26 November 2010


A knit-to–fit hat that you can wear all day long. In my neck of the woods Fall always brings wind and with it, branches, needles and twigs everywhere. This simple hat was inspired by the abundance of earthy branches in my neighborhood after an Autumn storm.

Yarn: Nashua Handknits; Vignette, 1 skein
Colorway: Earth (this is a bulky yarn.)
Needles:  US 9 (Circular with 30” cable for “magic-loop” method to close the hat top.)

The finished hat was 3.5” deep. The integrated I-cord edge helps the hat to “snug” down on the top of your head.

download now (free until 15 Jan 2011, then will be available for a small fee.)

10 November 2010

Round and round and round in the circle game

"And the seasons they go round and round
 And the painted ponies go up and down
 We're captive on the carousel of time
 We can't return we can only look
 Behind from where we came
 And go round and round and round
 In the circle game"  -- Joni Mitchell

Joni's right, in that, "We can't return we can only look behind from where we came " --  but as life often takes us in a circle, I re-visited a project I completed 25+ years ago when I was learning to knit. It was a fabulous project then. And guess what, even better the next time around. I learned more, it went faster, waaaay faster than in the '80s.

The Sweater Workshop Sampler by Jacqueline Fee

I knit this sampler to try and motivate members of the Snohomish Knitters Guild to adopt the concept of making a sampler, growing skills, and having a reference for future design efforts. In the process, I completely enjoyed revisiting all the folksy instructions by Jacqueline. The sampler took little more time than a hat.

A few modifications that I made:
1. I knit on two circular needles so I only needed to knit 64 stitches. It makes for a small sampler, but you never spend very long on any one section.
2. At the cast off sections at the top (Icord and lace cast offs), I followed instructions for the first 1/2, then for the last half, I knit through the back loop rather than front in the cast off. The difference is marked! Through the back loop for future when casting off in Icord or lace. The look is so much neater.

Size 6 US needle; Cascade 220 yarn; I purchased paper tags, wrote the instructions for each section and tied it to the section so I could refer to the sampler and know what I did (not illustrated in the above photos.)

Takeaway: I'm going to always have a circular sampler going to try new ideas out on. This was a fun project, highly recommended!

Social Knitting–Or now I can knit and purl and talk at the same time

A few simple projects to offer the promise of warm shoulders in the future and mindless knitting in the present:
First up – a stockinette take on the garter stitch Sunday Morning Shawl by Martina Kastanek. (read: I thought I remembered how the Sunday shawl was constructed and I was wrong…! So, er, right, I meant to create a stockinette version!) Designer Martina had a great idea, but it was SmokingHotNeedle’s version of the pattern that motivated me to take up my needles.
(Picot edge details above) Yarn: rainbow-ey sock yarn held with black sock yarn knit on biggish needles, probably US 7. I’m gonna knit a hundred more of these, except I’ll remember to do it in garter stitch!

Next up: the Morlynn Shawl by Alexandra Wiedmayer gets simplified, or I really cannot knit lace. Hope springs eternal, and I bought this lovely pattern thinking that knitting just a border of lace would be possible. But, of course, I give myself the impossible task of doing so with mohair. What was I thinking? I got to the lovely border, knit about 10 rows, got hopelessly lost, ripped back and made a much more sensible ribbed border (which I love, love, love). I stopped knitting because I was done – enough! But, as it turns out, the size is perfect – not too big. Perfect on the shoulders pinned. Warm, lovely to the touch. Let’s keep it between you and me that this is a franken-shawl and say I planned it that way.
Yarn was a mohair I dyed chocolate brown held with some of my handspun, dyed by Allspunup. Allspunup rarely has much fiber in her Etsy store though, because it gets snapped up the minute it goes up. If you are looking to get some of her lovely fiber, I suggest you join the Allspunup Ravelry forum and lurk until you see some comes available. This shawl has a lovely halo and it feels heavenly – I highly recommend knitting with wool/mohair for a luxurious knit.

12 September 2010

Miss Calla

This Spring I taught a couple of classes at local yarn shops on Tuulia Salmela’s “The Tailored Sweater” method. I like to have a project that uses that method on the needles to demonstrate how it’s done –and it served that purpose.

My friend, Amanda, had a baby many months ago – and it’s finally time to unveil the sweater gift for Calla. As that is the true purpose of this little sweet sweater. It’s an empire-waisted swing jacket with a big collar and cuffs that can be worn up until Miss Calla is a big girl, then flipped down.

And, as you see, it the pulled down cuffs work as an impromptu muff too!

