Lockdown Love Note finished again and again

It’s been modified yarn chicken all the way with my current Love Note sweater. I knit until I had just enough Aquarius to finish the body with 4 rows of ribbing plus bind off. It felt a tiny bit short.

Love Note DK sweater and cat

I frogged the ribbing, and knit the stockinette body until the Aquarius ran out. Then I knit 4 rounds of ribbing in Beach Glass.

I didn’t really want a contrast color ribbing at the waist (yoo hoo look over here!), but that was all the Aquarius I had.

That also meant that the sleeves would have to be in the lighter color, too.

I had plenty of Sea Glass, so I first made the sleeves at 20 rounds. But this made the sweater look too color blocky on me, so I eventually made the sleeves really short, just 4 rounds of stockinette before ending with 3 rounds of ribbing. (Yes, I tried it on at 20, 16, 12, 8 rounds as I ripped back the first sleeve. Because why not?)

In a perfect world, I would have ended the lighter color at the end of the lace, and then the body and lower sleeves would have been in the darker color. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have enough of the darker color to make that happen, so I waited until after the split for the sleeves to go back to the darker color. This was my way of avoiding an awkward dark stripe on the sleeve before having to finish with the light color. Winning!

Love Note contrast ribbing

The contrasting waistband looked fine, but I didn’t like the way it looked on ME.

Love Note sweater FO and cat

So I took it off and re-finished with the darker color again, this time with one more round of stockinette, and 3 rounds of ribbing. Now that there are sleeves, it looks better. I think blocking will help a bit, too.

So that’s Love Note, knit in a week and a day, and finished several times. I think it’s time to move on! After blocking, of course. It’s drying now. This has been a fun knit, twice, with this pattern by Tin Can Knits.

Mood ring

Mood? Pretty good! The mood ring agrees. How about you?

Love Note in the time of Coronavirus

After finishing my fuzzy purple Love Note Memoir, I wanted a spring-ier version to wear sooner. I had this Hazel Knits Lively DK in my stash. I only have one skein of Aquarius and one skein of Beach Glass because they were going to go into a brioche shawl or scarf design, but it wasn’t quite right for the project. This yarn has patiently waited for its time in the spotlight, and now it’s time to shine. I love how crisp and clear the lace is with this yarn.

It’s Love (Note) in the Time of Coronavirus! Love Note is a perfect knit for these strange times; it goes quickly and I don’t have to pay too much attention.

The pattern calls for 600 yards of yarn; I have 550. Because of the limited amount of yarn, this will be short/cropped/normal on me. And it will have short sleeves for spring/summer wear.

How can I use the two colors together and make it look right? I don’t think it would look good striped into a fade, that would look too stripey/sporty for the pretty lace. I could have made the entire top portion in the lighter color, but I don’t know how long the bottom portion will end up being. I don’t want it to look like I chopped the sweater (and me) in half. The color blocks would have to be in the right proportion to each other, and I don’t think I have enough control (or yarn) to make sure that works out.

So….I’m knitting the lace yoke in the lighter color and as much as I can of the body in the darker color. I don’t know what color the sleeves will be, below the lace yoke, until I see how far I get with the dark color on the body. Will I have to have a stripe of the lighter color at the hem? We’ll find out!

I don’t want a neckline as snug as my first Love Note, so I skipped the provisional cast on and just began with long tail cast on with the larger needle at the neck, then knit the ribbing on the smaller needle. Back to larger needle to work down towards the body.

I finished the lace, and continued in the lighter color until just *after* the split for the sleeves. I suspect that I won’t have enough of the dark color for sleeves, so I’m hedging my bets. I don’t want a line of dark at the underarm if I end up having to use the light color for the sleeves. That would be WRONG.

Now I’m on autopilot, cruising down the body. We’ll see how far this single skein of Aquarius will take me.

Oh! My classes sold out at Vogue’s Virtual Knitting Live, so it’s clear that knitters want to get together to knit and learn, even if we have to do it from a distance. There are still a few classes and lectures available at the event, but you should hurry if you want to snag a spot. Here’s the website again.

Away we go!

Kerfuffle Cowl update, and Kerfuffle Zoom class

Read to the bottom if you’re interested in class!

