Introducing Embellishment Cowl

Re-introducing: Embellishment Cowl! I originally designed this as an exclusive for Knit Camp with Olive Knits, and now the rights have returned to me. That means I can offer it to you!

The Embellishment Cowl is knit with two skeins of fingering weight yarn. It features a fun elongated/gathered stitch, quilted lattice slip stitch in one or two colors, and optional beads, knit as you go. You can knit three cowls with 2 skeins of yarn, if you switch up the color setup.

I knit mine with 2 skeins of Schmutzerella Spectacular, which has a little bling in it. Two skeins is enough for the three cowls you see here.

Pattern is available through Payhip and Ravelry.

I’m teaching a Zoom class for the Embellishment Cowl via Twisted Yarn Shop on Saturday, Oct. 1; registration link will be here. Pattern is included in class fee; don’t buy it twice.

Do you want to do a knit along in October? If there’s enough interest, I’ll set it up!

Quick trip to Sisters

Summer and time is running so quickly!

I went to Sisters to visit fellow Pie Bird Becky and her family. We went to a concert and made some music. We even remembered how to play our instruments, easy for me (just basic guitar) but Becky plays guitar, mandolin, and banjo, and it’s been a while.

Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius
Backyard music accompaniment
Our audience was wild

Becky works at Pine Meadow Ranch, the home of the Roundhouse Foundation, which focuses on projects that work with and through the arts. Their four program areas: arts and culture, environmental stewardship, education, and social services. She gave us a tour of the ranch, which is a working ranch and also uses the restored ranch buildings for artists’ residencies.

The restored round barn
Interactive art installation that makes colored light and sound when you move under it. Note the tile mural across the way…

Sisters (the town) is named for the Three Sisters mountains in the Cascade Range. The town hosts a quilt festival each summer, and that’s reflected here.

Tile “quilt” on the greenhouse by Kathy Deggendorfer
This year’s quilt garden contest winner by June Jaeger. See the 3 Sisters?
Detail from the quilt; I love the birds, and music notes in the snow creases
Detail of detail!
And the garden inspired by the quilt. I wish you could see it from above!
A panel from a 7 panel tile mural, designed by Rochelle Schueler and Lynn Adamo
Another panel
Horse shoe gate to the garden
Pencil shaving…as you walk around it, it looks like it unfurls
More art, from 2 different artists

There’s a lot more art, and sheep and cattle, too. It’s a beautiful and inspiring setting.

I’m home now, setting up classes for fall, and getting ready for the Vogue Knitting cruise and Knit Maine. Time is racing by!

Pesky-tarian

What happens when DH decides to go vegetarian/pescatarian? Check out my guest post for Voices of August on the Rough and Rede blog.

I went looking for my previous guest posts, and they’re on the previous Rough and Rede blog (blogspot instead of the current wordpress site). It took some hunting! Here are the links to those posts: Because I Can in 2013 about snorkeling and my relationship with swimming, and The Empty Nest in 2012.

Cape Perpetua getaway

It’s was ridiculously hot here last week (90 to 100F), so a planned camping trip with the ladies was a welcome respite. We went to Cape Perpetua, near Yachats, on the central Oregon coast.

Looking south from Cape Perpetua

It was a cool and misty weekend, with highs in the mid-60s. The curtains of mist falling past the cape were ethereally lovely.

Banana slug

I brought my assigned pooling cowl, but didn’t do a lot of knitting. There was a whole world to explore.

Giant Spruce

This Sitka Spruce was here before Columbus arrived in the New World. Older than Henry VIII?!

View from the other side

The hollow underneath was formed as the tree grew out of a nurse log, which then rotted away, hundreds of years ago.

fauna growing from nurse log
What’s going to grow from this nurse log? Who will see it hundreds of years from now?
Stone shelter on Cape Perpetua

Stone shelter built by the CCC in the 1930s. Workers (young men) earned $30/month. They kept $5, and $25 went home to the family.

Note the temporarily blue sky!
Fungus among us
Looking at you, oxalis?

Cape Perpetua is on a pretty rocky part of the coast, but there are occasional sandy beaches. Tillicum Beach was wide and inviting.