Thank you to Miss E for being the perfect model!
Info about this project:
Pattern: Design by me, using top down set-in sleeve method “The Tailored Sweater” by Tuulia Salmela
Needles: US 5
Yarn: James C. Brett Marble DK yarn (acrylic) - “Berries” colorway
         Pros: this sweater can go into the washer and dryer Cons: It doesn’t block anything like wool! 
         In fact, it doesn’t block.

08 September 2010

Geometric Inspiration

 I‘ve discovered Grace Anna Farrow.  Do you know her? I found her by combing through favorites of my Ravelry friends. I have not seen her design work at any of my local knit stores, so I ordered her book, The Fine Line, directly from Grace. The book arrived with a graceful handwritten card (Rothko on the cover, no less!) welcoming any questions while I constructed her designs.
I immediately bought a kit from Jimmy Beans Wool and then stumbled upon the Isager wool she recommends while on a weekend trip to Portland at the fantastic LYS: Knit Purl, and promptly purchased the yarn for Dawn.

I’ve got a conversation going in the Sweater 101 forum with Cheryl Brunette about what constitutes elegance for me. Grace’s sensibility in color and design just about sums it up. Simple garments – no fuss, no muss that serve as the foundation to lay simple designs in the form of textiles (shawls or scarves) in stunning color combinations. I often joke that I’m a lace flunky and can’t knit lace. Truth is, what I love is simplicity in both design and color, and lace generally doesn’t do it for me.
I haven’t knit any of the designs yet, but I’m inspired to commence with my own work inspired by Grace Anna Farrow –using traditional techniques and patterns with bold color combinations. One of my very favorite artists is Nancy Crow. Her work continues to evolve with every series she creates.

While we were discussion color and Grace and Nancy’s work, Carol opened to a page that knocked me out. I immediately went to the dye pots to color yarn that should work in the same way the Isager yarn does for Grace (it’s the same yardage for 50 gms: about 300 meters, making it just a tad heavier than standard laceweight yarn.) The black and charcoal are left as is. The remainder of the skeins you see below started out white or light grey and were dyed by me.

The skeins sit on the page Carol found in the Nancy Crow book. The yarn that is the same weight as the Isager yarn (and about 1/4th the price) is Swedish lace yarn, Jarbo Gastrike 1 tr, that runs$7.95 per skein for 600m. (Isager Wool 1 is $12 for 300m). I cannot wait to see what this becomes!

07 September 2010

Color Saves

[I’m the President of a knitting guild in Snohomish county, Washington. I write a small article in each newsletter, and I’m repurposing this one I wrote for the July publication.]

My fiber work in June took an unexpected turn when I mis-read a contract and thought the design I was doing was intended for a June 2011 audience. After weeks of work and when all aspects of the project appeared to be going south, I contacted the publisher and declined the project only to find out that pattern packages had already been sold and hundreds of people were waiting as it was a June 2010 project. Oh, my! All my commitments were cancelled, obligations of walking the dog and doing the laundry were foisted off on my partner, and I hunkered down to get the job done. The only thing about the project that saved my sanity was the fact that it was still fun, despite the miscommunication and subsequent late night work, because it was a colorwork project.

Color has the ability to delight and amaze. Placing yellow next to blue next to coral and accenting with black can be the saving grace of the dreaded second sock syndrome. (DSSS: when the first sock was great and now I have to knit a second one?) You can spend your life calmly knitting color stripes, varying only the hues and never changing the stitch pattern, and still make a lifetime‘s worth of amazing garments.

The world of software has provided us with tools to make color designing and experimentation easier and even more fun. Try a few of these out:

Color Palette Generator. Enter the URL of an image to get a color palette that matches the image. Generate that palette from almost any image you see on the Internet by right clicking on the image, selecting ―properties, then select and copy the address listed (ends in .jpg or .gif).

COLOURlovers is a creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes and patterns. View hundreds of thousands of color palettes.

For your iPhone:
ColorExpert. Use a photo on your iPhone to generate a palette. Although this app is expensive as far as iPhone apps go ($9.99), it offers maximum control to generate your palette. The output includes RGB, Hex, and Pantone codes to enable you to duplicate the colors via print or the Web. You'll have to wing it for your dyepots! Here are two examples of the palettes generated by ColorExpert with some of my photos:

Sherwin Williams ―ColorSnap is a free app that also generates a palette from a photo on your iPhone, but with less control.

On July 13 Abbott Smith spoke to the guild about how he tames the color beast. He shared more fascinating ways to play with the magic of color. How will color save you?
Let‘s knit!

06 September 2010

Summer Knitting

My summer days were focused on raising our puppy Emma. And, my, how she has grown!

