Introducing: Leafy Origami Cowl

large cowl

The Leafy Origami Cowl is a 2-color brioche cowl, knit in the round from the bottom up. It features a stitch pattern that falls into mountain and valley folds, just like origami. The result is a delightfully three dimensional fabric. It’s knit with 2 colors of worsted weight yarn; I used Malabrigo Rios.

small cowl

The beginning of the round moves forward and backward on several rounds to keep the center vein of the first leaf as the first stitch of the round, making this a challenging brioche pattern. The results are worth it! I’ve made several video tutorials to guide you through the increases, decreases, and moving the markers. The stitch pattern is adapted from the Under Dutch Skies stitch pattern in Nancy Marchant’s book, Knitting Fresh Brioche.

A better view of all those leaves

This pattern is available through Ravelry and through Payhip for 10% off through December 16, 2020 with coupon code FOLDS. Newsletter subscribers, see your special offer in your inbox.

large cowl

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, Elizabeth Forester, and Wendy Sakai.

small cowl, with colors reversed

I hope you enjoy knitting this as much as I did! Four cowls later, I’m still smitten. You know I love leaves, and you know I love brioche. This is a perfect combo for me.

This is my last pattern release for the year. 2020 has been strange, but ultimately productive. Hunkering down and knitting has had some benefits. I hope you’re making the best of 2020, too. Carry on…

On the needles: Katie’s Kep

I’m knitting away on Katie’s Kep, a free pattern from Shetland Wool Week. Anne Lindquist at For Yarn’s Sake put together 5 different color kits, based on the ones in the pattern. This made it really easy for me to choose my colors without agonizing over what goes with what. Thanks, Anne!

I’ll be teaching a stranded colorwork Zoom class with this pattern in January for For Yarn’s Sake, twice! Both classes are sold out already. Should we add another one?

I’ve been struggling a bit with this project. It’s not a pattern problem; the pattern is well written and easy to follow. The charts are great. The problem is my needle; the stitches keep getting caught on the join between the cable and the needle of this 16” ebony circular. Yesterday I decided I’d had enough, so I walked up to Close Knit and purchased a new needle. I wanted a wooden needle, hoping to avoid gauge changes when swapping. The old needle is ebony, and the new needle is from the Knitter’s Pride Ginger line. The smooth join makes knitting this project much more enjoyable!

While I was swapping needles, I took the opportunity to measure for gauge and try on the hat while the stitches had room to spread out. It’s definitely big enough for my biggish head! The hat is supposed to measure 56 cm, which Alexa says is 22 inches. And that’s pretty much what I have. (I love that I can ask Alexa to do my conversions for me, so I don’t have to look it up and do the math.)

You might wonder how I got so far without checking gauge. I mostly don’t do gauge swatches for hats, knowing that I don’t usually wear hats, and that the hat is a sample and will fit *someone*. By the time you cast on enough stitches to knit a gauge swatch, you may as well have jumped into the hat project, if you’re willing to rip if it’s way off. And so I do. (Hint number one from class.)

Also, stranded colorwork always looks lumpy and bumpy before it’s blocked. Fear not; things will calm down. Clearly, I haven’t washed and blocked my swatch (for looks nor for gauge), since I didn’t knit one. I’m fine with that. Again, you have to assess your own risk tolerance. (Hint number two from class!)

I may order one more ball of the background color; the pattern doesn’t use much of the patterning color, and with one more ball of background I think I could get a second hat. Eventually. When I catch up with myself! (The kits have 2 balls of the background color, but you won’t use all of the second ball.)

Have you knit stranded colorwork? Did you enjoy it? Have you *cut* your stranded colorwork?

Oh! I’m also teaching a class on cutting your first steek! Homework is knitting a simple coffee coaster, in the round. We reinforce the steek and cut and finish during class. February 21 through For Yarn’s Sake. Cutting a coaster is much less fraught than cutting your first steek on a sweater you’ve knit for months!

Log Cabin blocks

And! I’m also teaching Log Cabin knitting on February 7 for For Yarn’s Sake. Easy-peasy garter stitch knitting.

Okay, back to my knitting. Actually, I have to take one more picture, and then I can publish my Leafy Origami pattern. So many (figurative) hats to wear: Photographer, knitter, designer, publisher, teacher… At least they don’t mess up my hair. Onward!

Log Cabin Knitting, and the last classes of 2020

I taught two classes over the weekend, Log Cabin Knitting for Twisted, and Tink Drop Frog for For Yarn’s Sake. I love these classes; they’re relaxed and fun. Perfect for December knitting.

