*This post may contain Amazon Associate links, read about what that means here*
I know that I still need to complete the finishing construction on my Opal Tank, but I just had to start the Summer Slip Tee so I can wear it this yet this summer!
Knitatude. One of my very favorite designers, she designs fantastic beginner knits that are stylish and fun to knit, what’s not to love? Oh, and she knows how to work the social media game, her instagram is killer. If you are new to knitting, I highly suggest you follow her – actually, even if you are a knitting pro you will not be disappointed!
Truboo by Lion Brand in Seafoam. Truboo is very similar to Coboo, and I love them both. Where Coboo is 50% cotton and 50% rayon from bamboo, Truboo is 100% rayon from bamboo. It’s a slippery devil. I wouldn’t recommend using aluminum needles with Truboo. I changed my needles after casting on because my stitches kept slipping off!
So far, the Summer Slip Tee is a fun and fast knit. The first part of the pattern calls for stockinette in the round. To adapt it for Portuguese knitting and make it knit up even faster –I’m doing it “inside out”–purling every round. I’ll turn it “right side out” further into the pattern where it changes to flat knitting.
Hope your summer WIPs are knitting up nicely! Drop a picture in the comments, I’d love to see ’em!
*This post may contain Amazon Associate links, read about what that means here*
I’m ALMOST finished with my Opal Tank. Woot! I mean, except for the nasty business of sewing the side panels together (I’m just not much of a sewer). And then there is the dreaded weaving in of ends. I hate weaving ends in. I still have a bralette I finished 6 months ago that JUST needs the ends weaved in. Ugh.
I’ve talked about how much I love my knitting pin(s) here, but another thing I’d have a hard time living without is my little knitting notions bag. I have my little scissors, stitch markers, tape measures, knitting gauge measurer, counter, pens, crochet hook…the list goes on and on. I used to keep all of that on my knitting table, but I rarely knit at my knitting table…it’s more of a surface to keep yarn (see image 🙀).
It just makes so much more sense to have it in a portable bag. Check out this cute notions bag if you are in the market!
*This post contains Amazon Associate links, read about what that means here*
Today’s blog post includes a brief history lesson. Wait! Wait!! Don’t go! It will be fun, I promise. Okay. Maybe not fun, but you might just learn something, and when has that ever been bad? Join me in a mini-exploration of an accessory that makes Portuguese knitting stand out– the knitting pin.
A brief history of Portuguese knitting
Fun fact, Portuguese knitting did not originate in Portugal! The knitting style is thought to have originated in the middle east around 10 centuries ago. Portuguese knitting is also known as Incan, Andean, Peruvian, or Bosnian knitting. The purpose of a knitting pin is to keep even tension in your working yarn so your stitches are even. Though not necessary for Portuguese knitting, using a knitting pin it is more comfortable than tensioning the yarn around your neck. For knitters that use them, the knitting pin becomes an integral part of the knitting process. For a more in-depth look at the history of Portuguese knitting, check out the book “Portuguese Knitting: A historical & practical guide” by Rosa Pomar.
Benefits of using knitting pins
The main reason to use a knitting pin is to NOT have yarn sliding across your neck on a hot summer day. Yuck. If you’re thinking of trying Portuguese knitting, tension the yarn behind your neck before you buy a knitting pin (or make your own). Don’t judge the style based on the yarn around your neck though.
What are knitting pins made of?
The knitting pin can be as fancy or as simple as you desire. I started with a simple safety pin –doesn’t make for the smoothest of knitting– but it works in a pinch. You could make your own knitting pin from a safety pin and a paperclip if you want to get real DIY.
The traditional knitting pin is essentially a safety pin with a hook-like these. They are great to pin to your knitting bag or put in your notions container. I have one in each of my project boxes so if I find myself without my favorite pin I at least have a backup.
What is a magnetic knitting pin?
My personal favorite! These are a game-changer. They are like the iPhone of knitting pins – flashier, fancier, pricier, and frankly just work better. I’ve mentioned Andrea Wong before, she is the godmother of modern-day Portuguese knitting. As she tells it, one of her students didn’t like how knitting pins put holes in their shirts –understandably– so they designed magnetic knitting pins. And everyone collectively said, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?”. Some people are just born a little ahead of the rest of us. Anyway, this is where knitting pins get really fun. The magnetic knitting pins come in all different designs, if you can think of it someone has probably already designed it. A quick search of Amazon found these beauties – a Llama pin, Dragonfly pin, and Mandala pin – that I’ve already put in my cart. Don’t judge.
