Category Archives: yarn

Portland outdoors, knitting, Tigard Knitting Guild

It’s been a warm dry summer here, which makes getting outdoors a pleasure. Yesterday we climbed a volcano. Within the city limits! Mt. Tabor is an extinct (or maybe just dormant?) volcanic cinder cone, with an elevation of 636 feet. We wanted a short, spur of the moment hike close to home, since we were getting a late (noon) start. This was perfect.

Mt Tabor reservoir

You know most of my hikes involve waterfalls. This will have to do. This is one of the three open air reservoirs on Mt. Tabor, where part of the city’s water supply is held.

Mt Tabor view of Tillikum Crossing

There’s a nice view to the west toward downtown, looking out at Portland’s newest bridge, Tillikum Crossing.

tillikum crossing reflection

DH and I saw that bridge the other day, when I took him on my favorite bridge walk. The reflection of the bridge, and him, on the Portland Opera building was pretty cool.

fire station boat ramp pdx

This was the fifth time I’ve done this walk this summer, and I just noticed the cool sculpture on the fire station. See the concentric circles? They come into focus as you walk eastward on the Hawthorne Bridge.

If you’re looking for more fun free things to do around Portland, the Oregonian just ran a feature today. I’m feeling pretty savvy, because I was already doing some of those things!

Other than that, I’m knitting, knitting, knitting. I took a little detour from my gradient project to work with this lovely yarn from Knitted Wit. There’s a deadline for this design project, so it has moved up to the front burner.

knitted wit sprinkle dye

I’m speaking at the Tigard Knitting Guild tonight, talking about blocking. You know I love blocking! Click the link for details. You can visit the guild twice before joining, so if you’re local, come on by.

Onward!

Gradient yarn knitting progress

I’m knitting along on my current design project with Knit Circus gradient yarn, and I wanted to show you my progress.

Knit Circus Thrilling

See how the yarn is changing into the next shade of blue? I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next, and when.

Gradient yarn

Have you fallen down the gradient yarn rabbit hole? I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!

Knit Circus yarn

This is 150 grams of gradient heaven from Knit Circus Yarns. The yarn is called Thrilling, 80/20 Superwash Merino/Tussah Silk, colorway Starry Night. 575 yards is going to make a shawl that I can really wrap up in! The long continuous color change is going to work perfectly with the design I’ve plotted out.

The other gradient that I’ve knit with recently is from Black Trillium Fibres. Rather than a continuous shading, it’s in five even mini-skeins.

Black Trillium Lilt

The mini-skein put-up was perfect for the design I was working on, where the color changes are distinct and need a start and end point.

Have you knit with gradient yarns? Do you plan your gradient projects based on the type of gradient, or do you choose your gradient based on the project? Or do you just wing it, and apply glorious gradients to whatever you’re knitting? Inquiring minds wanna know!

PS: I had a math error on my last post: It was 40,000 stitches, not 20,000! I was thinking in terms of the right side row patterning, rather than both right and wrong sides. No wonder it went on and on and on! But definitely worth the effort. So pretty!

Swatching and blocking, yarn and ice cream

Do you always swatch? Do you always wash and block your swatches? True confessions time here: I don’t always swatch, and when I do, I don’t always wash and block it. This has come back to bite me several times. Lesson learned! I’ve modified my approach: If the yarn is familiar to me, I might dive right in. A new yarn? It’s best to do my homework.

knitpicks galileo

This is Knit Picks Galileo in a deliciously plummy color called Urchin. It reminds me of these shield urchins I saw last December.

shingle urchins hawaii

But I digress.

This ia a new to me yarn. It’s sport weight, a 50/50 blend of Merino and Bamboo viscose. Two ply. It’s deliciously bouncy and round to knit with. Occasionally I’ll split the yarn with the Hiya Hiya Sharps that I’m knitting with, but I want that pointy tip for the lace stitches I’m working. It’s a reasonable trade-off.

The ballband recommends a size US 3-5 needle. I started with a 7, just for grins, because it’s going to be lace. Definitely too floppy. I swatched with a 6, and it felt pretty good, but I thought I’d push the envelope and swatch with a 5, too. It felt a little full on the needle, but surprise! It was my favorite of the three blocked swatches. It relaxed a lot from the bouncy knitted piece, but it also had more of the structure it needed to make this lace behave. So glad I swatched AND blocked in this instance. I’ve been knitting like crazy, and I’m halfway done with the project. No pictures; it’s a secret for now.

