Count on me! Stitch marker assist

It’s been quiet over here on PDXKnitterati, but that does’t mean there’s nothing happening! It’s been an absolute storm of knitting that I can’t show you. Life is like that sometimes.

Pretty yarn balls

I designed and finished a project that I can tell you about later this month. Woot!

I also designed 4 things for submission, and two of them were accepted. Double woot! But I really can’t show you those, either.

So what can I tell you? Stitch markers. They’re a life saver. Oh, sure, you know about putting them in your knitting to mark off pattern repeats. But do you use them for general counting? I do. Here are two ways.

Casting on: If you’re casting on a huge number of stitches, use stitch markers to mark off increments as you go. If you’re casting on 300 stitches, put a marker after every 20 that you cast on. Check your 20, place marker, continue. You won’t have to recount the whole thing when you’re done. (I actually mark every 50 if I’m using long tail cast on, because it’s so fast.) If you’re casting on something that has a pattern repeat, you can use that repeat number instead, and you’ll be all set for your knitting.

Working long rows: I’ve been knitting something that has about 300 stitches per row, with a simple 4 stitch repeat. It’s easy to zone out and go off track. If I wait until the end of the row to look for errors, it means a lot of tinking if I made an error at the beginning. (Ask me how I know.) So I’ve taken to working a bit, checking my work, putting in a stitch marker, working some more, checking again, putting in a stitch marker…you know the rest. Then I don’t have to re-check the whole row over and over again as I work that one row; I just check the work after the last stitch marker. I take the markers out on the next row.

I decided to start doing this when I found a mistake 8 rows later (the next patterning row), and had to rip out 8 rows of brioche. Ouch.

Lately, the plain round markers by Clover have been my favorite. Nothing dangling, just a little circle so I don’t have to fuss with flipping the marker out of the way.

Except for the beginning row marker, for which I like this barrel counter.

And those locking markers are great for noting a mistake so I can fix it later on the next row or two, without having to rip back the whole thing. Just drop down, fix, and ladder back up.

(Can you tell I’ve been multi-tasking? My knitting has gone off track a bit while my attention wandered. Good think I know how to fix things!)

Do you use stitch markers? What are your favorites?

Oregon Sky love on LoveKnitting

I just found out that my Oregon Sky has been nominated for pattern of the month on LoveKnitting!

In addition to Ravelry, I sell patterns on LoveKnitting, which is based in the United Kingdom. I uploaded Oregon Sky there last month, and it caught someone’s attention!

If you like Oregon Sky, I’d love for you to vote for it. Voting goes through May. Link to LoveKnitting here. You may have to register/log in to vote.

Thanks for playing!

More Brioche, LYS Day

Mmmmm, brioche. It’s been quiet around here, but that’s because I’ve been doing a deep dive.

I’ve gained new skills frogging two color brioche and getting it back on the needles. It’s actually easier than it sounds. I do it by ripping until I’m close, and then tinking a row of both colors at the same time, picking up each stitch as I go. It’s just a variation on how I frog single color knitting; that controlled tink of the last row is key! I’ll eventually make a video, but if you’re desperate, give it a try.

Syncopated brioche knitting

I’m also teaching myself syncopated brioche. This is so much fun. Basically, you change the knit and purl columns instead of staying in the normal brioche rib pattern. You do have to consider what’s happening on the other side of the fabric, if both sides are going to show. I’m having fun with this, and look forward to using it on…something. Soon!

In case you’re wondering, the yarn is Knit Picks Chroma Worsted, in Pegasus. I love this colorway; I used it to design my Dotty Cowl last year (free pattern from Knit Picks here).

I’ve been playing with more block printing on fabric. I’m kind of in love, here. We did these at Vickie’s in Ellensburg last week, but I carved two more blocks when I came home. The small circle is for making a contrast cener to the flower block. Looking forward to printing these.

Carved rubber block for block printing

And! Are you celebrating your local yarn shop this Saturday? It’s LYS Day, which is a great time to support your local fiber sources. There are events and special promotions on that day.

