24 December 2009


A very commonly used left slanting decrease .
...Slip one stitch, then slip the next. Insert left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together from this position (through the back loops).
but in my world:
Sip, Sip, Knit.
My small knit group, SSK took time out from their busy days prepping for festivus, and got together to sip and knit last night. I don’t know where I’d be without my SSK group. Thank heavens for them!
  I hope you have a family of origin and/or of choice to spend your time with this holiday. May you be filled with love and light.

23 December 2009

It’s the busiest time of the year

Bobbins full of wool for the past 6 months are finally being completed and plied into finished yarn. Results:
First up: a mohair/wool 2 ply (left) . The small ball to the right is navajo-plied. I normally n-ply the remainder when I run out of single on one bobbin.

Next, a teal 2 ply that is yards and yards and yards long. It’s probably on 700 yards, but it feels like 1000. It is sitting in a basket of unspun purple/pink batts. There is a little skein (see the grey tie?) That’s Nply of leftover.

Yarn on the left is a scratchy Romney mix that I will NEVER spin again. (Life is too short). And the yarn on the right was dyed by Tuulia Salmela and was a 50th birthday gift to me in July. I started spinning it soon thereafter and just got it off the wheel. It’s navajo-plied and is Merino (and maybe some silk?)

Some recent wool out of the dyepot, subtle, to match the season. Soft alpaca wool:

And, for a few finished projects: a slouchy hat made using my Lifestyle Hats method made from an AllSpunUp Spinalong fiber of a year ago. Love, Love Love. This hat was so easy, and is so pretty.

And lastly, a “hipster-man-scarf” for my son. I dyed the blue/brown. Ordered the gold and put this on hold until it came in a few months later. Very fast knit. My son immediately said, ‘Oh, it’s a keffiyeh. It’s what hipsters wear.” So it instantly became his Solstice present. The pattern is Daybreak by Stephen West.

29 November 2009


How is that for acronyms?The Snohomish Knitters Guild (SKG) is having a Knitalong (KAL) using the pattern for Elizabeth Zimmernan’s (EZ) Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ).The BSJ is knit in one piece and is a marvel – it’s knitted origami. You fold and, Viola! – It’s a jacket.

Info about this project:
Pattern BSJ by EZ (link to Wiki for the BSJ)
Yarn: James C. Brett Marble Chunky 200g – every last ounce of it; MC13 colorway; purchased at Village Yarn  & Tea
Needles: KnitPicks US 9; Icord edging: US 8
My modifications: Instead of building buttonholes into the jacket, I bound the sleeves and all edges with applied I-cord, making buttonholes as I went down one side of the jacket.
My assessment: I’m definitely making another, next time, seamless.

15 November 2009

Brooklyn Tweed Trunk Show

Seattle-native, Brooklyn Tweed blogger (Jared Flood) was on the West Coast this week and spoke at the Seattle Knitters Guild on Tuesday, 11 November. He comes at knitting with an engineering mind and an artist’s eye. He has a youthful exuberance, is intelligent, charming, and his talent is born of many many hours of knitting.
His recent small book, “Made in Brooklyn”, is all designed, knit and photographed by him – revealing his love of knitting and control. The yarns are all Classic Elite (publisher of the book.)

If you’ve followed Brooklyn Tweed’s blog you’ve probably often wondered what he looked like – his writing  and photography are so helpful (see his eloquent visual guide to steeking here), and inspirational (see his lovely Girasole) – but what does he look like!?! Wonder no more:

The evening ended with a verrrry long line of knitters getting his autograph and new book. I took too long with the photos and did not get a book (sold out) or a signature. But I did ask him to come speak at Snohomish Knitters Guild – so maybe I’ll get that autograph yet.

31 October 2009

Fall – Angora Bamboo Shawlette


This has been the most beautiful Fall that I’ve seen. The colors have been glorious. Truly. When I saw this Paton’s Angora/Bamboo mix I knew it was destined to be a remembrance of this amazing Fall.

