Category Archives: yarn

Playing with slipped stitches

I know we use the heel stitch to make the heel of socks a bit thicker; slipping every other stitch gives us a double layer of yarn over the heel. So for a bed sock, why not used slipped stitches to make the whole thing doubly thick and cozy?

I finished one, almost. I won’t commit to grafting that toe until I’m done playing with my stitch patterns! I have a Dotty slip stitch pattern on the leg of the sock, but I didn’t want that underfoot. Even though this is intended to be a bed sock (worsted weight, warm), I didn’t want those bumps on the sole. At first I tried using the double stitch stripe on the whole foot, but it was hard for me to carry the floats loosely. I put them just on the sole.

But the heart wants what the heart wants. As you can see, now I’m trying the stripes on the leg first, to see if I can keep things loose enough there. If yes, then I can do it on the foot, too. I kind of love the idea of vertical stripes on leg and foot, and a band of horizontal stripes across the gusset shaping. (Partly because working the decreases into the vertical stripe pattern seemed like a pain in the…foot? But I’ll think about it again when I get there on the second sock.) Also, I want the purple foot stripe to begin right after a purple gusset stripe, and end right before the purple toe. I don’t like the purple bar floating against the orange background. See how nice it looks snugged up to the ribbing on the second sock?

Do I want to explain all of this in a pattern, or just make these for myself for fun? It would be a quick gift knit.

I love these colors. Malabrigo Rios, in Lavanda (purple) and Archangel. It feels like fall to me. And I’m sitting here in the backyard, making the most of a gloriously sunny day. Rain tomorrow!

Brioche Knit Love: putting it all together

The final projects of Brioche Knit Love combine all the techniques we’ve been learning throughout the book. We now get to play with both worsted and fingering weight yarn. (I like to teach using worsted weight, so you can see your stitches better. Now you’re ready for the fun stuff.)

I wanted this chapter to be beach themed, in honor of my beloved Oregon Coast. But the book is coffee themed, so I had to rename all the projects with that in mind, too. I think that was the hardest part of making this book!

(knit in Malabrigo Rios)

This is the Cappuccino Cowl, a study in syncopated brioche. It was originally called Coast Range, after the mountains between Portland and the coast, but now the peaks are peaks of foam on a cappuccino. You can wear it with either light or dark peaks pointing up.

(knit in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted)

The Seafoam Latte Scarf combines increases and decreases with a syncopated crest of the wave. The working name for this piece was Beachcomber. I do love the thought of Seafoam Lattes, though.

(knit in Hazel Knits Entice MCN)

The Coffee Bean Trivia Cowl is a bandana style cowl that is knit flat from the lower point until it’s wide enough to join to knit the neckline in the round. This is a very easy to wear piece. And the yarn is sooooo soft. The working name of this was Kelpie, because I thought it looked like a kelp forest underneath the waves. I decided that the little roundels could also be tiny coffee bean trivia shells, as in this post. (Check the link for a fun free project, the Victoriana bracelet.)

(knit in Huckleberry Knits Gradient, and Madeline Tosh Twist Light)

Seagull Flight may be my favorite project in the book, but it’s so hard to choose. And it’s always been called Seagull Flight, from the very beginning. This one just rolled off my needles. I knew what I wanted it to look like, and I knew the basic layout. It’s a half-pi shawl, and very easy to knit.

How did I get it to fit my coffee theme? A flight of coffee. Done.

The final project in the book is actually two projects. You can knit Coffee Breakers as either a cowl or a shawl. (Working name was Surf’s Up)

(knit in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock)

The cowl is easy to wear, and takes about half as much yarn as the shawl.

(knit in Hazel Knits Entice MCN)

And the shawl takes two skeins of fingering weight yarn; it’s sooooo squishy. I love how it feels around my neck, especially in this yarn. (Thanks to Ann Berg for knitting this sample for me!)

I hope I’ve enticed you to try brioche knitting! I’ll be with you every step of the way. Brioche Knit Love has photo tutorials, as well as a link to video tutorials. All the designs are accessories, and mostly small and easily accomplished. The projects start from the very beginning, and build on your skills, one at a time. If you already knit brioche, you can knit the easier projects as quick gifts, and knit the projects from the last chapter with confidence.

You can see all 21 designs from the book here.

Brioche Knit Love is available through local yarn shops, and from the publisher, Library House Press. Local yarn shops can order from our distributor, Sommer Street Associates. The book’s official publication date is October 19, but pre-orders are shipping, and I know several knitters have already received their copies!

Brioche Knit Love: Increases and Decreases, and a winner

Brioche increases and decreases make brioche rib so much prettier, and so much more fun to knit! Just a few new stitches to learn, and the brioche world is your oyster.

