Fiendishly simple? And aloha!

A hat is a fiendishly simple thing. It’s a tube, closed at the top. Easy peasy, right?

I’ve been playing with this hat project all week. It’s been a Goldilocks experience. Too tall? Too short? Just right? The top of this pink hat has been reworked a couple times, but I can’t complain about the view.

The pink version is snug and a little (but not too) short; it’s a cute beanie.

The blue version has 12 more stitches than the pink one, and at the same height it doesn’t feel quite secure on my head. I’m re-working it to be a little taller so it can come further down over the ears, or folded up at the bottom.

I’ll be knitting one more for a size in-between. Who said hats were simple? There’s a lot of planning going on here!

Oddly enough, it’s been very comfortable knitting with this wooly yarn in Hawaii! I brought a fingering weight shawl project, too, but I’ve been so smitten by this brioche I can’t stop playing with it.

We’ve had a great week. We came over on December 26, and now it’s time to go home. But here are some pretty pix from the week.

Beautiful He’eia Bay is just around the corner from our condo.

Lots of honu (green sea turtles) at Ai’opio Beach, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park.

More turtles at Kiholo Bay, and we saw this petroglyph at the water’s edge.

When Hualalai erupted, these shells were caught in the lava. They’re being revealed through erosion. They look like frosting!

Kiholo Bay

We went night snorkeling with the mantas! (Picture from the Eka Canoe Website; I highly recommend this.) There were at least five of these magnificent creatures swimming with us, somersaulting and backflipping, close enough to touch (but you’re not supposed to. One brushed by DH; he said it felt like a shoe.

My favorite bird, the yellow-billed cardinal.

And favorite guy, on our morning walk.

Moonset in the morning (January 2)…

Sunsets in the evening…bliss.

Aloha!

Plus de brioche

The brioche knitting continues. I’m smitten!

I knit this cowl for my sister. She’s a big University of Oregon Ducks fan, and the swirling circles made perfect O’s. After the perfect mirror symmetry of plain brioche rib, I was startled to see how different the front and back sides of patterned brioche are. Cool!

I ripped down this beginning of a brioche cowl; it wasn’t wide enough, and I wanted the leaves to be taller. But it all got sidetracked anyway…

because I wanted a hat. With those taller leaves.

I’m currently playing yarn chicken while trying to decide how to close the top. This is yarn left over after 3 Petite Brioche headbands. We’ll see if there’s enough to finish this hat. I hope so!

Is brioche knitting on your bucket list? Am I getting to you? Take a dip in the brioche pool with my free Petite Brioche headband/earwarmer pattern! It’s a gateway…

Once more, food gifts with spirit(s)

First, if you’re looking for the free Petite Brioche knitting pattern, see this post.

I’m back in the kitchen today, making some quick gifts. Of course they are boozy. These were on my blog last year at this time, but are still just as quick, easy, and delicious.

Irish cream

Last year’s big hit: DIY Irish Cream, adapted from Smitten Kitchen. This comes together in 5 minutes, and makes three of these cute 8 ounce bottles. (You get 30 oz of liquid, but I barely filled three of these 1/4 liter (8 oz) bottles the first time I made this. No worries; just adjust your expectations accordingly.)

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
1 (14-ounce or 415 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 oz Jameson’s Irish whiskey (original recipe calls for a cup, but 9 oz fills the bottles just a little better, and yum)

In a small bowl, whisk cocoa powder and a spoonful of cream into a paste. Add more cream a splash at a time until the paste is liquid enough that you can whisk in the rest of the cream. Transfer to a pitcher, and whisk in condensed milk, whiskey and vanilla. Bottle for gifts. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. Seriously, how long do you think this will last? Give it a good shake before using; the cocoa wants to sink, and the cream wants to rise to the top. Of course!

P1060593

My aunt sent me pears again this year, and in return she’ll get some cranberry pear bourbon jam. I get jam, pear tart, and pears for eating fresh. A good deal for both of us!

Cranberry/Pear/Bourbon/Ginger Jam

4 cups cored and chopped pears (I left the skins on)
4 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Combine chopped pears, cranberries, sugar cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, and water in a large pot. Stir to combine and let it rest until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer for 15-25 minutes or longer, stirring regularly, until it thickens. Add bourbon and ginger, and continue cooking until jam coats spoon without running off.

Ladle jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 5 half pints. (If you need more thorough instructions for processing, go to Food in Jars! I’m assuming that you know how to jam.)

Bourbon caramel sauce

And I’m not currently making this one, because I still have some in my fridge to use on dessert. But you might need to make some, so here’s the recipe: Bourbon Caramel Sauce, recipe from Danielle Centoni. I’ve made this many times, and it always gets raves. We’ll be having some with ice cream on a pear tart tonight. My only warning on this one is don’t get greedy when caramelizing the sugar. It can go from perfect nut-brown to burnt in a blink. Brown enough is brown enough! This makes 2.5 cups; I usually gift it in little 4 ounce jars, because a little goes a long way.