Log Cabin blocks

Log cabin squares are such easy knitting; it’s all garter stitch. Once you know where to pick up your stitches (where to stick it!), it’s a relaxing knit all the way.

I decided after class that my blanket needed some repair, and a bath. So she got both. I knit this from 2007 to 2009. It was supposed to be a scrap project, but as it got bigger I had to buy more yarn. Twice! This is knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, a non-superwash wool. I soaked it in my top-loading washing machine, but didn’t agitate. No felting, please! The original scraps were from my Felted Slip Stitch Tote design projects, when that was a thing. The pattern is “How to Log Cabin” from the first Mason Dixon Knitting book; this was my very first log cabin knitting project.

Tink bear

Sunday’s Tink Drop Frog class was the first time I’ve taught it via Zoom. I’ve been teaching this class for a decade, and it’s always lots of fun to help kntters become the boss of their knitting! And it works just fine in Zoom, too, maybe even a little better since everyone can see my hands at the same time.

I’m teaching both of these classes for Virtual Vogue Knitting Live this coming weekend. The Tink class is full, but there’s still room in the Log Cabin class. I’m also teaching Next Steps in Brioche/Increases and Decreases with my Deep End hat or cowl or Madrona Cowl, and Cast On/ Bind Off.

What are you knitting in December? I have 2 hats on the needles. One is a sample for a January class, and one is a swatch for a sweater for DH. And I have visions of another Log Cabin project dancing in my head. Hmmm, I may be outrunning my fingers here!

Knitting with fairy lights

The strangest fiber I’ve knit with so far? Candy laces from IKEA. But then I saw knitted fairy lights in my Twitter feed, so I had to try it.

I wanted to knit a ribbon of light for my Christmas wreath. I used an e-loop cast on (too hard to work long tail cast on with wire) and cast on 5 stitches using US size 9 needles. Why size 9? I want the needles to stay in the project, and my straight needles were too long! These are the biggest dpns I have that I don’t care about scratching with wire. I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my ebony needles. Stitches have to be pretty loose on the needle so you can get your other needle into the stitch; wire is not stretchy like wool.

I’d really like a longer ribbon, but the product description online was inaccurate, so I have two strands this length instead of one long one. Here’s the first set! 32 feet/100 LED lights. I may make a little bow with the second set, and see if I can hide a second battery box behind the wreath somehow. You have to decide if you’re casting on from the battery box end, or the far end. I used the far end because I wanted to end with my needles near the battery pack so I could tuck it near the top of the wreath.

Action shot! The lights are programmable to be steady, twinkle, or six other patterns.

After this bit of fun, I went looking for the original source for this idea, and it’s from @leila_raven on Instagram. She actually has instructions with needle sizes and cast on numbers for a knitted swatch. I didn’t realize there would be instructions, so I just cast on and ran with it. It couldn’t be harder than knitting with candy laces, right?

Happy holidays!

Is brioche reversible?

Someone asked me recently if they could just turn a 2 color brioche cowl inside out, and have the other color be the main color. And the answer is yes, and no.

In plain 2 color brioche rib, turning the piece inside out looks pretty much like a positive/negative reversal of color. But with increases and decreases, the stitches don’t exactly match.

Here’s the RS of my Leafy Origami Cowl. Note how the edges of each leaf come together to close up the top of the leaf, and the stem of the next leaf comes from that point.

On the reverse side, the leaves don’t close at the top, and there’s no stem to begin the next leaf. It’s pretty, but not exactly the same.

I’m knitting a smaller cowl with the colors reversed; this is the RS. The blue shows up pretty well as the main color, better than you can see in this picture.

Here’s the inside. Again, the tops of the leaves don’t close up, and there’s no stem to begin the leaf above it. Both sides are pretty, but not exactly the same, stitch-wise. You can wear it either way; it’s your cowl! Or it could be, after the pattern gets published in December.

Here’s a look at the outside and inside of my Brioche Pastiche hat. Mostly, I choose the brighter color to be the patterning color on the RS of my fabric, because light colors pop against the dark so they’re easier for your eye to read the pattern. If I wanted that interesting WS pattern to be the light color on the RS, I’d knit this with colors reversed, and then turn it inside out.

Calvin, so helpful with photography

DH just gave me this charcuterie board with my logo engraved on it. He’s impressed with how I’ve pivoted in 2020 and adapted to teach online via Zoom, and make and edit videos for the Knitting Circle. He wanted to honor the growth of PDXKnitterati. So sweet! In case you want to know, the board is from Amy Berg at Birchwood and Main (Facebook link).

