Category Archives: pattern design

Evolution in class planning

My new and improved Brioche Increase/Decrease class is set to debut this Saturday. I designed my new Deep End hat especially for this class, so you can get a lot of practice with both left and right leaning decreases during the 2 hour class. 

Deep End brioche hat
Deep End

I was chatting in a Petite Brioche class this past weekend, and someone asked if there would be a cowl version of this hat, because she didn’t wear hats and would rather knit a cowl. Well, there’s not a cowl yet, but I could see doing one. Not in time for this weekend, though!

Madrona Cowl

But! My Madrona Cowl uses the same kinds of increases and decreases, and it would be perfect for this class, too. So I’m expanding the class projects to be a choice of either the Deep End hat or the Madrona Cowl. I like that there are options in this class; that makes it better for more students. I always want to improve my classes, and this one has been especially fun to develop.

If you’re already registered for this class, I’ll be emailing you with the added option. And if you would like to register, the link is here. If you’re registering for class through Twisted, the pattern is already included in your class fee.

In order to make this work, I’ve updated the Madrona Cowl pattern with easier-to-read charts (thanks, Stitchmastery!). I’ve also changed the pattern language to use the more standard sl1yo terminology, which matches the language in the Deep End hat. No confusion in class! The pattern is available on Ravelry, and also on Payhip. Also, if you previously purchased the Madrona Cowl pattern through Ravelry, the updated version is in your library, as well as the older version.

I’m having a lot of fun teaching on Zoom. These pictures are from my Petite Brioche classes this past weekend. I took them near the end of class, so some people have already left. We had fun!

Petite Brioche is a great first step in 2-color brioche in the round. From there, increases and decreases are a logical next step. Come knit with me!

Fun with Knit Picks

First off, my Holiday Stockings pattern from Knit Picks has been free for one week (I think through Monday, tomorrow), during their 12 weeks of gifting event. You can find the pattern here. (Sorry for the late notice; I was waiting for one more Knit Picks related thing to include in this post, but it hasn’t happened yet. Rather than have you miss the pattern, I’m posting without it.) Sixty-eight days ‘til Christmas!

I designed this pattern for them a few years ago, and it has done so well for them that they bought it from me outright, rather than returning it to me at the end of its exclusivity period. Win-win!

These are knit with bulky yarn, so they’re big and they’re quick. Lots of room in there. They’re very similar to my Snowflake Christmas Stocking, which is knit with worsted, and has many more motif options for the cuff.

(there’s a bird motif, too, not shown here)

Also fun, here’s a YouTube link to the Facebook Live Zoom interview I did with Knit Picks this summer! It feels like a very long time ago.

VKLive from the student side

I sat in on a couple classes at Virtual VKLive this weekend. I enjoyed them both!

The first was Lucy Neatby’s 2 color double knitting in the round. I originally took this class in 2017 at Madrona, but I never did anything with it. Time for a refresher! I re-learned how it works, and several different ways to manage 2 yarns. It was fun, but it still doesn’t speak to me like brioche does.

I also sat in on Franklin Habit’s mosaic knitting class. I’ve done lots of slip stitch knitting before (most recently Half the Knit Sky), but not actual mosaic knitting, as defined by Barbara Walker. I learned a bit about how to chart mosaic knitting, and considered playing with different textures. All garter stitch? Garter on stockinette background? Stockinette on garter background? My personal preference is garter on a stockinette background, like in Half the Knit Sky and my Dotty Cowl and Dotty Cake hat.

I don’t love the waffle weave look of all garter stitch mosaic. And that’s when I realized…my Dissent Cowl is garter stitch mosaic. The waffle texture is most noticeable on the dot pattern at the beginning. But the collar portion is so iconic, it doesn’t come off as mosaic garter stitch. Well played.

The cowl is coming along nicely. It’s pretty intuitive knitting. I adjusted it to make it smaller, and the neck a little shorter. We’ll see how that turns out over all, soon. You know, of course, this just makes me want to knit a second one, with more modifications, but I don’t think I want to invest that much more time. So many things to knit!

What’s on your needles? I have this and Rio Calina, and maybe mitts to go with the Deep End Hat. I’m not feeling too excited about the mitts right now. I’m not sure I want mitts at this gauge? Would a cowl be more compelling? You couldn’t wear it with the hat (too much all together around your head/neck), but it would be a nice option for those who don’t wear hats. What do you think?

