Category Archives: yarn

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.

Rose City Yarn Crawl starts today!

Rose City Yarn Crawl, Portland’s premier yarny event, begins today, March 4, as usual. But it’s not business as usual, because the crawl is going virtual this year, with an extended crawl March 4-14.

I usually kick off the crawl at For Yarn’s Sake with owner Anne Lindquist, Knitted Wit dyer Lorajean Kelley, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbi Stone (Ravelry link). This year we toasted virtually in a Zoom we recorded last night. You can see our chat online on the For Yarn’s Sake RCYC page here. And you can find our trunk shows for the crawl on the same page. I’m featuring 7 designs. Six are new this past year, and Lucky Star is an older favorite that Features Knitted Wit’s yarn.

My Half the Knit Sky design is being offered as a yarn kit with gradient yarn from Huckleberry Knits, another Pacific Northwest dyer. Quantities are limited, so if you want a kit, now’s the time for action! These colorways are Practical Tactical Brilliance and Made you Blush (shop exclusive for For Yarn’s Sake). Pattern is sold separately from the kit through Ravelry and Payhip. Many of our trunk show items are in the shop so you can see them up close, too.

Check out the Rose City Yarn Crawl site for ways to participate and win prizes. And you can even visit the stores in person; it’s just not required this year. This may be the first year in a long time that I’ll be able to visit all eight participating shops, if only virtually!

Best laid plans…

I’ve been knitting along in a dream state with these pretty yarns, thinking of how to make the shawl that I see in my mind. This is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Ticklish, Cherry Blossom, and Fresh Cut.

A lot of my designing is trial and error, so there’s a lot of ripping and re-knitting. But I learn something every time I rip. I’ve been knitting away, thinking, and it was time to figure out how how big this would be. I used the Pythagorean Theorem. When’s the last time you thought of that? The hypotenuse is the magic number here.

It turns out I had made the beginning way too big. I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish if I kept going. So I frogged the 11,000 stitches that came after this. Which was fine, because I used those stitches to map out what I want to do, see how things would fit together, and decide what the stitch patterns should be. And it was a really big gauge swatch, too. I took a lot of notes along the way, and now I’m well on my way. At least I think I am!

My current workspace is not too shabby.

Are you a ripper? I really don’t mind it, if I get what I want, eventually.

Half the Knit Sky, again

I’m having a trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake as part of this year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl. We’re featuring kits for my Half the Knit Sky using gradients from Huckleberry Knits.

This colorway is called Made You Blush, and it’s an exclusive at For Yarn’s Sake. It’s paired with Manos Alegria in Pewter in the kit. You can start your gradient ball at the white end, or the pink end, knitter’s choice! Test knitter Ann is now a sample knitter, and she sent it to me for blocking. You may recognize my fence.

The other kit features the Practical Tactical Brilliance colorway, which is a favorite of mine. Scarlet says that she made the new batch a little bluer than this at the end, to be even more like the aurora borealis. I can’t wait to see it. The contrast color in this kit is Madelinetosh Twist Light in Stormborn. Both kits go on sale on March 4.

Rose City Yarn Crawl begins on March 4, and runs through March 14. I’ll pop up another post with a link to my trunk show when it goes live. There will also be a recorded Zoom interview with my other trunk show buddies, Knitted Wit (Lorajean Kelley), Shannon Squire, and Debbie Stone. I just wanted to show you the pretty pink shawl!

Half the Knit Sky, encore

The Rose City Yarn Crawl is coming up next month, and I’m having a trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake! The crawl is virtual this year. You can visit the shops in person, but it’s not required for the crawl. I’m sending over my Half the Knit Sky knit with Huckleberry Knits gradient and MadTosh Twist Light. There *will* be kits, in two colorways. The gradient on this one is Practical Tactical Brilliance, and the other will be Made You Blush, an exclusive for For Yarn’s Sake.

I knit this last year for my KAL, and stopped short of the acid green at the end because I had already added 24 rows to the original pattern. Last weekend I decided to take the edging off and use more of the gradient, so I did! I ripped back all the way through the flying arrows, so I could add a third repeat of that last section of star trails. I then replaced the flying arrows, and finished again. I had 1.3 g of gradient left, yay for yarn scale and not yarn chicken!

Adding this many rows put me just past where I’d need another increase row based on the pi shawl formula, so I was counting on the flexibility of knitting to make it work because I didn’t want an increase so close to the edge. Also, no more yarn! I used a Russian bind off for the refinished edge, because I knew it was going to be quite a stretch blocking the edge out.

Finished size: 60” x 30” pinned out, and it bounced back to 60” x 28” deep when I took it off the wires. It is larger partly from the added knitting, and partly because the first time I blocked it, I did it outdoors on a hot September day, and it was drying very quickly while I was pinning. Now we’re in winter, and I blocked it in my studio. It is the loveliest, airiest thing. Yay!

Before and after. I’m really happy with it!

The Rose City Yarn Crawl is March 4-14; check out their website here.

Multiple WIPs, oh noes!

I usually have one or two projects at a time; that’s plenty for me. I work better when I’m a bit obsessive. But my two current projects are both stranded colorwork (Dreyma and Katie’s Kep), and that means paying attention to a chart, all the time. Sometimes that’s not possible.

So here we are with brioche again, a perfect multi-tasker project for me. I decided I hadn’t had enough of this color combo yet; Malabrigo Rios in Volcan and Azul Profundo. I gave two friends the previous cowls in this color combo, and I decided I liked it so much I wanted to use it again.

Debbie Braden, one of my Leafy Origami Cowl test knitters, said she was wearing the small cowl as a hat with her ponytail coming out the top. Hmmm. I think I can actually make this close up on top, gracefully. I’ve gone so far as to chart it, and now I have to see if it works in real life. If not, I’ll rip off the top, and finish as a cowl for Mom-in-law. It’s a winner, either way.

Here’s another non-charted project from the weekend. I made a little bow with my other 32 ft strand of fairy lights. US 9 needles, again. I made a stitch holder for the live stitches, using a piece of guitar string. After that I realized that I probably have a stitch holder somewhere that would have worked! Oh well, it’s all good.

I’ve got a lot of food gifts to make in the next few days, which will be a good changeup from knitting. My forearms are still reminding me that I knit too long on Dreyma last week, so it still looks like this:

DH wore the hat over the weekend, so I guess we’ve done our gifts early! (Mine is the board in the leafy hat-to-be picture.)

Are you a mulit-WIP or monogamous knitter? Are you scrambling this week, or completely chill?