Category Archives: pattern design

Sneak peek: Tumbling Leaves Shawl

At least that’s what I think I’m calling it. Let me know if you have a better idea!

This is a wide crescent shawl, knit from the top down with two skeins of Bumblebirch Heartwood Fingering in Hellebore and Atlantic (75/25 Superwash Merino/Nylon, 100g/463 yards each).

I love the way the blue eyelet rows squiggle, and I love, love, love the leaves.

Remember the stripe swatch? I think the one I chose (second from the top) worked out perfectly!

The pattern is off to the tech editor, and I’m looking for a few test knitters. I’m hoping I can get this out in September, which is knitting season! Of course it’s always knitting season at my house. But this last week, especially. Hot and hazy out (thanks, Canadian wildfires), so I’ve just been hiding out at home. Knitting!

How about you?

Christmas is just around the corner…

It’s August, and it’s hot. I’m thinking of winter’s chill, and big fat yarn.

pdxknitterati christmas stocking

This is my Snowflake Christmas stocking. It’s one of my earlier patterns; I first published it in 2009. But I designed this stocking way before that. My original chart says 1997 on it, charted in Excel!

It was eventually joined by stockings for the rest of our family.

I’m upgrading my Snowflake Christmas Stocking pattern to include some additional motifs. I’ll have the dancers, and these birds. And a blank-ish chart if you want to chart your own adventure.

The pattern is currently available through Ravelry for $5 USD. The upgraded pattern will be $6 USD, but if you’ve purchased the pattern before the upgrade, you’ll get the updated pattern for no extra charge. I should have it done by Friday, August 18.

I’m teaching a class with this pattern at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton on Sunday, November 12. We’ll turn a tiny practice heel, and learn to work simple stranded colorwork in the round. If you haven’t knit socks before, a Christmas stocking is an ideal first sock! You only have to knit one (no second sock syndrome), and it’s quick with big yarn and big needles. I wanted to have more motif options for class, so that’s what’s driving this pattern upgrade. Coming soon!

Are you dreaming of Christmas? Not yet?

A peek into my knit design process

While I was knitting my Go Tell the Bees KAL shawlette this month, I was also designing another shawl.

This is Hazel Knits Entice MCN fingering, in Splish Splash and Hoppy Blond. Two of my favorite colors in one of my favorite yarns. This yarn is soft and not splitty, and not over or under twisted. It falls absolutely straight from my needles to the ball while I’m knitting. And that bit of cashmere makes it sooooooo lovely to knit with.

I can’t show you the shawl until September, but I’m really happy with it! It took me a while to get there. When I was about 2/3 done with the first prototype, I decided that I didn’t like a couple things about it (proportion between elements and lack of simplicity for writing the pattern), so I got more yarn and started over. I didn’t want to rip the first one until I was sure the second one was a go! Gotta have a backup handy, right?

The more I design, the more I realize that what I love is a pattern that is simple but interesting to knit. Stitch patterns that are easily memorized so I’m not tied to a chart. And it has to be pretty when I’m done! I think this one is a winner on all those fronts.

I used the leftovers to swatch some stripes for the current piece I’m designing. The piece will have have lacy sections divided by a stripe of some sort. I tried a couple of my favorite elongated stitches on my first prototype, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. Time to swatch!

I put this up on Instagram, and received some good feedback. I really love the bottom stripe, but those are bobbles in there, and I don’t want to make 60 bobbles in a row. Ever.

I liked the way the top CC stripe is set off by the MC garter stitch above and below it, but wasn’t sure it had enough gravitas to hold things together.

So I tried that heavier eyelet stripe with a garter stitch offset (new top stripe) But all that garter stitch made the eyelets look smaller. Nope!

This one is the winner. I’m using Bumblebirch’s Heartwood fingering weight. I love this yarn; it’s a joy to knit with and it is standing up well to my knit/frog/reknit design process.

