For our September meeting, we learned how to better keep track in patterns, about yarn support, and a little-discussed topic among knitters: copyright!
Keep Up with Events
The latest in Guild happenings include Dye Day with Abstract Fiber. Lori Patterson has graciously opened her studio to a small group of members to learn about hand-painting yarns.
We will raffle off 6 members to go to the October 6th Dye Day. To enter the raffle, check your email! We sent an email to members on September 15th with details on how to enter the “online” raffle.
If you didn’t see it, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Abstract Dye Day” in the subject line and let us know you want to be entered into the raffle.
Let us know if you want to be entered by September 25th. We’ll draw the raffle and let you know whether or not you won a spot on September 26th.
Kathryn Hendrix, a friendly face at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton, shared with us a tip she discovered on how to keep track of decrease/increase rows when knitting sleeves, hats, etc.
Simply grab those light bulb-shaped stitch markers in the amount equal to the number of decrease/increase rows called for in the pattern plus one more.
For example, the sweater sleeve pattern says to decrease two stitches every 12 rows 9 times. Pull out 10 stitch markers, with one in a different color if you can. Secure the different colored one to your needle, and attach the remaining 9 to that one like they’re keys on a keychain. Every time you decrease, take off a marker and place it at the decrease. When you run out of markers, you’re done!
Business member Michele Bernstein of PDXKnitterati told us about yarn support. As a designer and teacher, she helps grow her business and supports other fiber entrepreneurs by collaborating through yarn support.
Yarn support is when a yarn designer and a knitwear designer forge a mutual agreement. The knitwear designer may be inspired by a particular colorway and decides to create a pattern around it. Michele’s Concentric Cowl perfectly shows off KnitCircus Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient's color-play, for example. Michele’s pattern and the yarn are a great pairing, and each party gets exposure, making it an ideal yarn support situation!
How do you engage in yarn support?
Michele’s designs show her unique vision, are relatively swatch-forgiving (cowls, scarves, shawls, and hats, yay!), and support yarn designers in the spirit of our close-knit community. Learn more about her on her blog or see if there’s a spot at her upcoming retreat, a collaboration with crochet designer Laurinda Reddig.
Program: Copyright for Knitters with Parna Mehrbani
Intellectual Property lawyer and knitting instructor Parna Mehrbani shared her professional tips on how to not violate copyright as knitters, designers, and teachers. Her experience, education, and warm personality made this a fascinating program that sparked great discussion!
We hear a lot about copyright and intellectual property today, especially in the entertainment industry. While the knitting community is small in relation to the above, and the law isn’t keeping serious tabs on us, it is important to be aware of copyright guidelines because it is such a small community.
You’ll find a lot of discussion on the internet about copyright, and like a lot of things on the internet, it may not always be factual. If you’re questioning your own or someone else’s practice of copyright, here are some tips care of Parna.
What Is Copyright?
It’s not a trademark, a trade secret, or a patent. It protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. You can’t copyright an idea. Things like the written pattern of your raglan sweater design is copyrightable, but not the idea of a raglan sweater. That’s why designers will often add a note on their patterns, whether they are free or for purchase, that state something like “All rights reserved. For personal, non-commercial use only.”
How Do I Not Violate Copyright?
Generally, if you're asking yourself if you may be infringing copyright, check yourself. Remember, designers are often self-employed or run small businesses. And, as noted, the fiber arts community is not that big. To support each other, refrain from distributing purchased patterns for free or for your own profit, hosting classes on a pattern without the designer's permission, or selling finished projects from a pattern you did not create. Remember, this applies to books as well as PDFs.
Your Rights as a Copyright Owner
As a pattern writer or knitwear designer, you have rights of your own. You may reproduce, distribute, and display your work as you wish.
As an Intellectual Property lawyer, Parna isn’t crazy about the misunderstanding of facts on the internet. If you’re concerned about violating copyright or suspect your rights have been infringed, start by consulting copyright.gov.
Thank you, Parna!
Show and Tell
An update from Lesli on her whirlwind Tour de Sock experience: she finished 14th overall out of 600+ finishers! Her total time was 41 hours and 55 minutes among 6 pairs of socks. Check out her FOs above. Congrats and amazing work, Lesli!
