Tag Archives: Madrona

January: Resolutions or Goals? Classes!

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, because I know I won’t keep them. Why set myself up for failure? But I do like to set knitting goals for the year. This year, I plan to learn brioche knitting. I bought a book last year, and never even opened it. So I signed up for a class with JC Briar at Madrona next month. Gonna get it done!

But along came a Knitstrip project from Mason Dixon Knitting, a quick little one color brioche scarf, knit flat.

Brioche Scarf

That was easy! I loved the squishy Malabrigo Rasta so much, I decided I needed a cowl. In the round. Wait for class?

Brioche in the round

Nah. It was slightly more confusing with the purl stitch, but I worked it out. But I didn’t like the dimensions of this particular one skein cowl. It was too chunky at the back of my neck as a small circumference cowl, so I’m knitting an earband or hat (we’ll see!) directly off it from the bind off. Biscuit is helping.

I’m looking forward to learning to work with colors, increases, and decreases in brioche knitting at Madrona. And I’m looking forward to *teaching* at Madrona, too! I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches on Saturday, February 18.

Elongated Stitches class

I love how these add pizazz to a simple stockinette project. I’m also teaching a blocking mini-class on Thursday morning, and a mini-class with just a couple novelty stitches (Tridacna Cowl) on Saturday morning. The whole Madrona schedule is here.

The other knitting that I’ve been doing a lot, from the teaching end, is stranded colorwork. In the past couple weeks, I’ve taught Braided Wristlets (stranded colorwork and Latvian braids)

Braided Wristlets Class

Bucket List Coffee Accessories (stranded colorwork and crocheted steeks)

Bucket List steeks

And Kerfuffle Cowl (stranded colorwork).

Leann's kerfuffle

Leann was so happy about class, she stayed up late that night and finished her cowl. She did a great job. (Thanks for sharing your picture with me, Leann!)

Stranded colorwork is nice and warm, because it has two layers of yarn on every row. Just right for the snowy weeks we’ve had. Ready to thaw out now!


Do you have knitting goals for this year? What do you want to learn?

Madrona class review

I took a short trip to Tacoma to visit the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I could only stay for one night, so I packed in all the fun!

I had two classes. My favorite was Designing with Lace Decreases with Evelyn Clark. The very first lace shawl I ever knit was her Shetland Triangle, so I was very pleased to be in this class. Where do the decreases belong, in relation to the yarn overs? Which decrease should you use? Well, it depends on what effect you want.

lace sampler

So much information packed into this little swatch. Notice that it does not mirror from left to right; we had lots of effects to sample! Do you want your decreases to outline your YO? Or a softer edge? Do you want your fabric to bias? (Separate your YO from your decrease.) If that biasing bothers you, consider a project in the round, which will balance out the biasing (as opposed to straight edges that won’t stay straight).

Evelyn had lots of samples to look at, and to explain. One thing she mentioned: Scallops are always stronger at the cast on edge than at the bind off edge. I’d noticed this when I designed my Rockaway Hat/Cowl, and it didn’t matter so much in that instance, but it was nice to know it wasn’t just me. (I could have swatched, but I just knit it up and said, “Oh, hey.”) But if you want to reinforce the scalloping at the bind off edge, you might try adding beads for weight there. Or forego scallops completely, and end with something else. Also, scallops are going to be offset by half a repeat (they won’t look the same at each end of your knitting) because the peak and trough of each wave is offset.

We were given the option of charting out a picture, just for fun. We talked about flipping lace motifs to knit them upside down (for top down knitting). I tried it with my leaf motif that I used in Garland. I showed it to her at the end of class, and she said that some motifs won’t work upside down, and she thought that my leaf might be one. I tried to knit it that night, but I fell asleep, so didn’t finish the flipped one.

leaf lace

But in my email the next morning, I found one from Evelyn, saying that she had thought about it, and knit it, and it really didn’t work. She sent me a picture, and it looks like an arrow! You can’t see the decrease lines at all (bottom of swatch, top chart).

inverted leaf evelyn clark

That, my friends, is a fabulous teacher. I had to figure out if there’s another way to make it work. It is completely different; I just wanted to know if I could. And that’s the mark of a great class, for it to be so thought provoking that you just have to figure it out.

inverted leaf lace knit

I had to use m1 increases and double decreases to get the lines to show up.

leaf lace flipped

It’s not pretty, but I just had to see if it could be done! Evelyn called this playing with lace “nerd knitting” and I am completely nerding out here. But it was fun.

