Category Archives: pattern design

Knitting for the near future

I’ve been knitting up a storm.

Here’s a sneak peek of my newest shawl, coming soon. It’s called Lucky Star. You may now have a Madonna song running through your head. You’re welcome.

You know that hump that happens at the center neck of top down crescent shawls? I didn’t want that on Lucky Star, so I’ve worked on minimizing it. I’m making a tutorial on how to do that. It’s coming soon, too. I’m debuting it in my Favorite Shawl Shapes class at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this Saturday morning.

I’ve been knitting little samples for class, too. We’re going to have fun talking about shape and design.

You can still register for this class on-site. You can knit these little shapes, too!

What are you knitting now?

Introducing: Concentric Cowl

Every in a while, a design idea comes together so easily, it just jumps off the needles.

This is the Concentric Cowl. I designed it in a wink, and the only thing that took any time at all was that I ripped it out when it was half done, because I wanted to add a secret between the purl welts.

There’s a tiny bit of lace in there.

It adds just a bit of mystery.

The cowl is knit in the round with 150g/277 yards of worsted weight yarn. I used a 150g cake of KnitCircus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient in the Fig and Prosciutto colorway. The scrunchy rings capture warmth around your neck.

You can also unscrunch the rings and wear Concentric like a hood. The 150g jumbo cake of yarn makes it long enough to do so.

This pattern pdf is available through Ravelry; pattern page is here. It’s a quick and easy gift knit, even if the gift recipient is yourself! As always, newsletter subscribers have a coupon code for 20% off.

I’m teaming up with KnitCircus to do a kit for the Concentric Cowl in October, but if you can’t wait you can shop their ready to ship 150g Ringmaster Gradient cakes here. So gorgeous!

On the cusp of fall

Oh, Labor Day! Farewell summer, welcome fall…

I ran away with my knitting last week. Good thing I brought more than one project; I lost at yarn chicken on this Mitered Crosses Blanket square. I just needed 2 more green garter ridges, probably about one yard of yarn. I considered using the red as an accent stripe, but it would have been too much. One garter ridge, yes. Two garter ridges? Christmas! I had to finish at home.

This is for a group blanket project through Mason Dixon Knitting. #mdkteamblanket2

My other project is a slipper sock. I’m using 4 50g balls of KnitCircus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient (worsted weight), colorway Thanks for all the Fish, to double strand the socks. They are glorious. (Picture from KnitCircus site, since I forgot to take a picture before I started knitting.) I finished the first one at the coast. Good thing it was time to go home; I was out of knitting!

No real sneak peek on the sock yet; the excitement is on the cuff! I knit mine using the magic loop technique, and Biscuit thought that was pretty interesting when I tried it on. I’ll be looking for test knitters soon. Would you like to knit slipper socks? They’re really quick! This one took me one day.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

It wasn’t all knitting last week. I love walking on the beach. This one was a solitary walk, just me and the seagulls.

Lone sea star at Chapman Point

I saw a lone sea star. Five years ago, there were hundreds of sea stars here. Sea star wasting disease killed many of them, but they’re starting to come back. I’m glad.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

It was a perfect getaway.

Now I’m swinging into knitting season! I have several new designs coming soon. The first is this cowl, which is also designed with KnitCircus Ringmaster Gradient, this one in Fig and Prosciutto. Look for it later this week.

Fall brings more teaching opportunities, too. I’ve got my schedule mostly set at Twisted and For Yarn’s Sake; you can see it here.

There’s still room in my Favorite Shawl Shapes class at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (pre-register by Sept. 8).

And a few knitters’ spots left at our Nymphaea Fall Retreat (Nov. 9-11).

What are you knitting this fall?

Summer knitting reckoning: Knit, or not?

Oh, the siren song of a new project! It’s so easy to be seduced away from the current ones, isn’t it?

I like to have two projects at any given time. One is usually a design project I’m working out, and it stays at home. The other is a simple knit that I can take to social occasions, or traveling. Usually the design project turns into the take-along knit, because that’s the kind of thing I like to design. Simple but elegant.