There is another reason knitting pins are so cool – I haven’t mentioned it before because I’m trying to be sneaky. But really, it’s because I’m writing a whole post on it. Here’s the teaser. Portuguese knitting makes stranded color knitting EASY. All you need is a pin for each color (or a double pin like my homemade one) and enough room on your chest to pin each of them. Boom. Ready to Intarsia the shit out of a hat. The yarn stays in place, doesn’t get tangled, and it is magical. If you knit with multiple colors – or would like to try – learn to knit Portuguese style with one color and stay tuned for more.
Do you use a knitting pin? What’s your favorite kind – DIY, magnetic, or old-school? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to hear about your knitting pins!
*This post contains Amazon Associate links, read about what that means here*
Today I’m introducing the first of many knitting works-in-progress (WIPs). I’ll sprinkle these mini-posts throughout my blog, like adding a pinches of red pepper flakes to pizza.
The opal tank
The Opal Tank was designed by the amazing Two of Wands. You can find her website here and her instagram here. I’m obsessed with her classic, versatile pieces.
Coboo by Lion Brand Yarn in silver. For once I decided to use the same yarn as the designer for a pattern –although I was a little worried at first since I bought the yarn without feeling it. Once I got my hands on it all worries were gone because Coboo is sooo soft and drapes beautifully. I won’t deny it, when I first started knitting I thought to use super soft yarn – my favorite kind – you had to spend mucho dollars. Happily, I have found several Lion Brand Yarns that are so soft and fun to work with–my wallet will be happy for a while.
I’ve been working on the Opal Tank for about a month – off and on in between other projects of course. I’ve finished the front section of the tank. The Opal Tank is knit flat in two sections, then seamed up the sides and top of the straps.
Since it is stockinette, I’m flying through the tank top and hope to have it done in another week or two. It’s going even faster with Portuguese knitting since every other row is straight purling (which is so fast).
What summer project are you knitting right now? Drop a picture in the comments, I’d love to see it!
Something I like to do while I’m knitting outdoors is contemplating what to do in my gardens. Truth be told, I actually like to contemplate what I’d like to do in my gardens more than actually working in them. It’s not that I don’t like gardening, I do. I just like to sit with my feet up, leisurely knitting, sipping a glass of wine, admiring pretty flowers more.
I vowed this year I would not let the herbs I worked hard planting go to waste. Although, as far as my herbs go, the chamomile, dill, and cilantro were all volunteer plants from last year – so hard work may be stretching it!
I’ve tried making pesto with different herbs but it takes time, makes a mess in the kitchen (for me it does anyway) and after putting it in the freezer I forget about it for a couple of years and end up throwing it out. Totally defeats the purpose of NOT wasting the spoils of the garden. I need an easy way to save my herbs. (side note: my mother makes a mean pesto. If that’s your jam there is a surprise for you at the end of this post!)
Please join me in my latest endeavor as I try my hand at drying fresh herbs. I’ll share what is working for me and I’ll hopefully have some time-saving tips, because who doesn’t love a good life hack?
How do you dry fresh herbs?
Full disclosure, I usually research (re: google search) things REALLY well before I do them. With drying herbs I did not. How hard can it be? The plants will literally dry once you cut them without physically having to do anything else! I’m also kinda lazy. Not lazy like I don’t do anything, but lazy in that I want the easiest way to do something (case in point: Portuguese knitting). So, naturally, what better way to dry stuff than in the sun?? I got out my biggest cookie sheet, harvested a boatload of chamomile flowers, and put them on the cookie sheet in a sunny spot. I had dried chamomile in no time.
Later I thought maybe I should read up on how to dry fresh herbs, so I found MYSELF a sunny spot and googled. Lo and behold you aren’t supposed to dry herbs in the sun because it bleaches them and they lose flavor and on and on. Now, I’m not convinced, but after that first batch, I stopped using the sun to dry my herbs (so much for my efficient, mass production plans!). My son loves chamomile tea, so I plan on conducting a scientific double-blind taste test and see if he can taste the difference in drying methods.
