Category Archives: yarn

Cruise control knitting

I worked on six designs this past summer, and now it’s time for a little (almost) mindless knitting. I had a sweater quantity of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in my stash.

Malabrigo Merino Worsted Contintental Blue

It wasn’t meant to be stashed; I was going to make Lempster when I saw it in Knitty last year. But it never happened. This is why I try not buy yarn until I’m absolutely ready to cast on. The road, the good intentions…you know.

But at knit nite earlier this week I was talking about my Honey Cardigan that I just can’t get the enthusiasm to finish.

honey cardi wip

I don’t know; is it the bell shaped sleeve that I already know I don’t like? I’m almost done with the first one, and it’s meh. I need to rip the sleeve out and start that part over as something more fitted. But you know how exciting an old project is.

I didn’t want to have to keep my eyes glued to a chart for Lempster, so I went hunting on Ravelry for a sweater at 18 sts/4inches. I’ve cast on for Bonne Marie Burns’ (ChicKnits) Edin. This is a raglan that starts with a provisional cast on at the center neckband. After the neckband is set, stitches are picked up and the raglan shaping begins. I got that far on Tuesday night so I could take this to jury duty on Wednesday morning. This is perfect knitting for me; a little bit of (easily memorized) lace to hold my interest, and lots of stockinette between markers so I can read while I knit.

Edin raglan shaping

There’s a lot of hanging out and waiting in the jury pool room, a perfect place to knit. Last night I made it to the point where the sleeves are separated out. What’s your go to cast on for the underarm portion on a raglan? I’ve used the simple backwards loop cast on before, but I hate how it stretches out when you go to work it on the next round. I remembered that I learned a different cast on in a sweater shaping class with Faina Goberstein last winter at Madrona. I was so captivated by it that I did a little video on my iPhone, and it was still there. I’ve uploaded it to YouTube so you can use it, too. You can hear class going on in the background. Sorry, no pretty manicure in this video!

It makes a firmer edge, which I like. It still stretches a bit as you work the first row, but it’s much better.

raglan cast on

Edin wip

After separating out the sleeves, it feels like this is going much quicker, and it was already quick! Wish me luck in keeping up this pace. I really want to wear this. I know that this soft single spun yarn will get pilly with wear, but I’ll put up with that because I love it, and I can always use one of those sweater shavers to tidy things up. Do you have a recommendation on those? I have an ancient Sweater Stone, but I’ve never liked it…

Snowy Hat Collection is live!

snowy woods hat

I’m pleased to be one of the six designers of the Snowy Hat Collection by Knitted Wit. My contribution is the Snowy Woods Hat.

snowy woods hat detail

The pattern is available individually, or in the Snowy Hat Collection e-book, or in the Snowy Hat Collection kit from Knitted Wit (limited time offer).

photo by Stefan Lombard, http://tuesdayknits.tumblr.com/Photo by Stefan Lombard, http://tuesdayknits.tumblr.com/

The Snowy Hat Collection is a true Portland collaboration. Local hand-dyer Knitted Wit created 6 new snowy-inspired yarn colors, 6 Portland designers created unique and wearable hat patterns inspired by these new colors, and local ceramics company jamPDX created mugs to coordinate with the collection. Kits will be available for a limited time through Knitted Wit starting October 1st, and they include the following:
• one skein either Knitted Wit Worsted OR Targhee Shimmer Worsted in your choice of one of six Snowy colors:
o Cedar – green
o Lump of Coal – dark grey
o Winterberry – red
o Tinsel – light grey
o Snowy Woods – blue
o Frozen – turquoise
• one Ravelry code for download of Ebook, which includes 6 patterns:
o A Salty Salute – Star Athena
o Drifted – Debbi Stone
o Siskiyou – Lee Meredith
o Snowy Peaks – Shannon Squire
o Snowy Woods – Michele Lee Bernstein
o Winter Crocus – Katherine Leek
• one jamPDX Snowy Mug
• three hand-blended teas from Happy Rock Coffee
• 10% of proceeds from the sale of kits through 12/31/15 will go to Raphael House of Portland, a domestic violence agency and emergency shelter.

I designed my hat as a companion piece to my Snowy Woods Cowl, which features additional intertwining cabled trees as well as the fir trees on this Snowy Woods Hat.

snowy woods cowl for hat

Here’s the whole hat collection:

snowyhat-allpatterns

I hope you knit a Snowy hat! I’m especially in love with the crisp texture of the Targhee Shimmer Worsted (80/20 Super Wash Targhee Wool/Silk). Enjoy!

