Category Archives: yarn

Stopover to Aloha

Is my Stopover done?

Stopover red aloha

Nah, who knits with Lopi in Hawaii? Well, me, just for a bit, but I also brought some linen to play with. This is the Euroflax Sport mini skein set from Mason Dixon Knitting, in Sea.

Euroflax minis

Euroflax minis in mason jar

I think they are spot on with the colors! I had an idea for this set, and after six swatches, I think it knows what it’s doing.

Aloha knitting

It’s on hold, now that I’m home, and cold! But the plan is set.

Stopover sleeve

I knit a sleeve on the flight home, stopped to prep for Hanukkah and Christmas, and knit the other sleeve in the last couple days. I didn’t have my row counting stitch marker with me on vacation, so I made do with a piece of contrast color yarn, flipped from front to back or back to front each time I made an increase. One must make do with the tools at hand. I think I actually like this better than the row counter; it’s very visual.

Stopover three tubes

I now have three tubes, and am headed toward something resembling a sweater. I am really looking forward to wearing this! In the meantime, here are some vacation pictures because, aloha.

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

The full moon coincided with the beginning of our time on Maui, and you know how I am about the moonset. So glad I took my real camera with me; the iPhone can do most things, but not this.

Lana'i Cat Sanctuary

We had a couple stellar day trips. One was to the Lāna’i Cat Sanctuary (512 cats!) on the next island over. Fun day, with two ferry rides, drinks at the Four Seasons, and some tide pooling on a very beautiful beach.

Whale spout off Lana'i

We saw three whales playing near a sailboat in the sunset from our ferry back to Lahaina.

Family 2016

My favorite day included a hike to the Nakalele Blowhole. This is Mother Nature at her most impressive.

Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Blowhole Maui

Rainbows everywhere! (If you’re curious about the gifs, I’m using an app called Motion Stills, free from Google, that makes gifs from iPhone “live photos.” It has image stabilization, which is awesome. It can also make short videos from the same photos.)

Maui sunset

We really enjoyed the wraparound lanai on our rental condo. We had views of Lana’i and Moloka’i. Erosion has taken away the beach, but we were there for the views, including monk seals and green turtles swimming past. A perfect getaway.

knitted wit cedar and sprinkle

Sneak peek at a new shawl design debuting in January. Until then, aloha!

Four Seasons Lana'i

Christmas not Christmas colors

I love my blue Stopover sweater; I wear it a lot! The sweater is light as a cloud, and the Lopi yarn does not pill at all.

BangOutASweater FO

I knit it last spring in 8 days during the BangOutASweater KAL. I’ve decided I need another one, this time in red.

Red stopover colors

My first color combo made sense in the skein, but when I started knitting my swatch the black was too harsh. It was red, black, and one of the grays. Note how the black is the darkest tone in the picture above. I wasn’t happy, so I pulled out some pink and green from my leftovers to see if that helped. I wanted a cloudy feeling to go with my light as a cloud sweater.

Ice storm

We had an ice storm last week, and that meant I couldn’t get to the yarn store to pick another color. I almost got desperate and cast on with the green to go with light ash and red, but was afraid it would be too Christmassy.

On Saturday things were thawed enough that I could stop at the Knitting Bee and pick another color, as well as teach at For Yarn’s Sake. Here’s what I have now.

Red Stopover

I love that the garnet red as the main color is the deepest tone, just like the lapis blue is on my original sweater. The light ash and white are like frosting at the edge. I’ll still use the spring green, but only as the color pops on the yoke (where the yellow is on the blue sweater). Just a little Christmas, but not overwhelming. I’m cruising along, and have finished one ball of red and am on to the waist shaping. Go, go, go!

Kilter Coco

What’s on your needles? Are you gift knitting? Done? I finished my Kilter hat for Mom, and it’s on its way and hopefully will be helpful on her trip to Antarctica. I want pictures!