October 11th - Next Meeting
See you next time for Sivia Harding’s program on incorporating beadwork into your knits!
Prolific knitter, sometimes designer, and co-founder of Butterfly Boxes Adrienne Enriquez shares some of her knitting favorites with us for the second installment of Member Spotlight!
Why do you knit?
I'm among those who find knitting relaxing. It's also how I justify binge-watching Netflix or listening to hours and hours of podcasts ... I'm being productive while I do it!
What got you started knitting?
A family friend taught me how to knit when I was 5 years old, and I worked on that olive drab, bulky, misshapen scarf for a few years. When I was 12, I asked my grandma to "really teach me" how to knit. She was a believer in both making the thing you wanted and in ripping out all mistakes. So my first "real" project was a forest green, heavily textured - cables, bobbles, and more! - sweater that was perfectly executed under her eagle eye. After that, I was a fairly intermittent knitter until just after college. In the past 20 years, it's become a regular part of my daily life.
Favorite place to knit:
On my couch - best place to binge-watch Netflix!
What’s currently on your needles?
So many things! I'm not a monogamous knitter. Not even close. Right now, the top three in rotation are a Wool & Honey sweater for me, a narwhal stuffie for a friend's baby (which will likely be accompanied by a harbor seal stuffie for his older sister), and an Apex scarf.
What’s your biggest knitting victory?
I've designed a couple colorwork baby blankets that I really loved. But my biggest victory might actually have been a rather simple project that just took forever. And bored me to tears. But I finished it.
I made my niece a queen-sized striped "sky" blanket (pictured above). Over the course of her 16th year, I took a photo of the sky everyday around noon and then knit those colors into a blanket for her. Biggest surprise? I was astounded that I had to reorder blue yarn twice. And I'm STILL making my way through the leftover gray yarn (using it for the narwhal, in fact!). Portland's skies aren't gray as often as we like to think!
Oh! I'm also pretty proud of an ocean-themed baby activity book I made for a friend a couple years ago. Most of it was pattern-based, but I designed a couple of pages to go with it because my friend loves crabs and clearly needed a crab page, right?
What do you want to learn more about in knitting?
It's probably about time I do something in brioche, right?
What other hobbies do you have?
I bought myself a spinning wheel about 6 months ago, and I've loved every time I've used it. Same for the rigid heddle loom I bought a couple years ago. I've recently re-picked up counted cross stitch for when I need a change of pace. Outside of crafting, I'm a reader.
Colorwork or cables?
Describe your ultimate knitting project:
I like projects that teach me something new.
adriennepdx on Ravelry and Instagram
Want to share your love of knitting with the guild? Email us at email@example.com with subject line Member Spotlight.
Members beat the heat by enjoying the a/c and lots of cozy, cozy knitting at our August meeting.
Keep Up with Events
We want to make sure you're in the know! In addition to announcing events at our meetings (thank you, Margaret!), we maintain our Community Events page regularly. If you use Google Calendars, you can add events we publish to your own agenda--easy-peasy. Just scroll to the bottom of our Community Events page, find the Google Calendar, click on the event you don't want to forget, and select "Copy to my calendar."
Kate Cornelius shared with us a tip for helping with hand and finger pain. To ease pain from general inflammation or arthritis, she suggests compression gloves, specifically the design without fingers so that you don't have to put down your needles. You can find her pair here on Amazon. Find out what is meant by compression.
By Hand Serial
By Hand Serial, created by Andrea Hungerford with photography by Karen DeWitz, is on its 6th issue. Upcoming features include Vancouver Island and Nova Scotia. Andrea had a preview of a gorgeous handmade leather pattern and needle holder. Look for the pattern and potentially even kits to make your own.
Program: Change the Gauge with Nele Redweik
As a knitwear designer and resident tailor at Portland's Wildwood & Company custom shop, Nele is a pro when it comes to changing the gauge. She walked us through the various ways you can tailor patterns to fit your unique vision.
You want to use the perfect yarn of your dreams for the perfect sweater of your dreams, but somehow the two just won't work together. Don't give up. You may be able to make it work.
If you've never knitted a sweater or gauge-changing before, perhaps you'd want to start with experimenting on simple projects like scarves and hats. Adding/reducing rows, pattern repeats, and stitches per inch isn't as vital to fit when working with hats and scarves as it is when working with sweaters.