Speaking of plummy, my friends offered me plums from their super-productive tree again this year. I picked two colanders full, which was enough for two batches of jam.

yellow plums

I thought I’d come up with my perfect plum jam last summer. That was before I had some plum bourbon jam on a mini-doughnut at Pip’s Original Doughnuts. And over the year I’d also decided that I like a more traditional pectin set for plum jam. (Pomona’s is still my go-to for strawberry, and no pectin at all for raspberry.)

pdxknitterati bourbon plum jam

After the first batch, I went for the trifecta of favorite things: Plum, bourbon, crystallized ginger. Heaven. Not particularly boozy, but a extra depth of flavor that plain plum jam doesn’t have.

Notes for myself:

6 cups chopped plums
1/4 c water
Bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 box Sure-Jell pectin for less sugar (pink box) mixed with 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to boil.

Add
4.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Boil 1 minute per pectin package drections, water bath process for 10 minutes (sea level).

Yum.

I must be an extravagant measurer, or maybe I should re-measure my plums after the first simmer, which I don’t, but I always end up with a bit more jam than I’m expecting. I can only process 8 jars with my stockpot/orange silicone trivet setup, and that’s my expected yield. Maybe it’s the added bourbon, ginger, water? Anyway, the extra jam goes into a jar and into the fridge. I had extras from 2 batches in the fridge, so I did this.

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Plum bourbon jam ice cream. It was a good reason to use the ice cream maker the kids gave to me a couple years ago. And they were coming for dinner!

pdxknitterati plum bourbon jam ice cream

Tastes as good as it looks!

Inspired by Erica’s recipe, but I doubled it and adjusted it for sweetness:

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup plum bourbon jam
up to 1/4 cup sugar, to taste

Mix milk, cream, jam. Taste! Adjust sweetness as desired. Process in ice cream maker 25-30 minutes. This is a soft set; I put the ice cream in a storage container in the freezer for a couple hours before serving for a firmer set. Delicious. In a perfect world I might make a custard base for a smoother texture, but that would mean more work. I wonder if I’d like it with half and half instead of cream? This is like swatching, with food! But I’m guessing that laziness will win out, and this simple version is probably how it will always happen at my house.

I think this would be spectacular with strawberry balsamic jam, with some additional sugared strawberries thrown in. Just sayin’.

So, extravagant swatching, blocking, measuring, eating! What is your extravagance this summer?

Pink…yarn, wine, and a PDX bridge ramble

I’ve just bound off and blocked a new design project.

Black Trillium Lilt

Such pretty leftovers! And they kind of go with my wine.

Black Trillium Lilt

I’ve loved every moment of knitting with this gorgeous gradient kit from Black Trillium Fibres. It’s Lilt, an 85/15 superwash merino/silk blend. Very nice. I’ve been intrigued by gradients recently, but this was my very first adventure with one. I’ll be back for more.

It’s a gorgeous day for blocking outdoors. And after my bird poop blocking incident, I’ve devised a way to protect my knits. I can’t show you what I’m blocking, but here’s the scoop.

screen for blocking

I had a roll of this fiberglass screen material in my basement. Once upon a time, I was going to make simple screens to put in our casement windows when they were open. Long story short, it never happened, and then we replaced all the windows a few years ago. (54 windows. Ouch. Love the new ones.) So I cut off a piece and laid it over my blocking project. I put a few extra pins in the project to hold the screen up above it, and a few more pins to hold down the corners. Perfect! And no bird pooped on it…this time.

Portland bridgesSteel, Broadway, Fremont Bridges

We’re having a very lovely summer in Portland. I walked the downtown bridge loop with a friend the other morning. It’s 2.7 miles from the Hawthorne Bridge to the Steel Bridge on the East Side Esplanade, over the Steel, along Waterfront Park on the west side, and back over the Hawthorne.

public pianoPlay me!

A picture perfect day. And we also took a little side trip to see the new Tillikum Crossing bridge, which is scheduled to open September 12. It’s for pedestrians, bicycles, and light rail. No cars. So pretty.

Tillikum Crossing

Yellow plums are ripe; there will be some plum bourbon jam in my near future. What’s on your needles or in your kitchen this summer?

