Category Archives: Pie Birds

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!

Braided Wristlets Class Debut, singing, and more

I had a super busy weekend, and knittingly, this was the highlight.

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

I taught my new Braided Wristlets class at Twisted. I designed this pattern to be a workshop in herringbone and other braids, two color stranded knitting, and color dominance. We did cover all these things, and had a great time, too. And I made a good start on another one of these for me.

braided wristlet

I’ll be teaching this class at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. It will be an all day class on Saturday, September 24. Come and learn new skills with me!

But the weekend wasn’t all knitting. Sunday was Pentecost, and I organized and led music with the Pie Birds for worship. (The Pie Birds are a 3 part harmony group with guitars and mandolin: My friends Claudia and Becky and me.) So much work, so much fun. We sang Somewhere to Begin for the prelude; link provided if you want to give a listen. We closed the service with Turning of the World, with the congregation joining in.

We had a guest chorus from the Randolph-Macon Academy in Virgina sing for us. What a talented group of young people! They sang We Sing and All Creatures of Our God and King (not the version you might expect). Really wonderful. And they joined our choir for Spirit Come Down; it was so much fun to have all these voices singing with us.

I needed a recovery day on Monday!

PIe Birds mimosas

Bang Out A Sweater next week?

When I saw that Kay and Ann over at Mason-Dixon Knitting were starting a #BangOutASweater KAL with Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stopover pattern, I tried to resist. I have several projects already in the works, and don’t really need one more.

But if I did decide to knit along, what colors would I use? I played with some colors online. Just looking, you know. As one does.

Lett-Lopi colors

I wondered what they would look like in real life? I went to the Knitting Bee to check. And then I bought the yarn. Oops. But Létt-Lopi isn’t very expensive on the yarn continuum, so I didn’t feel too guilty. I could put it away for later when I have more time, right?

My friend Claudia came over to bake bagels and sing with me the other day. (She, Becky, and I sing as the Pie Birds.) The bagels turned out great.

bagels with Claudia

I told her about the BangOutASweater KAL, and she was all in. She went from my house to Dublin Bay to get yarn. I’m such an enabler! (And can I say just how lucky we are in Portland to have 15 yarn shops in the area, and TWO that carry Lopi?) She sent me this picture.

Létt-Lopi for Claudia

I guess this means I should knit along with her now, instead of later. I swatched yesterday (in the round! and wet blocked!) and also sampled color placement. The size didn’t change when I blocked it, but the yarn fuzzed up marvelously and filled in the gaps at this loosely knit gauge. Perfect.

Stopover color sampling

I like the top sample better; the gray and blue pop against each other at the bottom of the peacock feather. The green and blue are too similar in value to each other and mush into each other in the bottom sample. Here it is in monotone; you’ll see what I mean.

lett-lopi monotone

So I’ll run with the color placement in the top sample, but I’m not excited about the green as the accent color pop. I may use cherry red. Or sunshine yellow. Hot pink? It’s only used in that one row, so I’ll check my stash of leftovers (Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride) to see if I have anything that works. Otherwise, back to the yarn store. Oh, darn.

How about you? Do you want to bang out a sweater with us? It will be quick. And fun! Check it out here on the blog, on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, their Ravelry group, and Instagram, where the hashtag is #BangOutASweater.

OFFF 2015, SuperMoonEclipse

Well, that was quite the weekend! Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival was wonderful, as always. I taught two classes on Friday: Athena Entrelac Cowl and Fern Lace Shawlette (sideways shawl construction). My students were all great, and they all got it. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of their lovely finished projects someday.

I went back on Saturday and Sunday for shopping, hanging out, and general mayhem. Here’s a whirlwind tour:

OFFF 2015
The weather was perfect, sunny and cool enough to show off your favorite knitwear.

Lots of friends to catch up with:

Lorajean Kelley Knitted WitLorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit

3 Ms3 M’s: Me, Michelle, and Melissa in the Knitted Wit booth

Leigh Anne spinningLeigh Anne in the Carolina Homespun booth, trying to decide whether she should take up spinning

Twists and TurningsSari Peterson with her grands at her booth. Her DH makes beautiful spindles. Sari teaches spinning, and I think I may need some lessons! First to refine my spindle technique, and second to try a wheel. Not that I want one. Just curiosity about how they work. Honest. (Heading down the rabbit hole? Over to the Dark Side?)

Christina and laceChristina making lace on the lawn

LaurindaLaurinda Reddig, crocheter extraordinaire and fellow OFFF teacher

Cindy Fern ShawletteI love it when I see my designs in the wild. This is Cindy with her beaded Fern Lace Shawlette.

Jenkins WoodworkingBeautiful Turkish spindles in the Jenkins Woodworking booth

Some new things I fell in love with:

Francisco BautistaFrancisco Bautista’s beautiful hand dyed, hand woven rugs. Read more here.

young weaverHis son was weaving on Sunday.

Jodie McDougall lampworkJodie McDougall’s beautiful buttons.

Jodie McDougall cowgirl buttonI bought this single cowgirl button for a special project (how could I not, since I was wearing my cowgirl boots?). Jodie explained how she makes her buttons, and had samples to show the process. Gorgeous.

There were animals, of course. This is my favorite look.

pygora?Good hair day, or bad hair day?

