Category Archives: yarn

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.

Keeping the faith?

The linen knitting continues.

The little 50g balls go pretty quickly. The knitting looks loose and crinkly, but I have this previously blocked swatch to remind me of how swingy, smooth, and drapey it’s going to be.

Do I have it in me to carry on? MAYBE! This is my ”for fun” knitting, which has nothing to do with work or publishing a pattern. That means there’s no deadline, and no reason to finish it…unless I really want to. We’ll see if I get distracted! I do have a design to work on, with this yarn…

Knit Picks Hawthorne in Spark Speckle, and Slate and Compass Kettle Dye
iPhone

Do you know the trick for checking your tonal contrast? Put your camera phone into monochrome, and that will give you a good idea if your yarns are contrasty enough. On an iPhone, use the carat at the top to change the menu at the bottom. The 3 overlapping circles (middle picture) indicate color choices. Swipe right until you get to MONO (that’s what it says in the 3rd picture; sorry it’s fuzzy). You can also do this after taking a picture too, using the edit feature when looking at your pictures. You’ll get something that looks like this.

Here I have a light and two mid-range. The gray surprised me; I thought the gold would be darker of the two mid-tones. I think I’ll aim to use each of the kettle dyes with the speckle, but not necessarily with each other. I don’t really know yet, though. Swatching is in order! I think it’s either a shawl or a shawlish cowl like Cosette, and I’d like it to have a bee theme, because of the honey colors.

Onward!

Cabana Boy

I’m teaching a pooling class at Knit Maine this fall; we’ll talk about both applied pooling and planned pooling. We’ll be using this cheery yarn from Keith Leonard at Yarn Snob. The colorway is Cabana Boy, and it’s awesome.

This is what it looks like when the skein is untwisted. You can tell by looking at it that the colors will pool, if you want them to. I definitely want them to! I like that bit of organization in my knitting, rather than random color riot everywhere.

Spiraling is a type of pooling. If you are knitting on the number of stitches that uses exactly one (or more) pass around your skein, the colors will pool and align straight up, in this case orange above orange, pink above pink, blue above blue. If that’s not your number, your colors will spiral to the right or left, depending on if you’re working more or fewer stitches than that magic number. If I wanted this hat to pool straight up, it would only be about 72 stitches, and would fit a baby/toddler. The yarn is the boss! If I wanted a different sized hat, the color stripe is going to spiral instead of stack.

In applied pooling, you let the yarn tell you when to do something. Every time that color appears, it’s a signal to use a particular stitch pattern. In this case, I did crossed stitches using multiple yarn overs. But you don’t have to be that fancy, you could go as simple as purling every time you’re above a particular color (because the purl stitch will create a bump in that color on a stockinette background).

So that’s the work knitting going on right now. I’m probably going to knit a Shall We Dance cowl with it, because that’s what I’m most likely to wear.

You know what I’m not wearing? These glasses!

(Previously my progressives, Rx sunglasses, bifocals, and computer glasses)

I had cataract surgeries in May, and at the same time corrected my vision from extreme myopia to 20/20 and 20/25. The world looks bright and colorful and CLEAR! No more haziness. I’ll re-use two of these frames, one for sunglasses with a reader bottom, and one for computer glasses. Because I’m still OLD and need readers now. Every day I wake up amazed that I can just open my eyes and SEE. Thrilling!

Linen knitting, encore encore

After all those hat crowns, my needles were finally empty! I’m not ready for a design project yet; I just want a simple project to keep my hands busy.

It’s a giant gauge swatch, really

Back in 2019, I was swatching/playing with Quince & Co Sparrow, which is fingering weight linen. I ultimately decided to design Kittiwake in Quince’s Kestrel, which is Aran weight, for a quicker project. I used the same stitch pattern for both weights.

The blocked fingering weight piece was relegated to the stash bin for later evaluation. I pulled it out yesterday and hmmmmm. It’s a beautiful drapey fabric. I think I want an oversized top, basically two rectangles, no shaping. The oversized shoulders would come down as faux sleeves. I’d knit it in the round from the bottom up until I get to the armholes, then work back and forth up to the shoulders.

The original piece is an excellent gauge swatch, and it even has the needles in it so I know what size to use. Instead of 16 repeats/37 inches, I’m going to do 20 repeats/46 inches, which gives me 9 inches (a lot) of ease. Perfect for a drapey swingy top for summer. I’ll use the same stitch patterns from Kittiwake, so I don’t have to think too hard. After the bottom edging, It’s just an easily memorized 6 round repeat, with only 3 patterning rounds.

Kittiwake

Bisquee (Biscuit) says it’s coming along well. What’s on your needles for summer (or winter, down under)?

