Welcome

Thanks for dropping by!  TessKnits.com is currently undergoing a long-overdue reboot, but you can still access the previous incarnation under "BLOG" on the top menu.

NEW!  If you need to contact me regarding classes, you can now click here to email me and your message should not be bounced by spam filters.  If that link doesn't work for you, my new spam-free email solely for classes is classes(at)tessknits(dot)com.

 

Happy Knitting!

Gift Baby Sweater

IMG_20150721_122148_kindlephoto-249361707I just finished this cute baby sweater as an example for an upcoming class at Nitro Knitters.
 

The pattern is free on Ravelry, called "My Gift to You" because it is the designer's 300th pattern.  300 patterns!  Holy cow!

And it is a pretty fun knit!  The only real flaw is that when knit as written, the last repeat of the textured pattern wants to flip up around the bottom edge (not so much on the sleeves).  So if I were to do this again using this stitch pattern, I’d finish with either an inch of the 1 x 1 rib, or garter stitch, like this knitter did.

IMG_20150723_191017_kindlephoto-258111522

Other than that minor issue, I really like it.  The asymmetrical opening adds a super-cute touch.  I used some colorful worsted weight yarn I already had, but you could really knit it in anything washable and worsted weight.  If I didn't already have a yarn shop in my house, I'd have knit it in this cute "crayon" washable wool by Plymouth (available at Nitro).

Ravelry shows some nice customizing that others have done, including color blocking and changing the textured stitch pattern.  I have to confess that I didn't 100% love knitting the stitch that is in the pattern:  not that it was difficult in any way, but it wasn't all that easy to "read" and keep track of.  I am a lazy knitter at heart and I like to keep things simple for myself!

So, in class, we will discuss how to change the pattern up to use other stitch patterns, including the MMMATH you need to do it.  Don't worry, it will be pretty painless, and you don't have to do it if you don't want to.  But hey, you might learn something anyway if you join us!  Class dates are Tuesdays, 8/6, 8/13, and 8/20.  See you there!

New Pattern Release: Two-Tone Mobius Cowl

I just published my newest pattern, Two-Tone Mobius Cowl, over on Ravelry.com!

If TK001_MobiusCowl_2TK001_MobiusCowl_1you're thinking, "yeah, but that mobius cast-on is SO confusing and difficult" — guess what?  I've fixed that problem.  If you’ve been frustrated by the “popular” version of the mobius cast-on, try mine instead. Knit two rows, perform three simple steps (shown with photos), and you’re off and knitting!

I also have an upcoming class at Nitro Knitters on Tuesday, 7/21/2015, if you want to learn this straight from the source.

You'll need something called "ravel cord" (which I will provide in class), but any strong, smooth string that can be pulled through your stitches will do.  Slippery nylon or rayon is best, but knitters have successfully used crochet cotton, fishing line, and even dental floss as substitutes!

This pattern is so flexible, you could knit it a dozen times between now and the holidays, and never get bored.  Use any pairing of light-to-medium weight yarns that contrast in color, texture, gauge, or all three.  Since a mobius is knit from the center outwards, using a gradient yarn, or several yarn changes, creates beautiful symmetry with very little effort.

What are you waiting for?  Go get your twist on!

 

Three Holiday Dec Ideas

As l022_Baublesong as we're on the subject of knitting for the holidays — if you have some spare time and spare yarn, here's some cuties for you.  All these are my original designs, and newly available on Ravelry.

First up, felted Holiday Baubles, made with short rows in garter stitch and embellished in any number of ways:  I used needle felting and stripey color changes on these, but you could do just about anything with them!

No ideas?  Look no further than the interwebs for inspiration.  I might not advocate trying to do an entire wreath of yarn balls before the 25th, but you could embellish an existing wreath with just a few.  Or make a sequin-y garland.  More ideas for ornaments here, and here.

You can copy just about anyone's favorite anything onto a baIl shape.  How about super-hero logos for the super-heroes on your list?  Sports team colors work perfectly with these.  Animals and cartoon characters work too (OK, maybe not a SpongeBob SQUAREpants, but you know there's always one exception to every rule).  I have made a Hello Kitty one, and always meant to make a Chococat one for myself, and I definitely NEED a Grumpy Cat this year!

 

In related news, th023_MrSnowere is Mr. Snowman, who is knit and felted on the same lines as the baubles but in three different sizes, of course.  Again you have an opportunity for a little creativity in how you dress him (or her) up.  He is hot-glued to a juice can lid to keep him upright, even after a few egg-nogs.

 

And finally, who doesn't have le016_PBX_Bftover sock yarn lying around?  These Mitered Square full_db_016_PBX_Eornaments have a rustic, "Olde Worlde" look to them and no wonder – they are made with a traditional knitting technique that is lots of fun to try on a small scale like this.  But change up the colors, and add a touch of glittery, sparkly yarn and they can look quite modern!

 

Enjoy the holiday season, keep warm, and Happy Knitting!

Three Holiday Gift Ideas

There are only 27 knitting days 'til Christmas!  So I have three ideas for quick knitted gifts for you.  And to really mix up the metaphors, I have something old, something new, and something borrowed.

