Nymphaea Shawl FO number 3!

I started this shawl for the Nymphaea Fall Shawl Retreat last year, and set it aside sometime after my last post about it in November 2018. Other design projects were calling my name. You can see my progress up to that point in the previous blog post, with lots of thoughts about color and beads.

So when the Bead Biz ladies asked if they could borrow my sample for their shows, I decided now would be a good time to finish!

I was already on the 10th repeat of the ZigZag Lace pattern, and that was about where I wanted to end up. There’s enough yarn left for at least another partial repeat, maybe a half? But deadlines are deadlines, so I finished the 10th repeat and went on to the edging.

I was planning to use the dove gray pearl beads on the edging, but the yarn in the Soft Kitty colorway was tabby striping, and the beads weren’t really adding anything to the story. So I ripped back and changed to peacock beads, to pick up the teal from the last repeat. I love it.

The finished shawl is so beautiful; can I really stand to let it out of my custody to go to west coast shows with Bead Biz?

Sure, as long as it comes back soon. The yarn is from Fierce Fibers, her Abyss base (with silk!) in the Surf and Sand gradient. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Finally!

The original shawl was knit with a mini skein gradient.

The second shawl was knit with 2 435 yard semi solid skeins from Bumblebirch. (Lots of CC left over.)

And this third shawl was knit with a 650 yard gradient from Fierce Fibers, plus a 50g skein of contrasting yarn.

I love them all!

Color is a funny thing

Color is a funny thing. I learn a lot about it by trial and error.

I bought these two skeins of of Malabrigo Worsted to play with some more brioche ideas. I wanted the multi-color to be the main color, and the Polar Frost to be the contrast color.

But the multi doesn’t really stand out here, or look very organized.

The back side is a little more cohesive; you can tell where the stitch columns are. This made me think that the semi-solid should be the MC, and the multi should be the CC. But this combination doesn’t really have much spark.

So I bought more yarn. This is how a non-swatcher accumulates a stash, by the way.

Now we’re cooking! I like this orange on the right side.

And because of the contrast with the bright orange, the multi-colored wrong side looks more cohesive, too.

What am I making? I’m just playing with a couple brioche ideas right now. We’ll see how it turns out!

Introducing Syncopation shawl and scarf!

Syncopation adds so much to music, and to brioche knitting, too!

My Syncopation is a brioche asymmetric triangle shawl or scarf, knit from narrow end to wide end. The interplay between the dark rib and light edging is enhanced by the playful dance of the leafy border. It’s knit in fingering weight yarn in 2 coordinating colors, one skein of each.

I designed the shawl first. It’s a deep triangle, slightly off center due to its asymmetry. Gravity makes it feel like it’s knit on the bias, with that lovely bias swing.

After I finished the shawl, I wanted to design a scarf with the same yardage, so it could be longer to easily wrap twice around my neck. Making it longer means it’s also narrower/shallower because it doesn’t grow in width (depth) as quickly.

I wasn’t sure how it would wrap until it was off the needles and blocked; it’s so long and skinny for much of it. But it does exactly what I wanted. I love it when that happens.

I’m really happy with both pieces!

Size is easily adjustable, simply by using more or less yardage. I used Hazel Knits Entice MCN for both shawl and scarf.

Options are given for plain or fancy endings; I love the syncopated rib ending with the single leaf point at the corner. Knitter’s choice!

Syncopation is a great way to take a next step in brioche knitting. This pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through October 3, no coupon code needed.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Tami Hawes, Jacqueline Lydston, Eden Scheans, and Jardee Worcester.

Time jump! Fall knitting and events

Well, the rest of August went by in a flash! It’s time to catch up and think about fall.

I have a new shawl coming out soon; it’s syncopated brioche and I’m in LUV. So squishy. It’s being test knit now, and I plan to have it out before Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival later this month. If you’d like to know when it’s out, and get a discount on this and other new releases, sign up for my newsletter here!

I just celebrated my birthday; my friend Carole made me this beautiful (and delicious) cake for a gathering with friends. And I had a great dinner out with the family, too. September is my celebration month: birthday, anniversary, back to school, back to knitting (not that I ever stopped). But the festivals and retreats start up again!

I’m so excited about teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in Columbus, November 1-3! As part of the preparation for that, I’m doing an Instagram takeover of the VKLive account on Tuesday, September 10. Follow me on Instagram, pdxknitterati, and VK Live, vogueknitlive to be in the loop. I’ll be doing a giveaway on my Instagram page for a Buckeye Daytripper Package, so follow me and comment to win!

The last day of VKLive Early Bird registration is Tuesday September 10; prices go up at midnight EDT. Registration info is here.

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is September 28-29 (some classes are on Friday the 27th, too). Today (September 8) is the last day of online registration. My Brioche Pastiche class is full, but there’s still room in my Slip Stitch/mosaic class if you’d like to come knit with me. You can register on-site for classes that still have space, but registering early is better, as classes can be canceled if there aren’t enough people signed up for them. It pays to plan ahead!