For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton has a mini skein deal for you: Purchase a set of minis and you’ll get a coupon code to get my Lucky Star pattern for $2. (The pattern is very adaptable to whatever yardage minis you have.) Not local to For Yarn’s Sake? If you purchase a set of minis from your LYS on Saturday (4/27/19) and email me a copy of the receipt, I’ll send you a coupon code for the same deal. Cool beans!

OK, I’m heading back to brioche land. Knit on!

Portland Cherry Blossom Bridge Walk

Spring has sprung for sure! April is the prettiest month in Portland. Everything bursts into bloom.

I try to do my favorite bridge walk on the waterfront when the cherry trees are blooming.

The walk is 2.7 miles along the Willamette River. It crosses the Hawthorne Bridge and the Steel Bridge, making a big loop along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade and Waterfront Park on the west side.

The metal sculpture on the fire station at the eastern end of the Hawthorne Bridge looks like raindrops in a pool. It’s more visible, or less visible, depending on where you are as you approach it.

I’m so giddy that spring is here!

hanami cowl

Way back in 2011, I designed my Hanami Cowl and Wristlets. It’s a super quick knit in worsted weight yarn. I especially love this in a fluffy single ply. Hanami is the name for the spring cherry blossom viewing parties in Japan.

I’m offering 50% off the Hanami pattern with coupon code BLOSSOM through April 15. Mookie would have approved. (Newsletter subscribers get an even sweeter deal…)

Oh! New kitty’s name is Calvin. Calvin LeRoy Purraldi. He’s very sweet, and settling in nicely.

He and Biscuit are working out their relationship. He’s bigger than Yadi was, so she doesn’t try to wrestle with him! (He’s bigger than we thought…ManCat rather than BoyCat.)

Happy spring!

Crafty Moms Weekend 16.0 (2019)

One more time! We had a spectacularly beautiful weekend on the Oregon Coast. Great weather, beautiful sunsets, camaraderie and crafts. I’ll put the scenic photos at the end. Yarn and other craftiness first!

Brioche and Bellini breakfast

I brought three knitting projects, but I only worked on one of them. I spent a day trying different ways to reverse the colors on the new section, and I’m finally happy with how it’s working out. It was a technical challenge.

Now it’s just a matter of finishing it! I may have to set it aside for a bit; another project has a deadline and needs to get underway.

Laurie was crocheting unicorns. So cute!

Sharyn brought supplies for block printing on tea towels. I brought some of my previous blocks, and carved a new flower block. I purchased these bags last year in Sisters during the Lantern Moon retreat, but hadn’t gotten around to printing them yet. Done!

This is pretty easy, and lots of fun. I see more of this in my future!

This was our 16th year at Rockaway Beach. The house looks right over the water so it’s perfect for any weather. But this year it was sunny all weekend.

Twin Rocks

This cloud bisects the sun

This one does, too

We stayed Friday afternoon through Monday morning. It would have been hard to go home on such a gorgeous day, so I didn’t! I had a free night expiring soon at Tolovana Inn in Cannon Beach, so Carole and I headed north for an overnight there. It was so warm that I bought a sundress and walked barefoot on the beach.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

The afternoon low tide was perfect for tide pooling.

We only saw two sea stars; I hope they’re coming back.

The anemones look pretty healthy!

The moon was nearly full, and the early morning moonset was gorgeous to behold.

It clouded over as the day went on, but that made it easier to head home. It was a perfect weekend!

Bisquee missed me. A lot.

And today (Friday), we brought this guy home. He’s 2 years old. His shelter name was Frumpkin. That’s got to go. But I don’t know what to call him yet. Working on it…

The fun never stops around here!

Introducing: Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance is an adventure in planned pooling.

Space dyed yarns can be so pretty in the skein, but so jumbly when you knit them. Learn how to tame the color monster with planned color pooling. This Aran weight cowl in your choice of three simple stitch patterns will give you a quick jump start into planned pooling. Make the colors dance by adjusting your tension!

Instructions are given so you can find your magic number to cast on, in order to make the colors pool.

The Huckleberry Knits 2 Ply BFL Aran was specially dyed for this project. I used all of the skein, and the cowl measures 32″ x 8″.

