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!

Madrona: That’s a wrap!

The 20th, and very last, Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat was last weekend. It was perfect, and perfectly wonderful. This community of fiber artists just feels like home. I had the honor and pleasure of both teaching and being a student, as well as a happy shopper and fiber socializer. Here’s a taste of the weekend. It’s a long post. Savor it, because it’s the last Madrona post!

I taught two classes, Brioche Pastiche hat, and YO? YO! Fancy Stitches.

My brioche class was the best it has ever been. The students were ready for adventure, and did a great job learning brioche rib, and then adding increases and decreases. They also learned to fix mistakes.

The fancy stitches class made samplers like this one, and Ann from last year’s mini class brought me this vintage pattern with a version of one of the stitches we do.

She also wore her Tumbling Leaves shawl. I love it when people show me their projects from my designs!

Karen in brioche class wore her gorgeous deep purple Summertime Blues wrap.

And Jennifer from last year’s Athena Entrelac class showed me her Athena, knit with her handspun alpaca. Brilliant!

Do you plan your retreat attire around your knits? I do! Left to right: Meander Cowl (it was really all about those leopard print boots that I wanted to wear to the teacher talent show, so I switched to my planned pooling cowl later that day, which also pulled the browns together), Lucky Star (the rainbow version), and Garland Shawl. On Sunday I wore my gradient gray and pollen Lucky Star, but alas, no pic.

I took an all day class on Bohus knitting with Susanna Hansson on Saturday. This knitting style from Sweden was the basis of a cottage industry in response to the Great Depression; the Bohus Stickning cooperative operated between 1939 and 1969. The style features stranded colorwork with both knits and purls in fine gauge wool and angora.

Do the purl bumps make a difference? You bet they do! See the difference? The first time I came to a round with purls, I actually giggled in delight. I hadn’t realized that the purl bumps would appear in the contrasting color from the previous round; it wasn’t obvious from the chart.

Here’s my Blue Shimmer cuff start, along with one of the class samples. These are my US size 1 Lantern Moon ebony dpns; I worked the ribbing on US size 0 needles. Not my comfort zone, but it’s so pretty.

And here’s a smattering of student projects! I really enjoyed this class, and would highly recommend it.

But there’s more to Madrona than just classes. The market was full of inspiring and useful things.

This Hazel Knits Lively DK from the Fiber Gallery is going to be a brioche project in the near future. I love how these two colors, Paisley and Plum Glace, go together.

And this Blue Moon Fiber Arts Plushy in Clusterfact (also from the Fiber Gallery booth) is going to be another adventure in planned pooling. I just can’t stop…

The Canon Hand Dyes booth is always inspiring; her colors are beautiful.

I bought this Chicken Boots notions bag to corral my essentials in my big tote; this made it much easier to find my wallet without carrying the bulk of my purse. I, um, may have also acquired a matching Double Double project bag, my favorite style. I had to get it now; Saremy is not going to continue making bags; she’s launching her Sew Sew video livestream on YouTube.

I enjoyed knitting and chatting with people throughout the retreat. It’s really the people who make Madrona such a delight. Here are a few examples.

I met Zina, the knitter of this wonderful hat. She gathered the mountain goat fluff on a hike, but didn’t know how to spin. The story of how she processed the fluff, including Judith MacKenzie offering to spin it for her(!) is on her blog here.

At the teacher showcase, I chatted with Heather, who said that she wanted to learn to crochet, but she was having a hard time because she’s left-handed. I was so pleased to tell her that crochet designer Laurinda Reddig was going to be demo-ing in the Rotunda the next day, and that she could help her because she’s left handed too. I saw Heather two nights later with her spinning wheel near the fireplace, and she said that Laurinda had helped her with crochet.

I ran into Cecillie moments later, and she told me that she was having difficulty showing her left-handed friend Elizabeth how to crochet. Aha! I popped back over to Heather, and then Heather, a crocheter of all of one day, was showing Elizabeth how to get things going. That’s the spirit of Madrona.

