Category Archives: yarn

Introducing: Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance is an adventure in planned pooling.

Space dyed yarns can be so pretty in the skein, but so jumbly when you knit them. Learn how to tame the color monster with planned color pooling. This Aran weight cowl in your choice of three simple stitch patterns will give you a quick jump start into planned pooling. Make the colors dance by adjusting your tension!

Instructions are given so you can find your magic number to cast on, in order to make the colors pool.

The Huckleberry Knits 2 Ply BFL Aran was specially dyed for this project. I used all of the skein, and the cowl measures 32″ x 8″.

I consulted with Scarlet Tang of Huckleberry Knits to come up with colors and a yarn base that would work well for a class. We chose her Rock Candy and Legion of Boom (Seattle Seahawks colors) colorways, shown here on her Willow fingering weight. (My first planned pooling cowl is on the left, knit with ancient Lorna’s Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies in Cat Bordhi Aha!, purchased at Sock Summit 2011.) We’re using a 2 Ply BFL Aran which isn’t one of her usual bases, but I love it! It’s soft and lovely to knit. This yarn will be available at For Yarn’s Sake, and I’m teaching a planned pooling class there on Sunday May 19.

I also knit a version in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Plushy. This skein has more yardage, but I chose to finish the cowl at 33″ x 6.5″, using 60% of the skein. It’s bouncy and fun to knit with, but a litle harder to get accurate measurements because it’s so wonderfully springy!

The Shall We Dance pattern is available through Ravelry download. It’s 10% off through March 31, 2019, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a 20% off coupon, so sign up if you want to be in on my special offers!

Everyone into the pool!

Thank you to Amanda Woodruff for tech editing.

Introducing Oregon Sky

I’m delighted to introduce my new shawl design, Oregon Sky. It’s a collaboration with local dyer Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit.

And a cast of thousands. Or at least 10.

From Lorajean:

What do you get when you put a brand-spanking-new Knitted Wit rainbow and ten uber-talented designers in a room? Glow Up Knitted Wit! The ten-pattern collection, along with five gorgeous colorway combos, drops on Friday, March 1st, 2019. You can get the whole pattern collection for $33 through April 1, 2019, and all patterns will also be available from the individual designers, as well as through Ravelry In-Store pattern sales for our LYS partners.

You can get the yarn on the Knitted Wit website. The hardest part will be choosing which complementary full skein you want!

We came up with a transcendent new rainbow, which we called Glow Up, and paired a Gumball Sixlet of it with a smattering of full skeins of Fingering. We reached out to some of our favorite designers, and asked them to make some magic, and oooh, wow, did they ever! Check out the amazingness created by ​Makenzie Alvarez, Michele Lee Bernstein, Kira Delaney, Marie Greene, Stephanie Lotven, Lisa Ross, Joshua Ryks-Robinsky, Shannon Squire, Debbi Stone, and Angela Tong! Each designer chose a contrasting skein and created a rainbowriffic masterpiece.

You can purchase the whole Glow Up Knitted Wit collection as an ebook, or you can purchase patterns individually. The collection is a great deal, $33 for 10 patterns. If you only want Oregon Sky, I’m offering a 10% discount on Ravelry through March 10, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a discount code for 20%. Not a subscriber? Subscribe here!

There will be KALs and CALs over on Instagram. More on that later. For now, dream of rainbows!

I’ll have Oregon Sky at our multi-peeps trunk show during the Rose City Yarn Crawl, at For Yarn’s Sake this Thursday, March 7, 10 am to 5 pm. I’ll be with Knitted Wit’s Lorajean Kelley, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbie Stone, who also have designs in the Glow Up Knitted Wit collection. Come say hi if you’re local!

iPhone photography workshop review

Gale Zucker, knitwear photographer extraordinaire, was in town last weekend for TNNA. We worked out a way for her to do a workshop here through the Puddletown Knitters Guild. It was great!

I’ve taught iPhone knitting photography before, and wanted to take Gale’s class to see what more I could add to my toolbox. I’m pretty good with basic photography and composition, and adept with the editing apps. But she’s got a GREAT eye, and that comes from talent and years of practice. I’ll keep working at it!

We practiced making a flat lay, and also went outside to practice on each other. Here’s the evolution of my flat lay.

