Category Archives: yarn

Roundup: Classes, baby birds, knitting

Work first, then play:

pdxknitterati fern shawlette edge detail

I’m teaching a class on the Fern Shawlette tomorrow (Saturday May 7) at Twisted, 2 to 4:30 pm. A little lace, a fun sideways shawl construction, and beads!

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

Next Saturday (May 14) I’m debuting my Braided Wristlets class at Twisted, 2 to 6 p.m. We’ll cover simple stranded knitting, yarn color dominance, and several kinds of knitted braids.

elongated stitches sampler

And next week Sunday (May 15) I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches at For Yarn’s Sake. Put some pizzazz in your stockinette! Come take a class with me; it will be fun!

Over the Rainbow Cuffs

No time for class? This is a reminder that my Over the Rainbow Cuffs pattern is 20% off through May 8 (Sunday) with coupon code RAINBOW.

nest

While I was in Santa Barbara, a pair of house finches set up house in the willow wreath on my front porch. Not the best place for them, but what can you do after the fact?

newborn finches

The eggs hatched on April 24.

4 day old finches

Four days old.

Daddy brought take out home for dinner! #birds #housefinch

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

It’s been sweet to watch these little peepers for the last couple weeks.

But on Wednesday this week, there was a predator attack (guessing it was a crow), and two of the hatchlings were killed. I was pretty bummed. I know it’s nature and all, but these are my surrogate pets, right outside my dining room window. (Yes, I miss Mookie.)

Family time: Mom, Dad, 2 youngsters. #birds #housefinch

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on

On Thursday, the two surviving chicks climbed out of the nest and up on/into the wreath. I’m not sure they were ready, but I think it’s pretty gross in the nest. I’ll spare you the details. The parents are still on duty, taking care of these two.

finch baby and momFinch baby and mom

finch baby and momFeed me!

finch baby and dadFinch baby and dad

finch baby and dadFeed me!

I’ve been knitting and keeping an eye out the window. I hope they learn to fly soon; I worry about them!

Alexandra's gradient

I’m knitting with this yarn from Alexandra’s Crafts. It was two strands knitted into a blank and gradient dyed for a matching set; I had a hard time winding them. I tried to ravel and wind at the same time, but perhaps I should have rolled the two strands into a single ball and then rolled two balls from there, maybe? In any case, it’s very pretty.

alexandra's crafts gradient

These beads I pirated from my collection turned out to be not quite right, so I found the perfect beads.

alexandra's crafts

But I can’t show them to you in the knitting, because I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this project yet. I can tell you that watching the colors slowly change has been mesmerising!

Whew, long post! What are you doing this weekend? Mine is going to be busy, busy, busy…

Introducing: Over the Rainbow Cuffs

I had so much fun knitting my new Over the Rainbow Cuffs with these:

Going to the Chapel

Knitted Wit’s Gumballs (fingering weight 45 yard mini skeins) in the Going to the Chapel version of her Resplendent Rainbow theme. I knew I wanted twisty cuffs, and at first they were going to be short, and maybe have a matching hat. But then I decided I wanted longer, more elegant cuffs, and from there it was a slog of deciding how many stitches and how many rows to make the pattern repeat do what I wanted. I only started these four times. Or five. Or six. It’s a blur.

Over the Rainbow Cuffs

Have you ever noticed that a double rainbow reverses the order of color between the rainbows? Purple at the very top and the very bottom, red in the middle. When I decided I wanted longer cuffs, that meant a double rainbow. I had to rip out the original red beginning because it needed to be purple! Roy G Biv would have given me the wrong order. (Yes, these are things I think about.)

Double Rainbow Kona

These were a fun quick knit, once I figured out the double rainbow color sequencing and the row height. I like that these are longer than my usual cuffs. More rainbow fun! They’re fingering weight yarn, so they’re just right for transitional spring/fall wear.

These are a pretty quick project; I knit them on my trip to Santa Barbara.

Carpinteria fog

This cast on was the last, and it was the winner! Even if it was full of sunscreen.