Knitting au naturel, Addi Turbo giveaway

One of the things I learned in Carson Demers’ ergonomics class at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival is to take stock of your knitting, and try not to have all of your projects be the same. In other words, they shouldn’t all be fingering weight lace shawls on size 4 needles. That’s kind of hard for me, since usually I have two of these, one a thinking project (the current design conundrum piece) and one a non-thinking project (git ‘er done!). So for me, they’re same same but mentally different. I don’t usually think about having projects that are physically/ergonomically different.

Right now though, I have two projects that are physically very different.

Alpaca yarn

I’m knitting/designing with this two-ply fingering weight spindle spun alpaca from Peru. The yarn is a prototype from a women’s cooperative there. This isn’t what the end product yarn will always be like, but it’s pretty fun to work with.

mystery alpaca project

So soft, so fuzzy, so warm. And the romance of the story is awesome.

Super Cabled Christmas Stocking

My other project is my Super Cabled Christmas Stocking (expialidocious!). I gave away the original prototype last year to someone who needed one but didn’t have time to knit it, and was given the same un-knitted yarn in return. I recently saw this yarn in my stash, and decided to knit it again. Super quick! I think it will be done in 3 evenings. I’m already past the heel turn, and it’s only 9 rounds of instep to the toe shaping.

It’s funny how I’m knitting both of these projects with undyed wool. Maybe if my knitting projects are physically different, there still has to be something similar about them. Too funny.

Mini needle review: Last time, I knit the stocking with an Addi Turbo needle, US 17, 20 inches. The fat cord is brilliant in that the stitches don’t have to transition between a skinny cord and a fat needle, but this particular yarn doesn’t slide freely along the cable. Also, the very blunt tips made my cabling without a cable needle a little slower.

Addi Turbo US 17

I bought a Hiya Hiya Sharp US 17, 16 inches after the first evening’s knitting. I probably could have used a 24 inch needle (it doesn’t come in 20 inch) since the stocking circumference is 28 inches, and it would have longer tips (more comfortable), but I didn’t think of it. Still, things are going swimmingly, even with a regular skinny cable. No transition issues. And the longer, sharper taper on the tips are making the cabling easier, too. Win!

Rather than keep a needle that I’m not going to use again (since I have the new needles), I’d like to give these Addi Turbos away to one of you. Leave a comment on this post by Dec. 6, and I’ll pick a winner, USA only because of shipping for this one. These weren’t my favorite needles, but your knitting style and yarn may make them perfect for you.

The Super Cabled Christmas Stocking is one of the patterns I have on sale 25% off in the Indie Design Gift Along, and that sale ends tonight (Nov. 30) at midnight EST with coupon code giftalong2016 (scroll down to see bundle on this page, bundle only good through tonight). It’s also available through Knit Picks for $3.99, but won’t be in your Ravelry library. Knitter’s choice! I’ll keep this one pattern on sale through Ravelry at 20% off through December 6 with no coupon to entice you to knit it, and maybe with this Addi Turbo needle. Good luck!

Reminder: I’m having fun with my new email newsletter; let me know if you want to subscribe. Still not automated! So leave a comment for that, too, if you’re interested.

Introducing: Ships in the Night Shawl

It finally stopped raining, so I had the chance to photograph my newest shawl design: Ships in the Night.

Ships in the Night

This was my comfort knitting when Bisquee/Biscuit/BellaTrix/Trix was ill after her adventures in the fireplace. It’s probably the most soothing knit I’ve ever designed. So much zen garter stitch, with just enough Fibonacci sequence thrown into the striping that you don’t fall asleep knitting. “Ships in the Night” refers to the Fibonacci stripe patterns gliding past each other. I knit mine with two coordinating skeins of Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock yarn.

Ships in the Night shawl wingspan

It’s an absolute joy to wear, too. Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug.

Ships in the Night Shawl

Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing. Ella is much taller than I am, so it’s not quite as engulfing on her. Your mileage may vary. You could also wear it bandanna style, with both ends hanging in front. I did that yesterday.

For long-time readers who want to know: Bobbi is away at college, and Ella stepped in to help me out. Thanks, Ella!

