Fellow Fibre Friends – Jennifer Riester

Hey everyone! I did a guest blog for Of Grace and Stitches – check out her blog and her yarn🙂

Of Grace And Stitches

Welcome to another installment of ‘Fellow Fibre Friends’!  This week, we meet Jennifer Riester, who is a knitter and tech editor (ie, she edits knitting patterns.)  You can find her on her blog, Jen Knittng Around.

jenblog1 @jenknittingaround

I guess I’ll start at the beginning.

When I was a child my grandmother taught me how to crochet. Sadly, it never caught on with me. I did a lot of cross stitching and have had brief flings with scrapbooking. Fast forward to the summer of 2003, my best friend was pregnant with twin girls and for reasons that are still unclear for me I knew I had to knit for them. Quick note – I was completely unaware of the big surge in knitting at the time, it was a feeling deep inside me. I did not know anyone who knit and I really was not into the blog or internet…

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The Story of a Rhinebeck Virgin, pt. 1 – the People

I’ve rewritten this post so many times.  I’m not exactly sure why I’m finding it so difficult to come up with the right words but that might just be because there’s just so much to say and like the show itself, it’s an overwhelming experience.  I originally planned to divide it up into two posts, but I think after my first couple of stabs, three posts might be the way to go – too much??  Maybe, but it’s a big show🙂

I’ve had the best intentions of attending Rhinebeck for a number of years. But, it is within driving distance of where I live so in my mind it does not require advance planning.  So what happens is that it rolls around and my weekend is already packed full and I have nowhere to stay.  When my Instagram feed was full of beautiful yarn and fall foilage pictures last year I put my foot down and on January 1st booked rooms at a local hotel and invited my knitting friends.

The drive to Rhinebeck is about 7 1/2 – 8 hours for me.  We decided to leave on Thursday and do a little sightseeing in the area on Friday, hit the show on Saturday and then head home on Sunday.

We arrived at the Best Western in Kingston, NY late Thursday evening.  As we entered the lobby to check in the first thing we noticed was there were knitters everywhere!!!  They were hanging in the lobby and in the bar knitting away.  This is a theme for the weekend – it did not matter much where we went, there were always knitters.  It is like we descend upon the town and take it over for the weekend.  I feel for the locals who must really wonder about all these crazy knitters who come the 3rd weekend in October every year. Or, the poor, random tourists who have no idea what they walked into!

Funny story here, after we checked in and were in our rooms I was checking Instagram, as you do.  A non-knitting friend of mine from home had seen my posts from the day and commented that she could not believe she knew two people going to Rhinebeck (she had no idea the numbers that attend🙂 ) and online introduced me to her friend who was also there.  Said friend commented that she was currently knitting in the lobby of the Best Western, or was one of the people I had seen when I checked in.  That was definitely fun!

Before I launch into Saturday’s activities, I have to say it was the most perfect weather one could have for an outdoor wool festival.  It was sunny and cool enough to sport your knitwear but warm enough that you did not need a winter coat and not a drop of rain to be found.  I consider this a Rhinebeck miracle as I’m usually quite the weather curse.

I had read enough, listened to enough podcasts, and seen enough pictures to know that the actual festival would be totally overwhelming.  With that knowledge, I went with the intention of enjoying the people and the experience and, buying yarn when and where possible.  I was not interesting in stampeding for the Miss Babs booth or waiting in line for a mug from Jennie the Potter.  I was interested in spending the day with my knitting friends from home and meeting some of my internet friends IRL.  I absolutely wanted to see and touch the Miss Babs yarn and check out the pottery from Jennie but that was a secondary mission.

Words cannot express all that there is to see at the festival.  People of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds and all decked out in their finest knitwear.  I am not a sweater knitter and probably never will be so I chose to wear my 3 Color Cashmere Shawl.  I don’t remember wearing my knitwear in public and random people commenting on it but at Rhinebeck that happens all day.  The hot pink pop in my shawl was definitely an attention grabber!  While this might seem to breed a competition like atomsphere, it does not.  We all have a great appreciation of what went into each sweater, shawl, hat, etc.  And, I think as knitters, we know where our talents and interests are and so we focus on that.