OTR modeled rectangle

It’s not easy to take a picture of your own hands! This required a tripod, camera with timer and near field wi-fi, iPad to remote control the camera. I’m behind the tripod, weaving my arms through the legs. The things I do, for the love of knitting.

The pattern is available through Ravelry downloads here. Use coupon code RAINBOW for 20% off the $5 price, through May 8, 2016. Have fun!

Introducing Trellis Vines; Aura e-book giveaway

I’ve been dying to wear this new piece for the last six months, but I had to wait until it was published last week. This is my Trellis Vines Stole and Poncho.

Trellis Vines Stole

It’s a long rectangle of lacy loveliness. You may recognize the lace pattern from my Beanstalk Scarf and Mitts, and also from my Beanstalk Poncho.

Trellis Vines detail

When I fall in love with a stitch pattern, I tend to use it in several designs before moving on. In this case, I’ve used it as an allover pattern, rather than as a single beanstalk. It’s more work for the knitter, but I think it’s worth it.
Trellis Vines Stole

It makes the piece wearable as a stole, where a single beanstalk would look lonely. It also makes the hemline scallop!

Trellis Vines Poncho

And you know I love a rectangular poncho worn on the diagonal. Tilt Shift, Summertime Blues, Beanstalk Poncho. I have five ponchos in my wardrobe right now. This one is probably my last for a while. At some point, ponchos won’t be as fashion-forward as they are currently. I wanted this piece to be wearable long beyond, so I’ve designed it so that it can be laced up with ribbon for a poncho, or no ribbon for a stole. Covering my bases; I’m bi-wraptual!

Trellis Vines is knit with Knit Picks Galileo, a sport/dk weight 50/50 Merino wool/bamboo blend. The bamboo gives it a swingy drape and lovely sheen.

Trellis Vines is in the new Knit Picks Spring 2016 Collection, Aura, which is available as a hard copy book or an e-book. Here’s the Ravelry link to all the designs. Trellis Vines is also available as an individual download from Knit Picks.

I’m giving away a pdf copy of the Aura e-book. Leave a comment and let me know how you’d wear Trellis Vines. Stole? Poncho? Both? What makes your heart go pitty-pat? I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, April 2.

Trellis Vines Stole

Introducing: Braided Wristlets

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

It’s all about the braid. These cuffs are a little workshop in stranded color knitting and braids. Three types of braids are featured: Latvian herringbone braids, half braids that resemble chain links, and half braids that resemble twisted rope. They are knit in the round, from the bottom up. DPNs, magic loop, two circulars: knitter’s choice. Choose three colors and get knitting! I can’t seem to stop. I’ve knit four pairs and I’m almost done with my fifth. It’s still chilly enough in Portland that these make sense!

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

The pattern calls for less than 60 yards of each of three colors. (These are Knitted Wit Double Bubble mini skeins.) Instructions are written, with a video tutorial on the knitted braid technique.

The pattern is available as a pdf download through Ravelry for $6. Ravelry pattern page link here. To celebrate this pattern’s release, use coupon code BRAIDS for 20% off through April 4, 2016.

I’ve knit these with 3 kinds of DK weight yarn. My favorite so far? Knitted Wit Double Bubble DK. The twist on this yarn is nice and tight, which is less prone to split, and gives the braids lovely definition. Lorajean will have yarn kits for this in her etsy shop soon (today, I think).

pdxknitterati braided wristlets go ducks

Go Ducks! Once you know how to knit the braids, you can adapt these to your heart’s delight. I learned the herringbone braid in a Latvian Mitts class with Beth Brown-Reinsel last month at Madrona, and was enchanted by the possibilities. A series of “What if I do this? Or this?” led to these definitely not-Latvian wristlets.

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, test knitters Lisa Yarrow and Kim Winter, and Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit for the beautiful yarn.

I’m teaching a class with this pattern at Twisted on Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. We’ll learn about stranded knitting with two colors and managing your yarns so they don’t tangle, yarn color dominance, and braids. Contact Twisted to sign up!