These colors, Hellebore and Atlantic, are a gorgeous combination that makes my heart sing! Thanks to Bumblebirch dyer Sarah Kurth for picking them for me.

And I’ve mathed my way into a simple and elegant design. (Wish I had done the math the first time…) I knew I was on the right track with this design when I couldn’t stop smiling. Looking forward to sharing this one with you soon.

Introducing: Go Tell the Bees, pattern and KAL

And we’re live! My Go Tell the Bees pattern is now available through Ravelry. (If you’re a newsletter subscriber, don’t forget to use your coupon code for 20% off. If you’re not a subscriber and want to be, let me know in the comments.) This shawl was inspired by the title of the upcoming book in the Outlander series, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.” I’m not sure who’s gone, but the title is highly evocative.

This crescent shawl begins at the lower edge and features lacy honeycombs and bees. This is the 645 yard shawl version above.

And this is the smaller 430 yard version. You’ll definitely want at least 430 yards; I used nearly every scrumptious bit of mine.

The pattern has been tech edited and both sizes have been test knit. We’re having a KAL beginning June 11; you can sign up for the KAL in my Ravelry group here. I hope you’ll knit along with me! I’m having fun picking prizes for it already.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I did, you can order Renai in many colors from Fierce Fibers. This is a lovely single ply fingering weight yarn. Stacey is offering it at 10% off through June 30, 2017 with coupon code MICHELEBEE10.

I’ve been very impressed with the color and non-kinkiness of Stacey’s gradient yarns, so I asked her about her process. Here’s what she had to say:

I started looking at the various decisions a dyer needs to make in order to create a good quality gradient. The obvious requirements were that the color change can’t be abrupt, there can’t be white spots and there can’t be any kinkiness to the yarn. Solving these problems really fired up my inner engineer and after months of development I started releasing a small set of gradients in the fall of 2016. I dug deep and bought the best equipment I could afford so I can make my own knitted blanks. This means I can make any yarn into a gradient and I’m not limited to blanks from a manufacturer. I can make my blanks to any yardage, any gauge and any width I choose (which if you can believe will affect the “fade” of your gradient).

Getting rid of the kink took considerable work. Frogging the blanks immediately while wet is a whole other set of possible failure modes that had to be solved. I also discovered that after some time, no matter what you do, certain yarns just have too much memory and can’t be straightened without herculean effort. Anyone who also spins knows there’s just a point where the yarn you’ve made, can’t be undone. So believe it or not, my blanks have a “fresh by” date!

Here’s Saigon Cinnamon just after dyeing, before drying and being wound into a cake. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting with Stacey’s yarn for these shawls.

Let’s knit!

Busy as a bee

Buzz! I’m watching my test knitters’ projects develop on the Go Tell The Bees projects page on Ravelry, and planning for a fun KAL. Pattern coming June 1, KAL begins June 11.

I found some cute bee stitch markers that will make a sweet prize.

I’m working on a design to coordinate with a crochet friend, and Biscuit is marginally impressed. She helped with the math.

I’m dreaming of a shawl in blue and yellow yarns. Which blue? Which yellow? I don’t know yet. What do you think?

And after changing my mind several times on how this combo will play out, I think I have a plan.

I’ll just be over here in my corner with lots of graph paper!

And in the middle of all that, I spent the weekend out at Edgefield for my friends’ wedding. No wedding pix; I was hopping busy that day! But I was blessed to sing with my beloved Pie Birds during and after the wedding. So much fun.

Note the red boots and newly finished second Red Zephyr Shawl!

We made good use of the soaking pool, and my MDK tote.

Wine tasting on the balcony. Cheers!

Coming soon: Go Tell the Bees

Remember this cake of gorgeous gradient yarn?

It grew up to be this shawl. This is Go Tell the Bees. It was inspired by the title of the upcoming book in the Outlander series, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.” I’m not sure who’s gone, but the title is so evocative, I had to do something with it.

This crescent shawl begins at the lower edge and features lacy honeycombs and bees. It is knit with either 430 or 645 yards of fingering weight yarn.

