Category Archives: pattern design

Free pattern: Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket

I had the joy of designing this blanket last spring; it’s the Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket. The blanket is a celebration of garter stitch, and so much fun to knit!

Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket in Knit Picks Chroma Twist

The blanket is made up of 9 (or more) units that are all knit the same. The fun is in letting the color shading yarn work its magic. We start with a mitered square, and then add three more mitered squares, to finish the center. A log cabin style frame is worked after that. Mitered squares and log cabin work so well together; it’s a symphony in garter stitch!

The pattern is free from Knit Picks as part of their Twelve Weeks of Gifting, which they do as a run up to the holidays. (I was paid for this design, never fear. It’s free to YOU, though.) Here’s the link: Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket. I had mentioned this to my Log Cabin Knitting class at the virtual Knit Camp at the Coast last month, and now you can download the pattern!

I have one more pattern coming in the Twelve Weeks of Gifting series; I’ll let you know when it goes live. Have fun!

If you haven’t already, check the previous post to enter to win a copy of my new book, Brioche Knit Love: 21 Skill Building Projects from Simple to Sublime. I’ll be back to showing you more designs from the book soon.

Introducing: Brioche Knit Love

I have this book at my house, and I’m thrilled! It’s beautiful, and I couldn’t be happier with the final product.

When Marie Greene of Olive Knits and Library House Press asked me if I had a book in me, I wasn’t sure, but apparently I did. You know I love to teach, and you know that a lot of my designing is done with teaching in mind. This book gave me the opportunity to do both, with a subject that makes my heart go pitty-pat. Brioche! I’ll be showing the designs here on the blog, in a series of themed blog posts. If you’re a Ravelry user, you can see the listing for the book and its patterns here.

The book starts at the very beginning, with one color brioche. I explore it with brioche knitted flat, in the round, and a combination of round/flat/round.

photo by Angela Watts, Tekoa Rose Photography

The very first project is the Hello Brioche Scarf. It is knit with just two stitches, brk (brioche knit) and sl1yo (slipped stitch with a yarn over). So simple! I used super bulky yarn (Malabrigo Rasta) and big needles, so the stitches are very easy to see on this learning project.

photo by Angela Watts, Tekoa Rose Photography

The second project is the Hello Brioche Hat, worked in the round. There are instructions for worsted weight (blue Malabrigo Rios), and for Aran weight (pink Knit Picks Muse Tonal), which is an even quicker knit. This pattern introduces the brp (brioche purl) stitch, as well as brioche in the round.

photo by Angela Watts, Tekoa Rose Photography

The third pattern in this chapter is the worsted weight Hello Brioche Mitts. They start at the wrist, worked in the round. The thumb opening section is worked flat, knitted back and forth. And the palm/top of the mitt is worked in the round.

I love teaching one concept at a time, and building on it. The designs in this chapter were test knit by absolute brioche newbies as well as experienced brioche knitters. Everyone had successful projects!

The book has photo tutorials, with large photos (4 per page). And for those of you who like a little more help, I made a set of video tutorials specifically for the book; the resources page at the back of the book has a link to the tutorials.

That’s just the beginning; I’ll show you more in the coming week. There are designs for two color brioche, syncopated brioche, increases and decreases, and combinations of all the techniques. The patterns are appropriate for brioche beginners on up. They’re all accessories, and many of them are great for quick gift knits.

I’m giving away a copy of this book to a blog reader. Leave a comment below for a chance to win. Tell me if you already knit brioche, or if you want to learn. I’ll pick a winner on Sunday, October 10. That’s before the publishing date of October 19, so if you’re not the winner you’ll still have time to get this at your LYS on the drop date, or order through Library House Press. I’d love for you to ask your LYS to carry it, too. Wholesale orders are through Sommer Street Associates.

Seagull Flight

I’ve spent all of Friday working on getting the 21 patterns in Brioche Knit Love set up on Ravelry. I’m still not done! But I’m close. After I get that set, I can start sharing the projects on other social media, and my test knitters will be able to share, too.

