Category Archives: pattern design

Coming soon, garter stitch zen

Remember this garter stitch “worry bead” knitting?

purple garter crescent

It grew up to be this:

Ships in the Night

The pattern is coming soon; it’s back from the tech editor and is being test knit.

You might remember that it was my zen project when Biscuit/BellaTrix/Bisquee was ill after her adventures in the fireplace. It’s probably the most soothing knit I’ve ever designed. It’s an absolute joy to wear, too. I wore it for the first time on Sunday, because I was worried about kitty again. She was really sick last week, and after three vet visits and worry about lack of appetite, obstructions, pancreatitis, and food alllergies, it turned out to be a UTI, mostly. She’s back to her happy self, and a little more snuggly and a little less naughty. She’s growing up!

But about the shawl: Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug. Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing.

Ships in the Night

The stripes are based on the Fibonacci sequence, so there’s a little bit of nerdy fun in there too. The current name is Ships in the Night for the way the stripes glide past each other, but I could also call it BellaTrix for this silly kitty. Even though her name is Biscuit. Pronounced Bisquee. What do you think?

Biscuit BellaTrix

Looking forward to sharing it with you soon!

On your mark, get set, September!

happy birthday

I love September. It’s my birthday and wedding anniversary month. Lots of good celebrations are ongoing.

September is also the beginning of knitting season. I knit year round, but somehow September knitting feels more special. And I’ve been quite inspired this past couple weeks, finishing two shawls and charting out two more. The two finished shawls are variations on a theme. I noted that the bind off was too tight on the first of these in a previous post, so I had to tink the entire edge after the shawl was dry, and re-knit the bind off. I still need to re-block the shawl.

frogged bind off

I want to share my favorite elastic bind off with you; this bind off makes your edge as stretchy as the rest of your knitting.

Elastic Bind-off
K2. * Insert left needle into fronts of these 2 sts from left to right and knit them off together through the back loops (like making an SSK). One st bound off. K1; repeat from * until one stitch remains on right needle. Cut yarn and fasten off.

I’ve already used this on my second shawl, and blocking went much better! Tight bind offs haven’t been an issue for me previously, but the new-to-me construction of these two shawls requires a really stretchy finished edge. As I’ve said elsewhere, I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

The next two shawls use another new-to-me construction. I’m almost done swatching the first chart, and I’m in love. I’m not quite sure how I want to publish these four pieces yet, which is why you haven’t really seen them. The two finished ones are out on a design submission, and the two planned ones will be out on another submission. If they aren’t chosen I’ll self-publish them in October, either individually or as an e-book collection, maybe? What do you think? I’m looking forward to sharing them with you no matter how I do it!

Biscuit BellaTrix

To distract you in the meantime, here is a picture of Biscuit/Bisquee/BellaTrix with something polka dotty on her nose. Litter, maybe?

Knit on!

Do you listen to that little voice?

The one that says, “That bind off may be a little tight.” Or, “I don’t think that bump is going to block out.” Or whatever.

That little voice knows best. Sometimes It takes a while for me to pay attention to it. A lot of times I don’t listen because it often pops up when I’m nearing the end of a project, second-guessing myself.

frogged bind off

I should have listened about the bind off. It was too tight, and it really showed when I was blocking my garter stitch project. I tinked the bind off after the shawl dried, all 470 or so stitches. Ouch. Now I have to re-block the whole thing to get the edging right. But it will be gorgeous.

not quite it

And recently, I frogged this.

airplane knitting

Airplane knitting, and a knitter across the aisle! I had worked on it all the way to St. Louis and back earlier this month, and the more it grew, the less I liked it. That hump at the center neck was becoming more and more pronounced, and it was never going to block out nicely. I listened to the little voice, but I should have listened much sooner. Oh, well. All frogged, and working up nicely in a different design. Or at least I think it is.

This is pretty much my process. It starts with an idea, and I plan it out. Start knitting, see what I do or don’t like, and adjust as I go. Trial and error. I make the mistakes so you don’t have to!

Does that little voice speak to you? Do you listen?

Garter stitch mania

I’ve knit a lot of garter stitch during the past week. 800 yards of fingering weight yarn is a lot of knitting! I’ve really enjoyed it.

garter mania

Of course, there was that moment when I was 80% done, and I thought, “But what if I do it a different way?” So there will eventually be another version, a variation on a theme. I think I’ll like them both. I’ll let you know when I get closer!

Biscuit and her nerf dart

This little minx is feeling much better this week. Thanks for all your good thoughts. She’s still not 100%, but she has plenty of joie de vivre at 85%. I have now ordered sturdier new fireplace screens and hidden all the toilet paper.

She’s the smartest cat we’ve ever had. But definitely not a snuggly lap cat. Oh, and I think we’ve finally figured out her name. Again. Biscuit. Pronounced “BiskwEE” because it’s French. Really.

Garter stitch as worry beads

purple garter crescent

I’m working out a new design idea, and it’s fairly mindless. Garter stitch makes a great worry bead. I love these two colors together; they’re from Lorajean at Knitted Wit. The variegated is Rose City (I think it was a special for the Rose City Yarn Crawl?) and the purple may be Her Majesty (label long gone, if I ever had one).