Merry Christmas to you! Did you make food gifts this year?

Free Pattern: Petite Brioche

This is Petite Brioche, a little headband/earband to keep the chill away. It’s also a great introduction to two color brioche rib in the round. It’s a quick little project, and you can still whip one out for a wee Christmas gift! Or save it for learning a new technique in 2018.

You can download the Petite Brioche pattern pdf here Petite Brioche.

I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted for the purple version. Mmmmm, Malabrigo!

Happy new year!

2017 Year of Brioche?

It started in January, with a scarf.

This is the Never Fail Scarf, a free pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Really fast, and a great learning tool for single color brioche knit flat.

Of course I had to figure out how to make that work in the round, for a timely pink-ish hat.

Then in February I took a brioche knitting class with JC Briar at Madrona. We worked flat samples, with selvages.

I forgot all about it, until this past week. After birthing my Cannon Beach Cowl & Mitts by knitting 3 cowls and 2 sets of mitts, I needed something fairly mindless to knit. Two color brioche in the round fit the bill.

And like Cannon Beach, it’s still only one color worked per round! I found this to be much simpler than two color brioche knit flat. No selvage stitches, and no way to choose the wrong working yarn. It was quick. So quick I had to get yarn to knit one for a friend.

And there you go. Do you want to try it? I’m writing up some instructions that make sense to me, link coming soon.

And because mental vacation is over…I’m playing with patterning. More on that later.

Do you brioche? Do you wanna? So zen!

Introducing: Cannon Beach Accessories Collection

I’m so pleased with my newest design, the Cannon Beach Cowl. It just rolled off my needles because the yarn knew what it wanted to be. I love it when that happens!

And then there were fingerless mitts too, because why not?

Both the cowl and mitts are knit in the round from the top down in worsted to Aran weight yarn. The patterns are available individually, or as an e-book collection that includes both patterns. The pieces feature two slip stitch patterns, one resembling seagulls, the other resembling waves. Cannon Beach, Oregon, is one of my favorite places on earth, and the cozy cowl and mitts are just right for a stroll on a breezy beach.

The cowl was inspired by the loveliness of a yarn, Woolfolk Får. This is a beautiful merino wool chainette yarn. When I saw it I knew it wanted to be a very soft cowl featuring a stitch pattern with long floats to show off the construction of the yarn.

The pattern is also pretty but very different in more conventional yarns like single ply Malabrigo Merino Worsted, or a plyed yarn like Malabrigo Rios.

The cowl instructions include three sizes, from a cozy 22″ neck warmer to a larger 24″ cowl. The circumference and height of the cowl are easily adjusted.


Small cowl shown in Malabrigo Merino Worsted


Medium cowl shown in Woolfolk Får


Large cowl shown in Malabrigo Merino Worsted

The mitts are written for one size, 7.5″ in circumference, and will stretch to fit an 8″ palm. Because of the large number of stitches in the seagull and wave stitch pattern, sizing should be altered by changing needle size.

The patterns are available for $6 for a single pattern, or as an e-book of both patterns for $10. Ravelry page link is live!

Subscribers to my newsletter will receive a coupon code for 20% off the single patterns or the e-book. Not a subscriber? Subscribe by clicking this link, or letting me know in the comments below.

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, test knitter Ann Berg, and model Erin Hocraffer.

Sunset at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach…a little chilly, needs a cowl!

Indie Design Gift-A-Long 2017

The fifth annual Indie Design Gift-A-long is live on Ravelry!

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion through Ravelry to help you kick-start your holiday gift-making. It begins with a pattern sale, and then the fun and games begin on Ravelry, with KAL/CAL activity and prizes. You don’t have to belong to Ravelry to buy patterns, but you do have to join if you want to participate in the KAL/CAL games and prizes. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale.

The pattern sale runs from Tuesday, November 21nd at 8:00 pm US EST – Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 11:59 pm US EST. The KAL/CALs will run from Tuesday, November 21 at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party December 31 at midnight (US-EST). The sale discount is 25%; use the code giftalong2017 at checkout. Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

These are just a few of the 20 designs I’m including in the sale portion of the event. You can find all 20 designs here; scroll down to the Gift-A-Long 2017 bundle and click.

Here’s the list of all 311 participating independent designers. I’m pleased to be in such a creative group!

New this year: We’re having an Instagram Challenge. Here are the prompts, and I can’t wait to see the pictures! Use the hashtags #giftalong2017 and #gal2017 to share your pictures, and to search to see what everyone else is up to. I’m pdxknitterati on Instagram; what’s your IG name?

Are you knitting gifts for the holidays? My little secret, which is not really a secret: I don’t like deadline pressure, so I knit all year and then “shop” out of my knits for gifts. You can do that, too, starting this week. Grab some patterns, participate in the KAL, and just have fun!