But I’m not all that patient, so I’m going to go ahead and show you Seagull Flight. It’s a half-pi shawl, and lots of fun to knit. It’s actually pretty easy knitting, because I already did all the math for you. (Blue yarn is Huckleberry Knits Gradient in Echo, white yarn is MadelineTosh Twist Light in White Wash)

I was at the coast at the end of July with some friends, and Becky took these pictures for me. She was a trouper!

It was really fun to play in the breeze! Seagull Flight is one of my favorite patterns in Brioche Knit Love. I found out yesterday that pre-orders are going to ship just a bit early, so you’ll probably have your book before the actual publication date (October 19). Or you can wait and get it from your local yarn shop (ask if they’re going to carry it), so you can support your LYS!

photo by Angela Watts, Tekoa Rose Photography, modeled by my sister Sharon, for the book

My tentative schedule for book signings:

Saturday October 24, Yarn Folk, Ellensburg WA, 10 to 11 am

Saturday October 30, For Yarn’s Sake, Beaverton OR, 1 to 2:30 pm

Saturday November 20, Knot Another Hat, Hood River OR, time TBA

Saturday December 4, Wild Knits, Salem OR, 1 to 2:30 pm

Brioche Knit Love book pre-order info

The pre-order page for Brioche Knit Love is live! The book is due out on October 19. It will be available through the publisher, Library House Press, and also through local yarn shops. Ask your LYS if they’ll have this book for you! But not until next week; the wholesale ordering system isn’t quite set up yet.

If you’re a brioche newbie, this book is for you! And if you already know how to knit brioche, and just want some new pretty patterns to knit, this book is for you, too. Here’s the description:

“Grab a latte and join Michele Lee Bernstein from PDXKnitterati as she guides you through the basics of brioche knitting. Using bite-size accessory projects as the foundation for learning, Michele will lead you confidently through every step, from start to finish. You’ll find gentle instruction, clear photos and twenty-one tantalizing patterns as you work your way through one- and two-color brioche (flat and in the round), increasing and decreasing, and syncopated brioche. Michele even teaches you how to recognize and fix your mistakes along the way. From cast on to bind off, Brioche Knit Love is the perfect primer for first-time brioche knitting.”

I learned a lot about the book-making process this summer, designing for this book and making it come to life. I learned about managing multiple test knits at the same time, too. Thanks so much to my test knitters, especially the brioche newbies who learned to knit brioche with the first patterns from this book.

My sister came to model with me; we had fun.

I’m looking forward to holding this book in my hands. Not sure about jumping into brioche? Here’s what the experts say:

“A sweet, clear guide to one of knitting’s most enchanting techniques. The advanced-level patterns are nothing short of aspirational, and the beginner-level patterns are cool enough to attract even the expert.
— Franklin Habit, international knitting instructor & author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons”

“Brioche has a unique language of its own, but have no fear! Michele teaches what you need to know exactly when you need to learn it for each irresistible design. The clear guidance and inspirational photos inspire confidence and motivation to cast on for these cozy projects.
— Anne Berk, author of Annetarsia Knits: A New Link to Intarsia”

“If you’ve been nervous about Brioche knitting, this is the book you need! Michele clearly explains the technique and her designs are absolutely gorgeous. You’re going to want to knit everything in this book!
— Jen Lucas, knitwear designer and author of Sock-Yarn Shawls”

I’m planning some book signing events at a few local yarn shops, too: Yarn Folk in Ellensburg, WA on Saturday Oct. 23, my local yarn source For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton, OR on Saturday, Oct. 30, Knot Another Hat in Hood River, OR on Saturday Nov. 20, and Wild Knits in Salem, OR on Saturday, Dec. 4. They’ll have books available for you there. I’ll bring some favorite pieces from the book, so you can see them in person.

If those dates or locations aren’t convenient for you, or you just can’t wait, check out the Brioche Knit Love book page and place your order if you’d like to knit brioche with me! Bonus: I’ve made a special page of video tutorial links, just for this book.

I can’t wait to share all of this with you!

