My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for January 2007


Hey, it’s actually somewhat cold in Northern Virginia today (compared to earlier this week when we had record high temperatures). It was in the 20s (Fahrenheit) this morning for my commute. But because it is in the upper 70s to lower 80s in my office, I did not go nuts with the wearing of the knitted garb. Nothing like a 50+ degree difference between the outside and inside temperatures to really mess you up.

Shortly before I got home from work today, some power lines were downed accidentally by the power company a couple of blocks from where I live. When I got home I could see that the power had been out, but it was on then, and has been since then. But I just got an email from the city stating that a “warming center” in a local rec center had been established for residents in my area who were without power due to the accident. So I am feeling really lucky right now! Brrrrr! I hope they get the problem fixed quickly so the unlucky people without power aren’t displaced for too long (the email estimated that power would be restored around midnight tonight).

ETA: A couple of you pointed out that people without electricity would have a hard time getting the email. You can sign up for email alerts as text messages to cell phones too. So people with cell phones but no electricity would get ’em. 🙂

I subscribe to all emergency alerts in both email and cell text message formats. It’s been very useful from time to time!

I got some new toys in the mail yesterday that were timely indeed: a Knitpicks chart keeper and a Knitpicks options needle set. I had offered both these as gift suggestions (along with a lot of other stuff) to my holiday gift-givers, so waited until after Christmas/my birthday to order them. They took freaking forever to get here — but judging from the tracking information on the package, the postal service seemed to have sent it back once and it was re-shipped. Gotta love the postal service.

Anyhow, my chart for the Maltese shawl went on the chart keeper immediately. I like how you can stand it up and snap the little strap to keep the thing standing open like an easel, then unsnap it, close it and re-snap it to secure it.


While I no longer know anyone who thinks it is cute and/or funny to screw with my row counter or the magnetic row finder on my chart keeper (or to suddenly reach out and pull my needle out of my knitting, for that matter), I still like the idea of securing the chart within a portfolio. While it does not matter much for the 6-row chart of the body of this shawl, there will be other future situation where I will find this quite useful.

Ah, the options needle set. I saw Margaret’s set in person last autumn, and was quite impressed with the smoothness of the join and the flexibility of the cord, hence my desire for my own set. I ordered 40- and 60-inch cables as well, so I’d be set for large lace knitting.

As the body of the Maltese shawl is not terribly wide, I put the 4.5mm tips on a 24-inch cable and I’m happy as a clam. I had started the shawl on my Inox needle, but even after a bit of manipulation, the cable on the Inox needle was stiff enough to annoy me. I switched to a Lantern Moon ebony 32-inch circular, but the tip is a tad too blunt. The Knitpicks needle is perfect — nice flexible cable and very pointy tip. I was a tad concerned about the needle being too slippery, but the Kidsilk Haze is not what I would call a slippery yarn, so no problems so far. Ask me again if I use the Knitpicks needle with a slippery silk yarn.


Ah, the Maltese shawl! A bit more knitting on it was accomplished.


A couple of you asked if this was the project that L-B and I were discussing that requires 5 balls of Kidsilk Haze. Actually, no. While this does indeed call for 5 balls of Kidsilk Haze, this is not the project we were discussing. That’s a future “to-do.” 🙂

Carol B. asked:
Did you try the provisional cast-on from the back of the book where you tie the working yarn and waste yarn together, and pick up loops of working yarn from alternate sides of the waste yarn? It’s pretty cool, once you get the hang of it. And no unzipping of crochet loops!

Nope — I really like the crochet chain provisional cast-on. I like unzipping the crochet loops. 🙂

Sock Questions

Becky asked:
How do you get your two socks to match without knitting them at the same time? Do you count rows or just hold them up and compare? Do you sometimes have one come out bigger or longer than the other – what do you do to fix it?

I don’t count rows, unless I’m knitting a specific pattern, like feather and fan, for example. Then, of course, I count the number of repeats and make ’em match. If it’s a plain stockinette sock, I measure with a ruler. Doing that, I’ve never had any problem with mis-matched sizes in socks.

EricaLynn asked:
I have been wondering, how much yarn does it usually take you when you make knee socks? I have a skein of 550 yards that I’d like to use, but I am afraid of running out.

Well, it depends on the yarn. And the length and girth (heh! I said girth!) of the leg you are knitting the kneesock for. I’ve only ever knit two pair of kneesocks, so I’m not what you would call an experienced kneesock-knitter. Anyone else have any guidelines?

Lucy Sez


Momma caved and turned the heat on last night. But maybe if I fluff myself up and look chilly, she’ll turn it up a bit.

Knit Like a Victorian

(Does anyone else wonder what the Bangles are doing these days? Did anyone else get why I just thought of the Bangles?)

