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“Mixer” Accessories in Knit Picks

February 27

Mixer Trio3_KP

Fans of Knit Picks can now find my “Mixer” accessories in Swish Worsted. The yarn is delightful to work with, and comes in lots of great colors.

The patterns are available individually here: Mixer Hat, Mixer Mittens, and Mixer Scarf. The variety of knit/purl stitch patterns make these cute accessories entertaining to knit!

Knitting & Pontificating on TV!

January 26

I was happily sitting in the Phoenix airport, getting to know Michelle Hunter of Knit Purl Hunter fame, when along came a cameraman for a local TV news program. New airline regulations are going into effect and he wanted to interview me about them. Always game for a good rant, I said yes! The cameraman was the nicest guy ever, and seemed intrigued by the idea that someone might actually have to travel for knitting (hard to explain TNNA, isn’t it?!). When I whipped out my iPad with the rough draft of my book, he exclaimed, “But you’re so high tech!” Little does he know what a bright bunch we knitters are. Cutting edge all the way!

The interview aired on Wednesday evening on Phoenix 3TV News, on the 3 On Your Side segment. I’m at the beginning and end. You can watch it here:

Braided Cable Hat Knitting Pattern

September 29

Gallery (Click to Zoom)

Braided Cable Hat

In small, medium, and large sizes, this hat will be a favorite for everyone in your family. It’s quick to knit and the braided cable band keeps it interesting. The huge variety of colors available in worsted weight yarn makes this a good go-to pattern for gifts or to accessorize any outfit you might have in mind. Instructions are included for both the solid and two-toned versions.

The simple cable, small amount of provisional cast-on and special knit/purl grafting technique make it a good project for trying methods that may be new to the less-experienced knitter. Line-by-line instructions make the grafting a breeze.

Sizes: S (M, L)

Finished Measurements: 18 (20, 22)” circumference

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted (100% superwash merino wool, 110 yards/100 meters/50 grams)

Solid color: 170 (190, 220) yards/156 (174, 202) meters; 2 balls 23882-Copper
Two-tone colors: MC – 80 (90, 100) yards/74 (83, 92) meters; 1 (1, 1) ball 25138-Parrot; CC – 105 (120, 140) yards/97 (110, 128) meters; 1 (2, 2) balls 23884-Dublin

Needles:
1 pair US #7/4.5mm straight needles
16-inch US #7/4.5mm circular needles
1 set US #7/4.5mm double-pointed needles

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Purling in Portland

January 13

I am officially the Luckiest Girl in the World. I just got back from a wonderful trip to Portland, Oregon. The train ride between where I live and Portland is just under 24 hours, so I booked a bedroom. I loved having my own little world in which to knit, read and sleep. What could be better?! The scenery through the mountains was unbelievably beautiful. On the trip home we were in the mountains at night and the trees, snow and mountains were illuminated by a full moon. Heavenly!

I made the trip in order to take two workshops from Jared Flood, who many of you know as brooklyntweed. I’ll tell you all about the workshops in a later post. But first I just have to sing the praises of the fantastic shop that put these workshops on.

Knit Purl is wonderful knit shop in downtown Portland. The staff is knowledgeable, kind and helpful. As you approach the shop’s door, the pretty colors invite you in…

Once inside, you’re surrounded by alluring displays of yarn. The selection is incredible, and I found several yarns I previously didn’t know I couldn’t live without. My newest Favorite Yarn Ever is Kauni. I fell in love with the suble shading from one color to the next. You’ll be seeing a LOT of Kauni in my future projects!

The shop is an inviting place to sit, knit and drink tea. You’re surrounded not only by gorgous yarns, but also by terrific sample pieces on display.

If you’re in the Portland area, I hope you’ll visit Knit Purl. If you want to see the yarn offerings in their online store, you can go to the Knit Purl website. Also, you might want to check out the wonderful newsletter put together by the talented Sara. The newsletter mentions some workshops that I’m sorely tempted to head back to Portland to take. How about learning sock techniques from Lucy Neatby? Sounds like a lot of fun! I definately need to clone myself so one of me can be here enjoying the deer and other wildlife and another of me can be in Portland taking all these great workshops.

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Knitting Tips And Techniques

November 17

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For the Birds

June 15

I had a blast making Hannah Fettig’s Bird’s Nest Pincushion to celebrate my friend Adrienne’s birthday.

pincushion-sewing-4 

Though the pattern calls for DK weight yarn, I wanted the nest to have a fairly solid structure to it. Also, I wanted the eggs to have a tight fabric to keep the fiberfill from showing. I chose worsted weight yarns, and knit them on the needle size from the pattern.

