Category Archives: yarn

Introducing: Cannon Beach Accessories Collection

I’m so pleased with my newest design, the Cannon Beach Cowl. It just rolled off my needles because the yarn knew what it wanted to be. I love it when that happens!

And then there were fingerless mitts too, because why not?

Both the cowl and mitts are knit in the round from the top down in worsted to Aran weight yarn. The patterns are available individually, or as an e-book collection that includes both patterns. The pieces feature two slip stitch patterns, one resembling seagulls, the other resembling waves. Cannon Beach, Oregon, is one of my favorite places on earth, and the cozy cowl and mitts are just right for a stroll on a breezy beach.

The cowl was inspired by the loveliness of a yarn, Woolfolk Får. This is a beautiful merino wool chainette yarn. When I saw it I knew it wanted to be a very soft cowl featuring a stitch pattern with long floats to show off the construction of the yarn.

The pattern is also pretty but very different in more conventional yarns like single ply Malabrigo Merino Worsted, or a plyed yarn like Malabrigo Rios.

The cowl instructions include three sizes, from a cozy 22″ neck warmer to a larger 24″ cowl. The circumference and height of the cowl are easily adjusted.


Small cowl shown in Malabrigo Merino Worsted


Medium cowl shown in Woolfolk Får


Large cowl shown in Malabrigo Merino Worsted

The mitts are written for one size, 7.5″ in circumference, and will stretch to fit an 8″ palm. Because of the large number of stitches in the seagull and wave stitch pattern, sizing should be altered by changing needle size.

The patterns are available for $6 for a single pattern, or as an e-book of both patterns for $10. Ravelry page link is live!

Subscribers to my newsletter will receive a coupon code for 20% off the single patterns or the e-book. Not a subscriber? Subscribe by clicking this link, or letting me know in the comments below.

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, test knitter Ann Berg, and model Erin Hocraffer.

Sunset at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach…a little chilly, needs a cowl!

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Coming soon: Cannon Beach Cowl

I fell in love with some yarn recently. It begged me to take it home from Knit Purl.

This is Woolfolk Får, a very soft worsted weight merino wool with a chainette/icord construction.

Look at that chainette! Yarn doesn’t always talk to me, but this one did, loud and clear. It said, “Design something with slip stitch and long threads showing on the right side, so you can see the chainette!” Well, of course.

This cowl knit up in a flash. It features seagulls and ocean waves.

See the chainette yarn structure? So lovely. So soft, too. It’s perfect in this cowl. But do you have to use this yarn for this project? Knitter’s choice! I love it, but I’m also knitting up a sample in Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

I’m curious about how it would look with a plyed yarn. More swatching is in order.

I’ve written up the pattern, and it’s off to the tech editor and a test knitter. Meanwhile, I’m still swooning. I love these stitch patterns; you know how I love elongated stitches. The pattern will be out soon. Do you subscribe to my email newsletter? Newsletter subscribers get discounts on newly released patterns. Comment below if you’d like to subscribe. (You can also subscribe to this blog, which is a separate thing.)

I think I have my Thanksgiving knitting cut out for me! When I’m not cooking…

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it. I’m thankful for family, friends, and fiber! And gravy. Mmmmm, gravy. What are you thankful for? (Or, more properly: For what are you thankful?)

Introducing: Tumbling Leaves

Finally ready for prime time!

This is Tumbling Leaves, a wide crescent shawl. I designed this sample with Bumblebirch Heartwood, a lightweight 75/25 superwash merino/nylon blend. It was a delight to knit!

The shawl is wide enough to wear wrapped once, as shown above, or twice, with both ends in front.

The pattern is available for $6 USD through Ravelry as a PDF download. As usual, subscribers to my email newsletter will receive a coupon code for 20% off new releases. Not a subscriber? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add you to the list. Yes, someday I’ll automate that. But I’m too busy designing!

This has been a summer of shawls. I designed four new shawls (and knit one of them 3 times) this summer, and more design work is on the way. So many ideas to knit!

And! We have a winner for the Merry Knitmas book: Joelle! I’ll be sending her a pdf copy. Congratulations! If you’re not Joelle and you’re dying to get this book; you can get it in softcover or as a PDF download from Knit Picks. Thanks for playing along!