Introducing: Deep End

Deep End is a 2 color brioche hat knit in the round from the bottom up. One side features a large staghorn motif, the other side uses a variation of the gull stitch. I like wearing the staghorn on the side, but you can style it any way you want.

I designed this hat as a teaching piece for my classes. You’ll learn both left and right leaning brioche double decreases on the first patterning round; it’s like jumping in the deep end of the pool! After that it’s oodles of brioche rib before the next increases and decreases.

Two crown options are included. Choose the quadruple decreases for a challenge, or go back to the shallow end of the pool with familiar double decreases.

This pattern is available through Ravelry. It’s on sale for 10% off through October 8, no coupon code needed.

This pattern is also available through Payhip, and it’s on sale there, too.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitter Ann Berg.

I’m teaching a Zoom class with this pattern through Twisted on Saturday October 24. If you’d like me to email you when registration goes live, leave me a comment. (Coordinating all aspects is like a dance, and the pattern has to go live before the class can go live. One step at a time!)

Best laid plans

Remember this? It was going swimmingly, until I got to the planned swirly decreases for the crown. It was a great plan, but in real life I didn’t like that the decreases didn’t hit the staghorn and gull motifs in a consistent way. I worked out another decrease for the top, but it’s based on 10 stitches instead of 6 or 12, which is the number of stitches I had. Blergh.

So I started over. But first, I checked to make sure I would like the new crown shaping. I decreased the extra stitches out, and then worked out the new planned crown. Just to make sure I wasn’t starting over for nothing.

It worked just fine, but it’s a much more rapid decrease than the swirly top, so the hat has to be knit taller before beginning the decreases. Ask me how I know. Call it a giant swatch. Yup.

I reknit the hat in 2 days. Partly because I can be a bit obsessive with my knitting. Also, I had a date with my tech editor for Monday, and it had to be ready because she’s booked for months.

I love it! The new decreases look just right with the gull stitch.

And the staghorn side is a thing of beauty at the top. Well, it is to me, at least.

The hat is being test knit now, and it will be published soon.

I frogged the first hat to reclaim the yarn, and am playing with mitts. Small circumference brioche is a bit fiddly with dpns or flexiflips or magic loop or 2 circulars! It’s so easy to gain or lose a YO by accident. But mitts could be very pretty. We’ll see how it works out.

In the meantime, I’m planning more classes. My classes with Twisted sold out immediately, so I added another Petite Brioche in October, and that sold out, too. We’re planning more. I’m thinking of Petite Brioche again on Sunday October 18. Message me if you want an email when registration goes live.

The new hat will be the project for a brioche increase/decrease class; I’m really looking forward to that. I’m planning that for Saturday, October 24, but I can’t list it until the pattern is ready. Soon! Again, message me if you want an email when registration goes live.

Smoke update: We had thunder/lightning/downpour at 4 a.m. The air is now merely Unhealthy, which is a vast improvement from Beyond Index, Hazardous, and Very Unhealthy! It will get better, bit by bit.

Onward!

Introducing: Piano Christmas stocking!

Busy busy over here! I guess being confined to quarters (wildfire smoke creating beyond hazardous air quality, plus pandemic) makes me pretty productive.

pdxknitterati piano christmas stocking

I‘ve had requests for a pattern for my piano Christmas stocking from knitters who have seen it on my blog and my project page on Ravelry. I’m finally getting to it! This is one I made for myself about 20 years ago, before I started designing.

I wrote a Snowflake Christmas Stocking pattern based on the other stockings I had knit for the family. I’ve updated it with additional cuff treatments over the years. It was pretty easy for me to look at my piano stocking and chart it. It did require a little adjustment to the stitch count, but that was easy to figure out, too. I’ve just added the new chart to the Snowflake Christmas Stocking pattern. These knit up quickly in heavy worsted/aran weight yarn. (I used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted for mine.)

We have quite an assortment! These are the family stockings. All these designs, plus birds, are in the updated Snowflake Christmas Stocking pattern. (I made the new piano keys chart just a bit taller, to match the other stockings.) If you previously purchased this pattern, you will find this update in your Ravelry library.

