Category Archives: pattern design

Happy Thanksgiving, and meet Zephyr!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s been a great year, knit-wise. I’m grateful for a life of designing and teaching, and meeting lots of fun knitters along the way. Knitters are the best people! We don’t have to agree on everything to be able to knit together. (Steek? Yes! Kitchener? No!)

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is in full swing on Ravelry. Go join the group, use the coupon code giftalong2016, and join the KAL/CAL fun!

Zephyr Shawlette

I’m introducing another new design today. This is the Zephyr Shawlette, an asymmetric triangle knit on the bias. It’s named after the west wind. The lacy arrow represents the wind blowing west to east. The eyelets are like bubbles rising on the wind. I love that the yarn I used is called Bollicina, which is Italian for bubble. It’s 65% cashmere, 35% silk which makes it soooo luxurious. Sadly this yarn is discontinued, but any other fingering weight yarn will make an equally lovely Zephyr.

Zephyr wingspan

I had 550 yards, so this knit up into a gorgeous large wrap. The pattern is easily adapted to your yardage; it starts at the narrow point and grows from there.

Zephyr Shawlette gradient wingspan

Ann Berg test knit this for me with a Canon Hand Dyes William gradient, 460 yards of gorgeous shifting color.

Zephyr detail

And Rachel Nichols test knit this for me with the Fiber Seed’s Sprout fingering in Robin’s Egg, 480 yards.

Thanks for knitting, ladies! And thanks to Amanda Woodruff for tech editing. This is one of my favorite kinds of knitting, mostly stockinette so I can read blogs or my Kindle, or watch TV, and only pay close attention for a little bit. It would also be great for meditative knitting.

The pattern is on Ravelry, and it’s 15% offf through December 5, 2016, no coupon needed. But if you’re subscribed to my mailing list, you can get 20% off instead, with a coupon code from my newsletter. Let me know if you’d like to subscribe.

Trellis Vines Mitts

One more new release this week, this one through Knit Picks. I’m releasing a mitts only version of my Beanstalk Mitts and Scarf. It’s called Trellis Vines Mitts, and they coordinate with my Trellis Vines Stole Poncho.

Trellis Vines Stole Poncho

Same lovely lacy leaf and trellis pattern, using the same sport/dk weight yarn.

What else is going on? I’m taking a Harmony Singing by Ear class with Anne Weiss over at Artichoke Music in Portland. I’ve sung in her classes before; she is knowledgeable, supportive, and fabulous. I put class to use last weekend while singing with friends in church. I’m the low harmony on the verses of this version of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” Click this link if you want to listen.

Rolling up my sleeves and getting to work in the kitchen. Here’s the recipe for my favorite turkey stuffing. My Baba (daddy) used to make it this way. I love that he used to just make things up, and suddenly we had our own Chinese version of an American tradition. I miss him lots, since 2001.

Chinese Sausage/Oyster/Water Chestnut Rice Stuffing, enough for a 15-20 lb turkey
2.5 cups uncooked rice (I like brown medium grain, but whatever you have is fine)
3 Chinese sausage (lap xuong)
2 (two) 8 oz jars of fresh small shucked oysters, drained and cut in half if they seem large
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch on diagonal
1 onion, chopped
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 eggs, scrambled (if you want it to be prettier, cook separately before adding so you have ribbons of scrambled egg)
1 tbsp soy sauce

Pre-cook rice, along with sausage. (Lay the sausage on top of the rice when you turn the heat down after it boils; they will be perfect.) When rice is done, remove sausage and slice 1/4 inch on diagonal.

Now it’s time to really cook!
Sauté sausage, onion, and celery in 1 tbsp oil. When onion is soft, add oysters and cook until they are just barely done (there will be a lot of moisture in the pan). Add water chestnut and eggs; cook ’til eggs are done. Beginning adding rice, one cup at a time, working it in. You may not use all the rice. When you have enough rice worked in (so that the ratio of rice to goodies looks right), add a bit of soy sauce for color (go lightly!). Salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the turkey, or not!

This is basically fried rice, with oysters and chinese sausage. yum….

I hope you’re having a peaceful weekend with people you love. Lots of time to knit while waiting for a turkey to roast. And then the mad rush to make gravy. Cheers!

Introducing: Ships in the Night Shawl

It finally stopped raining, so I had the chance to photograph my newest shawl design: Ships in the Night.

Ships in the Night

This was my comfort knitting when Bisquee/Biscuit/BellaTrix/Trix was ill after her adventures in the fireplace. It’s probably the most soothing knit I’ve ever designed. So much zen garter stitch, with just enough Fibonacci sequence thrown into the striping that you don’t fall asleep knitting. “Ships in the Night” refers to the Fibonacci stripe patterns gliding past each other. I knit mine with two coordinating skeins of Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock yarn.

Ships in the Night shawl wingspan

It’s an absolute joy to wear, too. Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug.

Ships in the Night Shawl

Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing. Ella is much taller than I am, so it’s not quite as engulfing on her. Your mileage may vary. You could also wear it bandanna style, with both ends hanging in front. I did that yesterday.

For long-time readers who want to know: Bobbi is away at college, and Ella stepped in to help me out. Thanks, Ella!

The pattern is available through Ravelry, pattern page here. I’m offering 20% off the price of the pattern to subscribers of my new newsletter through November 15. Have you signed up? Leave a comment below if you’d like to. You’ll also receive my Lobelia Shawl/Shawlette pattern, free.

I’m hoping you’ll love this comfort knitting. It’s election week here in the USA, and I think many of us could use a chill pill right about now!

Free pattern for newsletter subscribers

Coming soon: the PDXKnitterati newsletter! What’s in it for you? Hot news about new designs, new classes, and what I’m up to next. I’ll offer discounts on new designs, just for subscribers. And as an extra thank you, you’ll also receive a coupon for a free copy of my Lobelia Shawl and Shawlette pattern through Ravelry.

Lobelia Shawl

If you’d like to sign up, please leave a comment below (your email won’t show publicly, but I can see it), or email me at pdxknitterati(at)comcast(dot)net (replace the at with @ and the dot with a period, and you’re all set). I plan on sending newsletters once or twice a month; I don’t want to overwhelm either of us. And I won’t share your email with anyone. Yes, I’m going to learn to automate the sign-up process, but not today!

Ships in the Night

I have two new designs in the pipeline, nearly ready to publish, and I’ll be offering discounts only through the newsletter. I’ve been wearing this one a lot; it’s my current favorite.

Don’t forget, comment or email me to subscribe, and I’ll put you on the list. Thank you!

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.

failure

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.

Lacey

Also, this is Lacey! Thank you for all your suggestions, for both the mannequin and the cat. Random.org 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