My Seeing Stars Fall Shawl Retreat is October 11-13. It’s a very small retreat, so if you want to come, please sign up soon! We sold out last year. I have room for 7 knitters max. We’re knitting Lucky Star with very beautiful yarn from Mosaic Moon.

Oh! I’m speaking at the Tigard Knitting Guild meeting on Thursday, September 19. Social knitting is at 6, and I go on at 7 pm. Come hear about my design process! It’s evolving, just like me. Not a member? You can visit for two meetings before deciding if you’d like to join.

Back to my knitting…happy fall!

Introducing: Kittiwake!

I love linen in the summer. It’s cool and crisp, and feels just right to wear. I’m hoping for a long slow slide into fall, because I’m not done with summer yet!

Kittiwake is a breezy summer shell that knits up quickly in Kestrel, Quince & Co’s Aran weight chainette linen. The chainette keeps it light and airy, and is easier on my hands for knitting.

Worked flat in 2 pieces from the hem up, Kittiwake features an undulating wave edging and a simple lace pattern that resembles a kittiwake, or gull.

I’ve included three hem options: Plain hem, split hem, and split shirttail hem. Instructions are both written and charted.

I’ve also swatched this with Berroco’s Remix, and it makes a lovely fabric that is spot on for gauge.

The pattern is now available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through date, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a special offer in the upcoming newsletter. Want to subscribe? Click here!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitter Ann Berg. Thanks also to my sister Sharon for modeling with me!

FO: Soldotna Crop

I tried on my Soldotna Crop halfway through the bind off, and it either needed to be a little shorter or a lot longer. I thought it would be cuter as a little cropped thing, so I ripped back and took out some of the body dot section. I’m pretty short waisted, so 5 completed dot repeats is plenty on me. Now it’s a cropped crop!

Sleeve finishing: I had 59 sts per sleeve based on my change at the body/sleeve division. I picked up 5 sts at each underarm (where I bound off 3 sts); the two extra stitches are to avoid holes there, and also because I need a multiple of 4 to make the ribbing work. 59+5=64; perfect.

I first finished this with green at the waist, but decided that I didn’t like a bright green horizontal line across my midsection. So I swapped it out with the dark purple instead. I had also finished the sleeves in green (just following directions!) but having so much green at the yoke and sleeves made it read as a green sweater. I wanted a purple one. I tried the dark purple here, but it was too much of a statement; it needed to be either green or light purple, like the motif just above it. I think the light purple is perfect.

A little steam blocking, and it’s ready to rock and roll. BTW this turned out to be 38” at the bust, which is fine for me. Gauge…

I finished this in less than two weeks, even though I knit most of it twice! Which means it’s a really quick knit in real life.

And it’s so cute! It’s perfect for now through fall.

So what is this monogamous knitter knitting now?

I’m swatching some Berroco Remix, a nylon/cotton/acrylic/silk/linen blend, as an alternative to Kestrel for my upcoming Kittiwake pattern release. It’s looking like it will be a good alternative. It’s soft and cottony, rather than crisp like linen. Choose what works for you!

In the meantime, I’m dreaming of a new shawl, probably brioche. We’ll see what happens next!

Seeing Stars Fall Shawl Retreat Oct. 11-13

Just a reminder, registration is open for our Seeing Stars Fall Shawl Retreat. This is a small retreat in the Columbia River Gorge, near Camas. I’m doing this with crochet designer Laurinda Reddig, and both of our shawls feature stars!

I’ll be featuring my better garter tab for top down crescent shawls, which helps reduce the hump that can occur at the center neck. Who wants a humpy lumpy neck? Not me!

I’ll also be showing how to make your stars even bigger! Laurinda was inspired to design her Star Bright shawl based on my Lucky Star shawl, and I was inspired to make even bigger stars based on her Star Bright. Synchronicity!

This year we’re featuring yarn from Mosaic Moon at the retreat; the colors are shown above on the right. I hope you can join us. Registration is limited to 7 knitters and 7 crocheters, so if you want to come, please register now.

And for those of you who are following my Soldotna Crop progress, I’m nearing the finish line!

I made it down to the bind off and tried it on. I decided that it really would be better a bit more cropped, so I ripped back and eliminated some of the body pattern. It looks better now that you can see that I have a waist.

I’m finishing the arms, and then I have to figure out what I want to do with the neck. Right now it’s just sitting on a provisional cast on. I think I want a small stockinette roll at the neck, but I’m not sure yet. And same color? Contrasting color? Hmmmm. Opinions, anyone?

Introducing: Hopscotch!

You know how much I love brioche knitting. I’ve fallen so far down the brioche rabbit hole, first with 2 color brioche in the round, then increases and decreases. What’s next? Flat brioche. Flat brioche, syncopated. If you swap the knits and purls in a brioche rib column, you get a reversal of color pop! Now I want to share how to do that with you.

Hopscotch is a syncopated brioche scarf, knit from end to end. It’s knit with two 100g balls of worsted weight yarn in contrasting colors. Gradients make an especially nice Hopscotch scarf. This version is in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted, Drawing Room and Natural.

The playful interchange between brioche knit and brioche purl stitches within a column of brioche rib creates a delightful quilt block inspired pattern. Reverse image right side and wrong side are equally handsome; choose two contrasting colors and jump right in!