If you’d like to purchase this pattern, it’s available on Ravelry and Payhip. Both are on sale for 15% off through September 23. Newsletter with subscriber discount coming soon, too. (I’m trying to consolidate some newsletter items so I don’t send a raft of newsletters this month. One more item tomorrow!)

pdxknitterati christmas

Here’s a classic assortment at our house. The Super Cabled Christmas Stockings are another pattern of mine, in super bulky yarn. The cat pawprint stocking is from a book, not mine, somewhere.

Between these stockings and the Tidal Wave Mitts and Hat, I think it might be time to start knitting for the holidays! Looking forward to having 2020 in the rearview mirror.

It’s still really smoky here, and the Air Quality Index is still listed as Hazardous. A sunbeam broke through the smoke yesterday to grace my sunroom floor. The air is supposed to improve this weekend. Hoping it does!

Introducing: Tidal Wave Mitts and Hat

They’ve been a long time coming, haven’t they? And they’ve had a name change, too! Their working name was Sneaker Wave, but there really wasn’t anything sneaky about them, and sneakers just remind me of Keds. Tidal waves are the rollers of the tide going in and out. Sounds soothing to me. (And thank goodness for “Find/Replace” in Microsoft Word!)

The Tidal Wave Mitts and Hat both begin with ribbing for a stretchy fit. Loose rolling cabled waves alternate to transform ribbing into WOW. The mitts feature mirrored cables, so each hand has a cable that twists toward the thumb.

The thumb gore is formed with centered double increases. Bulky yarn and big needles make this quick knit a breeze!

The hat’s cables terminate elegantly to close the top of the hat, in both a shorter version and a taller version for a perfect fit. This is a great introduction to knitting cables.

The mitts and hat each take about 100g/130 yards of bulky weight yarn. They’re designed here with Knit Picks Chroma Twist Bulky, shown in the Narwhal colorway.

Charts and line by line instructions are included.

The mitts and hat patterns are available individually or together as an ebook for a discounted price. The pdf downloads are available on Ravelry and on Payhip.

Bonus! These patterns are 15% off, no coupon code needed, through September 23, 2020. As always, newsletter subscribers get a bigger discount; newsletter will be out in the next day or so. Subscribe here if you want knitting news, tips, and special offers. I send a newsletter once or twice per month. No spam!

Click here for Ravelry and choose the ebook or individual pattern you’d like.

Click here for Tidal Wave Mitts on Payhip
Click here for Tidal Wave Hat on Payhip
Click here for Tidal Wave Accessories Collection ebook on Payhip

On the needles: more brioche!

After teaching my brioche increases and decreases class at Virtual Knitting Live last month, I started thinking that I wanted to design one more hat.


Specifically, it would be a teaching hat, one that uses both left and right leaning double decreases within the first few rounds. I love Heliotrope and Brioche Pastiche, but it takes quite a while before we get to the right leaning decreases.

I wanted a big stitch pattern to make a visual statement, and there it is! This is the staghorn motif from Nancy Marchant’s Knitting Fresh Brioche. I could use this motif twice, and not have a big enough hat, or three times, and the hat would be too big. Hmmm. I could use the motif once or twice, and make the rest of the hat in garter stitch, which has the same row gauge as brioche rib. But that could be confusing for students, as it knocks one out of the rhythm of brioche knitting.

Also, using this motif once or twice doesn’t guarantee that students will get to practice both increases more than a few times during class. A better alternative to garter stitch would be to use a smaller motif for size adjustability, and for practice with both decreases.

This stitch pattern is based on Nancy Marchant’s large gulls. I made it taller, to make it fit the row repeat of the staghorn motif. I like the way it echoes the shape of the staghorn motif. Perfect. I added a single rib on each side of the staghorn motif as an accent.

Sometimes designing is just this specific. I knew what I wanted to feature in the pattern, and then it was just a matter of putting several parts together. Like playing with Legos? Now I’m up to the crown shaping, and working out how to make that work for three sizes, which is just a bit of engineering.

It’s coming soon; I want to use it for classes this fall. That means it’s jumping to the top of my to-do list. Don’t worry, Sneaker Wave is still coming, too. By the end of the month, I think!

How do you decide which project to work on? Do you have many or few? What makes one jump to the top of the list? For me, there’s nothing like the power of a deadline.

