My current work in progress:

1. Segel, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply Toes in the "Draco" gradient set on a 3.5 mm (U.S. size 4) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

To Mark Or Not To Mark

That is the question.

In the photo of my shawl in progress yesterday, you may have noticed that I have the pattern repeats marked with stitchmarkers. I have since removed the markers.

WIP021710 240x160 To Mark Or Not To Mark

Most of the time, I prefer to knit lace without stitchmarkers. I put them in this project, because I took it with me to work on at the yarn shop on Monday. I knew I’d be talking to people while knitting, picking it up and putting it down mid-row, etc. In that scenario, I’m happier having markers to keep me on track.

But when I’m knitting in solitude (and this is how most of my knitting is done), I’m happier without the markers. I find that for me, they get in the way of the “big picture” of the lace. I also find it annoying to have to slip them as I knit. Even more annoying — when a marker is in the middle of a maneuver that requires that I move the marker one stitch to the left or right. Know what I mean?

Take a look at this chart:

chart021710 To Mark Or Not To Mark

This is an all-over lace pattern that has a 6-stitch repeat, which is shown on the chart with dotted lines. The even-numbered rows are not shown, because they are all simply purled.

Note that on Row 5 of the chart, the beginning of the repeat comes in-between a yarn-over and a double decrease (sl 1, k2tog, psso).

Okay, you start working Row 5 — you have three stitches before your first repeat marker, right? The chart tells you to knit 2, yarn-over before the marker. But you still have 1 stitch left before the marker. That’s because the yarn-over makes your third stitch before the marker, and that 1 stitch is part of the double decrease on the other side of the marker — that “sl 1, k2tog, psso” maneuver takes up only 1 stitch on the chart, because there is a yarn-over on each side of it there to compensate for those 2 stitches that are decreased. But because it is in the middle of a pattern repeat, you have to move your danged stitchmarker one stitch to the right before every repeat.

Of course, if you think ahead, you can make this move on Row 4 — as you purl across move each marker one stitch to the left (left instead of right because you are on the back side of the work, going in the opposite direction).

Still, I prefer to do away withe the markers entirely.

Lucy sez:

Lucy021710 240x174 To Mark Or Not To Mark

“I’ve got my eye on you!”

A LYS Visit and a Contest

Hey, guess where I went today?

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If you said Fibre Space, you are right.

Fibre Space is a new-ish (opened last summer) yarn shop in my hometown — Alexandria, VA. And I finally made time for a visit. It’s located on North Fayette Street in Old Town. Great location — there was plenty of street parking within a block of the shop, and there is a Five Guys across the street. icon biggrin A LYS Visit and a Contest

Here are a few images of the shop. The street view:

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They just decorated their front window for the holidays:

fibrespacewindow112409 240x180 A LYS Visit and a Contest

They have excellent taste in the books they have for sale:

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They have a great classroom off the main room:

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And they’ve got lots of yarn!

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The owner, Danielle, kindly allowed me to photograph her behind the counter:

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I’ll be doing an event in conjunction with Fibre Space in a couple of months (more on that next week) so it was about time I stopped by to check out the shop.

A Contest!

Y’all remember that I did a sock design for the Dye Dreams Four Seasons Sock club — right? What you may not know is that the lovely ladies at Dye Dreams have also started a Four Seasons Mitten Club — and they asked me to do a mitten design for the first club offering — the winter mittens.

And I need your help.

I’ve created the mitten pattern and love it but I have one problem — I can’t for the life of me think of a good name for the pattern. Here’s the mitten design:

mitten112409a 240x226 A LYS Visit and a Contest

Another view:

mitten112409 214x240 A LYS Visit and a Contest

We want a winter-themed name. Any ideas?

Leave your suggestion for a name in the comments to this post by noon eastern time this Sunday, November 29. We’ll pick a name from the suggestions and the person who suggested the winning name will win a kit to knit the mittens!

Lucy sez

lucy112409 240x160 A LYS Visit and a Contest

“Those of us with floofy feet don’t need mittens.”

Philadelphia

I returned home from my trip to Loop in Philadelphia last night, totally exhausted but very happy.

If you find yourself in Philadelphia, don’t pass up a chance to visit Loop. It’s a great shop filled with wonderful yarns and friendly people. Craig and his staff are great.

I traveled up via Amtrak on Friday — and the train was actually five minutes early! Craig picked me up at the station, took me by my hotel to drop off my stuff, and then headed over to Loop to sit and knit for a while before the Friday night Stitch Party.

