Category Archives: travel

36 hours in Ellensburg

One catch up post!

I spent 36 hours in Ellensburg, WA to celebrate a friend’s birthday the weekend before Knot Another Fiber Festival. It was quick but we packed in a lot of fun!

Saturday was LYS Day. I wasn’t near my LYS, but Ellensburg has a very nice shop, Yarn Folk. Ann Miner’s shop has lots of high quality yarns and is full of inspiring shop samples. I didn’t need any yarn (do I ever?), but I needed a shawl pin so I picked up this leaf pin by One of a Kind Buttons. (More about the book in a bit.)

There was a sheep to shawl exhibit by Thorp Mill at the rodeo grounds, and I met this sweet lamb, as well as some spinners and weavers.

In the afternoon Vickie and I took a beyond basics block printing class at Gallery One. Every time I play with block printing, it gets a little better. So much fun!

This particular class was about chine collé (like collage, adding contrast papers in the printing) and puzzle blocks (cutting your carved block into pieces so you can put it back together while using different colors for the different parts). In three hours we sketched and carved blocks, and tried these two new techniques.

Pictured above, top row: Carved block (it’s been cut and put back together), original test print. Bottom row: Chine collé bird print, and puzzle block print. I’m looking forward to playing more with this block, or even re-doing it now that I know what I want it to look like.

In the evening we went to the college rodeo. Why yes, this was my first rodeo! It seemed about time my boots went to one.

Waiting

Birds on a wire

Matched set

I came home Sunday to teach a class, and picked up the new Mason Dixon Field Guide, Transparency.

I love the look of this Shakerag Top. (Thanks, Biscuit, for helping with the picture.) It’s knit with one or two strands of yarn to create the striping, but the yarn is all the same. This particular yarn is Jade Sapphire Sylph, a blend of cashmere and linen. I love linen and I love cashmere. It’s a little spendy, so I have to decide if I’m really going to make it. Also, deadlines! We shall see.

Knit on!

Crafty Moms 15.0, plus FlexiFlips needle review

This past weekend was the 15th annual Crafty Moms weekend at the Oregon Coast, whoa. Fifteen years of friendship and fun.

Fifteen years of beautiful sunsets and walks on the beach, and projects we may or may not remember.

I’m putting the rest of the pretty scenic pictures at the end of the post, so I can talk knitting at the beginning.

I started Anna on her first brioche project. Petite Brioche, of course! Funny how her colors match her clothes. Everyone has a palette, right?

I finished my green brioche design project (no pix yet) and went back to my Nymphaea Shawl. This one is in Bumblebirch Heartwood, Atlantic and Hellebore. The colors might seem familiar to you; I used them in my Tumbling Leaves Shawl, too. It’s a very different look when you feature the blue instead of the green.

(Love this view)

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the rest of the beads, so I didn’t get very far. Oops.

The blue/brown yarn is Malabrigo Mechita in Cielo y Tierra (Sky and Earth). Perfect name.

I sketched and charted an idea for this yarn combo, but it wasn’t cooperating in the swatch, so I set that aside, too.

I’ve been wanting a pair of worsted weight socks, and I’ve been wanting to try Skacel’s new FlexiFlips needles. They come in a set of 3; these are US5. They’re like dpns except they’re flexible in the middle. One end has an Addi Rocket tip, and the other has an Addi Turbo tip, so you can choose your desired pointiness. I like the pointier of the two tips.

The idea is that you hold the work on 2 needles, like using 2 circulars or magic loop. The third needle is the working needle. This means you have one fewer needle than when working on dpns, and no flappy needles as in 2 circulars, and no loopy ends as in magic loop. I don’t mind dpns, but one fewer interruption in the knitting is nice. And I don’t mind magic loop, but that gets a little dicey with brioche and the YOs.

Verdict: I like them! I cruised through most of a cuff down sock, pausing only to puzzle out how I wanted to arrange the heel/gusset stitches. What I’m not loving is that this blue yarn is leaving dye all over my hands. I look like a Smurf.

