Tag Archives: zen rain kal

Zen Rain KAL done; time to celebrate!

The Zen Rain KAL is done! Thanks for knitting along. I look forward to seeing several of these at Sock Summit on Saturday! I’m having a meet-up in the Knitted Wit booth from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, with a Zen Rain photo op at 12:30 p.m.

I had a little giveaway drawing for KAL finishers on Ravelry. princessruffian wins a set of stitch markers made by moi (guess I should go make them!) and Alyssa wins a Lantern Moon needle case. Congrats!

What else is going on here? Lots and lots of this!


I have five blueberry bushes, and each one puts out a gallon of blueberries. They all came ripe this week, and I’ve been picking, picking, picking. Mostly they go into the freezer for later use, but I’ve made two blueberry cobblers (recipe here) this week. One was for the piano & pinot party last night at my house. Beautiful music, lovely wines, and a plethora of desserts (cheesecake, caramel bourbon sauce, chocolate raspberry torte, butterscotch chip shortbread, chocolate dipped strawberries, and the aforementioned cobbler, with vanilla ice cream).


The other cobbler went in a picnic to the Indigo Girls Concert at the zoo.


Portland sparkles when the sun comes out!


I spotted this person drop spindling behind me, and introduced myself.


Her name is Sari, and she was spinning up some lovely fiber from Abstract Fiber. Sari will be at Sock Summit next week, too. She’s participating in the fleece to foot contest. Knitters and spinners are everywhere. Small world!

More ruffles

I love my blue ruffle tank that I finished last summer. It was perfect! And then I was a bit irked when I saw it in a recent family photo, and it was shorter than I wanted it to be, and not as flattering as it was last summer, fresh off the needles. (I had machine dried it per label instructions.) What’s a knitter to do?

Wash and re-block! I regained 1.5 inches in length, and it is once again perfect. But it also got me thinking about how much I love it, and wouldn’t it be nice to have one in a deep cherry red, too? So I went in search of yarn. The blue one is knit with Louet MerLin sport, a Merino wool/linen blend. I had a Mother’s Day gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, but then I found out that my LYS doesn’t carry MerLin any more. They do have Euroflax Linen sport, which is the same weight and the yarn specified in the pattern, but a little bit different. It would have been so easy if I didn’t have to think about gauge this time around, or wondering what the difference in fiber content will do. It’s close, gauge-wise…so I’m just going to forge ahead. I’m too lazy to wash and block my gauge swatch. I’m jumping in, feet first! I’m going to knit it in the round, but I’m starting front and back knit back and forth so I can leave the bottom 2 inches unseamed at the sides.


The Zen Rain KAL is going swimmingly! Come see the finished shawls in the PDXKnitterati Ravelry group. The KAL will wrap up July 21 (a week before Sock Summit), and I’m having a drawing for a couple of prizes, too. It’s not to late to join the KAL, because many of us are still knitting!

Blocking lace

I just finished my fourth(!) Zen Rain Shawlette; this one was for the Knitalong (Rav link). Actually, number 3 isn’t quite off the needles yet; I’m in the middle of the very long bind off. But I thought I’d walk you through blocking on blocking wires, if you haven’t done it before. Blocking is magic for lace! (Don’t weave in your yarn ends until after blocking. There’s going to be a lot of stretching going on.)

First, I soak the knitted garment in the kitchen sink with a little bit of Soak, my favorite non-rinse wool wash. Use warm water and allow the garment to soak for at least 20 minutes.


The garment is really saturated and stretchy at this point! Squeeze out as much water as you can with your hands. Do not twist or wring. Next, lay it on a folded towel, fold the towel over that, and walk all over it. Really. This will get most of the water out.


The next step is to thread the edges onto the blocking wires. I put the wires along the garter edges, going over and under the garter ridges. If you’re pinning out points, you run the wires through the points. This particular shawlette has a row of eyelets along the bottom, above the ruffle. A perfect place to thread blocking wires.


If you have an especially long edge, you would use two wires to cover the length, but overlap the wires by an inch or so at the place where they meet. Now the fun begins. Stretch out the garment so that the lovely laciness shines! Use the metal t-pins that came with the blocking wires to hold the wires in place. You’ll need to be working on a surface that can take your pins. I’m lucky to have a futon sofabed in the basement, so that’s where I block. There are also blocking mats that you can purchase specifically for this purpose, and I’ve seen knitters use foam interlocking alphabet blocks (a useful child’s toy!), too. I’ve also used a towel over my cardboard cutting board that I use for sewing, but cardboard eventually gets tatty after being pinned a bazillion times. (Please excuse the lighting in my basement. It’s a basement! I played with the colors post-processing, but this is the best I could get it to look.)


