New Pattern Release: Two-Tone Mobius Cowl

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

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!


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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!

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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.

sm_KSBear  IMG_0092

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!

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Champagne, Anyone?

drumroll please…  Et voilĂ !  I can now unveil pictures of my latest sock design.

While you may have sipped champagne while you knit, I bet you haven’t ever knitted champagne glasses, in a veritable champagne fountain — complete with little bubbles!

The openwork heart on the toe is of course optional, and I can tell you it didn’t bother my feet — but if you have sensitive tootsies, you may opt to move the heart further up on the instep, or leave it out entirely.  Or put in extra ones.  Or put them in different places on each sock…  OK, someone stop me.  This is too cute already.

More notes on the design can be found in this post, but for today I think a picture or two is worth a thousand words.

Kits are available at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton.

ETA:  I just added it on Ravelry, too!  so if you’re knitting it, throw me some Ravelry love and add it to your queue!  :)

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New Sock Club Design

I’ve said it before, but — it’s so hard to write on your knitting blog, when you can’t blog about what it is you are knitting.Champagne Sock

But now I can reveal that soon,  the next installment in the sock club by “For Yarn’s Sake” will be released, with this month’s design by yours truly!  The theme is “Champagne & Roses” and you will have a whole month to get your socks done in time for Valentine’s Day.

This sock design is interesting in a couple of ways:  I used a st pattern from a Japanese resource as the main motif, and it is kind of wide, so the sizing is done a bit differently than the usual “add another pattern repeat” method.  There are a couple of purl sts that run all the way through the pattern, and to get a larger sock, you just change “P1” to “P2” in a few places.  I’m kind of pleased with that strategy.

Another thing is that while the overall pattern is heavily textured and in fact looks rather complicated — the hardest thing in it is a 6-st cable, with one of the knit sts worked tbl, and a couple of purl sts.  (And if you know me, you will know that cable only shows up a few times in the pattern repeat.  Meaning, like, twice in 24 rounds.  Making 6-st cables all over a sock sounds like way too much work to me.)

Finally, the sts and techniques used are not difficult, but aren’t your same ol’, same ol’ either.  There is a technique used which I have called “make bubble” (NOT “BOBBLE”) which you see in the blurry little sneak-preview sample of ribbing up there.  It is no harder than binding off and doing a YO, but I bet it’s something you haven’t done before!

There are also a couple of crossed sts here and there, which can be done with a cable needle – but there is also a funky Japanese way to do them without a cable needle, and without trying to hold on to teeny little sts with your fingers, either.  I plan to put up some how-to videos for that after the sock design is officially released, so watch this space!

And don’t worry that I’ve spilled all the beans – this sock design will still have a little surprise waiting for you when it is fully unveiled!

The yarn is String Theory’s “Caper Sock” and again, if you know me, you know that I don’t often ooh-and-aah about yarn, seeing as how I have so freakin’ much of it.  But this yarn was surprisingly pleasant to work with and has a very good “smoosh” factor, which I like in a sock yarn.  Stringy sock yarns don’t have much place in my life, and this stuff is anything but.  Plus, it is in a sophisticated, slightly variegated pink, so that’s a plus in my book right there!

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Wonder of Wonders

OK, short version (because I want to get back to knitting) — but I can't resist sharing this, either.

Friend in New Zealand has found out her breast cancer has come back.  Sucks incredibly.  Is going through chemo, and asked if I would knit her some hats.

Gave her my Ravelry password (don't rat me out) and told her to browse away and find something she liked.

She chose three, one of which was the "Shroom" hat from Knitty.  Fine and good, except that it's summer in New Zealand, and she wants it in a lighter weight yarn.

Bought Malabrigo from the LYS, very soft and in a pretty blue-green (as requested).

Now.  Gauge.

To put in context:  it's about 1:00 a.m. at this point, and I have to get on a plane in about 9 hours and I still need to sleep some and finish packing and medicate the cat and shower and a few other things.

Looked at pattern and saw "gauge = 10 sts per 4 inches."  That works out to 2.5 sts per inch.

Looked at yarn label and saw "needle size 7-9, gauge = 5 sts per inch."