Knit with Hazel Knits Lively DK

The chapter begins with the Iced Latte hat. There’s only one new stitch to learn, the right leaning brioche decrease, and we don’t use it until we’re shaping the crown at the very end.

The Iced Latte hat is a perfect pairing with the Iced Latte Cowl.

Knit with Malabrigo Rios

The Berry Galette Cowl and Wristlets give you the opportunity to create undulating patterns in your brioche. These were inspired by the blueberry bushes in my garden.

More Malabrigo Rios

The Green Tea Chai Scarf has a simple repeat, which is a great opportunity for learning to read your brioche knitting! You won’t need to look at the chart/instructions after a few repeats.

A little more Malabrigo Rios!

And the Latte Leaf Coaster and Cup Cozy give you a chance to explore increases and decreases along with syncopated brioche, both flat and in the round. These make great quick gift knitting.

All of these patterns have written instructions as well as charts. And there are photo tutorials for all the increases and decreases. I had to use the book yesterday to remind myself how to make a 4 stitch brioche decrease while teaching my Brioche Doctor class for Virtual Knitting Live! Very handy.

Winner! I’ve picked a winner from the comments on the introductory Brioche Knit Love post, and that winner is Meredith Coelho. Meredith, I’ll email you to get your snail mail addy. Thanks everyone for all your lovely comments. If you didn’t win, please buy my book! I’d love to teach you brioche. Purchase from your LYS or directly from the publisher.

One more chapter’s projects to show you after this, in which we get to combine all our new brioche techniques.

(All photos in this post are by Angela Watts, Tekoa Rose Photography)

Brioche Knit Love: Syncopated Brioche

The photo tour of my upcoming book, Brioche Knit Love, continues. It’s a short chapter, but the next section of the book teaches you to syncopate your brioche. Syncopation means switching your brioche knits to brioche purls, and your brioche purls to brioche knits. Why do we want to do this? Brioche knit stitches pop up, and brioche purl stitches recede into the background.

You can syncopate entire rounds, as in the Crema Cowl. See how the colors and the white take turns being the star of the show? The colors that show are the brioche knit stitches.

And in the Shortbread Scarf the knits and purls trade places within the rows, to create the checkerboard pattern you see here. Both of these patterns are knit with Knit Picks Chroma Worsted. I love the subtle shading of this gradient yarn. The Shortbread Scarf is named because the squares make me think of shortbread squares.

I baked some chocolate chip shortbread to share with you, and you can bake your own. The recipe is in the book.

Once syncopation is in your toolkit, we’ll move on to brioche increases and decreases. This is where brioche really shines. No more straight lines! I’ll show you in a future post.

Don’t forget, I’m giving away a copy of Brioche Knit Love to a lucky blog reader! Leave a comment on the introductory blog post here, if you’d like a chance to win. I’m picking a winner Sunday night (October 10). Good luck!

(Photos in this post are by Angela Watts, Tekoa Rose Photography)

Free pattern: Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket

I had the joy of designing this blanket last spring; it’s the Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket. The blanket is a celebration of garter stitch, and so much fun to knit!

Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket in Knit Picks Chroma Twist

The blanket is made up of 9 (or more) units that are all knit the same. The fun is in letting the color shading yarn work its magic. We start with a mitered square, and then add three more mitered squares, to finish the center. A log cabin style frame is worked after that. Mitered squares and log cabin work so well together; it’s a symphony in garter stitch!

The pattern is free from Knit Picks as part of their Twelve Weeks of Gifting, which they do as a run up to the holidays. (I was paid for this design, never fear. It’s free to YOU, though.) Here’s the link: Impressionist Kaleidescope Blanket. I had mentioned this to my Log Cabin Knitting class at the virtual Knit Camp at the Coast last month, and now you can download the pattern!

I have one more pattern coming in the Twelve Weeks of Gifting series; I’ll let you know when it goes live. Have fun!

If you haven’t already, check the previous post to enter to win a copy of my new book, Brioche Knit Love: 21 Skill Building Projects from Simple to Sublime. I’ll be back to showing you more designs from the book soon.

Book getting closer to real

I finished the final design for my book last Wednesday night, just in time for our photo shoot on Thursday morning!

My publisher is in Salem, Oregon, so we met at Archive Coffee and Bar in Salem. Cute place. Nice coffee. I didn’t partake at the bar, but it looks impressive.

I can’t show you my actual knitting, so check out this artful blur. Yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Iris and Cackle.

More blur. But I’m looking forward to sharing these projects with you this fall! Progress on the book is coming along; I have two more items that need to be photographed, and then a bunch tutorial photographs. I’m not the photographer, so I’m not too fussed about that. But the patterns are finished, and the tech editing is also done, as of last week. Now I just need to do all the writing for the parts before and between the patterns. I’m on my way!

I also need to do some work for a video class that I’ll be recording in August, for a September event. Deadlines for that are coming up soon, too. I’m glad I can shift my work around to fit my very flexible schedule.

