Category Archives: pattern design

Brioche knitting for all!

I’m teaching three beginning brioche knitting classes at Northwest Wools. The classes are full, but I’m also teaching it at Twisted on Saturday March 23. This class features my Petite Brioche pattern, which you can download for free here.

I love teaching, and I love brioche knitting. I think two color brioche is easier to learn than one color brioche, and knitting it in the round is easier than knitting it flat. No sliding back and forth.

Look at all the new brioche knitters!

Everyone was off to a good start. We diagnosed and fixed some mistakes, too. Learning to read your brioche knitting is a valuable skill.

Being around all that brioche knitting kick started me into more brioche.

This is my first foray into designing with flat two color brioche. I’m starting with a half-pi shawl construction, because there aren’t any increases in the brioche field, so I can just figure out what’s happening at the edges. I like it so far! I have a plan for the rest of it, too.

I’m knitting with Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering. It’s a fabulous workhorse yarn for design experimentation; I knit nearly an entire shawl with it for a design submission last summer because it was so fun I couldn’t stop at the little swatch sample. It doesn’t mind frogging, either, which is good. Trial and error, knitting and frogging are part of my design process! At 357 yards it’s a bit shorter than my usual 400 yard/100g skeins, so I’m not sure I’ll use it for the whole design. We’ll see how things go.

What’s exciting you in the knitting world? Do you want to learn something new? What’s on your bucket list?

Last night’s lunar eclipse, in the clouds. Not as exciting as the solar eclipse, but very pretty. Did you see it?

A whale of a new year, and more on Barbie knitting

Last week was Winter Whale Watch week at the Oregon Coast; gray whales are migrating down to Baja to their warmer winter waters. I went on a day trip with friends to try to catch a glimpse of them.

We ended up at Ecola State Park, which has gorgeous views. You can see Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach from here.

We didn’t see any whales/spouts, so I made this picture to commemorate the day.

Along the way, I had this very happy lap full of rainbow knitting. This is a project with Knitted Wit, due in late February. It’s her #glowupknittedwit rainbow mini skeins, paired with a skein of Oregon Sky. The base is Knitted Wit Fingering.

It was the perfect knit for a drizzly day. The project is done and currently blocking; I love how it turned out. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you soon.

Thanks for all your comments on the previous Barbie knits post. I was wondering just what kind of skating outfit was in that Knitting for Barbie canister, so I googled “knit 2 piece barbie skating outfit” and found this pattern page on Ravelry. It’s a 1962 pattern for a sweater and skinny pants. There’s a picture of the printed pattern, and more googling found a copy of the pattern posted on an old blogspot blog.

The instructions are extensive and quite bossy, with a header that says DO ONE STEP AT A TIME — DO NOT READ AHEAD and a footer that says DO NOT PUT YOUR WORK DOWN BEFORE YOU FINISH THE ROW YOU’RE WORKING ON. The pattern is aimed at beginners, with instructions for ribbing that include moving the yarn back and forth between the needles for knits and purls. I wonder how many of these outfits were knit, and how many were abandoned?

Maybe it wasn’t that hard. At least it was small; the cast on for the back is only 14 stitches.

My Aunt Rose taught me to knit when I was 14. My first knitting project was a pullover sweater knit in the round with baby blue worsted weight yarn, with twin cables up the front. What was your first project?

Introducing: Concentric Bed Socks

My new Concentric Bed Socks are knit from the cuff down using a single strand of worsted weight yarn for a quick and cozy knit. You can use magic loop, 2 circulars, or double pointed needles; knitter’s choice! Alternating bands of knits and purls create a scrunchy fabric that traps warm air at the ankle. These Bed Socks are very similar to my Concentric Slipper Socks, which are knit double stranded. They’re perfect when you don’t need quite so much bulk and warmth.

The Concentric Bed Socks are sized for women, or a small man’s foot, based on the available yardage in Knit Circus’ Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient 50g cakes. They feature a contrasting heel and toe, which makes it possible to use just two matching 50g balls of gradient yarn for the ankle and foot.

This pattern is now available through Ravelry; link here. Want to knit both the Bed Socks and the Slipper Socks? See the Ravelry pattern page for special pricing. If you’ve already purchased the Slipper Socks pattern, the price for the Bed Socks pattern will be automatically adjusted for you.

These are a perfect treat for you to knit during January, aka Selfish Knitting Month. Or you could knit them for someone special, almost as special as you.

