Columbia beret

Published on Monday December 22nd, 2008

New version of the pattern added 19 February 2010.

By popular request (and my own long-delayed intention), the Columbia pattern has been modified to include a medium size that will fit smaller heads or those who like a real beret rather than a beret/snood. I’ve also corrected the instructions for setting up the stitches to knit the ties on top. Get the new version here:

Columbia Beret 1.2

The wool I used is a soft 2-ply Columbia wool from Oregon’s Imperial Stock Ranch; you could substitute any worsted weight wool, but a fuzzy woolen-spun will give you a cohesive, warm fabric. The slouchy beret is worked on needles slightly smaller than recommended for extra structure and a felt-like hand. Lines of yarnover eyelets swirl decoratively up to a knit-on garter-stitch topper. The Columbia wool will full quite readily if you wish to tailor the fit after knitting.

At last…

Published on Tuesday September 23rd, 2008

… I can show you one of my favorite designs from last spring: opera gloves, in a pattern I called Minaret for the graceful shape of the traveling stitches on the back of the hand. They don’t show up on the Knit/Purl website yet, but the pattern is available if you call the store (or stop by, if you’re in Portland). The official Shibui photo you’ll see if you follow the link shows the stitch pattern very nicely, but I like these pictures Mr. G took when I wore them to a gala we attended in May.*

Here you can see the pretty “mouse teeth” (as it’s called in German) picot edge. These take two skeins of Shibui Sock in Ink (or whatever color complements your fancy opera duds).

While you’re checking out the new Shibui offerings, make sure you take a gander at Sara Morris’s Columbia Cabled Pullover. My friend Patrick is modeling it, but I put it on at the shoot and wanted to steal the sample, it looked and felt so good.

*Someone’s going to ask about the necklace. It’s Victorian costume jewelry – I’m told it would have been attached to the neck of a gown rather than worn separately – and it’s been in the family so long nobody knows whom it belonged to originally. I inherited it from Granny, but I never saw her wear it. It was probably her grandmother’s.

Secret Train Order 11 now in effect

Published on Monday March 3rd, 2008

A day of March sunshine in Portland is rare as red sea glass, and not to be wasted. Katrin and I knit in one of the urban parks, took refreshment at the Tea Zone (they serve a creditable English scone with Devonshire cream and lemon curd, joy), and swung by Knit/Purl to ogle her beautiful finished Autumn Cardigan (a beautiful Ruth Sorenson design in the Kauni yarn you’ve read so much about) and to drool over a new shipment of Pear Tree merino. This was a perfect cap to a lovely half-weekend with my husband and pup at the beach (we did a nine-mile hike on Cascade Head, now officially one of our favorite places in the world). The weekend may also have included a few moments of weakness in Nestucca Bay Yarns:


Really, can you believe I’ve been to Lincoln City all these times and I’ve never set foot in the shop until now? Turns out it is admirably stocked with Rowan, Jamieson’s, and Cascade. I heartily approve. And I approved of this luscious, tweedy, foxy Silk & Lambswool too much not to bring home four skeins for some sort of cute, cabled, button-up vest. Sinful stash enhancement was offset by virtuous work on the Ivy stole, at the beach and in town on Sunday:


I think it’s two-thirds of the necessary length. I think I also made my first mistake in the pattern yesterday, but I believe I tickled a fix out of it that will make it invisible to the masses. If I look at it again with a more critical eye, I may have to do some surgery. We’ll see. That’s what I get for trying to knit fiddly lace in the park in the sunshine with my friend while chatting and scoping out knitwear on other park-goers.

At last it was time to make my way home, and I took the train, as I so often do. Sometimes you can faintly hear over the loudspeaker the messages meant only for the drivers, and just as we were pulling into my station, I was treated to this: “All red and blue lines, Secret Train Order 11 is now in effect. Secret Train Order 11 now in effect.” What felicity to catch such an absurd and amusing directive! Seriously, they have Secret Train Orders, and that’s what they call them? Anyway, now that I have to live with the vexation of not knowing what Secret Train Order 11 is, I thought I’d be an equal tease to you, dear readers. I’m working on a new sock pattern, and I’m very pleased with Sock the First:


I have concealed its most alluring features, although that picot cuff is darn cute, though I say it myself. For now we’ll just call it the Secret Train Order 11 sock, although I’m rather chuffed to have finally thought of a good real name for it the other night. I won’t be able to unveil these officially until the fall, but secret knitting is so dull if nobody knows you’re doing it, don’t you agree?

Spring Thaw and Ivy Socks

Published on Thursday February 14th, 2008

Holy comments, Batman! I’m truly flattered by the love for the Blue Thistle jacket, and I’m working my way through to say thanks and answer questions. I was especially tickled that so many first-time commenters came out of the woodwork – thanks, new readers and not-so-new readers chiming in for the first time!

Since you all seem to like seeing new sweaters, it’s convenient that I can finally unveil a secret knit that was finished in November. I’m seeking permission to bring a photo over here, but for the moment you can skip over to the ShibuiKnits page to peek at Spring Thaw! And why, yes, I am just a little bit pleased to be finally modeling the sample of my first published pattern.

And while you’re over there, you can also take a gander at my Ivy Socks – I’ve been sitting on these puppies since July. Whew! It feels good to have these knits out in the world! The patterns are available from Knit/Purl, or from your local ShibuiKnits retailer.

Less than 48 hours until I leave on my pre-dawn drive to Tacoma for a heavenly weekend of Madrona workshops! I get to bask in the wisdom of knitterly goddesses Nancy Bush and Lucy Neatby, my friends. And will any of you be in attendance? I hope we’ll meet in perusing the booths of yarny goodness. I’ve decided to allow myself a skein or two from Blue Moon’s Raven Clan (if there’s any left), because I think it’s such an interesting experiment to do a whole run of different black colorways, and because there’s no black yarn in my stash, but throw yourself between me and the credit card swiper if you see me reaching for anything else, okay? Look for a full report on Monday!