The pattern is available through Ravelry, pattern page here. I’m offering 20% off the price of the pattern to subscribers of my new newsletter through November 15. Have you signed up? Leave a comment below if you’d like to. You’ll also receive my Lobelia Shawl/Shawlette pattern, free.

I’m hoping you’ll love this comfort knitting. It’s election week here in the USA, and I think many of us could use a chill pill right about now!

Garter stitch as worry beads

purple garter crescent

I’m working out a new design idea, and it’s fairly mindless. Garter stitch makes a great worry bead. I love these two colors together; they’re from Lorajean at Knitted Wit. The variegated is Rose City (I think it was a special for the Rose City Yarn Crawl?) and the purple may be Her Majesty (label long gone, if I ever had one).

Rows and rows of garter stitch, so soothing as I wait by the phone.

gray BellaTrix

I was startled to see that BellaTrix was going gray last week. Her brilliant white fur was changing color. Apparently she got into our bedroom fireplace (screens are not enough barrier), and spread it around when she tried to groom herself. This made her sick, so she has been to the vet several times this week.

BellaTrix lamp

Although she wasn’t feeling well, she was still pretty active and chipper at times, but not eating. Yesterday she had an x-ray. No blockage. But her liver is only 20% of normal size. She’s back at the vet today for more tests, and I’m worried.

BellaTrix nerf dart

Please send good thoughts her way. Meanwhile, I’ll keep knitting.

purple garter st

Introducing Tridacna Cowls and Necklace, KAL?

Tridacna? It’s a clam. It’s an inspiration!

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The scalloped edges of the elongated stitches in the Tridacna cowls and necklace mimic the fluted edges of the Tridacna clam’s shell. This cowl can be knit as a long infinity loop, a short cozy cowl, or a simple necklace. The longer cowl features yarn specially dyed by Hand Maiden Fine Yarn for A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, in colors inspired by the Tridacna clam. The short cowl and necklace are shown knit in two colors. Knitter’s choice! The pattern is written for DK weight yarn. Silk enhances the drape of these pieces.

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The long cowl can be worn in a variety of ways: Long, doubled, keyhole style.

tridacna necklace pdxknitterati

Not ready to knit an entire cowl? The necklace is a great introduction to this fun elongated stitch. There’s a link to a video in the pattern, too, if you need help with the stitch.

This pattern is available for $6 via pdf download through Ravelry. Pattern page is here. Use coupon code CLAM for 20% off through August 10, 2016. Do you want to do a KAL beginning August 20? Let me know through blog comment, Facebook, Instagram, or Ravelry.

tridacna clam

This is the photo that inspired the yarn that inspired the cowls. Murray Post took this underwater photograph of a Tridacna clam in Fiji. He’s the husband of Susan Post, the owner of A Good Yarn in Sarasota Florida. The Posts asked hand Maiden Fine Yarn to create a custom colorway, Clam, based on this photo. When I saw the photo and the yarn, I knew exactly what the yarn wanted to be.

Murray says:
“I took this picture is of a Tridacna, or giant clam in Fiji. They are quite beautiful, with a fleshy mantle that extends out of its shell. The small black dots around the rim of the mantle are primitive eyes, that sense light and shadow. As you approach, they retract their mantles and close their shell, though once they’re any size, the shell can’t close all the way. Tridacna means 3 bites, and they were once farmed and consumed only by the village chiefs. The largest I’ve seen was over 5 feet wide. This guy is bit larger than a football.”

Thank you to the Posts for the beautiful yarn and inspiration!

Larger photos are on my PDXKnitterati Tridacna pattern page, here.

Yarn, and a beach

Lido Beach Resort balcony

A little more road tripping…last week found me in Sarasota, Florida. DH had a company meeting/anniversary celebration there, and the Plus Ones were invited. I was happy to have the Gulf of Mexico as my view for a few days.

Rachel Trtlgrl

While I was there, I met up with Trtlgrl, Rachel, who just finished her RCYCMKAL 2014 Rosaria the day before. (The power of a deadline!) She moved from here to there last year? year before? so it was nice to see her again. Test knitter, Turkish Delight spinner, friend. She gave me these sweet stitch markers that she made. More here, if you want some too.