Rows and rows of garter stitch, so soothing as I wait by the phone.

gray BellaTrix

I was startled to see that BellaTrix was going gray last week. Her brilliant white fur was changing color. Apparently she got into our bedroom fireplace (screens are not enough barrier), and spread it around when she tried to groom herself. This made her sick, so she has been to the vet several times this week.

BellaTrix lamp

Although she wasn’t feeling well, she was still pretty active and chipper at times, but not eating. Yesterday she had an x-ray. No blockage. But her liver is only 20% of normal size. She’s back at the vet today for more tests, and I’m worried.

BellaTrix nerf dart

Please send good thoughts her way. Meanwhile, I’ll keep knitting.

purple garter st

Introducing Tridacna Cowls and Necklace, KAL?

Tridacna? It’s a clam. It’s an inspiration!

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The scalloped edges of the elongated stitches in the Tridacna cowls and necklace mimic the fluted edges of the Tridacna clam’s shell. This cowl can be knit as a long infinity loop, a short cozy cowl, or a simple necklace. The longer cowl features yarn specially dyed by Hand Maiden Fine Yarn for A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, in colors inspired by the Tridacna clam. The short cowl and necklace are shown knit in two colors. Knitter’s choice! The pattern is written for DK weight yarn. Silk enhances the drape of these pieces.

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The long cowl can be worn in a variety of ways: Long, doubled, keyhole style.

tridacna necklace pdxknitterati

Not ready to knit an entire cowl? The necklace is a great introduction to this fun elongated stitch. There’s a link to a video in the pattern, too, if you need help with the stitch.

This pattern is available for $6 via pdf download through Ravelry. Pattern page is here. Use coupon code CLAM for 20% off through August 10, 2016. Do you want to do a KAL beginning August 20? Let me know through blog comment, Facebook, Instagram, or Ravelry.

tridacna clam

This is the photo that inspired the yarn that inspired the cowls. Murray Post took this underwater photograph of a Tridacna clam in Fiji. He’s the husband of Susan Post, the owner of A Good Yarn in Sarasota Florida. The Posts asked hand Maiden Fine Yarn to create a custom colorway, Clam, based on this photo. When I saw the photo and the yarn, I knew exactly what the yarn wanted to be.

Murray says:
“I took this picture is of a Tridacna, or giant clam in Fiji. They are quite beautiful, with a fleshy mantle that extends out of its shell. The small black dots around the rim of the mantle are primitive eyes, that sense light and shadow. As you approach, they retract their mantles and close their shell, though once they’re any size, the shell can’t close all the way. Tridacna means 3 bites, and they were once farmed and consumed only by the village chiefs. The largest I’ve seen was over 5 feet wide. This guy is bit larger than a football.”

Thank you to the Posts for the beautiful yarn and inspiration!

Larger photos are on my PDXKnitterati Tridacna pattern page, here.

Shawl shapes, Bellatrix, Lacey

I’m playing along with the 5 Shawls, 5 Days challenge. Each day, we knit a mini shawl to explore the different shapings. It’s not too late to join, I think.

Of course, I can’t just follow directions. I have to play with them; I’m a designer!

winged triangle

The first day’s shape is the top down triangle shawl. I’ve knit this shape before, and if my yardage is limited, I like to knit the winged triangle (longer ends via additional increases on the WS rows). This way the shawl grows wider faster than the traditional triangle shawl, and is shallower. Great for not pointing directly at your butt, and it also gives you enough width to get a nice wrap around your neck or shoulders before running out of your single skein of precious luxury yarn.

The second day’s shape is the 3/4 shawl. It’s three triangles instead of the usual two on a traditional triangle shawl. I don’t love this shape, so I didn’t knit it. But many years ago I did a frankenstein version of this shape, with the extended ends of the winged triangle on the outer two triangles.


It was a big fail (my fault, completely). Here’s a picture so you can laugh, and here’s a link to the blog post I did at the time, Big Cup o’Fail. Don’t worry; it got better. I frogged the whole thing and ended up designing the Zen Rain Shawlette.

zen rain shawlette

This would be a winged triangle, but with a center panel to automatically add some width and avoid a pointed center. See how much you can play with shawl shapes?

The third day’s shawl shape is a crescent. I have designed several crescent shaped shawls, but they’ve all been from the bottom up.

crescent shawl shape

I like it! It’s a lot simpler than short rowing from the bottom up. I’m using this particular swatch to play around with striping, and I want to play with an edging, too, so it’s still on the needles.

Two more shapes coming. I’ll keep you posted.

Bellatrix(fuzzy low light picture of her sticking her tongue out. sassy!)

In other news: The cat formerly known as Trix has a name! In the end, she wasn’t a Biscuit, either. DH said, “Maybe her name is Trix.” That was her shelter name, but I thought it was too short. She’s pretty tricksy, though. So her name is now Bellatrix. It means female warrior. It’s also the left shoulder star in the constellation Orion, one of the two constellations I can identify in the night sky. I’m calling her Bellatrix or Trix most of the time, and it seems to fit. “Trix” also sounds like the litte squeak she makes when she tries to meow. She doesn’t have a voice! She may have lost it when she was sick; I’ve never heard her meow.


