My current work in progress:

Benedict, designed by Michele Wang, knit from Rowan Softknit Cotton in the Cocoa colorway, on a U.S. size 6 and 8 needle.

Archives for June 2003

Yeah, It’s Done

In spite of feeling ill, going to work and surviving the Meeting That Would Not Die, I did indeed manage to finish Roscalie yesterday.

Hey Joe! Did I beat you? Did I? Huh?

I know. It’s not a contest.

Here it is, in all it’s splendour, complete with buttons, which arrived in the mail on Monday.


It is, of course, too big for me. As some of you may recall me mentioning a while back, I ordered the size medium. The cardigan kit comes with the patterncard for the vest, with an addendum to turn it into the cardigan. The addendum is for one size only — the size you order.

So I was pretty much stuck with knitting the medium. I suppose I could have contacted Virtualyarns and asked if they would send me the adjustments for a smaller size, but I’m lazy.

Looking at the photos of the original designs in In the Hebrides, where Roscalie was first published, I see the cardi looks pretty oversized on the model there. I’m not overly concerned anyhow.

But still, I need to remember: “I am a small, I am a small, I am a small.”

Lucy News

Lucy’s favorite new toys: wadded up paper napkins. She likes to have two in play at all times. When I got home from work yesterday, both of them were placed neatly beside her food dish.

At night Lucy sleeps on my bed. She carries her napkins in, one by one, and places them on the bed before she settles down for the night.

(Note: I do replace the napkins from time to time with new ones!)

I talked to Lucy’s former foster mom, Barbara, last weekend and told her how well Lucy has adjusted to her new home. I do notice a change in her personality in the four weeks since I got her. She’s less needy and desperately affectionate, and seems much more confident and independent, although she never strays far from me when I’m at home.

I mentioned to Barbara that I have the feeling that her former owners weren’t particularly nice to her. First time Lucy jumped on a chair, she looked at me as though she expected me to yell at her. Same with the bed. And other things like that.

Lucy’s former owners gave her up because they let her out and she was attacked by a dog. (I mentioned this before.) Her owners did not want to pay the $200 vet bill to care for her after this. They had a third party bring her in to a shelter and claim that he just found her.

This was the first I had heard that last bit, and for some reason it bothers me even more than the fact of the moron people not wanting to pay for her medical treatment. It bothers me that her owners let her down so badly. She is such a beautiful, loving, sweet, and well-behaved kitty, in spite of all that.

I have apologized to her for the stupidity and unkindness of her previous owners. I’m glad she doesn’t hold it against the human race as a whole and me in particular.

By the way, I started Roscalie on the evening of May 11, about an hour before Lucy came to live with me. It’s her first completed project. She seems proud, doesn’t she?


Mouse-along Update

There are some new photos in the mouse-along gallery — we’re up to four pages. Go see!

This blog is called on account of illness

Well, not really, but I feel majorly crappy, so I’ll be brief.

Here’s an updated photo of my second Roscalie sleeve.


And here’s the baby Dale:


A comment from the other day — someone mentioned problems with Dale Baby Ull splitting and it not showing good stitch definition in lace patterns and asked if I was having similar experiences.

It does have a tendency to split more than a non-suoerwash wool does, but doesn’t seem to bad to me. And I’ve no probnlem with the stitch definition.

Anyone else have any different experience with it?

And to close, here is my darling little Lucy.


June Contest

It’s that time again, guys and gals!

To enter the June contest, you must email me an answer to this question:

What do you think would be the perfect vacation knitting project?

Email suggestions to me via the “Contact Me” link in the sidebar. Everyone who emails me a suggestion by this Friday, 5pm EST, will be entered in the drawing to win this:


What I definitely will not be doing as vacation knitting!
A kit to knit a tiny beaded purse. Everything you need to complete the purse is included, even the needles. Knock yourself out.

Steeks for Arans?

Last week a reader asked abut the possibility of steeking an aran. I knew I had answered this question at some point in the past, so I went to Google, typed in the words steeks in arans, and my blog entry on the topic was the first result that came up. And I quote:

Now for arans, I always knit in pieces. There’s really no reason you can’t knit them in the round, but I can think of some good reasons why you wouldn’t want to.

First of all, it’s easier to keep track of your cable pattern if you’re purling back on alternate rounds. 99% of the time there’s no patterning done on the purl side of arans (except maybe for twisting some stitches). So you just knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Reason number two is that if I’m making an aran out of worsted or heavier wool, that’s a heck of a lot of weight to be dragging around on your circular needle. Puts a lot of strain on your needle, not to mention on your hands.

And the last reason, I think a heavily cabled sweater benefits from having side seams. It adds stability to the garment.

And there you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were.



Yeah, I finished the first sleeve and started the second sleeve. Lots of good weekend knitting during two movies: Girl, Interrupted, and About Schmidt.

The end is in sight!

