Monthly Archives: June 2009

I’m a Tweeter on Twitter

At least I’m not a twit on twitter.

My Twitter ID is:

I am  following 36 people… (look I don’t have that many friends). I accidentally selected the option to populate twitter contacts with your gmail e-mail book. Now I’m sure there’s some insurance agency in Iowa that’s wondering why they’re being followed by some strange blue-faced Asian lady.
I like checking on the knitters in Twitter by typing “Knitting” in the search. Interesting conversation!
I wonder if following too many people can just lead to confusion.
If anyone wants an knitting follower post a comment on this post with your twitter ID.
I will follow you eagerly if you’re sharing stuff about fiber goodness including knitting, crochet, spinning, dyeing, etc.


Filed under Knitting

Offering classes this summer at the Naked Sheep

Summer’s here and I’m teaching a few classes at the Naked Sheep in lovely North Portland. I’m pretty excited about the crocheted cardigan class as I’ve discovered myself that you can make pretty and stylish garments in crochet. It’s not just about granny squares, afghans and toilet roll cozies (not that those are bad things).

You can check the class schedule at the Naked Sheep’s website, but I’m also posting my classes here with some added description. I’ll be taking photos this weekend of the swatches, samplers and garment in the classes below.  Please note, I also offer additional individual help for students on Thursday nights during “Knit Night” at the Naked Sheep.

Learn to Crochet
with Natalie
If you want to learn to crochet or just need a refresher course, this class is for you! You’ll learn the basics in just 3 classes and get started on the project of your choice! You will learn the four basic stitches in crochet as well as how to shape flat and round objects in crochet. You will also learn how to read and interpret basic crochet instructions and schematics.  Finally, you’ll pick your own crochet project and start it during the class.

Mondays ( July 20, 27 and August 3)


Crocheted Embellishments
with Natalie

Want to perfect your sweater edge with a crochet edge? In this course we will discuss techniques for making a crochet edge on hems and necklines. We will also cover techniques for establishing the correct number of crochet stitches on stockinette and garter stitch knitting. Students will learn how to do a basic crochet edge as well as a picot and scalloped stitch edge. They will also learn how to make a crochet button band and button placket.

Saturday ( July 25) 10:30am – 12:30pm

Cropped Crochet Cardigan
with Natalie
Crochet Cardigan
Tired of being restricted to crocheting hats and scarves? You can branch out to crocheted garments by learning to make this smart-looking spring and summer cardigan. During this class, we will discuss sizing and adapting patterns to fit your size. You will also learn how to create simple embellishments like a button band and crocheted edging. This pattern can also be adjusted for longer sleeve and body length!

Saturdays ( August 15, 22 and 29)

Additional Information for the Cropped Crochet Cardigan:

Prerequisites: Advanced Beginner Crochet

Must be able to do the following:

  • Make a foundation chain
  • Stitches: Single (sc), Half-Double (hdc), and Double (dc) Crochet

Materials needed:

  • 1200 – 1800 yards dk or heavy sport weight yarn (details for amounts per size available below). Recommended yarns: Hempathy, Silky Wool, Glacier del Cielo, Cotton Rich. No novelty or boucle yarns please.
  • Size D, E, F crochet needles. Needle size needed depends on your gauge
  • Removable stitch markers
  • Yarn needle
  • 2 small plain buttons or ( 3-4 sets of hooks and eyes)
  • 3-4 large decorative buttons


Make a 4”x4” swatch with the yarn you chose in half-double crochet (hdc)

Size/Yarn Estimations:

Size (Bust)












1 Comment

Filed under Crochet, Garment Design, Knit, Knitting

Embrace Math – Ditch the Fear

I should be writing the very tardy fourth episode for my raglan sweater, but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet.  I am probably going to alienate a few people by saying this, but I can’t stand it anymore. Every time a woman says “I can’t do math” or “I hate math” I want to scream… STOP IT! STOP IT! No…… STOP IT! Saying these things aloud to others and then obstinately refusing to learn can be detrimental not only to them but others around them, including impressionable young women who may be struggling with the subject. And honestly, I think many of these people have already shut down and are in refuse-to-learn mode, but I don’t think they should spoil it for the rest of us.  I’ve also noticed that these cries of protest usually come from women of older generations, I feel horrible that they had to live through the Dark Ages where they were told that they couldn’t do things because of their sex.  but here is the true secret of their struggles… if they’re knitting… THEY’RE ACTUALLY DOING MATH!

I can remember math being a huge mystery to me as well. There were moments in Algebra and Calculus where I really didn’t get the logic behind what we were doing. It took some real work and engineering for me to get the answers when I could. It also took reviewing the answers over and over again until I understood the pattern. Sometimes I didn’t get the pattern and I just accepted the answer. What was I missing…?