During the course of the day I actually randomly ran into people I was hoping to see, another Rhinebeck miracle???  First I ran into Mary from Kino Knits and we were able to snap a quick picture.  Next I ran into my friend Laura who was from home but moved to Vermont earlier this year.  Late in the afternoon we also ran into another knitter from our LYS.  I coordinated meeting up with my friend Becky from the Knit Actually podcast.  We were both wearing pieces made from the same yarn so wanted to get a picture of our matching creations.  And then I hit the podcaster meetup where I was able to see Emily from the Knitting Butterflies podcast and meet up with Becky again.  I also got to meet Jen from the Commuter Knitter podcast, Claire from the NH Knits podcast, and I think a bunch more people but it was crazy at the meetup!!!  I hung out with Becky while she met some of her other listeners and we both met some podcasters and then we escaped.

I’ve been to other fiber festivals and they all have yarn, sheep, and knitters decked out in knitwear but there is definitely something different about Rhinebeck.  It’s almost like the knitting world stops for a weekend to honor the craft they love.  There is such a sense of joy and excitement as you wander through the tents and buildings.  There are long lines everywhere but no one is impatient or angry.  There are masses of people all looking at the same yarn but no one is trampled and I never saw anyone pushing or shoving or stealing yarn from anyone.  I think it’s easier to cart-jacked on Etsy then in person at Rhinebeck. Especially with all that is going on now in the US, it was extra nice to spend a day with people who were genuinely happy and spreading nothing but knitting goodness into the world.


Some Kino Knits Love

With any given luck, Mary and I are hanging out at Rhinebeck right now so while I’m gone here’s a little blog post I wrote for her🙂

I first started listening to the Kino Knits podcast about a year ago.  I quickly became a fan and worked my through the back episodes.  I also joined the Ravelry group so I could enter contests and keep up on all things Kino Knits.  When Mary put out a call for test knitters I was in!!

The first test knit I did was for the Rybka (Wee Fishie) pattern.  With Mary being in Africa, her e-mails often arrived early in the morning.  She sent out on the call on what ended up being a very snowy day at my house, perfect for settling in for a long day of knitting.  Note – this project did not take up an entire day of snowy knitting, unless I had made an entire school of wee fishies.  It’s a quick knit and I love that you can use whatever scrap yarn you have hanging around.  I think it’s cute on its own as a little gift or I could see knitting a number of them and making some type of bunting or mobile or other decoration.  I used worsted weight and it still came out in a wee size so using sock yarn would totally make them easy to use for decorative purposes.


I just finished another test knitting a pair of fingerless mitts for Mary last month.  The pattern is not released yet so I won’t go into a lot of details but here’s my brief preview.  They are designed for a long gradient.  I happened to have a lot of extra gradient yarn that I had intended for another project.  In the end, that turned out to be a bad yarn/pattern combo.  So I was happy to put it use in a much better yarn/pattern combo.  It was perfect for these mitts.  While I usually find mitts with sock yarn to be a slog, I felt this really kept moving with the pattern stitch and with the work of involving the thumb which was a little different than I had used in the past.  Keep your eye out for this one, especially if you love all the great gradients that are out there right now.

I love the Kino Knits patterns because they are easy, yet interesting and I always learn something new, which for me is the perfect recipe for a good pattern.  The Rybka used Judy’s Magic Cast on, a new to me cast on so it took me a few minutes to get that down.  She also uses a slightly different version of increasing stitches than I’ve previously used.  Even with all that I think it took me a couple of hours, at most, to knit up.  The mitts have a very interesting stitch pattern that was new to me.  Again, it’s a fairly easy pattern once you get it down but it’s nice to be doing something just a little different.  I think this is something you can see in all her patterns – she tries to make them just a little more interesting.  If you’re tired of knitting just plain socks, cowls, or hats check out her Ravelry store for something to spice up your knitting!!!

Exciting News!

Big things happening here at Knitting-A-Round!!!    I’m now offering tech editing services!!!

I’ve been searching for the right place for my skills and it appears that would be tech editing.  I had been thinking about it for a few months and then I saw a post from Joeli on Instagram about a course for Tech Editing (You can find more info here)  This solved my major hurdle – which was how do I hold myself out as a tech editor when I don’t have special training or education.

I’ll be talking more about these endeavours in future weeks.  If you are a designer in search of trying a tech editor feel free to shoot me a message.  I’ll be at Rhinebeck with business cards and a coupon code so if you see me and want one stop and say hi!


