May 2021 Meeting Recap: Faith Humphrey Hill of Dartily discusses Mirror Knitting, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Melanie Chen
President Kimberly Williams opened the meeting (marking over a year of being virtual!) and noted that despite the challenges of recent times, the Puddletown Knitters Guild is going strong and increasing membership steadily. Kimberly explained that Puddletown is joining others across the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to acknowledge the traditional Native inhabitants of the land and honor the truth in our history. Each meeting will now start with an acknowledgement of the diverse array of indigenous tribes and bands who had traditional village sites around the metro Portland region. Kimberly also welcomed Elle Gough to the Board as the new Event Chair and shared that Elle is already working on some fun stuff outdoors for the summer. Hooray, Elle!
Meeting Location--Ideas Needed: Our growing guild needs a new home! We're looking for an affordable event space for future member meetings. Does your office rent a large room? Or perhaps there's a gym or cafeteria at your kid's school available to rent. Send your ideas to email@example.com
2021 Charity Knitting: Puddletown knitters can continue to donate Winter Warmth items (such as machine washable hats, socks, scarves, mittens or even sweaters) for Rose Haven, a day shelter and community center serving women, gender non-conforming folks, and their children experiencing poverty, trauma, and intersecting issues. If you have items to drop off or need yarn, just send PKG an email.
2021 Membership: RENEW ONLINE! We're happy to have guests at our events. After a meeting or two, we ask that you support our programs by becoming a member. Visit PuddletownKnittersGuild.com/Membership to renew or join.
Community News: Brooklyn Tweed is pleased to announce their new pattern collection, Water’s Edge, which sets a course for knitting adventure with five fresh patterns. Also, the merino/cotton blend Dapple is now available in two new gorgeous, saturated hues: black walnut and currant. Yummy!
Member Tips with Anna Lorton: Good news for those who loved last month’s swatching tips--Anna’s swatch form is now available online. For this month’s tips, Anna first shared ideas to hold working yarn while walking, such as attaching a paper clip with super glue to a plastic take-out container. Anna’s main tips were about yarn winding for balls and cakes. The key to success? Don’t wind the yarn too tightly! Densely-wound yarn will lose its elasticity, and won’t have bounce. If you get a skein that is really hard/tight, then immediately take it out because this is not good for the yarn. Anna advised that we aim for yarn that is soft and squishy, but not so loose that it tangles. Anna also demonstrated using an umbrella swift. Anna cautioned against allowing the swift to be powered by the ball winder, because your cake may be wound too tightly. She powers the umbrella swift with her hand so that the cake is loose enough.
Next month’s topic will be things knitters can do with crochet hooks. As ever, Anna welcomes inputs and suggestions from the membership.
FEATURED SPEAKER: Programs Chair Sharon Grayzel introduced May’s guest speaker, fiber artist Faith Humphrey Hill of Dartily. Faith, who has worked in the industry for twenty plus years, is well known for her portraits, and is a champion for Mirror Knitting, a technique that allows the knitter to work stitches from the left hand needle to the right hand needle, then knit them back again from the right hand needle to the left...all without turning the work.
Faith shared her personal history and motivation for incorporating knitting into her portrait work, and also let us know that she is a professional sample knitter for the Bellish App (https://www.bellish.co/) that is available for iPhones. This handy free app allows knitters to specify what they want in a pattern.
Mirror Knitting (aka Backwards or Reverse Knitting) is an efficient technique for short rows, large projects that are heavy to rotate, and colorful yoke cardigans that you don’t need to steek! This technique is interchangeable with other methods within a single project. Faith demonstrated Mirror Knitting technique in both English and Continental styles of knitting and shared the technique’s impact on stitch structure. She also gave us a hand-out to help understand this process.
“Mirror Knitting is so helpful,” said Faith, noting that it is fine to do both regular knitting and mirror knitting in the same garment, with some care taken to avoid twisting stitches.
Show and Tell and Raffle Prizes: Beautiful finished products were shared by several members. Really inspiring! You can watch below. This month’s raffle prizes included the Embody pattern set by Jacqueline Cieslak, an Opposite Coast Dyes drawstring bag and the Starlight Hat Pattern collection, which contains one pattern by our member Emme Von.
June Meeting: Next month’s meeting will feature Jesie Ostermiller of Knitty Jo Designs, who will talk about Mastering Color Choice on Thursday, June 10th at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
Hope to see you there!
Want to watch the full meeting? Click here.
April 2021 Meeting Recap: Carson Demers of Ergo, I Knit Shares Tips to Knitting Longevity and Comfort, Official Vote on the Bylaws, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Melanie Chen
Guild President Kimberly Williams welcomed everyone to the April 2021 meeting, and noted that it has been a full year since we started doing our meeting via Zoom! Kimberly thanked lyric and Julie for their dedication and hard work in making the Zoom meetings happen so smoothly. We not only have raffles via Zoom, we have voting via Zoom! And our meeting attendance has been phenomenal. Much appreciation to everyone who has paid their dues, and a reminder for those who have not yet done so that we hope you will use our membership payment link today.