Materials: Paton's Angora Bamboo Blend: 4 skeins
Needles: I used a US 6, Addi Turbo Lace Needle
Gauge: I have no idea

Cast on 2 stitches.
Knit 6 rows.
Next row: pick up 5 stitches, one in each garter ridge. You'll turn the corner and pick up the two you cast on too. Now you have 7 stitches on the needle.

Set up Row 1: K2,place marker, YO, knit stitches, YO, Place marker, K1 (center stitch), Place marker, YO, Knit to last 2 stitches, YO, place marker, K2
Row 2: K2, purl to last 2 stitches, K2

For the rest of the shawl:
Row 1: K2, slip marker,YO, Knit to marker, YO, slip marker, K1, slip marker, YO, knit to marker, YO, slip marker, K2
Row 2: K2, purl to end, slipping all markers to last marker, K2.

When I was almost out of color in one skein, I K1 in this color K1 in the next color (on a knit row). This created a little interest in the transition row. I knit a few stripes to kick off the shawlette, then knit large color block stripes.

Row 1: K2, slip marker,YO, Knit to marker, YO, slip marker, K1, slip marker, YO, knit to marker, YO, slip marker, K2
Row 2: K2, Knit to end, slipping all markers to last marker, K2.
Row 1: K2, slip marker,YO, Knit to marker, YO, slip marker, K1, slip marker, YO, knit to marker, YO, slip marker, K2
Row 2: K2, purl to end, slipping all markers to last marker, K2.

Cast off when you are out of yarn, Hint about this yarn: slippery! Weave in LONG ends. I like to leave a little tail out until after I block.

Soak in lukewarm water, spin out water. Block.Then trim the yarn tails that poke out after blocking.

Just a small sample of the beauty we’ve seen in the Pacific Northwest this Autumn. Lower res than usual, shot with my phone.

18 October 2009

October Was A Busy Month (and it's only the 18th)

Lots to share. Let’s start with some finished projects, because that always feels good. I have been meaning to try free-felting with my hand dyed fiber for the longest time. So, as Fall was starting to do just that, I went outside and rubbed water and soap into thin layers of wool and created 70” long scarves. The first has novelty yarn laid on top of the unfelted fiber, so as it felted it locked in. Both are thin and beautiful and warm. I’ll have to do more of this come Spring. Falling needles felting into scarves just doesn’t work. And this messy process is definitely an outdoors thing.

Next up, a mix of my hand dyed and purchased wool to make a watery, forest-y shawl. Design by Stephen West, this Daybreak shawl is more like a mermaid’s wrap:
 Daybreak Shawl, deign by Stephen West, knit by Charisa Martin Cairn  Daybreak Shawl, deign by Stephen West, knit by Charisa Martin Cairn Close up, Daybreak Shawl, deign by Stephen West, knit by Charisa Martin Cairn

Folks in Snohomish, Washington got a very rare treat in September. My partner, Carol Brozman, had a few of her paintings on display for the month of September. View her whole catalog at her Web site

And lastly, the Snohomish Knitters Guild had knitting author Cheryl Brunette come speak and give us a delightful talk on Sweater 101 basics. I had the good fortune of being able to entertain her for a bit and take her to breakfast the following morning. It felt like I had met an old friend. And, no, her sweater was not knit with Noro, it’s a Kaffe Fassett design and each color change is a different yarn.
Cheryl Brunette, author of Sweater 101
And to wrap, let me leave you with a sweet goodbye from Shawn Colvin. I bootlegged the shots and music with my point and shoot. She serenades you for three minutes from the Edmonds Center for the Arts. If you wait for the end, you’ll get lots of great suggestions to hear more from Shawn on You Tube.

