Garter stitch as worry beads

purple garter crescent

I’m working out a new design idea, and it’s fairly mindless. Garter stitch makes a great worry bead. I love these two colors together; they’re from Lorajean at Knitted Wit. The variegated is Rose City (I think it was a special for the Rose City Yarn Crawl?) and the purple may be Her Majesty (label long gone, if I ever had one).

Rows and rows of garter stitch, so soothing as I wait by the phone.

gray BellaTrix

I was startled to see that BellaTrix was going gray last week. Her brilliant white fur was changing color. Apparently she got into our bedroom fireplace (screens are not enough barrier), and spread it around when she tried to groom herself. This made her sick, so she has been to the vet several times this week.

BellaTrix lamp

Although she wasn’t feeling well, she was still pretty active and chipper at times, but not eating. Yesterday she had an x-ray. No blockage. But her liver is only 20% of normal size. She’s back at the vet today for more tests, and I’m worried.

BellaTrix nerf dart

Please send good thoughts her way. Meanwhile, I’ll keep knitting.

purple garter st

Introducing Tridacna Cowls and Necklace, KAL?

Tridacna? It’s a clam. It’s an inspiration!

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The scalloped edges of the elongated stitches in the Tridacna cowls and necklace mimic the fluted edges of the Tridacna clam’s shell. This cowl can be knit as a long infinity loop, a short cozy cowl, or a simple necklace. The longer cowl features yarn specially dyed by Hand Maiden Fine Yarn for A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, in colors inspired by the Tridacna clam. The short cowl and necklace are shown knit in two colors. Knitter’s choice! The pattern is written for DK weight yarn. Silk enhances the drape of these pieces.

tridacna cowl pdxknitterati

The long cowl can be worn in a variety of ways: Long, doubled, keyhole style.

tridacna necklace pdxknitterati

Not ready to knit an entire cowl? The necklace is a great introduction to this fun elongated stitch. There’s a link to a video in the pattern, too, if you need help with the stitch.

This pattern is available for $6 via pdf download through Ravelry. Pattern page is here. Use coupon code CLAM for 20% off through August 10, 2016. Do you want to do a KAL beginning August 20? Let me know through blog comment, Facebook, Instagram, or Ravelry.

tridacna clam

This is the photo that inspired the yarn that inspired the cowls. Murray Post took this underwater photograph of a Tridacna clam in Fiji. He’s the husband of Susan Post, the owner of A Good Yarn in Sarasota Florida. The Posts asked hand Maiden Fine Yarn to create a custom colorway, Clam, based on this photo. When I saw the photo and the yarn, I knew exactly what the yarn wanted to be.

Murray says:
“I took this picture is of a Tridacna, or giant clam in Fiji. They are quite beautiful, with a fleshy mantle that extends out of its shell. The small black dots around the rim of the mantle are primitive eyes, that sense light and shadow. As you approach, they retract their mantles and close their shell, though once they’re any size, the shell can’t close all the way. Tridacna means 3 bites, and they were once farmed and consumed only by the village chiefs. The largest I’ve seen was over 5 feet wide. This guy is bit larger than a football.”

Thank you to the Posts for the beautiful yarn and inspiration!

Larger photos are on my PDXKnitterati Tridacna pattern page, here.

Braided Wristlet class at OFFF in September

pdxknitterati braided wristlets

August already?! My thoughts are turning toward fall. I’m looking forward to the 20th annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. The theme this year is braids and bands, so I’m teaching my Braided Wristlets class on Saturday, September 24. I designed this pattern to be a workshop in herringbone and other braids, two color stranded knitting, and color dominance, all in a manageable little package for your wrist. Come knit with me! Registration for this class is here.

OFFF is always a big part of my September. Classes, shopping, and visiting the animals in the barn…heaven!

Shawl shapes, Bellatrix, Lacey

I’m playing along with the 5 Shawls, 5 Days challenge. Each day, we knit a mini shawl to explore the different shapings. It’s not too late to join, I think.

Of course, I can’t just follow directions. I have to play with them; I’m a designer!

winged triangle

The first day’s shape is the top down triangle shawl. I’ve knit this shape before, and if my yardage is limited, I like to knit the winged triangle (longer ends via additional increases on the WS rows). This way the shawl grows wider faster than the traditional triangle shawl, and is shallower. Great for not pointing directly at your butt, and it also gives you enough width to get a nice wrap around your neck or shoulders before running out of your single skein of precious luxury yarn.