First, just laying it out with a sheer background.

I added a Bullet Journal for interest, keeping the limited color palette.

She said to throw in something that you might think was ridiculous, and these pompoms were ridiculous. But something about that color pop was intriguing.

So I added this color contrasty fake succulent. And I liked it. Except for the hole in the middle.

Here’s the finished, edited picture. I like it much better than the picture that is currently on the Concentric Bed Socks pattern, so I’ll be changing that up, eventually.

I’ll be incorporating new tips into my iPhone knitting photography class. The next one is scheduled for March 24 at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton. Come play!

By the way, Knit Circus has just put together a yarn kit for Concentric Bed Socks. They have several color options, too. These are fabulously luxurious, absolutely gorgeous gradients combined with a semi-solid for heels and toes. Lovely.

Check out this Love is Love and Bedrock combo. Sweet!

Hope you’re staying warm and toasty! We’re having a little snow event here in the Pacific Northwest. I hope it doesn’t mess up my Madrona plans next week. Fingers crossed!

Brioche knitting for all!

I’m teaching three beginning brioche knitting classes at Northwest Wools. The classes are full, but I’m also teaching it at Twisted on Saturday March 23. This class features my Petite Brioche pattern, which you can download for free here.

I love teaching, and I love brioche knitting. I think two color brioche is easier to learn than one color brioche, and knitting it in the round is easier than knitting it flat. No sliding back and forth.

Look at all the new brioche knitters!

Everyone was off to a good start. We diagnosed and fixed some mistakes, too. Learning to read your brioche knitting is a valuable skill.

Being around all that brioche knitting kick started me into more brioche.

This is my first foray into designing with flat two color brioche. I’m starting with a half-pi shawl construction, because there aren’t any increases in the brioche field, so I can just figure out what’s happening at the edges. I like it so far! I have a plan for the rest of it, too.

I’m knitting with Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering. It’s a fabulous workhorse yarn for design experimentation; I knit nearly an entire shawl with it for a design submission last summer because it was so fun I couldn’t stop at the little swatch sample. It doesn’t mind frogging, either, which is good. Trial and error, knitting and frogging are part of my design process! At 357 yards it’s a bit shorter than my usual 400 yard/100g skeins, so I’m not sure I’ll use it for the whole design. We’ll see how things go.

What’s exciting you in the knitting world? Do you want to learn something new? What’s on your bucket list?

Last night’s lunar eclipse, in the clouds. Not as exciting as the solar eclipse, but very pretty. Did you see it?

First dip in the pool with knitted planned pooling!

This yarn is 9.5 years old. I bought it at Sock Summit in the summer of 2009. I think the company changed hands somewhere along the way since then, but I still have this skein.

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies, colorway Cat Bordhi Ah Ha! This is a great yarn for teaching and learning; the short color runs mean that the color of the stitch on the next row will probably be a different color than the one below it. It makes it easy to describe what’s happening with either stitch. It’s a worsted weight single ply yarn, nice and sticky so it doesn’t ladder when you drop a stitch. It’s perfect for investigating techniques, too.

You can tell from the skein that it’s hand dyed in blocks of color. I don’t love variegated yarn when the colors are all left to arrange themselves willy-nilly, but it’s perfect for something I’ve been wanting to play with for a while. Planned pooling!

Knitting in the round with space dyed yarns like this is the easiest first foray into pooled color knitting. You can make the colors stack up, or plan so they shift to the left or the right, depending on whether the circumference of your kitting is a little longer or a little shorter than the length of your color repeat. I think. I’m still playing around with it.

Planned pooling with flat knitting lets you plan where your colors will fall in even more exciting ways. You can stack colors, but a stitch or two off the color repeat will turn into diamonds and argyles. Tammy’s scarf above is crocheted in Socks that Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. (It seems to be a bit easier to control the size of your stitches in crochet, which makes it ideal for planned pooling.)

You can play with this pooling calculator at plannedpooling.com to see what happens with different colors and stitch counts, knitted flat and in the round. That’s a little too advanced for me right now; it’s enough just trying to make sure my colors stack! I usually read while knitting, but that’s not possible when I have to watch my colors.

I’m not a complete stranger to pooling, but it’s always happened by accident. My Meander Cowls had a really interesting wandering stripe. See the little blue zigzag?

