In the I-can’t-believe-it’s-true category, I’ve been invited to be one of two teachers at the Lambs on the Run trip to Scotland this coming March!

 

 

 

 

 

The two-week trip, co-sponsored by Colorado shops LambShoppe and Longmont Yarn Shoppe, takes place March 14-28. It begins with three days at the Edinburgh Wool Festival, followed by tour of the country led by a Scottish tour guide. This trip-of-a-lifetime includes:

In addition to the excursions, co-teacher Jennifer Miller (Theodora’s Purls) and I will teach short classes, host a special knit-along, and enjoy seeing men in skirts!

 

Click here for details.

As many of you already know, I inherited my parents’ cat (Lily) last spring. Lily is sweet and affectionate, albeit a bit needy. I give her plenty of attention, brush her every day (well, almost every day), and let her sleep on my pillow next to my head at night. She’s quick to purr and follows me around the house like a puppy.

The only real issue I have is with her claws. She likes to “poke” me when she wants to be petted but her sharp claws can stab me instead. I’ve tried to clip her claws myself without much luck. She runs away when she sees the clippers. If I persist, she hides under the bed.

I hope that one of you has pointers on clipping cat claws. A couple of months ago I hired a mobile grooming service to come to my house (Lily refuses to go in a cat carrier). It cost a small fortune but at least Lily wasn’t mad at *me*.

 

Please give me advice! I noticed last night that Lily has been using those sharp claws on the furniture too!

 

A few weeks ago I asked which of two skirt projects I should knit first: Blue Moon Socks That Rock in the Antiquated System colorway (left) or Shibui Cima and Pebble in the Fjord colorway (right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The responses were pretty evenly split and I couldn’t bring myself to make a choice. I decided that if I swatched both I might have an easier time deciding which to knit first.

To begin, I wound the yarn into balls. Because I was afraid that the hand-dyed Blue Moon yarn might form color pools or stripes, I plan to alternate skeins as I knit. I wound three skeins each into two balls and tied small knots in the ends to indicate Skein 1, Skein 2, and Skein 3. I’ll alternate one round each of Skein 1 and Skein 2, then Skein 2 and Skein 3, then Skein 3 and Skein 1, and so on. It’s a little more trouble, but is the best way I know to even out any color inconsistencies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also wound the two Shibui yarns. I don’t have to worry about color inconsistencies in this commercial yarn, but I will be holding one strand each of Cima and Pebble together when I knit.

Then I swatched. I hesitate to show the swatches because they are so much smaller than I recommend in my classes. However, I’ve knitted with both yarns before and have a good feel for my gauge.

I’m getting 6 stitches/inch on size US 4 (3.5 mm) needles with the Shibui combo. That’s close to the gauge I got for Traveling Pleats, so I plan to follow the numbers in that pattern but add a new stitch pattern in the pleats.

I’m getting 7 stitches/inch on size US 3 (3.25 mm) needles with the Blue Moon yarn. I’m going to make modifications to Putting On The Pleats  to allow for the difference between my gauge of 7 stitches/inch and the pattern’s gauge of 7.5 stitches/inch.

Because I love the way all the yarns feel in my hands, I’ve decided to cast on both skirts and work them simultaneously. That’s a bit of a stretch for this monogamous knitter. Want to place any bets on which I finish first?

 

I’ve uploaded another new cowl pattern on Ravelry. I’m in the habit of designing a special cowl for each of my Knit For Fun Retreats, and sourcing a special yarn colorway to go with it. Ice Ripples Cowl was designed as the free pattern for my Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Alberta (November, 2017). There are two versions–one short and one long–of this cozy cowl to protect against the long, dark frozen days of Northern winters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The long version is suitable for double wrapping; the other version is short and wide. Both options use a lofty tuck stitch pattern that reminds me of ice ripples, hence the name.

The tucks are formed by working the purl bump fine rounds below together with the stitch on the needle. Each tuck is made up of 6 stitches; the placement of the tucks shifts brick fashion. The cast-on and bind-off edges are hemmed to echo the tucks throughout the cowl.

This easily memorized pattern makes a great showcase for River City Yarns Eden (81% merino, 10% polyamide, 9% cashmere) in a semi-solid icy colorway, called Snowdrift, that was dyed specifically for the retreat.

Use the code IceRipples20% to get 20% off the $6.00 purchase price until midnight Friday, November 24.

A couple of weeks ago I held my first-ever international Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Alberta. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t go so far north in November but I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to partner with River City Yarns, a delightful shop in Edmonton where I’ve taught before.