As a number of you guessed in the comments, the new project is from Victorian Lace Today. I think only a couple of you guessed the right project though — it’s the Maltese shawl. It’s pictured in “Marmalade” Rowan Kidsilk Haze in the book.

I’m making mine from Rowan Kidsilk Haze in a pale pink — shade 580. From my stash. 🙂 Using a 4.5mm needle.


You start with a provisional cast on.


After completing the center panel, you knit an edging all the way around it. I’m about one-fifth done with the center panel, so I’ve got a very long way to go.

It’s a fair simple knit, but with enough action to keep me fairly entertained. There is patterning on both the right and wrong sides, which I like — I find purling back to be intensely boring.

Check out the pretty stitch markers I’m using.


These were a gift, sent to me by a lovely online friend, and they are from the Beadmarkers Etsy shop. These particular markers were made specifically for lace knitting — they have smooth small loops, and small beads that don’t hang up on the fine yarn. Check out the Etsy shop for a wide variety of pretty markers.

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments on the Bohus. I’m so pleased with it, and am happy to see you guys like it too!

Lucy sez:


“When all else fails, strike a cute pose!”

Bohus Accomplished

Yesterday afternoon I seamed my Bohus. Here is Gwendolyn modeling the completed sweater.


To recap, this is the Bohus Large Lace Collar pullover. I knitted it from a kit purchased from Solveig Gustaffson in Sweden. Details on Bohus and ordering from Solveig are in this blog entry.


I am quite pleased to be done with the miles and miles of black stockinette stitch!

I worked a bit on my brother’s giant clown sock after that.


Thanks to everyone who weighed in on dk weight sock yarns. Some of the wool/nylon dk weight sock yarns mentioned in the comments:

Meilenweit 6 ply
Regia 6 ply
Happy Trails sock yarn from Wooly West
ONLine 6 ply
Briggs and Little Tuffy
Jarbo Garn Raggi

So there you have a number of excellent suggestions for heavier sock yarns that have some nylon content.

Speaking of knitting socks, Mary asked in the comments:
As a new reader of your blog i am wondering why you like metal sock needles. For those I know, the metal skacel or whatever are too slippery. I used brittany birch, bamboo (rarely), and now LOVE bryspun.

As a rule, I find metal dpns too slippery, particularly while knitting on my commute. I don’t want to lose a needle on the train.

The needles I’m using for this sock are hand forged sterling silver needles made by Celtic Swan. I first bought a set in size 0, but since then have been lucky enough to get them in both size 1 and 2, all acquired from The Loopy Ewe. Sheri doesn’t always have them in stock because they are labor-intensive to make, but you can email her to be put on a list to be notified when they are available.

Why are these better than other metal needles?

Because they are textured!


The ridges in the needle really hang on to the stitches and they don’t slide out. I love knitting with them — it makes mundane sock knitting feel special. I think of them as my magic needles. 🙂

I started knitting something else.


Can you guess what it is?

Lucy knows, but she is sworn to secrecy!


How Green Was My Egg

You know how your cat will often deposit a toy in his/her food or water dish after playing with it? Most mornings when I get up, I find a sodden paper ball in Lucy’s water dish and think “Awwwww, cute. But also slightly disgusting.”

This is what greeted me Friday morning when I got up and went into the kitchen:


Sometimes I really wonder what is going on in that little brain of hers. Yes, she is Lucy the Wonder Cat. She makes me wonder . . .

Perhaps she was jealous of the mysterious green thingie her daddy posted on his blog on Friday.

As he revealed today, that green thingie was an emu egg.


See his blog post today for a photo-essay on what we did with the emu egg.

But before we did, we let Lucy see it. She was intensely interested in it.


“This must be a do-it-yourself baby chick!”


“But how does it work?”


“Am I gong to have to hatch it myself?”


“And , um, what exactly is going to come out of it?”


Lucy has re-thought her desire for baby chicks.

So. On to knitting. I updated my sidebar to show finished objects for 2007 and at the moment there’s one pathetic little pair of socks listed. But soon there will also be a Bohus. Because I have finished the knitting on my Bohus and this afternoon will be seaming it! Pix tomorrow!


I started another sock, this in Opal 6 ply — dk weight. These socks will be for my brother, who has giant clown very large feet. Hence the dk weight yarn. I love him, but there are limits to what I am willing to do. Fingering weight socks for very large feet? Um, no.


I made him a pair of socks for Christmas out of Opal 6-ply, which he received with cries of delight. Since his birthday is in a couple of weeks, I figured I’d crank out another pair for him, good sister that I am.

Opal 6-ply is labelled as a 150 gram skein. I wound the skein into a ball on my ballwinder and weighed it. 148 grams. Yikes! I’ve been gypped outta 2 grams! But no doubt the weight varies depending on atmospheric conditions and the position of the moon, etc., so I wasn’t too concerned.