Yes, given the choice of resting in my hotel room for a couple of hours and hanging out is a yarn shop, I will always choose hanging out in a yarn shop!

I re-connected with some old friends and made a bunch of new friends at the Stitch Party — and even made some good progress on my knitting.

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Saturday morning I taught a class on toe techniques for toe-up socks, and in the afternoon a class on heel techniques, both of which went really well, thanks mostly to the fun, talented knitters in the classes. Either that or I’m a genius teacher. And I know better than that . . . icon wink Philadelphia

All too soon it was time to head back home. I’m always torn after a quick trip like this. On the one hand, I can’t wait to get home and see Lucy, but on the other hand, I’m having a great time and just want to stay and play in the yarn.

Some yarn did come home with me, though . . .

Carol stopped by on Saturday and gave me this:

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A skein of her gorgeous Black Bunny Fibers hand-dyed Alpaca Shetland Lace yarn — it’s 90% alpaca and 10% shetland wool. 1300 yards — enough for a good-sized shawl. The colorway is “Hot Lips” — isn’t it amazing? I’m having a lot of fun thinking about what it’s going to become!

I also acquired this:

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Two skeins of merino sock yarn from Colorful Yarn, which is local to Eastern Pennsylvania. I love getting local yarn when I go on these trips, and this yarn is really lovely. And in semi-solids! What’s not to like?

Lucy got a prezzie:

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I think she likes it. icon smile Philadelphia

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Hey, thanks for all the lovely comments on my Exonumist’s Shawl. I’m very pleased with how it came out, and I’ll get to work on finalizing the pattern since so many of you indicated that you want it — and thank you so much for that!

There were several questions in the comments about how I steam-block with an iron. Brace yourselves — I don’t use a damp cloth, I don’t hold the iron a couple of inches above the shawl. I set that sucker to full steam and iron the crap out of the shawl while pressing down on the “Shot of Steam” button, while stretching the shawl out with my free hand. My iron is a Rowenta, by the way, and it steams beautifully.

Okay, back to laundry duty!

The Exonumist’s Shawl

Last night I knit the rest of the edging on The Exonumist’s Shawl. Today I steam-blocked it with my iron. (Click on the photos to see the enlarged versions — much better detail in those shots!)

Shawl072309 160x240 The Exonumists Shawl

And may I just say that prednisone rocks? I’ve been taking pretty high doses of it this week (for the Viral Respiratory Crud That Would Not Die, Not Even With Masses of Antibiotics) and while I haven’t slept more than 2 hours/night for the past three nights, I did power-knit through what I consider the most arduous part of knitting a circular shawl . . . the edging.

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(It’s interesting to me that while these meds make me very loopy and unable to walk in a straight line, they only enhance my knitting ability. Go figure.)

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I will write up the pattern for this baby and offer it for sale. I may do so through the Ravelry Pattern Store, just to try it out. Stay tuned.

Shawl072309A 160x240 The Exonumists Shawl

I knit the shawl on a US 4 (3.5mm needle) using 3 skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino (more of a light fingering than a laceweight). My unblocked gauge was 5 st/inch. I used just under 1380 yards, but am conservatively estimating 1400 yards to knit the pattern.

The unblocked size is 45″ is diameter. Very lightly blocked (just using a steam iron) it is now 56″ in diameter.

So now I get to knit “full-time” on the Order to Chaos Shawl. icon biggrin The Exonumists Shawl

OrdertoChaos072309 240x160 The Exonumists Shawl

I’m using Dream in Color Smooshy for this, a fingering weight yarn, on US 5 (3.75mm) needles. If I am pleased with the results, I may sell this pattern as well.

Weekend Fun!

Tomorrow I am heading up to Philadelphia for a quick overnight trip. I’ll be at the lovely lovely yarn shop Loop for their Stitch Party tomorrow (July 24) from 5 – 8pm, then teach a couple of sock classes on Saturday. I visited Loop a few years ago when my first book came out and had a great time there, so I’m delighted to be going back.

Reminder — all scheduled events are listed on my Travel and Teaching page. Just this week, by the way, we added a trip to Knitty City in NYC in September. Knitty City is another great shop  I’ve visited in the past, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to return.

I think there’s one tentative event in late November that hasn’t been finalized yet, but other than that, I think my schedule is full for the rest of the year.

Lucy Sez

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“I must plan my catnip party since Momma’s gonna be away. This will be my party rug!”