Number Sense.

When I first heard this term as an elementary educator in my mid twenties…I laughed. I thought… what is this? What does this mean? Number sense? Is it like “Spider Sense?” Do you know when numbers will appear? Number sense simply means that you develop a sensibility and awareness of things mathematical. Applying number sense can mean developing an awareness of patterns in numbers or objects. It can also simply mean having the ability to use mathematical logic to solve everyday problems.

Here’s the wonderful thing… You don’t have to be born with the ‘gift’ of Number Sense… you can learn it. Most importantly, Number Sense can help you see solutions to problems in your knitting.

Knitting and later crochet actually helped me develop a stronger awareness and improved use of my Number Sense. I’ve often exclaimed, why if they were only teaching us how to use Algebra for knitting, I would have paid more attention in class! I was mulling over a few examples of using Number Sense in knitting last night.

Here’s a knitting example of number sense with symmetry: If I’m decreasing on the left front side of the to make an armhole using a left leaning increase. I will have to decrease from the right on right front side to shape the armhole there.

Here’s an example of multiplication/division number sense: I want to use a simple color-work stitch pattern in the yoke of my sweater. It’s 7 stitches across before it repeats again. There are 200 stitches in my yoke. How many stitches do I need to decrease to fit my repeat pattern?

Here’s an example of algebraic number sense: With the same yoke sweater I need to decrease by 1/3 of the total stitch count 198. This leaves me with 132. I need a stitch pattern that is less than 7 stitches wide that can fit into this? Can I use one with 5? If I do how many stitches will I have to decrease to fit the stitch pattern?

If you remember your multiplication tables and can factor out possible repeats within a stitch count you’ve got the building blocks for Number Sense. Understanding a bit of math can help you really add power to your knitting skills. Instead of relying on someone to help you work out the problems, you can do it yourself. Instead of requiring that patterns spell out what to do row by row, you can see the overall pattern in the knitting and sometimes learn the pattern and knit without it. I actually love that when that happens. I only have two hands and two eyes and I hate flipping back and forth between a pattern and my work. I think it interrupts my whole flow with my knitting. This doesn’t mean I don’t go back and look at the pattern to check if I’m on the right track. Moreover, reading a pattern ahead of time to find the mathematical quirks can also save you a great deal of headache before you even get started.

The mathematical examples I shared are simple examples, but they are good examples of how a knitter might use math to figure things out. The simple truth is if you want to grow as a knitter you have to embrace math and chuck your fear of it out the window and remember math is like everything else it takes some time and effort to master it. It’s not some secret mystery language being spoken by monks in purple robes. It is a language but one that can be decoded, and one’s love of fibercraft can help you translate they code.


Filed under Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Math

Now My Stash is Fresh and Clean as a Whistle


I remember grandmas grandpas or lolas and lolos smelling of mothballs. To this day I associate the smell of mothballs with old Asian people. Maybe it’s often chosen to place in closets of an older generation because camphor is such a cheap deterrent for moths.  Still I grew up determined never to let a mothball in my house… this may sound cold to you, but to me they smell of regret, sadness, and the powerlessness of being aged.  I respect my elders, but I don’t want to smell like them.

I’d overheard (somewhere I can’t recall) that Irish Spring Soap is a good repellant for moths and mice.   I don’t think there’s conclusive evidence for this, but I figured hey it’s less than three dollars for three bars of soap…I’m going to try it. I have to laugh when I recall the ads from my childhood of rosy cheeked actors with an Irish brogue selling us green marbled strong smelling soap by a babbling brook.  I guess they could pull that off when people didn’t know that much about the world and there was no Internet to allow use to verify if Irish people really do use Irish Spring soap.

I forgot how strong this stuff was… EGADS!  I’d imagine the Irish of that golden age those commercials referred to using lye soap in the stream, and I’d have to say I wonder if this is comparable. The stuff is strong enough that I could cut up each bar of soap into inch slices and distribute them amongst all the large bins in my stash. Thank goodness most of my stash is kept in a room outside my workspace.  I don’t think I could work around that smell. My other concern was that the soap would leave a lasting odor on the yarn. It’s been in my bins for about a week. I pulled out a skein or two to sniff. There was a faint smell, but nothing that wouldn’t remain after several hours of handling while knitting. So it’s a bit antiseptic in odor, but it beats moth balls and it’s far more affordable that cedar blocks.

I haven’t seen a moth near my stash yet… so here’s fingers crossed.


Filed under Yarn