I did get a little knitting done – here are a couple of hats completed during the summer months:

Quincy by Jared Flood
Knit in my own handspun (Rose garden). I constructed the hat using his instructions, with a different gauge and type of yarn. Love the detail: hat knit in a strip to size of head then grafted after doing a half turn to make it a mobius. Edges of the garter strip are done with icord on edge as you knit. Pick up at top to close the hat. Knit the top with a size or two smaller needle than the hat body.

Ripple by Wendy Bernard
Wendy looks so fabulous in this beret, I had been ready to knit it as soon as I saw it. This is a beret knit in sock yarn. However, should I knit it again, I would change a few things:
  1. Don’t use superwash. It adds weight and droop. A woolen yarn with more loft will be better than the worsted slick/heavy sock yarn. A shetland would have the type of bounce I was hoping for.
  2. I’ll knit it top down so I can stop when it fits. This is knit from the bottom up, and adjusting it so that it has less droop is difficult to do when you’ve already cast on.
That said, it’s a clever design and it was a fun knit.

There is more summer knitting – a shawl, a child’s cardi: photos and details soon.

23 July 2010


You may be thinking I've fallen off the edge of the world and can not make my way back. In fact, I've been busy busy designing, knitting, re-knitting, and re-knitting. (Isn't that always how it goes?)

The Three Irish Girls (TIG) yarn company commissioned me to create a sock design for their sock-of-the-month club. Here's the link to the pattern available for purchase.

Construction: Toe up with the Lifestyle Socks no muss no fuss short row heel. Note: these are my photos. TIG used their own photos for the pattern. This is a fun project to work with multi-colored yarn and a solid yarn (check out the Three Irish Girls colorways available).

This project has inspired more designing -- look for related projects soon.

I created the pattern, requested the colorway (pinks/purples and charcoal) for June in honor of Pride celebrations everywhere – naming it Pride! socks. The Three Irish Girls company renamed the pattern to “Flying Geese Socks”. That works too.

26 April 2010

Free Fiber Calendar May 2010 - April 2011

Hey Ya'll, who said you have to have a calendar January through December?

Help yourself to the K1P1Design1 Fiber Calendar
(Click to get to the folder. FYI: my pattern site is K1P1Design1).

Click the link above, and  then click on the folder to download and save. When saved, double-click the saved folder to open (and expand) the files. Save the images to a thumb drive and take to a Staples or Office depot and have printed then spiral bound.

View the calendar pages as a slide show.
To see the individual images in a slide show (at lower resolution than in this zipped file) - click here.


22 April 2010

Joined the crowd and did the Baktus

Made a Lacy Baktus (by designer Terhi Montonen) with some very special yarn. Made it with self-striping yarn I dyed 3 years ago. I wanted a pattern that would not waste one precious yard of it since it was so labor intensive to make. Lacy Baktus filled the bill. It's a lovely scarf. Thank you to Kim Davis for modeling it.

28 March 2010

Happiness is a new puppy

Meet Emma. She was a long time coming. And could not be more perfect.

She, my friends, is just one big bundle of calm. More photos of our new golden puppy.

01 March 2010

The Charter for Compassion

Thank you Karen Armstrong! Worth 2 minutes and 11 seconds of your life. I promise.

Laughter is such good medicine

My knit-sibs (as Brenda Dayne calls her knit pals) were in a race to the finish for the Ravelympics. Barb on the right finished her Ravelympic hat as we stitched and bitched last week. In between stitchin’ and bitchin’, we did plenty of laughing. Ahhh. That felt good.

Recently off the wheel – merino wool, silk and Molly. Can you guess what makes such a beautiful soft halo?

Have you guessed it yet? These shots are pretty close up. It’s a lovely fine yarn that is soft soft soft. I can’t wait to knit a cowl with it. It begs to be close to the skin? What’s Molly*-fiber? Dog! And not a hint of a scent of dog, dry or wet!

* Molly is Barb’s dog, the Ravelympic Mulitple Gold medalist in the first photo, on the right.

30 January 2010

Tailored Sweater Workshop: Feb 27 or Mar 27

You are invited   
I’m teaching The Tailored Sweater Workshop in the greater Seattle area this Winter/March. The class is a wonderful opportunity to learn Tuulia Salmela’s top down method and embark on sweater-making for yourself! You’ll learn to make set-in sleeves top down and design and fit as you go. Please contact the shop to sign up for the class.

Sleeves are knit at the same time as the body, top down.

The Tailored Sweater Workshop
Spend a day learning The Tailored Sweater method which results in custom set-in sleeve sweaters knit seamlessly from the top-down. The method inspires confidence; every sweater you knit fits. Class time is spent making a sampler to learn the method. Price includes a CD with a detailed e-book and software by Tuulia Salmela to help you make sweaters of your own design for years to come.
Class size will be limited to 8 people.

Class work is a fast easy sample sweater and will enable you to understand all the steps in the method.