Cool factoid: This is my 13th pattern this year, and my 100th pattern on Ravelry!

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, and test knitters Jacqueline Lydston, Denise Delagarza, and Ann Berg.

Happy new year!

Second chance knitting

One of the things that I love about knitting is that you can always tweak it if it’s not exactly the way you want it.

When I first knit my carbon/pollen version of my Lucky Star shawl, I knit 9 repeats of the edging, and decided it was too much. I didn’t want the bright edging to overwhelm the shawl. I ripped it back to five repeats, and deemed it perfect.

And it was. Fresh off the blocking wires, it was just the way I wanted it.

But this very bouncy, round Knitted Wit Victory Sock yarn relaxed a bit, making the edging a little shorter than I anticipated.

So I tinked the dark carbon bind off, and added two more repeats of the lace edging for a total of 7 repeats.

Each row is about 450 stitches, so I’m adding 3600 stitches. Piece o’ cake.

Binding off…again!

Now I just have a few extra ends to sew in. *After* I re-block. I could sew before blocking, but I never clip the ends until after, anyway. I don’t want the ends to pop through when I block my shawls. Since I don’t want to handle the ends twice, I just wait and take care of it all after blocking.

Do you sew your ends before or after blocking? And have you ever tinked a bind off to lengthen or shorten a piece of knitting? (Are you as fussy as I am?)

Coming up: A revamped Bucket List for steeking class

Steeks! Does the word strike fear in your heart? Cutting your knitting…it’s not so scary if it’s just on a tiny piece, and that’s why I designed my Bucket List Coffee Accessories a few years back.

Steeking a little piece of knitting isn’t nearly so scary as cutting a sweater. There’s so much less time invested in the knitting.

I took a steeking class with Mary Scott Huff many years ago at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. Afterwards, I designed this scarf as a first steeking project. I offered a class for this project, and it was fun. But the catch was that you had to knit the whole thing before class. That was a commitment!

So I designed a smaller project, the mug rug (coaster) and coffee cozy that you see here. I reshaped the class as a two-parter: Beginning stranded colorwork on week one, and steek cutting and finishing on week two.

Now I’m going to offer the class at Twisted as a single class, the one with the cutting fun. I’m updating the pattern with a few more helpful hints for stranded colorwork, and changing the steek area from a checkerboard pattern to vertical stripes. This will make it easier to see exactly where to reinforce the knitting before cutting the steek.

If steeking is on your knitting bucket list, this is a gentle introduction. If you’ve purchased the pattern before through Ravelry, you’ll be notified when the update is ready later this month. I want to re-photograph the steeking instructions for the pattern, so I’m reknitting samples.

My class at Twisted is scheduled for January 26. It will be fun!

And then you’ll be ready for more. I’m very tempted by Fringe Association’s upcoming Steekalong in January. It has so many things to recommend it: Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Sólbein pattern (she designed Stopover, and I knit two of them) and Léttlopi, the lovely Icelandic wool yarn knit at a looser than normal gauge (again, Stopover). Also, the camaraderie with other knitters on Instagram is fun, too.

Here’s Stopover. Light and airy! Imagine a similar cardigan…

Hoping I can squeeze out the knitting time for this, as I work on a design deadline piece before February. But first: Bucket List update!

Are steeks on your bucket list?

Coming soon: Concentric Bed Socks

It’s a race to the toe!

It’s a pleasure to knit these single strand worsted weight socks with Knit Circus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient. The yarn has held up perfectly after frogging the Concentric Slipper Socks. The added bit of contrasting color for heels and toes means that I can make the cuff as tall and scrunchy as it needs to be. The pattern will have three sizes. It’s off to tech editor and test knitters now.

You’ll note that I’m back to magic loop. The Flexi-Flips were nice, but when I picked up the stitches for the gussets, I had more stitches than I felt comfortable with having on the short Flexi-Flips needles, and was afraid they’d go sliding off. I’m back to a 32” circular, and very happy. If the Flexi-Flips were just a bit longer, or if they came in a set of four, they would have been fine. Oh, well, they’ll be great for fingerless mitts!

I have quite a bit of knitting help here, from the helpful knitting cats.

Yadi wants to chew the cables.

Biscuit has become quite a lap cat.

Hope your Saturday is going well!