Trtlgrl stitch markers

We went to A Good Yarn, the LYS in Sarasota. What a charming shop!

A Good Yarn custom colors

I was intrigued by this particular wall of yarn. These are dyed by indie dyers in custom colorways for the shop.

gulf of mexico yarn

The blue green that you see on the upper right is called Gulf of Mexico. Owners Susan and Murray Post have found a perfect way to make Florida souvenir yarn. Many of the colors come from underwater photos taken by Murray. Two skeins came home with me.

Handmaiden Double Sea Clam

This one is called Clam, and it’s based on this photo of a Tridacna, a giant clam in Fiji.

Tridacna, photo courtesy of Murray Post

Tridacna, photo courtesy of Murray Post

I know exactly what I’m going to design with this gorgeous DK weight silk/sea silk yarn from Handmaiden. Stay tuned. There are two other projects in the pipeline first. Deadlines!

Anzula Sea Tulips

This silk blend fingering weight yarn by Anzula Yarns is called Sea Tulips, and it’s based on this picture of Feather Duster tube worms. (We just don’t use the word “worm” when naming yarn colors.)

Feather Duster tube worms, photo courtesy of Murray Post

Feather Duster tube worms, photo courtesy of Murray Post

I’m not sure what this will be yet, but I’m guessing a shawlette. We’ll see. The color is gorgeous.

Susan Post knitted reef

Check out the knitted reef behind Susan and me!

Thanks to Susan and Murray, and Rachel, too, for a fun afternoon. Here are a few more pictures from the trip. I can pack a lot of fun into four days, including cross-country travel time. Now headed back to my lair to finish the Twin Leaf Crescent adaptation. Time to knit like the wind! And write patterns…

Sarasota sunriseSunrise

Sarasota sunsetSunset

Sarasota cloudsCloud monster!

birds

Roundup: Classes, baby birds, knitting

Work first, then play:

pdxknitterati fern shawlette edge detail

I’m teaching a class on the Fern Shawlette tomorrow (Saturday May 7) at Twisted, 2 to 4:30 pm. A little lace, a fun sideways shawl construction, and beads!

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

Next Saturday (May 14) I’m debuting my Braided Wristlets class at Twisted, 2 to 6 p.m. We’ll cover simple stranded knitting, yarn color dominance, and several kinds of knitted braids.

elongated stitches sampler

And next week Sunday (May 15) I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches at For Yarn’s Sake. Put some pizzazz in your stockinette! Come take a class with me; it will be fun!

Over the Rainbow Cuffs

No time for class? This is a reminder that my Over the Rainbow Cuffs pattern is 20% off through May 8 (Sunday) with coupon code RAINBOW.

nest

While I was in Santa Barbara, a pair of house finches set up house in the willow wreath on my front porch. Not the best place for them, but what can you do after the fact?

newborn finches

The eggs hatched on April 24.

4 day old finches

Four days old.

Daddy brought take out home for dinner! #birds #housefinch

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

It’s been sweet to watch these little peepers for the last couple weeks.

But on Wednesday this week, there was a predator attack (guessing it was a crow), and two of the hatchlings were killed. I was pretty bummed. I know it’s nature and all, but these are my surrogate pets, right outside my dining room window. (Yes, I miss Mookie.)

Family time: Mom, Dad, 2 youngsters. #birds #housefinch

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

On Thursday, the two surviving chicks climbed out of the nest and up on/into the wreath. I’m not sure they were ready, but I think it’s pretty gross in the nest. I’ll spare you the details. The parents are still on duty, taking care of these two.

finch baby and momFinch baby and mom

finch baby and momFeed me!

finch baby and dadFinch baby and dad

finch baby and dadFeed me!

I’ve been knitting and keeping an eye out the window. I hope they learn to fly soon; I worry about them!

