Category Archives: yarn

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!

Introducing: Lucky Star

It’s been a super productive fall, and it’s not over yet! Here’s the latest off my needles.

Lucky Star is a crescent hug of garter stitch stripes, interspersed with an intriguing star stitch. The shawl is knit from the top down, then finished with Old Shale lace for a scalloped edge. Designed to use mini skeins in coordinating colors, you can knit a rainbow, or a subtle gradient shift. You can use fewer, larger mini skeins, if that’s what you have. You could even use a continuous gradient cake. The garter stitch makes this a most meditative knit…or a multi-tasker’s dream.

This gradient version is knit with 2 Knitted Wit Sixlet gradient packs in Carbon, and a skein of Victory Sock in Pollen. Thank you to Knitted Wit for the beautiful yarn!

This rainbow version is knit with a single rainbow Sixlet pack, and a skein of Victory Sock in Box of Macarons.

Test knitter Ann knit hers with a gradient set with more yardage. Lovely!

This design uses my new Better Garter Tab Cast On for Top Down Crescent Shawls.

The Lucky Star pattern is available through Ravelry, pattern page here. It’s 10% off through October 31, no coupon necessary. Newsletter subscribers get 20% off with coupon in newsletter. Sign up here, if you haven’t already!

Introducing: Concentric Slipper Socks

I had so much fun designing the Concentric Cowl. What else could I design with such sproingy goodness?

Concentric Slipper Socks, of course!

These are knit from the cuff down using 2 strands of worsted weight yarn held together 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.

(Women’s medium sock with 4 purled ankle bands, on top of women’s large sock with 3 ankle bands)

These slipper socks can be knit in three women’s sizes, or for a small man’s foot, based on the available yardage in Knit Circus’ Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient 50g cakes. Four cakes are needed to achieve 2 slipper socks with matching gradient shading, since the yarn is held double. Sample shown in Thanks for all the Fish colorway.

These slipper socks would also be cute knit with two different yarns held together for a marled effect. Your imagination is the limit!

This pattern is available through Ravelry; link here. As always, newsletter subscribers will receive a special discount coupon. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here!

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, and test knitters Jacqueline Lydston, Denise Delagarza, and Ann Berg. And thanks to Knit Circus Yarns for the inspiringly gorgeous yarn!

OFFF 2018 weekend and brioche inc/dec tutorial

It was a glorious transition into autumn. What better way to celebrate than with a fiber festival? Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is done for another year.

I spent Friday afternoon judging the knitting entries. This piece was the winner of several awards, including the top award for the festival.

It’s handspun from Jacob wool (this year’s featured breed), hand knit, with 1300 beads, and perfectly blocked. I loved everything about it. (Shawl pattern is Moon Shadows by Romi Hill.) I found out afterward from the knitter that she had lost at yarn chicken the week before, and had to spin more yarn to finish. She took this off the blocking wires the night before the judging. Close!

This was the felted Grand Champion. It demonstrates wet felting, needle felting, and probably other techniques I don’t even know about. Exquisite.

This felted entry used Jacob wool, which I thought was brilliant.

This embellished knit coat was also knit from handspun. I loved the detail in it. The pattern is by Anna Zilboorg from her Splendid Apparel book. I took this class with Anna just before her book came out.

Saturday I taught Favorite Shawl Shapes in the morning. So much fun! I’m planning to teach this class again, but I may give it a better name. Shawl Design 101? What would sound even more enticing?

I taught Brioche Pastiche in the afternoon. It was interesting that many had tried brioche before but not succeeded. I’m glad to help make new successful brioche knitters! Most had a good grasp of 2 color brioche rib in the round by the end of class.

I’ve just made a video tutorial of brioche increases and decreases. These are the ones used in the hat, but handy for all brioche.

Sunday I went back to shop and play! The weather was perfect.

My favorite purchase? This yarn chicken pint glass from JaMPDX. Yarn chicken is my life!

I also picked up this gorgeous yarn set from Knitted Wit. It’s Victory Sock in Pollen, plus two Sixlet gradient sets in Carbon. Plus two more mini skeins in Ghostly, but I may not need them. I’m knitting one more version of my Lucky Star Shawl, but with two Sixlets instead of one for a deeper, wider shawl. It’s going quickly; I hope to be done knitting by the end of this week.

More eye candy from Sunday:

Stacey’s Fierce Fibers booth, including a splendid version of my Rosaria shawl. Look at those gradient cakes! We’re using her yarn for our Nymphaea Retreat in November.

Speckled gradient cakes from Boss Kitty. I bought some of their cat-eared stitch markers. Mine glow in the dark!

I loved this rug on display with one of the vendors in the main pavilion.

And of course there were animals. Goat? Sheep? I’m never sure. Cute, though. (Goat.)

Bunnies are easier to recognize, yes?

Alpacas!

And humans. Amanda and Margaret representing Puddletown Knitters Guild. Hi, ladies!

A very fun weekend. Now I’m back at home working. More knit fun to follow. How was YOUR weekend? Welcome, fall!