This post is way longer than I anticipated…more in the next one.


Sorry for the radio silence; I’ve been on the road! I found a dragon…guess where? More on that next post.


I had my 15 seconds of fame on the Oregonian News Network as the featured blogger this week. Check out the other featured bloggers; we’re the first five and I’m in good company. I especially love GoodStuffNW who blogs about food and other wonderful things.

I ran up to Madrona yesterday; it was my first time. It’s going on all weekend, so go if you get a chance. I couldn’t do classes, but I checked out the market and hung out in the rotunda for a bit. Here’s what I saw.

HazelKnits yarn at Fiber Gallery. I don’t stash, but the colors were so rich, I couldn’t resist. I had a hard time deciding which to take. Both of these are my colors.


Guess which one I bought?


All three! Splish Splash, Hoppy Blonde, Jam Session. All in Artisan Sock. They won’t be socks, but look for a shawl, perhaps, in one or a combo of colors…eventually. While in line to check out, I chatted with Nicole. Her scarf had the same colors as the one I was wearing (my fingering weight Infinity scarf). She held my yarn so I could take her picture. She’ll be making an Infinity of her own!


Cathy and I also delivered a skein of Scrumptious From Lantern Moon to Fiber Gallery; they’re carrying Ysolda’s special selection of colors.


I saw one other yarn that really wanted to come home with me. It’s from Blue Cocoon Yarn. I think it’s called Cocoon, and it has big bulky slubs plied in. They’re really squishy. I can’t imagine knitting anything with it, but I can definitely imagine draping it around my neck as art. Really pretty. But I’d already bought non-project specific yarn, so it stayed right where it was. Gorgeous, though.


I loved the glass knitting needles from Michael and Sheila Ernst; I tried these at Sock Summit last summer, and they’re really smooth and surprisingly sturdy. These are their “don’t drop spindles.” They’re beautiful, but take heed of the name; they’re not nearly as sturdy as the needles!

dont drop

I met the very charming Laura Lundy of Slipped Stitch Studios. She has great bags and pattern keepers. I won a pattern keeper recently, so it was fun to meet Laura in person.


Oh! June Hemmons Hiatt’s Principles of Knitting is out, and I saw it in person. It’s huge. I may have to get a copy.


And I saw a very striking woman with fiber in her hair; it was gorgeous.


In the rotunda at lunch, I saw Brian Kohler using this walking wheel. Very cool. I was trying to wrap my head around how it related to my drop spindles, and he explained it very patiently. I’m still not sure I get it, but it was fascinating.

walking wheel

We met Josie, who was helping in Catherine Lowe‘s booth. She was wearing the most gorgeous sweater, her own version of the cover sweater from Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting.


There are no sewn seams on this masterpiece sweater; all seams are done with three needle bind off. On the side seams, she picked up stitches along the edges of each piece, and then used three needle bind off to make a decorative seam on the outside of the garment (wrong sides together). I went back to find her in the marketplace, to ask, “May I take a picture of your seams?” Only at a knitting conference, and of course she said yes.


We also met Erika, who was knitting a sweater with her own handspun. I don’t have a picture of her, sorry. But she had just come from a class with Lucy Neatby, where she learned many cool tips and tricks, including Lucy’s Modified Conventional Bindoff. Check out the link; it’s ingenious and looser than the conventional bindoff. Thanks, Erika!

Whew! That’s just yesterday. I’ll have to go back in time to tell you about last weekend’s adventures. What do you have planned for this weekend? Madrona is calling you!