Jump Into Intermediate
If you've made a few pullovers and you're ready to start experimenting with your own designs, start with a simpler crew new, perhaps something knit flat or in plain knitting in the round.
A seasoned gauge swatcher with no fear of maths? You're ready to play with unique shaping and advanced techniques.
How To Make Your Sweater Fit You Better
What is it that you want to achieve? A longer hem? More contouring? To use a bulkier yarn? Determining your objective can help you decide what kind of modifications you can start making should you be working off of an established pattern.
To demonstrate the kinds of changes you can make, Nele walked us through an exercise.
Start with your pattern and gauge swatch (blocked). Determine your stitch and row gauge (both the horizontal and vertical stitch count in a 4" section).
Then, grab your pattern's schematic or finished measurements for the size you choose. Compare your own gauge numbers to the pattern's and do a bit of math to determine the new cast on number, how many rows to knit before the armhole shaping, the rate of decrease for the neckline, etc. If you end up with fractions (3.32 stitches for example), round down to the nearest whole number.
How Do You Know How Much Yarn To Get?
When using a different weight of yarn than what the pattern calls for, Nele recommends using the handy pamphlet Yarn Requirements by Ann Budd. Knitty also has a wealth of articles on going beyond the pattern with sleeves.
If you have questions for Nele, she's easily found on Ravelry!
Show and Tell
We had an impressive Show and Tell, including snowmanknitter’s trek on the Tour de Sock! Finishing 20th out of about 1700 (!!) on her first FO, Tour de Sock 2018 - Marvin, it took her 20 hours and 5 minutes to complete the socks. We’re cheering her on as she continues!
Sunshine Division Hats
We are still collecting hats until the October 11th meeting. Free yarn is available at the September meeting if you need some (and love to work under a tight deadline). We're up to 91 hats, so keep them coming!
September 13th - Next Meeting
See you next time with Parna Mehrbani, local knitting teacher and an intellectual property lawyer, who will present "The (C) Word: Copyright for Knitters."
Helene Knott enlightened us about how to use color in your knitting projects. She was gracious enough to put together her favorite resources, generators, and tools to help you play with color. Be sure to bookmark them! Take it from Helene:
For most of these digital sources, you upload a photo and the generator extracts a palette of predominant colors from the photo and provides swatches of those colors. Some will give you the HTML Color HEX codes (for developing websites), some also include RGB and/or CMYK codes (allowing you to find and recreate that color for various applications). But, all are useful to create color palettes.
Some require registering (free in most cases) to create an account that you can save your palette to for later reference. In all cases, you can always right click to create a screenshot of the palette you created.
Palettes (for iPad only)
This app is great! There is a limited free version but the Pro version is only $3.99 and worth every penny. It is one of the most useful apps I’ve found for creating a palette from an image because it allows you to select the colors you want rather than just generating dominant colors that the algorithm detects. You can create a palette of up to 25 colors, play with those colors using tools provided and then save and email the palette you created to yourself.
Color Grab (for Android only)
This is very close to the Palettes App for iPad, though not quite as versatile or easy to use (in my opinion). It too allows you to open a photo in the app and move a selector tool around the image and select colors to save to a palette then save the palette in a variety of formats. It also lets you point the camera at anything and select/identify the color seen in the focal point of the lens (this function is a bit more difficult to control).
This free generator includes the color HEX code and a proportional scale to show percentages of each color presented in the original photo. A slider allows you to increase the palette to up to 10 colors. To save your palette, you can right click on it and take a screenshot, then download that, copy and paste it into a photo editing program (like Photoshop) or save it to the Cloud.
Rather complex and not as easy to use as some of the other ones but a very thorough tool. You can choose how many colors you want it to extract and it gives you both RGB and HEX codes for the extracted colors. It will only work with low res (250KB and below) image files.
This generator creates a palette of 49 colors and will also give you three limited sample strips – a light, a medium and a dark palette drawn from the master palette. The palettes can be saved as CSS (for website development) or Photoshop files but you need to have CS4 or higher for the Photoshop version.