The dye washes off my hands pretty easily, but now that I’m home the project is in time out. According to my dyer friends, I should treat the yarn with a good bath and some citric acid and heat. It’s a pretty big skein; I could:

  • Finish knitting the socks and then treat them
  • abandon this sock and just reskein and treat the rest of the yarn, hoping there’s enough for a pair
  • or frog the sock and reskein and treat all of it, then knit

What would you do? I’m afraid to wash some but not all of the yarn; there’s a good chance I’d end up with two different colors.

I also tried a small brioche sample with the FlexiFlips, and I liked them for that, too. Mmmm, brioche. I don’t know that I’d want to buy a set in every size; they’re $24/set. Maybe one more set in a reasonable sock size? This is breaking my 5 year sock knitting hiatus!

Now that I’m home, I’m back to knitting Nymphaea. This is the shawl for the Fall Shawl Retreat with me and Laurinda Reddig in November. I want to have a sample in semi-solids; the original is in gradient mini skeins. I may want one in a continuous gradient, too. It’s a pretty simple and zen knit!

As promised, more pictures below.

What’s wrong with this picture?

When you don't have an iron, you make do. #justlikethepioneers

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We didn’t have an iron

Sunset

Gorgeous Monday morning

Nature signs her handiwork with a flourish

Leftovers for Monday morning breakfast. Here’s to friends!

Catching up! RCYC, Lantern Moon Retreat

Still catching up…March began with a trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake to kick off the Rose City Yarn Crawl.

I took two whole pictures. But I had fun! It’s a group trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake with Knitted Wit (Lorajean Kelley), Shannon Squire, and Debbi Stone, and it’s become a tradition, with bubbles.

I didn’t go yarn crawling; instead I packed my bags to head out for the Lantern Moon retreat in Sisters, Oregon on Saturday.

It snowed a little at the beginning of the week, just enough to be pretty but not a problem.

Is showing up at an event wearing the same sweater the same as showing up in the same gown? Nah, it’s way more fun. This is Virginia in her Stopover, and me in mine. (Pattern by Mary Jane Mucklestone.)

I taught a version of my Tink Drop Frog: Lace Edition to two lovely groups of knitters, and also gave a blocking lesson. Susan B. Anderson taught a shawl design class, and a sock class.

Artist Kathy Deggendorfer (left) was our speaker on Monday evening. She told us about her process when painting with watercolors (color first, then lines come after), and how she uses those images on other products or in other media (clay tiles, for example). She opened her studio for us the next day and showed us what she was working on (shhh, it’s a secret). Karin purchased this original watercolor of chickadees, and I went home with a chickadee tile.

Wednesday I had the opportunity to join the retreat students for a block printing class with Valori Wells at the Stitchin’ Post.

I had chickadees on my mind, so I traced a photo off my phone and made a chickadee block for printing.

I was really happy with how it turned out. This was my fourth experience with block printing, but my first with fabric instead of paper. And each time is a little better as I figure out positive/negative space.

The gift baskets were amazing. Here’s a sampling of what was in them, but not everything!

This soap is a work of art, and smells divine.

We had afternoons off to relax (hello, spa!). On Wednesday afternoon I went on my favorite walk in the woods with my friend Becky, who moved to Sisters with her family 2 years ago. Becky is one of my Pie Birds; I love singing with her and Claudia.

Looks like cake

Madrone

Scars of last summer’s Milli fire

Putting this here so I know what to call it next time I’m trying to explain how to find it!

It was a fabulous retreat. If a small (about 30 people), luxurious knit-focused retreat with lots of time to relax is what you’re looking for, you should definitely check this out next year. Thanks to Lantern Moon for inviting me to teach!

Two steps forward at the coast, one step back at home

I finished this hat on Saturday evening, but changed my mind about the crown shaping. About to start that again.

In other news, happy birthday to DH! I decided to get cases for his autographed baseballs. They’ve been rolling around in a drawer for 30 years, so it’s about time we did something with them. Top to bottom: 1984 Portland Beavers (AAA farm team for the Phillies back then, and DH’s first job in baseball); 1986 World Champion NY Mets (DH’s first year working in Major League Baseball); 1968 St. Louis Cardinals (boyhood home team).

My Saturday stranded colorwork class was full, and my Sunday class was cancelled, so I ran away to the coast overnight.