And a reminder! The Indie Designer Gift-a-Long sale on Ravelry runs through midnight Eastern tonight (9 pm Pacific). My designs are in my GAL bundle on my Ravelry designer page here, and a listing of all designers is in this Ravelry thread here. Coupon code is giftalong2020 for 25% off participating patterns.

The Fasten Off Yarn-Along sale continues through December 5, also 25% off. Code for that sale is FO2020. My patterns in the sale are here, and you can search for patterns from all participating designers on the Fasten Off YAL site here.

Happy knitting!

Stitch-Alongs: YAL edition

Still dreaming of sweaters. I perused the Fasten Off Yarn-Along sweater offerings, keeping in mind sweaters for me, and for DH. He deserves a sweater, too! Maybe for his birthday in January, though. No gift knitting pressure, right?

photo copyright UkeeKnits

I really like the yoke design on Big Crush by UkeeKnits (Payhip link). It’s simple, meaningful, and sweet. It’s knit top down, Aran weight, so it would be quick. The pattern has 3/4 length sleeves, so there would have to be some “mannifying” adjustments, but overall it looks great.

photo copyright Mona Zillah

This is Snowflake Man by Mona Zillah, aka bunnymuff (Payhip link). It’s knit top down, looks to be about DK weight yarn at 22 sts/4 inches. I’d have to pick some quieter colors for DH, but the math is already done as far as making it DH-shaped.

photo copyright Paola Albergamo

While I was looking through all the YAL offerings, I came across Paola Albergamo’s designs. She has several brioche pieces, and they are fun and inventive! The buttoned poncho is very cool looking, and looks like it would be fun to knit.

You can look at all the patterns from participating designers in the Fasten Off YAL here. It’s searchable by designer name, and by type of project. Use the code FO2020 for 25% off any of these patterns through December 5.

Now I have to make some decisions, and buy some yarn! Hope you’re settling in to a cozy knitting season, too.

Stitch-Alongs: GAL edition

Catching up after Thanksgiving, and dreaming of knitting! So what does a designer look for, when perusing the offerings in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, and the Fasten Off YAL? Something I wouldn’t design myself! I just ran through the offerings on Ravelry for the GAL. I’m dreaming of a yoke sweater, since apparently I like to knit them. You know I had a Love Note (designed by TinCanKnits) infatuation this year; that one was top down and a dream to knit, three times!

photo copyright Kay Hopkins

This is the Puget Sound Pullover by Kay Hopkins, aka Knit for the Soul (Ravelry link). The colorwork is done with mosaic knitting, which means one color per round. And it’s top down, so all the fun happens at the beginning. DK weight, sounds good.

photo copyright Crissy Jarvis/Amanda Scheuzger

Can a yoked sweater be even more enticing to me? This is Helenium by Amanda Scheuzger, aka HandMaineKnits (Ravelry link). Worsted weight, bottom up, so a little bit heavier, but oh, that brioche yoke! My Stopover sweaters (designed by Mary Jane Mucklestone) were also bottom up, with that exciting joining of 3 tubes to get to the yoke.

I bought both patterns, and they’ll hang out in my library while I dream of knitting. I’m still planning to look at patterns in the Fasten Off YAL, too, but that sale goes on a bit longer. The Ravelry sale ends Monday at midnight EST; use code giftalong2020 for 25% off any of the included designs by 250 participating designers. Nothing like the power of a deadline! Have you taken advantage of the GAL sale?

Next up: I’m going to peruse the YAL offerings. I’m being supervised by Calvin…and Darth Vader.

Thanksgiving recap

For those of you who wanted to know how the buttermilk brined, spatchcocked turkey went: It was fantastic. The kids said it was the best turkey they’ve ever had. Calling that a win!

Someone had to guard the turkey from the cats as it came to room temperature before roasting. Good job, Phil!

The turkey roasted up beautifully. I tented it with foil for the last half hour.

It is so hard to get a decent picture without natural light! And yes, a petite serving, but that’s what happens when I’m in the kitchen all day, and tasting as I go. Have to make sure it’s good! My Dad’s stuffing? Stellar.

I opened a special bottle of wine for the occasion, and sent half of it off with the kids. In a mason jar. Classy! But I wasn’t ready to give up the bottle/label yet. This was part of the swag from the solar eclipse watch at Willamette Valley Vineyards in 2017,

Great memories!