Color Code HEX Finder
This site allows you to put in the Color HEX code you get from a palette generator and it will provide the CMYK and RGB models to recreate that exact color for viewing on a computer screen (RGB) or for printing (CMYK). You type in the HEX code and it will generate all the related information along with some color design tools such as the color harmonies based on that color.
This tool does not allow you to extract colors from a photo; rather, it gives you some color charts from which to pick a starting color and an ending color. and then select how many steps you want to include in the blended transition and whether you need the HEX code, RGB or CMYK codes. The generator then creates a blended palette that bridges the two colors you selected; very cool!
Free to use and register, not as versatile as others.
Color Works by Deb Menz (ISBN-13: 978-1931499477)
There are doubtless plenty of books on knitting and color that I am not familiar with but this older book is quite a gem. It is a definitive examination of all the aspects of color theory applied to various art and craft projects. The beauty of this book is that it shows each application in the same design rendered in different media – quilting, paper collage, spinning, weaving, knitting, beading, and embroidery (both hand and machine). This allows you to see the interaction and effect of color as it would pertain to all these different mediums. The book is out of print but readily available on Amazon from third party sellers, though the price of it varies wildly from about the original list price to ridiculously expensive copies. It is well worth investing in if you find one at a reasonable price.
Other Online Resources
Following is a list of interesting websites having to do with exploring color in a variety of ways.
Color and marketing plus many interesting facts about color and perception.
Smithsonian Libraries: Color in a New Light
The history and science of color study.
Brain Den: Color Illusions
Optical illusions based on color.
Article on Synesthesia
What Is Synesthesia and What's It Like to Have It
Articles About Color and Language
The Way You See Colour Depends on What Language You Speak
You Only See Colors You Can Name
Articles About Color and Psychology
Color Affects: Psychological Properties of Colours
Art Therapy Blog: Psychological Effects of Colors
Article on Color and Marketing
8 Creative Examples of the Use of Color Psychology in Marketing
Do you have any favorite tools or interesting articles to share that aren't on this list?
With 131 wonderful members and counting, we want to give each of you a moment to shine. In our first Member Spotlight, meet Board Treasurer Gina Easley. You may have been greeted by her smiling face as you arrived at Guild meetings.
Why do you knit?
I learned how to knit as a child out of boredom. My mother taught me two stitches in English style: knit and purl. I took it from there. Fast forward a decade or two: after college I was working in mental health. I started knitting more frequently as a way to reduce stress. It was also a much less self-destructive means of coping. I have a couple of misshapen color-work sweaters from this period of my life‒the sweaters are not quite wearable but I keep them around as a reminder.
When I switched careers knitting became a destination, a joyous activity, something you can do when you feel good‒not just as an escape. I use it to connect with other people, to explore my creative side. I love being around wads of color smooshiness and turning it into something wearable.
Favorite place to knit:
My porch, with a nice breeze and a glass of bubbly water.
What do you want to learn more about in knitting?
I am curious to learn about what knitting meant to people before me and people living in other places.
Tell us about some project highlights:
Orange Knit's Saturate Shawl a.k.a. The First Time I Blew Money On Nice Yarn
This is the first well-made large project I ever completed and the first time I realized there is value in paying for a knitting pattern as they are often very well thought out and often times a designer is willing to give you a moment of their time if you get stuck.
Tin Can Knit's Prairie Fire Pullover
I dyed the skeins in Kool Aide, knitted it up without alternating skeins, then over-dyed the whole thing in Rit dye. I love the deep purple- but still exemplifies why alternating skeins is usually important
Orange Knit's Santa Clara Sweater
I liked the subtle texture throughout and the bauble stitch- it used up a bunch of fingering weight yarn I had from prior project. Mara is a helluvah pattern writer.
Do you want to be featured in a Member Spotlight post? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or let one of your friendly board members know at the next meeting!
Our July meeting was once again packed with wonderful knitters and programming, including Helene Knott’s presentation “Speaking in Color.”
About TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association)
Members Hilary, Sue, and Lesli shared the benefits of being a part of TKGA, The Knitting Guild Association. It’s the only national non-profit dedicated specifically to knitting.
