Sweater: Top down or bottom up?

Saw this on IG and had to share so I can come back to it and remember.

Nancy Ricci is knitting a sweater that is written to be knit from the bottom up, but she prefers top down. So she started with sleeves and a provisional cast on for the body, worked the yoke, and is now in full control of the placement of waist shaping and overall length.

I think I’d take it one step further. Use a provisional cast on for the upper sleeve, and then you’ll have full control over sleeve length, too. Karen Templer of Fringe Association wrote about it in her post here.

Brilliant plus brilliant equals 2xBrilliant! Or is that Brilliant squared?

Stopover collage

I’d mash all this up for the next sweater. Unless it’s a third Stopover. After knitting two, I already know the length and shaping. Yes, I’m still thinking about a third one (charcoal gray with a rainbow color pops), but it wouldn’t happen until fall, if at all. Spring is just around the corner, and there are visions of shawlettes dancing in my head!

Would you go to these lengths to get your sweater just right?

Nashville and knitting

Catching up with myself here…DH and I went to Nashville for a few days of fun last week. He was on his way to Bowling Green, KY for a project, and had to pass through Nashville, so why not?

I met up with Ann Shayne at Mason-Dixon Knitting world headquarters. I’m so impressed by how she and Kay Gardiner have developed MDK from a longtime blog between friends to this new creation. They’re dabbling in all sorts of knit-related fun: publishing booklets, blogging, community forum, YARN.

MDK wall of yarn

This is the wall of yarn. My Euroflax mini-skeins used to live here, and now they’re all grown up.

SeaScape

It looks great on Ann! It’s a long skinny…scarf? Shawlette? Scarlette? What would you call it? Ann called it “deliriously pretty” in an Instagram post; I was pretty chuffed by that. Pattern coming soon.

 

These are samples of the Breton Cowl from Field Guide Number 1. The Shibui yarn is heftier than I thought (quick knit!), and really pretty. The favorites queue is getting longer! Thanks to Ann for a fun morning of knitting and chat.

Breton Cowl

I made a quick trip to Craft South the day before in search of yarn to swatch for a design idea. This is a sweet shop that carries fabric and a small but exquisite selection of yarn.

Craft South entry

Craft South yarns

While I was there I met Hannah Thiessen, @hannahbelleknits on Instagram. So fun to meet online knitting friends in real life!

Hannah at Craft South

And Craft South is near a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop, so I got to introduce DH to his first Jeni’s experience.

Jeni's

I may have acquired some red boots that day, too. But it wasn’t an all knitting trip. We saw Sister Sadie, an excellent 5 piece bluegrass band at the Station Inn, and A Prairie Home Companion at the Ryman Auditorium. Nashville is a fun city; I’d love to visit again.

At the Ryman
Those stained glass windows at the Ryman!

Red Zephyr and Biscuit

Right now I’m knitting away madly on a red Zephyr Shawlette to go with my new boots. This is Hazel Knits Entice, Vamp colorway.

Zephyr and boot

I love how the Zephyr arrow echoes the heart on the boot. I’m trying to finish this to take to Madrona next week. Knit like the wind…a zephyr!

Musings on a pink hat

I’ll admit, I was conflicted about the pink hat. I don’t like using the word “pussy,” and I didn’t want to trivialize a march that was meant to address serious issues. The Pussyhat Project just didn’t speak to me.

Guess what @doctorphilbernstein is knitting? #knitting #knitstagram

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

But a friend in DC wanted a hat, and DH offered to help. A chance to teach DH to knit? OK!

Pussyhat pussycat

The hat was finished, modeled, and sent off to Rita in DC.

Rita

Still, I had no interest in a hat of my own. Until Friday night, when I finally realized the optics of a sea of pink hats. A message of solidarity that didn’t need words. An answer to the red baseball cap, but handmade, and a play on the very words that had offended me.

Brioche in the round

I cast on at midnight, knit for an hour, and wondered if I could finish in the morning. Malabrigo Rasta, in Sabiduria. Recycled twice off the experimental brioche rib cowl I had knit earlier in the week (a single skein Rasta cowl turns out to be too bulky for comfort when that small).

Brioche pussyhat

I finished at a pre-march brunch. Brioche rib is very stretchy, so even at 40 sts it was a little big, but serviceable. (Rita’s hat was 48 sts with a K1P1 rib.)

March on Washington: Portland

I gave another Sabiduria hat to L on the left; it never fit me and the pinkish purple was the right color. And I gave a Sabiduria headband to a neighbor. Color, color, color. A sea of pink/purple.