Let the garment dry completely, and then un-pin. The result? Instead of a crumpled wad of knitting, you have a diaphanous piece of gossamer loveliness.

pink zen

This Rambouillet single bloomed a bit, and softened wonderfully after washing and blocking. I had two grams of yarn left when I was done. I knew it would be close! I’m a big fan of using my kitchen scale to keep track of how much yarn a row takes as I get close to the end of a project. I could have ended a row sooner if I needed to, but not a row later!

2 oz

Now to finish binding off Zen Rain #3, and then I get to block again! After that? Here’s my new project…I’ll tell you about it next time.


Coming up for air…

It’s been graduation/guests/music chaos around here, but we’re finally getting back to normal.

Last week’s 18 rows of Zen Rain at graduation?


Frogged. I made it to 24 rows while chaperoning the All Night Graduation Party, and realized I didn’t like how firm the fabric was. This yarn is single ply Rambouillet, and it’s interesting to knit with. It’s a bit thick/thin in places. It felt thinner than the yarn I was knitting with previously (Alpha B Luxe B, and I still need to finish binding that one off), but it knit up way more firmly on a size 6 needle. I was afraid it wouldn’t be loose enough to block out to the gossamer texture I want. Hence, the frog. I started over with a US 7 needle, and am much happier. Yesterday I was on row 44.


And today I’m on the ruffle.


My basement has been a blocking studio! I have a futon sofabed down there, and it’s great for blocking shawls. I can stab pins into it to hold the blocking wires, and it doesn’t hurt anything. It’s also away from the cat, so she doesn’t “help.” This week I blocked Lorajean’s Octavia shawl, and Christina’s Zen Rain.


It was a busy music weekend, too. The Day Old Pastries sang in church. It was Pentecost, and we sang a new song; I wrote the lyrics and a friend wrote the music. Come Holy Spirit, Come.

I also wrote a song for the Teen for graduation, and sang it for him just before. It’s called Graduation Day. Caution: it’s really sentimental! Can you tell I’m having empty nester issues?

I think we’re caught up…

June busy-ness

The year is flying by! Happy June!

I’ve cast on for the Zen Rain KAL. I’m using the May Harvest pink Rambouillet that I received from Knitted Wit’s Community Supported Yarn club. Isn’t it pretty?


I’m trying to decide if I want to use a bigger needle. This Rambouillet is not as slippery as the Alpha B Luxe B yarn, so it’s knitting up tighter. I still haven’t finished binding off the Alpha B version, either. It has the rufflier ruffle.

luxe bind off

For now, I’m just admiring how the colors look together.


Do you want to join the KAL? Or do you just want to watch our progress? Come visit my PDXKnitterati group on Ravelry!

In other news, my Hanami Cowl and Wristlets pattern went live on the KnitPicks IDP site today.


hanami kp set

And it’s graduation weekend for the Teen. Think I’ll get any knitting done this weekend?

Zen Rain KAL

Thank you for your kind comments about Zen Rain! I’m really pleased with this design, and even more pleased that we’re having a knitalong.

zen rain shawlette

For those of you knitting along, what yarn are you going to use? I’m currently on the ruffle of my third shawl (this one is for me, me, me). It’s knit with Alpha B’s Luxe yarn, 50%superwash merino, 50% silk. The color is stainless steel, with lots of shades of gray in it. It has a lovely sheen, and it’s really soft.

luxe b

But to be fair, I should be knitting along with you! I’d happily knit another one of these; I just have to decide what to use. I’m not much of a skinny yarn sock knitter, but I do have a small collection of sock yarns, so I’ll pick one of those. I can hear you wondering, why does an avowed non-sock knitter have a collection of sock yarns? I picked up several at Deb Accuardi’s pre-Sock Summit luncheon a couple years ago (I really hope she does another luncheon this year), and I also have some from yarn clubs. It will all get used, somehow.

What do you think of a girly-girl pink, extravagantly ruffled Zen Rain? I have this gorgeous skein of 100% Rambouillet single ply from Knitted Wit; it’s part of her Community Supported Yarn/Fiber club. Berries were her inspiration for this first delivery.


Let me know what you’re using. If you’re not in the KAL yet, but would like to be, let me know. I’ll give you a discount coupon code to use at the Ravelry checkout; the code is good through June 4. And I just started a Ravelry group so we can all post pictures and discuss as we go. Are you on Ravelry? The group is PDXKnitterati

Note: I think you have to go through Ravelry to have the option to use a coupon code. The Ravelry pattern page is here.


Let’s knit!