TKGA membership is only $25 a year, and gives you access to their Correspondence Courses and Mini Courses; the certification programs like the Master Hand Knitter Certification and the Technical Editor Certification (which Hilary Forrest has completed), tons of technical information, their monthly newsletter, and Cast On magazine. The quarterly publication is currently in digital format, but members can request back issues that came in print.
There’s also a TKGA Ravelry group to get you started. The group was generous enough to donate a free membership, which was raffled off to member Emily Rogers!
Collaborating with amazing women is pretty much our favorite thing to do EVER, so when the Puddletown Knitting Guild suggested that we create a KAL project for their group, we squealed out loud. Being able to create a fun and airy summertime shawl project pairing Knitted Wit’s newest Fairy Floss and Victory Sock, in the same magical-creature-inspired colorway, was a dream come true.
Puddletown Shawl KAL with Fiber Besties
Dressed in their most fabulous frocks, Shannon Squire (Shannon Squire Designs) and Lorajean Kelley (Knitted Wit) announced their knit-along and invited us all to Yarn Prom.
If you’re looking for a project, the Puddletown Shawl KAL is the perfect light and airy lace pattern for the mohair Fairy Floss, Knitted Wit’s newest base. If you didn’t get a chance to purchase the kit, check out Knitted Wit’s Etsy shop.
Wear your shawl or favorite summer knit to Yarn Prom, August 4th at their studio, 19959 East Burnside. Doors open at 5 p.m., with a DJ spinning at 7. Attendance is free. Bring your projects, pals, and party vibes.
July’s Program: The Basics of Color Theory with Helene Knott
Handcrafters, from knitters to scrapbookers, dyers to quilters, can make their projects sing with color. Quilter Helene Knott shared her expertise in color theory with us for our July program.
Trained as a painter, Helene has a deep appreciation for and understanding of the nuanced play of color in visual arts. And, as Helene states, you don’t need talent to experiment with color.
Helene posed a simple yet interesting question to us--what is color? We rarely stop to think about it. As she states, color is energy. Cones in our eyes interpret wavelengths of red, blue, and green. Each of us has a different amount of cones, so everyone sees colors a little differently. Yet, there are still guidelines to help inspire your own designs.
This is a tool knitters can use that shows the relationships between colors.
Color Harmonies from the Color Wheel
There are six standard color harmonies, and Helene shared with us a seventh of her own. From the simple or minimalist monotones and complementary harmonies, to the “Grateful Dead” harmony, and then to Helen’s “Bent Complementary” that has the artist choose a color and select a wheel wedge to the right or the left of the true complementary, there are many gorgeous ways to inspired your project.
How to Find the Value of a Color
Value is how light or dark the quality of a color is.
Put color swatches on a grayscale with numbers assigned to each swatch. See where your swatch “disappears” into the gray. For example, try taking a black-and-white photo of colored yarns that you think contrast well, and the grayscale will show you whether there's a real contrast or just a difference in color.
Josef Albers, artist and foundational educator in Modern Art, taught that color changes character by the company it keeps. That’s why some surprising results may occur when pairing yarns that are amazing on their own. Helene stated that we could get away with even using a different dye lot as long as it was partnered with another color that “tricks” the eye into perceiving sameness among different lots.
If you’ve ever knitted a stranded or intarsia pattern, but failed to make your motif stand out, it may be the proportion of your contrast color. On the other hand, some fun can be had in playing with proportion, such as a fade effect with two colors that shift gradually in proportion.
If you’ve ever come across an amazing photograph on Pinterest or found a unique graphic that you want to translate into a colorwork project, there are many sites and apps that can help you extract the color swatches in order to create a strategy. We’ll be posting her full list of recommendations soon!
What colors do you think you’ll experiment with now?
Be sure to come on August 9 for "Change the Gauge." Member Nele Redweik will tell us how we may use the yarn our heart desires and find the fit of our dreams.
From bind off solutions to the incredible dandy-inspired work of Emily Carrig, we had a jam-packed June meeting!
What To Do with an Enlarged Last Bind Off Stitch
How do you make that stretched-out final stitch disappear? Member Hilary Forrest shared with us her favorite way to create a smooth, clean bind off.
