Category Archives: yarn

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.

Yarn, and a beach

Lido Beach Resort balcony

A little more road tripping…last week found me in Sarasota, Florida. DH had a company meeting/anniversary celebration there, and the Plus Ones were invited. I was happy to have the Gulf of Mexico as my view for a few days.

Rachel Trtlgrl

While I was there, I met up with Trtlgrl, Rachel, who just finished her RCYCMKAL 2014 Rosaria the day before. (The power of a deadline!) She moved from here to there last year? year before? so it was nice to see her again. Test knitter, Turkish Delight spinner, friend. She gave me these sweet stitch markers that she made. More here, if you want some too.

Trtlgrl stitch markers

We went to A Good Yarn, the LYS in Sarasota. What a charming shop!

A Good Yarn custom colors

I was intrigued by this particular wall of yarn. These are dyed by indie dyers in custom colorways for the shop.

gulf of mexico yarn

The blue green that you see on the upper right is called Gulf of Mexico. Owners Susan and Murray Post have found a perfect way to make Florida souvenir yarn. Many of the colors come from underwater photos taken by Murray. Two skeins came home with me.

Handmaiden Double Sea Clam

This one is called Clam, and it’s based on this photo of a Tridacna, a giant clam in Fiji.

Tridacna, photo courtesy of Murray Post

Tridacna, photo courtesy of Murray Post

I know exactly what I’m going to design with this gorgeous DK weight silk/sea silk yarn from Handmaiden. Stay tuned. There are two other projects in the pipeline first. Deadlines!

Anzula Sea Tulips

This silk blend fingering weight yarn by Anzula Yarns is called Sea Tulips, and it’s based on this picture of Feather Duster tube worms. (We just don’t use the word “worm” when naming yarn colors.)

Feather Duster tube worms, photo courtesy of Murray Post

Feather Duster tube worms, photo courtesy of Murray Post

I’m not sure what this will be yet, but I’m guessing a shawlette. We’ll see. The color is gorgeous.

Susan Post knitted reef

Check out the knitted reef behind Susan and me!

Thanks to Susan and Murray, and Rachel, too, for a fun afternoon. Here are a few more pictures from the trip. I can pack a lot of fun into four days, including cross-country travel time. Now headed back to my lair to finish the Twin Leaf Crescent adaptation. Time to knit like the wind! And write patterns…

Sarasota sunriseSunrise

Sarasota sunsetSunset

Sarasota cloudsCloud monster!

birds

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