Can it possibly be?   Can I choose size 6 needles, which should give a loose knitter like me a gauge of half what the pattern calls for, and simply double the number of stitches in the pattern?  Can that POSSIBLY work???




Sometimes, you win one.

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Sock Design 101: Part 3

Oh, hi. You got that basketweave sock done all the way to the heel then?  Not quite?  OK, good, we’ll "pick up" where we left off.  (ha, ha, little knitting humor there.  Very little.)

Last time we went through the exercise of setting up the basketweave pattern st so that it was centered on the instep of the sock.  And we have a few more things to think about:  I promised to discuss some other situations that might arise, and what to do about them.

BTW:  it is probably worth mentioning here in big bold letters that instructions for knitting stitches are not always written in stitch dictionaries in such a way that they are symmetrical!!  That’s because the most basic instructions are going to give you only one pattern repeat, and for symmetry, you also need to know over how many stitches the pattern will be worked.  Sometimes this is specified; mostly it is not.

For example, there’s this "4 x 4 basketweave".  That short phrase really tells you all you need to know to create the pattern st — but nothing about the symmetry.  To include that, I would have to start off saying something like:  "4 x 4 basketweave pattern, worked over a multiple of 8 sts plus 4:  (K4, P4), end K4."

And anyway, even if your st pattern does say "over a multiple of X sts plus Y" — if it’s not already charted, it’s always a good idea to work it out for yourself on paper before you commit your whole sock.

That said, what are some of the other bugaboos that can happen?  Well, there are a few.

Potential Problem 1:

Your chosen st pattern doesn’t fit evenly into the total number of sts for your sock leg.

This one is kind of a big problem.  A couple of things you can do:  one is to choose another st pattern.

Another option is to slightly alter the number of sts in your sock — that is, you may be able to just increase or decrease a few sts before you go into your pattern rounds, to accommodate your pattern st.

For example, if you plan on having a 60-st sock and your chosen st pattern fits into 62 sts, you can increase 1 st on the instep before you start the pattern rounds.  There’s no law that says your instep can’t be 31 sts while your sole remains at 30 sts — until you get past the heel, at which point it becomes the back half of the leg and also goes to 31 sts.

Yet another option is to alter the st pattern to fit the number of sts you have.  This is not as crazy as it may sound:  I’ll bet it wouldn’t be beyond you to alter the 4 x 4 basketweave to be 3 x 3, or 5 x 5, or 6 x 6.  Many st patterns are pretty symmetrical and amenable to being adjusted.  Try it out with something simple, and try it on paper first.vine leaf socks by Tess Mattos

Watch out for edge stitches:  when using a st dictionary to select your sock pattern st, make sure that you are not counting extra edge sts that are included for knitting back-and-forth.

On the other hand, extra edge sts may be just what you need to eke a st pattern out to a larger number of sts, especially if you are trying to use a fairly large cable panel or something like that.  You may be able to extend the design by, for example, adding extra ribbing sts on either side.  (If I were trying to make this Vine Leaf sock bigger, for example, that’s what I would do.  It’s not obvious in this picture nor in the one below, but there is a 2 x 2 rib down each side of the sock.  I could add more of that if I needed it.)

Potential Problem 2:

Your chosen st pattern has an odd number of sts in it — but the number of sts on your instep is an even number.

In terms of symmetry, this means your chosen st pattern is symmetrical about a single central st, instead of being symmetrical between sts.

This gets solved similarly to one of the solutions for #1:  add an extra st to the instep before you start the pattern rounds, and when you get there, do the same on the leg.  I used this trick technique on the toe of the "Rite of Spring" sock.

Potential Problem #3:

Your chosen pattern st has important stuff going on at the edges of the instep that doesn’t fit into the number of sts you have available.

This one also occurred on the "Rite of Spring" sock toe.  As the pattern grows wider along with the toe, I had to leave out some double decreases and YOs at the edges, to keep the st counts where I wanted them.

If you have balanced increases and decreases in your pattern st, make sure they stay balanced while you are working on just the instep — don’t cut off things on the edges that are needed to keep the st count stable.  (Once you are working in the round, it shouldn’t be a problem if your st pattern fits properly into your total number of sts.)

Potential Problem #4:

Your chosen st pattern isn’t symmetrical at all, but is instead a one-way pattern.

vine leaf socks by Tess MattosAgain, we have a couple of choices here.  One is to simply make two identical socks and pretend that you meant to make them that way.