Young woman wearing snowflake colorwork cowlLarge cowl

I’ve updated the pattern for my Kerfuffle Cowl to streamline it for classes. I’ve been saying for years that I was going to do this, and now I have a little time to get it done. Here’s what I’ve changed:

  • Changed the needles to omit the smaller needle for the ribbing. Now the ribbing and the body both use the same larger needle. It works fine, and makes class that much more accessible.
  • Omitted the purl stitches in the first 3 and last 3 rows of the charted pattern. I was concerned about the edge flipping, but blocking takes care of that, and it’s one less thing for a new colorwork knitter to think about.
  • Added a larger 30″ size to the original 24″ size. Knitter’s choice!

The Kerfuffle cowl is a great project for first time stranded colorwork. There are only two colors used per round, and I’ve taken care that the motifs don’t have long floats that need to be trapped.

To celebrate this update, you can purchase the Kerfuffle Cowl pattern for 15% off through April 24, 2020 using the coupon code FRESH when you purchase it through Ravelry. Newsletter subscribers will have a 25% discount in the next newsletter. Not a subscriber? Sign up here!

Small cowl

I’m teaching a Kerfuffle Cowl stranded colorwork class through Zoom on Wednesday May 6, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The class is being organized by Fuchsia Troutman at Weird Sisters Yarn Shop. She’ll have class kits available, and a special pattern discount, too. Register here!

By the way, my May 2 Petite Brioche class is now full; thank you for your interest! This will be a great way to get into the swing of Zoom classes. I’m looking forward to being able to teach from home, and I hope you enjoy learning from home, too.

Three of my four Virtual Knitting Live classes are full (that was quick!). There are a few spots left in my Minerva Entrelac class, so if you’re interested in that, register now. VKLive link is here.

Let’s knit together, apart!

Virtual Knitting Live: Teachers gonna teach

Virtual Knitting Live card

I’m so excited that I’m teaching at Virtual Knitting Live, Vogue Knitting Live’s new event, next month. Registration is now open! Class sizes are limited, so register early for best selection.

Classes are 2 hours long. I’m optimizing my offerings to work well as interactive classes through the Zoom platform. I’m teaching:

  • Petite Brioche: 2 color brioche in the round (sold out already!)
  • Herringbone Braids and Beyond: Braided Wristlets
  • Minerva Entrelac cowl or scarf
  • YO? YO! Fun and Fancy Stitches

Virtual Knitting Live class collage
Clara Parkes is giving the keynote speech at 9 a.m. on Monday May 11, which means 6 a.m. here. Not sure I’ll be awake for it, but she’d be worth it!

I’m also teaching a couple smaller classes beforehand, which is my opportunity to practice my Zoom skills before the event. I’m teaching Petite Brioche on Saturday May 2, and Kerfuffle Cowl (through Weird Sisters Yarn Shop) on Wednesday, May 6. More info on Kerfuffle in my next post, and info on Petite Brioche is in this previous post.

Let me know if you want to knit together, apart!

Minerva KAL home stretch status check

I finished the knitting on my Minerva KAL cowl this week. I used my yarn scale to maximize my yarn usage; I wanted to use as much of this glorious gradient as possible.

Minerva entrelac knitting

First, how much yarn does it take to knit a rectangle unit? A triangle? And then multiply by the number of remaining units. Some quick math told me I had enough yarn to knit that last set of left and right leaning tiers before finishing, but it still felt like yarn chicken at the end.

It’s easiest to block Minerva before seaming. I steam blocked it to relax things a bit, but I didn’t want to completely flatten it. This went from 31” long to 33” long, and stayed at 7” wide.

The next step was to remove my provisional cast on. I love how the crochet chain provisional cast on unzips.

Next up: Seaming my cowl into a loop using 3 needle bind off. You could also kitchener stitch/graft your seam, but I always have to look up the instructions, and I’m feeling lazy.

Did you enjoy the hedge trimmer sound effects in the background? With everyone home for the coronavirus shutdown, and a gloriously beautiful day, there was bound to be some shared sound in the neighborhood. Oops.

Finished pictures coming soon. I ordered a Tiny Shawl Belt from IndigoDragonfly for this project, and now I can’t find it! I may have to photograph with something else in the meantime.

How are you doing with your Minerva? I see projects on Ravelry and Instagram, and some blogs, too. I’m going to let the KAL play out through the end of April, and then give away some prizes. You don’t have to be completely finished to receive a prize, but finishing is sweet.

Please show your projects on Ravelry or Instagram (or both!) if you’d like to be included! Make sure your Ravelry project page is linked to the pattern so I can find it. Tag your Instagram posts with #minervakal2020 and #pdxknitterati so I can find them there, too.

