New Classes: Darn It! and Brioche Doctor

I’ve been having so much fun mending my knits, I decided to develop a class to share the love. Darn It! There’s a Hole in My Knitting makes its debut at the March Vogue Virtual Knitting Live. Registration for VKL is now open:

I’m also teaching Brioche Doctor: Fixing Brioche Mistakes, another new class. And I’ll be teaching Petite Brioche and Syncopation, and giving my lecture on Blocking: It’s Magic! A full slate of fun for me, and for you, too.

I had a great time teaching Petite Brioche for Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop on Saturday, so much brioche success! My next class in the series is Deep End: Brioche Increases and Decreases on Saturday March 6, which is coming right up. You can choose your project: Deep End Hat, Deep End Cowl, or Madrona Cowl, and the pattern is included in the class fee. Register here.

So much going on around here. Onward!

Half the Knit Sky, encore

The Rose City Yarn Crawl is coming up next month, and I’m having a trunk show at For Yarn’s Sake! The crawl is virtual this year. You can visit the shops in person, but it’s not required for the crawl. I’m sending over my Half the Knit Sky knit with Huckleberry Knits gradient and MadTosh Twist Light. There *will* be kits, in two colorways. The gradient on this one is Practical Tactical Brilliance, and the other will be Made You Blush, an exclusive for For Yarn’s Sake.

I knit this last year for my KAL, and stopped short of the acid green at the end because I had already added 24 rows to the original pattern. Last weekend I decided to take the edging off and use more of the gradient, so I did! I ripped back all the way through the flying arrows, so I could add a third repeat of that last section of star trails. I then replaced the flying arrows, and finished again. I had 1.3 g of gradient left, yay for yarn scale and not yarn chicken!

Adding this many rows put me just past where I’d need another increase row based on the pi shawl formula, so I was counting on the flexibility of knitting to make it work because I didn’t want an increase so close to the edge. Also, no more yarn! I used a Russian bind off for the refinished edge, because I knew it was going to be quite a stretch blocking the edge out.

Finished size: 60” x 30” pinned out, and it bounced back to 60” x 28” deep when I took it off the wires. It is larger partly from the added knitting, and partly because the first time I blocked it, I did it outdoors on a hot September day, and it was drying very quickly while I was pinning. Now we’re in winter, and I blocked it in my studio. It is the loveliest, airiest thing. Yay!

Before and after. I’m really happy with it!

The Rose City Yarn Crawl is March 4-14; check out their website here.

Dreyma is dreamy!

DH’s Dreyma is as dreamy as its name, and perfect on a snow day!

This yoke is so fabulous. And the built up neckline is much better than where the ribbed neckline ended before. Most of whatever T shirt DH wears underneath is covered, which is way better aesthetically.

I gave the body of the sweater a pretty relaxed fit, just like his other favorite sweaters. He’s been wearing this constantly over this snowy weekend!

We don’t get much snow in Portland, so we make the most of it when we do! One or two snowfalls per winter. And then usually freezing rain on top. But on Saturday it was still fresh and perfect. I brought out my nearly 40 year old ski equipment, and toured the neighborhood instead of using the basement treadmill. Of course I wore my ancient Pippi Hat. I really need new boots, which means new bindings, too; these are very old school.

DH’s ski boots are no longer with us, so we walked, too.

The neighborhood was full of joy. So many smiles after being locked down.

The neighborhood sledding street, busy as always.

And the witch hazel is in bloom.

This is not the only unicorn I saw. The best was a XC skier in a unicorn onesie, complete with a rainbow tail!

How’s your weather? And what am I knitting next? There’s a new design idea on the needles, and a revamp of a previous one. Two projects is probably my limit!

Dreyma neckline drama

Dreyma came off the needles the other night, and we had another check-in with DH. The extra stitches in the sleeve helped a bit with the wonky wide neckline, but there was still a lot of undershirt showing at the neck. Horrors! That’s like my bra straps showing. No thank you. I looked through Ravelry project pages, and others had this issue, too.

Because Dreyma is knit from the neck down, I couldn’t just add to the ribbing at the neck. Or could I? I thought about the following options:

  • Slip stitch crocheting along the back and shoulder, just under the ribbing. That would be easy, but I didn’t think it would be enough to bring the neckline up as far as it needed to go.
  • Picking up stitches at the bottom of the ribbing, and just knitting a taller one that would sit in front of the old one. Doable, but thick and maybe awkward.
  • Cutting off the ribbing and working it bottom up. But the very first round after the ribbing had increases in it, and I didn’t want to mess with those. It could have been disastrous.