Here’s the smaller 430 yard version. Why yes, those are the ends hanging out. I should sew them in soon!

The pattern has been tech edited and is being test knit. I’m planning to publish it on June 1. We’re having a KAL beginning June 11; you can sign up for the KAL in my Ravelry group here. I hope you’ll knit along with me! I’m having fun picking prizes for it already.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I did, you can order Renai in many colors from Fierce Fibers. Stacey is offering it at 10% off through June 30, 2017 with coupon code MICHELEBEE10.

If you’d like to be notified when the pattern is published, subscribe to my email newsletter. You’ll get a special discount on the pattern, too. Just let me know in the comments, and I’ll add you to the list.

Looking forward to June!

Introducing Linden Leaf Scarf

Spring is definitely here, and Linden Leaf is a warm weather accessory knit in sport weight linen. Something between a scarf and a shawlette, it’s a welcome way to dress up your spring/summer wardrobe.

Like its sister SeaScape Scarflette, Linden Leaf is a long narrow asymmetric triangle. This one features a lacy edge of tumbling leaves.

It can be worn long, loosely knotted, double wrapped…so many ways to add a little pizazz to your outfit.

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! I used a Euroflax mini-skein set in the Forest colorway from Mason-Dixon Knitting. The mini-skein sets are back in stock, and new color sets have been added. Just in time for a quick summer knit! And single color Euroflax Sport linen can be found at many LYS’s and online.

The mini-skein set has five 65 yard skeins totaling 325 yards. A single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards, will also make a nicely sized scarf. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitters Ann Berg and Rachel Nichols used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY DK, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend, 284 yards. It also blocked beautifully. The linen is slightly crisper, and a bit more open.

This pattern is available through Ravelry, Linden Leaf pattern page here. It is 10% off through May 7, 2017, no coupon code needed, or 20% off for PDXKnitterati newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber but want to subscribe? Tell me in the comments!

Linden Leaf is a sister pattern to my SeaScape Scarflette. The construction is the same; the difference is in the edging. Leaves or waves? Do you love both? I’m offering special combination pricing: 20% off for bundle of SeaScape and Linden Leaf with coupon code BUNDLE.

If you’ve already purchased SeaScape, the appropriate bundle discount will be applied so your net price will reflect the proper amount.

And now that you’ve read to the end: I’m giving away a Euroflax Sport mini-skein set in the same Forest colorway to one lucky newsletter subscriber. Not a subscriber but want to be one? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’ll pick a winner after May 7.

Thank you to tech editor Amanda Woodruff and test knitters Ann Berg and Rachel Nichols.

Technique Tuesday, and new yarn

It’s been quiet around here, but things are moving along behind the scenes. Sometimes if I haven’t posted for a bit, I just need a jump start, so here’s an increase that I ran across recently.

If you’ve ever used KFB, knit in the front and back of a stitch, you know it’s an easy way to increase. It’s easy, and great for garter stitch where the bump from the increase doesn’t show. In stockinette, it does show, and you have to decide if that bump is a bug or a feature. But I recently ran across YarnSub’s post on Knit Front Slip Back (KFSB), which avoids the bump, and thought it was worth sharing. You can click the link for pictures and a video, but basically it’s knit in the front of the stitch, go into the back of the stitch as for KFB, but just slip that back of the stitch to the right needle without working it. Voilà!

It does have a directional lean to it, though, so if I wanted paired increases with one leaning the other way, I’d choose my favorite left and right leaning lifted increases. My other favorite paired increases are M1 (make one) increases by working into the back (right leaning) or front (left leaning) of the bar between stitches.

So many ways to get things done! What’s your favorite increase method?

Currently on the needles for a design project, this drop dead gorgeous 600+ yard gradient cake from Fierce Fibers. This color is Saigon Cinnamon, but every time I look at it, I think of Thai iced tea. I’m through the hard thinking on this project, and about to hit cruise control. Ahhhhhh. It’s a crescent shawl, with conventional lace and a fun new lace motif made with elongated stitches. I’ll work up a 400 yard version, too. Details soon.