Introducing: Beanstalk Poncho

As promised, here’s my newest design, the Beanstalk Poncho. I wore it on the last day of the yarn crawl, and loved it. It’s knit with two 400 yard skeins of fingering weight yarn, a perfect lightweight accessory for spring and summer.

Beanstalk Poncho

A single beanstalk climbs from hem to shoulder, reaching for the sky on both front and back. I used two Three Fates Yarns’ five shade gradient sets in her Eponymous Sock; the colorway is Time Lapse gradient. It would be equally lovely in a semi-solid colorway.

Beanstalk poncho detail

The length and width of this wrap are easy to customize to your perfect size. The wrap shown is 18″ wide by 29″ long.

Beanstalk poncho 2

This pattern is available as a pdf download through Ravelry; pattern page is here. To celebrate this pattern’s release, use coupon code BEANS for 20% off through Thursday, March 17, 2016. St. Patrick’s Day! Save some green and knit the green.

Beanstalk Poncho

It’s super fun to wear!

FO: Stopover BangOutASweater

Well, that was a hoot!

BangOutASweater FO

I knit this Stopover in 8 days, and then set it aside to wait for my color pop swap yarn to arrive in the mail. What a difference a color pop makes!

yarn swap bangoutasweater

The swap yarn arrived shortly after I got home from Madrona. (Go back to the previous two posts if you missed the Madrona fun.) I auditioned all but the purples, which were too dark against the lapis background. And I tried my green one more time.

bangoutasweater color swap audition

Orange, yellow, green? Yellow! It looks like daffodils and bluebells in spring.

stopover color pop

I’m super happy with this sweater. Thanks so much to bluecanarygirl (Ravelry) for organizing the yarn swap. The yellow makes my heart sing.

The sweater fits perfectly, with a bit of ease but not a ton. It did not change size with blocking (I didn’t want it to). I did spin some of the water out of it, but I put it into the top loading washer in an up and down orientation so the spin wouldn’t elongate the body or arms. Short spin, rearrange, short spin. Pat out to dry.

The Lett-Lopi wool isn’t super scritchy; it’s like wearing a cloud. Except at the neck. I took the FO picture without a turtleneck under it, because I wanted to show the neckline (you can see a bit of my black T). But yesterday I wore it with turtleneck, and it was perfect.

Thanks to Mary Jane Mucklestone for a perfect pattern, and Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner at Mason-Dixon Knitting for dreaming up this very fun KAL! You can see a collage of FO’s over at the MDK blog; I see me in there! That post has links to all the help you’d ever need if you want to bang out a Stopover of your own. My Ravelry project page with notes is here.

Clara Parkes

Other recent fun? Clara Parkes was here to read from her new book, Knitlandia, at Powell’s in Portland last Saturday. Guess who won a Claramel?

knitlandia claramel

The green knitting in the photo is done! Time to block, and finish up the pattern. Reveal coming soon…

Madrona, fun and games edition

Madrona was, as always, a magical experience. This was my first time teaching there. My blocking class was full, and my students came ready to learn about swatching, washing, and blocking all the knits. It was fun!

I took two classes, but I’ll write about them in a later post because I’m using new knowledge from both classes on a little project, and I want to put all of it together for you. Curious? Watch this space! This post is about everything else. To tide you over, here’s a link to the class I took with Evelyn Clark last year.

Last Wednesday I was packing for Madrona, and I caught myself thinking, “Don’t buy any more fingering weight yarn.” (The bin is full.) And then I heard myself say out loud, “Unless it’s gradient!”

Sincere Sheep

So apparently I had to buy some gradient yarn. This is from Sincere Sheep. I bought just the gradient on Thursday, and the next day went back for a coordinating solid. And two days later I found myself buying beads from Bead Biz to go with them! This will be a fun design project.

Janine Bajus FeralKnitter

Janine Bajus was our speaker on Friday night. Very inspiring. As she wrapped up her talk, I was compelled to write down these 3 ideas, plus the big question.

You get to do what YOU want.
There is no one right way to do it.
You won’t know if it will work until you swatch.

What is holding you back?