Hopscotch is a great way to take a next step in brioche knitting. Some prior experience in brioche knitting is helpful; I recommend my free Petite Brioche pattern for learning two color brioche rib in the round.

The Hopscotch scarf pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through August 9, 2019, no coupon needed. Newsletter subscribers will receive a coupon code for 20% off in today’s newsletter.

Test Knitter Ann’s Hopscotch in Pegasus and Natural, Knit Picks Chroma Wosrsted.

I’ve just scheduled a Hopscotch syncopated brioche class at For Yarn’s Sake on October 20. I’m also teaching this at Twisted on November 16. Come knit with me!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Laura Caudle, Melinda Davis, Chris French, and Eden Scheans. I hope they all had as much fun as I did!

Yarn color dominance tutorial and Soldotna update

I didn’t realize I was almost done with the yoke by the time I finished auditioning my color combinations. Now we’re just flying along!

Remember I said that I hadn’t done a proper gauge swatch? Yeah, that. The stated gauge for this project is 5.5 sts/inch. Now that there was plenty of knitting on the needles, I could see that my gauge was varying between 5.5 to 6 stitches/inch, depending on which color work motif I was working. I was bouncing between holding both yarns in my right hand, and holding a color in each hand, depending on the motif, so that also added to my inconsistency.

I’m going to take a moment here to digress about color work yarn management, and yarn color dominance. You can put a color on each side of you, left and right, and pick up and drop each color as needed. Don’t twist them around each other as you work. This is how I teach my beginning color work class. Another option for yarn management is to carry a color in each hand, so you’re knitting continental/picking with one and throwing/English with the other. The third option is to carry two colors in one hand. Here’s how I carry both in my right hand. (I still can’t manage both in my left.) This is an old video, so it doesn’t address color dominance.

Yarn color dominance! For most knitters, the yarn coming from the left is going to be dominant in your knitting. It’s going to show up more because it’s coming from underneath the other color, which makes the stitch a tiny bit taller because it has to travel further to the needle. See how my white stitches look bigger than the green ones on the vertical stripes on the left, and vice versa on the right? So choose which color you want to be dominant in each 2 color section, and be consistent!

Okay, back to the sweater. I hadn’t washed and blocked a swatch, so that’s another level of the unknown. I’m guessing that the 6 sts/inch section (1×1 vertical stripes) will relax a bit when I wash and block the sweater, so that’s fine. If the piece is a little too narrow, I can block it a bit wider. If it’s a little too wide, I can block it a little longer, which will steal a bit from the width. It’s superwash wool, so it can be very stretchy when it’s wet, and I can play with all that. (This is a big experiment on my part; I’ll let you know how it turns out! You’re my companion in this adventure.)

Anyway, I had planned to work the body in just the Iris (light purple) color, but when I started knitting it that way, it was boring. And the fabric was so much lighter in weight than the color work yoke. So I’ve decided to put in the white flecks for interest. But not the dark purple ones, because they barely show up, so it’s not worth that effort. This all means I’ll have more plain Iris stockinette rounds, which is great for multitasking/reading while I knit.

But! When I checked my gauge on the plain stockinette, I was getting 5 sts/inch, which would give me a 44 inch sweater, rather than the desired 40 inch sweater. My options were to either go down a needle size or two, or to refigure the number of stitches in the body. Since I knew my gauge and liked the fabric with my current needles, I opted for THE MATH. Which wasn’t hard.

When dividing for the sleeves, I needed to make sure I ended up with 200 stitches (instead of 220) for the body. I could do this by casting on fewer stitches at underarm (3 instead of 9), and putting a few more of the yoke stitches into the sleeves instead of the body. Done.

Oh, one more thing? The pattern has the beginning of round set at the center back, so there’s a jog there. That’s kind of pleasing, in that it’s very symmetrical. I like symmetry! But I didn’t really like the jog being so visible. So I moved the beginning of the round to be on the back, where the sleeve division occurs. (So from the beginning of round it’s right sleeve, front, left sleeve, back, instead of beginning and ending in the middle of the back.)

The only thing I wish I had done differently would be to put one more plain round between the white flecks. But I’m not going back again.

Test knitter Ann’s Hopscotch

Onward! I’ll keep knitting, but first I need to get ready to publish my Hopscotch Scarf pattern tomorrow. I’m planning a class at Twisted with this pattern to teach syncopated brioche, and that class listing goes live tomorrow. I know what I’m doing this afternoon…

Soldatna color update

Well, it took all morning, but I just had to know for sure.

Here’s the green yoke version.

And here’s the white yoke version. The green and purple arrow section isn’t nearly as compelling as I imagined it would be, I think because of the nearby white. See how much more the green and dark purple stand out from each other on the first picture, when there’s no white near them? It doesn’t work that way in the second picture. Also, the green vertical stripes are harder to read on the white background, than the white vertical stripes on the green.

So I’ll be carrying on with the green yoke/purple and white arrow version!

It’s actually pretty quick knitting, when you’re not knitting two. I started these on Friday, and it’s only Monday afternoon.

Onward!