Right now I have five projects on my needles. That’s probably too many, so here are my reasons for not working on them…

This is the Nymphaea shawl sample that I’m knitting for our fall retreat. It’s a simple, rhythmic knit with beads every fourth row. This was great travel knitting on a trip to St. Louis last week; it’s simple enough to knit on planes, even with beads. I was planning to finish it in time to use as a promo for the retreat when registration opens August 1, but clearly it won’t be done by then.

I have a non-gradient sample of it already, so I could continue to knit this gradient version at the retreat, using it to demonstrate techniques. I made a spreadsheet to figure out how to distribute my three different sets of beads (I love spreadsheets!), so it’s all planned out. Check!

This is a shawl that I was knitting for a design proposal. It’s simple and lovely and fun to knit. I was just going to make a swatch, but it was so much fun that I didn’t want to stop knitting it. I got all the way to the bottom edging, where I need the stitch markers. Note my symmetrical marker setup. This, plus the aforementioned spreadsheet, probably tells you a lot about the way I think! This design didn’t get chosen, which means I don’t need to finish it right now. Check!

This is the beginning of a white linen top that I’m making up as I go. I want it to have a lace pattern at the hem, a split back, and otherwise be a pretty basic T shape. But honestly, I don’t know if I have the time or inclination to actually knit an entire top in fingering weight linen right now. I don’t think it will be finished for this season, so I’m declaring it a backup project…for next year. Check!

The blue/brown shawl I was knitting in Scotland? It’s in permanent time out. I didn’t like how the design was turning out, but I’ve frogged this single ply yarn twice and it is definitely looking a little ragged. I’m going to take some of those ideas and re-work them with the yarn I bought from Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh.

I ordered the gray to go with the blue; the mint was too exciting for me. It’s not here yet, so I don’t have to think about it for a bit. Check!

This is what I’m working on right now. It’s a fall/winter cowl in Knit Circus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient, 150g. The color is Fig and Prosciutto. The yarn is round and bouncy and fun to knit. I was about a third of the way through when I decided it needed a little something more than what it was, so I ripped it back down and am enjoying the yarn just as much the second time. It won’t take long to finish, and it’s a great multi-tasking knit.

So really, it looks like I have ONE project that I’m actually working on. And several (Nymphaea, linen top, miscellaneous shawl) that I can work on at my leisure. See? I’m a monogamous knitter, whether intentionally or not. There are a few other design ideas knocking around in my head, too, and I’ll pick one up as my thinking project at home, while one of these other projects turns into the mindless project.

What’s on your needles? How many projects are you actively working on? Helpful knitting cats wanna know! Speaking of which…

We’ve added this little guy to our household. He’s two years old, and he’s charming. His shelter name was Gerkin, but we think he’s going to be named Yadi, for Yadier Molina, the St. Louis Cardinals catcher. We have had several baseball-themed cat names, including Mookie (Wilson) and Jess (Jesse Orosco). We adopted Yadi from Purringtons Cat Lounge, alma mater of Biscuit, Gator, and Mis Mis.

He has a tiny white spot on his chest, and a tinier one on his belly that we didn’t know about until after he came home.

Biscuit is occasionally hissing at him, but mostly getting along. This picture is from introduction day, which was Day 3 in our house. Much calmer than the introduction to Gator (son’s cat who was visiting for 2 months). Maybe she thinks Tyler is going to come take this one away, too?

Now to see if Yadi is ok with yarn. My studio door stays shut while I figure this out!

What hump? Better crescent shawl garter tab cast on

I’m back! We took a wee trip to Scotland. And Barcelona. And St. Louis! More on all of that when I get myself sorted. I did manage to visit one yarn shop while I was away, Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh.

Jess’ shop is tiny and packed with beautiful yarn, much of which she dyes herself. I bought only one skein, this lovely British BFL fingering; the color is Pappy’s Garden.