I chatted with her on Saturday about her strikingly beautiful shawl, which actually isn’t finished yet. She wore it on Friday, the steek cut but not edged. Holding just fine! Now that I think about it, it would be cool to leave it that way, as a representation of the journey.

Carol Milne

I met glass artist Carol Milne. She’s well known for her knitted glass sculptures. Her current project is a glass entrelac dress. Glass entrelac? Yes. She knits the squares with wax cord, and makes a clay molds which are used to make the glass pieces.

knit wax for glass carol milne

pamela

New buddy Pamela Grossman tried on the beginnings of the dress. Pretty cool! You can sponsor a glass entrelac square, and when the June exhibit is over, Carol will send it to you. I want one! Check out her Facebook page for details. (It’s not up on her website yet.)

GS Mini

What else? I had a fabulous hotel room with a great view. And a fainting couch! I brought Minerva, my GS Mini, as a diversion. Last week when my #BangOutASweater gauge swatch lied to me, I started writing lyrics in my head. It’s to the tune of Blowing in the Wind. I’m sharing them with you here. If you use them anywhere, please credit them to me. And yes, I used the singular “they.”

Knitter’s Lament
Michele Lee Bernstein, PDXKnitterati

How many times must a knitter cast on
Before the swatch doesn’t lie?
How many swatches must one knitter frog
Before they break down and cry?
How many swear words will one knitter say
While knitting the umpteenth try?

The answer my friend, it’s all about the gauge
The answer is all about the gauge

How many binges must one knitter watch
On Netflix, to finish a sleeve?
Second sleeve, second sock, second mitt, second cuff
Our boredom must be relieved
How many times do we itch to cast on
Before our ends have been weaved?

The question my friend: What’s next in the queue?
What project is next in the queue?

How many times have you given a gift
And were told, “But wool makes me itch”?
How many gifts have been tossed in the wash
To felt, and shrink each precious stitch
Yes, but how many times have you given a gift
And seen the lives you enrich?

The answer my friend: It’s for the love of yarn
We do it for the love of yarn.

How many ways can a knitter make socks?
Up from the toe… Or down from the cuff?
How many ways can we learn to cast on
Before we know all the stuff
How many classes will we knitters take
Before we call it enough?

The answer my friend: It’s time to confess
At Madrona, we are obsessed.

As you can see, I had a fun time at Madrona! I’m knitting away on the little project I want to show you, using Latvian braids (from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s class) and speed swatching and proportions (from Franklin Habit’s class). Stay tuned for a class review! Here are a couple peeks out my window while you’re waiting…

Friday sunrise

Rainier peeking Friday

New pattern: Meander Cowl

Pattern launch! Introducing the Meander Cowl. Read down for Ravelry coupon code…

In between banging out a sweater and pillow and poncho, I’ve also been blocking and finishing Meander Cowls. Remember this from last month?

meander cowl collage

I also knit a fingering weight version of it, this time in Delicious Yarns Sweets Fingering, Green Tea colorway.

Meander Cowl fingering weight single

Meander Cowl fingering weight doubled

It’s even airier than its sport weight cousin. I love them both.

These elegant infinity cowls are knit flat with one 100 gram skein of fingering or sport weight yarn, then seamed to form a loop which can be worn single or doubled. The lace and cable pattern meanders back and forth along the length of the cowl, creating zigzag edges.

Meander sport weight single

Meander sport weight doubled

The Meander Cowl pattern is available for $6 as a pdf download through Ravelry. Meander Cowl link here. To celebrate its release, I’m offering 20% off with coupon code MEANDER through February 22, 2016. I hope you knit one! It’s light and airy and perfect for winter or spring.

Meander cowls

Sweets Fingering and Two Sweets Sport from Delicious Yarns feature a pop of color that wanders across the lace and cables. Blocking brings out the best in the airy zigzag lace. This cowl would also be gorgeous in a semi-solid color. Each skein of Delicious Yarns is dyed by hand, and is unique. My original cowl is on the bottom of the picture below, and my test knitter’s cowl is on the top. So very different, but both are gorgeous.