On March 31st, Ravelry retired its classic mode. As has been announced in the past, their new interface may cause issues for people living with light-triggered migraines or photosensitive epilepsy. If you live with these conditions, we suggest that you have a buddy access your account. Some designers, including our own Michele Bernstein and Shannon Squire, are making their patterns available on Payhip. Other options for pattern browsing and shopping include Etsy, yarndatabase.com, designers’ websites and yarn companies’ websites. Need a buddy? Want to be a buddy? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will match people up.
We are continuing our charity Winter Warmth knitting drive for Rose Haven through October/November of this year. Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center serving women, gender non-conforming folks, and their children experiencing poverty, trauma, and intersecting issues. Washable warm items, such as socks, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, and even sweaters are being collected and please note that we appreciate having matching socks and mittens attached together. Good news with regard to our Sister Guild in Uganda; Katherine found a way to get the donated needles there, so they are on their way!
Vote on Bylaws. As announced in an email sent to all members, a brief business meeting was conducted to amend the portion of bylaws relating to the structure of the Puddletown Knitters Guild Board. Kimberly called the meeting to order officially, read the proposed new Article III regarding Officers and noted that the change is to add language for At Large Board members. The motion passed with a quorum as required. The approved bylaws can be read here.
Sharon Grayzel introduced noted knitting ergonomics expert Carson Demers as our April featured speaker. Carson is a knitter, spinner, weaver, physical therapist, and author of the book Knitting Comfortably, and his topic for the evening was Knitting Longevity and Comfort. Carson’s background as both a knitter and physical therapist combined with his own experience undergoing injuries that interfered with his life, led him to study and become passionate about ergonomics. He saw lots of knitters around 2000ish and realized that while their main physicians would tell them to stop knitting, they also had other manual work that was contributing to their problems. Carson undertook his own analysis of common knitting behaviors that interfere with good performance and developed some key tips to improve these behaviors. He looked at technique, posture, and chair selection in particular and cautioned that knitters might need to learn a method to implement change so that they can achieve optimal performance without overburdening their systems. Otherwise, discomfort and even injury might result.
Carson acknowledged that he is sometimes seen as something akin to a “posture nun”, and when he attends group events in person, he can tell who has heard him speak by the way they sit up straighter when he is around! Carson recommended that we consider using a chair for knitting that is designed for desk work. This is because when you are reclining, you have to flex your shoulders to see your work. To counteract this, you can do stretches that involve opening up your shoulder front. He advised us to learn to knit without looking down at our knitting, to remember to stretch occasionally, and to tension our yarn in a way that doesn’t cause us to pull our fingers far away from the needles. The overall objective is to minimize the force used in knitting because our tissues can tolerate less force over time as we age.
Finally, he said to remember to have fun! If you are interested in making changes to your knitting, go for the low hanging fruit. You can stay within your system and just add stretches to your knitting, or drink more water. And it is iImportant to reward even the smallest success (that includes noticing failure) and appreciate them. “No negative self talk--stay happy in the playground,” said Carson. Audience members obviously took great interest in his approach and asked many follow-up questions.
Our member tip from Anna Lorton was preceded by a short bonus tip regarding how much yarn to allocate for the long-tail cast-on (her advice is four times the desired length of stitches, and hold the tail over the thumb). Anna then launched into the main tip regarding Swatch Motivation and unveiled an absolutely brilliant Gauge Swatch Data Sheet to record the date, yarn type, cast on style, needle size, knitting style, etc. Best of all, Anna is sharing this so we can use it, too! You can download the PDF below if you just want to use Anna's form and/or the .docx version if you want to easily change it up, or use it only electronically.
Next month’s tip will cover the finer points of how to wind cakes and balls from skeins. Anna also said if anyone has a tip to share or request, please reach out.
Due to the enthusiastic participation in our Show and Tell portion of the meeting, Kimberly said the Board is hoping to put in some parameters to help us remain within our overall time limits: Each member is requested to show one item (or set), keep to one minute and cover a brief description of the yarn, pattern and any alterations. This month’s fantastic items were produced by the below knitters. What a treat to see all this eye candy!
Next month’s meeting on Thursday, May 13th at 7 PM will feature Faith Humphrey Hill of Dartily with a presentation on Mirror Knitting. Mark your calendars!