Both yarns are souveniers of the Great Portland Yarn Crawl a couple of weeks ago. Kilcarra of Donegal Aran Tweed came from Dublin Bay and lends a twiggy look to the nest. Some luscious Shi Bui Merino Alpaca from Knit Purl  has just the right blue shades for eggs. (Expect to see the Shi Bui again in some future design – I fell in love it!)

The nest is knitted in a delightful cable pattern. Once it was complete, I looked around for a way to block it so it would have a flat bottom when done. Voila! A juice glass was just the ticket to make it the right size around. I added a cereal bowl …

nest-and-bowl 

 And Ta-Da! The nest has a nice flat bottom (which I wish I could relate to) and sits flat, rather than rocking around.

nest-on-glass

pincushion-on-branch

I hope Adrienne likes her nest. She’s a fantastic seamstress, so it should be useful as a pincushion as she sews. If not,  she can always decorate a tree with it!

pincushion-on-branch-3

  If you want to check out Hannah’s book “Closely Knit”, you can find it here.

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Portland Yarn Heaven and a Goat Moves In

May 20

This weekend in Portland was Yarn Heaven. I attended the TKGA Knit & Crochet Show, taking some great classes and checking out the wares in the shopping area. It’s like a mini Stitches event. The market is smaller, but I got to see some wonderful locally produced yarns. The classes are smaller too, which gave me a chance to learn more.

tkga-portland

I met up with my friend Alana, who you probably know as Nevernotknitting. We did a major Yarn Crawl, spanning a 24-hour period of fiber bliss. Happily, yarn stores in Portland stay open late. So on Thursday night we hit Dublin Bay, which was a beautiful store featuring lots of my favorite Rowan yarns.  Sadly, I didn’t get a photo inside the store. A blogger without a camera is, well, a space cadet I guess.

Next came one of my all-time favorite places on the planet – Knit Purl.

knit-purl-door

We stayed until closing at 9pm, hoping they’d just lock us in and let us browse and knit until they re-opened the next morning.

We saw so much yarn on Friday that I swear by the end of the day if someone had waved free cashmere in front of me, I would have missed it.

Here we are at the first stop, Twisted. Alana’s natural sense of style has her perfectly color coordinated with the sign.

twisted-1

The next store deserves a posting of its own, which I promise to get to another time. Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks is incredible – a large store with a deli in it (yarn AND food? oh my!), and its own line of hand dyed yarns. This “Socks Without Borders” afghan will be auctioned off at the Sock Summit to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

abundant-yarn-1

My trip home was… eventful. I adore taking Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from Portland to my home in California. I get a sleeping compartment and for 24 hours I have my own little world of knitting, gorgeous scenery, and no distractions. This time, however, there was a freight train derailment ahead of us. Apparently when cars fall off the tracks, it puts a kink in the rails. They must have worked like mad to pick up the freight cars and put in new rails. I would loved to have watched that whole operation! Still, we were 11 hours late getting home.

And then when I did get home I found this guy who had decided to claim our terrace as his new residence. He ran away from home and walked a long way to find to find the area’s biggest pushovers.

goat1

I have to go buy alfalfa now…

Let It Snow!

December 6

Let It Snow reversible scarves

I’m thrilled to release a new pattern, just in time for cold weather knitting….

It’s winter, and there’s nothing I like better than a warm, snuggly scarf. Double knitting makes for a doubly-cozy thickness and it’s reversible. My “Let It Snow” pattern includes instructions for two weights of yarn. The dk version features Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in two colors:

dk weight Let It Snow Scarf

The heavier Rowan Felted Tweed Aran makes a great width for guys. For this one I’ve used three colors:

Let It Snow scarf Aran

As I experimented with the snowflake motif I liked the play of positive and negative space that emerged. And there’s a sweet little heart on each edge of the snowflake, which I find endearing.

Let It Snow scarf detail

The pattern is written with the less experienced knitter in mind, using the slip-stitch method. This means you only need to know how to knit, purl and slip stitches. With detailed instructions on how to use the charts, you can grab a pad of sticky notes and be all set to start stitching. Knitters who are experienced in working with any of the two-stranded-at-once techniques can certainly use those methods instead.

I love a pattern that lends itself to lots of variations. The Let It Snow scarf can be made with lighter or heavier yarn, depending on whether you’re going for a wide wintery width or a more feminine narrow one. Or maybe smaller, for a child, in primary colors? You can play with solids or tweeds or yarns that transition from one shade to another. As long as you use yarns with some drape to them, you can let your imagination go wild. The pattern includes a “Make It Your Own” section for ideas. Here are a couple swatches I played with:

Let It Snow scarf swatches

I hope you’ll enjoy the new Let It Snow pattern. It can be purchased for $6.00 from Ravelry or Love Knitting.

