on the needles 1.10

I've developed a bit of an obsession this week.

I was gifted a really fun skein of sock yarn (Blissful Knits, 75% superwash merino/ 25% nylon, Full Bloom colorway) by Laurie Carter (my aunt) from Apples to Oranges Fine Yarn & Gifts in Silverton, OR.

Here's what it looked like before I ripped it all out and started over (turning out way too big):

I've divided the skein in half, and I'm knitting with it held double on size two needles. I'm really happy with how it's turning out, and I'll show you next wee.

Happy Knitting!

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From the dye pot

It's been a wonderful and busy week. 

Susan B. Anderson's Prairie Ridge Shawl Kit has been really popular, and much of my week was spent in a steamy kitchen with pounds and pounds of wool in various stages of pre-soaking, dyeing, cooling, rinsing, and drying. 

In between batches of dye, I worked on samples. This is a sneak peek of November's free knitting pattern for a pair of wonderfully warm stranded socks. 

These saturated colors have been keeping me energized and excited to knit.  

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Speaking of color, I wanted to share this photo. Last Friday, Mark and I joined a friend's wedding cruise on the Huangpu river that divides Shanghai. "Puxi" (the older, downtown part of Shanghai) literally means "river west," and "Pudong" (the sprawling new area on the other side) is "river east". These monikers occasionally morph into "Pu York" and "Pu Jersey."

I never get tired of the crazy lights and over-the-top architecture of the Pearl Tower and its surrounding buildings - it's a constant reminder of the slightly surreal wackiness that I love about this city.

What were you working on this week?

On the Needles: Neon Sawtooth Scarf

Sawtooth by Cate Carter-Evans for Infinite Twist This week, I'm knitting up a fun and bright sample of a new pattern.

It's a triangular garter stitch scarf, knitted in stripes, with a sawtooth edging.

Sawtooth by Cate Carter-Evans for Infinite Twist

Rufus seems to approve of this particular project.

I'm dyeing up a few additional colorways, and will have them in the shop by September 15th.

If you'd like to get the free pattern when I release it, please sign up for my newsletter!

Sawtooth by Cate Carter-Evans for Infinite Twist

What's on your needles this week?

On the Needles: River Knitting

handknit socks by Cate Carter-Evans I'm back! I had a lovely week-long vacations from screens of any kind via a rafting trip on the Lower Salmon River on Idaho's border.

handknit socks by Cate Carter-Evans

While I was away, I finished up the first prototype for a new house sock design which will be released in November. I can't wait to share them with you!

On the Needles: Garter Stitch

Bias knit garter stitch scarf in Noro Kureyon by Cate Carter-Evans There's this funny thing that happens to many, many newbie knitters. As soon as their first project is finished (usually a garter stitch scarf), they want a new technique.

Garter stitch is suddenly old news. Too basic. Definitely uncool.

It's for, you know, babies.

While diving into new techniques is exhilarating, there's a sweet simplicity to garter stitch that's too often overlooked.

Garter stitch is a simple pleasure. It's a great way to play with stripes or variegated yarn. It's also a balanced knit structure - no ends or edges rolling up, ever. It's stretchy and delightfully dense.

Infinite Twist Knitting Kit

The September samples I'm knitting this week all just happen to be in garter stitch (how'd that happen?), plus I found an old favorite garter scarf in the archives while uploading completed projects of yesteryear to Ravelry (You can find me there with RavID infinitetwist).

As soon as the samples are done, I'll be releasing the kits - one is a Beginner's Kit for a simple scarf in variegated hand-spun yarn, and a sweet little triangular scarf (no name yet) design in a mill-spun yarn. I hope you like them!

Knitting WIP by Cate Carter-Evans

On the needles and in the dyepot this week

sawtooth Today, I give you a sneak peek of a new project coming for September. I did the first proto in KPPM and Fyberspates Scrumptious, and am now sampling in my own hand-dyed yarns. More colorways and images of this sweet little piece coming soon - I can't wait!

I'm taking it a little slow this week since last week saw a flurry of knitting in preparation for Sunday's photoshoot. I was still weaving in ends on a sample when awesome photographer Josh arrived, but everything that needed to be done got done.

