Category Archives: yarn

Introducing Ebb and Flow

Ebb and Flow is a bandanna cowl, a scarf-ish cowl, a cowlish scarf, but definitely not a scowl. Waves of lace and stockinette alternate from the neck down to a triangular point. You can knit the cowl to be taller and the triangle shorter, as in this version.

Or you can knit the cowl to be shorter and the triangle longer, as in this pink version. As one ebbs, the other flows, keeping it within the limits of a single skein of fingering weight yarn. If you have extra yardage, you can have both the taller cowl and the longer triangle. I suppose if you’re impatient or short on yarn, you could also knit a shorter cowl and a shorter triangle. You do you!

This design was inspired by a glorious weekend teaching at Haystack School of Arts and Crafts for Knit Maine last September. Gabriela of Moss Fibers made this beautiful souvenir yarn for us in The Maine Event colorway. I knew it would be a water-inspired design of some sort!

The pattern is now available through Ravelry here, and also through Payhip here. It’s 15% off through February 6, no coupon code needed.

Thank you to tech editor Jen Lucas, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, Jody Brostrom, Rowan Frost, Iris Mondri-Kish, Melissa A. Rowe, and Nan Wagner. It was a fun and lively test knit group!

Everybody into the pool!

What’s in a name? You may recall that I asked for help naming this pattern. There were a lot of suggestions on the blog and Facebook and Instagram! I didn’t want the name to be color specific, because the piece is meant to work with many color pooling yarns. And the color may or may not spiral, depending on the individual knitter’s stitch count and gauge.

Sue suggested Pooling’s a Cinch, which honored both the pooling and the cinch detail from cowl to hat. Winner! I ultimately decided that “Pooling Is A Cinch” would work better on the internet, and here we are. Congratulations to Sue; I’m sending her a pattern when it’s published next week.

I had so much fun with this yarn from Yarn Snob/Knits All Done. I wasn’t ready to stop, so I’m designing one more piece with it. I absconded with one of the skeins meant for my pooling class at Red Alder, which means there are only 2 spots left. Come knit with me and this amazing yarn! Register here, class is Friday February 15.

You’ll note from the yarn wrapped around the yarn in the yarn bra (do you use these? I love them) that there has been some frogging and re-knitting as I decide how I want this to look. I think I’m on track now, but I thought that the first three times, too. That’s how I design…try it, frog it, try it, frog it, BINGO!

Have you played with color pooling yarn?

Introducing Aspen Leaf Coasters

I love a small project for teaching new techniques. These Aspen Leaf Coasters are a perfect lesson in brioche increases and decreases.

They even include an optional syncopated edge for a pop of accent color. They’re knit in worsted weight wool, so they’re quick, too. These were knit with Malabrigo Worsted in Sunset and Malambo.

And these were knit with Anzula For Better or Worsted in Herb and Blueberry.

I’m looking forward to teaching increases and decreases with these. (Pint tumblers by JaMPDX)

The pattern is available through Ravelry and also through Payhip. The pattern is 15% off through January 30, no coupon code needed.

Name this cowl hat!

Remember this yarn?

It’s now a cowl.

Or a hat. It’s both! I’ve designed this for my assigned/planned pooling class at Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat next month. There are a couple spots left in class. Yarn is included in the materials fee. It’s A Wondrous Worsted from Yarn Snob, in the Times Square colorway. I’m in LOVE. Better pictures on a human soon; it’s finally stopped raining here.

In the meantime, please help me name this cowl/hat! I’ve been calling it Bossy Cowl Hat, in a nod to the yarn telling you when it’s time to do the exciting stitch, and the idea of Bossy the Cow(l). Ha! But it doesn’t sound very inviting, or very pretty. What should I call it?

If I pick the name you suggest, you’ll get a free copy of the pattern, which should work with any worsted weight color pooling yarn. Fire away!

Have you tried planned pooling or assigned pooling? What did you think of it?