Gradient yarn, planning ahead

Next design project: A shawl with this gradient kit. With beads!

The yarn is from June Pryce Fiber Arts, 7 100 yard mini-skeins of MCN. The beads are from Bead Biz; I’ve met them several times at Madrona.

I want to use two minis as contrast to five skeins used as gradient. I thought about using the two darkest as the contrast, but I don’t think there’s enough tonal contrast between either of those and the third darkest skein. (You know this trick, right? Use the “tonal” filter on your phone camera to check for tonal contrast.)

But if I take the two lightest skeins for contrast, both of those look great across the rest of the gradient range.

If there’s enough of the darker of the two light ones, it can be contrast to all of the five gradient series, and the lightest skein can be a ruffle at the very end.

Knitting away over here, and awaiting the eclipse!

And I’ve updated my Snowflake Christmas Stocking pattern with new motifs and uploaded it to Ravelry. Christmas is just around the corner, right?

Sneak peek: Tumbling Leaves Shawl

At least that’s what I think I’m calling it. Let me know if you have a better idea!

This is a wide crescent shawl, knit from the top down with two skeins of Bumblebirch Heartwood Fingering in Hellebore and Atlantic (75/25 Superwash Merino/Nylon, 100g/463 yards each).

I love the way the blue eyelet rows squiggle, and I love, love, love the leaves.

Remember the stripe swatch? I think the one I chose (second from the top) worked out perfectly!

The pattern is off to the tech editor, and I’m looking for a few test knitters. I’m hoping I can get this out in September, which is knitting season! Of course it’s always knitting season at my house. But this last week, especially. Hot and hazy out (thanks, Canadian wildfires), so I’ve just been hiding out at home. Knitting!

How about you?

A peek into my knit design process

While I was knitting my Go Tell the Bees KAL shawlette this month, I was also designing another shawl.

This is Hazel Knits Entice MCN fingering, in Splish Splash and Hoppy Blond. Two of my favorite colors in one of my favorite yarns. This yarn is soft and not splitty, and not over or under twisted. It falls absolutely straight from my needles to the ball while I’m knitting. And that bit of cashmere makes it sooooooo lovely to knit with.

I can’t show you the shawl until September, but I’m really happy with it! It took me a while to get there. When I was about 2/3 done with the first prototype, I decided that I didn’t like a couple things about it (proportion between elements and lack of simplicity for writing the pattern), so I got more yarn and started over. I didn’t want to rip the first one until I was sure the second one was a go! Gotta have a backup handy, right?

The more I design, the more I realize that what I love is a pattern that is simple but interesting to knit. Stitch patterns that are easily memorized so I’m not tied to a chart. And it has to be pretty when I’m done! I think this one is a winner on all those fronts.

I used the leftovers to swatch some stripes for the current piece I’m designing. The piece will have have lacy sections divided by a stripe of some sort. I tried a couple of my favorite elongated stitches on my first prototype, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. Time to swatch!

I put this up on Instagram, and received some good feedback. I really love the bottom stripe, but those are bobbles in there, and I don’t want to make 60 bobbles in a row. Ever.

I liked the way the top CC stripe is set off by the MC garter stitch above and below it, but wasn’t sure it had enough gravitas to hold things together.

So I tried that heavier eyelet stripe with a garter stitch offset (new top stripe) But all that garter stitch made the eyelets look smaller. Nope!

This one is the winner. I’m using Bumblebirch’s Heartwood fingering weight. I love this yarn; it’s a joy to knit with and it is standing up well to my knit/frog/reknit design process.

These colors, Hellebore and Atlantic, are a gorgeous combination that makes my heart sing! Thanks to Bumblebirch dyer Sarah Kurth for picking them for me.

And I’ve mathed my way into a simple and elegant design. (Wish I had done the math the first time…) I knew I was on the right track with this design when I couldn’t stop smiling. Looking forward to sharing this one with you soon.

Introducing: Go Tell the Bees, pattern and KAL

And we’re live! My Go Tell the Bees pattern is now available through Ravelry. (If you’re a newsletter subscriber, don’t forget to use your coupon code for 20% off. If you’re not a subscriber and want to be, let me know in the comments.) This shawl was inspired by the title of the upcoming book in the Outlander series, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.” I’m not sure who’s gone, but the title is highly evocative.