Let It Snow Pattern Cover

 

Resources:

Rowan Felted Tweed Aran yarn can be purchased online or in person from the Ball & Skein & More in Cambria, California

The wonderful photos were taken by the amazing Gale Zucker

Happiness is a Good Stretchy Cast On

October 29

I love learning just the right technique for a given purpose. When I need to cast on for a sock, I’m always worried about whether the top will stretch enough. Same thing for cuffs for mittens.

When I first started knitting, I quickly learned the hard way that the standard long-tail cast-on tended to be too inelastic for the cuffs, especially on socks, even if I casted on loosely, and even if I went up a needle size or two.

I recently started a new pair of cuff-down socks. The cuff is a 2x ribbing. I’ve come to love the Rolled-Edge cast-on as described in Cap Sease’s fantastic Cast On, Bind Off book. It starts with a few rounds of waste yarn, then a row of a strong yarn in another color. I used some white sock yarn I had on hand, and then a row of smooth pink cotton which you can see just below the green ribbing:

Sock Cast On 3

When the waste yarn was removed, I was rewarded with a lovely ribbed top that stretches like mad:

Sock Cast On 2

I next casted on for a pair of mittens. The Cast On book has a variation of the Rolled Edge cast-on that’s for 1x ribbing. I love the way it looks and how stretchy it is.

This photo shows one mitten with the waste yarn and the ribbing just started and the other mitten with the waste yarn removed. Isn’t the cuff lovely? I’m very happy with this technique.

cast on for 1x cuff

 

Once in a while, if I’m in a bit of a rush or the ribbing doesn’t have to be quite as stretchy as the rolled-edge one, I’ll cast on in the ribbing pattern using the long-tail knit and purl method. Here’s my video of the technique if you want to give it a try:

What is your favorite cast-on for cuffs? Please leave a comment with your recommendation. I’d love to try some new techniques!

Resources:

My review of Cap Sease’s Cast On, Bind Off  book. Please support your LYS by asking for the book there!

AudKnits YouTube channel

If you’d like to explore more cast-on ideas, you might like to visit Helen Griffin’s wonderful web page which not only lists a variety of cast-ons, but also links many of them to videos. It’s a fantastic collection, compiled by a very talented and experienced knitter.

 

Mixer Scarf

January 30

Gallery (Click to Zoom)

Mixer Scarf

A variety of simple knit/purl stitch patterns make this an entertaining scarf to knit.

Finished Measurements
7.5 inches x 68 inches/19cm x 172.5cm

Yarn
Cascade 220 Wool (100% Peruvian highland wool; 220 yd/201m per 100g skein) (for substitution purposes, 18-20 sts = 4″/10cm as per ball band); color: #8910, Citron; 2 skeins.
Or approximately 440 yds / 402 m of worsted weight yarn.

Needles
1 pair US #7/4.5 mm straight needles
1 pair US #8/5mm straight needles

Notions
Tapestry needle

Gauge
20 sts/27rows = 4″/10cm in stockinette stitch on smaller needles, after blocking

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Mixer Mittens

January 30

Gallery (Click to Zoom)

Mixer Mittens

These jaunty mittens are a fun to knit, with different knit/purl motifs that are both charted and written. The design matches the Mixer Hat and reversible Mixer Scarf.

Size
Women’s Medium

Finished Measurements
8″ circumference

Yarn
Cascade 220 Wool (100% Peruvian highland wool; 220 yd/201m per 100g skein) (for substitution purposes, 18-20 sts = 4″/10cm as per ball band); color: #8910, Citron; 1 skein.

or approximately 180 yards/165 meters of worsted weight yarn.

Needles
1 set of 5 US #6/4mm double-pointed needles
1 set of 5 US #7/4.5mm double-pointed needles

Notions
locking stitch marker, stitch markers, stitch holder or waste yarn, tapestry needle

Gauge
20 sts/26 rounds = 4” in St st on larger needles

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How Buttons Become Vests

December 22

It all started with buttons. My friend Katy and I were playing in the button section of our local yarn shop in Cambria, the Ball & Skein & More, when we fell in love with the same buttons. She had a penchant for the green and gold version, while I liked the red. Katy, being brilliant and creative, immediately latched onto the Heliopath Vest as the perfect pattern to show off our buttons.

knitting, vest, Harry Potter knitting, Heliopath Vest

I thoroughly enjoyed making the Heliopath Vest. I wanted the vest to look holiday-ish, so picked a white Cascade 220 yarn. It gives wonderful stitch definition.

 Heliopath Vest, Harry Potter Knits

Heliopath Vest, Harry Potter Knits

I did make a modification to the pattern. Where it calls for dropped stitches in the purled sections between sets of cables, I used all purl stitches (5 to get the same gauge):

Heliopath_Beginning

Resources:

The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits 

Heliopath Vest on Ravelry

Cascade 220 Yarn

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