Here is a perfect example:  the Vine Leaf Sock pattern, which as you can see has a main pattern motif that does not fold neatly in half.

(You can also see that this pattern is now available for purchase as a Ravelry download.  And, I have it on good authority that you need NOT be a member of Ravelry to purchase and download these patterns.  Thanks for testing it out, Linda!)

Now, in this case, making both socks exactly the same might not have been that noticeable — but hey, we’re professionals here, or at least the person writing this post is.  And the preferred method is to make the second sock a complete mirror image of the first sock.

Flame Rib Socks by Tess Mattos"Flipping" a knitting chart is not always as hard as you might think.  I did this both on the Vine Leaf socks, and on the remake of DH’s Socks from Hell — you may remember, though not as vividly as I do, when he tried them on and the first thing out of his mouth was, "why aren’t they mirror images of each other?" which nearly got him killed.

Well, I’ve fixed that this time around.

In both of these cases, the chart divides pretty neatly in half:  first half swerves one way, second half swerves the other way.  For a mirror image, simply start the second sock using the second half of the chart.  Simple, no?



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News Flashes

Well, life has been happening with a vengeance around our house the past few days.  So you’ll have to forgive me for just throwing out a couple of updates here.

First of all, there are a few spots left in the Knitting 911 class this Thursday night at Knitting Bee.  This class is always a lot of fun for me, to watch knitters go from "how did you do that?" to "I can do that!" in a mere two hours.  Call Knitting Bee at 503.439.3316 if you’re interested!

Thursday, 5-21-09     6:00-8:00 pm

"When good stitches go bad"  If your biggest knitting complaint is that you don’t know what to do when it’s screwed up, this is the class for you.  We’ll work with a swatch so there’s "no fear" and we’ll make and fix many common mistakes.  Learn important things about the way knitted fabric "works" that you didn’t know were important!  Class fee: $25

rite of spring lace sock

Secondly, the "Rite of Spring" lace sock pattern, which was the April exclusive to the Fearless Fibers lace club, is now available for everyone to purchase as a Ravelry download!  let’s see if this works…

pink lace socks

I am unsure whether you have to be a Ravelry member to use that button.  (But if you’re not, what the heck are you waiting for?)

I finished my own pair and here’s the proof — yay!

In actual knitting news, I have been working diligently on the Socks from Hell for DH.  Well, I actually ripped out and restarted the Socks from Hell.  (And I had gotten the damned things past the heel — both of ’em!!)

Turns out they were really too tight and the ribbing was really stretched out when DH put them on, and they just looked crappy.  So I started over, and fixed a couple of things, including what I think is a mistake in the pattern stitch — and I’m really a lot more happy with them than I would have ever thought I could be with this project.  So I’ll be discussing those in more detail in my series on sock designing.  Just not today…

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“Rite of Spring” Sock (for FF Lace Club)

OK, you got a peek at the toe a couple of weeks ago — now here’s the rest of it!  

rite of spring lace sock

I said you wouldn’t get bored halfway through, now didn’t I?

This is the pattern for the April ’09 shipment from the Fearless Fibers "Whisper of Spring" lace club.  It’s only being sent out to club members as of now, but will be available to non-members in probably a month or so.

The lace patterns on the leg are all interchangeable — so if there’s one that doesn’t thrill you, you can leave it out, knit more of your faves, rearrange them to suit your taste, even make non-matching socks if that’s what does it for you.  You could also make a plain foot if you prefer, and save all the lace for the legs.  Knitter’s choice!

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sneek pink — I mean, peek

OK, so obviously I am a sucker for pink.  And being a redhead, this can be problematic — although I am starting to see more and more hairs that are, shall we say, colorless — so maybe this issue will resolve itself in time.  (My hairdresser refers to them as "platinum highlights", BTW.  Talk about spin!)

So, when my pal Deb over at Fearless Fibers asked me in which light, springlike, pastel-y color I would like to do another sock pattern, for her "Whisper of Lace" spring club, well…  It wasn’t exactly a tough call.  And anyway, green was pretty much taken.