The yarn by Delicious Yarns is tonally variegated with a dip of contrasting color at the end of the skein.

All three samples pooled in interesting ways.

Have you had color pooling in your knits? Was it by accident, or on purpose? Does planned pooling interest you? It’s my January selfish knitting. I was going to knit a sweater, but now I just want to jump in the pool!

Introducing: Concentric Bed Socks

My new Concentric Bed Socks are knit from the cuff down using a single strand of worsted weight yarn for a quick and cozy knit. You can use magic loop, 2 circulars, or double pointed needles; knitter’s choice! Alternating bands of knits and purls create a scrunchy fabric that traps warm air at the ankle. These Bed Socks are very similar to my Concentric Slipper Socks, which are knit double stranded. They’re perfect when you don’t need quite so much bulk and warmth.

The Concentric Bed Socks are sized for women, or a small man’s foot, based on the available yardage in Knit Circus’ Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient 50g cakes. They feature a contrasting heel and toe, which makes it possible to use just two matching 50g balls of gradient yarn for the ankle and foot.

This pattern is now available through Ravelry; link here. Want to knit both the Bed Socks and the Slipper Socks? See the Ravelry pattern page for special pricing. If you’ve already purchased the Slipper Socks pattern, the price for the Bed Socks pattern will be automatically adjusted for you.

These are a perfect treat for you to knit during January, aka Selfish Knitting Month. Or you could knit them for someone special, almost as special as you.

Cool factoid: This is my 13th pattern this year, and my 100th pattern on Ravelry!

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, and test knitters Jacqueline Lydston, Denise Delagarza, and Ann Berg.

Happy new year!

Coming soon: Concentric Bed Socks

It’s a race to the toe!

It’s a pleasure to knit these single strand worsted weight socks with Knit Circus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient. The yarn has held up perfectly after frogging the Concentric Slipper Socks. The added bit of contrasting color for heels and toes means that I can make the cuff as tall and scrunchy as it needs to be. The pattern will have three sizes. It’s off to tech editor and test knitters now.

You’ll note that I’m back to magic loop. The Flexi-Flips were nice, but when I picked up the stitches for the gussets, I had more stitches than I felt comfortable with having on the short Flexi-Flips needles, and was afraid they’d go sliding off. I’m back to a 32” circular, and very happy. If the Flexi-Flips were just a bit longer, or if they came in a set of four, they would have been fine. Oh, well, they’ll be great for fingerless mitts!

I have quite a bit of knitting help here, from the helpful knitting cats.

Yadi wants to chew the cables.

Biscuit has become quite a lap cat.

Hope your Saturday is going well!

Free Dotty Cowl pattern

Last summer I designed this Dotty Cowl for Knit Picks, for their 12 Weeks of Gifting. I just saw the Knit Picks blog post; it’s up!

I designed it with two shades of Chroma Worsted, one plain and one gradient. Two balls of Chroma is enough for two cowls, one for you and one for a friend. Happy gifting!

The stitch pattern is a simple slip stitch pattern. Only one color is used per row. (Photos above are by Knit Picks.)

The pattern is free. You can download it from Knit Picks here. Enjoy!

Here’s mine. I can see that it still needs to be blocked. It’s not bad, but a little smoother in the stockinette sections would be nice. I know what’s next on my to-do list. Blocking is magic!

Cold feet! and Indie Design GAL

Remember these?

My Concentric Slipper Socks. So beautiful in this lovely panoramic gradient from Knit Circus. But they’re an expensive slipper because they’re double-stranded with four 50g balls of beautiful gradient yarn. You could knit these with any worsted weight yarn and be very happy. The gradient just makes them extra lovely.

So this happened.

I frogged the slippers, which I loved, because I want to make single-stranded bed socks. Those four balls should make two pairs of bed socks, if I use a contrasting yarn for heels and toes.

GAME ON.

You’ll note that I’m using some very interesting needles. These are Skacel’s FlexiFlips, which come in a set of 3. (I reviewed them before, here.) It’s a hybrid of dpns and magic loop or two circulars; there’s a bit of cable between the two tips. Divide your work in half, and the third needle is the working needle. I like having fewer transitions than when using dpns, and no fiddling with sliding stitches on cables.