Pumpkin pie for dessert.

And breakfast!

We were happy to share dinner with the kids, picked up distantly from the porch. And we Zoomed with DH’s family in the morning.

Annual family picture, 2020 style

I’m hoping for a more normal Thanksgiving next year, but we have much to be thankful for, now. Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

Fasten Off Yarn-Along

Here’s the scoop on the new Fasten Off Yarn-Along! The event runs from November 25 (9 pm Eastern) to December 31, 2020. The pattern sale period is from November 25 to December 5. I’m quoting from the official website:

“The Fasten Off Yarnalong event (“FO2020” for short) grew out of a need to have an off-Ravelry alternative to the annual Independent Designers Giftalong. Many designers and stitchers would love to participate there, but either can’t or won’t, due to Ravelry’s serious accessibility problems 🔗. But nobody wanted to miss out on the discounts and the sense of community and fun which that event brings; and designers didn’t want to miss out on the end-of-year sales boost, and what is essentially a great awareness campaign for them.”

There are 93 designers participating in the YAL. You can participate on the Fasten Off YAL page on Facebook, follow the Fasten Off YAL Instagram account, follow the Fasten Off YAL Twitter account, and discussions on the FO YAL’s event server on Discord. Holy cats, do I feel old typing that and figuring out what it means…but I’m game for some new fun! FB and Instagram I can handle, so Discord is just one new thing, right?

Here’s my page for the YAL. I have 20 patterns included in the sale; they’re the same 20 patterns that I have in the Indie Gift-a-Long sale on Ravelry. Coupon code is FO2020 through my Payhip shop for the YAL; the sale runs from November 25 to December 5. (Choose whichever way to purchase is more convenient for you. If keeping a Ravelry library copy is important to you, you can purchase my GAL patterns through Ravelry; the code is giftalong2020 over there.)

You can double dip with your projects in both the GAL and the YAL. More opportunities for prizes! Use the hashtags #FastenOff2020 and #FastenOffYAL to participate on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. See the Fasten Off YAL website for a full rundown on details.

Okay, back to what’s cooking! Our Thanksgiving plans are to make a lovely dinner, and leave it packed up on the porch for the kids to pick up and take home. DH and I will dine here, with cats watching. We’ll go back to celebrations next year, I hope. If it’s super nice out, we could dine in the back yard, but I don’t think it will be warm enough. Or dry enough.

Since we’re not having the usual, the traditional, the must-always-be-the-same…I’m going to roast a smaller buttermilk brined turkey. I’ll spatchcock it so it’s a quicker cooking bird, per Samin Nosrat. Check out her video; she makes it look so easy! Then it’s back to our traditional dishes. We’ll have our favorite stuffing (my dad’s recipe, which is basically Chinese sausage and oyster fried rice, with water chestnuts, celery, onion), roasted brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. And gravy of course. Cranberry sauce is on its way from Cousin Gwen in NY.

I’m starting to think about classes in real life in the second half of 2021. I hope we have a handle on Covid-19 by then! I’m encouraged by the news of vaccine development; now there are 3 in the pipeline. I love teaching, both in person and via Zoom, but it would be so nice to have a choice of formats! For now, I’m thankful that I can still teach knitters to be the boss of their knitting, either way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Indie Design Gift-A-Long

It’s the sparkliest time of the year: The Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry starts tonight! I’m one of 250 participating indie designers this year.

The pattern sale runs from Tuesday, November 24 at 8:00 pm US EST – Monday, November 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm US EST. The coupon code is giftalong2020 and it’s good for 25% off any of the participating patterns from all the designers. My designs are in the GAL bundle on my designer page, here.

The KAL/CALs will run from Tuesday, November 24 at 8pm (US-EST) through New Years Eve December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale. You do need to be a member of the GAL group to win prizes.

You can see all 250 participating designers in this thread. I’m having a good time looking through the list and picking patterns I want to knit! Eventually. Or at least in my mind…

I don’t really gift knit for the holidays (too much pressure), but this is a great time to stock up on patterns for the knitting year! And participating in the KAL at a relaxed pace sounds good to me. How about you? Are you a deadline gift knitter?

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about an alternative knitalong, in case you’re not able to use Ravelry…or if you want to do it in addition to Ravelry! You can use your same projects in that KAL, too. I’ll have the same patterns available with a different discount code on my Payhip store. I’m not really sure about all the social media channels for sharing that KAL, but I’ll find out and put that in my post, too.

Onward!