This week, I've been taking it a bit easy on the knitting front in the interest of not pissing off my right elbow any more than is absolutely necessary. Too much knitting = injury - it's just that simple.


Do the finger stretches, find needles that work for you, and for heaven's sake, stop when it starts hurting. Being benched from knitting is a sad state of affairs. Ahem. I think that's the end of my PSA for the day.

In other studio news, I've been preparing lots of kits.

Rufus has been taking his role as Quality Assurance Inspector very seriously. He's decided that the best spot to nap is on the work-table between the swift and the ball winder.

yarn basket

Zuo spun up a bunch of blue yarns this week in Halo Shine, and some special sequin yarns going in the soon-to-be-released Paintbox kits. These kits contain both hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns plus highly textured and tactile novelty yarns from Turkey.

granite kits

The last big push for the week has been the Beginner's Kit. This is the Granite colorway - love, love, love how the colors turned out.

This will be a scarf kit in hand-dyed super bulky hand-spun which knits up fast, forgives funny inconsistencies in tension, and knits up into a yummy soft scarf.

I'm planning to put together a resource page for newbie knitters to go along with the scarf pattern.

What are your favorite knitting resources?

A Week of Weaving

loom It's been a fun and busy week. I spent lots of time at the loom this week, working on the Spectrum rug.

loom 2

I'm moving through a color sequence from maroon to purple to pink to red to spice to orange, and next, onto yellow.

dye bath

Lots of dyeing has been happening...


...and I'm working on a new sock design to which Rufus has taken a shine. I can't wait to wear these!

Monday Morning

yarn basketSo much excitement, and so much to do! It was a very full weekend around these parts, starting with vending at Amelia's Marketplace Yanping on Saturday, and finishing Sunday night with a round of infusions to make bitters. All of it was rich and full and great.. but I want to do is knit!

I want a quiet corner and winter sunlight and my new blue and white mitten project for company. More on that very, very soon, I hope...

Wishing you a peaceful and productive Monday!

Sick Days

mittens It's been a quiet week around here.

Right on schedule, I came down with a cold the day after my last holiday sale of the season. Today is day six, and I'm definitely starting to feel better.

It's been a week of taking it easy, cold medicine, hot water (and hot toddys), lots and lots of kitty snuggles, knitting, and gratitude. I feel so very lucky to do the work I do, and to be able to take some time to recuperate.

It's also been a week full of knitting. I'm pleased to report that these mittens are done, and will soon (I hope) be available as a pattern.

Wishing you and yours a peaceful Solstice and a  merry little Christmas (or a successful zombie apocalypse if that happens first).

It's cold and grey outside, and warm and cozy and steamy inside.

The steam is both from dye and food - I've been making mulled wine and cooking stock and soups, as well as experimenting with hand-painting yarn.

I've been knitting (and decorating) tiny trees, stripey cowls, and working on a mitten pattern I hope to be able to share soon.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of these various projects in various stages. Hope you like them!

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Sunny Road

The chaos, glamour, stress, and fun of the holidays started for me three weeks ago with the confirmation that I’d been accepted to exhibit at two major Holiday fairs – “woot!” and “uh-oh” apply in equal measure.

Since then, I’ve added three more events to the schedule, made lots and lots of kits, tagged, labeled, bagged, packed, displayed, seriously considered the art of merchandising, meet lots of people, re-packed, and made more stuff.

Meeting tons of people and talking about what I do with strangers is not something that comes to me easily. Couple that with being outside and cold for two whole days, and I was more than a little run down after the first show.

Sunny Road CowlWhat was worse was that knitting (admittedly, pattern test knitting - not my favorite to start with) was starting to feel like a major chore.   I was getting jealous of my own customers after picking colors and winding yarn for about a zillion kits.

These are two strong indicators that perhaps someone around here has been burning the candle at both ends and needs a nap, a meal that doesn't come out of the microwave, some happy music on the stereo, and a yarn treat in short order.

