My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for September 2004

Kitty Bed Along!

Kitty Beds for Petfinder!

Thanks for such a fabulous response to my request. We’ve got ourselves a convoy — excuse me — a charity knit-along!

As mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post, I set up a Yahoo Group for this project — rather than send me an email, click on the cute li’l icon above (or in my sidebar) to go to the group and join up if you are so inclined!

I think this is going to be a great project, and will be very pleased with the outcome.

Fern Report

Yesterday I started knitting the frilly bits of Fern — how fun! It definitely makes it a lot more interesting, much more so than plain reverse stockinette stitch.

Here’s the left front in progress:


And a frilly bit close-up:



I’ve had a number of questions lately asking how I knit so fast.

Truthfully, I don’t think I’m really all that fast. I’m just persistent. ๐Ÿ™‚

I knit for half an hour on the train going in to work. I knit for half an hour at lunch. I knit for half an hour on the train going home. And then I try to fit in a couple of hours each night. More on the weekends.

And it all adds up to a lot of time spent knitting.

I’ve been knitting for a very long time so from sheer repetition, it has gotten faster. I don’t need to look at my work very often, so I can knit while reading or while watching television. And I’ve got a good memory, so I memorize patterns and charts easily, so I don’t spend time referring back to them much.

Every little bit helps!

And a hair question from Miz CurlsandPurls the other day:

Just curious, now that you are up to 188 days and counting without a haircut, how are you feeling? If it were me, I would be in need of a hairclip, or maybe just one of those big rasta hats!

How am I feeling? It goes like this:

Monday: I hate my hair. I hate my hair. My hair sucks. I hate my hair.
Tuesday: I love my hair. I love my hair. My hair looks great. I love my hair.
Wednesday: I hate my hair. I hate my hair. My hair sucks. I hate my hair.
Thursday: OH MY GOD! My hair is so horrific, I cannot bear to look it (averts eyes as she passes the mirror).

And so on.

My hair has multiple personalities. Or else it’s like a box of chocolates. From one day to the next, I never know what I’m gonna get.

Lucy never has a bad hair day.


A New Charity Project?

I got an email from Sara, the Outreach Coordinator at, excerpted here:

I am not sure how I came upon your page, but I am sure glad I did! The kitty bed gallery is adorable – and got me thinking. This November will be’s second annual Adopt a Senior Pet Month to encourage people not to forget older homeless pets when looking for a new friend. I would love to explore the possibility of getting some hand-made kitty beds for any senior cats adopted via in November.

As some of you may recall, it was through that I found Lucy. So of course I’m interested!

The question is . . . how many of you are interested too? Anyone wanna do a kitty bed charity project?

I am going to make a kitty bed using my pattern for the felted kitty bed and send it to Sara before November. L-B has volunteered to make one too.

I know time is short, so we can’t make a huge number of beds. Sara has told me that she’d love to get 10 beds for this event.

So . . . what do you think? Anyone wanna knit kitty beds to promote adoption of older cats? You have about five weeks to complete the project. If you want to make a bed but don’t have any feltable wool, I can probably send you some from my stash.

And if you want to knit a bed but don’t have the means to felt it, you could send your knitted bed to me for felting.

And of course I’ll come up with some sort of prizes. ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you guys think? If you can commit to making a bed by the beginning of November, send me an email here.

Any questions? Leave a comment!

Speaking of Charity . . .

I spent some time last week while the ankle was bothering me too much for action gearing up to start shipping the Critter Knitter prizes: making labels and coding them with the prize number, printing out the matrix that Liz sent me, and ordering shipping supplies.

So the first few prizes went out yesterday. I am emailing people as I send out prizes (if I have their email address) alerting them that a prize is on the way. They are being sent out in no particular order, and I’ll try to mail twice a week, as much as I can carry in a trip to the post office.

Fishy Fern

Okay, I’ve been perusing the Fern pattern and the directions to the armholes for the back and the fronts sure don’t seem to match to me. It’s kind of hard to figure this out, as the instructions for the fronts (with the ruffly bits) are quite detailed, but I’ve winkled out what is to be done for the side seam shaping from the morass of ruffly bits and it matches the side seam shaping for the back.