Ready, set, KNIT! (or crochet…)

Coming soon: Cannon Beach Cowl

I fell in love with some yarn recently. It begged me to take it home from Knit Purl.

This is Woolfolk Får, a very soft worsted weight merino wool with a chainette/icord construction.

Look at that chainette! Yarn doesn’t always talk to me, but this one did, loud and clear. It said, “Design something with slip stitch and long threads showing on the right side, so you can see the chainette!” Well, of course.

This cowl knit up in a flash. It features seagulls and ocean waves.

See the chainette yarn structure? So lovely. So soft, too. It’s perfect in this cowl. But do you have to use this yarn for this project? Knitter’s choice! I love it, but I’m also knitting up a sample in Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

I’m curious about how it would look with a plyed yarn. More swatching is in order.

I’ve written up the pattern, and it’s off to the tech editor and a test knitter. Meanwhile, I’m still swooning. I love these stitch patterns; you know how I love elongated stitches. The pattern will be out soon. Do you subscribe to my email newsletter? Newsletter subscribers get discounts on newly released patterns. Comment below if you’d like to subscribe. (You can also subscribe to this blog, which is a separate thing.)

I think I have my Thanksgiving knitting cut out for me! When I’m not cooking…

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it. I’m thankful for family, friends, and fiber! And gravy. Mmmmm, gravy. What are you thankful for? (Or, more properly: For what are you thankful?)

Two favorite knit-in i-cord edgings

I love i-cord selvage edgings that are worked simultaneously with your project. No afterthoughts here! They give a finished edge, and help keep stockinette from rolling. I’ve been using two techniques for this.

thrumbelina thrummed slippers

The first is on my Thrumbelina slippers, around the opening. This i-cord is accomplished by this little dance with the last 3 stitches of each row, both right and wrong side: Bring yarn to the front, slip last 3 sts purlwise. At the beginning of the next row, just knit.

As you can see, the edging curls towards you on the left edge, and away from you on the right edge. It takes working a few rows before you see the curl clearly, too. (There’s a column of garter stitch right next to the edging, to separate the stockinette from the i-cord.)

beanstalk scarf and mitts

My Beanstalk scarf features a different knit-in i-cord edge. It works like this (wyif means with yarn in front):
Beginning of the row: K1, Sl 1 wyif, K1.
End of the row: Sl 1 wyif, K1, Sl 1 wyif.

You can use this on one edge or both edges; you just have to remember the dance for beginning or end.

These edgings look a little more like each other. I like using this edging on scarves and sideways shawls to give the edge a more finished look. It also helps reduce curling. (There’s a column of garter stitch right next to the edging, to separate the stockinette from the i-cord here, too.)

So why did I just run through these options? A knitter wrote to me with a question about the edging on the Thrumbelina slippers, because the edges look different. I thought about revising the pattern with the second i-cord technique, so I made these swatches. Here’s what I found:

The original edging on the Thrumbelina slipper is firmer and slightly bulkier. I like that for a slipper opening, so I’m not going to change it after all. If the slightly different appearance on each edge gives you the willies, you can always swap it out. Knitter’s choice!

Edited to add:
Based on Leslie’s comment below, I tried out her beginning of row i-cord edging: Slip 3 with yarn in back at beginning of RS rows, Slip 3 with yarn in front at beginning of WS rows. I kept my garter stitch column next to the i-cord, and worked in stockinette. Here’s the pic:

It rolls to the back on both edges, yay! But it doesn’t roll as tightly as the other two, so I’m still not changing anything. It’s good to have so many options, and I may play with more, but not right now. Other projects are calling!

Use these handy edges for all sorts of other knitting; they’re pretty cool. Where do you want to add them now?

Madrona registration begins this Thursday!

The class schedule is up! The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival is February 15-18 (President’s Day weekend) in Tacoma, WA, and registration for classes opens on the morning of November 9. I am super excited to be teaching my class, Athena Entrelac Cowl, on Thursday afternoon.

Athena is a great way to learn entrelac. I like to teach entrelac beginning with entrelac in the round, because there are fewer units to learn (base triangles, left and right leaning rectangles, no side triangles). I also teach how to purl back backwards (some call this knitting back backwards), without turning your work. Handy on these little stockinette units! As a fun bonus, I’m updating my Athena Cowl pattern with an option to include some entrelac knit flat, if you’re up for a little more challenge.

I’m also teaching my mini class on blocking again, as well as a mini version of my elongated stitches class, if the schedule holds. Mini class registration will be in January.

Besides classes, Madrona has a wonderful market, demonstrations, evening entertainment, and lots of opportunities for knitting and spinning with friends old and new. A little something for everyone. Are you planning to go to Madrona? It’s one of my favorite events of the year, and I hope to see you there.

Also on Thursday: The first meeting of the new Puddletown Knitters Guild. Social meeting starts at 6, program starts at 7. We’re at the Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark Street in Portland, and you can visit twice before joining. I’m the speaker! I’ll be talking about my design process.

Cheers!