Women's March

Under umbrellas.

Do I love the hat? Not really, But it served a purpose. Here are a few links that help explain how I feel.

NPR, on the pink hat as a reply to the red hat.

Mason-Dixon Knitting, on knitting being a big part of this story.

And a very informative Buzzfeed post by Abby Franquemont with answers to those who wondered if these hats were made in the USA.

Pussyhat Mosaic

I borrowed this image from Abby’s post; it says that it’s a mosaic made from Ravelry images of the hats. I’m trying to find the source and will give credit when I find it. (Edited to add: the mosaic was made by Casey, Ravelry’s webmaster/programmer extraordinaire. Well done!)

Did you knit a hat? Did you march?

Update: Well, knitters (and crocheters) definitely got noticed. Here’s Time Magazine’s cover:

Time Magazine cover

And The New Yorker magazine for next week.

New Yorker magazine cover

Way to be seen and heard, yarnies!

January: Resolutions or Goals? Classes!

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, because I know I won’t keep them. Why set myself up for failure? But I do like to set knitting goals for the year. This year, I plan to learn brioche knitting. I bought a book last year, and never even opened it. So I signed up for a class with JC Briar at Madrona next month. Gonna get it done!

But along came a Knitstrip project from Mason Dixon Knitting, a quick little one color brioche scarf, knit flat.

Brioche Scarf

That was easy! I loved the squishy Malabrigo Rasta so much, I decided I needed a cowl. In the round. Wait for class?

Brioche in the round

Nah. It was slightly more confusing with the purl stitch, but I worked it out. But I didn’t like the dimensions of this particular one skein cowl. It was too chunky at the back of my neck as a small circumference cowl, so I’m knitting an earband or hat (we’ll see!) directly off it from the bind off. Biscuit is helping.

I’m looking forward to learning to work with colors, increases, and decreases in brioche knitting at Madrona. And I’m looking forward to *teaching* at Madrona, too! I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches on Saturday, February 18.

Elongated Stitches class

I love how these add pizazz to a simple stockinette project. I’m also teaching a blocking mini-class on Thursday morning, and a mini-class with just a couple novelty stitches (Tridacna Cowl) on Saturday morning. The whole Madrona schedule is here.

The other knitting that I’ve been doing a lot, from the teaching end, is stranded colorwork. In the past couple weeks, I’ve taught Braided Wristlets (stranded colorwork and Latvian braids)

Braided Wristlets Class

Bucket List Coffee Accessories (stranded colorwork and crocheted steeks)

Bucket List steeks

And Kerfuffle Cowl (stranded colorwork).

Leann's kerfuffle

Leann was so happy about class, she stayed up late that night and finished her cowl. She did a great job. (Thanks for sharing your picture with me, Leann!)

Stranded colorwork is nice and warm, because it has two layers of yarn on every row. Just right for the snowy weeks we’ve had. Ready to thaw out now!

Icicles

Do you have knitting goals for this year? What do you want to learn?

Snow Day, Snow Sale

Still snowy here in PDX. Ordinarily we don’t get much snow, and when we do get some, it usually gets covered by freezing rain. Not this time! We can actually play in it and with it for a few days.

Snowy Biscuit

Biscuit is wondering what the heck happened to her landscape. Why is everything white?

Snow Day Sale

To celebrate the snowy wonderland, I’m having a sale with all my patterns that include the word “snow.” All of these are 20% off through January 16, 2017 with coupon code SNOWDAY. Snowy Woods Cowl, Snowy Woods Hat, Snow Woods Log Cabin Blocks, and Snowflake Chriatmas Stocking. The hat is especially quick knitting, and you could be wearing one by tomorrow. Get your knit on!

Fibonacci and Fan collage

Fibonacci and Fan is still on launch sale 10% off, no coupon, or 20% off with newsletter subscribers’ coupon, through January 23. I used Knitted Wit Victory Sock in Cedar and *Snowy* Cedar, more snow! And there’s a chance for you to win some Snowy yarn, see previous post. It’s quite the snowy week around here.

A few more snowy pictures…

PDX Bike

Snowy tree

Snowy trees

New: Fibonacci and Fan Shawl, yarn giveaway

It’s a snow day here…time to knit! It started snowing last night and we’ve got about 10 inches of snow at my house.

Snowy Tree

I loved knitting my Ships in the Night shawl, but as I was finishing it, I thought: What if I arranged the Fibonacci stripes differently? Once the idea was in my head, I had to find out.

