Category Archives: yarn

Vogue Knitting cruise: O Canada

We had two stops in Canada: St John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

St. John had two yarn shops in walking distance from the port. First stop? Cricket Cove, in Brunswick Square.

Norah and the Hand Maiden display

So much beautiful yarn, a lot of it Canadian-dyed. This Hand Maiden Yarns display was gorgeous! It had several interesting kits set up, some for thrumming and some for color pooling, both of which I’d be teaching in Maine the next week. But I already had yarns for those classes, so I didn’t indulge. (I like my yarn acquisitions to have a plan.)

Sweet mouse overseeing the desk

Our second stop was Good Fibrations, which had a good selection of hand-dyed yarns, and spinning and weaving supplies.

And goodie bags for us, including this sweet notebook set and hand balm.

Super bulky from Wild Side of Colour

I bought this skein of hand-dyed super bulky; I need a new demo yarn for my Brioche Entrée scarf. I’ve been using the same bit of yarn for years, and it’s time for a refresh. This will be perfect against my white demo needles.

I also bought a new circular for my Petite Brioche class; I wanted a metal needle that would contrast better than my dark wooden needle against my dark demo yarn. No 16” circulars in sight! LYS owner Elizabeth Miller told me that she likes 20” (who am I kidding, 50 cm because we’re in Canada) circulars for hats, so that’s what she carries. I didn’t even know that Hiya Hiya stainless circulars came in 20” lengths. I bought one, and it’s perfect.

Felted shop dragon by Margaret Pitre

On to Halifax!

Another port, another charming lighthouse…or several

I met up with fellow blogger Brenda Solman. We walked the boardwalk and visited The Loop yarn shop, where I finally bought yarn that didn’t have a plan. Oops.

Flyss in Arctic

Can you blame me? This is Flyss from Hand Maiden Yarns. It’s 65% silk, 35% linen. I don’t know what it wants to be, but it’s stunning.

on the Halifax Public Gardens gate

We walked the Halifax Public Gardens, established 1867.

Busy bee

Some of the cruisers went on an optional wine and fiber tour. I wish I could have been in two places at once!

Halifax was the last stop on our cruise. The next day was a full day at sea. We had the second of our classes in the morning, and a get together in the afternoon. A few more cruise pictures below.

Carla Scott, VK host, Kat, and Kathy Bunbury, tour specialist

Lots of knitting, and lots of fun!

Relaxing after touring Halifax, with yet another lighthouse

It was a very fun trip; I’m so glad I was a part of it!

The other Portland (port o’ call)

Our Vogue Knitting Cruise also made a stop in Portland, Maine.

One of the many lighthouses…

Unlike Newport, Rhode Island, and Bar Harbor, which involved a tender (small boat to get from cruise ship to port), Portland has a deep water harbor that accommodates cruise ships. We could just walk on and walk off! With proper documentation, of course.

Windy!

We had a trolley tour of Portland, which ended at Port Fiber yarn shop. Port Fiber is owned by Casey Ryder, with whom I’d meet up again the following week at Knit Maine.

Mary Jane Mucklestone and Bristol Ivy

Designers Mary Jane Mucklestone and Bristol Ivy came to show samples and talk about knitting in Maine. Seeing and touching samples in real life is always so compelling!

Selfies were taken, of course.

Mary Jane
Bristol

You know I’m not much of a yarn stasher. But I love a yarn with a story, and couldn’t resist this.

Casey imports and distributes yarn for Cashmere People Yarns. These yarns are ethically sourced, handspun and hand-dyed by women in Tajikstan and Afghanistan.

Each skein has a picture and bio of the spinner, which I find charming. My skein is a two ply fingering weight cashgora, which isn’t a blend of cashmere and angora fiber. It’s actually from cashgora animals, which are a cross between Russian fiber goats and cashmere-type goats in Tajikstan. My skein is in the Atlantic colorway, which I thought was appropriate for this cruise souvenir. I’m planning to knit a Zephyr shawlette, which starts at the skinny end and I can knit til I run out of yarn. Or if I get wild, I’ll design a new thing that’s similar. (If you want your LYS to carry this luscious yarn, have them contact Casey Ryder at Port Fiber.)

Kathy and me

I also took the opportunity to meet a longtime friend from my piano forum. I’ve met up with other piano and knitting friends after knowing them online. It’s fun to meet in real life; you just pick up the chat where you left off. (The first time I ever did this, DH was worried that I was meeting up with an axe murderer. Hasn’t happened yet!)

Lobster roll at Gritty’s

We went to Gritty’s so I could fulfill the lobster roll on my bucket list. It was delicious! But spendy. I think I enjoyed my unphotographed lobster Cobb salad at Stewman’s in Bar Harbor even more. Less guilt…it’s a salad, right? (And split with a friend…with fries…)

Pilot boat guiding us out of Portland
Knit Fit kit

Don’t forget I’m giving away my Knit Fit kit; see this blog post for details on how to enter to win! We got these in Bar Harbor, which I previously posted about in order to get this party underway. My next post: O Canada! Two more ports…

Vogue Knitting Cruise: Newport, RI and NYC

The Norwegian Breakaway was huge! Lots of indoor and outdoor places to explore; it’s like a floating city with lots of restaurants, lounges, pools, and hot tubs. And a casino, if that’s your thing. You get to visit lots of places on and off the ship, and your hotel room just moves along with you. Tidy.