Frogging, refinishing, classes, and a retreat

I love my Cherry Blossom Wrapture; it’s so pretty. But it’s huge! When I designed and knit the sample, I wanted to see how far the yarn would go, and it went this far. 98 inches wide, which is a lot of wrap(ture) for a 5’2” person. So this week, I’m frogging the ends to take off 4 sets of stripes from each end. That’s a lot of frogging, but it’s all modular so it’s really easy to know when to stop.

I’m well on my way; one end is already done. I’m featuring this piece, as well as my other log cabin knits (Log Cabin Baby Blanket, Snowy Woods Log Cabin Blocks) in a video class I’m making for Olive Knits/Knit Camp’s Knit Camp at the Coast Retreat in September. The virtual retreat is open for registration to members of Knit Camp, a virtual club that has activities all year long. For knitters who aren’t Knit Camp members, registration will open on August 16.

I’m not a member of Knit Camp (yet?), but I’m going to register for the retreat. The other teachers are Marie Greene (founder of Olive Knits and Knit Camp), Marceline Smith (Hey Brownberry), Amy Detjen, Stephanie Lotven (Tellybean Knits), Shawna Clingerman, Marcie Leek, and Heather Best, teaching topics from knitting to lettering to yoga, and more.You can read all about it here. The retreat is September 16-18, online. Classes are recorded, and playback is limited to two weeks, just in case you can’t participate in real time.

This is the video class that I mentioned in a previous post. It’s based on my log cabin knitting class that I’ve taught before, but I’m adding new shapes and ideas for more log cabin knitting fun. (I learned some new things with Cherry Blossom Wrapture.) I’ve written the script, knit the step-outs and samples, and now I need to practice, time, record, edit, and compile. Never a dull moment around here!

I don’t have any in-person classes scheduled for fall yet. Are you still taking online classes? Are you taking in-person classes? What’s the mood out there these days?

Book getting closer to real

I finished the final design for my book last Wednesday night, just in time for our photo shoot on Thursday morning!

My publisher is in Salem, Oregon, so we met at Archive Coffee and Bar in Salem. Cute place. Nice coffee. I didn’t partake at the bar, but it looks impressive.

I can’t show you my actual knitting, so check out this artful blur. Yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Iris and Cackle.

More blur. But I’m looking forward to sharing these projects with you this fall! Progress on the book is coming along; I have two more items that need to be photographed, and then a bunch tutorial photographs. I’m not the photographer, so I’m not too fussed about that. But the patterns are finished, and the tech editing is also done, as of last week. Now I just need to do all the writing for the parts before and between the patterns. I’m on my way!

I also need to do some work for a video class that I’ll be recording in August, for a September event. Deadlines for that are coming up soon, too. I’m glad I can shift my work around to fit my very flexible schedule.

You know what doesn’t respect a schedule? Ripe produce! I picked plums at my friend Linda’s house, which meant I had to jam them right away. I made plum jam with ginger bits and bourbon. And because I couldn’t find a record of my final be all and end all recipe, except in Facebook comments on a post from last year, I’m noting this here. Sure Jell recipe, and at the end add a generous 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 cup Penzey’s Sweet Ginger Bits. Perfect.

Also, it was such a pretty picture, I ran it through the Waterlogue app to “paintify” it. Happy summer!

Scenes from the design studio

Currently on the needles, another piece for my book. I love these colors together, Iris and Cackle. These are on the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock base, but I’m not knitting socks!

I had to knit a small swatch and do some math to see if I had the right increase rate for what I want, and I didn’t. A wee bit of frogging ensued. Better now than 20 inches in. And say hello to my new split keyboard! It’s more comfortable for typing. It also has lifters to tilt them thumbside up. I’m still doling out my knitting time in 15 minute increments, but my forearm tendinitis is much better.

So how do I use math to know what I want the increase rate to be? Math and gauge tell me that I can have it shaped like either of these mock-ups.

Fewer increases per repeat
More increases per repeat

I cut both shapes from tissue paper, like making a muslin when sewing. I just didn’t have any fabric I wanted to sacrifice for the cause. I tried both these shapes on, and that told me that I want the second one. Okay! Normally I would just knit for a while and see how things are looking, but I don’t want to do that much knitting if it isn’t going to work out. That means I have to be smarter about how I design. I hope it all works out the way I think it will.