The instructions for the largest size for the back has you work 9 rows straight after the last row of shaping before you bind off for the armholes.

Yes, I am making the largest size of Fern, the size 40″. I made the smallest size of Lara, the size 32-34″. Why? I enjoy messing with your head. Heh heh heh.

Seriously, though, I want this sweater to be loose-fitting. The largest size has a finished circumference of 43″ with the fronts partially overlapped. I’ll be able to adjust the fit when I pin it closed anyhow.

Back to the puzzle at hand:

Okay, you work 9 rows straight after the last shaping for the back before the armholes.

On the fronts, you work 1 row straight after the last side seam shaping before the armholes. And the pattern informs you that the front now matches the back to the beginning of the armhole shaping. Huh? I don’t think so.

As written, you are directed to knit 92 rows to the armhole shaping for the back, and 84 rows to the armhole shaping in the front.

Unless I’ve completely lost my mind and slipped into a parallel universe where the pattern alters itself at will.

I did send an inquiry to Rowan about this and got the autoreply that pattern questions will take up to ten working days to be answered. We’ll see what they say.

What I did was to knit 84 rows to the armhole shaping in the back. Because my row gauge is slightly off (not unusual for me) the length of the piece was just right. Here it is.


There was a question yesterday about whether I thought Fern was an appropriate design for a beginner. Rowan rates it intermediate, and I tend to agree. You need to know how to do short rows and follow a lot of very detailed instructions. I think the ruffled edge would probably require some in-person explanation for a lot of beginners.

Thank you!
To Carolyn for this:


A “W” stitch marker!

Lucy is stll waiting for her Alpaca Silk catnip mouse.



We’re getting a great response to the kittybed project. I’ve created a Yahoo Group:

Subscribe to kittybeds
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If you’re interested in joining us in this project, please join the group. Thanks!


Whazzup on the knitting front?

Fern, from Rowan 36.


I’m using Shade # 835 in Rowan Kid Classic — a pretty purple. and so far so good — see?


Questions from the Comments

I am just wondering why you made the smallest size 32-34 if your
bust is 38. I think I remember you saying that. I am not trying to be mean
in any way I am just getting frustrated with knitting patterns and
sizing because I never know which size to make and I am wondering why they
would make a size 32-34 that is not meant for a 32-34. ๐Ÿ™ How can you
really know which size to make to give you a good fit. Even though you
said you made the smallest size it still at least from the picture looks
big, well not very fitted at least. Just wondering if you can offer any
help on sizing issues with different patterns.

Good question!

The smallest size of Lara has an actual finished measurement of 40″ around. This is not an unreasonable amount of ease for a wrap sweater for someone with a 32-34″ bust. Yes, I have a 38″ bust. But my ribcage directly under the bust is 31″ around. I also have a small waist.

So I looked at the style. The size medium is 44″ actual size (as I recall). I thought that would be a bit too much to wrap around and pin.

The bottom line is that you need to look at both the style and the finished measurements and decide what suits you best.

The color I used is # 25010, by the way. But I wouldn’t call it orange. More of a deep salmon. My photo doesn’t accurately depict the color.

Another question:

I have an Aran question. How do you determine how much yarn you need
for an Aran when you are designing one? I can guesstimate for a plain
sweater, but I don’t know how to account for the yardage that the
cabling eats and I haven’t found a good book with that info. I’d like to
design an Aran out of my stash, so I only have a finite amount of yarn to
use. (Otherwise, I’d just overbuy at the LYS and either return or use
the leftovers in another project.)

The best way that I know of estimating yarn for an aran is to look at an aran pattern that has about the same depth of patterning as yours and guess-timate from that.

There’s a formula that says to allow about one-third more yarn (Is it one-third? Anyone know?) for an aran than a plain sweater in the same size. But I find that too vague — so much depends on the amount of cabling in your design.

I happened to have a boatload of Freestyle yarn, which was what I used for Liam. I didn’t worry about estimating yardage, I just kept track of what I used.