People do play with this outdoor chess set!
Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport RI

So many charming lighthouses on this trip! This one greeted us at our first stop, in Newport, Rhode Island.

We visited Knitting Needles, a sweet shop not too far from the tender dock. She was ready for us with goodie bags, and a visit with the dyers behind Hugs With Shrugs, a charity that supports moms that have children with pediatric cancer.

I bought a couple mini skeins that are Newport-themed. I’ll find a use for them with another worsted. A little brioche accent, maybe?

I met John Brennan, author and pirate. He came to chat about his book, Newport Live, which is a history of Newport.

first class

I taught my first brioche class that afternoon; we had fun! I taught beginning 2 color brioche in the round, with the option to learn increases and decreases to knit my Whale Watch Cap and Cowl. I designed these accessories especially for this cruise! And I also used them the following week at Knit Maine.

Whale Watch Cap and Cowl. See the Whale Tail?

The other half of our group had class with Vogue Knitting’s editor-in-chief Norah Gaughan; they learned techniques from Norah’s new book, Knit Fold Pleat Repeat. We swapped groups at the end of the week, so everyone had a chance to take both classes.

I’m adding miscellaneous cruise pictures to this post; this blog is my pictorial journal, too!

Closing gathering, with new stash!
Cruise knitters!
Verrazano Narrows Bridge

I woke up early on our return day; the lights of this bridge were reflecting in my mirror! Apple Maps told me that it was the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and that the Statue of Liberty was coming right up. Which it did.

Next stop: Portland, Maine

Introducing Embellishment Cowl

Re-introducing: Embellishment Cowl! I originally designed this as an exclusive for Knit Camp with Olive Knits, and now the rights have returned to me. That means I can offer it to you!

The Embellishment Cowl is knit with two skeins of fingering weight yarn. It features a fun elongated/gathered stitch, quilted lattice slip stitch in one or two colors, and optional beads, knit as you go. You can knit three cowls with 2 skeins of yarn, if you switch up the color setup.

I knit mine with 2 skeins of Schmutzerella Spectacular, which has a little bling in it. Two skeins is enough for the three cowls you see here.

Pattern is available through Payhip and Ravelry.

I’m teaching a Zoom class for the Embellishment Cowl via Twisted Yarn Shop on Saturday, Oct. 1; registration link will be here. Pattern is included in class fee; don’t buy it twice.

Do you want to do a knit along in October? If there’s enough interest, I’ll set it up!

More assigned pooling

I guess I’m not done with assigned pooling yet! I had this monster skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Plushy left from teaching a previous planned pooling class. I was stack pooling it, but I put it aside when class was over.

For planned pooling to stack, I need to keep my eye on my knitting, adjusting my tension as needed to make the colors stack or move slightly to the left or right. But I don’t usually look at my knitting; I’m usually reading blogs or my Kindle. So planned pooling means I have to be more mindful. Right now I want to be more mindless!

This is why I’m really enjoying the assigned pooling. It just takes an occasional glance to see when it’s time to work the pooling stitches. That’s much more relaxing for me because I don’t have to control the tension. So I’m knitting a cowl, approximately 34 inches in circumference (making a wild guess based on the piece that was previously on the US 10 needles). I’m using the sunburst stitch whenever the deep red-purple appears.

Plushy is an Aran weight yarn (Ravelry says worsted and I disagree), 3.5 to 4 sts per inch, 330 yards/270g. I think this color is Let Your Love Light Shine. It’s spectacularly cheery!

Still occasionally knitting the white linen too, while my mind chews on how I want to arrange these three skeins of Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering. I have an idea…but it’s going to take a lot of mental gymnastics before I get there.

Bossy hat!

I finished the hat with the criss-cross stitches, and the earband with the sunbursts. I love them both. I think the name for them is Bossy, because the yarn tells you what to do.

You may remember that I frogged a perfectly good sunburst hat to knit the criss-cross version. After all of that, I think I like the sunbursts better after all!

But I’m not going to frog it and knit it again. That would be silly.

These, along with my Shall We Dance cowl, show the ideas we’ll address in my Planned and Assigned Pooling class at Knit Maine in September. Students can choose which project they’d like to make; the class yarn (Yarn Snob Wonderful Worsted in Cabana Boy) can do any of these things. I’ve written up the class notes; do you want it to be a pattern, too?

What tickles your fancy? Have you tried planned pooling or assigned pooling? Or is it on your bucket list? So many questions!

Done and undone

I finished my assigned pooling hat with the sunbursts/flowers. It’s cute! I tried it on, and it’s a little snug on me. It measures 17” around; those sunbursts do pull in the fabric a bit. The hat in the above picture isn’t blocked; blocking will make the sunbursts prettier.