Sasquatch lives! The ocean was rough, and the wind was intense, but the coast always clears my mind and brings me joy.

What’s bringing you joy this winter? I’ll have more joy when these hats are done!

Fiendishly simple? And aloha!

A hat is a fiendishly simple thing. It’s a tube, closed at the top. Easy peasy, right?

I’ve been playing with this hat project all week. It’s been a Goldilocks experience. Too tall? Too short? Just right? The top of this pink hat has been reworked a couple times, but I can’t complain about the view.

The pink version is snug and a little (but not too) short; it’s a cute beanie.

The blue version has 12 more stitches than the pink one, and at the same height it doesn’t feel quite secure on my head. I’m re-working it to be a little taller so it can come further down over the ears, or folded up at the bottom.

I’ll be knitting one more for a size in-between. Who said hats were simple? There’s a lot of planning going on here!

Oddly enough, it’s been very comfortable knitting with this wooly yarn in Hawaii! I brought a fingering weight shawl project, too, but I’ve been so smitten by this brioche I can’t stop playing with it.

We’ve had a great week. We came over on December 26, and now it’s time to go home. But here are some pretty pix from the week.

Beautiful He’eia Bay is just around the corner from our condo.

Lots of honu (green sea turtles) at Ai’opio Beach, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park.

More turtles at Kiholo Bay, and we saw this petroglyph at the water’s edge.

When Hualalai erupted, these shells were caught in the lava. They’re being revealed through erosion. They look like frosting!

Kiholo Bay

We went night snorkeling with the mantas! (Picture from the Eka Canoe Website; I highly recommend this.) There were at least five of these magnificent creatures swimming with us, somersaulting and backflipping, close enough to touch (but you’re not supposed to. One brushed by DH; he said it felt like a shoe.

My favorite bird, the yellow-billed cardinal.

And favorite guy, on our morning walk.

Moonset in the morning (January 2)…

Sunsets in the evening…bliss.

Aloha!

Go Tell the Bees KAL progress

The Go Tell the Bees KAL is halfway done, and FO’s are rolling in!

Photo by chainstitcher on Ravelry

Photo by BlossomWorks on Ravelry

Photo by BlueberryHill on Ravelry

Photo by knitcrazycpa on Ravelry

Photo by maybaby24 on Ravelry

Photo by knitacat on Ravelry

It’s not too late to join the KAL; it runs through July 10. Prize drawings for participants every week, and a special drawing for finishers at the end.

It’s also not too late to snag the discount for newsletter subscribers on the pattern, and on Fierce Fibers’ gradient yarn. Both of those discounts run through the end of June. (Hurry!) If you’d like to subscribe to the PDXKnitterati newsletter, let me know in the comments. It’s not the same as subscribing to this blog.

I’m making progress on my KAL shawl, too. I spent a very pleasant few hours in the air with a free movie (thanks, Alaska Airlines!), prosecco, and knitting. Because it was the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book, I chose Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and was amused that there was a Dumbledore knitting reference in it! ⚡️

I’m finished with my short rows, so it’s on to the top edging.

My favorite view flying is Mt. Hood and the Cascade range. Here are the views outbound last Saturday

And inbound last night

I love the blue sky and the peaks of Hood, Jefferson, and the Sisters, but the texture of the clouds with Hood and Jefferson is even more interesting.

We had a great weekend celebrating mom-in-law’s birthday, and now I’m back home knitting, knitting, knitting. Designing and deadlines!

How was your weekend?

Organizing via project bags, Crafty Moms weekend 14.0

Last weekend was the 14th annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast. It was pretty laid back, with some crafting, and some not! But great to get together with this group that met because our kids were in elementary school together, a long time ago.

I brought several projects to work on, because knitting is both work and play for me. Design projects, books for review, mindless knitting…and I shared some quick lessons in crochet, magic loop, and magic knot.

Lately I’ve been using Binkwaffle bags, one for each project, and then piling the collection into a larger bag or basket for transport around the house or out for travel. I like the smaller Dumpling bags for one or 2 skein projects, but last week I bought one larger Dumpling bag for a 3 skein bulky project (done and ready for secret pattern writing!). It’s too big for most days, but it came in handy this weekend.