March 2021 Meeting Recap: Jennifer Berg (Native Knitter) shares We Are Still Here: Keeping My Culture Alive Through Knit Design, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Melanie Chen
Puddletown Knitters Guild Board Chair Kimberly Williams (sporting a beautiful Meditations shawl, which was this year’s Mystery Knit Along for the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl) convened the March 2021 meeting, which debuted a truly inspiring video presentation by Native Knits designer Jennifer Berg. Kimberly thanked everyone who has paid their annual dues, issued a gentle reminder to those who still have it on their To-Do List and announced that the Board has decided to keep the meetings in virtual format via Zoom through October. This allows the Guild to book speakers from farther away than normal, a benefit to help offset the loss of shared in-person time.
Many thanks to those who have already made items for the Winter Warmth Drive (this year's charity knitting for Rose Haven women’s shelter), and finished projects continue to roll in, which is wonderful. If you are doing paired items (mittens, socks, etc.) it would be great to put them together in a clear bag or pin them together so the mates don’t get lost. Our sister guild in Uganda was recently given help from USAID to sell their items through the internet. They will receive our gifted needles as soon as Kathryn Gearheard is able to travel with them.
The 1:00 PM afternoon slots for April 17 and 24 are still available for Jennifer Berg’s Mixing of Cultures stranded colorwork class, but going fast! Jen’s work will also be offered at the Native Knits trunk show April 1-4 hosted by Weird Sisters. There will be a virtual show with Jennifer on April 1st via zoom to kick it off. Weird Sisters also has a spring Knit Along (KAL) featuring Anker’s Summer Shirt by Petite Knit (done in a light DK yarn) set for March 17, 31, and April 14. The Knitted Wit has announced a Springtime KAL with kits available now and KAL itself starting on March 20.
Call for Sock Test Knitters. Abstract Fiber seeks 3-4 experienced sock knitters or adventurous beginners, and they will supply the pdf pattern and yarn. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Our Member Tip this month looked at Stash Organization. Anna took us through several good ways to keep our yarn sorted, including by weight, project, fiber, brand, and color. Anna personally uses categories of yarn: sock yarn, mini-skeins, left over bits of yarn, yarn already designated for projects (kits, etc.) and general yarn all kept in bins, and then places recent acquisitions throughout the house to gaze at and consider the possibilities! We thank Kerry Elenitoba-Johnson for sharing the Closet Organizers and Kimberly Williams the Fabric Cubes methods they use and imagine that one day soon our stashes, too, might just be better organized.
Bonus Member Tip: drawing from the Vogue Live knitting class with Lili Chin, Anna shared this rule of thumb for determining appropriate needle size: take intended yarn, fold it double and see which size needle matches it best by looping it through a needle gauge guide with holes.
Next month’s Member tip: swatch motivation. How do you get yourself in the right frame of mind to do a proper swatch before commencing a project? Anna welcomes suggestions from members who have tackled this.
The centerpiece of the March meeting was the must-see video produced by Native Knits designer Jennifer Berg. Jen, who draws inspiration from her Dine/Navajo cultural background, took us on a tour of her birthplace, showing us the sights and colors that feature prominently in her work. Jen noted that while her designs are based on traditional themes, she often puts a contemporary twist on them. Above all, she uses the knit pieces to tell a story of the Navajo people’s continued existence, strength, and resilience. “We are still here,” she noted.
Jen also gave us a window into her family’s heritage and traditions and linked them to the patterns and symbols that she incorporates in her knitwear. We got a glimpse of the art and craft-filled interior of Chee’s Indian Store, which has been in Jen’s family for four generations, and also learned about their philosophy to employ Navajos and provide livelihoods for the community. Jen spoke to us about the distinction between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, and how we can avoid the former and embody the latter, but she emphasized that her goal is to encourage people’s curiosity about not just the Navajo, but all the Native Americans and their traditions.
Jenn has kindly offered a 20% discount to PKG members. She also gave us a preview of her stunning new design, the Sheep Camp Sweater, which is due to be released later in March.
We’ve been busy! Guild members were able to enjoy seeing the completed projects of so many knitters.
February 2021 Meeting Recap: Kristine Vejar and Adrienne Rodriguez Share Stories About Journeys in Natural Dyeing, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Anna Lorton
The February meeting started and there was a winter storm on its way! Cozy in our pajamas we met over zoom. The meeting was opened by our distinguished Chair Kimberly.
If you are not a member but feel like you get something from our meetings, please consider joining. We do have costs to run our guild and it is nice to know that we can continue to provide for our community. If you cannot afford to become a member at this time, we do have scholarship memberships; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested, no questions asked. If you would like to purchase a gift membership for a friend or donate to the scholarship fund, email us, we can certainly also do that! Thank you!
Winter Warmth for Rose Haven Day Shelter: knit something to keep someone warm for our 2021 charity knitting drive. Please use yarn that can go through the washer and dryer. There is yarn available for charity knitting; contact us and we will get it to you.
