wasn’t that somethin’?

After six months in the making, the Plucky Knitter Shindig 2014 is sadly over.

What a weekend!

As co-organizer working on the nuts-and-bolts end I did not have time for many pictures, but my head is still full of all the smiling faces.  While those attending self-reported being shy and introverted, there was not much evidence of this! Groups of knitters congregating in the elegant lobby, many in their monkey-sock pajamas, group yarn consultations spread all over the floors of the Plucky store by the windows for good light, students soaking up new knitting knowledge in Franklin Habit’s classes, fashion show entrants S_T_R_U_T_T_I_N_G their stuff with great aplomb, karaoke singers and “singers” going all out- I was so impressed and a little jealous of the lack of inhibition!

Also impressive is the Plucky crew and the way they set up shop, transform a room into a retailing delight, and stock it to the gills. Thanks so much, everyone. I had a blast.

You came from four countries and thirty states. You came with suitcases full of treats to be shared and consumed, and filled those suitcases right back up with yarn and swag.

I am going to try hard to remember all my thank-yous. Please forgive me if I miss you- my mind is full.

  • Sarah, Hayley, Ryan, Bob, Drew, Rebecca, Christine, Melissa, Nick, Jill, Jody, Amy, Amy (Sarah and I each found a great Amy to help us), and Franklin – you are a joy to work with. I give you what my mother-in-law considers the utmost compliment. You are all “so capable”!
  • Amway Grand Plaza Hotel staff – Chris, Randi, you served us so well.
  • Emma A. and the crew standing in line early to get into the store on Friday – thanks for all the help wrangling and alphabetizing name badges.
  • Annie H. and others for the help arranging swag bags.
  • Susan Heartwell for welcoming all our visitors to Grand Rapids.
  • Chris de Longpre for bringing her critters for a book signing.
  • Shindiggers who shared their ball winders and swifts.
  • Shindiggers who volunteered to teach Instagram and measuring clinics.
  • Ali B. for the leftover beers and full bottle of Whiskey.
  • Kristen H. for being our bouncer.
  • Friend Leslie L. for coffee delivery, and Anne H. for that thirst-quencing coke, Lesa T. for my bottled water, and Anne-Marie for buying me drinks both nights.
  • Leanne for the Tim-Tams. Yum!
  • Angela for talking with my kids and giving each of them chocolate (the one back home got his).
  • Josh M. for introducing the Plucky Fellas to Founders.
  • Anonymous persons dropping off secret gifts for others.
  • My mom and mom-in-law for modeling my skirts at the fashion show – nice legs.
  • Samantha for modeling my Shindiggity socks!
  • My parents for their wheels so I could get around my former hometown as a visitor.
  • My kids for helping out at the fashion show and having more fun than they planned.
  • Our guests, all our guests, shindiggers, students, folks coming to hang out. Wow! You were kind, enthusiastic, generous, patient. You were also pretty awesome shoppers.
  • Grand Rapids – you looked good and gave our guests things to see and pretty places to be.
  • Door prizes and swag from Knitterella, Plucky Knitter, Know Your Cuts of Lamb, JC Briar, Chris de Longpre, Hunter Hammersen, Jill Wolcott, Betty Salpekar, Lilly Sweater Brush
  • Sarah for gifts of shirts and Scholar.

My last visual as I drove off past the valet parking circle was of bellhops with carts loaded down with luggage and multiple yellow bags.

We all done good.

Here are just a few shots from the fashion show:

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Until next time…fashion show videos are popping up.

Onward, then upward.



photo 1

I’m the flower on the right, taking a big detour before going skyward. I messed up today in a way I have not done before, and will not again. I misread my boarding pass and missed a flight.  The penalty was enough to make me learn a lesson, but not so much as to to ruin me, so I am sitting outside, working from an outdoor spot where I can still reach the wi-fi. Fortunately, I was planning a down day before working at my destination, and now I’ll just switch it around. I got two new classes submitted and have to finish up the rest of tomorrow’s work today, for tomorrow I fly for real. It’ll be okay.

photo 2

What else can I see from where I sit? Our goldfish. Just a few bucks got us seven goldfish for the pond, but they are shy little buggers. They’ve come out from under their rock to feed, and maybe by sitting here with them we can become become acquainted.

photo 3

I can also see I missed a spot shaving my legs. I’ll spare you a pic of that, but the carving of a Buddhist deity (?) that came with our house and oversees the side yard? I think she noticed.

Grand Rapids, Holland, and Kalamazoo- I’ll see you tomorrow.




Leeside Hand Warmers is a new pattern available for $4.50 in two sizes. Note: If you receive my newsletter you’ll be getting a $1 off coupon tomorrow, on Monday, May 5.

It’s worked in the round from the cuff toward the fingers with an afterthought thumb. Pattern is charted. Half of the rounds are stranded color work with two colors which can constrict the fabric, so be careful with tension. To mitigate that, it is mostly worked in k2 x p2 ribbing which restores some elasticity.

