Tag Archives: Knit

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 (@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!

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!

Bang Out A Sweater next week?

When I saw that Kay and Ann over at Mason-Dixon Knitting were starting a #BangOutASweater KAL with Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stopover pattern, I tried to resist. I have several projects already in the works, and don’t really need one more.

But if I did decide to knit along, what colors would I use? I played with some colors online. Just looking, you know. As one does.

Lett-Lopi colors

I wondered what they would look like in real life? I went to the Knitting Bee to check. And then I bought the yarn. Oops. But Létt-Lopi isn’t very expensive on the yarn continuum, so I didn’t feel too guilty. I could put it away for later when I have more time, right?

My friend Claudia came over to bake bagels and sing with me the other day. (She, Becky, and I sing as the Pie Birds.) The bagels turned out great.

bagels with Claudia

I told her about the BangOutASweater KAL, and she was all in. She went from my house to Dublin Bay to get yarn. I’m such an enabler! (And can I say just how lucky we are in Portland to have 15 yarn shops in the area, and TWO that carry Lopi?) She sent me this picture.

Létt-Lopi for Claudia

I guess this means I should knit along with her now, instead of later. I swatched yesterday (in the round! and wet blocked!) and also sampled color placement. The size didn’t change when I blocked it, but the yarn fuzzed up marvelously and filled in the gaps at this loosely knit gauge. Perfect.

Stopover color sampling

I like the top sample better; the gray and blue pop against each other at the bottom of the peacock feather. The green and blue are too similar in value to each other and mush into each other in the bottom sample. Here it is in monotone; you’ll see what I mean.

lett-lopi monotone

So I’ll run with the color placement in the top sample, but I’m not excited about the green as the accent color pop. I may use cherry red. Or sunshine yellow. Hot pink? It’s only used in that one row, so I’ll check my stash of leftovers (Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride) to see if I have anything that works. Otherwise, back to the yarn store. Oh, darn.

How about you? Do you want to bang out a sweater with us? It will be quick. And fun! Check it out here on the blog, on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, their Ravelry group, and Instagram, where the hashtag is #BangOutASweater.

Bucket list knitting: Steeks!

Is steeking on your knitting bucket list? Say yes!

steek promo

A steek is a column of extra stitches inserted into your knitting so you can cut them. Why? Because stranded colorwork is so much easier in the round than knit flat. But when you want that circular knitting to be flat, as in a cardigan or a scarf, you need to cut the steek.

mid steek

It’s not as scary as it sounds, especially if you do it to a small piece of knitting, instead of the cardigan you’ve been knitting for months. To that end, I’ve designed a couple pieces to practice on.

bucket list coffee accessories

Oh, coffee, I love you so much I knit a sweater for you. And a mug rug.

These are the Bucket List Coffee Accessories. You can use them for your tea, too. I won’t tell anyone. I designed these for a class I’m teaching at Twisted later this month (see end of post for details).

They make sweet gifts, and they’re an opportunity for you to try steeking, even if you can’t come to class. The pattern is available through Ravelry, and it’s on sale for 20% off through October 15 with coupon code EEK. As in steek. Ha!

I wrote a longer tutorial here, in case you like more pictures. Who doesn’t like more pictures?

For this project, I knocked a couple things off *my* bucket list, too. It’s small circular knitting, which I usually do on dpns. I wanted to know how to knit with 2 circulars, and with magic loop. Done. I liked the magic loop. Working with two circulars is like having antennae waving all over the place, too flappy for me. Your mileage may vary.

I’m teaching a steek class with the Bucket List Accessories at Twisted on October 17 and 24 at Twisted. Come join me, and we’ll explore stranded colorwork on dpns, magic loop, and 2 circulars. During the second class we’ll cut these quick pieces with the support of our classmates. There may be bubbly at the end of the second class!

The very first time I saw a steek cut, it wasn’t even colorwork. My cousin and college roomie Kathy had been an AFS exchange student in Norway, and she was knitting a purple sweater in the round. Since it was stockinette, it was all knit, no purl. She steeked the armholes, because that’s how she was taught in Norway. Are you purl averse? Take that idea and run with it!

Presenting…Kilter!

Kilter…

Kilter hat

Off Kilter?

Kilter hat back

Both!

Presenting Kilter, a hat with maximum stretch due to the alternating stockinette/reverse stockinette sections. It looks great any way you wear it: centered on your head, pulled down over your ears, or tilted down over one ear, beret style. Knit in sport weight yarn from the bottom up, the top of the hat features a twirly, swirly square, so your hat is always slightly off-kilter! Kilter makes a great chemo cap, or a fun hat at any time.

Kilter Galileo.

Kilter is a simple project, great for multi-task knitting. I designed it as a chemo cap, but it’s cute on everyone. It takes less than one 100g skein of sport weight yarn, so choose something delicious!

You can find the pattern for Kilter on Ravelry. To celebrate this pattern launch, I’m offering it at 20% off the normal $6 price through October 1.