Have I tempted you enough? It’s not too late to cast on, if you’d like to join the KAL. Here’s everything you need to know:

Previous Minerva KAL 2020 posts:
Introducing Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL
Minerva KAL: Choosing your yarn
Minerva KAL: Casting On
Minerva KAL: Base Triangles
Minerva KAL: Tier 2
Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2
How’s your Minerva KAL progress?

Petite Brioche Zoom class May 2

Petite Brioche: It’s my gateway project into brioche knitting. Brioche rib has such a simple, soothing rhythm to it; it’s a perfect technique to learn during this pandemic lockdown. The Petite Brioche pattern is free here on my blog, but sometimes you want a little more guidance, right?

Blue brioche headband

I’m offering a virtual class via Zoom on Saturday, May 2, 1 to 3 pm PDT. I’ll help you get started with your 2 color brioche rib headband. Price is $25. Class size is limited, as we figure out the ins and outs of this new way of teaching and learning. Come knit with me!

Leave a comment if you’re interested. Hoping to introduce you to the joys of brioche!

Sweet Love Note success

I finished knitting my Love Note sweater the other night. I would have finished sooner, but I couldn’t decide how long I wanted my sleeves. I finished them several times.

Magic loop

I didn’t enjoy knitting the sleeves using magic loop; I’m not sure why not. Maybe because I had a 40” cable, and it might have been more comfortable with a longer cable or 2 circulars? With coronavirus lockdowns, it would have taken longer than I wanted to get more needles, so I just slogged on.

The pattern has the sleeves ending just below the elbow, but that made everything congregate visually around my waist. No thank you! I tried 3/4 length (mid-forearm) but DH said it just looked like my sleeves were too short. I eventually settled on bracelet length, ending above my wristbone, not quite full length. Short sleeves might have worked, too, but I wasn’t going to rip them all the way back; those sleeves were hard earned.

Love Note sweater

I finished at 1 a.m. Then I put it on, and ended up reading ‘til 2 a.m. because I didn’t want to take it off to go to bed. I think that’s a win!

Love Note sweater with helpful knitting cat

Calvin and I took careful measurements because I wanted to wet block it and still have it be exactly the same size when it was done. Superwash yarn is notoriously stretchy when wet, but in my experience it generally bounces back to the same size when dry. You just have to not freak out when you see how big it grows when wet!

I didn’t make a real swatch for this sweater, but I started it 3 times, which means I really made two huge swatches before knitting this sweater. I didn’t wash and block a swatch though, so I didn’t really know how it would turn out, although I could make an educated guess. Do as I say, not as I do! As long as you’re willing to live with the consequences, it’s knitter’s choice.

I definitely got familiar with the fabric on different sized needles! I used a US 9 for the upper body and lace, a US 10 for the stockinette body and sleeves, a US 8 for the bottom ribbing and sleeve ribbing, and a US 7 for the neck because it was above the US 9 lace. A US 8 probably would have been fine for the neck; I just didn’t think of it.

Love note sweater blocking outdoors

It was nice enough to block outdoors, so I took full advantage. And it did stretch when wet. I patted it carefully into approximately the right size. It was about an inch longer than I wanted, but it did bounce back perfectly when dry. Whew!

Finished sweater is 40” around for 3” of ease; I was knitting the 41.5” size. No hi-low hem, just cropped. I love the way it fits; the recommended 7” of ease would have been ridiculous on me. I take patterns as a general suggestion, a starting point for negotiation. This is a great pattern by Tin Can Knits.

Love Note lace detail

The mohair makes the lace a bit fuzzy, but it’s pretty anyway. Now I have to find something to wear it with. I’m glad I found a project for these two retreat souvenir yarns!

I’m almost finished with Minerva; soon I’ll have nothing on the needles again. But I have a couple ideas…

Are you feeling more productive with social/physical distancing, or less? I was feeling pretty scattered for a few weeks. I could manage tasks that were already planned out, like knitting something designed by someone else, or even designed by me that was already on the needles, or making videos for Minerva, or sewing face masks, or baking from recipes. But I couldn’t wrap my head around something that requires a big burst of creativity, like designing something new.

I hope that finishing these projects will give me enough head space to spark creativity. If not, I could always knit…another Love Note. In DK. Yes, I love it that much.

Love Note update: Neckline, and Sleeve Island

I finished the body of my Love Note, guessing on length based on my Soldotna Crop. I wanted it to be one inch longer than that. (I love my Soldotna Crop, but wasn’t willing to buy a whole skein of yarn just to knit one more inch.) I am opting to not do the short row shaping at the hem; I just want the sweater to be the same length all the way around.

