Provisionally cast on…

“Unpicked” provisional cast on for anastomosis, ready to work the tab. Working needle is red cable; provisional cast on side is clear blue cable.

There’s something wonderful about a smooth piece-to-piece knitting connection. At the end of knitting, that smooth seam can be achieved with grafting (but that’s another post); at the beginning of knitting, it is the provisional cast on.

I use two methods for provisional cast on: crochet chain (for stockinette and garter) and knitted tab (for cables and lace). Today we’ll look a the knitted tab provisional cast on — I use this in patterns like anastomosis and coast or any time I want to have an easy way to keep stitches in order.

Step 1: Start with a knitted tab. Using any favorite method, cast on number of stitches required for the provisional cast on. Work in stockinette stitch (knit on right side, purl on wrong side) for 4 or 5 rows.

Step 1: knitted tab (top). Also shown: crochet chain (bottom)

When to stop? Finish the last row of the tab with a row that will set up knitting correctly for the first row of the pattern. In other words: If the first row/round of the pattern is on the right side row, then finish the tab on a wrong side row (finish with Row 4). If the first row of the pattern is on the wrong side row, then finish the tab on a right side row (finish with Row 5).

Using anastomosis as an example, the tab in the photo finishes on a right side row because the first row in the anastomosis pattern is a wrong side row.

Step 2: Work as indicated in the pattern (not pictured).

prov_co_2 Step 3: Unpick the provisional cast on. I use an extra needle for this, a little bit smaller than the main needle size. In the photos, the white thread is the waste yarn and the orange yarn is the main yarn.

(A) find the next stitch, sometimes a little tug on the end of the waste yarn will help show the stitch. In this photo, the wrong side of the work is facing.

(B) insert the tip of the needle into the next stitch to be unpicked.

(C) using fingers or an extra needle tip, pull the waste yarn out of the stitch on the needle, then pull the waste yarn end out of the provisional tab (not pictured) until the work looks like Step A.

Repeat steps A-C until all stitches are unpicked (see photo at top of this post for result). This is kind of like tinking — I do the unpicking one stitch at a time — it seems easier this way to keep all the stitches in the correct order.

You know you want it!!
Yarn pictured is Scientific Sock in gamma ray by NanoStitch Lab.
Pattern used in pictures is anastomosis.
We’re having a knitalong! Join us in the ravelry group here: anastomosis + NanoStitch Lab KAL.

tagline life is a creative adventure


all photos and text (c) 2017 grist creative llc


it’s almost spring, let’s kal…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s amazing that in February we’re still getting snow and hail in our little corner of the PNW; as I type this, big fat beautiful flakes are falling and we’ve gotten a couple inches of snow in the past few hours. Despite the unusual weather, spring flowers are starting to poke their heads up. As the days get longer, I’m looking forward to some spring color, so how about a knitalong!

The recently released anastomosis is a great way to use up stash or go splurge on some new yarn–it is beautiful in solids or gradients. The shawlette uses 575 yards (~1½ skeins of sock yarn) and the large shawl uses 1000 yards (~2½ skeins of sock yarn). The samples in the pattern used 1 skein of Wollmeise Pure (it’s a big skein) in Confident (red) for the shawlette and 10 mini skeins (~100 yds each) of Dream in Color Smooshy with cashmere; I forgot to write down the color numbers but it was 1 skein of the first color (darkest), 2 skeins of the second color, 3 skeins of the third color, and 4 skeins of the fourth color (lightest). In both samples, we selected dark beads (dark ruby and dark blue/nebula) for the bind off.

For this KAL, I’m going for the large shawl in gradient speckles…perfect for spring! The very talented Heather and Angela over at NanoStitch Lab definitely have a way with color. I’m using their Scientific Sock and thinking about Solar flare, Tourmaline, Jupiter, Magma, Safety goggles, and Asteroid, but waiting until the yarn arrives to make my final decision. The large shawl will use about 2½ skeins of yarn, so I might break out ½ skein each of 5 colors…or I may follow the same idea as the blue shawl and use 100 yds of the first color, 200 yds of the second color, 300 yds of the third color, 400 yds of the fourth color and just stop there…or once I see all the yummy yarn I might decide that I want it all in one color..all in all it’s not a bad problem to have 😉 I’ll probably wait until the knitting is into the last color before I select bead color.


This KAL is just for fun, so no deadlines and no pressure, although it would be great to see Instagram posts tagged with #anastomosis_shawl and ravelry projects linked to the pattern page! I’m going to try to finish up by mid-April so I can have a nice spring shawl to wear. I’ll be posting my color selections and ideas, progress, and tips on Instagram, so be sure to follow me: @gristcreative.