The weekend was capped by the eclipse of the full harvest moon supermoon.

pdxknitterati supermoon harvest moon eclipse 2015
I took these with my point and shoot, which has the best zoom in my limited collection of two cameras. A little blurry, but I was really happy to get any pictures at all. These were taken from the new Tilikum Crossing bridge (I just realized I’ve been spelling it wrong. One L!) My kids and I had a delightful evening chasing the moon.

PIe Birds mimosasThe weekend was made complete by music and mimosas with friends.

How was your weekend? Did you go to OFFF? See the eclipse? Do tell!

Adventures in jamming: fruit, pectin, music

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My friends gave me these beautiful yellow plums on Sunday, and I’ve been jamming up a storm. Both of these are ginger plum jam, with some chopped crystallized ginger added to the plummy goodness.

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The one on the right is my usual Sure-Jell pectin version. It requires an exact amount of sugar to set. It’s very sweet. The one on the left is my first experiment with Pomona’s pectin, which doesn’t require sugar to gel. The pectin is activated by calcium (included in the packet). I used less than half as much sugar in this second jam. It’s much more tart, and the plum and ginger flavors shine through. But why do these two look so different? I made the second jam with turbinado sugar, so it’s darker, and I don’t love how it looks. I went back to the drawing board (and picked more plums), and came up with this winner.

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Sunshine in a jar

It’s not as crystal clear/jewel-like as the Sure-Jell jam, but it has much less sugar, 4 1/2 cups of sugar for 8 cups of prepared fruit, instead of 8 cups of sugar for 6 cups of fruit. This is a little sweeter than the last version, per my family’s request. I like that I could add sugar until it tasted right. Pretty color. Delicious flavor. Nice texture. And I’ve run out of jars, so I’m done jamming for the season. Whew!

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Third time’s a charm

For reference for next year:

Ginger Plum Jam

8 cups prepared plums (pitted, not peeled, pulsed a bit in food processor)
4 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C lemon juice
1/4 C chopped crystallized ginger
8 tsp calcium water (from pectin package)
6 tsp Pomona’s pectin

Prepare and process per directions in pectin package.

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More jam? A couple weeks ago, we picked raspberries and made jam with this recipe I found last year. No added pectin, and an exquisite color and set.

Now I have a LOT of jam. I found this recipe for making jam ice cream a while ago. I haven’t tried it yet; I need to get out of the kitchen! But this may come in handy later.

I just picked the very last of my blueberry crop for this year. (Ring added for size reference. The bowl is only about 4 inches, and the berries are not so big in real life.)

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I don’t love blueberry jam, so I have gallons of berries stored in the freezer for (my signature) cobblers, pancakes, muffins, and compotes all year long. Eating them fresh off the blueberry bush is my favorite way to enjoy them. I’m going to savor these last few.

In a different kind of jamming, the Pie Birds (my friends Claudia and Becky and I) sang in church on Sunday. This is our version of the Wailin’ Jennys’ Bird Song. I’m the low harmony, and play one of the guitars. It is an absolute joy to sing with friends!

Snowy Woods Cowl

I’m madly knitting away, and about halfway done with two projects that are publishing soon. One is the re-worked Snowy Woods Cowl. Lorajean over at Knitted Wit is doing this custom color in her Aran weight yarn for me. Isn’t it gorgeous? And soft and bouncy to knit with, too. We’re planning a pattern launch sale and a KAL. Stay tuned!

How was your week?

Over the Cascades, again

Last Friday I headed over the Cascades again, but this time in Oregon. It was a music getaway weekend with friends, but before everyone arrived, I had a trunk show at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters.

Stitchin Post (photo by Sarah Peery)

We had a great time! It’s always fun to meet knitters in person, and see hand knits up close. The Stitchin’ Post is starting a KAL of my Garland shawl today, so I left a couple samples for the week.

On to music! My new guitar made her debut with my fellow Pie Birds, Claudia and Becky. We played and sang and laughed, a perfect weekend.

The kids dyed eggs while we played more music.

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And what does any good yarnie do with that leftover egg dye?

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Of course. I bought a skein of white yarn at the Stitchin’ Post. It’s Juniper Moon Farm Sabine, 30% Royal Llama, 30% Merino wool, and 40% cotton. I was hoping for all animal fiber, but this was luscious. I wound off yarn in approximately 25 yard hanks (around my arm, one uses the tools at hand!). We dip dyed it, squeezing out excess dye after each dip, and then microwaved the yarn for 2 minutes to set the color. A quick rinse after it cooled, and then dried overnight. I was going to wind it into balls after they dried, but decided to leave them as mini-skeins to preserve the color runs. Aren’t they sweet?

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On Sunday, Claudia and I walked along Whychus Creek. This creek has been restored, and was the subject of the Two Rivers, Three Sisters quilt exhibit that we saw in Portland last year. This panel was my favorite. (Just had to show you, because it took me a while to find this picture in my archives!)

Whychus quilt

Here it is in real life…

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Whychus Creek, near Sisters, Oregon

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On the way home, we stopped at Black Butte Ranch so I could get a proper picture of the mountains we saw while driving.

Mt. Washington Mt. Washington

image Three Sisters (Middle Sister is not visible from this viewpoint) and Belknap Crater in foreground

The sight of a snowcapped volcano always takes my breath away. Such beauty in this world, and we get to live in it. :sigh:

In knitting news, I’ve started my Aloha Shawlette for the KAL. It’s going pretty quickly!

aloha kal day 1

How was your weekend? And what are you knitting?