Our Jennifer Berg event is coming up! Colorwork classes over zoom! Registration will be in your email soon.
Member Tips with Anna:
Knitting with your eyes closed! (or at least not looking at your knitting). You can do it! All it takes is a little practice and Anna talked about why, what, and how you would start doing this. Why? Maybe you like those Swedish mystery television shows and have to put down your knitting to read the subtitles, maybe you want to impress your friends. Whatever the reason you CAN do it.
The first thing to consider is WHAT you are knitting. Don't try to do intense colorwork, any lace, or cables. Shoot for plain knitting, plain purling, or ribbing.
How to start: start by closing your eyes for a little longer than a blink. Then longer and longer stretches. Choose a particular part of the stitch to close them and then peek. Just keep practicing and soon you too can take your knitting to the movie theater (when they open up again). Tip: explosions are good excuses to pick up stitches you may have dropped; at the opera you may choose to just fix your mistakes later (there are not many explosions at the opera).
Next were some book recommendations from Anna and others:
The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren recommended by Kimberly
Cast On, Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor recommended by Julie
Knitting Rules by SPM recommended by Anna
The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd recommended by Anna
The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt recommended by Anna
Next Month (March), we will be talking about yarn organization!
Sharon introduced our February speakers: Kristine Vejar and Adrienne Rodriguez, the authors of the book Journeys in Natural Dyeing.
Kristine and Adrienne came to our meeting from their shop, A Verb for Keeping Warm, in Oakland, California. Adrienne started with a land acknowledgment before she and Kristine showed us the production dye studio, educational dye garden, and retail space. Kristine talked about their journey to understand both the natural fibers and dyes and where they originate from. It's not as simple to use natural dyes and get a rainbow of colors, especially since the processes are often passed from generation to generation and not written down. But it is possible and Kristine and Adrienne have been working on books to explain what they discovered in order to make natural dyeing more accessible. If you want to go natural, you can get natural dyeing extracts, which are highly concentrated powders, as well as using the plants themselves. Kristine explained what colors various plants can create and the methods that they used to dye several fibers, as well as discussing how in different regions, different plant life can be used. They showed us glorious pictures from their latest book and the plethora of colors you can get with only natural dyes, as well as techniques to alter colors from the same dye source.
The presentation ended with a variety of questions, from simple to complex. We are thrilled that they came and shared so much knowledge with our guild.
We ended the meeting with show and tell and the raffle. Our knitters have been productive and have created some beautiful things.
It will be great to see you next month for Jennifer Berg!!!!
Want to watch the full meeting? Click here.
January 2021 Meeting Recap: Cecelia Campochiaro Gives Us An Introduction to Sequence Knitting and Making Marls, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Anna Lorton
The first meeting of 2021 was headed by our new and fabulous Chair Kimberly Williams.
Kimberly said that the Guild is seeking a volunteer to help organize special events. They'd be involved in setting up and taking care of the details for things like classes/workshops, annual special events like our brunch and destash party, arranging field trips and tables at festivals (once those sort of things become available again). If you are interested, contact us at email@example.com.
Kimberly also mentioned that if you haven't yet, you can renew your membership online!
The 2021 charity knitting was announced as Winter Warmth for ROSE HAVEN. Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center supporting women, gender non-conforming folk and their children. This is the second time that we have knit for Rose Haven, partially because Rose Haven is accepting donations, whereas many organizations are not because of the pandemic. Katie O’Brian from Rose Haven spoke to us and told us about the services that Rose Haven has been able to provide to the community. The charity knitting’s theme is Winter Warmth. We will be knitting anything to keep people warm: hats, mittens, scarves, shawls, sweater, socks! Any size is acceptable. The only requirement is that the item MUST be machine washable, so superwash wool, cotton, or other fiber that fits that description. The Guild had a large donation of charity yarn given to us by Knit Picks, so if you need yarn for charity projects it will be available for pick up Friday 1/22 & Saturday 1/2. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time (If you are reading this at any point after 1/23, you can still contact us, as we will find a way to get yarn to you).
There was an update from Katheryn on our sister guild, Brave Girls Knitting. They have started using circular needles and adore them! They have all started experimenting with cabling. Exciting! When we can get stuff to them, we will.
Next Anna gave some member tips. The Freebie Tip was that you can get different tips on a tapestry needle, sharp and blunt. The blunt tipped needles are best for grafting and seaming. The sharp tipped needles are really handy to have when you want to sew ends in. You can split the yarn in the back to better hold the end down. I have also been known to embroider designs with dates and names on the wrong side all because weaving with the sharp needle was so much more entertaining that the blunt needle.