Thank You . . .

For all the nice comments on Lara. If I’ve enabled just one more person to knit it, well, I feel as though I’ve done my job.

And More Thank Yous!

To my Secret Pal 3, who sent this:


Mmmmmmm . . . exquisite French chocolate and a pretty postcard with a sweet little note. Secret Pal 3, you certainly did your homework on my blog, because yes indeed, I was sent some Bonnat Chocolat a while back by a pal, and YES INDEED I love it!

And to make sure I was completely spoiled, I got a package from my Secret Pal 2! Inside:


A beautiful quilted purse! Secret Pal 2, you sure did your homework too, because I love bags! And I love green!

This bag is quilted with pink thread — for a Knit Happens theme! — and lined in a pretty ivy print fabric. The handles are knit from a delightful fuzzy green yarn and it has a magnetic snap to close it.

It’s perfect! So cute and girly!

And inside:


Yarn! Some yummy laceweight mohair in a steel blue, and some fun ribbon yarn in a refreshing light green.

And there was even a knitted toy for Lucy. Awwwwwwwww . . .


Lucy says “Meow! Thank you very much!”


She loves things she can easily pick up and carry in her mouth, and this is just the right shape and size to tickle her fancy.

Thank you to both my wonderful Secret Pals — you guys are great!

And if that weren’t enough . . .


Spongebob stickers from Betsy in Colorado! Wheeeee!!!!!!! Thank you!

State of the Ankle

Thanks also for your inquiries about the state of my ankle. It’s getting better, though it’s still swollen and an odd color!

Even More About Lara

What about Lara? She’s done! Woo-hoo!

Here she is shortly after coming off the needles.


And here she is being worn.


I’m using a shawl pin to pin the front closed. I like it pinned, but I like it open as well. I’ve got a plain black dress that I think Lara will look great with.

I am pleased to report no problems with the pattern. It was easy to follow and I didn’t see any errors. I made the smallest size, which calls for 14 skeins of the Alpaca Silk. I used just over 13 skeins.

I was asked in the comments what kind of cast-on I used to add stitches on either sides of the sleeves to create the body of the sweater. I did a simple backwards loop cast-on. Looks don’t count here, as these cast-ons will be hidden in the seams.

For the ribbed front that you cast on, I used a longtail cast-on, as I think that matched the cast off on the other side the best.

So there you have it. A really fun quick knit, and a gorgeous sweater. I’m happy.

I think Lucy needs an Alpaca Silk catnip mouse. She is quite taken with this yarn. So much so that she did a celebrity endorsement.


More About Lara

A question from the comments:

Ok, I have my yarn – but a question about Lara.. is she easy enough for a fairly new knitter? I haven’t made much more than a few scarves, shawls, bags, that type of thing..anything tricky in Lara’s directions before I go buy the book?

Good question!

I would consider Lara an appropriate project for an adventuresome beginner. You need to know how to cast on and cast off, knit and purl, increase and decrease stitches, put sections of knitting on a spare needle, and most importantly, follow directions.

Lara is knit side to side in one piece. It’s important to pay close attention to the directions as they explain how you go about constructing this sweater. So far, I’ve found no problems in said directions. Everything is explained in a very straightforward manner.

If you read ahead, you might get a bit confused. But things make sense as you get to them.

And here is my Lara. I’ve got the left front on a spare needle, and am working on the back right now. I only wish there were more knitting hours in the day.



The other day Kerstin posted about Bloglines, a subscription service that lets you know when your favorite blogs have been updated. Go check it out, and be sure you read their “What is Bloglines” page if you’re not sure what this is all about.

I’ve had a Bloglines account for a while now. Yesterday I put a one-click button in my sidebar so that if you are a Bloglines user, you can subscribe to my blog at the click of a button. No fuss, no muss.

Washington DC Knit-Out

The annual Washington DC Knit-Out is this Sunday, but I’ve no plans to attend. I don’t think I’m up to standing up that long.

This will be a weekend of propping up the foot. The ankle is getting less swollen, but it still hurts.

Have a good weekend — see ya Monday!