These fabric bags are squishable but still have enough body to stand up by themselves while I’m working out of them, and the loop handle is great if you want to walk and knit at the same time. The large grommet for the handle to loop through means no yarn snagging. And the reversible fabrics are fun.

Guess which one Biscuit likes best?

I brought a couple mindless projects, which are great for social knitting. I finished a Kilter hat and started my replacement red Zephyr shawlette; I gave the original red Zephyr to my sister for her birthday. It was better than having her wait for me to knit the eventual replacement; this will be done…someday.

I spent some time reacquainting myself with the brioche stitch that I learned from JC Briar at Madrona. I had planned to knit only a couple repeats of this scarf pattern from the class handout, just to learn how to work the increases and decreases, but it’s really pretty and kind of addictive. I’ll just keep knitting as long as it’s engaging.

Dark side of brioche knitting

I can now tell where I am in the pattern, and don’t have to think so hard about the selvedge edges any more. I know that the increases and decreases only happen on the light side of the fabric, with the light yarn. But I’m operating a lot on instinct rather than reading the pattern, and can’t explain why it works. So I’ll keep going for a while!

My selvedges were wonky for the first few rows, and there’s one dark strand of yarn crossing where it shouldn’t, but otherwise things are looking pretty good. Onward!

The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places on earth. Watching the waves clears my mind, and walking on the beach makes me look at everything with a different eye. I’ll close with some pretty pictures, so you can feel like you were there, too.


This dog wandered into my picture and made it infinitely better. Serendipity!

A gift from the sea.

Transportation for sea life!

These pelagic gooseneck barnacles caught a ride on this tree. They’re a little dried out, not as spectacular as the ones I saw a couple years ago.

It was stormy when we arrived, so the next few days saw the beach littered with these pyrosomes, pelagic colonial tunicates. Weirdly pretty, but apparently no longer alive.

Wouldn’t this make a great gradient yarn?

Spectacular sunset this evening. #craftymomsweekend

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And here’s your nine seconds of Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. Looking forward to the 15th annual Crafty Moms Weekend next year!

Introducing: SeaScape Scarflette

Introducing my SeaScape Scarflette, a summery accessory knit in sport weight linen. Is it a scarf? A shawlette? You decide.

SeaScape long

This long narrow asymmetric triangle features a lacy edge inspired by the curl of the waves off Maui.

SeaScape

It can be worn long, loosely knotted, double wrapped…so many ways to add a little pizazz to your outfit.

Euroflax minis

The scarflette was inspired by a set of Euroflax Sport linen mini-skeins from Mason-Dixon Knitting. As soon as I saw this color set, I knew what it wanted to be. I took it to Maui in December and worked out the design while enjoying the view of Molokai from the lanai.

Euroflax minis in mason jarHand winding the balls three times made the yarn softer!

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! With mini-skeins, part of the fun is deciding in what order to use your colors. The longest, narrowest section is at the beginning, and features the most waves. The last section is short and wide, and features the bubbly eyelet pattern.

SeaScape 1

My first sample had pale green at the far end; the design sample has the mid-gray. I took the sample to Nashville to meet Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Ann Shayne, and she called it “deliriously pretty.” Thrilling!

SeaScape

The mini-skein set has 325 yards. You could also knit this with a single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitter Sarah Peery used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend. It also blocked beautifully.

seascape-sarah-cropSarah’s SeaScape before blocking, photo by Sarah Peery

The pattern is available through Ravelry; the pattern page is here. It’s 10% off through March 10, no coupon code needed. If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll receive a coupon code for 20% off. Want to join the list? Let me know in the comments.

More linen minis

I’ve fallen in love with linen, so there’s another linen mini-skeins design in progress. Come see a sneak peek; I’ll have the SeaScape Scarves and the new project with me at my trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday, March 2 for the Rose City Yarn Crawl!

Nashville and knitting

Catching up with myself here…DH and I went to Nashville for a few days of fun last week. He was on his way to Bowling Green, KY for a project, and had to pass through Nashville, so why not?