As you work across a row of knitting, the first right-needle stitch "stretches" the first stitch on the left needle by borrowing yarn from the stitch to its right. Take a look as you knit and you'll see this happen. As you work across the row, the extra yarn "moves" across the row with you. Again, take a look as you knit and you can see this. When you get to the last stitch, there is nowhere for the yarn to go, which is why the last stitch appears to be bigger than the others on your row.
There are two strategies to prevent this. Assuming you will be binding off stockinette stitch on a right side row, on the last row before binding off (the purl row) work the first stitch normally, and work the second and third very tightly. Work the rest of the (purl row) normally, and bind off normally. You will notice that the last bind off stitch is not enlarged.
If that doesn't work as well as you would like, try this: On the last purl row, first the first stitch, then take it off the needle and place it on a rigid stitch marker. Snug that stitch up, and purl the rest of the row. Bind off normally until you get to the stitch on the marker, and work that stitch right off the marker. Success! No enlarged last stitch.
Hilary is a TKGA-Certified Master Knitter and Technical Editor. She suggests referencing Arenda Holladay and Knitting with Suzanne Bryan for the knitty gritty.
Repairs, Finishing, & Sweater Surgery with Fair Weather Knitter
If you have a hand-knit that never really fit you right, or that is stowed away in disrepair, maybe Emily Devlin can help you.
As a designer and friendly face at Close Knit, Emily has a side hustle called Fair Weather Knitter--a specialty in knit alterations, repairs, and finishing for both knitters and non-crafty folks. Emily shared some of her most challenging and interesting projects with us, including a remarkable afghan knit from nylon stockings sometime in the 1940s. The throw blanket is currently in the collection at the Beaverton Historical Society.
June Program: Machine Knitting in Galashiels
Emily Carrig and her “boys” dazzled us. Her graduate thesis, Rebellious Transfers: Dandyism Explored Through Shaping & Cables, was created through her passion for perfection, impeccable fashion, and industrial knitting machines.
For her Master’s Degree in Knitwear Design, Production and Heritage, Emily went to Herriot Watt University in Galashiels, Scotland. A spirited individual always up for a challenge, she wanted to do something amazing. And, as she puts it, “If you’re going to go to Scotland, go for it!”
So, she ended up at Barrie Knitwear, a mill in Harwick. With a goal to work for a prestigious company making high-quality garments, (Barrie makes knitwear for Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and is owned by Chanel), Emily learned how to use the industrial dubied machine (named after inventor Henri Edouard Dubied) to craft her collection.
The challenge: to create detailed, unique garments on machines made for building basic, minimalist, mass-produced clothes. Because, as Emily was told, it couldn’t be done. With confidence and a little improvising, Emily totally did it!
The aesthetic foundation for her collection was Dandyism. The most well-known dandy is probably Oscar Wilde, though Emily uses texts from Albert Camus and Laura George to help define her theme and positioning. Emily used the knitting machines and her talent as a linker (one who pieces the sections of a garment together) to express “the cut-and-sewn tailored identity” of Dandyism into knitwear.
Emily brought three of her “boys” to share: Danny, Rupert, and Frank. These sweaters she designed unconventionally are masterpieces. Because of how the machines work, each garment is linked together from six to 14 pieces.
Crafted with 100% UK undyed wool in order to let the stitches and cable speak for themselves, the amount of detail is incredible, asymmetrical panels to the decreases in sleeve seams. Nothing was accidental, from Emily’s expert work on the machines and in her linking, to the adherence to the Dandy style, described by George as “eschewing ornamentation, by rejecting color, and making the austerity of black and white itself performative.”
Today, Emily is working her skills creating footwear prototypes at Nike. We thank Emily for sharing her incredible work with us!
While Emily’s Dandy knits go for detail over color, our next meeting program is all about “Speaking in Color.” Join us July 12 as Helene Knott teaches us how to use a color wheel to create beautiful combos and schemes that will make your projects sing.
What a treat it was to discover the joys of raising alpacas from Dave Zandberg, half of ZZ Alpacas. Laughs were shared, and skeins were squished.
But first, member Michele Bernstein of PDXKnitterati shared her tips on how to improve your favorite cast on method.
Michele’s Long Tail Cast On Secrets
We love long tail because it’s fast, easy, and flexible. Here are the secrets Michele shared to take your long tail to new levels.