The second day’s shape is the 3/4 shawl. It’s three triangles instead of the usual two on a traditional triangle shawl. I don’t love this shape, so I didn’t knit it. But many years ago I did a frankenstein version of this shape, with the extended ends of the winged triangle on the outer two triangles.

failure

It was a big fail (my fault, completely). Here’s a picture so you can laugh, and here’s a link to the blog post I did at the time, Big Cup o’Fail. Don’t worry; it got better. I frogged the whole thing and ended up designing the Zen Rain Shawlette.

zen rain shawlette

This would be a winged triangle, but with a center panel to automatically add some width and avoid a pointed center. See how much you can play with shawl shapes?

The third day’s shawl shape is a crescent. I have designed several crescent shaped shawls, but they’ve all been from the bottom up.

crescent shawl shape

I like it! It’s a lot simpler than short rowing from the bottom up. I’m using this particular swatch to play around with striping, and I want to play with an edging, too, so it’s still on the needles.

Two more shapes coming. I’ll keep you posted.

Bellatrix(fuzzy low light picture of her sticking her tongue out. sassy!)

In other news: The cat formerly known as Trix has a name! In the end, she wasn’t a Biscuit, either. DH said, “Maybe her name is Trix.” That was her shelter name, but I thought it was too short. She’s pretty tricksy, though. So her name is now Bellatrix. It means female warrior. It’s also the left shoulder star in the constellation Orion, one of the two constellations I can identify in the night sky. I’m calling her Bellatrix or Trix most of the time, and it seems to fit. “Trix” also sounds like the litte squeak she makes when she tries to meow. She doesn’t have a voice! She may have lost it when she was sick; I’ve never heard her meow.

Lacey

Also, this is Lacey! Thank you for all your suggestions, for both the mannequin and the cat. Random.org says that commenter number 3 is the winner, so Chris Pugsley will be getting a copy of Aura. But Paula Johnson actually suggested Lacey, so I’m offering her a choice of one of my PDXKnitterati patterns via Ravelry download. Bonus prize!

Keep knitting, and here’s a picture from yesterday. Ahhhhhh.

spinnakers on the columbia

What’s in a Name? and name contest

A cat has no name. (Apologies, Game of Thrones.) It’s hard getting a name to stick to this one. She was Trix when we adopted her, and since then she’s been Coco Pele (homages to Pele the Hawaiian fire goddess, Pele the soccer player, and Kokopelli), and Clio Petra. None of them stuck. I call her Mooper a lot, but that’s not her name. The kids like Unagi (eel, because she’s so twisty/slippery), Mochi, and Biscuit. Biscuit?! Hmmm, all food names.

Late night entertainment. #catsofinstagram #purringtonsalumni

A video posted by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

Well, she does like the kitchen. At just one year old, she’s a lot busier than our 16 year old Mookie was.

refrigerator cat

Yes, she tried to get into the refrigerator. Picture courtesy of Son1, and the Prisma app. (Have you played with Prisma? Free, and interesting! And you can remove the watermark in the corner, easy peasy.)

piano cat

I’ve also found her on the piano, and *in* the piano. Apparently she’s a lot sassier now that she’s feeling at home, and healthy. (She had giardia and a respiratory infection when we adopted her. Messy!)

sleepy cat

I kind of like her when she’s asleep, and not trying to bite my knitting.

cat knit helper

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll come up with a name, soon. It may even be Biscuit.

mannequin lace

Here’s another new addition to the household. I found her at Home Goods yesterday, quite by accident. She needs a name, too. I’d been thinking of getting something like this because Bobbi, my fabulous model, is off to college this fall.

mannequin dress

I gave her one of my old dresses, a black velvet mini T-shirt dress. Very demure. She’ll be introducing my newest design soon, including the necklace she’s wearing here. At least the design has a name!

Let’s have a little fun. Suggest a name for my new mannequin, and I’ll do a random drawing for a winner (but I’m too chicken to pick her name at random!). You can also suggest a name for my cat. Winner gets a copy of this book, Aura: 2016 Spring Collection from Knit Picks. Click the link to see the designs.

Aura

My Trellis Vines Poncho/Wrap is in it, along with many other breezy patterns for lightweight yarns.

I’ll pick a winner July 27. Ready, set, go!

New beginnings

I love casting on. It’s a new beginning, and everything is possible.

just enough long tail cast on

A perfectly guessed long tail cast on is encouraging.

tridacna beginning

And the first bit of beauty encourages hope for the possible.

The news cycle is so awful right now. I don’t have the right words to express my feelings, but I’ll try. We need a new beginning, where we all see each other as people with hopes and dreams and reasons for believing what we do. We need to acknowledge that there is so much good in people and the world, and try to honor that, too. Fear-mongering, othering, demonizing, and killing has to stop. I want love to win over hate.

So I’ll keep trying to add a little beauty to this world, and do my best to make it a better place.

Peace.

Knitting away, and away

I’m always knitting, even if it’s stuff I can’t show you. I did finish my project with this yarn I bought from Alexandra’s Crafts at OFFF last year.