This crescent shawl begins at the lower edge and features lacy honeycombs and bees. This is the 645 yard shawl version above.

And this is the smaller 430 yard version. You’ll definitely want at least 430 yards; I used nearly every scrumptious bit of mine.

The pattern has been tech edited and both sizes have been test knit. We’re having a KAL beginning June 11; you can sign up for the KAL in my Ravelry group here. I hope you’ll knit along with me! I’m having fun picking prizes for it already.

If you’d like to use the same yarn I did, you can order Renai in many colors from Fierce Fibers. This is a lovely single ply fingering weight yarn. Stacey is offering it at 10% off through June 30, 2017 with coupon code MICHELEBEE10.

I’ve been very impressed with the color and non-kinkiness of Stacey’s gradient yarns, so I asked her about her process. Here’s what she had to say:

I started looking at the various decisions a dyer needs to make in order to create a good quality gradient. The obvious requirements were that the color change can’t be abrupt, there can’t be white spots and there can’t be any kinkiness to the yarn. Solving these problems really fired up my inner engineer and after months of development I started releasing a small set of gradients in the fall of 2016. I dug deep and bought the best equipment I could afford so I can make my own knitted blanks. This means I can make any yarn into a gradient and I’m not limited to blanks from a manufacturer. I can make my blanks to any yardage, any gauge and any width I choose (which if you can believe will affect the “fade” of your gradient).

Getting rid of the kink took considerable work. Frogging the blanks immediately while wet is a whole other set of possible failure modes that had to be solved. I also discovered that after some time, no matter what you do, certain yarns just have too much memory and can’t be straightened without herculean effort. Anyone who also spins knows there’s just a point where the yarn you’ve made, can’t be undone. So believe it or not, my blanks have a “fresh by” date!

Here’s Saigon Cinnamon just after dyeing, before drying and being wound into a cake. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting with Stacey’s yarn for these shawls.

Let’s knit!

Busy as a bee

Buzz! I’m watching my test knitters’ projects develop on the Go Tell The Bees projects page on Ravelry, and planning for a fun KAL. Pattern coming June 1, KAL begins June 11.

I found some cute bee stitch markers that will make a sweet prize.

I’m working on a design to coordinate with a crochet friend, and Biscuit is marginally impressed. She helped with the math.

I’m dreaming of a shawl in blue and yellow yarns. Which blue? Which yellow? I don’t know yet. What do you think?

And after changing my mind several times on how this combo will play out, I think I have a plan.

I’ll just be over here in my corner with lots of graph paper!

And in the middle of all that, I spent the weekend out at Edgefield for my friends’ wedding. No wedding pix; I was hopping busy that day! But I was blessed to sing with my beloved Pie Birds during and after the wedding. So much fun.

Note the red boots and newly finished second Red Zephyr Shawl!

We made good use of the soaking pool, and my MDK tote.

Wine tasting on the balcony. Cheers!

Scenes from a Yarn Crawl

Another Rose City Yarn Crawl is in the rear view mirror. I had a great time, even though I didn’t make it to all 13 shops.

I started out at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday in a group trunk show with Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbi Stone. Such a great way to kick off the crawl. A big thank you to Anne Lindquist for having us!

Marlene and Terri came by to show off their Tilt Shift Wrap and Fern Shawlette.

Leigh Anne wore her Fibonacci and Fan, knit with Knitted Wit’s Cedar and Snowy Cedar in Victory Sock.

Tami and I compared our Braided Wristlets.

And Sunday came by with her heavily modified RCYCMKAL cowl that matched her hair. Cool!

I made it to 3 shops on Friday: Twisted, Close Knit, and The Naked Sheep.

JaMPDX and Knitted Wit had a trunk show in the Twisted Annex, across the street from the shop. This space is also Twisted’s classroom space, where I teach.

The Knitted Wit wall in the shop was quite the rainbow.

At Close Knit, I swooned over colors with Sarah Kurth of Bumblebirch. Plotting and planning!

And I checked out Lisa Carney-Fenton’s clever designs that hide yarn ends inside an i-cord edging.

The pompom window at The Naked Sheep!

Sharon Spence of Stitch Jones showed me her new merino/silk worsted weight single ply. Scrumptious.