The Main Tip was about a technique to avoid ladders in your knitting. Ladders are when there is too much running yarn between two stitches in a consistent place. The technique covered: When you come to the stitch on the left side of where the ladder is or where you expect a ladder to form, insert your needle as if to knit into the stitch. Western knitters, at this point would usually wrap the working yarn COUNTER CLOCKWISE around the right needle to form the new stitch. Since we are trying to use LESS yarn to make the stitch—so that there is less yarn available to the ladder—wrap the yarn around the right needle in a CLOCKWISE direction. This will use less yarn than the other direction and hopefully a ladder will not form there. It is as if our working yarn is taking a shortcut around the right needle. The only consideration to keep in mind with this method is that you must knit into the back of that stitch on the next round so that it is seated as the rest of the stitches are, in the case of the western way, with the leading leg forward.
Next Month’s Tip theme is: What book(s) should knitters know about? Email your recommendations to email@example.com. Also: if you have any tips that you would hope that Anna would cover please send them along as she is putting together the tip calendar for 2021.
Sharon introduced the evening's speaker: Cecelia Campochiaro. Cecelia is the author of two books. They cover playing with color and texture and are available here from Schoolhouse Press. Cecelia is from California. The theme of the talk was “Knitting Beautiful Fabric with a thoughtful Process”. Fabric has an underlying logic and architecture, and when you understand that you can be more free in your crafting.
First Cecelia talked about sequence knitting which is using knits and purls in sequence to create texture. She talked about different ways that you can change fabric with shapes and texture by changing the sequence of knitting it or changing the amount of stitches cast on in relation to the sequence. If you have a sequence that is 6 stitches long, and you cast on a multiple of 6, you'll get one texture. If you cast on 6+1, or 6+2, or 6+3 and knit the same sequence, you'll get three entirely different textures.
Second Cecelia talked about marling. Marling is a yarn, a fabric, and an action. You can control color in knitting by knitting with multiple strands of different colors. Cecelia mentioned visiting Vivian Høxbro (who has written Domino Knitting, Shadow Knitting, and other books) and when talking about variegated yarn, Viven told Cecelia, she didn’t like variegated because she wanted to put the color where she wanted the color. She didn’t want the yarn to do it for her. In marling, you put the color where you want the color.
The history and inspiration of marling Cecelia talked about is fascinating. Marianne Isager is a modern marl knitting designer; She innovated a marl that looks like newsprint. Setsuko Torii also added much to the development of marling in knitting. Kaffe Fassett's Glorious Knits was the first time that Cecelia ever saw really complicated colorwork knits. Stephen West marls with handpainted yarns. Anna Maltz's book Marlisle: A New Direction in Knitting, combines marling and Fair Isle.
One of the major reasons to marl is to get more colors. Knitters are usually limited by the yarns that can be purchased. Cecelia always want more colors. Making marls makes more colors. Microswatching is a method Cecelia uses to be able to see how the yarns she has chosen will look in different combinations. Cecelia broke down the nitty gritty of how to calculate yarn weights of yarns knit double, as they are when marling. She also gave tips on how to wind the yarn in preparation for marling.
All in all it was a great talk and the classes Cecelia is teaching for the guild at the end of the month should be fun!
As always, it was wonderful to see more pictures from members' projects for our virtual show and tell.
Enjoy knitting weather until we see each other again.
December 2020 Meeting Recap: Lori Patterson of Abstract Fibers presented Understanding Yarn Through Hand Spinning, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Melanie Chen
The December meeting marked an important milestone, the official transition from the outgoing Puddletown Knitters Guild Board to the new. Margaret Weddell noted that we have successfully come through a difficult year together, and wished everyone a happy holiday season, according to their beliefs, and spoke about how our Guild has been built upon principles of inclusivity and compassion, which are more important now than ever. Margaret then turned the meeting over to incoming Chair Kimberly Williams.
Kimberly commended Guild members for their dedication in making 147 toys sent to the organization Butterfly Boxes for area refugee children. Charity knitting is its own reward, but to make it even better there was a raffle for participants, and enthusiastic toy-maker Susan Plack won the drawing of yarn. Ann Howell’s noteworthy contribution of 34 bears and mermaids was also recognized with an appreciation prize. Congratulations Susan and Ann and thank you to everyone who crafted toys!
Kimberly noted the outstanding contributions of outgoing Board members Margaret Weddell (Board Chair), Natalie Sass (Secretary/Treasurer), Annette Caughman (Programs Chair) and Kim Winter (Volunteer Coordinator and Programs Co-chair). Zoom didn’t allow us to rise for a standing ovation, but the comments reflected our deep appreciation. We still need a Programs Co-Chair, so anyone interested in helping with special events like classes, annual brunch/destash party, as well as supporting monthly speakers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2021 Membership Drive is now ongoing, and an early bird discount price of $30 is offered to those who renew or join by Dec. 31, 2020. After that, the normal price of $35 will apply.