Delicious Yarns Sweets Fingering

Here’s the Green Tea, before winding. So pretty!

stopover sleeve and prosecco

It’s starting to feel like spring here. Yesterday I was banging out a sleeve in my back yard! I wore the green Meander, and it was perfect. No coat. Odd for February, but the sunshine was a pleasant surprise. How’s your weather?

Banging out Sleeves

I knit a sleeve yesterday. An entire sleeve. This is quick knitting, I tell ya! I’m on the second sleeve now.

stopover bangoutasweater one sleeve

I could have knit both sleeves yesterday; they’re that fast. But I took some time out to seam this pillow.

snowy woods log cabin trees

snowy woods log cabin firs

It’s another Snowy Woods Log Cabin Blocks pillow. I made it with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky for the Knit Picks IDP program. The pattern will be for sale on the Knit Picks site, as well as the the version that’s already up on Ravelry. More Snowy Woods! More Log Cabinning!

I also took time out to make these pillows. (Whoa. Just noticed they’re the same color as the log cabin pillow. We have a palette here.)

cat pillows

I was inspired to make these when I saw the cat pillows over at Mason-Dixon Knitting last month. The fabric was printed by Spoonflower. Now my grown kids can have their own cats at their respective abodes!

cat pillows with cat

I’m not sure what Mookie thinks of them. But I’m sure I’ll never get that little top hat on her again.

Apparently yesterday was a very Mason-Dixon Knitting day. The #BangOutASweater KAL, the cat pillows…and I learned to log cabin from the first Mason-DIxon Knitting book. I made this blanket way back in 2008-2009.

log cabin blanket

So thanks, Ann and Kay! You’ve changed my life!

Back to the sleeves…some people are already finished with their first KAL Stopovers, and starting a second one! I’m looking forward to starting the yoke patterning. Just have to power through this sleeve, first.

Knitty knitty bang bang

Having fun so far with the #BangOutASweater project. Sometimes planning and dreaming is the most rewarding part.

green lopi pop

I didn’t love the spring green Lopi that I chose for my color pop when I swatched with it. Through the magic of duplicate stitch, I auditioned several other colors to see if I could find something I liked better. I used six different Malabrigo worsted colors that were leftovers in my stash.

malabrigo color pops

Purple, yellow, red (actually Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride)
Moss, orange, apple green

I’m leaning towards the yellow, so I tried that by itself.

yellow malabrigo pop

Maybe. Maybe just a little too much? I also like the moss, which is almost the same color as the original Lopi, but maybe a bit softer.

I asked for opinions on Instagram, and they’re all over the map! Some people liked the idea of using All THE COLORS, which could be fun, too. I may just knit the MC and not put the pops in, and then duplicate stitch them in afterwards. That would have two advantages: One fewer color to manage on that row, and I could swap out colors whenever I wanted to, like a necklace. Crazy? Maybe not!

With all this prep, how could I go wrong? I cast on yesterday morning. The contrast color borders were looking disconcertingly pastel, but all was well once I got to the main color. It looks like a blue valentine!

Lopi Valentine

But it was also looking suspiciously small. My gauge had dropped to 14 st/4″ rather than the perfect 13 st/4″ on my swatch. Grrrrr. I frogged it. I think my gauge swatch is laughing at me from downstairs. Swatches lie!

Lopi frog pond

I don’t want to use a bigger needle, so I’ve cast on the next size up. That will compensate for the difference in gauge, and it should come out the size I originally intended. Hopefully my gauge doesn’t switch back! But it’s looking pretty steady, and the fabric is neither too dense nor too holey. I’m on my way to banging out this sweater.

It’s a good thing it’s not a race, because I’m also in the middle of banging out a poncho. More knitting, more fun! I’m designing with this gradient set from Three Fates Yarns.

Three Fates Eponymous Sock Time Lapse

It’s pretty wild having a project in Aran weight and two projects in fingering weight at the same time. (I’m leading the Black Trillium Fibres Twin Leaf Crescent KAL this quarter, too.) But I’m enjoying them all. Knit like the wind and bang out all the knits!