My current work in progress:

Margaret Tudor, by Alice Starmore, knit from Frangipani Guernsey 5-ply in the Olive colorway, using 2.75mm needles.

Archives for May 2012

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

Remember how I said I was going to block my second Bernadette shawlette on Sunday? Yeah, that did not happen. Instead, I wound up my cobalt blue yarn and started working on Bigger on the inside.

I’ve made some fair progress on the time vortex lace chart. I’m more than halfway done with the top section.

Here’s a close-up of the lace:

As I mentioned on Sunday, I’m using Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Cobalt colorway for this.

If you are going to knit this project be forewarned — the Time Vortex Lace Decrease chart is not correct. It is a stitch short throughout. (The version I’m working from says it was updated on May 1.) At the end of this section, the chart shows you having 9 stitches left and you really have 10 stitches left. It’s fairly easy to work around the error — just do your decreases one stitch in on the designated rows and don’t mind that the stitch count is off by one. The final decrease section in the pattern is correct as far as I can tell — on the first row of this section you decrease 1 stitch and it correctly states that you have 9 stitches after this row.

While I didn’t block my Wollmeise Bernadette on Sunday, I did do so yesterday evening. I left it to soak in warm water with woolwash, then rinsed and squeezed out as much water as I could. I then . . . um . . . threw it in the dryer on very low heat for 10 minutes to get more water out. Then I just carefully laid it out without stretching. My round dining room table worked nicely for this:

Lucy did not notice me doing this and missed the whole blocking process. I think she’s a little miffed.

Another Bernadette

Last night I completed my second Bernadette shawlette, this one knit from Wollmeise 100% Merino Superwash, in the Pfauenauge (Peacock) colorway.

The yarn comes in a 150-gram skein and has approximately 575 yards. Before knitting, my skein weighted 160 grams. After knitting, this is how much I had left:

I used the same U.S. size 3 (3.25mm) needle as the Bernadette I knit from Kauni Effektgran 8/2. That Bernadette measured 52″ along the top edge, unstretched, and around 11″ deep at the center back. This one knit in Wollmeise measures about 56″ along the top and 12″ deep at the center.

I did not block the Kauni version — just carefully steamed it without stretching out the body. The squishyness of the garter stitch combined with the short rows make it sit nicely on the shoulders and sort of mold itself to the wearer. I am going to block the Wollmeise version because I know the Wollmeise yarn blooms nicely when washed. So it will be going into a warm bath of Soak shortly, and then carefully laid out to block.

Next Project

The Madelinetosh Tosh Sock that Lucy was inspecting in my last blog entry is indeed slated to be knit into Bigger on the Inside. So many of you guessed that — you guys are too smart! As soon as I saw the pattern,I knew I had to make it. It’s brilliant! The little TARDISes (TARDI?) are perfect, and I think the Madtosh Cobalt colorway is the perfect shade of TARDIS blue.

I’ll be starting that soon. I have some samples to knit for my classes that I’ll be teaching the end of next month at The Knitgirllls Super Summer Knit-together and I’m working on one of those right now, but they are all fairly quick knits, so I think I can talk myself into starting Bigger on the Inside and knit on that at home while knitting the samples as commuter knitting.

In other news, here is Basil’s mileage this morning:

And Lucy seems to have gotten herself into a tangle:

Lucy’s Day

While Lucy is a pampered kitty, she does work hard between naps.

When I get ready to photograph my work in progress, she is always on hand to inspect it.

(I’m more than halfway done with it at this point — maybe two-thirds done? I’m hoping I can complete it this weekend.)

That’s a stitch marker pinned in the middle of the shawl — marking the beginning of the short-row center section. It is there to make it easier for me to count repeats.

But back to Lucy: she also needs to inspect all new yarn that comes in to our home:

“What are you going to use this for, Momma?”

What am I going to use it for? Can anyone guess? Hints:

  • It is not my own design.
  • I have way more than enough yarn for it in the picture.
  • The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Cobalt colorway.

What do you think?

Needle Length

I was interested to read in the comments some discussion about needle length. some of you have problems using circular needles where the needle portion is short — like the 4″ needle on my 20″ circular. Samina said:

I’ve got some shorter Addis, including the first set of lace needles with the 4″ tips. I’m not terribly crazy about them & I have pretty small hands. It takes me a while to get comfortable with them & I always feel like I don’t have quite enough tip to grip. So much so, that I bought a set of the new lace needles with the longer tips.

And another commenter, Nicola, agreed that she too has trouble with 4″ tips.

Interesting, because I have fairly average, medium-sized hands and I love the 4″ tips. When I knit socks on two circulars, the best possible needle size for me is a 4″ tip on a 20″ needle. If the tips are any longer, they are not comfortable for me.