Unrelated PS: The Nautical Knitting cruise on the schooner Zodiac is sold out! But if you’re interested, sign up for the waiting list; there can be changes between now and the end of July. Ahoy!

Color pooling yarn

Calvin was very interested in this box, even before I opened it. Did it smell like freshly dyed yarn? Or did it smell like Teddy, Keith Leonard’s orange tabby cat? (Keith AKA Yarn Snob)

Inside the box: 16 skeins of A Wondrous Worsted in the Times Square colorway. Keith usually dyes his pooling colors on fingering weight, but I like worsted for teaching. The knitting goes more quickly, so we can cover more in class. I find this worsted to be a little lighter in weight than the worsteds I usually knit with, more like a DK, which is great.

This yarn is meant to pool! I bought it for my Jump Into the Pool! Planned and Assigned Pooling class at Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat next month. All students will begin a skein of this yarn, so we can have a successful pooling experience together. I’m about to knit up a sample cowl using assigned pooling, and then write up a pattern that will work with any color pooling yarn.

Cabana Boy yarn

I had Keith dye Cabana Boy with a longer center color for my Knit Maine class last September. I wrote up instructions specifically for this hat and headband and this yarn, but I want to write more general instructions for a central colorburst of varying lengths.

There are a few spots left in my class. Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat is in Tacoma, Washington February 16-19, and this class is on Friday afternoon. Come knit with me!

On the needles, blue and pink…

I’ve been working on a design project with this lovely yarn from Moss Fibers. The colorway is The Maine Event, and this was in our goodie bags at Knit Maine. It’s really nice; the color is evocative of our event, and the yarn is wonderful to work with.

After several false starts, I knew needed to simplify; there were too many ideas trying to fit into this single skein project. I started again, and frogged it again after I realized there was a more elegant way to arrange my chosen stitch pattern. It now flows seamlessly, and that makes me happy.

This is a 2 part cowl, like Cosette, with a round cowl and then a bandana cowl at the bottom. Now that I’ve finished the project, I’ve decided that it’s not as wide as I want it to be at the bottom. Because it’s a one skein project, if I want it to be bigger at the bottom, it will have to be shorter at the top. Does that mean I’m going to frog the whole thing? Nope. It may become a size option; we’ll see.

Now I’m knitting option number 2. A little wider to begin, and on we go. This yarn is BosSi from Fierce Fibers in the Plum Gradient colorway. She’s not dyeing on this base any more (50/50 baby yak and silk), but it’s very lovely, and was one only two options in my limited stash when I suddenly wanted a gradient. Beautiful!

Ummmm, I just realized that I haven’t knit with this particular fiber base before. I didn’t knit and block a swatch before beginning, and I can’t just stop in the middle of the gradient and make a swatch. I hope that doesn’t turn around to bite me later! I mean, I guess I could knit a small swatch from the other end of the ball, but why take the blocking chicken fun out of the game?

Knit faster, find out sooner…

Knitcrate unboxing

I recently signed up to try out Knitcrate. This is a subscription yarn service, and they have several different clubs: Sock, Stash, Knit and Crochet. My first package from the Knit and Crochet Club arrived yesterday.

This club has a monthly delivery of yarn and two patterns, one for knit and one for crochet. This month’s yarn is a bulky weight alpaca/tencel blend from Audine Wools. It’s soft, and will definitely be drapey with those fibers. The patterns are downloadable with a QR code from the card. This month’s knit pattern is a pair of textured mitts. They’ll be a quick knit!

Yarn details
The full crate

There’s also an extra goodie in each month’s delivery. This month’s goodie is a notions pouch. It has a main zip compartment, and a front zip compartment. And a list to remind you what you need. You know I like organizational tools!

If you’re interested in trying Knitcrate, use this link and my code MICHELE (if needed) and you’ll get $40 on your first crate (basically a free first month), and 20% off anything in the Knitcrate shop. After 3 months, you’ll get another $40 coupon. You can cancel at any time.