I then split the ball into two equal balls — took the ball and started winding it back on the ballwinder until it looked to be about half, and kept weighing the original ball until my new nifty digital scale read 74 grams. I love my new nifty digital scale — each ball weighs 74 grams so I’d say that’s a pretty even split. I want to be able to knit til I run out of yarn for each sock because, oh did I mention? My brother has giant clown-feet.

I’m knitting these socks on a 2.75mm needle and boy oh boy, does dk weight and a larger needle size make things go fast. Even when you are knitting huge socks.

The Opal yarn is wool and nylon blend, which is why I like if for guy socks. It does really stand up to a lot of machine washing and drying and it wears very well. I haven’t been able to find much in the way of heavier sock yarns (like dk weight) that have nylon in them — does anyone know of any others?

Speaking of socks, as many of you know, the shopping cart for paying for your 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club was re-opened on the Blue Moon Fiber Arts website. I was able to pay for my sock club registration Friday afternoon. And I’m looking forward to a year of rockin’ socks!

You Ott To Be In Pictures

Roseann asked:
Could you please tell us more about your Ott light? Does it help you knit with black yarn on size 2.5 mm needles?

To tell the truth, my natural daylight lamp is not an Ott light (as I claimed yesterday) but is made by Verilux. You can read more about the benefits of natural spectrum light on their website here. In a nutshell, with this sort of lamp “you will see greater contrast and truer colors with less effort and irritation. The result is just about the most visually efficient light possible.”

When you are knitting black yarn on tiny needles, this is a plus. I don’t really need it for the stockinette portion of my knitting, because that’s pretty mindless and I don’t really need to look at it while I knit. I often blog-surf while knitting stockinette. But on the row where I switch from stockinette to ribbing, I find it very useful to use this lamp, because I can actually see the stitches, and I am far less likely to mess up the ribbing pattern as I’m knitting the set-up row. You know, you put it down mid-row and then because you can’t see what you just knit, you carelessly screw up the pattern.

Where the lamp is really worth its weight in gold is when you come to seaming. Mattress stitch on tiny stitches in dark colors will drive you mad without a really good light.

Yes, the black stockinette is slow-going for me. I’m not knitting it any slower, it’s just that I grow bored with it so I’m putting in less knitting time each evening. I find that I always finish intricate projects more quickly than plain ones because I find them far more entertaining to knit, therefore I knit for longer stretches of time each day on them.

I laughed when I saw this comment from L-B on yesterday’s entry:
Hmmm…do we need a gabfest? 😉

See, I get much more knitting done when I’m on the phone with L-B, because she keeps me entertained while I’m knitting. And I don’t think it is too much for me to ask for her to stay on the phone with me until I complete the sweater. Do you?

So anyway, today I have a photo of something other than black stockinette:


Completed socks!

To recap, these are knit from Scarlet Fleece It’s Tubular 2X! sock yarn in the “Olives” colorway, available from Holly Spring Homespun, on 2mm needles.


Lucy would like to thank you for all the nice comments about her photo yesterday. Today she has consented to be photographed during a playful moment. we give you “Lucy With Orange Balloon.”


Rockin’ Sock Club 2007

If you are a member of the 2006 Rockin’ Sock Club, or pre-registered for the 2007 club, or if you read Cara’s blog today, you probably already know that the lovely ladies at Blue Moon Fiber Arts have been the victims of some serious stupidity at the hands of their bank. You can read the email from Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts on the Blue Moon website. The short story is that the bank they chose to process payments for the 2007 club figured they must be running some kind of scam because it wasn’t possible for so many people to be making payments for a sock club.

While I was not a member of the 2006 club, I did pre-register for the 2007 club in late 2006 and paid for it on January 1. Due to the stupidity and short-sightedness of the bank, my payment was refunded to my account yesterday. You can be darn sure I’ll re-submit my payment as soon as they open the Blue Moon site back up to accept payments. My understanding is that this will happen in a few days — they are now setting things up with a new bank, one with much smarter people in charge.

What strikes me is how idiotic the old bank is. It does not take much online searching for a non-knitter to discover how wildly popular Socks That Rock is. I love Socks That Rock — I’ve got more of it than any other sock yarn in my stash. I see it on blogs everywhere. I do hope that the bank manager who made the decision to shut down the orders and send back the money realizes his/her stupidity and spends a lot of time regretting this very bad decision.

And further to the bank manager I say:

Next time you need to do research about the popularity of an item one of your clients is selling? Instead of assuming your client is doing something illegal . . .

Just Fucking Google It.

Idiot. Sheesh.

(When I did a Google search on Socks That Rock, it returned about 2,570,000 results. When I narrowed it down by putting quotation marks around “Socks That Rock” I got 65,800 results. The majority of these are links to blogs where people are talking about the yarn and the sock club. ‘Nuff said.)