I decided to finish the neckline before moving on to the sleeves, for two reasons. The first reason: I want to know just how much yarn I have left for the sleeves, in case I have to make them shorter than the pattern suggests. Yarn chicken is a common game around here.

The other reason: I wanted to know exactly how long my sweater is, and I couldn’t know that without finishing the neck, because everything hangs from there.

The first time I finished, I realized I hated the round crew neckline around my neck! It made me feel claustrophobic. No thank you! I don’t even have a picture; I frogged that back in the middle of the night.

I thought about how comfortable the provisional cast on was when I tried it on for length. The instructions have a round of decreases, and then on to the ribbed neck.

Waiting with provisional cast on

I ripped back to the neckline decreases, so it’s still not as wide as it was with just the provisional cast on, but a reasonable width. Then I worked 7 rounds of stockinette on the smaller needle. This rolls *away* from my neck, and is a little wider than the ribbed neck (ribbing pulls in more), which makes me very happy. This is basically the same treatment I gave my Stopover sweaters. Winning!

Purple Love Note sweater

I weighed my remaining yarn, and now I’m knitting down the first sleeve.

Purple Love Note in progress

I’m at the point where it reminds me of “The Wild Swans” by Hans Christian Andersen. Do you remember that story, where the last sweater isn’t quite finished, and the last brother has one wing and one arm?

What are you knitting right now?

Bagels, no yeast, no wait

Yogurt bagels

I wanted to bake bagels again this past weekend, but I’m short on yeast. An Instagram post by @minibagelmom mentioned something called yogurt bagels. And right down the rabbit hole I went!

Apparently there are 2 ingredient bagel recipes, which use just self-rising flour and greek yogurt. Self rising flour is just flour with baking powder and salt added, so that’s a 4 ingredient bagel at our house. Why buy and store self-rising flour separately? I have a tiny kitchen.

I looked through a lot of yogurt bagel recipes online; most made 4 bagels. That’s not enough bagels to turn on the oven. Doubling it would require 2 cups of greek yogurt, which I didn’t have. But! The recipe on the Fage Yogurt page only needed 1.5 cups of yogurt, and claimed to make 8 bagels.

And it did. There’s no rise time for these bagels, just mix, knead a tiny bit, and shape. No boiling, just bake. They’re not a perfect bagel, but a darn good substitute if you are short on yeast and time. DH liked them, and I’d make them again. Recipe here.

Note: Definitely shape them as directed; my usual way of making a ball and poking my thumb through made a very unattractive sticky ring. Rolling into a rope and making a circle looked much better, so I reshaped my originals.

We’re eating at home a *lot* with an occasional take-out meal to support a favorite restaurant. Other delicious things we’ve had recently:

Quinoa bowl with brussels sprouts and eggplant
Quinoa bowl with roasted brussels sprouts, eggplant, and tahini, recipe from NYTimes/Melissa Clark.

lentil and spinach soup
Instant Pot lentil and spinach soup from Kitchen Treaty.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve cooked recently? Are you being more adventurous in the kitchen?

Maskmaker, maskmaker, make me a mask…

Oh, why not just break into song?

Pfaff sewing machine

My lovely old Singer 306K still needs service, and it would take 2.5 weeks to get it back. So I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine. Sewing masks is a lot more fun when my thread doesn’t break every six inches.

An IG friend gave me some elastic, so I got back to work. Check out these fabric combos. Most were just languishing here in my stash, from when I thought I wanted to quilt.

Face masks blue stars Chinese scriptChinese script and blue stars

Face masks purplePurple florals

Fabric samples Music!

Fabric samplesMartinis and stars, a trade from friend Sharyn for some elastic

I had enough elastic for 50 masks. I’m making 20, and I shared elastic with my mask-making friends. They’re going to family, friends, and nurses. Many hands make light work!

I’m still using the Deaconess mask pattern, but I’ve changed my dimensions to make them a little taller based on fit on DH. I’m now cutting my fabric to be 6.75” (.75” taller) x 9”. When I run out of elastic, I could start making masks with ties, or I could just get back to my knitting.

Also Covid-19 related: Have you heard about Going on a Bear Hunt? It’s a way to engage families who are out walking. Leave a bear in your window! We saw many bears on our walk last night.

Going on a bear hunt

Bisquee is guarding the house with Tedward and Dr. Bear.

Teddy bears

Dr. Bear’s mask is on point!