I had started these socks with magic loop on 32” cables which felt too long, and moved to 24” cables which felt too short. The FlexiFlips are just right. They each have a pointy end and a blunter end, so you can choose which suits your knitting style. And I find I don’t need to re-tension the yarn in my throwing hand when I switch needles, which is saving me time.

(Edited to add: More thoughts on the Flexi-Flips here. They were too short, once I picked up the gusset stitches! Back to magic loop.)

I’ll let you know how the bed socks turn out…soon! Worsted weight yarn means quick socks!

What else is going on? The Indie Design Gift-A-Long starts on Friday!

What’s a Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer event through Ravelry to help you kick-start your holiday gift-making. It begins with a pattern sale, and then the fun and games begin on Ravelry, with KAL/CAL activity and prizes. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale. Here are a few of my patterns that are included in the coupon sale portion of the GAL; you can see the rest in the GAL bundle on my Ravelry designer page.

The pattern sale runs from Friday, November 23 at 8:00 pm US EST – Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm US EST. The coupon code is giftalong2018 and it’s good for 25% off any of the participating patterns from all the designers. The KAL/CALs will run from Friday, November 23 at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

And! Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I hope you get a lot of knitting time in over the holiday weekend. What else would you do while the turkey is cooking? I was planning to knit these bed socks, but then this happened:

The car door and I had a difference of opinion. Click. I went for an x-ray (my hands are very important to me!) and found that my knuckle is just bruised and swollen, nothing broken. It will just slow me down for a few days. I’ll be knitting…gingerly!

I’m very thankful it’s not broken. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Evolution of a shawl: Lucky Star design story

I’m really happy with my Lucky Star shawl, and it seems like you’re happy with it, too! I’m looking forward to seeing Lucky Star shawls out in the wild. It’s a fun knit. And this one goes perfectly with one of my favorite skirts.

Just a reminder: the Lucky Star pattern is on sale for 10% off through October 31, no coupon needed.

Here’s how Lucky Star came to be:

Sometimes, designing is like falling off a log. You get an idea, you get some yarn, you start knitting, and BOOM! The project is perfect. Write it up!

Other times, it plays a coy game. Lucky Star took a while to decide what it wanted to be.

I had this main yarn skein for a while; I couldn’t resist the pops of color on it. It’s Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock in Box of Macarons. So sweet! I was going to pair it with a Sixlet pack of Gumballs (Victory Fingering) in Lover’s Rainbow, but it became clear that the colors were too different. I couldn’t tell in the mini skeins, but as soon as I put the tomato red with the Macarons, I knew it wouldn’t fly.

A quick trip to Lorajean’s studio set me back on track. The colors in Box of Macarons came in minis, too, and in the same yarn base (Smarties), so this was a perfect match: Madge, Orange You Glad, Genteel, Key Lime, Aquamarine, Tanzanite.

I was planning to use a flower stitch between sections of the color rainbow. I thought I wanted a lace stitch for the color sections, but this fabulously bouncy round yarn said no to my first lace pattern, too burly looking. And the flowers looked too wobbly.

Two row garter on stockinette stripes, with a simpler starry variation of the flower stitch? I liked my newly minted star stitch (and figuring out how to make it work), but the stripes were way too busy. Sometimes high contrast is not your friend.

I tried a more open lace pattern between the star stitches, but it was harder to track. I don’t want your knitting to be difficult; I want it to be zen! And it was still too burly.

Garter stitch to the rescue! Sometimes it pays not to try so hard.

I always knew there’d be a sweep of scallopy Old Shale lace after the minis were done. I wanted to accent the edge with some color, too. I didn’t like how contrasty this red one was, though.

I re-knit the edging. I think this blue is just right. The scallop is a little softer because I didn’t re-block after replacing the edge.

I love the way this turned out. Eventually. I hope you do, too. I do all the fussing, so you don’t have to.

And then! Test knitter Ann knit up this beauty with a much bigger mini skein gradient pack. I wanted a bigger one, too.

This is Knitted Wit Victory Sock in Pollen, with two Smarties Sixlet gradient sets in Carbon. Swoon! I had a lot of Pollen left, but I wanted to feature the gradient and not let the Pollen overwhelm it. It’s perfect!