I consulted with Scarlet Tang of Huckleberry Knits to come up with colors and a yarn base that would work well for a class. We chose her Rock Candy and Legion of Boom (Seattle Seahawks colors) colorways, shown here on her Willow fingering weight. (My first planned pooling cowl is on the left, knit with ancient Lorna’s Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies in Cat Bordhi Aha!, purchased at Sock Summit 2011.) We’re using a 2 Ply BFL Aran which isn’t one of her usual bases, but I love it! It’s soft and lovely to knit. This yarn will be available at For Yarn’s Sake, and I’m teaching a planned pooling class there on Sunday May 19.

I also knit a version in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Plushy. This skein has more yardage, but I chose to finish the cowl at 33″ x 6.5″, using 60% of the skein. It’s bouncy and fun to knit with, but a litle harder to get accurate measurements because it’s so wonderfully springy!

The Shall We Dance pattern is available through Ravelry download. It’s 10% off through March 31, 2019, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a 20% off coupon, so sign up if you want to be in on my special offers!

Everyone into the pool!

Thank you to Amanda Woodruff for tech editing.

Rose City Yarn Crawl

The 2019 Rose City Yarn Crawl is in the books, and it was fun as always!

It’s a tradition that we begin on Thursday with a big trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake. Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit, and designers Shannon Squire, Debbi Stone and I come with lots of pretties for oohing and aahing. This year was especially fun because we had just launched the Glow Up Knitted Wit collection, and we had many of the samples on hand.

Thanks so much to Anne Lindquist of For Yarn’s Sake for hosting us, and for supplying these beautiful rosé bubbles!

Lorajean got a little punchy by the end of the day, and put on ALL the cowls. There was a lot of giggling.

See my Instagram feed for more pictures from the trunk show and crawl.

On Friday I only made it to one shop, Twisted, and that was because I needed a 32” size 5 sharp circular for a design project.

Somehow, in the moment, it made more sense to buy the whole interchangeable sharp set. I have the regular set and love it, but sometimes you need pointier tips!

On Saturday I stopped by Close Knit. I love this knitting jewelry designed by Lisa Carney-Fenton of Hand Works. Alas, they’re made with brass, so my skin chemistry doesn’t agree with them. I’d love one in sterling silver, but that would be a very spendy special order.

I also went up to Vancouver to visit Blizzard Yarns, a shop that’s new to the crawl. It’s a lovely large space. They had multiple trunk shows going on, including one with Larissa Brown. I love her designs, and am waiting for her next novel to come out. She sets her stories in 10th century Iceland. Cool.

On Sunday I visited Fiber Rhythm and Crafts, which was new to me. I like their space in the old Ford Building; the building is brick with tall windows. I went there specifically because I wanted to try their reflective yarn. I want to knit a hat for DH for his pre-dawn/post-dusk walks. The reflective yarn is meant to be a carry-along with other yarn. I also bought a couple reflective buttons for good measure.

I didn’t mean to buy yarn on this crawl; I have a lot to work with already. But I was approached by a young lady, E, who offered me chocolate, and then proceeded to tell me about the wonders of her mom’s yarn (Art by Eve). The colors are all based on fairy tales. E is 12, almost 13, and a perfect spokesperson. I had to reward her presenation by making a purchase! I love how vibrant these colors are. (E was modeling a hat and cowl, but prefers not to be on social media yet.)

My final stop was at Starlight Knitting Society. Their expanded space is very inviting.

Remember this pin I bought at Knitty City in NYC 2 weeks ago? I didn’t realize until after I was home that Thao of Nerd Bird Makery is local here!

It was a pleasure to meet her. I bought another pin and a T-shirt. Pictures someday, maybe. Gotta pack up for Crafty Moms Weekend! (This month is astoundingly busy, but relaxing at the Oregon Coast is going to be good for my soul.)

48 hours in NYC

On top of everything else going on, we went to New York City for the weekend for a family gathering. It was a very quick trip! We did a few things between family events.

We were a block off Central Park on the Upper West Side.We woke up to light snow on Saturday morning, but not enough to keep us from a walk. The sidewalks and paths were clear, so off we went!