27 September 2009

Worry-free Cardi = Done

The top-down set in sleeve sweater I started when my daughter was spending time at the doctor’s (and I was waiting in waiting rooms) has been done sometime. I dubbed it the “Worry-free” cardi because knitting it kept my mind off the terrible stress of waiting to find out if Aden had cancer, waiting to find out if the skin graft on her nose took, and generally just waiting with a mother’s head full of worry. Aden is now cancer-free, and it truly was a worry-free cardi. This was an easy knit, and all knit in one piece from the top down using The Tailored Sweater method I’ve talked about.

Yarn: EcoWool, Cascade, 4 skeins
Needles: US 7 KnitPicks
Pattern: Garter Rib in body, stockinette on sleeve, 2x2 ribbing for collar
Collar needed short rows to fold over, then some increases in the front purl ribs to lay open. Body has short rows in front for bustline, and in upper back so the whole thing lays flat. The beauty of knitting in one piece top-down is that one can make little design decisions as you go along so your sweater works! I added width to make the body a slight A-line. Edges have integrated I-cord knit while making the garment. No seams were sewn in the making of this garment!
Final note: my dress display has narrower shoulders than I have, and although it does not fit her shoulders, it fits mine perfectly.

13 September 2009

Sheep-to-Shawl Demonstration at the Evergreen State Fair

Demonstration at the Evergreen State Fair, 8 Sept 2009. 11am – shear the sheep, all day – prep, card, spin and weave the wool 4pm: finished shawl cut off the loom. I got to help spin the wool. Woot!

If you'd like to see the videos of the event, click here.

12 September 2009

What’s Your Vision?

One of the annual exercises we go through this time of year at work is to sign up for commitments that we’ll achieve during the fiscal year. After many years of doing this, it is obvious to me that by focusing on where you put your energy goes a long way to getting you there.
Last Saturday we got together with friends and created “vision boards”. The idea was to create visual representations of what we want to see in our lives in the coming year. If you search on the term “vision board”, you’ll find lots of folks selling you things. However, Christine Kane has a nice blog entry about creating vision boards.
I finished my board and put it up in my office, but it occurred to me that I could share it with you via multimedia. Here is my vision board – it’s a 5 minute video. Not rapid-fire like a music video, but a meditation of a few images and thoughts, delivered over the course of a a song written by James Taylor and sung by Shirley Horn that has become the theme to my life. Take five minutes of time to sit back and enjoy. Then, create your own.

28 August 2009

Stitch N Pitch – Knitters 1000, Mariners - 4

Knitters were batting a thousand last night when they showed up in droves at the Fourth Annual Stitch ‘N Pitch at Seattle’s Safeco field. A few photos of that beautiful night – He’s man enough to knit, and she draws superheroes who save the world by knitting.
It’s always wonderful to see someone learning the art:
Luscious Seattle summer sunsets

A sad knitter’s note: I frogged about a month’s worth of work on Tuulia Salmela’s Red Dragon pattern because I am, quite simply, a lace flunky.
Now a little something special – pull out the project that’s on your needles, push play and enjoy the magic of Jami Sieber. I may not be able to knit wings, but she will carry you on invisible ones with her art. Click track 6 and you'll be off.

Lush Mechanique by Jami Sieber

23 August 2009

Lopez Island Holiday

We spent the last week enjoying the perfect August weather of Lopez Island. A small island in the San Juan chain of islands near the Washington/Canadian border. We left our car at the Anacortes parking lot and cycled to our short term destination, “Cozy Cabin” in the woods. Here are just a few of the sights and sounds that are likely to fuel dyepots and knit projects for the future.

(all photos copyrighted by me, Charisa Martin Cairn. Please do not use without permission)

16 August 2009

Extra-Ordinary Day!

For the past few years I've become acutely aware that were we put our energy is where our life is. Such an obvious statement, yes. But I forget this simple principle again and again.

Two years ago my friend Kristen introduced me to Betty Roberts Spinning wheels. They are beautiful handmade works of art and engineered as beautifully as the aesthetic they are created with. Betty Roberts makes accelerated wheels (rare). She is a treasure and lives in the state of Washington. In the past year I have joined both the Ravelry and the Yahoo Groups dedicated to Betty Roberts wheels, thinking that maybe someone would put one up for sale. There are so few of them in the world, I had become convinced that I would never own one.