However, when knitting back and forth on a circular needle, both a 4″ and a 5″ tip is perfectly comfortable. A 6″ tip is a little too long for comfort for me.

I suppose it is a combination of hand size and knitting style to find the needles that are most comfortable for you to use.

Lucy sez:

“zzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . ”

She did have a busy day, after all.


Needle Love

I am making some progress on my second Bernadette:

As I mentioned before, I am knitting this on a U.S. size 3 (3.25mm) needle — a size that I have been using a lot lately. All of these fingering weight garter stitch shawls/wraps/scarves I am making have used this needle.

I’ve been knitting with my 24″ Signature Needle Arts stiletto point size 3.  Because these pieces are knit sideways, 24″ is more than long enough. In fact, I’ve been finding it too long. Because I have more sideways shawls in fingering weight yarn planned, I decided to get a shorter needle: a 20-incher.

For the 20″ needle, you need to get the 4″ needle tip (my 24″ needle has a 5″ needle tip), otherwise the cord is too short to easily maneuver.

As soon as I got my needle, I transferred my work-in-progress to it:

Much better! The 20″ needle is just right for working my sideways designs.

Just for fun, I had the needle monogrammed:

Did you know you have that option with the Signature Needle Arts needles? Very cool!

I’m just a bit over halfway done with this piece.

Blog Comments

There were a couple of comments on my last post that I decided to answer publicly. (Often I will email a response to a commenter.) First one:

Love Bernadette. Can it be made deeper in the back?

Good question! All of these sideways shawls that I have been making can easily be made deeper (or shallower). Or longer or shorter for that matter.


Could you publish a version of this that is not garter stitch but stockinette?

I could, but I won’t. This design would not work very well in stockinette. It’s the combination of garter stitch and short rows that gives the piece its character and drape.

And another:

. . . in an earlier post you didn’t seem to care for wollmeise (it was sock yarn)…saying it was string like, splitty, and liked to twist on itsel…though you loved the colors. Having never scored any of this yarn for myself…I don’t have an opinion. Has your opinion changed? If so what changed it? Is it worth trying to figure out how to best get on Sherry’s “good side” so she takes pity on my wollmeise poverty?

I vaguely remember the post to which this commenter refers. I think it was about my first experience with Wollmeise. It did seem string-like and was a bit splitty and it does tend to twist on itself. Yes, string-like while knitting (compared to a lot of the soft merino yarns I am used to), but it blooms beautifully when it is washed and blocked. Lately I’ve been having no trouble with splittyness, but I do use very pointy needles. Yes, it does tend to twist on itself a bit, but that is not a deal-breaker for me. The bottom line — it is lovely yarn with fabulous colors and I am happy to knit with it.

As far as getting on anyone’s “good side” to acquire it, you do know that the Wollmeise online shop is updated every week at a specific time, right? (Google “Wollmeise shop” to find it — there’s a version in English that tells you everything you need to know, and you can pay using paypal.) I’ve never had any trouble buying yarn directly from the Wollmeise online shop. Also, Sheri at The Loopy Ewe gets Wollmeise from time to time as well. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Ravelry to get notified when she has put some Wollmeise up for sale. And there is plenty of Wollmeise to be had via Ravelry de-stash, most of it at pretty reasonable prices.

This segues into another comment, excerpted here:

 . . . Why oh why do you very public knitters use Wollmeise in test or other knitting. It will just start another round of maniacal buying and people complaining about not being able to buy it. Claudia does not need any more business and there are untold numbers of indie dyers in Canada and the United States who could benefit from increased business . . .

Well, I can only speak for myself, not for other “very public knitters.” I took inventory. I have 219 designs listed on Ravelry. Only four of them are knit with Wollmeise. This comment reminds me of one I received 6 or 7 years ago in response to my saying in my blog that I was planning to knit from my stash for a while. That commenter declared that I’d single-handedly bring down the yarn industry and there would be “blood on my hands.” Well, that never happened. And I very much doubt that my knitting something with Wollmeise will cause an international frenzy.

I am knitting this design for the second time — the first time I used Kauni. (Kauni is not a North American yarn either, so I am surprised that I was not taken to task by the commenter for using it as well.)

In my books I used yarns that are widely available. The publisher, quite reasonably, demanded this.

But this blog is my own little empire, my personal space. I am not working for a yarn company or publisher here. I am working here as an “indie designer” and I am free to use whatever yarn strikes my fancy for whatever I happen to be knitting. And just as important — you are free to use whatever yarn you choose. Just as you are free to ignore my patterns (or laugh at them). If you want to support designers who use yarn from North American indie dyers only, I encourage you to do so. There are many many beautiful yarns out there. Use whatever yarn you want. And knit whatever you want. And I’ll do the same.

Lucy sez:

“I thought this was my blog.”