Nothing Bitter About This Bitterroot Shawl

Homespun and Bitterroot

Homespun and Bitterroot

If anyone had told me when The Hubs and I married, in 1972, that both of our moms and sisters would end up living in Western Montana I would have had them committed. Well, life is stranger than fiction. We were raised here in San Diego, in this gloriously perfect weather. (Read: no snow storms here in town). Hub’s mom and step-dad moved to Seeley Lake around 1976, with his sister moving up not too long afterwards. A lot of summers since 1976 have been spent vacationing there. My sister moved to Frenchtown about 10 years ago. Due to health problems, our parents ended up living with my sister.  After all of the visits and explorations while there, we’ve come to know Western Montana fairly well. I’ve been to and through the Bitterroot Valley many times. Heck, Mountain Colors is in Corvallis which is in the valley. We often drive up I-15 and drive home Montana 93 (Pray for me I drive 93) which goes right through the valley. This valley is a narrow valley rich in Lewis and Clark history.

This is a rambling intro to today’s topic. I’ve been spinning up a storm. I finally finished spinning 7 0z, about 400 yds, of a super yummy Cormo-silk blend which is processed and produced in Morro Bay, California. My wonderful Sidekick was used to spin this squishy yarn pictured above. Love it! Quite a while ago, I saw the Bitterroot shawl pattern by Romi Hill on It’s a free pattern. This yarn will be perfect. The yarn is a tad thicker than the 18 WPI that is suggested. Mine is 16 WPI. I plan on knitting the shawlette not the large shawl. Our weather is more conducive to shawlettes.

In January, while at Joseph’s Coat, I asked my Montana sister to pick out a pattern and yarn she’d like to have me knit as a present for her. She picked out the Lolo shawlette, which was featured in our Jan 28 post. Guess where Lolo is? That’s right in the Bitterroot Valley. What are the odds that two projects would both be named for the small valley in Western Montana? Places that this San Diego lady is quite familiar with. Between sewing, spinning and knitting, I’ve finished 1/2 of Lolo. The lighter colored yarn was processed and produced in Montana.

Lolo shawlette

Lolo shawlette

Are there other patterns named for locations in Western Montana which I need to know about?

Goodbye, My Favorite Kindle

~The sad news is that someone stole my Kindle yesterday. I place it on the end table in the doctor’s office when a magazine cover caught my eye.  The nurse called us back to the examination room and off I went with the magazine in hand. When remembering that I had left the Kindle, I went back for it but someone had already absconded with it. I left my name at reception and with the nurses just in case. The five-fingered-criminal is in for a surprise since I called daughter Em to go online and delete it from my Kindle account then I called Amazon to block the serial number so the thief cannot register it. So, the person can read the books on my fully charged Kindle until it runs out of power. I really hope they purchase a power cord thinking that they can recharge it and have a grand time! I had purchased a skin to make it “pretty” and a tote case to protect it. Sigh….. I loved my Kindle. I didn’t think I would since I love holding and smelling books, but I was in for a pleasant surprise. The Hubs gave it to me as a Christmas present a few years ago. He’s so kind, I, of course was crying and he said, “It’s just a thing! It can be replaced. It’s not us, we’re not hurt.”

To feel better, when I got home, I looked at the patterns I have store in Ravelry. Hurray! I forgot that Romi Hill released her first shawl pattern, Carson, in her ebook: 7 Small Shawls; Year 3: Home is Where the Heart Is. I really think in need a shawl in this colorway:

Romi Hill

What’s in Your Notepad?

Q – Two women had a strong influence in my upbringing; my mom and my grandmother.  Both highly creative women in different media.  One habit we have because of them; always carry a notepad in your purse because you never know what you’ll see when out-and-about that desperately needs to be written down.  I have a couple of my grandmothers old, beat-up notepads.  Ugly brown, but when I open them up and see my grandmother’s notes they are priceless.  I’m brought back to my childhood, I can see her jotting down notes as we are out.  She had notes about recipes, sketches about beading ideas, creations with yarn ideas, etc.  Her hand were always busy creating something!  I wish I had one of mom’s notepads.  She designed such wonderful clothes for my sisters and me.  Her notepad was filled with sewing ideas; such wonderful little dresses filled the pages.  I was quite envious when one of the dresses was for a sister and not me!

There is nothing more wonderful than walking into a yarn, quilt or fabric store and seeing all the models on display.  Fingers itching to do something new.  We especially love it when the yarn stores have a tag hanging from the display identifying the pattern and it’s free!  These are the notes for Curls and my trip to the Northwest, collected from various yarn stores, the majority of the free ones came from Yellow House Yarns in Puyallup:

Free Downloads:

Mara shawl
– Amy Hendrix
Moon River Scarf – Susanna IC
Annis shawl – Susanna IC
Gaia Shoulder Hug – Anne Carroll Gilmour
Madrid laced wristlets – Alexandra Brinck (any one up by Puyallup, this was a class at Yellow House Yarns)
Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl – Maggie Magalie – If you love ginkgo leaves you must visit Marjorie Moser’s blog she silkscreens and dyes the most fabulous items.
Urchin hat – Ysolda Teague
Advent-Calender-Scarf 2011 with beads – Kristin Benecken
Matilde Shawl – Chiara Chiavacci

Bitterroot shawl with beads – Rosemary (Romi) Hill – I love her patterns!

Crystal Palace Yarns
Jasmine Lace Fingerless Mitts – Adrienne Fong

Not free, but wonderful:
Snapdragon Tam – Ysolda Teague
Monica scarf – Trudy Van Stralen
Traveling Woman – Liz Abinante
Entwined Cowl – Taniis Gray – stay tuned, we’re not going to buy the pattern but we’ve got a “BIG” idea
Trousseau shawl – Carol Feller

This was free in February, but looks as if it is not now.
Berry Tam – Lijuan Jing

Also jotted down were titles of  books and patterns that we liked.  One was “Scandinavian Slippers and Socks” which Curls bought.  We are knitting the Norwegian Star slipper pattern.

I found I spent the most money for yarns in Yellow House Yarns since they had so many models and the patterns were free.  I figured free patterns = more yarn!  I like that math!  Very smart marketing on their part!  This is just a sampling of the notes we took on our trip.  Doesn’t include the sewing ideas which will be a different post.  So, what’s in your notepad?

It’s All About the Dyeing!


q8~ So Curls (sister Barb) and I (Q) have been testing the dye bath!  We started with Jacquard Acid Dyes.  Did a bit of solar dying.  Awesome results.  The yarn is Bare by KnitPicks. Here is Barb’s lace weight done in harvest colors:

Here is my lace weight:

Sister Barb used her knitting machine to make a sock blanket out of the wool before I dyed it.  How cool is that.  Now I can sew identical socks!  I decided not to do socks and we are going to knit shawl patterns from 7 Small Shawls to Knit which was purchased from Rosemary (Romi) Hill on Ravelry.    I’ve chosen Asterope and Barb has chosen Maia.  However, we can’t start the shawls until we finish some of our other projects!  We’ve promised ourselves that this is the year to actually finish some of our wips which have been sitting for, let’s just say, awhile.

Yesterday was a foray into Kool-aid dyeing.  Following the instructions at theBlueBrick we gave it a try.  Had to change timings in order to get better gradients.  We want to try a yellow to orange gradient next. This are our result: