Category Archives: pattern design

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.

Re-introducing: Trellis Vines Stole/Poncho

Just in time for spring!

Trellis Vines StoleIt’s a stole!

Trellis Vines ponchoIt’s a poncho!

Trellis Vines stole poncho detailIt’s lacy and gorgeous!

I designed the Trellis Vines Stole/Poncho for Knit Picks two years ago. This was a year after I designed my Tilt Shift Wrap (I was afraid to call it a poncho, shades of the 1970s), and I wasn’t sure how long ponchos would be popular. So I hedged my bets and designed it as a stole that could be laced up into a poncho.

Trellis Vines Stole
Interestingly, Knit Picks only photographed it as a stole for their book, Aura: 2016 Spring Collection.

But it does make a lovely poncho. You can hedge your bets, too. If fashions change, you’re covered either way! The pattern is now available from me through Ravelry, as well as through Knit Picks. It’s on sale for 10% off through April 9 on Ravelry, no coupon required, or 20% off with coupon code for newsletter subscribers.

Trellis Vines is knit in two pieces with sport weight yarn, and joined with a three needle bind off at the center of the piece. Working it in two pieces gives each end a zigzaggy edge.


Trellis Vines Mitts can complete your look. The pattern is available from me through Knit Picks for $3.99, or as part of my Beanstalk Scarf and Mitts set on Ravelry (10% off on Ravelry through April 9.

I knit Trellis Vines with Knit Picks Galileo, a yummy sport weight 50/50 Merino/Bamboo blend. I’d recommend a yarn with some rayon/bamboo/tencel/silk in it, for great drape and swing. This medium weight yarn gives you enough warmth for spring days without being overbearing.  Happy spring!

New patterns: Brioche Hat Trick!

Well all that brioche knitting had to turn into something!

These are the three hat patterns in the Brioche Hat Trick e-book, available through Ravelry as a pdf download. I went for a botanical theme, so they’re Clematis Seed (the swirly seed pod), Golden Chain (Laburnum tree), and Heliotrope (heliotropism is the directional growth of a plant towards sunlight, and the leaves on this hat are seeking the sun.) Clematis Seed is the simplest of the three; it’s plain brioche rib until you get to the swirly top. Golden Chain and Heliotrope are great next steps with a bit of simple increasing and decreasing to form the stitch patterns.

I wasn’t planning to write up the cowls, but I was halfway there already. The Brioche Hat Trick e-book has patterns for three hats and two cowls. The patterns are $6 each, or the whole e-book of five patterns for $16.

If it’s just one stitch pattern you’re in love with, the Heliotrope Hat and Cowl patterns are available as a set for $9, and the Golden Chain Hat and Cowl patterns are also available as a set for the same price.

These are all knit with heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn. I used Malabrigo Worsted for everything except the Heliotrope Cowl; that piece is made with Malabrigo Rios and Wisdom Yarns Poems Silk Multi. I’ve been wearing it constantly since it came off my needles last week.

As part of this pattern release, I made a video tutorial! There’s a link to it in each of the patterns, and I’ve also updated my free pattern Petite Brioche to include the link, too.

I’m not sure I’m ready to return to lacy fingering weight shawls. Perhaps a fingering weight brioche detour is in my future! But not until after Madrona this weekend. Back to prepping for classes!

Re-introducing the Puget Sound Shawl

The Puget Sound Shawl is a two color half-pi (semi-circular) shawl, knit flat. It features sunshine and rain, seagulls, the Olympic Mountains, and waves lapping the shore. The magic of slipped stitches creates two-color motifs in the sunshine and seagull sections, but only one color is worked in each row.

This was my shawl for By Hand Serial’s Look Book #4, Puget Sound. Publication rights have returned to me, and I’m pleased to offer this pattern on Ravelry. The pattern page is here.

If you’re a newsletter subscriber, check your email next week for a special offer. I’m nearly ready to publish the brioche hat patterns, and want to put it all into one newsletter on Monday.

My favorite part of this shawl? The seagulls. You may remember that I used them again in my Cannon Beach cowl and mitts.

It’s the motif that keeps on giving! Happy Friday!

Re-introducing Athena

I’m teaching my Athena Entrelac Cowl at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in February. I love entrelac; it makes a knitter feel ever so clever! It’s even easier when you have a slow color changing yarn to make the color choices for you. And the work just kind of pulls you along; you want to knit just one more square, and then another, and another.

The original Athena is all in the round. I’ve taught this class a lot, and it’s easier to teach entrelac in the round. But learning to knit entrelac flat is good, too. It just requires two more units, the left and right edge triangles. Too much at the beginning of a class, but it’s not hard.

So I’ve just updated my Athena pattern with an optional split ending; there’s just a little smidge of those left and right edge triangles to try after getting comfortable with the left and right leaning rectangles.

If you’ve already purchased Athena through Ravelry, you can download the update there. If Athena is new to you, I’d like to entice you to try entrelac with a 10% discount on the pattern through February 5. No coupon code needed.

If you’re a newsletter subscriber, there will be a 20% discount code in your next newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

In other news, the brioche hat patterns have gone out to test knitters; I’m looking forward to feedback on those. I did re-work the top of the plain ribbed hat. Twice. It wasn’t pretty enough the first two times. Now I’m in LOVE.

I’m teaching a beginning brioche class at Twisted on Thursday, February 22. I’m using my free Petite Brioche pattern as the basis. If you’re local and want a kick start to your brioche knitting, come join us!

What’s on your knitting bucket list? Entrelac? Brioche? Steeks? Do tell!