Free Dotty Cowl pattern

Last summer I designed this Dotty Cowl for Knit Picks, for their 12 Weeks of Gifting. I just saw the Knit Picks blog post; it’s up!

I designed it with two shades of Chroma Worsted, one plain and one gradient. Two balls of Chroma is enough for two cowls, one for you and one for a friend. Happy gifting!

The stitch pattern is a simple slip stitch pattern. Only one color is used per row. (Photos above are by Knit Picks.)

The pattern is free. You can download it from Knit Picks here. Enjoy!

Here’s mine. I can see that it still needs to be blocked. It’s not bad, but a little smoother in the stockinette sections would be nice. I know what’s next on my to-do list. Blocking is magic!

Cold feet! and Indie Design GAL

Remember these?

My Concentric Slipper Socks. So beautiful in this lovely panoramic gradient from Knit Circus. But they’re an expensive slipper because they’re double-stranded with four 50g balls of beautiful gradient yarn. You could knit these with any worsted weight yarn and be very happy. The gradient just makes them extra lovely.

So this happened.

I frogged the slippers, which I loved, because I want to make single-stranded bed socks. Those four balls should make two pairs of bed socks, if I use a contrasting yarn for heels and toes.

GAME ON.

You’ll note that I’m using some very interesting needles. These are Skacel’s FlexiFlips, which come in a set of 3. (I reviewed them before, here.) It’s a hybrid of dpns and magic loop or two circulars; there’s a bit of cable between the two tips. Divide your work in half, and the third needle is the working needle. I like having fewer transitions than when using dpns, and no fiddling with sliding stitches on cables.

I had started these socks with magic loop on 32” cables which felt too long, and moved to 24” cables which felt too short. The FlexiFlips are just right. They each have a pointy end and a blunter end, so you can choose which suits your knitting style. And I find I don’t need to re-tension the yarn in my throwing hand when I switch needles, which is saving me time.

(Edited to add: More thoughts on the Flexi-Flips here. They were too short, once I picked up the gusset stitches! Back to magic loop.)

I’ll let you know how the bed socks turn out…soon! Worsted weight yarn means quick socks!

What else is going on? The Indie Design Gift-A-Long starts on Friday!

What’s a Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer event through Ravelry to help you kick-start your holiday gift-making. It begins with a pattern sale, and then the fun and games begin on Ravelry, with KAL/CAL activity and prizes. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale. Here are a few of my patterns that are included in the coupon sale portion of the GAL; you can see the rest in the GAL bundle on my Ravelry designer page.

The pattern sale runs from Friday, November 23 at 8:00 pm US EST – Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm US EST. The coupon code is giftalong2018 and it’s good for 25% off any of the participating patterns from all the designers. The KAL/CALs will run from Friday, November 23 at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

And! Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I hope you get a lot of knitting time in over the holiday weekend. What else would you do while the turkey is cooking? I was planning to knit these bed socks, but then this happened:

The car door and I had a difference of opinion. Click. I went for an x-ray (my hands are very important to me!) and found that my knuckle is just bruised and swollen, nothing broken. It will just slow me down for a few days. I’ll be knitting…gingerly!

I’m very thankful it’s not broken. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Nymphaea gradient update

I’m so glad I started over. It was a tough decision to rip out an almost finished shawl, but I’m glad I did it.

The softer contrast of the gray Soft Kitty instead of the green Serenity really speaks my language. (Others are using the green, and it works for them. Color is so personal!)

I love these iridescent Black Copper-Lined Diamond AB beads against the brown end of this gradient yarn.

As the brown shades into gray, I transitioned to the green beads…

until it was green beads on green.

And then switched to Terra Dove Gray Pearl beads as the green becomes more intense. I think the gray beads tone down the green nicely.

I’m working on repeat 9, and could do 10 or even more before getting to the edging. We’ll see how those greens turn out. If they’re too intense for my preferred muted palette, I’ll stop early.

Wish us luck!

Re-introducing: Nymphaea!

My lovely Nymphaea shawl pattern is now available through Ravelry download. It’s a sparkling beaded confection that’s fun to knit and wear.

You can knit it with 435 or 650 yards of fingering weight yarn and 200 yards of contrasting color. And beads. About 1350 of them.

I’m still knitting my large version, with a gradient from Fierce Fibers.

Mini-skeins have a place here, too.

You can find the Nymphaea pattern on Ravelry. It’s 10% off this week, and newsletter subscribers get a special discount.

Knit on, knit happy!