 Out came the handspun scraps in yellow, gold, and my own kettle-dyed colors in sunflower and meringue.  They all came together in a big ball of scraptastic goodness. It’s paired with a soft natural grey wool my dad picked up for me at the Common Ground Fair a couple of years back. Finished off with glitter-filled buttons and a hot toddy.

What projects are you working on to stay happy and sane this holiday season?



A Blessing of Unicorns

Some days luck, coincidence, serendipity, fate, the intercession of knitting angels, or whatever attributable power involved just smiles down on a project.

This happened to my sweater on Friday.

I found seven (seven! really seven!) vintage shell buttons that are all the same size (!) in my button box. They are sisters, not twins, but all have four holes, and most of them have a little lip around the edge.

These mystical seven buttons were all floating loose in a particularly sentimental button box. The stash came from a Goodwill excursion on the Oregon Coast, in the middle of a girl's getaway weekend. It was packaged in a huge canning jar with "Fido" stamped on the lid. Faithful indeed.

These buttons have been poured out onto baking sheets and sorted through with friends, some destined to become eyes for sock monkeys and monsters, others filling in for lost buttons on work shirts - but these special seven were waiting for this little sweater.

And who knows what buttons are hiding in the button box for the next project? We shall see indeed.

Happiness is...

  Last weekend started out with a morning knitting date with Yang. She's helping me draft a raglan sleeve pattern for my two-tone sweater. It's the exact colors of peanut butter (Skippy) and chocolate (Hershey, milk). The way the colors come together also reminds me of brown tabby cats. Even it's color associations are cozy, and I can't wait for Autumn and a chance to wear it.

Dandylion was very helpful during the entire process sleeve-drafting process. He was instrumental in suggesting that I try a decrease technique that wasn't in the book.

Yang is in the process of teaching me how to knit the Chinese way. She has what seems to be an infinite well of patience, and I feel more than a little slow in picking it up.

However, I also have a really annoying low-grade repetitive motion injury from doing too much knitting, and I'm hoping to find enough patience to learn this new technique - it's amazingly fast, and involves a lot less motion than the technique I've been using.

So here I am back at the very beginning of learning to knit - again. Forgetting how to hold the yarn, feeling like I'm holding the needles wrong, hoping with each stitch that it's going ok - it all feels entirely familiar.

I have a bit of a reprieve from the learning curve I know is just ahead. The random two-tone stippling pattern comes out differently when I knit Chinese-style, so I'll be finishing this project the old way (and oh boy is my elbow annoyed about that already).

I'll post more pictures as this sweater progresses!

Oh Winter, where art thou?

I vanquished the variegated yarn, and finished these lovely fingerless gloves. If it wasn't insanely hot and humid here, I might be tempted to wear them.

The gloves are joined by a hat with a pompom, and a bobble knit cowl.

October isn't that far away, is it?

In addition to lots of knitting, there was some movie-watching this weekend, which resulted in lots of attention from the cats.

I managed to get a good picture of Lucky (he's doing his signature paw wave thing here). He's trickier to photograph than Dandy, which is why you don't see as much of him on the blog.

With that fur coat, I think he's looking forward to winter too.


When knitting projects attack

My knitting turned on me this morning. My mild-mannered fingerless glove suddenly resembled an enraged sea urchin out for blood. What caused this disturbing transformation? Variegated yarn.

I have a long and painful knitting history with variegated yarn. It looks so pretty in a skein, but then it knits up into stripes. Stripes! I could make stripes by simply trying multiple pieces of yarn together. It disappoints me again and again... but I keep coming back for more.

I bought the yarn for this current project in Copenhagen last year. It's all greens and blues, so I forgive it for making stripes. It used its calming colors to lull me into a false sense of security so it could strike when I least expected it.

Today, it added a new dastardly trick to its arsenal of knitting woe - provoking seven needles with live stitches in a moving car.

It all started because I wanted the thumb of my glove to be the same color as the body. I couldn't knit it in after the body of the glove was finished because a color change was coming up, so I had no choice but to try to knit it in before casting off at the top - which resulted in four needles around the finger opening, plus three for the thumb.

The good news is the gloves are done and I love them. Take that, variegated yarn!