What’s on your needles?

Introducing: SeaScape Scarflette

Introducing my SeaScape Scarflette, a summery accessory knit in sport weight linen. Is it a scarf? A shawlette? You decide.

SeaScape long

This long narrow asymmetric triangle features a lacy edge inspired by the curl of the waves off Maui.

SeaScape

It can be worn long, loosely knotted, double wrapped…so many ways to add a little pizazz to your outfit.

Euroflax minis

The scarflette was inspired by a set of Euroflax Sport linen mini-skeins from Mason-Dixon Knitting. As soon as I saw this color set, I knew what it wanted to be. I took it to Maui in December and worked out the design while enjoying the view of Molokai from the lanai.

Euroflax minis in mason jarHand winding the balls three times made the yarn softer!

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! With mini-skeins, part of the fun is deciding in what order to use your colors. The longest, narrowest section is at the beginning, and features the most waves. The last section is short and wide, and features the bubbly eyelet pattern.

SeaScape 1

My first sample had pale green at the far end; the design sample has the mid-gray. I took the sample to Nashville to meet Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Ann Shayne, and she called it “deliriously pretty.” Thrilling!

SeaScape

The mini-skein set has 325 yards. You could also knit this with a single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitter Sarah Peery used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend. It also blocked beautifully.

seascape-sarah-cropSarah’s SeaScape before blocking, photo by Sarah Peery

The pattern is available through Ravelry; the pattern page is here. It’s 10% off through March 10, no coupon code needed. If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll receive a coupon code for 20% off. Want to join the list? Let me know in the comments.

More linen minis

I’ve fallen in love with linen, so there’s another linen mini-skeins design in progress. Come see a sneak peek; I’ll have the SeaScape Scarves and the new project with me at my trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday, March 2 for the Rose City Yarn Crawl!

New: Rain Chain Shawlette, ebook and yarn for you?

Back from Madrona, but it’s going to take a few days to be ready to properly blog about it. In the meantime, here’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you about for months!

Rain Chain Shawlette KP

I’ve been dying to wear this new piece for the last year, but I had to wait until it was published this month. This is my Rain Chain Shawlette.

Rain Chain Shawlette KP2

The shawlette is a sideways crescent triangle, one of my favorite shapes. It features a rain chain detail at the top edge, and spring flowers on the lower edge.

Rain Chain Shawlette in Velveteen

My prototype version features beads that look like raindrops both in the rain chains and in the flowers and edging, to add sparkle and drape. Instructions for bead placement are in the patttern.

Rain Chain Shawlette bead detail

The Rain Chain Shawlette is knit with Knit Picks Gloss Fingering, a 70/30 blend of merino wool and silk. The silk gives it a drape and a bit of a shine. This shawlette is in the new Knit Picks book, Little Luxuries, which is available as a physical book, and also as an e-book. The single pattern is also available from Knit Picks.

I”ve enjoyed looking through the book that just arrived; it includes 23 patterns for beautiful accessories such as shawls, cowls, hats, and mitts. All patterns use less than 100g of yarn.

I’m giving away a pdf copy of the Little Luxuries e-book, and 2 balls (100g total) of Gloss Fingering in the winner’s choice of color. Leave a comment and let me know which color you want to knit your Rain Chain Shawlette; color choices are here. I’ll pick a winner on Monday, February 27.

Rain Chain Shawlette gradient

The prototype before the prototype was knit with an end to end gradient from Alexandra’s Crafts.

Fibonacci and Fan

And now finally! The winner of Knitted Wit Victory Sock yarns to knit Fibonacci and Fan is Rhea Kohlman. Her pick? Snowy Woods, which is the color that launched the entire snowy line. Good choice! Rhea, I’m emailing you to get your addy.

So many things to knit! So many things to blog. Back soon, I promise.