Park and down Fifth Avenue the next morning before going home. Such a gorgeous day!

Wollman Rink

Carriage Ride

Ice rescue ladders

Down gown in the Bergdorf window. I could have used this; it was cold!

Oh, here are a couple flyover pictures that I love:

Jack Frost artistry

Cloud shadows over a great lake

And now, on to the next thing…let’s GO!

Both Sides Now, backstory

I started designing Both Sides Now last winter, even before the Knit Picks call for submissions for a brioche collection.

This was from January 2019. I knew I wanted brioche, and a half-pi shawl.

February 2019: I played around with some stitch patterns. The little round leaf pattern didn’t thrill me, and I cogitated for days on how to make that twig pattern bend to my will. Once I figured it out, I contacted Knit Picks to see if they had more of these colors. Nope, discontinued. But they sent me some glorious blues to play with.

I was playing with this at Crafty Moms weekend in March last year.

There was definitely some trial and error and learning curve involved. And then there was a call for submissions for a brioche collection. Perfect! I was halfway there already!

When I blocked and photographed the shawl, I discovered that there really was no wrong side. Both sides looked great. Voilà, Both Sides Now.

I found it fascinating that the twigs on RS and WS faced opposite directions, down and up. And when you look at it closely, the lower sections look like light veined leaves between dark outlines on the RS (left half), but they don’t look that way on the upper section of the WS. Clearly, it’s not an exact reversal of color and texture.

Usually KnitPicks writes their patterns for MC and CC, but I requested that we use DC and LC designations (dark color and light color) because I wanted to make sure those lower veined leaves were reproducible. They’re especially nice if the yarn colors are very tonally contrasty.

After I finished the blue shawl, I went back and finished the purple version as a shawlette to see how far the yarn would go. I used almost every last bit of yarn, one skein of each color.

The leaves show up really well here, too. Instructions for both sizes, shawlette and shawl, are in the pattern.

Here’s the Knit Picks sample, same side as the purple above. In the top section, the light colored twigs point downwards. With less tonal contrast in the greens, the leaf veins in the lower section don’t pop as much as they do in the blue and purple versions. Still very pretty, just different.

This was a lot of knitting that I couldn’t show you last year! Now all has been revealed.

For a chance to win the YO: Brioche Knits ebook, visit the first Both Sides Now blog post and leave a comment there. I’m drawing a name at the end of the weekend. Good luck!