Introducing Cosette

Cosette

Cosette is a cross between a cowl and a shawlette. A cowlette? It starts out as a round cowl, knit from the top down. After the cowl is finished, knitting continues with triangular shawl shaping in the round. This cowl/shawette combo provides great coverage, and it won’t slip off your shoulders! It’s fuss-free wear.

Here’s Cosette in its unscrunched glory. I really love how this turned out, and I enjoyed all the mathy bits that made it work!

Cosette is knit with 2 skeins of fingering weight yarn. I used Knitted Wit Sock in Kiss and Teal and The Future is Bright (variegated). I love how the quilted lattice stitch shines in a variegated yarn. Other stitches in this pattern include my favorite lacy flower, and a shell lace stitch that uses elongated stitches with extra yarnovers that are dropped on the next round. There’s a video tutorial for the shell lace stitch.

Cosette ends with either brioche rib or k1p1 ribbing; it’s your choice. I love the way the contrast color peeks through the brioche rib. There are brioche video tutorials linked in the pattern, too.

The Cosette pattern is available through my Ravelry shop here, and my Payhip shop here. Use coupon code QUILT for 15% off through April 14 in either shop.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, Karen Cunningham, Jesse Hodgden, Jacqueline Lydston, Marilee Reinhart-Davieau, and Andrea Roosth.

Happy knitting!

On the needles

Cosette is finished except for the publishing. I’ve also knitted three versions of another design for a June release (no pictures yet). My needles were empty, so it’s time for another project! I’m designing a new hat/cowl project for my class on the Vogue Knitting cruise in August. (Come cruise with me!)

Look at the color of that water. It inspired me to choose this yarn.

Mmmmm, Malabrigo

This is Malabrigo Rios in Azul Profundo and Cian. So pretty! My class is a brioche class, and I’m trying to make it as user friendly as possible. It’s just a 3 hour class, so I have to think about pacing and how to cover everything I want. (You may be thinking about my Deep End hat and cowl, but that’s too much of a quick start for brioche newbies.)

I have this design all planned out, and now I just have to knit and see if it really does what I want, at the pace I want. Wish me luck!

Coming soon: Cosette

Cosette is a cowl that didn’t stop when the cowl was done. It continued on into a triangular shawl shape so I could use more of this pretty variegated yarn from Knitted Wit. That’s the yarn that called my name first! It took me a while to figure out how to let it shine best. I think I’ve got it.

The edging is brioche rib, but there’s an option to work the edging in K1P1 ribbing instead. Brioche rib is just glorified ribbing, right? The whole thing goes over your head like a cowl, but looks like a shawlette when it’s on. And it doesn’t fall off. This is my new favorite shape, a mashup of cowl and shawl.

I’m looking for a few test knitters. Let me know if you’re interested! You’d need 2 skeins fingering weight yarn in contrasting colors, and I’d need you to finish in about 2 weeks? Three weeks max. This one just flew off my needles.

We’ve come a long way from this little mishap!

I woke up from a dream the other morning, with three design ideas in my head, but could only remember two of them when I wrote them down. I’m on a roll, though…still can’t get excited about doing my 2021 bookkeeping, though! I do need to finish that. Soon.

Red Alder 2022 recap

This picture says it all. It was so wonderful to be back in a classroom with my knitters! This is my Brioche Pastiche class from Thursday morning. This was my first ”away” teaching since Red Alder in 2020. It’s been a long two years.

I taught 4 classes, and it was a joy. I brought my laptop and document camera, so it was the best of both worlds. Everyone could see the demonstration at the same time like a Zoom class, and then i could go around the room and fine tune with people.

The market was fun, and I had a great time signing books with the fun peeps from Northwest Yarns.

Melissa, Heather, Tristan, and Echo from Northwest Yarns
Thanks, Echo!
Karen and Donna
Nancy of Schmutzerella Yarns with her ravishing Oregon Sky
Dyers Jen of Matchmaker Yarns & Kalliope of Anzula Luxury Fibers
Test knitter Kris

I met Kris in person; she was so helpful test knitting for Brioche Knit Love. So nice to put faces with names!

Here’s what came home with me:

Sparkly fingering weight yarn from Schmutzerella, and beads from Bead Biz. I have a plan for this combination.

Sparkly DK weight yarn from Anzula Luxury Fibers. Apparently I was having a thing for all things sparkly. I think I have a plan for this, too.

And worsted weight yarn from Anzula, as a backup if the sparkles don’t work for what I was planning…

Red Alder is already planning for next year; mark your calendars for February 16-19, 2023!

Edited to add my weekend knitwear!

Here are more pictures from the weekend.

Chihuly art glass at the old Union Station
Love this reflection!
Union Station reflection on the Bridge of Glass
Mural. I’ve seen this expression on Bisquee
The mountain peeked out at sunset on Friday

Now hard at work (at home) trying to pare down the to-do list! It grew quite a bit these past two weeks. Onward!