Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Knit Tip: Binding Off in the Middle of a Row


Knitting garments often involves binding off in the middle of a row to create necklines and armholes. If you're like me, you're bothered by that little gap right before the first bound off stitch. Today, I'm sharing how to get rid of that gap!


In this swatch, I cast on 24 stitches and used markers to make three sections of 8 stitches. To bind off the center stitches, one would generally knit to the marker, slip the marker, and bind off the next 8 stitches.


To eliminate the gap, knit to one stitch before the marker instead, then do this: KFB into the next stitch. You would now have 9 stitches before the marker instead of 8. Use the 9th stitch (the new stitch just made by the KFB) to start the bind off. This means you will need to bind off one extra stitch.


Basically, you create an extra stitch in the row and immediately bind it off, so it doesn't affect your stitch count - but it creates a clean start to your bind off. The gap is gone, and your neckline will look cleaner. Ta da!


The difference becomes much more visible after you've knit a few rows on both sides. Next time, I'll show you guys how to bind of rounded necklines with a sloped bind off, to avoid those stepped edges...


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Equinox Knitting


This is my favorite time of year. My birthday often coincides with the equinox, and I've always felt the shifting of the season in my bones. Growing up on the southern hemisphere, we would be transitioning into spring right now. But since moving north, I've fallen in love with the fall. It's the perfect weather for knitting on our deck, and I plan to enjoy it as much as possible before the cold settles in. Socktober is right around the corner, so I'm working on a new pattern to celebrate. I'll definitely be wearing these to Rhinebeck. Will you be there?


Yarn is Toil & Trouble Classic in The Sandman.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A New Season

With blogging, there is always a question of how much to share, because after all, blogging is a way in which we give friends and strangers a glimpse into our lives. When things are difficult, I struggle with what to say, how much to say, and how far to go off topic - but the truth is the last few months been difficult and I've been at a loss for words for a long time. August was an especially bitter month, with loss, heartache, and a lot of re-evaluating and re-prioritizing. Months and dates are arbitrary, but with the arrival of September I am hoping things will shift and quiet down. We can already feel the chill creeping into the air, the leaves starting to change, and summer is undeniably coming to an end. I am hopeful that it will also mean a new season with more joy.


I always have Elizabeth Zimmerman's words at the tip of my tongue - "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises." Stitch by stitch, skein by skein, I know things will eventually be mended. Until then, I'll just keep dyeing and stitching. I'm looking forward to the changing leaves, and wearing hand-knit socks and sweaters. The photo below was taken at the Salem Willows. It definitely doesn't hurt to live in such a beautiful place.


Monday, August 15, 2016

A Quick Portland Trip


With fall right around the corner, this is always a super busy time in the dye studio. The dye pots are always running, getting ready to send several shops fresh batches of Toil & Trouble yarn.


I did manage to sneak away for a couple of days, making my first visit to the West Coast. I taught Portuguese Knitting at Knit Purl, a shop I'd long admired. Of course I brought home a skein of souvenir yarn. Bumblebirch is hand-dyed in Portland, and I'm sure no one is surprised I picked purple.


I didn't have much time for sight seeing, but I did make it to the Japanese Garden on my last day. Don't let the photos fool you - it was completely packed! I went expecting a quiet couple of hours of relaxation before boarding my flight home, but even on a Monday afternoon there was a huge crowd. It was still beautiful though!



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Come See Me at the Common Cod!

July is fast approaching and I am hosting three events at the Common Cod Fiber Guild in Boston!


On Friday, July 8th, I am presenting a lecture on Overcoming the Fear of Hand Dyed Yarns and Variegation. I'll be talking about how to use Color Theory to better pair hand dyed colorways with appropriate projects, as well as pooling, how to avoid it, and how to work with planned pooling.


On Saturday, July 9th, I am teaching two classes: Portuguese Knitting, and Darn! Knitwear Repair. Portuguese Knitting has always been a popular class, and my repairs class premiered at this year's Lakeside Fiber Retreat. The response at the retreat was great, so I am looking forward to teaching it again!

Will I see some of you there?


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Finally, The Carrigain Shawl

Just about a month ago, I hosted the second annual Lakeside Fiber Retreat. The retreat happens at Purity Lake, which is at the base of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. This year, I designed the Carrigain Shawl for the retreat, named after Mount Carrigain. This was also the debut of my newest yarn, Sonnet Sport. It's like my fingering weight Sonnet, but in a squishy sport weight.


The inspiration of this shawl was layers - layers of mountains, of trees, and falling snow. I've been seeing people pick out some really beautiful color combinations, what would yours be?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Knit Tip: Joining in the Round (without having a gap)

I've had lots of conversations with knitters about how to join in the round and how to avoid that pesky gap at the beginning of the round. Here is my preferred method of joining.


Place your stitches on circular needles or double-pointed needles. If using double-pointed needles, distribute them evenly (shown here on 3, but you can use 4 if you prefer). Note: Before you join, make sure your yarn is in the back of the work if you are starting with a knit stitch. If you are starting with a purl, place your yarn in the front. You will not be able to move the yarn after joining.