I met up with Ann Shayne at Mason-Dixon Knitting world headquarters. I’m so impressed by how she and Kay Gardiner have developed MDK from a longtime blog between friends to this new creation. They’re dabbling in all sorts of knit-related fun: publishing booklets, blogging, community forum, YARN.

MDK wall of yarn

This is the wall of yarn. My Euroflax mini-skeins used to live here, and now they’re all grown up.

SeaScape

It looks great on Ann! It’s a long skinny…scarf? Shawlette? Scarlette? What would you call it? Ann called it “deliriously pretty” in an Instagram post; I was pretty chuffed by that. Pattern coming soon.

 

These are samples of the Breton Cowl from Field Guide Number 1. The Shibui yarn is heftier than I thought (quick knit!), and really pretty. The favorites queue is getting longer! Thanks to Ann for a fun morning of knitting and chat.

Breton Cowl

I made a quick trip to Craft South the day before in search of yarn to swatch for a design idea. This is a sweet shop that carries fabric and a small but exquisite selection of yarn.

Craft South entry

Craft South yarns

While I was there I met Hannah Thiessen, @hannahbelleknits on Instagram. So fun to meet online knitting friends in real life!

Hannah at Craft South

And Craft South is near a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop, so I got to introduce DH to his first Jeni’s experience.

Jeni's

I may have acquired some red boots that day, too. But it wasn’t an all knitting trip. We saw Sister Sadie, an excellent 5 piece bluegrass band at the Station Inn, and A Prairie Home Companion at the Ryman Auditorium. Nashville is a fun city; I’d love to visit again.

At the Ryman
Those stained glass windows at the Ryman!

Red Zephyr and Biscuit

Right now I’m knitting away madly on a red Zephyr Shawlette to go with my new boots. This is Hazel Knits Entice, Vamp colorway.

Zephyr and boot

I love how the Zephyr arrow echoes the heart on the boot. I’m trying to finish this to take to Madrona next week. Knit like the wind…a zephyr!

Stopover to Aloha

Is my Stopover done?

Stopover red aloha

Nah, who knits with Lopi in Hawaii? Well, me, just for a bit, but I also brought some linen to play with. This is the Euroflax Sport mini skein set from Mason Dixon Knitting, in Sea.

Euroflax minis

Euroflax minis in mason jar

I think they are spot on with the colors! I had an idea for this set, and after six swatches, I think it knows what it’s doing.

Aloha knitting

It’s on hold, now that I’m home, and cold! But the plan is set.

Stopover sleeve

I knit a sleeve on the flight home, stopped to prep for Hanukkah and Christmas, and knit the other sleeve in the last couple days. I didn’t have my row counting stitch marker with me on vacation, so I made do with a piece of contrast color yarn, flipped from front to back or back to front each time I made an increase. One must make do with the tools at hand. I think I actually like this better than the row counter; it’s very visual.

Stopover three tubes

I now have three tubes, and am headed toward something resembling a sweater. I am really looking forward to wearing this! In the meantime, here are some vacation pictures because, aloha.

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

The full moon coincided with the beginning of our time on Maui, and you know how I am about the moonset. So glad I took my real camera with me; the iPhone can do most things, but not this.

Lana'i Cat Sanctuary

We had a couple stellar day trips. One was to the Lāna’i Cat Sanctuary (512 cats!) on the next island over. Fun day, with two ferry rides, drinks at the Four Seasons, and some tide pooling on a very beautiful beach.

Whale spout off Lana'i

We saw three whales playing near a sailboat in the sunset from our ferry back to Lahaina.

Family 2016

My favorite day included a hike to the Nakalele Blowhole. This is Mother Nature at her most impressive.

Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Blowhole Maui

Rainbows everywhere! (If you’re curious about the gifs, I’m using an app called Motion Stills, free from Google, that makes gifs from iPhone “live photos.” It has image stabilization, which is awesome. It can also make short videos from the same photos.)

Maui sunset

We really enjoyed the wraparound lanai on our rental condo. We had views of Lana’i and Moloka’i. Erosion has taken away the beach, but we were there for the views, including monk seals and green turtles swimming past. A perfect getaway.

knitted wit cedar and sprinkle

Sneak peek at a new shawl design debuting in January. Until then, aloha!

Four Seasons Lana'i