What’s on the Needles This Weekend

I don’t usually have themes for each month but it seems that will be happening again this month.  Last month was all about knitting love and this month will be all about Rhinebeck!!!!!!!!  I might be getting a little excited🙂

Traditionally, if you are attending Rhinebeck you knit a Rhinebeck sweater.  I don’t knit sweaters (although Joji Locatelli is really testing that theory with that latest collection of hers🙂 ) so I figured I wouldn’t worry about it.  It’s not like a have a lack of knitwear to bring with me.  But then, I went to the Loopy Ewe in July and bought some fun yarn to knit the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl and then Becky from the Knit Actually podcast bought one of those same colors and knit an amazing sweater shrug and has decided we need to get a twinning picture while we’re at Rhinebeck.  Did I mention that you end up with 501 stitches at the end of this?  And, there’s a picot bind off?  No, well, that’s what in store for me this week.

Ideally I’d like to finish by next Sunday so I have time to block it before it has to be packed. At last count, I’m at 15 rows left and 9 days (or 7 to my goal deadline, 9 to drop dead it has to be done deadline).  The yarn is by Knerd String and I am totally in love with it.  The depth and tonal qualities of the her colors has me falling in love with solids all over again. The pattern is actually a pretty fun knit and if I didn’t have a few other things I had been working on that also had deadlines I probably would be a bit further along.

Speaking of Rhinebeck, I’m going without a plan.  Crazy?  Dumb??  I’m not sure.  I know that what I really want to do is just soak up being there and enjoying hanging with my people.  Checking out everyone’s knitwear.  Meeting “friends” from near and far.  I’m sure I’ll buy some yarn but if I don’t get the freebies and I don’t get the show exclusives, I’m okay with that.  If you have any tips or suggestions feel free to leave a comment!!  And, if you’re going to be there let me know!!!



September FO’s

I was listening to a recent episode of the Knitting Butterflies podcast and Emily was talking about her totals for Stash Dash.  She finished a smaller number of large projects in comparison to Boston Jen of the Down Cellar Studio podcast who finished a large number of small projects.  It does seem that knitters fall into one category or another and if I’ve learned nothing else from these monthly FO posts it’s that I’m a small project girl!  So, let’s get to it!

First up – I finished my test knit for Becky from the Knit Actually Podcast.  I talked about this last week so won’t go into the details.  I love it and I keep it in my purse so I always have a coffee sleeve handy, especially with the cooler weather arriving (maybe, still pretty hot here in Ohio!)


Next, sticking with my theme of knitting love this month, I finished jar cover for a gift. One of my best partners in crime is moving this weekend, only 3 hours away but that’s much further than 5 minutes across town.  Of course, I decided a week before the going away party that I needed to knit something.  How else do we cope with feelings?

I had ordered (against my better judgment) more picture yarn from Artistic Yarn by Abi.  I swore off picture yarn after the snowmen socks but she came out with this totally cute panda yarn and my friend is quite the panda fan so I had to order it.  My thought was that it would make a good Christmas gift some Christmas but the move prompted me to get it out and use it now and to not wait.

I refuse to knit socks for anyone but me so I wanted to figure out something else I could make with the yarn.  I was thinking an ornament.  The picture is best worked over 60-64 stitches.  When I was searching Ravelry I came across the Americana Jar Cover by Jenn Sheelen.  It was perfect because it had the right number of stitches and was a manageable amount of knitting for the time I had.  The panda yarn came with a matching solid color for heels and toes so I used that to cast on and do the lace section at the top.  For this round of picture yarn knitting I went down to a size 1 needle.  I knit the snowmen socks on size 2’s.  I continue to understand the relation between gauge and needle size better the more I knit and I realized part of my problem might have been my needle size.

The pandas went much better.  Maybe it was the needle size, maybe it was just improved knitting.  I do know that I still really can’t adjust my tension which is usually a good thing but that is the suggested method for make the picture work.  Instead, I increase and decrease stitches in the green between pandas to make necessary adjustments.  Only having to do 2 repeats also was great.  It helped it seem like it went much faster!

Jenn just released some Halloween themed jar covers and I definitely want to knit those. The pattern was fun and I would love to get a jar and knit a bunch of them. She has versions in snowflakes, hearts, jack-o-lantern and the stars & stripes.  It would be a great seasonal decoration by switching out the cover each season.  My friend loved it and it was a great hit at the going away party.  She is not going to have much space where she is moving so I think this will provide a little bright spot in her world.