What is the best way to dry herbs?
There are a few different ways to dry herbs that don’t involve ruining them with sunlight (still not convinced). Here are the google approved ways to dry herbs starting with my least favorite.
I don’t have a dehydrator. I don’t need another appliance taking up space on my kitchen counter or stuffing it in what little cabinet space I have. Next.
This is almost as fast as the sun. I’m not sure it works with all herbs, but I tried it with chamomile and mint and both turned out well. Heat the oven to about 100º-125ºF. Place the herbs in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Pro tip: Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper to make transferring the dried herbs easier. Check on the herbs hourly, flip them over, move them around. Chamomile takes about two hours to dry completely, mint about four to five hours.
Lay flat to dry
If you want to dry your herbs el naturale without artificial heat, this is a solid option. Laying the herbs flat to dry gives you an opportunity to make them into pretty arrangements for the ‘gram. This method depends on how many flat surfaces you and/or your family are willing to give up for the cause. My family was willing to give up exactly zero flat surfaces. Hopefully, you have a bigger kitchen than I do or live with nicer people. (Just kidding, they’re great, our counter space is very limited).
Winner winner, vegetarian chicken dinner. Save space! Make cute little bouquets! Looks pretty hanging from a pergola! Plus, I have an old roll-top desk my sister gave me that I’m just itching to turn into an herb drying/hanging/storage station. Stay tuned for that.
How long does it take to hang dry herbs?
Factoring in the humidity during summer in Nebraska, It’s a minimum of 10 days for mint to dry. Chamomile, cilantro, thyme, and lavender dry after about a week. Nasturtiums (the flowers, not the leaves) seem to take the longest, almost two weeks. If you have a place inside to hang the herbs they may dry faster than outside. I like working outside, so I loosely tie small bunches in paper lunch sacks or hang them in my enclosed greenhouse.
On to the next phase…
There you have it. I finally decided HOW to dry my herbs. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to store and use the herbs once they’re dry. I’ll bestow my knowledge on how to store dried herbs soon.
How do you keep your garden harvest from going to waste? I’d love to hear what works for you. Leave a comment below!
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. Here is Marjorie’s Marvelous Pesto. The recipe calls for basil, but works well with cilantro and mint too!
I first stumbled across Portuguese knitting in a Craftsy class taught by Andrea Wong (who is THE person apparently when it comes to Portuguese knitting). I was trying to knit faster because I am impatient and impulsive and had 10 knitting projects started. I kept getting bored before I finished a single project simply because I was sooo very slow. I’d heard that continental knitting was faster, but I just could not get the hang of it. I love knitting – I really do – but it really tests my patience. Almost as much as my 13 year old.
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty in this post on HOW to Portuguese knit – but leave me a comment if you are interested in something like that. In this post I want to tell you why I LUUHHRRVVE Portuguese knitting and how much I want everyone to try it. Especially all of you impatient, impulsive, ADHD types who have given up knitting or don’t feel successful. I feel you, I am with you – i am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together – TRY THIS.
How do you knit Portuguese?
OK, bear with me here. I am a tactile learner and I have to teach by showing/doing. I’ll try not to confuse…it really isn’t as hard as I’m going to make it sound.
The set up
Cast on with whatever method you like then holding your left needle (with the cast on row) in your left hand take your yarn and put it around the back of your neck (I’ll discuss other options below). Set the ball of yarn on your right side. Side note: I’m right handed so I imagine for left handers you do the opposite of my directions. I can’t quite wrap my brain around it…I am sorry. You will guide the yarn from the ball in your right hand (looped however you like). Your neck keeps the yarn tension even so your work doesn’t look sloppy – a big problem I had with continental.
The knit stitch
With the working yarn coming over the top over the right needle (this will look and feel weird) insert the right needle into the loop on the left needle KNITWISE in FRONT of the left needle. Use your left thumb to “flick” the yarn near your left hand over the right needle, move the right needle up through the loop and then behind the left needle and drop the loop off the left needle. Easy Peasy. But not as easy as the purl stitch!