Thus, pretty pink lace socks is what I’ve been hard at work on lately — and once again, I can’t really blog about it thoroughly.  Yet.

Technically, I’ve been working on this sock design for quite a while.  I had the basic idea months ago, but wasn’t able to work it out back then.  (And anyway, that sock was brown, and it simply would not have been as pretty.)  I also had an idea milling around in my head for the better part of a year, for making the stitch pattern conform to the toe of the sock.  And it all just seemed to come together for this one.  It’s been very fun to design, and to knit. 

pink lace sock toe

Here’s a sneek peek of the toe in question:  but remember, this is (almost literally) just the tip of the iceberg.  Let’s just say I don’t think you’ll get bored halfway through.

Now, if you’ve been here before, you probably know I am not a lover of handknit socks for myself.  But I gotta tell you, when I put this sock — singular for the moment! — on my tootsie, I just feel feminine as all get out.  Who knows what a pair will do to me?  These might turn out to be DH’s favorite socks, if you know what I mean, wink wink, nudge nudge.

More data:  my friend Rock Star is definitely not what you’d call a girly girl.  But when she saw this, she said it might even inspire her to make pink socks.

The best part of it is, my feet are a long way from my red hair!

The only problem is I haven’t thought up a great name for them.  I know you haven’t seen the whole thing yet, but if you just happen to have any fabulously clever ideas, please let me know!

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For Breakfast In Bed

It’s kind of a long story, but what the heck — you’ve got some time to kill, right?  I’ll valiantly try to keep it short.Joan Crawford Knitting

A decade ago, plus or minus, my brother and I were back in Iowa, helping my mom as she attempted to continue living in her apartment.  As part of the job, we went out to get her some new housewares.  And on the way back to the apartment, we stopped at an estate sale.

We didn’t have a lot of time to browse, but we left offers on a few things — and I think I ended up with everything I bid on.  The ones I remember were (1) a set of those "ladies’ luncheon" glass plate-and-cup sets from, say, the 50’s — you know, the kind that have a convenient little notch in which to place your cigarette — and (2) a big wooden box that was full of old newspapers and magazines.

The box itself was what I was after — it was ancient and beat-up ("distressed") and just generally cool-looking.  I think I paid $5 for it.

The interesting-looking wooden box now holds yarn in the studio, but the original box o’ newspapers sat around our house just as it was for a long time, with DH asking, "What are you going to do with that?" once in a while.  One day, I finally sifted through the pile.  And I found a treasure trove.rinso ad

Collier’s Weekly & the Saturday Evening Post from the early 1900’s (beginning "A Little Union Scout" by Joel Chandler Harris, 2/6/1904); Music News (around the 1920’s); a great little short-story magazine called "The Black Cat" from April 1901; and The Illustrated London News’ programme of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953, with 16 colour plates!

There’s also something called "The Aldine", from the 1870’s.  And a collection of my hometown newspapers from 1945, with important WWII headlines:  MEN LOCKED IN GREAT BATTLE ON OKINAWA ISLAND; REICH SURRENDERS; WAR IN ITALY VIRTUALLY OVER; SIMPLE RITES FOR ROOSEVELT.  There’s even one with a picture of Mussolini hanging by his heels.  You just don’t get that kind of thing on the front page nowadays.Pinocchio Still

 The engravings in the Aldine, the advertisements for corsets in Collier’s, the articles about bread ("National Strength depends on proper diet; bread viewed as best source of human fuel") — it’s all fascinating.

I even found a review of "Pinocchio" from when it was a new movie.  There were several color stills in the article, but I liked this one with his finger on fire the best.

Simply amazing stuff.  And I have barely scratched the surface.  You wouldn’t believe what I found today — it’s just completely the coolest.

Canadian Home Journals from the 1940’s — with knitting patterns.

I gotta try this one out — although I admit I can’t quite picture how this piece is supposed to work.  Surely there’s going to have to be an opening for your head somewhere?

Maybe I can get it done in time for Valentine’s Day, when I’m certain to get breakfast in bed… and I’m pretty sure it will be fabulous in MOHAIR…

For Breakfast in Bed

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Vine Leaf Socks

Ahhhhhh — finally, I can sit back, relax and blog a little bit.  And it’s great that I can now write about something that’s recently been taking a lot of my time.