Are you going to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this weekend? I’m sure you can find the perfect yarn for your Kilter there! I’m teaching tomorrow (Friday), Athena Entrelac and Fern Lace Shawlette. I’m shopping/playing on Saturday and Sunday! Hope to see you local knitters out and about.

We’ve got class(es)!

I love September. For me, it’s the start of a new year. My birthday, anniversary, school, knitting…I’ve been knitting like crazy all summer, but not everyone does. September is the beginning of knitting season for seasonal knitters, and classes pick up at this time, too.

I’m teaching in my usual spots, Twisted in Portland and For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton. I’m also adding some classes at Wool ‘n’ Wares in West Linn. You can see the list of my local-ish classes here.

I also have some other gigs a little further afield this fall. I’ll be at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival on Friday, September 25 to teach the Fern Shawlette and Athena Entrelac Cowl.

fern shawletteFern: Sideways shawl shaping, knit in i-cord edging and fern lace with optional beads

athenaAthena: Beginning entrelac, and how to knit back backwards without turning your work

I’ll be at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters on October 5 & 6 (Monday/Tuesday) with a trunk show, and to teach three classes, Thrill of the Thrum, Blocking: It’s Magic! and Athena Entrelac Cowl.

thrumbelina thrummed slippersThrumbelina: Don’t even try to resist the squishy loveliness of thrumming!

Rosaria edge detailBlocking: You worked so hard on your project; why not help it look its best?

blockingAction shot from the student participation portion of blocking class…

I’ll be at Stash in Corvallis to teach Athena and iPhone/iPad Photography, a fun new class. It’s not just for knitting; this class will help you with your photography, all around.

You might wonder why you would want to take a project based class, if you can read the pattern and follow directions. Good question! Classes are for camaraderie, and also for learning tips for better ways to do things that aren’t part of the written pattern. In my last Fern class I showed how to fix mistakes in lace patterning when you discover them one or two rows later, without ripping out the rows. A big time saver, but not something that would be written in your pattern. You also learn when a mistake is dire, and when you can shrug it off. All good things.

kristy aloha backI love it when students send me pictures of their FOs!

kristy aloha frontThis is Kristy with her gorgeous Aloha Shawlette, started in class and finished at home.

I love teaching knitters how to be the boss of their knitting. I hope you can come take a class with me this fall!

Rosaria shawlette pattern release

It’s been over a year since the Rosaria shawlette had its moment of fame at the 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl Yarn Ball. Time flies!

yarn ball

Originally an exclusive for the Rose City Yarn Crawl, the pattern is now available from PDXKnitterati through Ravelry.

pdxknitterati rosaria

pdxknitterati rosaria

The new pattern includes instructions for enlarging the shawlette, and for optimum placement of beads. Lots of beads.

Rosaria edge detail

To celebrate the re-launch of Rosaria, I’m offering $1 off through April 15, 2015 with coupon code rosegarden. Rosaria pattern page here. If you haven’t knit Rosaria yet, now is the perfect time! It requires two coordinating skeins of fingering weight yarn. Its half-pi construction means minimal fussing with stitch counts.

Have fun! What’s on your needles? I’m working on my Tilt Shift Wrap for the #tiltshiftkal.

pdxknitterati tilt shift wrap

We had fun at the cast on party last week!

tiltshiftkal party

And I have one more design project on the needles. And two in my head. And a sample that needs to be knit. And, and, and…How about you?

Barbie’s fashionable knit wardrobe

This is adapted from a post from 2009. There’s some good stuff back in the archives!

I’ve had this booklet/magazine that’s been on my knitting shelf for what seems like forever.

booklet

This one is a 1965 reprint of a magazine originally published in 1952. It used to belong to my Aunt Vivian, who gave it to me when I was in high school. I remember knitting these slippers!

slippers

My Thrumbelina Thrummed Slippers have a very similar super simple shaping.

thrumbelina thrummed slippers

Check out this dress:

dress

Aunt Vivian used to make clothes for our Barbie dolls. Does this look familiar?

that dress

The sash is long gone. I found this dress, along with some other treasures, at Mom’s house. The other items are from more doll clothing booklets, and I have those, too. Check out what a fashionably dressed Barbie was wearing in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. Stylish sheath dresses:

sheaths

Mohair winter coat, scarf, hat:

the pink

A sequined shell:

shell

And this half of a skater outfit. I love the mohair edging on this. I wonder where the fabulous flared skirt went? I always wanted one just like it for me. I remember sewing dresses with full circle skirts with my Aunt Rose (who later taught me to knit); I loved twirling in them. In college I made a simple full circle skirt with a drawstring waist…out of a bedsheet!

skater

Check out this elegant skirt.

skirt

Especially the waist shaping!

shaping

Aunt Vivian loved to knit and crochet. She made lots of clothes for our dolls, and vests for us. In her later years she knit many, many hats for the homeless. Aunt Rose taught me to knit when I spent the summer with her when I was 14. How lucky was I? Two aunts with crafty skills, one on each side of the family.

Who taught you to knit?