How do you purl Portuguese style?
This is the BEST PART. The purl stitch is literally a flick of your thumb. With the working yarn coming from underneath of the right needle, insert the right needle into the loop on the left needle PURLWISE in front of the left needle. Flick yarn over the needle with your left thumb, pull it down through the loop and drop off the left needle. That is it.
I have begun transcribing the patterns I’m going to knit to be purl-centric just to utilize this timesaver! If you are knitting in the round and it is stockinette, just purl every round instead of knit then turn it right side out when you are done!
If I have utterly confused you I apologize and offer this video tutorial by VeryPink Knits as a peace offering.
What is a Portuguese knitting pin?
It only took about five minutes of practicing Portuguese knitting to know I needed a knitting pin. The yarn sliding across my neck gave me the heebie jeebies. I have to take the tags off of all my shirts – I just can’t stand scratchy or itchy things on my neck. Or yarn, apparently. Any kind of pin would do – even safety pins – but traditionally knitting pins are decorative and mean something to the wearer. Jill’s Beaded Knit Bits on Etsy has amazing magnetic knitting pins. I like the magnetic ones because:
they are super duper strong, they will hold through all your winter layers.
they won’t put a hole in your shirt like a traditional pin
they are quick to put on and take off
Although more often then not I forget to take it off and go grocery shopping. Which is another reason I like it so much, I don’t look like a crazy person with safety pins stuck on my chest, I just look like a crazy person with a pretty decorative pin.
Is Portuguese knitting faster?
Yes! In my limited, purely anecdotal experience it is supremely faster. No scientific tests have been done, but I FEEL faster, and I’ve finished five whole projects since using Portuguese knitting. Including the pink sweater at the top of this post (my favorite lounging sweater) and this adorable, quick bralette by Sara Knits Co. – pattern here.
The down side of Portuguese knitting…
Alas, you should be aware that Portuguese knitting can be a little cumbersome. Not the actual knitting part, but the part where you are tied to your knitting. For example, you are ready to start your project. You sit down in your comfy chair, get the project situated, put the yarn thru your pin…and your wine glass is sitting on the kitchen counter. You can’t just put the knitting needles down and go grab the wine, you have to undo yourself from everything. On the bright side, if you have someone else around it is a great excuse to be waited on. But honey, I JUST got my knitting on, would you please bring me my wine? If they understand and fetch your wine (phone, snack, water) then you have yourself a keeper.
Have you tried Portuguese knittingor do you want to? Tell me more in the comments!
I am a lover of DOING THINGS. Making, Creating, Learning, Loving, Studying, Planning, Working.
Most of the time I have so many things going, so many projects that I don’t know where to start. So I start a new project. And such is the circle of life. On and on and on….
I LOVE being outside. At least during the 4 months of sunny, hot and humid Nebraska weather. The other 8 months are too cold, dreary, snowy, and/or rainy for me. So I make the most of the time I have and spend every possible moment outside – both working and relaxing. The rest of the year I plan everything I’m going to do when the weather gets nice.
Why don’t I move somewhere with better weather? It’s the question I ask myself every -14º F day in January. I think I’m afraid I would take it for granted and not appreciate the outdoors, warm weather, and everything that goes with it.
I want this to be a space where I can share my excitement for creating with people who have similar interests and are seeking insight about our shared passions. My blog is more meandering thoughts, experiences, and ideas rather than instructional tutorials or “how-to” guides.
A blog fits my ultimate “why” better than social media where people essentially HAVE to look at what I share as opposed to seeking it out. Sometimes – as I post my 100th butterfly picture or knitting project – I think “do I really want to FORCE everyone I know to see this?”
Plus, I feel TOO OLD for Tik-Tok… not that I FEEL old, I just don’t want to learn a new social media platform every freakin year. I’ll stick with Insta (@the_outdoor_knitter) and if I’m feeling really frisky I might even try a live video one day.
Ultimately, for those that take the time to read my blog, I hope to provide you with a little entertainment, a little knowledge, and a little inspiration. At the very least I have a time capsule to look back fondly on all the little things that have kept me learning and creating through the years.
Enjoy the journey through my random thoughts and endeavors, and please leave me some of your thoughts along the way.