Monday, when the sun was still visible through smoke

Side note: 2020 is an absolute dumpster fire. Pandemic, lockdown, a crashed economy, civil unrest to protest police brutality and racism…and now wildfires up and down the west coast. Entire towns have burned to the ground, and people are being evacuated for their safety. The fires aren’t close to my home right now, but smoke has blanketed most of western Oregon, and the air is unhealthy for breathing. The city of Portland declared a state of emergency as of last night.

I’m hoping and praying for change on so many levels.

Working on this little knitting project is giving my brain just enough to chew on, to keep the worry at bay. I’m grateful for home and safety, and grieving for those who have lost everything.

“Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.“ Elizabeth Zimmermann

Sneaker Wave! Coming soon…

Earlier this spring, Knit Picks gave me the opportunity to try out a new yarn, Chroma Twist Bulky. I love Chroma Worsted, so I jumped at the chance. I chose this color, Narwhal.

I knew I wanted to make some bulky mitts, based on a recipe I dashed off on a piece of paper for my friend Vickie back in 2012. I thought it would be a fairly simple process of reverse engineering the picture she sent me back then.

Reader, I knit the first mitt 4 times, fussing with needle size, cable frequency, cable placement, thumb gore increase options (lifted/m1/other) and rate of increase, and more. Sometimes designing is more engineering than art. But after that, the second mitt was easy. Behold, a vertically centered cable that is neither too tight nor too loose.

I asked for 2 skeins, knowing I wanted to design a matching hat. It was going to be a basic ribbed hat with a single cable as a feature, but the cable didn’t look nearly as impressive on the bigger field of a hat, compared to a single cable on a mitt. MORE CABLES, PLEASE.

And thank you.

I’m really pleased with the finish on the crown.

I loved knitting with this yarn; it’s big and chewy like bucatini pasta. It’s plied rather than a single ply, which gives it more durability than my beloved Chroma Worsted. And it knits up fast! The color is a gentle gradient back and forth; I played around a bit to make sure the mitts had some shading, because the first one I knit was all one color, no thank you. It went to the frog pond and I started from the other end of the skein for the next attempt.

I also played with my hat so that it would begin with the darker shade next to my face, because that’s the shade I liked best.

I’m just going to make these as one size fits most, which is not my usual. Both the hat and the mitts are very stretchy because they’re basically just ribbing. If I add more stitches, it will throw off the perfect symmetry. If you really wanted to change the size a bit up or down, you could do it by changing the needle size. I liked the fabric best on US 9, but US 8 made a great fabric, too. The ball band recommends a US 10, so it’s all covered.

I’ve written the pattern, and it’s been tech edited already, too. I’m looking for a few test knitters for the hat, or mitts, or both. Drop me a line if you’re interested. The hat takes 100g/127 yards, and the mitts take the same. And they’re quick!

Introducing: Half the Knit Sky

Half the Knit Sky is a half pi shawlette, based on a time lapse photo of the night sky. Shown above in Knit Circus Sparkle Gradient, The Knit Sky, and Knit Circus Trampoline, Mistress of Myself.

Photo by Nikita Maykov

This easy knit uses only one color per row. Slip stitches create the colorwork star trail stripes, and the Star Stitch rows are a pop of fun. A bit of lace near the end sends you into orbit! The half-pi construction keeps your patterning simple with only occasional changes in stitch count.

Shown here in Knit Picks Hawthorne Kettle Dye, Delphinium, and Knit Picks Hawthorne Speckle, Blueberry Speckle.

The pattern is easily adjustable to the yardage you have. It requires two 100g skeins of fingering weight yarn.

Half the Knit Sky pattern is available through Ravelry, and it’s 10% off through July 14, no coupon code needed. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, check your email for your special offer. If Ravelry’s recent website renovation renders the site unusable for you, please email me or leave a comment here, and I can send you an invoice through PayPal instead. It’s a little slower, but it works.

I’m planning a KAL for this design, to be through this blog, Instagram, and Ravelry. Whatever works best for you! Please use #halftheknitsky to participate on Instagram, or this thread on Ravelry to participate there. Comment on this post, or any later posts about Half the Knit Sky, to participate through the blog.

I’m very pleased with this design, and hope you love it, too. Come knit with me!