Coming soon: Criss Cross Hat, Beret, Mitts

I fell in love with a stitch pattern back in November, and I’ve had a great time playing with it. It’s my adaptation of a stitch pattern I saw in a Japanese stitch dictionary.

pdxknitterati criss cross stitch

It’s kind of like a cable, except the stitches go through each other, instead of in front or behind each other.

pdxknitterati criss cross hat

The first thing I did was try it on a beanie hat in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Indigo; I was teaching a circular hat class at Twisted and wanted to mix things up for myself. A little extra thinking on how I wanted to place my crown decreases, and it was done. Cute! But this style hat doesn’t look great on me, and I really wanted a hat for me.

pdxknitterati criss cross beret

Next up: the slouchy beret. It’s a thing, you know. This is Malabrigo Rios in Azules. Even more thinking about how to arrange crown decreases (I think you’ll really like it), and I love it. It looks good on Bobbi, my model, and it looks cute on me, too!

pdxkitterati criss cross beret

But what happens if you need a bigger one? If you have a big head? So I knit another one in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Black Forest, with more stitches. Looks great, but you know what? In wet blocking, the bottom band of the beret gets super stretchy, so you don’t really need more stitches to get a beret that fits a larger head. The diameter of the beret is a tad bigger, but not anything to write home about. If you want a little extra slouch, knit the large size, but the circumference of the band is hugely malleable. I put some elastic in the band on both the smaller and larger versions, and both fit my largish head just fine.

pdxknitterati criss cross beret

And then I knit one in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Moss to check my numbers, while I was on vacation. It still needs blocking.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

Unless a hat is super special (like Thrumviator, or Pippi), I like to have matching mitts to justify the pattern. Here’s the first version of the mitts in Indigo, like the beanie. I used a peasant thumb, because I didn’t want to mess with the criss cross stitch pattern. It worked great.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts and beret

Since I made the blue beret for me, I wanted matching mitts. Done. And check out those lovely crown decreases.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

I made a green set for my friend Carole for Christmas, because she loved the yarn color (Moss). I knit them with a larger needle, because the original mitts were a bit snug on her. The pattern repeat is large enough that you can’t easily change the number of stitches to adjust sizing. But when she put one of the mitts on upside down, I decided it was time to rethink the peasant thumb (which also looked a little sloppy at larger gauge).

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

I made this set in Malabrigo Rios, as a Christmas gift for my niece. (The blue Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere that I originally gave her with a promise of mitts was too heavy for this pattern, and also excess dye was crocking all over my hands and needles. Not happy with that one. Couldn’t find Azules in Rios again, so I opted for Solis, which is green. She can have her choice of these, or the Indigo pair. Her mom (my sister) is hoping she chooses Indigo, so she can have the green for herself. Go Ducks!) I used my favorite increased thumb gusset. Careful planning meant it didn’t interrupt the stitch pattern at all. Fits like a dream. The cuffs are a little longer than necessary, though.

pdxknitterati criss cross mitts

One more time! I knit the mitts once more in Moss, with a thumb gusset, and adjusted the overall length which required adjusting the stitch pattern. Perfect. I do all this messing around, so you don’t have to!

Patterns are all with my tech editor right now. I’m going to set them up as individual patterns, but you’ll be able to purchase them either individually, or as a set of two or three patterns, with discounts for sets. Coming soon! And the Criss Cross accessories will be eligible for February’s KAL, too.

Have you ever fallen in love with a technique or stitch pattern, and had to play it out to the nth degree? That happened to me with entrelac, and with my favorite leaf motif (Big Leaf Scarf, Garland, Autumn Scarf, a couple other projects in the works or hibernating.) I think I’ve finally played out this stitch pattern for me; that was a lot of knitting! Now it’s time to cast on something new…

Pick your poison

pdxknitterati dpn magic loop two circs

That’s a lot of pointy bits! Kind of like my cat when I’m trying to get her into the carrier.

I recently taught a circular hat class at Twisted. It’s a pretty basic hat, knit bottom up beginning with some ribbing, then stockinette, and K2tog decreases to close up the crown. At some point, we move to dpns, because that’s how the pattern is written.

I remember when I knit my first hat (it was about 24 years ago), I was terrified of the dpns, so I just worked the last several rounds back and forth, and then sewed the seam shut. CHICKEN!

Malabrigo Rios

Now dpns are an old standard for me. I like them; they’re very Little House on the Prairie. They look scary, but you only use two needles at a time. I tell my class it’s a Jedi mind trick. The other needles? “Those are not the needles you are looking for. They do not exist at this moment.”

There’s been some interest in using two circulars, or magic loop, so I was asked to demonstrate those two methods, too. I don’t use them, so I taught myself a couple nights ago. Easy peasy.

pdxknitterati magic loop

I had a nice flexible cable on my HiyaHiya 32″ needle, so magic loop wasn’t so bad. I could see using this, and might on my Honey Cardigan sleeve, when I get to decreasing. I think I’d like the cable to be slightly longer, maybe 40″ or so.

pdxknitterati two circulars

Two circulars? I can do it, but I don’t like the needle ends flapping around. It seems like an alien octopus. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

What’s your favorite method for small diameter knitting?