You know what doesn’t respect a schedule? Ripe produce! I picked plums at my friend Linda’s house, which meant I had to jam them right away. I made plum jam with ginger bits and bourbon. And because I couldn’t find a record of my final be all and end all recipe, except in Facebook comments on a post from last year, I’m noting this here. Sure Jell recipe, and at the end add a generous 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 cup Penzey’s Sweet Ginger Bits. Perfect.

Also, it was such a pretty picture, I ran it through the Waterlogue app to “paintify” it. Happy summer!

Scenes from the design studio

Currently on the needles, another piece for my book. I love these colors together, Iris and Cackle. These are on the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock base, but I’m not knitting socks!

I had to knit a small swatch and do some math to see if I had the right increase rate for what I want, and I didn’t. A wee bit of frogging ensued. Better now than 20 inches in. And say hello to my new split keyboard! It’s more comfortable for typing. It also has lifters to tilt them thumbside up. I’m still doling out my knitting time in 15 minute increments, but my forearm tendinitis is much better.

So how do I use math to know what I want the increase rate to be? Math and gauge tell me that I can have it shaped like either of these mock-ups.

Fewer increases per repeat
More increases per repeat

I cut both shapes from tissue paper, like making a muslin when sewing. I just didn’t have any fabric I wanted to sacrifice for the cause. I tried both these shapes on, and that told me that I want the second one. Okay! Normally I would just knit for a while and see how things are looking, but I don’t want to do that much knitting if it isn’t going to work out. That means I have to be smarter about how I design. I hope it all works out the way I think it will.

We went to St. Louis last week to celebrate Mom-in-law’s birthday. I had this lovely view on the way home.

Mt Hood, or Wy-East

I had some good knitting time on the plane,

but unfortunately had to frog 6 very long rows the next day when I found a stitch that had dropped, *under* the most recent increase/decrease row. (I think I knit the yo but not the stitch that it belonged to.) Ugh. I finished this project yesterday, a week later than I hoped I would. But it’s done!

Things are moving along. What are *you* knitting?

Mood board, and moody

When I started my book project, I was asked to do a mood board. What reflects my vibe/ What do I want my book to look like?

(Mood indigo? Moody blues?)

Looking at recent projects, I think you can tell I like a monochromatic palette, different shades of the same hue. And blue is big! I can’t have an all blue book (and why not?), but I can definitely have a monochromatic vibe.

(Blues, patiently waiting)

I just need to swatch what I’ve charted to make sure it works, and then this is off to Ann, who is sample knitting for me.

I’m funny with deadlines. I used to be a procrastinator, and somewhere along the way I’ve morphed into an all-in obsessive. Not good! There’s a lot of knitting that needs to happen, but slow and steady wins the race.

(If it’s going to be green, it will have a blue undertone!)

I need to do a better job balancing my knitting time. I didn’t listen to my body, and I have developed tendonitis in my forearms, which affects knitting *and* typing. You know, the things I need to do to get this book done! So I’m not knitting for 3 days, and minimally typing.

(Big project? No, a set of two projects.)

For now, I’m petting yarn, and sketching and charting things on paper. I’m on the last big design project for the book, and then I have three more small ones that should be easy. Should. I never know until I actually try to knit them!

Have you ever done a mood board? What would your mood board say about you?

Working like a busy bee

Lots of computer work today. Who knew that a lot of writing a book would involve organizing information via google forms and google sheets? Good thing I love a spreadsheet! I’m learning a lot about google forms, too.

I also did some knitting math to finish writing a pattern. Now I’m going to kick back for the evening and continue knitting with this beauty. This is my first time knitting with Malabrigo’s superwash Washted, which is much like its non-superwash counterpart, Worsted. I like it! Not quite as fluffy, but I chose it because this colorway wasn’t available on the worsted base right now.

I’ll start a new design project *tomorrow* when my brain is fresh. I have lots of options to choose from (these skeins are all designated for book projects.)

What’s on *your* needles?

Introducing: Cherry Blossom Wrapture

Cherry blossoms on my mind! This log cabin themed shawl is a generous 17” deep by 98” wide. You don’t have to knit yours to be that wide, but I LOVE how big this is.

This wrap starts at the center with a leafy square, knit in the round. A log cabin knitting-style frame is added, flat, and then the ends are worked out from each half of the square. I knit mine in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, 2 skeins of Ticklish (white with speckle), and a skein each of Cherry Blossom and Fresh Cut.

It’s so lovely to wrap yourself up in!

This pattern is available through my Ravelry shop here, and through my Payhip shop here. Use coupon code BLOOM for 15% through April 23, 2021 on either site. Newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your special offer.

Love that center square!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Jacqueline Lydston, Nan Palmer, and Sylvie Bedard.