Cecillie, Heather, Elizabeth

I met Pamela several years ago at Madrona. She is a brioche fiend! I introduced her to Sarah Hauschka last year; Sarah taught us linked double knitting, which is like working both colors of brioche in the same pass. The fabric is slightly different than brioche, which Sarah discovered over the course of this year. (There was a long thread on Facebook about it!)

Suzanne Pedersen and Cornie Talley created and sustained this beautiful fiber arts community called Madrona. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it! Thank you, Suzanne and Cornie. ❤️

I’m also pleased that there will be a fiber retreat next year in the same venue. John Mullarkey and Rebecca Edwards are launching Red Alder in 2020. I’m looking forward to seeing it grow!

beet and orange quinoa salad

This is so pretty, and if you’ve got oranges hanging around from holiday gift baskets, this is a great way to use them!

Winter Beet and Orange Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

2 roasted beets, or if you’re lazy like me, one 8.8 oz package pre-cooked Love Beets, cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar or honey
1 cup drained rinsed chick peas
4 oz baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 fresh oranges, peeled, trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces

Rinse quinoa in a strainer under running water, then combine with 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cover. Set timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from heat, fluff with fork and let cool.

Make dressing: Combine olive oil, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, and agave in a measuring cup and whisk to blend.

Combine cooked quinoa in a mixing bowl with chick peas and baby spinach. Add salad dressing and toss lightly. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the cut up beets and orange pieces. Toss gently and serve. (Serves 4 as a main dish, or more as a side dish.)

No picture; we ate it!

(Re) introducing Rain Chain Shawlette

Rain, rain, rain. And then the flowers bloom!

This is my Rain Chain Shawlette. I designed it for the Knit Picks Little Luxuries Collection two years ago, and now it’s available on Ravelry, too.

The Rain Chain Shawlette is a sideways end to end knit, and both edges have interesting detailing. It was inspired by the kusari doi, the traditional copper rain chain of the Japanese garden.

The Rain Chain Shawlette is worked flat from end to end to form a gentle crescent shape. It features a built in I-cord top edge with a garden “rain chain” motif, garter stitch body, and a floral design for the bottom edge. Optional beads create raindrops on the rain chain.

I love end to end shawl construction. It’s easily adjustable to the yardage you have; you increase to the halfway point of your yarn, and then decrease back down to the end. A yarn scale comes in handy! Or you can just knit it to the specified width. The pattern is written for 100g/440 yards of Knit Picks Gloss Fingering, but I could see adding a third 50g ball to make it 150g/660 yards. I’m the boss of my knitting!

To celebrate the re-launch of this shawl, I’m offering it at 10% off the Ravelry price through February 28, 2019, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a 20% coupon code; subscribe here. Newsletter coming soon.

I’m back from Madrona, and still catching up! Madrona post is coming next. It was so. Much. Fun.

iPhone photography workshop review

Gale Zucker, knitwear photographer extraordinaire, was in town last weekend for TNNA. We worked out a way for her to do a workshop here through the Puddletown Knitters Guild. It was great!

I’ve taught iPhone knitting photography before, and wanted to take Gale’s class to see what more I could add to my toolbox. I’m pretty good with basic photography and composition, and adept with the editing apps. But she’s got a GREAT eye, and that comes from talent and years of practice. I’ll keep working at it!

We practiced making a flat lay, and also went outside to practice on each other. Here’s the evolution of my flat lay.

First, just laying it out with a sheer background.

I added a Bullet Journal for interest, keeping the limited color palette.

She said to throw in something that you might think was ridiculous, and these pompoms were ridiculous. But something about that color pop was intriguing.

So I added this color contrasty fake succulent. And I liked it. Except for the hole in the middle.

Here’s the finished, edited picture. I like it much better than the picture that is currently on the Concentric Bed Socks pattern, so I’ll be changing that up, eventually.

I’ll be incorporating new tips into my iPhone knitting photography class. The next one is scheduled for March 24 at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton. Come play!

By the way, Knit Circus has just put together a yarn kit for Concentric Bed Socks. They have several color options, too. These are fabulously luxurious, absolutely gorgeous gradients combined with a semi-solid for heels and toes. Lovely.

Check out this Love is Love and Bedrock combo. Sweet!