How to Get Rid of the Slip Knot Bump
Want a smoother cast on edge? Eliminate the slip knot. Hold the yarn in your left hand (or non-working-needle hand) as you typically would in long tail, with the tail draped over your thumb. Place your needle under the yarn and twist clockwise so you create your first stitch—which just so happens to be a smooth one!
Why Your First Knit Row Is Bumpy
If you’re knitting flat, then your first row after the cast on is the purl side (or “wrong side” depending on the pattern). If your pattern tells you to knit this row, purl it anyway and account for an extra row. Or, try a different cast on method, like cable cast on.
How to Loosen Up Your Cast On
Do you knit tightly? Leave some breathing room between stitches by holding the former stitch with your index finger as you continue to CO stitches.
How Much Yarn To Use for Long Tail Cast On
The tip you’ve all been waiting for: how to make sure you won’t run out of yarn!
Michele shared 3 techniques:
May Program: Alpacas: A Lifestyle Choice
Margaret first discovered ZZ Alpacas at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival when she found the perfect brown alpaca yarn. It came from an animal named Godiva in the tiny town of Fall City, OR. It only gets more charming from there.
Dave visited us to share his experience, passion, and hilarious stories around these incredibly cute animals.
Dave Zanberg and Sue Zofchak (“ZZ”) started their adventure together in 1978 at Rutgers School of Pharmacy, both having grown up in the industrial suburbs of New Jersey. After time in the Bay Area, Dave discovered the book The Complete Alpaca by Eric Hoffman. Breeding and raising alpacas seemed more pleasurable than living in the fast-paced city.
Land was bought in Utah, but later sold. Luckily for us, the couple eventually settled just outside Dallas, OR not far from McMinnville. Twenty acres, 2 Corriedale sheep, 3 mini donkeys, 3 dogs, 7 angora goats, 9 llamas, a bunch of equipment, and 54 alpacas later, Dave and Sue are truly living the alpaca lifestyle. Oh, and they share their home with a 22-year-old cockatoo named Birdie.
This is not just a job or a hobby for them. While the couple both work as pharmacists (at competing pharmacies in the same shopping center), they spend just about every other waking hour tending to the herd. Besides feeding them daily, there are stretches of the year that call for their full attention, such as clipping, breeding, and birthing times.
Dave affectionately speaks of his alpacas, referring to them by their given names (Red Baron, Tommy Lee, Lani, Monte Crisco) and appreciating each animal’s distinct personality. Generally, Dave said, they are aloof camelids, wanting attention and then playing it cool. The apparent joy and commitment Dave has is what made this program so enjoyable.
Dave and Sue breed alpacas for color (anything but uniform white), and there are 16 official colors with names like Rose Gray and Bay Black. However, they have a keen eye for the “30 shades of brown” and the other tonal subtleties that make for unique yarn. Each animal only produces about 4 pounds of yarn.
Partnering with veterinarian Pat Long, who has a connection with Oregon State University, Dave and Sue reach out for help on the riskiest part of owning alpacas—labor and care thereafter. There are occasionally heartbreaks in the process, yet many joys.
One cria (an alpaca baby) was struggling after birth. They took him to OSU where it was treated with what’s called the “bear hugger” in order to help him along. Dave and Sue’s pharmaceutical knowledge eventually saved the little one. Pat Long then examined the animal and made an announcement—this wasn’t an alpaca. They had a huarizo, or an alpaca/llama hybrid. The alpaca lifestyle is full of surprises.
A refrain throughout the stories told was that Dave and Sue often go to fairs or auctions and come back with not one or two animals, but dozens. “There’s about 80 of us now,” Dave said, and that’s not counting the looms, farm equipment, and future animals that will surely make way into their hearts.
Lastly, we were so lucky to have the chance to buy yarn at this meeting! While the ultra-soft and warm yarn they produced with the skills of Janelle Casey is irresistible, Dave is currently focusing on weaving rugs with the wool. The samples he brought are some of the softest you’d ever feel beneath your bare feet.
Thank you so much, ZZ Alpacas!
Raffle, Reminders, and Events
Yet another Knit Crate subscription was won, this time by lucky member Donna!