I’ll be casting on Thursday, March 16 (to give everyone time to gather, order, or shop for yarn) and would love it if you’d join me!
Happy knitting!

tagline life is a creative adventure


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes a pattern just flows…anastomosis started as a “I have this new yarn coming into the shop…” and a little visit and a story, some swatching, some knitting math, a new-to-me shape (crescent) and some furiously fast (for me) knitting, and 6 days later the shawl was being blocked. I have to say, that is the fastest I have ever designed and produced anything, so now I know it can be done!

Anastomosis highlights my love of yarn and that’s why the pattern shows two different samples: the red one is Wollmeise Pure in the color Confident (shown here) and the blue gradient is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere (pictures coming soon).

Anastomosis also highlights my love of stitch combinations–it has a crazy lace + cable edge and a wonderfully soothing main section of lace.

Then of course there’s a little bling with the beaded picot bind off.

To get off to a great start, join me on Saturday, Feb 25, 1-5pm, (new day/time), at the Nifty Knitter yarn shop in Issaquah and start your very own anastomosis. In class, we’ll make the cable + lace provisional tab cast on (fun!), practice the picot beaded bind off, and get a good start on the main lace pattern…plenty of skills and knowledge to complete the shawl after we all go our separate ways. Call the Nifty Knitter at (425) 369-3098 to sign up.


tagline life is a creative adventure



beadsThe design process is creative and rewarding, but the journey from inspiration to the release of a pattern can be a bit of a mystery. Join us on this fun and interactive adventure where together we’ll design an accessory and yarn color from scratch. We don’t know what it is going in because we make all those decisions together during the course of the workshop!

Over three sessions and some in-between homework, we’ll share stories, stitches, shapes, textures and colors for the design inspiration; choose a yarn base and color family and style; swatch! (of course); talk about flow and transition of stitch patterns, cast on and bind off; make bling decisions; discuss photography and consider naming options; and finally bring it all together with a pattern release and cast on party, where each participant receives their own copy of the pattern and enough yarn in our designed colorway to complete the project!

dyepot_greenThis project is highly interactive and participants will gain knowledge through lecture, demo, and hands on participation with guided swatching, testing, dyeing or other input into our garment.

No design experience necessary. Beginning and advanced knitters are welcome: this project is suitable for adventurous knitters that are able to cast on, bind off, knit and purl, and have completed a few projects on their own. Final pattern difficulty will be influenced by the group.


The nitty gritty details:

  • Timing: 3 sessions on Tuesday evenings: Feb 28 (6-9pm), Mar 21 (6-9pm), Apr 18 (6-8pm), plus in-between behind the scenes homework
  • Peeps: Designer Susan Gehringer of grist creative and Dyer Sarah Lukes of Seattle Sky Dyeworks
  • Location, location, location: The Nifty Knitter, Issaquah WA

Can’t wait to start? Call The Nifty Knitter (425) 369-3098 to sign up
Craving more? Learn about Susan at and Sarah at







tagline life is a creative adventure


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATradition meets technology in cachoeira — a sensuously slinky beaded lace shawl. I’ve been enamored with this very traditional lace pattern reminiscent of waterfalls and ice floes for a long time and was waiting for the right design to pop into my head and the right yarn to come along. When I started working with Bellatrista milk yarn, I knew it was a match!

The simple rectangular shape of cachoeira really showcases the lace and highlights all of the shimmering, glossy, drape of the yarn, and the beaded edging and twisted beaded fringe added just the right touch of bling and swing.

The gorgeous yarn is made from casein (milk protein). Its weight and drape make a beautifully glowing fabric that feels smooth and luxurious. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

cachoeira is suitable for an intermediate knitter or adventurous beginner. Once the pattern is established, it is not hard to memorize. The beaded twisted fringe takes a bit of time but is well worth the effort.

Grab the cachoeira pattern on ravelry.
Get the yarn online here: Bellatrista Milk yarn
See the shawl and yarn in person at the Bellatrista booth #304 at TNNA Winter Show (San Jose, January 21-23).

Thank you to our stunning model Lina Albernaz for making the knitwear look so gorgeous. Photos were taken on location at the beautiful Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville, WA.


tagline life is a creative adventure

Let’s get stitchy…

One of my favorite knitting activities is playing with stitches, modifying them, or unventing new ones. I also love exploring new yarn shops and locations. So, you can imagine how much fun it will be to teach some upcoming classes for the synapse shawl, paperlace shawl, and blocking simple shapes with blocking wires at The Nifty Knitter, a lovely new shop in Issaquah! Call The Nifty Knitter at (425) 369-3098 to sign up or get more info/materials list.