Calvin’s already good-looking enough!

I haven’t blocked the hat yet because I also want to knit a hat using this criss cross stitch I used in my Criss Cross accessories and Tilt Shift Wrap. I needed to know if I have enough yarn to do that.

Now that I’ve started, I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough yarn to knit both, and I think I’m more likely to wear the criss cross stitch, so I’m frogging the sunburst hat while I knit the criss cross version.

I don’t mind re-knitting; the yarn is ridiculously entertaining. I’ll knit a sunburst headband with the yarn that’s left from the skein. It’s been fun figuring out how big (how many wraps, how many stitches) I need to make the sunbursts and criss crosses look their best. This will vary depending on your yarn! I’m teaching this very fun class at Knit Maine in September. We’ll be using this exact same yarn in class; it’s Wonderful Worsted from Yarn Snob yarns in Cabana Boy.

The winner of 3 months of Knit Camp from Olive Knits is…Quite a Yarn Blog! I’ll contact you for info to connect you with Knit Camp. Congratulations!

And finally…

(Project bag from NerdBirdMakery).

Who ever thought we’d be set back by 50 years? Outrageous. Women’s rights are human rights. Dissent. Protest. Effect change. Let your voice be heard.

Embellishments!

I’m thrilled to be June’s guest designer for Knit Camp, which is an app community by Olive Knits (Marie Greene). Marie is a dynamo! She’s also the founder of Library House Press, which published my book, Brioche Knit Love.

This is the Embellishment Cowl. It uses one of my favorite flowery fancy stitches, plus quilted lattice slip stitch. It’s knit with two contrasting colors of fingering weight yarn. I used Schmutzerella Yarns Spectacular, which has a blingy sparkle in it.

You can knit the quilted lattice in one color or two. Beads are optional, but highly recommended, especially on the single color quilted lattice. Embellishment! I knit all three of these cowls using the 2 skeins of fingering weight yarn.

The Embellishment Cowl pattern is exclusive to Knit Camp for the first 45 days, and then I’ll be able to offer it here, too.

Curious about Knit Camp? One lucky winner will receive a free THREE-MONTH membership to Olive Knits’ Knit Camp app! This is your chance to discover the amazing Knit Cam community AND gain early access to exclusive Knit Camp patterns, discounts and more. Knit Camp membership includes free monthly patterns, video tutorials, livestreams, expert pattern support, virtual field trips and SO much more! A $75 value.

Open to followers worldwide, this giveaway ends June 30, 2022. Winner will be posted here, then contacted directly. Prize is non-transferrable and is subject to Olive Knits terms of service.

To enter, check out the Knit Camp app here, then leave a comment and tell me which part of Knit Camp interests you most.

I’ll keep you posted when I can offer the Embellishment Cowl pattern myself!

Assigned pooling progress

I started knitting another Shall We Dance cowl with the Cabana Boy from Yarn Snob, but my heart wasn’t in it.

I already have two of these cowls, and I wanted to play more with the yarn. Also, this kind of pooling requires me to actually look at my knitting to make sure the colors are stacking the way I want them to, and I like to read my kindle and not pay attention!

So I’m playing with assigned pooling. If the yarn is orange, it’s time for a sunburst! They’re slightly pink at the edges, because I want them to be 5 stitches wide. I like them! But, as is usual for my design process, I’m probably going to frog this (again!). I thought I’d like the rolled brim, but it wants to keep rolling, and that makes it hard for me to know when to start the crown shaping. I think I’ll like a sleeker k2p2 rib.

I’ll probably do a taller version of this criss-cross stitch, too. But for a baby size hat, with a rolled bottom. I think there’s enough yarn to do two hats (one adult, one baby), but I’m not sure yet. The play continues!

What are you knitting?

Introducing: Whale Watch Cap and Cowl

samples knit in Anzula for Better or Worsted

Whale Watch is two patterns in one! It features a 2-color brioche cap and cowl, knit in the round from the bottom up. I designed this set as a quick start teaching piece for my 3 hour classes, beginning with 2 color brioche rib, and then introducing simple increases and decreases. Whether you prefer cowls or hats, I’ve got you covered.

Frolicking whales and soaring gulls will keep you entertained at sea, at the beach, or anywhere!

samples knit in Malabrigo Rios

Pattern uses worsted weight yarn in 2 contrasting colors. The yardage is close, but you can get a large hat and tall cowl with 200 yards of each color, if you match my gauge. The pattern includes instructions for both the cap and the cowl. The cap can be knit in 2 sizes, and there are two different ways to finish the crown.

taller cowl above, shorter cowl below

The pattern is on sale for 15% off through June 20 with coupon code ORCA. It is available through Ravelry here. You can also purchase this pattern from my Payhip store here; the same code works in both places.

I’m looking forward to using this pattern for my class on the Vogue Knitting cruise at the end of August. I’ll also be using it at Knit Maine in September. I love that it’s all-in-one, both cap and cowl. I’m streamlining!

Thanks to tech editor Jen Lucas, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, and Melissa A. Rowe.