Pre-COVID, the Free Table was a highlight of our monthly meetings, and a new discussion thread Virtual Free Table has been started on Ravelry for those able to access it. The idea is one way to allow sharing of items, but still relies on individuals to practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and safety measures.
Do you want to be a test knitter or do commission knitting? The Guild is often contacted by designers and others in need of knitters, so let us know if you would like your name and contact information to be added to the list.
We have an exciting upcoming speaker and virtual workshop: acclaimed designer Cecilia Campochiaro will present an introduction to Sequence Knitting and Making Marls at our January 14 meeting, where you can hear about sequence knitting, marls as colorwork, and Cecelia’s journey from high tech to knitting-book author. There will also be a three-part Zoom class exploring Marls and Color, with registration (fee $40) opening Jan. 3, 2021 for members in good standing. Classes will take place Jan. 30, Feb 6, and Feb. 13, with a class size max of 20 people. Required materials, which can be done using stash yarn, are heavy lace weight yarn of six different colors. There will be a Ravelry page to help coordinate group yarn acquisition, given that only around 75 yards is required of each color. We also have been granted a 20% discount on Cecilia’s books at Schoolhouse Press, using promo code Puddletown Knitters.
If you are missing interaction with PKG members, consider dropping in on the Virtual Knit nights held weekly via Zoom on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 PM. The link changes weekly and can be found on the Events page of the website.
Anna Lorton’s Member Tips for December featured the Kitchener Stitch, aka grafting, which is a nifty technique for attaching two pieces of fabric together. Anna presented different ways to do it, and next month’s member tip will cover the dreaded appearance of ladders, and how to avoid them when using double-pointed needles.
Our featured speaker for December was Lori Patterson of Abstract Fiber, who spoke on understanding yarn through hand spinning. Lori believes that hand spinning your own yarn is positively the best way to understand yarn, and when you understand yarn you can genuinely make your knitted projects truly your own. By way of background, Lori shared that she went to an arts focused high school, Emerson College, and art school in Atlanta, prior to arriving in Portland. In 2018, she purchased Abstract Fiber and since then has been producing intense color through hand painted skeins of yarn. She calls hand painting a slow, peaceful, reflective process.
Spinning is something that Lori discovered almost by accident while she was at the Yarn Garden. She showed us her first spinning wheel, and gave us a glimpse at her extensive collection of spinning wheels and spindles. Lori likes to think of spinning as an extension of knitting. Most knitters think of it as a meditative process, and spinning adds the empowering feeling of making your own yarn, which gives you a sense of value that is beyond what can be derived from commercial yarn.
Lori noted that spinning allows you to make the yarn you want to knit in terms of color, weight/gauge. You can explore different breeds of yarn-producing sheep, other animals and even plants. Lori gave us an overview of the types of equipment involved in spinning, such as the drum carder, niddy noddy, control card, types of wheels, and also shared a list of websites for wheels and equipment including https://woolery.com/, https://www.paradisefibers.com/, www.etsy.com, https://www.dreamingrobots.com/, and https://www.heavenlyhandspinning.com/, as well as Ravelry. She also showed us spindles and how they are used and recommend the sites, https://bosworthspindles.com/, https://www.snyderspindles.com/, https://yarntools.com/ (Jenkins), and https://www.akerworks.com/. Having given us that whirlwind tour of spinning equipment, Lori then demonstrated actual spinning, and showed us techniques for drafting, controlling the size, ratios, twist, and treading.
Lori shared a helpful hint to practice with commercial yarn before you actually start spinning and also demonstrated spindle spinning. Her last slide contains great magazine and book recommendations, including the Fleece and Fiber sourcebook, reference book Yarnitecture, https://plymagazine.com/, and https://spinoffmagazine.com/, as well as YouTube.
All these links and a few more are consolidated here.
This month’s show and tell included Michelle Corcoran, Melanie Chen, Shannon Goffe, Sue Heck and Laurel Kaufman.
Happy Holiday season and Happy New Year! And a final big thanks to Margaret Weddell, who now gets more time to actually knit! See you next month!
Want to watch the full meeting? Click here.
November 2020 Meeting Recap: Kay Hopkins (Knit for the Soul) presents Top Down Sweaters for a Perfect Fit, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Kimberly Williams
Happy 3rd Birthday to us! Next birthday, when we are back together in person, we will have two cakes to celebrate!
We approved the minutes for last month's official membership meeting, which introduced nominees for select Puddletown Board positions. After the minutes were approved, we voted in our new Board members.
We now have a virtual free table on our Ravelry forum. Post what you have to share, browse what is available, or post an item you need. It's not the same as the free table at the meetings, but better than nothing.
Anna shared her camera setup with us and the trials she went through to get to the current iteration. In the beginning, her genius led to balancing her phone on a yardstick supported by boxes on either end. Now she uses a tripod with a camera attachment.