A couple more OFFF finds

I taught my Fern Lace Shawlette class at OFFF, and showed my students my Altoids tin bead management system.

pdxknitterati bead tin

I’d noticed that my Bead-Aid wasn’t sticking to the top of my magnet as well as I would like. The enameling on this magnet from my kids’ magnet set was pretty, but interfering with function. When I saw needle minder magnets from A Needle Runs Through It in the Knitted Wit booth, I had to have one.

needle minder

I chose the sheep. Of course. These are actually meant for cross stitch, but they’re perfect for Bead-Aids, too. Maria also makes beautiful project bags. Go check out her Etsy shop!

pdxknitterati bead tin

Perfect fit, and the magnet is super strong so my needle is NOT going to get lost. If you want to make one of these to corral your beading equipment, all you need is an Altoids tin, magnet, Bead-Aid, and a short bead tube. If you want to get fancy, put a piece of fun foam or bead mat in the bottom so your beads don’t rattle so loudly. Keep most of your beads in the tube, and pour out about 20 at a time. If your tin gets dumped, you won’t lose ALL your beads!

What else did I get?

Alexandra's Crafts  Double Knit Sister

From local dyer Alexandra’s Crafts, this a gradient dyed sock blank made up of two strands of fingering weight knit double. Normal knitters would knit perfectly matching socks.

Alexandra's gradient

Me? I don’t love knitting socks, but I love fingering weight accessories. This will be some kind of scarf/stole, shading from one end to center and back out again. It’s Duffy’s Fault. I don’t know what the thing is yet, but Duffy made me buy it, and that will be the name. Eventually. Other deadline knitting has to happen first. Queue it up!

I have a new design coming out October 1. It’s a fun Portland designers group project, and I’m really looking forward to showing you one of the many things I knit this summer.

I also have a new shawl design coming out, probably next week. I’ve knit it in two sizes, both in gradient yarns, and also a non-gradient version. They’re like children; I can’t decide which one I like best!

My needles have been super busy, and now you get to see at least some of the fruits of my summer. Soon…

Even more gradient yarn, and pretty food

knit circus come what mayKnitcircus Greatest of Ease, Come What May

The pink is shading ever so gently, getting paler and paler. Heading into cream (why does this look like dessert?); the gray will come later. Pink and white roses, gray rain clouds? Whatever, it’s gorgeous.

Black Trillium Fibres Periwinkle

This is waiting in the wings. Black Trillium Fibres Lilt, in Periwinkle.

In the meantime, there’s been a lot of pretty food! I hosted my annual Pinot & Piano fun-raiser a couple weeks ago. I provide piano and dessert. My co-hosts provide wine and music. It all comes together in a lovely evening for 16 guests. This year’s desserts:

flourless chocolate torteFlourless Chocolate Torte

puff pastry pear tartPuff Pastry Pear Tart, served with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

pomegranate panna cottaPomegranate Panna Cotta

These aren’t as big as they look; they’re served in mini wine glasses.

mini wine glass dessert

Love these glasses for presentation!

baking bagels

Last week Sue (Tango Mango) taught us how to make bagels.

bagel

We had them for lunch!

panna cotta

And panna cotta with raspberry sauce for dessert.

What pretty things are you making? Knitting? Food? Other?

Lobelia sneak peek, knit nite

Here’s a sneak peak at Lobelia. I think the lace pattern looks like little lobelia blossoms.

lobelia lace

This is 150g of Thrilling by KnitCircus, Starry Night colorway. The initial write-up is done, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for the pattern. I’m knitting up a version for a 100g/400 yard skein. Because, options.

KnitCircus Come What May

This yarn is KnitCircus Greatest of Ease, a super wash merino/nylon blend. Colorway is Come What May; I received it as part of my Kickstarter package supporting Jaala’s new studio. Gorgeous!

In other news, we had knit nite on Wednesday, and we actually knit! There are two grandbabies on the way, so there was some blanket knitting going on. I guess zigzag/chevrons are in!

knit zigzag

I made my new favorite quinoa salad. You can pretty much throw all your favorite things into quinoa, dress it a bit, and it’s delicious.

quinoa salad

Summer Quinoa Salad

! cup quinoa
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 avocado, diced
1/2 lb grape tomatoes, various, cut into halves
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cucumber, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

dressing
4 T fresh squeezed orange juice
4 T olive oil
4 T apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar or honey
1/4 tsp salt
liberal grind of black pepper

Rinse quinoa. Put in pot with 2 C water. Bring to boil, cover & simmer 20 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with fork and transfer to large bowl to cool.

Cook edamame according to package directions. Cool.

Assemble all dressing ingredients and shake in a jar.

When quinoa and edamame are cool, combine with all other salad ingredients. Add dressing to taste. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6-8, depending on how hungry you are…

Do you have a knitting group? We don’t meet as regularly as we used to, but it’s always a pleasure to get together to share food and knitting!

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?