If you don’t have a back yard, this *is* your back yard! I really wanted to build a snowman after seeing all the frolicking.

So my sister-in-law and I went back in the afternoon and created Diana, named after the nearby playground.

I also stopped in at Knitty City, hoping that Nancy Ricci would be there. She worked at Close Knit when she lived in Portland.

We had a quick, great catch up. The shop is lovely, with a nice selection of yarns from all over, including this home favorite of mine.

I had a nice chat with owner Pearl Chin, too. And I had to bring a few things home, including these.

I love this pin; I’ve seen this on T-shirts but I don’t wear T’s very often. This pin can go everywhere. Perfect!

On Sunday, DH wanted to do something we could only do in NYC, so we went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning

It was very moving, and overwhelming. I didn’t take many pictures, but wanted to remember this memorial wall.

We came home Sunday night. Back to knitting!

I’m getting ready for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. I’ll be at For Yarn’s Sake on Thursday March 7 with a trunk show featuring me, Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbie Stone. You can see our Glow Up Knitted Wit samples in person. Come say hi!

Missing our Yadi

We lost our Yadi last week after a brief but devastating illness. He was two (two and a half?) years old. He came into our life last summer, July 25, 2018, from Purringtons Cat Lounge.

We got him as a companion for Biscuit. They got along famously, almost always in each other’s orbit.

Bisquee was teaching him to be a blocking supervisor.

He could also supervise knit design work on his own.

He loved denuding tinsel balls, and wandering around with them, sounding like Chewbacca.

He loved getting up on the kitchen counters, so we never left anything out. He still had to check to make sure, though. And he was Naughty Yadi at Piano and Pinot last summer, craving those lemon bars.

I finally gave him his own Instagram account, @yadiyadayada in January, after having him share Biscuit’s account, @thebiscuitreport.

We all miss him terribly. He was sweet (Captain Cuddles) and funny (Naughty Yadi) and a great friend for Biscuit. Seven months is a short time to have a cat, but long enough for them to capture your heart.

Introducing Oregon Sky

I’m delighted to introduce my new shawl design, Oregon Sky. It’s a collaboration with local dyer Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit.

And a cast of thousands. Or at least 10.

From Lorajean:

What do you get when you put a brand-spanking-new Knitted Wit rainbow and ten uber-talented designers in a room? Glow Up Knitted Wit! The ten-pattern collection, along with five gorgeous colorway combos, drops on Friday, March 1st, 2019. You can get the whole pattern collection for $33 through April 1, 2019, and all patterns will also be available from the individual designers, as well as through Ravelry In-Store pattern sales for our LYS partners.

You can get the yarn on the Knitted Wit website. The hardest part will be choosing which complementary full skein you want!

We came up with a transcendent new rainbow, which we called Glow Up, and paired a Gumball Sixlet of it with a smattering of full skeins of Fingering. We reached out to some of our favorite designers, and asked them to make some magic, and oooh, wow, did they ever! Check out the amazingness created by ​Makenzie Alvarez, Michele Lee Bernstein, Kira Delaney, Marie Greene, Stephanie Lotven, Lisa Ross, Joshua Ryks-Robinsky, Shannon Squire, Debbi Stone, and Angela Tong! Each designer chose a contrasting skein and created a rainbowriffic masterpiece.

You can purchase the whole Glow Up Knitted Wit collection as an ebook, or you can purchase patterns individually. The collection is a great deal, $33 for 10 patterns. If you only want Oregon Sky, I’m offering a 10% discount on Ravelry through March 10, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a discount code for 20%. Not a subscriber? Subscribe here!

There will be KALs and CALs over on Instagram. More on that later. For now, dream of rainbows!

I’ll have Oregon Sky at our multi-peeps trunk show during the Rose City Yarn Crawl, at For Yarn’s Sake this Thursday, March 7, 10 am to 5 pm. I’ll be with Knitted Wit’s Lorajean Kelley, and designers Shannon Squire and Debbie Stone, who also have designs in the Glow Up Knitted Wit collection. Come say hi if you’re local!