Then, yesterday, I was at the Snohomish Library doing some knitting guild business and stuck my head in the library's conference room. A group was just leaving and as I looked closer - I realized that there were several Betty Roberts spinning wheels in the room. Let me cut to the chase and give you the goods.

I am now the proud owner of Betty's "Cotton Eater" wheel (meaning, many ratios, can spin very fast). And today, I not only purchased the wheel from Betty, but got to spend time with her getting to know her. Now, tell me my friend, is that not an example of "Ask. Believe. Receive."?

Betty Roberts - The Spinning Wheel Lady

Photo of Betty Roberts

Betty Roberts with the Cotton Eater (my wheel!)

Betty Roberts withthe Cotton Eater

Betty tells how to tie a new wheel band

Betty describes the inlay in the Cotton Eater:

And, then, like the hero she is, she opened her shirt and revealed her super powers!
Proverbs 31:13: "She seeketh wool and flax, And worketh willingly with her hands." (That she does!)

Betty Roberts the spinning wheel lady

Betty Roberts and many Betty Roberts Spinning Wheels

Betty Roberts and a few of her wheels

14 August 2009

Sock Summit!

Last weekend was the big West Coast "Sock Summit". All the Knitterati Illuminati were there. I did not take classes, but convinced Carol to head to Portland for the weekend so we could attend the Ravelry party on Saturday and then spend hours and hours at Powell's books. And that we did.

At the entrance at the Sock Summit, a lovely shawl in lovely colors. It's a simple two color
pattern titled:

, and is available from Through The Loops. Image of a beautiful shawl

The marketplace was overwhelming. Man, who knew there could be so many yarns and tools dedicated to sock making? The stroke of brilliance was having a bar cart in the marketplace. Shop while you stroll with wine. Hmm.

photo of sock tree at the Sock Summit

A sentiment I can get behind. Order your twisted t-shirt here.

keep portland twisted photo

There was booth set up for knitting help, called the Lucy Booth. I heard it was staffed by some of the most famous knitters around. Below, the booth is staffed by anarchist knitter Anna Zilboorg. (Buy her books while you can.)

photo of the Sock Summit Lucy booth staffed by Anna Zilboorg

Then the Ravelry Party. Lots of wonderful folks were there, but a big shout out to the three people who have almost single-handedly transformed the knitting universe:

Jess and Casey, Ravelry parents were there with their very capable crew. I'm in the middle.

Image of Casey, Charisa and Jess

(By the way, I'm wearing the original Red Dragon Shawl that Tuulia Salmela created --she dyed and spun the fiber, then designed the shawl, then for some completely crazy reason, GAVE it to me. You can order the Red Dragon pattern here.The shawl is pinned with one of Romi's beautiful pins (purchased at the marketplace at the Summit). You can get one of her beautiful pins here.)

Amy Singer, of Knitty fame (left). Despite the lousy photo of both of us, I"m posting it because she is my hero.

Photo of Amy Singer and Charisa

When knitters gather, there are many things to go ga-ga over. Look at these
lovely things:

photo of two gals wearing shawls that use the same pattern

Photo of beautiful shawl in mohair

And this fun sweater knit of Noro silk yarn, by FeistyKitty of Ravelry.

photo of noro silk sweater

Jess and Casey bid us good night:

Next day, Powells City of Books (they have an entire bookcase dedicated to knitting.)

photo of Powell's

And we capped the day with yarn I had "made" at Yarnia. That's my yarn being wound.
It is going to be a wild shawl.

Do you think's it's a sign that I should move to Portland? (Carol thinks so ;) Below: Pothole in Portland and Street Sign (or is it, sign from the gods?)

photo of pothole in Portland

photo - sign from the gods?

About Me

My photo
I'm Charisa on Ravelry.

Blog Archive

Follow PULSH on Facebook

P U L S H © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.