This top down set-in sleeve method makes matching patterns (lace, stripes, etc) a snap.

Class Supplies (You’ll start the small sample sweater in class)
  • 1 Skein of worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220 recommended)
  • Knitting needles (size that you normally use with worsted, US 7 or 8)
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Notebook
What you need to know for this class:
Cast on, cast off, increases, decreases, fundamental understanding of sweater parts (body front, back, sleeves). You don't have to have knit a sweater before but are familiar with the knit and purl stitch and basic shaping.

Offered at:

Village Yarn and Tea
Saturday, 27 February 2010; 11am-5pm
17171 Bothell Way NE 
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155
Phone: 206.361.7256

Wild Fibers
Saturday, 27 March 2010; 10:30am-4:30pm
706 South First Street
Mount Vernon Washington 98273
(360) 336-5202

29 January 2010

Seattle to Portland Yarn Train 2010, Part 2: The Stash

This year I decided to have a laser focus in my acquisition of new yarn: luxury or bust. Portland, as usual, did not disappoint. The rainy day definitely influenced my color choices and I ended up with a very Northwest palette with only one exception.

I came home with a shopping bag full of alpaca, silk, merino, and cashmere. Notice the new Jordana Paige bag? Purchased last week at her different-bag-an-hour seconds sale to benefit Haiti.

First up: ShibuiKnits Yarn, Sock, at Knit Purl. This is their own line, and the colors are amazing.

This is destined to become the Churchmouse Classics “Koigu linen stitch scarf”. Despite the hub-bub about Koigu, I prefer ShibuiKnits Sock.

Next, indulgence in the newer line at ShibuiKnits: 4 skeins of ShibuiKnits Baby Alpaca and 3 skeins of ShibuiKnits Silk Cloud (mohair/silk) to make the ShibuiKnits Cabled Rib Wrap.


At Dublin Bay Knitting Company, I found a few skeins left of their new luxury line: “Solstice”.  I picked up 2 skeins of Starlight Cashmere Silk in the “summer twilight” colorway. (The color is actually a bit darker than it shows up in my browser window.) I’m not sure what this will become – most likely something that will touch my skin. It is soooo lovely.

And finally, some wonderful stuff from Knit Knot Studio – Pur from Schoppel Wolle (left) and Karabell “Popcorn Merino”. I plan to design something that uses these two together.

I also purchased a pin that is by the same designer as the jewelry I purchased at Knit Knot Studio last year (here’s last year’s photo) – my pin this year is like this one, but smaller and has a dark patina.

I am so blessed to live in an area with so much creativity and art available to fiber folks. I hope next year you’ll consider joining us on the Seattle to Portland Yarn train.

26 January 2010

Seattle to Portland Yarn Train 2010

In 2006, the Seattle to Portland Yarn train event started as my small group's one day getaway to hang in Portland and see all the local yarn stores. I had coordinated a couple of train trip excursions with other groups and we all concluded it could be a fun thing.

Indeed, it was, and every year since then, due to ease of getting the word out, the numbers of folks on the event doubled...bringing the event numbers this year to 125+ knitters on the train on Saturday 16 Jan 2010. That means we were about 70% of the train's riders, and we took up 4, FOUR,  train cars.

It was a fun event - we saw several old friends and met lots of new ones. Knitters are such a good lot! (Even if there is a crazy one or two amongst us! Not pointin' fingers, no no, I'm just sayin'.)

Due to the volume of riders this year there were funds to create really cool goodie bags for the participants. The bag included a notions bag, a measuring tape, coupons from local Seattle area knit stores, cool stitch markers from theknittingmama and a lollipop cabin yarn lollipop with a custom dyed yarn train colorway.

Prior to the event Katie had written and published a Yarn Train song that went viral on YouTube. Here she is playing on the train (which she did four times, once in each car.).

After we arrived at11am, we walked the Portland Pearl district for about 5 hours, stopping in at many of the amazing shops in the Pearl - especially Knit Knot Studio, Knit-Purl, and Dublin Bay. Many folks cabbed or bussed to outer shops: Twisted, Make One, Happy KnitsYarn Garden, and  Yarnia. Portland is rich with knitting and we really enjoyed the bounty.

It misted outside all day - but instead of it being a pain in the neck, the mist offered some cooling as we exited the warm stores and made our way to the next one. As you can see from these few shots, knitters are a fun bunch! (The first is the kitchen sign at Knit-Purl)

Many thanks to all the folks that participated in the Seattle to Portland Yarn train. Thank you to the PDX folks that met us at the station, to our local yarn stores that provided coupons and doorprizes, to the Snohomish Knitters Guild for the sponsorship and to the Portland yarn shops that keep getting better, year after year!

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.