Alexandra's gradient

I’m knitting with this yarn from Alexandra’s Crafts. It was two strands knitted into a blank and gradient dyed for a matching set; I had a hard time winding them. I tried to ravel and wind at the same time, but perhaps I should have rolled the two strands into a single ball and then rolled two balls from there, maybe? In any case, it’s very pretty.

alexandra's crafts gradient

These beads I pirated from my collection turned out to be not quite right, so I found the perfect beads.

alexandra's crafts

But I can’t show them to you in the knitting, because I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this project yet. I can tell you that watching the colors slowly change has been mesmerising!

Whew, long post! What are you doing this weekend? Mine is going to be busy, busy, busy…

Introducing: Over the Rainbow Cuffs

I had so much fun knitting my new Over the Rainbow Cuffs with these:

Going to the Chapel

Knitted Wit’s Gumballs (fingering weight 45 yard mini skeins) in the Going to the Chapel version of her Resplendent Rainbow theme. I knew I wanted twisty cuffs, and at first they were going to be short, and maybe have a matching hat. But then I decided I wanted longer, more elegant cuffs, and from there it was a slog of deciding how many stitches and how many rows to make the pattern repeat do what I wanted. I only started these four times. Or five. Or six. It’s a blur.

Over the Rainbow Cuffs

Have you ever noticed that a double rainbow reverses the order of color between the rainbows? Purple at the very top and the very bottom, red in the middle. When I decided I wanted longer cuffs, that meant a double rainbow. I had to rip out the original red beginning because it needed to be purple! Roy G Biv would have given me the wrong order. (Yes, these are things I think about.)

Double Rainbow Kona

These were a fun quick knit, once I figured out the double rainbow color sequencing and the row height. I like that these are longer than my usual cuffs. More rainbow fun! They’re fingering weight yarn, so they’re just right for transitional spring/fall wear.

These are a pretty quick project; I knit them on my trip to Santa Barbara.

Carpinteria fog

This cast on was the last, and it was the winner! Even if it was full of sunscreen.

OTR modeled rectangle

It’s not easy to take a picture of your own hands! This required a tripod, camera with timer and near field wi-fi, iPad to remote control the camera. I’m behind the tripod, weaving my arms through the legs. The things I do, for the love of knitting.

The pattern is available through Ravelry downloads here. Use coupon code RAINBOW for 20% off the $5 price, through May 8, 2016. Have fun!

Introducing Trellis Vines; Aura e-book giveaway

I’ve been dying to wear this new piece for the last six months, but I had to wait until it was published last week. This is my Trellis Vines Stole and Poncho.

Trellis Vines Stole

It’s a long rectangle of lacy loveliness. You may recognize the lace pattern from my Beanstalk Scarf and Mitts, and also from my Beanstalk Poncho.

Trellis Vines detail

When I fall in love with a stitch pattern, I tend to use it in several designs before moving on. In this case, I’ve used it as an allover pattern, rather than as a single beanstalk. It’s more work for the knitter, but I think it’s worth it.
Trellis Vines Stole

It makes the piece wearable as a stole, where a single beanstalk would look lonely. It also makes the hemline scallop!

Trellis Vines Poncho

And you know I love a rectangular poncho worn on the diagonal. Tilt Shift, Summertime Blues, Beanstalk Poncho. I have five ponchos in my wardrobe right now. This one is probably my last for a while. At some point, ponchos won’t be as fashion-forward as they are currently. I wanted this piece to be wearable long beyond, so I’ve designed it so that it can be laced up with ribbon for a poncho, or no ribbon for a stole. Covering my bases; I’m bi-wraptual!

Trellis Vines is knit with Knit Picks Galileo, a sport/dk weight 50/50 Merino wool/bamboo blend. The bamboo gives it a swingy drape and lovely sheen.

Trellis Vines is in the new Knit Picks Spring 2016 Collection, Aura, which is available as a hard copy book or an e-book. Here’s the Ravelry link to all the designs. Trellis Vines is also available as an individual download from Knit Picks.

I’m giving away a pdf copy of the Aura e-book. Leave a comment and let me know how you’d wear Trellis Vines. Stole? Poncho? Both? What makes your heart go pitty-pat? I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, April 2.

Trellis Vines Stole