Hope you’re staying warm and toasty! We’re having a little snow event here in the Pacific Northwest. I hope it doesn’t mess up my Madrona plans next week. Fingers crossed!

Happy Lunar New Year!

Gung hay fat choy! It’s the year of the Boar (or Pig, but I think boar sounds nicer somehow).

Red envelopes with lucky money for the kids. Traditional foods…some friends asked me for this recipe, so I’m stashing it here. It’s pretty much a stew of different fungi! Feel free to mix and match according to your tastes and what you can find.

Jai
(Usually vegetarian but my Mom likes oysters and chicken broth in it)

1 oz dried lily flowers
1 oz shredded fungus (the ones we use looked like sliced black/gray leather strips)
4 bean curd sticks (dried)
10 black/shiitake mushrooms
8 red dates (dried. I don’t like them, but Mom does)
1/4 c fat choy (dried. Looks like black steel wool)

Soak the above ingredients for 2 hours or overnight.

2 T oil
1 Or 2 slices fresh ginger
3 oz fermented red bean curd (nom yee) (comes in jar)
3 oz fermented white bead curd (foo yee) (comes in jar)
3 C water
3 C chicken broth (or you can use all water)
12 oz canned gingko nuts
5 oz sliced water chestnuts (small can)
2 T brown sugar
3 T oyster sauce
3 T white wine
2 C shredded nappa cabbage
2 oz bean thread (dried)

Two 8 oz jars fresh small oysters (optional)

Presoak the first set of dry ingredients, separately, 2 hours or overnight. Rinse well. Cut and discard any hard portions. Cut bean curd sticks into 2” lengths.

Pour boiling water over bean thread to soften. Drain and cut into 3” lengths.

Heat oil in a large pot. Add ginger and bean curds; saute for a minute or so. Add 2 C water and break up bean curd. Add the rest of the water and broth. Add all other ingredients except oysters.

Simmer for one hour. Add drained oysters and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Makes a lot! Serves at least 8. Enjoy!

Back with knitting soon.

Planned Pooling, now with Yarn Chicken!

I finished my Planned Pooling cowl. It was an adventure!

I started by trying to stack the colors exactly. Then I loosened my gauge for a bit to get the colors to veer to the right (because the colors were starting earlier than before). Of course I had to veer back to the left, by knitting a little tighter for a bit. You don’t have to change gauge for the whole round, just enough to get the first stitches of the previous stacking to change. But you do have to keep checking to see what your colors are up to. Eventually I decided to stop paying attention and just let the colors dance, since I knew that they would more or less stack.

If you want matching cast on and bind off edges, you can use a provisional cast on, and then use your favorite bind off on both edges. The bind off colors won’t match the knitting exactly; binding off uses more yarn than a regular round of knitting. Since the colors weren’t going to match, I didn’t feel that fussy, so I used a long tail cast on and the usual bind off.

I ran out of yarn before the end of the bind off. Oops. I did have a little extra yarn left over from an overly cautious long tail cast on, so that saved the day.

Biscuit helped.

What can you do in real life if you run out of yarn, and there isn’t more? If you don’t need a stretchy edge, you can bind off without knitting. I know, wut? Slip the stitches instead of knitting them, like this.

Slip one stitch knitwise. *Slip another stitch knitwise. Lift the right stitch over the left stitch and off the right needle. Repeat from * to last stitch. Using a yarn needle, run a piece of yarn through last stitch and sew in ends.

This would have worked fine for my cowl, since a small area of of less stretchy edge wouldn’t have been too troublesome. But I wouldn’t have wanted it for the entire bind off. Not bad in a pinch, though!

Final thoughts on planned pooling. Well, it’s interesting! It’s kind of like a dance. I’m used to deciding what the yarn is going to do. Even when dancing, I’ve always been a back-leader! In planned pooling, the yarn is the leader and decides the size of the project because of the color repeat. This cowl is 32″ in diameter, which is kind of an in-between length for me. It’s 6″ tall, because that’s what one skein of this yarn made.

(DH and I are in a social swing dance class; he’s learning to lead and I’m learning to follow.)