And, join us for social knitting at the first PKG sponsored World Wide Knit in Public Day! We’ll be at Oui Presse on SE Hawthorne. Bring your friends, knitters and those who want to learn. Stop by before or after visiting Brooklyn Tweed’s event at Laurelhurst Park.
Come back next time to Fremont United Methodist for Emily Carrig’s program on her experience earning a Master’s Degree in Knitwear Design, Production, and Heritage.
One of the benefits of PKG membership is the chance to interact with local makers. Our recent tour of Brooklyn Tweed’s headquarters in SE Portland was an incredible experience.
Customer Service Lead Jamie McCarthy and Office Manager Jen Hurley were our wonderful hosts, leading us through the gorgeous headquarters.
Luigi Boccia, co-owner of Brooklyn Tweed, told the story of how the brand started. Jared Flood, while an art student in New York, started a blog for knitters in 2005. Over the following decade, it grew into the exclusively US-sourced-and-spun wool yarn company.
Today, Luigi heads up Business Development and Jared is the Creative Director. Luigi stressed the business values of Brooklyn Tweed: respect for the wool, respect for the designers, respect for the team, respect for the producers, and respect for the customers.
Respect for the customers is demonstrated on the Brooklyn Tweed Resources page, which is packed full of information about knitting techniques, sweater size selection, and how to read charts and patterns. Their website isn't just a retail platform, it's a gift to their customers.
One highlight was Jared talking with Amy about her 5190 Miles shawl made from Loft. It’s not every day you get to share your finished project with a maker.
Our visit serendipitously occured on the launch of Ranch 01, Brooklyn Tweed’s first small-batch, breed-specific yarns. This limited edition collection is completely sourced and produced in the United States. Richly hued with natural dyes, the Rambouillet wool is a real treasure to fiber enthusiasts. We even got to do a little shopping of it ourselves.
It was an amazing day!
What is your favorite Brooklyn Tweed yarn or design?
Our second meeting at Fremont United Methodist Church was packed with inspiration.
First, Nele Redweik shared a tip for stranded knitting: working with three colors in one row.
Knitting thimbles are great notions that help keep strands from tangling and enable efficient stitching. Nele’s custom-made Norwegian thimble from Etsy helped her, but you can experiment with different brands and types to suit you.
Her finished Orkney cardigan by Marie Wallin shows the intricate colorwork. Check out Nele in her three-color stranded glory!
Next, Chelsea Fuller walked us through the Physics of Yarn.
If you want to pick the right yarn for your project, and ensure it will live a long time, an understanding of fiber characteristics will help.
From rustic wools to fuzzy angoras, the natural shape, crimp, texture, and behavior of the animal or plant fibers greatly influence your final project.
Chelsea, passed around samples of fleece from sheep like Merino and Shetland, as well as from the surprisingly, incredibly soft and lofty camel. While super luxurious cashmere is a favorite, it’s only beginning to be farmed sustainably. You can learn more about cashmere farming here.
A seasoned spinner, Chelsea explained twist, ply, and prep. These actions hold fibers together with varying results of strength and resilience. A key takeaway: high ply equals less pilling!
Choosing between worsted and woolen yarns can make a huge difference in your final project. In terms of how fibers are arranged, worsted yarns are fabulous for cables and lace for their stitch definition. For colorwork, the lofty, airy woolen yarns are ideal.
The Right Yarn for Your Project
Ask yourself lots of questions about what you want to make and how you will use it. Consider the friction between sweater sleeves and the body, if you’ll get caught in the rain with this garment, or if it matters whether or not the fabric will stretch over the course of the day.
And, though the many colorful singles options out there are irresistible, try to avoid knitting high-wear items out of these single ply yarns. Remember: pilling!
Chelsea’s knowledge and experience is valuable for any level of knitter. It complements Annette Caughman's January program on the sweater knitting process perfectly.
April Raffles and Door Prizes
We had some of the best door prizes and raffles yet. One lucky member took home a handspun skein by Chelsea herself. Another won a 3-month subscription to Knit Crate, the service that sends a different bundle of yarn to your door.
And, 16 super lucky people were picked to attend April 20th’s Brooklyn Tweed HQ Tour.
We hope you’ll join us next month, May 10th, for Dave Zandberg of ZZ Alpacas!
Missives from the fabulous women who got the ball (of yarn) rolling.