Wednesday, December 28, 6-8 pm.  
is an equilateral triangular shawl with a simple stitch that only looks complicated. synapse is suitable for adventurous beginners that are ready to take their next step into knitting with interesting stitches, it is also suitable for advanced knitters looking for an interesting stitch to add to their stitch vocabulary. In class, we’ll cover synapse stitch, Russian join, and binding off to preserve stitch pattern size.


paperlace stitch_closeup

Wednesday, January 11, 6-8 pm.
paperlace is a triangular mesh shawl that is suitable for adventurous beginners that are ready to the plunge into lace knitting; it is also suitable for advanced knitters looking for a rhythmic project for knit night or tv knitting. In class, we’ll cover mesh stitch, Russian join, and optional fringe.

paperlace looks great in fingering or dk weight yarns, solids or gradients; check out the paperlace ravelry page for yarn ideas.


blocking simple shapes with blocking wires instagramcapture_dc86fe9d-dba6-4510-ab1a-921ad8dd816f

Wednesday, January 25, 6-8 pm.
I love blocking! It is the finishing touch that makes a piece come together and using blocking wires can make the process easy and fun. In class, we’ll demo how to wet block a simple rectangular or triangular shape (like the paperlace or synapse shawl) using blocking wires including how to run the wires through the piece, shaping and measuring, pinning, and drying. Then together we’ll do a hands-on dry version of the process using participants’ work so everyone can get the feel of using the wires in class and knowledge of how to complete the process on their own at home.

Call The Nifty Knitter at (425) 369-3098 to sign up or get more info/materials list.

tagline life is a creative adventure



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s always wonderful to gather together with friends and what better way to celebrate friendship than sharing yarn and knitting together!

We started by raiding our stashes for odds and ends of worsted weight yarn and put those scraps and scintillae to good use!

I designed a quickie fingerless mitt pattern that we could all follow [get the scintillae pattern for free on ravelry].

We had fun experimenting with cast on techniques, making colorful and subtle stripes, using favorite stitches, and planning for some fabulous embellishments to add later [check out the than 5,000 “Applique/Embellishments” in the “Components” category on ravelry].

Some of us started matchy matchy mitts and others mixed it up with lots of colors and stitches. I haven’t used much fun fur or eyelash yarn in the past, but I just couldn’t resist! Of course, then we needed matching hats 😉  We got off to a good start on our projects and had a splendid afternoon together!

craving more? check out or my e-patterns on ravelry

tagline life is a creative adventure

out & about

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADesigning, writing, knitting, and researching (yarn & wine & food!!) is fantastically fun but it can often be a solitary occupation. It’s so nice to get out into the world and meet everyone.

We’ve got a lot of fun events in October including knit & sip (winery events), book signings & trunk shows (yarn shop event) and a fiber festival.

If you’re near Seattle/Woodinville, Monroe, Portland/Dundee, or Chehalis during October: come on out–we’d love to meet you in person!

knit & sip toriimor_wine_on_barrels_web
Pinot noir is one of our favorite wines for fall. It’s perfect with soups, stews, and holiday meals. Come knit & sip with us at Torii Mor (one of the wineries featured in Northwest knits & eats)! We’ll be in Dundee with special guest Veronika of YOTH Yarns on Sunday, Oct 2, 5-8pm, and in Woodinville on Thursday, Oct 20, 5-8pm. Check out the Torii Mor web site for directions and our events page for more info.

fiber festival fiberfusion_logo
There’s nothing quite like a fiber festival in the fall. The air is crisp and all that woolly goodness is just waiting to jump right into my knitting bag! We’ll be at Fiber Fusion Northwest at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe on Oct 15-16 (Sat 9-6, Sun 9-4). Check out our events page or Fiber Fusion‘s web site for directions and more info.

book signing and trunk show eweandi-360px
On Sat, Oct 22, 1-6pm, come on out and help us celebrate Black Sheep Creamery (cheese and yarn featured in Northwest knits & eats) and Ewe & I yarn shop’s first year in their historic Chehalis building. We’ll have books, yarn, and lots of samples to try on. The shop has plenty of fun planned, check out Ewe & I or our events page for more info.

tagline life is a creative adventure

coast kal casts on Sept 1

coastcoast //kal

Keep summer memories alive with a warm shawl for the cool nights of autumn. Join us in a knitalong of the ‘coast’ shawl from Northwest knits & eats in gorgeous YOTH Yarns Little Brother.

The nitty gritty:

  • We cast on September 1 both live and online.
  • Special discounts on e-book and yarn.
  • Lots of great info and comraderie in the YOTH Yarns ravelry group coast kal thread.

…and the deets:

Gather materials now 

gristcreative_logo_gristochre_large YOTH Yarns Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Cast on Sept 1

  • join us in person for the Northwest knits & eats [knit 1. sip 1.] event at Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Woodinville, WA (more info on the grist creative ‘events’ page)
    • books and a selection of yarn will be available at the event
    • wonderful Alexandria Nicole Cellars wines will be available
    • lots of fun folks will be there!
    • there may be a special surprise guest
  • join us online in the coast //kal thread in the YOTH Yarns group on ravelry

See you soon!

tagline life is a creative adventure