 

First up: a knitted teddy bear (or your choice of a couple of other animals) entitled "Magic Friends" from the 2001 book Knitter's Stash: Favorite Patterns from America's Yarn ShopsI first posted on this in 2007, and I still think it is a well-designed project.  It's a little bit different, keeps you interested, and it knits up super-quick.  Double-knitting is often tedious for throwers, but the way this toy is worked, it is fast and fun!  Check your library for a copy of the book, or order one from Amazon here.

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Next, something new:  a pair of fingerless mitts that I designed this year.  These Old Shale Mitts are a free pattern on Ravelry, and again, they knit up quickly and look like they took a lot longer.

Bonus points:  with one ball each of the suggested yarns, you can get at least 2, and possibly 3, pairs of mitts out of them – depending on what sizes you make.  I have made two pairs of "small" so far and I am confident I have enough for a third.  But, if you want to be sure you can get 3 pairs out of your investment, you can always make the wrist ribbing a little shorter, or leave out a few rows of the pattern repeat.

Both of those yarns are $11 at Nitro Knitters, so for $22 and a little knitting time, you can get three gifts or stocking stuffers taken care of!

 

Something borrowed, which also happens to be blue, is the H2O hat by ChicKnits.  I don't yet have a picture of the one I knit (it's at the shop), but there are plenty of pictures on Ravelry.

This was a super-quick knit.  Looking at the project notes on Ravelry, I see now that many other knitters also added 4 rows to the body of the hat, but I didn't do that the first time around.  When knitting samples, you usually try to stick as close to the pattern as possible, but in the end, the 12 rows called for was just too short for me.  But, I swear that even with taking out the seam, unraveling the top and adding 4 rows to the straight portion, I think it only took me about 2.5 hours total!  That is FAST.

And it is absolutely right in style, with the big stitches and the chunky texture that is all over the place this winter.  The Bumblebirch "Forage" worsted weight yarn is a sheer pleasure to knit with, and has extremely high resilience — or, to put it in non-technical terms, it's SUPER-SQUOOSHY.  I love the feel of this stuff.  I may even make another one today… or two…

 

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Knitting!

Almost Famous

Wow, it looks like my little blog made the Oregonian! A really nice article appeared today about Nitro Knitters.  So, if you arrived here by that route, welcome.

I feel like it might be a good idea to explain that this isn't exactly your typical knitting blog.  This site grew out of my previous teaching life, when I taught at various locations in and around Beaverton.  I needed one place where I could list all the classes and locations I was teaching, and this was it.  So you'll find a certain amount of outdated class listings here, if you browse in chronological order.  But in between those, though, there is some good stuff.  For example, on the sidebar, down on the right side, you'll see that my post about the "yo-yo" sock heel has been viewed a few (tens of thousands!!) times.  And hiding back in the mists of time are informative posts like how to Kitchener without a tapestry needle.

In the back of my mind, I have long harbored the intention of starting a new website — not a blog about "what I knit today", but more a place to publish those "good bits" of useful and/or interesting knitting information.  And now that I'm about to get back in teaching mode, that idea keeps resurfacing.  It sounds to me like it would thoroughly complement the teaching philosophy at Nitro Knitters — so who knows? I might actually bring it to fruition over the next year or so.  I know, I've said that before… and I'm going to be busy teaching, and I do need to have some time to actually knit, after all.

But it could happen.  Especially since I won't have to publish my class schedules on my own site any more.  Nitro's website has everything on it now – you can even sign up for classes online! — so it's worth taking a look over there.

Ribwarmer Revisited FrontMeanwhile, the past couple of weeks have been a roller coaster for me.  On the one hand, I'm a little stressed.  There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do, getting things ready.  I've been sorting out all my old handouts and samples and patterns, and polishing stuff up for the new topics I'll be teaching.  I unloaded my "teaching bag" years ago, so I have to put that back together, with all the little things like extra yarn and needles that are sometimes handy to have around in a class.

On the other hand, I am excited to be remembered and yes, possibly even in demand. OK, I realize that sounds sort of pathetic, but it isn't meant to.  What it means is, I have been reconnecting with knitters I haven't seen or heard from literally in years — some in person, some in emails — and it has been immensely gratifying to see how far some of my former students have come with their knitting skills and enjoyment.

One such knitter graciously wore and allowed me to photograph her "Ribwarmer Restyled" vest, which was a class I taught back in 2009 – 2010.

If you're familiar with Elizabeth Zimmerman's Ribwarmer, you may be aware that the actual "pattern", if you can call it that, is about one medium-length paragraph and is only given in one size.  For my classes, I wrote up a 7-page handout that included a schematic and I did a lot of math to allow knitters to make the project in a range of sizes.Ribwarmer Revisited Back

But of course, when you are a teacher, you teach that last class and away everyone goes.  You don't always get to see how it works out.  So I was super-pleased to see the finished product live and in person!

And I am reading comments and emails like this one:

"…so glad to hear you will be teaching at Nitro Knitters!  I took one of your "fix-it" classes years ago at the Knitting Bee and it has empowered me ever since."

Now THAT is an awesome thing to hear from a knitter!  As a matter of fact, my "Knit Fixes" class is one of the very first ones I put on the new schedule.  It has always been one of my favorite classes to teach, and I loved seeing novice knitters gain so much knowledge and confidence in the course of two hours.

"Empowered," she wrote.

I mean, that's what I set out to do, but I'm not sure I was ever really convinced that I had done it.

Now I find out that I did do it, after all.

And better than that — I get to do it again.  How lucky can a girl get?

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