TNNA wrap up

So late, I know! It’s been busy here. First of all, this happened yesterday:

grad

CollegeKid2, Computer Science, summa cum laude. We had to take his picture on the Jumbotron, because we were too far away from the stage to get a non-blurry zoom pic. Yay, technology!

So, TNNA. It was fun! Lorajean (Knitted Wit) had a double booth with three designers featuring designs with her yarns: Debbi Stone, Shannon Squire, and me. Here’s my corner:

pdxknitterati corner

We used my Pointer Hat and Mitts to feature Targhee Shimmer DK and Worsted at Sample It. I knit the hat sample on the plane. There’s nothing like the power of a deadline!

pdxknitterati pointer hat

sample it (just before the doors opened for Sample It)

We saw a lot of people come through the booth! StevenBe loved my Snowy Woods Cowl and LJ’s special Snowy Woods colorway.

snowy woods

Jen Lucas came by to say hello. She was at TNNA to do a book signing with her latest book, Sock Yarn Shawls II.

Jen Lucas

Sometimes you have to leave Oregon to see the Oregonians!

Marie and Vivian from Tangled PurlsMarie and Vivian from Tangled Purls in Salem

Sonia from StashSonia from Stash in Corvallis

Jackie from Northwest Wools was there, too, but I didn’t catch her picture. Somewhere on Instagram is a great picture of her napping in Skacel’s yarn teepee!

Skacel teepee

Skcel teepee inside

I sold all my look books (catalogs) and took orders for more. Yay! There were so many lovely yarns and I am inspired to design. all. the. things. I wore my new Summertime Blues for most of the weekend; it was the perfect weight for the air conditioned convention center.

Summetime Blues pdxknitterati

My favorite thing I bought over the weekend? This cute project bag from Binkwaffle. (Product research, right? I want them to do a pdxcarpet bag…they probably think I’m nuts.)

binkwaffle bag

You can hang it on your wrist and keep knitting as you walk. Reversible, and no hardware other than the giant grommit to pass the handle through. No snags!

I’m so grateful to Lorajean for having me in her booth. I got her a Pyrex bowl to feed her pyrex obsession as a thank you…

LJ and FJ

What a fun crew! JJ Foster was also there; she reps for LJ and also had her Buttonhole! Buttons in the booth.

Shannon JJ Me

elevator panorama (Elevator pano of all the booth babes)

An exhausting, fun, productive weekend. Now I’m back to work, but I’ll share the rest of these pics…

Jeni's Sun popped corn and darkest chocolate ice creams. So good.

Jul buttonA cool way to use a Jul button to wear a small triangle shawlette.

feltedFelting!

And the obligatory #pdxcarpet and Mount Hood pix, of course.

pdxcarpet

Mount Hood

New: Summertime Blues Wrap

I’ve just released my Summertime Blues pattern. This wrap/poncho is a perfect summer accessory. Knit in fingering weight yarn, it is light and sleek and swingy, especially in a wool/plant fiber blend. It features two sets of lacy leaves, twining up the side.

pdxknitterati summertime blues

I knit this with Knitted Wit’s Shine, a 50/50 merino tencel blend. It’s a gorgeous, shimmery, drapey wonder.

The length and width of this wrap are easy to customize to your perfect size. The wrap shown is 21″ wide by 31″ long, modified from the instructions which are for a 19″ wide wrap.

pdxknitterati summertime blues

This pattern is available on Ravelry, page link here: Summertime Blues Use coupon code BLUESFEST for 20% off through June 7, 2015.

I just finished knitting a second one, same color, but with beads. A little shorter, because I’m shorter than my model! I’ll be wearing it at TNNA this weekend. What are your plans? More knitting?

Criss Cross, encore

I’ve added a cowl pattern to my Criss Cross Accessories Collection.

pdxknitterati criss cross cowl

This is in Knitted Wit’s new Shimmer Worsted yarn. It’s 80/20 Targhee and silk. The wool is all sourced and processed in the USA. It’s bouncy, slightly rustic, and a pleasure to knit with. This color is called Kiss and Teal. Fun!

Any single pattern from the collection is $6, or you can purchase the entire collection for $10. Here’s a link to the Ravelry page.