It requires about 20 grams each of four colors of fingering weight yarn. I used The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering.

Although designed with four colors, consider working in a plethora of colors, or in two colors only, or add some mystery to the knitting by using contrasting self-striping yarns.


Meander sock pattern is now available.

If you want to knit the Meander socks, the pattern is now on Ravelry.com.

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Click here to go to Ravelry to buy it now. $5.50 | three sizes. Those who were signed up in time to receive their April newsletter from me can now use the code for their discount. Attendees at the Carodan Farm SoXpereince retreat this weekend can do the same. Thank you.

I used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight shaded solids for the main color, and oddments of The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering for the contrasting vertical strands. Find some technique help here.

This pattern uses text and charts in the form of Stitch-Maps.

real bodies

A while back on Facebook someone posted a link to this site.

TracingRealBodies.org invites designers to print, trace, and use their real body models as templates for design. I have found it incredibly useful to design a garment onto a real body as opposed to designing within the flatness of a sweater schematic.

Here’s how I use it with my MacBook and Pages. I open their website, and open a blank Pages document. Drop the “real bodies” into the document. I put two views of the same body (there are lots to choose from) on one page. Set the opacity to 10%, which is barely visible. When I print that, there is enough to see for sketching, but not so much that is shows through. Perfectly useful.

I’ve just printed a stack of 15 different bodies and have them at the ready to sketch whenever I have an idea. This is working so, so, so much better than what I used to do.

I even enlarged a few and blocked out most of the body, leaving legs upon which socks can be drawn.

Let me know if you give it a go.

‘Meander’ ~ a new sock pattern

In a little over two weeks I get to play with knitters and see wild horses on Chincoteague Island. Carodan Farm hosts their annual SoXperience Retreat there, and I get to teach! I am so excited. Carodan Farm is a farm that’s a wool shop, or a wool shop that’s a farm. I’m not quite sure how they do it all, but I hear lovely things and can’t wait to get there to experience it all with a bunch of knitters willing to learn new things.

From the event name, you get the idea that the focus is on socks. I love that. And I love that I get to teach Vertically Stranded Color Work which works great on socks as well as anything else.  You can read more about the event in this link to their newsletter. Here. Won’t you please consider joining us in Virginia?

This has been on my schedule for a while, but just a couple weeks ago I decided to design a sock just for the event, so students can apply what they learn using a pattern (in case they don’t quite dare to wing it). Students get the pattern free, and afterward I’ll put it up for sale on Ravelry.

It’s a straightforward top-down sock, except for the stranding bits. The photo here is a bit misleading. See the patterning extending down the heel flap? Well, I decided a standard reinforced flap might wear better, so that is how the pattern is written, and it will include a photo of the second sock done this way. Clog wearers can make  modifications if they like the pattern on the heel.

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I used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight ‘Every Day Grey’ for the main color, and oddments of two colors of The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering for the contrasting vertical strands.

play date

Several times a year I get to board an airplane and fly to a knitting event far from where I live. It would be a shame not to add a day here and there to see things I’ve never seen or visit with people I rarely see.

This strategy has gotten me to museums and public gardens on my bucket list, and it has let me spend some time with other knitting instructors I may not know well, but would love to know better.  I’ve done this in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, New York (where I got to hang out with my sister), and Minneapolis.

Now that I live in Seattle I get to play hostess and do some inviting. This month before Vogue Knitting LIVE! I invited Amy Detjen who in turn invited Amy Singer. (This made it very easy for my family to correctly use their names.) D got the guest room and S was a good sport getting the sofa. We did some shopping at Churchmouse Yarn and Teas, the fabric store, the bead store, and more on Bainbridge. “More” is code for ice cream and shoes. Most of the time we were content to relax, hang out, and get to know one another. It was a treat.

The time came to check into our hotel for the weekend of work. As predicted, we hardly caught site of each other after that. Knitting teachers work hard, we really do.

Cheers and thanks to Amy and Amy, and to future play date buddies.



bold move

My first collaboration with The Plucky Knitter goes live tomorrow (March 9). This ought to be fun! I hope to see many of you sporting these skirts in the coming months. The colors she has selected are stunning. I’ll be knitting one for me in “L2” color combo. This will take a little longer than the one knitted for a runway model, but I won’t mind. Maybe we can knit along together.

Read all about it over on the Plucky blog, two posts dated March 7.

If you are working on yours, find some tips here.


mosey over

Students from my Vertically-Stranded Color Work classes may be interested in a new pattern I just posted on Ravelry. “Mosey Over” is a hat pattern that uses the technique. In this case, the contrasting vertical strands are harvested from a skein of Cascade Yarns Casablanca, a self-striping yarn I found lovely to work with. One skein’ll do it. The contrast yarns are knitted in as you work. Plus, look at all the pretty colors!

This pattern uses written instructions and is also “charted” using JC Briar’s Stitch-Maps, a website I also find lovely to work with.