I’d love to try making argyles, but realistically I know that I like to multi-task while knitting. That means I don’t like looking at my knitting all the time to make sure my tension is even and the colors are stacking properly. But it was a fun experiment. I’m thinking of designing a class on simple planned pooling. What do you think? Do you want to know just a bit about it? I think of it as party trick knitting! I do like knowing a little bit about a lot of techniques. Planned pooling was on my bucket list for this year, so I’m starting off with a bang!

For now I’ll say thank you to my project (very KonMari), and get on to my next project, which is…brioche!

Brioche knitting for all!

I’m teaching three beginning brioche knitting classes at Northwest Wools. The classes are full, but I’m also teaching it at Twisted on Saturday March 23. This class features my Petite Brioche pattern, which you can download for free here.

I love teaching, and I love brioche knitting. I think two color brioche is easier to learn than one color brioche, and knitting it in the round is easier than knitting it flat. No sliding back and forth.

Look at all the new brioche knitters!

Everyone was off to a good start. We diagnosed and fixed some mistakes, too. Learning to read your brioche knitting is a valuable skill.

Being around all that brioche knitting kick started me into more brioche.

This is my first foray into designing with flat two color brioche. I’m starting with a half-pi shawl construction, because there aren’t any increases in the brioche field, so I can just figure out what’s happening at the edges. I like it so far! I have a plan for the rest of it, too.

I’m knitting with Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering. It’s a fabulous workhorse yarn for design experimentation; I knit nearly an entire shawl with it for a design submission last summer because it was so fun I couldn’t stop at the little swatch sample. It doesn’t mind frogging, either, which is good. Trial and error, knitting and frogging are part of my design process! At 357 yards it’s a bit shorter than my usual 400 yard/100g skeins, so I’m not sure I’ll use it for the whole design. We’ll see how things go.

What’s exciting you in the knitting world? Do you want to learn something new? What’s on your bucket list?

Last night’s lunar eclipse, in the clouds. Not as exciting as the solar eclipse, but very pretty. Did you see it?

First dip in the pool with knitted planned pooling!

This yarn is 9.5 years old. I bought it at Sock Summit in the summer of 2009. I think the company changed hands somewhere along the way since then, but I still have this skein.

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies, colorway Cat Bordhi Ah Ha! This is a great yarn for teaching and learning; the short color runs mean that the color of the stitch on the next row will probably be a different color than the one below it. It makes it easy to describe what’s happening with either stitch. It’s a worsted weight single ply yarn, nice and sticky so it doesn’t ladder when you drop a stitch. It’s perfect for investigating techniques, too.

You can tell from the skein that it’s hand dyed in blocks of color. I don’t love variegated yarn when the colors are all left to arrange themselves willy-nilly, but it’s perfect for something I’ve been wanting to play with for a while. Planned pooling!

Knitting in the round with space dyed yarns like this is the easiest first foray into pooled color knitting. You can make the colors stack up, or plan so they shift to the left or the right, depending on whether the circumference of your kitting is a little longer or a little shorter than the length of your color repeat. I think. I’m still playing around with it.

Planned pooling with flat knitting lets you plan where your colors will fall in even more exciting ways. You can stack colors, but a stitch or two off the color repeat will turn into diamonds and argyles. Tammy’s scarf above is crocheted in Socks that Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. (It seems to be a bit easier to control the size of your stitches in crochet, which makes it ideal for planned pooling.)

You can play with this pooling calculator at plannedpooling.com to see what happens with different colors and stitch counts, knitted flat and in the round. That’s a little too advanced for me right now; it’s enough just trying to make sure my colors stack! I usually read while knitting, but that’s not possible when I have to watch my colors.

I’m not a complete stranger to pooling, but it’s always happened by accident. My Meander Cowls had a really interesting wandering stripe. See the little blue zigzag?

The yarn by Delicious Yarns is tonally variegated with a dip of contrasting color at the end of the skein.

All three samples pooled in interesting ways.

Have you had color pooling in your knits? Was it by accident, or on purpose? Does planned pooling interest you? It’s my January selfish knitting. I was going to knit a sweater, but now I just want to jump in the pool!