Knitted Wit’s Shimmer comes in DK weight, too. I think I showed you my Pointer Mitts I knit with Liberally Bleeding Heart.

pdxknitterati pointer mitts

Both of these are going to TNNA for Sample It and Cash and Carry through Knitted Wit. They’re great yarns.

pdxknitterati sophie's rose

This version of my Sophie’s Rose in Knitted Wit’s Single Fingering (Enchanted Forest and Salted Caramel) is going as a display model. (Thank you, Cindy, for knitting! It blocked like a dream.)

And I have one more new design, in Knitted Wit’s Shine, but that’s not ready to show you until tomorrow, maybe. It’s very lovely. So lovely, I’m knitting another version for me, with beads. Racing to see if I can get it finished! Halfway there and counting…

What are you knitting now?

Tilt Shift Wrap pattern release and KAL

The Tilt Shift Wrap is live!

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

This wrap features an intriguing woven cable that is knit through itself rather than simply crossed. It is knit flat in one piece with DK weight yarn, then folded and seamed. An edge cable mimics the undulations of the tilting stitches. Complicated? 80% of the rows are just soothing stockinette stitch. This design is perfect for semisolid tonals.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

You could call it a poncho, but I don’t want to give you flashbacks to the 1970’s. So we’ll call it a wrap, and just keep that P word our little secret.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

The pattern includes a link to a video tutorial for the woven cables. Easy peasy!

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

To celebrate this pattern launch, I’m offering $1 off through March 31. Get it while it’s hot! Use coupon code CABLE for the discount. Here’s a link to the pattern page.

I’m hosting a knitalong (KAL) through my Ravelry PDXKnitterati group beginning April 1. And we’re planning an in-person get together at Wool ‘n’ Wares, for those who can make it. I’ll post details on that soon. Edit: Wool ‘n’ Wares KAL party will be Friday, April 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. They’re located at 21580 Willamette Drive, West Linn, OR 97068. Be there if you can!

I knit the green version in Malabrigo Rastita, color Solis. It’s a lovely single ply, slightly felted yarn. Sarah Peery knit the purple version in Black Trillium Fibre Studio Sublime, color Tyrian. Three 100g skeins of either will make a nicely sized wrap. Thanks to Sarah for knitting (and photographing), and Melanie at Black Trillium Fibre Studio for the lovely yarn.

Hope you’ll come knit along!

Knitting in time out…

on the way to the frog pond.

I took some knitting to our annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast last week. I had 5 skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo in Purpuras that I bought to knit a sweater, and realized I would never get around to the sweater. I only needed 3 skeins for the second sample knit of my new design (coming soon). I had knit through one skein of Arroyo, and started the second skein. These yarns aren’t the same color. Rookie Malabrigo mistake; I should have checked more closely when I bought them.

Mal mismatch

So I opened the skens and compared colors, and chose the next one to knit. And that’s when I realized…these yarns aren’t even the same weight. I think some Rios (worsted weight) got tagged as Arroyo (sport weight). I have 3 skeins of the heavier, and two skeins of the lighter. Unfortunately, I need 3 skeins for this project, and I started with one of the lighter skeins, which means…

No go. Rats.

Malabrigo Rastita Sabiduria

After coming home, I consoled myself by picking up some Malabrigo Rastita at Wool ‘n’ Wares during my trunk show for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. Very similar color, and I checked color AND weight before purchasing!

What did I do at Crafty Moms weekend, without this project? I worked on my Fern Shawlette for the XOXOKAL,
pdxknitterati fern shawlette

enjoyed some magnificent sunsets,

beach sunset 2

Twin Rocks sunset

walked on the beach with friends,

crafty shadows

ring around the sun(ring around the sun, and Twin Rocks)

pelagic gooseneck barnacles(pelagic gooseneck barnacles on driftwood)

pelagic gooseneck barnacles(gooseneck barnacles and acorn barnacles)

gooseneck barnacles on driftwood

and played with beads. I was very pleased with this beaded, knotted necklace and earrings,

bead play

and these earrings, too.

earrings

Carole made these sweet necklaces and earrings.

necklaces

And Lisa made a bracelet and necklace at her first Crafty Moms weekend.

Lisa's necklace

We had 14 moms at the beach, and all had a good time! This was the 13th year for some of us. It’s always nice to spend some time away with friends. How was your weekend?