If I were to tell anyone else how things have been just "crazy busy" lately in the world of knitting, well, they’d probably just laugh.  I mean, how busy can a knitter be if she has time to make all those tiny little stitches?

But, for those of us for whom it is a business, it can be as crazy as any other job sometimes.  (You should hear about my boss — she’s a complete nut case.)  (Oh yes, I am self-employed.)

First of all, I have been doing a huge amount of teaching in the past couple of weeks.  The teaching side of the knitting biz always seems to fall off in the summer here in Oregon, what with all the daylight, and the nice weather, and the kids out of school and so on and so forth.  Once the kids go back to school, the teaching thing tends to pick up again.  But this fall, you guys came back with a vengeance!!  Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but it has kept me too busy to blog much.  Or even to knit very much.

vine leaf sock back

And when you’re knitting and designing to a deadline, well, that can get a little stressful.

Case in point:  the new sock pattern that I just designed for the November installment of Fearless Fibers‘ mini sock club, run by my pal Deb Kessler.

 Of course, since it’s a sock club pattern, I had to keep this project on the down-low.  And this one didn’t exactly go according to plan, either.

I started with one idea and began to knit it, and let me tell you, it looked very cool.  Then I discovered that it looked a whole lot like the sock Deb had already designed for October.

Well, great minds think alike and all that, but in this instance — not so cool.

Next, I tried another idea, but it just kinda didn’t work out so great.  I won’t go into the gory details…  but let’s just say that they were, um, baggy.  And "Baggy Lace Socks" really doesn’t have a ring to it.

vine leaf sock front

But third time’s a charm, right?

(drum roll, please)

Polar Bear Patterns proudly presents —  "Vine Leaf Socks"! 

Came out pretty nice, eh?  I love the way the central rib "vine" has that nice, graceful wave to it.  And the leaves have just a delicate little touch of lace at the base, and a really cool 3D effect.  Very fun to knit.

Originally, I tried to do something "artistic" with the ribbing at the top, but it just looked like a mistake.  So instead, the ribbing symmetrically frames the tops of the leaves, in a très classy kind of way.

Unfortunately for those who aren’t in the sock club, the pattern isn’t available to the general public yet — but Deb will put it in her online Etsy shop in a month or two.  Don’t worry, I’ll remind you!

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UFOlympics! the first event

Ummm… I have good news, and bad news.

First, the good news:  UFO #0, Brioche st hat:  FINISHED 07/07/08.

Final time (offical Swiss, of course):  2 days.

The crowd goes wild!

Yarn:  Manos del Uruguay silk & wool.
Pattern:  my own Polar Bear Pattern.
Shameless plug:  this is a sample for a class I’ll teach at the Knitting Bee in Sept. 

 brioche hat sidebrioche hat back

OK, the bad news:

#1:  I probably should have gone down one more needle size on this hat.  I tend to knit loosely, and overall the thing is just a bit on the big side.  Not too bad, though.

#2 is worse:  I found some inaccuracies in my pattern on the hat decreases.  All the info is there, but it’s not written properly to reflect the actual beginning and end of the rounds.  In other words, I got the repeat between ** part messed up.  So, it looks like I’ll be adding a page of corrections under Polar Bear Patterns tomorrow.

How humbling.  Not only because I try very hard to be accurate and not to make mistakes — but also because knitters haven’t exactly been bombarding me with emails upon running into trouble with the decreases.  I guess this means no one else has knit my hat?  sniff, sniff.

Or, maybe that just means all those knitters are very, very smart!


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Twisted 3-st Cables, the Japanese Way

So, flipping through a Japanese knitting book of pattern stitches one day, I came across a twisted rib and cable pattern that I thought would make a VERY handsome sock for DH…which it did.

If you’ve never seen a Japanese knitting book, let me tell you — very sensible system they have, those Japanese.  Everything is graphical.  Lots of little symbols for all kinds of stitches.  Easy to understand.

Except that for this one particular pattern stitch, there was a pair of symbols used which I couldn’t find in any of my books.  (Not even the book in which the pattern stitch appeared!)