I wish I had bought a coordinating color, but I needed the bag and yarn to fit in my purse because we were hiking the Salisbury Crags that afternoon after a visit to the Scottish Parliament. Packing in the fun! (The bag is wrinkled from being crammed into my purse, true story.)

I took a new shawl design project on this trip. I didn’t have a lot of knitting time, but it kept me occupied on planes and trains. When I got home, I decided I didn’t like how the later stitch patterns were playing with each other. Or were not playing with each other, really.

I asked Biscuit what she thought. “To the frog pond!” she squeaked. I agreed, but not before tackling another issue that was bugging me.

My first try at this had a hump in the middle. Sometimes these block out, and at the beginning of my knitting it looked like it might.

But it seemed to look worse the further I got. Since I was going to frog it anyway, I wanted to try to avoid the hump on the next version.

This is so much better. The difference? A much longer garter tab cast on.

My first one was very short, because the numbers worked. But there were so many stitches concentrated right there at the beginning, and a short, unyielding garter tab. Hump! Even worse, when I tried to straighten it, it folded over.

Besides the longer garter tab, I added YOs between the picked up stitches along the edge of the garter tab. This serves two purposes. It adds a stitch between the picked up stitches, which gives a little more stretch. And it mimics the YOs that are going to continue along the edge of the shawl.

I’m back on track, and it’s flying along.

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation after a vacation? Catching up!

Drum roll…the winner of the Delicate Details e-book is Terri Oliver. Thanks to everyone for commenting and playing along!

Coming soon…puffins!

Just Enough Lace, and ebook giveaway

Introducing Just Enough Lace, my shawl in the new Delicate Details book from Knit Picks.

Just Enough Lace is an asymmetric bias triangle which begins at the small end and grows to a sweeping finish. It’s knit flat and the body of the shawl and the edging are knit simultaneously. No separately knit on border here! I designed it with four 50g balls of Gloss Fingering (70/30 merino/silk), but really, you can make it as big or as small as you like.

The simple leaf lace edging and eyelet stripe in the stockinette stitch body of the shawl are just enough lace to keep the knitting engaging, but not so much as to overwhelm a new lace knitter or an experienced multi-tasker.

Beads are optional on the leafy lace edging, but I really like them for sparkle and a bit of weight for drape.

I had my beaded purple sample at the Knit Picks Knit Pick-nic on Saturday for a sneak peek. Several people asked about how the beads are added, and I’m happy to say they’re bead as you go. No pre-stringing here! A lovely thing about this shawl is that it’s just enough beads, too. You never have more than two in any given row, so it’s a nice project for a first time beader.

Edge detail and original submission swatch

You can add beads with a very small crochet hook, but I prefer using a Bead Aid. I split the yarn much less often this way. Here’s a blog post from 2014 about putting beads in your knitting.

The Delicate Details book is full of lace accessories that are appropriate for newer lace knitters, or lace knitters that like a relaxed knitting experience. You can purchase the book or e-book from Knit Picks here, and you can also purchase the patterns individually. Here’s a Ravelry link to all the designs.

I’m giving away a copy of the Delicate Details e-book. To enter, leave a comment here on the blog by June 28. If you’d like an extra chance to win, subscribe to my newsletter and reply there, too. (Subscription link here. If you’re already subscribed, you should receive the newsletter today.)

Good luck!

And a reminder that my summer knitting pattern sale runs through June 20; 15% off with coupon code SUMMER. For newsletter subscribers, the discount is 25% off; that code will be in your newsletter. All patterns and ebooks which are available from me through my Ravelry shop are eligible; there is no limit but the code is good for a single use only.

Two more bits of eye candy: First off, finished hats from my Petite Brioche class at Stash in Corvallis. I love it when you send me pictures of your FOs. Thanks to Peggy, Cassandra, and Deb!

Second, some yarn in my stash that is calling my name, rather loudly! I hope what it’s telling me is what it really wants to be.

Happy knitting!