I visited two shops on Saturday: Wool ‘n’ Wares and Northwest Wools. I’d say I was slowing down, but there was a lot going on at Wool ‘n’ Wares!

The theme of this year’s yarn crawl was Portland Pastimes. And raising chickens in your yard is one of those pastimes. I loved the feathers on this partridge cochin hen.

There were five trunk shows inside Wool ‘n’ Wares, including Hula Hut Yarns (Cathei Baynes)

Scarlet Tang of Huckleberry Knits (love this Mithril and Bigger on the Inside combo)

Sivia Harding with her latest shawl design, which uses beads with several different shapes/finishes.

Not pictured: Miss Purl (I did buy her stitch markers and cute tin, picture later in post), Carl Herndon Woodworking (I love his seam rippers and his tabletop swifts), and the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild. Full house!

Fellow Pie Bird (singing buddy) Claudia was working at Northwest Wools, so we had a quick catch up. She tried on my new SeaScape Scarflette, and it looked smashing on her.

On Sunday I went back to For Yarn’s Sake for Sincere Sheep’s (Brook Sinnes) trunk show. I fell in love with her new silk/merino lace weight. The blue (St. Bart’s) called my name, very loudly, and then the green followed.

I put it all together with this gray Cormo, but now that I have it home, I realize that I forgot to check for tonal contrast. I blame the yarn fumes. I think the wonder fluff needs something either darker or lighter; this gray is too close.

No worries; for now I just like looking at the glowing colors.

I finished my crawling at the Knitting Bee, but I forgot to take a picture!

Here’s most of what came home with me. Biscuit approves.

Yarns from Sincere Sheep, Hazel Knits, Knitted Wit; lidded pint glass from JaMPDX, Dumpling bag from Binkwaffle (my third!), stitch markers from Miss Purl, and more needles and locking stitch markers. Wait, more project bags and needles? Yes, this normally monogamous knitter has more design projects than usual, which means I need more tools to corral them.

Next year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl will be March 1-4, 2018. Mark your calendars!

In other news, I’ve picked a winner for the Rain Chain Shawlette giveaway. Friday V will get a pdf copy of the Little Luxuries e-book, and 2 balls of Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in Clover. Congratulations, Friday!

Introducing: SeaScape Scarflette

Introducing my SeaScape Scarflette, a summery accessory knit in sport weight linen. Is it a scarf? A shawlette? You decide.

SeaScape long

This long narrow asymmetric triangle features a lacy edge inspired by the curl of the waves off Maui.

SeaScape

It can be worn long, loosely knotted, double wrapped…so many ways to add a little pizazz to your outfit.

Euroflax minis

The scarflette was inspired by a set of Euroflax Sport linen mini-skeins from Mason-Dixon Knitting. As soon as I saw this color set, I knew what it wanted to be. I took it to Maui in December and worked out the design while enjoying the view of Molokai from the lanai.

Euroflax minis in mason jarHand winding the balls three times made the yarn softer!

Linen gives this fabric a lovely hand and sheen. I highly recommend it! With mini-skeins, part of the fun is deciding in what order to use your colors. The longest, narrowest section is at the beginning, and features the most waves. The last section is short and wide, and features the bubbly eyelet pattern.

SeaScape 1

My first sample had pale green at the far end; the design sample has the mid-gray. I took the sample to Nashville to meet Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Ann Shayne, and she called it “deliriously pretty.” Thrilling!

SeaScape

The mini-skein set has 325 yards. You could also knit this with a single skein of Euroflax Sport, which is 270 yards. (I used about 300 yards of the minis, due to placement of color joins.) Test knitter Sarah Peery used Juniper Moon Farm ZOOEY, a 60/40 Cotton/Linen blend. It also blocked beautifully.

seascape-sarah-cropSarah’s SeaScape before blocking, photo by Sarah Peery

The pattern is available through Ravelry; the pattern page is here. It’s 10% off through March 10, no coupon code needed. If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll receive a coupon code for 20% off. Want to join the list? Let me know in the comments.

More linen minis

I’ve fallen in love with linen, so there’s another linen mini-skeins design in progress. Come see a sneak peek; I’ll have the SeaScape Scarves and the new project with me at my trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday, March 2 for the Rose City Yarn Crawl!