Nope, nope, nope. But what if I *did* pick up and work in the opposite direction? The stitches would be facing the other way: the knit stitch Vs would but up against upside down Vs. That actually wasn’t too obvious; you’d have to be pretty close to notice the Vs. But there’s a horizontal line at the pickup. Like this.

Definitely noticeable. Could I hide it? I recently saw a neckline on Mary Scott Huff’s blog, where she has a herringbone braid under her neck ribbing on the dress she’s designing. If I picked up stitches, immediately jumped into a herringbone braid, and then continued with ribbing, that would hide the pickup line.

Except…I decided I didn’t want a Latvian braid on this Icelandic-style sweater. Although I do love those braids.

Ultimately, I decided to try 3 rounds of ribbing, followed by 8 rounds of stockinette. The stockinette will roll and show the purl side. The Dreyma pattern actually begins with a choice of either a rolled neckline or a ribbed neckline. I just happen to have both, by accident. The rolled edge comes *almost* down to that pickup line, close enough that you don’t notice the pickup seam. (I could make it taller, but I was worried it would then do all its rolling way above the pickup.

The sweater is soaking in the blocking bath at this very moment. I can tack the rolled edge down to the pickup line, if I need to. Hoping I don’t. It looks much better on DH now. If there’s any residual undershirt peekage, I’ll try adding slip stitch crochet around the shoulders and back neck.

Bonus: This sweater is super cute on ME, too, as an oversized tunic. FO pictures soon!

Sock repair: Knitted patch

Remember these socks? They belong to a friend’s brother, whose wife had knit them for him. She passed away last year, and I offered to try to mend the blown out heel. I finally had a moment to sit down with this project. It turned into a much larger moment, but it was worth it.

I didn’t recognize the kind of heel in this sock; it’s not my usual flap and gusset, so I winged it. I picked up stitches in a line two rows under the hole, making sure to go a couple stitches past the hole on either edge. I knit across the row, and purled back. From there on, I picked up a stitch at each end of every right side row, to k2tog with the beginning of the row, and ssk at the end of the row to attach the patch to the sock. Purl back. When picking up the next edge stitches, skip up a row (go up 2 rows) to make up for the purl row.

See how my patch had parallel edges? That didn’t quite work. Because of the way the heel was shaped, I needed to decrease 6 stitches as I went up, so that I could kitchener stitch to the smaller number of stitches *above* the hole, since my sides were tacked down with a set number of stitches between. (Still don’t know what that heel shaping was, but there were fewer stitches between the edges when I got there, so I had to rip back and work in the decreases. I think that the new knit fabric is stretchy enough to make up for the missing heel shaping.)

Looking back from the other side. We’re just going to cover up that hole and pretend it never happened.

Here’s the finished patch, kitchener stitched (grafted) to picked up stitches above the hole. Tidy!

Here’s what it looks like on the inside. I used my ends to tack a bit of the frayed fabric to the inside of the patch.

I used duplicate stitch to reinforce the other heel because it hadn’t broken through yet. It looked terrible but I was afraid to pull my stitches out to re-do it, because the threads of the heel were very thin, and I was afraid they would break if I pulled too hard.

I did some darning on the inside to see if that would make it secure, but it still felt pretty weak.

So I did a knitted patch here, too! I worked this one in the opposite direction, so instead of decreases I used increases, and grafted at the lower edge (left sock). Easy once you know how. Everything feels tidy and secure. I put my foot in them, and they feel fine.

Now these socks can go back to their owner. I’m glad I could help.

Have you ever darned or patched socks? I have used a little duplicate stitch on thin spots, but I had never fixed an actual big hole before this. I’m pleased to have this new skill in my tool kit!

February Freebies

There are a few fun things I want to share with you.

First of all, Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat isn’t happening this year, but they’re doing a series of interviews with some of the teachers over the canceled retreat weekend of February 11 – 14. It’s free to watch, but you have to register first. You can register here to see/hear Sarah Larson (spinner, editor), Franklin Habit (knitter, designer), Anne Hanson of KnitSpot (designer, yarn purveyor), and Rebecca Mezoff (weaver and tapestry artist). I’m really happy that the good folks from Red Alder are reaching out to us as this pandemic lockdown continues. I’m looking forward to Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat in 2022! (That sounds like a long time from now…)

Second, how about a free pattern? Caitlin Hunter (Boyland Knitworks) is offering a cropped sweater pattern, Feel the Bern (Ravelry link), based on those meme-tastic mittens Senator Bernie Sanders was wearing on Inauguration Day. Her pattern hasn’t been tech edited, but it’s based on her Soldotna Crop pattern, which I found very easy to follow. Others have already posted finished sweaters on Instagram.

Imagine this yoke, but in browns, in that (in)famous mitten pattern!