Summer knitting extravaganza

Do you knit year round? I do. My needles have been very busy! I designed two cowls in May, which I can’t share just yet, but I love them both. They’re simple, and the yarn makes them sing, or vice versa. No peeking!

I also knit a cute top from the Mason Dixon Field Guide, Transparency. This is the Shakerag Top, designed by Amy Christoffers using Jade Sapphire Sylph, a delicious blend of cashmere and linen. Despite my deep love for both of those fibers, I decided to knit mine out of stash…because I could!

I used Sincere Sheep’s Agleam, a 50/50 merino/tencel blend in Bare, and Sincere Sheep’s Shimma, which is laceweight mohair and silk, in St. Barts. You can see my notes on my Ravelry page here. I loved knitting this; it’s mostly very mindless stockinette in the round, which is great for multi-tasking and traveling!

I’m currently knitting my Nymphaea shawl with this lovely gradient from Fierce Fibers; the color is Surf and Sand, with Serenity as the contrast band. The brown beads have less pop against the teal than I was anticipating, but I think I like them. I could also start over and use the green beads on this part of the gradient, which would be even less pop, but more my style. What do you think? I may have to swatch that…

I have three sets of beads for this project and I’m not sure where the color transitions will happen yet, so I don’t think this is going to be my on-the-go knitting. I can handle beading on the go, but not if I don’t know which ones I’ll need when. That makes it less portable. I’m working on designing something a little simpler for anytime knitting.

This is Malabrigo Mechita in Cielo y Tierra (sky and earth), and Tosh Merino Light in Antique Lace. They’re both fingering weight singles. I’ve mapped out my anticipated progression with an Excel spreadsheet; I hope it’s as pretty as it is in my head! There’s a part of me that is really happy when the repeating elements all fit into an elegant framework. Nerdy geeky fun!

I also started a Brioche Pastiche hat while I was teaching this class down at Stash at the beginning of the month. I’m not in a hurry to finish it; I’m using it as a demo in subsequent classes (August 4 at Twisted, September 22 at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival). But Peggy from class finished hers in less than a week; she’s a superstar!

What are you knitting this summer? Or winter, if you’re down under! Simple, or complicated?

To inspire your summer knitting, I’m having a pattern sale through June 20: 15% off with coupon code SUMMER. For newsletter subscribers, the discount will be 25% off; coupon code will be in your newsletter which comes out tomorrow, I hope! (Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already). All patterns and ebooks which are available from me through my Ravelry shop are eligible; there is no limit but the code is good for a single time use only.

Maybe some nice Over the Rainbow Cuffs for June?

Happy knitting!

Introducing: Brioche Pastiche

It’s been done for a while, and I finally, finally took pictures for the pattern. All it took was a tripod, a camera, and an iPad to operate the camera via remote control. Whew! I could have asked DH to take pictures, but it’s hard to describe exactly what I’m looking for.

“Show the hat. Don’t show the compost bin behind me. And don’t make me look weird. What do I mean by weird? Nevermind.”

This is Brioche Pastiche. I love it. This is the hat I designed specifically for brioche classes. Pastiche means a mash-up, usually as an homage. I combined the plain ribbing of Clematis Seed (easiest to learn, so that’s where we start), the leafy goodness of Heliotrope (introducing one increase and two decreases), and a kissing cousin of Clematis Seed’s spiraling crown (four sections instead of six).

I’m teaching a brioche hat class at Stash Local in Corvallis on June 2, and this is the pattern I’m using. If you’d like to come, register at Stash; here’s the link. I’m also teaching my Tink Drop Frog: Fixing Lace and Cable mistakes. Fun!

The Brioche Pastiche pattern is available on Ravelry for $6. (Newsletter subscribers get 20% off all new patterns.) It’s also part of my Brioche Hat Trick e-book. If you buy the collection, you’ll have four fun brioche hat patterns, and two cowl patterns. If you already have the collection, Brioche Pastiche will show up as an update in your set.