Also, this is Lacey! Thank you for all your suggestions, for both the mannequin and the cat. says that commenter number 3 is the winner, so Chris Pugsley will be getting a copy of Aura. But Paula Johnson actually suggested Lacey, so I’m offering her a choice of one of my PDXKnitterati patterns via Ravelry download. Bonus prize!

Keep knitting, and here’s a picture from yesterday. Ahhhhhh.

spinnakers on the columbia

Knitting away, and away

I’m always knitting, even if it’s stuff I can’t show you. I did finish my project with this yarn I bought from Alexandra’s Crafts at OFFF last year.

Alexandra's gradient

It was a two strand sock blank, giving me two strands, dyed exactly the same.

alexandra's crafts

I designed a little something with it, and it was perfect for a submission for a book project. Apparently they thought so, too, which means I can’t show you the FO, except like this.

mystery gradient project Alexandra

It came full circle, but now it’s garter stitch instead of stockinette.

mystery garter stitch

The new FO isn’t a gradient, but it’s beautiful either way. This blocked out really nicely. I love the way pedestrian garter stitch blocks out into an airy ethereal wonder. This yarn has silk in it, which adds to the loveliness.

knitting aerie manzanita

I knit some of it in this dreamy knitting aerie loft space in a house we rented in Manzanita. DH’s mom came out to visit us and we took her to the coast for her birthday.

birthday breezes

It was breezy and cool

breezy selfie

but we had a good time! Son1 learned to shuck oysters from a YouTube video, so we toasted Mom with oysters on the half shell. And wine, too. (Son2 had just started a new job and couldn’t get away. We celebrated again in town.)

oyster toast

Now home and knitting with one of the yarns from A Good Yarn in Sarasota. It should be done in a couple days, and then I can actually show you some knitting! But for now, a few more pix from the coast…

beach truck

message from the sea on a log

horses passing by

Are you celebrating the Fourth of July? It’s the annual Waterfront Blues Festival in town, so we’ve seen lots of music. Perfect weather this year.

Blues Cruise

Views from the Blues Cruise, NW Women in R&B.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Re-introducing: Twin Leaf Crescent

The publishing rights to my Twin Leaf Crescent shawl returned to me this month, and to celebrate I added a shawlette option.

Twin Leaf wingspan

The original shawl that I designed for Black Trillium Fibres used her beautiful 5 miniskein 165g gradient set. The layers of color are gorgeous.

twin leaf shawlette

The new shawlette that I designed uses Canon Hand Dyes 100g/460 yard continuous gradient. See how the color concentrates on the leafy border, and then softly shades up from there?

I love them both!

The pattern is 20% off with code TWINNING through 6/27/16.

Coco blocking

In other news, there’s a new kitty in the house! Meet Coco. She wanted to help block my new shawlette, but I didn’t think that was the best idea.

Coco and Mook pillow

She has very big socks to fill, but she appears to be up to the challenge. Very outgoing, very sweet and polite. When I met her, she was doing this:

Coco Trix

How could I resist?

Lastly, to celebrate Worldwide Knit in Public Day, all of my patterns are 20% off through this weekend (Saturday Sunday) with code WWKIP. (You can only use one code or the other.)

Knit on, in public or in private!

Introducing: Over the Rainbow Cuffs

I had so much fun knitting my new Over the Rainbow Cuffs with these:

Going to the Chapel

Knitted Wit’s Gumballs (fingering weight 45 yard mini skeins) in the Going to the Chapel version of her Resplendent Rainbow theme. I knew I wanted twisty cuffs, and at first they were going to be short, and maybe have a matching hat. But then I decided I wanted longer, more elegant cuffs, and from there it was a slog of deciding how many stitches and how many rows to make the pattern repeat do what I wanted. I only started these four times. Or five. Or six. It’s a blur.

Over the Rainbow Cuffs

Have you ever noticed that a double rainbow reverses the order of color between the rainbows? Purple at the very top and the very bottom, red in the middle. When I decided I wanted longer cuffs, that meant a double rainbow. I had to rip out the original red beginning because it needed to be purple! Roy G Biv would have given me the wrong order. (Yes, these are things I think about.)

Double Rainbow Kona

These were a fun quick knit, once I figured out the double rainbow color sequencing and the row height. I like that these are longer than my usual cuffs. More rainbow fun! They’re fingering weight yarn, so they’re just right for transitional spring/fall wear.

These are a pretty quick project; I knit them on my trip to Santa Barbara.

Carpinteria fog

This cast on was the last, and it was the winner! Even if it was full of sunscreen.

OTR modeled rectangle

It’s not easy to take a picture of your own hands! This required a tripod, camera with timer and near field wi-fi, iPad to remote control the camera. I’m behind the tripod, weaving my arms through the legs. The things I do, for the love of knitting.

The pattern is available through Ravelry downloads here. Use coupon code RAINBOW for 20% off the $5 price, through May 8, 2016. Have fun!