Lucy is a big help.


A Sad Story

But with a happy endng.

Remember the photos of the buttons I showed you a couple of days ago? Hmmmm? I got my order in the mail Wednesday. Opened up the envelope and the order was all wrong.

The buttons for Roscalie were Celtic crosses rather than round buttons with Celtic knotwork on them. And the buttons for Beadwork were the right ones, but there were two fewer than I had ordered, with a note on the receipt saying that’s all they had in stock.

(It seems to me that sending two fewer buttons than ordered rather than contacting the customer is not a good thing. Maybe it’s just me.)

I sent off an email to the place, telling them I wanted to return the order and within an hour, got a phone call from the proprietor, apologizing profusely for the problems.

So I mailed back the buttons yesterday and will be receiving the correct buttons for Roscalie, and the correct number of buttons for Beadwork, in gold instead of copper (which I think will work just as well) because they had enough of the gold ones. And she ain’t charging me for the extra two Beadwork buttons.

Doncha just love happy endings? Sniff, sniff . . .


Still plugging away on the first sleeve.


I see Joe is ahead of me on his Donegal sleeve!

Estimated Start Date for Beadwork

I’m thinking I won’t start this until I com back from vacation in early July. When I finish Roscalie, maybe I’ll work full time on the Dale baby sweater.

June Contest!

Will be announced Monday. Lucy is thinking about it . . .


Q & A Day

More questions from yesterday’s comments:

Gail asked:

I’m probably an early intermediate knitter – I can follow pattern shaping, moderately intricate patterns, and things like stripes or mosaics. But I can’t even figure out how to start working on even simple colorwork – what do you recommend to get started? I’m pretty good at learning from a book, but would I be better off taking a class?

If you’re pretty good at learning from a book, maybe that would be a good place to start. I learned to knit from looking at pictures in a “how to knit” book. I was four years old and could not yet read.

But I know for some people, there ain’t nothing like seeing a technique demonstrated. Not knowing you, it’s hard to judge.

From Roi:

Question for the “Queen of No Swatching”: Is this true even when you are substituting yarn – like the Kimono Shawl you did in Koigu? I’ve been having trouble getting gauge, especially with lace stole patterns (but was OK doing the Kimono Shawl in Koigu using #6 as you did). I tend to knit tight and usually have to go up one needle size with sweaters; however, some lace patterns, like the Linen Lace Shawl (Euroflax Linen) in “Knitted Shawls, Stoles, & Scarves” I go up 3 or 4 sizes and then I don’t enjoy how the lace looks. Any comments would be appreciated.


I never, ever swatch for lace. I very, very rarely swatch for anything else. Even if I’m substituting yarn. I’ve been knitting for ages and can pretty much tell if one yarn is going to sub well for another. If it doesn’t look right to me, I won’t use it.

I remember years ago I taught a girl in my office to knit. After completing a couple of simple projects, she wanted to knit a cardigan from a Rowan book. She bought a heavy worsted weight wool for a design that called for sport weight, but insisted she had to use that yarn because she loved the color. She agonized and ripped out, agonized and ripped out for months before she finally gave up and admitted she couldn’t get the gauge.

I did manage to refrain from saying “I told you so” even though I did think it. Repeatedly.

Some people are just not trainable.

Lisak asked:

What is your favorite ribbing? I’m looking for one that is pretty straight and doesn’t add bulk, i.e. doesn’t pull in the knitting.

Well . . . I can’t say that I really have a favorite ribbing because I detest ribbing on principle. (How’s that for being helpful?)

If you want something that doesn’t pull in too much, try a simple k1 p1. Or do a garter stitch bottom band instead of ribbing. Or a facing.

From Beth in Richmond:

Thank you for the info concerning the difficulty of Beadwork. I love it and thought it woud be beautiful for one of my daughters. But I think I need to start with something more simple.(I’m just used to the more simple cardigans/pullovers). But I really want to get into the beginnings of things which you knit. *What would you suggest?? Have never done anything Aran or Fair Isle – boring huh……..Please just suggest a beginning project for the such.

My choice for an easy aran is Starmore’s Na Craga, from Aran Knitting. For a fair isle, try my Fearless Fair Isle. Anyone else have any ideas they wanna share?

Baby Dale

You get another photo today, just because I think it’s pretty.


Surreal Moment du Jour

I was in a meeting in our conference room at work yesterday and noticed that the framed photo of George W. was missing from the wall. (We have framed portraits of the Pres., the Vice Pres., and the Secretary of Labor leering down at us while we try to conduct business.)

One of my coworkers asked, “Hey, where’s George?” Come to find out, the portrait was removed because “we are getting an updated portrait.”

Aren’t you glad you glad the American taxpayers are footing the bill for new portraits of George W. for all government conference rooms? But hey! They are economizing. They are using the same frame for the new portrait.


Lucy is not amused.