Fibonacci and Fan

And I love it! More geeky numbers! This time, the stripes grow at the same rate, and look like ripples in a pool of water.

Fibonacci and Fan is my new top down crescent shawl. It features garter stitch stripes in an increasing Fibonacci sequence, and ends with a scalloped Old Shale lace edging, which is sometimes called Feather and Fan. The knitting is simple and very zen. I knit mine with two coordinating skeins of Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock yarn in Cedar and Snowy Cedar. Two skeins of 4 ounce/420 yard fingering weight yarn will get you on your way.

Like its sister shawl, Ships in the Night, Fibonacci and Fan is fun to wear. Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug.

Fibonacci and Fan 2

Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing. Ella is much taller than I am, so it’s not quite as engulfing on her. Your mileage may vary. You can also wear it bandanna style, with both ends hanging in front.

To make this launch even more fun, Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit is offering 2 coordinating skeins of yarn to one lucky winner, in the winner’s choice of color plus the “snowy” version of that color. Leave a comment by January 18 telling me which color calls your name, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for the yarn. These are the snowy colors:

Snowy Colors

It’s hard to tell on these little cards, but you can get a better idea of the snowy colors by looking at the Snowy Hat collection on Ravelry that we did in 2015. (The pictures are not mine, so I’m not posting them here.)

I can’t give yarn to everybody, but the pattern is available through Ravelry, and is 10% off through January 23, no coupon code required. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll have a coupon code in the next newsletter for 20% off. Not a subscriber but want to be? Add that to your comment and I’ll get you signed up.

Talk to me! I’m snowed in and waiting to hear from you. So is Biscuit. She’s not impressed with snow, or the snowman I brought her.

Don't you bring #pdxsnow to your #cat @thebiscuitreport is not impressed.

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

Red Stopover bliss, more yarn

Red Stopover

I love my new Stopover. It fits just like the blue one, except the sleeves are 3/4″ longer, which is perfect.

Stopover yoke

In the end, I chose pink for the color pops. I don’t usually like pink and red together, but I love this. I think it works because it’s just a little pink, an accent.

TrudyG's Stopover

I was inspired by TrudyG’s Stopover on Instagram. I loved it when I first saw it last spring during the BangOutASweater KAL, and the colors have been in the back of my mind ever since. Thanks, Trudy, for letting me share your picture here. (Trudy’s Stopover on Ravelry, for more pictures and details.)

A lot of people loved the multicolored color pops, but that wasn’t the look I wanted. At least not on this one. But now I’m thinking: Wouldn’t a dark gray Stopover be awesome with the same white and mid-gray for contrast colors, and then a rainbow at the yoke? There are 12 “feathers”, so I could do a six color rainbow twice around. Would it be crazy to have three Stopovers? I love the way they fit, and can knit them mostly on auto-pilot. But it does take knitting time, and I have several design projects in the queue. Hmmmm.

Malabrigo Rasta

Not that the design queue stopped me from buying this yarn yesterday. Malabrigo Rasta, in Zarzamora. It’s for a quick little brioche scarf project from the fine folks at Mason-Dixon Knitting. I’ve been meaning to explore brioche, and this is a quick entrΓ©e into that world. I’ll be taking a brioche class with JC Briar at Madrona, but couldn’t resist a little taste now.

Mom's Kilter hat

Oh! Mom’s home from Antarctica, and she did get her Kilter hat in time for the trip. I’m happy to report that she loved both.

What’s on your needles for January? For me, the linen mini-skeins (I guess those Mason-Dixon gals are getting to me!) and the Rasta so far. The linen counts as design project and as knitting, so double duty there. You?

Puff the magic pastry, encore

Happy new year!

Apparently I’m a fan of the repeat, especially for things that are quick, easy, and look good. My Stopover is a case in point.

Stopover Korknisse

So are Korknisse.

I’m also a fan of the quick and easy in the kitchen, but it has to be delicious.

One of my go-to desserts is a simple pear tart. Fresh sliced pears tossed with lemon juice, arranged on a bed of puff pastry, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar before a little turn in the oven.

puff pastry pear tart

Paired (peared? hah!) with my favorite bourbon caramel sauce, this is a heavenly dish. My favorite aunt sends me pears at Christmas, so we had pear tart with Hanukkah dinner last Saturday.