I’m looking forward to heading down the highway to Stash next month. Sonia has a lovely shop, and her Stash Enhancers are a great gang to hang out with!

Lace, blocking, SSK

I always say that blocking is magic. Especially with lace. But even then, I’m always astonished at the transformation.

Here’s my Nymphaea shawl, right off the needles, no blocking, no weaving in the ends. It’s pretty small, 48 inches across the top eyelet edge, 20 inches at the wide end, not including the lace edging in either measurement.

I wet blocked it; it pinned out to be 60 inches across the top eyelet edge, and 30 inches across the wide end, just above the lace edging. Where it was once thick and chunky, it’s now ethereally and diaphanously lovely. It’s almost as big as the sample I knit last fall with the mini skein gradient kit, just nine repeats instead of ten.

Zigzags 4 evah

Lacy border, this time with beads

I knit this in Bumblebirch Heartwood, 75/25 superwash merino/nylon. The colors are Atlantic and Hellebore, the same colors in my Tumbling Leaves, but reversed. I love it, and I love the beads, too. Depending on how you look at them, they’re blue, or green. Perfect.

I’m going to knit one more of these, a sample with a Fierce Fibers 650 yard continuous gradient, and a semisolid contrast color. This is in preparation for our Fall Shawl Retreat in November. Registration opens August 1, and the price will include yarn and beads for a knit or crochet version of Nymphaea.

While knitting this shawl, I started thinking about my personal rules for SSK. When I first learned SSK, I did them conventionally, slipping both stitches as if to knit. The result is a left leaning decrease, exactly the same as SKP: Slip one (knitwise), knit one, pass slip stitch over. The passed stitch could sometimes be stretched out and unsightly; Barbara Walker invented the SSK as an improvement on the SKP.

Eventually, Elizabeth Zimmermann figured out that slipping the second stitch purlwise instead of knitwise made this decrease lie flatter, and mirror the right leaning K2tog better. It’s less zigzaggy. I learned this from her daughter Meg Swansen in a class oh so long ago, and adopted it as my go-to SSK. For me, it’s quicker to execute (don’t have to pull left needle out of the second slipped stitch before ktbl).

But! When I was designing my Meander Cowl, I noticed that this SSK looked wide and bumpy when it met up with a YO on its left side. It’s because the right leg of the stitch shows a bit more prominently behind the left leaning stitch on top. Subtle, yes, but there.

So, my personal SSK rule: Slip the second stitch as if to purl when working stockinette. But if there’s a YO to the left of the SSK, slip the second stitch as if to knit. Try them both, if you like. You’re the boss of your knitting; as long as you get the result you want, you’re doing it right! Here’s a video on the whole thing.

How do you SSK?

Fixing Brioche Knitting Mistakes

I’m planning to teach a brioche knitting class at Stash in Corvallis on June 2, and at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival on September 22. This is a three hour class, so it goes beyond the two hour Petite Brioche class that I’ve taught at Twisted.

I’m using my Heliotrope hat as the basis for this class, but I want to start with a bit of brioche rib before getting into the increases and decreases that create the leafy patterning. I may change the top of the hat too. We’ll see when I get to that part on the sample I’m knitting!

I love this color combo. While I’m knitting the sample, I’m taking the opportunity to make some video tutorials. Here you go!


Here’s my original Petite Brioche tutorial; I’m including it here so everything is one one easy page. I’m carrying my yarn in my right hand (English/throwing style).


Petite Brioche for continental knitters. I’m not the most adept at the left hand carry, but I wanted to show something that works with my Petite Brioche instructions. I think this does.


Where’s my YO? What to do if your YO goes missing from your slipped stitch.

And then I made a mistake not on purpose! So while I was fixing it, I made a video for that, too.


How to fix a brioche mistake, two rounds down. Yes, I did it, repeatedly, and lived to tell the tale.

I hope these are helpful to you!

Are you knitting brioche? You can give it a try with my free Petite Brioche pattern! And now you can fix your mistakes, too.