Of course, engineers don’t give up that easily — nor do knitters, as the Yarn Harlot so rightly declaims.  So, I eventually figured it all out, and made a few socks, and then wrote the pattern for my Kenkyo socks — which is available for sale at my friend Deb’s etsy shop, at  These directions are provided as a complement to the stitch chart and directions in the pattern.

The Japanese method of working twisted cables does not require a cable needle, but it does require some needle acrobatics!  Try it on a larger-gauge swatch before you attempt it at sock gauge, and keep your sts loose to facilitate learning the unusual movements.

(Note that you will probably need to tug your completed cables into shape a bit, due to the additional maneuvering.)

To do a twisted 3-st cable, right:

The 3rd st on the LH needle is a K. Insert RH needle into this st kwise, tbl.


Push the first two sts on LH needle toward the needle tip, making a space btw 2nd and 3rd st on needle.


Tip the RH needle to the right to catch the back leg of the 3rd st.


Pull this loop forward under the LH needle, through the space btw 2nd and 3rd sts, out to the front of the work.


Move RH needle around to back of LH needle.


Wrap working yarn around RH needle and K through this loop.


Take yarn to front of work.  The first st on the LH needle is a K.  P it normally and drop off LH needle.


Take yarn to back of work.  The next st on the LH needle is a P.  K it tbl and drop off LH needle.


Drop rem st of cable from LH needle.


To do a twisted 3-st cable left:

The 2nd st on the LH needle is a P. Take the RH needle to the back of the work, and K this st tbl.


Take yarn to front, leaving RH needle at back of work.

The 3rd st on the LH needle is a K.  From behind, insert RH needle pwise into this st.


Push the first two sts on LH needle toward the needle tip, making a space btw 2nd and 3rd st on needle.

Tip the RH needle to the right to catch the front leg of the 3rd st.


Pull this loop back under the LH needle, through the space btw 2nd and 3rd sts, out to the back of the work.


Move RH needle around to front of LH needle and P through this loop. Or, slip the loop to the LH needle tip to make it easier to P it.


Take yarn to back of work. K the first st on LH needle tbl.


Drop all three sts off LH needle.


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Kenkyo Socks

OK, once again my lack of recent blogging is due to me having to work on other stuff.  (Lately I’ve really been forced to admit there are only so many hours in a given day, or week.  And some of them are required for sleeping, or else I get even more really cranky.) kenkyo sock But big news today!

The "other stuff" I’ve been working on is a great new Polar Bear Pattern:  "Kenkyo Socks", which was done in conjunction with my pal Deb, who blogs over at

Deb dyes yarns in lovely, scrumptious, and above all, wearable colors.  If you have a husband like mine, who won’t even think about wearing colorful socks — or if you are just tired of what I’ve seen referred to as "clown barf" colorways — take a look over at Deb’s etsy shop:

I once heard Merikke Saarnit refer to these kinds of subtly changing colors as "abrash", so I finally looked it up:

abrash (noun) – any variation or change, typically striation, in the different dyes of an Oriental rug as it ages. 

Well, I’m not sure about that "aging" bit, but she used the word to describe yarns that are not so much different colors, as differing shades of the same or similar colors.  That’s what Deb does, mostly, and quite lovelily, too.  (Yes, that is a word.)

Anyway, she did a series of colorways based on the Seven Deadly Sins, and then another based on Seven Virtues.  The colorway I picked to work with was "Humility".  I did an improved rendition of the hubby’s Japanese twisted rib & cable sock, and as I researched it, I found that the concept of "humility" or "modesty" is very key in Japanese culture.

"Kenkyo" means "modesty" or "being humble", but without the concept of "humiliation".  You don’t put yourself down, but you aren’t supposed to blow your own horn, either.  Kinda like the Midwest, actually, where I grew up.  So you see, it all started coming together!

I’m very pleased with this pattern:  I think it has a lot of good things in it.  It has my new favorite short row heel, about which I promise to blog in detail in the next week or so; it has the Japanese way of doing these cables WITHOUT A CABLE NEEDLE, about which I also plan to blog a bit.

And if you’re wondering why I haven’t included a picture of it already, well — it’s because WordPress doesn’t seem to want to let me insert a picture today.  Obviously, I have at least one more thing to work on.  (OK, I got it fixed!  See picture now included, above.)

So for now, you will have to go see it at Deb’s place; please check it out if you are so inclined:

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