Alexandra's gradient

It was a two strand sock blank, giving me two strands, dyed exactly the same.

alexandra's crafts

I designed a little something with it, and it was perfect for a submission for a book project. Apparently they thought so, too, which means I can’t show you the FO, except like this.

mystery gradient project Alexandra

It came full circle, but now it’s garter stitch instead of stockinette.

mystery garter stitch

The new FO isn’t a gradient, but it’s beautiful either way. This blocked out really nicely. I love the way pedestrian garter stitch blocks out into an airy ethereal wonder. This yarn has silk in it, which adds to the loveliness.

knitting aerie manzanita

I knit some of it in this dreamy knitting aerie loft space in a house we rented in Manzanita. DH’s mom came out to visit us and we took her to the coast for her birthday.

birthday breezes

It was breezy and cool

breezy selfie

but we had a good time! Son1 learned to shuck oysters from a YouTube video, so we toasted Mom with oysters on the half shell. And wine, too. (Son2 had just started a new job and couldn’t get away. We celebrated again in town.)

oyster toast

Now home and knitting with one of the yarns from A Good Yarn in Sarasota. It should be done in a couple days, and then I can actually show you some knitting! But for now, a few more pix from the coast…

beach truck

message from the sea on a log

horses passing by

Are you celebrating the Fourth of July? It’s the annual Waterfront Blues Festival in town, so we’ve seen lots of music. Perfect weather this year.

Blues Cruise

Views from the Blues Cruise, NW Women in R&B.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Carol Milne knitted glass, WWKIP wrap up

Remember Carol Milne’s knitted glass entrelac from Madrona? (More pictures in that link.)

carol milne glass entrelac

I sponsored a piece, and it just arrived in the mail, along with a postcard of Carol Milne wearing her finished creation last month. I think it must be pretty heavy when it’s all put together.

knitted glass carol milne

carol milne knitted glass entrelac

The glass is strung on an adjustable cord and is ready for wearing. The postcard says “A metaphor for the fragility of life and the power of social structure. Individual strands are weak and brittle on their own, but deceptively strong when bound together.” So true. And so cool!

Knit Pick-nic WWKIP

If you were following on Instagram last weekend (I’m @pdxknitterati over there), you already know that WWKIP Day was a bit damp, but fun. If you weren’t following, here are some pictures for you.

free yarn from knit picks
Knit Picks sponsored this Pick-Nic, and gave away project bags, yarn, and books. I had a trunk show, along with three other designers. Thank you, Knit Picks!

bacon and eggs scarf

We were greeted by this lovely KP person, wearing a bacon and eggs scarf.

Hannah Knit Picks finger puppets

Hannah loved these finger puppets!

OK, back to my knitting. Trying to finish up a pattern…What are you doing this weekend?

Re-introducing: Twin Leaf Crescent

The publishing rights to my Twin Leaf Crescent shawl returned to me this month, and to celebrate I added a shawlette option.

Twin Leaf wingspan

The original shawl that I designed for Black Trillium Fibres used her beautiful 5 miniskein 165g gradient set. The layers of color are gorgeous.

twin leaf shawlette

The new shawlette that I designed uses Canon Hand Dyes 100g/460 yard continuous gradient. See how the color concentrates on the leafy border, and then softly shades up from there?

I love them both!

The pattern is 20% off with code TWINNING through 6/27/16.

Coco blocking

In other news, there’s a new kitty in the house! Meet Coco. She wanted to help block my new shawlette, but I didn’t think that was the best idea.

Coco and Mook pillow

She has very big socks to fill, but she appears to be up to the challenge. Very outgoing, very sweet and polite. When I met her, she was doing this:

Coco Trix

How could I resist?

Lastly, to celebrate Worldwide Knit in Public Day, all of my patterns are 20% off through this weekend (Saturday Sunday) with code WWKIP. (You can only use one code or the other.)

Knit on, in public or in private!

Saturday is Worldwide Knit in Public Day

Do you have plans to knit in public on Saturday? I do!

WWKIP Knit Picks

I’ll be at Colonel Summers Park in Portland for Knit Picks’ Knit Pick-nic. I’ll have a little trunk show there, and my knitting!

It will be a fun-filled afternoon of crafting with a showcase of local designers, sneak peeks of upcoming exclusive collections, prize raffles and giveaways! Just bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket and a crafty project, and we’ll have a grand time.

Hope to see you there! Now I just have to figure out what I can knit in public (simple, and not super-secret knitting). Off to check the stash…

Saturday, June 18 2016
Colonel Summers Park
Shelter B
SE 17th Ave & Taylor St, Portland OR 97214
1pm – 3pm