Place the first stitch from the right needle onto the left needle (Stitch A).


Pull the first stitch from the left needle (Stitch B) over Stitch A onto the right needle. Your knitting will now be joined in the round. Stitch A will the the first stitch of the round. Stitch B will the last stitch of the round. Knit normally into the first stitch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

On the Needles: Socks and Sweaters

The second annual Lakeside Fiber Retreat is behind us! I can't believe how quickly time is flying this year. We had a great time and are already making preparations for 2017. Phew!


Apart from all the organizing, coordinating, and teaching, I am glad that the retreat does actually involve some knitting time for me. I finished these socks for myself on the first night of the retreat. Midnight Sun was the January yarn club colorway, which I'll be making available to everyone in the next couple of weeks.


Immediately after casting off my socks (and before weaving in any yarn ends), I cast on a Folded sweater. I had knit one a few years ago, but it sort of met an unfortunate end and I do love the pattern. I'm using Toil & Trouble Sonnet, and the colorway is Eudora (the grandmother from the Addams' Family, if you were wondering).


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pattern: Herlighet

I recently had the pleasure of collaborating with a very talented young designer. Known as the Sock Monkey, Josiah Bain is 17 years old and has an elegant and classic design aesthetic.

Herlighet Knitting Pattern 1

A few months ago, he sent me a proposal for a shawl design using Toil & Trouble Allegory. The result is Herlighet, a beautiful one-skein shawl. Josiah dedicated this design to his great-grandmother, Gloria. You can read all about his inspiration on his blog.

Herlighet Knitting Pattern 2

The shawl is cozy and elegant, using a garter-based stitch pattern. You can find it as a yarn + pattern kit on my website!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Salem Collaboration: Osceola Mountain Socks


New England Knitting and I paired up for another fun project: The Osceola Mountain Socks. I asked Meghan to design something in honor of our annual Lakeside Fiber Retreat, which takes place by the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Osceola is one of the White Mountains, and also one of the cabins where we gather at the retreat.


Meghan came up with these cozy, mock cable socks designed in Toil & Trouble Imprint. She knit her pair in Isa, where I did mine in Persephone. Carrie jumped in too and knit a pair in Ent. Want to make your own pair? Find the yarn and pattern available as a kit online!


Monday, April 25, 2016

New Season, New Palette

Spring is almost-sort-of-mostly here, and I've got lighter colors on the mind. As someone who loves saturated jewel tones, a spring palette is always a bit of a challenge. I am always looking for ways to bring in softer colors without falling into pastel.


Pansy was last month's colorway, inspired by the blue and purple flowers with a hint of green for the leaves. Yarn club colors are always exclusive for three months, but you'll be able to find this color in the shop starting in July.


For more immediate gratification, The Sandman debuted this month. Warm, sandy tones with dusting of moss and chocolate.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Spring Recap

Last time I blogged, we were in the midst of some snow - and I wish I could say it's all gone two months later but we just had another snow storm with predictions of another one. Winter is determined to hang on as long as possible!


This has been a busy season so far, with lots of dyeing, teaching, and events. I published the Northern Trail Wrap pattern for the Knit North Yarn Crawl last month, and dyed up a bunch of yarn for a 4-day trunk show. I also taught at Common Cod's Fiber Camp for the first time. Yesterday I hosted a trunk show and taught a couple of classes at Stitch House Dorchester. It was my first time there, and I loved the cozy shop and friendly community.


Last night I cast on this pair of socks in Toil & Trouble Imprint. New England Knitting and I are working on another collaboration in preparation for this year's Lakeside Fiber Retreat which is only a few weeks away!


I've got a sock heel to turn, but I've also been working on some new colorways I can't wait to share soon!

Monday, February 8, 2016

On a Snowy Morning

There's a snow storm outside. Everything is closed, no one is on the roads, and the cats are snuggled into blankets to fit the cold. It's a perfect quiet moment, so here I am on the blog.

Icy Shores

It's hard to believe that my first chance to catch up is February. January was a blur, with multiple deadlines and 14 hour work days. I dyed and shipped a trunk show to the The Fibre Collective, to be displayed at Stitches West in a couple of weeks. I also dyed piles and piles of yarn for the Sleeping Bear Yarn Club. They asked me to dye a special colorway for them inspired by an icy Michigan sunset. There have also been pattern deadlines and submissions which I can't share just yet. And in stolen moments here and there, I've snuck in some knitting.

Ana Maritana

My friend Meghan of New England Knitting recently designed Maritana. It will be the official knit shawl for this year's Knit North Yarn Crawl, so I carved out some time to test knit it for her. I love the play of proportions and texture! Now it just needs a good blocking.


Now I'm off to take advantage of the snow day and spend a little time with my Tinder cardigan, for the Circle of Stitches Sweater Challenge. I am using Malabrigo Rios, and the sweater is worked in pieces. To disguise differences between skeins and try to get consistency in all the separate pieces, I have been knitting the back and two front pieces simultaneously and alternating 4 skeins throughout. Excessive? Probably. But it pleases my obsessive-compulsive tendencies.