Designer feathers on Tillicum Beach
Tide pools like moonscapes
The rise and fall in Thor’s Well is mesmerizing.
Spouting Horn blow hole
Cape Perpetua overlook
Farewell to our mascot, who stayed with us all weekend

Back in town, where it’s cooled off a bit. Time to work out my next design!

3 skeins of yarn: white speckle, gray, and yellow

I’ve gone through two design ideas so far. One would require an extra skein of speckled yarn, so no go on that one. It’s risky to order another and expect that the speckles will be the same (ask me how I know). Both this idea and the next idea involve working from the large end to the small end, in order to make the motif right side up. It’s a lot more planning and math, but it will be worth it. I hope. Onward!

More assigned pooling

I guess I’m not done with assigned pooling yet! I had this monster skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Plushy left from teaching a previous planned pooling class. I was stack pooling it, but I put it aside when class was over.

For planned pooling to stack, I need to keep my eye on my knitting, adjusting my tension as needed to make the colors stack or move slightly to the left or right. But I don’t usually look at my knitting; I’m usually reading blogs or my Kindle. So planned pooling means I have to be more mindful. Right now I want to be more mindless!

This is why I’m really enjoying the assigned pooling. It just takes an occasional glance to see when it’s time to work the pooling stitches. That’s much more relaxing for me because I don’t have to control the tension. So I’m knitting a cowl, approximately 34 inches in circumference (making a wild guess based on the piece that was previously on the US 10 needles). I’m using the sunburst stitch whenever the deep red-purple appears.

Plushy is an Aran weight yarn (Ravelry says worsted and I disagree), 3.5 to 4 sts per inch, 330 yards/270g. I think this color is Let Your Love Light Shine. It’s spectacularly cheery!

Still occasionally knitting the white linen too, while my mind chews on how I want to arrange these three skeins of Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering. I have an idea…but it’s going to take a lot of mental gymnastics before I get there.

Seven essential tools in my knitting bag

I’m pretty streamlined when it comes to tools; I love things that are inexpensive, portable, and useful. Here are seven things you’ll find in each of my project bags. (I only have three project bags, so it’s not difficult to stock them with my favorite tools. Monogamous knitter? Pretty much.)

Susan Bates Universal Row Counter

It’s a row counter! It’s a stitch marker! It’s my favorite knitting helper. I use this at the beginning of my round, or one stitch into the row if I’m knitting flat. It keeps track of my rows/rounds, and I never lose it in my knitting bag because it’s always attached to my knitting. Perfect!

Clover flexible stitch markers

A row counter keeps track of your knitting vertically, and stitch markers keep track of your knitting horizontally. Marking off pattern repeats helps keep you on track before you go too far astray. These soft ring markers are simple and effective. Don’t forget to have some locking markers too, for catching dropped stitches until you can fix them!

Tape Measure

Keeping track of my progress is fun with my tape measures. The Lantern Moon sheep is my favorite. The tail comes out to measure in inches and centimeters, and pops back in with the push of a button. Cuuuuute.

Cable Hook, J shaped

A cable hook is for…cabling? Yes and no. I usually do my cables without a hook, unless the cable is wider than 3 over 3 stitches. But I find a cable hook to be very helpful for holding a stitch while I manipulate other stitches, as in a brioche 4 stitch decrease. The J shape is essential for this; it holds the stitch securely and also gets out of my way. I like the thin metal ones better than the thick plastic ones. The J hook is also great for fixing mistakes in a column of brioche, like this: https://youtu.be/bgWr2TrXvOk

Susan Bates Handi Tool

This small tool is a lifesaver! It has a crochet hook on one end, and a knitting needle on the other. It’s perfect for picking up dropped stitches, and for working tiny repairs.

Snips (kitty or puppy or octopus or…)

I mean, you could break the yarn (tough with linen), or you could use these cute snips!

Bent tip tapestry needles

You’re going to need a tapestry needle to sew in your ends. I really like the bent tip needles for scooping into my stitches. Bonus: This cute little case has a place on the cap where you can attach your snips. That keeps everything you need for finishing your project, all in one place. There’s so much satisfaction in a finished object!

These are the seven essential tools in my project bags. What do you like to keep in yours?

Bossy hat!

I finished the hat with the criss-cross stitches, and the earband with the sunbursts. I love them both. I think the name for them is Bossy, because the yarn tells you what to do.