Funny note – I had bought a jar at the dollar store and it was a little wide but I got the cover on it.  The night before the party I was at a craft store and found the jar in the picture which is perfect.  However, the cover had stretched out and I had a bit of a panic.  But, yea wool!  I wet it down and laid it flat to dry and then slipped it on the new jar and now the pandas don’t look like they had botox!!

Last, while I love the finished object I did not love the process of this project.  A friend saw a pair of hockey skate baby booties online somewhere and asked if I could knit her a pair.  I found two patterns on Ravelry – one was $5.75 and the other was free.  I preferred the look of the paid pattern and while it called for beginner level crochet I went with it.  Now, with all the talk of #fairfiberwage I definitely understand paying for patterns and have no problem with it.  But, especially when the pattern is almost $6, I expect to have no problems knitting it and that was not the case with these booties. I pulled out a couple sections of the knitting because the pattern was not clear.  When it came to the crochet section (basically this was the skate blade) I asked my crochet friends and they could not quite figure it out.

I decided to take a look at the free pattern to see if I could take the best parts from each and make a final product that I liked.  From the free pattern, I knit the skate blade.  I liked it but it was very one dimensional so I picked up along the cast on edge and mirrored the pattern, adding a few rows for the fold, and then folded it up and sewed it together so it had a little bulk.  The only other change I made was using a 2 stitch i-cord for the laces (it was going to a little Penguin fan so the laces are gold) instead of a single chain crochet or just yarn.

And now, I have to scramble to finish my Rhinebeck shawl (sorry, no sweaters for me!) but 3 weeks from today is the big day!!!!

Cozy Memory Blanket

I feel like this month’s posts have all been about knitting love which, while I’d like to say was intentional, was actually coincidence.  But it probably is the best way to count down the time to Rhinebeck where all things fiber are celebrated.  I’m so excited to be going this year and I will be driving with my best knitting pals from home and when we arrive I will be meeting with both IRL friends and online friends from near and far and I can’t wait!! p.s. did I mention it’s my birthday weekend????

Anyway, back to today’s post.  One of the friends I will be meeting up with is L who moved to Vermont last month and who was worked at my LYS on Thursday nights for the last several years.  We got an invite to a going away party and my mind started thinking that we needed to do something for her.  We are knitters so we must knit, right???  And that’s when I thought of all the cozy memories blankets and thought that was perfect.  I messaged 2 of our other friends and they agreed so the 3 of us set about making it happen.

G set up a secret Facebook group and we all invited knitters to join.  The task was simple – knit an 8×8 square and if you were so inclined make it something that reminded you of L or that L would like.  Drop the square at the store and give it to anyone but L and there was an assembly party at my house the night before the party.

Let me just say when set a task before a group of knitters look out!!  We ended up with somewhere around 37 squares, I don’t recall the exact number but it was definitely uneven.  A few tips if you ever decide to plan a surprise cozy memory blankets.  Leave longer than 24 hours for assemby (we were lucky we had some fast crocheters and were okay with uneven rows); try to really enforce the size rule (we had some real varied sizes) and keep better track of who gave each square (we started out okay but lost our way with that – I had hoped to give L a print out of the blanket with who made each square)

We met at the assembly party and first worked out a layout.  Had we started earlier, we probably would have whipped a few more squares to even it out.  But, we let it go (thanks Elsa!) and just crocheted them together the best we could with the numbers and sizes.  We were split on how we started the joining so on some squares you can see the join and others you cannot.  I’m not sure either way is right or wrong but we probably should have made a decision before we dived in.  There were basically 4 of us who did the assembly and that seemed to be the right number.  It was getting a little confusing on who had what and what was being stitched to what so with more people that would have added to the confusion.  In the end we got it all done and were able to give to her at her party.  I’m sure she will never actually use it (honestly, it’s a bit unwieldly with the various weights and textures of yarn).  It’s definitely not washable but she will always have the memories of the knitters of RCS.  She loved it and was able to identify a pretty high number of squares, proving as always, that we knitters have our colors, etc. and those that work at our LYS really get to know their knitters.  My square was made of yarn that she helped me picked out for a poncho I made and a light purple bulky Lopi because L loves purple and crunchy yarns🙂

Here are a few pics – enjoy!!!