Full disclosure: Knitcrate has provided this package to me to review, and if you use my link I earn a commission.

But with a free first month, why not check it out?

Knit Maine 2022

After the Vogue Knitting Cruise and a few days in New York, DH headed for Portland, Oregon and I headed for Portland, Maine. Knit Maine (from Peacetree Fiber Adventures) was held at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, a 3 hour drive from Portland. It was like going to camp! North Coast Maine is a magical place.

Stairs at Haystack

It’s probably good that I didn’t know beforehand that I’d be taking my suitcases (2!) down these stairs to my room.

Stairs at haystack

And back up again at the end of our stay. And that I’d be up and down them repeatedly every day. I got my 10,000 steps every day, and a stairmaster workout, to boot!

With Louis, Shaina, and Christine Walker (Knit Maine organizer!)

Happy to be settling in!

Outside the dining hall at Haystack
Gathering area outside the dining hall
Morning Yoga at Knit Maine
Morning yoga
Wood shop at Haystack

My classes? In the wood studio. I taught Petite Brioche and Whale Watch/Brioche Increases & Decreases, as well as 3 other classes.

Cabana Boy colorway from Yarn Snob

My Planned and Assigned Pooling students loved the Cabana Boy colorway from Yarn Snob.

Fancy knit stitches
YO? YO! Fun and fancy stitches to dress up your stockinette.
thrumbelina thrummed slipper
Thrumbelina thrummed slippers
thrummed knitting
So much floof!
thrummed knitting

Jacquie didn’t love making the thrummed butterflies, and I mentioned that some people use the roving as a carry-along strip. Worth a try! As long as you get the result you want, you’re doing it right.

The days were packed with classes, but we also had time to shop in the market that was set up in the clay studio. Casey Ryder from Port Fiber had some beautiful yarns from Cashmere People, Spin Cycle and Harrisville Designs (and more?).

Madder Root Trundle Bag
Madder Root Trundle Bag

Madder Root had beautiful bags. I couldn’t resist this one. You know I love the night sky!

Louis Boria
Louis choosing colors from North Light Fibers

and Sven from North Light Fibers brought beautiful yarn, including Water Street, a DK weight 40/60 cashmere/merino blend that is making me dream of cushy brioche accessories. There was more, the offerings changed from day to day. I’m sure I didn’t see everything.

The weather was perfect, and there was time to explore the campus.

At Picnic Rock with Shaina, Kristin, and Cal
Rock stack at Picnic Rock
Stacked stones at Picnic Rock
Path through the woods at Haystack
Trail…
Found the beach!
beach at sunset
Across from the flagpole
Moonrise, full harvest moon
Moonrise, full harvest moon
stump
Even the stumps are beautiful
Knit Maine teachers
Teachers!

Louis Boria, me, Shaina Bilow, Kristin Drysdale, Casey Ryder, Christine Walker (Peacetree Fiber Adventures), and Cal Patch. Knit Maine featured classes in knitting, drop spindling, embroidery, sewing, needle felting…a nice mix of fiber arts.

Happy campers!
swag

Christine is such an excellent organizer. She had Knit Maine tote bags ready for each participant, with supplies for their classes. Also in the bags? These mugs, and a center pull ball winder from Katrinkles. ETA: T-shirts, and a copy of Taproot magazine. (I had partially unpacked, and things got separated!) A skein of yarn from Moss Fibers, specially dyed as The Maine Event colorway, was the parting gift. I’m looking forward to making something special with it.

The fun didn’t stop when we left Haystack; we still had to get back to Portland.

You can get a lot done on a 3 hour bus ride

That’s a wrap on my epic east coast adventure! I’m so happy I had the opportunity to teach in such a variety of settings. What a great way to start autumn knitting. Now I’m gearing up for virtual and in-person teaching. Looking forward to a fiber-filled fall!

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…