Stitch markers galore! Anna shared many different types of stitch markers. I bet you will learn a new use for stitch markers or something new to use as a stitch marker. Watch the video below and stay tuned next month for tips on the Kitchener Stitch and grafting.
This month, Kay Hopkins of Knit for the Soul joined us to discuss the benefits of knitting top down sweaters. The primary benefit is the ability to try on a sweater as you knit it, so you have no surprises when you've finished the sweater. Kay suggests checking on the fit of your sweater a few rows before the arm divide, a few rows after the arm divide, at your true waist (the smallest part of your abdomen), and before the hem (usually ribbing). You can also check in on the fit by laying the sweater in progress against a sweater that fits you well to see how it compares. Common fit problems can usually be addressed and Kay recommends reaching out the designer to see if they have any ideas. In her own designs, Kay favors a hybrid yoke for a good universal fit. She combines circular yoke designs with a bit of raglan increases.
Bonus tip from Kay: bind off sleeve cuffs after you have blocked the sweater as sleeves tend to grow even when the rest of the sweater doesn’t. As a newish sweater knitter, this has happened to me. Thanks, Kay, for sharing your passion for knitting and the PNW, as well as your expertise on sweater knitting.
We are thrilled to see more pictures of members projects for our virtual show and tell.
See you all next month.
Want to watch the full meeting? Click here.
October 2020 Meeting Recap: Blocking: It's Magic! with Michele Lee Bernstein a.k.a. PDXKnitterati, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Kimberly Williams
The last month brought some losses to our knitting community. Cat Bordhi turned sock knitting upside down, reinventing the way we think about socks and so many other things. She passed away from cancer on September 19th. One of Puddletown’s founders, Judy Welles, passed away on September 28th, also from cancer. Judy was the guild’s first volunteer coordinator and was dubbed “Volunteer Wrangler”. She had an unfailing good mood and cheerful outlook on life.
The guild extends our condolences to both Judy and Cat’s families and friends. We will honor Judy by continuing to build our guild community and knit in friendship.
Anna brought forward a designer recommendation this week. Elizabeth Zimmerman (1910-1999) was a teacher and designer who reintroduced and encouraged continental knitting after WWII as a more efficient method. She also demonstrated the benefits of circular needles and their easing of complicated designs. She brought us the Baby Surprise Jacket and the Pi Shawl. To learn more, check out her books.
Knitting a cable without a cable needle was this month’s theme. Anna did it again by making that complicated cable sweater I’ve been eyeing much more desirable. I knew, in theory, one could knit a cable without a cable needle, but I thought it was only for the brave. Anna showed us how to knit 1x1 and 2x2 cables without a cable needle and made it look easy. I’m not sure I can describe in words the process without taking up the rest of your day. Just watch the video and be amazed.
Next month, bring us your stitch marker tips and tricks. Don’t forget, Anna, our Tip Czar, welcomes you to demonstrate a tip or just share the idea for her to present to the guild.
We welcomed back our first ever speaker this month, Michele Bernstein, a.k.a. PDXKnitterati. She started off her lecture on blocking with a poll. 39% of the audience said they always block, 34% said they usually block, 19% said sometimes, 7% said never, and 4% said “What’s blocking?” Even Michele had to be convinced to block and she presented three cases of sweater care gone awry.
Blocking is the process of treating your knit or crocheted item with moisture and shaping. You can do this by steaming, or washing and air drying, usually flat, in the desired shape. Blocking allows wool and silk fibers to bloom, cotton and linen fibers to soften, and stitches to even out and set into the fabric you created. It is especially important in opening up lacework and for colorwork and cables to truly shine. Some tips for the process:
Thanks, Michele, for a great presentation!
We were happy that again several people sent in pictures of their finished projects for the virtual show and tell.
Enjoy knitting weather until we see each other again.
September 2020 Meeting Recap: Selbuvotter: The Iconic Mittens of Norway with Renate Yerkes a.k.a. Elephino PDX, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Kimberly Williams
On a night when a lot of us needed a break from reality and the comfort to be found in our knitting community, I hope you joined the meeting early enough to hear Anna’s spontaneous Puddletown theme song. It lifted my spirits right away.
The member tip theme this month was how to pick up stitches when you have to frog several inches. "What’s frogging?" you ask. It's when you “rippit, rippit” for quite a few rows. First off, breathe, be calm when your knitting is off the needles. Then try one of these tricks. Set yourself a save point by running a lifeline as you work, especially useful when you are working on a new skill or complicated bit of lace. It's easy to do with a set of interchangeable needles by using the hole in the needle tip meant for tightening a cable to a tip. Thread some scrap yarn through that hole leaving a good tale on the other side. Then knit as normal, the scrap yarn will get carried through each loop of the row and create a row that you cannot frog past. Or, you can add a lifeline afterwards by threading a tapestry needle with scrap yarn and carefully weaving it through all the stitches in a row. Here’s a good place to remember the previous tip: the right leg goes in front. Another method is to rip out to one row above and then slowly pull out the intended row, one stitch at a time and immediately pick up that stitch. Anna suggests pulling up on the stitch above to open up the stitch you need to pick up.