What else can you do with puff pastry? These chocolate chip pinwheels showed up in my Facebook feed as something I did 3 years ago. Looking at the recipe, I thought it could benefit from a hotter oven than the previous go-round, so I had to try it again to figure out time and temperature. We had these on the last night of Hanukkah yesterday. A week bookended with brisket, latkes, and puff pastry is a good week indeed.

image

Chocolate pinwheel puffs
Yield: 9 pretty puffs, and two not so pretty ones

Ingredients:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm)
3/4 to 1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 egg
sprinkle of sugar, optional

Thaw puff pastry for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use a little non-stick spray in the bottom of a standard muffin tin to keep melted chocolate from sticking, or paper muffin cups.

Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to about 12″ by 12″, not a lot thinner, mostly just to roll out the creases. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the surface. I’m guessing on the amount, you could go lighter or heavier if you want. Let your conscience be your guide. Mine looked like this. (sorry, bad kitchen lighting)

image

Roll the dough up into a tube. Scramble the egg to make an egg wash, and brush some on the edge to seal the roll. Slice the roll into 1 inch pieces. Place the pieces into the muffin pan. They look like they’re too small for the pan, but they’ll puff up. The two end pieces won’t be as pretty; you can add additional chocolate chips to make up for it. Brush the pinwheels lightly with the egg wash, and sprinkle them with sugar for a bit of sparkle and crunch if you’d like.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Eat the not quite so pretty end pieces first to hide the evidence.

image

I’m on to blocking for my Stopover. I was shocked at the difference in feel between the unblocked red sweater and the blocked blue sweater. Blocking is magic with Lopi! I’m hoping it’s dry tomorrow, so I can show you which color I chose for the color pops.

Happy knitting, and happy munching!

Same song, second verse

I finished knitting my Stopover last night, and it’s on to the color pops! I like duplicate stitch for this part, so I don’t have to commit to a color until the very end. I used the spring green last night. In the light of day, I’m not sure it has enough pop when used as single stitches.

Stopover color pop

The other auditioning colors, from left to right:
Lopi yellow, Lopi orange, Lopi rose, Malabrigo purple, and Malabrigo yellow.

I like the Lopi yellow, except it makes the red start to read more brick than garnet. I like garnet. The rose is monochromatically girly. I could also keep the spring green. What do you think?

To me, this is the most fun part of the project!

Stopover to Aloha

Is my Stopover done?

Stopover red aloha

Nah, who knits with Lopi in Hawaii? Well, me, just for a bit, but I also brought some linen to play with. This is the Euroflax Sport mini skein set from Mason Dixon Knitting, in Sea.

Euroflax minis

Euroflax minis in mason jar

I think they are spot on with the colors! I had an idea for this set, and after six swatches, I think it knows what it’s doing.

Aloha knitting

It’s on hold, now that I’m home, and cold! But the plan is set.

Stopover sleeve

I knit a sleeve on the flight home, stopped to prep for Hanukkah and Christmas, and knit the other sleeve in the last couple days. I didn’t have my row counting stitch marker with me on vacation, so I made do with a piece of contrast color yarn, flipped from front to back or back to front each time I made an increase. One must make do with the tools at hand. I think I actually like this better than the row counter; it’s very visual.

Stopover three tubes

I now have three tubes, and am headed toward something resembling a sweater. I am really looking forward to wearing this! In the meantime, here are some vacation pictures because, aloha.

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

The full moon coincided with the beginning of our time on Maui, and you know how I am about the moonset. So glad I took my real camera with me; the iPhone can do most things, but not this.

Lana'i Cat Sanctuary

We had a couple stellar day trips. One was to the Lāna’i Cat Sanctuary (512 cats!) on the next island over. Fun day, with two ferry rides, drinks at the Four Seasons, and some tide pooling on a very beautiful beach.

Whale spout off Lana'i

We saw three whales playing near a sailboat in the sunset from our ferry back to Lahaina.

Family 2016

My favorite day included a hike to the Nakalele Blowhole. This is Mother Nature at her most impressive.

Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Blowhole Maui

Rainbows everywhere! (If you’re curious about the gifs, I’m using an app called Motion Stills, free from Google, that makes gifs from iPhone “live photos.” It has image stabilization, which is awesome. It can also make short videos from the same photos.)

Maui sunset

We really enjoyed the wraparound lanai on our rental condo. We had views of Lana’i and Moloka’i. Erosion has taken away the beach, but we were there for the views, including monk seals and green turtles swimming past. A perfect getaway.

knitted wit cedar and sprinkle

Sneak peek at a new shawl design debuting in January. Until then, aloha!

Four Seasons Lana'i