You may remember that I frogged a perfectly good sunburst hat to knit the criss-cross version. After all of that, I think I like the sunbursts better after all!

But I’m not going to frog it and knit it again. That would be silly.

These, along with my Shall We Dance cowl, show the ideas we’ll address in my Planned and Assigned Pooling class at Knit Maine in September. Students can choose which project they’d like to make; the class yarn (Yarn Snob Wonderful Worsted in Cabana Boy) can do any of these things. I’ve written up the class notes; do you want it to be a pattern, too?

What tickles your fancy? Have you tried planned pooling or assigned pooling? Or is it on your bucket list? So many questions!

Loose Lace Quick Fix

Say that three times quickly!

We’re having a gorgeous week, and I’m making the most of my outdoor space. I’m currently swatching for a little cowl, and it’s not even brioche! The yarn here is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Cackle. I have 75g left from my Brioche Knit Love book projects, and that’s enough for the kind of cowl I want. I hope.

The edging features this favorite motif of mine. It’s called cats paw, but I see it as a flower. What I don’t like about it today is that the stitches above the yarnovers look sloppy, and it detracts from the motif.

So now I’m knitting through the back loop on the stitch above the yarn over, on the next right side row. (It wouldn’t help to knit through the back loop on the very next row; that would close the eyelet.) I love how it makes the center of the flower pop. But the stitch above the upper right eyelet looks a little prominent (more so in real life than in this picture).

It looks better if I twist the stitch in the opposite direction. Now it mirrors the one on the left perfectly. I *could* twist all the ones on the right side of the motif this way, but it’s fussy and doesn’t really show in real life. So just the top right one for me! You do you. I definitely like this better than the first picture!

We had a milestone last night. Puddletown Knitters Guild has been Zooming through the pandemic, but last night we had our first hybrid meeting!

I was impressed by all the equipment it took to make this happen. Multiple mics, sound mixer, speaker, 2 laptops, projector, 2 extra iPhone cameras. There was probably more than that involved; that’s just what I could see. Thanks so much to the guild for making this happen, and in a new space (we outgrew the old one).

Anne Berk was the speaker, and she talked about her favorite kind of knitting: intarsia, or Annetarsia! I’ve taken her Annetarsia in-the-round class; she made it so easy. She and I have the same attitude about knitting: It needs to be fun!

If you’re interested in learning intarsia, Anne’s book is a great place to start. You can find it here.

Is intarsia on your bucket list? Brioche? (I have a book for that!) Lace? Stranded colorwork? Do tell!

Blueberry desserts, on repeat

I finally got around to baking that blueberry nectarine galette, and it was delicious.

Served à la mode. Happy Bastille Day!

It took me a while to get to it, because I had a hankering for cobbler, and I needed the kids to come over for dinner to help eat it. I took it outside to cool, so Calvin couldn’t get it. Love that early evening light, so directional!

This is the first time I’ve made the galette this large. I think I prefer them smaller, more like a hand pie. So I’d make a half recipe of the crust here, which I usually do, but divide it in two next time. (A quarter recipe per galette, which is the size of the one in the collage below.) And then just fill it in with whatever fruit is on hand. Which means blueberries, for now.

I’ve put 2 gallons of blueberries into the freezer, but during blueberry season I’m always looking for ways to use them fresh. I’m dreaming of a parfait with a crushed gingersnap bottom, vanilla pastry cream, blueberries, and whipped cream layered.

Like the blueberry cream pie (upper right corner), but in 8 ounce jelly jars. Or! Crushed lemon wafer cookies, lemon curd, whipped cream, and blueberries. Also in cute jars. Tall small mouth jars? Short wide mouth jars? A baked crust in the jar? Hmmmmm. As long as the berries keep coming, I have time to play.

Do you like to play in the kitchen? I’m always thinking about how I’d like to tweak things!

Blueberries galore

The 25 year old blueberry bush is in overdrive this year. I’m picking, picking, picking. Two gallons so far, and there’s more. We have some raspberries, too.

So far I’ve baked a blueberry cobbler for a friend recovering from knee surgery, a blueberry cream pie for tonight’s happy hour gathering, and I’m planning to bake galettes tomorrow. DH won’t have the cobbler or pie (can’t present those with a chunk cut out!), so the galette is for him. Recipe posts are hyperlinked, in case you need to make these, too.