We went to St. Louis last week to celebrate Mom-in-law’s birthday. I had this lovely view on the way home.

Mt Hood, or Wy-East

I had some good knitting time on the plane,

but unfortunately had to frog 6 very long rows the next day when I found a stitch that had dropped, *under* the most recent increase/decrease row. (I think I knit the yo but not the stitch that it belonged to.) Ugh. I finished this project yesterday, a week later than I hoped I would. But it’s done!

Things are moving along. What are *you* knitting?

Mood board, and moody

When I started my book project, I was asked to do a mood board. What reflects my vibe/ What do I want my book to look like?

(Mood indigo? Moody blues?)

Looking at recent projects, I think you can tell I like a monochromatic palette, different shades of the same hue. And blue is big! I can’t have an all blue book (and why not?), but I can definitely have a monochromatic vibe.

(Blues, patiently waiting)

I just need to swatch what I’ve charted to make sure it works, and then this is off to Ann, who is sample knitting for me.

I’m funny with deadlines. I used to be a procrastinator, and somewhere along the way I’ve morphed into an all-in obsessive. Not good! There’s a lot of knitting that needs to happen, but slow and steady wins the race.

(If it’s going to be green, it will have a blue undertone!)

I need to do a better job balancing my knitting time. I didn’t listen to my body, and I have developed tendonitis in my forearms, which affects knitting *and* typing. You know, the things I need to do to get this book done! So I’m not knitting for 3 days, and minimally typing.

(Big project? No, a set of two projects.)

For now, I’m petting yarn, and sketching and charting things on paper. I’m on the last big design project for the book, and then I have three more small ones that should be easy. Should. I never know until I actually try to knit them!

Have you ever done a mood board? What would your mood board say about you?

I’m writing a book!

I just signed a contract to write a book! This is the summer project I’ve been hinting about, but I didn’t want to put it out there before the contract was signed. The book will be out in the fall, and it’s about knitting, of course. It will have 20 patterns for accessories and home items (you know I don’t design many sweaters), from simple to more challenging.

I’m looking for some test knitters for these small projects. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll email you back with more details.

I’m working with Library House Press, which is Marie Greene’s new publishing company. You may know Marie as Olive Knits, and also through her Knit Camp. She has published a couple books with a traditional publisher, and she decided to launch her own publishing company this year with her third book, Knit a Little. I have a copy, and it’s beautiful. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with.

DH and I did take a little time to stop and smell the roses this weekend. We biked over to Peninsula Park, where the rose garden is in full bloom.

I love how these buds are peeking through the spent blooms.

I noticed a split stitch in my knitting this afternoon. I didn’t want the yarn to break and run down the column, so I had to fix it. My cable hook was a little short, but I managed to squish them all on there. I was too lazy to go inside to get an extra hook or circular needle! All better now.

I’m teaching Brioche Doctor next month through Bazaar Girls; I can’t wait to show them this picture. That split stitch was 21 rows down! Come to class if you want to know how to fix this and other mistakes in brioche knitting!

I’m taking the summer off to work on my book. Classes will begin again in the fall. I’m looking forward to teaching both via Zoom and in person!

Introducing: Cherry Blossom Wrapture

Cherry blossoms on my mind! This log cabin themed shawl is a generous 17” deep by 98” wide. You don’t have to knit yours to be that wide, but I LOVE how big this is.

This wrap starts at the center with a leafy square, knit in the round. A log cabin knitting-style frame is added, flat, and then the ends are worked out from each half of the square. I knit mine in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, 2 skeins of Ticklish (white with speckle), and a skein each of Cherry Blossom and Fresh Cut.

It’s so lovely to wrap yourself up in!

This pattern is available through my Ravelry shop here, and through my Payhip shop here. Use coupon code BLOOM for 15% through April 23, 2021 on either site. Newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your special offer.

Love that center square!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Jacqueline Lydston, Nan Palmer, and Sylvie Bedard.