In preparation for the event, I took a few minutes to gussy myself up with a shoeshine at the airport. With guest teachers Susan B Anderson and Joji Locatelli, and special guest podcasters Tracie Millar and Jodi Brown (MrsBrownsBags), aka The Grocery Girls, I don’t think anyone paid any attention to my bright boots.

Click here for a YouTube video of the weekend (be prepared to be jealous!).

Subscribe to my website by clicking here if you’d like to receive my monthly newsletter in which I announce future retreats and travels. I’d sure like to see *you* when there’s fun to be had!

The star-shaped toe in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting is unusual in that it sits on top of the foot. It’s worked by decreasing eight times in each decrease round to form eight wedges that come together in points at the top of the foot. After all the decreases are complete, just 8 stitches remain.

All that’s left is to draw the yarn through the remaining 8 stitches twice, pull tight to close the hole, and fasten off on the wrong side.

I’m anxious to knit the mate — these slipper socks may be my best friends this winter!

Thanks to all of you who gave me advice on which skirt to cast on next. The vote was surprisingly close with 44% of the votes going for a repeat of Putting on the Pleats in Blue Moon Socks That Rock in the Antequated Systems colorway (below left), versus 56% of the votes going for a new skirt pattern in Shibui Cima and Pebble in the Fjord colorway (below right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Problem is, I still can’t get myself to choose just one. So, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to cast on both (I certainly have enough needles) and work on them simultaneously. Perhaps at some point I’ll focus on one or the other. For now, I’m anxious to knit with both yarns! I think I’ll call it dueling skirts. Stay tuned…

As for the raffle, the winner is Michelle Brown who wrote:

“That blue is to die for!!! If I had to pick just one, it would be the blue 🙂”.

Congratulations Michelle. I’ll email you personally to find out which skirt pattern you’d like.

The foot in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting basically continues in the same pattern used for the Heel Turn, but the piece finally is worked in rounds after all of the leg stitches have been joined to foot stitches.

To maintain pattern continuity, one stitch continues to be increased each side of the center sole stitch and a centered double decrease is worked at the top of the instep. It’s all very clever.

The foot is worked longer than usual because the star toe sits on the top of the foot, not at the tip of the toes as is usual. In the photo at left, I’ve placed 8 markers to identify the positions of the decreases for the toe.

The end is in sight!

I’m in a quandary and need your help deciding which skirt to cast on first. Yes, I already have eight skirts, but I find I wear them everyday, especially when the weather is cool. Besides, skirts are much easier to fit and knit than sweaters so they’ve become my go-to projects when I’m traveling (which is a lot of the time!).

 

On the left is Blue Moon Socks That Rock in the colorway Antequated System. I plan to use this yarn for a repeat of my Putting On The Pleats skirt — there’s too much going on colorwise to add any decorative stitch pattern.

This will be a relative quick knit for me because once I get the gauge of 7.5 stitches/inch, all I have to do is follow the existing pattern.

 

 

 

On the right is Shibui Pebble and Cima, both in the Fjord colorway. Because the fabric will be a uniform color, I can add a stitch pattern to the pleats, as for Take-Two Skirt, Lacy Pleats, or Traveling Pleats, or add a stitch pattern to the gores, as for Tavia.

Either way, this skirt will take longer to complete because I’ll have to design a new pattern.

 

Please help me decide by responding to this post with your vote! Respond by midnight November 4, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a free skirt pattern.

I have to admit that the Heel Turn in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting is a bit odd. But it works!

To begin, the heel is worked on about one-third of the stitches, not one-half as is typical. The slip-stitch pattern is continued through the heel turn to provide comfortable and sturdy cushioning at the bottom of the heel.

The heel turn is worked in a series of short-rows with yarnovers added to help close the holes at the turning points. At the end of the short-rows, all of the yarnovers are worked with neighboring stitches one after the other. The only tricky part is the last wrong-side row, where the yarnovers are worked together with the neighboring stitches as ssp. I had to work to get the ssp’s — it would have been easier to work p2tog, but that would have caused the decreases to lean the wrong way.

I didn’t take time to photograph the end of the heel turn and was well along the foot before I stopped to take a photo.

The center heel stitch becomes the “seam” stitch along the center of the sole. In very unusual shaping, stitches are increased each side of the sole “seam” stitch every right-side row, and one heel gusset stitch is worked together with an instep stitch at the end of every row. It’s a little odd at first, but a rhythm is quickly developed and the knitting progresses fairly quickly.

I like it!