Next month, the theme is all things cables. Do you have tips on how to work with cable charts, how to remember the twists, even tools you love to help? Send them to Anna and she’ll work her magic to teach us all something new.
Our speaker this month was Renate Yerkes, a.k.a. Elphino PDX, who spoke with us a year and a half ago on double knitting. This time she presented the history and style of Selbu mittens. After separating from Sweden in 1905, the Norwegians sought a national identity and used knitting to help them find it. The Selbu mittens became part of their national image after a young girl in Selbu, Norway wore a pair to church featuring the selburose, or eight-pointed rose. Everyone wanted a pair of the striking two color, lush mittens. By the 1930s, Norweigans were knitting 100,000 pairs every year exporting them to surrounding countries. Standards were set to maintain the traditional styling through proportions and the geometry underneath the many motifs.
The mittens offer several areas to customize the design. The cuff can be ribbed for winter sports or lacy for a bride’s trousseau. The top of the hand usually has a larger scale motif, while the palm generally has a smaller scale repetitive motif. Both sides of the thumb can be different, the underside often bearing initials of a newly wed couple or a family emblem.
Renate’s favorite needle size for knitting Selbu mittens is a 2.75-3 mm needle, typically she favors ADDI flexiflips for ease of turning the tight corner on each side. A great question was posed about the floats on the inside of the mittens snagging on rings, but Renate said the floats are short and with the thinner yarn and dense fabric created, it isn’t usually a problem. Who else immediately started hunting patterns and yarn to make themselves a pair?
We are thrilled that every month members come forward with wonderful pictures enabling us to keep up with the virtual show and tell.
See you all next month.
Want to watch the full meeting? Click here.
August 2020 Meeting Recap: Lorilee Beltman Teaches Vertical Stranded Colorwork, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Kimberly Williams
Our August meeting started with a talk show aspect with the Zoom hosts welcoming attendees, reminding people that we can’t see their Star Wars jammies, pondering whether there are Hamilton jammies, and mostly helping people enter the raffle.
Whoa! Over 100 people wanted to attend our meeting this month. We’re sorry to those of you who missed it live, but we are pleased as punch for the attention (and we've upgraded our plan to allow more of you in).
The member tip portion included a new segment this month, entitled “Things Anna Wished She Knew Earlier”. For the first one, Anna showed us how the legs of our stitches should sit on the needle. The right leg goes in front of the needle. Our themed tip this month was how not to twist your stitches when joining them in the round. Anna highly advises laying your needle on a flat surface, even if that means getting up from your cozy spot on the sofa. Once laid flat, you can follow the bottom of the cast on edge and keep it on the inside of the circular needles. You can also knit one, or two, rows flat before joining in the round, which gives you more fabric and makes it easier to see any twists. Remember those running stitch markers Anna showed us a couple of months ago? You can use that same method to help keep your cast on straight or even count your cast on as you go. This may be especially useful in brioche. The mind blowing tip this time comes from Alicia Yballa, who pointed us towards a Carlos and Arne video. If you have joined in the round and as you knit you find a twist, keep going until you get to the last stitch. While carefully holding your needle tips, untwist your work and move the twist over the left needle tip. Now that twist is hidden in a way no one will ever see.
Lorilee Beltman joined us from Seattle to present her technique, vertical stranded colorwork, for Puddletown’s first ever hands-on lesson. This style has been her personal knitting playground since 2008. First, she gave us a tour of her studio and showed us samples of vertical stranded colorwork (VSC).
Unlike other colorwork such as fair isle or mosaic, the contrast color in VSC only exists in that one column of the knitting. It’s an easy way to modify seed stitch or garter stitch to give a pattern your very own flare without losing much stretch. Lorilee focused on cables with us in the hands-on tutorial of her presentation. She was a great teacher, allowing time for us to practice and demonstrating for three different styles of knitting. The main thing to keep in mind was the main color leads and the contrast follows. Also, take the time in the beginning to manage the spaghetti of contrast colors with butterfly knots or chip clips.
She gave us a code for a free copy of her hat, Colors that Climb Sampler—watch the video again to get it (or email us). I’m excited to try it and practice holding the main color in my left hand (Continental style).
Once again several people sent in pictures of their finished projects for the virtual show and tell.
See you all (virtually) next month!
Want to watch the full meeting? Click here.
Missives from the fabulous women who got the ball (of yarn) rolling.