Oh, not a freebie, really, but you might be interested in the Fiberuary challenge going on over on Instagram. Daily postings based on these prompts, and you can participate, too! Share a little about yourself, and learn about other knitters and crafters. Do as much or as little as you’d like. Look for the hashtags #fiberuarychallenge and #fiberuarychallenge2021

Okay, back to Sleeve Island for me!

Sleeve Island Dreams

The end is in sight! I finished one sleeve, and am well on my way on the second one. Actually, I’ve knit two sleeves already. I realized I didn’t like the fit of the first one when it was 2/3 finished, so I started the second one, adding 6 stitches over all. That’s the finished sleeve you see. Then I ripped the first one all the way back to the yoke and started it over to match the second sleeve. I wish I had added 8 stitches, but I made a math error, and I’m not going back!

We’ve decided to skip the patterning at the wrist; it’s just a place to snag fingers on the stranding inside. This isn’t a particularly grippy yarn (Berroco Vintage Worsted), so it’s definitely a consideration.

But you know this means my mind is wandering along to the next project. I’m swatching!

This isn’t the real yarn for this project; I just wanted to know what would happen, and get an approximate gauge for fingering weight yarn.

It’s really a square; it’s just easier to manage on a circular needle when it gets this big. I’m thinking of a pastel floral garden. I started another block in a dark green single ply from my stash, and it’s just not living up to the dream, so I’m doing a little online yarn shopping…

What’s on your needles? Something new, or something that needs to be finished? Or both?

Sock repair options

My friend’s brother lost his home in the Santiam Canyon wildfire last fall. He did save these socks, which his wife knit for him. She passed away earlier last year, I think. I want to mend these socks for him, so he can continue to wear them, as a remembrance.

I plan to use duplicate stitch to reinforce the intact heel on the left. My options for the blown out heel on the right? Either darning/weaving, or knitting a patch, per Google search. I’d much rather knit than weave, so a knitted patch will be my first attempt. I found instructions for duplicate stitch, darning/weaving, and a knitted patch on this website from the Woolery.

I found a reasonably good yarn match in my leftovers bin. Now I have to resolve to some knitting on tiny needles, which is not my favorite thing! But worth it for a mitzvah, right?

Have you repaired socks before? I’ve repaired socks using duplicate stitch before the yarn gave way, but not after as big a hole as this one. Any advice appreciated!

Introducing: Leafy Origami HAT

It’s been a very busy couple months, but I’m back on track. The Leafy Origami Hat is ready to rock and roll!

The Leafy Origami Hat is 2-color brioche, knit in the round from the bottom up in worsted weight yarn. It was inspired by my Leafy Origami Cowl, and it features a smaller version of the leaf stitch pattern that falls into mountain and valley folds, just like origami.

The beginning of the round moves forward and backward on several rounds, making this a challenging brioche pattern. 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.

I’m having a pattern launch sale, use coupon code leafylaunch for 15% off the pattern through Feb. 2, 2021. This code works on both Ravelry and Payhip.

This pattern is available through Ravelry, link here.

This pattern is available from my Payhip shop, link here.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, Megan Drake, Elizabeth Forester, and Jacqueline Lydston.

I love these leaves. I’m still knitting on my mega-cowl version, but it’s on the back burner until I finish DH’s Dreyma sweater. I just started the first sleeve!

It’s amazing how much progress you can make if you concentrate on one project, and that’s why I’m pretty much a monogamous knitter. Two projects at the most, so that there is always a mindless project and a mindful project. I’ve had 3 projects on the needles lately (Dreyma, Leafy Origami, and Katie’s Kep) which means I’m not good at getting progress on all of them at the same time! But now Dreyma is on the stockinette sleeve portion, which is truly mindless, and I’m using that for Zoom meetings and home knitting. It’s too big to take on appointments outside the house now.

Don’t forget, my Gauge Swatch Hat pattern is free; you can download it from this blog post where I extol the virtues of hats as gauge swatches.

What’s your strategy for managing your projects?

Brioche classes with Bazaar Girls!

I’m so pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching a series of brioche classes with Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium! We’ll begin with Petite Brioche, 2 color brioche in the round, in February. We’ll work our way through more advanced techniques in following months. I’ll walk you through step by step until you’re a brioche pro!

Blue brioche headband

Petite Brioche is a gentle introduction to 2 color brioche rib. We begin with a simple long tail cast on, so there’s no special fussing to get started. I want to make sure you have a successful experience.

The first class is Saturday, February 20, from 11 am to 1 pm Pacific time. The Bazaar Girls shop is in Port Townsend, Washington, but through the magic of Zoom, you can take this class from anywhere in the world. Come knit with me!